Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Worst Companies in the World

The United States was voted the Worst Company in the World, followed
by Monsanto, Peabody Energy Corp. and Barrick Gold

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

The United States was voted the "Worst Company in the World," in a reader poll conducted by the Censored News blog that ended today. Readers, primarily Indigenous Peoples, voted Monsanto as the second Worst Company in the World. Peabody Energy Corp., recently granted a life of mine permit to expand coal mining on Navajo and Hopi lands, was voted the third Worst Company in the World.

Barrick Gold Corp., which began the destruction of the Western Shoshone's Mount Tenabo region during Thanksgiving, was voted the fourth Worst Company in the World. Blackwater Worldwide, responsible for murders and brutality worldwide, was voted the fifth Worst Company in the World. GEO Group, Inc., formerly Wackenhut, profiteering from the misery of migrants and people of color in prisons, was voted the sixth Worst Company in the World.

Cameco uranium mining and Sithe Global/Navajo Nation, tied for the seventh Worst Company in the World. Israel's Elbit Systems and Raytheon tied for eighth place. Boeing, constructing the US/Mexico Apartheid Border Wall, followed in ninth place. Newmont Mining was voted the 10th Worst Company in the World by the readers of Censored News blog, which focuses on the censored news of Indigenous Peoples and international human rights.

The United States emerged in truth as one of the worst violators of international human rights during the Bush regime, with torture, kidnappings and secret renditions in violation of the Geneva Conventions. The bogus war in Iraq resulted in the widespread murder and displacement of Iraqi people. Corporations seized the freefall of US democracy, with mercenaries, private prison profiteers and war manufacturers reveling in their profits. During the Bush regime, the United States ceased to be viewed as a democracy by many US citizens, who now view the United States as a company comprised of select individuals seeking corporate gain and control.

It was not just the US corporations that benefited. In the corporate get-rich schemes to construct the US/Mexico border wall, the contractor Boeing subcontracted Israel's Apartheid border wall builder, Elbit Systems, for the multi-million dollar dysfunctional debacle of the US border spy towers. While xenophobia and racism toward migrants ruled in US television news, Wackenhut, owned by G4S in England and Denmark, seized the opportunity to profiteer from a
Homeland Security contract for the transportation of migrants from the US/Mexico border.

Monsanto, in second place, continued to threaten the future of humanity with genetically altered seeds. Depleting the world of a rich diversity of seeds and crops, Monsanto continues to destroy sustainable systems of food production around the world. Monsanto was the primary supplier of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. Even Prince Charles exposed Monsanto recently, revealing that thousands of farmers have committed suicide in India because of Monsanto's promise of riches. Those promises only resulted in failed crops and a flood of debt in India's "Suicide Belt" after switching to genetically modified seeds.

Navajos and Hopis united and protested a life of the mine permit for Peabody coal mining on Black Mesa. However, the US Office of Surface Mining approved the permit in December, continuing the US genocide on Black Mesa, where more than 14,000 Navajos have already been relocated to make way for coal mining. The so-called Navajo Hopi land dispute was orchestrated by Peabody Coal.

The Navajo Nation Council's 88 members receive their salaries and travel expenses primarily from energy leases, while many Navajos live without running water and electricity.

Klee Benally, Navajo, said the US permit was a blatant act of US genocide.

Calvin Johnson, Navajo, said, "Our local leaders, including the president of the Navajo Nation, continue to pursue this senseless plan to give Peabody a life of mine permit and continue using pristine water for coal operations without the impacted resident's decision, which continues to be ignored. When will our leaders stand up and fight for us?"

Vernon Masayesva, Hopi, said the US permit, "The decision was announced during the Hopi Soyalung ceremonies throughout our villages. Soyalung is when Hopis plant their prayers for the coming year. It is a time the priests carry out sacred rituals to renew the earth, and pray for peace and harmony throughout the world. It is similar to the Jewish Chunaka observance, of bringing light to darkness.This is the ancient ritual the Office of Surface Mining has rudely interrupted. It is a blatant action sanctioning Peabody to exploit our natural resources for the benefit of its wealthy owners, officers and stockholders."

Barrick Gold, responsible for the deaths of Indigenous Peoples around the world, began its onslaught on the sacred lands of the Western Shoshone at Mount Tenabo during the Thanksgiving holidays. Before leaving office, President Bush Sr. made it possible for Barrick to lease lands for gold mining in Nevada. Once out of office, Bush Sr. went to work for Barrick as a senior consultant.

In Australia, DR Congo, Ghana, Tanzania and New Guinea, Indigenous Peoples are fighting Barrick's destruction in solidarity with the Western Shoshone. They are fighting the coring out of mountains for minute particles of gold and the poisoning of water with cyanide leaching.

Carrie Dann and other Western Shoshone grandmothers said the United States is trespassing on Western Shoshone treaty land, destroying mountains, trees, food and medicine, while leaving dirty polluted water ponds for birds and animals.

"Why doesn't the mining company go dig up the Vatican or the Mormon Tabernacle instead of Western Shoshone lands, I'm sure they will find gold there," said Mary McCloud, Western Shoshone grandmother, mourning the bulldozing of the pines near the ceremonial grounds on Mount Tenabo in November.

Near the Porgera mine in New Guinea, Jethro Tulin of the Akali Tange Association, told Barrick Gold, "Your security guards have been shooting and killing our people and raping, even gang-raping, our women with impunity for years now."

GEO Group, formerly Wackenhut, and other private prisons continued to profiteer from the orchestrated hysteria against migrants and people of color at the southern border, gaining lucrative US and state prison and detention contracts from California to Texas. GEO was recently named in charges filed in Texas, in an attempt to prosecute Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for private prison profiteering, resulting in the death of at least one inmate.

A second private prison profiteer, Corrections Corp of America, imprisons and abuses migrant women and children at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas.

Cameco is the Canadian company which purchased the mysterious shipment of 500 tons of yellowcake uranium from Iraq, transported by the US to Montreal in July of 2008. Cameco continues to push for uranium mining on Lakota lands, resulting in the poorest of the poor struggling to fight the world's largest uranium mining company in court in Nebraska. In Australia, Aboriginals at Alice Springs continued their protests of Cameco, while research studies in Port Hope, Canada, show the people are being poisoned by Cameco's uranium mining.

"The result of testing conducted on a small group of residents of Port Hope has found contamination by uranium of military or industrial origin. Four of nine people tested had unusual types of uranium in their bodies, including one who carried measurable quantities of depleted uranium, which is used to make armour-piercing weapons, and another who had uranium at levels about three times higher than average concentrations of the element," according to the
Globe and Mail.

Sithe Global, in a relationship with the Navajo Nation elected government, is pushing to build a coal fired power plant, Desert Rock, on Navajo lands in New Mexico. Grassroots Navajos at Dooda Desert Rock continue to fight the power plant, which would be the third power plant in the area, where the air, land and water are already poisoned by unreclaimed uranium tailings from the Cold War and widespread oil and gas wells. Sithe Global's financier is Blackstone Group, cofounded by Steve Schwarzman of the Bush elite Skull and Bones secret society based at Yale University.

