Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Free Leonard Peltier: White House Tribal Nations Conference (Flyer)

Download and post/distribute in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area.

Protest Planned to Stop Further Desecration of Burial Sites on Black Mesa

What: Rally Against the Theft of Antiquity, Stop Peabody’s Restraint on Black Mesa Navajo History.

When: October 30, 2013 - 11AM-2:30PM

Where: Museum of Northern Arizona's Colton House, Flagstaff, AZ (3101 N Fort Valley Rd) 86001

Why: Millions of Indigenous remains, artifacts, and sacred objects have been desecrated by Peabody Energy's coal mining at Black Mesa, Arizona. All these are being withheld in vaults at closely associated universities. Peabody's recent expansion plan threatens to further desecrate hundreds more ancient sites.

Flagstaff, AZ - Concerned Diné (Navajos) and other indigenous rights supporters will be holding a protest to expose Peabody's deliberate process of confiscating Indigenous History.  More:  http://intercontinentalcry.org/protest-planned-stop-desecration-burial-sites-black-mesa/

Monday, October 28, 2013

Uranium, water, and the future of the Black Hills

Today marks the beginning of the water permit hearings for the proposed Dewey-Burdock Project, Powertech’s proposed uranium mine in the southern Black Hills here in South Dakota. You can read the water rights permit applications here, the groundwater discharge permit application here, and the consolidated case webpage here.

There are so many problems with this proposed mine, it is hard to pinpoint just one major issue. But the amount of water being requested by Powertech might just qualify.

More:  http://legislation.dakotarural.org/2013/10/28/uranium-water-and-the-future-of-the-black-hills/

Tribal Leader Registration for the 2013 White House Tribal Nations Conference

Announcement from the White House

Tribal Leader Registration for the 2013 White House Tribal Nations Conference

On behalf of President Obama, the White House Council on Native American Affairs cordially invites each federally recognized tribe to send ONE [emphasis added]  representative to the 2013 White House Tribal Nations Conference.  The Conference will be held at the Department of the Interior's Sidney R. Yates Auditorium.  Only tribal leaders authorized by their tribe as the designated representative to the White House Tribal Nations Conference are permitted to register.  Register here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/webform/2013-White-House-Tribal-Nations-Conference      
  • DATE: Wednesday, November 13, 2013
  • LOCATION: Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240
Please register by 10:00pm ET on Friday November 1, 2013.  Please ensure your e-mail address is correctly entered as your confirmation and all further instructions will be sent via e-mail. 
The Conference's Breakout Sessions will be built around the input received from tribal leaders so please list below the two topics you would most like to see covered during these sessions. 
For any questions please contact us at IndianCountry@who.eop.gov.

Celebrate South Dakota statehood by letting Leonard Peltier go

October 28, 2013

Celebrate South Dakota statehood by letting Leonard Peltier go
by Steve Hickey, State House District 9

It’s hard to throw a party when some in the room don’t share your excitement, or worse, when they resent the occasion or even your very existence.
There is so much to celebrate in South Dakota’s 125 year state history and yet there are painful atrocities in our past and lingering present issues we ought not ignore.
Revisiting them can facilitate healing. If not this year, when?

We share this state with Native Americans who have a very legitimate historical and ongoing beef with us wasi'chus. When Governor Daugaard announced he was setting up a commission to plan our statehood celebrations, he asked for public input to solicit ideas of things we could include. It provoked this September 18 tweet from me:


SD seeks ideas to celebrate statehood. Giving the Black Hills back ain't happning but how about a meaningful reparation gesture of some sort. 
For the last number of weeks I’ve given prayerful thought as to what might constitute a meaningful gesture. Since the offenses are by and large justice-related, key pardons come to mind. What if we let Leonard Peltier go free? In native circles here and far abroad, Leonard Peltier has become a modern symbol of a couple centuries of horrific Indian injustices by our government.

Sick and now just shy of seventy, he’s not hurting anyone and since his kangaroo trial nearly forty years ago, reasonable doubt has surfaced that he ever did. At best he was convicted on circumstantial evidence and since his incarceration several decades ago, the case against him has been seriously compromised. In 1986, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals acknowledged there had been the fabrication of evidence, withholding of exculpatory evidence, coercion of witnesses, improper conduct by the FBI and willful illegality on the part of the government. His trial is certainly one of the lower moments in American justice.

Even if you are of the opinion this guy killed two FBI agents, and there is no evidence he pulled the trigger or even had the gun, my plea to let him go is an appeal to the fact that these murders were in the midst of a civil war-like situation aggravated by FBI agents terrorizing the Pine Ridge reservation in the wake of Wounded Knee II. Certainly, as a judge stated in 1992, the government is “equally responsible” for the death of its own agents.

My appeal is also in consideration of that fact that there were more than a couple hundred natives mysteriously murdered during this period of time in hits and drive-bys—- some would say plausibly committed by U.S. Marshalls, tribal police, state-sanctioned paramilitary GOON squads, white vigilantes and government agents. If we are judging people on circumstantial evidence as we did with Peltier, why stop with him?

Letting Peltier go is not about what he did or didn’t do, it’s an acknowledgment and admission of so much that “we did do” and so much that we have done.

