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NPS Withholds Grant Money from Mexican-American Museum Pending Dispute over Native-American Remains

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  • ghwelker3@comcast.net
    http://cardozoartlawsociety.blogspot.com/2011/03/nps-witholds-grant-money-from-mexican.html The National Park Service is withholding $104,000 of grant money
    Message 1 of 12 , Apr 1, 2011


      The National Park Service is withholding $104,000 of grant money from a Mexican-American museum pending resolution of a dispute over tribal remains found during the museum's construction. Los Angeles County supports the museum. The remains, which were found by construction crews working on a garden, appear to be part of a cemetery originally thought to be completely exhumed in 1848. The bones were discovered in October and identified in January. Records kept by the tribes established that some of the remains come from the Gabrielino-Tongva tribes, as well as other tribes. Work on the garden stopped about a week after tribal leaders raised concerns. Issues include the reinterring of the bones and the possible disturbance of additional remains. County official are working with the Native American Heritage Foundation to reserve the issues. An NPS letter to county capital projects manager Dawn McDivitt says the funds will not be released until the issue is resolved by consultation with all concerned parties. The $104,00 comprises a small portion of the $24 million for the LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes project, which is scheduled to open April 16. 2011.

      For more information visit artdaily.org


      Concerns Over Indian Remains Stall LA Museum Grant - 03/27/2011


      By: Jacob Adelman, Associated Press

      LOS ANGELES (AP).- More than $104,000 in federal grant money could be withheld from a Los Angeles County-supported museum if officials fail to resolve American Indian tribes' concerns over remains found during the facility's construction.

      The National Park Service sent a letter Thursday to county capital projects manager Dawn McDivitt saying that settling the issue is a condition of the grant money's release.

      The letter from NPS historic preservation grants chief Hampton Tucker, which was provided to The Associated Press, reminded McDivitt that the funds would not be released "until this issue was resolved in consultation with all concerned parties."

      Tucker did not return a phone message Friday, and county spokesman Brian Lew had no immediate comment.

      The grant makes up a small portion of the total cost of around $24 million for the LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes project, a Mexican-American cultural museum set to open April 16.

      LA Plaza president Miguel Angel Corzo said in a statement that staff has already completed the work for which the grant was awarded, which included restoration of the county-owned historic buildings that house the museum.

      The remains were unearthed in October by crews constructing a garden for museum, but tribal leaders did not use burial records to establish that the bones belonged to Native Americans until early January.

      The records proved that the 118 sets of remains belonged to Gabrielino-Tongva Indians and other tribes, leaders said. The bones were found at the site of a former cemetery that was thought to have been completely exhumed in 1848.

      Museum administrators stopped work in the segment of the garden where the remains were found about a week after the leaders began raising concerns.

      Some tribal members say they want work to stop on parts of the garden site beyond the immediate area where the bones were discovered.

      Corzo has said there is no reason to expect remains to be found outside the former cemetery area. He said in his statement Friday that county and museum officials were working with the state Native American Heritage Commission to address the Indian groups' concerns.

      "The county is communicating with tribal leaders and other interested parties regarding the discovery of human remains, and that process is under way," he said.

      But some tribal members say they've received no assurances that the county will appropriately reinter the bones. They also say they haven't been consulted about plans to avoid disturbing additional remains as work continues.

      "They're still going out and doing stuff based on what they think needs to happen, as opposed to a plan that's been developed with all stakeholders," said archaeologist and Gabrielino-Tongva member Desiree Martinez.

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    • ghwelker3@comcast.net
      http://thetyee.ca/Books/2011/03/31/TotemPoles/ By Heather Ramsay , Yesterday, TheTyee.ca Alaska totem pole tourism image Brochure cover, Alaska Steamship
      Message 2 of 12 , Apr 1, 2011


        By Heather Ramsay, Yesterday, TheTyee.ca

        Alaska totem pole tourism image

        Brochure cover, Alaska Steamship Company, 1936. Credit: Jonaitis collection.


        People are often astounded to find out that totem poles were only found on a narrow strip of the west coast and only a handful of coastal First Nations carved them prior to the 20th century, says Aaron Glass, co-author of a new book about the iconic Northwest coast art form.

        "When I met people on airplanes and told them I was working on this book, they were always really surprised by that. They just thought that Indians carved totem poles."

        Totem poles, he says, have been added to the stereotype of the North American Indian, along with the teepee, the tomahawk and the feathered headdress. The monumental carvings can be found in front of small trading posts across the continent, as "must haves" in the halls of prestigious museums around the world and as municipal landmarks in cities with no historic connection to them.

        "Wherever you go, it sometimes seems, you are likely to encounter a totem pole..." So begins the prologue to The Totem Pole: An Intercultural History, Aldona Jonaitis and Aaron Glass's book about the intertwined native and non-native understanding of the totem pole.

        Jonaitis, concerned that many tourists didn't understand what they were seeing in places like Ketichikan's Totem Bight, wanted to reveal how the enduring art form has been repackaged and repurposed since pre-contact days. People want to recognize the figures, picking out a raven, a bear or a killer whale, but then they walk away with the impression that they understand the meaning of the pole. She believes they are still missing an important part of the story.

        "[People] assume this is an ancient form of aboriginal art and that where you see these poles in Alaska, for example, there were always poles at that site in Alaska. The point is that neither of these things are true," she says.

        The practice of carving poles is relatively new, says Jonaitis, an art historian, director emerita of the University of Alaska's Museum of the North and professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, who set out to write a cultural biography of the totem pole. Because of her full-time work duties, she hired a young anthropology student, Aaron Glass, to do research for her. He began sending her not only incredibly researched data, but in her words, "these smart ideas about this or that facet of totem poles." Rather than referencing his ideas, she asked if he would like to co-author the book.

