Here is the entire film that you watched part of in class this week. It is narrated by Suheir Hammad and it is called The Fourth World War. There are links on the right-hand column for you to learn more about the Zapatista movement.


Here is a recent letter from political prisoner Leonard Peltier, who we talked about in class this week. If you click on the link below you can learn more about what people are doing to help as he has a possibility for parole or release on July 28th. See the films link above to watch a film about his case:

Greetings my friends and relatives,

I want to start off this statement or speech or whatever you want to call it by saying again as I’ve said before thank you thank you thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting me and for standing up for right wherever you are. I can’t express to you in words how extremely grateful I am not just to the people of America but to the people all over the world who have supported the cause of Indian people and myself.

I know a lot of you have given up a lot to help so many in my predicament. Daily I am made aware of political prisoners around the world. Many who have been killed or tortured or who knows what for trying to right the wrongs in their area, country or nation. I have been asked to make statements in support of other movement people around the world from time to time, South America, Europe and other places. People who love freedom, people who love the earth, people who love their family, people who love the freedom to make their own choice with their own resources, and all indigenous people- we share a common bond. The bond of brother and sister hood, the bond of believing there is a greater power than ourselves. And I don’t mean some government power; I mean the greatest power in all the universe the Creator Himself.

We also as human beings upon this earth have to recognize that there have always been those who suffer from an illness called greed. They have an appetite for gaining material wealth that is never satisfied. They have an appetite for land that is never satisfied. And the most common symptom of their illness is indifference to the suffering they cause with their quest. These people are the ones that have identified themselves as our common enemy. It is so terrible that under the guise of religion and shouting freedom they pit one people against another. This isn’t something new. All down through history it has taken place. All down through history there have been men, spiritual men, holy men, great thinkers and philosophers who have tried to unite us against this common enemy.

Today my brothers and sisters I want you to know that if nothing else if we don’t unite against the destruction against the Mother Earth we will have a common future that is void of clean air, clean water, and basic freedoms. We must reach our hands out to embrace others to the cause of life. We must do our best from where ever we are with whatever tools available to enhance and further our quality of life. We must find a way to break down the barriers that divide one people from another. We must find the things we have in common and find ways to solve our differences as basic humanity. We must evolve to a higher level of thinking or to as you might say a traditional level of thinking which obviously is superior to what they call progress today. Our traditional values taught us to live in harmony with Earth the greatest manifestation of the Creator that we have to relate to. Our traditions taught us to respect our bodies the greatest gift we have or possess as an individual. Our traditions taught us to preserve the environment for our children and all our future generations. As a member of the American Indian Movement these values are what we were about. Poverty isn’t solved by money poverty is solved by attitude. The problems we have today among all our people are caused by attitude. They are caused by an attitude that was given to us in boarding schools and on reservations that were nothing more than concentration camps in the past. They are attitudes by people who came to us talking to us about God and wanting us to embrace their version of religion and as one brother said once, “They told us to bow our heads, and when we looked up our land was gone, our culture was gone, our children was gone, our way of life was gone.” And now the air itself is dwindling.

I have been in this cage for some 34 years and though I have been caged I have sought the spirit in prayer of our brother the eagle, I have sought to have an overview of things for as anyone can see I don’t have the freedom to examine life from a close perspective. And from this distant view, abstract view, this detached view, at times I get to see the destruction and divisiveness that these political powers that have scattered us for so long have involved themselves in promoting among our people. I don’t know if it is because I am older now or because my future is so uncertain or if through some spiritual inspiration I deeply want to say so much. I deeply want to move you to do something to save our earth and our children and our children’s future. I didn’t get to raise my children; I haven’t got to really know them or my children’s children. I may never get to, but I
love them all just the same. And I love life as much as anyone on the outside. And I don’t know how long I will walk this cage. Some days I feel quite healthy and energized and some days I feel like the 64 year old man that I am. I’m always hopeful that I will be free at some point, perhaps in the latter part of July after my parole hearing, and perhaps I won’t. The people that hold me, the FBI and the conglomerate corporations that have for so long controlled the resources of this country and others and for so long have done their best to stifle, to denigrate, and to vilify the voice of the oppressed are some of the most formidable well funded political people on Earth. I was told that the FBI themselves are some 10,000 strong.

I am but a common man, I am not a speaker but I have spoken. I am not all that tall but I have stood up. I am not a philosopher or poet or a singer or any of those things that particularly inspire people but the one thing that I am is the evidence that this country lied when they said there was justice for all. I am the evidence that they lied when they extradited me from Canada. I am the evidence that they can lie at your trial, they can manufacture evidence at your trial, they can intimidate witnesses at your trial, they can have back room conversations and agreements with the judge at your trial. I am the evidence that the attitude, the powers that be still hold us in a grip. They hold us in an emotional grip. They hold us in a poverty grip. They hold us in a cultural deprivation grip. I could go on and on about the things that go on that weigh so heavily against our people but
the bottom line is my case is well documented by court after court after court, by hearing after hearing after hearing, by statement after statement after statement. And we as a people are the evidence that this country fails to keep its treaties, this country fails to keep its word. This country has failed to follow its own Constitution – the treaty between the people and the government. We are that evidence. I am nothing more than evidence. That is why people all over the world and here at home have supported the cause of justice in my case. In my particular situation I can’t say that there will ever be any level of justice.

They cannot give back the 34 years of life that have been taken from me. They can not give back the life of Joe Stuntz that they took June 26th 1975. They cannot give back the lives of the 60 something people that they directly or indirectly caused the death of. They cannot give back the thousand upon thousands of Indian people that were killed and abused since the inception of this government. But the one thing we can do, we must do, is find a way to change their attitude. My brother Leonard Crow Dog once said, “If you want to change the white man you have to change his religion.” And religion is a word that means how you do something on a regular basis; most generally it is associated with your spirituality. Perhaps with global warming as it is and the changes in the weather patterns and the questionable future that faces the earth, they will start to listen. Maybe they will reach back and embrace the words of our people foretold again and again. We must live the way that the Earth will renew itself every spring. We must help them reach back. We must speak to them at every opportunity. We must make an effort to reach back ourselves to our own cultural values. And in doing so we can start to solve the many destructive challenges we face. We must more than ever before find a way to heal the wounds of our children and prevent the social illnesses that are so prevalent across our reservations and communities. We have the tools, we have the teachings, we have the philosophies, we have the culture, we have the artists, we have the singers, we have the philosophers, I could go on and on but in essence what I am trying to say is it is imperative that we bring together all our resources to enhance the future for our children in a way that they themselves can further the healthy teachings of our culture and way of life; and in doing so I have no doubt that we can change the world.

If I am freed next month or if I die in prison remember my words and remember we are evidence that the Creator made a beautiful people a people that respected the Earth and nature and each other. We are evidence on every level of goodness that when the Creator made us He meant for us to be free. All our traditions have taught us this way. And even this very form of government that exists today was copied from our people. Our people with our foods, our medicines, belief in freedom and right to choose have influenced the world. Its too bad they didn’t adopt a healthy attitude that we had toward the Earth or an attitude of respect for us the first keepers of this portion of the Earth. If there is something about me that this government can point at and say is wrong or any person say is wrong I will by my own choice, if it proves to be fact, seek to fix it myself. But I also want to remind them the policies that have been in place for so long have made us what we are today. The policies that have been in place for so long, have created another reservation called Iraq and another reservation called Afghanistan, and the list goes on and on, you see what’s happening over there is what happened here and all down through North and South America.

