Posts Tagged ‘indigenous’

James Cameron may have raked in the dough with his movie “Avatar,” depicting a fictional paradise called Pandora – but he took it in the shorts from indigenous people, who found his Na’vi characters a caricature – and a simple-minded one that that – of Native people. (See previous Buffalo Post entry.)

Instead of getting defensive, Cameron got busy. He’s announced that his next film – in 3-D, of course – will focus on the fight by indigenous people (real ones) against Brazil’s giant Belo Monte dam project, which would destroy much of their lands.

In the video above, titled “A Message from Pandora,” Cameron talks about the project.

“It was heartbreaking,” he says, “Here were people whose lives were going to be altered irrevocably. … For these people, it’s the end of their world as they know it.”

Gwen Florio

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School can’t oust Lipan Apache boy over braids
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the Needville (Texas) Independent School District can’t punish a Lipan Apache boy for wearing his hair in braids. Kenney Arocha and Michelle Betenbaugh had argued that their son’s hair, which has never been cut, conforms to their Native American religious beliefs, according to the Houston Chronicle, here.

Federal disaster declaration for Rocky Boy’s Reservation
President Barack Obama yesterday declared the Rocky Boy’s Reservation a disaster area, making it eligible for federal money for repairs. Flooding on the reservation broke water lines, leaving hundreds of members of the Chippewa Cree tribe without water for two weeks and causing millions of dollars in damage, according to this Associated Press story.

Navajo Nation Supreme Court says no third term for president

The Navajo Supreme Court has denied President Joe Shirley Jr.’s quest for a third consecutive term, the AP reports here. “I respect the decision of our Supreme Court justices,” Shirley said. “They had the final say. They decided and now I know that this is the end of it.”

Report details abuse of indigenous people in Peru

A report by the Missionary Indigenous Council takes a look at the treatment of indigenous people in Brazil. The report shows they are dealt abuse by police and landowners, lack proper nutrition and health care, and crowded out of their homelands by vast public works such as the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam in the state of Para. Read more in this Agence France-Presse story.

New Nez Perce National Historic Trail map released
A new map of the Nez Perce (Nee-Me-Poo) National Historic Trail is now available at Forest Service and National Park Service offices and online through Discover Your Northwest, the National Forest Store and the USGS Store, according to the Char-Koosta News, here. The map details locations along the 1,170 mile trail. Or, you can see it online here.

Aboriginal warrior’s remains, once displayed in museum, are reburied
A 19th century Aboriginal warrior named Yagan whose severed head once was displayed in British museum, has been reburied with proper ceremony in western Australia. The Associated Press reports here that the private ceremony was held yesterday by the Noongar Tribe, and coincides with the opening of the Yagan Memorial Park outside of Perth.

Gwen Florio

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Tatanka Means’ inviting looks captured in the 21st Century Skins Native American Men’s Calendar might be the best Christmas gift under the tree. Means will make an appearance on the ABC show "Scoundrels." (Photos courtesy of Mihio Manus/Viewfinder Photography)

Oglala Lakota actor Tatanka Means to star in ‘Scoundrels’ episode

Rapid City native Tatanka Means (photo above, courtesy of Mihio Manus/Viewfinder Photography) will guest star in the second episode of the new ABC show “Scoundrels,” set to air tonight. Means, an Oglala Lakota tribal member, is the son American Indian Movement activist and actor Russell Means. The Rapid City (S.D.) Journal has the story here.

Seneca Nation – ‘We Are Not a Piggy Bank’

The Seneca Nation isn’t alone in protesting New York’s law, passed last week, that will tax cigarette purchases by non-Natives in Native-owned smoke shops. The Jamestown Post-Journal chronicles the opposition here. Tribal leader J.C. Senca says that “We are not a piggy bank the state can break open to grab extra cash.” Some New York assemblymen also object, saying the new law will drive business from their area.

Navajo Nation awaits decision on whether president can seek third term

Ballots won’t be printed for Navajo Nation elections until there’s a decision as to whether President Joe Shirley Jr. can seek a third term, the Navajo Times reports here. The Navajo Board of Election Commissioners had ruled Shirley’s run invalid, but Shirley has appealed.

Left-wing South American leaders back indigenous rights

The presidents of Ecuador, Venezuela and Bolivia have signed a declaration to promote indigenous rights. But even as the leaders met, Ecuador’s main indigenous organization protested, saying it had not been consulted, according to the BBC, here. The group, Conaie – the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador – represents about 40 percent of Ecuador’s population.