        More than a decade later Jonaitis's young student is an assistant professor of anthropology at Bard Graduate Centre in New York City and their book has been published in Canada by Douglas and McIntyre and in the United States by the University of Washington Press. The Totem Pole: An Intercultural History has recently been named finalist for the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize, a BC Book Prize.

        The Tyee spoke by telephone with the authors in Glass's New York office to find out why the totem pole has held such a grasp on the popular imagination. Here is what they had to say...

        On common misperceptions about poles:

        Aaron Glass: Probably the most significant stereotype is that they were worshipped or were objects of spiritual attention. That they were protective of the village. While totem poles certainly expressed aspects of First Nation spirituality, especially their relationships with their ancestors, they are not religious icons.

        Part of the byproduct of totem poles becoming so iconic, is they've become very widespread. All over North America you can see totem poles of various shapes and sizes at trading posts, on other native reserves and in every little tourist town.

        That people don't know where totem poles come from is probably more true in the United States than in Canada. But you go to the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Great Hall is filled with totem poles. Totem poles are used by Canada's national history museum to represent the country of Canada. It's part of a long process of using these objects to represent much broader areas. I'm not sure that every visitor to the museum gets it. Especially when they can drive across Canada and buy totem poles on Mikmaq, Cree and Ojibway reserves.

        On why they chose to look at poles through an intercultural history lens:

        Aaron Glass: As a contemporary cultural icon, the totem pole is the result of over two centuries of cultural contact, exchange and colonialism. It is really a story about a long complicated process of settlement, native responses to settlement, changing policies, practices of representation and artists responding to these changing historical circumstances. And so rather than drawing on the idea of a cross-cultural comparison, we wanted to show that these are integrated histories. The term intercultural spoke to us of this deeply intertwined history. It's been intercultural since the day that people arrived on the shores of Alaska and coastal B.C.

        Aldona Jonaitis: If you learn about the intercultural dimension of poles and start seeing them in that way then you are going to get a much richer story about what the pole is about and maybe dispel some of the stereotypes about Indians that most people still have.

        Aaron Glass: Also, the vast majority of books about totem poles are guidebooks -- where to find them and how to read them. The better of those books are the result of consultation with indigenous people. Ideally the families who own poles or who originally owned the rights to images on poles. One could conceivably do a very sensitive and accurate book on those meanings and stories. But that's not the book we chose to write.

        On surprises that came out of the research:

        Aaron Glass: The most iconic totem pole, the classic pole that we think of today, the most reproduced variation is a relatively short pole with a Thunderbird or Eagle displaying outstretched wings on top of a Bear holding a person. This type of pole was statistically incredibly rare on the coast.

        In fact, it seems that all of these images [they have a photo essay in the book] were derived from two sets of Kwakwaka'wakw house posts. A set that stood in Alert Bay and a set that stood in Stanley Park in Vancouver (replicas are still there). These poles show up over and over again. Sometimes exactly as they appear in life, sometimes with slight variations.

        The disconnect between what we think of as the iconic totem pole and what the vast majority of totem poles on the coast actually look like, really stood out for me. Ironically, today, you see this image mostly on souvenirs of Alaska.

        On the tourism draw:

        Aldona Jonaitis: What I found most surprising is how totem poles were such a major draw for tourism at the turn of the century. Steamships began coming up the coast in the 1880s and we got a lot of information from travel brochures. At the time, totem poles were the reason to travel to Alaska. Yes, you'll see glaciers, but you'll see totem poles. Mountains and totem poles; wildlife and totem poles. That is not the case anymore. Totem poles are still an important part of Alaska's draw but by no means as popular as before.

        Aaron Glass: A parallel came later in the 20th century as part of the 1958 Centennial when the B.C. Government decided to create the "Route of the Totems" by putting poles at all of the border crossings and major transit routes from the Washington/B.C. border to the B.C./Alaska border. It was originally called the "Route of the Haidas." But only when participating native artists and scholars complained saying there were several different First Nations along the route, did they change it.

        On why they're called totem poles:

        Aaron Glass: At the turn of the 19th century there was a lot of interest in totemism. Freud wrote a book on this, along with famous sociologists like Emile Durkheim. Totemism was thought to be the primordial religion. I think, in a way, the misnomer of calling them totem poles contributed to their appeal. It gave them an aura of exoticism. You can imagine if they were called heraldic poles or crest poles. Totem pole implies all sorts of things about them that is inaccurate, but is certainly appealing.

        People have folded totem poles into their experience of other monumental art forms. Like Tiki poles from the South Pacific. Egyptian monoliths. Mesoamerican stela. Any tall cylindrical column with stacked figures on it tends to get included in peoples' minds. I think the sense that you can read poles as if they were hieroglyphics or pictograms comes from people's experience with other kinds of art forms. They resonate with other objects of civilizations.

        Also keep in mind that a century ago, people didn't think of indigenous North Americans as having civilizations like the Aztec or the Egyptians. We've always been told they were nomadic hunter-gatherers, living in small egalitarian bands -- the settler idea of who inhabited North America. And then they found these monumental art forms attached to permanent houses and villages. There was a disconnect in people's minds between what they thought Native Americans were culturally, and these monumental artworks.

        On the role of anthropologists in the intercultural story of totem poles:

        Aldona Jonaitis: Anthropologists have had such a major role in the history of totem poles. They collected them, they wrote about them and then there was someone like Franz Boas, a person who reified the poles as an important item of First Nations art and culture.

        But my favourite anthropologist is Wilson Duff. He's known for "rescuing poles" by salvaging them -- many from Haida Gwaii. In addition, he contributed to the notion that there was a classic style of Northwest coast art and a classic totem pole.

