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One Heartbeat, One Tribe: A Peaceful Indigenous Revolution

10:12 am in Uncategorized by wendydavis

(Please excuse any errors I may make in this post; there are conflicting details and dates, but what I present here I do in good faith.  First Nation Secwep trthomas has agreed to cohost the thread and offer more clarity.)

The Idle No More movement was started in November by four women in Saskatchewan who were emailing each other about Stephen Harper’s and the Tories’ Omnibus budget bill C-45, which many First Nations people say disregards longtime treaties, ignores their tribal sovereignty, encourages increased assimilation, and further degrades the health of the planet, all in the name of increased employment.  The women moved their conversations to Facebook, and the theme ‘it’s time to get off the couch and take act action’ grew like wildfire.  From Turtle Island*, Ontario on Dec. 11:

Tristan Hopper at the National Post chronicles the beginning of the movement, and cites these core issues Indigenous Canadians have with the Tory/Harper bill:

Ontario, the three Prairie Provinces as well as large parts of British Columbia and the Northwest Territories all sit on land that First Nations people signed over to Canada in exchange for a package of government guarantees. Treaty 9, the 1905/1906 treaty signed the people of Attawapiskat, for instance, guarantees that, in perpetuity, First Nations would receive “benefits that served to balance anything that they were giving.” The treaty also guaranteed total Aboriginal control over reserve lands. Idle No More organizers point to the disastrous state of Aboriginal health and living conditions on First Nations reserves and allege that these treaty rights are not being properly honoured — and that current attempts to amend the Indian Act will only erode existing Aboriginal rights. “Canada has not committed itself to addressing the colonial relationship it still has with indigenous peoples,” wrote Metis blogger Chelsea Vowel earlier this month. “I think it’s fair to say that most Canadians believe that kind of relationship no longer exists. We are trying to tell you that you are wrong.”

Co-organizers of Idle No More say the bill reduces the number of waterways and lakes under federal protection by 99%, and changes First Nation rights guaranteed them in the 1760s.  The bill will also give the Canadian government the power to change treaties that have long existed, and provides for the fast-tracking of federal approval of waterways like the Kitimat (no longer under protection) for the Northern Gateway pipeline.

On Dec. 11, Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence began a hunger strike that she announced she would break when PM Stephen Harper met with her.  So far he has not, and only offered delegates from his government; she has so far refused.  Liberal leadership contenders Justin Trudeau met with Ms. Spence in her Victoria Island tipi, while Mr. Garneau released a letter calling for Mr. Harper to build “renewed understanding” with Canada’s First Nations.

Solidarity actions, tobacco offerings, drum circles and round dances, flashmobs…most all with ample drumming, signifying the heartbeats of the people and planet have been spreading globally like wildfire.  My.fdl’s mzchief has been gathering tweets here and videos and tweets here.   In Edmonton Dec. 21:

Lower Nicola Indian Band Executive Director Arnie Narcisse spoke to the Merritt Herald recently:

 He likened the relationship between First Nations and the federal government to a buffalo jump, with the First Nations treaty and land rights as the buffalo driven over the cliff by the Harper Government, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Minister John Duncan, and pipeline proponents.

The Jobs and Growth Act basically gives the government the excuse to run roughshod over our right and title to this land,” he said. “All of these things are designed to sucker us into economics, if you will, at the cost of protecting the environment and all of the other things that matter to us.

Yes, the ploys sound overly familiar.  That more and more of the 99% worldwide are all becoming members of the third world disenfranchised now is even clear to the First Nation and First American Indigenous.  Solidarity with Idle No More and Chief Spence’s hunger strike have spread around the globe from New Zealand to Shiprock, MN to the American Northwest.  (See the right-hand column at Censored News for photos and actions)

Chief Spence in her tipi in Ottawas on Dec. 21:

Poet/musician and former American Indian Movement leader John Trudell writes in the last stanza of his poem ‘This Idle No More’:

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DoJ to Investigate Reign of Terror at Pine Ridge, SD in the 1970’s

7:26 pm in Uncategorized by wendydavis

2 photos and 2 portraits of Leonard Peltier

Leonard Peltier (Image: Peta de-Aztlan / Flickr)

According to the NY Times, after years of requests by Lakota leaders, US Attorney Brendan Johnson has announced that his department will review 50 deaths on or near the Pine Ridge Reservation in the 1970s.  Johnson says that he will assign a team of three assistant US attorneys to complete reports on each death, many of which had been determined to be accidental deaths or suicides.  If the panel reports that there are enough unanswered questions, he will recommend that the FBI* or other investigative bodies assist his team.  Johnson says he wants it done right, and it may take some time, but if prosecutions are needed as a result, he doesn’t care how long it takes, or how old the cases are.

