Saturday, December 5, 2009

THE EAGLE AND THE CONDOR: Application of International Indigenous Principles to Halt the United States Border Wall

The Eagle and the Condor of the Western Hemisphere: Application of International Indigenous Principles to Halt the United States Border Wall by Angelique EagleWoman

This article will discuss the interrelationship of the indigenous peoples in the Western Hemisphere regarding the proposed expansion of the United States southern border wall. This discussion will explore (1) the historical relationships in the Western Hemisphere, (2) the efforts on the international level to bring attention to the quality of life experienced by the indigenous peoples in this hemisphere, (3) the impact of the proposed United States border wall on indigenous communities in the political border region, and (4) application of international indigenous principles to halt further construction of the United States border wall.

Keywords: Indigenous, International Human Rights, Tribes, Border, United States Foreign Policy

Saturday, October 24, 2009


'Compensation': The hearings for 'compensation' for landowners along the last 70 miles of the Texas-Tamaulipas border have been delayed for the third time.
Although we do not have the specific date, we have been told by attorneys, and some have only found out through the scanty news reportage, that hearings will be held in December 2009.

Other Actions:

At the last hearing, in April 2009, the TAMEZ defense submitted the "CONSULTATION BRIEF."
For more information about the border wall law suits (U.S. Federal, International Human Rights), or specific aspects of the impacts of the border wall upon Indigenous peoples who are in litigation, see 'Texas-Mexico Border Wall, University of Texas School of Law'.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Ndé (Apache)
to Give Public Talks

Indigenous Peoples’
Principles and Perspectives

Presidio Activity Center 1400 E. O’Reilly St. Presidio, TX
July 28 to 30, 2009 7:00- 10:00 pm

Simultaneous Spanish & English Translation Provided
Childcare Available age 3 and up

Tuesday July 28th Michael Paul Hill, Nnee (San Carlos Apache Tribe, Chiricahua Apache)
Nnee and Ndé spirituality and culture
Protecting and restoring Ndé sacred sites, first foods, water, air, minerals, family-and-matrilineal centered governance

Wednesday July 29th Margo Tamez, Ndé (El Calaboz Ranchería, Lipan Apache) & Michael Paul Hill, Nnee (San Carlos Apache Tribe, Chiricahua Apache)
The Rights of Indigenous Peoples: How Ndé and Nnee Challenge the Legality of the U.S.-Mexico border and Harmful Development of Indigenous Peoples’ Lands. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will be discussed; Indigenous Peoples contemporary cultural-political-economic movements to strengthen our communities, traditional law & governance, and futures.

Thursday July 30th Margo Tamez, Ndé (El Calaboz Ranchería, Lipan Apache)
Indigenous Peoples, Women and Families on the Texas-Mexico Border:
Local Challenges, Community Responses, Human Rights, Indigenous Peoples' Rights

Contacts for more information:
Margo Tamez, Co-Founder, Lipan Apache Women Defense (Indigenous Peoples’ Organization); 509-595-9666
April Cotte, 432-384-2399


Pláticas presentadas por Ndé (Apache)
Principios y Perspectivas de los
Pueblos Indígenas

Presidio Activity Center 1400 E. O’Reilly St. Presidio, TX
28 a 30 de julio 2009 7:00- 10:00 pm

Habrá traducción simultánea inglés / español
y cuidado de niños de 3 ó más años

Martes 28 de julio. Michael Paul Hill, Nnee (Tribu San Carlos Apache, Chiricahua Apache)
La espiritualidad y cultura Nnee y Ndé
La protección y restauración de los sitios sagrados, primeras naciones, agua, aire, y minerales Ndé, así como sus formas de gobernación con base en la familia y las relaciones de parentesco matrilineal

Miércoles 29 de julio. Margo Tamez, Ndé (El Calaboz Ranchería, Lipan Apache) & Michael Paul Hill, Nnee (San Carlos Apache Tribe, Chiricahua Apache)
Los derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas. Cómo los Ndé y Nnee refutan la legalidad de la frontera de Estados Unidos con México y el Desarrollo Dañino en las Tierras de los Pueblos Indígenas. Se dará a conocer la Declaración de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas y hablaremos, asimismo, sobre los movimientos actuales culturales, políticos y económicos para fortalecer nuestras comunidades, el derecho tradicional, las formas de gobierno tradicionales y nuestro futuro.

Jueves 30 de julio Margo Tamez, Ndé (El Calaboz Ranchería, Lipan Apache)
Pueblos Indígenas, Mujeres y Familias en la frontera de Texas con México:
Retos locales, Respuestas de las comunidades, Derechos Humanos, Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas

Contactos para más información:
Margo Tamez, Co-Fundadora, La Defensa de las Mujeres Lipan Apache (Organización Pueblos Indígenas); 509-595-9666April Cotte, 432-384-2399.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Dr. Eloisa Garcia Tamez separated from ancestral lands by the mega-project border wall constructed by the United States against the firm protests of the Nde' of El Calaboz Rancheria and from related Nde' across the United States.

University of Wisconsin Law School, Legal Studies Research Paper Series, Paper No. 1068, January 2009, Daniel Ibsen Morales

Excerpt (pp 103-104):
"the government knows that the fence is ill-conceived. State-authored reports show, and experts agree, that the project is a classic white elephant; it is expensive, breachable, and its most dramatic effect is to shift migration pathways to dangerous areas where migrants are more likely to die en route to the United States."

Excerpt (p 129):
"The congruence, though, between Tamez‘s case in domestic court and in the international arena is not accidental; the origins of the international human rights regime are distinctly American.119 And, as in the domestic sphere, this story might be different if the Group was not conceding, as it must, the basic point that the right to property it asserts is very limited because ―the U.S. government has the right to subordinate the use of private property for reasons of public utility and social interest.‖120 As it stands, however, this international briefing (as well as the briefings in Tamez) attack and subjugate the administrative while reinscribing the primacy and unimpeachability of democratic authority, and leave out as uncognizable the deeper rights she has to the land (due to her Amerindian and Spanish heritage). Put plainly, the structure of the suits only reinforces the existing power relationships that lead to Tamez‘s problem in the first instance."

Monday, June 8, 2009


These documents (INTERVENTIONS) of the Global Indigenous Women's Caucus (GIWC) are provided here to support the future work of Indigenous Women, Apache women, Apachean Peoples and Communities, Indigenous Peoples, and transborder-transnational communication and support work. LAW-DEFENSE hopes that these can support the important work of Indigenous Peoples in the on-going efforts to protect cultures, environments, livelihoods, and ways of life.

Spanish versions of all final documents will be loaded as they are available.






Friday, June 5, 2009



“Contemporary North American Indigenous Human and Cultural Rights Injustice”

There is a common idea out there that the injustices committed against North American indigenous “Indians” was a 19th Century and/or early 20th Century condition. While we all hold a general awareness that native reservations in the United States and reserves and Indian settlement areas in Canada may be marked by high rates of unemployment, substance abuse, suicide, gang activity, and domestic violence, and that these societal conditions may be regarded as a consequence of the colonization of North America; what is unknown is that these communities are still fighting a battle, today, that looks no different than the past.

North American indigenous communities, reservations, ceded territories, spiritual places, and traditional lands still in dispute in a court of law are under attack by multi-national corporations, governmental policies that abet domestic and foreign natural resource extractive industries, and judicial systems and processes that typically uphold legal edicts based on precedents without questioning whether it was fair, ethical, and just to begin with.

We will discuss the following three key and rapidly escalating areas of interest:

The Western Shoshone in the state of Nevada and their long-standing and continuing struggle against the mining and nuclear industries on their non-reservation lands under the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley,
The Athabascan Chipewyan and Lubicon Cree, and other First Nation groups whose Treaty lands are being plundered by the Albertan Oil Tar Sands, and the oil pipelines from the Oil Tar Sands into the United States are threatening the Assiniboine and Lakota tribes of Montana and South Dakota and the Ojibwe in Northern Minnesota,

The conditions for indigenous tribes along the United States borders including the Tohono O’odham, Yaqui, Jumano and Lipan Ndé (Apache) whose reservations or traditional lands have a border, and now a border wall, running through it. These tribes are under severe pressure due to the onslaught of the drug cartels and the human traffickers from Mexico, American and Mexican Customs and Border Patrol personnel, multi-national global subcontractors constructing the border wall and associated components, and civilian border-monitoring groups who may not possess the cultural education tools to understand the needs of these native communities.

Indigenous tribes such as the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) along the United States and Canadian border are experiencing similar conditions with border patrol operatives, and the caseload of human rights violations continues to mount; especially due to pre-existing racial tensions regarding tribal land and treaty rights and a jointly-shared United States and Canada program called the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative that will commence on June 1, 2009, which may violate the terms of the Jay Treaty of 1794.

Additionally, we will discuss what role Germany and Europe plays in regards to the mining in Nevada, the oil production in Canada, and North American national defense mechanisms.

