Friday, October 29, 2010

Winning Video Addresses How the US Continues to Ignore Their Treaty Obligations Made with Native Americans

A job well done! Congratulations.

Innovative Multi-Media Project Seeks to Tell the Stories of Communities Affected by Human Rights Violations in Anticipation of Universal Periodic Review

Winning Video Addresses How the US Continues to Ignore Their Treaty Obligations Made with Native Americans

October 26, 2010-In an effort to bring to life the stories of ordinary citizens affected by social injustices, The U.S Human Rights Network (USHRN) launched the Testify Project, a video contest based on first person stories of human rights abuses occurring in the United States.

Organizers of the contest asked participants to create a one to two minute video addressing the core questions: how are human rights violated in your community and what should the US Government do to protect these rights.

“The Testify Project is a chance for the voice of people in the community who have suffered the indignities and violations of their human rights to be heard,” said Ajamu Baraka, Executive Director of USHRN “People from across the country are standing up to tell their stories and call on the U.S to fall in line with world standards. The powerful video from the La Jolla Band of Indians demonstrates the great need for the application of international human rights laws to our domestic policy.”

Videos ranged in subject matter from access to adequate health care to the denial of rights of indigenous communities, to immigration issues faced by the gay and lesbian community. The group received over 63 submissions for the contest.

Narrowed down by a public vote, a panel of judges with expertise in human rights and video activism selected the winning video from the La Jolla Band of Indians. This video highlights a community walk bringing attention to the disproportionately high rates of rapes and assaults on native women.

First round contest winner, Romeo Ramirez’s video described how he and his fellow tomato pickers work to put food on the tables of families across the U.S., yet could hardly feed their own families, and face sub-poverty wages and frequent abuse from employers.

The top ten videos and stories will be screened for United Nations delegates in Geneva, Switzerland in preparation for the United States’ Universal Periodic Review.

For a full list of the top 10 videos please visit:

The US Human Rights Network was formed to promote US accountability to universal human rights standards by building linkages between organizations and individuals. The Network strives to build a human rights culture in the United States that puts those directly affected by human rights violations, with a special emphasis on grassroots organizations and social movements, in a central leadership role. The Network also works towards connecting the US human rights movement with the broader US social justice movement and human rights movements around the world. To learn more, please visit:

Covert FBI war against activists like Leonard Peltier leaves dark memories

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"Obama Answer This" Project

The “Obama Answer This” Project is the initiative of an incarcerated father and if he can reach the people out there then we hope we can count on you to spread the word because with 2.3 million behind bars we can no longer afford to turn a blind eye.

It is time to push something real out. Let's go hard for our people behind the wall, let's go hard for our kids out there that may face what is coming back their way, let's go hard together collectively because for the bottom there is no “agenda” and he has to answer to what is happening on our inner city streets and behind barbed wires.


Equal justice is everyone's concern, but why should Indians care?

JURISDICTION--In 1883, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Dakota Territory court had no jurisdiction in a case in which a member of the Lakota nation killed a fellow member on tribal land. The decision overturned a death sentence and effectively gave exclusive jurisdiction for crimes to tribes. Congress wasn't happy with this outcome, however, and passed the Major Crimes Act in 1885, taking away the tribes' authority to prosecute serious crimes committed by Indians on reservations. Such crimes can be prosecuted only by the federal government.

RIGHT TO COUNSEL--The right of defendants to legal counsel is guaranteed by the Constitution, right? Not for some. Due to a little-known quirk in federal law, reservation Indians aren't assured this protection. Indian tribes are sovereign nations and are not subject to all privileges afforded by the Bill of Rights. In creating the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968, Congress gave individual tribe members some protections, such as the right to a speedy trial and the right to a trial by jury. But it didn't provide the right to counsel for defendants too poor to hire attorneys. And accused criminals often end up representing themselves. As a result, many plead guilty (whether guilty or not) and risk exposing themselves to additionl charges at the federal and state levels. In some instances, they may be subject to two trials, sentences and punishments for the same crime. Recent legislation was expected to correct this terrible wrong, but public defender services on reservations are discretionary and, further, are unfunded.

PROSECUTION--According to a 2003 study commissioned by the US Sentencing Commission, Indian offenses amount to less than 5% of the overall federal caseload, but constitute a significant portion of the violent crime prosecuted in federal courts. "Over 80% of the manslaughter cases and over 60% of sexual abuse cases arise from Indian jurisdiction and nearly half of all the murders and assaults arise from Indian jurisdiction," said the report. What's wrong with this picture?

SENTENCING--Native Americans who end up being prosecuted for serious crimes face penalties far more severe than those handed out by states. This is due to mandatory minimum sentences and no parole in the federal system. The result is there are situations where tribal members have received life sentences in the federal system when the crimes they committed would have resulted in as little as two and a half years had they occurred in state jurisdiction.

PRISONERS--Currently, there are 3,821 American Indians serving time in the federal prison system. That's more, proportionately, than ANY other racial group. According to census and Bureau of Prisons data, tribal members living on reservations are incarcerated at a rate of more than 249 per 100,000 residents. The next group is African Americans, who are imprisoned at a rate of 198 per 100,000.

So, brothers and sisters, it's not just their problem. It's our problem.

So, Obama? Answer this...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Prison Dispatch from Leonard Peltier

October 20, 2010

Sisters, brothers, friends and supporters:

I would like to share with you the good feelings I am experiencing right now. On the 16th of October, I met with my team of lawyers, my dream team. I can’t reveal the details of this meeting, but I’ll tell you this -- It was a great meeting and many positive ideas were discussed. Decisions were made about how best to prepare and file new court actions.

