Sunday, May 31, 2009

31 May 2009: Native News from

Mohawk protests continue / BRIDGE CLOSED: Tribe objects to arming of customs officers (ONTARIO) -- The St. Regis Mohawk tribe has one weekend left to protest the arming of Canadian border officers, and it plans to make the most of it.

Navajo life one long recession / 'We've Always Had 50% Unemployment' Bad times nothing new, so they know how to cope (ARIZONA) -- Talk at the community center in this small Navajo town isn't as focused on the economy as it is in many places off the reservation. That's because the people living on the largest American Indian reservation have been largely unscathed by the recession.

Indians find loans hard to get / Some banks shy away from loans to Indians because they can't foreclose on reservation land. (WASHINGTON) -- Bill Shelton's loan application was for $159,000 -- less than a third of the value of his home. His credit score hovers around 800.

Bozsum is among 10 finalists for tribal council / Mohegans to hold balloting for 5 spots (CONNECTICUT) -- Five incumbents, including Chairman Bruce “Two Dogs” Bozsum, are among the 10 finalists for the five available seats on the Mohegan Tribal Council, the tribe announced Wednesday night.

San Manuel tribe members won't testify in probation violation case (CALIFORNIA) -- Two San Manuel officials will not have to testify in a hearing for a tribal member accused of violating probation after her conviction in a failed murder-for-hire plot, a judge ruled Friday.

Ward Churchill Reinstatement Materials — Updated (MICHIGAN) -- Now that Ward Churchill has won exactly $1 from the University of Colorado via jury, the real fight begins — over reinstatement. The University of Colorado’s brief opposing reinstatement is here.

Editorial / Repeal hateful ban on Indians (MINNESOTA) -- Taking a 1863 law that bans Dakota and Winnebago Indians from Minnesota off the books is long overdue. We applaud state Rep. Dean Urdahl for carrying the resolution to repeal the law, and we thank legislators for approving it.

Tribes press government to clean up nuclear waste (ARIZONA) -- Two American Indian tribes say their pleas to have the federal government remove medical, uranium and other radioactive waste from their land near Tuba City have been ignored, and they want it cleaned up.

Navajos seek help for families of uranium miners (NEW MEXICO) -- Navajo Nation members will travel to the nation's capital this summer to try to obtain compensation for as many as 15,000 dependents of former uranium mine workers who are suffering from disease and birth defects.

Navajo leaders seek help with uranium issues (NEW MEXICO) -- Members of the Navajo Nation plan to take to Washington, D.C., their grassroots campaign to compensate uranium mine workers' children affected by diseases and birth defects.

Crew unearths ancient remains near Cannery Row (CALIFORNIA) -- Construction workers digging near Cannery Row have found a female skeleton that may be thousands of years old. Frank Donangelo, vice president of planning and development for the Cannery Row Company, says workers stopped digging immediately after finding the remains on Wednesday and called police.

Skeleton unearthed on Monterey's Cannery Row / Discovery of ancient remains halts excavation (CALIFORNIA) -- As soon as construction crew members working next to the Sardine Factory realized they had unearthed human remains, the back hoe was turned off and a call was placed to the Monterey Police Department.

Small-salmon bounty creates a big mystery (WASHINGTON) -- In the world of salmon, size matters. That's because big male fish have the best chance of fending off rivals to stake out a prime spot on the spawning grounds next to fertile females.

IsumaTV's "Countdown to Copenhagen" (NUNAVUT) -- From a press relesase: Zacharias Kunuk and IsumaTV announce the launch of "Countdown to Copenhagen" May 29, 2009 with a two-hour Live Webcast featuring Siila Watt-Cloutier, Inuit climate activist and 2007 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, speaking on "Inuit, Human Rights and Climate Change" live from Iqaluit, Nunavut to a worldwide audience.

Stereotypical Three Wolf Moon ad (USA) -- A parody of "Colors of the Wind" from Disney's "Pocahontas" serves to sell t-shirts and stereotype Indians.

VIDEO: Native dancer in Gatorade commercial (CALIFORNIA) -- This is a nicely done, seemingly sensitive commercial. But it raises a few questions: Did the Native performers agree to participate in this ad? Did they agree to (implicitly) endorse Gatorade?

Podcast on the History of the Department of Interior: “Sick Man” of American Government (COLORADO) -- Thanks to Legal History Blog for this one (the “sick man” line is from that blog): Bureaucrats, University of Colorado professor of history Patricia Limerick argues, are often the most overlooked (at best) or reviled (at worst) of government officials, but they wield tremendous powers that shape Americans’ daily lives.

More headlines...

Continental Indigenous Summit focused on Unity

Below, a Press Release from Tonatierra discussing the IV Continental Indigenous
Summit of Abya Yala, which began three days ago in Puno, amidst the ongoing
Mobilization of Indigenous Peoples of Peru.

The Summit, which comes to a close on May 31st, has brought together more than seven thousand indigenous delegates from Continental Abya Yala (Americas) [...]

You may view the latest post at

Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues: Adoption of Key Text Designed to Transform Historic Declaration Into 'Living Law'


‘We Have Talked of Suffering, We Have Talked of Hope. Now, Let’s Talk
Of Action,” Urged Forum Member, Echoing Sentiment of Speakers in Session

In a bid to transform the historic 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into “living law”, the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues closed its eighth session today by adopting a text that invited States to adopt or endorse the document, substantively inform the Forum about its implementation and effectiveness locally and nationally, and recommended that they do the same in core reports to human rights treaty bodies and the Human Rights Council’s universal periodic review.

By that text (document E/C.19/2009/L.3), one of four orally amended and adopted today by consensus, the Forum recommended that the Declaration -- a new foundation for the rights of indigenous peoples and a legal basis for all related activities –- be integrated into the policies, projects and strategies of United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

Further, the Forum called on States to consult with indigenous peoples and fully respond to their needs and rights when crafting relevant legislation, as well as to adopt or endorse the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention No. 169.

Key to those efforts was the Forum’s adoption of its first general comment, aimed at giving effect to the Declaration’s article 42, which stipulates that the United Nations must promote respect for and full application of the Declaration and its incorporation into national law, court systems and administrative decisions of the various countries.

By a text on economic and social development, indigenous women and the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (document E/C.19/2009/L.2/Rev.1), the Forum urged the World Bank to expand its operational budget to ensure adequate management of its $30 billion increase in infrastructure spending for developing nations. Transnational corporations must adopt minimum standards as a requirement of due diligence, particularly in creating a human rights policy, while States should ensure that corporations comply with standards laid out in the Declaration and ILO Convention No. 169.

Also by that text, the Forum recommended that the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) organize an international expert workshop on the theme of “Indigenous peoples and health, with special emphasis on sexual and reproductive health”, and submit a report to the Forum’s ninth session. It urged the Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Peoples’ Issues to hold an international technical expert seminar on well-being indicators to be used in monitoring indigenous peoples’ situation.

