Tag Archives: Activist

Costa Rican Indigenous land rights activist assassinated by gunmen

Sergio Rojas indigenous land activist is pictured during a interview in Salitre, Buenos Aires de Puntarenas, Costa Rica, October 2, 2015. Courtesy of La Nacion via REUTERS

A well-known Costa Rican indigenous land rights activist was gunned down on Monday night.

Sergio Rojas was at his home in the indigenous territory of Salitre, about 200 km (124 miles) south of the capital, San Jose, when the attack happened late on Monday, the office of President Carlos Alvarado said, calling the killing “regrettable.”

According to a press release, Rojas was assassinated by armed gunmen who shot him as many as 15 times at around 9:15 pm in his home in Yeri. It appears the armed assailant entered the back of Sergio’s home. Neighbors called 911. Over an hour later police arrived. Eventually members of the Red Cross entered and confirmed that he died of multiple gunshot wounds.

The Tico Times reports, an investigation into the murder has been initiated, led by the country’s Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) in collaboration with National Police. 

Alvarado said he has asked the Public Security Ministry (MSP) to provide all necessary support to OIJ to aid the investigation.

MSP officers maintain a presence at the location of Sergio Rojas’s apparent murder. (Via Casa Presidencial. )

Rojas was President of the Association for the Development of the Indigenous Territory of Salitre and coordinator of the National Front of Indigenous Peoples (FRENAP) in Costa Rica and was a staunch defender of the Bribri of Saltire Indigenous people who have been fighting for years to regain their rights to over 12,000 hectares of land in southern Costa Rica pledged to them by a 1938 government agreement, according to a 2014 teleSUR report.

In 2012, Rojas was shot at six times in an apparent assassination attempt near the reserve but escaped the shooting unscathed.

Reuters reports, in 2015, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered the government to provide Bribri and Teribe people with protection, arguing they were at risk because of actions taken to recover their lands.

Costa Rica has 24 indigenous territories inhabited by eight ethnic groups, with occupation and encroachment on their land by ranchers causing conflict since the 1960s.

Farmers, angered in a land dispute, burned down the home of an indigenous family in Salitre, a Bribrí indigenous reserve in south-central Costa Rica, July 5, 2014. (The Tico Times)

“He [Rojas] made a lot of enemies over the years,” said Sonia Suárez, a schoolteacher in Salitre.

In a statement, Costa Rica’s ombudsman said Rojas had requested further police protection on Friday after he and other members of his organization said they were shot at in connection with their “recovery” of a farm on Bribri land.

The Central American country has for years struggled to mediate land-right disputes between indigenous and non-indigenous people.

Costa Rica’s 1977 Indigenous Law prohibits the sale of indigenous lands, but is not clear on what to do in cases where land within reserves was already farmed by outsiders.

Redwolf Pope accused of sexual assaults fighting extradition to New Mexico

Photo provided by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office shows Redwolf Pope arrested in Phoenix. (Via AP)

Police seek additional victims after Redwolf Pope arrested on sexual assault charges 

Redwolf Pope has been arrested in Phoenix, Arizona after a warrant was issued by the Santa Fe Police Department.

Santa Fe police issued an arrest warrant Monday for Pope, 41, after investigating him for more than a month on suspicion of sex crimes. The warrant accuses Pope, who police say has residences in Seattle and Santa Fe, of sexually assaulting females who appeared to have been slipped a date-rape drug.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports, local police have been investigating these and other allegations since at least early June, when Pope’s roommates told officers they had found videos that appear to show him raping unconscious women. The roommates also told police they believe he planted hidden cameras in the bathroom and other rooms of an apartment they share with him in Santa Fe and one where they sometimes stay in Seattle.

KING 5 says, Pope would also rent his Seattle apartment on Airbnb. The company has removed Pope as a host and reached out to law enforcement to offer help with the investigation.

A woman from the Seattle area told police in that city earlier this month that she believes Pope raped her in Santa Fe during a visit last year.

