Thursday, December 3, 2009

Multiple Issues & Indigenous News Vol. 2 (Part 2)

@ American Indian Resource Center
Saturday, December 12, 1 -3 PM
1st Floor Meeting Room

This year's AIRC screening will include popular selections from LASKINFEST 2009 featuring original and innovative animation, documentaries on subjects relevant to Indian County , and film shorts about various NDN communities, that explore where we come from, where we are, and where we are going.

Award winning filmmakers, young and old, have produced these works that will entertain and enlighten. This is an opportunity to support the work of aspiring Native and non-Native filmmakers who dedicate much time and energy to keep our stories and our experiences alive, and to share them with the world.

American Indian Resource Center
Huntington Park Library
6518 Miles Avenue
Huntington Park , CA 90255
rsvp: email or (323) 583-2794
Rocks Go Camping
(2009, 1min) Canada
Director: Syrena Kaiser-Fox

Peer pressure always leads to bad consequences. Rocks Go Camping is an animation piece produced by Native students at the Weengushk Film Institute in Ontario, Canada.

Finding D-QU: The Lonely Struggle of California’s Only Tribal College.
(2009, 30 min.) USA
Director: Christopher Newman

In 2005, D-Q University, California’s only tribal college, was shut down after a 35-year struggle. Since then, the school’s board of trustees, past students, and community members have tried to reopen the school against all odds. This documentary is structured around a group of occupants who illegally live at the closed D-QU campus amid threats of arrest by the school’s board of trustees.

Walking On Turtle Island
(2008, 20 min.) USA
Director: Ian Skorodin

"Walking on Turtle Island" is a fresh, exciting Native American story. In the spiritual tradition of Kung Fu, the heartwarming Highway to Heaven and the thoughtful surprise of Quantum Leap, come two Native American heroes for these times. Killed in a gun fight, a young Lakota warrior sees his traditions and his own life ebb away at the hands of white intrusion. He and the obnoxious, endearing trickster, "Iktomi," arrive in the Spirit World where they are given a sacred and daunting task. . .travel through time together, helping people in need.

Mayan Reign
(2008, 5 min.) USA
Director: Jose Olmos

Told in stunning animation, Mayan Reign is a fictional story about a Mayan Rain God. Director and USC student, Jose Olmos, interprets indigenous culture with vivid visual images and original music.

A Gift From Talking God: The Story of the Navajo Churro
(2008, 29:30 min) USA
Director: Peter Blystone
Producer: Peter Blystone and Margaret Chanler

The Navajo-Churro sheep is the original breed. Known for its hardiness and long, coarse fleece, it sustained Navajo, Pueblo and Hispanic people for nearly 400 years. Almost extinct a generation ago, the Navajo-Churro is making a comeback. Ensuring the survival of the breed and the rich heritage associated with it.

Crazy Ind’n The Sequel
(2009, 20 min) USA
Director: Ian Skorodin
Producer: Manuel Hamilton, Joseph Hamilton, Patricia Gomes
Cast: Jason Grasl, Lidia Pires, Alex Wright, Robert Vestal

The anticipated sequel to the stop motion animation phenomenon is back and rocking the white man’s world. Stunning visuals, a harrowing soundtrack, and incredible animation; CRAZY IND’N THE SEQUEL delivers.

Corine Fairbanks sent a message to the members of American Indian Movement Santa Barbara.

Subject: vote for AIM West brother John Powers to win the Cox Environmental award!

Brothers and Sisters,

Our friend John Powers has been nominated for the KTVU2 Cox Conserves Heroes award for 2009. His stream-restoration project, which is just getting off the ground, stands to win $5000.00 in funding if he receives enough votes to win.

John's project is called Visions of the Future Environment (; He wants to implement a series of collaborations between tribal governments and Native youth to restore natural fish habitat in California streams and educate the younger generation about how to live sustainably as a functioning part of our natural environment.

You can help John with just a couple of mouse clicks by voting for him on the Cox Conserves Heroes website (see below). Its for a good cause and takes all of 30 seconds of your time. KTVU did a nice promo spot for John's project which you can view on the voting page.

vote here:;

thanks everyone!

Mark Anquoe@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
ACLU to Argue FRIDAY for Kindergartener's Right to Religious Expression Before Appeals Court

December 3, 2009
Will Matthews, ACLU National, (212) 549-2582 or 2666;
Dotty Griffith, ACLU of Texas, (512) 478-7300 ext. 106;
NEW ORLEANS - December 3 - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit will hear arguments Friday, December 4, in an appeal of a federal judge's ruling that the Needville, Texas Independent School District (NISD) violated the U.S. Constitution and Texas state law by punishing an American Indian kindergarten student for wearing his long hair in braids as an expression of his heritage and religious faith.

U.S. District Court Judge Keith P. Ellison in January granted a request by the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Texas that the boy, known in court proceedings by his initials, A.A., be allowed to wear his hair at school in two long braids in observance of his religious heritage. School officials, who had initially placed the student in in-school suspension for violating the school district's dress code requiring boys to have short hair, appealed the ruling.

The ACLU and ACLU of Texas sued the NISD in October 2008 after school officials refused to exempt the boy from its dress code requirements and instead mandated that he stuff his long hair down the back of his shirt while at school - a requirement that would cause A.A. shame, embarrassment and physical discomfort.

WHAT: ACLU arguments defending a Houston federal judge's ruling that stopped a Texas school district from punishing a five-year-old student for wearing his long hair in braids as an expression of his American Indian heritage and beliefs.