Furthermore, how will the Obama administration handle these North American indigenous concerns considering that his administration has begun reviewing the September 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples? Will it be the same policies as his predecessors or is there hope in indigenous communities that there will be a change?

Similarly, how is Canada handling indigenous issues in light of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s June 8, 2008 official apology to First Nations regarding the Indian Residential School era and the fact that Amnesty International of Canada and the Native Women’s Association of Canada has published reports in the past year detailing the high prevalence of missing and murdered native women in Canada?

The intent of this lecture, discussion, and dialogue is to educate and raise awareness about present-day North American indigenous community challenges and to examine them from not only a brief historical level, but to examine how governmental policies and the legal processes of today may undermine or adversely affect the sovereignty of indigenous tribes, some who may not have political recognition or it may be limited, and how this is reinforcing an atmosphere where human, cultural, tribal, and treaty rights continues to be infringed upon.

Please Note: The lecture and discussion will be communicated in the English language.


Es wird allgemein angenommen, dass das Unrecht an den nordamerikanischen Indianern vor allem im 19. und beginnenden 20. Jahrhundert begangen wurde. Während heute allgemein bekannt ist, dass vielfältige Probleme das indianische Leben in den Reservaten und Siedlungen der USA und Kanadas prägen, wie hohe Arbeitslosigkeits- und Selbstmordraten, Drogenprobleme und Gewalt, und sie als mittelbare Folge der nordamerikanischen Kolonisation anzusehen sind, scheint wenig bekannt, dass diese indigenen Völker nach wie vor Kämpfe auszutragen haben, die sich nicht wesentlich von denen der vergangenen Jahrhunderte unterscheiden.

Die indianischen Völker Nordamerikas, ihre Reservate, zugesicherten Gebiete, heiligen Plätze und traditionellen Stammesgebiete, über die noch heute vor Gerichten gestritten wird, werden bedroht von multinationalen Konzernen, politischen Entscheidungen, die die nationale und ausländische Rohstoffindustrie begünstigen, sowie Gerichten, die an überkommenen Präzedenzfällen festhalten, ohne zu hinterfragen, ob diese faire und ethisch gerechtfertigte Urteile darstellen.

Es werden folgende ebenso brisante wie aktuelle Bereiche diskutiert:

Die Western Shoshone in Nevada und ihre lang anhaltenden Anstrengungen gegen Bergbau- und Atomindustrie in ihren Nicht-Reservationsgebieten entsprechend dem Abkommen von Ruby Valley 1863.
Die Athabascan Chipewyan, Lubicon Cree und andere First Nation Gruppierungen in Kanada, auf deren durch Abkommen zugesicherten Gebieten ölhaltige Teersände gefördert werden, sowie die Ölpipelines, die auf der Strecke zwischen den Oil Tar Sands und den USA die Gebiete der Assiniboine und Lakota Stämme in Montana und South Dakota, und der Ojibwe in Northern Minnesota gefährden.
3) Die Lebensbedingungen indigener Stämme entlang der US-amerikanischen Grenzen, insbesondere der Tohono O’odham, Yaqui, Jumano und Lipan Ndé (Apache), durch deren Reservate oder traditionellen Gebiete eine Grenze bzw, nunmehr ein Grenzwall verläuft. Diese Stämme stehen aufgrund der Ausdehnung mexikanischer Drogenkartelle und Menschenhändler, durch US-amerikanische und mexikanische Grenzbeamte, durch die Praktiken multinationaler Subunternehmen, die mit dem Bau des Grenzwalls beauftragt sind, sowie ziviler Grenzschützer, die die erforderlichen, kulturellen Kenntnisse im Umgang mit den ansässigen Stämmen nicht haben , unter großem Druck. Stämme wie die Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) entlang der Grenze zu Kanada erleben ähnliche Probleme mit dem Grenzpersonal. Hier häufen sich Menschenrechtsverletzungen, die insbesondere durch (rassistische) Spannungen zwischen Landrechten und dem Abkommen „Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative“ bedingt sind. Dieses, zwischen Kanada und den USA geschlossene Abkommen tritt am 01. Juni 2009 in Kraft und verletzt möglicherweise im Jay Treaty von 1794 zugesicherte Rechte.

Darüber hinaus werden wir die Rolle Deutschlands und Europas im Zusammenhang mit dem Bergbau in Nevada, der Ölproduktion in Kanada und amerikanischen Sicherheitsbemühungen betrachten.

Auch wird die Frage diskutiert, wie die Obama-Administration die Probleme der indigenen Bevölkerung angeht, insbesondere, da sie begonnen hat, die UN-Deklaration über die Rechte indigener Völker von 2007 zu prüfen. Wird Obama die Politik seiner Vorgänger fortsetzen oder gibt es Hoffnung für Nordamerikas Indianer?

Ebenso stellt sich die Frage wie Kanada mit indigenen Fragestellungen umgehen wird, nachdem sich Premierminister Stephen Harper am 8. Juni 2008 für das an indigenen Völkern in der Ära der Indian Residential Schools begangene Unrecht entschuldigt hat und Amnesty International Kanada mit der Native Women’s Association of Canada im vergangenen Jahr einen Bericht veröffentlicht hat, wonach die Anzahl verschwundener oder ermordeter indianischer Frauen sehr hoch ist.

Vortrag, Diskussion und Dialog sollen vor allem informieren und das Bewusstsein für die Belange der nordamerikanischen indigenen Völker erhöhen. Die Probleme, denen diese Völker gegenwärtig gegenüberstehen, sollen dabei nicht nur vom historischen Standpunkt aus betrachtet werden, sondern es soll aufgezeigt werden wie aktuelle Politik und juristische Verfahren die Souveränität indigener Völker untergraben bzw, nachteilig beeinflussen und wie dadurch eine Atmosphäre kreiert wird, in der Menschenrechte, kulturelle und Stammesrechte sowie Vertragsrechte kontinuierlich verletzt werden.

Der Vortrag und die anschließende Diskussion finden auf Englisch statt.

Am 22. Juni um 19:00 Uhr wird Jessica Ossenbrügge zu Contemporary North American Indigenous Human and Cultural Rights Injustice im Robert Havemann Saal im Haus der Demokratie und Menschenrechte vortragen und anschließend unsere Fragen beantworten und mit uns diskutieren. Der Vortrag und die Diskussion werden auf englisch stattfinden. Ihr bekommt vorab noch mal eine deutsche Übersetzung der Kernaussagen, die wir auch auslegen werden. Weitere Details folgen demnächst.

Ich freue mich auf den spannenden Vortrag und verbleibe bis bald
mit herzlichen Grüßen
Eure Nina Althoff

Internationale Frauenliga für Frieden und Freiheit - IFFF / Women's International League for Peace and Freedom - WILPF
Deutsche Sektion
Dr. Nina Althoff
Haus der Demokratie und Menschenrechte
Greifswalder Str. 4
10405 Berlin

Monday, June 1, 2009

Global Indigenous Women's Caucus, Intervention, Agenda Item 4 (a) Human Rights ; (b) Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights








UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Eighth Session
May 19-29, 2009

Global Indigenous Women’s Caucus Statement

Agenda Item 4:

Follow Up on the Recommendations of the Permanent Forum

(a) Human Rights (Indigenous Women and Militarization)

Implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (RE: Articles 21, 22, 42)

(b) Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people and other special rapporteurs

Madame Chaiperson, Permanent Forum Members, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous People, Member States, UN Agencies and Our Indigenous delegates, my brothers and sisters:

In regards to impunity, in recent years prior to the mass-scale global economic collapse, States declared a world-wide ‘war on terror’ which set in place the logic of unilateral voiding out of constitutional protections. This staged the collapse of any possible legal remedy for indigenous communities on a number of levels. The logic being, the global ‘war on terror’ guaranteed to the State the power to launch Martial Law against its own citizens, in the name of “national security.” To ‘save the world from terrorists’ the State essentially argues that it must void out constitutional freedoms and shut down democracy to protect national borders. This convoluted logic gave States’ impunity against the protests of Indigenous Peoples. Governments refusal to provide information and transparency to mega-projects associated with ‘no constitution’ zones, itself leads to serious concerns about States’ commitments to guaranteeing human rights. Thus militarization, terror, impunity and tyrannical States impose mega-projects with authoritarian vigilantes, violating lives, lands, and livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous women.


The Special Rapporteur is urgently requested to take up this issue immediately as an advocacy of Indigenous Women’s Rights priorities.

The Indigenous Women’s organizations and activists are functioning de facto as the front of human rights documentation and monitoring efforts within communities. This presents enormous challenges that the women must bear in isolation. They are largely unrecognized and unfunded and subject to harassment, persecution, libel, slander, death threats, rape, dismemberment, maiming, destruction of property, armed forced removals, en masse displacements, and violence against their family members at all levels of their communities.

