INGLEWOOD - In a day-long event, members of the Southern California chapter of the American Indian Movement, along with other members of the Native community and social justice activists, called for clemency for AIM activist Leonard Peltier, imprisoned since 1977 on trumped-up charges.
The day featured speeches from well-known figures from the movement in defense of indigenous rights, including Danny Blackgoat, George Funmaker, and Shannon Rivers, as well as musical performances from Kill the Bullfighter and Aztlan Underground and poetic performances from Julio Rodriguez and Matt Sedillo. And no event led by the spiritual activists of AIM would be complete without drums and prayer.
More: The Lawyer's Guild (June 24, 2016) Attorney and Peltier supporter Cynthia Dunne discusses the case and action we can take. Her portion starts at about five minutes into the show. This program is only available for 90 days.
In 2012, wind generators were built in Ocotillo Valley in southern California, an area long known to the Quechan as the Valley of the Dead because of ancestors traveling through en route to the next world. The installation of wind turbines, over the objection of the Quechan and other tribes (as well as non-Native residents), has desecrated sacred sites; disrupted, and even killed, wildlife and vegetation; and oil from the machines has been dripping into the ground.
And the generators seem to be doing little, if anything, to provide alternative energy. There is only enough wind in Ocotillo to keep them active four to five months a year. And when the energy is transported long distances (in this case to San Diego), as much as half gets spent in transmission. Furthermore, turbines require conventional grid energy for their initial start-up and to operate computers inside, which must also be cooled with fans in hot weather.
Much grid energy is also used in maintaining them--and they've required maintenance. One lost a Siemens propeller just over a year after activation (pictured above). Eight months later, another caught on fire.
May 1 was a day of international solidarity for Australian Aborigines, many whom are in danger of being driven off their ancestral lands and out of communities. Recent months have seen heightened activism in Australia concerning this issue. Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who's dismissed ancient Indigenous ways as "a lifestyle choice," has expressed concern over the expense of providing electricity and water to Aboriginal communities.
Over 85 demonstrations were held across Australia on Friday. Also participating were people in London; Hong Kong; Paris (with involvement of Idle No More, France); New Zealand; Finland; New York; and Los Angeles. In Los Angeles, a rally was held at Echo Park Lake. More than 25 people attended in the middle of the day. Some passersby and people already sitting on the grass took interest in the speakers.
Columbus Day has been suffering setbacks of late. Minneapolis; Berkeley, California; and most recently Seattle now observe Indigenous People's Day instead. San Francisco has Italian Heritage Day; Hawaii, Discoverers Day (i.e., the discovery of the islands by Polynesians); and South Dakota, Native American Day. Venezuela dropped Columbus Day in 2002 in favor of Day of Indigenous Resistance. Mexico, El Salvador, Argentina, and other countries celebrate Dia de la Raza. While Columbus Day's still recognized here in Southern California, a new annual protest occurs in downtown L.A.
While en route to the ornate Cathedral of Los Angeles, we got a clear view of it with a homeless camp in the foreground. Well over 30 protesters lined the sidewalk across the street from the church with signs. Several horrific and barbaric deeds of Columbus and other pious Europeans were mentioned via megaphone as patrons, including a large group of teenagers, exited the church and stood in front.
Hahamongna is a Native American village site at what's now the base of JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) and currently threatened by an overly-elaborate plan to renovate Devil's Gate Dam. This plan involves defoliating the area. Alternative plans would spare the ecosystem; however, the more grandiose one seems to be favored because more money is involved.
Those interested in a more sustainable approach to cleaning Devil's Gate Dam are encouraged to contact their city council members (if residents of Pasadena) or Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich (if residents of Los Angeles County).
The Arroyo Seco Foundation conducts regular tours, not only of Hahamongna Watershed Park (known for many years as Elk Grove Park) but the surrounding areas, identifying the many uses of local native plants. Participants of the 4th Annual Hahamongna Walkabout (and Bikeabout) learned about local Indigenous culture and got to eat pancakes made from local acorns and sample chia seeds and elderberries.
Huntington Beach: The sacred site of Bolsa Chica (aka: Puvungna East)--or rather, what's left of it--is again in serious jeopardy. The 9,000+ year-old burial site will be the subject of a hearing on January 8, 2014. A developer is seeking to have it rezoned from Open Space to low-density Residential.
