Saturday, October 26, 2013

'R' Day in Minneapolis Nov 7

Native News Networks just published the manifesto from the American Indian Movement (AIM) - Mps and the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and Media.  Just in time for the Vikings to play the Washington 'R' team in Minneapolis on November 7, these groups are united in their mission of educating others and trying to bring positive change for indigenous people.

My son Caleb (9) puts it this way about keeping the name the way it is:
  "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

The American Indian Movement offers this analogy:

“Imagine a Protestant sports team that chose years ago to adopt a Catholic name that was a degrading slur against the Catholic people. Imagine the Protestant team had no Catholic players or owners or heritage. In fact, imagine the Protestants actually massacred Catholic people throughout history and enslaved them until recently.

Then, imagine the Protestant team’s mascot was a caricature of the beloved Pope, complete with head-dress and robes and staff. Imagine the fans incited at every game to chant their versions of sacred Catholic music and song, to use sacred Catholic artifacts in jest, to dress in ridiculous versions of sacred religious cloth, all in front of Catholic fans. Imagine the Protestant team put their own manufactured image of the Pope on their helmets and uniforms, to celebrate the vulgar and demeaning name of the team at every game. Imagine the Catholic people asking year after year for the Protestant Team to stop this outrage, but they would not stop.

And finally, to complete this analogy, imagine all newspapers and sports broadcasters and internet sites and clothing manufacturers and advertisers and all commentators choosing to carry all of this desecration of Catholic people and culture to Catholic children and their parents, knowing full well that it was horrible for Catholics to experience, and absolutely damaging to the self concept of their children.”

AIM and The Coalition are demanding that local, federal, state and international authorities assert the many potent existing laws against discriminatory names and mascots in public facilities, the workplace and across the airwaves.  They demand that their sacred way, their sacred symbols and leaders be respected.  This logo was shared with the story:

                             The R word is no different than the N word: Change the Mascot

What are your thoughts??

Here is former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura sounding off his reason for not using the R word.

 Facebook event page planning the Nov 7 protest 

And here is the best part of my's not about what I think. 
It's not about what Jesse Ventura thinks.

And not what YOU think (unless you are indigenous).
I can't imbed the post so you just have to click on the link and watch it for yourself. 

And this is the link to the story of a woman who has been fighting the name for forty years.

Hot off the Press:
The National Congress of American Indians just issued their October 2013 statement.
Read it here 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Aboriginal bones vs. Pipeline construction

Saskatchewan Canada --
CBC is reporting that construction workers on the pipeline near Moose Jaw  have discovered human remains that pre-date European contact.  They are seeking consultation with local elders and have temporarily halted construction.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Without the media, did it REALLY happen? Elsipogtog First Nation

Mi’kmaq Nation at Elsipogtog
(near Rexton and Moncton New Brunswick) 

Protestors have been barricading Route 134 since September 30, to prevent the SWN Resources Canada from conducting exploratory research for potential shale hydrofracking in that area including indigenous lands/water sources.  Protesters have blockaded the road leading to an equipment compound leased to South Western Energy or SWM in efforts "to protect the waters from the consequences of fracking." The blockade is aimed at preventing SWN from operating thumper trucks, (massive vehicles that gather seismic data to determine the location of natural gas).

VIDEO SUMMARY from the perspective of the protestors...

SWN is a Texas based energy company, that has been attempting to conduct natural gas exploration in the area’s shale formations.  It is believed that if significant deposits of gas are found, SWN would then employ the controversial extraction method of hydraulic fracturing or fracking. But since this past summer, protests, direct actions and sabotage have thwarted their work, and are working to turn public opinion.

Then over time, tensions mounted. 
Numbers on both sides grew.
Tensions on both sides grew.
Impasse at the talks.
Tipping point. Fires were lit.  RCMP vehicles burned.
Police view "violence" as cause for action.
RCMP descended before dawn and read an injunction then began arrests.
Rubber bullets.  Dogs. Resisting arrest. Physical force. Restraint.
Court cases start Monday 10/20.

Regardless of your position on fracking, indigenous rights, etc. you are asked to pray...

