INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE & GOVERNANCE RECOVERY

Friday, April 25, 2008

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Emergency Travel Funds Needed for Margo Tamez

Dear community,

Due to several key events unfolding in El Calaboz with the upcoming visit of the Congressional Delegation led by Congressman Raul Grijalva (Arizona) and accompanied by the Chair of T'ohono O'odham Nation to South Texas for scheduled Congressional Hearings at the University of Texas--Brownsville campus, it is imperative that I travel to Harlingen, TX on Friday night or Saturday morning.

I am calling upon our supporters to help me purchase a roundtrip airline ticket immediately, so that I can be present for key dialogues taking shape between the U.S. Congressional representatives and the Lipan Apache Women (El Calaboz) Defense.

Please email me: sumalhepa.nde.defense@gmail.com if you can assist with this urgent need.

Many thanks,
Margo Tamez

Lipan Apache Women Defense/Strength--Gain 8 Signatories to Monday's Statement



Final Approved Statement by Lipan Apache Women Defense/Strength to the UN Special Rapporteurs:

Joint Statement to United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues: Seventh Session APRIL 21 – MAY 2, 2008, United Nations Headquarters, New York

Intervention under Agenda Item 5-Human Rights: Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples and other special rapporteurs

By: Lipan Apache Women Defense

Supported By: Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras, Western Shoshone Defense Project, Tonatierra, Indigenous Enviromental Network, Winnemem Wintu Tribe, Centro De Cultura Pueblo Nacion Mapuche Pelon Xaru, Native Women’s Association of Canada, International Geographical Union-Indigenous Peoples Knowledge and Rights Commission

Good morning Madame Chairperson, Permanent Forum members and delegates. My name is Michael Paul Hill, I am Chiricahua Apache and I am here on behalf of the Apache land defenders from El Calaboz ranchería, El Polvo village (Redford) and the San Carlos Apache Communities. We as Indigenous border communities with traditional territories along the now US/MEX border corridor, along with our non-indigenous neighbors in the southwestern border region of United States and northern Mexico, stand against the political and physical walls, barricades, and fencing that the United States is constructing at this very moment.


We urge the UNPFII to bring special focus and critical attention to the colonization, militarization and industrialization of the T’nde’, Nde’, Nnee’, Dine’ traditional lands and peoples. We ask the Forum to support the peaceful but firm resistance efforts of the Lipan Apache Women land and culture defense, and the Southern Athapaskan Alliance against the increasing militarized occupations and assaults by the United States and Mexico on our lands, culture, livelihoods, ceremonies and traditional sustenance. Of the 2000 mile long militarized conflict zone, over 1400 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border is the traditional territory of the Apache people. The Apache people must be given the opportunity to participate in the environmental, economic, social, and political decision-making in the region.


There are currently over 18,000 U.S. soldiers occupying our border communities with a buildup of up to 75,000 by 2010, and an estimated 8-10,000 Mexican soldiers currently deployed in the border towns and villages positioned for crackdowns on civil society indigenous protests against the construction of a Berlin-style wall which is dissecting Yaqui, O’odham, Opata, Mayo, Cocopah communities along the border. Indigenous women are particularly targeted by violence that militarization culture imposes on the U.S.-Mexico conflict region evidenced by the 4000+ disappeared and murdered women of Juarez and other border towns.


In response to this year’s theme of climate, bio-cultural diversity and livelihoods we bring the Forum’s attention to the adverse affects of the 18 ft high cement and steel border wall on the spiritual welfare of the Apache and other Indigenous peoples along the US/MEX border corridor. This physical barrier is disrupting animal migration routes and deterring the growth of native vegetation and herbal medicinal plants used in traditional ceremonies. The border wall will impede the safe travel on foot, car, and other modes, of Apache people back and forth across the militarized zone. Militarization of the border has resulted in the industrialized destruction of habitats, environments, livelihoods, bio-diversity, water sources, traditional agricultural practices, traditional food security, and traditional peace practices. To allow construction of the border wall, the U.S. recently “waived” over 35 laws to build the wall which provided some measure of protection to indigenous people’s rights to their environment, culture, and way of life.


We respectfully request that the UNPFII consider our recommendations to take an intersectional approach to climate change that involves consideration of militarization, industrialization, gender, and environmental degradation in the U.S.-Mexico militarized zone of occupation and conflict.

Ahi'i'e Ussn, ahi'i'e diyini, ahi'i'e shimaa £ebaiyé T’nde-Nnee’, ahi'i'e shitaa Sumá Ndé-Nneé.