We earnestly request a consultation session with the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples, Mr. James Anaya, while the Indigenous Women’s Caucus is convened here in New York.

We are firmly committed to cooperating with the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples, to share documentations of specific cases of human rights violations.

We request that the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples engage with his colleagues, other Special Rapporteurs, members of Committees monitoring the implementation of the different human rights treaties and conventions at the earliest possible occasion, to review the situation of the human rights of Indigenous Women and Girls and to put forward a joint report/statement and appeal for action by States and the appropriate UN bodies and agencies.

Thank you for your focus and attention to the collective statement.

Foro Permanente para las Cuestiones Indígenas, Octava Sesión

18 - 29 de mayo de 2009

Cónclave Global de las Mujeres Indígenas

Punto 4 de la Agenda: Derechos Humanos
Seguimiento a la Recomendación del Foro Permanente

Implementación de la Declaración de los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas
Dialogo con el Relator Especial sobre la situación de los derechos humanos y las libertades fundamentales de los pueblos indígenas y otros Relatores Especiales

Sra. Presidenta, Miembros del Foro Permanente, Relator Especial sobre la Situación de los Derechos Humanos y las Libertades Fundamentales de los Pueblos Indígenas, Estados Miembros, Agencias de la ONU y nuestros delegados Indígenas, mis hermanos y hermanas:

En relación a la impunidad, en los años recientes y antes del masivo colapso de la economía global, los estados habían declarado una “guerra contra el terror” a nivel mundial, la cual desató la lógica de la suspensión unilateral de las protecciones constitucionales. Esto asentó el colapso de cualquier remedio legal para las comunidades indígenas en varios niveles. La lógica es que la “guerra global en contra del terror” garantiza al Estado el poder de declarar la Ley Marcial en contra de sus propios ciudadanos, en el nombre de la “seguridad nacional”. Para “salvar al mundo de los terroristas”, los Estados esencialmente argumentan que deben de suspender todas libertades constitucionales y limitar la democracia para proteger las fronteras nacionales. Esta lógica tan enredada, otorga a los Estados impunidad a pesar de la protestas de los Pueblos Indígenas. La negación de los gobiernos a proveer información y transparencia en los mega-proyectos asociados con las zonas “sin constitución”, nos lleva a cuestionarnos seriamente los compromisos de los estados para proteger los derechos humanos. La militarización, el terror, la impunidad y los Estados tiránicos imponen mega-proyectos con la protección de grupos no oficiales que pretenden ejercer actividades policíacas, violando las vidas, tierras y formas de vida de los Pueblos Indígenas y las Mujeres Indígenas.


Solicitamos de manera urgente al Relator Especial sobre la situación de las libertades fundamentales y derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas que tome cargo de este asunto inmediatamente como una forma de abogar por las prioridades de los derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas.

Las organizaciones y activistas de Mujeres Indígenas están funcionando de facto como el frente en la documentación y monitoreo de los esfuerzos dentro de las comunidades. Esto presenta enormes desafíos que las mujeres tienen que enfrentar solas. Ellas y su trabajo no están reconocidos ni debidamente financiados; además, las mujeres son sujetos de acosos, persecución, calumnias, amenazas de muerte, violaciones, desmembramientos, desfiguraciones, destrucción de la propiedad, desplazamientos forzados violento y masivos, violencia en contra de los miembros de su familia en varios niveles.

Pedimos de manera vehemente una sesión de consulta con el Relator Especial sobre la situación de las libertades fundamentales y derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas, el Sr. James Anaya, mientras el cónclave de mujeres está reunido aquí en Nueva York.

Estamos firmemente comprometidas a cooperar con el Relator Especial sobre la situación de las libertades fundamentales y derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas para compartir documentación sobre casos específicos de violaciones de derechos humanos.

Solicitamos al Relator Especial sobre la situación de las libertades fundamentales y derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas que colabore con sus colegas, otros Relatores Especiales, miembros de comités monitoreando la implementación de diferentes tratados y convenciones de derechos humanos lo más pronto posible, para revisar la situación de los derechos de humanos de las Mujeres y Niñas Indígenas y escribir un reporte en conjunto y hacer una llamada de acción a los Estados y los cuerpos y agencias de la ONU apropiadas.

Muchas gracias por su atención a nuestra declaración colectiva,

Global Indigenous Women's Caucus, Intervention, Future Work of the Permanent Forum

UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Eighth Session

May 18-29, 2009

Global Indigenous Women’s Caucus Statement Agenda Item 7:

Future Work of the Permanent Forum including issues of the Economic and Social Council and emerging issues

Honorable Chairwoman, Members of the UN Permanent Forum, distinguished representatives of Indigenous Peoples, sisters and brothers here today,

Indigenous Women are the human embodiment of Mother Earth. Thus, managing and protecting Earth’s nurturing gifts is our responsibility. Indigenous Women bring invaluable knowledge, which reflects the worldviews of Indigenous Peoples that recognize our interconnectedness with the world around us. The knowledge includes ecological managing systems that can correct the global crises, which are caused by unsustainable economies. As such, our knowledge and ways of life are essential for the perpetuation, promotion and development of the world’s biodiversity. For these reasons, we play a very important role in carrying out our communities’ self-determining development.

As keepers and guardians of Mother Earth, Indigenous Women have a special connection with our ancestral lands. We are the first, together with our families, to suffer from the impact of Climate Change, the current patenting practices under the Intellectual Property Rights regime, and the forced displacements of Indigenous Peoples happening all over the world. Indigenous Women are deeply concerned that the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) have not recognized Indigenous Peoples’ rights to our traditional territories, lands and waters in the negotiations of an international regime of access and benefit-sharing due for completion by 2010. Also, Indigenous Women oppose all forms of patenting of any form of life and reject the potentially genocidal effects of genetic modification and contamination of land by genetically engineered technology. Further, these acts violate our rights, as contained inter alia in articles 11 and 24 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN DRIP).

Key solutions to these challenges include environmental protection, peace and development, which are interdependent and interrelated. The imbalance of the environment is both a cause and effect of the political tensions and conflicts, which affects Indigenous Women and children in alarming ways. Therefore, our rights to ancestral lands and territories and to maintaining and preserving our Traditional Indigenous Knowledge (TIK) are key in mitigating these problems and for our own survival, as contained, inter alia in articles 8, 10, 11, and 25-31 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Given this, we offer the following interrelated recommendations that would help ensure our roles as Indigenous Women in facing the challenges outlined, and help the protection of our rights.

Recommendations for future work:


We commend the Permanent Forum’s numerous calls in document E/C.19/2009/L.2 for States and transnational corporations and inter-governmental banks to respect, implement, and guarantee the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent.1 We underscore the critical need for the full and equal participation of Indigenous Women in these efforts. We therefore recommend that the Permanent Forum urge States, transnational corporations and inter-governmental banks to ensure that Free, Prior, and Informed Consent is sought with the full and effective participation of Indigenous Women on an equal basis, as well as the participation of all marginalized groups in Indigenous communities.


We strongly urge the Permanent Forum to set Traditional Indigenous Knowledge, including the revitalization of Indigenous Languages, as a future main theme for its work.

We recommend that the Permanent Forum undertake a study on the implementation of UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the protection of Traditional Indigenous Knowledge. This reinforces our previous recommendation that the Permanent Forum advance a World Conference on TIK in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples, including a focus on TIK and Education. We recommend that the Permanent Forum hold preparatory sessions in all regions that provide examples of best practices by States, UN agencies and bodies and Indigenous Peoples of the implementation of the UN DRIP in relation to the protection of TIK.

We recommend that the Permanent Forum recommend the establishment of an International Year for Traditional Indigenous Knowledge. This International Year can, among other mandates, facilitate focused research and emphasize critical concerns of Indigenous Peoples’ access to educational opportunities related to TIK within their communities and outside of them.


We recommend that the Permanent Forum initiate a gender-based analysis of the
UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in consultation and collaboration with Indigenous Women at the local level. Articles 21, 22 and 44 of the UN DRIP mandate a full gender-based analysis of the Declaration. Any human rights process that considers the needs of Indigenous Women must be mindful of our specific customary laws, traditional beliefs and practices, and historical circumstances as well as our specific experiences of discrimination and marginalization. We recommend that the Permanent Forum undertake a gender-based analysis to set the framework for all States as they implement UN DRIP.

We recommend that the Permanent Forum study ways for the establishment of a mechanism to address violations on the right to maintain and preserve Indigenous cultures. Article 31 of UN DRIP asserts that Indigenous Peoples have the right to maintain their own cultures. Violations to Article 31, as well as other articles including article 11, are currently occurring as States prohibit the practice of Indigenous cultural traditions. We condemn the actions of States that criminalize Indigenous cultural practices or expressions of collective identity, where women are being detained and punished for expressions of their traditional cultures.