Recently I've floated this idea with elected officials in our state. I'd like to think Senators Johnson and Thune, Congresswoman Noem, Governor Daugaard and my colleagues in the South Dakota legislature would join me in formally seek Presidential clemency for Leonard Peltier. Only President Obama can make this happen and he could do it today. If our Great Chief in Washington is truly empathetic toward the plight of the REDSKINS, he will do it.

We can’t go back and fix Wounded Knee I, but it’s still not too late to redress Wounded Knee II. If we want to move into a new era, we need to let go of some things from the previous one. Time to let Leonard Peltier go and let that wound heal.

An addendum for my conservative friends: Every ammo-stocking, liberty-loving conservative in South Dakota fearing the Federal government (NSA overreaches, enemy lists, infringements by law enforcement and the like) needs to look past their Indian animosities for a moment and take a long hard look at what happened to Leonard Peltier. Martin Niemöller’s line comes to mind and so I’ll redact it for use here… first they came for [Leonard Peltier] and I did not speak out… then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me. Yes, the genocide of American Indians does warrant a likening to the eradication of the Jews.

Source:  http://www.voicescarryblog.com/celebrate-south-dakota-statehood-by-letting-leonard-peltier-go/

In response:

"Free Leonard Peltier," Says SD Republican

NY to judge: Unseal documents on '71 Attica riot

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's attorney general has asked a state judge to release sealed documents about the 1971 riot and retaking of Attica state prison in an effort to reveal the full history of the nation's bloodiest prison rebellion and answer the questions of families whose loved ones died there.

Read more:  http://news.yahoo.com/ny-judge-unseal-documents-71-attica-riot-222349049.html

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

2013 Leonard Peltier Holiday Gift Drive

2013 Leonard Peltier
Holiday Gift Drive

Children's Winter Clothing, Toys & School Supplies

Please only send NEW items for children of ALL ages.  

(Donors tend to send small sizes & toys for younger children often. Please remember that our teens need some holiday cheer, too!)


Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, Belcourt, North Dakota
(Leonard Peltier's Nation)

TMBCI Holiday Gift Drive
Attention Cindy Malaterre
PO Box 900
Belcourt, ND 58316 


Oglala Nation, Pine Ridge, South Dakota

Paul Waha (Shields) Peltier
PO Box 646
Pine Ridge, SD 57764

Peltier Network: Year-Long Support

Peltier College Scholarship (Cash Donations)

Oglala Commemoration
1939 Wentzville Parkway
Wentzville, MO 63385

School Supplies (Paper, pens and pencils, binders, erasers, backpacks, etc.)

Oglala Commemoration
1939 Wentzville Parkway
Wentzville, MO 63385

Thank You!

We Wish You Many Blessings This Holiday Season and Throughout the New Year!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

UN Urged To Declare Canada's Treatment Of Aboriginals Genocide

[This week] former National Chief Phil Fontaine, elder Fred Kelly, businessman Dr. Michael Dan and human rights activist Bernie Farber sent a letter to James Anaya, UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, arguing that several specific crimes against aboriginal people in Canada qualify as genocide under the post-Second World War Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG).

More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/10/18/genocide-first-nations-aboriginals-canada-un_n_4123112.html

Aboriginal News Group Statement on the #Mi'kmaq / #ELSIPOGTOG Crisis


A Communiqué from the ANG Public Information Bureau:

To the Sovereign People of the Independent Mi'kmaq Nation
To all Colonialised Peoples of the Fourth World

The Aboriginal News Group (ANG) wishes to extend its support and solidarity to the Indigenous warriors standing strong  in defence of Mi'kmaq / Elsipogtog territorial and human rights under Canadian occupation and against the unwanted exploitation of their lands. We recognise their peaceful protest as part of the international struggle in defiance of intentional acts of genocide undertaken against Indigenous / First Nations Peoples throughout the Fourth World and within the occupied territories of North America.

Clearly, the 'Indian Wars' are not over.

Aboriginal rights defenders and concerned residents who have taken non-violent, community control over a roadway that crosses through their Nation in protest of an environmental wipeout of Indigenous land were viciously attacked by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) state security forces employing fear tactics; rubber bullets and tear gas aimed against unarmed Indigenous Peoples on their own territory. Unnecessary mass arrests of prominent protesters and and the seizing of personal computers and recording devices against (seemingly) targeted members of the independent media has also occurred.

This is not democracy. Nor is it benevolent colonialism.

This is genocide under the provisions of the 'Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide' : (Resolution 260 (III) A of the U.N. General Assembly on 9 December 1948).

And Canada (the 'Peaceful Country') is in blatant violation of these very basic human rights.

We have all watched (mostly in silence) how the Canadian tradition of colonialist exploitation and xenophobic self-centred  importance has resulted in the mass liquidation of millions of First Nations Peoples, legal and extra-legal racial segregation; punishing residential 'de-Indianising' schools; mass incarceration; widespread communal depression and the institution of socio-politically isolated Bantustans designed to rob Indigenous Peoples of our lands, our rights and our very dignity.

This is the basic formula of genocide.

The unapologetic use of state-sponsored violence, social coercion and subvert; psychological repression of speech; cultural and political expression in order to prevent the development of a viable, pan-Indigenous consciousness. In other words, the actions undertaken at Elsipogtog by state authorities is intended to marginalise the autochthonous Mi'kmaq Nation as a sociopolitical entity within Canada by way of force.

This is genocide.

