Idle No More:Growing Resistance Across Turtle Island (news/community)


In the past few weeks, thousands of people across Turtle Island have been organizing major campaigns to protect Indigenous sovereignty, land, water, and, territories.  

NO to Northern Gateway

First Nations and non-First Nations gave a resounding NO when the Harper Government approved Enbridge Northern Gateway Project this week. People have joined in a wide variety of actions such as legal cases, mass rallies, and peaceful sit-ins in local MP’s offices. This is just the beginning!! There will be a wall of resistance as First Nations groups and other concerned citizens have vowed to fight the Canadian government’s approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline. The ongoing failure to consult First Nations violates Indigenous inherent rights. Enbridge’s Northern Gateway, a $7 billion pipeline, would carry tar sands oil from the province of Alberta to the coastal town of Kitimat, British Columbia, where the oil will be loaded onto tankers and transported along the coastlines.

As BC Grand Chief Stewart Phillip stated “It will not be the voice of lawyers that will defend the future legacy of our children and grandchildren – rather it will be what we as indigenous people, as British Columbians, collectively standing up in solidarity, side-by-side to fight and protect what we all treasure in this province – the lands and the waters.”

Onion Lake Walkers

Women Rising Up! Iskwewak Pasikowak! from the Onion Lake Cree Nation, Treaty 6 territory, conducted a day long ceremony reasserting inherent jurisdiction over land and water.  Indigenous people have been impacted by federal government policies such as the Indian Residential Schools, the Indian Act, The Child Welfare system, and the inaction on Missing and Murdered Women, which individually and together meet the criteria provided at the UN of genocide.  

Onion_Lake_WalkersjpgIn a symbolic “walking away” from Parliament, the Onion Lake and Kitigan Zibi women took back the power that Parliament affects over the honouring of all Treaties made with Indigenous peoples with the British Crown and Canada being the successor State.

Idle No More Organizer Lynda Kitchikeesic called the day of ceremony a symbolic “pushing back” against the Conservative government and believes it conveys the message of a turning point for First Nations. (Photo Credit: Clayton Thomas-Muller)

Athabasca Regions Healing Walk

Idle No More in solidarity with Athabasca Region Healing Walk

Healing Walk PosterNext weekend indigenous peoples and allies from across Turtle Island will gather in Fort McMurray, Alberta in the heart of the Canadian tar sands not to protest, but to pray for healing. We invite you to join us for the 5th and Final Tar Sands Healing Walk (June 27th-29th), to walk with us and pray for the land together. The Final Healing Walk is a part of a new beginning, to spread the healing to other communities who are impacted by resource extraction. No matter where you are there is something you can do to contribute to this year’s Healing Walk.

Encuentro2014 - Montreal

This year, the northern part of Turtle Island (Canada)  was chosen as the sight for Encuentro because Idle No More has had such a powerful impact on the world!! The Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics and Concordia University invite scholars, activists, and artists of all disciplines to examine the practical, ethical, aesthetic, theatrical, and performative dimensions of manifests and manifestations throughout the Americas at the ninth Encuentro, to be held in Montréal, Québec, June 21-28, 2014.

For More information on the Encuentro:

Encuentro: Getting ready to manifest!

Idle No More Flash Mob Round Dance Event June 27th

Idle No More Manitoba

Lake Winnipeg Water Walk

In 2013, Lake Winnipeg - the 10th largest fresh water lake in the world, was nominated “Most Threatened Lake” by Global Nature Fund. It was suggested that in 10 years this lake could die if action is not taken to help her heal. From July 12 - August 8, 2014, community members from all walks of life will come together to take part in the “Lake Winnipeg Water Walk” to help her begin that healing process. We have a fundraising goal of $20,000.00 to support the walk. Cash and cheques can be made out to Lake Winnipeg Water Walk, or online donations can be made through  Through community leadership and commitment, we can work collectively to ensure that our life giving water continues to flow and sustain future generations.  We are all responsible for the health of our waters - the time is now. “Ingah Izitchigay Nibi Onjay”- (I will do it for the Water)

Water Wednesdays Return!

