Loma de Bácum, Sonora: A gigantic metal pipe can be seen at the bottom of a hole in the earth. The family of Carmen García look into the hole which was dug by the people of Loma de Bácum to remove the gas pipeline. The people used an excavator they seized from the company IEnova, affiliate of the United States transnational, Sempra Energy. The company was building the gas pipeline without the approval of those who live there. A consultation was never carried out. So, after an assembly, the entire community went to where the pipeline was being laid. There, they excavated and cut out with a blowtorch nearly ten kilometers of pipeline, which they then took to Ciudad Obregón to sell as scrap metal. “The company complained, made a fuss, and sued. If you continue building the pipeline, we told them, we are going to continue selling it as scrap metal,” says Guadalupe Maldonado Flores, a Yaqui who has accompanied territorial defense efforts of the traditional guard of Loma de Bácum.
A group of protesters has blocked the port access at Clark and Hastings in Vancouver since Tuesday night. The action was organized by Braided Warriors, a newly formed group, made up of Indigenous youth from many Nations, who fights for Indigenous sovereignty mostly on the unceded territories of the Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil-Waututh), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) nations. The group is calling for the release of Indigenous elder Stacy Gallagher who was sentenced to 90 days in jail Tuesday. Gallagher was handed the sentence in B.C. Supreme Court on Tuesday by judge Shelley Fitzpatrick for violating an injunction that bars people from protests at Trans Mountain sites in Burnaby. It was at the Burnaby tank farm in 2019 where Gallagher took part in a smudging ceremony and was subsequently apprehended and charged.
Two Indigenous activists were murdered in Honduras during December in less than a week, confirming the country as amongst the deadliest in the world for those opposing land grabs and environmental destruction. The killing of Tolupan Indigenous leader Adan Mejia took place three days after the murder of Lenca farmer leader Felix Vazquez. They join a death toll of over a hundred Indigenous people murdered in the past decade defending their lands against illegal exploitation through dams, mining, logging and agribusiness. An ongoing international campaign is also demanding answers from the Honduran authorities about the July 2020 kidnapping in the Caribbean coastal town of Tela, of four members of OFRANEH, the Afro-Indigenous Garifuna Peoples’ organisation of Honduras, by heavily armed gunmen wearing national police uniforms and badges.
On the early morning of February 5th in downtown Portland, members of Oregon’s Indigenous Tribes held a press conference at Portland City Hall among a large showing of community. They addressed the violent targeting and violations of their right to protest and practice religious ceremonies by federal ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents and Portland police officers. This targeting took place while Tribal members were holding an Indigenous religious ceremony to honor ICE detainees and commemorate the lives of those lost while in federal custody. A press release from Indigenous Bloc quoted an unnamed Oregon Tribal who said that it is their constitutional right to protest— but also their duty to keep a vigil “as a community striving for liberation together”.
An Indigenous-led patrol in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside is hoping for funding from the city so it can expand to provide services similar to a well-known patrol in Winnipeg. The Sweet Grass Clan patrol was launched last summer through the Aboriginal Front Door Society at Hastings and Main Streets. It aims to establish a community-based, Indigenous-led patrol much like Winnipeg's Bear Clan patrol, which started small but is now a major presence keeping the peace and assisting residents in inner-city communities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the group is connecting with people on the street, handing out essential safety items like masks and hand sanitizer.
The leader of an Indigenous-led advocacy organization, who spent the holiday weekend in jail after defending his people’s unceded territory in the Black Hills, called the serious charges he’s facing “bullshit.”Nick Tilsen, Oglala Lakota, president and CEO of NDN Collective, is charged with multiple offenses, including two felonies, related to the July 3 Mount Rushmore protest that ended with 20 treaty defenders — 19 adults and one juvenile — in jail, according to the Pennington County Sheriff's Office. One counter-protester was also jailed, and additional arrests may happen as the video is being reviewed along with additional interviews, according to the sheriff’s office.
Once spotted — read: ironically snitched on by onlooking National Guardsmen — our group was rapidly swarmed by a boatload of aggressive, somewhat violent, police officers. My Marine Corps infantry veteran buddy was shoved to the ground and hit his head (thankfully without serious injury) with the rest quickly shepherded to the exits. Arrest seemed imminent, but in the end only the three climbers — plus a distinctly soft-spoken and older Vietnam veteran “packing” only a camera — were actually booked. There was some crowd jeering directed our way during the exit march, with one memorable Trump enthusiast yelling “Antifa!” at another marine vet friend, before loudly yelling “in tongues” in his face. It’s hard to imagine a more apt symbol of much that’s bizarre and distasteful in Trump World. Matters could have ended worse. In a sense, the real fear stemmed from the crowd, the MAGA mob, and — without complete hyperbole given the amphitheater scene — a vigilante attack.