Eloisa García Tamez Grandmother, El Calaboz,

Margo Tamez Co-founder Lipan Apache Women—Defense/Strength

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Indigenous Peoples Organization~~Lipan Apache Women Defense/Strength Prepare Statement to the UNPFII 2008



Official Statement to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, 2008, New York City, New York.

April 22, 2008



Joint Statement to United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues: Seventh Session APRIL 21 – MAY 2, 2008, United Nations Headquarters, New York

Intervention under Agenda Item 5-Human Rights: Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples and other special rapporteurs

By: Lipan Apache Women Defense

Supported By: Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras, Western Shoshone Defense Project, Tonatierra, Indigenous Environmental Network,

Good morning Madame Chairperson, Permanent Forum members and delegates. My name is Michael Paul Hill, I am Chiricahua Apache and I am here on behalf of the Apache land defenders from El Calaboz ranchería, El Polvo village (Redford) and the San Carlos Apache Communities. Although we are an Indigenous border community, with our inherent aboriginal territory along the now US/MEX border corridor, we along with numerous non-indigenous border communities within the southwestern border region of United States and northern Mexico, stand against the political and physical walls, barricades, and fencing that the United States is constructing at this very moment.

In response to this year’s theme we urge the UN PFII to bring special focus and critical attention to the colonization, militarization and industrialization of the T’nde’, Nde’, Nnee’, Dine’ traditional lands and peoples. We ask the Forum to support the peaceful but firm resistance efforts of the Lipan Apache Women land and culture defense, and the Southern Athapaskan Alliance against the increasing militarized occupations and assaults by the United States and Mexico of our lands, cultures, livelihoods, ceremonies and traditional sustenance, such as the migration patterns of the deer, elk, javelina, other big game and small game including the fowl, and many others too numerous to mention. These adverse affects of the four legged migration pattern through 18 ft. high cement and steel border walls and physical barricades deter the growth of native vegetation and herbal medicinal plants used in traditional ceremonies and the spiritual welfare of the Apache and Indigenous peoples along the US/MEX border corridor and impede the safe travel on foot, car, and other modes of Apache people back and forth across the militarized zone.

Of the 2000 mile long militarized conflict zone, over 1400 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border is the traditional territory of the Apache people. The Apache people must be given the opportunity to participate in the environmental, economic, social, and political decision-making in the region.

Due to the last two centuries of attempts to officially exterminate the Apaches of all clans and bands, Apache people today experience the highest levels of poverty, racism, sexism, gender violence, hunger, malnutrition, disease, gang violence, depression, and PTSD. They suffer extreme levels of social, economic and political displacement, dispossession, removal and diasporas while the world commodifies our ancestors on t-shirts, coffee cups, and tourist trinkets.

There are currently over 18,000 U.S. soldiers occupying our border communities—with a buildup of up to 75,000 by 2010, and an estimated 8-10,000 Mexican soldiers currently deployed in the border towns and villages positioned for crackdowns on civil society indigenous protests against the construction of a Berlin-style wall which is dissecting Yaqui, O’odham, Opata, Mayo, Cocopah communities along the border. Indigenous women are particularly targeted by violence that militarization culture imposes on the U.S.-Mexico conflict region evidenced by the 4000+ disappeared and murdered women of Juarez and other border towns.

Climate, bio-cultural diversity and livelihoods are critical areas the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is forced to address in regards to the current battle waged against the Lipan Apache Women land and culture defenders. Militarization of the border has resulted in the industrialized destruction of habitats, environments, livelihoods, bio-diversity, water sources, traditional agricultural practices, traditional food security, and traditional peace practices. To allow construction of the border wall, the U.S. recently broke all democratic principles prescribed by its own Constitution and officially “waived” over 35 laws to build the wall. These violations of state, national and international laws set in place by decades of civil and human rights movements in the United States, which provided some measure of protection to indigenous people’s rights to their environment, culture, and way of life have been revoked by the Department of Homeland Security. Current debates focused on "clearing brush to catch 'illegal aliens'!" do not consider the threat of U.S. Army cranes, bull-dozers, tractors, pavers and tanks to old-growth and requisite woodlands along the river necessary for ecological health and safety, as well as a staple for the traditional indigenous life ways. Included in the groups who cannot speak for themselves are the “habitat” peoples, the "eleven unique plant and animal communities found in the four most southern counties of Texas." These critical sectors of the Lower Rio Grande region, under threat by the border wall, are concentrated in Cameron County, home to Lipan Apache people.

