Ride Against the Current of the Oil.




Ride for Our Sacred Water – STOP Dakota Access!

From October 8-13, Honor the Earth is proud to join forces with the Wounded Knee Memorial Riders, the Dakota 38 and Big Foot riders, and many horse nation societies, in a spiritual horse ride to protect our sacred waters from the Dakota Access pipeline and all the black snakes that threaten our lands.

Thousands have come together in a historic gathering of tribes at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri Rivers, where Dakota Access threatens a concentration sacred sites and the water source of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, as well as the 18 million people downstream.

This is our moment. Tribes and First Nations are standing up and standing together to demand an end to the desecration of our lands and the poisoning of our sacred waters…to demand a better future for our people. We are the river, and the river is us.

On October 8th we will gather at the Standing Rock encampment, and ride against the current of the oil.

Please stand with us. We need your support.  For more info, visit www.honorearth.org/mniwiconi

Oh, and in case you’re wondering about that Standing Rock to Tioga, it means Tioga, ND, which styles itself as ‘The Oil Capital of North Dakota’.

This reminds me of another embarrassing white person moment at the camps last week. The Dakota 38 were expected, and we were hoping to see them. A white woman laughed and shrugged, saying “I mean, I don’t even know what that is. What is the Dakota 38.” Yeah, okay, I know the ‘history’ taught in uStates is a whitewashed mess, but still…

Even if you’re just a solidarity tourist, try to not only be respectful, but try to learn. Aaaand, this is the internet age, how hard is it? The Dakota 38, the largest mass execution in the history of the United States. A criminal injustice, perpetrated in Mankato, Minnesota.


Tipi-hdo-niche, Forbids His Dwelling

Wyata-tonwan, His People

Taju-xa, Red Otter

Hinhan-shoon-koyag-mani, Walks Clothed in an Owl’s Tail

Maza-bomidu, Iron Blower

Wapa-duta, Scarlet Leaf

Wahena, translation unknown

Sna-mani, Tinkling Walker

Radapinyanke, Rattling Runner

Dowan niye, The Singer

Xunka ska, White Dog

Hepan, family name for a second son

Tunkan icha ta mani, Walks With His Grandfather

Ite duta, Scarlet Face

Amdacha, Broken to Pieces

Hepidan, family name for a third son

Marpiya te najin, Stands on a Cloud (Cut Nose)

Henry Milord (French mixed-blood)

Dan Little, Chaska dan, family name for a first son (this may be We-chank-wash-ta-don-pee, who had been pardoned and was mistakenly executed when he answered to a call for “Chaska,” reference to a first son; fabric artist Gwen Westerman did a quilt called “Caske’s Pardon” based on him.

Baptiste Campbell, (French mixed-blood)

Tate kage, Wind Maker

Hapinkpa, Tip of the Horn

Hypolite Auge (French mixed-blood)

Nape shuha, Does Not Flee

Wakan tanka, Great Spirit

Tunkan koyag I najin, Stands Clothed with His Grandfather

Maka te najin, Stands Upon Earth

Pazi kuta mani, Walks Prepared to Shoot

Tate hdo dan, Wind Comes Back

Waxicun na, Little Whiteman (this young white man, adopted by the Dakota at an early age and who was acquitted, was hanged, according to the Minnesota Historical Society U.S.-Dakota War website).

Aichaga, To Grow Upon

Ho tan inku, Voice Heard in Returning

Cetan hunka, The Parent Hawk

Had hin hda, To Make a Rattling Noise

Chanka hdo, Near the Woods

Oyate tonwan, The Coming People

Mehu we mea, He Comes for Me

Wakinyan na, Little Thunder

Wakanozanzan and Shakopee: These two chiefs who fled north after the war, were kidnapped from Canada in January 1864 and were tried and convicted in November that year and their executions were approved by President Andrew Johnson (after Lincoln’s assassination) and they were hanged November 11, 1865.

You can read more about the Dakota 38 + 2 here and here. Also, here.

A Look at the U.S. Claim to Oceti Sakowin.


