Monday, January 31, 2011

2011-01-31 "For bayou Indians, spill threatens a way of life" by Cain Burdeau from "Associated Press" newswire
MONTEGUT, La. – Even before oil began spewing into the Gulf of Mexico last spring, Louisiana's American-Indian fishing villages were on the brink of collapse because of social change and the dramatic loss of coastal wetlands.
Now, Indians who've known nothing but fishing all their lives find their futures tied to the man handing out checks for damages, paid from a multibillion-dollar fund started after the April 20 Gulf spill.
Kenneth Feinberg, the fast-talking East Coast lawyer in charge of BP PLC's $20 billion compensation fund, met with them for the first time Friday night on the back bayous of south Louisiana at a gymnasium in Montegut, about an hour and a half from New Orleans. Dozens of fishermen showed up in shrimp boots and work clothes, speaking a mixture of French and English.
They want Feinberg to compensate them not just for lost wages, but a way of life that relied on the bounty of the marshes and now is in jeopardy.
"The people have been independent for so long, a lot of them will go trawling, they'll bring an ice chest (of seafood) to maman, grandpa, auntie, the uncles and all that," said Thomas Dardar, the principal chief of the United Houma Nation, the largest Indian tribe with about 17,000 members.
"With the oil, how long will it last? Oil isn't like a hurricane," he said. "You can't just pick up after it's over. The Indians in Alaska after Exxon-Valdez tell us they've been dealing with the oil for 20 years."
Many tribes moved into the swamps to escape enslavement or forced banishment after Congress passed the 1830 Indian Removal Act.
Until the 1950s, most Indians lived in isolation, rarely interacting with whites. Old-timers recall barefoot children scampering into the woods to hide when the first cars rattled into their villages in the 1950s. Indian children were barred from schools until the 1960s and were called "sabines," a derogatory term.
There are about 20,000 American Indians in coastal Louisiana who trace their roots to Houma, Chitimacha, Choctaw and Biloxi tribes.
Tribal leaders say they're worried many members won't be compensated fairly, so they've brought on a New York City law firm to help the tribes navigate the difficult claims process.
All the paperwork and documentation isn't easy in these marshes, a place where some people can't read or write, where lawyers and taxes often are blurry concepts.
Take Price Billiot, 63, who runs a seafood dock in Pointe-Aux-Chenes, a dilapidated and water-bound town that stretches along a bayou in the tall marshes near Montegut.
He quit fourth grade to start working on a boat with his father, cleaning oysters. His wife has to help him with all the BP claims paperwork, he said — he can spell and read a bit, but not enough to handle it on his own.
"The white people didn't want me to go to school," he said. "We couldn't go to the school, we couldn't go to the bar up the bayou."
With hurricane damage still to fix and business slow from the spill, he was gloomy about the future.
"Every year it gets worse. You can't make a living," he said as a rooster and peacock crowed in the grasses across the road. A fishing boat abandoned long ago sat rotting into the mud across the bayou. "When I was young you could make a good living."
For now, he's surviving, in part thanks to $65,000 in emergency payments BP gave him in June for his business losses. But Billiot said his company was worth $1 million a year and that he needed much more from BP to keep it going. Feinberg is now calculating long-term damage claims like one Billiot might file for potential future losses.
Feinberg told those at his first meeting with Indian tribes Friday that he wanted to pay them claims for the value seafood and hunting plays in their everyday lives — so-called "subsistence claims."
"It's a claim that my lifestyle has been adversely impacted by my inability to any longer live off the resources that I hunt or catch," he said. "... What I could go hunt or fish I now have to go buy.
"Those claims should be paid."
Even if they're paid the spill has created even more uncertainty for people on the bayous, where life is a struggle. Families have been driven inland from their ancestral villages, battered by hurricanes and low seafood prices. And their coastal land is disappearing: About 2,300 square miles of marsh have converted to open water since the 1930s largely because of the Army Corps of Engineers' construction of levees in the Mississippi River delta and thousands of miles of canals dug by oil companies.
Now it's nearly impossible to turn a profit for any seafood caught by people like Anthony Dardar, a 28-year-old fisherman in Pointe-Aux-Chenes who's trying to get back to fishing. He'd just brought in a few sacks of oysters.
"We can't hardly move the oysters, we could hardly move the shrimp, it's hard to move the crabs," he said. "Now, they're finding all kind of freakin' dispersant in the water. Who knows about the future."

