Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving - A Wampanoag Indigenous Perspective

What Really Happened at the First Thanksgiving? The
Wampanoag Side of the Tale
Gale Courey Toensing, Indian Country Today, 11/23/2012
http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/11/23/what-really-happened-first-thanksgiving-wampanoag-side-tale-and-whats-done-today-145807
When you hear about the Pilgrims and “the Indians” harmoniously sharing the “first Thanksgiving” meal in 1621, the Indians referred to so generically are the ancestors of the contemporary members of the Wampanoag Nation. As the story commonly goes, the Pilgrims who sailed from England on the Mayflower and landed at what became Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620 had a good harvest the next year. So Plymouth Gov. William Bradford organized a feast to celebrate the harvest and invited a group of “Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit” to the party. The feast lasted three days and, according to chronicler Edward Winslow, Bradford sent four men on a “fowling mission” to prepare for the feast and the Wampanoag guests brought five deer to the party. And ever since then, the story goes, Americans have celebrated Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November. Not exactly, Ramona Peters, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s Tribal Historic Preservation Officer told Indian Country Today Media Network in a conversation on the day before Thanksgiving 2012—391 years since that mythological “first Thanksgiving.”
We know what we’re taught in mainstream media and in schools is made up. What’s the Wampanoag version of what happened?
Yeah, it was made up. It was Abraham Lincoln who used the theme of Pilgrims and Indians eating happily together. He was trying to calm things down during the Civil War when people were divided. It was like a nice unity story.
So it was a political thing?
Yes, it was public relations. It’s kind of genius, in a way, to get people to sit down and eat dinner together. Families were divided during the Civil War.
So what really happened?
We madea treaty. The leader of our nation at the time—Yellow Feather Oasmeequin [Massasoit] made a treaty with (John) Carver [the first governor of the colony]. They elected an official while they were still on the boat. They had their charter. They were still under the jurisdiction of the king [of England]—at least that’s what they told us. So they couldn’t make a treaty for a boatload of people so they made a treaty between two nations—England and the Wampanoag Nation.
What did the treaty say?
It basically said we’d let them be there and we would protect them against any enemies and they would protect us from any of ours. [The 2011 Native American copy coin commemorates the 1621 treaty between the Wampanoag tribe and the Pilgrims of Plymouth colony.] It was basically an I’ll watch your back, you watch mine’ agreement. Later on we collaborated on jurisdictions and creating a system so that we could live together.
What’s the Mashpee version of the 1621 meal?
You’ve probably heard the story of how Squanto assisted in their planting of corn? So this was their first successful harvest and they were celebrating that harvest and planning a day of their own thanksgiving. And it’s kind of like what some of the Arab nations do when they celebrate by shooting guns in the air. So this is what was going on over there at Plymouth. They were shooting guns and canons as a celebration, which alerted us because we didn’t know who they were shooting at. So Massasoit gathered up some 90 warriors and showed up at Plymouth prepared to engage, if that was what was happening, if they were taking any of our people. They didn’t know. It was a fact-finding mission.
When they arrived it was explained through a translator that they were celebrating the harvest, so we decided to stay and make sure that was true, because we’d seen in the other landings—[Captain John] Smith, even the Vikings had been here—so we wanted to make sure so we decided to camp nearby for a few days. During those few days, the men went out to hunt and gather food—deer, ducks, geese, and fish. There are 90 men here and at the time I think there are only 23 survivors of that boat, the Mayflower, so you can imagine the fear. You have armed Natives who are camping nearby. They [the colonists] were always vulnerable to the new land, new creatures, even the trees—there were no such trees in England at that time. People forget they had just landed here and this coastline looked very different from what it looks like now. And their culture—new foods, they were afraid to eat a lot of things. So they were very vulnerable and we did protect them, not just support them, we protected them. You can see throughout their journals that they were always nervous and, unfortunately, when they were nervous they were very aggressive.