© Marty Two Bulls.

Steven Newcomb has an excellent column up at ICTMN, examining the claim to Očeti Sakowiŋ.

We are able to think back to a time when our ancestors were living entirely free from and independent of ideas developed across the Atlantic Ocean in a place called Christendom. We know that our Native ancestors were in no way subject to Christian ideas before the Christians sailed across that ocean to our part of the world, which many of us know as Turtle Island. Because the Christian Europeans were not physically here on Turtle Island, their concepts, ideas, and arguments were not here either. This leaves us with a mystery. On what basis did the invading colonizers first assume that our free nations and our ancestors were subject to the ideas and arguments of the Christian world? To what extent are those ideas still being used today centuries later by the United States?

In his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, published in 1833, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story asked a related question. He asked how the British Colonies got title to the soil of the North American continent. His question not only assumed that the British colonies had title to the soil of the continent, it also assumed, as Story said, that the colonizing powers obtained a “title” by their own “assertion” that they had a “complete title” to and “absolute dominion” over the soil of what from our ancestors’ perspective was the soil of our national territories. Story traced those ideas back to a papal bull of the fifteenth century and to royal charters of England and Great Britain.

Most people fail to realize that men such as Joseph Story and John Marshall spent a great deal of their time thinking about such matters. They did so because they had to develop a rationale for asserting that the Christian colonizers from Europe had a right to the soil of the continent that was superior to whatever right our original nations and our ancestors thought they had. Men of ideas such as Story and Marshall, whose job it was to persuade, undoubtedly knew there was a slight chance that someday in the distant future, we, the descendants of our Native ancestors, might try to go back through the record of the ideas of the colonizers and trace their mental “steps.”

A few of us have been working for decades on that retrospective with the goal in mind of not only understanding but of also now at long last directly challenging the ideas and arguments that were “laid down” by the ancestors of the colonizing society who sailed to Turtle Island from Western Christendom.

Based on decades of intensive and diligent research, we now know that the Christian European thinkers dreamed up out of their heads the idea that the representatives of Christendom could enter someone else’s country and mentally, verbally, and ceremonially make the assertion that the monarch they represented had an “absolute dominion” over the country they had located by ship. They further assumed that their mental, verbal, and ceremonial assertion would become “true” because the Christian thinkers dreamed it up in their minds and treated it as “true” thereby sustaining it over time.

The idea that they as colonizers had a complete title to and absolute dominion over the soil of the territories of our Original Nations, a point that Story, Marshall, and other white men claimed on behalf of the United States, became “true” and a “reality” for the colonizers and for the United States simply because those ideas were collectively treated as “true” and as a “reality.” Since this was all happening in the colonizers’ own language at the time, when such assertions were initially made, our ancestors had no understanding of the specific nature of the colonizers’ bizarre views. Some of our ancestors such as Tecumseh did try to challenge the colonizers’ thinking based on the original free existence of our nations.

The recent controversy over the Dakota Access Pipeline traces back to that process of reality-construction and the ability of the United States government to simply declare a given reality into existence. But there is something rather surprising in the historical record that most people know nothing about. It is surprising because it is language that still ought to be benefiting Native nations. …

The full column is here, and it’s excellent reading.

Solidarity from the South.

Left to Right: Eriberto Gualinga (Sarayaku), Franco Viteri (Sarayaku), Kandi Mossett (IEN), David Archambault II (Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman), Nina Gualinga (Sarayaku), and Leo Cerda (Kichwa, on Amazon Watch staff). Courtesy Josue Rivas/Indigenous Rising.

Left to Right: Eriberto Gualinga (Sarayaku), Franco Viteri (Sarayaku), Kandi Mossett (IEN), David Archambault II (Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman), Nina Gualinga (Sarayaku), and Leo Cerda (Kichwa, on Amazon Watch staff). Courtesy Josue Rivas/Indigenous Rising.

Indigenous leaders from Ecuador joined the protectors at Standing Rock recently to show solidarity and share information, as their community has had some victories against oil companies and politicians in the past few years.