Monday, January 10, 2011

Modoc Nation publicizes fact of USA non-recognition of UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

2011-01-01 "Modoc Nation rips UN declaration" posted by Rob Schmidt at "Newspaper Rock Where Native America meets pop culture" online journal
Recently conservatives have had fun concocting a new racist smear campaign against Obama [] and liberals have had fun mocking them.
Now let's return to the actual UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and see how harmless it really is.
Here's part of a press release from the Modoc Nation []:
[begin excerpt of press release]
"State Department White Paper Contradicts Obama’s Statements at Tribal Nations Conference; Shows U.S. Endorsement of UNDRIP Really Means Politics and Business as Usual; U.S. State Department position: UNDRIP unnecessary to protect rights of Native Americans"
The white paper issued by the State Department fleshing out the details of the U.S. endorsement of UNDRIP is really quite disappointing. Largely a laundry list of everything the federal government has done for the indigenous people of this country over the last two years, its primary message can be boiled down to: “We’re already doing all these wonderful things to help out the native peoples that live in our country, so U.S. endorsement of UNDRIP is unnecessary. But since we want to continue in our role as the leader of the free world, and the United States always stands up for what is right, we’ll go ahead and endorse it anyway.” This conclusion is all but confirmed when one reads the fine print of the article and finds that the United States government’s application and implementation of UNDRIP will be limited largely to already existing federally recognized tribes and be carried out within the framework of existing US and state law. In other words, even though the United States is “endorsing” UNDRIP, it sees no need to alter any of its laws or policies pertaining to the indigenous peoples within its national boundaries and jurisdiction. In fact, the State Department says the United States should serve as a “model” to the rest of the world in this regard.
[ ... ]
US endorsement ignores UNDRIP’s obligation of nation-states to honor their treaties with indigenous peoples: "Article 37  -
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the recognition, observance and enforcement of treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements concluded with States or their successors and to have States honour and respect such treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements.
2. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as diminishing or eliminating the rights of indigenous peoples contained in treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements.
Incredibly, this critical issue is not even discussed in the State Department’s white paper. In fact the word “treaties” appears only twice, both times in the same paragraph, in which the State Department lauds the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for consulting with “Northwest treaty tribes” regarding the designation of critical habitat and with four other unnamed tribes regarding their “ocean treaty fishing rights for groundfish in conjunction with the Pacific Fishery Management Council process.” While we all are grateful for the rare occasions in which the U.S. government “consults” with us, it is laughable that the Obama Administration has announced its “support” of UNDRIP without even addressing the issue of honoring treaties, one of the bedrock elements of UNDRIP. Apparently, this Administration, like its predecessors, continues to view treaties with native nations, tribes and bands as documents that have no real force of law and, therefore, are subject to being breached or abrogated whenever it is convenient for the U.S. government to do so. In fact, the Supreme Court enshrined this practice and made it “legal” when it invented by interpretation the “plenary powers of Congress” doctrine (see Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock, 187 U.S. 553, 23. S. Ct. 216, 47 L. Ed. 299 (1903)). So, we now see that this Administration plans to make no change with respect to its recognition, observance or enforcement of treaties it has struck with indigenous peoples. Rather than come right out and say that, however, the State Department has just ignored the issue entirely.
[end excerpt of press release]
Comment: As Wikipedia notes about the Modoc []:
"The Modoc are a Native American people who originally lived in the area which is now northeastern California and central Southern Oregon. They are currently divided between Oregon and Oklahoma. The latter are a federally recognized tribe, the Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma. The Oregon Modoc are enrolled in the federally recognized Klamath Tribes."
So the Modoc Nation is an unrecognized tribe, which is why it spends time bemoaning the administration's focus on recognized tribes. But still, this is a great critique. I think the second point is the telling one.
How do you "endorse" or "support" indigenous rights without explicitly stating you'll honor the treaties you signed?
That's why I have to shake my head at those who think this "aspirational" document will move Natives closer to a just world.
One, it has zero legal force; it's not binding on the US, future administrations, or Obama himself.
Two, the white paper offers no significant discussions of tribal sovereignty [], treaty rights, or government-to-government relations. So tribes are "aspiring" to nothing except the status quo.
For more on the subject, see
- "UN Declaration = Status Quo" []
- "What Supporting the UN Declaration Means". []
[comment following original article posting]
Two Eagles, Kokiwas Band, Modoc Nation said...
Great post, but I would like to clear up the erroneous statement that the Modoc Nation is not a federally recognized tribe. The Modoc Nation is a name change for the Modoc Tribe, which, until June 19, 2010 was one of three tribes in a confederation known as the Klamath Tribes (plural).
On that date, the Modoc People ratified a modern constitution, elected their own government, and issued a declaration dissolving all allegiance and political ties to the Klamath tribal government. In other words, they exercised their sovereign right to change their government and political affiliation. (see
Federal recognition of the Modoc Tribe (Nation) began with the Lakes Treaty of 1864, continued until the Termination Act of 1954, and was restored by an act of Congress in 1986.
The Federal Register listing of recognized tribes lists the "Klamath Tribes" (plural) and includes the Modoc Tribe and Yahooskin Band of Snake Indians. So the Modoc Nation (formerly Tribe) is, indeed, a federally recognized tribe. Any arguments to the contrary are based on assumptions or complex legal theories that would have to be proven in court.
[The author replies]
I see the Klamath Tribes and the Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma in the Federal Register (below).
I don't see the Yahooskin Band of Snake Indians or any other Modoc Nation or Tribe. []
I'm pretty sure the federal government recognizes the Klamath Tribes as a single entity. That doesn't mean it recognizes each of the component tribes also. I believe they're recognized only as part of the whole. Exercising your rights and declaring your independence doesn't necessarily mean the feds recognize these things.
Where exactly is the Modoc Nation listed as an entity separate from the Klamath Tribes?
Which government programs for federally recognized tribes does the Modoc Nation participate in? Etc.
Until I see hard evidence, not just legal rhetoric, I'll continue to stand by my assertion.
As far as I know, the Modoc Nation of Washington (?) isn't a federally recognized tribe.

