Wells Fargo Blockaded, Demanding Divestment From Tar Sands

Earth Defense Coalition lockdown blockading Wells Fargo

By Alex Cohen, for Earth Defense Coalition. On November 14, 2017, five water protectors took action in solidarity with front line Indigenous resistance efforts at Camp Makwa to stop the construction of the Enbridge Line 3 tar sands pipeline in Minnesota. The activists locked down to each other and used their bodies to disrupt business as usual at Wells Fargo, one of the major financial players behind this genocidal, extractive fossil fuel project. Wells Fargo has 743 million invested into Enbridge who is responsible for Tar Sands and the Line 3 pipeline threatening and ravaging through Indigenous lands, water, wild rice, and sovereignty in Minnesota. This action is one of hundreds taking place across the globe to call for divestment from financial institutions invested in the destructive fossil fuel industry.

Sami People Persuade Norway Pension Fund To Divest From Dakota Access


By Rachel Fixsen for The Guardian – In an act of international solidarity between indigenous peoples, the Sami parliament in Norway has persuaded the country’s second largest pension fund to withdraw its money from companies linked to a controversial oil project backed by Donald Trump. The project to build the 1,900km Dakota Access oil pipeline across six US states has prompted massive protests from Native American activists at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. This week, after lobbying by the Sami parliament, Norway’s local authority pension fund KLP announced it would sell of shares worth $58m in companies building the pipeline. Vibeke Larsen, president of the Sami parliament, said the pension fund announced the move when she arrived at a meeting in Oslo to discuss Dakota Access. “We feel a strong solidarity with other indigenous people in other parts of the world, so we are doing our part in Norway by putting pressure on the pension funds,” she told the Guardian. The Sami – formerly known to outsiders as Lapps, a term they reject as derogatory – are an indigenous people living in the Arctic area of Sápmi in the far north of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia’s Kola peninsula. Although they are seen as one people, there are several kinds of Sami, and their rights differ significantly depending on the nation state they live in, according to the United Nations.

Brazil: Tribe Defy Miners – “Our Life Depends On The Life Of The Earth And The Forest”


By Staff of Survival International – The Waiãpi tribe in Brazil have defied a hostile government to defend their land rights. The tribe has circulated a powerful open letter in which they state: “We’re against mining because we want to defend our land and forest. We believe the land is a person”. The letter was written in response to the Brazilian government’s attempt to open up the Amazon forest around the tribe’s land to large-scale mining. Following a global outcry by indigenous peoples and campaigners, the government backed down. However, given the power of Brazil’s notorious agribusiness lobby, the Waiãpi are on the alert. In the letter they vow to defend their territory at all costs against mining interests. The tribe say mining will not bring benefits to them. They are concerned about conflict and disease brought by an influx of outsiders, and the opening up of their land to destructive economic interests such as hydro-electric dams, ranching and gold mining. This small Amazon tribe knows the devastating impacts of highways and mining. Sporadic contacts with outsiders hunting wild cats for their pelts and groups of gold prospectors in the latter part of last century introduced fatal diseases like measles to which the isolated Waiãpi had no resistance. Many died as a result.

American Indian Movement Co-Founder Dennis Banks Dies At 80 Years of Age


By Vincent Schilling for Indian Country Today – American Indian Movement co-founder, activist, author and teacher Dennis Banks has died at 80 years of age. Banks died from complications of pneumonia he had contracted following open heart surgery. According to a recent post on his Facebook page by his family, Dennis Banks passed away at 10:10 pm on October 29, 2017 amidst family, friends and traditional song. “Our father Dennis J. Banks started his journey to the spirit world at 10:10 pm on October 29, 2017. As he took his last breaths, Minoh sang him four songs for his journey. All the family who were present prayed over him and said our individual goodbyes. Then we proudly sang him the AIM song as his final send off. Our father will be laid to rest in his home community of Leech Lake, MN. Presiding over traditional services will be Terry Nelson. We welcome all who would like to pay respects. As soon as arrangements are finalized, we will post details.Still Humbly Yours, The children and grandchildren of Nowacumig.” In response to the announcement of his death, Facebook and Twitter have already been flooded with comments. Lonn Duncan condolences to the family, our hearts, thoughts and prayers always. rest in peace brother. a true and great warrior.