So the Pilgrims didn’t invite the Wampanoags to sit down and eat turkey and drink some beer?
[laughs] Ah, no. Well, let’s put it this way. People did eat together [but not in what is portrayed as “the first Thanksgiving]. It was our homeland and our territory and we walked all through their villages all the time. The differences in how they behaved, how they ate, how they prepared things was a lot for both cultures to work with each other. But in those days, it was sort of like today when you go out on a boat in the open sea and you see another boat and everyone is waving and very friendly—it’s because they’re vulnerable and need to rely on each other if something happens. In those days, the English really needed to rely on us and, yes, they were polite as best they could be, but they regarded us as savages nonetheless.
So you did eat together sometimes, but not at the legendary Thanksgiving meal.
No. We were there for days. And this is another thing: We give thanks more than once a year in formal ceremony for different season, for the green corn thanksgiving, for the arrival of certain fish species, whales, the first snow, our new year in May—there are so many ceremonies and I think most cultures have similar traditions. It’s not a foreign concept and I think human beings who recognize greater spirit then they would have to say thank you in some formal way.
What are Mashpee Wampanoags taught about Thanksgiving now?
Most of us are taught about the friendly Indians and the friendly Pilgrims and people sitting down and eating together. They really don’t go into any depth about that time period and what was going on in 1620. It was a whole different mindset. There was always focus on food because people had to work hard to go out and forage for food, not the way it is now. I can remember being in Oklahoma amongst a lot of different tribal people when I was in junior college and Thanksgiving was coming around and I couldn’t come home—it was too far and too expensive—and people were talking about, Thanksgiving, and, yeah, the Indians! And I said, yeah, we’re the Wampanoags. They didn’t know! We’re not even taught what kind of Indians, Hopefully, in the future, at least for Americans, we do need to get a lot brighter about other people.
So, basically, today the Wampanoag celebrate Thanksgiving the way Americans celebrate it, or celebrate it as Americans?
Yes, but there’s another element to this that needs to be noted as well. The Puritans believed in Jehovah and they were listening for Jehovah’s directions on a daily basis and trying to figure out what would please their God. So for Americans, for the most part there’s a Christian element to Thanksgiving so formal prayer and some families will go around the table and ask what are you thankful for this year. In Mashpee families we make offerings of tobacco. For traditionalists, we give thanks to our first mother, our human mother, and to Mother Earth. Then, because there’s no real time to it you embrace your thanks in passing them into the tobacco without necessarily speaking out loud, but to actually give your mind and spirit together thankful for so many things… Unfortunately, because we’re trapped in this cash economy and this 9-to-5 [schedule], we can’t spend the normal amount of time on ceremonies, which would last four days for a proper Thanksgiving.
Do you regard Thanksgiving as a positive thing?
As a concept, a heartfelt Thanksgiving is very important to me as a person. It’s important that we give thanks. For me, it’s a state of being. You want to live in a state of thanksgiving, meaning that you use the creativity that the Creator gave you. You use your talents. You find out what those are and you cultivate them and that gives thanks in action.
And will your family do something for Thanksgiving?
Yes, we’ll do the rounds, make sure we contact family members, eat with friends and then we’ll all celebrate on Saturday at the social and dance together with the drum.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Invader States Hijacked UN "World Conference on Indigenous Peoples"