Israel's Elbit Systems, a producer of Apartheid spy and border wall systems in Israel, continued to gain US contracts, including Boeing's subcontract for the border wall. Raytheon Missiles continued to be protested in Tucson for its weapons production and contamination. Raytheon has a manufacturing plant on the Navajo Nation's commercial farm of Navajo Agricultural Products Industries, where potatoes, corn and other crops are produced with Monsanto's genetically-modified seeds.

Boeing continued to build the US/Mexico border wall, as Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff waived all federal laws to build the border wall, including the laws designed to protect endangered species and the graves of Native Americans. On the Tohono O'odham Nation, Boeing dug up the graves of the Tohono O'odham ancestors in 2007. In Arizona, border wall onstruction endangered the jaguar, Sonoran pronghorn and other species in violation of all federal laws. Further, Indigenous Peoples traveling in their own territories on the border are harassed, threatened and treated as criminals by the US Border Patrol.
Tohono O'odham human rights activists continued to be targeted as they defined their homeland as an occupied militarized zone. The poorest of the poor in America used their last dollars in 2008 to fight the United States construction of the US/Mexico border wall and seizure of their lands, including the Lipan Apache in Texas who are in court to protect their lands from seizure by Homeland Security for the border wall.

At the northern border, the United States pushed for more militarization of the region.

Kahentinetha Horn, publisher of Mohawk Nation News, is among the authors published in Censored News. Kahentinetha was beaten by Canadian border guards on June 14, 2008 and suffered a heart attack as border police tightened a stresshold. Mohawk Nation News editor Katenies was also beaten and jailed. Kahentinetha is recovering and the two Mohawk grandmothers have filed suit.

In recent articles, the Mohawk Nation News exposed the fact that carbon market scams seek the seizure of Indigenous Peoples forests for corporate profiteering and the fact that Canadian officers are being trained in Israel, where the border has become a militarized war zone. The carbon credit scam, profiteering for the World Bank and private corporations, is one of the most censored stories worldwide. Throughout the United States, the poorest of the poor fought for
justice during the Bush regime, often resulting in arrest or imprisonment. While the US and multi-national corporations received millions, billions and trillions in bailouts, widespread unemployment and hunger increased in the US.

While the US spy factory vaporized rights guaranteed by the US Constitution, the US media gave up the fight.

While the corporate seizures of lands was dismal during the Bush regime, Indigenous elders spoke of a time of cleansing and regeneration.

"We will outlive their ways. Our ways will outlive America's ways. It is because we regard the earth as sacred," said Floyd Red Crow Westerman said before his passing to the Spirit World.

In the Censored News poll, one-half of those voting chose the United States as the Worst Company in the World (50 percent.) The other percentages of total votes were: Monsanto (30 percent) Peabody Coal (26 percent) Barrick Gold (20 percent) Blackwater (17 percent) GEO (15 percent) Cameco and Sithe Global/Navajo Nation tied (14 percent) Raytheon and Israel's Elbit Systems tied (12 percent) Boeing (11 percent) and Newmont Mining Corp (9 percent.)

31 Dec 2008: Native News from

Cherokee councilors not aware of $50,000 donation (OKLAHOMA) -- A $50,000 donation made by the business arm of the Cherokee Nation to the inauguration fund of President-elect Barack Obama did not receive authorization by the tribe’s council and many council members were unaware of the donation until seeing news accounts of it or after receiving phone calls from constituents, the Tulsa World has learned.

Tribes triumph tobacco tax (NEW YORK) -- Driving onto the Allegany Indian Reservation from the west, Ron's Smoke Shop makes an inviting first stop. It's just one tax-free tobacco shop on Seneca Nation territory.

Tobacco wholesale company sued for failure to pay $18.4 million (NEW YORK) -- Federal attorneys have filed suit against a tobacco wholesale company owned by Arthur “Sugar” Montour, a former Seneca tribal councillor, for failing to pay $18.4 million in federal tobacco settlement assessments.

Bush administration approves gas drilling plan for southeastern Montana (MONTANA) -- The Bush administration on Tuesday approved a plan that could allow more than 18,000 natural gas wells to be drilled in southeastern Montana over the next two decades.

OP/ED: Kempthorne failed at interior department (IDAHO) -- The former Idaho governor and U.S. senator and his predecessor, Gale Norton, presided over the most corrupt period in the agency since Albert Fall and the Teapot Dome Scandal of the 1920s.

Human Rights Commission hears testimonies of 'racism' (ARIZONA) -- Four of the five members of the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission recently visited the communities of Winslow and Flagstaff to hear public testimony regarding race relation issues in areas including housing, education and civil rights.

Yavapai-Apache Nation launches new Web site (ARIZONA) -- Information on the Yavapai-Apache Nation, its history, culture, annual events, and government affairs, has always been a struggle to find. It's nothing intentional, it just is.

Hopi lawmakers question if leader neglected duties (ARIZONA) -- Hopi lawmakers have scheduled a hearing to determine whether tribal Chairman Ben Nuvamsa, who has said he is resigning Wednesday, neglected his duties while in office.

Navajo, Hopi citizens vow to stop Peabody coal mine expansion (ARIZONA) -- Two days before Christmas, officials from the U.S. Office of Surface Mining have granted a permit to Peabody Coal Company to expand their mining operations on Navajo and Hopi lands, despite opposition from local communities and problems with the permitting process including lack of adequate time for public comment on a significant revision to the permit, insufficient environmental review, and instability in the Hopi government preventing their legitimate participation in the process.

First Indian woman in statewide office has always carried high expectations (MONTANA) -- It's a long road from Browning's Last Star Housing Project to the office of the superintendent of Montana's public schools in Helena.

Mashpee Wampanoag councilors call for meeting (MASSACHUSETTS) -- Four Mashpee Wampanoag tribal councilors have called an emergency meeting of the tribe's governing board to discuss former chairman Glenn Marshall.

More headlines...

News from Indianz.Com

31 Dec 2008: Today's Democracy Now!

Israeli Lawmaker and Conscientious Objector Nephew of Ex-PM Benjamin Netanyahu Denounce Israeli Attack on Gaza Strip
Israel has rejected a French proposal for an immediate emergency forty-eight-hour ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip. As Israeli air and sea attacks against the Strip continued into its fifth day, basic food supplies in Gaza are running low, and hospitals are struggling to cope with the rising casualties. We speak to two Israelis opposed to the assault: Dov Khenin, a Knesset member with the Jewish-Arab party Hadash; and Jonathan Benartzi, an Israeli conscientious objector who spent more than a year in prison for refusing to serve. He also happens to be the nephew of Benjamin Netanyahu, a leading proponent of attacking Gaza and a favorite to win the upcoming Israeli elections. [includes rush transcript]

Harold Pinter (1930-2008); Part 2 of His Nobel Acceptance Speech "Art, Truth and Politics"
Part two of the 2005 Nobel Prize acceptance speech of the acclaimed British playwright, poet, actor, and activist Harold Pinter. He died last week at the age of seventy-eight. [includes rush transcript]

Tennessee Landowners File $165M Suit Over Massive Coal Ash Spill
Landowners in Tennessee have filed a $165 million lawsuit against the Tennessee Valley Authority in the wake of last week’s massive spill of over one billion gallons of toxic coal ash next to a coal-burning steam plant. The sludge spilled out of a coal plant retention pond, burying homes and roads. It is believed to be the largest coal ash disaster in US history. The amount of ash released would fill 450,000 standard dump trucks. [includes rush transcript]

Last Chance to Vote for Freedom for Leonard Peltier

Free Peltier Now! This idea is currently in 14th Place in the Criminal Justice category at THANK YOU to all who have voted already. But you must know that the notices about this campaign have been sent to thousands of people and, from the look of things, many people haven't voted as yet. The deadline is midnight tonight (Pacific time).