In an interview on September 14, Viteri explained the reasons for the visit and outlined the connections between indigenous communities in the north and south. News of the struggle at Standing Rock had reached them, and Viteri and his group had been selected by the Sarayaku communities to “stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters,” the veteran activist and leader said.

“We came from the Amazon jungle with a message of strength and solidarity for the Sioux,” Viteri said. “My people are very conscious, because of our history and our tradition, just like the tribes here, of our connection with nature, with Mother Earth; we know that this is what gives balance to life here on Earth. The transnational corporations, like those trying to build this oil pipeline, are blind because they don’t understand the language of nature.”

Viteri noted that his Kichwa community had been in contact with other tribes in the U.S. before, but not with the Standing Rock Sioux. He also pointed out that he had seen other indigenous people from Latin America at the camp, and recalled that he had spoken with a few from Honduras, Peru and El Salvador. Another Amazonian indigenous community from Ecuador will be coming, Viteri said. He closed the interview with a message for the protectors at Standing Rock and others throughout North America.

“In the name of all the children, elders, women, the birds, the large and small animals that depend on water to survive, the Kichwa people extend a greeting,” he said, “a sacred greeting of respect for nature and for the life of all the peoples of the North, because we know that if water is destroyed, life on Earth will end.”

Rick Kearns at ICTMN has the full story.

Standing Rock Camp: The Bad.



Okay, this is the 2nd part of being back at Očeti Sakowiŋ camp on Wednesday, the 28th September. First part is here. The photos are full size, click for readability. It took a considerable amount of restraint to stop myself from titling this post: White People, Please, Sit Down and Shut Up. As I have mentioned before, many times, you’d never know I was any part Indian going by looks. I’m quite white, and and right now, I’d be happier if I dyed myself purple or something, anything to be dissociated from the behaviour on the part of some white people at the camp. Standard Disclaimer: there are a lot of white folks at the camps who are terrific people, helping out, and being a good and important part of the community. Unfortunately, this does not mitigate the behaviour of other white people.

The rules, detailed above, have been in place, but they are now written out and emphasised throughout the camps, and still, white people are managing to be utterly oblivious, and continue to break them, because, well, those rules, they can’t mean me, right? Yes, they mean you, oh great white crunchy saviours.

It’s no secret that a good amount of young white people flocked to the Red Warrior camp early on, months ago. That’s fine, but white people, you really, seriously need to sit down, shut the fuck up, listen, learn, pay attention, and figure out how respect works. Respect is not something which is owed only to white people.

There were even more young blonde women in camp, sporting dreadlocks. Perhaps that’s some sort of attempted connection to Celtic roots, I don’t know, but many of these young women were waltzing about the communal area in full privilege blindness, seeming to think this was a crunchy white person nature camp. It isn’t. It’s not considered terribly respectful to walk around the communal area with one breast exposed because your two year old child might want a drink, either. A tiny bit of sense can go a very long way. A lot of young white people are duly fired up about issues, and that’s fine, but where is your respect for doing things the Indigenous way? These same young white people are continually advocating for going out to the DA work sites and protesting in a decidedly non-Indigenous manner. They talk constantly about going up to “the front lines”.

That happened while we were there on Wednesday morning. Much agitation about going out to the “front lines”. A whole lot of young people went out, and they didn’t come back. They were all arrested, with one exception. One of the very crunchy, “nature camp” young women, white, took the open mic and was trying to explain the arrests, and what happened, then backtracked to why she was there, speaking. She had taken her toddler with her, and said she was about to be arrested when she brought her child out, and asked what would happen to her. The cops decided to let her go, rather than place her child in the system, since she’s not from here. As she was saying all this, a furious young Native woman, standing by the rule boards in the first photo, slammed her hand down on the appropriate place on the board, and yelled at her for taking her small child, and not paying attention to the rules. The young crunchy woman muttered something, dropped the mic and took off. To say that white people need a lesson in figuring out respect is an understatement, to say the least. This is not your nature camp, and any retaliation won’t land on you, it will land on the people who live here. We don’t need white leaders, we don’t need white saviours, and we don’t need the damn near impenetrable shield of obliviousness so many white people walk around with.