We urge the UNPFII to set as an urgent initiative a special session on restoring gender to the debate and decision-making on climate change and bio-cultural diversity and livelihoods, as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security attempts to intimidate and to force the Lipan Apache Women Defenders to surrender their lands. We urgently request the UNPFII to meet us in dialogue at this forum, and ask that you consider our recommendations to take an intersectional approach to climate change that involves consideration of militarization, industrialization, gender, and environmental degradation in the U.S.-Mexico militarized zone of occupation and conflict.

Ahi'i'e Ussn, ahi'i'e diyini, ahi'i'e shimaa £ebaiyé T’nde-Nnee’, ahi'i'e shitaa Sumá Ndé-Nneé.

Read by:
Official Representative Michael Paul Hill (Chiricahua Apache)
Supported by Official Representative Michelle L. Cook (Dine’)

On behalf of:
Eloisa García Tamez, Grandmother, El Calaboz,
Margo Tamez Co-founder Lipan Apache Women—Defense/Strength

Monday, April 21, 2008

Lipan Apache Women--Defense/Strength Accepted as an Indigenous People's Organization of the UNPFII




Lebaiye Nde' hi'ke Nnee Isdzan Shimaa Shinii' -- Lipan Apache Women (LAW) Defense/Strength is an official IPO of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues 7th Session, April 21- May 2, 2008.

Official representatives for the IPO are Michael Paul Hill (San Carlos Apache/Chiricahua Nnee') and Michelle Cook (Dine').

This year's UNPFII will be focused on the following:
Climate Change, Bio-cultural diversity, and livelihoods, and the stewardship role of indigenous peoples.

The IPO representatives for LAW-Defense/Strength will present a statement explaining the local struggle for independence, sovereignty, self-determination of traditional Apache and indigenous communities of the Lower Rio Grande communities whose people and territories are dissected by the U.S.-Mexico border.

The statement analyzes the intersectional relationship between climate change and bio-diversity and colonization, feudal social and economic systems, chemical manufacturing and industrialization, war contracting, an East Berlin-type concrete-steel wall, militarization & international soldiering, Blackwater, Jim Crow Deep South Texas where Lipan Apache women/indigenous women are central figures in the indigenous rights debates.

Lipan Apache Women Defense/Strength Co-founder, Margo Tamez, connects the current struggles and conflicts with the United States Department of Homeland Security and the violence of the Mexican state against her people on both sides of the border to the mysogynist culture of settler nations and their ongoing wars against women-centered land-based societies.

Lipan Apache Women--Defense/Strength is a resurgent indigenous popular social, economic and political movement to restore balance among all people and systems. We emphasize the importance of First Nations of Mother Earth and the need to restore the foundational indigenous laws which uphold relationships between matrilineal indigenous land-based cultures and our stewardship role to protect the ecosystems of the Lower Rio Grande valley, the most bio-diverse region of the U.S. southern border with its neighbor, Mexico.

The Apache territories and natural resources are currently being threatened by industrial corporate-run states. Lipan Apache Women Defense/Strength seeks to partner with our community members to protect and restore the complex web of riparian, aquatic, mammalian and reptilian life-systems which support the Lipan Apache traditional medicinal and food plant livelihoods. These are intrinsically webbed with the traditional ways of life of the First Nations of Nde', Nnee', and T'nde banded peoples who've stewarded the region since time immemorial.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law, Eloisa Garcia Tamez and Margo Tamez Call on Indigenous & Environmental Experts To Weigh in on Survey



--FOR WIDE DISTRIBUTION--

The Government plans to have a Border Patrol agent and two environmental engineers visit Dr. Eloisa Tamez’s property in El Calaboz, Texas, for a preliminary environmental assessment on Tuesday at 1 PM.

If possible, it would be very helpful if a small team of experts could be assembled including one or more experts on (1) border environmental issues, (2) cultural / indigenous issues, and (3) land value issues (including easements). This team will be crucial not only to assist property owners during these initial stages of surveying border properties, but even more importantly when in a few months the Government starts to condemn land permanently mainly in AZ and Texas to build a border wall. Formulating an expert border team is critically important.

Please circulate this email to anyone with expertise who may be interested. Academics, please circulate to your listservs. Experts interested in helping, please email me your resume and a couple of sentences about your interest.

If any experts may be available to be at Dr. Tamez’s land in El Calaboz on Tuesday at 1 PM, please email Eloisa Tamez Eloisa.tamez1@gmail.com , Margo Tamez sumalhepa.nde.defense@gmail.com and pschey@centerforhumanrights.org. Thanks.