Bolsa Chica is known for, among other things, its ancient cogged stones (found nowhere else in the world except Chile). The area has already been developed extensively, with 174+ ancestors and thousands of ceremonial objects and other items removed.
The Coastal Commission hearing will be in San Diego at 9am; however, free bus rides from Huntington Beach will be provided to those who RSVP. Supporters are also encouraged to write to the Coastal Commission.
Update: From the Bolsa Chica Land Trust: SAVE THE DATE: Very possible Coastal Commission hearing June 11th -- 13th at HB City Hall concerning Ridge LCPA. We need your help and support in this very pressing issue! If you can attend in person, write in, or even just share this with your friends to get the word out, that would be great! We will continue to post more information as it becomes available.
Another Update: From the Bolsa Chica Land Trust The city (at the applicant's request) withdrew the application meaning that whatever happens on The Ridge or Goodell sites in the future will have to be reapproved by the city - this now gives us a chance to work with the landowners to purchase these sites and save them - still a long ways to go but today we can declare VICTORY!
The Indigenous movement, Idle No More, now several months old, has been ignored by the mainstream media. On Friday March 15, over 50 people stood in front of CNN, drawing attention to this. The event lasted four hours and coincided with rush hour. With traffic often at a standstill, we literally had a captive audience who had time to read our signs and take flyers. Initially, CNN said they would come out, take pictures, and interview some of us about our concerns, but we were ignored (except when they didn't want us too close to the entrance).
One of the several speakers said the media doesn't want to cover the movement "because we are waking up. We're waking up, and this is just the beginning of Idle No More."
In Canada, a budget bill (C-45) supported by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other conservative lawmakers, would unilaterally alter treaties with First Nations people, drastically affect lands and waterways on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border, and reduce jobs for all Canadians. This alarming development has caused unrest across the country. Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat is in her 18th day of a hunger strike (as of Friday December 28), which she says will last until she can speak with Prime Minister Harper and Canada's Governor General (who represents the English Crown) about the aforementioned treaty violations. She is prepared to die if her demands are not met.
Meanwhile, Indigenous teach-ins and demonstrations--including flash mobs in shopping malls and blocking of highways--have been occurring throughout the nation. Solidarity events and awareness-building have been occurring in the U.S. and in countries further to the south. Australian Aborigines have also expressed solidarity.
In Los Angeles, a weekly rally has been underway outside the Canadian consulate at 550 South Hope Street in downtown. On December 28, approximately 50 people turned out in the middle of a weekday. Natives from several areas were present (or represented), including the Owens Valley, Morongo, and Yangna (Los Angeles). A common sentiment expressed by speakers was, "if we won't do it, who will?"
Over a year ago, he knew he had inoperable esophageal cancer. It spread to his tongue, lymph nodes and lungs. It was just a matter of time. On October 22, it took him. His journey to the spirit world began.
. . . In 1968, he joined the American Indian Movement (AIM). In 1970, he became its national director.
. . . With Dennis Banks and Leonard Peltier, he participated in the 1973 Wounded Knee siege and tragedy. For 71 days, they and other AIM activists held off hundreds off FBI thugs, federal marshals, National Guard troops, and complicit Indian vigilantes. They were called "GOONS (Guardians of Our Oglala Nation)." They sold out for whatever benefits they got in return.
On February 27, Oglala Sioux activists reclaimed Wounded Knee. They wanted their 1868 treaty rights honored.
. . . Means once said, "Every policy now the Palestinians are enduring was practiced on the American Indians. What the American Indian Movement says is that the American Indians are the Palestinians of the United States, and the Palestinians are the American Indians of Europe."
He called Indian lands open air concentration camps, saying: "If you chose to stay on the reservation, you are guaranteed to be poor, unless you are part of the colonial apparatus set up by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, set up the United States."
. . . On December 17, 2007, Means and other Lakota people went to Washington. They declared independence. They called it "the latest step in the longest running legal battle" in history.
It's not a cessation, they said. It's a lawful "unilateral withdrawal" from treaty obligations permitted under the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
Means said: "We are no longer citizens of the United States of America and all those who live in the five-state area that encompasses our country are free to join us."
"We offer citizenship to anyone provided they renounce their US citizenship."
"United States colonial rule is at an end." . . . On September 29, 2012 Means reiterated what he and others declared in December 2007. . . . Means had three weeks to live.
