REVISED: Supreme Court OKs sanctions in Chehalis tribal fishing case

Please read article, cited after the quote. Articles open in a new window.

The decision means that Gerald Cayenne, an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation, can be prohibited by a state court from owning a gill net as part of his sentencing — despite his claims of native fishing rights ensured by the federal government.

The unanimous ruling authored by Justice Charles Johnson was issued this morning; it reverses part of an appeals court ruling that had struck part of the sentence imposed in Grays Harbor County Superior Court.

Cayenne had asserted the state lacked jurisdiction over his on-reservation activities, despite his conviction of illegal fishing. The court said this in part:


A stinking corpse: US deceit and theft of Navajo water rights

A stinking corpse: US deceit and theft of Navajo water rights

By Brenda Norrell

Today I received one of the most important documents that I’ve ever received as a journalist in Indian country. It details the loss of Navajo water rights, the role of non-Indian attorneys and how uninformed non-Indian journalists come to Indian country and follow the mandates of those they believe to be the “good guys.” Too often, the “good guys” are actually driven by politics and personal motives.
The document is “Navajo Water Rights: Truths and Betrayals,” written in response to an article published in High Country News and Navajo Times, written by Matt Jenkins.

Among the authors of “Navajo Water Rights: Truths and Betrayals,” is former Navajo Chairman Peter MacDonald.

Many years ago, in the 1990s, I was a stringer for Associated Press and covered federal courts. During the federal trial of Former Navajo Chairman Peter MacDonald, I realized that the US government would stop at nothing to remove him from office and put him in prison.

“Why?” I asked a Navajo businessman, during a court recess in Prescott, Arizona. “Was it about oil and gas, or coal?”

No, the Navajo businessman said. “It is about the water.”

Now, a decade and a half later, I read and understand the importance of Navajo water to the United States, in this document. Navajo water and the electric power made with it, light up the Southwest cities. While the people of the Southwest light up, water their lawns and golf courses and turn on their water faucets, many Navajos haul their water and read by lantern light.

It is a long and corrupt history of US colonialism and deceit, a history with truths now being revealed like maggots on a rotting corpse. From the formation of the Navajo Tribal Council, as it was called then, to sign energy leases in the early Twentieth Century, to the current day machinations to usurp Navajo water rights and resources, the ploys of the United States government and its agents is a long and nauseating history of deceit, which includes the murderous legacy of the Long Walk.

Read for yourself, “Navajo Water Rights: Truths and Betrayals.” Water attorneys will gain a great deal from the analysis of Indian water rights. Hopefully, journalists and editors will discover red flags and avoid condescending and inaccurate articles in the future.

As George Orwell said, “In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

Thanks to all of you out there devoted to this revolutionary act of truth-telling.

Read “Navajo Water Rights: Truths and Betrayals”

Double click on image to enlarge. Original image by Norman Rockwell.


Protests against the transport of nuclear waste

French and Deutschland protest against the transport of nuclear waste in Deutschland


Vedanta chased away by threatened Villagers

Vedanta chased away by threatened Villagers

Last week, a group of more than 500 villagers set up roadblocks in Orissa’s Puri district to protest the construction of “Dev Sanskrati Vishwavidyalaya” (Divine Culture University) a project funded by the rather-unenlightened company we know as Vedanta Resources.

The villagers are angry that the institution, which will apparently establish “a Cultural Renaissance” in India, is situated on agricultural land that the Orissa government ‘acquired’ without the peoples consent. The government then donated the land to Vedanta for free (Wikipedia).

The company defends the governments actions by claiming the land isn’t fertile and of no use to the villagers. It’s quite absurd, since the villagers actively grow rice, mango, cashew, papaya, betel, pumpkin, and coconut in the region.

Similarly, Vedanta claims that the region is only sparsely populated, and that only a hundred or so people will be displaced. Activists say it’s more like 1,000 — on top 20 to 50,000 more indirectly effected.

Whatever the actual number is, the fact remains that none of the villagers have given their consent.

These concerns peaked during last week’s protest, which took place at the ground-breaking ceremony for the institution.

The protesters rushed the ceremony, some of them carrying lathis (a sturdy stick made of bamboo) and eventually forced the officials to withdraw.

Following the protest, a company official stated that they have temporarily stopped work on the University, but will resume it “soon.”

“We are in talks with the local people, but few of them are creating disturbances. However, in view of the violent situation yesterday we have stopped the work of the university and intend to resume the construction work soon.”

Clearly aimed at demeaning the villagers’ struggle, the statement is a stark contrast to what the protesters were told. Umaballav Rath, leader of the Vedanta Vishwavidyalaya Virodhi Samiti, the organization heading the movement against the project, states that “officials of the Vedanta Group have assured us in the presence of the district administration that they are not going to start work on the project without our consent.”

In light of recent history — namely, the struggle of the Dongria Kondh, who are facing similar displacement (as well as the destruction of their culture) at the hands of Vedanta — the former statement is probably the most accurate.

The company doesn’t seem to care one way another how must destruction it causes. Just as long as it maintains the face of enlightenment for its shareholders.

Fortunately, the villagers, and of coursethe Dongria Kondh, are not so willing to play make believe out of some obscure fear of their own knowledge.



Bob Dylan – Masters Of War

Please read  & watch article, cited after the quote. Articles open in a new window.

Today was the day that the war to end all wars ended on November 11 1918. As we all know that war is alive and well. I made this video to Bob Dylan’s Masters Of War in the hope that we all realize how pointless WAR is.

Navajo women, servicemembers relate history of female veterans

Please read article, cited after the quote. Articles open in a new window.

ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service, Nov. 12, 2008) — The Women in Military Service for America Memorial was the site of a joint-services, Veterans Day celebration that featured women from all branches of the military, along with 11 female Navajo veterans.

Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Wilma L. Vaught, Women’s Memorial Foundation president, opened the ceremony with a tribute to the Native American women who have served the United States, in recognition of Native American Heritage Month.

Eleven Navajo women, who served in conflicts from Korea to the Persian Gulf, took the stage to briefly speak to the audience about their experiences in the military