The destruction of the Indigenous population of North America is not new news to the people of the First Nations. We continue to wage the struggle for Indigenous survival through the persistence of our resistance. The racist, enforced displacement and economic exploitation of modern First Nations Peoples, the unpeaceful dispossession of Indigenous lands and the right to protest colonialism are critical issues for all Original Peoples of the Fourth World facing extinction in the name of European and capitalist expansion.

Respect Indigenous Mi’kmaq Human and Territorial Rights!

We applaud the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society and all Original Peoples of the Fourth World courageously and intelligently resisting colonialism and Indigenous genocide.

- Editors of the Aboriginal News Group.
For further inquiries please contact:
ANG Public Information Bureau / The Fourth World:

Protests Sweep Canada Following Paramilitary Assault on Indigenous Fracking Blockade http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/10/18-3
Feathers versus Guns: The throne speech and Canada’s war with Mi’kmaw Nation http://westcoastnativenews.com/feathers-versus-guns-the-throne-speech-and-canadas-war-with-mikmaw-nation/

Freedom Is Not Free

How about $1.00? Can you spare $1.00 for Leonard’s FREEDOM? If ALL of Leonard’s supporters donated $1.00…OR…the cost of a cup of coffee, a hamburger or a gallon of gas…how GREAT would... that be to help an INNOCENT Man? It's not about any ONE of us; it's about ALL of us working together---Leonard asks us for so little, PLEASE HELP TO BRING OUR BROTHER HOME!

Donate online: http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/donate.htm

To make a tax deductible donation, send a check or money order made payable to "Wind Chases the Sun," a 501(c)3 tax exempt entity (and our fiscal sponsor) and write "LPDOC" on the Memo line.  Send your donation to the below address.
Wind Chases the Sun
N5679 Skylark Drive
DePere, WI  54115

Thank you so very much for your support.

Oneida Vice-Chairman Greg Matson: International Peoples Tribunal on Leonard Peltier

Leonard Peltier with grand-daughter of Dorothy Ninham (Wind Chases the Sun, Inc.)

I wanted to touch briefly on an event that recently occurred on our reservation. It was the International Peoples Tribunal on Leonard Peltier October 2-4 2013.  The whole event happened at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center and was attended by people from all over the world. It was a unique event of history of the United States that an international tribunal was held on American soil. The goal of the process was to bring an understanding to the world public about the injustices that indigenous peoples have faced throughout the country in regards to unfair treatment and the neglect of human rights for Native Americans. The Leonard Peltier case was referred to many times as a model case of failed policies and inconsistencies of process in dealing with Native American jurisdiction and rights as citizens. There was a panel of well-respected judges put in place to hear the testimonies given by victims and eyewitnesses which will be brought before the World Court in one of the non-partisan countries eligible and it will then be determined at an international level whether or not human rights have been violated. I was able to attend for a few hours throughout the event and it was very disturbing to hear some of the unethical treatment that some of our relatives from other Indian Nations had to endure when the American Indian Movement was trying to stop the criminal activity of sworn officials. The three day event was recorded by national and international reporters and will be assembled into a documentary in the future. I will attempt to keep updates on the progress of the findings in the future. The listed items are only several of a long list of activities that affect our peoples and communities every day in many ways. I would hope that your understanding of these subjects will increase and that your involvement in our community work will increase the quality of life of our membership and provide a better future for all.



Greg Matson
Vice Chairman
Oneida Nation

From Vice-Chairman's Corner at

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Please Give

The International Office of the LPDOC can use your help to pull off Leonard's clemency campaign. Please donate, buy merchandise or purchase art prints - anything you can afford to do - to help raise the funds necessary to bring Leonard home.

To donate:

Shop: http://www.shop2showsupport4peltier.com

Art: http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/art.htm or http://www.leonardpeltierart.com

Draft resolutions on human rights and Indigenous Peoples, 24th session of the UN Human Rights Council

The draft resolutions A/HRC/24/L.21 and A/HRC/24/L.22 on Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples, which were adopted on September 26, 2013, at the 24th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva, Switzerland, may be found at the following link: http://ap.ohchr.org/Documents/dpage_e.aspx?b=10&se=148&t=4

The HRC notably:
  • requests the Expert Mechanism to continue its study on access to justice in the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples, with a focus on restorative reconciliation, including an examination of access to justice related to indigenous women, children and youth and persons with disabilities, (…);
  • also requests the Expert Mechanism to prepare a study on promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples in natural disaster risk reduction, prevention and preparedness initiatives, including consultation and cooperation with the indigenous peoples concerned in elaboration of national plans for natural disaster risk reduction, (…);
  • further requests the Expert Mechanism to continue to undertake, with the assistance of the Office of the High Commissioner, the questionnaire survey to seek the views of States and indigenous peoples on best practices regarding possible appropriate measures and implementation strategies in order to attain the goals of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, (...);
  • decides to hold, at its twenty-seventh session, a half-day panel discussion on promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples in natural disaster risk reduction, prevention and preparedness initiatives, including consultation and cooperation with the indigenous peoples concerned in the elaboration of national plans for natural disaster risk reduction;
  • takes note of the outcome document of the Global Indigenous Preparatory Conference for the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples held in Alta, Norway, in June 2013, and other proposals made by indigenous peoples, and recommends that the four themes identified in the outcome document be taken into account when considering the specific themes for the round tables and interactive panel for the World Conference.
Regarding the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the HRC:
  • decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples for a period of three years on the same terms as provided by the Human Rights Council in its resolution 15/14.