I am just a common man and I am evidence that the powers that put me here would like to sweep under the carpet. The same way they did all of our past leaders, warriors and people they massacred. Just as at Wounded Knee the Fifth Cavalry sought its revenge for Custer’s loss and massacred some 300 Indian men women and children then gave out 23 Medals of Honor and swept the evidence of their wrongdoing aside. Perhaps this statement is somewhat more lengthy than the others I’ve made; perhaps it is some things I should have said before and perhaps more, if so I hope you will forgive me. I recently was thought to be having a heart attack because of pain in my chest. After having been beaten and kicked and stomped in the last year, I am not quite sure what was causing the pain. I had never been beaten, kicked and stomped like that before. And also I have never been 64 years old before. The one thing all this did for me is it really brought home my sense of mortality. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in this prison. And I don’t want you to spend the rest of your life in some prison of the mind, heart or attitude. I want you to enjoy your life.

If nothing else give somebody a hug for me and say, “This is from Leonard.”

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

Leonard Peltier

In class tonight we are going to look at how American Indians use rap music and think about the themes they discuss as well as rap as a tool of resistance. We are going to listen to a rapper known as Quese IMC. Here is a brief biography of Quese IMC:

Born in Oklahoma City, Marcus Frejo, otherwise known as “Quese IMC” is Seminole, Pawnee, and Mexican-American. He is a Hip-Hop artist now living in Los Angeles, California. His musical influence was the “old school” rappers: RUN DMC and Public Enemy. Quese was performing his own lyrics by the time he was fourteen and he has shared his energy at MC Battles in the Midwest and Oklahoma. His music is a blend of traditional stories with a Hip-Hop beat. His latest CD is entitled: QUESE IMC, the Betty Lena Project.

One of the songs we will listen to is called “I Am My Ancestors” and here are the lyrics:

Like Christianity came in and the government more or less made a deal with them to Christianize the Indian people. The government decided when they started building the schools, more or less like a prison, because there were fences around the schools and guards so that the parents wouldn’t be able to see the children or the children were kept there as hostages.

When I sit pen and pad on cedar and sage
Dropping the world a mic to turn its page
Of life being a native, but a stranger in your own land
It’s something that I just don’t understand
We were forced from our homes when our population diminished
They wanted to exterminate the Indian and make the Indian finished
We used to roam the plains freely, the mountains and the canyon
The desert, swamps, coastline to the eastern man’s landing
The Bible in one hand, a rifle in the other
Saying, “thou shall believe like we do, or die like your brother”
Forced religion, forced ways, forced out of land
But not forced without a fight every woman and man
But then women, elders, and children were massacred
Protecting each other when the soldiers ambushed
While the warriors were away talking peace with the government
But that’s how they were, they always had the broken covenant
These are the tales of fears that you don’t learn in school
I felt for years these Trails of Tears
Run parallel to my dirt road
But it hurts though
Knowing the struggle of my people carried over to this 2,000 year sequel
But it’s okay, we survived
Our clans, nations, and tribes
And together we need to stand as one
‘Cause we last through oppression
And last stands we fought too long to die by our own hands
We once moved like the wind and walked a spiritual path
And as minorities of minorities we still know how to laugh
Inside boarding schools, Third World reservations
May those who don’t know start this reconciliation
Nation. Nation. Nation. Nation. Seventh Generation.

Hey, yo, in two thousand years things haven’t changed
It sucks that sometimes you’re still native and it feels kind of strange
Represent the population, the invisible people
I can honestly say in some places we’re not treated as an equal
And it pisses me off when I get on the stage in an MC battle
And I’m winning with punch lines and the guys just babble
Making fun of my origin, my being and my blood’s racing
of my culture, telling me to go back to the reservation
Calling me a drunk savage and everything that’s degrading
Dancing around like a cartoon Indian while the crowds are raying, cheering like idiots
And I’m tired of it being okay for you to make fun of my people

When I got there I had to take my clothes off, they issued clothes. It was in a military system. Everything we do is military. Then we cannot speak our language. They punish us. Sometimes we got a whipping. It was devastating. We could not wear long hair. We could not wear moccasins. They took that away from us.

From New York to LA and in the middle–Indian Country
Oklahoma to the four directions, this is my story
When I sit and meditate and think of my ancestors
The battles, the wars, the pain and pressure
So until the day the people have recognition
And acknowledgment of the native people of this land
And how it feels to be native then they’ll understand
Until then they’ll just have lack of knowledge
For every cry I’ll try a little harder
For every tear I never feared of being a martyr
For every woman on stage I’ll be the best
So ancestors, God bless, will now rest

We had to learn English. Speak English. We cannot speak but English inside the schools. Everything we do we have to ask. So we go into the office and get a pass. A whole bunch of us, we go way out into the hills, where nobody sees us or hears us. We take lunch with us, we sit in a circle, and we talk Indian. That’s how today I’m still talking Indian. I didn’t lose it. But my brother lost it all. My brother, he lost it all.

One of the allusions in this poem is to the boarding schools that American Indians were forced to go to. Zitkala-Sa, who was Lakota, wrote about this in the early twentieth-century. Here is Zitkala-Sa describing the forced removal of her braids:

But this eating by formula was not the hardest trial in that first day. Late in the morning, my friend Judewin gave me a terrible warning. Judewin knew a few words of English, and she had overheard the paleface woman talk about cutting our long, heavy hair. Our mothers had taught us that only unskilled warriors who were captured had their hair shingled by the enemy. Among our people, short hair was worn by mourners, and shingled hair by cowards!

We discussed our fate some moments, and when Judewin said, “We have to submit, because they are strong,” I rebelled.

“No, I will not submit! I will struggle first!” I answered.

I watched my chance, and when no one noticed I disappeared. I crept up the stairs as quietly as I could in my squeaking shoes, — my moccasins had been exchanged for shoes. Along the hall I passed, without knowing whither I was going. Turning aside to an open door, I found a large room with three white beds in it. The windows were covered with dark green curtains, which made the room very dim. Thankful that no one was there, I directed my steps toward the corner farthest from the door. On my hands and knees I crawled under the bed, and cuddled myself in the dark corner.

From my hiding place I peered out, shuddering with fear whenever I heard footsteps near by. Though in the hall loud voices were calling my name, and I knew that even Judewin was searching for me, I did not open my mouth to answer. Then the steps were quickened and the voices became excited. The sounds came nearer and nearer. Women and girls entered the room. I held my breath, and watched them open closet doors and peep behind large trunks. Some one threw up the curtains, and the room was filled with sudden light. What caused them to stoop and look under the bed I do not know. I remember being dragged out, though I resisted by kicking and scratching wildly. In spite of myself, I was carried downstairs and tied fast in a chair.

I cried aloud, shaking my head all the while until I felt the cold blades of the scissors against my neck, and heard them gnaw off one of my thick braids. Then I lost my spirit. Since the day I was taken from my mother I had suffered extreme indignities. People had stared at me. I had been tossed about in the air like a wooden puppet. And now my long hair was shingled like a coward’s! In my anguish I moaned for my mother, but no one came to comfort me. Not a soul reasoned quietly with me, as my own mother used to do; for now I was only one of many little animals driven by a herder.

Another important allusion in the song is about the Trail of Tears which American Indian tribes–the Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Seminole–were massacred and forcibly removed from their lands. Some of this is related to broken treaties that the U.S. government signed with tribal leaders; click here to read those treaties. Here is a brief timeline related to the Trail of Tears:

1812 – General Andrew Jackson wanted to drive out the Indians, but they were too strong for his army. He settled on a policy of divide and conquer. He started the French and Indian War of 1812 with the help of the Cherokees, they thought that by helping Andy Jackson drive out the Creek Indians, they would be given special treatment and left alone by the whites. Chief Tecumseh, of the Shawnee, tried to unify the remaining Indian Nations in a last ditch stand to resist the white invasion. In 1813, Chief Tecumseh died in battle and his dreams of a unified Indian Nation died with him.