In her first solo exhibit, photographer (and contributor to LA IndyMedia) Isabel Avila explores the dual identities of Native American and Mexican American cultures, emphasizing people active in their communities. Avila's photographs, taken over the last few years, are complimented by video discussions with the photo subjects and other people, including Gloria Arellanes, one of the early Brown Berets and member of the Tongva community. (Excerpts of these talks are included in the article below.) The free exhibit is currently at the Vincent Price Museum through December 8. It will then then relocate to Rancho Cucamonga's Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art and run from January 22 to March 16, 2013. (Location details within the article.)
"Through video dialogue and portraiture, the museum goers are not just given facts to go away with but are also left to make their own connections with this subject matter in their own lives," Avila explained.
GARDEN GROVE - Niko Black, a Native woman (Apache) with terminal cancer, has been evicted from her Garden Grove home by Wells Fargo, with co-operation of the Orange County Sheriff's Department and complicity of the local police. This, despite Niko posting a Federal Court Order forbidding such action on her front door and filing it with local police agencies.
On the morning of October 10, Niko Black was in bed when her front door was kicked open by the Orange County Sheriff's Department. Black, who has terminal cancer, crawled to her wheelchair as four-to-six deputies entered and proceeded to hold a gun to her face. She was then taken outside sans any of her medication. When she called the Garden Grove Police, they did nothing. Since all of her medication and other means of treatment were in her home, Black got sick very quickly and had to be taken to the hospital.
Jacob Gutierrez, a Tongva, has a lot on his plate right now. The last science center in the LA Unified School District is "on the chopping block" due to budget cuts in education. (LAUSD originally had six.) This facility has been a resource for everyone in the community, especially children. It contains several gardens, consisting of over 80 native plants and fruit trees. Native wildlife is drawn there, including blue butterflies. There are also over 150 animals that children can visit, all rescues. Oftentimes they have been confiscated by the U.S. Government at the southern border and would have been killed were it not for the Center.
Just up the street is the site of Shwaanga (Ken Malloy Regional Park), one of the largest Tongva villages in pre-Spanish times, a site which has been suffering from pollution in recent centuries. In pre-European times, people would travel by boat from islands including Pimu (Catalina Island) and numerous inland communities via canoelike boats plying rivers, as well as different parts of the California coast. Among other things, Shwaanga was known for its fresh water. Now the water is heavily polluted and needs to be cleaned up.
Saturday February 4, 2012 was an international day of solidarity for political prisoner Leonard Peltier. A call was put out for demonstrations in front of federal buildings world-wide. Such an event occurred here in Los Angeles in the proximity of the downtown Federal Building and was well-attended. Leonard Peltier, who has been wrongfully imprisoned for 35 years, has received little exposure in the mainstream media. (Although, good documentaries have been made about him.)
"He's been in prison for over 30 years for a crime that he did not commit; his health is extremely bad," said Corine Fairbanks of AIM (American Indian Movement) Southern Cal, who was involved in two of the three events on February 4. "It was wonderful to see people going out of their way to participate in these events. I believe we definitely need to continue to educate people, especially young people, as to who Leonard Peltier is. I think there's a concentrated effort made by various governments for us to forget who he is. When I say educate, I'm saying that people need to be aware of not only who he is and the sacrifice he and his family have made being that he's a prisoner of war, but people also need to put more pressure on President Obama, put more pressure on the U.S. government for his release."
Peltier's trial has been deemed illegitimate by Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, and many others. Peltier has received six Nobel Peace Prize nominations. His activism includes selling his paintings, proceeds of which have benefited the Lakota people.
February 4, 2012
WEST LOS ANGELES - Just one block South of a very urban section of Wilshire Blvd with 40 story high-rise buildings and often grid locked streets sits the Kuruvungna Springs. The Springs are on a part of the University High School campus. The Springs and the surrounding area were once the site of a Tongva village.
This last Saturday the Green Party and the Foundation hosted a tour that also included a Tongva blessing of the land. Fresh potable water is bubbling out of the ground and into small streams and pools. The water is said to have healthy restorative powers.
In 1992 a group of local environmentalists working together with Tongva descendants formed the Gabrienlino/Tongva Springs Foundation. The foundation was able to secure a lease for the land from the Los Angeles Unified School District for one dollar a year. The Foundation found funding, both private and public and has restored much of the site. The work goes on and there is still much to be done to preserve and protect the springs.