Bogus World Conference Strips Indigenous Peoples of Inherent Rights to Decolonization
Indigenous Delegates Beg for Crumbs from Invaders

Invader States Hijacked UN "World Conference on Indigenous Peoples"
  by Glenn Morris (Shawnee) 
While watching the fraudulently-labeled United Nations World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (HLPM/WCIP--see end footnote 1, below) on UN WebTV on September 22-23, I was reminded of the famous quote from Thomas Pynchon: "If they get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about the answers." The UN meeting was full of state members who had convinced a fair number of indigenous attendees to ask a multitude of the wrong questions. Unfortunately, whatever questions the indigenous people asked, the answer was always the same: the forces that invaded our homelands are firmly in charge at the UN.
Worse yet, the room at the UN contained indigenous people who attended the meeting from a position of fear, not from the courageous stance that defined the birth of the contemporary international movement for indigenous peoples' rights forty years ago. The indigenous spectators seemed to be attending because of insecurity that they were going to be left out of something big. They weren’t sure what, but they weren’t going to miss it. They refused to assert their most fundamental rights, for fear of irritating the UN members -- the very states that invaded our territories, slaughtered our people, and attempted to exterminate our cultures. It was a sorry spectacle, indeed.
The meeting proved to be a predictable success for invader-states of the United Nations. It also marked a retreat from the forty years of international struggle towards indigenous peoples' self-determination that took hold after the 71-day liberation of Wounded Knee in 1973. What most indigenous people around the world did not know about the HLPM/WCIP was that, ridiculously, the final conclusions, or as they called it the “Outcome Document” (OD), of the WCIP had already been completed by the states -- before the conference ever began. The meeting was a charade, with the outcome pre-determined. There was no need for any discussion, let alone debate. In fact, there was no need for the meeting, at all – except as an example of self-serving kabuki theatre, to allow states to perpetrate the fraud that they care anything about indigenous peoples.
The meeting was a retreat for indigenous peoples because the international indigenous peoples’ movement over the past forty years has been influenced largely through four essential, strategic priorities. These four positions were consciously excluded, or were rendered meaningless, in the final Outcome Document (OD) of the meeting:
1.    Self-Determination. The right of self-determination for indigenous peoples, that is, theinternationallegal right of indigenous nations freely to determine our political status and freely to pursue our economic, social and cultural development, is a hallmark of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) (Article3). Self-determination is mentionednowherein the OD. 
2.    The international personality of indigenous nations, and the international character of treaties between indigenous nations and invader states. This principle is an extension of self-determination – and insists that indigenous peoples are not conquered nations and are not rightfully under the domination of, or occupation by, invader states. Similarly, the principle asserts that treaties between indigenous peoples and invaders must be accorded international respect and be subject to impartial, international arbitration, as alluded to in Article 37 of the UNDRIP. There is no mention, whatsoever, of treaties between indigenous nations and states in the OD. 
3.    The right of Indigenous peoples to control our territories, natural resources and traditional knowledge. There are no guarantees in the OD to secure the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of indigenous peoples prior to state or corporate invasions of indigenous peoples’ territories. There is no mention of state's commitment to enforcing FPIC. On the last day of the conference Canada explicitly stated that it would not support FPIC because Canada refuses to relinquish its presumed supremacy over indigenous nations. Canada’s colonial arrogance was not unique; Canada simply admitted it with the greatest blatancy. References to FPIC in the OD are gratuitous, having been rendered sterile by state pillaging of the substantive meaning of FPIC.
4.    Dismantling the Doctrine of Christian Discovery. The legal bedrock upon which the U.S., Canada, and most other settler states rationalize their invasion, domination and destruction of indigenous peoples. This legal doctrine, the foundation for all US federal Indian law, legitimizes Christian, white supremacy and the theft of entire continents. The ongoing legitimacy of the doctrine in settler-state law violates the UN Charter, both UN human rights covenants, and the Conventional for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Yet, the “World Conference” OD ignored the issue entirely, and left the Doctrine of Discovery completely unexamined, and in tact.
States can make no pretense of forthright implementation of the UNDRIP while ignoring each of these four essential areas. Similarly, the indigenous people in the meeting can hardly claim the mantle of "leadership" after volunteering as props in a sham process, while allowing states to declare the meeting a success. The HLPM certainly proved to be a success for states - in their expanding domination and domestication of indigenous peoples. The “world conference” process permitted states to evade all accountability for their crimes against humanity, for genocide, and for their persistent, ongoing destruction of indigenous peoples, in the name of civilized progress, development, and globalization.
The state-controlled HLPM/WCIP process utilized three time-honored tactics against indigenous peoples, in achieving the deception of effective indigenous participation and consent in its ersatz “world conference”:
1. Divide and conquer 
2. Exclusion of the opposition, and 
3. Ingratiation. 
Certain UN members, (and the UN bureaucracy itself, which operates first and foremost to protect state interests) were masterful in establishing indigenous gatekeepers within the UN system, and in privileging those who were in favor of the HLPM/WCIP as the "good/reasonable Indians," while marginalizing those who had criticisms of it as the "bad/hostile Indians." By legitimizing the indigenous gatekeepers, the UN provided a level of insulation between the state parties who wanted the appearance of indigenous peoples' buy-in to the HLPM/WCIP, and those indigenous peoples who rejected state manipulation, who demanded respect and equal participation, and who refused to lend their consent to a counterfeit “world conference”