Kiribati in the Pacific Ocean


Kiribati Island
Kiribati is located between Hawaii and Australia, and is made up of thirty three small islands. A small nation in land size comparisons, the Kiribati islands actually span a whopping three and a half million million square kilometres in the Pacific Ocean.
What a start to your holiday
Where To Visit:  Christmas Island

Christmas Island is the one of the most popular tourist destinations as it is the largest coral island to be found worldwide. To get the best view of the coral, consider scuba diving. Local dive operators can be easily employed to take you on a memorable dive.
Christmas Island is also one of the best bird sanctuaries in the world as it is home to hundreds of species and literally millions of birds. Special birdwatching holiday accommodation is available.

Where To Visit:  Gilbert Island -
Gilbert Island is actually made up of sixteen islands and is home to the capital Tarawa. The vast majority of the population of Kiribati lives here. If you are up to the challenge, charter a fishing trip and take on some of the largest game fish in the Pacific. For golf, visit Tarawa’s Ambo Island which has sand only courses.
If it is seclusion you desire, visit one of the many smaller, less inhabited islands.

Shopping -
With a plethora of handmade items, shopping in Kiribati is both fun and interesting. The handmade baskets are exquisite. Also available are souvenirs made of shark’s teeth, pearls, coconuts and sea shells.

What to Eat -
The residents of Kiribati have a strong appreciation of food. The most popular foods are rice and seafood. The sashimi travels straight from the ocean to your table, and is a must try item. Kiribati cooks are not afraid to use spices and sauces liberally. Coconut is used often in both vegetable and meat entrees.
Coconut is also used in many desserts, such as macapuno, which is a thick jam. The majority of the restaurants are located in the largest towns, but local vendors in other areas offer a unique and authentic dining experience.

Weather in Kirbiati -
The year round average daily temperature averages eighty-six degrees. A nice breeze is present the majority of the time. Humidity can be high at times, but is not extremely bad. The rainy season extends between December and March, but rainfall amounts can be irregular at times.

