Honoring American Indian veterans
by: Staff Reports / Indian Country Today
November 20, 2006
Dance troupe returns from tour of Iraq
CANASTOTA, N.Y. - Soldiers serving in Iraq attended a performance by the Native Star Dance Team of New Mexico at Contingency Operating Base Spiecher on Nov. 8. The dance team put on a colorful show for the troops in celebration of American Indian Heritage Month.
''We wanted to support the troops and provide a morale support tour to celebrate Native American Heritage month in the military,'' said Nick Brokeshoulder, Hopi/Absentee Shawnee and a retired Army Sgt. 1st Class. ''The soldiers have been very receptive and we have been humbled by the positive comments that they've made.''
Sponsored by the USAREUR (U.S. Army - Europe), the dance team members were the first American Indians to perform for the troops since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The dance troupe flew first to Kuwait and then to Iraq, where they entertained throughout the country for a week. The Armed Forces Network broadcast the tour, which was produced by AKA Productions Inc. under Brokeshoulder's direction, as part of American Indian Heritage Month. Six hundred and twenty self-described ''full-blood'' servicemen currently serve in Iraq.
''American Indians have contributed more than their share of blood in defense of America,'' said writer/producer Sonny Skyhawk, who suggested that the dance troupe perform in Iraq. ''The Native Star Dance Team courageously donated their time and talent to support the troops. That is the true spirit of America and that is why they volunteered to go to Iraq. It's as simple, honorable and admirable as that.''
In Iraq, dancers took to the stage wearing assorted outfits constructed from colorful materials covered with tassels and other gems. The clothing is
characteristic of their rich history, as well as of new and passed-down traditions.
Brokeshoulder was accompanied by six dancers, one of whom was his wife, Sharon.
''Sharon is wearing a Women's Southern Cloth, an Oklahoma-style wing dress. The unique thing is soldiers have given her combat patches. She is going to sew every single patch to that dress. The patches will never be taken off and the dress will never be sold - it will be kept forever,'' Brokeshoulder said. ''The reason she is doing this is because when she goes to future pow wows, other Indians will see her dance and ask about those patches. She will tell them that combat soldiers, the modern-day warriors, gave them to her. She is so honored to wear the dress; and throughout time the Indian warrior society has evolved through the military, starting from World War I and now into Iraqi Freedom.''
As the audience watched the dances, each individual carried out their own performance. All the acts performed were a type of Plains Indian dance routinely shown throughout North America. According to Brokeshoulder, American Indian soldiers enjoyed the event because it brought them a little taste of home.
''This is a great opportunity. This is the first time I can recollect where a full-fledged dance team has performed in any atmosphere such as this. Many Native American soldiers have come up to us and said we have brought memories from home to them.
''I often hear soldiers say they miss what they left behind. One young lady told my wife this show touched her so much she got emotional. She said it was the most beautiful thing we could have done for her because she misses home,'' Brokeshoulder said.
At the close of the event, the dancers signed autographs, took photos and interacted with soldiers. Not only did soldiers congratulate the performers for their work, but Brokeshoulder also acknowledged American Indian soldiers as well.
''I have personally been taking photographs of Native American soldiers and I plan to send them back to their tribal leaders. In Indian country, veterans are recognized often at many of their gatherings. We really just want to thank all the soldiers. They have taken very good care of us while we have been here and have been treated well beyond our expectations.
''This is our eighth performance and we have had one of the greatest responses at COB Spiecher. We have several shows, left but we really want to thank MWR for all their help and especially our soldiers for their support. This is for them,'' Brokeshoulder said.
On their return to America, the dance group gave praise and respect to the soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
Skyhawk said the team held a ceremony before takeoff for four flag draped caskets en route to the United States. ''They burned sage and sweetgrass for the fallen warriors,'' he said.
Pfc. Durwood Blackmon of the 25th Combat Aviations Brigade Public Affairs contributed to this report.
© Indian Country Today . All Rights Reserved
' The Summer of Peace:
Among the Nimiipuu'
SPALDING, Idaho - The Nez Perce Tribe was among just four tribes to host a Lewis and Clark Bicentennial National Signature Event, one of 15 such events. Activities in this event, dubbed ''The Summer of Peace: Among the Nimiipuu,'' took place June 5 - 17, with the official opening ceremonies held June 14 at Nez Perce National Historical Park in Spalding.
Opening ceremonies were conducted on a grassy field situated above the Clearwater River with the open hillside across the river and woods to either side providing a fitting setting. Heavy rains earlier in the morning ceased as the ceremonies began, and
continual birdsong added to the setting.
Emcee Allen Pinkham, Nez Perce, remarked how Lewis and Clark had most likely been on the same spot of ground where the opening was being held. He commented that there were many landmarks important to the Nez Perce people that Lewis and Clark didn't see or ask about, important now for the historical content they contain and important to identify those things in common with both cultures because ''we're all neighbors.''
Pinkham continually stressed peace and friendship, such as was observed from the time of Lewis and Clark for 71 years until that relationship broke down with much misunderstanding and misinterpretation. ''I believe we can overcome these difficulties by sharing not only our culture, but the knowledge we have so we can mesh together our history and your history as the United States. The Nez Perce Tribe has a great deal to contribute to this knowledge base and that is why it's important for this bicentennial to occur,'' Pinkham told the assembled crowd.
The presentation of colors was led by Wilfred Scott, with the Nez Perce Nation Drum singing the Flag Song. Horace Axtell, member of the tribal longhouse, asked others who worshipped as he did to join him in the invocation.
Rebecca Miles, chairman of the Nez Perce Tribal Council, said, ''Speaking for the tribal executive committee and our leaders past and present, and on behalf of the Nez Perce Tribe, it is my honor and pleasure to welcome each and every one of you here to our homeland.
''When Lewis and Clark came through this territory they not only acknowledged us as a sovereign nation, they depended on the Nez Perce for their survival coming and going. Many of us sitting here and many Nez Perce that you will hear and have heard throughout the past week are descended directly from people at the time Lewis and Clark came through.
''One of the descendents that I come from is Old Looking Glass, who was a young boy at the time of Lewis and Clark. You heard the Flag Song when we came in that was sung at the Treaty of 1855. That young boy, not quite 50 years later, would be negotiating a treaty with the U.S. government and our people ceded 13 million acres to the U.S. government. It is that experience that our people live by, our legal status today, based on that Treaty of 1855. I share those words with you because I am as anxious as anyone of what this week will unfold,'' Miles commented.
''I gather that what you have been hearing in the past few weeks and what my people will be telling you this week is not a whole lot about Lewis and Clark, but rather telling you what Lewis and Clark saw and experienced during their stay and upon their return,'' she continued.
This point was continually reinforced during the ''Summer of Peace'' events. The Nez Perce utilized this opportunity to educate and inform visitors about tribal history and ways. It was a forum to get the tribe's word out, help build bridges of understanding and to stress the peace and friendship concept that was frequently mentioned.
Miles completed her comments by thanking all the entities and individuals involved in this National Signature Event, pointing to the many years of planning that had gone into the final production. ''More importantly, when we planned this event we wanted to realize what we were going to say in this week, but more importantly my desire and my wish is what is to come when all is said and done. What this week will accomplish with our communities, so that we'll be able to work together.''
