Posts tagged native americans.


Idle No More sweeps Canada & beyond as aboriginals say enough is enough
December 23, 2012

The second wave of Idle No More protests swept across Canada on Friday December 21, with support events held across the U.S. and as far away as Europe and New Zealand, less than two weeks after the movement burst onto the political scene on December 10.

Indigenous activists used social media websites to organize round dances, highway blockades, protests and ceremonies from east to west of the country, as Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence entered her 10th day of a hunger strike that she has vowed to see through to the end.

Thousands of people turned out for social media-organized flash mobs—seemingly spontaneous assemblies in malls and other public places—in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and beyond, and rallies criticized not only the federal omnibus budget bill C-45, which passed into law this week, but also the wider living and rights conditions that aboriginal peoples are subject to.

Ryerson University Indigenous Governance professor Pamela Palmater, Mik’maq, attended the 4,000-person rally on Parliament Hill, the largest of the Idle No More events.

“Being in Ottawa at the rally, amongst thousands of our brothers and sisters from indigenous nations all over Canada, dancing, singing and drumming was a spirit-filling moment for me,” she told Indian Country Today Media Network. “You could feel the pride in our peoples standing shoulder to shoulder to protect our future generations. The energy was palpable and you could feel that our ancestors walked with us. The wind blowing through our Nations’ many flags was symbolic of our collective strength. Despite the cold, snow and wind, the spirit that has been relit in our peoples has enough heat to keep us in this grassroots movement for the long haul.”

The mood was equally ebullient in Vancouver.

“Today my heart is full, because the shift is happening,” said Nuxalk and Six Nations artist Jerilynn Snuxyaltwa Webster, who raps under the name JB the First Lady. “Our people—our beautiful, indigenous people—are rising. I’m sick of colonization telling us that we are criminals, telling us that we’re no good, telling us that we don’t deserve what is ours. Stephen Harper: We’re coming together. It’s not just a flash mob. If our lady, Theresa Spence, passes away, we’re showing the entire country what kind of power we have.”

Webster added that the Idle No More phenomenon is not merely aimed at a particular piece of legislation or even just the government.

“This movement, this uprising, is not for the Canadian government to talk with us,” she told a crowd gathered in Vancouver, B.C. “It’s for us to come together to build unity, no matter what color the skin is, what your blood quantum is, what nation you come from, if you’re treaty or non-treaty, status or non-status, Métis or Inuit. Those are the boxes they put us in—they try to divide and conquer us, but they haven’t. We overcame acts of genocide; we are still here.”

Winnipeg, Manitoba, broadcaster and Anishnaabe musician Wab Kinew told Indian Country Today Media Network that Idle No More has grown from a reaction to Bill C-45, to a broader movement.

“Idle No More is definitely about indigenous rights, culture and sovereignty,” he said. “But the ideals that underlie it are ones that matter to all Canadians—they’re about rights, freedom, the environment, preserving a positive environment for our children.”

And while C-45—a sprawling piece of legislation that reduces the number of referendum votes needed to give up reserve lands for development, and that critics say guts waterways protection—may have sparked the protests, it has unmasked a much deeper dissatisfaction.

“There are so many tensions and issues in the aboriginal community, the indigenous community,” Kinew said. “Missing and murdered women, poor health outcomes, poor education, poverty, social issues, racism, and on and on and on. Bill C-45 was the match, but it landed on a tinderbox or powder keg. Now you’re seeing all these other issues come to the surface.”

The National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations welcomed the growing movement.

“The Idle No More effort is growing like wildfire across the country,” National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo told ICTMN. “It’s really a grassroots effort. It’s First Nations and Canadians standing up, stepping forward, and saying that what’s happening in this country—overstepping aboriginal title and rights, treaty rights, basic human rights, and the right to life and dignity, this pattern of mistreatment of First Nations—has to end.”

Mohawk political analyst Russell Diabo said that Idle No More has indeed tapped into a wellspring of discontent.

“Instinctively, they know what’s wrong with what the Harper government’s doing—pushing this suite of legislation—and they’re reacting to it,” he told ICTMN. He added that he hoped aboriginals would use this momentum to educate themselves in depth about the issues they were protesting.

“There are certainly many more bills than C-45 that are amending the Indian Act and going to have an impact on aboriginal treaty rights for First Nations across Canada,” he said. “They need to be more articulate about how it really impacts them.”

Diabo, a policy advisor for several First Nations as well as editor and publisher of the newsletter First Nations Strategic Bulletin, warned that pending Indian Act amendments could lead to the “termination” of aboriginal title and rights by getting aboriginals to sign those rights away in negotiations with government. Rights would be further eroded by the introduction of individual, fee-simple land ownership on reservations.

“They’re still using the Indian Act as the main statute to control and manage Indians with these new amendments, but also they have policy initiatives,” Diabo explained. “Basically their policies are one-sided polices that the federal government has drafted to interpret Section 35 of Canada’s constitution about what’s on the table and what’s not on the table. They want to extinguish aboriginal title through these modern treaties.”


