Saturday, June 20, 2020

Colorado AIM street medics supporting BLM marches and rallies

Sunday, May 10, 2020

The Life and Example of Colorado AIM elder Regina Brave

Mother Jones magazine, April/May 2020

Regina Brave remembers the moment the first viral picture of her was taken. It was 1973, and 32-year-old Brave had taken up arms in a standoff between federal marshals and militant Indigenous activists in Wounded Knee, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Brave had been assigned to guard a bunker on the front lines and was holding a rifle when a reporter leaped from a car to snap her photo. She remembers thinking that an image of an armed woman would never make the papers—“It was a man’s world,” she says—but the bespectacled Brave, in a peacoat with hair pulled back, was on front pages across the country the following Sunday.

Brave had grown up on Pine Ridge, where the standoff emerged from a challenge to the tribal chair, whose alleged offenses included scheming to accept federal money for Paha Sapa, also known as the Black Hills. Brave’s great-grandfather Ohitika had helped negotiate the 1868 treaty preserving Lakota stewardship of the hills, but after white settlers found gold there, the lands were wrested away. Ohitika fought alongside his son, Brave’s grandfather, in an unsuccessful battle to save the Black Hills. Half a century later, the US government agreed to pay $17.5 million in belated compensation.

Traditional Lakota of Brave’s generation believed that the chair’s bid to accept a settlement was sacrilege, and pressed their leaders not to accept the money, despite the tribe’s financial destitution. The 71-day Wounded Knee occupation ended with two Natives dead and one federal marshal paralyzed. The chair remained in power for another three years, but the money remained untouched; no tribal council has yet accepted it, demanding instead, under the rallying cry “The Black Hills are not for sale,” that the land be returned. (The fund is now worth more than $1 billion.) The incident at Wounded Knee—on the same site where the US Army massacred several hundred mostly unarmed Lakota nearly a century earlier—helped launch the American Indian Movement, and Brave’s career as a Native rights activist.

Regina Brave sits with her rifle at ready on steps of building in Wounded Knee, South Dakota, March 2, 1973.
Jim Mone/AP

Now 79, Brave lives in a one-story house in a small town on Pine Ridge. Out front she parks the blue 2008 Grand Caravan she bought with her prize money from the ACLU’s highest honor, the Roger N. Baldwin Medal of Liberty, which she received in recognition of her leadership during the Standing Rock protest. After camping through a brutal winter, Brave was one of the last people arrested in the demonstration against the Dakota Access pipeline when police cleared their camp in early 2017. A photo of “Grandma Regina,” bundled in a blanket and wearing bright pink gloves, being led away by two police officers, was shared online as a symbol of Indigenous resistance.

Today, Brave and other Lakota elders are staring down yet another encroachment on their historic lands: a 10,600-acre uranium mine proposed to be built in the Black Hills. The Dewey-Burdock mine would suck up as much as 8,500 gallons of groundwater per minute from the Inyan Kara aquifer to extract as much as 10 million pounds of ore in total. Lakota say the project violates both the 1868 US-Lakota treaty and federal environmental laws by failing to take into account the sacred nature of the site. If the mine is built, they say, burial grounds would be destroyed and the region’s waters permanently tainted.

A legal win for the Lakota would represent an unprecedented victory for a tribe over corporations such as Power­tech, the Canadian-owned firm behind Dewey-­Burdock, that have plundered the resource-rich hills. And it could set precedents forcing federal regulators to protect Indigenous sites and take tribes’ claims more seriously. The fight puts the Lakota on a collision course with the Trump administration, which has close ties to energy companies and is doubling down on nuclear power while fast-tracking new permits and slashing environmental protections—even using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to further roll back regulations. All of this makes Black Hills mineral deposits more attractive than they’ve been in decades.