Scott Ekberg, speaking on behalf of the National Park Service, told of the Nez Perce National Historical Park where the event was held and which today ''stretches across four states from Old Chief Joseph's grave site at Joseph, Oregon, to the Bear Paw Battlefield near Chinook, Montana,'' he commented. ''The Nez Perce have a tie to their land that spans scores, if not hundreds, of generations across thousands of years over time immemorial. The weight of their collective knowledge and wisdom informed and enriched members of the Corps of Discovery 200 years ago and today, in our increasingly multicultural society, it still retains the powers to captivate and inform and enrich all of us today if we but open our hearts and our minds and our ears to it.''
The crowd was entertained by a horse regalia parade and by a Welcome Dance presented by the Nimiipuu Dancers, a group of young women from the Nez Perce Tribe. Finally, a Circle Dance was held around the large grassy field with virtually the entire audience participating - more than 1,200 in all. Tribal leaders said it was the largest such event they'd ever held and hoped it symbolized Summer of Peace efforts to bring people of different cultural backgrounds together.
& 2003 Nuclear-Free Future Award Solutions Recipient
Western Shoshone Defense Project
Joint Press Release, April 4, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :
U.S. Defies U.N. Decision and Contradicts Earlier = Public Statement– Plans Massive Military Detonation on Western = Shoshone Land –
Western Shoshone call for halt to planned June 2 = “Bunker Buster” detonation at the Nevada Test Site
Speaking with media last week, US military spokesman James Tegnelia = confirmed U.S. plans to detonate a 700 ton explosion at the Nevada Test = Site on June 2, 2006 in a test called “Divine Strake.” The = location of this test would be on Western Shoshone land, and would be in = direct violation of a recent decision by the United Nations Committee on = the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). In its decision, made = public March 10, 2006, the CERD Committee urged the United States to = “freeze”, “desist” and “stop” = actions being taken, or threatened to be taken, against the Western = Shoshone Peoples of the Western Shoshone Nation. In its decision, CERD = stressed the “nature and urgency” of the Shoshone situation = informing the U.S. that it goes “well beyond” the normal = reporting process and warrants immediate attention under the = Committee’s Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedure.
The CERD decision explicitly cited ongoing weapons testing at the = Nevada Test Site as well as efforts to build an unprecedented high-level = nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, NV.
James Tegnelia of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency was quoted by = Agence France Presse as saying, "I don't want to sound glib here but it = is the first time in Nevada that you'll see a mushroom cloud over Las = Vegas since we stopped testing nuclear weapons," and notes further that = this is the “largest single explosive that we could = imagine.” The Department of Defense announced in late October 2005 = that the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrating (RNEP) weapon project was = being dropped in favor of a more conventional methodology.
The detonation plan also runs contrary to earlier public statements = made in late March to the Las Vegas Review-Journal by Linton F. Brooks, = administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration. In his = statement, Mr. Brooks announced that the Bush administration had no = plans to start detonating warheads at the Nevada Test Site. "We have = absolutely no evidence that we're going to need to test. ... We don't = see any specific reason now that leads us to believe we'll need a test," = Mr. Brooks said. "On the other hand," he said, "we don't know everything = about the future."
According to Raymond Yowell, Chief of the Western Shoshone National = Council, “We’re opposed to any further = military testing on Shoshone lands. This is a direct violation of the = CERD finding and an affront to our religious belief - Mother Earth is = sacred and should not be harmed. All people who are opposed to these = actions by the U.S. should step forward and make their opposition = known.”
Carrie Dann, Western Shoshone grandmother and Executive Director of = the Western Shoshone Defense Project, “The U.S. = has named this 700 ton explosive ‘Divine Strake’. It’s = a mystery why they use ‘devine.’ Isn’t = ‘devine’ used for your deity, God, Your sacredness? Why = don’t they call it ‘Hell Strake?’ I believe when you = are working testing weaponry of destruction of life, you should not = associate it with ‘devine.’ We want this insanity to stop = – no more bombs and no more testing.”
Eileen McCabe-Olsen, Associate Director of Shundahai Network noted, = “This test, besides being an egregious violation of Western = Shoshone sovereignty, is an escalation that should outrage anyone = concerned with peace, justice and care of our environment.”
Pete Litster, Executive Director of Shundahai Network said = “Ongoing weapons tests at the Nevada Test Site violate = international law. They violate the standing treaty between the U.S. = Government and the Western Shoshone people. They also violate the spirit = of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The Test Site is = located on Western Shoshone territory, and must not continue to be = misused in bold violation of standing agreements between the U.S. = government and the Western Shoshone nation.”
Although approval for the test was sought and obtained from the state = of Nevada in January 2006, the test detonation can be cancelled. The = Western Shoshone National Council, the Western Shoshone Defense Project, = and Shundahai Network call for the United States Government to do so = immediately. Concerned citizens can call or write to express their = opinions:
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000
tel: (800) 701-5096
Defense Threat Reduction Agency
Attn: James Tegnelia
8725 John J Kingman RD Stop 6201
Fort Belvoir, VA 22060-6201
www.wsdp.org/ mission is to affirm = Newe (Western Shoshone) jurisdiction over Newe Sogobia (Western Shoshone = homelands) by protecting, preserving, and restoring Newe rights and = lands for present and future generations based on cultural and spiritual = traditions. The W.S.D.P. was established in 1991 by the Western Shoshone = National Council to provide support to Mary and Carrie Dann, Western = Shoshone grandmothers who were facing the confiscation of the livestock = that they graze on Western Shoshone lands.
www.shundahai.org/ is dedicated = to breaking the nuclear chain by building alliances with indigenous = communities and environmental, peace and human rights movements. We seek = to abolish all nuclear weapons and an end to nuclear testing. We = advocate phasing out nuclear energy and ending the transportation and = dumping of nuclear waste. We promote the principles of Environmental = Justice and strive to insure that indigenous voices are heard in the = movement to influence U.S. nuclear and environmental policies. All of = our campaigns and events incorporate the values of community building, = education, spiritual ceremonies and nonviolent direct action.
For more information:
Western Shoshone Defense = Project
the Mashpee Wampanoag
by: Editors Report / Indian Country Today
April 06, 2006
Heartfelt congratulations to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Cape Cod, Mass. We've known all along that they belong to one of the most historic Indian nations on the continent, the first to welcome the English Pilgrims and the first to lead a large-scale pan-tribal resistance against their encroachments. Now the federal government is preparing to acknowledge their existence. After 10 tries, Washington's current Indian agents finally got it right.
Of course, the Mashpee had such a strong case it would have been a major scandal if their petition for recognition did not succeed, but that thought hasn't stopped the Interior Department in recent years. No tribe is immune to the bureaucratic trick of setting impossible standards of evidence. Prior petitioners, notably the Nipmuc Nation, the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation and the Eastern Pequots, have fallen prey to bad-faith demands for year-to-year and practically day-by-day proof of their ''continuous existence.'' Even the Mashpee Wampanoag lost a celebrated federal trial back in 1976 when a high-powered corporate law firm managed to convince a non-Indian jury to throw out a land claim affecting their own property on the grounds that the tribe could not demonstrate its existence on certain set dates.
As Assistant Interior Secretary of Indian Affairs in the Clinton administration, Kevin Gover was prepared to accept some common-sense evidence for continuous existence, in spite of gaps in the documents. Say, for instance, the tribe was continuously recognized by the state government and, before that, the colonial government. Or, say that its members continuously occupied a state reservation. These factors helped win positive findings for the Nipmucs, Schaghticokes and Eastern Pequots until fierce opposition from local politicians and well-connected law firms intimidated Interior officials into reversing themselves.