Australian indigenous group wants stripper deported

Desecration of sites sacred to indigenous people appears to be a problem the world over. According to ABC News, here, a powerful indigenous group in Australia is seeking the deportation of a French woman who was filmed stripping down to a bikini atop the sacred rock of Uluru. The woman described her actions as a “tribute” to aboriginal culture.

Gwen Florio

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Actress Q’orianka Kilcher, who played the part of Pocahontas in “The New World,” was arrested Tuesday (see earlier post, here) as she protested the pending visit of Peruvian President Alan Garcia. Specifically, Kilcher – whose father is a Peruvian India – objects to the Peruvian government’s people of its indigenous people. Thanks to Derek Wall for the alert on this update.

Gwen Florio

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Some of the people most affected by the massive oil sands project in Alberta are coming to Montana to help organize protests against an Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil plan that would send massive trucks through that state on their way to those oil sands.

As Marty Cobenais, an activist for the Indigenous Environmental Network tells Missoulian (Mont.) reporter Kim Briggeman here, it’s like war.

“You know the old military strategy of cutting off the supply chain?” says Cobenais:

    He’s one of three people who’ll be in Missoula on Wednesday evening to present the ugly side of bitumen mining in Alberta as the “big rig” flap in western Montana shifts to a higher gear and a broader realm.

    A free screening of the 75-minute documentary “H2Oil” is set for 6 p.m. at the Roxy Theater to kick off what organizers have titled “A Walk Through the Tar Sands.”

    It’ll be, according to the group, “a night of firsthand accounts regarding the most destructive industrial project on the face of the planet.” Presentations will follow the film by Cobenais, of Minnesota; George Poitras, former chief of the Mikisew Cree First Nation, which is downstream from the oil fields in Alberta; and Simon Reece, a youth from Fort McMurray, Alberta, with the Fort McKay First Nation.

Other events include Saturday’s presentation on the Flathead Indian Reservation by the Grammy Award-winning Indigo Girls. They’ll be part of a panel discussion, moderated by Native American activist Winona LaDuke, that will focus on Native environmental issues. And, Eriel Deranger, who is Athabasca Chipewyan from northern Alberta, will talk about the impact of the tar sands.

The discussion, “Environmental Justice in Montana: Protecting the Land for Future Generations” starts at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Johnny Arlee/Victor Charlo Theatre at the Salish Kootenai College.

The focus on Montana comes because “Montana is considering collaborating to some degree in terms of tar sands production here … whether it’s heavy-truck hauling in Montana or pipelines that are running through their traditional lands that are coming from the tar sands,” says George Poitras.

Poitras is a former chief of the Mikisew Cree, the largest of five First Nations directly affected by tar/oil sands mining, and is traveling the world talking about the vast mining project and its effect on his people, who he says suffer unusually high rates of cancer.

Gwen Florio

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The notice for the Indigenous Peoples Protest Against SB 1070 and HB 2281 is up on the Censored News indigenous peoples’ blog, here.

Those are the new Arizona laws regarding immigration and ethnic studies.

(WonkRoom photo)

(WonkRoom photo)

As the notice for the protest reads:

    This securing [of the U.S. border] includes and is not limited to a physical wall to be made on Indigenous land (Tohono O’odham/Lipan Apache to name a few.) The state’s power to waive pre-existing laws (such as NEPA, NAGPRA) in the name of security, directly attacks Indigenous autonomy/sovereignty. The “political” solution will bring forced removal and relocation of the many Indigenous nations that span “their” borders by means of a reinforced physical barrier. In addition, the peoples who will be primarily targeted for racial profiling will be Indigenous peoples on both sides of the U.S/Mexico border.

The protest is set for 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. at U.S. Immigration Court in Tucson.

The post on Censored News has more more details and contact information.

Gwen Florio

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Robert Warrior

Robert Warrior

Even though the the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association is meeting this month in Tucson, it’s expected to vote to support the boycott of Arizona.

The Arizona Daily Star reports here that NAISA President Robert Warrior says that to cancel the Arizona meeting at this late date would likely bankrupt the group, which is fairly new – and possibly subject it to a lawsuit from the Westin hotel.

Warrior says some members have indicated they might not attend.

But he says four tribes within Arizona, including the Tohono O’odham, whose nation is just outside Tucson, asked that this month’s meeting stay in Tucson:

    Warrior made his comments in an e-mailed letter to members explaining the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association’s decision to hold its annual meeting in Tucson despite the group’s fundamental disagreement with SB 1072, and another recent Arizona law regarding the teaching of ethnic studies in public schools.