The Forum further recommended that States, United Nations agencies and indigenous peoples’ organizations actively engage in the mid-term evaluation of the Decade and submit reports on its national implementation. It also welcomed that principles and rules contained in the Declaration had been integrated into Bolivia’s new Constitution, which had been ratified in a referendum on 25 January.

In a text that emerged from its half-day discussion on the Arctic region (document E/C.19/2009/L.5), the Forum urged all Arctic States to implement the Declaration, and the Nordic States, in particular, to ratify the Nordic Saami Convention, which would set an example for other peoples whose traditional territories were divided by international borders.

Also by that text, the Forum called on the Arctic Council to provide its indigenous permanent participants with resources to allow for their involvement in all relevant activities. It recommended that the Arctic Council formally engage with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to follow-up the international expert meeting on Arctic climate change, held in Monaco from 3 to 6 March.

Among other recommendations, the Forum appointed three of its members to undertake a study on the impact of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures on reindeer herding, and another on indigenous fishing rights in the seas. It called on UNEP to conduct a fast-track assessment of the short-term drivers of climate change, with a view to starting talks for a global agreement on reducing black carbon emissions.

By a text on its future work (document E/C.19/2009/L.7), the Forum recommended that the World Health Organization (WHO) study the health effects on indigenous peoples caused by radioactive poisoning, uranium mining, dumping of radioactive waste and nuclear testing on traditional lands, and further, to submit a report to the ninth session. Similarly, it appointed a Forum member to study the Doctrine of Discovery, a legal concept which served as the basis for human rights violations against indigenous peoples, and to submit a report in 2010.

Also according to that text, the Forum supported a plan to hold the first World Indigenous Nations Games in Winnipeg, Canada, in 2012, and decided to hold a half-day session on the theme of “Addressing racism against indigenous peoples” during Forum’s tenth session in 2011.

Echoing the sentiments expressed by many speakers throughout the Forum’s two-week session, Hassan Id Balkassm, Forum member from Morocco, said: “We have talked of suffering and we have talked of hope. Now, let’s talk of action.” Despite progress in many countries to recognize indigenous peoples’ identity and culture, much remained ink on paper, and implementation of their values was lacking. International commitments by Governments implied there would be real action and he hoped that would happen.

In closing remarks, Chairperson Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Forum member from the Philippines, said each agenda item during the eighth session had provided important insights and an opportunity for participants to hear and learn from one another. At the national, regional, local and community levels, challenges remained. “We must be strongly committed,” she stressed. “We need to work towards developing close cooperation with United Nations agencies and Governments to realize our self-determined rights.”

She said that, during the session, delegates had heard that, while most States had adopted human rights standards, there was considerable incoherence at legal and international levels. States had a duty to provide more effective protection against corporate-related harm. Speakers had underscored the absolute necessity to affirm the rights of indigenous women, noting that there was increased expectation that women and girls performed well in society and, at the same time, preserved indigenous identity. That could only be done in partnership. Forum experts had also reported on their mission to Paraguay and Bolivia, where they had met with victims of forced labour and servitude, among others.

Regarding the Arctic, she said the half-day discussion on that region had focused on environmental issues of serious concern, including the fact that heavy metals were being spread in the air and water streams. During the Forum’s following in-depth dialogues, several United Nations agencies had discussed their approaches to incorporating the Declaration into their policies and programmes. Concerns had been expressed that indigenous peoples might be seen as only the subjects of studies, rather than as partners -- active agents -– in their own development.

The financial crisis had also figured prominently, she noted, with one United Nations expert explaining that the number of global working poor would increase by 200 million. Government social spending was at risk and there was growing unrest in the face of expanding poverty. Indigenous peoples would face an uphill battle in gaining access to natural resources, particularly water.

The Forum adopted, as orally amended, the draft report of its current session (E/C.19/2009/L.10), which contained three draft decisions, including a decision (E/C.19/2009/L.8) in which it recommended that the Economic and Social Council decide to authorize a three-day international expert group meeting on the theme “Indigenous peoples: development with culture and identity; articles 3 and 32 of the United Nations Declaration on the Right of Indigenous Peoples”, and to report on that meeting’s results to the Forum’s ninth session. By another decision (E/C.19/2009/L.9), the Economic and Social Council would decide to hold the Forum’s ninth session at Headquarters in New York from 19 to 30 April 2010). By the third decision (E/C.19/2009/L.4), the Forum adopted that session’s provisional agenda.

During the meeting, Rapporteur Mick Dodson, Forum member from Australia, introduced the Forum’s report and recommendations.

During the closing ceremony, Chief Francois Bellefleur, First Innu Nation of Natashquan, said the Innu, who lived along the north coast of Quebec, had decided long ago to abandon confrontation and resolutely adopt a voice of equal partnership with the Quebecois. He pointed to a joint hydroelectric project between the Innu and the Quebec government, saying it was a solid opportunity to carve out a better future for his people’s children and reaffirm their pride in belonging to a great nation. Armand McKenzie, also of the First Innu Nation, then sang an indigenous prayer.

Robert White Mountain, Midnight Strong Heart Society, also sang an indigenous prayer, while Nima Lama Yolmo and other members of the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities and indigenous members of Nepal’s Constituent Assembly sang their national anthem, which was written in 2006.

A 16-member subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council, the Forum is mandated to provide expert advice on indigenous issues to the Council and the United Nations system, raise awareness about and promote integration and coordination of indigenous issues in the Organization’s activities, and prepare and disseminate information about those issues.

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Driving Change: The Role of Activists During the Obama Administration

Driving Change: The Role of Activists During the Obama Administration
Monday, January 19, 2009


Van Jones, Founder and President, Green for All & Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress (Launch in external player).

"Justice" - Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor

The Coalition for Constitutional Values, a national coalition of the nation’s leading nonprofit and advocacy organizations, announced today that it will begin airing “Justice” a new 30-second television spot that will run on national network news and cable news starting today. The Coalition for Constitutional Values, whose members represent millions of Americans, believes it is important that the American people know about the qualities of their Supreme Court justices.

The new spot is part of a broader public education campaign launched by the Coalition for Constitutional Values, co-chaired by the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Alliance for Justice and People for the American Way. The Coalition hopes the spot will introduce the American public to Judge Sotomayor who has experience in nearly every aspect of the law, having served as a big-city prosecutor and a corporate litigator, a federal trial judge and an appellate judge.

"In selecting Judge Sotomayor, the president has nominated a candidate of sterling credentials who will uphold the Constitution and the law,” said Nan Aron, co-chair of the Coalition for Constitutional Values and president of Alliance for Justice. “We commend President Obama for choosing a brilliant and fair-minded jurist to serve on our nation’s highest court. Judge Sotomayor is precisely the kind of nominee we need – one who, as President Obama described, ‘has the intellectual firepower but also a little bit of a common touch and has a practical sense of how the world works.’”

