Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Prison Dispatch from Jeff "Free" Luers

April 15th, 2008

Last Friday I was officially transported back to prison. So, I guess this is the beginning of the end. And what a beginning it has been.

This is how it started….

I meet with my intake counselor last Monday. This is the person who decides what my custody level is, and what types of programs (i.e. anger management) if any I need to take. In short, the counselor sets the stage.

This meeting was unique in that for the first time I got to see my file—the one that has always caused me so much trouble. The one that got me pulled off the bus by a captain when I arrived at intake. It is a thick file with a bright red sticker on it that says “Danger Escape Risk.”

That’s how it started. My counselor asked why that sticker was there. I figured it was a rhetorical question. I mean, he had the file and I surely didn’t know. But that was just it. He didn’t know either. He couldn’t find anything.

Then he asked about my sensitive inmate listing, which is a label for inmates who are believed to be dangerous. I replied that maybe it had something to do with my support. I received a quizzical stare. I didn’t elaborate. What’s the point?

Much to my surprise, my counselor said, “Well, I can’t see why they have all of these restrictions on you. There’s nothing to support it.” So he removed all of them, listed me as minimum one—the lowest custody level possible, and that was that.

Of course, the next day he came back. The conversation started like this, “Mr. Luers, I didn’t know who you were yesterday. But I’ve Googled you. Do you know how many people you have out there?” And so began more meetings with security lieutenants and captains. I was told I would stay minimum but would be going back to Oregon State Prison, Oregon’s only maximum-security prison.

So, it took me by surprise when they brought me to a minimum-security prison in Portland. It’s the same kind of shock I experienced when I was arrested. I’ve just been taken from my family again.

That may sound strange. But I’ve spent the last 7 years at OSP. The friends and brothers I’ve left behind were family to me. In fact, I’ve spent more time with them than most other people in my life. Many of them are doing life, most I’ll never see again.

I’m dealing with the separation from my friends while trying to adjust to a place where people aren’t carrying shanks and people don’t get killed. Things that are definite improvements from OSP, yet also make for a more disrespectful attitude among inmates. The fear of crossing the wrong line at OSP makes everyone very cautious and respectful. Lots of please, thank you, and excuse me. Here there’s not the same level of politeness. I’m having trouble adjusting. In a way I miss OSP.

One can also possess less property here. Something that means getting rid of lots of stuff once my property finally arrives from OSP.

There are dorms here and not cells. The yard is very small, though I can get out more. One thing surprising or at least new is the trees around the yard. Cedars and pines, fragrances I haven’t smelled in years. And frogs. I heard frogs the other night. I even did my own laundry, a first in 8 years. It took me a while to remember how ironing is my next task. Though I’m gonna put it off as long as possible—it’s something I’ve never done and I’ve seen all the comedies with the iron burnt shirt.

Still, I’m not happy or content here. I don’t think I will be. I accepted OSP as home. This place is not home. I feel in transition, but a transition I do not control. Right now I’ve got around 20 months left if things hold. But maybe I’ll go to camp—maybe not. They don’t tell you and there are 7000 people eligible. So who knows? I really want to take some college correspondence courses. But I’m worried I’ll sign up and spend lots of money only to end up in boot camp where I can’t do them. Or I’ll not sign up and wait on boot camp only to not get in.

I’m left not knowing what to do. It’s not a position I like. My future is up in the air and I don’t feel in control of it yet. But, one thing is certain: I have a future I can look forward to that is only 20 months away, or sooner if I get into boot camp.

So like everyone else I guess I’ll watch and wait and see what happens. I should be used to that by now, but naturally I am not.

Jeff “Free” Luers

SF 8 Update: Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim May Return to NY for Parole Hearings

San Francisco 8 Judge Philip Moscone agreed to sign an order later this week allowing Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim to return to New York State for their parole hearings. Both Herman and Jalil waived their rights to be present at conditional examinations of 5 witnesses as well as agreed to not resist extradition back to California once they have made their appearances in their NY State Parole hearings. The prosecution made no objections to their move once these legal conditions were met. The arrangements and the NY State responsibility have yet to be set.

Judge Moscone had earlier ruled that conditional examinations could take place and be scheduled of prosecution witnesses that are either old or in poor health in advance of a preliminary hearing or trial. He also ruled that these examinations must meet the standards of trial, meaning that additional discovery be turned over to the defense that would allow thorough cross-examination of these witnesses. He did not, however, order the San Francisco police to provide specific areas of discovery, stating that these matters were up to the prosecution to obtain and turn over. Many items, reports and files, as well as physical evidence, remain missing in this 36-year old case.

The Judge has yet to rule on defense requests to obtain information about the witnesses to be examined that would allow thorough investigation about their histories, competence and reliability. That ruling will be made in written form in the near future.

The prosecution is asking that two witness examinations take place "in camera" (not in open court) because of witness fears of personal danger. These requests appear to serve the function of instilling prejudice - implying that the defendants and their supporters represent some threat to these police witnesses. This is clearly designed to perpetuate the political goals of this prosecution and has no basis in fact. Judge Moscone will rule on this request in writing.

Today's Democracy Now!

* Obama Repudiates Ex-Pastor over Controversial Remarks *

On Tuesday, Senator Barack Obama said he was "outraged" and "saddened" by "divisive and destructive" comments by his former pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Since the weekend, Reverend Wright has publicly defended himself after weeks of being lambasted by politicians and pundits for his sermons. We hear from both Obama's and Wright's speeches.


* The Politics of the Rev. Wright Controversy: A Debate with Melissa Harris-Lacewell and Adolph Reed, Jr. *

As the Reverend Wright controversy continues to dominate media attention, we host a debate with two guests. Melissa Harris-Lacewell is associate professor of politics and African American studies at Princeton University. A Barack Obama supporter, she was a member of the Trinity United Church, and Reverend Wright was also her pastor. And Adolph Reed, Jr. is professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania. He makes the case against voting for Senator Barack Obama in the latest issue of The Progressive magazine.


* CorpWatch's Pratap Chatterjee and Ex-Titan Translator Marwan Mawiri onCorporate Cronyism and Intelligence Outsourcing in Iraq *

CorpWatch Managing Editor Pratap Chatterjee has just returned from Iraq, where he was embedded with the US military and investigating the outsourcing of both military logistics and intelligence gathering. A new CorpWatch report offers a scathing assessment of intelligence contractors L-3 and Titan. We also speak to Marwan Mawiri, who worked in Iraq as a translator with Titan in 2003 and 2004.


House panel to hold hearings in Angola 3 case

House panel to hold hearings in Angola 3 case
Advocate Capitol News Bureau
Published: Apr 30, 2008 - Page: 4A - UPDATED: 12:05 a.m.

The state House Judiciary Committee will begin holding hearings in May to demand answers in the case of two men imprisoned in solitary confinement for 36 years.

Judiciary Chairman Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, on Tuesday cited the “massive amount of evidence” indicating their innocence in the 1972 stabbing death of a guard during a riot at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola.

Prisoners Herman “Hooks” Wallace and Albert Woodfox, along with Robert King, who was released in 2001, are known as the “Angola 3.”

They claim they were illegally targeted for starting a prison Black Panthers chapter during the Civil Rights era and have unfairly paid for the injustice ever since.

Richmond brought about 25,000 petition signatures to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s office on Tuesday expressing the “concern and outrage” about the case worldwide.

In fact, a British film crew is making a documentary about the case.