(via theolduvaigorge)


Native Americans descended from 3 Asian groups
The finding is controversial among geneticists, archaeologists and linguists who have maintained that a single ancestral group populated the Americas.

American Indians in Oklahoma will be forced to protest Keystone XL pipeline from a cage ›


Native Americans gathering in Cushing, OK today to protest President Obama’s words of praise for the Keystone XL pipeline were forced by local authorities to hold their event in a cage erected in Memorial Park. The protestors were stunned that their community, so long mistreated, would be insulted in such an open manner instead of being given the same freedom of speech expected by all Americans simply for taking a stance consistent with their values.

“A lot of tribal councils and Indian businesses struggle to find a balance between economic resources and our inherited responsibilities for the earth,” said Indian actor and activist Richard Ray Whitman in a statement. “How will the decisions we make now effect coming generations?”

“President Obama is an adopted member of the Crow Tribe, so his fast-tracking a project that will desecrate known sacred sites and artifacts is a real betrayal and disappointment for his Native relatives everywhere,” said Marty Cobenais of the Indigenous Environmental Network. “Tar sands is devastating First Nations communities in Canada already and now they want to bring that environmental, health, and social devastation to US tribes.”

The President visited Cushing to stand with executives from TransCanada and throw his support behind a plan to build the southern half of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline to move tar sands bitumen and crude oil from Cushing to the Gulf Coast refineries in Texas.

A major concern for Native Americans in Oklahoma, according to spokespeople at the event, is that Keystone XL and the Canadian tar sands mines that would supply it ignore impacts to indigenous communities and their sacred spaces.

“Natives in Canada live downstream from toxic tar sands mines,” said Earl Hatley, “and they are experiencing spikes in colon, liver, blood and rare bile-duct cancers which the Canadian government and oil companies simply ignore. And now they want to pipe these tar sands through the heart of Indian country, bulldozing grave sites and ripping out our heritage.”

(via deepwithfuture)


Much “Indian land” is actually out of the control of Indians. Non-Indians own more than 65 percent of the reservation land in the United States, reports Native Peoples magazine. Moreover, many of the Indians that do own land possess ridiculously tiny “fractionated” parcels made possible by the General Allotment Act of 1887, also known as the Dawes Act, which split up land and put it into a government trust.

A Minnesota-based organization called the Indian Land Tenure Foundation is working to change this situation and to put more land back into Indian hands.

Keep reading …

(via therecipe)


This is a series of maps charting the shrinkage of Native American lands over time, from 1784 to the present day.  Made because I was having trouble visualizing the sheer scale of the land loss, and reading numbers like “blah blah million acres” wasn’t really doing it for me.  The gif is based on a collection of maps by Sam B. Hilliard of Louisiana State University.  You can see the original map here.

For those who do prefer dealing in numbers, here are some:

By 1881, Indian landholdings in the United States had plummeted to 156 million acres. By 1934, only about 50 million acres remained (an area the size of Idaho and Washington) as a result of the General Allotment Act* of 1887. During World War II, the government took 500,000 more acres for military use. Over one hundred tribes, bands, and Rancherias relinquished their lands under various acts of Congress during the termination era of the 1950s.

By 1955, the indigenous land base had shrunk to just 2.3 percent of its original size.

In the Courts of the Conqueror by Walter Echo-Hawk

* The General Allotment Act is also known as the Dawes Act.

(via rightsandhumanity)


U.S. soldiers pose over a mass grave trench with some of the 300 bodies of innocent Native American Lakota Sioux, two-thirds women and children, massacred at Wounded Knee, Pine Ridge Reservation. One of the few survivors of the massacre was a baby girl, found 4 days after the massacre, lying beneath her mothers dead frozen body, her mother having protected her in death as she had in life. The baby girl, having survived the massacre and the blizzard with temperatures at 40 below zero, was then abducted by Brigadier General Colby as a trophy of the massacre, in his own words “a most interesting Indian relic”. via tapiocasunrise

Happy Thanksgiving!

(via caraobrien)

  November 26, 2010 at 05:04am

Before our white brothers arrived to make us civilized men, we didn’t have any kind of prison. Because of this, we had no delinquents. Without a prison, there can be no delinquents. We had no locks nor keys and therefore among us there were no thieves. When someone was so poor that he couldn’t afford a horse, a tent or a blanket, he would, in that case, receive it all as a gift. We were too uncivilized to give great importance to private property. We didn’t know any kind of money and consequently, the value of a human being was not determined by his wealth. We had no written laws laid down, no lawyers, no politicians, therefore we were not able to cheat and swindle one another. We were really in bad shape before the white men arrived and I don’t know how to explain how we were able to manage without these fundamental things that (so they tell us) are so necessary for a civilized society.

John Lame Deer, Native American “holy man” (via fairuzaa) (via rangeenhaseena) (via cuntymint) (via hannabis)