Trenton and Indian tribe form 'green' alliance

Trenton and Indian tribe form 'green' alliance
May 30, 2009

TRENTON (NJ) -- Mayor Douglas Palmer has found a new and unlikely partner in his efforts to create green technology jobs and redevelop state-owned properties: an American Indian tribe from Oklahoma.

The president of the Delaware Nation, a 1,400-member tribe that owns a casino and has ancestral roots in the Delaware River Valley, joined Palmer and entrepreneur Shelley Zeiger at the Trenton Marriott yesterday to announce the alliance.

Wearing a bolo tie and a long gray ponytail, tribal president Kerry Holton said Zeiger had been talking to the tribe for years. He said he decided to act now because of the opportunities provided by the federal economic recovery act.

"It comes down to timing," said Holton, who was elected in 2006. "The economic downturn has essentially created a level playing field for our small, emerging nation."

He said the Obama administration's clean energy initiatives have allowed the tribe to enter into clean energy businesses that have created more jobs in Oklahoma than it can staff. A third of the tribe's members live in Oklahoma, he said.

Holton was drawn to Trenton by Zeiger, a city booster who co-developed the Marriott in 2002, and by the tribe's roots in the Lenape Indian nation that lived along the Delaware River until treaties and wars drove it west in the 18th century.

"They have embraced the idea of bringing the Delaware Nation home," said Zeiger, who is serving as a consultant to the tribe and may invest in a future project. "This is their real home, their original home."

The three men offered few details of their plans, but said they have discussed building a factory to manufacture solar panels or energy-efficient building materials on a city-owned tract in the Duck Island area off Route 129.

"We have a number of projects on the drawing board," Zeiger said. "Nothing is concrete."

Another possibility is a partnership to establish a center for high-tech telecommunications, Holton said. The tribe would take advantage of federal funds earmarked for Native American economic development projects.

"They're looking at doing something major as well, that has great impact," Palmer said, without giving details.

In a press release, Holton said the tribe is interested in property currently used for surface parking lots in the city's downtown. Palmer has for years lobbied the state, which does not pay city property taxes, to allow Trenton to develop state employee parking lots near the river into residential and commercial neighborhoods.

As a federally recognized tribe, the Delaware Nation is also tax exempt, but would make an agreement with the city for some kind of compensation, said Joseph Wiley, a senior vice president of Sadat Associates, an environmental engineering firm whose Lamberton Road office houses the Delaware Nation's local office.

In Oklahoma, the tribe has environmentally friendly geothermal and biomass energy projects, and could sponsor solar or wind energy projects in Trenton, Holton said. But he and Palmer made it clear they will not propose building a casino.

"Casinos are not on the radar screen," Holton said.

At the end of the press conference the two men signed a memorandum of agreement between the tribe and the city, which Palmer said was important given possible leadership changes in the future. Palmer and several City Council members are expected to leave office after next May's city elections.

Holton and other tribe officials also gave Palmer and assistant business manager Dennis Gonzalez plastic bags full of tobacco, which is traditionally used by American Indians during religious ceremonies.

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NCAI leader warns of new breed of ‘Indian fighters’

NCAI leader warns of new breed of ‘Indian fighters’
Originally printed at

WASHINGTON – Indian fighters are apparently alive and well; and tribal leaders want members of Congress to know it – especially when it comes to determining a possible remedy to a recent Supreme Court ruling in the Carcieri v. Salazar case.

W. Ron Allen, chairman of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and a board member of the National Congress of American Indians, was the main tribal testifier at a May 21 hearing of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. The hearing was intended to examine the federal executive branch authority to acquire trust lands for Indian tribes.

The scope of the federal government’s trustee status has become one of keen interest across Indian country since the Supreme Court ruled in February that a tribe not under federal jurisdiction as of 1934 cannot follow a longstanding land into trust process administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Since the ruling, it has become legally unclear as to whether Interior can continue to take lands into trust for tribes that were federally recognized after 1934. The department, by many accounts, is operating in legal limbo on the matter.

Allen made his points succinctly, stating in prepared testimony that the Carcieri decision “is squarely at odds with the federal policy of tribal self-determination and tribal economic self-sufficiency,” and that the ruling requires a Congressional remedy. One possibility for doing so would be for Congress to amend the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 to clearly include tribes under federal recognition after that year.

But Allen went beyond that prepared text, too, bringing up a term – “Indian fighters” – that is all too familiar to some in Indian country.

Historically, some U.S. military leaders and politicians proudly proclaimed to be anti-American Indian by calling themselves “Indian fighters” and working to rid Native Americans of power, land, and, in some cases, their lives.

“We’re a little annoyed by any re-emergence of the old system of fighting Indians,” Allen testified. “The notion that we’re still fighting Indians and that Indians need to be assimilated or terminated is an old mentality.”

That kind of mentality does not belong in the 21st century, he said.

Allen said some state and local officials are becoming ever more vocal in their opposition to tribal interests – although such interests have typically helped to bolster many state and local economies.

In the Carcieri case, it was Rhode Island and local officials who led the charge against the Narragansett Tribe’s desire to secure lands through the federal trust process to be used for a housing development. Some non-tribal officials expressed concern that the tribe would instead pursue gaming.

Allen also made a point – sometimes forgotten in the context of the American political and legal system – that Indians have a special status in the Constitution, which is not afforded to other racial groups. The words of the Constitution, he noted, indicate a “special relationship” between Congress and Native Americans.

Allen’s words were filled with emotion and summarized decades of broken promises from the federal government leading up to the Supreme Court’s Carcieri decision.

Allen’s sentiments seemed to be directed, at least partially, at the man seated next to him during the hearing: Lawrence Long, chairman of the Conference of Western Attorneys General and attorney general of South Dakota. States not located in the West, including Rhode Island, are a part of the group.

Long testified that the taking of traditional tribal lands into trust by Interior has actually helped to expand his group of concerned state officials. He said that each acquisition obtained on behalf of tribes has two immediate consequences – reducing local tax revenues, and stopping local governments from enforcing zoning rules.

Long also said that gaming on these lands brought into trust – especially on lands located off reservations – has become a major concern since the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988. Through the course of the hearing, only a few such instances were said to exist.

Long’s group believes Congress should use the Carcieri decision to reflect on the entire process of taking land into trust for tribes, since states and localities, he believes, have suffered.

Allen responded to Long’s testimony, noting that all lands in the country belonged to Native Americans before the U.S. government and private citizens took it – in many cases illegally and without consequence. He also reiterated that tribes have brought countless dollars to states and localities over the years.

Edward Lazarus, a noted Indian policy legal expert, also testified that the Supreme Court’s ruling “undermined a generally settled understanding that a main purpose of the IRA was to provide authority and flexibility for rebuilding a tribal land base that had been reduced by more than 100 million acres during the period when the United States pursued an aggressive policy of breaking up and ‘allotting’ Indian lands, as well as trying to assimilate individual Indians into American society.”

