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Thread: Indian lands VS extraction

  1. Default Indian lands VS extraction

    On Indian lands across the nation,tribes are forced to choose between selling their natural resources,or live in dire poverty.This battle largely centers on the divide between traditional Native beliefs,and those Indians who have assimilated into the main stream culture.

    The Northern Cheyenne Reservation is located in the State of Montana.They have coal...............

    Gertrude Firecrow, 68, has had a dream twice in the past few weeks. "I see big machines ready to dig into the reservation. Their lights are coming toward my house," she says. "It's scary. In my dream, there's no place to go."
    The grandparents who raised her said life on the reservation "wouldn't stay the same forever," Firecrow says. Still, she's saddened that fewer young people learn Cheyenne, and she worries that allowing outside companies to mine coal here would further erode tribal traditions. "Elders like me are trying to keep our sacred traditions alive," she says.
    "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
    Buckminster Fuller

  2. #2

    Default Blackfoot and Glacier National Park

    This is a continual problem for indigenous communities all over the world in having to deal with capitalist notions of property rights and the corruption that accompanies it. I received the following article this morning in my in box and I thought it belonged here:

    I want to conclude this article with an examination of an obscure moment
    in American history that involves the Blackfoot and the environmentalist
    movement. It is, as far as I know, one of the first instances of
    eco-imperialism on record and evokes more recent clashes between outfits
    like Sea-Shepherd and the Makah, or Greenpeace and the Innuit. The facts
    on this appear in Mark David Spence's "Crown of the Continent, Backbone
    of the World: The American Wilderness Ideal and Blackfeet Exclusion from
    Glacier National Park," an article in the July, 1996 edition of
    "Environmental History."

    The eastern half of Glacier National Park was once part of the Blackfoot
    reservation and the tribe insists that an 1895 treaty allowed them
    certain ownership privileges. These lands are of utmost importance to
    the Blackfoot because they contain certain plants, animals and religious
    sites that are of key importance to the cultural identity. The federal
    government considered the land to be one of its "crown jewels" and
    thought that the Blackfoot would tarnish it through their intrusions.
    This separation between man and nature of course goes against Indian
    wisdom. The park founders idea of "wilderness" owed more to European
    romanticism than it did to the reality of American history. The
    indigenous peoples and the forests, rivers and grasslands lived in
    coexistence and codetermined each other's existence thousands of years
    before Columbus--the first invader--arrived.

    The mountains within Glacier National Park contained powerful spirits
    such as Wind Maker, Cold Maker, thunder and Snow Shrinker. One of the
    most important figures in Blackfoot religion, a trickster named Napi or
    Old Man, disappeared into these mountains when he left the Blackfoot.
    The park is also the source of the Beaver Pipe bundle, one of the "most
    venerated and powerful spiritual possessions of the tribe." "Chief
    Mountain, standing at the border of the reservation and the national
    park, is by far the most distinct and spiritually charged land feature
    within the Blackfeet universe."

    While pre-reservation life was centered on the plains and bison-hunting,
    the resources of the mountains and foothills contained within the park
    were also important to their livelihood. Women and youngsters dug for
    roots and other foodstuffs in the parklands at the beginning of the
    spring hunting cycle. At the conclusion of the bison hunting season,
    which was marked by the Sun Dance ceremony, the various bands would
    retreat to the mountains and hunt for elk, deer, big horn sheep, and
    mountain goats. They would also cut lodge poles from the forests and
    gather berries through the autumn months. All of these activities were
    as important to them spiritually as economically. By denying them this,
    the park administrators were cutting them off from something as sacred
    as the whale is to the Makah.

    What gives the banning of the Blackfoot from Glacier National Park a
    special poignancy and sadness was that its architect was none other than
    George Bird Grinnell. Grinnell was not only a park administrator, but a
    friend of the Blackfoot. He won the trust of Blackfoot story-tellers and
    this allowed him to put into print the "Blackfoot Lodge Tales." Although
    Grinnell said in the preface to the collection that "the most shameful
    chapter of American history is that in which is recorded the account of
    our dealings with the Indians," this did not prevent him from declaring
    Glacier National Park off-limits to a people he supposedly admired. Of
    course, without any self-consciousness he also states in this preface
    that "the Indian is a man, not very different from his white brother,
    except that he is undeveloped." Also, "the Indian has the mind and
    feelings of a child with the stature of a man." When you stop and
    consider that Grinnell was a leading supporter of American Indian
    rights, it is truly frightening to consider the depths of racism that
    must have existed during the late 1800s, when he was collecting his
    tales from the Blackfoot while banning them from the park.