Why the reluctance? Perhaps because folks have to register, first? You don't want to receive e-mail messages from the organization? No worries. Register, vote, and then use your options in your e-mail program to block e-mails coming from But vote. Also leave a comment if you'd like. The more the better.

And while you're at it, contact all your friends and family members. Send the link to them and get them to vote, as well.

Web traffic may prevent access to the idea page, but keep trying. Another way in is to go to Scroll down to "Pardon or Commutation for Leonard Peltier".

We can do this. Let's end the year on a high note and hit the ground running from day 1 of 2009.

Happy New Year.

Time to set him free... Because it's the RIGHT thing to do.

Friends of Peltier

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

IPF Call to Action

The Obama-Biden Transition Team recently launched a new feature on called Open for Questions. Ask whatever you like, and vote up or down on the other questions to let them know which ones you most want the Transition to answer. Get started now at

You have to register first. It's free, easy and quick. Then post your question. I don't need to suggest the question will be about Leonard Peltier, now do I?

Please also vote for the people who already asked the Obama-Biden Transitition Team about Leonard Peltier. You can easily find those questions among the many thousands of others, when you type "Peltier" in the "Search Questions" box (not the general search box at the top of the screen!)

Of course, we asked the Transition Team a question! Ours is signed with "KOLA".

Get started now at

Do it today or tomorrow because this round of questions closes this week/year.


IPF e-mail:

FBI official in 'Omaha Two' case was master media manipulator and self-described liar

December 29, 2008

FBI official in 'Omaha Two' case was master media manipulator and self-described liar

By Michael Richardson

William Cornelius Sullivan was the chief architect of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's clandestine and illegal Operation COINTELPRO during the tenure of director J. Edgar Hoover. Sullivan was also a master at media manipulation shaping the news to the benefit of the Bureau.

Operation COINTELPRO was a massive, secret, nation-wide operation aimed at hundreds of domestic political targets. Ordered by Hoover to "disrupt" the Black Panther Party and other groups by any means necessary, FBI agents used a wide variety of illegal and improper tactics. One of the time-tested methods of eliminating the leadership of local Panther chapters was obtaining false convictions by use of withheld evidence, planted evidence, and false testimony.

Sullivan, an assistant director, was the highest-ranking FBI official to admit public knowledge of the 'Omaha Two' case. Black Panthers Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa (formerly David Rice) headed the Omaha, Nebraska chapter and were COINTELPRO targets. The August 17, 1970 bombing murder of policeman Larry Minard was followed by the prosecution of the two Omaha activists for his death and led to their conviction following a controversial 1971 trial that was marred by withheld evidence and conflicting police testimony.

In October 1970 at a conference of United Press International, Sullivan falsely denied the existence of a "conspiracy" against the Black Panthers and tried to squelch sympathy for the Panthers. Sullivan told the assembled reporters, "Panther cries of repression at the hands of a government 'conspiracy' receive the sympathy not only of adherents to totalitarian ideologies, but also of those willing to close their eyes to even to the violent nature of hoodlum 'revolutionary' acts."

Sullivan also spoke of his knowledge of Minard's death. "On August 12, 1970 [sic] an Omaha, Nebraska police officer was literally blasted to death by an explosive device placed in a suitcase in an abandoned residence. The officer had been summoned by an anonymous telephone complaint that a woman was being beated [sic] there. An individual with Panther associations has been charged with this crime."

What Sullivan didn't tell assembled reporters was that Hoover had already ordered critical evidence withheld from the 'Omaha Two' with a directive to FBI Crime Laboratory director Ivan Willard Conrad. The 911 tape recording of the killer's voice had been sent to FBI headquarters for vocal analysis but Hoover ordered no lab report be issued after the testing.

Sullivan was on a special distribution list at the COINTELPRO directorate in FBI headquarters where he received various secret memos from the Omaha FBI office updating him on the status of the investigation and the ongoing deception about the recording of the killer's voice.

The jury that convicted Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa never got to hear the tape recording or know that Hoover had personally ordered evidence about the killer's identity withheld.

The Omaha World-Herald's coverage of the case was apparently manipulated to aid the FBI plot to keep quiet about the 911 tape. The newspaper initially reported on the tape's journey to Washington quoting acting-Chief of Police Walter J. Devere that the tape would be a good investigative tool. However, the Omaha newspaper never followed up their lead story on the testing of the fatal recording and subsequent articles about the case dropped the subject.

Sullivan was fired by Hoover several months after the Omaha trial ended for leaking to the Justice Department information about unauthorized FBI wiretaps on Henry Kissinger. Sullivan retaliated by writing a book, The Bureau: My Thirty Years in Hoover's FBI. The autobiographical account is far from a tell-all and Sullivan's self-aggrandizement agenda is apparent. However, Sullivan does make some remarkable admissions.

Although Sullivan is virtually silent about COINTELPRO and does not mention the 'Omaha Two' case at all, he boasts about his prowess working the news media to manipulate stories. "Because if this network of field offices, and thanks to scores of contacts made and maintained by the special agents in charge, Hoover was able to place 'news' stories--invented and written in the bureau, really nothing more than press releases, puff pieces for the FBI--in newspapers all over the country. Our strength was in the small dailies and weeklies, with hundreds of these papers behind him."

"Of course, scores of Washington-based reporters printed stories we gave them too, and they usually printed them under their own bylines. Some of them lived off us. It was an easy way to make a living. They were our press prostitutes."

"We also planted stories critical of some of Hoover's favorites targets, the CIA for instance. And of course we placed stories about Hoover's congressional critics. A negative story which appears in a newspaper published in a congressman's home district hurts him more than any article in the Washington Post."

"Letters went by the thousands to the Jaycees, the newspaper editors, the movers and shakers so carefully cultivated as FBI contacts by our agents out in the field. These field agents were also responsible for reading any article or letter to the editor that mentioned the FBI or Hoover. Any favorable mention of either in any newspaper in America meant a personal letter of thanks from Hoover."

"This public relations operation of Hoover's, this massive attempt to control public opinion continues to this day, and is at the very heart of what is wrong with the bureau. Unless it is exposed, until every editor of every little weekly newspaper who ever printed an FBI press handout realizes how he has been used, the FBI will continue to do business in the same old way."

In a rare moment of candor, Sullivan confessed to his deceptions. "The bureau system made liars of us all. If you didn't lie, you couldn't survive."

Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa, despite their protestations of innocence, were convicted of Minard's killing and sentenced to life sentences. Incarcerated at the maximum-security Nebraska State Penitentiary both men continue to deny any role in the 1970 murder. Poindexter has a new trial request pending before the Nebraska Supreme Court over withheld evidence and conflicting police testimony. No date for a decision has been announced.

Original Content at

Indonesia Police Destroy Indigenous Village

InterContinental Cry
Indonesia Police Destroy Indigenous Village
Posted: 29 Dec 2008 11:19 AM CST
On December 18 Indonesian police forces violently evicted 400 indigenous people from their land in the province of Riau on the eastern coast of Sumatra. According to Amnesty International, approximately 700 local security forces entered the village of Suluk Bongka, firing bullets and tear gas. “As the villagers fled into the forest, two helicopters then dropped what [...]