After the arrests, Phyllis Young had something to say. She started out by saying she was going to go easy this time, apparently, the day before, she had been absolutely infuriated by all the front line talk and more. In particular, she seriously dislikes front lines. I agree with her, front lines is a term of war. Ms. Young talked about understanding warmongering, she was a warmonger in her youth, she was at Wounded Knee in the ’70s. That’s not what is happening here and now though, or at least, it’s not what is supposed to be happening here and now. Ms. Young talked about white people playing saviour, and that in doing so, they had only one frame of reference, that of war. The collective memory of white America is nothing but war. There’s nothing else. This is not in any way helpful to all the people at the camps, it is not in any way helpful to all those who actually live here, and who will have to live with the consequences of stupid actions. Ms. Young wanted to know who was going to come up with the bail money, who was going to get everyone out of jail. Who was going to pay the court costs, the fines that will be imposed. I’m willing to bet it won’t be the wannabe white saviours. There’s also the issue of young Native people ending up with a criminal record. White people might consider that some sort of badge of honour, but need to remember they are white. A record won’t impact them nearly to the same extent it will affect a person of colour, especially a person of colour living on a reservation. FFS, is it all that much to ask white people to bloody think?

There have also been pro-pipeline infiltrators in the camps, white people, natch. Again, there’s some young white person agitating, talking about needing to go out to the “front lines” and setting up a time and place. A second person sits up on a hill with a telescope, and informs the cops of the destination. The cops get there first, everyone gets arrested, and no one makes it back to camp. As I mentioned in the first part, the presence of cops has been seriously amped up, and they have a monster mobile command center just past the turn off to Sacred Stone Camp. They have militarized vehicles, SWAT, and are running around with assault rifles. Indigenous people know we cannot afford to make this a war, cops and others are just waiting for an excuse. White people may see all that as a challenge, but that’s entirely the wrong point of view to have at the camp.

In conclusion, white people, please, I fucking beg of you, stop. Just fucking stop. Sit down. Listen. Learn. Pay attention to the rules. Understand that you are an ally, but also understand that you have no particular stake in what happens at Standing Rock. After this, you get to go home and pat yourself on the back for being a “good” white person. Before you deliver that pat, it would be useful to figure out what constitutes a good white person, a good ally. Understand that it is not your camp. Understand that this is not a war, and it’s certainly not up to you to make it one. Understand that you are not a saviour of any kind, nor are saviours being sought. Understand that you are still thinking in a completely colonial way. Understand that colonialism got us into this situation, it won’t help get us out. Learn respect. And please, stop being so damn embarrassing.

For all you wonderful people who are making things or have things to send, this is where:

For those of you who have things to send, this is where:


Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
attn: Johnelle Leingang
North Standing Rock Ave
Fort Yates, North Dakota, 58538

Much, much, much love, thanks, and appreciation. It might be a small thing to you, but it’s in no way small at all, your generosity and love shines through.

Indigenous News Round-up.


The Immortal Mr. Plastic.

Excerpts only, click links for full articles.

barack_obama On My Final White House Tribal Nations Conference, by President Barack Obama:

This week, I hosted my eighth and final White House Tribal Nations Conference as President, a tradition we started in 2009 to create a platform for people across many tribes to be heard. It was a remarkable testament to how far we’ve come.

It was just eight years ago when I visited the Crow Nation in Montana and made a promise to Indian country to be a partner in a true nation-to-nation relationship, so that we could give all of our children the future they deserve.

winonaladuke-e1336873224811  Slow, Clean, Good Food, by Winona LaDuke:

In an impressive fossil fuels travel day, I left the Standing Rock reservation and flew to Italy for the International Slow Food gathering known as Terra Madre. A world congress of harvesters, farmers, chefs and political leaders, this is basically the World Food Olympics. This is my fifth trip to Italy for Slow Food. I first went with Margaret Smith, when the White Earth Land Recovery Project won the Slow Food Award for Biodiversity in 2003, for our work to protect wild rice from genetic engineering. This year, I went as a part of the Turtle Island Slow Food Association- the first Indigenous Slow Food members in the world, a delegation over 30 representing Indigenous people from North American and the Pacific. We have some remarkable leaders, they are young and committed.