Allen later said that if Congress were to do nothing on the issue, it would open up a “Pandora’s box for lawyers” on a variety of issues relating to treaties, other laws and tribal bonding authority.

During the question and answer portion of the hearing, Sens. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D. and chair of SCIA, as well as Jon Tester, D-Mont., said Congress should pursue a fix to remedy the Supreme Court’s decision.

Dorgan feels the Supreme Court’s decision was wrong. He said he would direct his committee to explore the matter further.

No new hearings have been scheduled as of press time, nor has any Congress member issued legislation relating to Carcieri.

This Week from Indian Country Today

Tribes press government to clean up nuclear waste
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Two American Indian tribes say their pleas to have the federal government remove medical, uranium and other radioactive waste from their land near Tuba City have been ignored, and they want it cleaned up.
Read more »


Report slams BIA Alaska roads program
Yakama Nation man leads anti-immigrant efforts
Budget for museum grows
The past endures in a present-day pow wow
Tribes press government to clean up nuclear waste
Gathering of Nations raises money for education, literacy
Bay Area activists demand protection for Tohono O’odham lands
NCAI leader warns of new breed of ‘Indian fighters’
Retired Coconino County Supervisor Louise Yellowman honored by Navajo Nation Council
Standards of Conduct conference a success, filled to capacity
Support grows for ‘guidance memo’ withdrawal
Man gets 6 years for shooting at tribal officer
Opposition mounts against federal pen near Tucson
Study looks at early Navajo use of smoke signals
Agreement aimed at resolving poultry case dispute
Nez Perce Tribe sets community forum on shootings
Holy Road: ‘He was a true chief’
Proposed casino smoking ban extinguished for the second time
Chickasaw Nation opens unique child development center
Myths and reality
Yakamas: Developers damaging cultural sites
Native Americans being recruited for medical field
Unalachtigo Band of Lenni Lenape seeks acknowledgment
6th annual Construction in Indian Country Conference May 19 – 20
A winning profile


Great Lakes

Lead Editorial

Newcomb: ‘That’s just the way things are. …’
In a recent interview, Indian Country Today reporter Gale Courey Toensing asked John Echohawk, executive director of the Native American Rights Fund, about inherent sovereignty and plenary power. “How does it relate to inherent sovereignty to have another sovereign come and say, ‘We now have this jurisdiction over you? Is anyone challenging Congress’ claim to plenary power over the [Indian] nations?” she asked.
Read more »

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

Whose Law?

Whose Law?
Native American Legislative Update: May 29, 2009

Tribal Law and Order Act of 2009

Last month, Senator Byron Dorgan (ND) and Representative Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin (SD) introduced the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2009 (S. 797 and H.R. 1924.) As described in the Spring 2009 Indian Report, there is a public safety crisis in Indian Country. The Tribal Law and Order Act takes several positive steps toward establishing safety and security in Native American and Alaskan Native communities. The bill would create more effective communication among tribal, state, and federal authorities, and would address the need for tribal authorities to have more control over their own public safety concerns. FCNL will be working both to strengthen this legislation and to ensure its passage in the 111th Congress. Please urge your representative and your senators to cosponsor the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2009. For more information, see FCNL's Spring 2009 Indian Report as well as Amnesty International's report, Maze of Injustice.

Carcieri v. Salazar Supreme Court Decision

In 1991, the Narragansett Indian Tribe purchased a 31-acre parcel of land in Charlestown, R.I., to build affordable housing for the elderly. In 1998, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) moved to take the land into federal trust, placing it largely under federal and tribal control. However, Rhode Island officials opposed the move, claiming that the DOI lacked the proper authority because the Narragansett tribe was not recognized until nearly 50 years after the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act took effect.

The Indian Reorganization Act allows the Secretary of Interior to put lands into trust for federally recognized tribes. The area of dispute arises with the definition of "Indian." The language states,

The term "Indian" as used in this Act shall include all persons of Indian descent who are members of any recognized Indian tribe now under Federal jurisdiction, and all persons who are descendants of such members who were, on June 1, 1934…
Rhode Island officials held that the word "now" in the phrase "now under Federal jurisdiction" meant "June 18, 1934" (the date the IRA was enacted) rather than "currently." According to this literal interpretation, all federal recognition of Native American tribes since 1934 is invalid.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit both ruled in favor of the Narragansett Tribe. The Supreme Court however, ruled in favor of Rhode Island's interpretation of law.

The Supreme Court's decision has caused an outcry from Native American leaders. Both the House Natural Resources Committee and the Senate Indian Affairs Committee have held oversight hearings on the Supreme Court decision and have called for a legislative fix to the unfortunate ruling.

Racist Sports Mascots

Recently, FCNL and the General Commission on Religion and Race of the United Methodist Church teamed up to host a roundtable strategy session on sports mascots that are based on Native American themes or caricatures . Native American activist Suzan Shown Harjo led the group in a discussion concerning the movement to rid schools and community teams of racist images that are offensive to Native Americans.

Last week, the University of North Dakota's school board voted 8-0 to get rid of the "Fighting Sioux" mascot. The hard work of grassroots activists like Suzan has brought public awareness about the inherent racism of "Native American" based mascots and helped bring about these important changes.

There's still more work to be done, though; right here in Washington, DC, the Washington "Redskins" football team, owned by Fed Ex, is a large presence and has been resistant to change. What can you do? Write letters to the editor of your local publications, especially if you reside in a town or city that portrays these racist images.

Larry Echohawk Confirmed to Lead Bureau of Indian Affairs

The Senate recently confirmed Larry Echohawk to head the Bureau of Indian Affairs - a position that has been vacant for half of the last eight years. Echohawk served as Idaho's attorney general from 1991 to 1995, and was the first American Indian in U.S. history elected as a state attorney general. He is expected to face many challenges as he works to negotiate federal and tribal interests.

Friends Committee on National Legislation
245 2nd Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002

Balancing indigenous and human rights

Balancing indigenous and human rights
Originally printed at

The recent acceptance of the Declaration on the Right of Indigenous Peoples is a major step forward in human rights discussion and thought. Human rights are extended to groups and now are more than personal rights. Many indigenous leaders and activists worked for several decades trying to develop language acceptable to the nation states of the United Nations, and along the way many compromises were made. The Declaration represents a welcome extension and elaboration of human rights that many indigenous peoples, nationalist and ethnic groups will find helpful.

The present form of the Declaration extends human rights theory within the framework of nation states, but does not recognize indigenous rights perspectives and does not recognize the nonconsensual character of the inclusion of indigenous peoples within nation states as either captive nations or captive citizens. Contemporary democratic nation states are premised on the understanding that governments are organized by the people and for the people, and therefore citizens agree to the principles of government and general culture of the nation states.