        Aaron Glass: The reason we devoted a whole chapter to him is his career is a real pivot point in the history of the totem pole and in the history of scholarly intervention in poles.

        The earliest anthropologists like Boas collected poles under the assumption that the culture was vanishing and wanted to save them before they disappeared. Then totem poles were used to create theories of social evolution; they signified stages in the longer evolutionary story about cultural development. And then you have anthropologists involved in these larger preservation and restoration projects. Marius Barbeau, Wilson Duff and others in the United States. They moved poles around, usually from indigenous communities to urban centres and museums, with the goal of making them more accessible. Often, especially when Wilson Duff was working, extensive dialogue happened with chiefs and owners of poles, which helped distinguish him from earlier anthropologists.

        Then you get anthropologists and other scholars involved in promoting, exhibiting and valuing totem poles as art. Most recently, scholars are doing detailed historical studies, attributing 19th century poles to individual carvers as well as working with First Nations to facilitate repatriation claims.

        Duff is really a pivot point in this story, because he starts off with the salvage project, raised totem poles into the realm of high art and changed his own mind in the process (later he regretted "salvaging the poles"). So he allows us to tell a lot of different stories.

        Aldona Jonaitis: The thing about Duff is he did not acknowledge the enduring nature of the pole. He lamented how the poles no longer looked right, how the artists lost the ability to make them. Even though poles were being made at the time that Duff wrote, those were not the right poles. So that's why I said he contributed to the creation of a canon. These are good poles; these are not good poles. And he did not acknowledge the value of the continuing nature of pole production in the 20th century.

        On whether totem poles ever almost died out:

        Aaron Glass: Did they almost die out? It depends what you consider a totem pole. And it depends which First Nations groups you're talking about and it depends on who is answering the question. What criteria are people using to evaluate what's a real totem pole and what is not?

        Among some Haida groups, they stopped making full-sized poles in the late 1880s right when they ramped up the production of miniature poles. And so the miniaturization kept the totem pole form alive among those Haida groups. At exactly the same time in the 1880s the Kwakwaka'wakw groups started making full-size poles with multi-figures. The ones we consider iconic today. And they never really stopped. Then other groups like the Coast Salish who had ancestor figures and other kinds of sculptural traditions started carving poles in the early 20th century partially to keep up with expectations about what Northwest coast people do.

        What we argue in the book is that the totem pole has been a constantly evolving form, so there was never a moment when "it" almost died. It kept changing, migrating, transforming. This is not a story of death and rebirth it is a story of continual transformation.

        On the continual transformation of totem poles:

        Aldona Jonaitis: There are so many new contexts for poles. They are now commissioned by individuals and corporations. They are raised in communities as family memorials, they identify native space, i.e. in front of a native school or a cultural centre. They are still important draws for tourism and they are government diplomatic gifts. What I think is really interesting is the notion of poles as part of the healing process. Two are mentioned in the book: a pole in Alaska for a young man who died of a drug overdose. And in Vancouver there is a pole memorializing a young man killed in racial violence. This person was not even native, but the pole is a memento of that tragic event.

        Aaron Glass: Then there is the ever-expanding role of totem pole kitsch. The pole has moved into every possible realm of souvenir marketing (puzzles, Frisbees, magnets and models, and don't forget haute couture as in a 1991 Isaac Mishrahi dress). In the digital realm, on Facebook's most popular game application, Farmville, you can now decorate your farms with different totem poles, including the iconic pole from Alert Bay.

        There is no limit to the ways poles insinuate themselves in this contemporary world. And what is most interesting is that in many places on the coast indigenous people are reclaiming the totem pole to serve the function it was meant to serve, as markers of family ancestry and claims to the land. All these other forms are circulating globally and in cyberspace, but totem poles are thriving on the coast to do the work of advertising native claims. In a way that sort of counters the spread of these vapid and de-cultured poles in other contexts.

      • ghwelker3@comcast.net
        http://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Good-Day-To-Die-The-Dennis-Banks-Documentary/130004517013262 BEAUTY AND WISDOM OF THE AGES is always available to us if we are
        Message 3 of 12 , Apr 4, 2011

          BEAUTY AND WISDOM OF THE AGES is always available to us if we are willing to look for it and appreciate it.

          When wisdom is real, you will know it in your heart when you see, read, hear or feel it. Spirit guides.

          1. Rise with the sun to pray.

          Pray alone.

          Pray often.

          The Great Spirit will listen, if you only speak.

          2. Be tolerant of those who are lost on their path. Ignorance, conceit, anger, jealousy and greed stem from a lost soul. Pray that they will find guidance.

          3. Search for yourself, by yourself. Do not allow others to make your path for you. It is your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.

          4. Treat the guests in your home with much consideration. Serve them the best food, give them the best bed and treat them with respect and honor.

          5. Do not take what is not yours whether from a person, a community, the wilderness or from a culture. It was not earned nor given. It is not yours.

          6. Respect all things that are placed upon this earth - whether it be people or plant.

          7. Honor other people's thoughts, wishes and words. Never interrupt another or mock or rudely mimic them. Allow each person the right to personal expression.

          8. Never speak of others in a bad way. The negative energy that you put out into the universe will multiply when it returns to you.

          9. All persons make mistakes. And all mistakes can be forgiven.

          10. Bad thoughts cause illness of the mind, body and spirit. Practice optimism.

          11. Nature is not FOR us, it is a PART of us. They are part of your worldly family.

          12. Children are the seeds of our future. Plant love in their hearts and water them with wisdom and life's lessons. When they are grown, give them space to grow.