For Brave, the Dewey-Burdock mine is just the latest battle in a long war to stop settlers’ affronts to Lakota lands and sovereignty. “They’re taking so much from [the earth] and not giving anything back,” Brave tells me, a hand-rolled cigarette dangling from her fingers. “I’m thinking we should say to them, ‘Get the hell off. Your rent is over.’”

The Lakota call Paha Sapa “the heart of everything that is.” Tribal origin stories say there was a Great Race between all the two-legged and four-legged creatures to determine who would eat whom. In one telling, the animals raced around the cedar-covered hills, and the magpie narrowly defeated the buffalo, establishing not only the dominance of the two-leggeds, but their responsibility to care for all living beings. Another tale says the Lakota emerged from a cave in the Black Hills following catastrophic floods. Lakota spiritual practices still center on the region.

Their people belong to a confederacy of tribes called Oceti Sakowin, the Seven Council Fires. Historically, the alliance’s range spanned parts of what’s now Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, and the Dakotas. Today, most of the 20,000 residents of the Pine Ridge Reservation, in the southwest corner of South Dakota, hail from the Oglala band of Lakota and are represented by the Oglala Sioux Tribe. (“Sioux” is an old French misnomer for Oceti Sakowin.)

In October, Brave spoke at Magpie Buffalo Organizing’s inaugural “No Uranium in Treaty Territory” summit, which offered a crash course on tribal sovereignty. The activists are closely tracking the various Keystone XL permits, which the Rosebud Sioux Tribe is challenging in court as a treaty vio­lation. As the threat of both uranium and gold mining looms, there’s talk of occupying land in the Black Hills, as the American Indian Movement did in 1981.

For most of her life, Brave hadn’t understood why her grandfather made her memorize the treaty. It didn’t stop the Black Hills gold rush in the 19th century or the uranium boom in the 20th. Nobody knows how many sacred sites were destroyed—but now there’s a chance to protect those that remain.

Brave’s grandfather said the Lakota would one day need to return to the caves in the Black Hills where they rode out the last great flood. That’s “the reason that we really try to treat it as a sacred area,” she says. “We have to go back to it when the time comes.”

“I always imagine a rope with all these different knowledges on the string that brings it down through the generations. And I see ’em as broken—a lot of strings are broken coming down,” Brave says. “They fenced us in as prisoners of war, but now we’re talking treaty. I’d like to see how they’ll handle that.” 

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Zapatista Women Host 2nd International Meeting of Women Who Fight

Greeting by Zapatista Women at the Opening of the Second International Women’s Gathering 

Chiapas, Mexico, 27 December 2019

Photo: Brenda Norrell - Censored News
Zapatista blog

Sisters and compañeras:
We are very happy you were able to come all the way here to our mountains.
And for those who were not able to come, we also greet you because you are watching what is happening here in the Second International Gathering of Women Who Struggle.
We know very well what you had to do to get here: we know you had to leave your family and friends; we know the effort and work you had to put in to come up with the money to travel from your geography to ours.

But we also know that your heart is a little bit happy because here you will meet other women who struggle. Maybe something you hear or learn here about other struggles will even help you in yours. Whether or not we agree with these other struggles and their forms and geographies, all of us benefit from listening and learning. This isn’t about competing over which struggle is best, but about sharing our struggles and ourselves.

So we ask you to always be respectful of different ways of thinking and doing. All of us here, and many more who aren’t here, are women who struggle. It’s true that we all have different ways of struggling, but as you can see, as Zapatistas we don’t think that it makes sense for everyone to think and act the same way. We think difference isn’t a weakness, but rather that it is a powerful force when we respect each other and agree to struggle together but not on top of each other.
So we ask you to share your pain, your rage, and your struggle with dignity, and to respect other pains, rages, and dignified struggles.