Pray for wisdom.  Pray for the leaders.
Pray for the "followers" to make good choices and to not follow blindly.
Pray for safety.  Pray for the elders.
Pray for the injured.
Pray for a calm and soothing spirit to diffuse anxiety, stress and aggression.
Pray that people will return to the table for talks --and spend more time listening than talking.

Forty First Nations / protest members were arrested and will begin appearing in court in New Brunswick, Canada 10/21/13.  Another perspective   Photos

Photo reposted from twitter this morning.

Update 4:00 pm Central Standard time
Gas company loses bid for injunction 

Link to solidarity protests across USA and Canada

Friday, October 4, 2013

Freedom to Speak and Live Hate?

Named after a town in Scotland, Leith ND was founded in 1910 along the Milwaukee Rail Road in North Dakota.  In 1984 when the rail line was abandoned in 1984, Leith became completely isolated.

Recently a self-proclaimed white supremacist named Craig Cobb moved there and began buying up land with the expressed intention of starting a community of like-minded individuals.
On September 22, 2013 white supremacists Jeff Schoep, Alex Linder, Tom Metzger, and members of the National Socialist Movement visited Leith on the same day. Several former members of Anti-Racist Action formed a peaceful, grassroots movement called UnityND and organized a demonstration of their own. Members from nearby  Standing Rock Indian Reservation came to advocate for disbanding Leith and reverting to Grant County lands.  The town is located approximately 5 miles (8km) southwest of Carson ND at 46°21′32″N 101°38′10″W (46.358871, -101.636202)  and encompasses  a total area of 1.24 square miles (3.21 km2).
Historical populations
Census Pop.
1920 158
1930 174
1940 166
1950 160
1960 100
1970 92
1980 59
1990 43
2000 28
2010 16
Est. 2012 15
U.S. Decennial Census[15]
2012 Estimate[16]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 16 people, 8 households, and 5 families residing in the city (13.0 inhabitants per square mile (5.0 /km2). with racial makeup 93.8% White and 6.3% African American.

Here is a WIDE variety of perspectives
Leith ND city website
Reuters Article
Indian Country Today Article
Last Real Indians

So, what you do think?
Are Americans really free to think anyway they want to?
 Say anything they want to?
 Live where they want to?
 Associate with whom they want to?
 Do anything they want to as long at it is currently deemed legal?

What if that means that they choose to intentionally exclude others?
What if they publicly practice and celebrate "hate speech" ?
What if  someone who is completely against your point of view wants to move
into your neighborhood, your town, your state?

This morning I pray for those in positions of power and influence to make wise decisions.
I pray for the miraculous work in the heart that only God can do.
I pray that we learn from human history.

In other news...Halifax standoff regarding fracking continues
CBC news coverage of injunction.
Sometimes a neutral mediation process is the only way through a sticking's hoping for a peaceful resolution as meetings progress.  (I know that in my own family I have too much at stake and no matter how much I want to see another viewpoint, I'm too close).  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dakota Unity Ride

Some times I get so busy living... Then when we get home, people are eager to see and hear about those special moments that defined  the trip for me. Yet those moments are often precious and private to those who were on the journey.  Because they are often not MY story, I'm not free to share them. 

I'm taking a different approach this trip by simply editing the photos that others deemed appropriate to share.  I also share a link to the press coverage of the Dakota Nation Unity Ride and Two Row Wampum Campaign.  (Over 55 press sources!) If you are the subject of a photo and wish to have it removed, just kindly let me know. Likewise if you were the photographer and you weren't given credit, let me know and I can add the byline.  But this trip I relied on everyone else to capture the moment.

Today I want to share the updated photo journal of the Dakota Unity Riders prayer journey to the United Nations which includes photos from the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign.

It was a beautiful experience and I am humbled to have been part of this amazing month.

The following clip includes a strong explanation of the many sacred site issues facing the Dakota nation in Canada.  One hundred fifty years ago things were set in motion that still have a profound impact on indigenous people on both sides of the 49th Parallel (USA and Canada).