> Wednesdays, 5:30pm @ Memorial Park in front of the Legislative Building <

Idle No More Winnipeg & Got Bannock are inviting the public to learn about water issues and participate in solutions to protect water for all people in Winnipeg and the world. We will share resources, have speakers, create art projects and have a different action every week to talk about this issue. In a new twist this year, we will also be collecting donations every week for GOT BANNOCK?, supporting Althea Guiboche “The Bannock Lady” as she continues to feed the hungry in honour of the village we once had. "Water and Love make Bannock" - Bring a donation for The Bannock Lady

Happy Solstice from Idle No More!!

Wiyot Tribe Heals Ancestral Home (community)

This weekend, the Wiyot tribe of Humboldt Bay, near Eureka, will hold its World Renewal Ceremony. This will be the first time the tribe has performed the ceremony in 154 years. The last time was in 1860, when white settlers ambushed the tribe and massacred more than a hundred people.

Both natives and non-natives have struggled to heal that painful past, and the Wiyot say the ceremony is important to the tribe’s future.

Taking the 2-mile-long Samoa Bridge out of Eureka, across the bay, and out to the dunes of the Pacific coastline is like a journey back in time. You begin by leaving town at a generic gas station and boxy motel - and end near an old logging cookhouse-turned-restaurant that boasts ‘you will never leave hungry.’

Halfway across the bridge - as if caught between the past and the present - is Indian Island. This is where, in February 1860, over 100 Wiyot women, children and elders were massacred. The tribe considers this 270-acre island the center of their Universe.

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Yurok Style Justice (community/news)

Tribal judge works for Yurok-style justice

Abby Abinanti metes out a more community-based form of justice for tribal members — starting with the question, 'Who's your mom?'

Abby Abinanti squints at her docket. "The court is going to call — the court is going to put on its glasses," she says dryly, reaching to grab her readers and snatch some candy from a staff member.

As chief judge of the Yurok Tribal Court, Abinanti wears no robe. On this day, she's in jeans and cowboy boots, her silver hair spilling down the back of a black down vest. In contrast to her longtime role as a San Francisco Superior Court commissioner, she doesn't perch above those who come before her; she shares a table with them.

"Hi, big guy. How are you doing?" she softly prods a 29-year-old participant in her wellness court, which offers a healing path for nonviolent offenders struggling with substance abuse.

Abinanti has watched Troy Fletcher Jr. battle bipolar disorder and methamphetamine addiction, land in jail and embrace recovery under the tribe's guidance. She's known his grandmother since before he was born.

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Del Norte and Adjacent Tribal Land Initiative (community, health)

Our children should dream about their futures - and those dreams should be framed by family, health, safety, economic security, education, and hope.

Our children should dream about their futures - and those dreams should be framed by family, health, safety, economic security, education, and hope.

Company Overview
The California Endowment’s Building healthy Communities Initiative (BHC) in Del Norte County and Adjacent Tribal Lands (DNATL) is a 10 year initiative focused on moving the community toward achieving results in four areas, including: reducing childhood obesity, reducing violence among youth, providing a “health home” to all children, and increasing school attendance.

The Del Norte and Adjacent Tribal Land premise for the Building Healthy Communities Effort is as follows:

Our children should dream about their futures - and those dreams should be framed by family, health, safety, economic security, education, and hope. We believe that their dreams are our responsibility. We believe that early intervention and prevention are the critical keys to strengthening families, ensuring the economic assets of the families, preventing families from entering the justice and child welfare systems, instilling a life-long love of learning, and enhancing the health of every resident.

Lessons In Ashes (community)

Lessons in the Ashes 

As Orleans blazes smolder, critics say logging profits are undermining fire prevention

Large fires in and around Orleans last week have sparked new criticism of the Forest Service's plan to reduce wildland fires in the remote and mountainous community.