The foundation's current lease expires next year and they are hoping to secure a new long-term fifty-year lease from the school district. Supporters are urged to contact the school district and encourage them to extend the lease and ensure the continued protection and ongoing restoration of this sacred site.
"The Kawaiisu Tribe of Tejon thanks Secretary Ken Salazar for 'Reaffirming' the Tribe to the list of Federally Recognized Tribes in the United States. 'Reaffirming of Recognition,' means that Congress and the President of the United States recognize the Tribe through the Treaty, because the Treaty represents prior Federal Recognition. The United States now is back in compliance with the Treaty, except for the Tejon Reservation and Graves issues. . . . They have been fighting a legal case for two years in California Federal Court, docket number 1:09-cv-01977, to stop development on their Indian Reservation at the Tejon Ranch near Los Angeles, that gives the corporation permission to unearth the burial remains and spiritual burial objects of thousands of their ancestors that died on the reservation. The timing of regaining recognition, while awaiting a ruling on the Federal Case is an unexpected gift that the Tribe embraces with gratitude. . . ."
This year Columbus Day was protested at several locations in Southern California. In Santa Barbara, AIM (American Indian Movement) Southern California organized its third annual demonstration ( "Challenging The Myth Of Columbus") at the Dolphin Fountain at the foot of Stern's Wharf. Prior to that, activists visited other locations of historical significance: Precidio and De La Guerra. Participants were able to articulate their views of Columbus to the media: An Anti-Columbus Day Rally Stirs Up a Lot of Heat (video). There was talk of a Columbus "hanging" at Cal State Puvungna/Long Beach; and at the San Juan Capistrano Mission, the 10th annual Columbus Day protest was held. (Usually on Columbus Day, other actions like banner drops on freeway overpasses occur throughout Southern California, but at the time of this writing, none had been reported this year.)
The 10th annual protest at Mission San Juan Capistrano on Wednesday October 12 was well-attended and lively. About an hour into the demonstration, this author did a rough count of 28 participants, who occupied all corners of the intersection. There was a lot of road traffic and pedestrians, surprising considering it was the middle of a weekday. A large group of uniformed school children passed us several times before entering the mission. Many of the students seemed curious about the protest signs.
Indigenous people around the country are calling on the Occupy movements to represent and support first people's wishes and views. A poster seen at various demonstrations points out that "Wall St. is on occupied Algonquin land." Recently, "Occupy Albuquerque" has been renamed to "(Un)Occupy Albuquerque".
Here in LA (known as Yangna to the Tongva people), the emphasis has been placed on trying to get Occupy LA to support the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. The US, of course, is among the few countries that voted against it (along with Australia, Canada, and New Zealand). (Although, here in California, San Luis Obispo Country officially recognized it last August 9. More here.) Poltical prisoner Leonard Peltier has also been emphasized, both here and on Wall Street.
Also, the indigenous Platform for Occupy Wall Street was recently the focus of discussion on the radio show American Indian Airwaves (Nov. 22, 2011) from the KPFK Audio Archives (available for 90 days)
International Day of Solidarity with Leonard Peltier: Clemency Now! The Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee calls on supporters worldwide to protest against the injustice suffered by Indigenous activist Leonard Peltier. Gather on February 4, 2012, at every federal court house and U.S. embassy or consulate worldwide to demand the freedom of a man wrongfully convicted and illegal imprisoned for 36 years!
A few weeks ago in Clovis, a young Native American woman was attacked by white supremacists. The police department seems to be doing nothing even though they reportedly have the license place number of the a car used by the attackers, and there has been no media coverage. According to a Department of Justice report (2005), "American Indians are more likely than people of other races to experience violence at the hands of someone of a different race."
The San Francisco Peaks are a unique mountain ecosystem which are managed as public lands in Northern Arizona. The Peaks are held Holy by more than 13 Indigenous Nations. Nevertheless, a ski resort that plans to use treated human waste for snow is being allowed to go forward with expansion there. In December 2007, many in southern California welcomed and supported opponents of development/desecration of the San Francisco Peaks. Here is an update:
From Arizona IndyMedia (6/16/2011): From the press release: Today we take direct action to stop further desecration and destruction of the Holy San Francisco Peaks. We stand with our ancestors, with allies and with those who also choose to embrace diverse tactics to safeguard Indigenous People's cultural survival, our community's health, and this sensitive mountain ecosystem.
