Tag Archives: American Indian Movement

‘The world knows his name’: rally for Colten Boushie held in Regina exactly one week after verdict

minute-of-silence

Members of the American Indian movement were part of a one-week rally on Friday night, in which people took a minute to remember and honour the memory of Colten Boushie. (CBC News)

Minute of silence held one week after Gerald Stanley found not guilty in Boushie’s death

One week after the verdict in the Gerald Stanley murder trial came down, people gathered in Regina to remember the death of Colten Boushie.

A group of about 60 walked and sang during the Friday night rally, before making their way to a downtown hall. There, they held one minute of silence at 7:30 p.m., to coincide with the time one week earlier, when a jury found Gerald Stanley not guilty in Boushie’s shooting death.

Satin Denny, eldest sister to Boushie, stood to give a tearful address. She told those gathered how thankful her family members have been for the support of everyone across Canada, following her brother’s death.

“It’s hard; I wouldn’t wish this on anyone,” she said.

Several came to the front to embrace Denny, and to speak about their feelings on the treatment of Indigenous people and their feelings on the need for change.

Murray Stonechild stood to describe some of the difficult things he had seen in his lifetime, as a war veteran, and yet how unsafe he and other Indigenous people felt right at home in Saskatchewan in the wake of Boushie’s death.

However, he said he felt something good would come from the sadness and misfortune of Boushie’s death.

“The world is watching. The world knows his name,” he said.

Stonechild said the federal government is now speaking out, recognizing the need for reform of the justice system.

Groups like Colonialism No More and the Saskatchewan Coalition Against Racism have been trying to support the Boushie family by holding events like the one-week rally, said organizer Michelle Stewart. They continue to hold events to draw awareness to what she called a “two-tiered” justice system.

“I think what we’re doing right now in Regina and across Canada is demonstrating capacity to continue to hold space until something changes,” she said.

“I hope this is a catalyst for change.”

CBC News · Posted: Feb 16, 2018

[SOURCE]

First Nations Activists from Winnipeg to Blockade TransCanada Highway on Friday

Blockade at Ontario and Manitoba border. Photo: Red Power Media

Red Power Media | June 29, 2017

For immediate release

On, June 30th, 2017, First Nations activists from Winnipeg will be shutting down a portion of the TransCanada Highway to protest the Canadian government and bring awareness to the youth suicide crisis in First Nations communities as well to the deaths of several indigenous youth in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Members of the American Indian Movement, Urban Warrior Alliance and Idle No More will be taking part in a pipe ceremony for youth, followed by a blockade of the highway.

Representatives from groups taking part are demanding the Liberal government increase the availability of mental health services on reserves and provide culturally appropriate resources for youth including in Manitoba. Inadequate health-care services, the loss of cultural identity and lack of proper housing are key factors contributing to the high rates of suicide and mental illness among indigenous peoples. Recently in Ontario, three 12 year old girls died by suicide at Wapekeka First Nation, located about 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay. The latest one happened June 13th when a pre-teen girl hung herself.

The deaths of several Indigenous youth in Thunder Bay have also raised concerns about racism against Indigenous people and inadequate police investigations. First Nations leaders have expressed their lack of faith in Thunder Bay police. The York Regional Police service have been requested to investigate the deaths of Josiah Begg, 14, and Tammy Keeash, 17, found dead in McIntyre River in May. Ten indigenous people have been found dead in Thunder Bay, since 2000. Seven were First Nations students who died between 2000 and 2011 while attending high school in the Thunder Bay, hundreds of kilometres away from their remote communities where access to education is limited. Organizers of Fridays protest would like to see improvement in First Nations education and increase in funding for schooling on reserves.

Activists are requesting the RCMP respect their right to protest. They plan to start their demonstration around 12 pm just east of Winnipeg near Deacon’s corner. A press conference will also take place at that time. Activists are planning to hand out information to motorists and collect signatures on a petition calling for immediate action from the minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Carolyn Bennet, as well as the Minister of Health Jane Philpott.

Leonard Peltier, Convicted of Killing 2 FBI Agents, Denied Clemency from Obama

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Leonard Peltier, Convicted of Killing 2 FBI Agents

Obama’s failure to act may have condemned Leonard Peltier to die in prison

By Black Powder | Red Power Media, Staff, Jan 19, 2017

Leonard Peltier, an American Indian Movement activist who was convicted of murdering two FBI agents in 1975, will not receive clemency from President Obama.

