Abraham Lincoln has an almost saintly place in U.S. history: the “Great Emancipator” whose leadership during the Civil War preserved the Union and abolished slavery. Often overlooked among his achievements is legislation he signed June 30, 1864, during the thick of the war – but only marginally related to the conflict. The Yosemite Valley Grant Act preserved the Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove in California as a park “held for public use, resort, and recreation … for all time.” It was the first time the federal government had set aside land for its scenic value, and it created a model for U.S. national parks, which are themselves hallowed sites in American culture.
Once again on so-called “Thanksgiving Day,” United American Indians of New England and our supporters are gathered on this hill to observe a National Day of Mourning for the Indigenous people murdered by settler colonialism and imperialism, from Turtle Island to Palestine. Today marks the 54th time we have gathered here to mourn our ancestors, tear down settler mythologies, and speak truth to power. The National Day of Mourning came into existence 53 “Thanksgivings” ago when my grandfather, an Aquinnah Wampanoag man named Wamsutta Frank James, was invited by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to speak at a banquet celebrating the 350th anniversary of the arrival of the Pilgrims.
Rapid City, SD – Yesterday, the families of Nevaeh Brave Heart, Aiko Storm White Eagle, Kasey Arehart, and Kyle Whiting held a sit-in at state’s attorney Lara Roetzel’s office for five hours, calling for her resignation and for an independent investigation into the practices of the State’s Attorney office. The families and local community members mobilized this peaceful action to call attention to the state’s attorney’s track record of over prosecuting Native people while also failing to serve justice for Native people who have been murdered. To draw just one sharp comparison: the white man who killed Nevaeh Brave Heart in a hit-and-run and then washed and painted his vehicle to hide evidence was charged with a class one misdemeanor, while Native teenager Kasey Arehart was sentenced to 30 years in prison just for firing a gun, even though no one was hurt.
Today, there is no place more justified for LandBack than Palestine, where Israeli “settlers” (with military backing) have pushed them off their land and slaughtered them for generations. According to the LandBack manifesto “Our struggle is interconnected with the struggles of all oppressed Peoples. It is a future where Black reparations and Indigenous LANDBACK coexist. We are the land.” Going far beyond economics, LandBack sees land as tied to culture – regaining land is central to efforts by the colonized to assert their existence. It advocates decolonization, dismantling white supremacy, and reclaiming stewardship to save their land.
Anchorage, Alaska – A large crowd gathered and rallied outside the Annual Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) convention Thursday afternoon around a large hand-painted banner that read “Defend the Sacred: Extraction is NOT our way of life”. The rally was organized by a coalition of Alaska Native groups to connect the growing crisis of environmental and community health impacts of the extraction industry on Indigenous communities around the State. Host organizations included, United Tribes of Bristol Bay, Mother Kuskokwim, Native Movement and Grandmothers Growing Goodness.
One afternoon earlier this year, Wendell Yellow Bull received a call from a longtime friend with word of a troubling discovery. Objects from one of the most notorious massacres of Native Americans in U.S. history were in the collections of the American Museum of Natural History, his friend said. Some of them appeared to be children’s toys, including a saddle and a doll shirt. Memories of what Yellow Bull had been told about the incident throughout his life came rushing back. Yellow Bull is a descendant of Joseph Horn Cloud, who survived the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee.
On 15 October, Indigenous Australians grieved the collapse of a landmark push for Indigenous rights and recognition that was spurned by the country’s white majority in a binding constitutional referendum. Indigenous leaders called for a “week of silence” to mourn the bitter outcome of Saturday 14’s landside vote. The defeat has called into question decades-long reconciliation efforts. Aboriginal advocacy groups stated that millions of Australians had ignored the chance to atone for the country’s colonial past and the “brutal dispossession of our people”.
