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!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Demand Justice for Little Naomi

For the Little Ones
When a little baby cries,
who was there to comfort the child?
What if that baby dies,
who will give them justice?
In the ground they now lie,
who will remember them?
Their spirits now fly
back home, back to the Creator.
Ben Carnes, (c) 2011

Recently, a Logan County jury found foster mother, Amy Holder, guilty of felony child abuse. The jury recommended only a $5,000 fine in the bludgeon death of two-year-old Cheyenne & Arapaho member, Naomi Whitecrow.

The sentence sparked an outrage, not just in the Native communities, but also by many parents and people throughout the world. In the social network, Facebook, Glenda Deer set up an event notification asking people to come to the Logan County Courthouse on Nov. 7th in Guthrie, OK, at Amy Holders 3PM sentencing in support of a stiffer sentence and support for "little Naomi". She wrote,
 "$5,000 for killing a Indian child in 2011?!... Our Indian kids are priceless....there is NO amount of $ that can be set on ANY child...I SAY PACK THE COURTROOM NOVEMBER (7th)...!!! LET GUTHERIE FEEL THE PRESENCE OF INDIAN PEOPLE! There is no JUSTICE for indian really is "JUST US"

Rosemary Stephens, Editor-in-Chief for the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal Tribune, who followed and attended the trial, initiated a letter writing campaign with the support of the Cheyenne & Arapaho. 
Ms. Stephens has also organized a "Campaign Justice for Naomi Rally" at the state capitol building on the South Plaza in Oklahoma City for Nov. 2nd (11AM - 3PM)

The story of little Naomi reached far into Portugal where Jonathon Eveleigh was moved into creating an online petition to the Governor of Oklahoma, Mary Fallin, and to Thomas E. Perez of the US Justice Dept: Civil Rights Division. You can sign this petition here, which is currently at 579 signatures:

When I first heard about this case, I began researching and found an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation report which recommended the filing of charges against the foster mother, Holder. Little Naomi was placed in her care on September 12, 2008 and she was dead on January 20, 2009. Holder was not charged until a year later, after an a pathologist determined Little Naomi died from blunt force trauma to the head, abdomen, and extremities.

The report reveals conflicting evidence with convicted child abuser, Amy Holders claims that little Naomi had "severe problems". The report shows that the previous foster parents said Naomi was a happy child, and the DHS case worker found nothing to substantiate Holders claims. In an article written by Stephens, she reports that an anonymous juror revealed that some of the jury wanted Holder to receive 25 years imprisonment, while others felt she wasn't the only one to blame, and "... the deliberation got heated".  (see story entitled "Jury finds foster mother guilty, no jail time)

At the Nov. 2nd rally, another mother will be speaking, Yolonda Blue Horse, Lakota, whose daughter was killed by a babysitter in Texas, struggled in court for a long time to see that justice was delivered. She sent this message: "... Please say a prayer for Naomi White Crow and her family. My biggest hope is that this child did not die in vain. We hope some changes or perhaps a murder charge can be brought to light. At this rally, I will also share my part of my daughter's story. I will share what I have learned....and that is, if this woman gets off again, she is only being given, yet another opportunity, to hurt or kill another child. The same situation as the monster who killed my daughter. " Yolonda

Along with Yolanda and other invited speakers, I will be speaking at this rally as a representative of Eagle Council, a confederation of the Indigenous peoples of Indian Territory, (aka Oklahoma). We hope that our voices and prayers will touch the hearts and minds of many.

I want to see many of you there, and if it is to far to travel, please forward this to your own network. Yakoke!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: ready for a paradigm shift?

The following is comes from the blog of Colorado American Indian Movement which proposes a 10 point platform for acknowledgement and support. I've read this piece and believe that it is well written and needs to be widely supported. I would ask that this be delivered to all the other cities that are engaged in an "occupation", campus organization and anywhere else. I believe that we should hope to get endorsements from Native peoples to encourage support for the 10 points. I feel that this could be the basis of establishing a gathering of the Native First Nations to build upon and set a mandate for what needs to happen next. Please read, and repost/share! ~ Ben Carnes

Proposal from Colorado AIM to "Occupy Denver"

An Indigenous Platform Proposal for “Occupy Denver”
"Now we put our minds together to see what kind of world we can create for the seventh generation yet to come."
- John Mohawk (1944-2006), Seneca Nation

As indigenous peoples, we welcome the awakening of those who are relatively new to our homeland. We are thankful, and rejoice, for the emergence of a movement that is mindful of its place in the environment, that seeks economic and social justice, that strives for an end to oppression in all its forms, that demands an adequate standard of food, employment, shelter and health care for all, and that calls for envisioning a new, respectful and honorable society. We have been waiting for 519 years for such a movement, ever since that fateful day in October, 1492 when a different worldview arrived – one of greed, hierarchy, destruction and genocide.