Peltier was not on the list of 273 people granted commutations or pardons Tuesday.

The Department of Justice dashed the hopes of Peltier, his family and supporters in a terse email sent to his lawyer Wednesday afternoon.

“The application for commutation of sentence of your client, Mr. Leonard Peltier, was carefully considered in this Department and the White House, and the decision was reached that favorable action is not warranted. Your client’s application was therefore denied by the President on January 18, 2017,” it said.

The denial was posted on the U.S. Justice Department’s website Wednesday.

Peltier’s supporters were hopeful of clemency after Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, who was convicted of leaking classified documents to Wikileaks.

Among those supporting Peltier’s last-ditch bid for freedom is Pope Francis, who wrote to the White House on Tuesday, Peltier’s attorney, Martin Garbus, said on Wednesday.

Peltier, 72, is incarcerated at the federal prison in Coleman, Florida, where he is in poor health and this was thought to be his last opportunity to be released from prison.

The decision not to grant clemency was applauded by Ed Woods, a former FBI agent who has fought for years to keep Peltier imprisoned.

Supporters argue Peltier was wrongly convicted in the killings of FBI agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams during a shootout on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation on June 26, 1975.

He was given two life sentences.

Peltier has always maintained his innocence.

His supporters believe there were many flaws in his trial, appeal and the initial investigation.

“We are deeply saddened by the news that President Obama will not let Leonard go home,” read a statement from Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA.

“The failure to act may have condemned him to die in prison.”

Peltier’s supporters don’t think he will have a chance of clemency after Donald Trump becomes president Friday.

Leonard Peltier’s projected release date is October 11, 2040, at the age of 96.

Family says Red Fawn Fallis, Innocent of Attempted Murder on Police at ND Pipeline Protest

The family of Red Fawn Fallis, the woman arrested during the Dakota Access Pipeline protests demand her release and say she is not guilty of all charges: Mark Boyle Denver7/Facebook

The family of Red Fawn Fallis, the woman arrested during the Dakota Access Pipeline protests demand her release and say she is not guilty of all charges: Mark Boyle Denver7 /Facebook

By Red Power Media, Staff | Nov 07, 2016

Red Fawn Fallis, was arrested along with 140 other protesters on Oct. 27, near the Standing Rocking Sioux reservation in North Dakota. When police closed in during a mass arrest to remove water protectors from private property, Fallis, allegedly pulled out a .38 revolver and fired at officers.

Fallis, a 37yr old, Native American woman from Denver, is being held at the Morton County jail on a $100,000 bond. Police claim she had a concealed gun and fired twice towards two Minnesota police officerswho were working at the Dakota Access pipeline protests.

Fallis, was formally charged with attempted murder of an officer on Oct 31.

The charge, could result in a 20-year prison sentence.

On Monday, her family spoke out for the first time since the incident.

According to the Denver Post, the family of Fallis said she didn’t have a gun and the officers, who considered her an instigator, unjustly targeted her for arrest.

“There is no evidence there was a gun,” said Glenn Morris, a leader in the American Indian Movement of Colorado, during a Monday morning news conference.

According to her arrest affidavit, the deputies were going to arrest Fallis because she was “being an instigator and acting disorderly.”

She struggled and they brought her to the ground. While they were trying to cuff her, two shots were fired. A deputy saw the gun in Fallis’ left hand and wrestled the gun away from her, according to the affidavit.

Fallis, an Oglala Lakota Sioux, is a American Indian Movement member with roots in the organization.

The family has a strong tradition of fighting for the rights of American Indians, Morris said.

Loma Star Cleveland, who is the little sister of Red Fawn Fallis, joins others at press conference, at 4 Winds American Indian Council in Denver, to show support for Red Fawn, a Denver Native American woman arrested during pipeline protest in North Dakota, November 07, 2016. Red Fawn Fallis remains in jail in North Dakota after being arrested.

Loma Star Cleveland, who is the little sister of Red Fawn Fallis, joins others at press conference, at 4 Winds American Indian Council in Denver, to show support for Red Fawn, a Denver Native American woman arrested during pipeline protest in North Dakota, November 07, 2016.

Troy Lynn Yellow Wood, Fallis’ mother, was a member of the American Indian advocacy group AIM since the late 1970s and was at the group’s 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee in South Dakota.

Yellow Wood died a few weeks ago, said Loma Cleveland, Fallis’ younger sister.

Fallis has told her family not to worry because she is innocent, Cleveland said.