The balance might have tipped for the Mashpee Wampanoag because of a historic oddity. In addition to their tribal organization, they also until recently had political control of the state-incorporated town of Mashpee. The settlement originated in 1665 as a Massachusetts ''praying town.'' It grouped together several villages of the Cape Cod Indians who had greeted Pilgrims from the Mayflower. A minister stayed with them to supervise their conversion. After King Philip's War in 1676, which passed by the settlement, scattered remnants from other bands came to join them. Native inhabitants managed to control the town council and other municipal institutions right up to 1970.
It was the influx of non-Native residents, maybe spurred by the publicity given the Kennedy compound up the road at Hyannisport, that prompted the Mashpee Wampanoag to start petitioning for federal acknowledgement. They began the process, in fact, even before there was a process. Their petition, No. 15, began with a letter to the Interior Department in 1975; the current acknowledgment regulations were first drafted in 1978. In 1976 the tribe tried, but failed, to get the federal government to support a land-claim suit designed to stop encroachment by real estate developers. Tribal members also fought hard to preserve their shell-fishing rights along the coast. The arrest of Tribal Chairman Glenn Marshall in his fishing boat produced an important court ruling supporting tribal sovereignty. Like so many other tribal petitions, these efforts began long before anyone even dreamed of tribal casinos.
Things being what they are, however, even with this background, the first thought that recognition brings to the mainstream press is gaming. The Wampanoag had to seek a financial supporter for the cost of the recognition process, so eventually a casino is bound to be an issue. (The process still has to run through a year of comment and counter-comment before Interior issues a final determination.) There are no tribal casinos at present in Massachusetts to compete with the lure of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun to the south. The state's only federally recognized tribe, the Aquinnah Wampanoag, don't want gaming on their island homeland and have been waiting to see how state policy develops to seek a casino on the mainland. Just days after the Mashpee decision, the state Legislature, still quaintly called the Great and General Court, proceeded to make a mess of the state's non-Indian gambling industry.
In the middle of a debate over adding slot machines at the state's four racetracks, legislative leaders neglected to extend their simulcasting authorization. Since April 1, the tracks have ''gone dark,'' losing the off-track betting that is their financial mainstay, throwing hundreds out of work and threatening the existence of thoroughbred racing in the state. We don't know if it's a case of intense back-room maneuvering or simple legislative incompetence, but it indicates that the tribes will have a very tricky path ahead to secure their own gaming development.
But these are worries for the years to come. For the moment the Mashpee Wampanoag have won a great victory, both in their three-decade legal campaign and their four-century struggle for survival. We join their celebration.
© 1998 - 2006 Indian Country Today
From URL: http://www.indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1096412781
Please Visit: http://mashpeewampanoagtribe.com/
by John Mohawk /
Indian Country Today
March 24, 2006
No one dares say anything negative about Jewish people, even if the comment is true or partly true. When Steven Spielberg directed a movie on the reaction to the murders of Israeli athletes in Munich more than 30 years ago, commentators like neo-conservative ideologue Charles Krauthammer complained that Spielberg had sided with the Palestinians, which is a no-no.
Spielberg was criticized even though his movie is not remotely racist. Others have had their careers destroyed, and recently a historian who denied the reality of the Holocaust (a bigoted position, no doubt) actually went to jail. And no one dares say anything negative about black people, lest they face (often legitimate) charges of racism. And check out Larry Summers, the obnoxious president of Harvard who ended up resigning following, among other ill-fated remarks, expressions of female biological limitations regarding certain academic disciplines.
OK, so you have to be careful when talking about women, blacks and people of Jewish heritage. There is, for those bigots who need a cause and would like to vent some racist venom, one group upon which it is perpetually open season: indigenous peoples, aka Indians! You can, apparently, make racist remarks about them at will and there will be little or no outcry. This tendency is so ingrained in the culture that people don't even recognize racist remarks when they are directed at Indians! They're a freebie! There are at least two reasons for this. The first is a stain on the American culture. Racist remarks about American Indians are part of the American consensus about Indians, a consensus which is at the center of the fabric of American culture but which today is inadequately challenged.
The first has to do with the mythology, the founding myth, of America. Long ago, American historians generally reached a consensus by which they promoted as fact stories that were both inaccurate and mythological in purpose. The myth goes all the way back to the debates in the Spanish colonies between Juan Gines de Sepulveda and Bartolome de las Casas.
Sepulveda is the ''father of modern racism'' who claimed that the Spanish were entitled to benefit from colonization of the Indians because of the supposed virtues of the Spanish and the sins and other deficiencies of the Indians. The first was that the Spanish offered to the Indians the benefits of Spanish ''civilization,'' a term which those who used it assumed that those who heard it would understand to designate an entitlement. The Spanish adorned themselves with the mantle of ''civilization.'' (Forget about the origins of the word and its connection to cities: ''civilization'' is now completely associated with something approaching utopia, an entitlement of Christian society.)
In land-claim cases in American case law, the lawyers and judges often find the origins of America's claim to Indian land in the ''doctrine of discovery'' and trace it from there. The doctrine was a claim that God had given all the lands of the Earth to Christendom (later, when the state system was adopted, the Christian nations); that whenever these Christian peoples encountered other peoples on previously unknown (to them) lands, they had ''discovered'' them and therefore had a right to ''pre-emption,'' the first right to divest the indigenous of their land because it wasn't really their land - they were just occupying it until the Christians arrived.
It's a fantastic claim: Since the beginning of time, past the Ice Ages and centuries before the Bible appeared, the Christians ''owned'' North America and the Indians possessed a mere ''right of occupancy'' which they could exercise until the Christians ''discovered'' them and found a way to divest them of it.
Sepulveda's racism was deeply ingrained with the rhetoric of civilization, his evidence of Spanish superiority predicated on the Indians' lack of Spanish culture. The message: You are not us (white Christians) and therefore you have no real rights. You were born inferior to us; your cultures are inferior to ours; God gave us rights to all that is yours. Racism is about culture.
''Civilized'' people claim qualities of personality that are nowhere evident in the Spanish leadership of the conquest. They claimed to be gentle, cultivated, devoted to the arts. In Christian civilization, the civilized represent the best assumed qualities of Jesus, including compassion, generosity, justice and righteousness. Even as Sepulveda was ascribing these qualities to the Spanish conquerors of his day, the Inquisition was torturing and murdering innocent people, taking their property and using the powers of government to achieve robbery, fraud and a great litany of criminal behavior.
Civilization's children were, upon examination, given to behaviors that were barbarous. All that talk about superior civilizations, God's will and ''discovery'' is just so much racist drivel.
Fast-forward to 18th-century North America. The early English colonists embraced the Spanish model of superiority due to ''civilization.'' To this was added the idea of the empty land (terra nullius), including the idea that Indians were nomads, that they were barbarous, that they lacked attributes which were imaged to be positive traits of the English. (As a matter of fact, the historic English lacked exactly those qualities: honesty, a nobility of purpose and so forth. About the only thing they could claim is that they mostly stayed in one place most of the year. But so did many Indians; and anyway, there's nothing wrong with being nomadic.)
Racism in the Sepulveda model involved a false and hypocritical claim to virtues of Christendom on the one hand, and an absence of virtues among all others as a group. We know today that the claims to virtue by the English are unsupported in the historic and contemporary records. In the same way that the contemporary record does not support that people with strong Christian beliefs have more stable marriages (''red'' states have higher divorce rates than ''blue'' states), it is also true that Christians do not have a history of less violence than other populations. Christian populations are not virtuous because they are Christian. Like other peoples, they have to work at it to achieve virtue.