1815 – The US government forced or tricked many Cherokees into signing treaties to trade their lands for land in Arkansas and Oklahoma. About half of the Cherokees left for the New Territories and became known as the Old Settlers.

1828 – Andrew Jackson was elected president, and Gold was discovered in Georgia. The US government was split as to protect the Cherokees land claims, or to let Georgia drive them out. Gold fever swept the south. Miners and get rich quick scam artists invaded Cherokee Territory murdering, raping, and burning. Chief James Vann, a district judge for the Cherokees, captured, tried and hung the criminals. Georgia threatened war over the outrage of Cherokees hanging white men. The Cherokees sent lawyers and statesmen to court to argue their case. The federal government had given them treaties for the land and they should be protected from the citizens and army of Georgia. Georgia governor, George Gilmore stated, “Treaties were a means by which ignorant, intractable, and savage people were induced to yield what Civilized Peoples had a right to possess.”

1830 – The US Supreme Court decided in favor of protecting the Cherokees land rights. President Andrew Jackson defied the Supreme Court and sent the army to Georgia to drive out the Cherokees. Jackson proclaimed, “Justice John Marshall has rendered his decision, now let him enforce it.” President Jackson signed the ‘Indian Removal Act’, which required the forced removal of all Indians east of the Mississippi River to the new ‘vacant’ land obtained in the “Louisiana Purchase, to be guaranteed to the Indian tribes for as long as they shall occupy it”. Between 1830 and 1839, hundreds of Cherokee families fled the district, to Tennessee, Alabama, and North Carolina. Even while these cases were being argued in court, the state of Georgia organized a land lottery to divide up the Cherokee Nation into farms and gold claims.

1831 – The Choctaws were driven from their homes in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. The federal government had agreed to pay to feed and clothe the Indians on their journey, but the money never came.

1836 – The Creeks were driven out at the point of a gun, put in chains and forced-marched by the US Army. Some 3,500 men women and children died of hunger and exposure along the way.

1837 – The Chickasaw loaded their belongings on wagons and headed west. The Seminoles chose to fight. After a long bloody war, the survivors were herded like cattle into any boat that would float and taken across the Gulf of Mexico and up the Mississippi.

1838 – Seven thousand federal troops, under the command of General Winfield Scott, were dispatched to the Cherokee Nation. Without warning, the troops broke down doors and drug people away to stockades. Those that moved too slowly were prodded with bayonets. In October, the Cherokees were herded into wooden stockades with no food, water, blankets, or sanitation. Most of them were barefoot and had no coats or blankets, yet they were forced to cross rivers in sub-zero weather.

They were forced-marched, with army guards, as far north as Indiana, on their way to Oklahoma. Thousands of men, women, and children froze to death, died of starvation and disease. The soldiers forced the Cherokees to abandon their dead at the side of the road. What few pitiful possessions they owned, had to be dropped at the side of the road in order to carry the sick and dying. Soldiers and settlers plundered the ancient Cherokee burial grounds for buried treasure. Family possessions left behind were plundered and burned. Of the 22,000 Cherokees who started this death-march, some 5,500 died on the way. One thousand six hundred Freedmen walked the Trail of Tears along with the rest of Cherokee.

At the plantation of Spring Place, the Georgia Guard threw a burning log onto the stairs to smoke out the people that lived there. The man who had won the house in the Georgia state lottery was there, urging the soldiers on to get ‘those people’ out of ‘his’ house. The Georgia Guard drove the missionaries out of their homes and school nearby, and turned it into a brothel for the army.

Here are some videos of Quese IMC’s music you can watch:


“Them Country Roads”:

“The Indian Wars Never Ended”:

We will not be having class this week since a few of us will be out of the country or at camp. In the meantime, for those of you who are in Deheishe, here are a few things to read and watch to keep you busy until next week!

1. Here is the Suheir Hammad poem “In America” that I played for you in class a couple of weeks ago:

This is for Palestine and the rest of us in America

Right now you are standing on stolen land
No matter where you are hearing this poem,
I promise you, below you, is stolen land
Was Lakota, was Navaho, was Creek,
Was and was, and is and is,
And this fact does not change
Because you do not think about it
Or you thought the last Indian died before you were born
Or you were born one-fifteenth Apache,
This poem is not blaming you,
But allowing you an opportunity to do something
Start by saying something,
And from where you are standing,
Look North, South, look West, look East,
And see the theft, the occupation
Happening now,
And do something, start, start, by saying something

2. Here is some more background on the Shawnee tribe that we have been learning about in class:

The Shawnees are an Eastern Woodlands tribe pushed west by white encroachment. In 1793, some of the Shawnee Tribe’s ancestors received a Spanish land grant at Cape Girardeau, Missouri. After the 1803 Louisiana Purchase brought this area under American control, some Cape Girardeau Shawnees went west to Texas and Old Mexico and later moved to the Canadian River in southern Oklahoma, becoming the Absentee Shawnee Tribe.

The 1817 Treaty of Fort Meigs granted the Shawnees still in northwest Ohio three reservations: Wapakoneta, Hog Creek, and Lewistown (see map below). By 1824, about 800 Shawnees lived in Ohio and 1,383 lived in Missouri. In 1825, Congress ratified a treaty with the Cape Girardeau Shawnees ceding their Missouri lands for a 1.6 million-acre reservation in eastern Kansas. After the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the Ohio Shawnees on the Wapakoneta and Hog Creek reservations signed a treaty with the US giving them lands on the Kansas Reservation.

The Lewistown Reservation Shawnees, together with their Seneca allies and neighbors, signed a separate treaty with the federal government in 1831 and moved directly to Indian Territory (Oklahoma). The Lewistown Shawnees became the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, while their Seneca allies became the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma.

In 1854, the US government decimated the Kansas Reservation to 160,000 acres. This, coupled with the brutal abuses perpetrated against them by white settlers during and after the Civil War, forced the Kansas Shawnees to relocate to Cherokee Nation in northeastern Oklahoma. The 1854 Shawnee Reservation in Kansas was never formally extinguished and some Shawnee families retain their Kansas allotments today.

The federal government caused the former Kansas Shawnees and the Cherokees to enter into a formal agreement in 1869, whereby the Shawnees received allotments and citizenship in Cherokee Nation.

The Shawnees settled in and around White Oak, Bird Creek (Sperry), and Hudson Creek (Fairland), maintaining separate communities and separate cultural identities. Known as the Cherokee Shawnees, they would also later be called the Loyal Shawnees.

Initial efforts begun in the 1980s to separate the Shawnee Tribe from Cherokee Nation culminated when Congress enacted Public Law 106-568, the Shawnee Tribe Status Act of 2000, which restored the Shawnee Tribe to its position as a sovereign Indian nation.

3. Here is a video that may be difficult, but will show you some more similarities between American Indians and Palestinians:

This past March, a panel discussion was held at the Stanley A Milner Library in Edmonton, titled From Turtle Island to Palestine: Indigenous Perspectives on Colonialism & Occupation.

Exploring the reality and the history of Indigenous Peoples on Turtle Island to that of Palestinians, speakers offered numerous critical insights surrounding the Indigenous Experience, the policies of state governments, and the realities of living under colonial occupation.