While many indigenous peoples are loyal to their nation states, they at the same time want recognition of their political, cultural and territorial traditions.
One of the difficulties in the negotiation of the Declaration was that many Central and South American nation states argued that indigenous peoples within their borders already were granted the rights of full citizenship and therefore did not need a declaration of indigenous rights since they already had all the rights of national citizens.

Furthermore, it was argued, indigenous peoples were seeking special rights that other national citizens did not have, and which was contrary to the equal rights principles of most contemporary democratic nation states. Therefore, the nation states did not wish to acknowledge indigenous rights, but after long debate were willing to extend and acknowledge group rights within the language of the Declaration, but only within the legal, political and cultural frameworks of existing nation states and their governments.

The critical point here is that nation states assume their citizens accept the government and the political and cultural rules of social and political process. This, however, is a main point of contention between nation states and indigenous peoples, who have their own cultures, forms of government, economies and communities. Indigenous peoples live in communities or nations that are organized differently than nation states and many indigenous peoples do not recognize the authority or power of nation states, although they are often compelled to abide by their rules.

Indigenous peoples are often not, if ever, consensual citizens within the nation states that have assumed power and territory surrounding indigenous communities. Immigrants are asked to become naturalized and take an oath of allegiance to the nation state. Indigenous peoples, however, have been legislated into citizenship, and have not voluntarily taken oaths of loyalty or willingness to uphold or recognize the constitutions of nation states. Indigenous peoples generally are not parties to, did not consent to, and often did not participate in the constitution formation of nation states. While many indigenous peoples are loyal to their nation states, they at the same time want recognition of their political, cultural and territorial traditions.

The Declaration represents a welcome extension and elaboration of human rights that many indigenous peoples, nationalist and ethnic groups will find helpful.
The Declaration and the nation states that supported the present language of the Declaration assume that legislating citizenship for indigenous peoples is equivalent to establishing a consenting citizenry. Nation states consequently do not recognize the practical and long standing traditions of political organization and loyalty to own indigenous cultures and institutions, and impose nation-state political and legal order over numerous indigenous communities. The lack of consent by indigenous peoples is at the root of nation-state and indigenous contentions, and the Declaration does not recognize these issues when it prescribes nation-state institutions as the political process for the remedy of indigenous issues and loss of rights.

A human rights agenda must have inter-group consent at the core of its doctrine otherwise it is another form of coercion over groups who may have different values or institutional relations.

Indigenous peoples need to negotiate their positions with the international human rights movement and its doctrines, but indigenous peoples also need recognition of their cultural and political rights and consensual relations within the laws and political processes of nation-states. The future of world human rights will depend on our ability to agree to mutually consensual rights and relations.

Oil Firms and Loggers 'Push Indigenous People to Brink of Extinction'

Published on Thursday, May 28, 2009 by The Guardian/UK
Oil Firms and Loggers 'Push Indigenous People to Brink of Extinction'
'Uncontacted' tribes forced to flee armed gangs and bulldozers in forests of Peru, Brazil and Paraguay, says Survival International
by John Vidal

Five "uncontacted" tribes are at imminent risk of extinction as oil companies, colonists and loggers invade their territiories. The semi-nomadic groups, who live deep in the forests of Peru, Brazil and Paraguay, are vulnerable to common western diseases such as flu and measles but also risk being killed by armed gangs, according to a report by Survival International, which identifies the five groups as the most threatened on Earth.

Mashco-Piro woman on the Las Piedras river, south-east Peru (Photograph: Heinz Plenge Pardo/Frankfurt Zoological Society)Sixty members of the Awá tribe are said to be fleeing from gangs of loggers and ranchers on their land near Maranhão, Brazil. "Logging roads have been bulldozed through a part of their territory, where the uncontacted groups are living. The ranchers want land to graze cattle for beef. The loggers regularly block roads to prevent government teams from entering the area to investigate," says David Hill, a Survival researcher and co-author of the report.
Little is known about the group of 50 Indians who live along the River Pardo in the western Brazilian Amazon, although there is plenty of evidence for their existence, including communal houses, arrows, baskets, hammocks, and footprints along river banks. "Loggers operating out of Colniza have forced them to be constantly on the run, unable to cultivate crops and relying solely on hunting, gathering and fishing. It is believed that the women have stopped giving birth," says the report.

Perenco, an Anglo-French oil company working in a proposed Indian reserve in northern Peru, is endangering several uncontacted tribes, says the report. "The company plans to send hundreds of workers into the region. In recent weeks, indigenous protesters have blockaded the Napo river in order to prevent Perenco boats from passing. In response, a naval gunboat was called in to break the blockade."

One group is believed to be a sub-group of the Waorani, and another is known as the Pananujuri. Perenco denies the tribes exist.

Other tribes in trouble include several living near the Envira river in the Peruvian Amazon. "They are being forced to flee across the border into nearby Brazil. Despite being provided with evidence of their existence, Peru's government has failed to accept that uncontacted Indians are fleeing from Peru to Brazil. Peru's president, Alan Garcia, has suggested the tribes do not exist," says the report.

Ranchers are bulldozing land where a fifth group lives - the Ayoreo-Totobiegosode in the Chaco forest of western Paraguay. This week a Paraguayan court ruled that a company had the right to log on their land, further endangering their existence.

There are believed to be more than 100 uncontacted groups in the world. They are concentrated in Latin America, and aerial photographs of one uncontacted tribe in Brazil's Acre state captured headlines a year ago. But as many as 40 could live in West Papua, where vast areas of forest and mountain have been barely explored.

"They remain in isolation because they choose to, and because encounters with the outside world have brought them only violence, disease and murder. They are among the most vulnerable peoples on Earth, and could be wiped out within the next 20 years unless their land rights are recognised and upheld," said Stephen Corry, director of Survival.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Haudenosaunee Confederacy to UN: Stop Guns at Akwesasne Border

May 28, 2009

Skarohreh Doug Anderson of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy presented a request to the Secretary of the UN Security Council at 2:58 pm today. Supporters are asked to call 212-963-5258 to ask the UN to send officials to Akwesasne to make peace and to avoid violence from government agents. Kenneth Deer of Kahnawake raised the issue of guns at Akwesasne with the Permanent Forum on Indigenous People. They promised to send some delegates to Akwesasne. A Canadian delegate tried to dissuade any action by the UN. She is helping Prime Minister Harper to stonewall the Indigenous people.


"A treaty was signed between Britain and the U.S., known as the Jay Treaty of 1794. It was to be an undefended border between Canada and the U.S. The purpose was to bring peace between two warring countries. The two parties have remained peaceful since the War of 1812.

"Canada has always dealt with the Indigenous nations by sending RCMP to speak peacefully with us to avoid belligerence. Historically there was little warfare because guns were not used as they are in the U.S. The U.S. stole the West by killing our people. They almost annihilated us. Sitting Bull left for Canada because he knew he would be safe.