Indian peoples continue to suffer under the pall of racist ideas that are centuries old. Just last year, the Supreme Court re-affirmed its belief in the racist ''doctrine of discovery'' in a land-claim case. In a recent book, Robert Williams Jr. detailed the use of such language and sources by the court's former chief justice, William Rehnquist. The book, ''Like a Loaded Weapon: The Rehnquist Court, Indian Rights, and the Legal History of Racism in America,'' is interesting reading. If Rehnquist had made those kinds of statements about other peoples, there would have been a hue and cry. But because it was directed at Indians, the racism beat goes on unchallenged.
© Indian Country Today
John C. Mohawk, Ph.D., columnist for Indian Country Today, is a noted author and historian. He is an associate professor of American studies and director of Indigenous studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo
From URL: http://indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1096412730
By Will Durst / AlterNet
March 15, 2006
I don't know about you guys, but I am so sick and tired of these lying, thieving, holier-than-thou, right-wing, cruel, crude, rude, gauche, coarse, crass, cocky, corrupt, dishonest, debauched, degenerate, dissolute, swaggering, lawyer shooting, bullhorn shouting, infrastructure destroying, hysterical, history defying, finger- pointing, puppy stomping, roommate appointing, pretzel choking, collateral damaging, aspersion casting, wedding party bombing, clear cutting, torturing, jobs outsourcing, torture outsourcing, "so-called" compassionate-conservative, women's rights eradicating, Medicare cutting, uncouth, spiteful, boorish, vengeful, noxious, homophobic, xenophobic, xylophonic, racist, sexist, ageist, fascist, cashist, audaciously stupid, brazenly selfish, lethally ignorant, journalist purchasing, genocide ignoring, corporation kissing, poverty inducing, crooked, coercive, autocratic, primitive, uppity, high-handed, domineering, arrogant, inhuman, inhumane, insolent, know-it-all, snotty, pompous, contemptuous, supercilious, gutless, spineless, shameless, avaricious, poisonous, imperious, merciless, graceless, tactless, brutish, brutal, Karl Roving, backward thinking, persistent vegetative state grandstanding, nuclear option threatening, evolution denying, irony deprived, depraved, insincere, conceited, perverted, pre-emptory invading of a country that had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11, 35-day-vacation taking, bribe soliciting, incapable, inbred, hellish, proud for no apparent reason, smarty pants, loudmouth, bullying, swell-headed, ethnic cleansing, ethics-eluding, domestic spying, medical marijuana-busting, kick-backing, Halliburtoning, New Deal disintegrating, narcissistic, undiplomatic, blustering, malevolent, demonizing, baby seal-clubbing, Duke Cunninghamming, hectoring, verbally flatulent, pro-bad- anti-good, Moslem-baiting, photo-op arranging, hurricane disregarding, oil company hugging, judge packing, science disputing, faith based mathematics advocating, armament selling, nonsense spewing, education ravaging, whiny, unscrupulous, greedy exponential factor fifteen, fraudulent, CIA outing, redistricting, anybody who disagrees with them slandering, fact twisting, ally alienating, betraying, god and flag waving, scare mongering, Cindy Sheehan libeling, phony question asking, just won't get off the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling, two- faced, inept, callous, menacing, your hand under a rock- the maggoty remains of a marsupial, oppressive, vulgar, antagonistic, brush clearing suck- up, showboating, tyrannizing, peace hating, water and air and ground and media polluting which is pretty much all the polluting you can get, deadly, illegal, pernicious, lethal, haughty, venomous, virulent, ineffectual, mephitic, egotistic, bloodthirsty, incompetent, hypocritical, did I say evil, I'm not sure if I said evil, because I want to make sure I say evil…
EVIL, cretinous, fool, toad, buttwipe, lizardstick, cowardly, lackey imperialistic tool slime buckets in the Bush Administration that I could just spit.
Impeachment? Hell no. Impalement. Upon the sharp and righteous sword of the people's justice.
Listen to Will Durst's Will & Willie Show, Monday through Friday, 7-10am PST, on KQKE, 960 AM. Or listen long distance at quakeradio.com.
© 2006 Independent Media Institute
To the first person who can prove that Our Federal government has jurisdiction
over all marijuana manufactured or possessed in the United States.
U.S. Supreme Court case law cite with page and quote required.
The famous Wickard v. Filburn case, relied on by Federal prosecutors and judges to claim jurisdiction under the interstate commerce clause, actually says quite the opposite:
It is of the essence of regulation that it lays a restraining hand on the self-interest of the regulated and that advantages from the regulation commonly fall to others. … the Government gave the farmer a choice…. It is hardly lack of due process for the Government to regulate that which it subsidizes.- Wickard (317 US 111,129-131)
Because Filburn was accepting benefits (subsidy prices for his wheat), he was liable for the agency’s civil penalties imposed by the program regulations.
In 2004 Attorney Allison Margolin challenged Federal jurisdiction with a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction (U.S. v. Landa).
The precedent upon which the federal government’s ability to govern interstate commerce, Wickard v. Filburn, is premised upon the fact that the plaintiff in that case registered in a federal program. …the Wickard basis of jurisdiction is inapplicable here.
Similar motions by others are currently in our Federal District Courts, our Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and in our Supreme Court. These defendants are also non-registrants, not accepting benefit from FDA, DEA or any Federal agency or program for marijuana.
Still, no Federal judge has ruled on these motions or even addressed this issue, never mind citing an authority establishing Federal jurisdiction over non-registrants. The People’s right to due process can only be upheld through a court ruling; failure to rule is a deprivation of our right to due process of law.
Pretending there is an authority establishing jurisdiction is a deprivat! ion of rights under color of law (US Criminal Code, Section 242, calls for prison sentences for violators, including judges and attorneys).
Contact: www.commonsenselaw.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Reward is held by Common Sense Law and Associates in trust. As contributions by interested individuals
continue, the Reward Amount has exceeded $5,000. The Panel of Judges will be announced shortly.
Common Sense Law Reward Rules
The purpose of the Reward is to uphold the People’s right to Due Process of Law. The application for the Reward consists of two parts:
1. Name and mailing address;
2. Cite of the U.S. Supreme Court, with page and quote, which directly affirms the U. S. Government’s and its agencies’ jurisdiction over non-registrants of its agencies, regarding mari! juana or other substances.
Submit applications to:
Common Sense Law
P.O. Box 6528
Santa Rosa, CA 95406
Or by email: email@example.com
The Reward money ($5,000 to date) is held in trust by Common Sense Law and Associates. A bank draft will be sent to the Name and Address of the successful applicant within 3 days of verification.
The Reward will remain in effect until published notification a minimum of 30 days in advance of withdrawal of the offer at our website www.commonsenselaw.com. That should allow ample time for anybody to submit their claim. The Reward has been posted at www.commonsenselaw.com since February 21, 2005.
Joe Fortt said his motion on l! ack of agency jurisdiction may be heard at his next hearing on March 20, 2005 at 9:30 AM at the Fresno Federal Building. To date, no court has ruled on similar motions. I would be good for supporters of Joe to display "Due Process" on their apparell and witness the hearing. Violation of due process under color of law is a crime at Section 242 of the U.S. Criminal Code (Title 18).