    Spence has an astute interpretation of Grinnell's contradictory
    attitudes. He says that for Grinnell the parks represented a living
    resource for American civilization. It would be a place for tourists to
    come and take photographs of the natural splendors. As for the
    Blackfoot, they were an important part of America's past. They would
    live on through the "Blackfoot Lodge Tales" and dioramas at places like
    the Museum of Natural History.

    Spence concludes his article with a description of how the clash between
    park administrators never really went away:

    "By 1935, relations between the Blackfeet and the National Park Service
    had reached an impasse that remains in place to this day. On one side,
    the park service, tourists, preservationists largely made Glacier into
    the uninhabited wilderness that continues to inform potent ideas about
    nature and national identity. Blackfeet use of park undermined this
    idealized notion of wilderness and the tribe's resistance to Glacier's
    eastward expansion limited its physical expression. Tension between
    Indians and the park service subsided over the next few decades, but the
    issue of Blackfeet in the eastern half of Glacier never disappeared.

    "By the 1960s, few Blackfeet actually hunted near the park, and fewer
    still went to the mountains to gather traditional plant foods and
    medicines. But the continuing importance of the Backbone of the World
    never depended on how many people went to the mountains. Although the
    Glacier region provided the tribe with a large portion of its physical
    sustenance in the 1890s, the issue of Blackfeet rights in the area
    always reflected concerns about cultural persistence and tribal
    sovereignty. In conjunction with the 'Red Power' movement of the 1970s,
    these concerns arose again as Blackfeet leaders pushed for recognition
    of tribal rights in the park. Their efforts met strong opposition from
    both park officials and environmentalists, who resisted the Blackfeet
    'threat' as fervently as they did plans to mine coal and explore for oil
    in the park. The state of near-war that once characterized relations
    between the Blackfeet and park officials resurfaced in the early 1980s;
    the two sides only narrowly armed conflict on several occasions.
    Ultimately, continued Indian protests, ongoing risk of violence, and
    Blackfeet proposals for joint management of the eastern half of Glacier
    forced the National Park Service to revisit issues its leaders had been
    buried in the 1930s."

    A program for sweeping social and economic change in the United States
    has to put indigenous rights in the forefront. If the Indian is the
    canary in the mine, whose survival represents survival for everybody,
    then no other group deserves greater solidarity. Part of the enormous
    job in allying all the diverse sectors of the American population
    against an increasingly reactionary and violent government is explaining
    that the Indian comes first. This means that Sea-Shepherd and Greenpeace
    activists must understand that preservation of the "wilderness" makes no
    sense if the Indian is excluded.

    The best way to restore the United States to ecological, economic and
    spiritual health is to reconsider ways in which the pre-capitalist past
    can be approximated in a modern setting. Just as it makes sense for the
    Makah to use whatever weapons they deem necessary in pursuit of the
    whale, it might make sense for the entire northwestern plains states to
    be returned to the bison under the stewardship of the Blackfoot Indian.
    They have a much better track record on taking care of resources than do
    the agribusiness corporations who despoil the land for profit. Timothy
    Egan thinks that this makes sense, as does Ernest Callenbach, the author
    of "Bring Back the Buffalo: A Sustainable Future for America's Great
    Plains." (Island Press, 1998) I will conclude with his suggestion for a
    new relationship between indigenous peoples and the land and animals
    that were once theirs:

    "The basic Indian goal is the reestablishment on the reservations of the
    natural ecological balance or reciprocity among humans, plants, and
    animals that existed before Euro-American occupation. On the Plains, a
    restored population of bison would be a sign that things had been put
    back together again on a sustainable basis. As Fred DuBray puts it, 'We
    recognize that the bison is a symbol of our strength and unity and that
    as we bring our herds back to health, we will also bring our people back
    to health.' In Mark Heckert's view, this could be called sustainable
    agriculture 'because you can get what you need to survive without
    inordinately disrupting the system,' and the result would be
    self-governing tribes in which the bison are thriving again, the
    ceremonies have been revived, and the bond between Indian people and the
    bison has been reestablished. At Pine Ridge there is an ongoing program
    of teaching stewardship: grandparents go into the schools and explain to
    the children that all the parts of the natural order are necessary and
    interrelated; they pass on the store of traditional knowledge that has
    been kept in the memories of the elders of the community The comeback of
    the sacred bison--and, more specifically, the appearance of a
    one-in-a-million white bison--would 'mean a spiritual recharge for our
    people,' as Alex White Plume puts it. 'There's talk locally that the
    time is approaching, so people are beginning to get ready, learning the
    old songs and revitalizing the ritual that they need to go through. It
    might be within the next ten years. I hope it's during my time.'"
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  3. Default

    Coalbed Methane Extraction.Can the Northern Cheyenne save their water?