doCip - Indigenous Peoples' Center
for Documentation, Research and Information

14, avenue de Trembley

CH 1209 - GENEVA (Switzerland)

Tel.: +4122 - 740 34 33

Fax: +4122 - 740 34 54

secretariat@docip.org - docip@docip.org

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

44th National Day of Mourning: 28 November 2013

National Day
of Mourning

Nov. 28, 2013
12:00 noon
Coles Hill Plymouth, MA

2013 National Day of Mourning Flyer
2013 National Day of Mourning Orientation
View 2013 National Day of Mourning Orientation

8 Tribes That Are Way Ahead of the Climate Adaptation Curve

Much has been made of the need to develop climate-change-adaptation plans, especially in light of increasingly alarming findings about how swiftly the environment that sustains life as we know it is deteriorating, and how the changes compound one another to quicken the pace overall. Studies, and numerous climate models, and the re-analysis of said studies and climate models, all point to humankind as the main driver of these changes. In all these dire pronouncements and warnings there is one bright spot: It may not be too late to turn the tide and pull Mother Earth back from the brink.


Anaya statement upon conclusion of the visit to Canada

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya

Statement upon conclusion of the visit to Canada

15 October 2013

I am now concluding my visit to Canada in my capacity as United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples. Over the last nine days I have met with federal and provincial government authorities, and with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis leaders, organizations and individuals in several parts of the country. In addition to being in Ottawa, my meetings have taken me to various places, including indigenous territories, in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Québec.

I am grateful to the Government of Canada for its cooperation and for the information it has provided, and for allowing me to carry out my visit freely and in an independent manner. I would also like to express my deep gratitude to representatives of indigenous peoples who invited me to visit their territories and communities across Canada, and to those indigenous organizations and individuals who assisted me in organizing parts of my agenda. Finally, I especially want to thank the indigenous peoples with whom I met for sharing with me their stories, concerns and aspirations. I am honored to have been welcomed into their communities and territories, and am truly humbled by their hospitality and warmth.

Over the past several days, I have collected a significant amount of information from indigenous peoples and Government representatives across the country. In the following weeks, I will be reviewing the extensive information I have received during the visit in order to develop a report to evaluate the situation of indigenous peoples in Canada and to make a series of recommendations. This report will be made public, and will be presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council. I hope that that this report will be of use to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people, as well as to the Government of Canada, to help find solutions to ongoing challenges that indigenous, or aboriginal, peoples in the country face. In advance of this report, I would like to now provide some preliminary observations and recommendations on the basis of what I have observed during my visit. These do not reflect the full range of issues that were brought to my attention, nor do they reflect all of the initiatives on the part of federal and provincial governments related to indigenous issues.

Canada, with its diverse and multicultural society, has been a leader on the world stage in the promotion of human rights since the creation of the United Nations in 1945. And it was one of the first countries in the modern era to extend constitutional protection to indigenous peoples’ rights. This constitutional protection has provided a strong foundation for advancing indigenous peoples’ rights over the last 30 years, especially through the courts. Federal and provincial governments have made notable efforts to address treaty and aboriginal claims, and to improve the social and economic well being of indigenous peoples. Canada has also addressed some of the concerns that were raised by my predecessor following his visit in 2003. These include actions to remedy gender disparities in the Indian Act and to providing access to the Canadian Human Rights Commission for claims based on the Indian Act. Additionally, Canada has adopted the goal of reconciliation, to repair the legacy of past injustices, and has taken steps toward that goal.

But despite positive steps, daunting challenges remain. From all I have learned, I can only conclude that Canada faces a crisis when it comes to the situation of indigenous peoples of the country. The well-being gap between aboriginal and non-aboriginal people in Canada has not narrowed over the last several years, treaty and aboriginals claims remain persistently unresolved, and overall there appear to be high levels of distrust among aboriginal peoples toward government at both the federal and provincial levels.

Canada consistently ranks near the top among countries with respect to human development standards, and yet amidst this wealth and prosperity, aboriginal people live in conditions akin to those in countries that rank much lower and in which poverty abounds. At least one in five aboriginal Canadians live in homes in need of serious repair, which are often also overcrowded and contaminated with mould. The suicide rate among Inuit and First Nations youth on reserve, at more than five times greater than other Canadians, is alarming. One community I visited has suffered a suicide every six weeks since the start of this year. Aboriginal women are eight times more likely to be murdered than non-indigenous women and indigenous peoples face disproportionately high incarceration rates. For over a decade, the Auditor General has repeatedly highlighted significant funding disparities between on-reserve services and those available to other Canadians. The Canadian Human Rights Commission has consistently said that the conditions of aboriginal peoples make for the most serious human rights problem in Canada.

It is clear to me that Canada is aware of and concerned about these issues, and that it is taking steps to address them. I have learned about numerous programs, policies and efforts that have been rolled out at the federal and provincial levels, and many of these have achieved notable successes. However, it is equally clear that these steps are insufficient, and have yet to fully respond to aboriginal peoples’ urgent needs, fully protect their aboriginal and treaty rights, or to secure relationships based on mutual trust and common purpose. Aboriginal peoples’ concerns and well-being merit higher priority at all levels and within all branches of Government, and across all departments. Concerted measures, based on mutual understanding and real partnership with aboriginal peoples, through their own representative institutions, are vital to the long-term resolution of these issues.