          13. Avoid hurting the hearts of others. The poison of your pain will return to you.

          14. Be truthful at all times. Honesty is the test of one's will within this universe.

          15. Keep yourself balanced. Your Mental self, Spiritual self, Emotional self, and Physical self - all need to be strong, pure and healthy. Work out the body to strengthen the mind. Grow rich in spirit to cure emotional ails.

          16. Make conscious decisions as to who you will be and how you will react. Be responsible for your own actions.

          17. Respect the privacy and personal space of others. Do not touch the personal property of others - especially sacred and religious objects. This is forbidden.

          18. Be true to yourself first. You cannot nurture and help others if you cannot nurture and help yourself first.

          19. Respect others religious beliefs. Do not force your belief on others.

          20. Share your good fortune with others. Participate in charity.
        • ghwelker3@comcast.net
          I don t feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them, if that s what you re asking. Our so-called stealing of this country from them was just
          Message 4 of 12 , Apr 4, 2011
            "I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them, if that's what you're asking. Our so-called stealing of this country from them was just a matter of survival. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves."

            John Wayne

            funny how when a "white man" says there are too many indians, he is considered a patriot---but if a Native person says there are too many "white people" on NATIVE LAND, he is considered a racist!

          • ghwelker3@comcast.net
            April 5, 2011 Please Distribute Widely Dear Colleague, On Wednesday afternoon, thousands of Mexican citizens will take to the streets to demand “an end to
            Message 5 of 12 , Apr 5, 2011
              April 5, 2011
              Please Distribute Widely 

              Dear Colleague, 

              On Wednesday afternoon, thousands of Mexican citizens will take to the streets to demand “an end to the violence” wrought by the so-called “war on drugs.”

              They have been convened by journalist and poet Javier Sicilia, who last week suffered the criminal assassinations of his son, and friends of his son, who he had watched grow up – to demand “not one more child, one more son, assassinated.”

              Javier Sicilia is a decent man, an excellent journalist, and a wonderful poet. I met him ten years ago over lunch on the roadside between Cartuchos and Cuernavaca, back when this publication was being sued by the National Bank of Mexico – BANAMEX – for exposing narco-trafficking on the properties of Mexico’s richest banker. For many years, Javier’s weekly column in the national Proceso magazine ended with the phrase: “Además, opino que hay que cumplir con los acuerdos de San Andrés.” (“What’s more, we have to comply with the San Andrés Peace Accord,” which the Mexican government had signed in 1996 with the indigenous Zapatistas of Chiapas but had never complied with its measures.) So you can see that in addition to everything else good and decent about Javier, he has spent his years caring deeply about others, trying to fix injustices that harmed others.

              Today, the injustice has been committed against Javier, his family, his friends, his entire city of Cuernavaca, his entire country of Mexico, his entire planet of earth. It is an injustice repeated again and again, every day, against people and families and cities and countries not everyone has heard about.

              And the injustice is this: That the United States has imposed a “war on drugs” on other countries, even though its citizens are the biggest consumers of illegal drugs in the world: a policy called prohibition. That policy didn’t function from 1919 to 1933, when it was repealed, under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, because the violence that always happens when people’s vices and pleasures are made illegal swept the cities and communities of the United States, and created tens of thousands of Javiers there. And the American people rose up and demanded an end to it.

              Now we have a new prohibition, against different drugs, but it causes the same violence, and Mexican men, women, children and elders bear the brunt of it even more than US citizens do (although they suffer for it, plenty, too), for the simple error of geography that the coca plant grows only in South America and it goes up the noses and crack pipes of the gringos as cocaine in the United States. And Mexico is caught in the middle, through no fault of its own: it is the straw between the coca plant and the gringo’s nose. And more than 40,000 Mexican families have suffered, as a result, in only four years, the injustice of parents burying their children that Javier Sicilia suffers this week. Listen to Javier:

              “What I do wish to say to you today from these mutilated lives, from the pain that has no name because it is fruit of something that does not belong in nature – the death of a child is always unnatural and that’s why it has no name: I don’t know if it is orphan or widow, but it is simply and painfully nothing – from these, I repeat, mutilated lives, from this suffering, from the indignation that these deaths have provoked, it is simply that we have had it up to here.”

              For fourteen years, since I arrived in Mexico, I have heard too many of these stories from broken mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, husbands, wives, grandparents, grandchildren, from decent people, from good people, whose misfortune was to be caught as innocents in somebody else’s crime, a crime created by a government policy.

              And as a student of history I can tell you all: Once upon a time there was a people who rose up against a prohibition that had done the same to them. And it was the citizens of the United States, when they had suffered the violence of alcohol prohibition too much and finally cried out, “we have had it up to here!”

              As Javier wrote so eloquently:

              “We have had it up to here because the corruption of the judicial institutions generates the complicity with crime and the impunity to commit it, because in the middle of that corruption that demonstrates the failure of the State, each citizen of this country has been reduced to what the philosopher Giorgio Agamben called, using a Greek word, “zoe”: an unprotected life, the life of an animal, of a being that can be violated, kidnapped, molested and assassinated with impunity. We have had it up to here because you only have imagination for violence, for weapons, for insults…”

              We are all told that Mexico is a “democracy” where the people decide. Nobody believes it, but some say it nonetheless.

              And I am left with just one question: If the people of the United States once rose up and demanded, and won, the end of a senseless, stupid, violent, corrupt, criminal prohibition against a “drug” that is, today and for the last 68 years, peacefully regulated and consumed and sold without violence between its sellers, without corrupting police, judges, politicians and presidents, without censoring newspapers and assassinating journalists and community organizers and defenders of human rights… If the gringos could repeal such a violent policy that caused such harm against them… then why not Mexico?