It is a moment in history for food, as we watch the largest corporate merger in history- Bayer Chemical’s purchase of Monsanto for $66 billion; with “crop protection chemicals” that kill weeds, bugs and fungus, seeds, and (likely to be banned in Europe) glyphosate, aka Roundup. Sometimes I just have to ask: ‘Just how big do you all need to be, to be happy?’

tribal_chairman_jeff_l-_grubbe_agua_caliente_band_of_cahuilla_indians_main_0  Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Donates $250,000 to Standing Rock Legal Fund:

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is donating $250,000 to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s legal fund, citing the need to keep pushing for proper consultation even after the Dakota Access oil pipeline issue is decided.

“We support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s effort to ensure the United States Army Corps of Engineers, or any other agency or department of the United States, strictly adheres to federal environmental review and tribal consultation requirements prior to authorizing any projects that may damage the environment or any sites that are of historic, religious, and cultural significance to any Indian tribe,” said Agua Caliente Chairman Jeff L. Grubbe in a statement on September 27, calling on President Barack Obama to make sure consultation is thorough.

3-fiesta-protest-woman-with-sign_dsc0508_widea  Natives Speak Out Against the Santa Fe Fiesta – The Bloodless Reconquest:

A loud group of about 50 mostly Native protesters disrupted the Entrada kickoff event of the Fiestas de Santa Fe. This is the annual reenactment of Don Diego de Vargas’s “peaceful reconquest” of Santa Fe in 1692 as produced by Caballeros de Vargas, a group which is a member of the Fiesta Council, and several current and past City of Santa Fe Councilors are members of the Fiesta Council or played parts in the Entrada over the years. So these are layers you must wade through when people ask questions and protesters demand changes. And changes or outright abolishment of The Entrada are what the groups “The Red Nation” and “In The Spirit of Popay” are asking for.

climate_news_network-binoculars-flickr-aniket_suryavanshi  Dire Climate Impacts Go Unheeded:

The social and economic impacts of climate change have already begun to take their toll—but most people do not yet know this.

Politicians and economists have yet to work out how and when it would be best to adapt to change. And biologists say they cannot even begin to measure climate change’s effect on biodiversity because there is not enough information.

Two studies in Science journal address the future. The first points out that historical temperature increases depress maize crop yields in the U.S. by 48 percent and have already driven up the rates of civil conflict in sub-Saharan Africa by 11 percent.

big-pix-rick-bartow-counting-the-hours ‘Counting the Hours’ By Rick Bartow:

Rick Bartow, a member of the Mad River Band of Wiyot, walked on April 2, 2016, and had suffered two strokes before he passed. The IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts reports that those events affected his work, and it can be seen in his collection as “exciting examples of Bartow’s production since his stroke… that evidence a new freedom of scale and expression.”

Born in Oregon in 1946, Bartow was never formally trained in the arts, though his artistic nature was encouraged and he did graduate from Western Oregon University with a degree in secondary arts education in 1969. Right after that he served in Vietnam from 1969-1971, and it was demons from that war that he spent his early years in art exorcising. He says he was “twisted” after Vietnam and his art can be described as disturbing, surreal, intense, and visionary; even transformative.

harney_peak_renamed_black_hills_peak_-_ap_photo  Celebration of Forgiveness at Black Elk Peak:

On a recent Autumn Saturday in the Black Hills, a handful of men and women gathered at around 9 a.m. at the Sylvan Lake trailhead just below Black Elk Peak. By 10 a.m., they numbered close to 80.

“The focal point of our gathering was to have family members of General Harney have an opportunity to apologize to members of the Little Thunder family,” said Basil Brave Heart, Oglala Lakota, an organizer of the event. Brave Heart initiated and led the effort to change the name of this highest peak east of the Rocky Mountains from Harney Peak to Black Elk Peak.