30 Dec 2008: Native News from

Cigarettes Bring Profits to Tribes (NEW YORK) -- New numbers show cigarette sales are bringing in a big profit for native American tribes in New York. The State's Department of taxation and finance released a monthly sales report showing Indian retailers are making millions annually, selling tax-free cigarettes.

Inconvenient: Cigarette taxes make it difficult for convenience stores in New York (NEW YORK) -- New York state increased its cigarette tax this summer in an effort to save lives. But convenience stores across the state are resting in pieces as a result.

Salazar out to tame interior (WASHINGTON, DC) -- One Interior Department scandal featured sex, drugs and influence peddling. Another involved politics trumping science in endangered-species rulings.

Crow Creek tribal official, contractor indicted (SOUTH DAKOTA) -- A Crow Creek tribal treasurer and a private contractor each were indicted on two counts of theft and bribery for programs receiving federal funds.

Derek Bailey: A sense of privilege (MICHIGAN) -- Derek Bailey wakes up with a sense of privilege, a feeling he's had each morning since taking office as chairman of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.

BRENDA NORRELL: Honoring Floyd Westerman and the Miwok Youths (ARIZONA) -- Censored Blog Talk Radio offers a tribute to Floyd Red Crow Westerman, sharing his songs and words. Westerman speaks on the Spirit World and what is happening to Mother Earth.

JODI RAVE: Couple remind drivers, pedestrians of Wounded Knee (MONTANA) -- Rowan McQuarrie took a day off work Monday to hold a sign on a busy Missoula street, reminding passers-by of the Dec. 29, 1890, Wounded Knee Massacre, commonly known as the last of the Indian Wars.

Ruling clears way for Oneidas to buy Thornberry Creek Golf Course (WISCONSIN) -- A federal judge has rejected Hobart’s appeal of the Oneida Tribe of Indians’ plan to purchase the Thornberry Creek Golf Course, allowing the transfer of property to occur.

Navajo Mountain desperate for water (ARIZONA) -- The Office of the Speaker has been helping to coordinate efforts with various governmental entities to get the water supply returned to the Navajo Mountain community and to keep community roads operational.

More headlines...

30 Dec 2008: Today's Democracy Now!

Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon Remembers Musical Icon Odetta (1930-2008)
Considered the “Queen of American Folk Music,” Odetta introduced audiences worldwide to American roots music and especially African American folk, blues and gospel. She died earlier this month. When Rosa Parks was asked which songs meant the most to her, she replied, “All of the songs Odetta sings.” We hear Odetta in her own words and speak to Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, original member of the SNCC Freedom Singers and founder of Sweet Honey in the Rock. [includes rush transcript–partial]

Harold Pinter (1930-2008) on "Art, Truth and Politics"
Harold Pinter, the Nobel Prize-winning British playwright, screenwriter, poet, actor and political activist died last week at the age of seventy-eight after a prolonged battle with cancer. In his 2005 Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Pinter excoriated US foreign policy. “The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law,” Pinter said. We play an excerpt from his speech. [includes rush transcript]

First round voting on "Ideas for Change" ends Dec 31! [LEONARD NEEDS MORE VOTES]

The first round of voting for the Ideas for Change in America competition will end this Wednesday, December 31 at midnight Pacific Time.

The idea, "Pardon or Commutation for Leonard Peltier," is currently in 25th place in the Criminal Justice category, and needs 1277 more votes to qualify for the final round. If you think this idea deserves the attention of the Obama Administration, you can help increase its chances of reaching the final round by emailing the following link to friends and encourage them to vote:

You may also want to try posting the link on Facebook or your blog to raise further awareness.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Wounded Knee (Dark Hour)

Oglala Commemoration Update

There is some exciting news coming at the first of the year. Stay tuned and remember to support this event at the Online Auction at

The 2009 Scholarship Application is now online. The deadline for applications is February 6, 2009. Find information at


A Call to Young Warriors, to All Young People

A Call to Young Warriors, to All Young People
Lakota Spiritual Leader and Head Man, David Swallow, Speaks to Lakota Youth
by David Swallow, Lakota Spiritual Leader and a Headman of the Lakota Nation
Edited and Published by Stephanie M. Schwartz, Member, Native American Journalists Association (NAJA)

Young American Indians today suffer from many problems of the modern world. Alcohol and drug abuse, early pregnancies, gangs, and psychological disorders are everywhere on the Reservations. However, a lot of the development of these issues can be historically traced back to World War II or shortly before.

The 1924 Indian Citizenship Act created a special kind of dual citizenship which made American Indians into citizens of the United States (for the first time) as well as citizens of their own sovereign nations. Finally, Indians could vote. But also, for the first time, they could be drafted into the military.

The young Lakota Warriors looked at the military as a way to prove themselves as warriors. They believed it was an honorable extension of the traditional warrior ways.

So, young American Indians went off to World War II. After 100 years of forced boarding schools which resulted in generations of young Indians losing their sense of identity, family and traditions, the military became like the family they had never been allowed to have. They were grouped into companies which lived together and fought together and bonded with each other as a unit, as a family.

When the young warriors came home, they often became lost. With their military family no longer existing, gangs began to form to take their place. An example is the Hell’s Angels, the famous motorcycle gang, which was started in the late 1940’s. It is commonly believed to have been founded by ex-members of famous military fighting units of the same name.

Then, in 1953, long after Prohibition had ended, President Eisenhower made it legal to sell alcohol to American Indians for the first time. This changed the lives of all Indian people.

In his grandfathers’ day, the Lakota warrior came from a good family where he had been taught good behavior, good manners, respect for all life and good relationship with all living things. His parents never lied to him and he never lied to anyone. He was reliable and practiced honor and respect with a clean mind.

Even with all those qualities, he still had to qualify to be a member of a warrior society. He had to prove himself. It wasn’t just about fighting. But when he did fight, even then he practiced respect. He never mutilated another warrior.

The young warrior also never stole from his own people. He never beat-up or took advantage of his people. He never practiced sexual assaults on anyone.

The young warrior knew his real purpose was to protect his people and their lives. He knew his purpose was to protect the c’anunpa carriers, the sacred pipe carriers, and the holy men and spiritual leaders. He also listened to and learned from the holy men and spiritual leaders. He not only respected and protected life but he also learned to practice compassion. He acted with honor.

The young warrior knew that if he did all this, life would be beautiful and all would live in harmony.

But with the effects of alcohol, drugs, and the continuing policies of the Federal government towards the Plains Tribes, most of this has become lost and forgotten.

These policies aren’t so different from those practiced against other ethnic groups throughout history. The Irish, the Italians, the Jewish, the Gypsies, and many others all experienced what was called ethnic cleansing. But, for the American Indian, the policies still continue today.

These policies try to force us to live in ghetto housing called Cluster Housing. These policies have taken away our traditional foods that kept us healthy. These policies have created a private state prison system that makes money on incarcerating our young people rather than rehabilitating them. These policies have kept my children, my grandchildren and nephews and nieces, from learning how to survive and live from the land.