The Dance Fire burned more than 600 acres before firefighters contained it on Friday. Flames destroyed the home of a tribal elder, as well as two other outbuildings. And the blaze came dangerously close to consuming even more tribal housing.

Since then, three fires on nearby Sawyers Bar Road grew to nearly 8,500 acres, with only 11 percent contained as of Tuesday morning.

As the firefighting continued, residents and Karuk tribal officials complained that Orleans homes were put in unnecessary danger and some land was needlessly sacrificed to the flames because the Forest Service had allowed logging profits to color its decisions about fire prevention.

The Forest Service denies that, countering that it has chosen areas to thin timber because they were the best places to defend the community, not because the lumber there was profitable.

In August 2008, Six Rivers National Forest Supervisor Tyrone Kelley approved a plan to reduce fire danger on public land near Orleans. The plan — designed in collaboration with the Karuk Tribe, fire safety groups, environmentalists and the community — called for logging and clearing dense underbrush so that fires can't burn as hot, fast and destructively. Under the plan, a handful of pruning and burning techniques were to be used to thin nearly 2,700 acres of forest. About 1,300 of those acres were designated for commercial logging, and the remaining 1,400 were non-commercial.

But the plan got off to a troubled start. In 2010 the Karuk Tribe, the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC), the Klamath Forest Alliance and the Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center sued the Forest Service, after a logging company hired to thin trees used cable yarding — a log-moving system that uses cables that can damage trees — near a sacred Karuk trail.

A court-ordered settlement resolved the dispute in 2011, with an admonishment that the Forest Service must include the tribe in further planning.

Then, last year, EPIC complained about the Forest Service's practice of tractor logging. Kimberly Baker, the executive director of the Klamath Forest Alliance and a public land advocate for EPIC, said the tractor logging causes "serious soil damage and compaction" and that EPIC expressed its concerns to the Forest Service. "They have listened to our complaints — and that's about all I can say. We haven't necessarily seen a change in tactics but they are more aware of our concerns," she said.

On Friday morning, retired schoolteacher Sue Terence was inside her house with the air purifier on, a half mile from the Butler Fire that sparked overnight last Wednesday. "I can hardly think straight," she said. "The nearest ridge is the only one of three that we can see. Our oxygen level is going down quickly."

Local crews had held the fire to the neighboring watershed, Terence said, and Friday morning state and federal firefighters — fresh from fighting the Dance Fire — had taken over.

As crews raced to contain the latest fire in the Salmon River complex, Terence said she worries that the Forest Service's funding for the fuel reduction plan is tied to its profits from logging. Without strict oversight, she said, logging can actually create conditions that feed future fires.

Logging — particularly helicopter salvage logging — has left large amounts of slash and vast fields of dense brush, Terence said. Logging companies paid for roads and made their profits, she said, and "now we're facing the costs of the catastrophe that follows."

Still, she added, she understands the Forest Service's problems. It has the unenviable task of fixing 100 years of poor fire management, and its fuel reduction plan is still in its infancy.

The Karuk Tribe and Klamath Watershed Council have been working with residents and communities to thin high-risk areas on private land, Terence said, but fuel reduction on public lands is only lurching forward. The Healthy Forests Restoration Act, signed in 2003, was designed to protect forest communities, but Terence said that in the case of Six Rivers National Forest, thinning is too concentrated on ridgelines.

Bill Tripp, of the Karuk Department of Natural Resources, worries that the fuel removal plan has focused on valuable timberland instead of homes and communities.

"I would've rather seen the money spent on implementing the priorities in the community wildfire protection plan," he said.

That plan, called the Orleans/Somes Bar Community Wildfire Protection Plan, was developed in 2009 by local fire safe councils, the Karuk Tribe, the Forest Service and others. It lays out guidelines for preventing and fighting fires based on the unique and rugged topography of the Salmon River.

