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” (see full poster below). Recently, "Occupy Albuquerque" has been renamed to "(Un)Occupy Albuquerque" (see: http://www.americanindependent.com/199655/occupy-movement-in-new-mexico-finds-new-name-out-of-respect-for-native-americans
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 (see: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/en/declaration.html
). 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: http://indigenouspeoplesissues.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11536:california-united-nations-declaration-of-the-rights-of-indigenous-peoples-san-luis-obispo-county-board-of-supervisors-will-pass-a-resolution&catid=52:north-america-indigenous-peoples&Itemid=74
On October 13 at about 1 pm, members of the Indigenous Committee and other entities, which included an Inuit, a Mayan, an Apache, and a Salvadoran spoke on the South Lawn. (The Committee has nightly meetings here at 6:30.)
“This is not a bill of individual rights--this is a bill of the collective rights of all nations that have existed since time immemorial and that still exist, not just in North America, around the world,” one speaker said. “North America is occupied land, but there's occupied land all around the world, and all of us that are under that occupation declare ourselves free of it.
“The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People is for all indigenous people. It asks the governments anywhere in the world to honor those rights.”
Political prisoner Leonard Peltier was also discussed. The demand for his release has been emphasized by indigenous people at Occupy Wall Street as well (see picture below).
As various speakers articulated, abuse, desecration, and destruction of land is wholesale in the dominant culture, and invasion of sacred sites ubiquitous. Refugio Ceballos spoke of solar collectors currently being built on top of ancient writings in Blythe (see: http://earthfirstnews.wordpress.com/2011/06/07/indigenous-groups-fight-solar-mega-projects-desecration-of-sacred-sites/
). “We're fighting that right now in Blythe. California,” he said.
(As Ralph Nader recently observed on KPFK's Letters and Politics, ending corporate personhood should facilitate production and control of energy on community levels, as opposed to our current massive power plants that tend to be wasteful and destructive--even when it comes to solar. See: http://archive.kpfk.org/parchive/mp3/kpfk_111006_100040letters.MP3
. The talk with Nader begins about a third of the way into it, following a report about the police raid on the San Francisco encampment.)
Issues that are even more local have been addressed as well. There has been talk by the Committee of marching to nearby La Placita (aka: La Plaza), where Tongva graves have been desecrated (see: http://www.la.indymedia.org/archives/archive_by_id.php?id=1996&category_id=3
“I am partly the blood of the invader,” Refugio Ceballos continued. “But really he's just our brother because we're all brothers of a different color from the same mother—our Mother Earth. Once we get to understand that, we're going to be able to live together and work together in harmony.
“In the teachings of the great stone you call the Aztec calendar and fear so much, we're in the year where we have to get our act together because 2012 is coming, and that's The Year of Decision-- the year where the cycle begins again, and in that beginning we will decide which way we will go—you will decide.
“. . . So for now let us all get together, and speak together, and work together, and make this happen. No we don't need the stocks and bonds, we don't need all of this business stuff that doesn't even touch us. What we need is to work together--community. All of you, all of your organizations: quit separating yourselves, quit becoming so individualistic you can't communicate with one another. You are all one—you are the people of the Earth.”
Photo courtesy of artist Alyssa Macy. (see:: http://www.facebook.com/#
!/media/set/?set=a.114471255256662.8113.114463468590774&type=3. Cut and paste this address to your browser.) Used with permission.