Importantly, Canada has taken action toward the goal of reconciliation between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians with the 2008 government apology for the residential schools and the creation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has been documenting the horrifying stories of abuse and cultural dislocation of indigenous students who were forced from their homes into schools whose explicit purpose was to destroy their family and community bonds, their language, their culture, and their dignity, and from which thousands never returned. Generations of aboriginal children grew up in residential schools estranged from their cultures and languages, with devastating effects on maintaining indigenous identity. It is clear that the residential school period continues to cast a long shadow of despair on indigenous communities, and that many of the dire social and economic problems faced by aboriginal peoples are directly linked to that experience. I urge the Government to ensure that the mandate of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission be extended for as long as may be necessary for it to complete its work, and to consider establishing means of reconciliation and redress for survivors of all types of residential schools. In addition, I would like to emphasize that the mark on Canada’s history left by the residential schools is a matter of concern to all of Canada, not just aboriginal peoples, and that lasting healing can only truly occur through building better relationships and understanding between aboriginal peoples and the broader society.

Another aspect of the long shadow of residential schools, combined with other historical acts of oppression, is the disturbing phenomenon of aboriginal women missing and murdered at the hands of both aboriginal and non-aboriginal assailants, whose cases have a much higher tendency to remain unresolved than those involving non-aboriginal victims. Certainly, both federal and provincial governments have taken steps targeted at addressing various aspects of this issue. Yet over the past several days, in all of the places I have visited, I have heard from aboriginal peoples a widespread lack of confidence in the effectiveness of those measures. I have heard a consistent call for a national level inquiry into the extent of the problem and appropriate solutions moving forward with the participation of victims’ families and others deeply affected. I concur that a comprehensive and nation-wide inquiry into the issue could help ensure a coordinated response and the opportunity for the loved ones of victims to be heard, and would demonstrate a responsiveness to the concerns raised by the families and communities affected by this epidemic.

These and further steps are required to realize the promise of healing and a new relationship that was made in the 2008 apology. Among all the government and aboriginal people with whom I have met, there is agreement that improving educational outcomes for aboriginal people is a key to addressing many of the other problems facing them. I commend the governments at both levels for placing a high priority on education. However, I have heard remarkably consistent and profound distrust toward the First Nations Education Act being developed by the federal government, and in particular deep concerns that the process for developing the Act has not appropriately included nor responded to aboriginal views. In light of this, I urge the Government not to rush forward with this legislation, but to re-initiate discussions with aboriginal leaders to develop a process, and ultimately a bill, that addresses aboriginal concerns and incorporates aboriginal viewpoints on this fundamental issue. An equally important measure for improving educational outcomes, and one that could be implemented relatively quickly, is to ensure that funding delivered to aboriginal authorities for education per student is at least equivalent to that available in the provincial educational systems.

As was stressed to me throughout my visit, it will be difficult to improve educational outcomes without addressing the substandard housing conditions in which many aboriginal people live. Young people described to me the difficulty they have studying in small homes overcrowded by generations of family members. Other social problems have also been linked to these overcrowded conditions, including high rates of tuberculosis and other health problems, family violence, unemployment, and unwanted displacement to urban centres. Overcrowding of homes leads to increased wear and tear and the premature deterioration of existing housing stock, resulting in dilapidated and often unsafe housing conditions.

It is abundantly clear that funding for aboriginal housing is woefully inadequate. The housing problem has a significant economic and social impact; the Chief of one community I visited indicated that if adequate housing were available, the vast majority of his community’s members with university degrees—nurses, teachers, engineers—would choose to return home. A woman from the same community who more typically had not had the opportunity to attend university, told me that as she became an adult she had no chance of having a house of her own, but rather was forced to remain in her parents home for years to come, with few prospects for developing a life on her own. “It is as if I’m not a person”, she said. I urge the Government to treat the housing situation on First Nations reserves and Inuit communities with the urgency it deserves. It simply cannot be acceptable that these conditions persist in the midst of a country with such great wealth.

By all accounts, increased investment in building self-governing capacity is essential to creating socially and economically healthy and self-sufficient aboriginal communities. One hundred and thirty years of Indian Act policies persistently undermined—and in some cases continue to undermine—many First Nations’ and Inuit peoples’ historic self-governance capacity. Enhancing economic development opportunities is also crucial to restoring and building healthy and vibrant aboriginal nations and communities. I acknowledge the many initiatives by Canada to strengthen aboriginal governance and catalyze economic development. And I applaud the many successes a number of aboriginal communities have had in building governance capacity and pursuing economic development opportunities.

But at the same time I note the frustration expressed to me uniformly by aboriginal leaders that their self-governance capacity and economic development, and improved conditions more generally, remain impeded by the multiple legacies of the history of colonization, treaty infringements, assault on their cultures, and land dispossession suffered by their peoples. To address these legacies Canada has developed specific and comprehensive claims processes that in many respects are models for the world to emulate. There are noteworthy success stories arising out of these procedures. But in their implementation overall, the claims processes have been extremely slow and mired in challenges—challenges that appear in most cases to stem from the adversarial structure of negotiations, in which entrenched opposing positions often develop on key issues and agreement simply cannot be reached. To make this worse, resource development often proceeds at a rapid pace within lands that are the subject of protracted negotiations between aboriginal peoples and the Government, undermining the very purpose of the negotiations.