But the plan is just a recommendation, which Tripp says the Forest Service ignored when it prioritized which areas to protect. "We need to kind of get people back together and figure out how we're going to address some of these priorities in the community's plan and not keep falling back to the economic value the resources provide as the reason for why an area is treated."

Tyrone Kelley, forest supervisor for Six Rivers National Forest, said that's just not what's going on. The Forest Service may have had some early clashes with critics over its logging methods, but it has always focused on protection before profits, he said.

"It's a tough piece of ground back there," Kelley said over the weekend, taking a moment from coordinating with firefighters still trying to get a handle on three newer blazes.

Despite "early struggles," Kelley was optimistic about the progress made on reducing fuels. He thinks that more advanced planning and work with the Karuk tribe to recognize archaeological sites will reduce cultural concerns.

While he didn't have specific figures in front of him, Kelley said only 500 to 700 acres of the project area was timberland. Logging wasn't an emphasis, Kelley said, and all proceeds from that logging went back into the fuel reduction plan.

The focus on ridgelines, he explained, was considered the best defense for Orleans from fires that started out of the area. With a sort of defeated chuckle, Kelley said that wasn't much good when it came to the Dance Fire, which began inside the community. The cause of the Dance Fire is under investigation, according to the Forest Service.

Despite the disagreements, both sides praised each other for expanding lines of communication and a mutual commitment to an end — if not a means.

It's not just prevention tactics that raise concerns among community members. Kimberly Baker said EPIC is concerned about the Forest Service's practice of bulldozing firebreak lines. She said fire crews cut 200 miles of bulldozer lines in Shasta-Trinity National Forest in 2008.

Backburning — when firefighters light smaller, controlled fires to stop a fire's progress — is also problematic, because it can cause high severity fires that kill trees, Baker said.

Tripp, the Karuk resources official, said that with better fuel reduction efforts around Orleans, a Karuk elder may not have lost her home. After meeting with the Forest Service and community members this week, Tripp said he hoped the Dance Fire would serve as a wake-up call that fuel reduction efforts need to increase.

It's time to act now, Terence said, because without quick, dedicated repairs, the last century's logging damages will fuel more devastating wildfires in Orleans and neighboring towns on the Salmon and Klamath Rivers.

Fire In Orleans (community)


Tuesday, July 30, 2013 (4:30 pm)

“The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but preliminary signs indicate it was probably a human caused fire because there was no lightning in the area,” said Mike Beasley with the Six Rivers National Forest during a briefing held in Hoopa with the Type 2 Incident Command team (NorCal Inter agency Team II) set to take command of the fire this afternoon from their incident command post provided by the  Hoopa Valley Tribe.

A joint investigation is being conducted by CalFire and the U.S. Forest Service.

During the briefing, officials said one firefighter was injured by a falling branch which broke his nose.

Officials said rumors that the evacuation was lifted are not true. The evacuation of certain areas of Orleans remains in effect as of 4:30pm on Tuesday, July 30.

Power to all of Orleans was restored by 3 pm this afternoon.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 (2:30 pm)

Residents of Orleans were forced to evacuate the town after wildfire broke out just after 5 pm on Monday, July 29, along Highway 96 near Camp Creek Road.

Within two-and-a-half hours, more than 100 acres were burned and several homes were destroyed. By 10:30 pm, the fire had engulfed over 200 acres, and hundreds of homes were threatened. By Tuesday morning, the fire grew to more than 350 acres and consumed two residences and five outbuildings.

The fire is moving up Sims Gulch toward the G-O Road in a steep forested area.

Julie Ranieri, Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Forest Service’s Six Rivers National Forest, said, “Power lines and phone lines are down, and Highway 96 has been closed near Orleans.”

Highway 96 has since reopened to one-way controlled traffic and some area residents in the Karuk Housing area were allowed to return to their homes at about 11am on Tuesday.

Emergency crews from the Six Rivers and Klamath National Forests, Cal Fire, Hoopa Volunteer Fire Department, Hoopa Wildland Fire Department, and Orleans Volunteer Fire Department were on the scene Monday night with more crews and the American Red Cross arriving Tuesday morning.