"Canada is trying to imitate the U.S. tactic of using threats in their relationship with us. Canada must not start using shot gun diplomacy like the U.S. whose policy of unilateral violence, threatening and murdering people is engulfing the world.

"Foreigners cannot come into our community with guns. They must consult us according to international law standards. A majority of all our people must give our consent. This has never happened. They have no legal right to set up an armed camp in the midst of the populous Haudenosaunne community of Akwesasne [at the convergence of Ontario, Quebec and New York State].


"On June 1 the Canada Border Services Agency guards will try to carry 9mm Berettas, which are meant to kill people. The UN must stop this attempt at ethnic cleansing at Akwesasne. Canada at the behest of the U.S. is trying to commit genocide on us, the real people of mother earth.

"The reasonable decision of the Haudenosaunee, our friends and supporters, is that there should be no guns anywhere on the Canada-U.S. border on the Canadian side. Canada is setting a precedent that any visitor arriving will have the barrel of a gun in their faces, so to say. We want the border station to be removed from the middle of Akwesasne.

"We know the power they presently exercise without the guns. They ridicule and demean us as we come through the border. They use their power of intimidation to pull us into their building away from the protective eyes of our friends and relatives. We have no choice but to cross many times a day to carry on our normal lives. The violence will always be directed at us and not at them. We want peace. These supposed peace officers are acting like war zone combatants. What a contradictory message Canada sends out to the world.

"The Jay Treaty has always been a sign to our people that we can cross that border without fear. Kanento Diabo, Clinton Richard and many others made sure that it was always a border of peace. We Mohawks are trying to bring back harmony between parties. Dekanawida urged the warring parties to throw all the weapons down and bury them.

In the 1960s and 70s some Americans did not want to become soldiers, carry guns and shoot people. They came to Canada. They were called draft dodgers. Many prospered and became fond of Canada because it was peace loving and a peacekeeping society. Today Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his cohorts want to change Canada into a petite war monger. They want the people to get used to guns, violence and murder just like the U.S.

Today Kenneth Deer of Kahnawake spoke about Canadian aggression towards us to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, 8th Session. He urged the panel to become involved immediately. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and Tonya Gonella Frichner, panel members, promised they would send a delegation to Akwesasne to observe and report. They were asked to look at the human rights aspect and to follow it up with the Security Council. Cathie Fournier [613-992-0386] of the Canadian government tried her best to downplay it, by saying, "This forum has no teeth to bite" [just gums!]. She promptly called Ottawa.

Canadians and Americans, beware. You could be next. We need your support.

For information contact Chief Nona Benedict 613-551-5421 613-938-8145, go to Skarohreh Doug Anderson 716-695-4620; Chief Wesley Benedict 613-551-2573; Larry King 613-551-1930; Chief Joe Lazore 613-551-5292. There will be a unity march on Saturday May 30 starting from the U.S. into Canada at 10:30 am. March starts at noon.
For updates contact MNN Mohawk Nation News, Go to MNN "BORDER" category for more stories;
Supporters may contact: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Buckingham Palace, London, SQ1A UK; President Barack Obama, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500, Comments: 202-456-1111, Switchboard: 202-456-1414 FAX: 202-456-2461; The Governor General of Canada, M. Michaelle Jean, 1 Rideau Drive, Ottawa; Alain Jolicoeur, President, CBSA, Ottawa, ON K1A 0L8, 613-952-3200, 613-957-0612; General inquiries; Lance Markell, District Director, Northern Office - Customs, St. Laurent Blvd., Ottawa Ont. K1G 4K3, CBSA 613-930-3234, 613-991-1214, General inquiries; Secretary Janet Napolitano, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528, Operator Number: 202-282-8000, Comment Line: 202-282-8495, Jayson P. Ahern, A/Commissioner, U.S. Customs, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20229 Chief Counsel (202) 344-2990; Marco A. Lopez, Jr., Chief of Staff, U.S. Customs, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20229; Prime Minister Stephen Harper; House of Commons, Ottawa,; Hon. Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety, House of Commons, Ottawa; Hon. Robert Douglas Nicholson, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, 284 Wellington St., Ottawa, ON K1A 0H8; Attorney General of Ontario, 720 Bay St., 4th Floor, Toronto, ON M5G 2K1; Hon. Yvon Marcoux, Minister of Justice and A.G.O., Louis-Phillipe-Pigeon Bldg., 1200 Rue d l'Eglise, 9th Floor, St. Foy G1V 4M1; Hon. Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs, 10 Wellington St., Hull, Que. K1A 0H4; Premier Dalton McGuinty, Province of Ontario, Queens Park, Toronto ON; Premier Charest, Province of Quebec, Legislature, Quebec City; British High Commission, 80 Elgin St., Ottawa, ON K1P 5K7; Canadian Human Rights Commission, 344 Slater St., 8th Floor Ottawa, ON K1A 1E1; United Nations, 405 E 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017; The Hague, Anna Paulownastraat, 103, 251 BBC, The Netherlands; Coalition for the International Criminal Court, c/o WFM, 708 3rd Ave., 24th Floor, New York, NY 10017
Supporters of Mohawks: MPs Jean Crowder, Indian Affairs critic ; Anita Neville ; Marc Lemay ; Sen. Nancy Green; Sen. Gerry St. Germain

News from Indianz.Com

The Black Hills Are Not For Sale …Or Are They?

Today on Native America Calling; 1-2 pm Eastern:

The Black Hills Are Not For Sale …Or Are They? - Individual members of the Sioux tribes have filed a lawsuit in federal court asking for a disbursement of the funds awarded by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1980 for the taking of the Black Hills. The original award was over $100 million, and it has grown to an estimated $900 million, but the settlement offer has been steadfastly rejected by tribes ever since the ruling.

29 May 2009: Today's Democracy Now!

Bruce Cumings: Latest North Korea Provocations Stem From Missed U.S. Opportunities for De-Militizaration
Tension is rising on the Korean peninsula following North Korea’s underground nuclear test on Monday and a series of subsequent missile tests. The United States and South Korea have raised their military alert level after North Korea said it would abandon the 1953 truce that ended the Korean War. We speak to University of Chicago professor Bruce Cumings, author of several books on Korea.

"We All Live in the Coal Fields": West Virginians Step Up Protests as EPA OKs New Mountaintop Removal
At least 30 people people were arrested in West Virginia Saturday as protesters marked a new phase of Operation Appalachian Spring, a campaign to end mountaintop removal mining. The protests came just a week after after the Obama administration gave the green light for 42 more mountaintop removal permits in a major victory for the coal industry. We speak to journalist Jeff Biggers, author of the book “United States of Appalachia: How Southern Mountaineers Brought Independence, Culture and Enlightenment to America.” Biggers says mountaintop removal is a national issue, not a local one as many perceive.