“The state is too silent on this issue,” Richmond said. “So that’s what we’re going to have — official government action.

“We’re fresh off the Jena 6. Now, we’re on the Angola 3,” Richmond said. “At some point, we’re going to have to stand up as a state.”

Jindal did not respond Tuesday to two requests for comment.

His press secretary, Melissa Sellers, said Jindal is letting the court appeals and the state Pardon Board processes play out first.

Richmond said he wants Jindal to push for pardons for the men.

Richmond discussed evidence of a bloody fingerprint at the murder scene that did not match either Wallace’s or Woodfox’s prints.

“I know solitary confinement for 36 years is wrong. I know we want to find the real killer,” Richmond said. “What we don’t know is why the investigation didn’t run its course.”

Richmond was flanked Tuesday by state Rep. Avon Honey, D-Baton Rouge; Rep. Elbert Guillory, D-Opelousas; and King, who used to go by the last name Wilkerson.

Richmond said he will use all his committee’s subpoena power to get to the bottom of the case.

King, 65, said the case shows the state’s criminal justice system is not always “so set on justice.

“They are innocent,” King said, arguing that they were “railroaded” for being Black Panthers during turbulent times.

It was not until last month that Wallace and Woodfox were moved from solitary into Angola’s maximum-security dormitory.

They are appealing their convictions in the stabbing death of a guard, Brent Miller.

The 23-year-old corrections officer was stabbed 32 times.

All of the three are from the New Orleans area.

Nineteenth Judicial District Commissioner Rachel Morgan previously recommended that Wallace get a new trial. But that was rejected by state District Judge Mike Erwin and the case is pending in the state 1st Circuit Court of Appeal.

Woodfox is appealing in U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge.

U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., has even contended the men were wrongly convicted. The state Attorney General’s Office also is looking into the case.

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News from Indianz.Com

House Resources Committee markup on two bills (4/30)

Senate confirms McSwain as director of IHS (4/30)

Federal Register: Indian preference collection (4/30)

Artman's tenure marked by Freedmen dispute (4/30)

Yellow Bird: Pollution a threat to North Dakota (4/30)

Jodi Rave: Montana Indian Educator of the Year (4/30)

Turtle Talk: Disaster looming on land-into-trust (4/30)

Tribes and unions are top donors to Tom Udall (4/30)

U.S. House honors late Ponca Chief Standing Bear (4/30)

DJs who insulted Alaska Native women back on the air (4/30)

Oklahoma wants single tobacco tax rate for tribes (4/30)

Longest Walk 2 makes way through Kansas (4/30)

Editorial: Rebuild tribal-state relations in Maine (4/30)

Judge allows state prosecution of mixed-blood Ute (4/30)

Navajo president wants to reduce council seats (4/30)

Gila River Tribe opposes freeway path (4/30)

Native leader upset by 'wine and beer' comment (4/30)

Judge gives Interior deadline on polar bear listing (4/30)

Gaming opponents seek delay on Gun Lake casino (4/30)

Soft opening for Northern Arapaho Tribe's casino (4/30)

Controversy over new California compacts (4/30)

Shoshone-Bannock Tribes plan three new casinos (4/30)

Editorial: Ratify gaming compacts in Florida (4/30)

More headlines...

Stop the U.S. from renewing Lethal Shooting Contracts

Stop the U.S. from renewing Lethal Shooting Contracts
07:56 4/29/2008, AI Action Center
On September 16, 2007, private contractors working for the U.S.-based company Blackwater Worldwide shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians in the streets near Nisour Square, Baghdad. When the State Department investigated Blackwater, it gave contractors protection from prosecution in exchange for providing information about the occurrence. Call for a suspension of the contract until it is clear that proper vetting mechanisms are in place to prevent further abuses.

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5 Ex-Chief Diplomats: Close Guantanamo

5 Ex-Chief Diplomats: Close Guantanamo
5 Ex-Secretaries of State: Close Guantanamo Bay Camp, Open Talks With Iran
March 27, 2008
The Associated Press

Five former U.S. secretaries of state on Thursday urged the next presidential administration to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and open a dialogue with Iran.

The former chiefs of American diplomacy, who served in Democratic and Republican administrations, reached a consensus on the two issues at a conference in Athens aimed at giving the next president some bipartisan foreign policy advice. Each of them said shuttering the prison camp in Cuba would bolster America's image abroad.

"It says to the world: 'We are now going back to our traditional respective forms of dealing with people who potentially committed crimes,'" said Colin Powell, who served as President Bush's first secretary of state.

Powell was joined by Henry Kissinger, James Baker III, Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright, who sat in a round-table discussion sponsored by the University of Georgia at a sold-out conference center in downtown Athens.

Kissinger called Guantanamo a "blot on us" and agreed it should be closed, but wondered aloud about the consequences of a closure.

Baker, a lawyer who served in President George H.W. Bush's Cabinet, said he has struggled with its legal implications.

"It gives us a very, very bad name, not just internationally," he said. "I have a great deal of difficulty understanding how we can hold someone, pick someone up, particularly someone who might be an American citizen — even if they were caught somewhere abroad, acting against American interests — and hold them without ever giving them an opportunity to appear before a magistrate."

The former secretaries of state also urged that the U.S. open a line of dialogue with Iran, each saying it is important to maintain contact with adversaries and allies alike.

Albright stressed the importance of finding "common ground" and Christopher urged diplomats to explore opening contact with other "vectors of power," such as clerics and former political leaders. Albright and Christopher served under President Clinton.

Baker suggested the dialogue could center on a common dilemma, saying a "dysfunctional Iraq, a chaotic Iraq, is not something that's in the interest to Iran. There's every incentive on their part to help us, the same way they did in Afghanistan."

Kissinger, who served the Nixon and Ford administrations, urged an open — if delicate — line of communication with Iran.

"One has to talk with adversaries," said Kissinger, who served the Nixon and Ford administrations.

Powell compared the potential talks to difficult visits he made to Syria while he served as America's chief diplomat.

"They are not always pleasant visits," he said. "But you've got to do it."

Kissinger, who laid the groundwork for Nixon's historic 1972 visit to China that opened relations with that nation, had sharp words when the topic veered to America's perception of China.

"We should not look at China as a military adversary," said Kissinger, adding that a military confrontation is unlikely. "We should see where we could cooperate."

Powell said he agrees, arguing that the biggest threat to a peaceful relationship with China would be Taiwan declaring its independence.

"And, frankly we can keep that from happening," said Powell.

Some of the strongest words were reserved for the trade embargo against Cuba.

"The 50-year-old embargo has not worked, not worked to our benefit or their benefit. This is one of those issues that is driven more by politics than foreign policy," said Christopher.

"When policies don't work for 50 years," he said, "It's time to start thinking about something else."

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First Nation should have right to say no, says indigenous man

First Nation should have right to say no, says indigenous man

April 28, 2008 — By Joseph Quesnel

TORONTO — As the Ontario government looks to revise antiquated mining laws that neglect First Nations land rights, one leader is warning that simmering frustration in many aboriginal communities could lead to another summer of unrest.

"Because of the situation with the First Nation youth, they're losing hope,'' Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief John Beaucage said Wednesday.

"If they have nothing to lose, then they could erupt into any kind of violence or protest.

"Frustrated youth can become a very powerful force.''

Beaucage made the comments shortly after speaking to demonstrators at Queen's Park who gathered to protest the jailing of six aboriginal activists last month.