Law enforcement officers from the California Highway Patrol, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, and the U.S. Forest Service were also assisting in the evacuation and rescue operations.

A Type Two Incident Management Team assumes command of the fire, dubbed the ‘Dance Fire,’ this afternoon.

A public meeting will be held this evening (Tuesday) at 6pm at the Karuk Department of Natural Resources Building in Orleans.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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Native Youth Incarceration (community/news)

"Native Americans and Juvenile Justice: A Hidden Tragedy,"

by Terry L. Cross November/December 2008 issue of Poverty & Race

In the United States in 2008, there are more than 560 federally-recognized American Indian tribes comprising an American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) population of approximately 4 million individuals. About half this population lives on reservations, and the others live off-reservation, primarily in urban communities. The AI/AN population is young: 42%—almost 2 million—are under 19 years of age. Twenty percent (800,000) are at risk—60,000 suffer abuse or neglect each year. According to the Youth Violence Research Bulletin, the suicide rate for American Indian juveniles (57 per 1 million) was almost twice the rate for white juveniles and the highest for any race. In addition, 200,000 are believed to suffer from serious emotional disturbances.

American Indian youth are grossly over-represented in state and federal juvenile justice systems and secure confinement. Incarcerated Indian youth are much more likely to be subjected to the harshest treatment in the most restrictive environments and less likely to have received the help they need from other systems. AI/AN youth are 50% more likely than whites to receive the most punitive measures. Pepper spray, restraint and isolation appear to be grossly and disproportionately applied to Indian youth, who have no recourse, no alternatives and few advocates.

In 2003, litigation over conditions in a South Dakota state training school revealed horrible abuses in the use of restraints and isolation, yet little in the way of education or mental health services. Findings also showed that Native youth were significantly over-represented in the lockdown unit and thus subject to the worst abuses. For example, one young girl from the Pine Ridge Reservation had been held in a secure unit within the facility for almost two years, during which time she was placed in four-point restraints while spread-eagled on a cement slab for hours at a time, kept in isolation for days and even weeks, and pepper-sprayed numerous times. This young girl, like many of the females confined at the facility, suffered from significant mental health and substance abuse issues. Due to the lack of appropriate mental health treatment and the harsh conditions in the facility, she resorted to self-harming behavior as a way to draw attention to herself, and like many of the other girls now has scars up and down her arms from cutting herself. Finally, the facility also instituted a rule that penalized Native youth for speaking in their Native language, and several were placed on lockdown status for speaking Lakota to each other.
There is a growing awareness that many tribes’ children and youth are being taken outside the care, custody and control of their families, communities and tribal government, and that many are suffering from extreme physical, mental and emotional abuse in the process. 

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Fighting Suicide (health/community)

Tribes fight suicide, a leading killer of native youth

Native youth die from suicide at a higher rate than any other population in Washington, and tribes in the state are fighting back.

By Lynda V. Mapes  Seattle Times staff reporter

Students in a suicide prevention session at the Lummi Youth Academy near Bellingham engage in an exercise that brings them closer together builds trust and is simply fun to do They gather in a circle tighten the circle and drop down

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Students in a suicide prevention session at the Lummi Youth Academy near Bellingham engage in an exercise that brings them closer together, builds trust and is simply fun to do. They gather in a circle, tighten the circle and drop down.

Suicide stalks Indian Country, claiming more lives of native youth than those in any other population, not only in Washington, but nationally.

State Department of Health statistics released this month show that in Washington, the rate of suicide among native youth from 10 to 24 years old was more than double the rate of any other ethnic population.

Tribes are fighting back. At the Lummi Nation, tribal leaders last year enhanced a long-standing social-services program with a youth suicide-prevention component. The Colville, Spokane and Yakama tribes also are utilizing prevention grants and training through the Native Aspirations Program. The Spokane-based program for the past five years has helped 65 tribes across the country combat suicide, the second-biggest killer of native youth, after accidents.