The Government has rightly acknowledged problems with the claims processes. In 2008, it took action to reform the claims processes, including by imposing a time limit for settlement of specific claims. I commend the Government’s recent efforts to establish high-level oversight committees on treaty and comprehensive claims, which I hope will help to address in a timely fashion many of the concerns shared by both Government and indigenous peoples related to these processes. In this context, in re-thinking the available claims processes, I encourage the Government to take a less adversarial, position-based approach in which it typically seeks the most restrictive interpretation of aboriginal and treaty rights possible. In this regard, the Government should instead acknowledge that the public interest is not opposed to, but rather includes, aboriginal concerns. The goal of reconciliation that has been cited by the Government and indigenous peoples alike requires a more generous and flexible approach that seeks to identify and create common ground. Further, as a general rule, resource extraction should not occur on lands subject to aboriginal claims without adequate consultations with and the free, prior and informed consent of the aboriginal peoples concerned.

More generally, greater efforts are needed to improve avenues of communication between Canada and aboriginal peoples to build consensus on the path forward. In all my meetings with aboriginal leaders and community members it was evident that there is a significant level of discontent with the state of relations with federal and provincial authorities, as well as a widely held perception that legislative and other decisions over multiple matters of concern to them are being taken without adequate consultation or consideration of their inherent and treaty rights. I urge the federal Government especially to work with aboriginal peoples, through their representative institutions and authorities, to overcome this condition of mistrust. As with the Education Act initiative mentioned earlier, unless legislative and other government actions that directly affect indigenous peoples’ rights and interests are made with their meaningful participation, those actions will lack legitimacy and are likely to be ineffective.

In order for the Government to move forward to address the concerns of indigenous peoples in partnership with them, it is necessary to arrive at a common understanding of objectives and goals that are based on full respect for indigenous peoples’ constitutional, treaty, and internationally-recognized rights. Indigenous leaders from First Nations with historical treaties repeatedly expressed to me their yearning for the friendship, respect and sharing of resources that they understand the treaties to embody, and aboriginal leaders look to future arrangements based on similar premises. Such aspirations provide a much stronger grounding for a Canada respectful of human rights than a premise of indigenous subjugation and extinguishment of rights.

In addition to historical treaties and constitutional principles, the international standards endorsed by Canada and aboriginal peoples, in particular the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, should inform the definition of common objectives and goals. Canada’s 2010 endorsement of the Declaration marked an important step on the path towards reconciliation with indigenous peoples, and Canada should be commended for joining most all of the rest of the countries of the world in support of this instrument. I was pleased to hear, throughout my visit, references by First Nations, Inuit and Métis people to the Declaration, and about the incorporation of its standards into their work. It is my hope that the provincial and federal governments in Canada, as well as the country’s courts, will aspire to implement the standards articulated by the Declaration. The Declaration can help to provide a common framework within which the problems that I have outlined here in a preliminary fashion can be addressed.

I look forward to developing more detailed observations and recommendations beyond these initial comments in my report to the Human Rights Council. My observations and recommendations will be aimed at identifying good practices and needed reforms in line with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other international instruments that mark Canada’s international human rights obligations. I hope that this process will contribute to ensuring that the indigenous peoples of Canada can continue to thrive and maintain their distinct ways of life as they have done for generations despite the long shadow of a history of misdealing, enriching Canadian society for the benefit of all.

* * *

Canada faces a 'crisis' on aboriginal reserves: UN investigator comments (Video)

A UN indigenous rights investigator said Canada faces a "crisis" when it comes to the situation of the country's aboriginal peoples.

James Anaya, the UN’s special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, said Tuesday that one in five aboriginal Canadians lives in a home in need of serious repairs, and the suicide rate among youth on reserves is "alarming" at a rate five times greater than that of all Canadians.

Read more:

Help to Free an Innocent Man

Join with us to free an innocent man.  Sign our petition asking President Obama to grant Executive Clemency to Leonard Peltier here.

Please donate to our campaign for Leonard Peltier.  See that justice prevails.

Learn more:  www.whoisleonardpeltier.info

Exonerating Evidence: The Wrongful Conviction of Leonard Peltier


Among the exculpatory evidence withheld by the FBI during the trial of Leonard Peltier, this teletype (above) dated October 2, 1975, shows that Bureau tests conclusively determined that the rifle attributed to the defendant had not fired the cartridge casing allegedly recovered from the trunk of Special Agent Coler's car. FBI firearms expert Evan Hodge had testified to the opposite at trial. 

Manipulation of Facts: The Wrongful Conviction of Leonard Peltier (Infographic)


By 1977, Leonard Peltier was the only remaining individual the FBI could blame for the deaths of the two agents. The charges against Jimmy Eagle had been dropped—the government stipulated that he was not on the reservation on the day of the firefight. (However, FBI documents later revealed that the government decided to dismiss charges against Eagle so that "the full prosecutive weight of the Federal Government could be directed against Leonard Peltier.") Dino Butler and Bob Robideau were acquitted in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in July 1976.

The Butler/Robideau trial had uncovered much FBI misconduct, such as tampering with witnesses and evidence, perjury, counterintelligence-type activities and tactics used against AIM, and substantial evidence indicating there was a full scale paramilitary assault on Pine Ridge by the FBI and other law enforcement officials on the day in question. The jury as a result concluded that Butler and Robideau were acting in self-defense.