We recommend that the Permanent Forum undertake a study on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of unrecognized or unrepresented Indigenous Peoples. Historically known Peoples who are unrecognized and/or unrepresented within States have no access to remedies of collective or tribal rights. This undermines the stability of Indigenous Women and Children who carry their traditions and are unable to practice them without being criminalized.


We recommend that the Permanent Forum sets traditional Indigenous justice systems as a future agenda item of the UN PFII. Acknowledging the efforts of UNIFEM to further the understanding of Indigenous Women and Ancestral/Tribal Justice systems through the forum held in Ecuador (October 2008), we encourage further efforts by UNESCO, UNDP, UNIFEM to coordinate additional forums that will promote knowledge and understanding of the value of Indigenous Justice Systems.


We commend the Permanent Forum’s call to the UNDP to convene an International Expert Workshop on “Indigenous Peoples and health, with a special emphasis on sexual and reproductive health” (E/C.19/2009/L.2, para. 25). In preparation for this Workshop, we recommend the Permanent Forum to prepare studies of best practices on traditional Indigenous medicinal and healing systems. These studies should focus on: (a) greater visibility of Indigenous Women in reports and statistics that examine the impact of poverty, disease, violence, forced dislocation, climate change, pollution and other factors that affect Indigenous Women’s health; (b) the need of health care providers to have specific training to assist Indigenous Women who are disproportionately affected by problems such as cervical cancer, HIV/AIDS, and domestic violence; (c) understanding of and support for traditional medicines and practices such as traditional birthing practices, which are not valued by western health systems, or the chewing of coca leaves in South America, which at present is criminalized by national and international laws; (d) sexual and reproductive health and rights; and (e) more education within Indigenous communities, as problems such as HIV and tuberculosis are compounded when social stigma inhibits people from coming in to be tested and treated.

We also note the importance of continued support for the Indigenous Task Force at the International Diabetes Federation and the STOP TB Partnership.


We commend the Permanent Forum’s recommendations for studying the situation of Indigenous Women migrants and the loss of their rights as they migrate (E/C.19/2009/L.2, para. 26 and 27). For this study, we recommend the PFII to produce studies and request from all UN bodies and agencies disaggregated data on Indigenous migration. We also request a gender-based analysis be completed in all reports that are produced. We would like to suggest the following:

Need for disaggregated data on Indigenous migration: We recommend that the PFII in collaboration with the relevant UN bodies and agencies, the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of the Human Rights and Fundament Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples, the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, and Indigenous scholars/experts on Indigenous migration, create a taskforce to conduct a meaningful and comprehensive study that will advance the identified constraints in the research findings of the Indigenous Peoples and Migration: Challenges and Opportunities Draft Issues Paper (2006) Section D. This should focus on the lack of relevant data on Indigenous Peoples in migration, especially Indigenous Women who have been forced off their lands, often due to economic and environmental factors. Greater access to justice for migrant Indigenous Women needs to be facilitated, given that they are often faced with criminalization and incarceration rooted in discrimination. Related to this, there is also a need of disaggregated data on the physical and mental health of migrant Indigenous Women.

Gender-based analysis of Indigenous migration: We recommend that the PFII in collaboration with the relevant UN bodies and agencies, the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of the Human Rights and Fundament Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples, the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, and Indigenous scholars/experts on Indigenous migration undertake a joint comprehensive study on the specific concerns of Indigenous Women in the area of forced migration, including socio-economic marginalization, extreme exploitative labor practices fueled by undue influence of transnational corporations on immigration policies, violence against Indigenous Women and a lack of fair judicial review of racial and gender discrimination of migrants outside of their territories. This study should consider and integrate the analysis on migration and women developed in the Rural Women’s Declaration: Rights, Empowerment and Liberation (August 2, 2007, Manila Philippines).


We call upon the Permanent Forum to implement and prioritize its recommendations regarding decolonization. Specifically, these recommendations are in Document No. E/C/19/2004/23, para. 54, from the third session, regarding the impact of decolonization on the human rights of Indigenous Peoples of the self-governing territories; and in Document No. E/C.19/2008/13, para. 52, from the seventh session, recommending that an expert seminar be held on the decolonization process on Indigenous Peoples of non-self governing territories.


We request that the Permanent Forum initiate an Expert Study and Dialogue on transborder Indigenous communities. This study should examine: (a) the interrelated causation of militarization and toxic spills from factories to infant, child and young mother’s mortality/morbidity; (b) contamination of land, air, water, and space; (c) the right to mobility within the traditional territory and access to cultural, sacred and ceremonial sites; (c) political identity and organization; (d) jobs; (e) education of women and children; and (f) armed and forced removal from customary lands.


We commend the Permanent Forum’s decision to organize an International Expert Group meeting on Indigenous Peoples’ development with culture and identity (E/C.19/2009/L.2, para. 15). Given that Indigenous Women play a very important role in carrying out our communities’ self-determining development, we urge the Permanent Forum to include the full and effective participation of Indigenous Women in this meeting.

United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, 8th Session Highlights

Filming courtesy of Seventh Generation Fund for Indian Development


Collective statement on Unrecognized and Unrepresented Peoples

Reading: Chief Caleen Sisk-Franco, Winnemem Wintu Tribe
Dear Madame Chair, Permanent Forum Members, Member States, UN Agencies and Indigenous brothers and sisters :

For hundreds of years, Indigenous peoples have struggled to resist and survive the affects of colonial legal domination and conquest, which in certain locations this created a legal divide between recognized and “unrecognized” indigenous peoples and in others it has completely denied their existence through an “unrepresented” status. This assembly applies to multiple historical tribes and indigenous peoples
worldwide; it is no coincidence that many of us sit on prime land and natural resources historically desired by governments and corporations for profit and expansionist agendas. Many more have been forcefully relocated, removed and/or pushed into Diaspora across hemispheres, creating global migrations
and displacement of indigenous peoples. This matter affects indigenous peoples in every continent. The effects are profound and require the attention of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the international community.

This collective statement is the product of a first and historic side-event held on May 18, 2009, during the Permanent Forum. The panel brought together Indigenous Women leaders from around the world, North America, South America, the Pacific, South-East Asia, and Africa, to begin identifying the common conditions that this colonial legal atrocity has produced in the lives of indigenous peoples, and in
particular indigenous women and children. The panel discussed some of the common issues affecting historical tribes, migrant indigenous women and their children born and raised outside of their territories, pastoral indigenous peoples and indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation, indigenous peoples with recent
or no contact—all which are currently struggling with discrimination under the rule of law as unrepresented and unrecognized indigenous peoples.

Noting that all peoples should have the human right to be free from discrimination, unrecognized and unrepresented peoples currently do not have equal rights and protections to land, water, culture, identity, and child welfare protection as recognized indigenous peoples.

Noting that unrepresented and unrecognized tribes have less than equal rights to fair judicial review, unrecognized and unrepresented peoples are more vulnerable to discrimination, especially in exercising their right to land use, practice and preservation of culture, and in turn contributes to the cultural genocide
of these peoples.

Acknowledging the importance of the right to equal and fair judicial review, unrecognized and unrepresented peoples can not engage the state in legal address to their specific needs specifically related to land, natural resources, cultural custodialship, and their economic sustainabilities.

Further noting that unrepresented and unrecognized Indigenous women experience greater levels of discrimination due to the compound affect of ethnicity, gender, class, language, and, in particular, non-represented and unrecognized status.

Recognizing that the unrepresented and unrecognized status is a discriminatory status which denies the rights of historic, traditional tribes from the free exercise of their aboriginal rights and those basic human rights guaranteed under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People…

We submit the following recommendations to the UN Permanent Forum:
1. We strongly recommend to the UNPFII the inclusion of an item on unrepresented and
unrecognized indigenous peoples in its 2010 agenda.
2. We urge the UNPF to create a Task Force on unrepresented and unrecognized indigenous peoples, to include direct consultation with unrepresented and unrecognized indigenous peoples.
3. We request of the PF to appoint or designate a rapporteur to undertake a study on the conditions of unrepresented and unrecognized indigenous peoples, including but not limited to migrant peoples and their families born outside of their traditional territories.

We draw the attention of the UNPF, relevant UN Agencies and Member-states to the following matters:
1. We draw attention to the United States governments continuing efforts to suppress the rights of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe in California who are defending their historical territories, watersheds and the survival of their cultural
Government’s discriminatory statutes and practices which deny the rights of historic, traditional tribes from the free exercise of their aboriginal rights and those basic human rights guaranteed under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.
2. We draw attention to the PF the case of Flor Crisostomo (see La Red Xicana Indigena statement on Urban and Migrant Indigenous Issues 2007), the face of migrant indigenous women in the US, Flor is in sanctuary in Chicago, Illinois resisting her order of deportation and is confronting the risk of federal charges with no legal recourse by either Mexico or the US for the effects of
displacement due to Free Trade Agreements (NAFTA).
3. We draw special attention to the present conditions of the Alifuru women and youth, see GIWC Statement on Human Rights 2008, who were incarcerated by the Indonesian government and prosecuted with charges of treason for possessing traditional fabric and presenting their traditional dances publicly. We urge the UNPF, Council on Human Rights, and the Special Rapporteur to report on the human rights violation of the Alifuru people.
4. We draw attention to the conditions of La Cuenca Amazonia (COICA) and encourage the PF to urge UN Agencies and Bolivia to promote the preservation of their right to self determination and territory, in order to secure their good health, education and livelihood.
5. We draw attention to the PF the excessive militarization due to the construction of the US-Mexico wall which is restricting the access to traditional foods, ceremonial sites, and are contaminating the water and riverbanks on the territory of the Lipan-Apache divided by US-Mexico border.