As it became clear that the indigenous gatekeepers could not achieve a global consensus for indigenous peoples' collaboration in the HLPM plan, the UN simply began to exclude and silence the opposition. When the North American Indigenous Peoples' Caucus (NAIPC) decided that it was not going to accept subordination and inequality in the “world conference” design, NAIPC representatives (both adult and youth) were systematically excluded from any debates or decisions regarding the meeting. The UN surreptitiously began to marginalize “bad Indians” and empower “pragmatic Indians,” who agreed to comply with the world conference program. The "reasonable Indians", like the representatives from the Indian Law Resource Center (ILRC), the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), and the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) were validated by being allowed to remain in the UN communications loop; they were rewarded with information, access, and sometimes even funding, to facilitate their continued participation. This tactic took the form of explicitly denying funding to opposition delegates, while funding supportive ones, leading to the censoring of oppositional voices in planning meetings for the WCIP. Delegates critical of the WCIP were denied credentials, silencing their voices in the HLPM/WCIP. The states’ strategy was to provide the deception of indigenous consensus by excluding those who might have blocked consensus through the expression of critical or contrary perspectives.
The third tactic, ingratiation, was used flagrantly by certain indigenous delegates from the US and Canada to circumvent the NAIPC “bad/hostile Indians”, and to solicit the US and Canadian governments. In the US, the ILRC, NARF, NCAI, and IITC met and/or communicated directly with the US State Department representatives a number of times prior to the WCIP. In an apparentquid pro quofor the U.S. indigenous NGOs agreeing to follow the game plan at the HLPM, the US government tossed them a few crumbs. The crumbs came in the form of cosmetic support for uncontroversial postures from the NGOs that in no way challenged the supremacy of US plenary power in domestic Indian law and policy. The “good Indian” organizations will, of course, reject these characterizations, but the record speaks for itself. They allowed themselves, and cajoled several “tribal government” reps, to be exploited as extras in the states’ kabuki theatre. For their trouble, they came away from the meeting with absolutely nothing of substance.
One specific reflection of these cozy relations can be found in US representative Keith Harper's presentation to the WCIP on September 23. Harper, a Cherokee but speaking for the United States government, was named this year by Obama to be the US ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council. The number of similarities between Harper’s address, and the positions being circulated by the ILRC/NARF/NCAI alliance defies coincidence. Certainly, the “pragmatic Indians” are jubilant that Harper mentioned the US’ consideration ofthe possibilityof a place for Indian "tribal governments"somewhere, sometimein the UN system. The “reasonable Indians” (just like those “good Indians” of previous eras) would be well advised not to hold their breath for the U.S.’ artifice to be realized, any more than the thousands of other promises that litter the historical relationship between the US and indigenous nations.
In the debates over the past two years, about whether NAIPC should withdraw from the HLPM/WCIP, a defense of participation from North America was offered, based on the premise that it was important for indigenous peoples to participate in the HLPM/WCIP because, "if you're not at the table, then you're probably on the menu." In other words, to protect the gains of the past forty years, we must continue to participate in the UN process even, apparently, under conditions that might be disrespectful, unequal and destructive.
While watching the HLPM on the UN webcast, I thought of those debates and of the “menu” slogan. Another culinary paraphrase came to mind, this time from the great Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano: "your participation in this process allows you only to suggest the sauce with which you will be eaten." Unfortunately, the most that came out of this UN meeting for indigenous peoples was, as Galeano cautioned, the “opportunity” for indigenous peoples to participate in a process that allows us only to suggest the sauce with which we will be eaten by the invader states and corporations. We have been warned.
[1] Although the use of the word fraud might seem hyperbolic and divisive, it is, in my view, more accurate than a term such as pretension. Fraud describes an intentional deception with the goal of depriving people of their property or their rights. Some well-meaning or naive people were drawn into this process, and I do not mean to impute bad motives to them. Other indigenous gatekeepers in the UN system clearly understood what was happening and freely participated in it, fabricating rationalizations and excuses, at every turn. It is clear that some invader states advanced the WCIP to continue the state/corporate theft of indigenous peoples’ territories and to deprive indigenous peoples of fundamental rights under international law, as discussed below. Ultimately, the goal of these states was to use the WCIP to reduce and incorporate the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into domestic law, imprisoning indigenous peoples in the legal semantics of invader states. This fraud began with the imposition of the official title of the meeting, “A High Level Plenary Meeting (HLPM), to be known as The World Conference on Indigenous Peoples.” Anyone familiar with the UN system knows that a HLPM is not synonymous with a World Conference. An authentic world conference is 10-14 days long, with thousands of participants, speakers, rallies, scholarly discussions, and with a final global plan of action to advance the goals of the conference. Examples of genuine world conferences are the World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, and the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa in 2001. This meeting in no way resembled a genuine world conference. It was analogous to one proclaiming, “This is my  Prius, to be known as a Ferrari,” with the irrational expectation that the world should, in fact, acknowledge yourPriusas a Ferrari. The fraudulent design of the plan was so clear to many indigenous people in North America, that the North American Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus called for the cancellation of the meeting, altogether, and refused to participate in it; see:http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/03/12/naipc-says-un-indigenous-conference-insults-indigenous-peoples-153946