A campaign to deny Indigenous peoples a voice in Australia’s national Parliament is using tactics similar to an earlier conservative legal battle against First Nations communities in Canada, a new research paper argues. That’s no coincidence, according to the paper’s author Jeremy Walker, because think tanks linked to these efforts in Canada and Australia belong to a secretive U.S. organization called the Atlas Network that’s received support from oil, gas and coal companies and operates in nearly 100 countries. “The coordinated opposition to Indigenous constitutional recognition by the Australian arm of the Atlas Network we can assume is motivated by the same intentions underlying the permanent Atlas campaign against climate policy [globally],” writes Walker.
On February 27, there was a fiftieth-anniversary commemoration with three days of powwows, dance competitions, and an oral history project . . . documenting the role of American Indian women and their leadership within the Red Power movement. In many ways, it does resonate today because you have the children of the Red Power movement who are leading today’s movement. Whether it’s the protest at Standing Rock, [the] Line 3 [oil pipeline], or the attempts to get the Black Hills, or Paha Sapa, back to the Lakota Nation, these are all generational struggles. In many ways, the Red Power movement and the legacy of Wounded Knee just continued.
United American Indians of New England (UAINE), the North American Indian Center of Boston (NAICOB) and their allies took over the entrance of Boston’s Basilica Church Sept. 30 to commemorate the “National Day For Truth and Reconciliation” in so-called Canada. Commonly known as Orange Shirt Day, Sept. 30 commemorates the tens of thousands of Indigenous children kidnapped and imprisoned by Canadian settler authorities in residential “schools.” The U.S. government also operated a murderous system of boarding “schools,” where settler authorities forced kidnapped Native children to “assimilate” into white settler culture.
The bicameral Indigenous Peoples’ Day Act to replace Columbus Day as a federal holiday and designate the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day has been reintroduced in Congress. The legislation was reintroduced by Representatives Sharice Davids (KS-03), Norma J. Torres (CA-35), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), and Suzan DelBene (WA-01), along with Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Ben Ray Luján (D-NM). The Indigenous Peoples’ Day Act has garnered 56 cosponsors in the House of Representatives. “Our country has long failed to recognize and acknowledge its dark history of erasure and harm brought upon the first inhabitants of the Americas,” Norma Torres (CA-35) said.
Over 15,000 Indigenous people from 10 departments of Colombia arrived in the capital Bogotá between September 25 and 27 to draw the national government’s attention to the humanitarian crisis faced by Indigenous communities in their territories due to paramilitary violence. On Wednesday, September 27, they held a massive march from Street 60 to the Bolivar Plaza via highway no.7, demanding that the government of President Gustavo Petro implement immediate measures to end violence in their territories and stop the assassination of community and social leaders. They also demanded respect for the right to territory and self-determination of the Indigenous and Afro-descendent communities.
Since early August, Panamanian trade unions, Indigenous groups, and people’s movements have been taking to the streets in different parts of the country in rejection of a concession contract signed in March between the government of President Laurentino Cortizo and Minera Panamá S.A., a subsidiary of the Canadian multinational mining company First Quantum Minerals Limited. The contract allows the mining company to continue operations at one of Central America’s largest open-pit copper mines, Cobre Panamá, for 20 years, with the possibility of extending the period for another 20 years. It also authorizes the company to build a power plant, a process plant, and an international port—providing services that would be charged, but from which the state would not benefit.
As three Native women Water Protectors prepared for trial next week in Aitkin County, Judge Leslie Metzen dismissed all remaining criminal charges against Winona LaDuke, Tania Aubid and Dawn Goodwin late Thursday afternoon, September 14, 2023. The nearly three-year-old charges stemmed from a peaceful and prayerful gathering on the banks of the Mississippi River on ceded Anishinaabe land as Enbridge began construction of its Line 3 tar sands pipeline. Joined by several dozen other Water Protectors, the three women wore ceremonial jingle dresses, and sang, danced, and prayed for the water as heavy construction equipment tore into the earth.