On May 25th 2011, sanctioned by the US Forest Service, owners of Arizona Snowbowl began further destruction and desecration of the Holy San Francisco Peaks. Snowbowl's hired work crews have laid over a mile and a half of the planned 14.8 mile wastewater pipeline. They have cut a six foot wide and six foot deep gash into the Holy Mountain.
Although a current legal battle is under appeal, Snowbowl owners have chosen to undermine judicial process by rushing to construct the pipeline. Not only do they disregard culture, environment, and our children's health, they have proven that they are criminals beyond reproach.
Four weeks of desecration has already occurred. Too much has already been taken. Today, tomorrow and for a healthy future, we say "enough!"
It's important for everyone to stand up and say no to the exploitation of Native American Spirituality!
This is a grassroots effort. A number of groups and individuals are co-ordinating this action. Please share with your friends and networks of people who oppose racist cultural misappropriation. Stop the "PRETENDIANS"!
Please join us in this COMMUNITY ACTION! in Palm Springs
Saturday February 26, 2011
Palm Springs Convention Center
277 N Avenida Caballeros
Palm Springs CA 92262
February 4, 2011: Movie star Gillian Anderson has launched Survival International's new campaign to protect some of the world's last uncontacted tribes with an extraordinary new film.
The film shows uncontacted Indians on the Brazil-Peru border in never-seen-before detail. It is the first-ever aerial footage of an uncontacted community.
Ms Anderson said today, "What comes across very powerfully from this amazing footage is how healthy and confident these people appear. I hope they can be left alone--but that will only happen if the loggers are stopped."
The Indians' survival is in jeopardy as an influx of illegal loggers invades the Peru side of the border. Brazilian authorities believe the influx of loggers is pushing isolated Indians from Peru into Brazil, and the two groups are likely to come into conflict.
"STOP THE DESECRATION! 90+ burials (at present) being disturbed in the development of the Mexican Cultural Center at LA Plaza/Olvera St. They have attempted to not follow the law at the discovery of remains. Please support and help - call, write letters, emails. Voice your disgust...Tongva people tired and in pain." - Tongva Elder
The developer is denying the burials are Native; however, one of them includes an obsidian blade and beads.
Cindi Alvitre further commented (via Angela Mooney D'Arcy):
"We have some very sad news...there is ongoing desecration of graves going on at the L. A. Plaza (Olvera Street)...it never f****in ends. As the New Mexican cultural center is being put in our relatives are being literally yanked out of the ground! We seek support!!
"The Native American Heritage Commission has been involved in this with little cooperation from the Los Angeles County Coroner. The forensic anthropologist claims that these are no Indian burials, although burial goods reveal otherwise--close to 100 burials impacted to date!!!
"...it's about respect of all people. This cemetery is not limited just to native people, and destroying a massive cemetery in a historic district to put in a fountain for a NEW cultural institute is obscene."
Call for action: From AIM Santa Barbara: Your VOICE HAS POWER- It only takes 5 minutes to make a phone call & save a sacred site- and piss off the people that need to put in check- STOP THE DESECRATION. Call- Gloria Molina office, (213)- 974-4111-or email email@example.com or call the Mayor Villaraigosa, 213 978-0600
Update: "GOOD NEWS!!! LA Plaza has stopped further work at site where remains disturbed. Tongva woman, Desiree Martinez provided documentation of the burials that we were told did not exist, and that proved that Native Americans were in that cemetery." -- Gloria Arellanes, Tongva Elder
February 1, 2011: Despite the cessation of excavating, Cindi Alvitre explains why the issue is far from over: American Indian Airwaves.
Update (June 2012): The remains were finally reburied at that site in April of this year. Desiree Martinez, a Tongva involved in this issue, was upset by how the ancestors were treated prior to reburial. Many of them were wrapped in toilet paper or newspaper (and consequently parts were separated and had to be reassembled prior to reburial) or not fully removed, left in place, and covered with tarps. She described this disrespect as "the most painful experience" she has endured.
Survival International's film "Mine: Story of a Sacred Mountain" has won the award for "Best Short" in the category of International Human Rights at the Artivist Film Festival to be held in Hollywood.
"Mine", narrated by British actress and activist, Joanna Lumley, depicts the struggle of the Dongria Kondh tribe of Orissa, India, to save their sacred mountain from Vedanta Resources' proposed open pit bauxite mine. In August, the Dongria Kondh won an historic victory as India's environment minister blocked the controversial mine.