Hundreds of people, including aboriginal leaders and opposition politicians, rallied in a show of solidarity with the jailed members of the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation.

The KI community members, including Chief Donny Morris and Deputy Chief Jack MacKay, were jailed last month after they ignored a court order to stay off disputed land about 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Ont.

A court injunction gave Toronto-based junior mining company Platinex Inc. authority to drill on the land, which the KI say is their own.

Wednesday's protest came a day after the Ontario government awarded more than 29,000 hectares of new land to Platinex Inc., which has also launched a $10-million lawsuit against the KI.

Beaucage said these newly granted mining lands fall alongside or within at least five northern Ontario First Nations.

He said the announcement is "completely inappropriate,'' especially in light of the provincial government's stated commitment to redraw the Mining Act.

"The Mining Act is over 150 years old and it's completely archaic,'' Beaucage said, adding that when the Mining Act was introduced in the Ontario legislature, many treaties had yet to be signed.

Premier Dalton McGuinty said Wednesday that provincial mining laws, which are at least 80 years old, have become a ``major irritant'' for many communities, mainly because the laws allow a company to prospect land without notice.

"That's something that's not really in keeping with our 21st-century standards,'' McGuinty said.

"We want to take a look at the best way to address that.''

NDP Leader Howard Hampton said the newly granted exploration lands are adjacent to Webequie First Nation, Marten Falls First Nation, Fort Hope First Nation, Neskantaga First Nation and Gull Bay First Nation.

He said this "sends a chilling message to First Nations across the north,'' who are saying the government puts mining rights ahead of human rights.

An appeal for the jailed KI members will be held in Toronto on May 28 — the day before this year's planned aboriginal day of action.

Protesters also plan to pitch a "tent city'' at Queen's Park from May 26 to 28.

Along with sporadic blockades across the province, last summer's aboriginal day of action also saw activists shut down Highway 401, snarling traffic on Canada's busiest highway.

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Indigenous hunger strikers in Mexico released from prisons

Indigenous hunger strikers in Mexico released from prisons
April 28, 2008
By Rick Kearns

CHIAPAS, Mexico - After years of asserting their innocence, a group of indigenous Zapatista advocates are free, for now.

The Mexican government released 149 political prisoners in the first two weeks of April, including 37 hunger strikers, almost all of whom were indigenous people from Chiapas who had been alleging they were the victims of torture, false imprisonment for political reasons, and other abuses. Another 20 prisoners are still incarcerated in Chiapas and Tabasco, but activists have not relented in their efforts, as further abuses in and outside the prisons are coming to light.

The vast majority of the freed prisoners was indigenous activists, and had been imprisoned at some point between 1994 and 2006. They were involved with social change groups such as the Zapatista Other Campaign, the Independent Agricultural Worker and Campesino Center (CIOAC in Spanish) and the Pueblo Creyente (Believing People), a group of indigenous Catholics active in social justice issues. Most of the freed men were from the Tzotzil, Tzeltal, Tojolabal or Chole communities in the Chiapas region. Among the leaders who first came out were Zacario Hernandez, Enrique Hernandez, Pascual Heredia Hernandez, Jose Luis Lopez Sanchez, Ramon Guardaz Cruz and Antonio Diaz Ruiz.

The Chiapas state government released the first 137 prisoners April 1 at a brief press event at the government's palace in Tuxtla Gutierrez. In a press statement issued after the second release, Secretary of the Government Juan Antonio Morales Messner said, ''The liberation of more than 100 prisoners demonstrates the clear will of the government to do justice for those who had remained in jails for crimes they did not commit.''

The freed men had been incarcerated in three prisons in Chiapas and one in nearby Tabasco. They were greeted by hundreds of supporters, mainly indigenous women, who had been holding vigils outside of each of the facilities since Feb. 12 when Zacario Hernandez Hernandez became the first prisoner to hold a hunger strike. Hernandez was well-known in the region as a deacon in San Cristobal de las Casas parish.

Representatives of the main groups issued a press statement immediately following the release.

''Our liberation came from the unity of the people. It was not the will of the government, but it happened thanks to their support, from the united efforts of different organizations, such as our families, our hunger strikes and the solidarity and protests staged by people and groups such as the Fray Bartholomew de Las Casas Center for Human Rights [Frayba], The Other Campaign [Zapatistas], the Believing People and the Inter-American Human Rights Commission [affiliated with the Organization for American States] among others.

''We urge the government to free our fellow political prisoners in Ceresos 5 and 14 in Chiapas and two more colleagues in Tacotalpa, Tabasco,'' the statement continued. ''Because they still have not been taken into account, and that during their detention they have suffered torture, threats and fabricated charges ... and the majority, for being indigenous, did not have legal defense or a translator.'' Many of the indigenous in Chiapas do not speak Spanish.

The second group, which consisted of 12 Tzeltal men, was released April 8, also in front of the government palace in Tuxtla. Among this second group was Tiburcio Gomez Perez, who also issued a public statement, through his attorney, days after the release.

''I was tortured,'' he asserted. ''... The torture lasted five hours, they blindfolded me, put plastic bags over my head to asphyxiate me ... covered my face and bound my hands and feet and threw me in some water; I felt death ... and afterwards, they had me sign a document of false declaration that the same public ministry was declaring ... that I had no right to a public defender nor medical help nor a phone call.''

Gomez Perez also claimed, as did other prisoners, that after being tortured and forced to sign documents against their will, they were sent to another facility where they were beaten and tortured again. These accounts are consistent with reports issued by Frayba, which has been monitoring the Zapatista cases.

''This situation of systematic violations of the guarantees of justice ... creates a sense of impotence in those who have had to seek other means of applying pressure such as hunger strikes, as in these cases, putting in grave risk their physical well-being and their lives,'' according to the center's second report, released March 8. ''... The Mexican state is not complying with its duties in terms of human rights previously guaranteed by its own legislation ... and other international treaties, and it is responsible not only for torture, but the illegal deprivation of liberty and its consequent failure to adapt to national and international norms of justice.''

As of mid-April, the remaining prisoners in Chiapas and Tabasco were reconsidering another series of hunger strikes. In the meantime, Zapatista and other advocates continue to hold vigils and protests at the prisons and in front of the state government palace in Tuxla. Advocates from Frayba have also urged U.S. citizens to be wary of the upcoming Plan Mexico, an aid package of $1.4 billion to be used for law enforcement and combating the drug trade.

''It's advisable that the U.S. Congress seriously question the validity of such aid to a law enforcement system that clearly demonstrates deep corruption, impunity in the face of human rights abuses and incompetence,'' stated the center's report.

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Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Examines Value of Increased Collaboration with Human Rights Council under Universal Review Mechanism

Hearing from delegates on topics ranging from industrial encroachment of indigenous lands to the question of racial discrimination against native peoples, members of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues today examined the value of increased collaboration with the Human Rights Council under its universal review mechanism -- established by the Council to assess the human rights situation of United Nations Member States -- and called for indigenous rights to be prominently addressed at those reviews. More

Hunger in a land of plenty

Hunger in a land of plenty
April 30, 2008
Rob Capriccioso

New study outlines poverty's role in causing reservation malnutrition

WASHINGTON - The current state of American Indian health continues to lag behind all other U.S. population groups and poverty clusters in the nation, according to a new study that indicates malnutrition on some reservations is comparable to levels seen in vastly underdeveloped countries.