Check out other Unity Ride clips on's one from our stops in CT.
Part of me wants to post photos and write of our family's journey like our evening at the amazing Alpaca farm, like returning to Newtown with the prayer ties, like the gorgeous sunny day when we rode horse back into the Atlantic Ocean, like the horses and riders arriving at the United Nations...

but I'll just leave you with these mental image of the flags of the world waving in the breeze as people cheered their arrival in Manhattan.  For more background and photos, click on the journal.

Facebook 2nd Company Governor's Horse Guard Friends
Unity Ride Horses
Two Row Wampum

Some of the press coverage:
Poughkeepsie Journal

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Heading to NY and CT

We are headed out East to be part of the Honor the Two Row Wampum events. The canoes left on July 10 and are part of a send off festival that begin today in Troy NY.  This epic canoe trip is a symbolic reenactment, drawing attention to the treaties made centuries before and will end with a march across Manhattan to the United Nations for World Indigenous Day.

I am pleased to serve as a mediator/observer...

Full Schedule

Our Family Schedule:
Friday, August 2: Launch from Margret Norrie State Park (launch 11 am)
Land @ Poughkeepsie at Hudson River Rowing Association Dock, 270-272 N Water St, Poughkeepsie, NY (map)
Camping site @ Hudson River Rowing Association Dock
Lacrosse: The Creator’s Game Presentation, 5:30 pm
Key contact: Jack Manno, local contacts Paul Gorgen and Stephanie Santagada Wells

Saturday, August 3: Launch from Poughkeepsie* (launch 10 am)
Event @ 9:30 am: Welcome on the Walkway Gathering to Welcome Paddlers and Unity Riders to mid-Hudson Valley: Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park, Poughkeepsie Entrance: 61 Parker Avenue Poughkeepsie, NY 12601; Highland entrance: 87 Haviland Road  Highland, NY 12528 website:
Lunch @ Marlboro Yacht Club, End of Dock Road, Marlboro, NY website:
Land @ Long Dock Park, Beacon, NY
Directions to landing site: from Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, go 1.8 miles south on Route 9D, right on Beekman St., Right on Red Flynn Drive then immediate left on Long Dock Rd.

Beacon Two Row Wampum Festival at Riverfront Park, Beacon, NY, 11 am – 8 pm (for directions, see
Campsite @ David Eberle’s land, 35 Slocum Rd, Beacon, NY 12508
Directions to camp from Newburgh Beacon Bridge: south on RT 9D, 3.3 miles; Turn right onto Grandview Ave; Take the 1st left to stay on Grandview Ave.; Continue onto Slocum Rd, camping on the Right.

August 4: Launch from Long Dock Park in Beacon (launch 11 am)
Land, event and camp @ Dockside Park, West St. and Fish St., Cold Springs, NY 10516 ‎(map) (arrive 2 pm) Follow Main Street toward the river, turn Right to Dockside Park.
The Two Row Wampum: Past, Present and Future, 4 pm
Key contact: Terry Eckert, local contact Rosemarie Pennella

Monday, August 5: Launch from Cold Springs Dockside Park (launch 10:30 am)
Lunch and Sharing the River of Life event @ Peekskill: 12:00 noon at Riverfront Green Park, Peekskill, off of Hudson St, Adjacent to the train station. Paddlers land at 1:30.
Land @ Stony Point (arrive 5 pm)
Campsite at Stony Point Center: 17 Cricketown Road, Stony Point, NY
Interfaith Peace and Friendship Event at 7:30pm Stony Point Center, 17 Cricketown Road, Stony Point, NY
Key contact: Lena Duby, local contact Turtle McDermott

(Unity Riders will be Danbury CT and staying at the Second Brigade Governor's Horse camp in Newtown CT)

Tuesday, August 6: Launch from Stony Point (launch 11 am)
Land, event and campsite @ Croton Point Park, 1A Croton Point Ave, Croton-on-Hudson, NY ‎(map) (arrive 1 pm)
Elders Share Haudenosaunee History Event, 3 pm
Key contact: Lena Duby, local contacts: Andrew Courtney or Mary Hegarty