Indigenous Resistance Across the Globe

#1 WAR (Warriors of Aboriginal Resistance) declared at Aboriginal G20 gathering in Australia
http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/brisbane-g20/war-declared-at-aboriginal-g20-gathering-20141114-11n0x1.html

#2 Armed Resistance About to Resume in Chittagong Hill Tracts (Bangladesh)
http://www.thedailystar.net/non-implementation-may-reignite-unrest-51794

#3 First Nations Resist Pipeline on Burnaby Mountain (British Columbia)
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/natives-join-pipeline-protest-in-bc-amid-more-arrests/article21711647/

#4 Zapatistas Join Struggle for Justice for 43 Murdered Indigenous Teachers in Ayontzinapa, Mexico  
http://www.liberationnews.org/struggle-grows-justice-mexico/

#5 Kachin War Agains Burma Oppression One of the WOrld's Longest Continuous Indigenous Struggles. https://time.com/3598969/kachin-independence-army-kia-burma-myanmar-laiza/

Toward Disestablishing the Doctrine of Christian Domination


by StevenNewcomb (Shawnee/Lenape) 
20 November 2014
In his recent column, Professor David Wilkins (Lumbee) says the doctrine of discovery has gone through many expressions, such as "a theological fiction" of popes, "a political fiction" of European nations, and "a legal fiction" of the United States. And he claims that lately the discovery doctrine has been “dangerously repurposed as popular fiction.”
Professor Wilkins is a brilliant and accomplished scholar, and it is good to see him discuss a subject that his mentor, the late Standing Rock scholar and theologian Vine Deloria, Jr., did so much to publicize. That publicity includes Deloria’s 1972 Open Letter to the Heads of the Christian Churches, and his celebrated 1973 bookGod is Red, in which he quoted theInter Caetera papal bull of 1493.
In any case, Wilkins's views are certainly not beyond critique, especially to the extent that his comments are inaccurate or imprecise. He says, for example, that “as originally conceived in Pope Alexander VI’s 1493 papal bull,” discovery “granted the Spanish exclusive interests in the Americas.” Yet Wilkins does not tell us, precisely, what kind of “exclusive interests in the Americas” that the pope purported to bestow upon the Crown of Castile.
In May 2013, Debra Harry (Paiute), Sharon Venne (Cree) and I saw two of the original papal bull documents at the General Archives of the Indies. It was May 4, five hundred and twenty years from the day that one of the papal documents had been issued in 1493. On the back of one of the two velum parchment documents, the Royal Secretary’s notation says that the documents were a concession from Pope Alexander VI to the Crown of Castile “to win and to conquer the Indies,” (“ganaranyconquistaronde las Indias”).
 In other words, they were papal concessions authorizing the crowntoforce "the Indies" under Christian domination. The papal documents expressed an assumed right of Christian, Catholic, and Spanishdominiumor “dominorum Christianorum” (Eximae Devotinis, May 3, 1493). That assumption of Christian domination raises the question as to whether the Indian nations were considered, by Christian thinkers, to have sovereignty anddominium, or dominion, on the same level, and to the same degree, as the Catholic Church and the Spanish crown.
Professor Anthony Anghie in his bookImperialism, Sovereignty, and the Making of International Law(2004) says that Spanish theologian Francisco de Vitoria argued that “the Indians were not sovereign because they were pagans.” It was Vitoria’s view that the Indians were not sovereign because they were not Christians. Wilkins says that Vitoria “declared that Native peoples were the true owners of their lands,” and that Vitoria was of the opinion that a Spanish claim of a “title through discovery could only be justified where property was ownerless.” So, we’re dealing with at least two issues: 1) whether, in Vitoria’s view, the Indians were sovereign, and, 2) whether a “title through discovery” applied in a place where non-Christian Indians nations and peoples were already living.
Perhaps Professor Wilkins has not yet come across Vitoria’s argument that the Indians were not sovereign because they were not Christians. Or, perhaps he decided to leave that argument out of his article, while mentioning what he says was Vitoria’s view that the Indians “were the true owners of their lands.”
In any case, the ideas of domination (“ganaran conquistaron”) expressed in the papal bulls, the claim by Spain and other Christian nations of a right of domination over all non-Christian lands, and Vitoria’s view that the Christian monarchs were sovereign but that non-Christian Indians were not sovereign, resulted in a specific conceptual framework: The dominium or right of dominoum of a Christian Sovereign versus whatever title Christians deemed non-sovereign infidel, heathen, or pagan nations to have sovereignty and dominium, or dominion, on the same level, and to the same degree, as the Catholic Church and the Spanish crown.
Read more athttp://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/11/20/toward-disestablishing-doctrine-christian-domination