''American Indian/Alaska Native populations are facing a number of serious challenges, including poverty and health-related issues,'' according to the report, which was commissioned by International Relief and Development, a food and welfare advocacy organization. ''Many of these problems have, at their root cause, a lack of sufficient and consistent access to nutritious foods.''

In many cases, researches say, Indians living on reservations don't have enough money to buy nutritious foods, and food subsidy programs often don't provide incentives to help people purchase healthy foods, which tend to be more expensive than, say, junk food.

''It's no secret that our nation's First Peoples are still struggling with poverty,'' said Thoric Cederstrom, director of IRD's sustainable food and agriculture program. ''In some cases, poverty conditions on reservations are at all-time highs.''

Most health advocates agree that poverty's role in malnutrition should not be underestimated.

While IRD has seen successes fighting malnutrition in such faraway places as Cambodia and Indonesia, leaders say that much work is overdue on the home front - especially on the American Indian home front. Leaders with the group believe that policymakers need to make more concerted efforts to helping reservation Indians combat the negative effects of poverty.

''It's ironic that Native Americans are the people who gave the world so many important crops that they domesticated in antiquity, like maize, and yet they're suffering this pandemic of malnutrition,'' Cederstrom said.

The report notes that the per capita income of families living on reservations still falls far below the national average, while a much higher percentage of Indians compared to non-Indians identify as ''food insecure.'' People who identify as food insecure are uncertain that they will be able to acquire enough food for all household or family members due to insufficient money or other resources.

Recent studies indicate that 23 percent of American Indian households report being food insecure, compared to 11 percent of all U.S. households. And for certain tribal populations, food insecurity is sometimes much worse. A 2002 study of high-needs groups of Northern Cheyenne tribal members found that up to 70 percent of the population experienced food insecurity and 35 percent experienced persistent hunger.

Obesity, too, is a focus in the report, which notes that overeating and sedentary lifestyles are all too common among low-income populations.

Cederstrom, who is of Choctaw descent, says that both malnutrition and obesity are physical manifestations of poverty.

''Some Indian people are not getting enough of the right kinds of food,'' he said. ''And too many Indian people are over consuming the wrong sort of nutrients, like refined carbohydrates and fats.''

According to Michele Companion, a researcher with the University of Colorado who wrote the report, unhealthy food choices have become a part of the collective taste buds of many Indian cultures. She believes the historical process of colonization, assimilation and acculturation all played into this contemporary effect.

While research indicates that the overall health of Indians has improved somewhat in recent years, experts say there is still a pressing need to do more.

''It is getting better, which is good,'' Cederstrom said. ''But it's not getting better fast enough.''

Companion added that she's cautious about numbers that show an overall improvement, since she isn't sure that the U.S. Census currently collects and identifies American Indians in ways that are completely accurate.

She said that because health data collection in Indian country has traditionally been spotty at best, she believes more tribes and tribal colleges should begin doing their own research on malnutrition and other health-related issues.

''There have been some good studies that are really tribally specific,'' Companion said, ''but I would love to see that happening on a larger scale, so that people can really look at their own population.''

She said it is very difficult to generalize findings on poverty and malnutrition to cover the more than 560 federally recognized tribes.

One project Companion highlighted in her report that promotes healthy eating originates in a partnership between Tohono O'odham Community College and the Tohono O'odham Community Action grass-roots organization. A goal of the collaboration is to rekindle traditional food production systems and reincorporate elements of traditional diet to address nutrition-related illnesses.

''TOCA and TOCC acknowledge that the realities of modern wage labor strain a family and individual's ability to devote the time needed to gather sufficient quantities of traditional foods to have a marked impact on health,'' Companion noted in her report.

''To make these foods more easily and readily available, they established a traditional agriculture project in 2002 as a learning laboratory and training area for traditional practices.''

As a result of the partnership, the groups have established community gardens in locations across the Tohono O'odham reservation that serve as learning and teaching centers for youth and elders. They also organize numerous trips to collect wild foods, which not only provide exercise, but also encourage healthier diets and provide opportunities for cultural revitalization and knowledge transfer.

Companion noted that the model wouldn't work for all tribes, but she is excited to see Indian-rooted programs focused on diet and nutrition, and she hopes more tribes are able to develop their own models.

''There are so many phenomenal opportunities for intervention,'' she said. ''It's just a matter of getting people to think about how they can do it in a creative, culturally appropriate way.''

As for solutions from IRD, leaders there support working to improve Indian access to healthy foods, reintroducing traditional diets and developing community-based agriculture options on reservations.

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Mismanagement of Native American Land?

Mismanagement of Native American Land?


This story begins more than 200 years ago when the United States government began offering land on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation to Native Americans. When the land started to run out, it was offered on the public domain, in some cases, hundreds of miles away stretching into parts of Montana.

"We haven`t seen our land, we don`t know what`s on our land, and we don`t really know what`s happening to our land,” says Jessie Cree, an allottee landowner.

Some families have never laid eyes on their land and a group called the Turtle Mountain Allottee Association worries there`s oil being extracted off the land and some of the poorest people on the reservation are not getting paid for it.

"They`re told that there`s no activity going on on their land, but we`re getting satellite views of the people`s land and it`s showing us something different,” says Delvin Cree of the Turtle Mountain Allottee Association.

"They tell us, `Keep this very quiet.` Why? I don`t know. That`s what we asked them, why?" says Jesse Peltier of the association.

The association blames the Bureau of Indian Affairs and The Office of Trustees for not properly taking care of landowners.

"There is oil and gas activity on their land and the Office of Trustees is saying something different,” says Delvin Cree.

"I haven`t seen any what you would call misuse of positions or property,” says Richard Lafrombois of the Office of Trustees in Belcourt, North Dakota.

Lafrombois says it`s nearly impossible for someone to take oil off land without going through the proper channels and if they are, it`s his job to get the money to those who own it. The Office of Trustees is only 4 years old. It was formed by the government after problems with the BIA. Lafrombois handles the financial side and for the past 4 years has been talking to landowners trying, in his words, to get his arms around this enormous issue. One of those issues is called fracturization. It`s when a lot people own the same piece of land. In one case a 160 acre plot is owned by 1,800 people.

"It was quote `The Indian way of doing things` -- to share and share alike so when you take 4 or 5 generations of share and share alike, it`s quite a lengthy process,” says Lafrombois.

"We are the poorest people on Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation, and we should be the richest,” says Delvin Cree.

"Making assertions or allegations that are unfounded tend to sour the grapes as they say,” says Lafrombois.

The Turtle Mountain Allottee Association says they`ve had little support from their tribal council. KMOT tried to contact Tribal Chairman David Brien for this story, but phone calls and emails were not returned.

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Ban Blackwater from Iraq

Blackwater is back in California.

Just a few months after the courageous people of Potrero kicked Blackwater out of their small town on the California border, Blackwater has announced plans to open a 61,600 square-foot "training facility" in San Diego just THREE blocks from Mexican border.

In other words, Blackwater is using your tax dollars on a mercenary war in Iraq -- $320 million paid so far, over 60% in no-bid contracts -- to subsidize building a base of operations inside California.

Blackwater's border bait-and-switch has shocked the citizens of San Diego. Shortly before pulling their plans on Potrero, the private military contractor quietly used a shell company called "Southwest Law Enforcement" to gain city permits for a "vocational trade school" a stone's throw from the Tijuana Airport. While Blackwater denies that this deception is a trojan horse to land border security contracts from the federal government before George W. Bush leaves office, the ominous writing is on California's wall.