Allison Margolin (US v. Landa) has this motion pending at the 9th Circuit (Judge Alsup told her in front of us witnesses: "Take that to the 9th Circuit!")
Keith Alden (US v. Alden) has this issue in his Petition for Certiorari before the US Supreme Court.
We are still awaiting a court ruling on this issue.
Dear Federal Prisoner:
We are offering this Wanted Poster that you may have an opportunity to claim the reward. If you cannot! find the government’s jurisdiction, you might want to send a copy of the poster to:
* your Attorney,
* your prosecuting attorney, and
* your Judge
and see if they can find the authority establishing Federal jurisdiction over non-registrants.
There are only three possibilities. Either
* they cite the authority and step up to claim the reward;
* they agree that there is no federal jurisdiction over non-registrants; or
* they don’t respond, which can only indicate their continued participation in this fraud, which is a deprivation of your right to due process of law. Pretending there is a law that justifies the violation of your rights is a crime at 18 USC Section 242. This crime has a victim with injuries and damages. If you are a victim, it is up to you to respond in an appropriate manner, or do and say nothing, and continue suffering the deprivation of your rights.
We hope you will pass this on to others who have had their rights violated.
Questions, comments, feedback:
Common Sense Law
P.O. Box 6528
Santa Rosa, CA 95406
United States Code
Title 18--Crimes and Criminal Procedure
Chapter 13 - Civil Rights
Statute 242. Deprivation of rights under color of law
Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State … to the deprivation of any rights, … secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, … shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and… if such acts include the use, … or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, … shall be fined … or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed … or if such acts include kidnapping …, shal! l be fined … or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentence to death.
by Brian Payton
February 11, 2006
ONE AUTUMN NIGHT, I fell asleep near a pair of hungry polar bears. I was out on the tundra in a mobile lodge on the shore of Hudson Bay, spending some time with the world's largest land predators. My bunk had a small window by it with a view onto a patch of snow illuminated by a large spotlight. After an unforgettable afternoon photographing bears at rest and play, I stretched out in my sleeping bag as they took turns sitting up on their haunches, peering back at me.
The largest member of the bear family, adult male polar bears (Ursus maritimus) weigh between 770 and 1,500 pounds. The skin of a large male specimen could cover a small car. Incredibly, most polar bears are born weighing just over a pound.
They are the newest bear species, evolutionarily speaking. Polar bears are thought to have evolved into a distinct species between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago. Previously, seals were able to haul themselves onto the ice pack and nurse their young in peace — until a brown bear (Ursus arctos) noticed and decided to investigate. The descendants of that bear came to depend on seals and developed into the white bears we know today.
Polar bears spend the winter and spring on the ice and are forced ashore in summer to await its return. Because there isn't much for them to do in summer, they spend a lot of time wrestling and watching the tourists and scientists who have come to watch them.
These days, however, it's becoming increasingly difficult to look them in the eye.
Life at the top of the Arctic food chain means polar bears' bodies concentrate many of the chemicals that waft up from our activities in the industrial south. For years, scientists have been tracking increasing levels of toxins (including DDT and PCBs) in polar bear flesh, organs and milk. And now, with polluted bodies, they are faced with an even bigger threat.
Polar bears rely on ice that forms fresh each year adjacent to land. They hunt seals at the ice's edge, at breathing holes in the ice and in snow-covered hollows on top of the ice where seals hide their pups. For polar bears, it's all about ice. Unfortunately, the ice is disappearing.
Arctic temperatures are rising twice as fast as the rest of the globe — and there has already been a dramatic reduction in the Arctic Ocean's summer ice pack, which is 20% smaller than it was in the 1970s. Scientists expect it will continue its precipitous decline, resulting in dramatic effects throughout the Arctic ecosystem. In their 2004 "Arctic climate impact assessment," the world's foremost climate and Arctic scientists predicted that, by the end of this century, the changes in the north because of global warming may be so profound that the entire species (estimated at 22,000 to 27,000 polar bears) could vanish — along with the environment that shaped them.
Watching those bears outside my window, I couldn't help but wonder: How will their end come? Will a few stragglers lie down on the shore of Hudson Bay, waiting for the ice that never forms? Or will they head for the nearby town of Churchill, in Manitoba province, and make their last stand at the dump? In Inuit legends, polar bears are actually people when inside their dens and transform into bears only when they don their hides to go out into the cold. Perhaps polar bears will have to leave their fur coats at home.
Or will we take the necessary steps to save them and their environment? Will urbanites forgo their SUVs in favor of public transit? Will voters stop electing politicians who are contemptuous of science and international cooperation? Even as we contemplate these questions, our window of opportunity to save the polar bear is closing.
As I returned their gaze that cold, autumn night, I wanted to believe that awareness fosters change. Then the generator shut down, and I watched my companions fade to black.
BRIAN PAYTON is author of the forthcoming "Shadow of the Bear: Travels in Vanishing Wilderness."
from: the Los Angeles Times http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/california/la-oe-payton11feb11,0,1728432.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-california
by: Valerie Taliman
December 30, 2005
GENEVA - Native delegations at the United Nations are making progress in negotiations toward the eventual adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, an unprecedented set of standards that would define and protect the international human rights of indigenous peoples.
The Indian Law Resource Center, Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Navajo Nation and Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy) are among the lead advocates for creating strong rights for self-determination and self-governance as consultations continued through mid-December in the U.N. Working Group on the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
''The Navajo Nation is here to help the world community understand that First Nations have the right to sovereignty over its lands and territories. It's important for them to understand that our rights as indigenous peoples were not granted by any country. They are inherent,'' said Navajo Nation Council Delegate Ervin Keeswood.
Debate has been sharp - particularly on land and natural resources - as member countries of the U.N. and indigenous peoples work toward building understanding and consensus on specific issues affecting the territorial, political, economic, legal, social and cultural rights of the world's 360 million indigenous peoples.
''There have been huge divisions and passionate debates in crafting language for articles that can reach consensus,'' said attorney Tim Coulter, executive director of the Indian Law Resource Center in Helena, Mont. and Washington, D.C., who has been extensively involved in drafting the declaration for 29 years.
''Slowly we are overcoming tremendous differences despite the fact that there are indigenous peoples from literally all over the world - Africa, Asia, Pacific Islands, Mexico, South America, the Arctic - with different backgrounds and different situations to consider. What we have in common is our work defending our rights to determine our own futures, our own laws, our own development.''
Indigenous delegates have been educating countries about indigenous positions on self-determination, the preservation of cultural and spiritual traditions, collective land and natural resource rights, border-crossing, and their right to exist as distinct nations and tribes.
''The process is advancing and we are having some notable success in discussions,'' said Darwin Hill, a representative of the Haudenosaunee. ''We have been telling the U.S. delegates they need to be more flexible in their positions. By providing them with a steady dialogue and education on our issues over the years, they are gaining greater understanding of our concerns.''
Consensus in the U.N. Working Group is forming around a land rights article that states: ''Indigenous peoples have the right to own, use, develop and control the lands, territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership or other traditional occupation or use, as well as those which they have otherwise acquired.''
The declaration would call on countries to give full legal recognition and protection to these lands and resources in accordance with the customs, traditions and land tenure systems of the indigenous peoples concerned.
''In light of many unfortunate developments in Indian country regarding relationships with countries, the Navajo Nation is exercising its sovereignty at the international level and actively engaging in making international laws,'' said Rex Lee Jim, Navajo Council delegate from Rock Point who also serves on the Navajo Judiciary Committee.