Sunday, November 16, 2014

"Rebel Music" the beats of Indigenous Resistance

Congratulations to our next generation of resistance to colonialism and invader domination- Naát'áaníí Nez Means, Frank Waln, Inez Jasper and Mike Cliff.

Resist Forever. Surrender Never!


REBEL MUSIC
https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152456634446701&set=vb.7245371700&type=2&theaterEmbedded image permalink

Thursday, October 02, 2014

World Conference Outcome Document: 

States Win

9/27/14
If the most important part of any United Nations world conference or high level plenary meeting is the Outcome Document, then states were the beneficiaries of the document adopted at the High Level Plenary Meeting to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP) held recently in New York.
The conference was held for states to form an agreement on implementing theUN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples(UNDRIP). That the two-day conference was needed now – after the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on September 13, 2007 – speaks to the unhurried approach states have taken to advance the human rights of the world’s 379 million Indigenous Peoples.
TheOutcome Document(OD) was prepared prior to the WCIP and adopted by the UN member states without a vote on Monday, September 22. The OD reaffirms states’ commitment to support the Declaration and promises to consult and cooperate with Indigenous Peoples and obtain their free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) before doing anything affecting their lands and resources. The document also commits states “to empower” Indigenous Peoples, to improve access to “appropriate” education, health and economic development and to make the elimination of violence against Indigenous Peoples, especially against women, a priority.
Essentially, the OD commits states to implement the human rights they committed to in adopting the Declaration seven years ago.
Indigenous Peoples did not participate in writing the final OD, other than their input during the preparation process, ICTMN columnist Dina Gilio-Whitaker said. “The WCIP Outcome Document, as expected, makes no revolutionary new commitments to elevate the political status of Indigenous Peoples in the UN.”
Gilio-Whittaker noted that theInternational Indian Treaty Councilissued a statement appreciating the states’ commitment to strengthen efforts toward the repatriation of cultural and ceremonial items and human remains and acknowledged sections of the document that encourage states to incorporate UNDRIP more fully with their human rights obligations.
But the Treaty Council's statement also expressed “regret that the final WCIP Outcome Document did not include a specific reference to the development of an international oversight mechanism for the observance of Treaties, Agreements and other Constructive “Arrangements” as recommended in theAlta Outcome document. The Alta Document was created as a roadmap for the WCIP by representatives of Indigenous Peoples from all of the world's global geo-political regions at the Global Indigenous Preparatory Conference in Alta, Norway in June 2013.
“Additionally, the Document was adopted with reservations by the Holy See (objecting to a clause guaranteeing reproductive rights) and Canada (who objects to the concept of ‘free, prior, and informed consent’),” Gilio-Whitaker said. “Reservations” means that states’ governments opt out of those clauses to which it objects, and it’s possible that more governments will formally register written reservations, she said.
Indigenous Peoples’ got far less in the OD than they wanted based on their recommendations in Alta, but modest gains were made, Gilio-Whittaker said. “The WCIP Outcome Document is part of a growing body of international protocols that collectively can be seen as a gradual accumulation of political power for Indigenous Peoples in the UN system. What Indigenous Peoples got out of the World Conference, however imperfectly, is greater recognition of their rights in the international system”
Not everyone agrees. Glenn Morris, a tenured professor of political science at the University of Colorado Denver, did not attend the conference but watched the live streaming with his students. There were no surprises, he told ICTMN.
“I found the meeting to be a predictable success for UN state members,” Morris said. “Similarly, it marked a retreat from the 40 years of international struggle towards Indigenous Peoples' liberation that took hold after the liberation of Wounded Knee in 1973.”
Morris supported the call made earlier this year by the North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus (NAIPC) by “absolute consensus” for the cancellation of the WCIP after then President of the General Assembly John Ashe made it clear that Indigenous Peoples would not have full and equal participation on par with states in preparing for and at the conference. Some NAIPC members later distanced themselves from that decision. But NAIPC’s official – and dissident – voice was not heard at the WCIP since elected Chairwoman Debra Harry did not participate.
Morris said four essential principles that have defined the last four decades of advocacy for indigenous rights have now been excluded from the “so-called” OD:
1.Self-Determination: The right indigenous nations freely have to determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development is a hallmark of the UNDRIP, but is not mentioned once in the OD.
2.The international personality of indigenous nations and international character of treaties between indigenous nations and invader states: That indigenous peoples are not conquered nations and are not rightfully under the domination of settler states is an extension of the principle self-determination, Morris said. Similarly, the treaties between indigenous peoples and invaders must be accorded international status and be subject to impartial, international arbitration. There is no mention, whatsoever, of treaties between indigenous nations and states in the OD.
3.The right of Indigenous Peoples to control their territories, natural resources and traditional knowledge: There are no guarantees in the OD to secure the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of Indigenous Peoples prior to state or corporate invasions of these areas. Any references to FPIC in the OD are gratuitous, and have been rendered meaningless.
4.Dismantling the Doctrine of Christian Discovery. The legal bedrock upon which all U.S., Canadian, and other invader states rationalize their domination and destruction of Indigenous Peoples, is left entirely unexamined and intact in the OD.
“How can states make the pretense of honestly implementing the spirit of the UNDRIP while ignoring these four essential areas?” Morris said.
Some people argued that “If you’re not at the table, you’re probably on the menu” during NAIPC’s debates about withdrawing from the WCIP, Morris said, but another menu-related thought came to mind while he watched the WCIP on the internet. “[It was] from the great Uruguayan authorEduardo Galeano. He said, ‘Your participation in this process allows you to suggest the sauce with which you will be eaten,’” Morris said. “That is the most that came out of this meeting for Indigenous Peoples – the ability to participate in choosing the methods that invader states will use to destroy us.”