    Told that hers seems a rather long view, Small says, "Not really. History lives here. I can point behind my house to where my grandmother is buried up in the hills. What other people talk about as the Custer Battle, the Cavalry Wars—these are our grandparents’ stories. Cheyenne know their life on this earth is fleeting, and they look at the perpetuation of the tribe as the main goal. We want our culture, land, and language to live on. Getting methane wealth, seizing and conquering, living only for yourself—what do these things matter compared to the perpetuity of your people?"
    Last edited by Keith Millea; 10-05-2009 at 01:29 AM.
    "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
    Buckminster Fuller

  4. Default

    A Coup D'eta? BIA overturns Northern Cheyenne Constitutional Court.

    Northern Cheyenne Tribal leader elected

    Posted: Dec 28, 2007 02:17 PM PST
    Updated: March 16, 2008 08:08 PM PDT
    BIA Regional Director Ed Parisian

    The Northern Cheyenne Tribe has elected a Geri Small as their next president.
    She was the Tribal President from 2000-2004 and tells us she is not sure when she'll take the oath for the presidency which she won in an election Thursday.
    Small's previous presidency ended with her election defeat by Eugene Little Coyote, who the Tribal Council voted to remove from the presidency last year. Members also named his former Vice President, Rick Wolfname, as Interim President.
    Back in October, the Northern Cheyenne Constitutional Court decided that the council meeting at which Little Coyote was removed was illegal.
    But on December 27th, the Bureau of Indian Affairs forcefully removed Little Coyote from office and put him in jail overnight. After Little Coyote's removal, Wolfname served as the Interim President. He will now resume his position as vice president.

    Geri Small must have been an interim President also.New elections have brought a Pro drilling President into power.

    The Merry-go-Round of tribal politics......

    Last edited by Keith Millea; 10-05-2009 at 03:03 AM.
    "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
    Buckminster Fuller

  5. #5


    During my undergraduate years I took a Political Science honors course called History of 19th Century U.S. Foreign Policy.

    The title of my thesis: "Continental Coup d'etat: 19th Century U.S.-Engineered Overthrows of Sovereign 'Native American' Governing Structures as Templates for U.S.-Engineered 20th Century Hemispheric Coups."

    My professor rejected the basic premise.

    I transferred to the English Department.

    And the rest is suppressed history.

  6. #6


    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Drago View Post
    During my undergraduate years I took a Political Science honors course called History of 19th Century U.S. Foreign Policy.

    The title of my thesis: "Continental Coup d'etat: 19th Century U.S.-Engineered Overthrows of Sovereign 'Native American' Governing Structures as Templates for U.S.-Engineered 20th Century Hemispheric Coups."

    My professor rejected the basic premise.

    I transferred to the English Department.

    And the rest is suppressed history.


    They marked your card very early on, Charlie....

    Back in the days when Human Resources depts were called Personnel, and files were made of cardboard and paper rather than bits and bytes, the BBC attached a special sticky label to the personnel file of anyone suspected of subversive thought.

    Rather bizarrely, that label was the image and shape of a Christmas Tree.

    :canabis: No Christmas tree, you horrible little man...

    I've never understood the symbolism, if indeed there was any.

    Perhaps the marking of one's card was all that mattered...
    Last edited by Jan Klimkowski; 10-05-2009 at 06:55 PM.
    "It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
    "Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
    "They are in Love. Fuck the War."

    Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

    "Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
    The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war

  7. Default

    Hopi tribal council taken over by pro coal members."No Environmentalists Allowed".Can we see a pattern forming here?