Speakers at the event included vincent steinhauer, Dr. Bruce Spencer, Dr. Ibrahim Abu-Rabi and Isabel Altamirano-Jimenez.

The article below by Dahr Jamail may be a bit challenging for you to read, but it is an important article that shares some history of American Indians and the way Americans have treated indigenous people in what became the U.S. and in Iraq.

The Fort Laramie Treaty once guaranteed the Sioux Nation the right to a large area of their original land, which spanned several states and included their sacred Black Hills, where they were to have “the absolute and undisturbed use and occupation” of the land.

However, when gold was discovered in the Black Hills, President Ulysses S. Grant told the army to look the other way in order to allow gold miners to enter the territory. After repeated violations of the exclusive rights to the land by gold prospectors and by migrant workers crossing the reservation borders, the US government seized the Black Hills land in 1877.

Charmaine White Face, an Oglala Tetuwan who lives on the Pine Ridge Reservation, is the spokesperson for the Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council (TSNTC), established in 1893 to uphold the terms of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. She is also coordinator of the voluntary group, Defenders of the Black Hills, that works to preserve and protect the environment where they live.

“We call gold the metal which makes men crazy,” White Face told Truthout while in New York to attend the annual Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the United Nations in late May. “Knowing they could not conquer us like they wanted to … because when you are fighting for your life, or the life of your family, you will do anything you can … or fighting for someplace sacred like the Black Hills you will do whatever you can … so they had to put us in prisoner of war camps. I come from POW camp 344, the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. We want our treaties upheld, we want our land back.”

Most of the Sioux’s land has been taken, and what remains has been laid waste by radioactive pollution.

“Nothing grows in these areas – nothing can grow. They are too radioactive,” White Face said.

Although the Black Hills and adjoining areas are sacred to the indigenous peoples and nations of the region, their attempts at reclamation are not based on religious claims but on the provisions of the Constitution. The occupation of indigenous land by the US government is in direct violation of its own law, according to White Face.

She references Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

The spokesperson for the TSNTC declares, “We need our treaty upheld. We want it back. Without it we are disappearing. They might have made us into brown Americans who speak the English language and eat a different kind of food, and are not able to live with the buffalo like we are supposed to, but that is like a lion in a cage. You can feed it and it will reproduce, but it is only a real lion when it gets its freedom and can be who it’s supposed to be. That’s how we are. We are like that lion in a cage. We are not free right now. We need to be able to govern ourselves the way we did before.”

Delegations from the TSNTC began their efforts in the United Nations in 1984 after exhausting all strategies for solution within the United States.

Homeland Contamination

There is uranium all around the Black Hills, South and North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. Mining companies came in and dug large holes through these lands to extract uranium in the 1950’s and 1960’s prior to any prohibitive regulations. Abandoned uranium mines in southwestern South Dakota number 142. In the Cave Hills area, another sacred place in South Dakota used for vision quests and burial sites, there are 89 abandoned uranium mines.

In an essay called “Native North America: The Political Economy of Radioactive Colonialism,” political activists Ward Churchill and Winona LaDuke state that former US President Richard Nixon declared the 1868 Treaty Territory a “National Sacrifice Area,” implying that the territory, and its people, were being sacrificed to uranium and nuclear radiation.

The worst part, according to White Face, is that, “None of these abandoned mines have been marked. They never filled them up, they never capped them. There are no warning signs … nothing. The Forest Service even advertises the Picnic Springs Campground as a tourist place. It’s about a mile away from the Cave Hills uranium mines.”

The region is honeycombed with exploratory wells that have been dug as far down as six to eight hundred feet. In the southwestern Black Hills area, there are more than 4,000 uranium exploratory wells. On the Wyoming side of the Black Hills, there are 3,000 wells. Further north into North Dakota, there are more than a thousand wells.

The Black Hills and its surroundings are the recharge area for several major aquifers in the South Dakota, Nebraska, and Wyoming regions. The crisis can be gauged from the simple description that White Face gives: “When the winds come, they pick up the [uranium] dust and carry it; when it rains or snows, it washes it down into the aquifers and groundwater. Much of this radioactive contamination then finds its way into the Missouri River.”

She informs us that twelve residents out of about 600 of the sparsely populated county of Cave Hills have developed brain tumors. A nuclear physicist has declared one mine in the area to be as radioactively “hot” as ground zero of Hiroshima.

Red Shirt, a village along the Cheyenne River on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, has had its water tested high for radiation and local animals have died after consuming fish from the river.

After three daughters of a family and their mother died of cancer, a family requested White Face to have the municipal water tested. The radiation levels were found to be equal to those inside an x-ray machine. Little wonder then that the surviving sons and their father are afflicted with the disease. People procuring their grain and cattle from the region are advised to be extra cautious.

One cannot but feel the desperation of her people when White Face bemoans, “It’s pure genocide for us. We are all dying from cancer. We are trying not to become extinct, not to let the Great Sioux Nation become extinct.”

The Ogala Sioux are engaged in ongoing legal battles with the pro-uranium state of South Dakota. They are aware of the unequal nature of their battle, but they cannot afford to give up. White Face explains how “… Our last court case was lost before learning that the judge was a former lawyer for one of the mining companies. Also, the governor’s sister and brother-in-law work for mining companies [Powertech] and a professor, hired by the Forest Service to test water run-off for contamination, is on contract with a company that works for the mining company. When I found out the judge was a lawyer for the mining company I knew we would lose, but we went ahead with the case for the publicity, because we have to keep waking people up.”

Other tribes, such as the Navajo and Hopi in New Mexico, have been exposed to radioactive material as well. Furthermore, the July 16, 1979, spill of 100 million gallons of radioactive water containing uranium tailings from a tailing pond into the north arm of the Rio Puerco, near the small town of Church Rock, New Mexico, also affected indigenous peoples in Arizona.

Her rage and grief are evident as White Face laments, “When we have our prayer gatherings we ask that no young people come to attend. If you want to have children don’t come to Cave Hills because it’s too radioactive.”

The exploitative approach to the planet’s resources and peoples that led to these environmental and health disasters collides with White Face’s values: “I always say that you have to learn to live with the earth, and not in domination of the earth.”

Nuking the Colonies

The US government practices another approach. In occupied Iraq and Afghanistan, the uranium that has caused genocide of sorts at home has proceeded to wreak new havoc.

Two Iraqi NGO’s, the Monitoring Net of Human Rights in Iraq (MHRI) and the Conservation Center of Environment and Reserves in Fallujah (CCERF) have extensively documented the effects of restricted weapons, such as depleted uranium (DU) munitions, against the people of Fallujah during two massive US military assaults on the city in 2004.

In March 2008, the NGO’s were to present a report titled “Prohibited Weapons Crisis: The effects of pollution on the public health in Fallujah” to the 7th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council

Muhammad al-Darraji, director, MHRI and president, CCERF, was to present the report with an appeal, “We are kindly asking the High Commissioner for Human Rights to look at the content of the report in accordance with the General Assembly’s resolution 48/ 141 (paragraph 4) of 20 December 1993, to investigate the serious threat (to the) health right in Fallujah and Iraq, and to relay the results of this investigation to the Commission on Human Rights to take the suitable decisions.”

Attached to the aforementioned is another report co-authored by Dr. Najim Askouri, a nuclear physicist trained in Britain and a leading Iraqi nuclear researcher and Dr. Assad al-Janabi, director of the Pathology Department at the 400-bed public hospital in Najaf. Their report includes a section on the “Depleted Uranium Crisis” from Najaf, 180 miles from where DU was used in the First Gulf War.