What will it take to stop Blackwater for good in California and Iraq? Local and national pressure. This time, the Courage Campaign plans to fight a two-front battle against Blackwater -- on the border in San Diego and in the halls of Congress.

To block Blackwater in California for good, we need to put them out of business in Iraq forever. That's why we're supporting Rep. Jan Schakowsky's "Stop Outsourcing Security Act" (H.R. 4102), which would phase out private security companies like Blackwater in Iraq and Afghanistan. An identical bill in the Senate (S. 2398) has been co-sponsored by Senator Hillary Clinton.

If Senator Clinton can call for Blackwater to be banned from Iraq, so can Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

And so can you. Please join us now in asking Speaker Pelosi -- California's most powerful member of Congress -- to take leadership by supporting the "Stop Outsourcing Security Act." On Monday, we will deliver thousands of your signatures to Speaker Pelosi's offices in Washington D.C. and San Francisco. Please add your signature and spread the word today:

Rep. Schakowsky's bill in the House requires that within six months of passage, "the secretary of State shall ensure that all personnel at any United States diplomatic or consular mission in Iraq are provided security services only by federal government personnel."

Senator Clinton was unequivocal in her support for this ground-breaking legislation:

"From this war's very beginning, this administration has permitted thousands of heavily-armed military contractors to march through Iraq without any law or court to rein them in or hold them accountable. These private security contractors have been reckless and have compromised our mission in Iraq. The time to show these contractors the door is long past due. We need to stop filling the coffers of contractors in Iraq, and make sure that armed personnel in Iraq are fully accountable to the U.S. government and follow the chain of command."

The bill is also gaining momentum in the progressive grassroots and netroots as a foundational piece of the "Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq" -- the people-powered plan we told you about a few weeks ago that has now been endorsed by 55 congressional candidates for Congress.This Thursday, May 1, True Majority will deliver the "Responsible Plan" to members of Congress across America on the fifth anniversary of President Bush's "Mission Accomplished" declaration. On Monday, May 5, we'll follow up by delivering your signatures to Speaker Pelosi's offices in Washington D.C. and San Francisco.

With funding for the war in Iraq being considered by Congress right now, there's no better time to shine a light on Blackwater. If we can convince Speaker Pelosi to stop Blackwater from privatizing national security with our tax dollars, it could be the beginning of the end for Blackwater in Iraq. And California.

Please take a stand and spread the word today, before we deliver your signatures to Speaker Pelosi on Monday:

Time is not on our side. Blackwater claims that it may be able to begin operations in San Diego as early as this summer. Meanwhile, the Iraq contract that Blackwater is operating under -- the State Department's "Worldwide Personal Protective Services" contract to guard infrastructure and diplomats -- is up for renewal in May.
We need to go on offense now, locally and nationally, to stop the outsourcing of our security operations in Iraq and on the Mexican border. That means blocking Blackwater from San Diego and banning Blackwater from Iraq before it's too late.
Please forward this email to your friends today and ask them to sign our petition to Speaker Pelosi before Monday at 9 a.m.

Thank you for everything you are doing to make 2008 a new era for progressive politics in California. And the world.

Rick Jacobs, Chair
Courage Campaign

P.S. The people of Potrero spoke out loud and clear that Blackwater was not welcome in San Diego County. Now it's up to the Mayor and the San Diego City Council to stand up against these mercenaries setting up shop on in California. In a few days, we'll give you an update on the battle brewing over Blackwater's new base on the border and what you can do to stop it.

But first, we need your help to ban Blackwater from Iraq. Please sign the petition to Speaker Pelosi now:

No Toxic Dump on O’odham Land!

InterContinental Cry
No Toxic Dump on O’odham Land!
Posted: 29 Apr 2008 09:14 AM CDT
On March 29, Traditional O’odham leaders and International Supporters gathered in the small village of Quitovac in Sonora, Mexico, to organize against a toxic waste dump that threatens one of the O’odham’s most sacred Ceremonial sites. “The gathering in Quitovac represented yet another chapter in the fight to stop the building of the toxic dump proposed [...]

Native News from

BIA leader resigns amid controversy (WASHINGTON, DC) -- Bureau of Indian Affairs leader Carl Artman, a major player in the ongoing freedmen controversy with the Cherokee Nation, is leaving office, U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced Monday.

Money award expected in American Indian trust case (WASHINGTON, DC) -- A federal judge said Monday he's determined to figure out how much money the federal government owes more than 300,000 American Indians for mismanaging their trust accounts.

Townsend lawsuit still in court system (NEW YORK) -- A lawsuit filed over the collection of sales taxes on goods sold at Native American businesses by Assemblyman David Townsend, R-Sylvan Beach, continued through the court system this week, Townsend said.

Meacham says state moving slowly toward single tobacco tax rate (OKLAHOMA) -- The current state of tobacco compacts between the state and American Indian tribes in Oklahoma is a mess, and the state is hoping to work towards a single tax rate for all areas, State Treasurer Scott Meacham said Tuesday.

Hog farm standoff (SOUTH DAKOTA) -- On the morning of April 22, Charles Mix County police arrested 15 Yankton Sioux tribal members, including adult men and women, and teens as young as 16, for blocking construction of a hog farm on privately held land within the reservation boundaries.

Saskatchewan native group reaches out to Jewish congress (OTTAWA) -- The Federation for Saskatchewan Indian Nations has requested a meeting with a prominent Jewish group to discuss the proposed reinstatement of disgraced aboriginal leader David Ahenakew.

Lac du Flambeau tribal factions debate XIT investment (WISCONSIN) -- Whether plowing millions of dollars into a Texas-based computer security and communications company called XIT Networks is a smart investment depends upon whom you ask.

Roadblocks coming down in Caledonia: minister (ONTARIO) -- The province's aboriginal affairs minister says peace is being restored in the southern Ontario community of Caledonia. Michael Bryant says both the road barricade of a local highway and the recent blockade of a rail line are being dismantled.

New MMS committee to revise Indian oil valuation (WASHINGTON, DC) -- The US Minerals Management Service published a notice on Apr. 28 that it is forming a committee to consider recommendations for revising the rule governing valuation of oil produced from American Indian leases.

More headlines...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

May Day 2008: A world of reasons for ALL workers to unite

MAY DAY 2008
A world of reasons for ALL workers to unite
By Deirdre Griswold
Published Apr 27, 2008 10:45 PM

This May Day, International Workers’ Day, there will be plenty of reasons for workers in the United States—and around the world—to take to the streets in protest over their conditions and to raise their demands.

There are of course the issues around disastrous layoffs, shrinking pay, speedup, shortened hours and other deteriorating working conditions.

But also on the agenda are the many ways in which the workers and their communities find themselves under assault from a billionaire class that uses racism, sexism, homophobia, immigrant bashing and pro-war propaganda to keep the people from being able to fight back effectively.

It was a huge outpouring of immigrant workers on May 1, 2006, organized rapidly and from the grassroots in response to legislation threatening their rights, that restored May Day in the United States as the premier day of workers’ struggle.

For decades, since the rabidly right-wing period of the 1950s known as McCarthyism, May Day had been suppressed in this country as “too left.” It was “unpatriotic” to march in synch with millions of workers all over the world demanding a better life—even though May Day actually originated in the struggle of workers in Chicago in 1886. Unions here were restricted to parades on Labor Day that left out the broader social issues.

But now it is clearer than ever that the problems workers face are global—and international working-class solidarity is vital to the solution.