"Mine" will be screened at 4 pm, and the award will be presented at 8 pm, on December 4 at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, California.
"The lives of Africans and Native Americans have been intricately intertwined for at least 500 years. The relationship has been one of rescue, mutual assistance, and sometimes abuse and strife. . . . " -- The Red-Black Connection by Valena Broussard Dismukes
Dismukes (African, Choctaw, Scottish, Irish, and French) is a retired school teacher, prolific photographer, author, lecturer, and community activist. She recently spoke in Pasadena about various aspects of African-Native Americans, including the 500+-years of shared history by Native Americans and Africans and genealogy.
A developer is building a housing complex in Huntington Beach and is removing the remains of some 80 Indigenous people.
Bolsa Chica is a significant Southern California Native American Site which dates back about 9,000 years and was once a thriving ceremonial site of the Tongva and Acjachemen Nations. The site is referred to archaeologically as the Cogged Stone site (CA-ORA-83) which once covered over 120 acres of the Bolsa Chica mesa.
Cogged stones are unique to Bolsa Chica. The only other place in the world they have been found is Chile.
The American Indian Movement (AIM) is planning a demonstration outside the MTV Music Awards in L.A. on June 6. People of all races are being encouraged to attend, and participants are being asked to wear red shirts. A second action may occur simultaneously on the east coast. (Additional information can be found here: http://www.aimsb.org.)
Recently, MTV ran an episode of its "reality" show The Dudesons. In it, four buffoonish Finnish men visit Buffalo Hills, California in the hopes of becoming "honorary Native Americans." Their "rites of passage" include riding a canoe down a normally waterless hill, a "rite" called "Balls of Steel," and another that involves "Indians" breaking other "Indians" out of jail.
According to AIM, MTV has not apologized for the content on the show nor have they ceased broadcasting it.
The Mexica Movement will be having a series of lectures at the South Gate ELAC campus throughout the year. Every lecture will present on the various issues pertaining to our history, culture, and identity. we are not white people. This is our land. We are not foreigners on our own continent. These presentations are meant to encourage our people to learn more about who we are and to serve as a guidance in the liberation process of all of our continent. We look forward to meeting you.
January 28, 2010: Severe Ice Storms and Freezing Temperatures Have Knocked Down 3,000 Utility Poles. Tribal Residents Have Been Without Electricity, Heat and Running Water for Six Days.
EAGLE BUTTE, S.D. -- The Chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe has declared a State of Emergency in central South Dakota, an Indian reservation approximately the size of Connecticut with nearly 15,000 Tribal members. The Tribe is still awaiting Presidential disaster declaration.
Days of ice storms and strong winds have downed over 3,000 utility poles across the reservation. Thousands of already impoverished tribal residents have been without electricity or heat for five days, with wind chill factors well below zero. Experts estimate it may be as long as a month before all areas have electricity restored.
"Making matters worse," said Tribal Chairman Joe Brings Plenty, "the loss of electricity has also knocked out the Reservation s aging water system. We have no running water on the entire Reservation, it is also affecting of Reservation communities such as Faith, whose water is supplied from pipes running through the Reservation."
Your assistance is requested to support the RELOCATION of the WCGC to a non culturally and environmentally sensitive location.
The Los Padres Forest Service is accepting public comments on the 20 yr permit of the Winchester Gun Club (WCGC) opposed by the Coalition to Save Husahkiw-Chumash Windcaves and Sierra Club, with many supporters in the fields of Archeology, Anthropology, Rock Art Specialists, Natives and Non-Natives.
In advance of his appearance this week at an L.A. screening of "Warrior: The Life of Leonard Peltier," Ben Carnes of the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee discussed that film, Leonard Peltier, and a variety of other Native American issues.
The free showing of "Warrior: The Life of Leonard Peltier" will take place on December 17 at the National Center for Preservation of Democracy in Little Tokyo at 7pm. Carnes, who will present the film, believes it is one of a few documentaries that explains and clarifies the circumstances surrounding Peltier's imprisonment. (Another film he mentioned was Incident at Oglala by Michael Apted.)
At the time of Peltier's alleged shooting of an FBI agent (June 1975), Carnes said that "they just wanted to arrest a group of AIM (American Indian Movement) people and have a big media riff because there was such a propaganda campaign that was going on against the American Indian Movement--that they were being trained by communists in Cuba, all kinds of derogatory things to help discredit them. But on the day of that shootout there were just strange things that happening that day that screwed their plans up. When the agents went in, there was another agent."