These policies and politics have created the “haves” and the “have-nots”, a two-level society of extremes on the reservation favoring corruption and nepotism in BIA and reservation government relationships.

We have no YMCA. Many have no job or any possibility of a job. We have no vocational training centers. We have no residential treatment centers for children and teens as an alternative to jail like they have in the cities.

Hope is hard to find. So belonging to a gang has become the only way for many of our young people to feel good, to feel needed and wanted.

Now, they say the Lakota are “Third World Welfare Recipients.” But worse is the fact that our young people steal from each other. Our people shoot and hurt each other. They practice deceit and abuse our girls. Elders now live in fear. The traditional values of the Lakota warrior no longer exist. They have become lost to alcohol and drugs and gangs.

So today, I am calling on all young Lakota warriors and young Lakota people. We need you to help save the future generations to come. Not me, not Grandpa, I don’t need saving. But your children and your grandchildren do.

Get back into your own traditional spirituality and traditional ways and values. Those hold the answers for you. Those will guide you and help you to know who you are more than any gang ever could. And it will be you who will bring the harmony back to our lives.

It will be you who will bring back hope to our People.

Ho he’cetu yelo. I have spoken these words.

David Swallow, Wowitan Yuha Mani
Porcupine, South Dakota - The Pine Ridge Reservation

This article may be reprinted, reproduced, and/or re-distributed unedited with proper attribution and sourcing for non-profit, educational, news, or archival purposes.

29 Dec 2008: Native News from

Indian merchants reap huge profits on untaxed tobacco sales (NEW YORK) -- Scott Maybee is not a top-ranked pro quarterback, an ace hurler nor a Wall Street tycoon, but he made as much as $34 million in 2006. He was selling tax-free cigarettes on the Seneca Indian reservations and over the Internet.

ICT Editorial: Re-establishing Indian policy (NEW YORK) -- We are at a threshold point in American history. Among the many issues that will be discussed and reconsidered is a new and contemporary vision of American Indian policy, which should be openly discussed and renewed at Congressional and Presidential levels.

Russell: Domestic, dependent change agents? (INDIANA) -- When I was a student in the 70s, we used to insult a speech we didn’t like by calling it “a bunch of rhetoric.” That is a criticism without substance. Every speech has the same amount of rhetoric; the issue is one of quality.

Salazar out to tame interior (WASHINGTON, DC) -- One Interior Department scandal featured sex, drugs and influence peddling. Another involved politics trumping science in endangered-species rulings.

Newcomb: How not to fix U.S. Indian policy (CALIFORNIA) -- In his guest column, “How to fix U.S. tribal policy,” Francis G. Hutchins presents his own particular take on the history of U.S.-Indian policy since the beginning of the United States.

Denouncing racism and violence / Wayne Mitchell and Maine legislature support joint resolution (MAINE) -- The Maine legislature ended its session last spring with an endorsement of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and began session this fall with a resolution denouncing racism and violence.

New Ute tribal chairman sworn in (COLORADO) -- Matthew Box has been sworn in as the new Southern Ute tribal chairman after winning a runoff election. Box defeated Howard Richards with 66% of the vote Friday after neither candidate gained a majority of the vote in November.

Tribal council nixes emergency meeting (MASSACHUSETTS) -- An emergency meeting of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council did not take place yesterday because the tribe's governing board lacked a quorum.

Governor Tim Kaine, friend to Virginia Native people (VIRGINIA) -- An avid supporter of Virginia’s tribal people and the Commonwealth of Virginia Governor, Tim Kaine, reached national notoriety in mid-2008 as his name was mentioned as a possible vice Presidential candidate for President-elect Barack Obama.

More headlines...

29 Dec 2008: Today's Democracy Now!

Israeli Attacks Kill Over 310 in Gaza in One of Israel's Bloodiest Attacks on Palestinians Since 1948
Amidst worldwide protests, Israel is continuing its bombing campaign against Gaza for the third consecutive day and preparing to launch a possible ground invasion. Following months of a crippling blockade, this has been described as one of Israel’s bloodiest attacks on Palestinians since 1948. Latest reports indicate that 310 people have been killed and 1,400 injured in the aerial strikes across the Gaza Strip since Saturday morning. The latest targets of the air strikes include the Hamas Interior Ministry building and the Islamic University. Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced today that Israel is in an “all-out war with Hamas and its proxies” in Gaza. Fears of a ground invasion are growing after Israel declared a military buffer zone around Gaza, closing off the strip and its 1.5 million residents to journalists and civilians.
We speak to Dr. Moussa El-Haddad and Fida Qishta in Gaza, Dr. Mustafa Barghouti in Ramallah, Gideon Levy in Tel Aviv and Ali Abunimah in the US. [includes rush transcript–partial]

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Emergency Winter Heating/Utility Assistance Program

Link Center Foundation
An All-Volunteer Colorado 501c3 Non-Profit Organization

P.O. Box 576 - Firestone, CO 80520

Office Phone: 303-833-6520 - Toll Free: 888-220-1653


October, 2008 through March, 2009
For the Elders, Disabled and the Sick Living on the
Lakota Sioux Reservations in South Dakota

Our goal is to raise $20,000.

We are not grant-funded at this time. We depend on YOU, the individual donor, to help these families in crisis.

Average income on the Oglala Lakota Sioux Pine Ridge Reservation is about $3,500.00 per YEAR. Jobs are extremely scarce; unemployment hovers around 85% on this 11,000-square-mile reservation which houses about 40,000 people. The other Lakota Reservations face similar economic conditions.

Death by hypothermia is always a concern on the reservations. Each winter (October – March), temperatures drop well below 0*F. Many families must choose between food and heat. In some cases, they have neither.

Federal LHEAP and Tribal Assistance Programs offer each low-income family approximately $300 per year. With the current rate of propane at $2.20 per gallon, this provides only 136 gallons – about enough fuel for 2 to 4 weeks (depending on the harsh weather).

Propane prices have already risen about 33% since last winter, and are expected to rise much higher as this winter goes on. Those families surviving with electric heat also face major increases in cost.

Propane companies require minimum amounts of propane to be purchased before delivery (currently $125 to $355 depending on the company). These minimum requirements are expected to skyrocket as the high cost of truck fuel increases. This makes families struggle even harder to accumulate enough funds at one time to ensure a delivery.

The Link Center Foundation has already received numerous emergency assistance applications that cannot be filled due to lack of funds. With propane, wood, and electricity prices continually rising, many more requests for help are expected to arrive.

95% of ALL donations to our heating/utility fund are USED for the heating/utility fund. The remaining 5% covers bank, credit card, and processing fees.

YOU Can Make A Difference!

All applicants are screened and documented
Payments are made directly to utility, propane, wood, or heat equipment companies
Donations carefully tracked and accountable
No donation too small
Visit to see map of Reservations
Visit to learn more about conditions on the Reservations

As with all Non-Profits, your donations are tax deductible to the extent allowable by law.Please consult your tax advisor.

Please mark your check: "Emergency Utility and Heating Fund"
Please send donations to:
Link Center Foundation
P.O. Box 576 – Firestone, CO 80520-0576
For Credit Card Donations, please visit our website at

Always remember

Massacre at Wounded Knee 1890

1973 Occupation of Wounded Knee

Bill Means describes the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee.

Re Wounded Knee

Excerpt from "December a hard time for Lakota people" by Tim Giago.