The immigrant workers who brought back May Day have been the target of massive government repression since then. This year’s marches by workers of all backgrounds must be dedicated to the tens of thousands who can’t participate because they have been subjected to widespread raids, arrests and deportations that have torn apart families and left them destitute.

This year, courageous longshore workers will be shutting down the West Coast ports for eight hours on May 1 in a strike against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Other unions are pledging their support, showing that workers in this country believe this endless war, with its horrendous casualties and enormous cost, is definitely an issue for the labor movement.

In many parts of the country, particularly the Midwest, the epidemic of housing foreclosures and the demand for a moratorium will be raised as an urgent issue on May Day. Workers there are being hit with a double whammy: losing jobs with union pay just as the cost of subprime mortgages is ballooning. Being jobless and homeless is a worker’s worst nightmare.

This nightmare is compounded for many tens of millions in the United States by racism and national oppression. Black workers, as well as Latin@s, are losing their jobs and homes in disproportionate numbers. The survivors of Katrina, those who made it through the hurricane and flooding only to almost perish of neglect in the aftermath, are struggling to actually keep decent public housing from being torn down in New Orleans.

The U.S. prison system, by far the largest in the world, is stuffed with people of color who are locked up for supposed “crimes” of survival. A recent study showed the U.S. rate of incarceration is five times the world average!

And while corporate criminals who swindle billions of dollars get out in a few months or years—assuming they ever go to jail at all—there are countless African American, Native and Latin@ prisoners, like Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Angola 3 and Leonard Peltier, who spend most of their lives behind bars because they refuse to knuckle under to the system. They are truly political prisoners, as are the Cuban 5 who tried to shield their country from U.S.-based terrorists.

It is workers and the poor who are injured the most by corporate industrial pollution, not only where they work and live, but as people on a planet rapidly being degraded by global warming.

The good news is that while women’s oppression intensifies with deteriorating economic conditions, it is women organizing into unions who have brought about the growth of the labor movement in the last couple of years.

All these issues rightfully belong in the May Day marches, along with so many more concrete examples of why the working class needs to unite and fight, together with our sisters and brothers around the world, against the super-rich class that is spreading misery to all four corners of the globe.

Source URL:

MOVE 9 Demonstration on May 10



Join us for a speak out commemorating the May 1985 bombing of MOVE and also a speak out against the recent denial of parole to MOVE family members. Join us in a speak out for justice---Ramona

The MOVE 9 are INNOCENT! They have spent nearly 30 years in prison. Demand their release! RELEASE THE MOVE 9! DEMONSTRATION: Saturday May 10, 2008 11th and Market Sts. Philadelphia 12 - 3 pm We mark the anniversary of the cruel and brutal 1985 bombing of the MOVE Organization by continuing the work to release the MOVE9! Join the international call for their release. Sign the petition at:

Keep yourself informed at or call 215 387 4107.

Today's Democracy Now!

* BROADCAST EXCLUSIVE...Ousted NYC Arabic School Principal Debbie Almontaser Speaks Out on the New McCarthyism & Rightwing Media Attacks *

Debbie Almontaser was forced to step down in August 2007 as the founding principal of the Khalil Gibran School, New York City's first public school dedicated to the study of Arabic language and culture. Her resignation followed a rightwing campaign that painted her as an educator with a militant Islamic agenda. In a Democracy Now! exclusive, Debbie Almontaser joins us in her first national broadcast interview since stepping down and suing the city.


* West Virginia Grandfather Takes on the Coal Industry: Ed Wiley on His Battle Against Mountaintop Removal Mining *

It's been described as "the government-sanctioned bombing of Appalachia." The controversial coal mining practice known as mountaintop removal has been used widely in West Virginia. The technique involves blasting off the tops of mountains and dumping the rubble into valleys and streams. Its use has expanded under the Bush administration. We speak with Ed Wiley, one of the leading activists behind the grassroots effort to stop mountaintop removal in West Virginia.


News from Indianz.Com

SD voter ID law stands

SD voter ID law stands

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - A South Dakota law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls probably was safe no matter how the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a case from Indiana, Secretary of State Chris Nelson said.

The nation's high court, in a 6-3 ruling Monday, said states can require a photo ID without violating a voter's constitutional rights.

Nelson said he didn't think South Dakota's law would have been overturned had the Supreme Court ruled otherwise.

"Our law is different and distinct from Indiana in that ours contains a provision allowing people without a photo ID to sign a personal identification affidavit in lieu of showing an ID," Nelson said. "Indiana didn't have that and it's considered to be a more strict photo identification law than South Dakota has."

In South Dakota, a driver's license, passport or identification card from American Indian tribes, colleges, technical schools and federal agencies is accepted.

Anyone without a photo ID could still vote by signing an affidavit affirming their identity. They can face a perjury charge for giving false information.

Nelson acknowledged there were some problems early on in educating voters and election workers about the 2003 law and the affidavit provision.

"We've gotten along pretty well since then. We've seen the percentage of people with a photo ID increase in the last couple of general elections as people get used to it. In the last general election, 98 percent had a photo ID with them and were ready to show it."

Nelson said he supports the law, which was proposed to the Legislature by individual lawmakers and not by his office.

"It is one of those mechanisms to make sure we maintain the integrity of the election process," Nelson said.

Source URL:

Native News from

Kempthorne Announces Departure of Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Carl Artman (WASHINGTON, DC) -- Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced today that Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Carl Artman will be leaving the Department of the Interior effective May 23, 2008.

Supreme Court Upholds Ind. Voter ID Law (WASHINGTON, DC) -- The Supreme Court ruled today that states may require voters to present photo identification before casting ballots, upholding a Republican-backed measure that proponents say combats voter fraud and opponents believe discourages voter participation.

SD voter ID law stands (SOUTH DAKOTA) -- A South Dakota law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls probably was safe no matter how the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a case from Indiana, Secretary of State Chris Nelson said.

In a 6-to-3 Vote, Justices Uphold a Voter ID Law (WASHINGTON, DC) -- The Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s voter identification law on Monday, concluding in a splintered decision that the challengers failed to prove that the law’s photo ID requirement placed an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote.

Judge to award billions in American Indian trust case (WASHINGTON, DC) -- After a 12-year legal fight, a federal judge said Monday he likely will award money to Indians whose lands have been mismanaged by the government. Whether they'll ever see that money is another matter.

Renewed Six Nations blockade pushing residents to the brink: Caledonia mayor (ONTARIO) -- A renewed Six Nations blockade of a southern Ontario highway is pushing residents to the brink and is paving the way for a repeat of violent clashes between protesters and town residents, the mayor of the beleaguered town said Monday.

'In the Shadow of the Eagle' (MAINE) -- If there is one abiding message in Donna Loring's book ''In the Shadow of the Eagle: A Tribal Representative in Maine,'' it is this: The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Snoqualmie Indians feuding over control of tribe (WASHINGTON) -- In a dispute over who is a "real Indian," some members of the Snoqualmie Tribe banished eight others and sent letters to 60 more that they could be dropped from tribal membership.

BACKGROUND: A tribe divided: Snoqualmie members fight for control of government, casino (WASHINGTON) -- A bedsheet covers a window to provide a makeshift screen for PowerPoint presentations. Boxes crammed with files cover the kitchen counter and dining-room table.

Snoqualmie Tribe banishes banish 8 members, disenrolls 60 (WASHINGTON) -- Members of the Snoqualmie Tribe banished eight tribal members Sunday, and more than 60 others have received letters informing them they have been disenrolled from the tribe.