He was taken into custody late Tuesday night and is being held at the Maricopa County jail without bond.

Pope, is a activist who spent time at Standing Rock fighting the Dakota Access pipeline reports nativenewsonline.net. He was featured in a TEDxSeattle talking about his activism called “Lessons of Courage from Standing Rock.”

Lessons of courage from Standing Rock | RedWolf Pope | TEDxSeattle. TEDx Talks

TEDxSeattle has since removed the video of his presentation from the web.

The Seattle Times reports Pope’s LinkedIn page lists him as an attorney, however Tulalip Tribal Court Director Wendy Church said that he doesn’t work as a lawyer for the tribe and a spokeswoman for the Washington State Bar Association confirmed that Pope is not a licensed lawyer in the state.

Pope is identified in other news media as a member of the Tlingit tribe of the Pacific Northwest.

The tribe says he is not an enrolled tribal citizen.

Although Pope has been showing up at American Indian events for decades he is not Native American.

Pope is charged in Santa Fe with rape, aggravated battery, false imprisonment and other crimes.

Police in both Seattle and Santa Fe are investigating the case.

Pope has not faced any other criminal charges in New Mexico.

Juan Ríos, the public information officer for the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, said Friday that Pope is fighting extradition from Arizona to New Mexico.

The Seattle police are seeking additional victims and ask anyone with information on the case to contact the department’s Sexual Assault Unit.

Story updated July 30, 2018

Cleveland Indians Fan Apologizes To Native American Activist After Viral “Red Face” Photo

Cleveland Indians Fan Who Wore Red Face in Viral Picture Two Years Ago Returned to Apologize.

Cleveland Indians Fan Who Wore Red Face in Viral Picture Two Years Ago Returned to Apologize.

By Zak Cheney-Rice, April 6, 2016

Baseball is back, which means the return of great American pastimes like Sunday afternoon ballgames, peanuts, Cracker Jack… and racism:

But this year, something is different. The photo above, showing Cleveland Indians fan Pedro Rodriguez (right) confronting American Indian Movement activist Robert Roche (left) outside the ironically named Progressive Field in 2014 is back in the news — only this time, the story has a happy ending.

According to Indian Country Today Media Network, Rodriguez apologized to Roche on Monday for his ugly display two years back. “He approached me and apologized,” Roche told the media network. “It shocked me. I never expected [that]. He said he was an avid fan, but he was sorry and he understood where I was coming from now.”

Rodriguez had previously claimed he “was honoring Roche” by wearing the headdress and face paint, but has since changed his tune, ICTMNreported. Local indigenous activist Bee Schrull captured Monday’s apology in a photo:

The incident comes amid an intensifying debate about racism and professional sports mascots. The NFL’s Washington Redskins have long been at the center of the discussion, with activists on one side claiming the mascot is racist and fans on the other arguing that changing it would be a slap in the face to the team’s legacy.

Baseball is no stranger to the debate, either. The Cleveland Indians’ Chief Wahoo — a cartoonish caricature of a Native American — has beencriticized for years, with some fans even going so far as to rip the offensive logo off their Cleveland paraphernalia when they go to games.

The practice is known as “de-Chiefing” and has become emblematic of the tension between people wanting to support their team but not wanting to support, you know, racism.

In this context, Rodriguez’s apology can be read as part of an encouraging personal evolution. Too bad the Cleveland Indians organization — which has been de-emphasizing the logo’s prominence for some time now — still has yet to follow suit.

h/t Indian Country Today Media Network

https://www.yahoo.com/news/cleveland-indians-fan-apologizes-native-165900929.html

American Indian Activist, John Trudell Dies At 69

John Trudell, Buffy St. Marie


FILE – This March 7, 1975, file photo shows John Trudell, left, national chairman of the American Indian Movement, AIM, flanked by singer Buffy St. Marie during a news conference in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Wally Fong, File)

By Associated Press

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – John Trudell, who was a spokesman for American Indian protesters during their 1969 occupation of Alcatraz Island and later headed the American Indian Movement, died Tuesday. He was 69.