According to the Guardian, on Oct 22, when police arrested more than 120 people protesting against the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, Lauren Howland, was caught in the middle of the violence and chaos, and suffered a broken wrist when, she said, an officer attacked her.

Fallis, known as a mother to many of the youth at the Standing Rock protest, “personally came back into the frontlines and wheeled us all out”, Howland, 21, recalled. “She’s a protector.”

Supporters said she made a point of reminding youth activists to stay “peaceful and prayerful” and never resort to violence. She had a four-wheeler vehicle and often helped rescue protesters who needed medical attention during police confrontations.

Lauren Howland, with broken wrist suffered at the pipeline protest. Photograph: Sam Levin for the Guardian

Lauren Howland, with broken wrist suffered at the pipeline protest. Photograph: Sam Levin for the Guardian

Howland and other youth protesters said they were devastated to find out a week later that local police had arrested Fallis and charged her with attempted murder.

“Red Fawn has continually supported the youth council since its inception and is responsible for personally rescuing many of our members from the front lines after being brutalized by police.” – International Indigenous Youth Council

Fallis has been involved in the fight against the oil pipeline, which would run beneath the Missouri river near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, since demonstrations began.

Members of the tribe say the pipeline’s construction would trample on sacred lands, destroy artifacts and potentially poison waterways, including the Missouri river and Lake Oahe.

Since an escalating series of recent clashes between law enforcement and water protectors, the Morton County sheriff’s office has held up the charges against Fallis, as an example of what it says is the violent and illegal behavior of Native American protesters.

To some pipeline protesters, who described Fallis as a passionate activist dedicated to peaceful tactics, her detention is the latest sign that North Dakota police are aggressively targeting a growing movement and will go to great lengths to protect a powerful corporation threatening sacred tribal lands.

Red Fawn Fallis. ‘It doesn’t surprise me that they are targeting Red Fawn, because she’s definitely an asset to our community,’ said protester Eryn Wise. Photograph: Courtesy of Eryn Wise

Red Fawn Fallis. Photograph: Courtesy of Eryn Wise

On the same day the Morton County Sheriff’s Department announced the charges against Fallis, officials also stated Kyle Thompson, a contractor with the North Dakota Access pipeline company, would not face charges after being detained with an assault rifle.

Thompson was caught on video holding the rifle during an altercation with demonstrators.

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The Morton County Sheriff’s Department said Thompson may have been the victim in the incident and an investigation is ongoing.

Fallis is the first demonstrator to be charged with an offense linked to the use of a firearm. In addition to the attempted murder charge, she is also facing one count of preventing arrest, a count of carrying a concealed weapon and a count of possession of marijuana.

Fallis’ family and supporters say the charges against her are false and she was picked out of a crowd because of her strong personality and opinions about water protection.

“They recognized her leadership as a young, indigenous woman who a lot of younger indigenous people looked to for example in leadership. So that identifies her as a target in their mind, I believe,”- Glenn Morris, AIM Colorado

On social media, many have supported Fallis with the hashtag #FreeRedFawn and some have compared her to Leonard Peltier, a native activist and former member of the American Indian Movement who was convicted of aiding in the killing of two FBI agents in 1975.

Red Fawn Fallis, remains in Morton County jail, as her family asks for support and, ultimately for her release.

With Echoes Of Wounded Knee, Tribes Mount Prairie Occupation To Block North Dakota Pipeline

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Nantinki Young–known as Tink — stirs large pot of soup for protesters gathered along the banks of the Cannonball River in North Dakota (William Yardley/LA Times)

Baltimore SunBy William Yardley, Aug, 27, 2016

Long before Lewis and Clark paddled by, Native Americans built homes here at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers, using the thick earth to guard against brutal winters and hard summer heat. They were called the Mandan people.

Now, Native Americans are living here again. They sleep in teepees and nylon tents. They ride horses and drive quad cabs. They string banners between trees and, when they can get a signal, they post messages with hashtags such as #ReZpectOurWater, #NoDakotaAccess and #NODAPL. For weeks, they have been arriving from the scattered patches of the United States where the government put their ancestors to protest what they say is one indignity too many in a history that has included extermination and exploitation.

It is called the Dakota Access oil pipeline and it could carry more than 400,000 barrels of crude oil a day from the Bakken region of western North Dakota across South Dakota and Iowa to connect with an existing pipeline in Illinois.