The month of December was a time of terror for the Lakota People in the year 1890. First of all, the great Lakota leader, Tatanka Iyotanka (Sitting Bull) was killed, assassinated some would say, on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

At daybreak on December 15, 1890, 43 Indian police officers, led by Bull Head, surrounded the Sitting Bull’s cabin with the intention of placing him under arrest. When Sitting Bull emerged from his cabin he was surprised to see many Ghost Dancers watching and waiting. Catch The Bear attempted to stop the police from taking Sitting Bull. He fired a rifle shot that wounded Bull Head. In the same instant Red Tomahawk fired his rifle. The bullet struck Sitting Bull in the head killing him instantly. (The Genius of Sitting Bull by Emmett C. Murphy)

Many Lakota believe that it was the white man’s fear of the Ghost Dance that eventually led to the death of Sitting Bull. The Ghost Dance was a sacred dance that was brought to the Sioux by the Paiute Medicine Man Wovoka. The dancers believed that by participating in the dance they would become untouchable by enemy bullets and that all of buffalo and their ancestors would return to this earth and the land would become free of the white man.

Indian Agent James McLaughlin despised Sitting Bull because of the fame he enjoyed amongst his fellow Lakota. When the Ghost Dance began to sweep the reservation Sitting Bull did not condemn it, and although he never joined in the dance himself, he allowed it to take place on his land. This inaction by Sitting Bull allowed McLaughlin to find the perfect reason to arrest him for breaking the law. And so the death of Sitting Bull would lead to the tragedy of Wounded Knee.

A poem in the great historical book “Voices of Wounded Knee,” by William S. E. Coleman, goes:

Old Sitting Bull has gone away,
Beyond the world of care,
To join the Ghost Dance warriors,
In the Badlands over there.

Down on the Cheyenne River Agency Chief Sitanka (Big Foot) became aware of the fear sweeping through his land. With nearly 300 of his followers he embarked on a journey to the Pine Ridge Reservation where he and his people would seek refuge with the Lakota Chief Red Cloud.

In the meantime some of the local newspapers were enraged over what they considered to be the sensationalism style of reporting by some of the reporters stationed on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The Chadron (NE) Democrat accused two reporters, Will Cressey of the Omaha Bee, and William Fitch Kelley, of the Lincoln State Journal of generating heated excitement where there was none. “The Indian excitement is accounting for one thing at least; that of having produced a crop of fine, large sensational mongers and liars of the first water,” the Chadron Democrat reported.

Major General Nelson A. Miles believed that despite the transgressions of the press, the situation was stabilizing. Perhaps it was stabilizing amongst the Indians, but apparently not amongst the soldiers from Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer’s old outfit, the Seventh Cavalry. General Miles would later write, “The art of war among the white people is called strategy or tactics; when it is practiced by the Indians it is called treachery.”

Many Lakota believe that the spirit of Custer was present at Wounded Knee on the morning of December 29, 1890. When the smoke cleared on that bitter cold morning nearly 300 Lakota men, women and children lay dead on the frozen ground.

Afterwards one battle hardened soldier said to the New York World, “There is the strongest kind of prejudice among the officer and men on the frontier stations against the Indians. Like General Sheridan, they believed ‘the only good Indian is a dead Indian.’ As compared with the white man, his life is worth almost nothing; and it is not regarded as a crime to shoot a poor red devil for a trifling offense.”

Wounded Knee 1890-1973

Historical Context

A landmark treaty between the U.S. government and the Lakota Nation, the Fort Laramie Treaty, was signed in 1868. The Fort Laramie Treaty guaranteed to Indians "absolute and undisturbed use of the Great Sioux Reservation"—or five percent of the aggregate landbase of the 48 contiguous states. The area centers upon the Paha Sapa (Black Hills) region, a place central to Lakota spirituality and concepts of national identity.

The Treaty also stated that "...No treaty for the cession of any portion or part of the reservation... shall be of any validity or force unless executed and signed by at least three-fourths of all the adult male Indians"—a clause in the Treaty that still has importance today.

Transgressions on the reservation by miners and the railroads continued and the U.S. government sought to take possession of Paha Sapa using a treaty the Indians refused to sign. ("One does not sell the land on which the people walk," Crazy Horse declared.) The government simply took what it wanted, however, and eventually declared the Fort Laramie Treaty invalid. The Great Sioux Reservation, secured by the Indians "in perpetuity," was separated into the seven reservations that exist today. The rest of the land was turned over to the new states of North and South Dakota.

The Indians fought back, winning two major battles in a ten-year period, but, by 1878, their plight was a hopeless one. Those who continued to resist were declared "hostile," hunted, and forced to live in areas close to the government's forts.

As was once observed, the purpose of the reservation system was to reduce "the wild beasts to the condition of supplicants for charity." Life on the reservation was very harsh and the dependent Indians were threatened with starvation to force them to cooperate.

After the killings of Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, Big Foot—now the leading traditional chief—set out with his people on a long winter trek across the Badlands, seeking safety with Red Cloud's people at Pine Ridge.

On December 29, 1890, Big Foot and two hundred or more unarmed Minnecojou men, women, and children, with a few fugitives from Sitting Bull's Hunkpapa band, were slaughtered by the Seventh Cavalry at Wounded Knee. Custer's former regiment, decimated by Indians at the battle of The Greasy Grass (Little Big Horn), was avenged. For this barbarous and cowardly act, 20 soldiers received Congressional Medals of Honor.

The 1973 Takeover

Even before the Trail of Broken Treaties, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had been alerted to the presence of a new radical element among the Indians.

In February 1972, an Oglala from Pine Ridge Reservation named Raymond Yellow Thunder, aged 51, was severely beaten for the fun of it by two white men, then stripped from the waist down and paraded before a patriotic gathering at an American Legion dance in Gordon, Nebraska. The injured man was thrown into the street, after which his attackers stuffed him into a car trunk and rode him around town before dumping him out at a Laundromat.

The next week, Yellow Thunder's body was discovered and his attackers were arrested, then released without bail. Yellow Thunder's family called American Indian Movement (AIM) leaders, who led an enormous caravan of two hundred cars across the Nebraska line to Gordon. A large force of sheriff's deputies, state troopers, and FBI agents capitulated to the Indian demands that serious charges be filed against the white men responsible for Yellow Thunder's death. This action gained AIM the lasting respect of the Pine Ridge traditionals.

Tensions on Pine Ridge increased when in January 1973 a young man named Wesley Bad Heart Bull was stabbed to death. Like the murderers of Raymond Yellow Thunder, Bad Heart Bull's murderer was charged with involuntary manslaughter. The officials were uneasy when they heard that AIM was mobilizing and brought heavy police support to a meeting with the Indians in the courthouse in Custer.

On February 6, the more than two hundred Indian people who had arrived for the meeting were told by officials that the open meeting was postponed and only their spokesmen—Russell Means, Dennis Banks, Crow Dog, and a young Choctaw named David Hill—were allowed inside to talk to officials. When Sarah Bad Heart Bull, mother of the victim, attempted to enter, she was seized and beaten on the courthouse steps by two police officers. Those Indians who tried to intervene were tear gassed and beaten.

A riot broke out throughout the courthouse. Although no one was killed, the Custer courthouse riot was an historic event, the first outbreak of violence between white men and Lakota since the massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890.