Despite No Links to Violence, Founders of Muslim Charity Sentenced to Lengthy Terms for Donations to Needy Palestinians in Occupied Territories
Five founders of the Holy Land Foundation, once the nation’s largest Muslim charity, have received prison terms of up to 65 years on charges of supporting the Palestinian group Hamas. The five were never accused of supporting violence and convicted for funding charities that aided needy Palestinians. The government’s case relied on Israeli intelligence as well as disputed documents and electronic surveillance gathered by the FBI over a span of fifteen years. We speak to Noor Elashi, daughter of Ghassan Elashi, the chair of the Holy Land who was sentenced to 65 years; and Nancy Hollander, a defense attorney who represented former Holy Land CEO Shukri Abu Baker.

White House Asks Court to Block Torture Photos’ Release
Admin Denies Photos Depict Rape, Sexual Abuse
Anti-Torture Activists Call for Prosecutions, Photos’ Release
Report: Cables Indicate Doctor Role in Zubaydah Torture
Obama Renews Call for Israeli Settlement Freeze
Report: 20,000 Civilians Killed in Sri Lanka Conflict’s Final Weeks
13 Killed in Pakistan Attacks
Iraq to Arrest 1,000 Officials on Corruption Charges
Pentagon to Launch Cyberspace Command
Record 12% in Foreclosure, Behind on Payments
Creditors, Workers Approve GM Deal
Single-Payer Advocates Hold National Day of Action
Nader: Ex-DNC Chair Offered Money to Drop Out of ’04 Race

Thursday, May 28, 2009

News from Indianz.Com

Steve Russell: Ward Churchill faces a third jury (5/28)

Margaret Dalton pulled 'fast one' on government (5/28)

HUD, Education secretaries visit Indian Country (5/28)

Alabama report examines Indian health status (5/28)

Murkowski supports study of Native youth suicide (5/28)

Saginaw Chippewa Tribe moves on development (5/28)

Pascua Yaqui Tribe to use special border ID cards (5/28)

California tribe returns to cemetery amid dispute (5/28)

Augustine Band sparks interest with solar energy (5/28)

Pueblo woman sought police help before son's death (5/28)

Column: Shinnecock Nation nears a milestone (5/28)

Editorial: Lawmakers shouldn't decide recognition (5/28)

Mechoopda Chair: County wrong on casino plans (5/28)

Menominee Nation takes on more costs for casino (5/28)

Shinnecock Nation ready to negotiate with state (5/28)

Thousands seek jobs at Nottawaseppi Huron casino (5/28)

Column: Inconsistency in Florida gambling age (5/28)

Column: Shingle Springs casino great for families (5/28)

More headlines...

28 May 2009: Today's Democracy Now!

Fresh Off Worldwide Attention for Joining Obama's Book Collection, Uruguayan Author Eduardo Galeano Returns with "Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone"
We spend the hour with one of Latin America’s most acclaimed writers, Eduardo Galeano. The Uruguayan novelist and journalist recently made headlines around the world when Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez gave President Obama a copy of Galeano’s classic work, The Open Veins of Latin America. Eduardo Galeano’s latest book is Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone. We speak to Galeano about his reaction to the Chavez-Obama book exchange, media and politics in Latin America, his assessment of Obama, and more. [includes rush transcript–partial]

US, South Korea Raise Military Alert Level
Ex-Officer: Blocked Photos Showed Rape, Sexual Abuse at Abu Ghraib
US Military Toll Highest in Iraq Since September ’08
Israel Vows Continued Settlement Building as Obama, Abbas Meet
Amnesty: Economic Crisis Fueling Repression
Lengthy Sentences Handed Down in Holy Land Case
Army Halts Training at Base over Record Suicides
Admin Mulls Single Agency for Regulating Banks
Torture-Linked Firm Vacates Spokane Headquarters
Activists Raise Environmental Concerns at Chevron Meeting
Dozens Protest Shell over Niger Delta Trial
Illinois Senate Backs Medical Marijuana
US Plans Massive Embassy in Pakistan
Burmese Court Bars Suu Kyi Witnesses
Ex-Chilean Soldier Indicted in Jara Killing
Haitian Priest, Activist Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste Dies at 62

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

News from Indianz.Com

NIGC: Firm coerced Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes (5/27)

Mark Charles: A Native voice on the war on terror (5/27)

Rosebud Sioux President: Stimulus will help tribe (5/27)

Walker River Paiute Tribe: Work together to save lake (5/27)

Yellow Bird: Honoring last fluent Mandan speaker (5/27)

Photos: Swearing in of Larry EchoHawk at BIA (5/27)

Column: NCAI shawl at Sotomayor announcement (5/27)

Norton's diplomatic passport missing at Interior (5/27)

BIA agrees to decision on Shinnecock Nation (5/27)

Navajo Nation celebrates water rights settlement (5/27)

Judge asked to reconsider Wampanoag land claim (5/27)

Wisconsin tribes stand to gain from tobacco tax hike (5/27)

Editorial: It's time to recognize the Chinook Nation (5/27)

New York governor backs off-reservation casinos (5/27)

Chickasaw Nation to bid on non-Indian racetrack (5/27)

Eastern Cherokees to vote on alcohol at casino (5/27)

More headlines...

27 May 2009: Today's Democracy Now!

Obama Nominee Sonia Sotomayor Poised to Become First Hispanic Supreme Court Justice
President Obama has nominated federal appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, putting her in line to become the country’s first Hispanic justice. The fifty-four-year-old Sotomayor is the daughter of Puerto Rican parents who raised her in a public housing project in the Bronx. We host a roundtable with Marjorie Cohn of the National Lawyers Guild; attorney and SCOTUS Blog founder Tom Goldstein; Cesar Perales, general counsel of Latino Justice; and Juan Manuel Garcia-Passalacqua, an independent political analyst who knows Sotomayor personally. [includes rush transcript–partial]

Gay Marriage Advocates Likely to Seek Another Ballot Vote After California Supreme Court Upholds Prop 8
Thousands have taken to the streets in California and states across the country after Tuesday’s decision by the California Supreme Court upholding Proposition 8, a ballot measure that bans gay marriage. The court’s decision does preserve the 18,000 same-sex marriages that took place last year during the few months that gay marriage was legal in California. We get reaction from Bryan Wildenthal, the first openly gay law professor at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law. He married his partner last year.

Obama Nominates Sotomayor for Supreme Court
GOP Sen.: Nominee Could Be Influenced by “Race, Gender”
California Supreme Court Upholds Gay Marriage Ban
Army Chief: US Could Remain in Iraq for 10 Years
Group: Gitmo Prisoner Was Likely 12 When Jailed
Montana Town Offers to Jail Gitmo Prisoners
Around 30 Killed in Pakistan Bombing
168 Killed as Cyclone Hits India, Bangladesh
UN Officials Calls for Sri Lanka War Crimes Probe
Pro-Ethanol Dems Threaten Climate Bill
Burris Pledged to Donate Money While Seeking Senate Appointment
Report: Paul Farmer in Talks for Top Aid Post

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Puerto Rican Political Prisoner Carlos Alberto Torres MIGHT BE HOME SOON!