Rejoin the Canoe route:
Wednesday, August 7: Launch from Croton Point Park (launch 10:30 am)
Lunch @ Nyack Beach State Park, 698 N Broadway, Upper Nyack, NY (map)
Land @ Parelli Park, Hudson Way and Piermont Ave, Piermont, NY (arrive 5 pm)
Camp @ 31 Ferry Road (Piermont Pier entrance/ball field)
Sharing the River of Life program, 7 pm, Goswick Pavilion, Ferry Road, Piermont
Key Contact: Lena Duby, local contacts Laurie Seeman and Margaret Grace

Thursday August 8: Piermont to Inwood/Yonkers (launch 10:30am)
Launch @ Parelli Park, Hudson Way and Piermont Ave, Piermont, NY
Lunch stop to be determined. Either at Beczak Environmental Center 35 Alexander St, Yonkers, NY 10701 OR Kennedy Marina/JFK Marina and Park at the end of JFK Memorial Drive, off of Warburton Avenue, Yonkers NY 10701
Land @ Dyckman Street landing, at La Marina Restaurant 348 Dyckman St New York, NY 10034
Poetry and Spoken Word: Two Rows and More, 6:30 pm at Inwood Hill Park, NYC
CAMPING SITE IN YONKERS THIS NIGHT. (See lunch stop information)

Friday August 9: Inwood to Pier 96*
Paddlers shuttled from Yonkers to Inwood and launch from: La Marina Restaurant 348 Dyckman St New York, NY 10034
Launch time at SUNRISE
Land @ Downtown Boathouse, Pier 96 at 57th St. on west side of Manhattan) (map)

10:00am: Landing and Welcome by Dutch Consul General and Other dignitaries  
11:30am: March to United Nations
1:30pm: Welcome of Paddlers to the United Nations
at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, 833 1st Ave, New York, NY, (map)
3:00pm: UN Event to commemorate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (invitation only)
Key contact: Aya Yamamoto
NYC housing locations:
Judson Memorial Church: 55 Washington Square S New York, NY 10012
Quaker Meeting house near Brooklyn Friends School

Saturday, August 10: New York City Two Row Festival
11 am – 5 pm, Brookfield Place/World Financial Center, west of World Trade Center, (map)
Comedian Charlie Hill (Oneida, Mohawk, Cree), Akwesasne Women Singers, Sherri Waterman & The Haudenosaunee Singers and Dancers, SilverCloud Singers (intertribal), Josephine Tarrant (Kuna/Rappahannock/Hopi/Ho-Chunk), Speakers: Tadodaho Sid Hill, Chief Oren Lyons, Chief Jake Edwards, native artisans, children’s activities, and more.
*Events in collaboration with the Dakota Unity Riders

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Owens Lake -- Sacred Site Battle

Owen's Lake near Los Angeles California is another American Indian sacred site "tipping point" as groups clash regarding the current use/upkeep of an area. It is one of the dustiest places on the earth,  and is listed as THE dustiest in North America.  It's currently in the news because an effort to keep the toxic sediments from becoming airborne clashes with the wishes of the Paiute who are requesting that the pollution mitigation cease -- allowing the site to be in a natural state.

One Hundred Years Ago
Oral tradition and white history corroborate each others' stories of a massacre in 1863 where over thirty Paiute were chased into the lake where they drown or were shot.  Another tragic chapter from that era.  Over time, because of the human-caused environmental damage to this site, the massacre site was unknown/unproven until recently.

Background: In the early 1900's to supply LA with water, the lake was used until it eventually dried up (a tragic reminder of the cost of unsustainable consumerism and that our decisions lead to long term consequences). In order to keep down the toxic dust, the site has been treated--and essentially hiding the site until now.   Both archeologists and Paiute agree that this is the site of the massacre.  But that leads to other dicey questions...

 At the heart of the issue is one basic question I've seen repeatedly played out across North America...
what make land sacred? 

Then applying that definition, is this site sacred?
And if so, then what?   If so, then how do you decide the process for making a decision?  Who has the right to weigh in on the decisions?  Who mediates?  Who ultimately decides? The Paiute claim a spiritual and historical and cultural connection to this site. Government claims the responsibility to mitigate the pollution risk.  Two clear and clashing views of a site.  Now what??