On February 27, 1973, members of AIM, together with a number of local and traditional Native Americans, began their 71-day occupation of Wounded Knee in South Dakota. Their goal was to protest injustices against their tribes, violations of the many treaties with the United States government, and current abuses and repression against their people. There were no "radical" demands made. All that was asked was that the government follow its own laws.

The Response

The U.S. government responded to the occupation of Wounded Knee with a military style assault. Two brave warriors—Buddy Lamont and Frank Clearwater—died during the siege where over 200,000 rounds of ammunition were fired at the protesters. The use of military force by the federal government was later ruled unlawful.

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Wounded Knee—Actual audio from Wounded Knee provided by; preceded by "Blood on Your Hands" performed by Aztlán Underground. 59:58 Minutes (MP3 Format, 27.4 MB) Listen
To end the siege, various officials promised hearings on local conditions and treaty violations. These hearings were never convened.

The Wounded Knee Trials

After the 1973 siege of Wounded Knee, the FBI caused 542 separate charges to be filed against those it identified as "key AIM leaders." This resulted in only 15 convictions, all on such petty or contrived offenses as Interfering with a Federal Officer in the Performance of His Duty.

The pattern of government misconduct seen in the Peltier case first emerged during these prosecutions. For example, the long trial of Dennis Banks and Russell Means in 1974 for charges stemming from the occupation at Wounded Knee was marked by discovery that the defense team had been infiltrated by a government informant, and perjured testimony was presented and evidence withheld by the prosecution. Judge Alfred Nichol criticized the government for being "more interested in convictions than in justice."

Nichol spoke with particular severity of the FBI. "It's hard for me to believe," he remarked, "that the FBI, which I have revered for so long, has stooped so low."

Addressing the court, Nichols said: "The fact that incidents of misconduct formed a pattern throughout the course of the trial leads me to the belief that this case was not prosecuted in good faith or in the spirit of justice. The waters of justice have been polluted, and dismissal, I believe, is the appropriate cure for the pollution in this case."

All charges against the defendants were dismissed.

Friday, December 26, 2008

This Week from Indian Country Today

Indian participation in Obama’s inauguration takes shape
WASHINGTON – Upon finding out that the United Tribes Technical College would feature participants marching in the inaugural parade of President-elect Barack Obama, a woman from Atlanta made an enthusiastic phone call to the tribal college. “We are planning on coming to the inauguration,” she said. “And we have an extra room. If any of you need to stay there, it’s available.”


Salazar tapped as interior secretary
New cigarette tax law: ‘It’s never going to happen,’ attorney says
Some 'bias,' some 'bull'?
Court undermines NIGC authority in controversial casino case
Nations will fight governor’s cigarette tax bill
Dorgan to continue as Senate Indian Affairs chairman
Governor’s signature on cigarette tax bill escalates tobacco war


Great Lakes

Lead Editorial

Re-establishing Indian policy
We are at a threshold point in American history. Among the many issues that will be discussed and reconsidered is a new and contemporary vision of American Indian policy, which should be openly discussed and renewed at Congressional and Presidential levels. Read more »

For news you won't get from Indian Country Today, see Censored News.

26 Dec 2008: Native News from

Judge issues order blocking cigarette tax / Oneidas hail legal action (NEW YORK) -- A judge in Erie County has issued an order that could block the enforcement of an Indian cigarette tax bill signed by Gov. David Paterson earlier this month, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said.

Appeals court calls for speedy trust hearing (MONTANA) -- Elouise Cobell, lead plaintiff in the 12-year-old class action lawsuit over the government mismanagement of Indian Trust accounts, expressed appreciation last week that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has ordered a speedy hearing in the case.

Lawsuit filed over tribal wages / Former chairman is target of suit (MICHIGAN) -- Tribal officials with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians are caught up in another lawsuit.

Native Stories, Our Stories: Storytellers - Oral tradition plays important role in Crow tribal history (MONTANA) -- This is a story about telling stories. I had traveled 350 miles, the distance from Washington, D.C., to Boston, to meet Hubert Two Leggins in Crow Agency, the self-titled Tipi Capital of the World.

Alaska Native woman makes the grade (ALASKA) -- After five years of preparation and study, Alaska Native Brandy Niclai has earned the prestigious international Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. She is likely the first Alaska Native woman to acquire her CFA.

Expansion of Clinics Shapes a Bush Legacy (TENNESSEE) -- Although the number of uninsured and the cost of coverage have ballooned under his watch, President Bush leaves office with a health care legacy in bricks and mortar: he has doubled federal financing for community health centers, enabling the creation or expansion of 1,297 clinics in medically underserved areas.

Peabody to combine mines, upsetting tribes (NEW MEXICO) -- Despite activists’ and tribal objections, the federal agency that regulates surface mining approved a permit revision that combines the coal reserves and facilities of Peabody Energy’s two Arizona coal mines.

Presidential change may help Desert Rock plant (NEW MEXICO) -- New Mexico Attorney General Gary King anticipates the federal Environmental Protection Agency soon will have a new director, a change that gives him hope that Desert Rock Power plant issues will be fairly considered.

Supporters trying to raise money for drilling bids (UTAH) -- Supporters of an environmental activist who infiltrated a government auction for oil and gas parcels in Utah are trying to raise money to help cover his bids.

Health Disparities in Indian Country (USA) -- Geraldine Fasthorse (Mason) was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 1982 and high blood pressure in 1984 while living and working in ashington State. She was diagnosed with arthritis in 1993 and steoporosis in 2004.

Historic museum mural gets a facelift (ILLINOIS) -- Restoration experts this week commenced work on a two-month project to restore a century-old art mural with ties to Wilmette's early history.

Responses to Statehood provides venue for Native perspectives (MINNESOTA) -- Waziyatawin (Angela Wilson), Ph.D., a Dakota scholar and activist, and the Minnesota Humanities Center in Saint Paul have collaborated to create Responses to Statehood, an online video project that showcases Dakota and Ojibwe perspectives on Minnesota statehood and the sesquicentennial.

Book on Tlingit battle wins national award (ALASKA) -- Among the 14 winners of the Before Columbus Foundation's 28th annual American Book Awards was "Anóoshi Lingít Aaní Ká: Russians in Tlingit America, The Battles of Sitka 1802 and 1804" - a book by Juneau residents Nora Marks Dauenhauer and Richard Dauenhauer and the late Lydia Black, of Fairbanks.

Dig clears way for Freeport Bridge reconstruction (PENNSYLVANIA) -- A PennDOT archeological crew conducted its final dig under Freeport Bridge on Tuesday, and an official working on the project said nothing has been found that would delay the bridge reconstruction.

More headlines...