              See you in the streets on Wednesday at 5 p.m. We will be there to report it. What you decide to do is up to you. But if there is one thing I have learned in fourteen (really, 24, counting my first voyage) years since arriving in Mexico, it is this: The Mexican people have more power than you know. And one day you are going to use it. If Wednesday is not that day, it will be another day, maybe sooner than anyone thinks. But it also occurs to me that, like with Egypt on January 25, it is not so impossible that Wednesday could be the start of something big…

              Al Giordano
              Publisher, Narco News

              Contribute to Narco News and The Field, Support the Fund for Authentic Journalism:

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            • ghwelker3@comcast.net
              By:Walter Echo-Hawk MANY IN INDIAN COUNTRY fail to see how international law can help solve tribal problems at home on Indian reservations. That is
              Message 6 of 12 , Apr 5, 2011
                By:Walter Echo-Hawk

                MANY IN INDIAN COUNTRY fail to see how international law can help solve tribal problems at home on Indian reservations. That is short-sighted.  By contrast, the leading Indian Country organizations fought hard for many years to develop the UNDRIP and obtain UN and US approval. Those advocates include the National Congress of American Indians, Native American Rights Fund, Indian Law Resource Center, Navajo Nation, Lummi Nation, Citizen Potawatomi Nation, and many others. They saw the need for the UNDRIP.


                There is a need for the UNDRIP protections in the US, even though the UN standards arise from international sources.  International law has always been a major influence on federal Indian law, as seen in the treaties, and inhertent tribal soveriegnty, Indian trust and guardianship doctrines.


                Today the legal framework for Native American rights is in deep trouble. It is under assault by a US Supreme Court that has become increasingly hostile to Native rights, ruling against Indian tribes in over 80% of the cases since 1985. This frightening judicial trend has created a legal crisis that makes Native rights vulnerable today. It places the gains made by the last Generation into jeopardy, and causes many concerned scholars & tribal leaders to worry: "Is Federal Indian Law dead?"


                If the UNDRIP standards are implemented into US law, they could throw a life-line to federal Indian law. If we identify areas of federal Indian law that do not meet UN standards, and understand why our current legal doctrines are inadequate, Indian Country can build a social movement to strengthen Federal Indian Law in the 21st Century around the UNDRIP standards. Those standards are an important tool, because they can serve as a guidepost for improving the law and set the course of a legislative and social agenda for the next generation.


                One example llustrates the enormous promise of the UNDRIP standards: My new book (In the Courts of the Conqueror) studies the 10 worst Indian law cases ever decided. If the UNDRIP standards had been in effect at the time those cases were decided, the outcomes would have been different and we would not have a "dark side" to federal Indian law today!


                We should all study the UNDRIP standards, learn their content, see how they further Native American aspirations in the 21st Century, and think about how our nation can implement them into our legal system. More on the UNDRIP standards next week!


                Walter Echo-Hawk is a Native American attorney, tribal judge, author, activist, and law professor. He represents Indian tribes on important legal issues, such as treaty rights, water rights, religious freedom, prisoner rights, and repatriation rights. His career spans the pivotal years when Indian tribes reclaimed their land, sovereignty, and pride in a stride toward freedom.


                As a Native American rights attorney since 1973, Walter worked at the epicenter of a great social movement alongside visionary tribal leaders, visited tribes in indigenous habitats throughout North America, and was instrumental in the passage of landmark laws—such as, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (1990) and the American Indian Religious Freedom Act Amendments (1994). He litigated in many of the epic struggles and has written extensively about the rise of modern Indian nations as a Native American author with first-hand experience, most recently in his new groundbreaking book, In the Courts of the Conqueror: The 10 Worst Indian Law Cases Ever Decided (2010) .


                Examples of Walter’s recent work in 2010 are:

                • A month-long trial in 2010 to quantify Klamath Indian water rights for hunting, fishing, and gathering. The case preserves a treaty-protected way of life in an awesome indigenous habitat.
                • In 2010, he represented Tlingit tribes and clans of southeast Alaska, including the Sealaska Corporation, to repatriate sacred objects and cultural patrimony.
                • He taught law at University of Tulsa College of Law.
                • He received Oklahoma’s “Governor’s Commendation” from Governor Brad Henry “for professional contributions on behalf of Native cultures.” This follows awards in 2009: the Federal Bar Association’s “Judge Sarah Hughes Civil Liberties Award” for civil rights work and the Oklahoma State University’s “Distinguished American Indian Alumni.”
                • New publications include (1) a book on federal Indian law, In The Courts of the Conqueror (2010); (2) a chapter on aboriginal land rights in Coming to Terms: Aboriginal Title in South Australia (2010); and (3) a thought-provoking article, “Under Native American Skies” (2009) about the need for a land ethic.
                • He is currently of counsel to Crowe & Dunlevy, one of Oklahoma’s oldest and largest law firms, and assists the firm’s Indian Law and Gaming Practice Group.


                Walter speaks extensively and appears in film and radio to educate the American public about tribal life, culture, and indigenous justice. He is currently on a national book tour for his new book, and appeared in The Development of NAGPRA, a new film about the Native American repatriation movement produced by the National Park Service in 2010, and several national radio programs. Always thought-provoking, inspirational, and sometimes provocative, he explains complex issues in a professional, but easily-understood style.

              • ghwelker3@comcast.net
                    http://indiancountrynews.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7942&Itemid=108 By Mark Stevenson Mexico City, Mexico (AP) 11-09
                Message 7 of 12 , Apr 6, 2011



                  By Mark Stevenson
                  Mexico City, Mexico (AP) 11-09

                  yaqui_indians.jpgNorthern Mexico’s Yaqui buried their lost warriors after a two-year effort to rescue the remains from New York’s American Museum of Natural History, where the victims of one of North America’s last Indian massacres lay in storage for more than a century.