His team has already begun to collect documents for their case files, and they intend to speak with family members soon.

“Many of the dead were associated with the American Indian Movement, or AIM, which was involved in a power struggle with Richard A. Wilson, the tribal president during the 1970s. And much of the violence occurred as a consequence of the conflict between AIM and the Guardians of the Oglala Nation, a paramilitary organization known as GOONs, organized by Mr. Wilson.

The period from 1973 to 1976, known on Pine Ridge as the “reign of terror,” was marked by deadly ambushes at highway checkpoints and gunfights that on occasion lasted for days. Among the casualties during the period were two F.B.I. agents. Leonard Peltier, an AIM member, was convicted of their murders.

The strife also included the 71-day standoff between AIM members and federal troops in 1973 at Wounded Knee, S.D.”

From the AIM-related section of a report on COINTELPRO, with contributions from Robert Boyle, Bob Brown, Tom Burghardt, Noam Chomsky, Ward Churchill, Kathleen Cleaver, Bruce Ellison, Cynthia McKinney, Nkechi Taifa, Laura Whitehorn, Nicholas Wilson, and Howard Zinn) in 2001, and presented to the World Conference on Racism in Durban, SA in 2001:

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Wanbli, SD: Lakotas Block XL Pipeline Trucks in Six-Hour Standoff

8:56 am in Uncategorized by wendydavis

(This diary is for my husband, who can’t remember a time when he didn’t think of the  Oglala’s home as his own spiritual home, and reveres Crazy Horse like no other.)

Good day to all of you; this is a time when we require stories of glorious dedication in defense of our earth and our people to offset the hibernation of the democracy movement as it readies itself for spring and restoration.  I think you’re going to love this story about a small group of First Americans standing up to some big trucks trying to cross their sovereign nation’s ‘reservation’.  I am tickled witless and energized.  I’ve been hoping to do a short series on Native American activist protests, and this is a great beginning, as more of us are beginning  to realize that we, the 99%,  are all becoming third-world citizens.  And note: The women in the video were awesome!!!

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These Are Dark Days. We Can Get to the Light…Together.

3:55 pm in Uncategorized by wendydavis

(for sadavis, with love on his birthday)

John Trudell seems intuitively to understand quantum physics and genetic memory of our ancestors contained within us; you might want to listen to the video as you read.  He is an amazing example of turning poison to medicine, and rising from the ashes as a Phoenix Poet Truthteller.

This week I happened to read a few new reports that served to pull together some ideas that I’d been hoping to weave together into a scrap of cloth that might be described loosely as “We really can get there from here.’ If it sounds to you as you read that  I’ve been drinking too much coffee, lately, I wouldn’t blame you a bit, and advise you that I’m posting this sign just for you:



Let me preface this diary by saying that it’s my belief that wholesale societal and political change for the better can only be accomplished by a major shift in our collective psycho-spiritual condition, although I don’t believe at all that it has to be some slow evolutionary process, but can be forced by events that jar us into enlightening change and awareness, rather like instantaneous Gestalts.

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We Will Not Cry Your Tears for You Any Longer!

9:26 am in Uncategorized by wendydavis

(by permission of Anthony Freda @

It seems to be my lot in life now to bear witness to events and stories whose poison I’m failing a bit lately to turn into medicine, which is an important prerequisite for a Willing Witness who isn’t more detached and philosophical about it all.   It’s of no matter to anyone but me how I recently have allowed too much psychic pain into my soul/mind/spirit and let down my protection, but I’ve been experiencing some existential meltdown of the second order, at least.  ;o)  Michael Franti says it pretty well:

Tell me why I need to know,
Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to know
All you’ve shown me.

Hey world, what you say,
Should I stick around for another day or two?
Don’t give up on me, I won’t give up on you.
Just believe in me like I believe in you.