26 Dec 2008: Today's Democracy Now!

An Hour with the Renowned South African Poet, Writer, Painter and Anti-Apartheid Activist Breyten Breytenbach
Breyten Breytenbach is one of South Africa’s most famous poets. He’s also an award-winning writer and painter, and well-known as an anti-apartheid activist and outspoken advocate for justice around the world. The exiled poet was born to an Afrikaner or white South African family in 1939. He moved to Paris in the early 1960s and became deeply involved with the anti-apartheid movement. In 1975, Breytenbach returned secretly to South Africa under a false passport. He was arrested, charged with terrorism and imprisoned for seven years. One of his most famous books based on his experience in prison is called The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist. Today, Breytenbach divides his time between New York University, where he teaches creative writing, and the Goree Institute in Senegal, West Africa. [includes rush transcript]

Thursday, December 25, 2008

InterContinental Cry
Power Shift 2007 - Evon Peter shares some wisdom
Posted: 25 Dec 2008 10:00 AM CST
During the Energy Action Coalition’s 2007 youth summit on climate change, called Power Shift, Evon Peter, former Chief of the Neetsaii Gwich’in in northeastern Alaska and executive director of Native Movement shared a particularly powerful message that seems appropriate to highlight on this day so sacred for those of the Christian faith. The message is one [...]

25 Dec 2008: Native News from

Judge stops state from collecting cigarette taxes on Indian reservations (NEW YORK) -- A judge in Erie County has temporarily barred the state from enforcing a new law requiring the collection of taxes on cigarettes sold on Indian reservations.

Tribe delivers turkeys for holidays (SOUTH DAKOTA) -- The Rosebud Sioux Tribe purchased 2,600 frozen turkeys for Christmas distribution to households in the 21 communities on the Rosebud Reservation.

Ya'at'eeh Keshmish! (ARIZONA) -- Though the Christian celebration of Christmas or the mainstream version with Santa Claus are not a part traditional Navajo culture, the origins of Christmas on Navajo, or Keshmish, may have begun with an annual gathering every winter that used to take place long ago, or they may have begun with religious denominations coming onto Navajo lands to teach Navajo children.

Perseverance gets toys get to the Pine Ridge reservation (SOUTH DAKOTA) -- This is the Christmas that almost wasn't for about 500 children on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation. A truck filled with toys broke down about halfway along its 480-mile journey from Omaha.

BIA ruling reinstates disenrolled family (CALIFORNIA) -- A ruling by the BIA that could decide the outcome of a tribal rift was handed down Dec. 1 upholding – for the second time – the tribal enrollment of a man and his decedents.

Sask. First Nations not impressed with consultation policy (SASKATCHEWAN) -- Some Saskatchewan First Nations aren't happy with a proposed government policy on how they will be consulted on oil, gas and mineral exploration.

Native stories, our stories: Dilemmas of sharing culture (MONTANA) -- Minerva Allen tells a story about Inkdomi, the Assiniboine trickster god, and the day he discovered red berries floating in the water.

Native American Battle Over a Mission San Juan Capistrano Garden Gets Ugly (CALIFORNIA) -- A legal battle over beautification of a long-neglected dirt lot over Mission San Juan Capistrano’s Old Cemetery is born out of “a vendetta,” according to one attorney arguing the case.

Tacoma, Skokomish Tribe reach agreement on dams (WASHINGTON) -- Skokomish Tribe and the city of Tacoma have reached a settlement in a legal dispute lasting nearly 80 years.

GOP says Yucca site a solution (WASHINGTON, DC) -- Fresh from their tour of Yucca Mountain earlier this month, Republican Party leaders are turning up the volume on their calls for Nevadans to reconsider the proposed nuclear waste site as a possible salve for the state's budget woes.

Arctic ice melting faster than predicted: expert (NORTH CANADA) -- Global warming and changing winds may mean Santa Claus is going to need a new summer home sooner than expected.

More headlines...

25 Dec 2008: Today's Democracy Now!

A Tribute to Yip Harburg: The Man Who Put the Rainbow in The Wizard of Oz
His name might not be familiar to many, but his songs are sung by millions around the world. Today, a journey through the life and work of Yip Harburg, the Broadway lyricist who wrote such hits as “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” and who put the music into The Wizard of Oz. Born into poverty on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Yip always included a strong social and political component to his work, fighting racism and poverty. A lifelong socialist, Yip was blacklisted and hounded throughout much of his life.
Taking us on today’s trip through the music and politics of Yip is his son, Ernie Harburg. First, we’re going to go through Yip’s early life, his collaboration with the Gershwin’s, through “Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?” Then we’re going to take an in-depth look at The Wizard of Oz. And finally, we’ll hear a medley of Yip Harburg’s Broadway songs and the politics of the times in which they were created. [includes rush transcript]

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Don't Let This Opportunity Pass Us By

There's a movement of citizens inspired by the presidential campaign who are now submitting ideas for how they think the Obama Administration should change America. It's called "Ideas for Change in America." One idea already submitted is an award of clemency for Leonard Peltier. We thought you might be interested in getting involved and recommend you check it out. You can read more and vote for the idea by clicking the following link:

Ultimately, the top 10 ideas are going to be presented to the Obama Administration on Inauguration Day and ***will be supported by a national lobbying campaign by, MySpace, and more than a dozen leading nonprofits*** after the Inauguration. So this idea has a REAL chance at becoming policy.

Visit the link and support the idea with a "YES" vote. You also can send an e-mail alert to friends or share this idea on MySpace, Facebook, etc., using various tools available on the same page.

We can't let this opportunity pass us by. It takes a couple of minutes to vote. Don't wait. Do it now.

Thank you for everything you do on Leonard's behalf.

"Never cease in the fight for peace, justice, and equality for all people. Be persistent in all that you do and don't allow anyone to sway you from your conscience."--Leonard Peltier


Time to set him free... Because it's the RIGHT thing to do.

Friends of Peltier

24 Dec 2008: Today's Democracy Now!

Spill at Tennessee Coal Plant Creates Environmental Disaster
Parts of Tennessee remain buried under toxic sludge today after a major disaster at a coal plant. A forty-acre pond containing toxic coal ash has collapsed, spilling out millions of gallons of coal ash. Environmentalists say the spill is more than thirty times larger than the Exxon Valdez, but the story has received little national attention. Greenpeace is calling for a criminal investigation.

HRW Says US Intervention Worsening Somalia Crisis
This past year, Somalis have experienced the worst violence in a decade. In a new report, Human Rights Watch says the United States is only making the crisis worse. The report states, “The United States, treating Somalia primarily as a battlefield in the global war on terror, has pursued a policy of uncritical support for transitional government and Ethiopian actions, and the resulting lack of accountability has fueled the worst abuses.” We speak to HRW’s Leslie Lefkow.

Activist, Right Livelihood Winner Asha Hagi Fights for Women's Role in Somali Peace Process
Asha Hagi is the co-founder and current chair of the non-profit, Save Somali Women and Children. During the Somali peace talks in 2000, Hagi founded the Sixth Clan, the clan of women, to complement the traditional five male-dominated Somali Clans. This became the first time women were represented in a peace process in Somalia. Since the Ethiopian invasion two years ago, Hagi has been based in Kenya because of her vocal opposition to the US-backed invasion.

Peace Women: A Look at the 11 Women to Win the Nobel Peace Prize
This year, the Norwegian diplomat Martti Ahtisaari won the Peace Prize. But in this season of peace, we look at the eleven women who have won the prize. We speak to Anne Ruffer, author of Peace Women.

One Family’s Daring Experiment: Christmas Without All the Stuff
And finally, on this Christmas Eve, I’m joined by a man who makes a compelling environmental case for a non-consumptive Christmas. Colin Beavan is also known as the No Impact Man. Beavan, along with his wife, their two-year-old daughter and dog, spent a year attempting to minimize their ecological footprint while continuing to live in the heart of New York City.