More headlines...

Record profits for oil giants

Record profits for oil giants
09:55 4/29/2008, Headlines
$14 billion first 3 months of this year on the back of rocketing oil prices.

West Virginia Secretary of State Disenfranchising Thousands of Obama Voters?

The West Virginia Secretary of State's office and county election offices in the state are refusing to tell independent ("no party choice") voters arriving to early vote at the state's 55 voting locations that they are entitled to vote in the Democratic primary, stating that they are forbidden to do so by law.

"The Obama campaign will lose thousands of votes during early voting if this situation isn't corrected quickly," Victoria Baker, a former Republican who is an Obama supporter in Huntington, WV, said Sunday. "The Secretary of State's position is not supported by the law," according to Roy D. (Don) Baker, a West Virginia lawyer familiar with the situation. "It is wrong," he said. Mr. Baker, a Democrat, is also an Obama supporter and Ms. Baker's husband

156,199 West Virginians are registered as independents eligible to vote in West Virginia's May 13 primary according to figures released over the weekend by the Secretary of State's office. That represents 13.2% of all registered voters in the state. These figures include voters who registered before last week's April 22nd registration deadline in the state. Early voting began April 23 and ends May 10.

Gregory L. Howard, Jr., the lawyer for the Secretary of State's office, said two sections of West Virginia law, Sections 3-1-35 and 3-2-31,1 mandate the office's position. The crucial provision, he said, is a sentence which says "Political parties, through the official action of their state executive committees, shall be permitted to determine whether unaffiliated voters or voters of other parties shall be allowed to vote that party's primary election ballot upon request." Howard, a Republican, is a former member of West Virginia's House of Delegates.

"If those sections are all they have to support their 'Don't tell, don't ask' policy, it's scandalous," Mark L. Levine, a voter protection lawyer from New York investigating the matter, said.

Howard's citation of the department's legal underpinning for the policy was made following the voter protection lawyer's request that the Secretary of State's office require election workers to deliver a slip of paper to each independent coming to vote which says, "If you want to vote in the Presidential Primary and are registered as an Independent ("No Party Choice"), you must ask for either a Republican or Democratic ballot. "No Party Choice" (Independent) ballots do not include a choice for President."

Levine also asked that signs with the same message be placed in the area where people come to early vote. Both requests were denied by Jason Williams, manager of the Elections Division of the Secretary of State's office, and by Howard. Williams said that this policy had long been in effect and could not be changed. He referred Levine to Howard for the policy's legal basis.

Levine made the requests late last week after learning that two West Virginians who wanted to early vote in the Democratic presidential primary voted on touch screens that listed no candidates for president since the two had registered as independents. West Virginia law permits voters who made no party choice when they registered to vote in the primary of either the Republican or Democratic party.

Howard said Friday that the two sections from the West Virginia code are the only legal basis for the Secretary of State's office's position and all that is necessary. Pressed to say what in those two sections supported the office's policy, he said that it was "two words"- the "upon request" at the end of Section 3-2-31(a) (the sentence quoted above). Howard rejected Levine's contention that nothing in either section supported the office's policy and denied his request that Ireland review the issue and change the office's position. It is not known whether Howard or Williams have apprised Ireland of that request. Ireland's 94-year-old mother died on Thursday and was buried Saturday.2

Williams said that the state's election offices had sent mailings to independent voters telling them they must ask for a party ballot if they want to vote in the presidential primary and that they also encouraged reporters to write articles to inform independent voters. He said those activities are not prohibited by the law but that giving the same information to independent voters at early voting and the polls is prohibited.

Two students at Marshall University (Huntington, WV), Matthew Smith and Tamara Chavies, voted with independent ballots at the Cabell County Courthouse in Huntington before noon Wednesday morning, the first day of early voting. Both were surprised when they learned that there was no choice for President on the ballot and that their votes had already been recorded. Voters in WV vote on touch screens and cannot tell from looking at the screen when they start voting that the presidential candidates are not listed on a subsequent screen.

"I don't understand how they can penalize you for not knowing how to vote when they don't tell you that you have to ask for a specific ballot," Smith said. "I'd hate to see my vote not counted because of a technicality."

The only race on the independent ballot was to elect two members of the Cabell County Board of Education.

Both Smith and Chavies were permitted to cast provisional ballots after they discovered their error. Each said they voted for Obama on the provisional ballot and were told that their vote might be counted. Under West Virginia law, provisional ballots are not opened on election night but can be opened and counted during a canvass of votes after May 13 if a county canvassing board determines, based on the circumstances surrounding each provisional ballot, that they should be.3 A provisional ballot cast after a voter has already cast a valid independent ballot will not be counted, voter protection lawyers say. A senior WV election official, speaking not for attribution, confirmed this.

Betty Ireland, a Republican, is West Virginia's secretary of state. She was elected in 2004 and is the first woman ever to be elected to the state's executive branch.4 She announced last July that she was not seeking re-election or running for another office in 2008 because attending to the needs of her aged parents and fulfilling her duties as Secretary of State would not allow her time to plan and run a political campaign in 2008.5 Both her parents are now deceased. Ireland pulled a major upset in 2004 election when she defeated former Secretary of State Ken Hechler and is a likely candidate for higher office.6

Levine said he had initially been told by a county elections officer on Thursday that the purpose of the policy was to prevent the SOS's office and election workers from "influencing elections." "Letting a voter know that if he wants to vote for a presidential candidate - of whatever party - is not influencing an election," Levine said. "It's the duty of the Secretary of State's office to educate voters and encourage voting, not to help disenfranchise people."

There is no Independent party as such in West Virginia. Voters are considered independents if they do not register for any of the parties listed on the state's registration form (Republican, Democrat, Mountain and "other") or if they check "No Party Choice."7 West Virginia Republicans have long permitted Independents to vote in their primaries. This is the first year that the Democratic Party has permitted it.

Source URL:

Is There Any Way to Stop Wal-Mart & Co. from Sweatshop Profiteering?

Is There Any Way to Stop Wal-Mart & Co. from Sweatshop Profiteering?
03:00 4/29/2008, T. A. Frank, Washington Monthly,
Presidential candidates are calling for tougher labor standards in trade agreements. But it's doubtful they could be enforced.

Vermont Deals a Blow to the Bottled Water Industry

Vermont Deals a Blow to the Bottled Water Industry
08:00 4/29/2008, Tom A. Peter, Christian Science Monitor,
The state's legislature has passed a bill that limits how much groundwater bottlers and other companies can draw.

Program Notes: NAMAPAHH Radio

Native American News-Views and Music

NAMAPAHH First People's Radio is a talking circle for Natives and non-Natives!

NEXT Live show will be with Michael Kuzma-Peltier's attorney giving us an update and we will discuss the FOIA and how it came into play at the last hearing... Listen on Thursday, May 1st, 7-8:30pm PST (Including excerpts from last Sunday's show and news from the Longest Walk II!)

Part 2 Yanton Protectors vs Hog Farm and Upriza Records Music Event-Jeremy Miller-WA

At KSVR 91.&FM: In studio guest Jeremy Miller of Upriza records who shared music selections of some of the 30 artists/performers/musicians who will be in Tacoma next Saturday May 3rd for the 1st Annual West Coast American Indian Awards. He is also known for his advocacy and activism for political prisoner Leonard Peltier and we gave some on air counseling and support for three call in guests from South Dakota: Kip Spotted Eagle Collins, Glen Drapeau (Faith Spotted Eagle's sons)... Tune in for more info!