Puerto Rican Political Prisoner Carlos Alberto Torres MIGHT BE HOME SOON!

May 26, 2009

Puerto Rican political prisoner Carlos Alberto Torres appeared this morning with his attorney Jan Susler at FCI Pekin, Illinois at a videoconference hearing with U.S. Parole Commission hearing examiner Larry Glenn.

The hearing took place after Carlos Alberto had served over 29 years in prison, and 15 years after his initial parole hearing in 1994, when the Parole Commission told him to come back after serving another 15 years.

The hearing examiner opened by saying he would make one of three possible recommendations at the conclusion of the hearing: 1) set a presumptive parole date; 2) tell Carlos Alberto once again to come back after serving another 15 years, at which time he would be considered for possible release on parole; or 3) deny parole entirely.

For some 45 minutes, the examiner posed questions, including some very pointed political questions about Carlos Alberto’s views on the relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico, and whether his thoughts on this issue have changed throughout his years in custody. He reviewed his accomplishments in prison and asked about his plans if he were to be released: to open a pottery studio in Puerto Rico.

Significantly, Glenn noted “the large number of documents showing community support sent to the parole commission.” He was referring to the thousands of letters and resolutions from all of Puerto Rico’s civil society, as well as from supporters throughout the U.S. and Mexico.

After a brief break, Glenn announced his recommendation: a presumptive parole date of April 3, 2010.... which would mark the 30th anniversary of Carlos Alberto’s imprisonment.

The parole commission has 21 days to issue a decision, or by June 16. Should the commission adopt the examiner’s recommendation, Carlos Alberto would be eligible for transfer to a halfway house 180 days before April 3, or on October 3, 2009.

Letters urging the commission to adopt the hearing examiner’s recommendation should arrive no later than June 17 at the office of Jan Susler, Attorney, People’s Law Office, 1180 N. Milwaukee, Chicago, IL 60622,

Sample Letter

To the United States Parole Commission:

We are writing to urge that you adopt the May 26, 2009, recommendation of the hearing examiner to set a presumptive parole date of April 3, 2010 for Carlos Alberto Torres.

We support his release and are anxious to welcome him home.

Yours truly,

The ProLibertad Freedom campaign

Tibetans "ready to die" to protect sacred site

'Tibetans "ready to die" to protect sacred site'

Hundreds of Villagers in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) are "facing off against armed security forces" over a planned gold mine on what the Tibetans consider a sacred Mountain. "Tibetans have historically worshiped the site," explains a May 24 report byRadio Free Asia (RFA). But now the Chinese mining and timber company, ZhongkaiCo., [...]

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SF8 Preliminary Hearing on June 8


850 Bryant St. @ 7th., San Francisco

The SF 8 are Black community elders and activists arrested in January 2007 on charges related to the 1971 killing of a San Francisco police officer. The case against the SF8 is a frame up based on torture-induced "confessions" and fabricated evidence. The same case was thrown out of court 30 years ago but was revived after 9/11 with money from Homeland Security. After two and a half long years, the preliminary hearing is finally starting on June 8 and is expected to last for three months. The hearing will determine whether or not the SF8 will go to trial.

"You Are on Indian Land"

You Are on Indian Land was one of the first films in Canada to give voice to the concerns of Indigenous People. Produced in 1969, the film documents a protest that was led by Mohawks from the Haudenosaunee community of Akwesasne on December 20, 1968. At the time, community members were being forced to pay [...]

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Strike down the AETA

[On May 22], the Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC), Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and other civil rights attorneys moved to dismiss the U.S. government's indictment of Joseph Buddenberg, Maryam Khajavi, Nathan Pope and Adriana Stumpo (the AETA 4), four animal rights activists who are charged for the first time with conspiracy to commit animal enterprise terrorism. Charges against the AETA 4 include protesting, chalking the sidewalk, chanting and leafleting --, and the alleged use of "the Internet to find information on bio-medical researchers." These actions are clearly and traditionally protected by the First Amendment.

The Department of Justice has brazenly called these activists "terrorists" under the auspices of a little known law called the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA ). Passed by Congress towards the end of the Bush administration, the AETA aims to suppress speech and advocacy by criminalizing activities protected by the First Amendment, including protests, boycotts, picketing and whistleblowing. Though the AETA targets animal rights activists, its language is so broad and vague that it could easily be used to prosecute labor activists who might engage in peaceful activities such as picketing or organizing a successful boycott of a giant corporate supermarket that exploits its workers. The AETA criminalizes a broad swath of protected First Amendment activities -- and CLDC and the defense team have asked the Court to strike down the AETA as unconstitutional. Furthermore, there are already dozens of state and federal laws that could be used to prosecute criminal acts engaged in by animal rights activists; the addition of this federal crime of terrorism is thus clearly intended to chill the constitutional rights of citizens who advocate a particular political belief.
The case of the AETA 4 is the first use of the AETA since being signed into law -- it is clear that the law can and will be used against lawful activists. It is of critical importance that the case against the AETA 4 be dropped in order to protect our Constitutional right to dissent.

Take action today in solidarity with the AETA 4 by doing the following:

1. Call the Department of Justice at (202) 514-1057 and ask Assistant Attorney General David Kris to stop using counter-terrorism resources to criminalize animal rights activism.

2. Write your senator and representative and demand that they repeal the AETA, as it will only lead to violations of our Constitutional rights; and abundant laws already exist to prosecute criminal acts. and,

3. Join the Coalition to Abolish the AETA and work with us to protect everyone's Constitutional right to dissent.

Stand with us today and call for justice for the AETA 4.

The Civil Liberties Defense Center
Lauren Regan
Executive Director
259 East 5th Avenue, Suite 300 A
Eugene, Oregon 97401
541.687.9180 phone
541.686.2137 fax


Our website is

Former Interrogator Rebukes Cheney for Torture Speech

Dick Cheney says that torturing detainees has saved American lives. That claim is patently false. Cheney's torture policy was directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of American servicemen and women.

Matthew Alexander was the senior military interrogator for the task force that tracked down Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq and, at the time, a higher priority target than Osama bin Laden. Mr. Alexander has personally conducted hundreds of interrogations and supervised over a thousand of them.

"Torture does not save lives. Torture costs us lives," Mr. Alexander said in an exclusive interview at Brave New Studios. "And the reason why is that our enemies use it, number one, as a recruiting tool...These same foreign fighters who came to Iraq to fight because of torture and abuse....literally cost us hundreds if not thousands of American lives."

Sound off at