                  The burial on November 16 capped an unprecedented joint effort by U.S. and Mexican tribes to press both governments to bring justice and closure to a 1902 massacre by Mexican federal troops that killed about 150 Yaqui men, women and children.




                  “They would not be at peace with their souls and conscience until they got their people back to their land,” said Jose Antonio Pompa of Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History.

                  The 12 skulls and other blood-spattered remains interred in Vicam, a traditional Yaqui town in western Sonora state, carried some of the first forensic evidence of Mexico’s brutal campaign to eliminate the tribe.

                  As if the horror of the massacre weren’t enough, U.S. anthropologist Ales Hrdlicka came upon some of the bodies while they were still decaying, hacked off the heads with a machete and boiled them to remove the flesh for his study of Mexico’s “races.”

                  He sent the resulting collection to the New York museum. On Nov. 16, on the slope of a mountain near the Yaqui village of Vicam, the 12 sets of remains were “baptized” to give them names that have been lost to history.

                  They were given a warriors’ honor guard, and amid drumming, chants and traditional “deer” and “coyote” dances, each was laid to rest in the ground they had been striving to return to when they were slaughtered.


                  Perhaps best known for the mystical and visionary powers ascribed to them by writer Carlos Castaneda, the Yaquis fought off repeated attempts by the Mexican government to eliminate the tribe.

                  But they were largely defeated by 1900, and dictator Porfirio Diaz began moving them off their fertile farmland to less valuable territory or to virtual enslavement on haciendas as far away as eastern Yucatan state.

                  In 1902, about 300 men, women and children escaped from forced exile and started walking back to their lands in Sonora. They were stopped in the mountains near the capital of Hermosillo by 600 heavily armed soldiers, who attacked them from behind. What ensued, long known as “the Battle of the Sierra Mazatan,” is now considered one of the last large-scale Indian massacres in North America.

                  “What soldiers were doing was – instead of wasting ammunition – turning the rifle around and hitting people in the head who were down, to make sure they were dead,” said anthropologist Ventura Perez, who did a trauma investigation on the skulls for the American Yaqui tribes.

                  Some bore execution-style gunshot wounds to the back of the head. Cut marks on the bones indicated troops took ears as trophies, said Perez, a professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

                  The bones were forgotten in museum storage until Perez and anthropologist Andrew Darling, who works for the Gila River Indian Community in Arizona, started to study them in 2007 and realized their gruesome story.

                  The Pascua Yaqui tribe of Arizona took up the fight to have the bones returned.

                  “The approach we use is that we are one people ... the border is just an artificial concept,” said Robert Valencia, vice chairman of the Pascua Yaquis.

                  U.S. Indian remains are protected under the North American Indian Graves Protection Act. But because the law doesn’t cover Mexican remains held in the U.S., the Arizona tribe contacted the Mexican Yaquis and they in turn contacted the Mexican government, which also decided to get involved.

                  The museum agreed the bones and other artifacts – including blood-spattered blankets and a baby carrying-board from which Hrdlicka dumped an infant’s corpse – should go back, saying “cultural sensitivities and values within the museum community have changed” since Hrdlicka’s era.

                  Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History decided the real owners were the Yaquis and handed over the remains and artifacts last month for burial. The tribe held a memorial ceremony in a wood-paneled hall at the New York museum on Central Park with incense, drums and chants.

                  “This is the first time that the (natural history museum) has turned over cultural patrimony to a foreign government that immediately returned it to the indigenous people,” the museum said in a statement.

                  The remains were honored by Yaqui on both sides of the border, spurring the tribes’ hopes for recognition of their status as a single people who have long lived in both countries – in Sonora and in southern Arizona near Tucson.

                  The remains were packed into ceremonial wooden boxes and taken first to Tucson, where they were given a hero’s welcome by Pascua Yaquis, including an honor guard of Indian veterans of the U.S. Army.

                  “That is why the warriors’ role is important, because when we make territorial claims, it is because Yaqui blood was spilled there,” said Mexican Yaqui elder Ernesto Arguelles, 59. “This is the first opportunity we have had to stop and mourn.”

                • ghwelker3@comcast.net
                  About A new global film contest to reveal visions of a positive future The Possible Futures Film Contest is a bold new film event challenging storytellers of
                  Message 8 of 12 , Apr 7, 2011


                    A new global film contest to reveal visions of a positive future

                    The Possible Futures Film Contest is a bold new film event challenging storytellers of the world to create a new vision for the future of humanity — one that will become defined by our relationships to human justice, environmental sustainability, peace and individual fulfillment.

                    These stories on film, from citizens of the world, have the potential to highlight and envision change that benefits people, the planet and its ecosystems. We strive, in open-hearted consideration of one another, to bring forth a new path for the world — one of harmony, peace and love.

                    Creating your story is simple, and there is no entry fee. Everyone is encouraged to participate, at any skill level. Five world-class judges will select the top two Awards as viewers select five People’s Choice Awards.


                    Origins in the Amazon

                    Our origins begin deep within the Amazon Rainforest with an invitation from the ancient dream culture of the Achuar people.

                    The story of Possible Futures »

                    Everyone Is Invited

                    All storytellers of the world are invited to submit a film. Every country.  Every age.  Every skill level.  Every vision.  Tell your story.

                    Who can participate »

                    Four Categories of Entry

                    Enter up to four films – one in each category: Peace and Freedom, Fair Societies, Sustainability and Beyond, and Human Fulfillment.

                    Not your normal categories »

                    Don’t Miss These Dates

                    All the important dates you need.  Submit your film by June 21st, begin voting June 28th, and find out if you’ve won on July 25th.