Among those standing in a circle that morning was Paul Stover Soderman, a seventh-generation descendant of General William Harney, known as The Butcher of Ash Hollow, and to the Lakota as the architect of the same conflict, known to them as the Massacre at Blue Water Creek. Soderman had come to apologize to Sicangu descendants of Chief Little Thunder, the Brule leader of those murdered in that conflict, and to seek forgiveness and healing.

All this and much more at ICTMN.

Standing Rock, Back at Camp: The Good.












Where to start? First, find your note cup. The line of flags is now marching down 24 into Standing Rock proper, there are so many. It’s not possible to get them all in one shot. As we were on the way home on Wednesday, we passed a long convoy of cars heading to camp, with more flags piled into a couple of the cars, so there will be more when we get back next week. It was quiet when we arrived on Wednesday morning with a load of wood. We pulled around the back of the kitchen, and unloaded all the wood, then wandered into the communal area. Solar panels have been donated, and while one was in the communal area, most were up by the media tent on Facebook hill. We arrived too late to be part of the spell out – people went up on Facebook hill and laid down to spell out Water is Life and No DAPL for one of the drones, but a helicopter also flew over. We were in time to hear the roaring cheer as people got back up.

There’s heavy emphasis on recycling and trash pick up, and there are more washable plates and utensils in camp now. On a walk, we noted, with fascination, a tipi frame made with unusual material (10th photo), and realized what it was when we passed one of the tips (11th photo) – a broken tent canopy frame. That’s the same kind that collapsed and slammed into me. Perhaps I brokt it, being so hard-headed. The endless creativity of people deeply delights me. We have the potential to be such grand animals.

Okay, back to the beginning. On our way to camp (6 to 21 to 24), we noticed an unusual amount of cops. Generally speaking, cops aren’t terribly visible in Ndakota. They were certainly visible that morning. We sighed as we turned onto 24, at the realization that the cop in the gas station was most likely recording license plates. No one likes that sort of thing, we certainly don’t, but you can’t let yourself be intimidated. Right after passing the turn off for Sacred Stone Camp, we were very surprised to see a very large, very new looking mobile command center hulking behind some silos, along with assorted cop vehicles. We continued on into camp.

Right now, people are focused on preparing for winter. There were meetings set up about getting compost toilets going, and building earth lodges. There’s also some uncertainty right now, regarding the Oceti Sakowin camp (No DAPL), as the ACoE are being petty asses and making bullying noises about everyone having to get off “their” land, land to which they do not own the mineral rights. So, the whole camp may need to be moved a couple of miles up on the hill, which is Standing Rock Rez proper. We didn’t hear too much about that during our day there. Things may well have really changed by the time we get back on the 4th or so. Damn, I think I have to get to the pain clinic then. I need to keep track of appointments.

Two massive trucks filled with wood were brought in by the Tsalagi people out of Oklahoma, to cheers and applause. We had the privilege of meeting Tom Jefferson, tireless in his documentary work. While many people might not know his name, a whole lot of people will remember this particular video of Tom’s: One Of The Many Face of Racism in America, which went wildly viral. Tom is also involved with Tour de Frack.

We were fortunate to listen to a Havasupai elder speak, who was there with his 90+ year old grandfather. They were leaving the next day, so we felt particularly blessed to have been there to hear and listen. I was very disappointed to have to turn away from the opportunity to help tan two whole buffalo hides, but it required a 4 day commitment. It’s upsetting to be there, and not be able to stay.

There was a call to go up to the “front lines” and people needed rides. I considered calling Rick out of the kitchen, where he was happily slaughtering squash, but I had a very bad feeling about it, so stayed quiet. That bad feeling translated to most everyone being arrested. Phyllis Young had quite a lot to say about that, but that’s for tomorrow’s post, which will be Part the Bad.

Photos © C. Ford, all rights reserved.