WHO: ACLU of Texas Legal Director Lisa Graybill and ACLU of Texas staff attorney Fleming Terrell will argue before a judicial panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

WHEN: Friday, December 4, 2009 at 9 a.m. CST

WHERE: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
En Banc Courtroom
600 South Maestri Place
New Orleans, LA 70130
The ACLU conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
reaking News Release: 9th Circuit Issues Injunction Against Barrick Gold Mine at Mt. Tenabo (Western Shoshone)

For Immediate Release:
Larson Bill, South Fork Western Shoshone, 775-397-6726, 775-744-2537
John Hadder, Great Basin Resource Watch, 775-722-4056
Julie Cavanaugh-Bill, Western Shoshone Defense Project, 775-397-1371
Roger Flynn, Western Mining Action Project, 303-823-5738

Western Shoshone Prevail at Ninth Circuit Court on Mt. Tenabo - Court Issues Ruling Enjoining Cortez Hills Open Pit Gold Mine

Court Agrees with Western Shoshone and Allies that the Interior Department's Approval of the Mine Likely Violated Federal Law

December 3, 2009: San Francisco,CA and Crescent Valley, NV - In a major ruling, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today issued its ruling enjoining the construction and operation of the Cortez Hills gold mine, proposed by Barrick Gold Corporation. The Ninth Circuit reversed the decision of the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, which had denied the motion for preliminary injunction filed by the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs in the case are: the South Fork Band Council of Western Shoshone, the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians, the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe, the Western Shoshone Defense Project, and Great Basin Resource Watch (the "Plaintiffs"). The Plaintiffs challenged the U.S. Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management ("BLM") decision to approve the Cortez Hills Mine in November of 2008.

In overturning the District Court's decision, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the Plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of their legal arguments that BLM violated federal environmental and public land law in approving the Mine. The Ninth Circuit also found that enjoining the Mine was in the public interest due to the "irreparable environmental harm threatened by this massive project." Among other issues, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the Plaintiffs were likely to succeed on their claims that BLM violated the National Environmental Policy Act in failing to properly analyze the environmental impacts from the Mine on groundwater, air quality, and other resources. "Suspending a project until that consideration has occurred thus comports with the public interest."

The Cortez Hills Mine would be one of the largest open pit cyanide heap leach gold mines in the United States. It would be located on the flank of Mount Tenabo - an area well-known for its spiritual and cultural importance to the Western Shoshone. The area is home to local Shoshone creation stories, spirit life, medicinal, food and ceremonial plants and items and continues to be used to this day by Shoshone for spiritual and cultural practices. Over the years, tens of thousands of individuals and organizations from across the United States and around the world have joined with the Shoshone and voiced their opposition to this mine. The proposed mine area has been found by the BLM, in repeated ethnographic studies, as being of extreme spiritual and cultural importance to the Western Shoshone. One report says: "Mt. Tenabo is . considered a traditional locus of power and source of life, and figures in creation stories and world renewal. As the tallest mountain in the area - the most likely to capture snow and generate water to grow piƱon and nourish life - it is literally a life-giver. Water is to earth what blood is to the body, and these subterranean waterways are likened to the earth's arteries and veins."

The Mine is proposed by Barrick Gold Corporation, the world's largest gold mining company, headquartered in Toronto, Canada. The Mine would blast and excavate a new massive open pit on Mount Tenabo over 800 acres in size, with a depth of over 2,000 feet. It would include several new waste disposal and processing facilities (including a cyanide heap-leaching facility), consisting of approximately 1,577 million tons of waste rock, 53 million tons of tailings material, and 112 million tons of spent heap leach material. The Mine would include an extensive groundwater pumping system to dewater Mount Tenabo (in order to keep the open pit and mine workings dry during mining) and associated water pipelines that will transport the pumped water away from Mount Tenabo. In total, the mine would permanently destroy approximately 6,800 acres land on and around Mount Tenabo, over 90% of which is classified as federal "public" land. Despite the pending case before the Ninth Circuit appealing the District Court's denial of the Plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction in January, 2009, Barrick decided to begin construction of the Mine. The Ninth Circuit's ruling today orders the District Court to issue an injunction against the Mine.

"We are pleased with the Ninth Circuit's ruling," said Larson Bill, Tribal Council Member of the South Fork Band Council and Te-Moak Tribe. "This is a result of Western Shoshone people remaining committed to protecting our land and environment. It is unfortunate that the company decided to push this forward without addressing all concerns, especially those of the Shoshone people. Barrick operates world wide and is well-versed on these issues - they knew that an injunction was a possibility - especially where there has been continuous opposition and litigation." continued Larson Bill.

Carrie Dann, a world renowned Western Shoshone grandmother, and recipient of the Right Livelihood Award (known as the "alternative Nobel Peace Prize") has been among those to lead the fight to protect Mount Tenabo from mining for over 15 years. "Mount Tenabo should be left alone - no further disturbance. This mine will drain the water from Mount Tenabo. They will be sucking the water out of the mountain forever. The destruction of the water is like the destruction of the blood of the earth; you are destroying life of the earth and the people and wildlife that depend on it. Dewatering is taking the life of future generations. Water is sacred, all life depends on it," says Carrie Dann.

"None of us are opposed to mining, if it is done responsibly, however this project is as irresponsible as it gets. The BLM has a legal responsibility to protect the air, water, and ecological values of the area as well as the religious freedom of Western Shoshone, and to fully analyze the impacts of a proposed project. The Ninth Circuit correctly found that BLM failed in its legal responsibilities," said John Hadder, Executive Director of Great Basin Resource Watch.

The Plaintiffs are being represented in court by Roger Flynn of the non-profit legal firm, the Western Mining Action Project, based on Colorado, which specializes in mining, public land, and environmental law.

For more information on the Cortez Hills Project,Mount Tenabo, and the legal challenge go and The Ninth Circuit Decision can be downloaded at:

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