To free the land, you must first free your mind...

This is a conceptual platform for the expression of ideas and issues initiating discussion and action. The communiqué's are my perceptions, opinions and vision about contemporary issues/causes, people I admire & respect, and my goals for the future. My main focus is on the Chahta People by sharing our past to plan for the future today!

Friday, August 26, 2016

MSNBC reporter tells the historical truth of genocide and Standing Rock

The original sin of this country is that we invaders shot and murdered our way across the land
killing every Native American we could and made treaties with the rest. This country was
founded on genocide! Laurence O'Donnell, MSNBC 8/25/16

The news coming out of Standing Rock have been from alternative sources, very little from mainstream news unless it is slanted against the Native people. While checking my Facebook newsfeed for the latest info, I came across the video from MSNBC's Last Word, hosted by Laurence O"Donnell.

I've watched it three times. The first time, I was shocked, (that doesn't happen very often), he told the truth, every word! He didn't sugarcoat or make excuses. The second time I watched it, I wonder how far reaching the effects of his words will be, and if it would be taken to heart from so many people who told us that it was in the past, let it go. I'm sure there will be some who will call him a traitor or just stop watching his show. The third time I watched it, I thought we cannot stop the work we are doing through our alliances, it has to grow and build. It isn't going to be a cakewalk, anything worth fighting for is never easily gained.

This man fired a shot in their hallowed halls of revisionist history, and that is only because of so many people coming together. Share this video quickly, by now another news cycle is shaping up and it'll be another story tomorrow. The media is a business and very rarely do they stay on a subject very long unless it is a national scandal. I ran into Geraldo Rivera  at the Oklahoma City bombsite during rescue efforts so I took the opportunity to speak to him about future coverage on Native issues since he had did one on Leonard Peltier. His dismissive response was,"I already did my Indian thing".

Yes, this story made me feel good to know that millions of people heard the truth as I often tell it, but it isn't time to rest, we can all rest when we are dead, right now we have much work to do for the coming generations as the little ones watch us now.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Standing Rock: many nations, one people

"It is not necessary for
eagles to be crows"

Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa

Its almost 2 AM and I made a Facebook post about the Kanaka Maoli who came to help protect the waters (Native Hawaiian's). This was very important to me as I recall the relationships that our people have made with them over the years, we've supported them for their independence from the US, which was reaffirmed by former President Clinton signing an apology to the Kanaka Maoli's for the unlawful overthrow of the lawful Hawaiian Kingdom in the by the United States military and its agents. The apology was toothless, but it acknowledged the truth they were illegally overthrown by force and if you have colonized a people and their lands, the only right thing is to relinquish your control over it. I know it bothers people that we all do not chose to be Americans, but I believe the quote above, attributed to Sitting Bull, is very relevant within the context of the colonization to eradicate our culture and our connections to the land. And you are in the lands of the Hunkpapa.

When I went to Hawai'i, I was not aware of the Akaka Bill hearings starting up in Honolulu until my friends, whom I was visiting on Kaua'i asked me if I was there for the hearings. I said I wasn't aware of a hearing on the Bill, which was almost a carbon copy of the Indian Reorganization Act. If passed, the bill would have submitted them to the authority and jurisdiction of the United States. Creating a roadblock to their independence. They called for a friends on their island to come and share their stories with me. We met at a bed and breakfast by the beach, built and owned by Michael and Sondra Grace, who were evicted from their home, previously, which was torn down (news report at 25:00).

The people who came told me of their history and their stories of resistance, it is no different than ours and they seek to do it in a Pono (good) way, as do the Hunkpapa's at Standing Rock, who put the call out for support in protecting the waters. There was one man who came, Henry Smith, he told me his brother was on a waiting list of the Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL) for a very long time to move onto his lot where DHHL constructed his home, which was of sub-quality. He fought them for several years to repair his home, but lost and was going to be evicted. When the police came to evict him, he poured gasoline throughout his house and sat down in a chair in his home before he lit a match. It was powerful and tragic event at the same time. What has never left me is that while he was speaking, he collapsed. An ambulance took him to the hospital where he died from massive heart failure. As the medics were placing Henry on the stretcher, I went and placed my hands on his arm and told him I would make sure others would know his story. I shared it with the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs after a Kanaka said he would yield me his time to speak. After speaking against the Bill and sharing Henry's story, the committee turned of my microphone and walked out on me as I was still speaking.