Cheyenne River Sioux Chairman: How Long Do Our Children Have To Face Racism?

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By Levi Rickert for Native News Online – EAGLE BUTTE, SOUTH DAKOTA – Cheyenne River Sioiux Tribe Chairman Harold Fraizer asked on Thursday: “How may times do we have to send our school children to our sacred Black Hills only to be verbally and physically abused with racism and bigotry by those who occupy such a sacred place?” Fraizer’s question was part of his reaction to the racist incident directed towards American Indians by Sturgis Brown High School students who posted photographs on social media of taking a sledehammer to a car with the words “Go back to the Rez” sprayed painted on it. The incident was part of a tradition at Sturgis Brown High School during their football homecoming week. A local business donates a vehicle so the students can deface it using their homecoming opponents as fooder. After the incident became widely known via social media, school officials said the school system would no longer sponsor the annual ritual. The Meade School Board of Education canceled this year’s homecoming game scheduled tonight against Pine Ridge High School. With the cancellation, Sturgis Brown High School forfeits the game to Pine Ridge High.

Resistance To Line 3 Pipeline Seeks To Save Sacred Manoomin


By Staff of Unicorn RIot – Construction on the planned Line 3 Replacement Project (L3RP) is almost finished in the northwest corner of Wisconsin, where several direct actions by water protectors and land defenders have attempted to halt construction and resulted in numerous arrests. L3RP has yet to be approved in Minnesota, but Enbridge already has yards filled with sections of pipeline being protected by law enforcement agencies in Minnesota. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission held a public hearing in St. Paul during the last week of September; Unicorn Riot was live at a rally and march in opposition of the project and for five hours of public comments on the proposed project. The planned Line 3 pipeline route goes through several unceded treaty territories with five tribes, the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, White Earth Band of Ojibwe, and the Red Lake Band of Ojibwe, in the direct path of the proposed route which crosses Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Trump Advisers Propose Privatizing Native American Reservations

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By Staff of The Indigenous American – Native American reservations cover just 2 percent of the United States, but they may contain about a fifth of the nation’s oil and gas, along with vast coal reserves. Now, a group of advisors to President-elect Donald Trump on Native American issues wants to free those resources from what they call a suffocating federal bureaucracy that holds title to 56 million acres of tribal lands, two chairmen of the coalition told Reuters in exclusive interviews. The group proposes to put those lands into private ownership – a politically explosive idea that could upend more than century of policy designed to preserve Indian tribes on U.S.-owned reservations, which are governed by tribal leaders as sovereign nations. The tribes have rights to use the land, but they do not own it. They can drill it and reap the profits, but only under regulations that are far more burdensome than those applied to private property. “We should take tribal land away from public treatment,” said Markwayne Mullin, a Republican U.S. Representative from Oklahoma and a Cherokee tribe member who is co-chairing Trump’s Native American Affairs Coalition. “As long as we can do it without unintended consequences, I think we will have broad support around Indian country.” Trump’s transition team did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Lessons From The Front Lines Of Anti-Colonial Pipeline Resistance


By James Rowe and Mike Simpson for Nation of Change – The Standing Rock standoff over the Dakota Access Pipeline was a reminder that colonization, and resistance to it, both exist in the present tense. Fossil fuel pipelines that despoil indigenous lands and waters have become key flashpoints in long-standing anti-colonial resistance. An important precursor and inspiration for the Standing Rock camp is an indigenous occupation in northern British Columbia, Canada. For the past eight years, the Unist’ot’en clan have reoccupied their traditional territory. When the camp began in 2009, seven pipelines had been proposed to cross their territory, as well as their water source, the salmon-bearing Morice River. But thanks to Unist’ot’en resistance, oil and gas companies have been blocked from building new fossil fuel infrastructure. The lesser known but wildly successful Unist’ot’en encampment holds crucial lessons for anti-pipeline and anti-colonial organizers across North America, or Turtle Island, as many indigenous nations call it. We visited the occupation this summer. Upon arriving, visitors must undergo a border-crossing protocol. There is only one way in and out of Unist’ot’en territory – a bridge that crosses the Morice River. Before being allowed to cross, we were asked where we came from, whether we worked for the government or the fossil fuel industry, and how our visit could benefit the Unist’ot’en.