Dr. Najim begins the report by noting that Coalition Forces, mostly US, used 350 tons of DU weapons in about 45 days in 1991, primarily in the stretch of Iraq northwest of Kuwait where Iraqi troops were on their retreat. Then, in 2003, during the Shock and Awe bombing of Baghdad, the US used another 150 tons of DU. He says that cancer is spreading from the conflict area as a health epidemic and will only get worse. The cancer rate has more than tripled over the last 16 years in Najaf.

According to Dr. Najim, “When DU hits a target, it aerosolizes and oxidizes, forming a uranium oxide that is two parts UO3 and one part UO2. The first is water soluble and filters down into the water aquifers and also becomes part of the food chain as plants take up the UO3 dissolved in water. The UO2 is insoluble and settles as dust on the surface of the earth and is blown by the winds to other locations. As aerosolized dust, it can enter the lungs and begin to cause problems as it can cross cell walls and even impact the genetic system.”

One of Dr. Najim’s grandsons was born with congenital heart problems, Down Syndrome, an underdeveloped liver and leukemia. He believes that the problems are related to the child’s parents having been exposed to DU.

Detailing a skyrocketing rate of cancer and other pollution-related illnesses among the population of Fallujah since the two sieges, the report states, “Starting in 2004 when the political situation and devastation of the health care infrastructure were at their worst, there were 251 reported cases of cancer. By 2006, when the numbers more accurately reflected the real situation, that figure had risen to 688. Already in 2007, 801 cancer cases have been reported. Those figures portray an incidence rate of 28.21 [per 100,000] by 2006, even after screening out cases that came into the Najaf Hospital from outside the governorate, a number which contrasts with the normal rate of 8-12 cases of cancer per 100,000 people.

“Two observations are striking. One, there has been a dramatic increase in the cancers that are related to radiation exposure, especially the very rare soft tissue sarcoma and leukemia. Two, the age at which cancer begins in an individual has been dropping rapidly, with incidents of breast cancer at 16 (years of age), colon cancer at 8 (years of age), and liposarcoma at 1.5 years (of age).” Dr. Assad noted that 6 percent of the cancers reported occurred in the 11-20 age range and another 18 percent in ages 21-30.

“The importance of this information confirms there is a big disaster in this city…. The main civilian victims of most illnesses were the children, and the rate of them represents 72 percent of total illness cases of 2006, most of them between the ages of 1 month and 12 years…. Many new types and terrible amounts of illnesses started to appear [from] 2006 until now, such as Congenital Spinal cord abnormalities, Congenital Renal abnormalities, Septicemia, Meningitis, Thalassemia, as well as a significant number of undiagnosed cases at different ages. The speed of the appearance these signals of pollution after one year of military operations refers to the use of a great amount of prohibited weapons used in 2004 battles. The continued pollution maybe will lead to a genetic drift, starting to appear with many abnormalities in children, because the problems were related to exposure of the child’s parents to pollution sources and this may lead to more new abnormalities in the f uture. According to the security situation with many checkpoints and irregular cards to allow the civilians to enter or exit the city until now, all this helps to continue the terrible situation for this time. Therefore, we think that all these data is only 50 percent of the real numbers of illnesses.”

The Sioux tell their youth to avoid their radioactive native lands if they wish to procreate and prosper. Those in Iraq have no option but to lead maimed lives in their native land.

On February 4, 2009, Muhammad al-Darraji sent President Barack Obama a letter, along with the aforementioned report. A few excerpts are presented here:

“We have the honor to submit with this letter our report on the effects on public health of prohibited weapons used by the United States during its military operations in Fallujah (March-November 2004). It was our intention to present the report to the Human Rights Council of the United Nations on 4 March 2008, but both security and political reasons played a significant role in making this task impossible. The report, now in your hands, contains vast evidence and documentation on the catastrophic and continuous pollution in Iraq (to prevent) which nobody has taken any real action to help the victims or clean up polluted places. Some months ago, and in June 2008, I sent this report directly to some US congressmen. Two of them went to my town, Fallujah, and visited the general hospital to investigate the claims contained in our report. No substantial result came out of this visit. In February 2009 one of my colleagues, who worked in the hospital’s statistical office and helped gather information about the pollution, was killed by unknown individuals. The blood of my friend is the driving force that led me to write to you directly in order for you to release the facts for which my friend paid with his life. Therefore, we are kindly asking you to look at the content of the attached report and to investigate the serious threats to the right to life of the inhabitants of Fallujah and other polluted places in Iraq, as well as to publicly release the results of this investigation under right of information about what really happened in Iraq.”

The president has yet to respond.


Jason Coppola and Bhaswati Sengupta contributed to this article.

For those of you wanting to know about the number of American Indian tribes in the United States, here is a listing of federally-recognized tribes. What this means is that these tribes receive services from the United States governments and that the members of these tribes receive official documents like identity cards. This list, however, is not complete as it does not include tribes in Canada, Hawai’i, or Alaska:

1. Absentee-Shawnee Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma
2. Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians of the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation, California
3. Ak Chin Indian Community of the Maricopa (Ak Chin) Indian Reservation, Arizona
4. Alabama-Coushatta Tribes of Texas
5. Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town, Oklahoma
6. Alturas Indian Rancheria, California
7. Apache Tribe of Oklahoma
8. Arapahoe Tribe of the Wind River Reservation, Wyoming
9. Aroostook Band of Micmac Indians of Maine
10. Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, Montana
11. Augustine Band of Cahuilla Mission Indians of the Augustine Reservation, California
12. Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians of the
13. Bad River Reservation, Wisconsin
14. Bay Mills Indian Community, Michigan (previously listed as the Bay Mills Indian Community of the Sault Ste. Marie Band of Chippewa Indians, Bay Mills Reservation, Michigan)
15. Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria, California
16. Berry Creek Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California
17. Big Lagoon Rancheria, California
18. Big Pine Band of Owens Valley Paiute Shoshone Indians of the Big Pine Reservation, California
19. Big Sandy Rancheria of Mono Indians of California
20. Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians of the Big Valley Rancheria, California
21. Blackfeet Tribe of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation of Montana
22. Blue Lake Rancheria, California
23. Bridgeport Paiute Indian Colony of California
24. Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians of California
25. Burns Paiute Tribe of the Burns Paiute Indian Colony of Oregon
26. Cabazon Band of Cahuilla Mission Indians of the Cabazon Reservation, California
27. Cachil DeHe Band of Wintun Indians of the Colusa Indian Community of the Colusa Rancheria, California
28. Caddo Indian Tribe of Oklahoma
29. Cahuilla Band of Mission Indians of the Cahuilla Reservation, California
30. Cahto Indian Tribe of the Laytonville Rancheria, California
31. California Valley Miwok Tribe, California (formerly the Sheep Ranch Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians of California)
32. Campo Band of Diegueno Mission Indians of the Campo Indian Reservation, California
33. Capitan Grande Band of Diegueno Mission Indians of California:
* Barona Group of Capitan Grande Band of Mission Indians of the Barona Reservation, California
* Viejas (Baron Long) Group of Capitan Grande Band of Mission Indians of the Viejas Reservation, California
34. Catawba Indian Nation (aka Catawba Tribe of South Carolina)
35. Cayuga Nation of New York
36. Cedarville Rancheria, California
37. Chemehuevi Indian Tribe of the Chemehuevi Reservation, California
38. Cher-Ae Heights Indian Community of the Trinidad Rancheria, California
39. Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma
40. Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma
41. Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of the Cheyenne River Reservation, South Dakota
42. Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma
43. Chicken Ranch Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians of California
44. Chippewa-Cree Indians of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation, Montana
45. Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana
46. Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
47. Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Oklahoma
48. Cloverdale Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California
49. Cocopah Tribe of Arizona
50. Coeur D’Alene Tribe of the Coeur D’Alene Reservation, Idaho
51. Cold Springs Rancheria of Mono Indians of California
52. Colorado River Indian Tribes of the Colorado River Indian Reservation, Arizona and California
53. Comanche Nation, Oklahoma (formerly the Comanche Indian Tribe)
54. Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation, Montana
55. Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation, Washington
56. Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Washington
57. Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians of Oregon
58. Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation, Nevada and Utah
59. Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon
60. Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Reservation, Oregon
61. Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation, Oregon
62. Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon
63. Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Indian Nation of the Yakama Reservation, Washington
64. Coquille Tribe of Oregon
65. Cortina Indian Rancheria of Wintun Indians of California
66. Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana
67. Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Indians of Oregon
68. Cowlitz Indian Tribe, Washington
69. Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians of California
70. Crow Tribe of Montana
71. Crow Creek Sioux Tribe of the Crow Creek Reservation, South Dakota
72. Cuyapaipe Community of Diegueno Mission Indians of the Cuyapaipe Reservation, California
73. Death Valley Timbi-Sha Shoshone Band of California
74. Delaware Nation, Oklahoma (formerly Delaware Tribe of Western Oklahoma)
75. Delaware Tribe of Indians, Oklahoma
76. Dry Creek Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California
77. Duckwater Shoshone Tribe of the Duckwater Reservation, Nevada
78. Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina
79. Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma
80. Elem Indian Colony of Pomo Indians of the Sulphur Bank Rancheria, California
81. Elk Valley Rancheria, California
82. Ely Shoshone Tribe of Nevada
83. Enterprise Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California
84. Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe of South Dakota
85. Forest County Potawatomi Community, Wisconsin (previously listed as the Forest County Potawatomi Community of Wisconsin Potawatomi Indians, Wisconsin)
86. Fort Belknap Indian Community of the Fort Belknap Reservation of Montana
87. Fort Bidwell Indian Community of the Fort Bidwell Reservation of California
88. Fort Independence Indian Community of Paiute Indians of the Fort Independence Reservation, California
89. Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribes of the Fort McDermitt Indian Reservation, Nevada and Oregon
90. Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Arizona (formerly the Fort McDowell Mohave-Apache Community of the Fort McDowell Indian Reservation)
91. Fort Mojave Indian Tribe of Arizona, California & Nevada
92. Fort Sill Apache Tribe of Oklahoma
93. Gila River Indian Community of the Gila River Indian Reservation, Arizona
94. Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Michigan (previously listed as the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians of Michigan)
95. Graton Rancheria, California
96. Greenville Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California
97. Grindstone Indian Rancheria of Wintun-Wailaki Indians of California
98. Guidiville Rancheria of California
99. Hannahville Indian Community, Michigan (previously listed as the Hannahville Indian Community of Wisconsin Potawatomie Indians of Michigan)
100. Havasupai Tribe of the Havasupai Reservation, Arizona
101. Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin (formerly known as the Wisconsin Winnebago Tribe)
102. Hoh Indian Tribe of the Hoh Indian Reservation, Washington
103. Hoopa Valley Tribe, California
104. Hopi Tribe of Arizona
105. Hopland Band of Pomo Indians of the Hopland Rancheria, California
106. Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians of Maine
107. Hualapai Indian Tribe of the Hualapai Indian Reservation, Arizona
108. Huron Potawatomi, Inc., Michigan
109. Inaja Band of Diegueno Mission Indians of the Inaja and Cosmit Reservation, California
110. Ione Band of Miwok Indians of California
111. Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska
112. Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma
113. Jackson Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians of California
114. Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe of Washington
115. Jamul Indian Village of California
116. Jena Band of Choctaw Indians, Louisiana
117. Jicarilla Apache Nation, New Mexico (formerly the Jicarilla Apache Tribe of the Jicarilla Apache Indian Reservation)
118. Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians of the Kaibab Indian Reservation, Arizona
119. Kalispel Indian Community of the Kalispel Reservation, Washington
120. Karuk Tribe of California
121. Kashia Band of Pomo Indians of the Stewarts Point Rancheria, California
122. Kaw Nation, Oklahoma
123. Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Michigan (previously listed as the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community of L’Anse and Ontonagon Bands of Chippewa Indians of the L’Anse Reservation, Michigan)
124. Kialegee Tribal Town, Oklahoma
125. Kickapoo Tribe of Indians of the Kickapoo Reservation in Kansas
126. Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma
127. Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas
128. Kiowa Indian Tribe of Oklahoma
129. Klamath Indian Tribe of Oregon
130. Kootenai Tribe of Idaho
131. La Jolla Band of Luiseno Mission Indians of the La Jolla Reservation, California
132. La Posta Band of Diegueno Mission Indians of the La Posta Indian Reservation, California
133. Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin (previously listed as the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of the Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation of Wisconsin)
134. Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of the Lac du Flambeau Reservation of Wisconsin
135. Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Michigan
136. Las Vegas Tribe of Paiute Indians of the Las Vegas Indian Colony, Nevada
137. Little River Band of Ottawa Indians of Michigan
138. Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Michigan (previously listed as the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians of Michigan)
139. Lower Lake Rancheria, California
140. Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla Mission Indians of the Los Coyotes Reservation, California
141. Lovelock Paiute Tribe of the Lovelock Indian Colony, Nevada
142. Lower Brule Sioux Tribe of the Lower Brule Reservation, South Dakota
143. Lower Elwha Tribal Community of the Lower Elwha Reservation, Washington
144. Lower Sioux Indian Community in the State of Minnesota (previously listed as the Lower Sioux Indian Community of Minnesota Mdewakanton Sioux Indians of the Lower Sioux Reservation in Minnesota)
145. Lummi Tribe of the Lummi Reservation, Washington
146. Lytton Rancheria of California
147. Makah Indian Tribe of the Makah Indian Reservation, Washington
148. Manchester Band of Pomo Indians of the Manchester-Point Arena Rancheria, California
149. Manzanita Band of Diegueno Mission Indians of the Manzanita Reservation, California
150. Mashantucket Pequot Tribe of Connecticut
151. Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan
152. Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria, California
153. Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin
154. Mesa Grande Band of Diegueno Mission Indians of the Mesa Grande Reservation, California
155. Mescalero Apache Tribe of the Mescalero Reservation, New Mexico
156. Miami Tribe of Oklahoma
157. Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida
158. Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California
159. Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Minnesota – Six component reservations:
* Bois Forte Band (Nett Lake);
* Fond du Lac Band;
* Grand Portage Band;
* Leech Lake Band;
* Mille Lacs Band;
* White Earth Band
160. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Mississippi
161. Moapa Band of Paiute Indians of the Moapa River Indian Reservation, Nevada
162. Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma
163. Mohegan Indian Tribe of Connecticut
164. Mooretown Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California
165. Morongo Band of Cahuilla Mission Indians of the Morongo Reservation, California
166. Muckleshoot Indian Tribe of the Muckleshoot Reservation, Washington
167. Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Oklahoma
168. Narragansett Indian Tribe of Rhode Island
169. Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico & Utah
170. Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho
171. Nisqually Indian Tribe of the Nisqually Reservation, Washington
172. Nooksack Indian Tribe of Washington
173. Northern Cheyenne Tribe of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, Montana
174. North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California
175. Northwestern Band of Shoshoni Nation of Utah (Washakie)
176. Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota
177. Omaha Tribe of Nebraska
178. Oneida Nation of New York
179. Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin (previously listed as the Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin)
180. Onondaga Nation of New York
181. Osage Tribe, Oklahoma
182. Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma
183. Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Indians, Oklahoma
184. Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah
* Cedar City Band of Paiutes
* Kanosh Band of Paiutes
* Koosharem Band of Paiutes
* Indian Peaks Band of Paiutes
* Shivwits Band of Paiutes
185. Paiute-Shoshone Indians of the Bishop Community of the Bishop Colony, California
186. Paiute-Shoshone Tribe of the Fallon Reservation and Colony, Nevada
187. Paiute-Shoshone Indians of the Lone Pine Community of the Lone Pine Reservation, California
188. Pala Band of Luiseno Mission Indians of the Pala Reservation, California
189. Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona
190. Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians of California
191. Passamaquoddy Tribe of Maine
192. Pauma Band of Luiseno Mission Indians of the Pauma & Yuima Reservation, California
193. Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma
194. Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians of the Pechanga Reservation, California
195. Penobscot Tribe of Maine
196. Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma
197. Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians of California
198. Pinoleville Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California
199. Pit River Tribe, California
* Big Bend,
* Lookout,
* Montgomery
* Creek & Roaring Creek Rancherias
* XL Ranch
200. Poarch Band of Creek Indians of Alabama
201. Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Michigan and Indiana (previously listed as the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians of Michigan)
202. Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma
203. Ponca Tribe of Nebraska
204. Port Gamble Indian Community of the Port Gamble Reservation, Washington
205. Potter Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California
206. Prairie Band of Potawatomi Nation, Kansas (formerly the Prairie Band of Potawatomi Indians)
207. Prairie Island Indian Community in the State of Minnesota (previously listed as the Prairie Island Indian Community of Minnesota Mdewakanton Sioux Indians of the Prairie Island Reservation, Minnesota)
208. Pueblo of Acoma, New Mexico
209. Pueblo of Cochiti, New Mexico
210. Pueblo of Jemez, New Mexico
211. Pueblo of Isleta, New Mexico
212. Pueblo of Laguna, New Mexico
213. Pueblo of Nambe, New Mexico
214. Pueblo of Picuris, New Mexico
215. Pueblo of Pojoaque, New Mexico
216. Pueblo of San Felipe, New Mexico
217. Pueblo of San Juan, New Mexico
218. Pueblo of San Ildefonso, New Mexico
219. Pueblo of Sandia, New Mexico
220. Pueblo of Santa Ana, New Mexico
221. Pueblo of Santa Clara, New Mexico
222. Pueblo of Santo Domingo, New Mexico
223. Pueblo of Taos, New Mexico
224. Pueblo of Tesuque, New Mexico
225. Pueblo of Zia, New Mexico
226. Puyallup Tribe of the Puyallup Reservation, Washington
227. Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of the Pyramid Lake Reservation, Nevada
228. Quapaw Tribe of Indians, Oklahoma
229. Quartz Valley Indian Community of the Quartz Valley Reservation of California
230. Quechan Tribe of the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation, California & Arizona
231. Quileute Tribe of the Quileute Reservation, Washington
232. Quinault Tribe of the Quinault Reservation, Washington
233. Ramona Band or Village of Cahuilla Mission Indians of California
234. Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin
235. Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, Minnesota (previously listed as the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians of the Red Lake Reservation, Minnesota)
236. Redding Rancheria, California
237. Redwood Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California
238. Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, Nevada
239. Resighini Rancheria, California (formerly the Coast Indian Community of Yurok Indians of the Resighini Rancheria)
240. Rincon Band of Luiseno Mission Indians of the Rincon Reservation, California
241. Robinson Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California
242. Rosebud Sioux Tribe of the Rosebud Indian Reservation, South Dakota
243. Round Valley Indian Tribes of the Round Valley Reservation, California (formerly known as the Covelo Indian Community)
244. Rumsey Indian Rancheria of Wintun Indians of California
245. Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa
246. Sac & Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas and Nebraska
247. Sac & Fox Nation, Oklahoma
248. Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan (previously listed as the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, Isabella Reservation)
249. St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin (previously listed as the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin, St. Croix Reservation)
250. St. Regis Band of Mohawk Indians of New York
251. Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community of the Salt River Reservation, Arizona
252. Samish Indian Tribe, Washington
253. San Carlos Apache Tribe of the San Carlos Reservation, Arizona
254. San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe of Arizona
255. San Manual Band of Serrano Mission Indians of the San Manual Reservation, California
256. San Pasqual Band of Diegueno Mission Indians of California
257. Santa Rosa Indian Community of the Santa Rosa Rancheria, California
258. Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Mission Indians of the Santa Rosa Reservation, California
259. Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Mission Indians of the Santa Ynez Reservation, California
260. Santa Ysabel Band of Diegueno Mission Indians of the Santa Ysabel Reservation, California
261. Santee Sioux Tribe of the Santee Reservation of Nebraska
262. Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe of Washington
263. Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Michigan
264. Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians of California
265. Seminole Nation of Oklahoma
266. Seminole Tribe of Florida
* Dania Reservations,
* Big Cypress Reservations,
* Brighton Reservations,
* Hollywood Reservations,
* Tampa Reservations
267. Seneca Nation of New York
268. Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma
269. Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Minnesota (previously listed as the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Minnesota (Prior Lake))
270. Shawnee Tribe, Oklahoma
271. Sherwood Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California
272. Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, Shingle Springs Rancheria (Verona Tract), California
273. Shoalwater Bay Tribe of the Shoalwater Bay Indian Reservation, Washington
274. Shoshone Tribe of the Wind River Reservation, Wyoming
275. Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation of Idaho
276. Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Reservation, Nevada
277. Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe of the Lake Traverse Reservation, South Dakota
278. Skokomish Indian Tribe of the Skokomish Reservation, Washington
279. Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians of Utah
280. Smith River Rancheria, California
281. Snoqualmie Tribe, Washington
282. Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians, California (formerly the Soboba Band of Luiseno Mission Indians of the Soboba Reservation)
283. Sokaogon Chippewa Community, Wisconsin (previously listed as the Sokaogon Chippewa Community of the Mole Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, Wisconsin)
284. Southern Ute Indian Tribe of the Southern Ute Reservation, Colorado
285. Spirit Lake Tribe, North Dakota
286. Spokane Tribe of the Spokane Reservation, Washington
287. Squaxin Island Tribe of the Squaxin Island Reservation, Washington
288. Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North & South Dakota
289. Stockbridge Munsee Community, Wisconsin (previously listed as the Stockbridge-Munsee Community of Mohican Indians of Wisconsin)
290. Stillaguamish Tribe of Washington
291. Summit Lake Paiute Tribe of Nevada
292. Suquamish Indian Tribe of the Port Madison Reservation, Washington
293. Susanville Indian Rancheria, California
294. Swinomish Indians of the Swinomish Reservation, Washington
295. Sycuan Band of Diegueno Mission Indians of California
296. Table Bluff Reservation–Wiyot Tribe, California
297. Table Mountain Rancheria of California
298. Te-Moak Tribes of Western Shoshone Indians of Nevada – Four constituent bands:
* Battle Mountain Band;
* Elko Band;
* South Fork Band;
* Wells Band
299. Thlopthlocco Tribal Town, Oklahoma
300. Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation, North Dakota
301. Tohono O’odham Nation of Arizona
302. Tonawanda Band of Seneca Indians of New York
303. Tonkawa Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma
304. Tonto Apache Tribe of Arizona
305. Torres-Martinez Band of Cahuilla Mission Indians of California
306. Tule River Indian Tribe of the Tule River Reservation, California
307. Tulalip Tribes of the Tulalip Reservation, Washington
308. Tunica-Biloxi Indian Tribe of Louisiana
309. Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians of the Tuolumne Rancheria of California
310. Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians of North Dakota
311. Tuscarora Nation of New York
312. Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians of California (previously listed as the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Luiseno Mission Indians of California
313. United Auburn Indian Community of the Auburn Rancheria of California
314. United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma (previously listed as the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians of Oklahoma)
315. Upper Lake Band of Pomo Indians of Upper Lake Rancheria of California
316. Upper Sioux Community, Minnesota (previously listed as the Upper Sioux Indian Community of the Upper Sioux Reservation, Minnesota)
317. Upper Skagit Indian Tribe of Washington
318. Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah & Ouray Reservation, Utah
319. Ute Mountain Tribe of the Ute Mountain Reservation, Colorado, New Mexico & Utah
320. Utu Utu Gwaitu Paiute Tribe of the Benton Paiute Reservation, California
321. Walker River Paiute Tribe of the Walker River Reservation, Nevada
322. Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) of Massachusetts
323. Washoe Tribe of Nevada & California
* Carson Colony,
* Dresslerville Colony,
* Woodfords Community,
* Stewart Community,
* Washoe Ranches
324. White Mountain Apache Tribe of the Fort Apache Reservation, Arizona
325. Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, Oklahoma
* Wichita,
* Keechi,
* Waco,
* Tawakonie
326. Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska
327. Winnemucca Indian Colony of Nevada
328. Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma
329. Yankton Sioux Tribe of South Dakota
330. Yavapai-Apache Nation of the Camp Verde Indian Reservation, Arizona
331. Yavapai-Prescott Tribe of the Yavapai Reservation, Arizona
332. Yerington Paiute Tribe of the Yerington Colony & Campbell Ranch, Nevada
333. Yomba Shoshone Tribe of the Yomba Reservation, Nevada
334. Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo of Texas
335. Yurok Tribe of the Yurok Reservation, California
336. Zuni Tribe of the Zuni Reservation, New Mexico