                    Mark your calendars »

                    Life-Changing Prizes

                    The filmmakers of 7 films will receive over $30,000 in prizes, with the top film receiving $10,000 and an excursion for 2 to the Rainforest.

                    Win a trip to the rainforest »

                    World-Class Judges

                    Our world class judges — Chris Eyre, Neil Huxley, Annie Leonard, Trudie Styler, and Geshe Yong Dong — will select the top two films.

                    Meet the team »

                  • ghwelker3@comcast.net
                    Solo el Pueblo Podra Salvar el Pueblo, When The People Lead The Leaders Will Follow: We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For! El Pueblo Unido, Jamas Sera
                    Message 9 of 12 , Apr 7, 2011
                      Solo el Pueblo Podra Salvar el Pueblo, When The People Lead The Leaders Will Follow:
                      We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For!
                      El Pueblo Unido, Jamas Sera Vencido,
                      Juntos Venceremos, Hasta La Victoria, Siempre!!


                      From: Camilo Perez Bustillo <cperezbustillo@...> wrote:

                      By Al Giordano


                      Yesterday, multitudes took to the streets in more than 40 Mexican cities - and in protests by Mexicans and their friends at consulates and embassies in Europe, North America and South America - to demand an end to the violence wrought by the US-imposed "war on drugs."

                      What? You haven't heard about this? Or if you have heard something about it, did you know that it is the biggest news story in the Mexican media, on the front page of virtually every daily newspaper in the country?

                      A sea change has occurred in Mexican public opinion. The people have turned definitively against the use of the Mexican Army to combat against drug traffickers. The cry from every city square yesterday was for the Army to return to its barracks and go back to doing the job it was formed to do; protect Mexico from foreign invasion and provide human aid relief in case of natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes. Since President Felipe Calderón unleashed the Armed Forces, four years ago, to combat drug trafficking organizations, the violence between it and the competing narco organizations has led to a daily body count, widespread human rights abuses against civilians, and more than 40,000 deaths, so many of them of innocent civilians caught in the crossfire and used by all sides in the armed conflict that still has no winners, that never will have any winner.

                      A fast moving series of events that began on March 28 have converged to usher Mexico into its very own "Arab spring." And it began just outside "the City of Eternal Spring," Cuernavaca, in the state of Morelos, about an hour south of Mexico City. Narco News has been covering these events for the past week (sadly, we are so far the only English-language media to do so at each step of the story, even as it has huge consequences for United States drug policy not only in Mexico but throughout the world and at home). On that date, in the town of Temixco, seven young men were assassinated. These were kids with jobs, who went to school, model kids, not criminals. And one of those kids, Juan Francisco Silvia, was the son of a nationally respected journalist and poet, Javier Sicilia, of Cuernavaca.

                      In a week, the soft spoken, increasingly beloved, intellectual has become the national vessel through which millions of voices now demand: End the war on drugs.

                      We translated Javier's Open Letter to Mexico's Politicians and Criminals this week, and penned what is our third editorial in eleven years to provide you with context and background to understand the magnitude of what he has unearthed. Yesterday we translated his statements calling for the legalization of drugs to restore peace and dignity to Mexico, and then we headed out to report the marches that this increasingly and deservedly beloved man called for to happen only days ago. We had reporters with Sicilia in his city of Cuernavaca, in Mexico City, and correspondents in numerous other Mexican and international locations, and over the course of the day I will be adding photos and more information about what happened to this page as updates.

                      Truth is that so much has happened in a day that processing it all tends to overwhelm. Last night, returning from the marches, ten reporters, photographers and video makers (all students or professors at the School of Authentic Journalism) met to compare notes. Everyone was so shaken - I mean that in the best possible way - by what we had seen and heard, and wanted to talk about it, to understand what exactly is happening here on the other side of the US border.

                      I was part of the team covering the demonstration in the capital, at which about 20,000 people came for the first ever demonstration against the war on drugs (there have been annual marijuana legalization marches in Mexico City for some time, but this was the first time a mass of people had convened to collapse the entire policy of the drug war, and the attendees were far more diverse). Here are some observations: A good half of the crowd looked like they had never attended a demonstration before. Couples, young and old, with homemade signs, many of which were versions of a popular piece of artwork that Mexican political cartoonists have caused to "go viral" on the Internet. Practicing the Debordian art of détournment, people added their own messages to it. Here is one example:

                      In Spanish, the plus sign ("+") translates as "mas," or "more." So to say "one plus one," you say "uno mas uno" (or "one, more one"). The original image - "No + (the red ink blot)" is immediately understood in Mexico as "No more blood." Everyday people added their own specific demands to this design, on placards, tee shirts, stickers, Xeroxed and photoshopped copies on letter paper. They called for no more deaths, injustice, impunity, corruption, police, and Calderón, among the related things they want no more of. The rage personalized on Calderón was particularly interesting, since many of these people were of the "middle class" demographic that constitute his electoral base. It's certain that a good number of people who came to this march had voted for Calderón in 2006 for president, but here they were, yesterday, chanting, "Out Calderón!" and "Urgent! Urgent! He Must Resign, the President!"

                      Many mothers and grandmothers carried signs they had made asking questions like, "If the children killed were named Calderón would you still want this war?" They marched next to businessmen in suits, Christian religious groups, punks with spiked hair, entire families with baby carriages, a few people walking their dogs, bicyclists, lesbians, gays, young office professionals with stylish printed placards, each of them unique, and small groups of three, four, five friends who told our reporters that they were not part of any organization or collective, but they had read about the march in the media or on Facebook and decided together to come out for it. I have reported on marches throughout Mexico for fourteen years and this was the first time I had seen so many of these kinds of people at a protest; regular people, who had they been walking without their signs on any given day on any corner wouldn't necessarily draw one's attention due to their sheer and pleasant normalcy.