In Southern California, there were at least two protests of Columbus Day this year. One took place in San Juan Capistrano, the other in Santa Barbara. The latter had an impressive turnout with head counts varying from 35 to 70. Whatever the exact number, our presence was strong, and reactions were positive. Vehicles honked, and pedestrians stopped to watch and listen. Some of them expressed support for the cause.
The many signs included "We discovered a lost Columbus," "Make Columbus your mascot," and "Is there a Hitler Day?"
There was also music, dance, and several good speakers. Many of the horrors committed by Columbus were mentioned, including his forcing Indian children into prostitution. To describe all of the atrocities would have taken the entire evening (at least). However, the radio show American Indian Airwaves on KPFK had a fairly comprehensive discussion of this on October 14 at 3pm. It can be downloaded from the Audio Archives at KPFK.org for the next 90 days. Apparently, part 2 of this installment will air next week.
In the aftermath of the Parole Board Commission's announcement that Leonard Peltier would not be granted parole, supporters of Peltier have been focusing their energy on President Barack Obama in the hopes of attaining a presidential pardon. September 12 was Peltier's 65th birthday, and vigils were held around the world. Also, Ben Carnes and Robert Fife concluded an eight-day fast for his release, while Peltier's sister, Betty Peltier-Solano, had chained herself to a fence in Washington, D.C.
Friday, June 12, 2009 LOS ANGELES -- Crowds of curious onlookers surrounded a group of indigenous rights activists, members of the Peruvian community, and environmentalists as they demonstrated in front of the Peruvian consulate today through dance, procession, chant, and speech.
At this latest in a series of demonstrations in front of the large building on the Koreatown stretch of Wilshire that houses the consulate, protesters angered by President Alan García's use of military force against indigenous rights activists decried the massacre of an unknown number of people. They also lashed out against the "free trade" policies the victims gave their lives fighting against. Full Report: Protest at Peruvian Consulate by Rockero
The meeting, which was attended by hundreds of people, was fiery and impassioned and lasted for about three hours. The first two hours were open for public comment. Ultimately, the board voted 3-2 to retain the mascot, although two items, including a doormat with a "Native American" on it, will be removed. Everything else, including a bust at the school parking lot entrance and a large mural are to remain intact.
The months, weeks, and days preceding the meeting were intense. Eli, the instigator of this campaign, received death threats as did a child of a school board member.
. . . Many indigenous people who reside in Carpinteria expressed approval of the mascot. However, a Chumash man, while not a Carpiterian, said that this land was originally their's and that his people were and are peaceful, not warriors. ". . . We have to change the war mentality," he said. "We are not warriors, we are peaceful people, and this planet needs peaceful beings. This is a local manifestation of a terrible global bind that we all live in. Injustice to one is injustice to all. The war culture must be eliminated.
"Your job is to teach to these young people. Teach them the ways of the Chumash by asking the Chumash. And I invite all the people in the lineage of the Chumash to come and practice the Chumash ways. We were never a warrior society, never. We're not warriors."
CARPINTERIA, California (March 16, 2009) -- On Tuesday, March 17, the school board of Carpinteria, California will meet to vote whether or not to rescind their own 2008 decision to remove all imagery that stereotypes Native American peoples from Carpinteria High School. The town of Carpinteria is staging the meeting in such a way as to intimidate the Native people choosing to participate. (photo of Eli Cordero by Paul Wellman)
CARPINTERIA, California - The small town of Carpinteria, California is the latest battleground in Native Americans' fight against racism. The controversy over a supposedly "harmless" high school sports mascot has alienated the Native American population of Carpinteria, who have come to fear violent reprisals from the non-Native community.
The Carpinteria "Warriors" mascot is the standard Indian chief stereotype, complete with generic plains-style war bonnet and stoic gaze. The school logo consists of a spear with dangling feathers; a visual symbol also associated with plains Indian cultures.
Last spring, 15 year old Chumash youth Eli Cordero voiced his objections to the use of this stereotypical imagery by Carpinteria High School. On April 22nd, 2008, he brought his concerns before the school board which then voted to retire the use of all Native American imagery. . . . Since that time, the 15 year old has received death threats and his family has been harassed. Some citizens of Carpinteria shouted racial epithets at John Orendorff, a Native American Army Reserve colonel who spoke at a school board meeting in favor of removing the racist imagery. . . .