The two Lummi Nation tribal members working for the release and return of the captive orca Sk'aliCh'elh-tenaut (also known as Tokitae or her stage name, Lolita) announced today that they will be legally represented by Earth Law Center. The virtual press conference will be live streamed, and available at http://facebook.com/pg/OurSacredSea. "Our Lummi term for orca is qwe'lhol'mechen, which means our relations under the water," explained Squil-le-he-le (Raynell Morris), one of the Lummi women involved. "Sk'aliCh'elh-tenaut is part of our community, our family. It's our Xa xalh Xechnging (sacred obligation) to bring our relation out of captivity at Miami Seaquarium, to bring her safely home to Xw'ullemy (the Salish Sea)." Last July, Squil-le-he-le and Tah-Mahs (Ellie Kinley) announced their intent to sue Miami Seaquarium. Sk'aliCh'elh-tenaut is a member of Sk'aliCh'elh, which is the Lummi family name for the Southern Resident Killer Whale population. The Lummi people are bound by culture and kinship ties to Sk'aliCh'elh, and have been in a reciprocal relationship with them since time immemorial. "She was taken from her family and her culture when she was just a child, like so many of our children were taken from us and placed in Indian boarding schools. Reuniting her with her family, reuniting her with us, helps make us all whole," explained Tah-Mahs. “We are humbled with the trust that's been placed in us.” said Michelle Bender, Ocean Rights Manager at the Earth Law Center. “At the foundation of Earth law and the Rights of Nature movement is the Indigenous worldview that we are a part of, not separate from, Nature and all of its species and elements. By legally representing our sisters and brothers, we hope to shed light on this truth that has been lost from Western society." Dr. Kurt Russo, who has spent decades working to Indigenize policy frameworks, said, "This is a game changer. We're meeting Miami Seaquarium where they are, in the Western legal sphere. Earth Law Center is perfectly positioned to represent Tah-Mahs and Squil-le-he-le in their efforts to repatriate their relation." "We're at a time when we all need healing," Tah-Mas added. "We're all family, qwe'lhol'mechen and Lummi people. What happens to them, happens to us." # # # Earth Law Center (www.earthlawcenter.org) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit environmental law organization working around the world to transform the law to recognize, honor and protect nature's inherent rights to exist, thrive and evolve. ELC partners with frontline indigenous people and communities to challenge the overarching legal and economic systems that reward environmental harm, and advance governance systems that maximize social and ecological well-being. For more information on Sk'aliCh'elh-tenaut, go to www.sacredsea.org
RCMP officers enforcing a court-ordered injunction arrested three protesters Wednesday at an encampment next to the site of a controversial natural gas project at Fort Ellis, N.S. Police said in a news release that three women were taken into custody for civil contempt of an injunction order after they refused to leave the camp. The Indigenous protesters set up the camp more than two years ago to oppose a plan by the subsidiary of a Calgary-based company to create large underground caverns to store natural gas.
Sherri Mitchell, Penobscot, an Indigenous lawyer, writer and activist, has a new book, "Sacred Instructions: Indigenous Wisdom for Living Spirit-Based Change," which explains her personal journey to activism and both how our societies have arrived at this time of grave threats and what we can do to create change. Some of our tasks are to recognize that colonization has not ended, the ways it manifests itself and how to begin the process of decolonization. We can do that, in part, by working to protect water sovereignty. Sherri talks about the mobilization at Standing Rock and the rise of Water Protectors. Then we speak with RaeLynn Cazelot, United Houmi and Pointe-au-Chien, who is a Water Protector working to stop the Bayou Bridge Pipeline (BBP).
I am overwhelmed that February 6th is the start of my 43rd year in prison. I have had such high hopes over the years that I might be getting out and returning to my family in North Dakota. And yet here I am in 2018 still struggling for my FREEDOM at 73. I don’t want to sound ungrateful to all my supporters who have stood by me through all these years. I dearly love and respect you and thank you for the love & respect you have given me. But the truth is I am tired and often my ailments cause me pain with little relief for days at a time. I just had heart surgery and I have other medical issues that need to be addressed: my aortic aneurysm, that could burst at any time, my prostate and arthritis in my hip and knees. I do not think I have another ten years, and what I do have I would like to spend with my family.
By Jenni Monet for Yes! Magazine - Half a city block away, a peaceful gathering had erupted in rapid but short-lived chaos after, police say, someone lodged a burning projectile at an officer, and in response, police fired back. The city’s police chief said pepper balls, tear gas, and other nonlethal chemicals were used. The drama disrupted what had otherwise been an hours-long nonviolent demonstration held by many protesting President Donald J. Trump. He chose Phoenix to host a campaign-style rally, his first event since the deadly clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia. For the indigenous people who attended the rally, this police response was a familiar narrative. “The historical trauma is still happening today. We’re still suffering but in different ways,” said Anthony Thosh Collins, a citizen of the Onk Akimel O’odham with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. His tribe’s land base is surrounded by the nearby sprawling suburbs of Scottsdale, Mesa, and Tempe. But for Collins and dozens of other indigenous rights activists protesting Tuesday night, their message in response to recent white supremacist rhetoric was simple: “This is our land.”
By Kari Ann Boushee for International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee - Last month, a letter in support of clemency for federal prisoner Leonard Peltier was sent to President Obama by former United States Attorney James H. Reynolds. Supporters believe that Native American activist Leonard Peltier was wrongfully convicted in 1977 for the deaths of two agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Imprisoned for over 41 years, Peltier has the support of Amnesty International and other human rights organizations. Over 50 Members of Congress and others—including Judge Gerald Heaney (8th Circuit Court of Appeals) who sat as a member of the court in two of Peltier’s appeals—have all called for his immediate release.
By Staff of Camp of the Sacred Stones - As we reflect on the decision by the US Army (NOT the US Army Corps) to suspend the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) river crossing easement and conduct a limited Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the resistance camps at Standing Rock are making plans for the next phase of this movement. Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II has asked people to return home once the weather clears, and many will do so. Others will stay to hold the space, advance our reclamation of unceded territory affirmed in the 1851 Treaty of Ft. Laramie, and continue to build community around the protection of our sacred waters.
By Jeff Abbott for Waging Nonviolence - Thousands of indigenous Q’eqchi, Achí and Pomcomchí Mayas took part in a series of protests on October 17 against hydroelectric projects along the Cahabón River in the Guatemalan department of Alta Verapaz. The simultaneous protests, which took place in Guatemala City and the municipality of San Pedro Carcha, aimed to force the government’s hand over a delayed consultation on the project in Santa María Cahabón. “[The company] entered [our community] without advising anyone,” said Bernado Caal Xol, one of the organizers of the movement against the hydro project.