Compañeras and sisters:
We have done everything possible so that you can be happy and safe here. It may seem easy to say that, but we all know all too well that there are very few places in the world where we can be happy and safe. That’s why we’re here: because of our pain and our rage at the violence we suffer as women, for the crime of being women.
As you will see over the next few days, men will not be allowed in this space. It doesn’t matter if they are good men, or more or less normal men, or just whatever kind of men, they will not be allowed here for the next couple days. This place and these days are only for women who struggle—that is, not just for any woman.

The compañeras who are insurgentas and milicianas are in charge of taking care of us and protecting us here over the next few days. We have also made sure that you will have a place to sleep, eat, and clean up. In this respect, in terms of rest, food, and bathing, we ask you to treat the “wise” women among us, that is, the older women, with respect. It’s important to respect them because they are not new to this struggle. They didn’t get their gray hair, their illnesses, or their wrinkles from selling out to the patriarchal system or by giving in to machismo. They didn’t get any of those things because they gave up their way of thinking about struggle for our rights as women. They are who they are because they haven’t given up, given in, or sold out.

To the older women—wise women as we call you—we ask that you also respect and greet the younger women, whether they are adults or children, because they have also dedicated themselves to this struggle with determination and commitment. If we haven’t let our geographies divide us, then we certainly won’t let our calendars do so. All of us, no matter the calendars we have marked or the geography in which we live, are on the same path: the struggle for our rights as the women that we are.

For example, our right to live. This point makes us sad because now, a year after our first gathering, the report is not good. All over the world women are still being murdered, disappeared, abused, and disrespected. This year the number of women raped, disappeared, and murdered keeps rising. We as Zapatistas see this situation as very serious, and that is why we organized this second gathering around one theme only: violence against women.

Sister and compañera, you who are here and you who couldn’t come:
We want to hear you and see you, because we have questions:
How did you get organized? What did you do? What happened?

Remember that at our first gathering, we all committed ourselves to get organized in our respective geographies, to organize against the murders, disappearances, humiliations, and disrespect. But we see that the situation is actually worse now.

They say there is now gender equality because within the bad governments there are an equal number of bossmen and bosswomen.
But we are still being murdered.
They say that now there is greater pay equity for women.
But we are still being murdered.
They say feminist struggles have made great steps forward.
But we are still being murdered.
They say now women have more voice.
But we are still being murdered.
They say women are now taken into account.
But we are still being murdered.
They say that now there are more laws that protect women.
But we are still being murdered.
They say that now it’s quite fashionable to speak well of women and their struggle.
But we are still being murdered.
They say there are men who understand our struggle as women, and even that those men are feminists.
But we are still being murdered.
They say that women occupy more spaces now.
But we are still being murdered.
They say there are even super-heroines in the movies now.
But we are still being murdered.
They say that now there is more awareness about respecting women.
But we are still being murdered.

More and more murdered women. Murdered more and more brutally. With more and more cruelty, fury, envy, and hate. And with more and more impunity. With more and more macho men who get away with it, without punishment, as if nothing had happened, as if murdering, disappearing, exploiting, using, assaulting, or disrespecting a woman was no big deal.
We are still being murdered and they still ask us, demand of us, order us to behave ourselves.
Think of the unbelievable scandal created by a group of workers blocking a highway, or going on strike, or protesting, as if they’ve violated the rights of commodities, cars, and things, and the press is immediately filled with photos, videos, reports, analysis, and commentary criticizing their protest.
But if a woman is raped, it’s just another statistic. And if women protest, if they graffiti the monuments important to those above, break windows important to those above, shout their truths to those above, then that is scandalous.

But if we are disappeared or murdered, it’s just another statistic: one more victim, one less woman. It’s as if the powerful wanted it to be crystal clear that what matters is profit, not life. Cars matter; so do monuments, windows, and commodities. But life doesn’t, especially if it’s a woman’s life.
That’s why we as the Zapatista women that we are, anti-capitalist and anti-patriarchal, think about why the system works like that. It seems that our violent deaths, our disappearances, and our pain come out as profit for the capitalist system, because the system only allows what benefits it, what produces profit for it.