                      That was about half of the march's attendees.

                      The other half were sectors of society that had obviously marched for causes before. I recognized many from the Zapatista Other Campaign and anti-electoral fraud protests of 2006. The electrical workers union brought a contingent of hundreds, the teacher's union, groups of professors or students from the universities in the city, indigenous campesinos, alternative media makers numbered over 100 among the ones I recognized, and there were about as many reporters and cameras from official news organizations. There were people peddling newspapers from every leftist "tendency" that exists: the marxist-leninists, the trotskyists, the anarchists, the maoists, even the stalinists. There were people, pushed by NGOs, who had marched "for more security" in the past and had interpreted that as "more police and prisons." But here they were answering don Javier's call to march against the war on drugs! The People's Front for Defense of the Land came from Atenco - I hugged Nacho del Valle, who was freed from prison almost a year ago - who had arrived with his neighbors at this march against violence with their machetes high in the air. In other lands it might seem paradoxical the sight of machete swords at what others called a "march for peace" but it caused absolutely no concern or fright among other attendees. In Mexico, it is well understood that people's self defense is a less violent alternative to corrupt police forces. And so they fit right in.

                      See, what has happened here is politically significant: those who have long had and voiced their grievances with "the evil government" of Calderón have intelligently latched on to the anti-war-on-drugs cause as their own, too, because they smartly percieve it as a "wedge issue" that encompasses the whole of national discontent and which could very possibly result in the toppling of an authoritarian president, "elected" only via well documented electoral fraud, with absolutely not a shred of moral authority among his own people. In just one week, humble and dignified Javier Sicilia has collected the free-floating moral authority that nobody else could credibly assume in this Failed State named Mexico and supplanted the napoleanic Calderón as the moral leader of a nation. A big reason that has happened is because, due to his columns over so many years, everybody knows that Sicilia dislikes political parties, has zero interest in running for political office, and serves as a kind of "anti-caudillo" figure at contrast with the strong swashbuckling machismo of so many previous political and revolutionary leaders that the public has grown uneasy with. This is not to say that "the Sicilian" who now puts order to "the mafias" is any kind of pushover at all. When he speaks of the need for criminals to return to their "codes of honor" and leave civilians alone, a guy named Giordano understands exactly what a guy named Sicilia is talking about: this is a man with guts and cunning, too, and one who knows his enemy, and his enemy's history.

                      Which brings us to what was actually an even more significant march yesterday, led by Sicilia in his city of Cuernavaca. The photo up above, the front page of El Diario de Morelos, tells 50,000 words, all of them voiced by someone who came to the protest there. Greg Berger, who teaches cinema at the state university in Cuernavaca, and the Narco News Team were there, too, and are currently banging out a viral video for NNTV on what happened - and what is still happening - there.

                      In a country where the Armed Forces inspire fear among everyday citizens (so much so that it is routine for a bar or restaurant to have a sign indicating that it will not serve people in uniform), more so in the past four years than ever before, it is not every day that 50,000 people - the largest march in the history of Cuernavaca, even of the entire state of Morelos - go to the gates of a military base and demand that the soldiers stay quarantined there. But that is exactly what happened. On a normal day, you can pass by that base and there are multiple gunmen in uniform stationed at watchposts, watching you and everybody else pass by. The military had the good sense to pull those troops back yesterday and there were few to be seen at all, according to our reporters. Then Javier Sicilia climbed atop a microbus and addressed the Armed Forces directly, with a nonviolent army at his back. There, he told them, "You have always been the custodians of peace for our nation. That's why we never want to see you again outside of your barracks." That just isn't ever said. Oh, wait. It just was, and for the multitude assembled, it was the reestablishment of the proper social order: that in a democracy, an army, if there is one, must be at service of the people. Four years of Calderón having reversed that order - he converted the people into mere pieces on the Army's chess board, objects to be pushed around, stopped, searched, invaded, molested and assassinated - has brought the public to its absolute limit.

                      Cuernavaca is now the unlikely epicenter of something of revolutionary potential: the reestablishment of the proper order of things in which a people rule its own country. It has been a bloody battlefield for four years (before that it was a tranquil flowered city with a strong pull on tourists who now no longer come there due to Calderón's War) but now it is a new kind of battlefield: a struggle to reconquer the terrain of daily life for every citizen, every family, block by block for every neighborhood. And nobody knows where this is going to go but I have an idea, and I will pose it with a question:

                      What happens when a neighborhood declares itself a military-free zone, and erects its own nonviolent checkpoints and barricades on traffic that enters it, with the goal of either keeping uniformed authorities out, or making them agree to the people's established rules before they enter? Very soon, Calderón, as commander of the Armed Forces, may have to answer this question. Does he repeat his arrogant history and engage the people themselves as enemy combatants, this time under the attention of the national media? And if he does, what will that spark in the next neighborhood over, in the city, in the state, in the entire country?

                      It is often said that the war on drugs has no clear enemy nor objectives. Javier Sicilia and the people of Cuernavaca - as well as the tens of thousands from throughout Mexico who marched in solidarity and for the same demands with them - have just called the bluff of the drug war. They have said, We know who the enemy is. It is us! And now we accept that fact and will deal with it accordingly, our way.

                      Kind reader, I would like you to think about that. It is important that you understand what is underway in Mexico, and especially in Cairovaca... oh, excuse me, I meant to say... Cuernavaca.

                      And in a little while I'll come back to this page and begin posting photos and reflections of yesterday's marches. But what you have just read, that is what makes this history.

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