In observing the “Occupy Together” expansion, we are reminded that the territories of our indigenous nations have been “under occupation” for decades, if not centuries. We remind the occupants of this encampment in Denver that they are on the territories of the Cheyenne, Arapaho and Ute peoples. In the U.S., indigenous nations were the first targets of corporate/government oppression. The landmark case of Johnson v. McIntosh (1823), which institutionalized the “doctrine of discovery” in U.S. law, and which justified the theft of 2 billion acres of indigenous territory, established a framework of corrupt political/legal/corporate collusion that continues throughout indigenous America, to the present.

If this movement is serious about confronting the foundational assumptions of the current U.S. system, then it must begin by addressing the original crimes of the U.S. colonizing system against indigenous nations. Without addressing justice for indigenous peoples, there can never be a genuine movement for justice and equality in the United States. Toward that end, we challenge Occupy Denver to take the lead, and to be the first “Occupy” city to integrate into its philosophy, a set of values that respects the rights of indigenous peoples, and that recognizes the importance of employing indigenous visions and models in restoring environmental, social, cultural, economic and political health to our homeland.

We call on Occupy Denver to endorse, as a starting point, the following:

1. To repudiate the Doctrine of Christian Discovery, to endorse the repeal of the papal bull Inter Caetera (1493) to work for the reversal of the U.S. Supreme Court case of Johnson v. M’Intosh 1823), and call for a repeal of the Columbus Day holiday as a Colorado and United States holiday.

2. To endorse the right of all indigenous peoples to the international right of self-determination, by virtue of which they freely determine their political status, and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural futures.

3. To demand the recognition, observance and enforcement of all treaties and agreements freely entered into `between indigenous nations and the United States. Treaties should be recognized as binding international instruments. Disputes should be recognized as a proper concern of international law, and should be arbitrated by impartial international bodies.

4. To insist that Indigenous people shall never be forcibly relocated from their lands or territories.

5. To acknowledge that Indigenous peoples have the right to practice and teach their spiritual and religious traditions customs and ceremonies, including in institutions of the State, e.g. prisons, jails and hospitals,, and to have access in privacy their religious and cultural sites, and the right to the repatriation of their human remains and funeral objects.

6. To recognize that Indigenous peoples and nations are entitled to the permanent control and enjoyment of their aboriginal-ancestral territories. This includes surface and subsurface rights, inland and coastal waters, renewable and non-renewable resources, and the economies based on these resources. In advancement of this position, to stand in solidarity with the Cree nations, whose territories are located in occupied northern Alberta, Canada, in their opposition to the Tar Sands development, the largest industrial project on earth. Further, to demand that President Barack Obama deny the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline, proposed to run from the tar sands in Canada into the United States, and that the United States prohibit the use or transportation of Tar Sands oil in the United States.

7. To assert that Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions. They have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions. Further, indigenous peoples have the right to the ownership and protection of their human biological and genetic materials, samples, and stewardship of non-human biological and genetic materials found in indigenous territories.

8. To recognize that the settler state boundaries in the Americas are colonial fabrications that should not limit or restrict the ability of indigenous peoples to travel freely, without inhibition or restriction, throughout the Americas. This is especially true for indigenous nations whose people and territories have been separated by the acts of settler states that established international borders without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples affected.

9. To demand that the United States shall take no adverse action regarding the territories, lands, resources or people of indigenous nations without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples affected.

10. To demand the immediate release of American Indian political prisoner, Leonard Peltier, U.S. Prisoner #89637-132, from U.S. federal custody.

Finally, we also remind Occupy Denver that indigenous histories, political, cultural, environmental, medical, spiritual and economic traditions provide rich examples for frameworks that can offer concrete models of alternatives to the current crises facing the United States. We request that Occupy Denver actively utilize and integrate indigenous perspectives, teachers, and voices in its deliberations and decision-making processes. Submitted 8 October 2011
American Indian Movement of Colorado
P.O. Box 292, Sedalia, CO 80135 ; email:

Actually, 519 years and counting!