''We know that laws made in Geneva eventually become laws in nations. It may take years, but these laws eventually will impact the Navajo Nation. It is in our best interest in the long run that we are involved in making laws that affect us.''
Some countries have tried to limit jurisdiction and control over land and resources. Much of the world's remaining natural resources are on lands owned by indigenous peoples, who often suffer severe negative impacts from development projects undertaken without their informed consent or appropriate compensation.
Indigenous delegates are also seeking redress for lands and resources taken in the past. One article of the declaration provides for claims for return of land or compensation.
Armand MacKenzie, attorney for the mineral-rich Innu Nation in northern Quebec and Labrador, repeatedly argued for just and fair compensation for Native people who have been relocated from their homelands and deprived of their traditional hunting and gathering territories.
MacKenzie, who is involved in a major land claim for his people, said that while significant progress has occurred in negotiations over the last year, it is fundamental that the declaration contain provisions for Native people to retain as much control as possible over their homelands.
''There are some difficult areas concerning land and resource rights that have taken years to resolve, but we are committed to negotiating in the best interest of our people back home. It's their land and way of life that we are fighting for,'' he said.
Another area that remains a point of contention is the spiritual and cultural relationships Native peoples have with their homelands.
Current language in the declaration would require countries to give legal respect to the lands that indigenous peoples hold collectively, including their aboriginal lands, and to ensure access to areas with spiritual and cultural significance that are no longer owned by indigenous peoples.
Coulter said there is an unusual flexibility and good will on the part of a number of countries - including Mexico, Guatemala, Venezuela, Spain and Brazil, in particular - to recognize collective rights and rights to self-determination that have in the past presented a great many problems.
''One topic that has not been easily understood is [that of the] collective rights that indigenous peoples have to land and culture,'' he said. ''In most countries, the emphasis is on individual rights. They have had to learn about our cultures and traditions to understand the importance of collective rights. A few years ago, they would not even talk about it. Now they are agreeing to collective rights, which is something new in international law.''
As the second week came to a close, 23 of the 67 draft provisions have been agreed upon.
''I think these should be provisionally adopted when the Working Group reconvenes in January. This is very encouraging,'' Coulter said. The U.N. Working Group will have a five-day session in Geneva beginning Jan. 30.
Ambassador Tyge Lehmann from Denmark urged all delegations to move forward with compromise in order to push for adoption by the U.N. General Assembly as early as next year.
''At the United Nations in September, 191 nation-states talked extensively about advancing the world's indigenous peoples. Governments were urged to consider adopting the declaration as soon as possible,'' he said. ''For the first time ever, we have a very positive signal indicating an expectation that we will see adoption of these rights very soon.''
The declaration contains 20 introductory paragraphs and 47 articles covering a wide range of human rights, spanning spiritual beliefs, language, lands, natural resources, education, and economic and social issues. If adopted, it will be the most comprehensive statement on the rights of indigenous peoples ever developed.
The declaration must reach consensus in the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations before being adopted by the General Assembly, a process that many hope will be completed within the next year if negotiations continue well.
© 1998 - 2006 Indian Country Today.
Valerie Taliman, Navajo, is director of communications for the Indian Law Resource Center. For more information, visit www.indianlaw.org or call (406) 449-2006.
from URL: http://www.indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1096412130
of Geronimo's remains
by: Brenda Norrell
From: Indian Country Today
December 25, 2005
SAN CARLOS, Ariz. - American Indians are petitioning Congress to investigate the elite Skull and Bones society at Yale University and return the remains of Chiricahua Apache warrior Geronimo to Apaches for reburial.
The online petition describes the desecration of Geronimo's grave in 1918 by members of the society, including President George W. Bush's grandfather, Sen. Prescott Bush. The men removed Geronimo's head and a prized silver bridle, which had been buried with him.
''Using acid and amid laughter, they stripped Geronimo's head of hair and flesh. They then took their 'trophies' back to Yale University and put them on display in the clubhouse of the secret fraternity 'Skull and Bones,''' states the petition.
Outraged American Indian tribal members from across the nation and indigenous people from around the world are signing the petition with plans to pressure Congress to act.
Apache leaders want Geronimo to be buried, as he requested, in tribal lands in the mountains of San Carlos.
''Geronimo left his rifle and peace pipe here when they took him away,'' Thompson said. ''When Geronimo was taken from this land, he wanted to come back and be buried on San Carlos in the Triplet Mountains.''
Skull and Bones admitted to San Carlos Apache leaders almost 20 years ago that it was in possession of a skull it called Geronimo's in its secret ''museum'' in New Haven, Conn.
Raleigh Thompson, who served as San Carlos Apache tribal councilman for 16 years, told Indian Country Today that he was among the Apache tribal leaders with whom Skull and Bones officials met in New York in a series of meetings beginning in 1986. He said the society, of which Bush and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, are members, admitted that it held Geronimo's remains.
San Carlos Apache Chairman Ned Anderson and tribal attorney Joe Sparks were also members of the Apache delegation that met with the society in New York. Anderson and Thompson said the delegation met with Skull and Bones officials and Jonathan Bush, brother of George H.W. Bush.
Thompson said Prescott Bush was among a group of six Army soldiers who dug up Geronimo's remains at Fort Sill, Okla., in 1918. The San Carlos Apache Tribe received a copy of a logbook describing the graverobbing and a photograph of a skull on display before meeting with the board in New York.
Thompson said the society attempted to return a skull - that of a child - which the Apache delegation rejected. Skull and Bones members subsequently threatened legal action if the photograph were not returned.
Attorney Endicott Davison, representing Skull and Bones, denied that the society had Geronimo's skull. He claimed the logbook was a hoax.
Alexandra Robbins, a former staff member of The New Yorker magazine and author of ''Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones, the Ivy League and the Hidden Paths of Power,'' told ICT that her research supports the Apache leaders' statements. Robbins believes that Geronimo's skull is in the society's tomb.
The petition for the return and reburial of Geronimo's skull states that Skull and Bones is a secret society founded at Yale in 1832. Its history is intertwined with that of the German Illuminati and the Nazi Party, according to the petition.
''They maintain a windowless building called 'The Tomb' at 64 High Street, New Haven, Connecticut. The club's assets are controlled by a front company, The Russell Trust Association Inc. Every year, 15 Yale juniors are 'tapped' for Skull & Bones membership. They are indoctrinated into the cultish society with elaborate rituals steeped in satanic theatricism and latent homosexuality.
''The goal of this fraternity is to create the ultimate network of 'good ole boys' around the world. Their alumni include Prescott Bush's son [George H.W.] and grandson [George W.] as well as heads of state and leaders of numerous intelligence agencies, trading companies, business empires and law firms,'' according to the petition.
Since the initial leak of information to the Apache leaders, other sources have confirmed that Geronimo's skull is, as asserted in the petition, indeed on display in The Tomb and considered the ''mascot'' of this ''club'' on High Street.
The petition further states that the ''undersigned are horrified with this display of elitist, racist witchcraft'' and asks Congress, with the assistance of whatever law enforcement necessary, to launch an immediate investigation into the theft and possession of human remains by Skull and Bones, Russell Trust Association Inc. and any members of the U.S. government involved, past or present.
Stephen Flute, Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, signed the petition and said, ''If the situation were reversed, someone would be in jail or would have been executed. It wouldn't even matter to them if the right person were in jail, as long as one of 'us' paid the price.''