Signatories as of 5.20.2009:
La Red Xicana Indigena, Member ENLACE-North (Continental Network Indigenous Women)
Winnemem Wintu Tribe
Na Koa Ikaika Ka Lahui Hawaii
The Indigenous Worlds Association
Bansa Adat Alifuru
Touaregh Tribal People (Niger)
Coordinadora de las Organizaciones Indígenas de la Cuenca Amazónica (COICA)
California Indian Heritage Council
Lipan Apache Women’s Defense
Lipan Apache Band of Texas
Centro Sin Fronteras, Chicago, Ill
International Forum of Indigenous Women’s (FIMI)
Maya Visión
Comisión de Instrumentos Internacionales,
ENLACE Continental de Mujeres Indígenas

Monday, May 25, 2009


P.O. Box 0
San Carlos Arizona 85550
(928) 475-2361



Oak Flat/Apache Leap Statement

The purpose of this statement is to affirm why the Lipan Apache Woman’s Defense and the San Carlos Apache Tribe opposes the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and the proposed Resolution Copper mine at Chich’il Bildagoteel, how these proposed activities will seriously harm Apaches, and what steps the Tribe believes should be taken to resolve this matter.

Apaches have traditionally opposed large-scale mining, and the Tribe opposes large-scale mining to this day. Since 1996 the Tribe’s Elder’s Cultural Advisory Council has written several formal letters to Federal and local government agencies strongly opposing large-scale mining. Long before that countless Apaches fought, killed, and died protecting our homelands from large-scale mining.

Mining is inconsistent with our conservative, traditional Apache values. We have been taught to respect the natural world, and to keep it clean and natural. Our traditional relationship with the land is deep and personal. We depend on the natural world for our survival, and our survival depends on maintaining our personal relationships with all living things. Our word for this earth is Nigosdzan, “Earth is Woman”. We were taught never to desecrate her by digging deep into her veins.

In pre-Reservation days rape was punishable by death, the victim’s relatives exacting justice from the perpetrator. When our ancestors saw disrespectful miners raping Nigosdzan, they responded harshly in a proper, traditional manner. They viewed many of the early White settlers, especially miners, as filthy savages who destroyed the natural world wherever they went through mining, overgrazing, over-hunting, or by dirtying the land with their garbage and indiscriminate human waste. Our ancestors found these activities shocking and dangerous.

Everything in the natural world is alive and has a power. We have a name for everything: the plants, the animals, the birds, the atmosphere, the minerals, the winds, the stars, the bodies of waters, the places, and everything else. We recognize the power that each element of the natural world has, and that each individual power is directly related to particular Holy Beings.

We recognize that each of these elements works in concert with the other elements that make up an ecosystem. The power of each of these species is influenced by the other species in the ecosystem, and these combinations of power contribute to the power of the entire ecosystem. All of these powers are in turn influenced by the particular power of the place they are found, so that the power of each ecosystem cannot be duplicated or replaced.

Apaches often need to access these particular species and ecosystems, in person or remotely, by physical access, prayer, song, vision, or ceremony. Our traditional specialists use song cycles and ceremonies - just like modern scientists use formulas and technology – for the community’s healing, protection, and physical and spiritual well-being and happiness.

Damage to these ecosystems, and to the species found within them, weakens their power and shows great disrespect to the Holy Beings with whom they are associated, who have the ability to deny the benefits of this power, or the spiritual or physical access to these ecosystems. Losing access to these ecosystems – both by their closure or their destruction – profoundly weakens the strength of Apache prayer and ceremony, and severely limits the ability of Apaches to effectively practice their religion, ultimately resulting in physical and spiritual harm to Apaches.

Over the past 150 years our traditional Apache lands have been destroyed, place-by-place, ecosystem-by-ecosystem. We see parking lots covering our traditional food and medicine gathering areas, our sacred springs run dry by development, and trailer parks in our traditional corn and pumpkin fields. Now you are proposing more destruction.

The proposed mine at Chich’il Bildagoteel will destroy many particular ecosystems and the living things within them. These ecosystems and living things are associated with particular Holy Beings that we depend on, in particular a certain kind of Gaan – all-powerful Mountain Spirits – with whom Chich’il Bildagoteel is associated. Destroying this area will greatly hurt our ability to conduct public and private ceremonies involving these Gaan and other Holy Beings.

The area impacted by the mine includes cherished traditional food and medicine gathering areas, which would be forever lost if the mine were to open. We believe that the proposed mine will seriously affect the waters both above and below the ground that we depend on for physical and spiritual sustenance. We believe that there is no way to mitigate this loss or the serious impacts to Apaches. We believe that destroying these ecosystems will violate our civil and religious rights.

We, like you, believe in economic development for our people. We need jobs desperately. But we can’t accept an economy that is inconsistent with our most deeply held values. Just as you don’t want jobs for your young people that are based on drugs or prostitution, we don’t want jobs that are based on destroying Nigosdzan. We believe that an economy based on extractive industries is short-term, and physically and spiritually harmful. We believe, like so many international reports indicate, that extractive industries rarely benefit indigenous communities.

We want the Federal Government to proceed with a full administrative review through an Environmental Impact Statement so that we can more fully analyze the serious impacts that this proposed mine will have on our people. Existing cultural resource legislation has been ignored by the absence of meaningful, government-to-government consultation and the absence of responsible efforts to manage lands important to Indigenous populations, not to mention the pubic-at-large. At that time, we will be happy to discuss in detail these impacts, and the ways in which they may or may not be mitigated.

We would also like to work with our local, state, and Federal governments in identifying long-term, responsible economic development strategies for all of us, that are consistent with both traditional Apache values and scientifically-informed, environmentally sustainable practices.

Thank you for your attention to projects occurring on our traditional Apache lands, ancestral lands to many Indigenous populations and the many diverse publics who use and care for the Oak Flat/Apache Leap areas. If you would like more information, please contact Chairman Wendsler Nosie Sr. at (928) 475-2361, ext. 225.

P.O. Box 0
San Carlos Arizona 85550
(928) 475-2361

Wendsler Nosie Sr. David Reede

Presidente Vice-Presidente

Declaración del Pueblo
Oak Flat/Apache Leap

El propósito de esta Declaración es afirmar la oposición de la Lipan Apache Woman’s Defense y de la tribu San Carlos Apache al Intercambio de Tierras del Sur Este de Arizona y a la resolución de la minera de cobre propuesta en Chich’il Bildagoteel, debido a que afectará gravemente a los Apaches y contradice los pasos que las Tribus consideran se deben tomar para resolver este problema.

Tradicionalmente los Apaches se han opuesto a la minería de gran escala, y aún en estos días las Tribus continúan oponiéndose. Desde 1996 el Concejo Consultor de Ancianos de la Tribu ha remitido varias cartas formales a las agencias de gobierno Federal y local, manifestando su determinante oposición a la minería de gran escala. Tiempo atrás, muchos Apaches lucharon, mataron y murieron protegiendo nuestras tierras de la minería de gran escala.

La minería no es consecuente con nuestros valores Apaches conservadores y tradicionales. Nos enseñaron a respetar el mundo natural, y mantenerlo limpio y en su estado original. Nuestra relación tradicional con la tierra es profunda y personal. Dependemos del mundo natural para sobrevivir, y nuestra supervivencia depende de mantener nuestras relaciones personales con todo lo viviente. Nuestra palabra para llamar a esta tierra es Nigosdzan, “La Tierra es la Mujer”. Nos enseñaron a nunca profanarla cavando profundamente en sus entrañas.

En los días de la pre-Reserva, la violación era castigada con la muerte, los familiares de la víctima clamaban justicia del violador. Cuando nuestros ancestros vieron a los mineros irreverentes violando Nigosdzan, respondieron severamente y en el modo apropiado y tradicional. Vieron a muchos de los primeros pobladores blancos, especialmente a los mineros, como asquerosos salvajes que destruían el mundo natural por donde iban con la minería, pastoreo y caza excesivos o con la contaminación de la tierra con su basura y desperdicios humanos indiscriminados. Nuestros ancestros consideran estas actividades como impactantes y peligrosas.