Indigenous Woman Registers To Run For Mexican Presidency In 2018

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By Staff of Reuters – MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – An indigenous woman backed by Mexico’s rebel Zapatista movement registered on Saturday to run as an independent candidate in next year’s presidential election, adding to a growing list of hopefuls bucking established political parties. Maria de Jesus Patricio Martinez is the spokeswoman for the National Indigenous Congress, the political arm of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), and in May was picked to be the group’s 2018 presidential candidate. Local media reported that after Patricio Martinez registered with the National Electoral Institute (INE), she pledged not to accept any funding from the government to run her campaign. Mexico’s major political parties have struggled to gain support in recent years, and voter surveys show all presidential hopefuls struggling to win support from as much as a third of the electorate. The front-runner in most polls is former Mexico City mayor and two-time presidential runner-up Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a leftist with nationalistic leanings. The ruling centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) of President Enrique Pena Nieto, who is barred by law from seeking a second term, has yet to pick a candidate. Already, more than 10 first-time independent candidates have registered to run. Three of those contenders failed to meet initial requirements, according to the INE.

Uprooting Colonialism: The Limitations Of Indigenous Peoples’ Day

1992, March in Ohlone lands

By Staff of Indigenous Media Action – As momentum has accelerated for occupying forces to issue declarations of “Indigenous Peoples’ Day (IPD),” we can’t help but feel disconnected from the revelry. Aside from psychic solace, if the state dismantles these statues and proclaims Indigenous Peoples’ Days, what do we actually achieve if the structures and systems rooted in colonial violence remain intact? Is it merely political posturing or window dressing to diminish liberatory agitations? Our senses are heightened as most re-brandings of Columbus Day into IPD appear to whitewash ongoing colonial legacies. The statistics are all too familiar: Indigenous Peoples in the “U.S.” are the ethnic group that faces the highest police murder rate, the highest rates of incarnation, homelessness, and sexual violence. So yes, we have very good reason to be skeptical of symbolic gestures. We’re all for removing colonial symbols and nationalistic myths, so long as structures such as colonialism and racism go along with them. Problem is they are not. These edicts are readily embraced by their advocates as “steps in the right direction” for Indigenous interests, yet—as we’ll assert here—only serve to calcify colonial rule. What else are we to glean from superficial declarations handed down by occupying governing bodies?

Harvest Like Our Ancestors: The Resistance Is Fertile


By Ruth Hopkins for Indian Country Today – It’s time for the harvest. Traditionally, the Oceti Sakowin (Great Sioux Nation) are hunter gatherers. For generations, our children have gotten excited when the chokecherries turn black, because that meant they were ripe for picking. Buffaloberries and wild plums are ready when the chokecherries are. Wild strawberries and raspberries were ready a month previous, along with wild onions; prairie turnips (timpsila) were picked two months before that. The berries and plums can be eaten fresh picked, and are made into jams and jellies. Wojapiis a delicious dessert made from honey or sugar and berries, usually chokecherries. Chokecherries mixed with kidney fat and dried meat are also used to make wasna, ceremonial food. My father, who is a wild game hunter, loves pemmican. We gather first. Hunting will come in another month’s time. It’s time to pick medicine too. The prairie sage is tall. We start collecting sage and sweetgrass ahead of sundance, but we continue to collect enough to last us through the winter, which is well into March in the Dakotas. Do not pull them out by the root, and leave an offering along with a prayer of thanks for your bounty. There are many other Native plants that can be harvested and dried for medicine, like yarrow and purple coneflower. If you’ve never used these wild medicines before, I caution you against doing so unless you’re under the guidance of an elder, medicine person, or ethnobotanist. We like to pick from designated areas as well, as some plants have been exposed to manmade pollution and aren’t suitable for consumption.

Genocide: Goldminers “Massacre” Uncontacted Amazon Indians

Evidence of an attack? Burnt communal houses of uncontacted Indians, seen in December 2016, could be signs of another massacre in the Uncontacted Frontier.