Read more athttp://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com:81/2014/09/27/world-conference-outcome-document-states-win-157087?page=0%2C1

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Colorado AIM Applauds Decision Against Racist "R-Skins"





FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

American Indian Movement of Colorado
Denver, Colorado
Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The American Indian Movement (AIM) of Colorado commends and supports the decision of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which has cancelled the federal trademark of the Washington Redskins on grounds that the team name is racist and disparaging to American Indians.  It is time for Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington, D.C. professional football franchise, to recognize the harmful, racist character of the mascot and to join the rest of us in the 21st century.

Colorado AIM also calls on other private and public sports teams to abandon the use of American Indians, and other indigenous peoples, as their sports team mascots – this includes the Cleveland Indians, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Atlanta Braves. We further call on the Colorado Department of Education to prohibit the use of American Indian as mascots in public elementary and secondary educational programs. We specifically call for an immediate ban on the use of the Lamar High School “Savages,” and the Eaton High School “Reds.”

“If people are genuinely interested in honoring American Indians, then get your government to live up to the more than 400 treaties it has signed, and broken, with our indigenous nations. Try respecting our religious freedom  - which has been repeatedly denied in federal courts. Try stopping the ongoing theft of Indian water and other natural resources. Reverse your colonial process that relegates us to the most impoverished, polluted, and marginalized conditions in this country. Stop the rape and violence against American Indian women and children by non-Native men – a phenomenon that is higher among American Indians that of any other group in the US. Understand that the mascot issue is only the tip of a very huge problem of continuing racism against American Indians. Then maybe your "honors" will mean something. Until then, your "honors" are just so much superficial, hypocritical puffery. People should remember that the measure of an honor isn't born when it parts the honorer's lips, it is born when it is accepted in the honoree's ear.” 

Glenn Morris, American Indian Movement of Colorado