I’m very excited about our plans. We have at the very least 6 more constitutional violations to address. As some of you might know, in these 35 years, I have learned a lot about the law. The legal issues we have to raise now are very serious and the arguments are strong.

We’ll file cases very soon, but we have a lot of work ahead of us. This time around, we all must be prepared with not only the legal work, but the political work. We need to be unified in everything we do.

I’m ready to go to battle and hope you’ll join with us – me, the legal team and my defense committee. We can and will win this time.

Thank you.


In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

Leonard Peltier #89637-132
US Penitentiary – Lewisburg
PO Box 1000
Lewisburg, PA 17837

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

November 5: Stand with Leonard Peltier and All Political Prisoners

...recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world.
From the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)

On 05 November the United States will give an oral presentation on its human rights record to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group in Geneva, Switzerland. This is an historic event and an opportunity for us to shine a light on human rights violations on the part of the U.S. government and the use of U.S. courts to quash dissent!

This is a solidarity call to action. Join your movement to ours. Stand in unity against repression. Join us in a worldwide demonstration demanding recognition for U.S. political prisoners, prisoners of war, and exiles. On 05 November—Make a noise! Gather at every embassy and consulate around the world. Gather at every U.S. court house. Be present in the struggle for human rights.

Women—Join us! We need your vision, intelligence, and stamina.

Men—Join us! We need your heart and fortitude.

Young People—Join us! We need you to take up where we leave off.

Children—Join us! We need your joy, laughter, and wisdom.

Our Latin Brothers and Sisters—Join us! We need your spirit, warmth, and strength.

All People of Color—Join us! We need your experience and determination.

All people who work hard for a better world and who believe in human rights, social justice, and preservation of the environment—Join us! We need your passion and energy for our struggle.

For just an hour... Or the day, do it. And stand as ONE!

Get more information on Nov. 5 events and other actions in support of efforts underway at the United Nations:

Navajo Nation responds to State Department on human rights

Navajo Nation responds to State Department on human rights
Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission says the U.S. government is failing to live up to its promises to indigenous people.

The commission said the government recognizes tribal sovereignty. But a report says the government has a poor record when it comes to sacred sites, religious freedom, forced relocation and self-determination.

"Today, the Navajo Nation occupies and utilizes the resources of over 27,000 square miles of land," the report stated. "However, the Navajo Nation is deprived of the inherent right and authority to exercise the full authority and management of surface and subsurface resources."

The report is the tribe's official response to the State Department, which recently submitted its own report for the United Nations Universal Periodic Review. Paragraphs 38-42, starting on page 11, discuss "Fairness, equality, and Native Americans."

Get the Story:
Navajo tribe blasts U.S. human rights track record (The Farmington Daily Times 10/19)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Kathleen Cleaver & Claude Marks‏ on the film, COINTELPRO 101

Kathleen Cleaver & Claude Marks‏ on the film, COINTELPRO 101.

Interview by Davey D on Hard Knock Radio, Mon-Fri 4-5PM, KPFA 94.1 FM, Berkeley, CA
Listen Now

Upcoming Screenings:

Portland, Oregon

Thursday 10/21 - Pacific University 7pm - McGill Auditorium in Murdock Hall
Friday 10/22 - Red & Black Cafe 7pm - 400 SE 12th Avenue

Minneapolis, MN

Friday, 11/5 - Waite House 6:30 pm with Ricardo Jimenez & Claude Marks
Saturday, 11/6 - University of Minnesota

Saturday, October 9, 2010

AIM WEST: International Film Festival, 11 & 12 October

American Indian Movement


Film Festival

October 11 & 12, 2010

Bahai Center, 170 Valencia Street, San Francisco

Alcatraz: The Indigenous People's Sunrise Gathering

The Annual Sunrise Gathering On Alcatraz Island date has been set! Please join us on Monday, October 11, 2010, for this special event commemorating 518 years of Indigenous Resistance. For more information, please contact (415) 641-4482 or email Morning Star Gali at


Monday, October 11, 2010

This is a one day event. Boats depart Pier 33 at 5:15 and 5:45 am. The Indigenous People’s Sunrise Gathering is a commemoration of the 1969-71 occupation of Alcatraz by the “Indians of All Tribes.”

Purchase and print tickets on the web. Tickets can also be purchased by calling 415 981-7625 or at the Pier 33 ticket booth. The ticket booth opens at 4:45 am on Monday, October 11, 2010. Tickets are $11.00 per person. Children under age 5 are free.

There is absolutely no sale of merchandise of any kind allowed on Alcatraz Island, at Pier 33, Alcatraz Landing, or on the side walk outside of Alcatraz Landing.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

SF Screenings of "COINTELPRO 101: Tickets available online

The Freedom Archives presents the new documentary COINTELPRO 101

Sunday, October 10th - 4:00pm & 7:00pm - Mission Cultural Center

Film screening & program with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Soffiyah Elijah
suggested donation $10, youth $5

Tickets now available online for the 4 pm and 7 pm screenings of "COINTELPRO 101." Click here for tickets:

COINTELPRO 101 exposes illegal surveillance, disruption, and outright murder committed by the US government in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. With rare historical footage and interviews with activists who experienced these government abuses firsthand, the film provides an educational introduction to a period of intense repression and draws relevant lessons for the present and future.

View the Trailer:

Sunday, October 10th at 4 & 7pm

Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts
2868 Mission Street
San Francisco

This event is wheelchair accessible.


Additional Events

Portland, Oregon
Thursday 10/21 - Pacific University 7pm - McGill Aud in Murdock Hall
Friday 10/22 - Red & Black Cafe 7pm - 400 SE 12th Ave