I've shared what I remember with many people over the years, but it is important that I share it today with everyone because the next thing I want to share is what has been on my mind for a few days now, and somehow, with the Kanaka Maoli being there now - I felt everyone who needs to be there is there now, and I need to share the following with you.

Most people know that I have worked with the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee over the years. And some may remember when I did the spiritual fast at the White House in 2009. It was there sitting across from the White House holding my pipe bag that I thought about all the years we have been coming to DC to raise awareness or push for legislation, and what had we accomplished in securing our independence as a sovereign nation, upholding the terms of those treaties, or reconciling the manipulation of their laws that resulted in further loss of lands and resources. I prayed and thought on those things during that time. And before the end of the fast that it seemed to come to me that a Grand Council of the Indigenous Nations in the Western Hemisphere needs to take place. It needs to happen with traditional Chiefs, Headmen, Clan Mothers, and spiritual leaders of the people to bring us of one mind.

I saw how our Native pride resurged in the Seventies through actions by young Natives led by traditionals, and I saw how the movement became fractured by the efforts of the FBI, federal government and corporations, with many of our people dead or in jail for standing up. Their sacrifices did awakened the spirit of our ancestors within us, and we began to stand against a system that has yet to deal honorably with us.

It is always a fight when it comes to returning stolen lands or money, as in the Cobell Settlement. Now it is seems they are intent on compromising our sovereignty with every lawsuit, settlement or Acts of Congress, and even the states are pushing harder, in some cases.  Those battles has us all over the country, including the UN, throughs the International Indian Treaty Council, on all types of issues, from mascots to traditional spirituality in the prisons, to water rights. Some people tried to weaken us by telling us what is more important, but what I have always know is that they are all important. They are all inter-connected, but today, we all know what is at the forefront, that is why you are there. And it looks like you will be there for a long time if DAPL is permitted to proceed.

You have the time and the people now, I simply ask everyone to consider if it is time to establish a coordinated plan to secure our sovereignty as a nation and not a semi-dependent nation? Shouldn't we be the ones to regulate the waters and other resources from our nation without asking for permission?

How we do this is through the support of the traditional leadership and a shared vision renewed through your defense of the waters. It wouldn't happen overnight since it took generations to bring us where we are now in a concerted effort, take time to conceive of what our world would look like if we were truly sovereign, along with understanding what it really implies on an international level. I worked with a group called the League of Indigenous Sovereign Nations with the idea of being many nations, but one people in how we rose to support one another across the hemisphere.
That is the thought I want to share with everyone. It is yours, do with it as you will. And should some people want to come together and discuss it to take it back to their communities, do so with one mind. The sacred fires have been lit and prayers have been made for what you are all doing. Yakoke! 

"Lets put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children" Sitting Bull

Monday, May 30, 2016

Leonard Peltier: on list for presidential pardon 2016

"This isn't over 'until they take Leonard
to the (Sun Dance) tree at Crow Dogs Paradise".
Andrew Ironshell, Sicangu

Early this morning, a post appeared on the social media network, Facebook, that Leonard Peltier was being granted a presidential pardon. I immediately checked the official website. Nothingh. I googled and still found nothing. I searched Facebook and found a youtube post where Dennis Banks announced (about 1 minute into the video) that some former secretary of state revealed to him there were five names on the list for consideration of a presidential pardon, and Peltiers name is on it!

It is great news to have some forward movement in his case, especially with his health problems and age the life sentences are essentially a death sentence. And the feds (FBI agents) retired or otherwise have said repeatedly that Leonard will never walk out of prison, I've always perceived this as a veiled threat on Leonard life.

Currently, we are waiting on some form of corroboration of this development since the family has not been notified by the attorneys or Leonard. I was communicating with some of his relatives when the post came out initially say Obama had granted a pardon. They didn't know anything about it.

I want to be clear on this point, I am not speaking or writing on behalf of Leonard or the LPDOC. I hold no official capacity, I only want to share my thoughts and experiences as a former National Spokesperson, board member and support group coordinator that right now is the time to marshal your forces. We must a expect a fight from those agents who have constantly attempted to undermine the work of Peltier, his committee and the supporters. I haven't heard of the Trimbachs, Woods or any other person of their ilk, but they'll come crawling out hoping to gain some attention and credibility to their distorted facts.