Todo en el mundo natural está vivo y tiene energía. Damos un nombre a cada cosa: las plantas, animales, pájaros, atmósfera, minerales, el viento, las estrellas, las formas del agua, los lugares y todo lo demás. Reconocemos la energía que tiene cada elemento del mundo natural, y que cada energía individual está relacionada directamente con los Seres Sagrados en especial.

Reconocemos que cada uno de estos elementos funciona en conjunto con los otros elementos que conforman un ecosistema. El poder de cada una de estas especies tiene la influencia de otras especies en el ecosistema, y que estas combinaciones de energía contribuyen a la energía de todo el ecosistema. A su vez, todas estas energías tienen la influencia de la energía especial del lugar en el que se encontraron, por lo tanto, no se puede reemplazar o duplicar la energía de cada ecosistema.

A menudo, los Apaches necesitan acceder a estas especies y ecosistemas especiales, personal o remotamente, accediendo físicamente, con oraciones, canciones, visiones o ceremonias. Nuestros especialistas tradicionales usan ciclos de ceremonias y canciones – al igual que los científicos modernos usan fórmulas y tecnología – para la sanación, protección, bienestar físico y espiritual y felicidad de la comunidad.

El daño a estos ecosistemas y a las especies que habitan en ellos, debilita la energía y significa la falta de respeto a los Seres Sagrados a quienes están asociados, quienes tienen la capacidad de negar los beneficios de esta energía, o el acceso espiritual o físico a estos ecosistemas. Con la pérdida de acceso – tanto por su cierre o su destrucción – se debilita profundamente la fuerza de las oraciones y ceremonias Apaches, y se limita gravemente la capacidad Apache para practicar efectivamente su religión, dando como resultado final el daño físico y espiritual de los Apaches.

En los últimos 150 años, nuestras tierras tradicionales Apache han sido destruidas, una por una, de un ecosistema al otro. Vemos áreas de estacionamiento sobre nuestras áreas de recolección medicinal y comida tradicional, nuestros manantiales secos por el desarrollo y campos de casas rodantes en nuestros campos tradicionales de maíz y calabaza. Ahora, Uds. nos proponen aún más destrucción.

La mina propuesta en Chich’il Bildagoteel destruirá especialmente muchos ecosistemas y todo lo que ahí vive. Estos ecosistemas y sus habitantes están asociados en particular a los Seres Sagrados que dependen de un cierto tipo de Gaan – todos los Espíritus poderosos de las Montañas – que están asociados con Chich’il Bildagoteel. La destrucción de esta área dañará profundamente nuestra capacidad de realizar ceremonias en público o en privado, incluyendo a estos Gaan y a otros Seres Sagrados.

El área impactada por la mina incluye las preciadas áreas de recolección de alimentos y medicina, las cuales se perderán por siempre si se abre la mina. Consideramos que la mina propuesta afectará seriamente a nuestras aguas tanto superficiales como de subsuelo que depende del sustento físico y espiritual. Consideramos que no hay forma de mitigar esta pérdida o los graves impactos para los Apaches. Creemos que con la destrucción de estos ecosistemas se violarán nuestros derechos civiles y religiosos.

Al igual que ustedes, creemos en el desarrollo económico de nuestro pueblo. Tenemos la necesidad desesperada de empleos. Sin embargo, no podemos aceptar una economía que es incongruente con nuestros valores profundamente arraigados. Del mismo modo en el que ustedes no quieren empleos para sus jóvenes que estén basados en el consumo de drogas y prostitución; no queremos empleos que estén basados en la destrucción de Nigosdzan. Creemos que una economía basada en las industrias extractivas es perjudicial a corto plazo, además de ser dañina física y espiritualmente. Tal como lo indican muchos informes internacionales, creemos que las industrias extractivas benefician vagamente a las comunidades indígenas.

Solicitamos que el Gobierno Federal proceda con la revisión administrativa completa por medio de una Declaración de Impacto Ambiental de tal modo que podamos analizar más en detalle los graves impactos que esta mina propuesta tienen en nuestros pueblos. La legislación existente sobre los recursos culturales ha sido ignorada por la ausencia de consultas significativas de gobierno a gobierno y por la ausencia de esfuerzos responsables para manejar las tierras importantes para las poblaciones indígenas, sin mencionar a todo el sector público. En dicho momento, estaremos gustosos de debatir en detalle estos impactos, y las formas en las que se puedan mitigar.

Del mismo modo, nos gustaría trabajar con nuestros gobiernos locales, estatales y federales en la identificación de estrategias de desarrollo económico responsable de largo plazo para todos nosotros, que sean consistentes tanto con nuestros valores tradicionales Apaches como con las prácticas de desarrollo sostenible, basadas en la información científica.

Agradecemos la atención a los proyectos que ocurren en nuestras tierras tradicionales Apaches, tierras ancestrales para muchas poblaciones indígenas y el vasto público que usa y se preocupa por las áreas Oak Flat/Apache Leap. Si desean más información, por favor contáctense con el Presidente Wendsler Nosie Sr. en el teléfono (928) 475-2361, anexo 225.

Lipan Apache Women Defense, Intervention on Human Rights, Indigenous Women, Families & Militarization

UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Eighth Session
May 19-29, 2009

Presented by Margo Támez, Co-Founder, Lipan Apache Women’s Defense,
Nádasi’né’ nde' isdzáné begoz'aahi' shimaa shini' gokal
Gową goshjaa ha’áná’idiłí texas-nakaiyé godesdzog
[El Calaboz Ranchería, U.S.-Mexico Border;
subregion: Texas, U.S.-Tamaulipas, MX]

Agenda Item 4:
Follow Up on the Recommendations of the Permanent Forum
“Human Rights, Indigenous Peoples, Militarization and the Texas-Mexico Border Wall”
(a) Implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Women and Children

(b) Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people and other special rapporteurs

Thank you Madame Chair, Permanent Forum Members, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous People, Member States, UN Agencies and Our Indigenous Delegates, brothers and sisters all:
Dagotee’. My name is Margo Tamez, and I am the Co-Founder, with my mother, Eloisa García Tamez, of Lipan Apache Women Defense, located in El Calaboz Ranchería.
I speak today with the consent and consultation of my mother and lineal clans of Lipan Apache ranchería peoples of El Calaboz Ranchería, those of the Jumano-Apache, all traditional Ndé communities along the Texas-Mexico border whose customary lands are on both sides of the border.
In 2006 under the Bush Administration, the U.S. government implemented the Secure Fence Act, providing for the construction of the border wall and security, surveillance, infrastructural and technological barriers across hundreds of miles of indigenous lands. The U.S. waived 37 Federal laws in order to construct the border wall across tribal, municipal, National Park lands, and binationally revered sites. The U.S. obstructed numerous civil, constitutional, treaty, and international human rights of indigenous peoples spanning the 2000 miles of the border.
Our organization has been diligent to research and document the devastation and indigenous peoples’ responses to the travesty and injustice of the U.S.’ Border Wall Construction Mega-Security Project. I am deeply grieved to report to the Permanent Forum, that at the sub-regional level— our elders and our families are in severe mental, psychological, emotional, spiritual and physical crisis. We connect this pandemic human response to the crisis unfolding as a direct negative consequence of the corporate-driven. Lipan Apaches, and Lipan Apache women and children, are disproportionately impacted by the U.S.’ unilateral waiver of thirty-seven (37) U.S. Federal laws obstructing Civil and Constitutional protections for impacted communities.
Documentation and research necessary to launch intensive litigations, and in that regard, is costly and strenuous, depleting the already impoverished resources of indigenous communities. Our organization emerged to answer this need in the Lower Rio Grande region, of South Texas, in Cameron County. Please take note, that Cameron County is, per the U.S. Census, the poorest county in the entire United States on several important international social-economic indicators.
We mobilized a federal law case in the U.S. 5th District, and 5th Circuit; our International effort at the Inter-American Commission/OAS has been welcomed by the IAS. The Lipan Apache impacted lands are now divided by the 18th foot high steel and concrete wall, leaving cemeteries, sacred sites, biological resources, and subsistence grazing lands sealed off from bi-national access to community members who depend upon their grazing lands to the south of the wall, now a permanent barrier.
The Law Working Group of the University of Texas, in collaboration with the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, analyzed and documented, in 5 briefing papers, a series of human rights violations taking place against Indigenous peoples of the Texas-Mexico border section, specifically. The briefing papers address issues relative to human rights violations which constitute breaches of the United States’ obligations under the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, interpreted in the American Convention on Human Rights. These are documented and available on our website.

On October 31, 2008, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, stated in a press release:
“During another hearing, the Commission received troubling information about the impact that the construction of a wall in Texas, along the U.S.-Mexico border, has on the human rights of area residents, in particular its discriminatory effects. The information received indicates that its construction would disproportionately affect people who are poor, with a low level of education, […] as well as indigenous communities on both sides of the border.”

