Officials restoring bison herd to eastern Utah

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ANTELOPE ISLAND, Utah — For the first time in nearly 70 years, Utah has a new free-roaming bison herd.State officials are taking the final steps toward restoring bison to the Book Cliffs, a remote and rugged area in eastern Utah where bison images appear on ancient rock art and skulls have been found in the fossil records.“We’re bringing them back to their native range,” says Dax Magnus, a wildlife biologist for the state Division of Wildlife Resources


Obama set to scrap waste site funding

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— Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday that the new president will essentially zero-out funding for Yucca Mountain when he releases the fiscal 2010 budget to Congress after taking office.

President-elect Barack Obama’s transition office declined this week to discuss budget plans beyond Obama’s previously-stated opposition to the nuclear waste dump. But Obama told Reid during last week’s sit-down meeting in the Capitol that the budget would be zero, or close to it, the senator’s office said.

Reid elaborated on that statement Wednesday after a meeting with Nevada’s congressional delegation. “When Obama’s budget comes out for the following year, there will be nothing in there for Yucca Mountain,” Reid said.

DEC adopting new tribe policy

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The state Department of Environmental Conservation has a new policy to consult with Indian nations on a government-to-government basis whenever the department is taking action that may affect the tribes’ interests.

The broad policy specifically notes environmental and cultural resources and cites one of its major objectives “to set up better protocols and mechanisms for consultation and communication, which are welcome under this administration,” adding that “the prior administration kept a tight reign on all agency communications with the nations.”

The policy lists the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, Tonawanda Seneca, Tuscarora, Unkechaug and Shinnecock tribes recognized by the state.

Colombia: “We Will Remove the Machines Ourselves”

Colombia: “We Will Remove the Machines Ourselves”

We Will Remove the Machines Ourselves choco-128x96

The Embera, an Indigenous community in the Choco region of Colombia, have warned the U.S.-based Muriel Mining Corporation (MMC) to stop exploring for resources within their traditional territory.

According to the Embera, the company is there illegally because it failed to properly consult them or receive their informed consent.

The company claims that they “letters of agreement” from from indigenous authorities, which give them permission to explore for minerals such as gold, copper and molybdenum. However, the Embera say these agreements are fraudulent because they are the result of meetings with only a handful of representatives — all of whom failed to respect the Embera’s traditional, consensus-driven decision-making process.

“Here we are all in contrary to the agreement. Everyone here has said no we are not with the company. We have never arrived at a point to be with them and we will never arrive at the point where we will sign,” states one representative.

The company’s presence is a grave concern to the Embera, because it threatens Ellausakirandarra or Dog Face Hill, which the Embera hold sacred.

“If Muriel Mining does not end its exploration of our sacred lands, we will go up to the mountain and remove the machines ourselves,” states another representative. “This is why we are here, these things are not legal. We did consult with the communities.”

The Embera also fear the company will bring pollution to the rivers, destruction to the region’s biodiversity, and that they themselves will suffer irreparable damage to their natural economy as well as the dispossession and loss of their land rights.

The company holds a concession to operate within the Embera’s territory for the next 30 years, with a possible extension of 30 more.

On January 9 a group of Embera mobilized to confront the company, but they were turned away by the Colombian Army, who was sent in a few days earlier to protect the company’s interests.

Nevertheless, the Embera say they are prepared to return, with hundreds of members from neighboring tribes, if their rights aren’t respected.

Support the Embera

Rainforest Rescue has put together a letter you can send to Colombian officials (in Spanish), asking them to respect the Embera’s rights, stop the company’s activities, and end the ongoing militarization of the region. You can read and send the letter here.


Obama Designate Pledges ‘Place at Table’ for Natives

ARLINGTON, Va.—U.S. Secretary of the Interior Designate Ken Salazar pledged that the “first Americans will have their place at the table in the Obama Administration and the Department of Interior” as he addressed tribal leaders at a summit hosted by the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA).

“We have some great opportunities yet some major challenges ahead of us,” Salazar told the more than 400 tribal leaders in attendance. “But we will only address those challenges through a spirit of consultation. The Department of Interior will work hand-in-hand with Indian Country to address the challenges of our time. We have to make sure that Native American communities of the United States are never left outside of the tent again,” Salazar said to applause.

“What a way to start 2009 and a new relationship with the incoming Obama Administration,” said NCAI President Joe A. Garcia. “It is encouraging that Sen. Salazar is putting Indian Country’s agenda at the top of his priority list before he even takes the oath of office.”

More at Reznews

Native American Movement

This movie is one that makes me proud. This movie is about my peoples struggle and movement toward a better life and trying to stand up to the US.

Demonstration to protect Western Shoshone’s Mount Tenabo

This was originally posted by Brenda Norrell at

Demonstration to protect Western Shoshone’s Mount Tenabo

Western Shoshone Defense Project
P.O. Box 211308
Crescent Valley, NV 89821
Contact: Julie Cavanaugh-Bill (775-397-6726),
Dan Randolph (775-348-1986),

Hearing to Stop Further Mining at Tenabo
Demonstration and News Conference to Protect Native Religions
Where: Gordon R. Thompson Federal Bldg. (S. Virginia and Liberty)
When: Tuesday, January 20, 8:00 AM

On this day of the inauguration of a new president with hope for the future we are reminded that the founding fathers of the United States dedicated into our constitution freedom to practice religion as ones tradition required.

Just two months ago, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management approved the construction of a massive open pit cyanide heap leach gold mine on the face of well-known spiritual area, Mt. Tenabo. Western Shoshone communities, the Western Shoshone Defense Project and Great Basin Resource Watch are seeking an injunction to stop further destruction of Mt. Tenabo by Barrick Gold Corporation. The Federal Court in Reno has scheduled a hearing on Jan. 20th and 21st.

The peaceful and respectful demonstration will open with native drumming, song, and prayer. Western Shoshone elders will speak, and supporting local religious leaders will follow. Just before 9:00 AM the demonstration will close and all supporters will be invited to attend as much of the injunctive hearing as they can in support of religious freedom. There will also be a similar demonstration at the same time on January 21.

“Denabo (correct pronunciation) has special significance for Western Shoshone, it means the writing on the rocks walls of the mountain (White Cliffs) put there by our Creator. We go to pray to our Creator to give us strength to keep us going. How can we pray to our creator when the place is being blown up?” – Joyce McDade, Western Shoshone Grandmother

“When God makes a covenant to provide for human beings, the covenant always includes the land. Our well-being as a species is conditioned upon our capacity to love and care for the land. Native American communities and their spiritual practices have enlightened our way to this love and care.”– John Auer, Reverend First United Methodist Church, Reno NV.

Barrick Gold Corporation is the world’s largest gold company and operates mainly on Indigenous lands for the extraction of gold. This company has refused to accept its social responsibility to protect Indigenous peoples’ land, sacred areas, water, and air pollution.

This destruction of Indigenous spiritual areas must stop now.