Peltier's defense team had this same evidence and more. Yet they would never be be able to present a major portion of it to the jury.

The government clearly was determined to convict Peltier and succeeded. Leonard Peltier was found guilty not because he was guilty, but because crucial aspects of his trial were manipulated to favor the prosecution and, consequently, cause a conviction.

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Extradition of Leonard Peltier by Fraudulant Means (Infographic)

Mr. Leonard Peltier was arrested in Canada on February 6,1976. He was extradited from Canada in December of the same year on the basis of an affidavit signed by Myrtle Poor Bear (above), a Native American woman known to have serious mental health problems.

Poor Bear claimed to have been Leonard Peltier’s girlfriend at the time of the shootings, and to have been present during the shoot-out and witnessed the killings.

Leonard Peltier was extradited from Canada to the United States.

Today, the government concedes that, in fact, Myrtle Poor Bear did not know Leonard Peltier, nor was she present at the time of the shooting. She later confessed she had given false statements after being pressured and terrorized by FBI agents. Myrtle Poor Bear sought to testify in this regard at Leonard Peltier’s trial. However, the judge barred her testimony on the grounds of mental incompetence.

In addition to being a violation of Leonard Peltier's rights, the United States government committed fraud on the court during the extradition proceedings and violated the sovereignty of Canada. The U.S. government has made no attempt to correct this wrong and, to date, the illegal extradition has not been corrected by the Canadian Court.

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Prelude to 26 June 1975: Terror on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (Infographic)

Native American activist Leonard Peltier has spent nearly 40 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Prosecutors and federal agents manufactured evidence against him (including the so-called "murder weapon"); hid proof of his innocence; presented false testimony obtained through torturous interrogation techniques; ignored court orders; and lied to the jury.
What led to the firefight on 26 June 1975?  Our infographic shows that a series of events made the conflict inevitable.

Leonard Peltier has been widely recognized for his humanitarian works, winning honors including but not limited to:

  • 1986 Human Rights Commission of Spain International Human Rights Prize;
  • 1993 North Star Frederick Douglas Award;
  • 2003 Federation of Labour (Ontario, Canada) Humanist of the Year Award;
  • 2004 Silver Arrow Award for Lifetime Achievement;
  • 2009 First Red Nation Humanitarian Award;
  • 2010 Kwame Ture Lifetime Achievement Award;
  • 2010 Fighters for Justice Award; and
  • 2011 Mario Benedetti Foundation (Uruguay) - First International Human Rights Prize.
In 2009, for the sixth consecutive year, Leonard Peltier also was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.


Highlights: UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples visits Canada

A United Nations fact-finder visited a remote reserve in northwest Manitoba on Saturday as part of a nine-day visit to Canada, looking into what have been called "Third World living conditions" for some of Canada’s aboriginal communities.

Law professor James Anaya, the UN's special rapporteur on indigenous rights, started his day Saturday in Winnipeg, then travelled to Pukatawagan, a remote Cree reserve with more than 2,500 people.

In some cases, families of 15 are living in three-bedroom homes. Some of the houses on the reserve are infested with bed bugs and have mould issues.

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/un-investigator-visits-manitoba-reserve-where-some-homes-lack-running-water-1.1495618#ixzz2hjKQGj9a


Special Rapporteur Anaya is visiting Canada from 7 to 15 October 2013 to examine the situation of Indigenous peoples in the country. This visit follows up a mission to Canada by a former Special Rapporteur in 2004. Following the visit, Special Rapporteur Anaya will prepare and make public a report on the visit’s findings, which will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2014.

“On behalf of the Métis Nation, we wish to express our sincere gratitude to Mr. Anaya for dedicating time on the examination of the human rights situation of Métis during his official visit to Canada” said President Chartier.

Read more:  http://www.metisnation.ca/index.php/news/metis-nation-meets-with-un-special-rapporteur


Winnipeg's Portage Avenue and Main Street intersection was shut down this morning as hundreds of supporters gathered to greet UN Special Rapporteur James Anaya. He is currently on a nine day-tour of Canada in urban and remote communities throughout Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Mr. Anaya will be reporting on the country's progress in improving living conditions within Indigenous communities since the last UN assessment took place in 2003. That report highlighted the inequalities that Canada's Indigenous people faced in terms of economics, social rights, education, housing and health care.

He will hold a press conference in Ottawa next Tuesday (15 October) to review his tour. Mr. Anaya's final report to the UN Human Rights Council is expected to be completed by September of 2014.


UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

13 Sep 2007: Adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was over 25 years in the making. The idea originated in 1982 when the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) set up its Working Group on Indigenous Populations (WGIP), established as a result of a study by Special Rapporteur José Ricardo Martínez Cobo on the problem of discrimination faced by indigenous peoples. Tasked with developing human rights standards that would protect indigenous peoples, in 1985 the Working Group began working on drafting the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The draft was finished in 1993 and was submitted to the Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, which gave its approval the following year. During this the International Labour Organisation adopted the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989.

The Draft Declaration was then referred to the Commission on Human Rights, which established another Working Group to examine its terms. Over the following years this Working Group met on 11 occasions to examine and fine-tune the Draft Declaration and its provisions.

Progress was slow because of certain states' concerns regarding some key provisions of the Declaration, such as indigenous peoples' right to self-determination and the control over natural resources existing on indigenous peoples' traditional lands.