Arizona Cops: No Native Voices Allowed.

Protectors of the sacred Moadag Do’ag Mountain - Photo Amanda Blackhorse.

Protectors of the sacred Moadag Do’ag Mountain – Photo Amanda Blackhorse.

I find myself constantly running headfirst into the conclusion that most white people have zero understanding of the concept of respect, unless they mean what they feel is owed to themselves. This has become a serious problem at the camp, but I’m not quite up to going in to that one yet, I’m still trying to tamp my anger down. Heading up the worst of the worst when it comes to arrogant white people who think they owe no one or no thing any respect, it’s our favourite: cops. The Tonoho O’odham, Ahwatukee, and Gila River communities have been fighting to protect Moadag Do’ag (South Mountain) in Phoenix, Arizona. This is an age old story. Indians fight to protect what is important to them, government rolls over them, most people are ignorant of the ongoing fights of indigenous people everywhere, and don’t much care, white people either sneer or try to take over and play saviour, and cops act well outside their authority in putting Indigenous people down. Once again, young people are active in trying to preserve their culture, and to protect their lands, and the lesson they learned? No native voices, please.

Calling for the end to the pre-construction of a six-lane highway that will parallel and cut through the southwestern part of a sacred mountain, the Ahwatukee and the Gila River Indian community hopes to deliver a message to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) that the fight to protect Moadag Do’ag (South Mountain) in Phoenix, Arizona is far from over.

However, before they could share their views with the agencies involved, local authorities told community members — which included the Protecting Arizona Resources and Children organization, approximately 20 O’odham runners from the Gila River Indian Community and others — that their sacred prayer items would not be allowed into the ADOT community meeting.

Prior to the meeting, the community, which is also concerned that the highway is set to parallel the community of Ahwatukee and the Gila River Indian Community reservation boundaries, hosted a 10-mile prayer run from an encampment at the sacred mountain Moadag Thadiwa to Desert Vista High School in Ahwatukee, Arizona.

The public meeting, sponsored by ADOT and Connect 202, was a preliminary design meeting to gather feedback and the opinions of community members.

The peaceful group arrived for the meeting Tuesday evening, but were denied entrance to the facility by police. At first, the police stated the prayer staff carried by the O’odham runners was not allowed in the meeting because it could be considered a weapon. But when members of the group volunteered to leave their staff and prayer sticks outside, the police allegedly changed their rules.

Another runner who was holding a single eagle feather was then told the group was not allowed to attend the public meeting because Desert Vista High School doesn’t allow religious items onto their campus.

The group attempted to explain the items were for prayer but the police officers did not allow passage.

One member of the group went into the ADOT planning meeting without a prayer staff and announced the purpose of the prayer run and the need to protect Moadag. The police immediately escorted the speaker and others out of the building.

Outside, a runner sang the traditional O’odham song of Moadag and then it rained. The police then announced the group had to leave school property.

Amanda Blackhorse at ICTMN has the full story.

To read more about the fight to save Moadag and the current encampment at Moadag visit their Facebook page.

Street Signs: The Good and The Bad.

Official signs are cropping up across the city, with four of Toronto's major streets now bearing signs with their Anishinaabe names. Spadina, or Ishpadinaa, is one of them. (Craig Chivers/CBC) .

Official signs are cropping up across the city, with four of Toronto’s major streets now bearing signs with their Anishinaabe names. Spadina, or Ishpadinaa, is one of them. (Craig Chivers/CBC).

Toronto is joining a number of other places as far as street signs go, adding the language of the original inhabitants of the land.

“By doing this, it shows that the First Nations people are still here. We’re still on their land. We share it but we’re still on their land,” Grant said.

That’s the problem though, isn’t it, that all the colonial people are still on their land, dominating that land, and dominating the original inhabitants, and not in good ways. While I have been in favour of various street sign initiatives, I think they have little impact on on non-Native people. Oh, they might ooh and aah for a moment or three, and then it’s ignored and forgotten.

Indian Country Today reported on this effort in Toronto back in July of 2013:


[Read more…]