    He said NAISA would have been liable for “an amount similar to what the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s meeting” cancellation in Scottsdale cost that group. The Arizona Republic reported AILA had to pay $92,000 to cancel that planned fall meeting.

The NAISA website has a statement from the local host committee: “Despite the passing of the bill we remain committed to hosting the NAISA 2010 conference in defiance of legislation that would have us justify our existence on our homelands.”

Simon Ortiz of Acoma Pueblo quotes the SoCal Feminist group in a blog on the website: “We must build a widespread political movement for justice so that passing racist policies becomes politically suicidal rather than politically expedient.”

Gwen Florio

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James Cameron took a lot of heat (see previous post, here) for the way his blockbuster 3-D film “Avatar” seemed something of a rip-off of indigenous culture.

Now the Hollywood director has traveled to the Amazon on behalf of indigenous people who are fighting Brazilian government’s huge Belo Monte dam project — a cause, he says, that’s inspiring work on an “Avatar” sequel. He says he’s planning to go back this week with actress Sigourney Weaver and at least one other member of Avatar’s cast, the New York Times reports here.

The Times says of the project:

    It would be the third largest in the world, and environmentalists say it would flood hundreds of square miles of the Amazon and dry up a 60-mile stretch of the Xingu River, devastating the indigenous communities that live along it. For years the project was on the shelf, but the government now plans to hold an April 20 auction to award contracts for its construction.

    Stopping the dam has become a fresh personal crusade for the director, who came here as indigenous leaders from 13 tribes held a special council to discuss their last-ditch options. It was Mr. Cameron’s first visit to the Amazon, he said, even though he based the fictional planet in “Avatar” on Amazon rain forests. Still, he found the real-life similarities to the themes in his movie undeniable. …

    Mr. Cameron, 55, first encountered the cause in February, after being presented with a letter from advocacy organizations and Native American groups saying they wanted Mr. Cameron to highlight “the real Pandoras in the world,” referring to the lush world under assault in his movie.

” We have to try to stop this dam,” says Cameron, who’s writing to Brazil’s president, seeking a meeting and urging him to stop the dam. “Their whole way of life, their society as they know it, depends on it.”

Gwen Florio

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Indigenous women come up short in Bolivian land redistribution
Bolivia’s ongoing program by President Evo Morales to redistribute property from wealthy landowners to poor, indigenous people (see video above) – who make up 60 percent of the population – doesn’t always include women. As this Indian Country Today report shows, from 1997-2008, 47 percent of titles granted to individuals have been in the name of a man only, while 20 percent were in a woman’s name; the rest went to couples. Nongovernmental groups like La Coordinadora de la Mujer are working to change laws that discriminate against women when it comes to land ownership.

Minnesota works to change failure rate among Natives on probation

While Indian offenders make up a relatively small part of the Minnesota judicial system, one in five American Indians fail probation and are sent to prison. The American Indian Policy Center, is working on liaison programs to try and change that, according to this Minnesota Public Radio report.

Blackfeet, Salish and Kootenai officials hold joint meeting

Officials from the Blackfeet Tribe and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in western Montana met last week to talk about how they could better work together. Such a meeting has been discussed for years – now that it’s happened, more are planned, according to the Char-Koosta News.

Standing Rock officials plead not guilty to embezzlement
Two officials from the Running Antelope District on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation have pleaded not guilty to federal embezzlement charges, according to the Rapid City Journal. Running Antelope District treasurer Wayland Yellow Earrings, also known as Waylon Yellow Earrings, 39, of Little Eagle, and Kenneth Mark Walking Eagle,each are accused of taking more than $1,000.

New Age guru accused in sweat lodge deaths faces new lawsuit

The Arizona man charged in the deaths of three people in a sweat lodge ceremony is being sued by people who say they lost thousands of dollars paid in advance for the Native American-style ceremonies held by James Arthur Ray, according to the Associated Press. A week’s program at his retreat outside Sedona could run nearly $10,000.

Gwen Florio

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Takuginai is here – and today, by here, we mean right here on your computer. Takuginai, the popular Nunavut children’s show that runs in both Inuktitut and English, now has its own Web site.

Much like Sesame Street, Takuginai – which has been on the air for 25 years – uses a mix of puppets, people, and graphics to teach kids how to read and count.

Takuginai’s puppets include Johnny the Lemming, Granny and Grandpa, Pukki and Meesee, the Nunatsiaq News reports here.

Innuinaqtun and French versions of the Web site are also planned. The show is produced by the Inuit Broadcasting Corp.

Watch part of a Takuginai episode on smoking below. And, enjoy!

Gwen Florio

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