Where to Stay -
Hotels in Kiribati are strategically located near the hottest tourist destinations. Travellers report receiving wonderful service from the hotels here. With beautifully decorated rooms, and spectacular views, it would be hard to go wrong no matter where you choose to stay.

Kiribati dancers participate in New Year's ceremony on Millennium Island, Kiribati, Saturday, January 1, 2000. [© AP Images]

Wikileaks show proof USA executes extreme racism against 5th World peoples

2010-12-26 "Wikileaks on Indigenous Peoples: US white privilege" by Brenda Norrell from "Censored News"
The Wikileaks cables released about Indigenous Peoples so far have focused on Chile’s Mapuche and Bolivian President Evo Morales. The cables are proof that the global Indigenous movement to halt the corporate rape of Mother Earth, and unite Indigenous Peoples around the earth, has had an impact. The most disturbing aspect of the US State Department cables on Indigenous Peoples is the haughtiness and white privilege that bleeds through the print.
The cables make it clear that to the United States, Indigenous Peoples are annoying, even potential terrorists, and must be dealt with. Along with the Mapuches defense of their land and environment, the Wikileaks cables released so far show the United States’ obsession with Bolivian President Evo Morales and his growing popularity. In the Bolivian cables, the incorrect facts, poor content and unreliable sources are the most glaring aspect.
If the US spy in Bolivia was so wrong about President Morales’ tumor that did not exist, what can be said of the rest of the information. Much of the information is based on public news reports and rambling gossip. The Bolivian cables make clear the intent of the United States: It is to create mistrust and division between individual Bolivian leaders and executive staff. One can only ponder what the US spy meant when he referred to a possible unexpected exit by President Morales.
The US cable is supposed to be an assessment of Indigenous political leaders in Bolivia. The US spy said, “If Morales were to exit unexpectedly, an indigenous or strong regional leader would be the most likely candidate to fill his position.” Reading the Wikileaks spy cables concerning Indigenous Peoples is like reading a foreign language, it is very difficult to decipher what is being said. The thinking is so foreign it takes a while to ponder the intent of the both the writer (the US spy) and the message.
The impact of the global Indigenous Peoples is obvious in the cables from Santiago, Chile, written in January 2008 and just released. The US spy in Santiago said, “Secretariat General of the Presidency Minister Viera Gallo told the Ambassador January 30 that the GOC – and Chilean society - are only belatedly taking seriously a growing problem with Chile's indigenous (largely Mapuche) population, which has never been fully integrated and is becoming increasingly radicalized. Mapuche alienation and protest activity could impact on issues such as terrorism, energy, and development in environmentally sensitive regions.”
This cable, and other cables, show the growing concern by the United States of the rising collective power of Indigenous Peoples, it terms of uniting with other groups and stopping the development of enormous development projects such as dams that destroy Indigenous lands. With the Mapuches, the US is concerned about connections to the Basque and NGOs (non-governmental organizations.)
The US spy in Santiago said, “Viera-Gallo agreed with E/Pol Counselor that the issue cut across several lines, including terrorism, energy, and development. The Minister noted that several Mapuche had ties to the Basques, including possibly to the ETA. They are involved in protests against construction of dams that would produce hydro-electric power, impacting Chile's energy needs. Mapuche are linked to NGO's opposed to development in lands both claimed by the Mapuche and which are also environmentally sensitive.” “Chile will face ‘serious restrictions’ in the upcoming winter months.
Construction of dams (hydro) is critical but faces obstacles from indigenous and environmental groups. The potential for developing geothermal power in Chile's north ("we are talking to the Italians") is also hostage to indigenous groups in that region, who are concerned about associated water rights and shortages,” the US spy said. .
The United States, the last country in the world to support the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and a country settled by colonizers who carried out slaughter and genocide of Indians here, prevailed in its haughtiness, criticizing other countries for their treatment of Indigenous Peoples. The US spy in Chile said, "On the other hand, successive Concertacion governments have bungled indigenous policy, perpetually making it a low priority and failing to set and meet realistic expectations." .
While spying on Chile, the US had this to say: "Meanwhile, another indigenous group --Easter Islanders -- seem to have been inspired by Mapuche activism, recently occupying the island's only airport for 24 hours in a successful effort to gain government attention to their demands."
Wikileaks Santiago cable: []
Wikileaks La Paz cable on Indigenous leaders: []
Wikilkeaks cable referring to Easter Islanders: []
Listen to First Voices Indigenous Radio, WBAI New York with Lakota Tiokasin Ghosthorse, for more on the Easter Islanders: SANTI HITORANGI [] []
The Chilean government is now moving to evict all Rapanui from their lands in a move to grab and privatize the Moai. NICKOLAS KOZLOFF []
Wikileaks: FBI Now Keeping Tabs on Native Americans --- in South America? Listen at: http://[]