The final version of the Declaration was adopted on 29 June 2006 by the 47-member Human Rights Council (the successor body to the Commission on Human Rights), with 30 member states in favor, 2 against, 12 abstentions, and 3 absentees.

The Declaration (document A/61/L.67) was then referred to the General Assembly, which voted on the adoption of the proposal on 13 September 2007 during its 61st regular session.

The vote was, in favor 144 countries: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Niger, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, the Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United States. All four member states that voted against have their origins as colonies of the United Kingdom, and have large non-indigenous immigrant majorities and small remnant indigenous populations. Since then, all four countries have moved to endorse the declaration.

Abstaining, 11 countries: Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burundi, Colombia, Georgia, Kenya, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Samoa and Ukraine. Colombia and Samoa have since endorsed the document.

Absent: Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Israel, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Montenegro, Morocco, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, São Tomé and Príncipe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Tajikistan, Togo, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Brief on Peltier Extradition submitted to UN Special Rapporteur Anaya in Ottawa

U.N. Special Rapporteur receives the Canadian Leonard Peltier extradition brief in Ottawa, Oct. 14. 2013. (from left) Anne Dreaver, Anaya, U.N. Special Rapporteur, Maia Campbell, Associate Human Rights Officer (UN), Frank Dreaver of the LPDCC — at Assembly of First Nations/Assemblee des premieres Nations.

Monday, October 14, 2013

US Court Ruling That Goes Unnoticed: Keystone XL Profits More Important than Environment

In a major ruling that’s flown under the radar, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit - based in Denver, Colorado – decided not to grant the Sierra Club and Clean Energy Future Oklahoma a temporary injunction on the construction of the southern half of Transcanada’s Keystone XL tar sands export pipeline.

Read more:  http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/10/14/transcanadas-keystone-xl-profits-more-important-than-environment/

The table of the hungry: Seeing poverty first-hand changes one’s definition of need

By Roland Merullo
The Boston Globe - 12 October 2013

I’ve been thinking lately about an expression I once heard from a Russian friend: “The full to the table of the hungry do not go.” I suppose it’s on my mind because of the news from Washington: the well-fed insisting on political grandstanding they surely know will cause great hardship to the poorest among us. It’s quite a sight, isn’t it, men and women earning six-figure salaries and pontificating about the need for cuts to programs that overwhelmingly give succor to the worst-off — the poor, the ill, the handicapped, the helpless. Then you see these same folks making a public spectacle of kneeling in prayer and asking God to help our nation. Where I come from we have a word for that. It is “hypocrisy.”

Maybe I’m more sensitized than usual to these events because this summer my wife and daughters and I made a 3,000-mile driving trip through the American West. It was a classic road trip, complete with tours of several national parks, a close encounter with a wildfire, and even a couple of days in Vegas. The high point was hiking up the Great Sand Dunes in time to see the full moon rise over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The low point was a brief tour of the Pine Ridge Oglala Sioux Indian Reservation in southern South Dakota.

The county occupied by that reservation is the third-poorest in the United States. The average life expectancy there is 48 years for men, 52 for women. There are astronomically high rates of everything from diabetes to tuberculosis to teen suicide to alcoholism. In fact, one in every four children born at Pine Ridge suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome. And the infant mortality rate is three times the national rate.

We spent a little money at Pine Ridge, gave some away to people who asked — with a remarkable dignity — and bought a few handmade bracelets. But while we were checking out the cemetery at Wounded Knee a young woman approached me, holding a necklace, and asked if I’d buy it from her for $20. I said no. It was a reflexive no, born of the sense that I’d done enough, and of the dislike I have, most of us have, for strangers coming up to us and asking for money.

For me, Pine Ridge put everything else — small family arguments, money worries, less than great meals — into perspective. Like most of the American poor, the Sioux Oglala are largely invisible, all but fenced off in that barren landscape, hidden from us behind a curtain of our own manufactured desires. We “need” a new car, a granite countertop, a golf club membership, a cruise to Alaska, millions for our reelection campaign. There’s nothing wrong with looking out for ourselves. . . . but meanwhile the poor, in this rich nation, stay hungry and invisible.

Not long after leaving Pine Ridge I played golf at a friend’s ritzy club in the Denver suburbs. I noticed how easy it was for me to offer to buy a round of drinks (though non-members, it turned out, couldn’t pay) which would have cost me $30 or $40 or $50. And yet, how reluctant I’d been to hand over 20 bucks to the woman at Wounded Knee whose family lived in a tent.

My wife and I give a higher percentage of our money to charity than does the average American; I tip in the 20 percent range; I do what I can in the way of volunteer and pro bono work. But for long stretches of empty road that didn’t seem enough. Where, I kept wondering, is the balance point between caring for myself and my family, and making sure hungry kids have something to eat? Where does reasonable comfort end and blind selfishness begin? If the government doesn’t help the poor and the troubled, will the rest of us really volunteer to do so?

I doubt that we’d do enough. Via some subtle psychological trickery I think we blame the poor for their plight and credit the wealthy for their success. Too often, though, neither the blame nor the credit is warranted. Back home now, watching the circus from Washington, that’s what haunts me.

Roland Merullo is the author, most recently, of the novel “Lunch with Buddha.’’ He can be reached at Roland@RolandMerullo.com.