The following is summarized from a Robert Stewart online educational site
The dustiest place in North America is the area around Owens Lake in Owens Valley, California. It is the single largest source of PM-10 dust in the United States. Unlike the Bodélé, (the dustiest place on the earth) which is due to natural causes, the Owens Valley problem is due to human causes.
Located in a semi-arid area with little rain, around 300–400 mm/year (15 inches per year). Los Angeles Department of Water and Power obtained water rights to almost all water in the Owens Valley during the early 20th century to provide water for the growing population.   In 1905 LA topped around 100,000.  To continue growing, LA needed to import water from a secure source in a wetter region and the Owens Lake valley, 250 miles to the northeast was selected.
    map of california showing owens valley and its relation to los angeles
  1. Water in the Owens Valley comes from streams flowing eastward out of the Sierra Nevada. Much of the water sinks into the porous soil of the valley, creating a large pool of shallow groundwater, mostly in the northern end of the valley.
  2. In the early years of the 20th century, Los Angeles secretly bought land and all associated surface and groundwater rights from large land owners in the valley. Later the purchases were made openly. By 1935 Los Angeles owned most of the land in the valley and the city had captured most of the water flowing eastward out of the Sierra Nevada into the Owens River.
  3. The water in the Owens River, and much groundwater were diverted into the California Aquaduct and sent to Los Angeles.
  4. With no inflow of water, Owens Lake dried up.
    By 1926 all that remained was a dry lake bed. 
Map Details: Owens Lake is the blue area in the center (east of Visalia and north of Ridgecrest). The Sierra Nevada mountains are west of the valley and the Inyo Mountains are east. Dashed line is boundary of California.From Google Maps. The dry lake bed is the current pollution dust source.
  1. The lake is in a very dry area, the rain shadow of the Sierra Nevada. Rainfall varies from 6 inches/year (150 mm/yr) in wet years to 3 inches/year (75 mm/yr) in dry years. Sediments are dry most of the year, especially in summer (75%–98% of the rain falls in the winter).
  2. High winds occur frequently in the valley, tending to blow along the length of the valley, especially during spring and early fall when the high valley walls funnel and accelerate winds aloft into the valley. The very strongest winds, associated with rotors in the lee of the Sierras, blow from west to east across the valley as strong storms come ashore from the Pacific.
  3. The lake bed is covered with alkaline salts composed of sodium sulfates and sodium carbonates that are easily eroded. The lake has no natural outlet, and all salts contained in the water flowing into the lake over at least the last 800,000 years stayed in the lake. As the lake dried out, they precipitated onto the bottom (the large white area in the photo below).
  4. The dust is a fine mixture of salt, clay, and sulfates. Dust is up to 30% salt, and it includes important concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, nickel, and chromium. Lake deposits contain 50–150 parts per million of arsenic. For more information read Owens (Dry) Lake, California: A Human-Induced Dust Problem by Marith C. Reheis of the U.S. Geological Survey.
  5. High wind can blow dust from the valley over large areas of the Mojave Desert, impairing the health of 40,000 people.

The US Environmental Protection Agency classified the Owens Valley as a "serious non-attainment area" in 1993, and in 1999 they approved a plan to mitigate the hazard. The plan requires Los Angeles to take steps to mitigate the problem by allowing water to flood the lower parts of the lake keeping it moist, by covering large areas with gravel to reduce wind erosion, and to plant vegetation in some areas. Implementation of the plan was finally started in 2001, but the area was still a nonattainment area in 2007. See A Century Later, Los Angeles Atones for Water Sins in the New York Times.


Thinking about the opportunities we now have for healing:
We cannot take back the massacre itself that happened in 1863. -- Ironcally without this current environmental bi-line, the story might never be told.  How easy it is for Americans to point to other countries and list the historic "sins". 
When will we acknowledge ours as a nation?  When will we apologize? 
When will we teach the tough lessons in order to prevent history from repeating itself?

Here we are in 2013, one hundred years after the massacre.  This morning I pray for the wisdom of those who are in the seats that decide how to decide the next chapter in the Owen's Lake Valley story.