Bolivia convinces UN to adopt resolution recognizing beliefs held by the Collasuyo nations

2010-12-23 "United Nations Approves Two More Resolutions by Bolivia: Harmony With Nature and World Conference on Indigenous Peoples"
republished at []
Plurinational State of Bolivia, Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, Comunicado de Prensa, 23 de diciembre 2010-
Earlier this week, the General Assembly of the United Nations approved by consensus two resolutions presented by Bolivia.
The first, entitled “Harmony with Nature,” asks to convene an interactive dialogue on International Mother Earth Day on April 22nd, 2011. Topics will include methods for promoting a holistic approach to harmony with nature, and an exchange of national experiences regarding criteria and indicators to measure sustainable development in harmony with nature. This resolution recognizes that “human beings are an inseparable part of nature, and that they cannot damage it without severely damaging themselves.”
It also seeks to contribute to the preparatory process for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012. The second resolution convenes in 2014 a World Conference on Indigenous Peoples with the objective of contributing to the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Both resolutions make reference to the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, which took place this year in Cochabamba, Bolivia.
In the last two years, the UN General Assembly has approved five resolutions initiated by the Plurinational State of Bolivia. Four were approved by consensus, and one in a vote with no country opposed (the resolution on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation). Never before in the history of Bolivian diplomacy has has the country had such an impact in the UN.

Presidential candidate of Peru is working towards Plurinational Statehood for nations in the Amazon river basin

2011-01 "Peru Amazon Indigenous Leader Announces Presidential Bid" from "Eurasia Review" online news journal
Source: Latinamerica Press -
Alberto Pizango, the Amazon indigenous leader whom the Peruvian government blames for inciting deadly clashes between native protesters and police in June 2009, has announced he will run in the April 2011 presidential elections.
In a Nov. 18 ceremony and press conference with Amazonian spiritual leaders and indigenous community members, Pizango, 45, said he will fight for a “plurinational” state, if elected in next year´s election, in which he will run under the new movement Alliance for Humanity´s Alternative. Pizango was the leader of the Inter-Ethnic Development Association of the Peruvian Amazon, or AIDESEP, an umbrella organization of Amazon indigenous organizations, during protests last year against a series of investment decrees that aimed to ease restrictions on investment projects — particularly, gas, oil, mining and forestry — in Peru´s Amazon basin. The demonstrations, which lasted nearly two months, turned violent on June 5, and 33 police officers and indigenous demonstrators were killed. Pizango then received asylum in Nicaragua, and though he returned to Peru in May of this year, he still faces charges that he allegedly incited the protests, accusations he says are fabricated.
Tensions between Peru´s Amazon indigenous movements and the government have intensified over recent years as the administration of President Alan García more aggressively opens up the nation´s jungle to extractive industry and other investments, which indigenous, environmental and human rights groups argue bypasses indigenous rights, such as the right to a previous and informed consultation on investment projects that affect them, as outlined by the International Labor Organization´s Convention 169 on native peoples. Pizango said his movement is neither politically left, right, or center, but that he plans to “stop the destruction of Mother Earth by the Western consumerism- and individualistic-based model.” A recent Ipsos-Apoyo poll showed former Lima Mayor Luis Castañeda leading voter intent with just over 24 percent, followed by former President Alejandro Toledo (2001-2006) with 20 percent, and Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of jailed ex- President Alberto Fujimori, who governed from 1990 to 2000, with 19.6 percent.