Listen to NAMAPAHH_Radio on internet talk radio

NAMAPAHH First People's RadioHost/Producer Robin Carneen
Thurs 7-8:30pm, Sun 4-5pm PST
Ways to hear our show online:
Or shorter segments via MYSPACE!
Main MySpace page:
Home of NAMAPAHH First People's Radio:

Monday, April 28, 2008

Court rejects voter ID challenge; no new grants

Court rejects voter ID challenge; no new grants
12:31 4/28/2008, Lyle Denniston, uncategorized, SCOTUSblog
The Supreme Court, voting 6-3, on Monday rejected a constitutional challenge to Indiana’s law requiring voters to show a government-issued photo ID before they may cast a ballot. Three Justices said the evidence offered against the requirement in Indiana did not support a challenge to the law as written — that is, a “facial” challenge – and three others said the law only imposed a minimal and justified burden on voters. Three Justices dissented. The decision means that the law will be enforced without a legal cloud over it in the presidential primary election in Indiana on May 6. About half of the states have such laws.

How Canada's govt. sabotaged Obama

How Canada's govt. sabotaged Obama
20:45 4/28/2008, Headlines
This is the largely untold story of how the Harper government, with the help of a television reporter, sought to sabotage the candidacy of Barack Obama. Many of the facts of this story are on the record, in pieces, from disparate sources. What is untold is how those pieces fit together into a coherent narrative. And it is only with this narrative that the severity, and maliciousness of this incident is revealed...

Dems registering in record numbers

Dems registering in record numbers
00:50 4/28/2008, news, Politics
The past seven states to hold Democratic primaries have registered more than 1 million new Democratic voters, and North Carolina and Indiana are already reporting a swell.

Supreme Court upholds voter ID law

Supreme Court upholds voter ID law
11:50 4/28/2008, news, Politics
The high court says states can require voters to produce photo identification without violating their constitutional rights. The decision validates Republican-inspired voter ID laws.

Oklahoma tribes oppose English-only legislation

Oklahoma tribes oppose English-only legislation
00:00 4/28/2008, politics, Indianz.Com News
Two Oklahoma tribes have voted against a bill that would make English the official language in the state. The Muscogee Nation National Council unanimously approved a resolution against Senate Bill 163. The Cherokee Nation, joined by the Eastern Band of...

Indigenous journalists murdered in Mexico

Indigenous journalists murdered in Mexico
21:48 4/28/2008, Indian Country Today - Top Stories
OAXACA, Mexico - On April 7, two indigenous radio journalists were shot to death near Oaxaca in an ambush that also wounded two adults and their two young children. Human rights and reporters

Hog farm standoff

Hog farm standoff
21:48 4/28/2008, Indian Country Today - Top Stories
Yankton Sioux tribal members, neighbors fear environmental and public health consequences MARTY, S.D. - On the morning of April 22, Charles Mix County police arrested 15 Yankton Sioux tribal

Tense Standoff Continues in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory

Update: Tense Standoff Continues in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory
Shawn Brant Arrested on Trumped-Up Charges Once Again

**Please note that circumstances on the ground continue to change constantly, so full updates are not possible at this time **

After a tense exchange this morning, in which the OPP informed Mohawk spokesperson Jason Maracle to get people out of the area or they would come in, the OPP instead disbanded a Mohawk roadblock erected on the perimetre of the reclaimed quarry site. This psychological warfare on the part of the police resulted in a tense face-off between the OPP and community members. At present, the OPP has removed one of the roadblocks on the Slash Road and pulled back, but remains present in the direct vicinity of the quarry in great numbers. At the centre of the dispute is the Culbertson Tract, land which rightfully belongs to the Mohawks of Tyendinaga. Community members have been occupying a gravel quarry site for over a year.

In addition, a blockade of Highway 6, taken in support of the Tyendinaga Mohawks, continues by people of the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. Six Nations community members have said they will remove the Highway 6 bypass blockade once they receive confirmation the OPP have withdrawn from the Mohawks of Tyendinaga. The road is now barricaded with a downed hydro tower, wires and a telephone pole.

Important to note is that, despite the reporting in mainstream press, Mohawk spokesperson Shawn Brant's arrest on Friday, April 25th stems from an incident which took place on Monday April 21st. Specifically, Shawn Brant has been charged for his role in allegedly preventing further attacks on a woman from Tyendinaga and a young child by racist rednecks from the town of Deseronto.

These new charges were laid less than two weeks after Shawn Brant was acquitted of charges alleging that he threated Canadian Forces soldiers during a demonstration to prevent development of the Culberston Tract in 2006.

Once again, for his role as a spokesperson in the community, Shawn Brant is facing trumped-up charges. Arrested during an interview he was conducting with APTN, Shawn's final words during his arrest on Friday were "This is it, justice for first nations communities: lock us up. Anybody who speaks out, lock-em up. KI6, Bob Lovelace: lock-em up...Don't fix the problems, lock-em up." (to watch, click on

Supporters rushed to the quarry after watching or hearing of Shawn's arrest. An altercation with the OPP is alleged to have ensued. Four Mohawks were then arrested and jailed. The OPP were reported to have drawn their guns on the Mohawk community members remaining the quarry.

According to Mohawk spokesperson Jay Maracle, "The OPP led us into this incident by jumping five of our men, arresting them and taking them to jail and then sticking guns in our faces, in women and children's faces," he said.

There has been open communication between the Mohawks and the OPP but Maracle said things will not improve unless OPP retracts a statement indicating there are armed Mohawks at the quarry. He said there are no guns at the site.

Matt Kunkel, Clint Brant, Dan Doreen, and Steve Chartrand remain in custody and will appear in bail court in Napanee today. The group includes Dan Dorene, spokesperson for the Mohawk blockade on Highway 2 one week ago, erected to prevent development on the Culberston Tract, land which rightfully belongs to the Mohawks.

A couple from the community who were also arrested by the OPP on Friday were later were released unconditionally.

Shawn Brant will also likely appear in court today.

This brings the total number of First Nations people in Ontario jails for defending their land to 12.

Please continue to call the premier's office and urge the Provincial Government to:

Honour Mohawk land, call off the OPP: Do not risk people's lives for a gravel pit the government has already acknowledged
is on Mohawk land!

Release all First Nations political prisoners!

Premier Dalton McGuinty: 416-325-1941 (phone)
416-325-3745 (fax)

Sunday Press Release from TMT


Ontario Jails Five More First Nations People Involved in Land Struggles

(Sunday, April 27, 2008 -Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory) Five men from Tyendinaga are in jail today bringing the total number of First Nations people in Ontario jails for defending their land to 12.

Ontario, it appears, has opted for the incarceration of First Nations people over the resolution of outstanding land issues as their status quo.

As for the Ontario Provincial Police, it appears the adoption of Justice Linden's Ipperwash Inquiry recommendations is experiencing some delay. While in custody at the Napanee Detachment several different officers repeatedly informed Shawn Brant that they were going to "slit his throat" and that he was a "dead man."

This followed a similarly disturbing incident that occurred on Monday, April 22nd during the road closures in Deseronto when an officer on the scene clearly and audibly commented to her colleagues "we should just shoot them (Mohawks) all."
Meanwhile, road closures continue in Tyendinaga and Six Nations until, as one man said, "We finish the job."

Contact: Jay Maracle: 613-243-4993