Sheri Big Back Bement, Northern Cheyenne/Apache, said Geronimo remains respected. ''You will never see an Indian dig up the bones of the dead. We know what respect is. Their ignorance and stupidity will come back on them and their families.''
Mohawk Sakaronhiotane Ricky Diabo signed with this message: ''When you mess with the spirits you shall be punished by the spirits.''
View the petition and signatures online at www.petitiononline.com/Geronimo/petition.html.
© Indian Country Today
for low-cost heating oil
by: Brenda Norrell / Indian Country Today
December 16, 2005
PORTLAND, Maine - American Indian leaders from four tribes in Maine met with representatives of the Venezuelan Embassy and became the first tribes in the nation to begin working out details for the delivery of low-cost heating oil to tribal members.
Aroostook Band of Micmacs Chief Bill Phillips praised Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for his offer to bring discounted heating oil to the United States, and Venezuelan Embassy officials for following through on Chavez's offer.
''We appreciate Chavez trying to bring low-cost heating oil for our elderly. We're thinking: He is a fellow Native from the Americas, and we appreciate his taking the time and effort to do some good,'' Phillips told Indian Country Today.
Venezuelan Embassy officials met Dec. 13 with representatives of four tribes: the Aroostook Micmacs, the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point and the Penobscot Indian Nation.
Phillips said Venezuelan Embassy officials held two separate meetings at the Portland International Jetport concerning the delivery of low-cost heating oil, one with Indian tribal leaders and another with Maine Gov. John Baldacci.
''It's just the beginning steps; it will be a great help for our people. We are very encouraged. If this goes the way they say, it will be a godsend to our people,'' Phillips said, pointing out that four tribal council members of the 1,000-member Aroostook Band met with Venezuelan and tribal representatives.
Calling it a ''simple act of generosity,'' Chavez earlier promised heating oil at a 40 percent discount to nonprofits, nursing homes and schools.
''We are set up as a nonprofit,'' Phillips said of the tribe, which will work out the details for supply and delivery with the Venezuelan government.
Phillips said the Venezuelan Embassy has scheduled a meeting for Indian tribes to meet with the embassy in Washington, D.C. Jan. 18 - 19 and further discuss the delivery of low-cost heating oil to Northeast tribes.
Phillips said the Aroostook Micmacs, located in northern Maine, are the northernmost tribe in the United States. The area's unpredictable weather can bring severe winters.
''We have our ups and downs; you can never tell what the weather will do,'' Phillips said, adding that temperatures are regularly in the single digits and can dip below zero. With the wind chill, temperatures have plunged to 65 to 70 degrees below zero.
Phillips said the area already has a number of CITGO gas stations that are owned by Venezuela.
As for the other gas companies in the area, Phillips said the efforts are about keeping the people warm and stretching dollars, not politics.
''People may be taken back by it a little bit, but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.
''Hopefully, on January 18 and 19 we'll begin something that will work for years to come.''
Venezuelan Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said low-cost heating oil pilot projects in Boston and the Bronx began in November with 12 million gallons of heating oil. Ramirez said the cost to Venezuelan-owned CITGO Petroleum Corp. was $200 million.
Phillips said Venezuelan leaders have also invited Indian tribes to participate in a cultural exchange.
''I would happily go down to pay a visit,'' said Phillips.
Robert Free Galvan, an American Indian activist in Seattle known for pitching his tipi on Alcatraz during the takeover of the island in the 1960s, organized efforts between Indian tribes and the government of Venezuela.
''The people of the United States should be very thankful to President Hugo Chavez for this offer. Chavez was the first to offer oil and gas after Hurricane Katrina struck,'' Galvan said.
Galvan urged Indian tribes to assess their energy usage and try to determine who could distribute low-cost oil and gas on tribal lands and where. Further, he said tribes should inventory their ability to store and deliver oil and gas.
Galvan is now organizing an indigenous delegation to the World Social Forum in Venezuela, to be held during the third week of January. Western Shoshone, Lakota, Gwich'in and Ponca tribal members plan to attend if sponsors are located.
© Indian Country Today
For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
What if your decision alone
determined the fate of humanity?
by John Kaminski
One night long ago - back in the days when I was an 80-hour-per-week hack journalist and living in snow country - I had this strange dream.
This night was cold and clear and I was bundled up with my wife under several quilts in a drafty farmhouse.
In my dream I was standing before a group of white apparitions that appeared to be human and bore a faint resemblance to Snow White's Seven Dwarfs. They were seated at a long table apparently waiting for my testimony with an annoyed degree of impatience.
Dressed in a dark blue robe with a peaked hat and a broom, a white-haired woman whose name my memory recalls now as Bibbitybobbityboo blessed me with stardust from her magic wand and told me that I would always work for my mother, because she was the real vehicle that brought me into this world, and that I should strive to maintain that awesomely lovely purpose in any and all endeavors I chose.
Yet the white misty images of robed men seated behind the long table covered by a white tablecloth seemed to snicker at her remarks, and quickly began their own interrogation.
"You fancy yourself a young and intrepid explorer, ay?" one gnomelike curmudgeon bellowed from the far end of the table. "Tell me then, what would you do if you discovered that the collective life force of the human species was a lethal menace to all other life in the universe, and had to be extinguished in order to preserve the greater galactic civilization? Which side would you choose, knowing that your species could go instantly extinct upon the mere whimsy of your own addled perceptions, and yours alone?"
Operating on the principle of never being afraid of something you absolutely may not avoid, I responded: "First I'd ask to see the evidence .... "
And with a teeth rattling roar a gigantic voice that sounded like Zeus himself rumbled over the assembled fog scene.
"Because the human race, quivering in its own existential fear, has betrayed its own consciousness by letting fear of the unknown metastasize into a devil's chorus of diseased songs by which humans are killing off all life on their own planet.
"And worse, from our point of view, this plague of fearful murderers is already creeping outward into its own solar system. The infestation must be stopped for the safety of many others."
Terrified, I instantly began to think, do I trust what I know? The umpire in me asked: "How do I make this call?"
Why don't I trust what I know? Because I believe in double-checking, checking back to see if important decisions have been right, and fixing correctible errors. I've gained more from just that psychological maneuver than any other thing in life. Be sure of what you're doing. And every time I've checked back, I've corrected errors that I hadn't previously realized were harming me.
But to decide the fate of humanity with a single yes-or-no answer requires an examination much bigger than poor old nobody me can calculate. That's why my secret weapon has always been to ask somebody else for their opinion, because we can't live without the herd, and besides the real beauty in our lives always derives from our love for other people. Only certain types whom you know all too well spend their lives doing nothing but taking.
But in this situation, the best I could do was recall from memory what the masters taught me. I hoped to use the power of the world's classic sources - especially those which are not taught in schools (which always try to blunt out independent thought with an acceptable retinue of opinions which all support the positions of the well-monied status quo which profits from the master/slave paradigm) - to out argue these heavenly heavies who I now confronted in my dream.
So I answered his question as best I could.
"Stand securely in your own truth, and be an example of hospitality and judgment to others. Assuage the fear but don't forget to hear the message. In this way you may perceive clearly and judge fairly. In this way could humans yet become a shining example of fairness and hospitality, a beacon of liberty and love that shone throughout our solar system and beyond."