    A Dirty New Low for Peabody Coal

    Former chairmen of the Hopi Nation have revealed that the Hopi Tribal Council has been taken over by a pro-Peabody Coal faction. Further, Hopi reveal that the tribe's attorney and the media are being used to carry out Peabody Coal's agenda.
    Peabody Coal used the same tactic originally to seize Black Mesa for coal mining and bring about Navajo relocation for coal mining, by way of attorney John Boyden, who worked for Peabody and the Hopi Tribe. The media was also coopted in the original seizure of Black Mesa by Peabody Coal, with the media cheerleading and proclaiming the so-called Navajo Hopi land dispute.
    When the Hopi Tribal Council banned "environmentalists," and Navajo President Joe Shirley, Jr., agreed last week, Navajos and Hopis defending the land were shocked and appalled.
    Vernon Masayesva, executive director of Black Mesa Trust and former Hopi Chairman, points out that Hopi are true stewards and the Hopi Tribal Council has been taken over by a pro-Peabody Coal faction. Masayesva, in a letter to Arizona Republic, also points out that the newspaper is printing only one-side of the story at Hopi, press releases written by a former employee of the newspaper.
    Tina May, former senior editor of Arizona Republic, is now the Hopi Tribal Council's press officer. Masayesva said the Arizona Republic's coverage is biased.
    "Arizona Republic has been carrying news releases by Tina May, public relations officer for the Hopi Tribal Council. She is reporting only one side of the story. We understand she is a former employee of the Arizona Republic," he said.
    "The real story on Hopiland, that is yet to be revealed, is the take-over of the government by pro-Peabody legislators with the support of their legal counsel, Scott Canty, and the ensuing corruption and abuse of power by an illegally constituted Council," Masayesva said.
    Referring to the ban, Masayesva said, "To be a Hopi is to be a conservationist, a caretaker and a steward of planet earth. So, by implication, the Council has banned all Hopi people from their land."
    Masayesva said the Grand Canyon Trust came to Hopiland to install photovoltaic panels on homes that have no electricity. "It is likely the project will now be suspended, thanks to our Hopi Tribal Council."
    Further, Masayesva said forty individual Hopis have filed a challenge to the U.S. Office of Surface Mining’s decision to issue a Life-of-Mine permit to Peabody. The permit would allow Peabody to continue the destructive surface mining for an additional 15 years after 2011.
    "Of special concern to the Hopi is the continuing drawdown of N-aquifer groundwater and the accidental and deliberate destruction of archaeological sites, burial sites, petroglyphs and other cultural resources."
    Klee Benally, Navajo, points out that the US puppet tribal governments are continuing to appease the United States and corporations. Benally responded to Navajo President Joe Shirley, Jr.'s comments, stating that environmentalists are not welcome on Navajoland.
    Benally said, "I would expect this type of declaration from totalitarian government dictators, not those who are democratically elected leaders of Tribal Nations. Considering the history of colonization and BIA established puppet governments on Native American lands, Shirley's statement is not surprising.
    "Attempting to silence the voice and limit the rights of Dine' people to protect their life, land and liberty is not sovereignty, it is in the direction of totalitarianism."
    Benally points out that Shirley uses the catch word "sovereignty" to defend his stance against anything Shirley disagrees with. Benally said, "Does sovereignty really mean being dependent on non-renewable energy that destroys Mother Earth, pollutes drinking water and air and compromises our holy covenant with nature? Does it mean being dependent on casinos and outside corporate interests?'
    Benally also reminds Shirley of Benally's grandmother, the late Roberta Blackgoat resisting relocation, who defended the land until her end on this earth.
    "My grandmother Roberta Blackgoat once said, ‘I know each tree, each plant that grows right there. And they know me. The children, grandchildren, great grandchildren need to be right there. We need them to get back to the land and live on our ancestors' land.' She said that the ‘relocatees' die of ‘worriness,' ‘missing their traditional food and not knowing where to go to pray.' Blackgoat said, ‘As long as I live, I'm not going to sign' and continued to demand ‘(Peabody) stop destroying the Mother Earth's liver and blood; the coal and the water.'"
    "Until her passing she resisted relocation, still abandoned by the Navajo Nation government, ‘unwelcome' by the Hopi Tribal government, and as a testimony to the injustices of US law.
    "Would she still be unwelcome in her homeland Mr. Shirley --- as an environmentalist, that is a woman who loved her Earth?"
    In response to the Hopi Tribal Council ban, Alph Secakuku, Hopi council representative of Sipaulovi (Second Mesa), spoke of the sacred foundation and destiny of the Hopi people.
    "We made a sacred covenant with Maasaw, our Supreme Being, to be good stewards of the Fourth World we live in today. We, as people, all have the responsibility of being Caretakers of Mother Earth. You care for it and take from it only what you need, and it will provide for you.