By Staff of Survival International – Public prosecutors in Brazil have opened an investigation after reports that illegal goldminers in a remote Amazon river have massacred “more than ten” members of an uncontacted tribe. If confirmed, this means up to a fifth of the entire tribe have been wiped out. Two goldminers have been arrested. The killings allegedly took place last month along the River Jandiatuba in western Brazil, but the news only emerged after the goldminers started boasting about the killings, and showing off “trophies” in the nearest town. Agents from Brazil’s indigenous affairs agency, FUNAI, confirmed details of the attack to Survival International. Women and children are believed to be among the dead. FUNAI and the public prosecutor’s office are currently investigating. The area is known as the Uncontacted Frontier, as it contains more uncontacted tribes than anywhere else on Earth. Several government teams who had been protecting uncontacted indigenous territories have recently had their funding slashed by the Brazilian government, and have had to close down.

Fate Of Seized Activist May Point To New Era Of State Violence In Argentina

Top photo | Demonstrators hold photos of missing activist Santiago Maldonado, during a protest at Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. Human rights groups say Maldonado went missing a month ago, after Argentine border police captured him during an operation against Mapuche Indians who were blocking a highway in Argentina’s Patagonia. (AP/Natacha Pisarenko)

By Roqayah Chamseddine for MInt Press News – The streets of Argentina are boiling over with demonstrations, as thousands of locals demand that the government produce an indigenous activist last seen one month ago when border police forced a group of the indigenous Mapuche off of indigenous land in Patagonia — land unjustly owned by the Italian clothing company Benetton. According to witnesses, 28-year-old Santiago Maldonado was forced into a van by government officials and disappeared, but so far the Argentinian government has denied any involvement. Argentinian demonstrators, including groups like Mothers of the Plaza De Mayo, are increasingly concerned for the wellbeing of Maldonado in light of the nation’s troubled history of state violence. The US-backed military dictatorship of General Jorge Rafael Videla, which plagued Argentina from 1976 until 1983, killed, kidnapped, and disappeared at least 30,000. Backed by Ronald Reagan, Videla and his security apparatus went on to torture and murder thousands more in a right-wing military hellscape. The case of Santiago Maldonado has revived memories of the Argentinian military junta, and suspicion among activists is growing that he has become President Mauricio Macri’s first disappeared victim—nearly 40 years after the end of General Videla’s rule.

Native American Leader Leonard Peltier Undergoes Triple Bypass Surgery

Leonard Peltier | Photo: International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

By Staff of Tele Sur – “My chest was opened and they took arteries from my legs and placed them in the blocked arteries. I had to be given a liter of blood,” Peltier wrote. Leonard Peltier, U.S. political prisoner and Native American leader, is in stable condition after undergoing triple bypass surgery, his defense committee announced Saturday morning. In a letter published by the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, Peltier wrote that he had been “taken to an outside hospital in Leesburg (Florida) for what I was told was a routine heart stress test,” due to shortness of breath. However, medics found “clogged arteries, 3 of them!” An immediate operation was scheduled and Peltier underwent triple bypass surgery. “My chest was opened and they took arteries from my legs and placed them in the blocked arteries. I had to be given a liter of blood,” he said, adding that now he’s “back in prison” and getting around in a “wheelchair.” Still suffering from a slight shortness of breath, Peltier nevertheless said he was looking forward to his grandson’s visit him next week.

Navajo Nations First Solar Project Producing Electricity For About 13,000 Homes

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By Staff of Associated Press – A giant array of solar panels near the famed sandstone buttes of Monument Valley has begun producing electricity for the Navajo Nation at a time when the tribe is bracing for the loss of hundreds of jobs from the impending closure of a nearby coal-fired power plant. The Kayenta Solar Facility is the first utility-scale solar project on the Navajo Nation, producing enough electricity to power about 13,000 Navajo homes. The plant comes at a time when the area’s energy landscape is shifting. o: Antonio Ramirez, APThe coal-fired Navajo Generating Station near Page is set to close in December 2019, leaving a site that both tribal and private entities say has the potential for renewable energy development. The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, which owns the solar plant, said the project advances clean energy on the reservation long known for fossil fuel development, the Arizona Daily Sun reported. Walter Haase, general manager of the tribal utility, said the plant proves to investors, developers and tribal communities that renewable energy projects are possible on the reservation. Economic development often is hampered by the lack of infrastructure, required environmental clearances and consent from anyone holding a permit or lease for use of the land.