The recent exhibit Tongva: Our Voice, Our History, Our People, which ran from September 13 through November 22 at the Ruth & Charles Gilb Arcadia Historical Museum, demonstrated that Southern California's history goes back far beyond shopping centers, Hollywood, city lights, theme parks, car culture, missionaries, Cabrillo, etc., etc.
As Chief Red Blood Anthony Morales stated at the show's grand opening, Tongva people have lived here for many thousands of years. He added that the community of Aleupkingna (sometimes spelled Aluupkenga) encompassed the land currently occupied by the Santa Anita Mall, the Santa Anita Race Track, and the Arboretum.
On September 20 and 21, Long Beach's Aquarium of the Pacific hosted the fourth annual Native American festival, Moompetam Gathering of the Salt Water People. Moompetam (which means "of the ocean" in Tongva) is comprised of several maritime tribes, including Tongva, Acjachemen, Chumash, Costanoan, and Luiseno.
As one of the speakers at the event pointed out, this was a rare opportunity to experience Native cultures up-close via storytelling, food, one-on-one conversations, music, and workshops.
LOS ANGELES, April 30, 2008: Environmental activists from AmazonWatch with support from the LA Greens and other local groups paid a visit to Occidental Petroleum's corporate headquarters today. Dressed up in Haz Mat uniforms demonstrators staged a mock toxic clean up outside the Oxy building in Westwood.
On Wednesday April 30 and Friday May 2, there will be demonstrations against L.A.-based Occidental Petroleum over pollution and illness caused by nearly 30 years of oil sdrilling in the Peruvian Amazon. The first event, a mock clean-up will take place at the company's headquarters, the second will be outside the annual shareholder's meeting. According to Amazon Watch, Occidental Petroleum is sensitive to this kind of publicity. Full story: Two Upcoming Events to Expose Pollution, Sickness in Peru Caused by Occidental Petroleum by RP Announcements: Wednesday eventFriday event
On Tuesday December 11, 2007, I joined in a community effort to welcome and support a coalition of Native American Nations and environmental
justice groups in their ongoing effort to defend Arizona's San Francisco
Peaks from proposed ski area development. The coalition had traveled
from Arizona in order to be present for a Federal Appeals Court hearing
in which developers would challenge a precedent-setting court victory
won by the coalition, which halted plans to expand the skiing business
by making fake snow out of sewage waste. This case is viewed as
precedent-setting in the realms of religious freedom and public health,
and particularly in establishing an interpretation for the 1993
Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).
As a person of faith, what struck me about the gathering is how deeply
important the theme of religious freedom was. . . Full report from
newswire:This is how we
(could) pray by Amy L. Dalton
The Last Tongva Cemetary In LA County Is Being Destroyed By Corporate Condos
The last remaining Tongva/Gabrielino cemetary in LA County is being excavated and moved to make room for a creek, that, in turn, is being diverted to allow the development of Playa Vista, the infamous housing development on the Ballona Wetlands near Playa del Rey.
The archeologists and a crew of 70 people are removing human remains and putting them into boxes, and shipping them to UCSB for later "study." The grave goods and funerary objects are put in other boxes to be "studied" in other places. Separating these remains from funerary objects is illegal. Over 120 graves have been found, and the number keeps increasing.
The State Historic Preservation Officer has the power to stop the excavation and development, but has thus far remained silent. Weekly vigils at the site are held from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. at the Loyola Marymount University entrance, at Lincoln and 83rd St.Another vigil is held from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the corner of Bienvenida and Mountain Shadow.
The Eco Maya Festival at Barnsdall Park this weekend melds the sometimes divergent social movements for cultural preservation, ecological respect, and indigenous heritage. The Eco Maya project is working on a cohousing community called the Eco Maya village that combines the idea of the Eco Village with indigenous cultural preservation, for the living indigenous among us. (A community action statement from one of the organizers.)
As the summer approaches, numerous free festivals take over the parks of Los Angeles. Among the highlights are the Corn Festival in Highland Park, the Lotus festival at Echo Park, the Sol Festival. Below is a mural by Frank Romero titled Festival of Masks, depicting the annual Festival of Masks on Wilshire (which, unfortunately, is not happening this year). From the USC Metro Art Archives.