Madame Chairwoman and Special Rapporteur Anaya,

We denounce the United States’ untenable position of deploying “the war on terrorism”, “war on drugs”, and the “war on illegal immigration” because they are, from an indigenous standpoint, extensions of the global corporation’s use of militarization to further enslave Indigenous Peoples and Mother Earth— globally, and locally. States’ militarization historically accompanies the overthrow of indigenous law systems and governing systems.
We denounce the United States’ border wall contracts with the Secure Border Initiative Network, and its use of U.S. taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars in the harshest economic financial crash in U.S. History, and the deepened indebting of U.S. citizens to private corporations to construct the border wall. We denounce the following corporations whose boards, CEO’s, and stockholders, increased their personal and private financial wealth on the border wall construction. These include, though are not limited to Lockheed Martin, Texas Divisions of Raytheon, L-C Communications, Northrup Grummen, BAE Systems, America’s Border Security Group-Erriccson, Inc., NASDAQ, Fluor Corporations, MTC Technologies, Boeing, and Kellog Brown & Root-Halliburton.
We urgently recommend that the PF request S. James Anaya, the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people, in coordination with the Permanent Forum’s members, and in coordination with local indigenous leaders, work decisively to schedule site visits to the impacted indigenous communities of El Calaboz and El Polvo on the Texas-Mexico border.
We earnestly recommend that the Rapporteur establish local community meetings in which local elders, families and Indigenous organizations can participate to the fullest extent to begin the process of a border-wide investigation into the border wall and its impacts on women, children, elders, families, community health and displacement.
We earnestly recommend the Special Rapporteur investigate ACLU’s analysis of the U.S.-Mexico Border as a “No Constitution Zone”, and the implications for Indigenous women’s, children’s, families’, and communities’ rights to access their mothers, families, communities, education, health education, shelter, livelihoods and spiritual practice in militarized zones.
We earnestly recommend that the Permanent Forum commit to the key concepts: “Militarization, Borders, Customary-Use, Indigenous Peoples, & Gender” as a prioritized framework for the Forum’s 9th Session in 2010.

Thank you for your attention to these serious matters.

Margo Tamez
Lipan Apache Women Defense

Brave Heart Society (South Dakota)
Lipan Apache Band of Texas, Daniel Castro Romero, Jr. Chairman
CORE, the Centre for Organisation Research and Education
Native Women’s Association of Canada

Friday, May 22, 2009

"WATER IS A HUMAN RIGHT" Intervention to the 8th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues May 2009



Intervention to the Eighth Session of the
United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues 2009

Submitted by the Seventh Generation Fund for Indian Development
Agenda Item 3a: Social and Economic Development

Madame Chair, esteemed Members of this Forum, brothers and sisters of the world community, thank you, for the opportunity of addressing the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. The Seventh Generation Fund for Indian Development, an Indigenous Peoples’ non-governmental organization directly engaged with Indigenous communities and Nations to design and implement ecologically and culturally harmonious strategies for sovereignty, human rights, environmental and social justice, sacred sites protection, and the revitalization of traditional economies, submits this intervention on Agenda Item 3a, with the following signatories: Zuni Tribe of the Zuni Indian Reservation, American Indian Law Alliance, Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal College, International Organization of Indigenous Resources Development, Tonatierra, Dine’ Agriculture, Tatanka Oyate, International Indian Treaty Council, Lipan Apache Band, Maya Vision, Grupo Maya Kusamej Junan, CORE Manipur, and Western Shoshone Defense Project.

For the last four years our organization and co-signatories have addressed the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues on the Protection of Water as a human right, and we are honored to do so again under this agenda item. We call for the recognition of Water as essential to Life; that it is crucial for bio-cultural diversity and for sustaining all aspects of Indigenous Peoples’ survival and well-being, assuring our physical health, nurturing us spiritually and central for the continued vitality of our cultures and traditional livelihoods. We recognize Water is the most vulnerable element of all forms of Life in light of climate change and its impacts, and coupled with the encroachment of invasive development – the terracide – raging across the globe and damaging Indigenous homelands and ecosystems, time is of the essence. We must take action now as some places are flooded and others stricken with drought. We urgently reiterate the critical significance of protecting Water sources and Indigenous Peoples’ full, unencumbered access to clean Water on our lands and territories for physical, cultural, and spiritual survival. With this in mind, we respectfully advance these recommendations.

Recommendations1. We urge that the Permanent Forum advocates for the establishment of a United Nations International Year for Water which can conduct focused research and emphasize critical concerns of Water access, potability, and holistic integrity for all aspects of life, including cultural and spiritual facets in relation to Indigenous Peoples, our Nations and ecosystems.

2. We ask that the Permanent Forum take action this year to establish Water as a theme for the ninth session of the Permanent Forum or to include Water in the self-determination theme.

3. Recognizing Catarina de Albuquerque is the Independent Expert on the issue of human rights obligations related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation, we urge the Permanent Forum to call for her mandate to be extended. Further, to work with UNEP for an international study on Water that extends beyond drinking water and sanitation issues alone, and advance this concern in relation to the rights of Indigenous Peoples to access clean water for our spiritual sustenance and cultural livelihoods.

4. We strongly urge that the Permanent Forum recommends to ECOSOC in coordination with UNEP to call for the coordination of an official UN Experts Meeting on Water that specifically initiates a close review and assessment of Water allocation, regulation and access policies that affect the rights of Indigenous Nations, the health of our Peoples and ecosystems, and that of future generations. This high level Experts Meeting on Water can explore and establish indicators of Water Well-being for Indigenous Nations, and the world community.

5. We again implore the Permanent Forum for the immediate appointment of a Special Rapporteur for the Protection of Water and Water Catchment Areas to gather testimony directly from Indigenous Nations of the world targeted for or impacted by Water privatization, diversion, toxic contamination, dams, pollution, commodification, non-sustainable energy development, and other environmental injustices that damage Water sources on which Indigenous Peoples rely. This recommendation was carried forth by the Permanent Forum to the Economic and Social Development Council when we first requested this in 2005, and we ask that this appeal is recognized and advanced by this body to ECOSOC again this year.

6. That any initiatives related to Water must observe and recognize all articles of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including treaty rights to Water.

7. We affirm President Evo Morales’ call in 2008 for a UN Convention on Water, and further, that Indigenous Peoples fully participate in the development of that convention.

8. We commend the UN General Assembly for naming April 22nd the annual Mother Earth Day and ask that Water be highlighted as part of the related activities

9. We condemn the use of national militaries and corporate private armies employed to prevent Indigenous communities’ access to their traditional Water sources for drinking, agriculture, fishing, transport, and ceremonies, we call on the Permanent Forum to take leadership in working with ECOSOC to denounce repressive actions and call for a halt to such abuse by security forces and any legislation that inappropriately justifies this.

10. We affirm and support the Permanent Forum advancing the call for a World Conference on Water and Peace with full and effective participation by Indigenous Peoples and Nations and ask that steps are taken to make this a reality.

Narrative Justification
We call it K’yawe, Pa’a, Mni, Ishing, Mahpe’ and Nipi; Water – The Lifegiver. The significance of Water is expressed in a rainbow of songs, stories, and ceremonies, holding a potent place in our cultures, linking us together in a continuous, Life-affirming cycle. And yet, increasingly, our territories are either parched or flooded – being destroyed by the unquenchable greed of industrialization, a feature of colonization. Springs that our ancestors emerged from within the womb of Mother Earth, the precious watersheds that feed our lakes and fields and sustain our bodies, and rivers that carry our prayers to the forever after, are being contaminated, dammed, diverted, and siphoned. Ancient glaciers are fast melting into the sea, displacing our peoples, threatening our coastal zones with submersion and endangering the continuity of all Life.

Human rights violations, including the ongoing invasions onto Indigenous territories, and the attendant wrongful taking of our natural resources, particularly the nearly unhindered exploitation, diversion and commodification of Water, obstruct critically needed access to our Waterways and threaten the survival of Indigenous Peoples and of our distinct cultures. These assaults have direct and tremendously destructive impacts and further impoverish our already vulnerable, besieged Peoples, and threaten our spiritual and physical survival as Peoples.

Air poisons us and now the sun and the rain burn. The land, our Mother Earth, bleeds toxins. Water is undrinkable, or further unreachable. Our ancestors and leaders have prophecies that foretell of these changes now occurring across the globe. And, we must be proactive in finding ways to survive because the Natural Law – the spiritual justice that is unfolding in response to assaults against the Earth - will have no mercy. The accelerating impacts of Climate Change on Indigenous Peoples’ Water systems and accessibility, exacerbated by the continuing privatization and exploitation of Water on our territories by ever-thirsty multi/trans-national corporations, shortsighted governmental development policies, mega-development, and other encroachment by non-indigenous settlements, pose new challenges with which our Nations are faced. This forces us into poverty and pushes us further to the edge of existence, where many are already barely holding on by their fingertips for survival.