Best wishes,

Peter
_____________________

Peter A. Schey
President and Executive Director
Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law
256 S. Occidental Blvd.
Los Angeles, Ca. 90057
Telephone: (213) 388-8693 ext. 104
Facsimile: (213) 386-9484
Electronic mail: pschey@centerforhumanrights.org
www.centerforhumanrights.org http://www.centerforhumanrights.org
www.legalizationusa.org http://www.legalizationusa.org
www.immigrantchildren.org http://www.immigrantchildren.org
www.casa-libre.org http://www.casa-libre.org/
www.vocesunidas.org http://www.vocesunidas.org
www.unityblueprint.org http://www.unityblueprint.org

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Final Step (DHS is land on the borderline)


Brownsville Herald

http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/news/benavidez_85955___article.html/land_reyes.html

The Final Step

April 16, 2008 - 11:36PM

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has embarked on its final step before beginning construction of a border fence along the U.S.-Mexico border-purchasing land on which the structure will soon stand.

On Wednesday, officials from the Army Corps of Engineers offered Eduardo Benavidez $4,100 for a sliver of his 3.5 acres in El Calaboz, about 10 miles west of Brownsville. Because his land lies along the path of the border fence, officials told him, he'll have no choice but to sell.

Benavidez isn't ready to sell his land along the Rio Grande, even if it is to the federal government. "I'm not signing anything," he responded when DHS made their offer.

After the officials left, Benavidez, 86, called his brother. "These guys think they can do anything," he said.

DHS plans to construct 700 miles of fencing by the end of 2008. But first, the federal government must purchase land from several hundred South Texas landowners-including Benavidez, who was born on his property in 1922 and still earns a living cutting sheet metal there.

"We do have people beginning negotiations with landowners in the Valley," said Lloyd Easterling, an assistant chief for security operations for U.S. Border Patrol. "These are very initial negotiations."

Not all landowners have adopted Benavidez's refusal to sell. On Wednesday, his neighbor and cousin, Juanita Benavidez, agreed to part with .33 acres of her land for $12,500.

"It's a fair price," she said, "but I didn't want to sell it."

Benavidez said she felt pressured to sign documents from the Army Corps of Engineers.

"They were very forceful...and I don't want them to think I'm a communist or something like that," said Benevidez, who was given two weeks to consider the offer.

Benavidez, who speaks only Spanish, said she was given a copy of the government's offer in English. No written translation was provided. The officials did explain in Spanish the amount of money that was being offered to her.

Also, a list of relevant terms, including "acquisition," "easement," and "eminent domain" was also provided by the Army Corps of Engineers, but only in English.

The Cameron County Appraisal District estimates the value of Juanita Benavidez's 4.6 acres at $25,000. But like many of her neighbors, she doesn't care much for monetary evaluations.

"I've lived here for 37 years," she said. "I raised a family here."

The 18-foot tall fence will run through Benavidez's backyard, south of where the International Boundary and Water Commission's levee currently stands.

In rural Southmost, Jose Manuel Reyes and his three brothers are also considering the government's offer. The brothers live in adjacent houses along the Rio Grande.

Reyes was offered $2,200 for a 140 by 15-foot swath of land, roughly one sixth of his property. The appraisal district values the entire property at $12,000.

"I'm not sure if this price takes devaluation into account," Reyes said. "How much will my property be worth when an 18-foot fence runs through the backyard?"

But Reyes is growing increasingly despondent. "It doesn't matter what what we do," he said. "They're going to put it up whether we like it or not."

Reyes acknowledges that he could hold out and let a federal judge mediate negotiations over the land's value, but he isn't eager to engage in a legal battle.

"After all that, I wonder if I would even gain anything," he said. "What if they take away our original offer?" he asked. "At least now we'll get something."


Mass Graves Revealed In Canada

http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2008/04/mass-graves-revealed-at-indian-schools.html

"Breaking News:
Location of Mass Graves of Residential School Children Revealed for the First Time; Independent Tribunal Established Squamish Nation Territory ("Vancouver, Canada")
Thursday, April 10, 2008 11:00 am PST

At a public ceremony and press conference held today outside the colonial "Indian Affairs" building in downtown Vancouver, the Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared (FRD) released a list of twenty eight mass graves across Canada holding the remains of untold numbers of aboriginal children who died in Indian Residential Schools.
The list was distributed today to the world media and to United Nations agencies, as the first act of the newly-formed International Human Rights Tribunal into Genocide in Canada (IHRTGC), a non-governmental body established by indigenous elders." 