That might even be an undercount, experts say.

“The car accident, the gun death, the overdose, there are a lot of suicides that are not reported as such,” said Victoria Wagner, executive director of the Youth Suicide Prevention Program, a nonprofit based in Seattle with outreach workers across the state working with schools and parent groups to teach the warning signs of suicide and prevention strategies.

In Indian Country, poverty, isolation, lack of adequate resources to treat mental-health issues, substance abuse and family problems compound the risks of youth suicide, Wagner said.

“There is this feeling of being trapped, and having nowhere to go.”

At a recent prevention training session at the Lummi Youth Academy outside Bellingham, the emphasis was on the positive.

“How do we make life less to do with pain, and more to do with beauty?” asked executive director Shasta Cano-Martin, as two youth coaches led the kids in writing lists of things that built their self-esteem — and root causes that could lead to risky behavior.

“No support,” offered one teenager. “Feeling like you don’t belong,” said another. “Abuse,” said another. “Failure,” came a tiny voice from a child who seemed too young to know the feeling, but clearly did.

But the kids were quick, too, with long lists of things that lead to feelings of self-worth and confidence: Succeeding on tests. Nailing a basket on the court. Hugs. Doing something nice for someone else. Sobriety. Having the urge to try, and succeeding beyond expectations.

Kyla Frajman, 21, said suicide was no stranger to her. “I thought about it a lot, but always fought my way through it,” said Frajman, a member of the Cowichan First Nation in British Columbia. “I don’t do it myself,” she said of suicide, “because I don’t want the younger kids to think it’s allowed.”

But she has a friend she knows is going through a rough patch. “When I don’t hear from him, I worry about it.”

Experts who track the problem of native youth suicide fear it will get worse, as sequestration reduces funding already scarce for mental-health services for Indian people.

Indian Health Services, the major federal program that provides funding for health-care services for tribes, today covers only about 52 percent of the needed care, and mental-health needs account for more than a third of the underfunding, said Erin Bailey, director of the Center for Native American Youth, a nonprofit based at the Aspen Institute, a think tank in Washington, D.C.

As in Washington, the suicide rate among native youth nationally is 2½ times that of any other youth population, Bailey said. “It is definitely a national problem, a national emergency,” Bailey said. “This is weighing especially hard on our hearts at this time, with native communities facing cuts for native health care.”

Patricia Whitefoot, director of Indian Education for the Toppenish School District, said suicide prevention is a top priority identified by parents of students at Toppenish High School in Yakima County. Native students embarked on a wellness walk Friday to emphasize the positive role that culture can play in wellness, she said.

It’s just one step in what will have to be a longer journey, she said. “Teachers are so busy paying attention to test scores, how much time is there for addressing these major health issues in our community? And, as teachers, that has not been their training.”

At the Yakama Nation, Vanessa Smartlowit, administrative assistant in the tribe’s behavioral-health department, said the tribe is seeking to bolster its youth with everything from motivational speakers to dealing with bullying in schools. Even simple things — talking circles, bead-working classes and cultural activities — “just something for them to learn and keep busy,” can help, she said.

Taboo no longer, suicide is a danger that has to be talked about, Wagner said.

“You are not planting the idea,” Wagner said. “It is already there.”

Lynda V. Mapes: 206-464-2736 or

Chairman Passes (community)

Bear River Tribal Chairman Leonard Bowman, 71, dies
The Times-Standard

Posted: 01/25/2013 06:16:44 PM PST
Updated: 01/25/2013 06:23:08 PM PST

Flags are flying at half-staff for Leonard Bowman, chairman of the Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria, who died today. He was 71. Bowman was starting his third term as chairman, and had served on the council for nine years, said Vice Chairman Dakota McGinnis, Jr.

”He's been the ambassador for the tribe, for us,” McGinnis said. “He made us proud. I respect the man -- he believed in me, even though we had our differences.”

McGinnis said it was too early to say whether a public memorial service for Bowman would be held.