I’ve been working on it, and listen over and over to folks like Everlast on the ‘still got a purpose to serve’ stuff, but meltdowns happen to the best of us, right?  ;o) It seems to be winding down now, and as always has happened before, the small voice of my next inner Phoenix Rising seems to zero in What’s Next for me and my writing; how can I use it best, la la la Anyway, all this self-indulgent junk is by way of letting you know why I might sound like an idiot and almost too intense to be borne.  I beg your pardon ahead of time.  ;o)  It may also be that some of you are feeling torn up by the galloping pace at which the Predator Class is attacking our lives on so many fronts that our heads are seriously dislocated by the constant swiveling to look at them, and the relatively little influence we can bring to bear to stop it.

To those of you reading who are doing okay: good on you; this may still allow you a window into others who aren’t quite fine; I hope you reach out to them.  To any of you of the Dislocated Hair on Fire Class ™; please know you’re not alone, and if you’re acting all odd-bodkins, or even more overtly crazy, much of it might be the national and planetary anxiety and anger.  Reach out for love, assurance…to those you love, and even those you don’t love.  We really are all in this together, and will need to quit wasting time on hate, condescension and mockery of those we perceive as political ‘enemies’ too often.  IMHO, of course.  ;o)

From Don Henley:

In a New York Minute
Everything can change
In a New York Minute
Things can get pretty strange
In a New York Minute
Everything can change
In a New York Minute

Lying here in the darkness
I hear the sirens wail
Somebody going to emergency
Somebody’s going to jail

If you find somebody to love in this world
You better hang on tooth and nail
The wolf is always at the door

And we should not be the ones going to Emergency and going to Jail!

Anyway: This Wee Phoenix Gestalt seems to amount to this:

I feel the dominoes trembling…shivering…ready to fall; lods of you do, too.  The indicators are all there, and while the white-dots-on-black-wooden-rectangle game pieces stand for different institutional and societal underpinnings in which we used to hold some measure of trust, WE ARE NOW BETRAYED BY THEM, and it’s hideous/insidious/outrageous.  Broken trust is infectious, it spreads like wildfire.  But please remember: at the times of maximum mistrust, hate and division comes too easily to us; the same can be said for times of financial fear: someone is to blame, and too many are ignorant as to the reality of it.  Racism always rears it’s head, social wedge issues gain prominence as proxies for what the Predators don’t want us coming together around. RESIST!

Grasp that most Americans are becoming third-world citizens, with fewer and fewer civil rights, decreasing access to jobs, social safety programs, increasing surveilled as we write and speak the truth, or protest war and corrosive governmental policies.

There simply may not be enough money to bail out the shuddering Zombie Banks, and only massive meltdown will cause any restructuring and rebuilding and adherence to the Rule of Law in the future.

We hear no truth from our federal government, and when a Rolling Stone investigative reporter or Dylan Ratigan or a few others bring some, we’re agog with pleasure, and crave more.  There is increasingly no reason to ask Members of Congress to fight for us; we’re disgustingly  down to begging for some less-than-crap person be appointed to Catfood Commission II?  Or ‘Could ya please tell us more than 10 of the 230 chemicals used in fracking??  Or ‘Could ya maybe re-route a bit of the Keystone Pipeline here and there?’ rather than: ‘Fuck That, Dept. of State: Don’t approve it, don’t build it!  Period.  We don’t want that nasty tar sands oil!  We demand sustainable, green energy policy NOW!  And an end to Planetary Murder by Toxic Wastes!’

Nope; we need to find others ways to resist; there are more ways popping up all the time; and October2011 is a really great one.

This video is by the truly awesome American poet John Trudell.  His story is possibly the quintessential Death by Fire/Phoenix Rising; he rose more pissed and eloquent than ever;  his message is clear and potent.  His is the most righteous message I know, both for his fellow Native Americans, all of us with empathy and now the knowledge that We Are They now, and this will resonate for you in the same way as Buffy Sainte Marie does in ‘Priests of the Golden Bull’ (do listen, please).

Here’s John:

Resist! and Love One Another Whenever and Wherever Possible; serve somebody and some community well… teach the ignorant some of the truth of what’s happening to us.  Cry no more tears for those Evil Predators.

Peace, Firepups, a bit o’ rage is still okay, no?  ;o)

And if you made it this far reading, you deserve some kind o’ medal.  Seriously.  LOL!

Since I don’t have any medals or money, can I offer you a song?  Playing for Change and ‘Imagine’. Pleeeze watch!