That’s why we say that the capitalist system is patriarchal. Patriarchy rules, even if the overseer is a woman. So we think that in order to fight for our rights—the right to live, for example—it’s not enough to fight against machismo or patriarchy or whatever you want to call it. We have to fight against the capitalist system. They go together as we Zapatista women say.

But we also know there are other ways of thinking and other forms of women’s struggle. Perhaps there is something we can learn and understand. That’s why we have invited all women who struggle to this gathering, no matter what their thinking or form of struggle.

What matters is that we fight for our lives, which now more than ever are at risk everywhere and all the time. Despite the fact that they declare and predict that women have made great strides, the truth is that never in human history has the fact of being a woman been so fatal.

You see, compañera and sister, they’re going to want to tell us which job or profession is the most dangerous—if it’s being a journalist, or forming part of the repressive security forces, or being a judge, or occupying a position in the bad government. But you and we know that the most dangerous thing in the world to be right now is a woman.

It doesn’t matter if she’s a little girl, or a young woman, or an adult woman, or an older woman. It doesn’t matter if she’s white, yellow, red, or the color of the earth. It doesn’t matter if she’s fat, thin, tall, short, pretty, or ugly. It doesn’t matter if she’s from the lower class, middle class, or upper class. It doesn’t matter what language she speaks, or what her culture, religion, or affiliation is. When the violence comes, the only thing that matters is that she’s a woman.
Sister and compañera:

As the Zapatistas that we are, we know that they will give us many examples of women who have advanced, triumphed, won prizes and high salaries—who have been successful, as they put it. We respond by talking about the women whom have been raped, disappeared, murdered. We point out that the rights they talk about above are won by a precious few women above. And we respond, we explain, we shout that what is lacking is the most basic and most important of rights for all women: the right to live.

We’ve said it many times, compañera and sister, but we’ll repeat it again now:
Nobody is going to grant us our right to live and all the other rights we need and deserve.

No man—good, bad, normal, or whatever—is going to grant these to us.

The capitalist system is not going to give them to us, regardless of the laws it passes and the promises it makes.

We will have to win our right to live, as well as all our other rights, always and everywhere. In other words, for women who struggle, there will be no rest.

We have to defend ourselves, to take charge of our self-defense as individuals and as women. Above all, we have to be organized to defend ourselves, to support ourselves, to protect ourselves, and we have to start now.

My fellow compañera coordinators of this gathering have delegated me to communicate this to you because I’m the mother of a little girl, who is here with me. Our duty as women who struggle is to protect and defend ourselves, especially if the woman in question is just a little girl.

We have to protect and defend ourselves with everything we have. And if we have nothing, then with sticks and rocks. And if we don’t have sticks or rocks, then with our bodies, with teeth and fingernails. We have to teach our little girls to protect and defend themselves when they grow up and have their own strength.

That’s how things are today, sister and compañera, we have to live on the defensive, and to teach our daughters to grow up on the defensive, and we have to maintain that practice until they girls can be born and grow and mature without fear.

We Zapatistas think that the best way to do this is to be organized. We know that there are those who think this can be done individually. We as Zapatistas do it through organization, because we are women who struggle, yes, but we are Zapatista women.

That is why, compañera and sister, our report back to all of you this year is that among us, there has not been a single murder or disappearance of any of our compañeras. We do have some cases, according to our last meeting, of violence against women, and we are in the process of deciding how to punish those responsible, all of whom are men. That punishment is partly the responsibility of the autonomous authorities, but also ours as Zapatista women.

We also want to be totally honest and say that at times we fight among ourselves, compañera and sister, and about stupid things. Maybe these dumb fights are a waste of time because we are all alive and safe. But there was a time in which we only lived death. And truthfully, looking at the way things are in your world—and please don’t be offended sister and compañera—but we hope that someday you all also fight over who is prettiest, youngest, smartest, best-dressed, who as more boyfriends or girlfriends or husbands or wives, or why you’re wearing the same thing, or whose kids are better or worse, or any of these things that happen in life.