This is a good time to refresh your memory about his case at the official Peltier website, the international support he has had so that you can correct their misrepresentation of the facts. Keep pushing the petitions, hold meetings and show the documentaries that are available, and get other social justice organizations involved.

The last time Leonard was being considered for a pardon, the agents rose up in an uproar when Amy Goodman took a call on her show "Democracy Now" from then president Bill Clinton who was stumping for Al Gore. Ms. Goodman seize the opportunity to ask Clinton about Peltier. Clinton replied to the effect he was aware there was a lot of attention to this case and he would give it a look-see like anyone else." No commitment one way or the other, but the agents rallied to the White House, and while I am not privy to all the details, representatives from both sides met in the White House. When the commutations came as Clinton's last act in office. He apparently pardon a relative, but he left Peltiers application unsigned on his desk. When Bush took office, someone realized there was an unsigned pardon application there so a campaign was mounted to get Bush to sign off. He quickly denied it. That application took quite a few years to get to the president's desk.

The current pardon application began a few years ago and was intentionally kept quiet as I have been understood. There is a school of thought that the government despises being made to look as if they capitulated on the demands of the people. Yes, it sounds ludicrous, but I see the truth in it. Now that the application is apparently on Obama's desk, the agents will know and as soon as I can find that list in we'll know it for a fact.

In November 1999, we held a month long rally in DC, and we "forced" a meeting with a representative from the Justice Department when Janet Reno (former US Attorney General), it was such a condescending meeting, but afterwards on the sidewalk of the Justice Department I was compelled to say something that I normally would say or ask of others. I was asked to speak at a press conference outside of Justice and I told everyone that we just had another bullshit meeting with the government. Their representative acted all outraged and indignant that this was happening to this poor old Indian man and that she would bring it to Reno's attention in 7 minutes, then she would hear from someone else and continue to tell us she'll tell Reno in x number of minutes. I explained that this woman, who is Native, knows about Peltier's case, but her role was just to appease us as if we actually accomplished something. I said that if you want to see Leonard free before Bush takes office then everyone will have to make real sacrifices. By that I mean I don't care if you have to give up your job, your home and your relationship! Leonard has already given up half of his life and is counting on us to bring him out. Once he is out we can rebuild our own lives!

After I concluded, I wondered where those words came from. I wouldn't ask anyone to do something that I wouldn't do and then it hit me. This is what I had to do, and I did it. I went back to Oklahoma to no job, and a partner who wanted to file for divorce. When I rolled out of Oklahoma that night, all I could carry from my life was in a mini-van. She had hidden my family pictures, paintings and crafts given to me by prison inmates, and the human rights award I received. I returned to DC and gave it my best with raising awareness and building support, but the feds got to Clinton.

I shared this personal story with you to help you understand what it means to make a commitment and to know that I wouldn't ask you to do something I wouldn't do or that I have already done. Regardless of if Leonards name is or is not on presidents list for commutation and pardons. I'm going to ask you to make a commitment for at least the next seven months until the Christmas commutations is released. If his name is not there, then keep the pressure up before Obama leaves. We'll know then who will be in the White House and the committee will plot a course of action.

If you can make this commitment, then I will ask you to begin by contacting the LPDOC and submitting an application to begin a support group. The support groups is Leonards feet on the ground staging events and activities to increase awareness about his case. If there were active support groups in each community with a college or university it can have a far reaching effect. Sign up and take direction from the LPDOC, coordinate with them, provide updates and run your ideas by them. I know we are in the digital age, use it as a tool to organize and get in the streets or wherever you can have an impact. If you are physically able, get out there and network with other organizations and groups, Leonard needs that solidarity to come to fruition fast, Leonard is running out of time. That is why I ask that each of you make this commitment to bring him home.

The following are some of the events planned or taking place now:

  • Chauncey Peltier, Leonards oldest son, is organizing a Freedom Ride and he'll need support for this cross-country motorcycle ride, contact him and see how you can help.
  • Footprints for Peace just began a Ride for Freedom from the prison where Leonard is held captive, Coleman, FL to Washington, DC. They are doing what they can to raise awareness and if you check their website give them some support.
  • There is also a "Horse Riders for Justice" that will take place in Philadelphia, PA on July 26. Their point of contact is their Facebook page, Anonymous Indigenous Movement.

There may be other events, if so, let me know and I'll update them here.