As different strategies are created to respond to the loss, contamination or diversion of Water resources, Indigenous Peoples’ retain our right to free, prior, and informed consent before any development takes place on our territories, by any outside entities, including the World Bank and States, whose actions may impact or abrogate our aboriginal and/or treaty rights including the human right of access to clean Water for all aspects of our life. We maintain that Indigenous Peoples have a right to say “no” to halt any development on our territories because we know that what some may consider sustainable solutions does in fact, displace our Peoples, exploit our territories, subvert our cultures, and further oppress the accessibility of our water systems and health of our homelands.

Esteemed members of this Forum, according to UN Water research, “884 million people in the world lack access to safe drinking water, and 2.5 billion do not have access to basic sanitation. ‘Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, those who suffer the most from lack of access to water and sanitation, are the poorest, the most marginalized and the most vulnerable,’ asserts Ms. de Albuquerque, noting in particular the situation of women, children, and persons with disabilities. Globally, 1.6 million people, mostly children, die each year from water and sanitation related causes.” Indigenous women throughout the world who often have the primary responsibility of locating and carrying Water for the survival of their families, and may risk their lives to do so, now find only dust instead of Water.

In the high desert, arid southwestern region of the United States, the Zuni River is critical to the physical and spiritual sustenance of the A:shiwi/Zuni people. During the fourth and fifth Permanent Forum Sessions (2005-2006), we shared with the Forum the unique characteristics of the River as a sacred waterway, an umbilical cord linking the A:shiwi with a spiritual destiny, carrying prayers and offerings to Zuni Heaven, a final everlasting place. When it flowed freely, the River fed streams and springs that nurtured thousands of cultivated acres of corn, beans, squash, and alfalfa fields that sustained the people, and supported an abundance of wildlife necessary to nourish A:shiwi cultural sustenance and a rich ceremonial life. In the 1890’s the River was dammed and diverted by the Ramah Cattle Company empowering Mormon missionaries upstream, altering the natural flow and life of the waterway. Today, what was once a vibrant, moving waterway that sustained thousands of people, animals, plant and water-dependent species has been drained, leaving only a dry riverbed. 1982 was the last time the Zuni River freely flowed through the village since the Ramah Dam was built. Now sadness lays hard on our land – now our land is always thirsty.

And on the same Indigenous territory, a sacred site known as Zuni Salt Lake, has been targeted for coal and methane gas development. Salt in an arid environment is critical to the Peoples’ survival. For the A:shiwi, this is also the dwelling place of a spiritual mother. It is also a place of peace for neighboring tribes to ceremoniously gather salt. The exploitation threatening Zuni Salt Lake would siphon millions of gallons of pristine water from beneath the lake for the mining, and create persistent toxins and contaminants that would forever alter the integrity and home of Salt Mother, including the well-being of the Zuni and other tribal Nations in the region who are culturally and nutritionally reliant on Zuni Salt Lake.

Elsewhere in the southwest region, when the Navajo Dam was built, it destroyed key cultural sites, including the place of the Water that Flows Together Clan. And the waters and riparian zone of the Rio Grande River, a primary waterway in the region, have been severely impacted by the spraying of toxic contaminants by non-Indigenous entities, where the Nde’ People’s traditional plants and herbs live. These poisons have leached in to the waterways and primary municipal waters sources affecting the plants, animals, peoples, lands, territories and cultural lifeways of the Nde’.

These are just a few examples in one region of the world. Such violations take place across the globe. We know that in too many places a polluted stream is our only source of Water. In too many places, our peoples are struck down by waterborne and vector borne disease, due to the lack of accessible, clean water on our territories caused by diversion and contamination, and the impacts of climate change. We hunger and can no longer plant our gardens, not because we have forgotten how to nurture life from a seed, but because without access to Water, our crops cannot flourish, and we cannot thrive without them. Our Water ceremonies are dying and our songs for the Water no longer fill the air.

Brothers and sisters of the world, are we prepared for what will happen when the world grows dry and quiet? What were once rich landscapes awake with forests and gardens, rivers and cornfields, alive with animals and birds, and a harmonious biodiversity of Indigenous cultures, are quickly becoming parched lands which only our tears can soften. Soon, even our most lush lands will be barren. Soon, even our tears will dry up and we will only have blood in our eyes as the wars for oil quickly transform into Water Wars that shroud the globe in a clash which humanity cannot survive. The Earth will burn. Too many of us are already dying of thirst. Our children, and the generations to come, will inherit this conflict and it is for them that we call upon the Permanent Forum and offer this intervention, for the Water - the essence of Life, for peace.

Elahkwa – Thank you.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Human Rights Violations Texas-Mexico Border Wall

As we prepare to submit our intervention, tomorrow, on the issues of Human Rights, Indigenous Peoples, Militarization and the Texas-Mexico border wall at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues,

We warmly invite you, our sisters, brothers, and allies, to review the papers on these issues as they pertain to our case at this site, here.


Margo Tamez

Monday, May 18, 2009

Lipan Apache Women Defense an Indigenous Peoples' Organization (United Nations)

Today we are representing the community concerns of human rights violations at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

See the video of Global Indigenous Women Caucus, in which the Lipan Apache Women Defense has participated in dialogues, discussions and debates related to customary title, aboriginal title, cultural resource management, social and economic issues, and human rights related to the the issues confronting Indigenous Women in a local, regional, national, international and global context.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Your support is very important to the critical examination of the U.S. law system as it pertains to indigenous peoples whose customary and traditional lands are within the U.S. political boundaries, and at U.S. international borders.

Thanks to all who have been holding vigils for the Benavidez and Tamez extended clans on the El Calaboz side, and the Premont and Redford sides of the impacted families. Ahe'he'e to all the Nde' who are faithfully keeping watch.

There are too many to thank, so if you are reading this and are familiar with the efforts since 2006 of the elders of El Calaboz to retain customary and traditional rights to the lands in El Calaboz Rancheria, and you have been supporting this effort, then... at some point along the way you came to respond to this collective work even on your very busy path. You have helped us to support the wishes of the elders of El Calaboz in their legal, spiritual, political and social movement. El Calaboz Rancheria has a long and consistent history of indigenous peoples taking up issues of injustice, and the periodic rise of state violence in their lands.

Even if not directly, your work is making a difference in our lives and in the steady progress of this case--in the United States and in the international spheres.

The last 36 hours have been tough, grueling, as well as full of revelations, as they were back in 2006, when the government armed personnel attempted to take possession of customary and traditional lands along the last 70 miles of the Texas-Mexico border through the use of armed force and intimidation of the elders.

This was the famous 'waiver' period--when the Customs Border Patrol and DHS agents attempted to force community members to surrender their lands on the spot using a piece of paper, and forcing them to sign--in violation of constitutional and international law.

The last 24 hours has been focused on a temporary restraining order, the Judge's response to that order, and preparing the affected landowners (TAMEZ, BENAVIDES, et al)due to the fact that the United States, in direct violation of the condemnation and possessionorder, plowed ahead and built the wall on our elders' lands.

The Garcia, Cavazos and the Benavides lands are traditionally used for pastoralist goat and cattle herding, subsistence only, by the families also known as 'originarios'--First Peoples.

The wall went up in approximately 24 hours on both Garcia/Cavazos lands (Eloisa Garcia Tamez) and the Benavidez lands. Please reference Kevin Sieff's story in the Brownsville Herald.

As we continue to demand that the United States adhere to Judge Hanen's order to consult the families prior to building the wall (NOT a mute point), we are also looking ahead to the still-scheduled jury trial in October on the issues of compensation. Please recall that the United States government argues that the impact to the future generations of this possession and condemnation is $5000.

After the jury trial in October, we will then pick up the process of the 5th Circuit appeal, which will be led again by our attorney, Peter Schey (Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law) who on a conference call yesterday, faithfully committed to our elders to continue to challenge the gross violations of the constitution and civil rights.

One step at a time...this morning will be a challenge for effected landowners of the traditional and customary rancheria of El Calaboz. They are being represented by civil rights attorney, Corinna Spencer-Scheurich,a Texas attorney, who is standing in for the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, who could not be present at the hearing on consultation violations, called less than 24 hours ago.

The last 36 hours and the work products which we completed and compiled to educate the government about 'consultation' for our community ("Consultation...", Temporary Restraining Order, Research Poster, Briefing on Indigenous Peoples by UT Law Working Group, and other supporting docs ) could not have come to existence without the tireless work of the following individuals: Attorneys Peter Schey and Chris Scherer; Dr. Jeff Sheperd--UT El Paso; Professor of Law, Denise Gilman, UT-Austin; Lipan Apache Band of Texas, Council Chair, Daniel Castro Romero, Jr.; Dr. Enrique Maestas; Erik K. Hrabovsky, and of course, the Benavidez elders and Dr. Eloisa Garcia Tamez.

Dagotee' gozhoole' (Beauty all around...)
Margo Tamez
Co-Founder, Lipan Apache Women Defense