A huge wraith possessed of some kind of mechanical recording device (oh wait, that was an eight-track boom box) snarled from the opposite end of the table: "Don't be disingenuous with us, you glib fool! We're talking about the human race, the one that slaughters itself and everything else over and over and feasts on the gore. Vampirism is the human religion, as you drink the blood of your savior and proudly wallow in the waving flags that cover the bodies of your obliterated children. Your vaunted United States of America develops plagues that it sends to Africa to exterminate tribe after tribe, and now even these same demons send diseases from airplanes over all the cities of America.
"The human species is now spreading deadly radioactivity in probes exploring your solar system, and the Galactic Council has decided to determine the fate of your world and your species based on the opinion of a single human soul. Since you've made so much superficial noise advocating a society based on peace, justice, and honesty, you're it!
"Time's up. What's the answer?"
It was, I reflected, like entering the bardo plane. First choice? Go to the light. Everyone's automatically eligible. Everyone in the world has a free pass to heaven the minute they check out. Of course that's not what the priests tell you. If they did, they wouldn't have jobs.
But that reflexive step into the light is not as easy as you think, because after a few years on this delightful earth plane you get entangled with ties that even after death you can't let go of. I mean, when you tell the perfect person that you'll love them forever, that stands. That's, as a matter of fact, the strongest force in the universe. Not even the power of a million suns can wipe that out.
A small, diplomatic voice from near the center of the table spoke softly: "Humans have not learned the lesson that there is only one life and it is shared by all, and each only for a time. The real reason you pile up trinkets is that you hide behind your false belief that you are immortal, when science has proven beyond all doubt that nothing is immortal, not even the universe itself, which was likely calved from yet another universe in the form of a white hole."
Pray all you want, I said silently. Nothing lasts forever, not even the clumsy and diseased human perception of God. Then when your forever is gone, you'll have a better view of all the people you're killing. It might even horrify you, if you're human.
A tall white wraith with a menacing female voice interrupted impatiently. "The point, fellow gentle spirits, is to determine whether human life is an untenable threat to all other life in the universe, and therefore must be exterminated as the primitive and thoughtless vermin they are."
"It seems clear to all here assembled that the human failure to have genuine faith in the goodness and fairness of the archetypal processes of the universe has resulted in this twisted fear that death is some mysterious place you must take magic potions and utter pious phrases to avoid. The insanity is caused by trying to avoid something that nothing in the universe can avoid."
At that point, I took control.
"Humans are animals frightened of their own shadows because they cannot explain who they are or where they came from. It's almost if we stepped out of a dream and into history, which - don't forget - all these creatures are just metaphorical constructions of projections from our own imaginations.
"In the struggle for survival, savage reflexes are good. But what we hoped to establish was a flowery sanctuary for our well being. That's not what we have, because we deny we are hungry animals at a certain point on the food chain. At the top, mostly."
Another voice spoke from the among the white apparitions at the table.
"So you're saying that for humans, justice is secondary to survival. It is that way for all animals on planet Earth, in fact. So this is exactly the same question we asked you: Once you know that humanity is a pox to countless trillions of other beings, simply because of its thoughtlessness wrapped in fearful symmetry, what alternative is there to a functional eradication program."
"Then the only possible chance to save our species from the collective wrath of all the higher civilizations in our region of our galaxy is to consciously realize the effects we have on things we don't even know about. And we can only do that with a philosophy that is truly everything we should be: loving, discerning, and competent."
A misty white voice quickly answered:
"Precisely what humans have never done and seem incapable of doing. You can't do that before you realize that all tribes, all nations, and all worlds must seek peace, justice and honesty. Humans are known as a species that squanders life because it is so afraid of death. They clearly don't have the courage, realism or forthrightness to be actualized members of greater galactic society. So the decision should be easy for you. Pull the plug."
And there I stood, wanting to defend the human race but realizing there was a larger, more important life force in the universe that was the automatic owner of all our possessions and the creator of all we have ever had. It saddens me to know we must throw away all this beautiful potential as our human family on planet Earth continues its slide into madness, disease, and extinction.
"You are the emissary," barked a voice from the table. "Time is short. Tell them that."
"I promise I will," I said.
John Kaminski is a writer who lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida whose Internet essays are seen on hundreds of websites around the world. http://www.johnkaminski.com/
The Most Controversial Statement of Our Time?
By Brenda Norrell
STRONGHOLD TABLE, S.D. - Lakota elder Tony Black Feather told the United Nations that the American flag represents a racist nation that violates natural and spiritual laws, dishonors treaties and engages in a game plan of corporate greed.
In his statement delivered to the United Nations and distributed here on Stronghold Table, Black Feather pressed for disarmament and peace as President Bush pressed for war in Iraq.
Urging America to "come clean in the eyes of the world," Black Feather said people often ask him about the red, white and blue of the American flag
"I tell them that the aboriginal Lakota people of this country look at this flag as a piece of red, white and blue cloth that stands for the foreign racist system that has oppressed Indigenous peoples for centuries.
"For traditional Lakota people, that piece of red, white and blue cloth stands for a system and a country that does not honor it's own word."
Black Feather, in his statement to the Working Group on Indigenous Populations, said the flag represents a nation of dishonor.
"If it stood for honor and truth, it would remember our treaties and give them the appropriate place under international law. But it doesn't. It dishonors its own word and violates its treaties, that piece of red, white and blue cloth."
On the Stronghold, Black Feather distributed his written statement, which was delivered to the United Nations in July, as he challenged the National Park Service in the Badlands. Ignoring demands from the tribe, the Park Service plans to excavate fossils in the burial grounds of the Ghost Dancers massacred here after they survived the massacre of Wounded Knee.
"America is a world problem," Black Feather told National Park Service officials leading a tour in the Badlands of the proposed excavation site on Oglala Sioux tribal land.
Lakota gathered here say the bones of the Ghost Dancers, who danced here to bring back the buffalo and the old ways, are revealing themselves at this time for a reason.
With a message for humanity and calling for disarmament around the world, Black Feather chastised the Park Service for entering sacred grounds in the Badlands with armed park rangers.
At the resistance camp manned by the Tokala Warrior Society, the traditional Grey Eagle Society, Russell Means and others chastised National Park Service officials.
Pointing out violations of federal laws, Lakota said the arrogance and racism is indicative of federal Indian policy and a nation that is spiritually bankrupt.
Black Feather's comments on deception and the flag were representative of the situation here.
Black Feather said of the American flag, "This colorful cloth represents imperialism with the professed Christian duty to destroy many races of peoples throughout the world, to illegally confiscate their possessions, property and even their lives when U.S. interests need to be served.
"It is their intention to establish one world government, based solely on the American system of corporate greed.
"The cloth represents a political language that is designated to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable. This piece of red, white and blue cloth represents a political system that is contrary to the principles of Natural Law and the moral principles, which govern a diversified humanity.
"This piece of cloth misrepresents the human race.
"As Lakota people, we engage in different actions to remember the Natural Law and to assert our rights."
Black Feather said the takeover of the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council offices and the current resistance on Stronghold Table asserts the rights of the Lakota people.
"As the aboriginal people of this land, we must understand and assert that it is under our care. The continents of the world belong to its aboriginal peoples.
"Someday somebody will have to account for these violations of the Natural Law and violations against Creation that the piece of cloth has been responsible for.
"The United States needs to come clean to cleanse its conscience in the eyes of the world.
Only then will we have justice and balance in this world."
Black Feather's statement was among those of the Tetuwan Oyate Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council, delivered to the XXth Session of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations in July and on Stronghold Table in August.
Brenda Norrell writes about Indian affairs and the American west.