Because when that day comes, compañera and sister, it will mean that just staying alive is no longer a problem. And maybe then we can all be equally idiotic about men and gossip and stupid stuff.
Or perhaps not, perhaps once you all are alive and free, your problems will be different, with different arguments and fights. But until that day comes, sister and compañera, we have to take care of each other, protect each other and defend each other.

As you know well, compañera and sister, this is a war. They are trying to kill us, and we are trying to stay alive, but alive without fear—alive and free, that is.

We want to shout to the world our pain and this rage at the fact that we cannot live freely. And we also want to shout our encouragement to struggle to each and every woman who is abused, either physically or however else. As Zapatista women, we want to send a special embrace to the families and friends of disappeared and murdered women—an embrace that lets them know that they are not alone, that in our own way and from our own place, we accompany their demand for truth and justice.
That’s why we’re gathered here, sister and compañera: to shout our pain and rage, to accompany and encourage each other, to embrace each other, to know that we are not alone, to look for paths of help and support.

These are our words for you today, sister and compañera. The insurgentas and milicianas have prepared a talk to present also, and in that one we will remind you of the little light that we gave you in the first gathering. Later we will begin the work of this gathering, dedicating the entire day today to denunciations—an entire day for denouncing the violence that we suffer, all of us together, with an open microphone. We’re going to take turns speaking and venting our rage and our fury about everything they do to us. And we are going to listen to each other with attention and respect. Nobody else is going to listen to what we have to say—only we as women who struggle and who are here present. So do not be ashamed, sister and compañera, express clearly your pain and your anger, scream your rage. And be assured that we, at least we the Zapatista women, will make a place in our collective heart for you, and through those of us present here, thousands of Zapatista indigenous women will accompany you.

Tomorrow we will share the ideas, experiences, and work that all of you bring in order to seek paths that we can take to end this nightmare of pain and death. The last day of the gathering will be dedicated to culture, art, and fiesta. So one day we will shout our pain and rage; the next day we will share ideas and experiences; and the third day we will shout our strength and joy.
Because we are women who suffer, but we are also women who think and who organize ourselves and above all, we are women who struggle.

That’s how the gathering will play out, and as you already know, you are welcome here, compañera and sister, you who could come and you who couldn’t but are here in your heart.
In the name of all of the Zapatista women of all ages, on December 27, 2019, at 1:57pm Zapatista time, we officially open this Second International Gathering of Women Who Struggle here in the mountains of the Mexican southeast.
From the semillero “Footprints of Comandanta Ramona,” Caracol Whirlwind of Our Word,
Zapatista Mountains in Resistance and Rebellion,
Comandanta Amada
Chiapas, Mexico - December 2019

The Ongoing Defense of Oak Flat

A Sacred Place And A Sacred Quest To Save It: Oak Flat is sacred to the Apaches. A mining company wants to blow a two-mile-wide hole in it.

Wendsler Nosie, Sr. puts U.S government on notice, returns to defend Chich’il Bildagoteel (Oak Flat) -

November 21, 2019
U. S. Department of Agriculture
U.S. Forest Service, Individuals who have authority or oversee USFS property at Oak Flat;
and U.S. Congress:

I, Wendsler Nosie Sr., am writing this letter to serve as notice to the United States Forest Service and members of Congress, that I will be returning to my home, Chich’il Bildagoteel, Oak Flat. According to the United States Forest Service Policy, the Forest Service is to allow my presence on the land for religious purposes and provide for access to areas of religious significance.