Monday, April 14, 2008

Lipan Apache Women (El Calaboz) Defense E-Portfolio Wins First Place


 

2007-08 WSU ePortfolio Contest Gallery

The goal of the 2007 - 08 WSU ePortfolio Contest was to harness the interests and expertise of the WSU community to address real world problems encountered by communities both locally and globally. It called upon contestants to collaborate with community members - institutional, local, or global – to identify a problem, explore solutions, develop a plan, and then take steps toward implementing that plan. Contestants were asked to use electronic portfolios to capture and reflect on their collaborative problem-solving processes and the impact of their projects. As we saw with last year's contest, there were as many different issues and approaches as there were projects and ePortfolios. Judges from industry, the local community, and WSU used these criteria to evaluate the portfolios. Here are the results:

 

The Grand Prize ($1500) went to the Kayafungo Women's Water Project whose group members did excellent job of thoroughly documenting the development of their project, capturing how they adjusted to roadblocks, discussing cultural and economic issues from multiple perspectives, and evaluating the impact of their intervention. "In addition to a great project, the team has created a great portfolio. They have documented the development of the project and shown how their own thinking has developed along the way."

 

The First Place ($1000) prize was awarded to the El Calaboz ePortfolio, which chronicled the personal journey and growth of the author as she strove to mobilize more than 70 stakeholders in the border-wall conflict at the Mexican-U.S. border. Judges were struck not only the depth and richness of the material that was integrated but also the way in which the portfolio managed to bridge academic analysis and social activism. "Honest, informed and informative, thought-provoking, and controversial in ways that scholarship on issues of significant social impact should yet often fails to be."

 

One of the two Second Place ($700) winners was a WSU faculty member working with European colleagues whose ePortfolio, Understanding Ecodesign, captured the iterative and dynamic aspects of the engineering design process. Judges noted the effectiveness of the graphs, timelines, and multimedia to present the process. "The team used a variety of techniques to present their information in a dramatic and understandable way. I was impressed with their attempt to break down a very complex issue into understandable pieces."

 

The other Second Place ($700) winner was the EEG Patient Monitoring System, which impressed judges with its attempt to balance a formal business case study with an informal story of how the group members interacted with each other and how their learning evolved as the project evolved. " It appears that the team is stretching their conventional parameters and taking risks by entering into a field that is out of their comfort zone." "Participants showed real growth in a number of areas, including what they wanted to do, as well as their understanding of the complexity and risks of their proposed venture."

 

The three Third Place ($300) winners impressed the judges with their polished websites that tackled important issues at the institutional, local, and global levels. While these three didn't include as much of the processes behind the project, they were excellent examples of " harnessing the interests and expertise of the WSU community to address real-world problems."

 

The Edward R. Murrow School of Communication Alumni Site's goal was to "connect alumni and current students to emphasize lifelong learning…[by creating] a space that celebrates and cements the ongoing value of a degree from the Murrow School through a network resource that benefits the career and educational goals of all those involved." "Actively seeks out and incorporates other disciplinary, cultural, and stakeholder feedback as the project unfolds. Invites participation in different ways – blog, wiki, discussion forum."

 

The Grace Foundation Initiative was the background story of the development of The Grace Foundation, which seeks to "transform, act, and participate in" the potential of Nigeria by being "an interconnecting and strategic agency for communities as they pursue quality education, growth opportunities, and self-actualization, locally, nationally, and globally." "Overall this portfolio was very well put together and the finished product (the website) was very impressive."

 

Caring for Unwanted Horses on the Palouse tackled a serious and distressing problem that is both local and global, with implications that go beyond horses. The judges observed that the author went "from asking 'authority figures' about caring for unwanted horses' resources to being one in creating the website resource and becoming a rescue horse boarder." "I appreciate the work on this project and it is obvious there are not many resources to contribute to the success of this national issue. A very interesting and well-deserving topic."

 

Honorable Mentions ($100) went to two ePortfolios: Clean Biofuels for Africa and Conflict in Educational Dialogue. Commenting on Clean Biofuels for Africa, one judge said, "This is a valuable project. The portfolio documents some initial steps towards a solution."


The WSU 2007-2008 ePortfolio Contest was sponsored by the Washington State University Office of Undergraduate Education and Microsoft.

 

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Esperanza Molina Rojas (Yaqui)


 
Autonomous womens' government

As challenge to Yaqui traditional authorities, the Yaqui community of Sarmiento is a special case. It is self-proclaimed "women's land", as it has an autonomous women's government which is not recognised by Yaqui authorities. In 1994 five women, coming from the suburbs of Hermosillo where Yaqui migrants live, decided to take a small piece of land around fifteen minutes from the city. "In traditional Yaqui government women can't be leaders or property holders", says Esperanza Molina Rojas, Governess of Sarmiento, "so we, as Yaqui women, decided to create our own community where we can make our own decisions". Today the community has grown to twenty families and through legal and civil society struggle the women have won title to the land. "Here, any woman with problems and the desire to solve them is welcomed", says Molina Rojas. 

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