Trudell, who also was a poet and actor, died of cancer at his home in Santa Clara County in California, where he was surrounded by friends and family, said Cree Miller, a trustee for his estate.

In some of his last words, Trudell said expressions of concern and love for him have been “like a fire to my heart,” according to Miller.

“Thank you all for that fire,” he said.

“John Trudell and his family ask for people to celebrate love and celebrate life. He asked that people pray and celebrate in their own way in their own communities,” Miller said in a statement.

Trudell was born Feb. 15, 1946, in Omaha, Nebraska. His father was Santee Sioux, and Trudell grew up near the Santee Sioux Reservation.

He became involved in Native American activism after a stint in the U.S. Navy, serving in a destroyer off the Vietnamese coast.

In 1969, Trudell joined American Indians who had occupied Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay to demand that the former federal prison should be given to Native Americans under treaty rights.

Trudell, who studied radio and broadcasting at a college in San Bernardino, California, became spokesman for the group that called itself the United Indians of All Tribes, and he ran a radio broadcast from the island called Radio Free Alcatraz.

The protest eventually dwindled, and the last demonstrators were removed by federal officers after 19 months.

Trudell went on to serve as national chairman of the activist American Indian Movement from 1973 to 1979.

In 1979, while Trudell was demonstrating in Washington, D.C., his pregnant second wife, Tina Manning, three children and mother-in-law were killed in a fire at her parents’ home on the Duck Valley Indian Reservation in Nevada.

Trudell and others long suspected government involvement, but the cause of the fire was never determined.

Trudell later had a relationship with Marcheline Bertrand, the mother of actress Angelina Jolie, before her 2007 death from cancer. She was an executive producer of a 2005 documentary about him called “Trudell.”

Trudell was a prolific poet, combining spoken words and music on more than a dozen albums, including one released earlier this year.

His fans included Kris Kristofferson, who paid tribute to Trudell with the 1995 song “Johnny Lobo,” a tune Kristofferson still frequently performs live.

Trudell also acted in several movies, including 1992’s “Thunderheart” starring Val Kilmer and 1998’s “Smoke Signals” starring Adam Beach.

In 2012, Trudell and singer Willie Nelson co-founded Hempstead Project Heart, which advocates for legalizing the growing of hemp for industrial purposes as a more environmentally sound alternative to crops used for clothing, biofuel and food.

http://www.timescolonist.com/john-trudell-american-indian-activist-poet-and-actor-dies-in-california-at-69-1.2128914#sthash.wMpK2qSZ.dpuf


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Native American Activist ‘Jess Sixkiller’ Shot To Death In Home Invasion

Jess Sixkiller (Photo: Sixkiller family photo)

Jess Sixkiller (Photo: Sixkiller family photo)

By Red Power Media, Staff

Phoenix police are investigating a violent home invasion in which a prominent member of the Cherokee community was shot and killed.

The wife of, 78-year-old, Jess Sixkiller called 911 about 3:15 a.m. Friday, to report she believed someone was inside the home she shared with her husband.

Police spokesman James Holmes said she heard someone attempting to break into the home. She then heard what she believed to be a gunshot and found her husband in another room.

When officers arrived, they took the woman from the home and during a sweep of the house, they discovered Sixkiller shot to death.

She told authorities that she thought she heard someone say “police” in broken English, police said.

Police are continuing to investigate and asking for the public’s help in identifying the perpetrator.

The daughter of the victim identified her father as Jess Sixkiller, a former Chicago police officer and a Native American rights activist.

A memorial fund has been set up in Sixkiller’s name. Donations can be made to:

Wells Fargo Bank
Jess Sixkiller Memorial
Account #2457886071

Phoenix Police Homicide detectives have very little to go on in this investigation and they are asking anyone who may have seen or heard anything, or who may have information about this homicide to call Silent Witness at (480) WIT-NESS. As always, any caller may remain anonymous.

At this point in the investigation, they don’t know whether anything was stolen, but say there are signs of forced entry.