I will be taking a religious position as an Apache and going home to my ancestral homeland. This is my religious right, my indigenous right, and my inherent right to return home to protect it from being murdered and protect our future generations, those yet to be born, so they have a right to their identity and religious beliefs. It is going to take religious education for this country to realize what it happening to the Earth. A murder is going to take place on a living being and on a religion if nothing is done by our Congressional leaders to protect our Holy Places to stop this murder by Resolution Copper. The country will then witness what a murder is and those who are responsible for killing the Earth, the Water and a Religion. The United States Government continues to ignore the indigenous people’s religion and the deceit of how America was founded. It is time the truth comes out. Real change is needed to protect our religion and those yet to be born. With the killing of the Earth, this will not only affect the indigenous people but all people in this world.

My return home is to continue to take the spiritual road and continue fighting this battle of evil through prayer as my ancestors have done before me. They were murdered and imprisoned in concentration camps which are now Reservations. They were promised that one day they could go home. We never thought this day would come but it was prophesied that the last battle would be our Religion. The Tonto National Forest Service Draft Environmental Impact Statement ignores historic and current religious practice at Oak Flat which is not only Negligence but is religious discrimination as well.
On November 28, 2019, I will start my spiritual journey to walk to Chich’il Bildagoteel, Oak Flat, to take my permanent residency and protect our holy place through ceremonies and prayer. For information contact Wendsler Nosie Sr., 928-200-7762, email, Vanessa Nosie, 928-215-1476, email, and Naelyn Pike, 928-961-0041, email
Wendsler Nosie Sr.
CC: Rep. Raul Grijalva, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, NCAI, ITAA, SCAT Chairman Rambler, Regional Forester Cal Joyner, Supervisor Neil Bosworth , Reverend Barber, Reverend Liz Theoharis, and Chairwoman Bernadine Burnette

Thursday, November 28, 2019

The U.S. National Holiday to Gluttony, Excess and Consumerism

A few posts for reflection on Indigenous Day of Mourning 2019

50th National Day of Mourning march, Plymouth, Wampanoag Territory (Massachusetts)


Our History Is the Future: Lakota Historian Nick Estes on Thanksgiving & Indigenous Resistance

Thanksgiving Is Dedicated to Erasing the Ruthlessness of English Invaders

Enough Thanksgiving Myths. Schools Should Teach Indigenous History.

The Horrible History of Thanksgiving - Charles Blow (NY Times)

Monday, September 16, 2019

Four Directions/All Nations March - Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019

Four Directions March 2019 - Denver

In this, the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the movement to abolish the Columbus Day holiday in Colorado, we ask you to join indigenous peoples, and all people of goodwill to imagine a new vision for the future and to join us to move that vision forward. This march is a powerful statement about an indigenous peoples' vision to transform the hatred and negativity of the Columbus Day holiday and celebrations into a positive future. While we certainly offer a strong condemnation of invader colonialism and genocide that it brought with it, we also celebrate the powerful lessons of indigenous philosophy, politics, science and technology, and spirituality that has sustained us, but that is often obscured in the U.S. The Four Directions March is an indigenous-led example of respect and integrity, and we ask all people who reject the destructiveness of invader colonialism to join with us. We will articulate a new future for Denver, for Colorado and for all of Great Turtle Island (the Americas). Join us.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Hearing for Standing Rock water protector Red Fawn Fallis this Friday, 12/8/17. US Federal District Courthouse, Bismarck, ND, 9 am, Courtroom #1. Stand w/ who's been held by US jailers for more than 1year. FREE RED FAWN

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Thankstaking - National Day of Mourning and Fasting

Rebel Diaz - The Thankstaking

                       Free Red Fawn Fallis                       Red Fawn is a Lakota woman Political Prisoner  who is unjustly imprisoned by the U.S. government for her defense of the Mni Wiconi (Sacred Water) at Standing Rock in 2016. Her trial begins in January, 2018 and the US government is seeking to put her in prison for the rest of her life.
Red Fawn stood in protection of the Sacred Water.
Now, she needs us to stand with her.
Please support Red Fawn.
Free Red Fawn