Archive for the ‘Idle no more’ Category

Video: Arthur Manuel – Idle? Know More!

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

Arthur Manuel, one of Earth Peoples co-founders, is the spokesperson for the Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade and Defenders of the Land network. In this video, he speaks at the Idle? Know More! event on January 22nd 2013 held in Vancouver, unceded Coast Salish Territories

WATCH VIDEO Arthur Manuel, at the Idle? Know More! event

Arthur Manuel (PHOTO © Rebecca Sommer for Earth Peoples)

Arthur Manuel (PHOTO © Rebecca Sommer for Earth Peoples)

The former chairperson of the Interior Alliance of BC First Nations, Arthur has been a leading voice of opposition to the Canadian government’s agenda to “extinguish” Aboriginal and Treaty rights and assimilate Indigenous peoples into the Canadian body politic. Active locally in Secwepemc land struggles, and at the national level, he has also taken the struggle international at United Nations conferences and meetings, such as the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, following in the path of his father, the late George Manuel, President of the National Indian Brotherhood and founder of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples.

Navajo and locals protest at Peabody Coal corporate headquarters, 12 arrested

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

By Derek Minnow Bloom, Black Mesa Indigenous Support

Click here for French translation

About one hundred protesters gathered in downtown St. Louis today outside of the Peabody Coal corporate headquarters. St. Louis locals were joined by Navajo residents from Black Mesa, Ariz., Appalachians from coal-burdened West Virginia, and supporters from across the United States to demand the cessation of strip mining and accountability for land and people.

Navajo residents of Black Mesa, Don Yellowman and Fern Benally, demanded to speak with Peabody CEO Greg H. Boyce and deliver a letter detailing their concerns.

Around 12 protesters were arrested for linking arms and refusing to leave Peabody property when Boyce refused to meet with Navajo representatives. Protesters included representatives from Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, Radical Action for Mountain People’s Survival, Black Mesa Indigenous Support, Veterans for Peace, SEIU and other labor unions.

Police use pain compliance, including pressure points, neck and arm twisting
Activists dropped banners from two nearby buildings reading, “Stop the War on Mother Earth. Peabody: Bad for St. Louis, Bad for the Planet” and “Peabody Kills.”

According to eye witnesses, the police used pain compliance pressure points, and the twisting of heads, as they arrested them.

One arrested member of Veterans for Peace was handcuffed, walking compliantly with police and was suddenly thrown to the ground by the police.

The rest of the protesters, upset by Peabody’s unresponsiveness and the police violence, took the march into the streets of St. Louis with a banner reading, “St. Louis! Stop Subsidizing the Climate Crisis”. After marching through the streets, the protest returned to Peabody Headquarters and disbursed.

Peabody, the largest coal company in the U.S., operates massive strip mines on Black Mesa, Ariz., ancestral homelands of the Navajo people. Tens of thousands of Navajo families have been forcibly relocated in order to clear the land for Peabody’s strip mines; this constitutes the largest forced relocation of indigenous peoples in the U.S since the Trail of Tears. To this day, Navajo and Hopi people are engaged in resistance to the forced relocation and mining practices threaten the land and livelihood of future generations.

In nearly 45 years of operation, Peabody’s mines on Black Mesa have been the source of over 325 million tons of carbon dioxide discharged into the atmosphere#. The strip mines have damaged countless graves, sacred sites, and homes. 70 percent of a once-pristine desert aquifer has been drained for coal operations. The remaining groundwater is polluted, causing devastation to a once-flourishing ecosystem.

“The mine affects lots of ways of life. It’s destroying the places that have names. Everywhere you go here, every place has a name: names I learned from my grandparents, names that have existed for hundreds of years. A lot of those places and knowledge of those places and cultural values are being destroyed by the mine. It’s destroying our way of life,” says Gerold Blackrock, a resident of Black Mesa.

Peabody’s strip mines harm the health of communities wherever they operate, from Black Mesa to Appalachia. Appalachian miners’ hard-earned healthcare benefits and pensions are threatened by Peabody’s business practices. “Peabody and Arch dumped their obligations to retired miners into Patriot. This was a calculated decision to cheat people out of their pensions,” said retired United Mine Workers of America miner Terry Steele.

“Enabled by the City of St. Louis, Peabody’s corporate executives hide out in their downtown office building, removed from the destruction they cause in communities across the nation,” said Dan Cohn, St. Louis resident. In 2010, the Board of Aldermen, in conjunction with the St. Louis Development Corporation, gave Peabody a $61 million tax break, including $2 million that was designated for the St. Louis City Public Schools.

“Peabody’s everyday business contributed to this summer’s triple-digit heat waves and historic drought. St. Louis residents are here today to stand in solidarity with the other communities that Peabody impacts and demand that our city stops subsidizing the unjust relocation of indigenous people and climate change. We need our taxpayer development dollars to be invested in green jobs, not corporations who have no regard for human life,” Reggie Rounds, a MORE member, said.

MORE is currently collecting signatures for a ballot initiative that would force the city of St. Louis to divest public money from fossil fuel corporations and switch over incentives to renewable energy and sustainability initiatives. The St. Louis Sustainable Energy ballot initiative has gained the support of numerous local social and environmental groups, small businesses, and 6th Ward Alderperson candidate Michelle Witthaus, who was present at today’s protest.