cartoon by Carlos Latuff

cartoon by Carlos Latuff

Yesterday you were asking about the various American Indian tribes today; many of those tribes have websites which you can look at by clicking on the links to the right. But here is another link to a website that lists the many tribes which are grouped by their languages.

It is important to remember that many of these tribes–especially those in the north and the south–have been forced to live with their people divided into two places. For example, there are many tribes who have half of their people in what is now Canada and half in what is now the United States. There is a conflict along this border area right now and Russell Means wrote about it on his website this week:

On June 1, Canada’s domestic boarder force, known for rampant racism, was going to begin armed patrols at the Cromwell Island crossing. Prime Minister Stephen Harper it seems wishes very much to emulate the worst parts of America, including para-militarizing police functions.

Akwesasne is a unique community in that it is divided in the middle by an entirely artificial border between this thing presently called the United States and the British dominion of Canada. This is the same boarder crossing where MNN publisher Kahentinetha Horn was attacked and beaten by Canadian boarder troops for which she had to be hospitalized.

This border is in the middle of a thriving Mohawk community, and the last thing people want is armed checkpoints in the middle of their community, like for example you see in the West bank. The people of Akwesasne said no, and occupied the border post themselves after Harper’s goons retreated and vacated the post.

Today, this border post remains fully liberated territory, in the hands of the community and the Haudenosaunee nations, even while the entire community of Akwesasne been sealed and blockaded by armed forces from both Canada and the United States, since Tuesday.

I can guarantee the U.S. and Canadian armed standoff has not and will not be reported in the mainstream press, as all significant issues involving indigenous people is deliberately censored in the western press. More disturbing, those press ambitious enough to try and report this story, as well as international observers, have been denied access to the area by the U.S. and Canadian governments.

While this community is held hostage by hostile armed forces, it remains determined not to give in. Nor do those involved believe this conflict will be kept contained and silenced by these governments. There is an effort to internationalize this crisis through the United Nations and OAS, as well as to consider the question that holding civilian populations as armed hostages is a war crime. Certainly I have made the resources of my office as ambassador, meager as they are, available to the Haudenosanee nation in there struggle, and I may have a chance to discuss these efforts with supportive national governments on my next trip later this month (as some know I was in Spain last week…).

In a way, we, all of us on Turtle Island, are all Akwesasne, held hostage by criminal and illegitimate governments serving the greed of the few. The community of Akwesasne needs your support. If you are in the area, and can go there, please do. Bear witness if nothing else. If you can, bring in supplies, by boat at night, and break the blockage.

Another important item in the news about Indigenous people in the Americas today comes from California where a tribe is being forced off their land. Here is a brief bit of information about the situation followed by a video on the subject:

We need immediate assistance, this is the outcome from Troy Burdick’s (Superintendent at the Central California Agency/BIA, located in Sacramento Calif.) continued efforts to illegally interfere into our Tribal Governmental Affairs (and the effects of our rightful Tribal members pleas for assistance, being ignored by the Bureau). We are a federally recognized Tribe, listed in the Federal Register and in the Dept. of the Interior/Bureau of Indian Affairs, Tribal Leaders Directory, Winter 2009.

Because our pleas for help have been constantly ignored, we now have lost our only piece of tribal property to foreclosure and will be removed by force on June 17th, 2009 (Elders and children included). We are asking for your assistance…. if anyone of you that I am contacting have a way to contact Mr. Salazar or Mr. Echohawk to make them aware of our crisis…. please do so!!!!!


We need to get the attention of Mr. Echohawk or Mr. Salazar, IMMEDIATELY!!!!

The Tribe has no money and nowhere to go…. we will be forced to barricade ourselves at the property for local and international news crews to hear what is happening to our Tribe and how the BIA is allowing this to happen.

Our Tribe will not go willing on the 17th (we have no where to go) and we will not allow our Tribal Governmental “Confidential” documents to be given to INDYMAC BANK. We are asking that someone help us get this important information to the attention of Mr. Salazar and/or Mr. Echohawk. The Tribe has been located at this property for over 7 years. The “TRIBE” and its legitimate members have vowed to not leave this property until we have a place to move to. That means we need Mr. Salazar, Secretary of the Interior and/or Mr. Larry Echohawk to CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY to help resolve this URGENT MATTER/CRISIS.

Finally, there is one more important indigenous story this week that comes to us from Peru where the government massacred the indigenous people protesting the take over of their land by multinational corporations:

It has been called the world’s second “oil war”, but the only similarity between Iraq and events in the jungles of northern Peru over the last few weeks has been the mismatch of force. On one side have been the police armed with automatic weapons, teargas, helicopter gunships and armoured cars. On the other are several thousand Awajun and Wambis Indians, many of them in war paint and armed with bows and arrows and spears.

In some of the worst violence seen in Peru in 20 years, the Indians this week warned Latin America what could happen if companies are given free access to the Amazonian forests to exploit an estimated 6bn barrels of oil and take as much timber they like. After months of peaceful protests, the police were ordered to use force to remove a road bock near Bagua Grande.

In the fights that followed, at least 50 Indians and nine police officers were killed, with hundreds more wounded or arrested. The indigenous rights group Survival International described it as “Peru’s Tiananmen Square”.

“For thousands of years, we’ve run the Amazon forests,” said Servando Puerta, one of the protest leaders. “This is genocide. They’re killing us for defending our lives, our sovereignty, human dignity.”