    "I never thought I would see the day when being ‘Hopi' meant being anti-environment, pro-big corporate energy, and actually promoting pollution and global warming in favor of dollars/money."
    Secakuku said the ban was the result of the current political coup in the council.
    "It is a sad day for Hopi/Tewa people, and I am disappointed. We, the Hopi/Tewa people, have worked closely for many years with our allies from the environmental community to protect sacred lands from development and to stop uranium mining from poisoning our water. Water is life, therefore, it is sacred. We will continue to work together - tribal communities and other clean energy jobs advocates - to bring green economic development to our lands that respects our air and water."
    Former Hopi Chairman Ben Nuvamsa also points out the illegality, absurdity and indignity of the Hopi Tribal Council's ban.
    "For the record, Indian tribes have no jurisdiction over non-Indians on reservation lands (see Oliphant v. Suquamish). On the Hopi Reservation, only the Tribal Chairman has the authority to sign an exclusion order under Tribal Ordinance 46. So without a Tribal Chairman, no one can sign such an order. Without meeting these requirements, the resolution passed by this group is nothing more than a mean-spirited statement.
    "Our teachings as Hopi and Tewa people dictate that we should welcome everyone. It is not Hopi to exclude anyone. As Hopi and Tewa people, we are raised to be good stewards of our lands so we are all ‘environmentalists' by our cultural teachings and practices.
    "The ‘environmentalists' have stood by the Hopi Tribe when we opposed the making of artificial snow on our sacred Nuvatukyaovi (San Francisco Peaks). They assisted in our opposition to the proposed uranium mining near the Grand Canyon. They assisted in securing protections for the American Bald Eagle. So why the opposition to ‘environmentalists' now? Could it be financial and corporate greed? Absolutely," he said in a statement.
    Nuvamsa points out that it the elected tribal leaders compromising sovereignty.
    "Some say the ‘environmentalists' are compromising our tribal sovereignty. I disagree. It is our own ‘tribal leaders' that are the worst violators of compromising our sovereignty."
    Navajos at Black Mesa Water Coalition, creating green jobs on Navajoland, also responded.
    "We believe that President Shirley is misinformed as to the benefits of coal mining and coal-fired power plants and out of touch with the kind of economy the Navajo people want," said Wahleah Johns, also a Navajo citizen and Co-Director of Black Mesa Water Coalition.
    "Our organization has been working to support the traditional lifeways of weavers, ranchers, artisans and a new clean energy economy. After over 30 years of coal development on the Navajo reservation, most of our people still live below the national poverty line, and now there are increasing health problems due to fossil fuel development pollution and global warming."
    Black Mesa Water Coalition said that in July of 2009, the Navajo Nation 21st Council officially adopted the Navajo Green Economy Commission and Fund to begin a process of diversifying the Navajo economy and building thousands of well-paying Navajo jobs that do not pollute.
    "The Black Mesa Water Coalition formed the Navajo Green Economy Coalition, consisting of both Native and non-native organizations and individuals. This Coalition's partnership with the Navajo Nation's Speaker of the Council, Lawrence T. Morgan, was a large contributor to the successful establishment of a Navajo Green Economy plan and is a model for how tribal governments and tribal citizen's groups can work together."
    Calvin Johnson, Navajo in Leupp, Arizona, on the Navajo Nation, fighting the poisoning of the water, air and land by coal mines and power plants, said he was appalled by Shirley's statement. Johnson told Shirley that blaming and disrespecting traditional grassroots people is not the answer.
    Johnson said, "We are suppose to protect our people and mother earth from harmful contaminants that cause numerous health diseases, destroy sacred sites and deplete and contaminate precious water resources."
    Johnson said the Navajo Nation has been providing misinformation about the proposed Desert Rock power plant. There is no such thing as a clean coal fired power plant. He said no machine can remove 100 percent of the sulfur, mercury and other pollutants from coal and burn it free of emissions.
    The Sierra Club said it is an honor to work with Hopis and Navajos.
    "The Sierra Club is honored to work with our tribal partners in transitioning to a clean energy future, including the Black Mesa Water Coalition, Dooda Desert Rock, Hopis Organized for Political Initiatives (H.O.P.I.), the Navajo Green Economy Coalition, To' Nizhoni Ani, C-Aquifer for the Diné, and other community organizations," the Sierra Club said in a statement.
    While the mainstream media, including Associated Press, continues to distort and censor the voices of the Navajo and Hopi people, the full statements are online at Censored News:
    Last edited by Keith Millea; 10-06-2009 at 12:20 AM.
    "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
    Buckminster Fuller

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