Today’s action is part of a growing movement for indigenous self-determination, and against exploitative business practices that destroy communities and land.

Earth Peoples Idle no More Letter to the Ambassadors of Canada to the United Nations, OAS, European Union

Friday, February 1st, 2013

By  Earth Peoples

TO: Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations

Ambassador Guillermo E. Rishchynski
One Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza
885 Second Avenue, 14th Floor
New York, NY 10017
USA

TO: Permanent Mission of Canada to the Organization of American States
Ambassador Allan Culham
501 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
USA

TO: Mission of Canada to the European Union
H. David Plunkett
Avenue de Tervuren 2
1040 Brussels
Belgium

Dear Ambassador Rishchynski, Culham and Plunkett,

As part of the “Idle no more movement”, we are very concerned about Canada’s most recent discriminatory activities against Indigenous Peoples and in general Canada’s human rights violation records and alarming environmental policies that are saddening many of us around the world, as well as our Earth Peoples partners that are indigenous, and the original people from the land that you represent to the UN, OAS and EU.

You know that October 18th 2012 the so called Bill C-45 was introduced by the Harper Government and received royal assent on Dec. 14th as the “Jobs and Growth Act, 2012.” Among its 400 pages it includes changes which severely threaten Indigenous Peoples and the environment:

 Regarding the “Indian Act”: modifications enabling the leasing of reserve lands, thus allowing easier opening of indigenous treaty lands and territories.
 Regarding the “Navigation Protection Act”: Major pipeline and power line corporations are no longer obliged to prove that navigable affected waterways are not being damaged. These amendments remove protection for 99.9 per cent of lakes and rivers in Canada.
 Regarding the “Environmental Assessment Act”: Environmental assessment processes have been severely reduced in their meaning and applicability.

These are just 3 points of many others that are alarming our partners and the people of the world that do care about human rights and the rights of Mother Earth.

The result: A paradise for transnational corporations and their devastating resources exploitation without restrictions – Severe discrimination of Indigenous Peoples/First Nations, their treaty rights and Aboriginal Title as well as terrible effects on the environment and indigenous territory.

The grassroot movement “Idle no more” was formed in reaction to Bill C-45. But this bill is just the tip of the iceberg: “Idle no more” is rather a reaction to an inhumane disrespectful policy which significantly worsened since the Harper government took over.

Thus, the “Idle no more” movement must be seen in the following context of Canada’s environmental and human rights violations:
 Tarsand Industry: Disastrous devastations and intoxications of vast regions for the sake of oil exploitation which are highly disruptive for all life. Canada’s restless lobbying attempts to fight against the EU – Fuel Quality Directive, manipulating the EU to accept this dirty energy is just one of many recent examples.
 Planning and extension of the Keystone Pipeline and Enbridge Northern Gate Pipelines through Indigenous Peoples territory without their free prior informed consent, providing the risk of severe pollution due to i.e. oil spills.
 Canada’s withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol, violating its own obligatory commitments for the sake of about 30% more Greenhouse Gas emissions (compared to 1990) due to its disastrous resource exploitation such as specifically the tar sand industry. Since the inaugural of the Harper government, emissions have risen dramatically making Canada the 3rd biggest per capita emission polluter of the world.
 Canada’s tireless opposition at the Rio +20 negotiations concerning “Water as a Human Right”.
 The introduction of Bill 78 (May 19th, 2012), limiting the right to protest, in response to students’ demonstrations in the province of Quebec.
 On June 1st, 2012 the United Nations Committee Against Torture issued a report accusing Canada of “complicity” in torture cases.
 On May 16th, 2012 Oivier DeSchutter, UN Special Rapporteur on Food emphasized the significance of “access to land” in order to have food, promoted the Aboriginal Title and the right to self-determination of Indigenous Peoples. Thus he expressed his concerns about Canada’s federal government policies that have disrupted and even devastated the traditional practices of Indigenous People by removing controls over land and natural resources.
 In late February 2012, the UN Committee on Racial Discrimination (CERD) expressed its concerns about Canada’s policy regarding Indigenous Peoples, mentioning disproportionally high incarceration numbers, conflicts over land specifically in regards to treaty rights, Aboriginal Title and extractive industries. Furthermore, it also reflected on violence against women and their disappearance.
 On June 8th 2012, based on these examples, UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Navanethem Pillay, included Canada on a list of some of the world’s worst human rights violators.

Therefore, the “Working Circle Indians of North America” reminds Canada to comply to its commitment to respect human rights as a nation which was heavily involved in the elaboration of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Canada also has to respect treaties, which have been signed with First Nations on a nation to nation basis. Furthermore, Canada finally endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the right to self-determination and free, prior informed consent.

Thus we call on Canada to end its policy of discrimination against Indigenous Peoples and, for the sake of all life, to stop its disastrous exploitation of the environment.

In solidarity with the original four founders of “Idle no more”, Jessica Gordon, Sheelah Mclean, Sylvia McAdams, Nina Wilson and Chief Theresa Spence we demand:

IDLE NO MORE!

Sincerely,
Earth Peoples