Native Americans protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in southern North Dakota (James MacPherson)

Native Americans protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in southern North Dakota (James MacPherson)

The 1,100-mile pipeline, which is estimated to cost $3.7 billion, is nearly halfway complete. But construction on a section that would sink beneath the Missouri River, just north of the reservation of the Standing Rock Sioux, has been halted under orders from the sheriff of Morton County, Kyle Kirchmeier. He said protesters, nearly 30 of whom have been arrested in recent weeks, were creating safety issues.

Yet the protesters say they are creating something very different – new resistance against what they say is a seemingly endless number of pipelines, export terminals and rail lines that would transport fossil fuels across or near tribal reservations, risking pollution to air, water and land.

“Every time there’s a project of this magnitude, so the nation can benefit, there’s a cost,” Dave Archambault, the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux, who was among those arrested, said in an interview. “That cost is born by tribal nations.”

Archambault and other native leaders have been caught off guard by the support they have received. What began with a handful of natives establishing a prayer camp along the river this spring has now drawn international environmental groups and prompted Hollywood celebrities, including Susan Sarandon and Shailene Woodley, to join them, whether here or in a protest last week in Washington, D.C., or on social media.

“Inspired by the Standing Rock Sioux’s efforts to halt the Dakota Access Pipeline,” Leonardo DiCaprio posted on Twitter this week.

Tech Big Crow, 18, cares for Blue, one of the horses he and others have brought to the protest site, at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers. (William Yardley/LA Times)

Tech Big Crow, 18, cares for Blue, one of the horses he and others have brought to the protest site, at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers. (William Yardley/LA Times)

Lawyers from Earthjustice are representing the Standing Rock Sioux in a legal effort to stop construction of the pipeline. They claim that the Army Corps of Engineers violated the National Historic Preservation Act when it approved the project and that a more stringent environmental review should be done. They say the pipeline and its construction would damage ancestral sites of the Standing Rock Sioux and put the tribe’s water supply at risk.

On Thursday, nearly three dozen environmental groups wrote to President Obama, who visited the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in 2014 with Michelle Obama, saying the Corps approved the project using a fast-track process, known as permit 12, that was inadequate given its size and the many sensitive areas it would cross.

The Corps of Engineers argued in court in Washington this week that the Standing Rock Sioux and other parties had ample time to express concerns during a review process and that the pipeline was properly approved. Energy Transfer Partners, the Texas company building it, says the pipeline will increase the nation’s energy independence and that it is a safer means of transport than rail.

The judge over seeing the case, James A. Boasberg of United States District Court, said this week that he will rule no later than Sept. 9 on a request by the Standing Rock Sioux to stop construction and reconsider permits the project has received.

The pipeline has met resistance elsewhere along its route, including from farmers in Iowa concerned about soil damage and property owners whose land is being taken by eminent domain. But nothing compares to what has taken hold here between the rivers.

Nantinki Young, who goes by Tink, is a member of the Rosebud Sioux tribe from South Dakota; she runs the cook shack here. Winona, who did not give her last name, is Penobscot. She left Maine on Monday and drove 2,100 miles to put together a recycling program for the hundreds of new residents of the protest camp.

And then there is Clyde Bellecourt. He is Ojibwe. He came from Minnesota, but may be better associated with Wounded Knee, S.D. Not the massacre in 1890, but the standoff in 1973, when the group he helped found, the American Indian Movement, suddenly became a household name, the image of Indian activism.

Clyde Bellecourt, 80, who helped found the American Indian Movement in the 1960s, said he sees “fresh energy” among younger Native Americans fighting to stop the Dakota Access pipeline. (William Yardley/LA Times)

Clyde Bellecourt, 80, who helped found the American Indian Movement in the 1960s, said he sees “fresh energy” among younger Native Americans fighting to stop the Dakota Access pipeline. (William Yardley/LA Times)

He is 80 now. Sitting in a folding chair not far from the Buick where he keeps copies of a flyer promoting his new memoir, he likes what he sees.

“My life is almost over, but there’s fresh energy here,” he said. “Save the children – that’s what this is all about.”

Protesters have vowed to stay at least until Judge Boasberg rules and potentially much longer. Monitors from Amnesty International have arrived. An employee of the federal Indian Health Service established a first aid tent. Vans carpooled people to showers.

Members of the Standing Rock Sioux formed Spirit Resistance Radio, at 87.9 FM, to broadcast updates. An Art Market opened to sell handmade crafts. There was talk, lighthearted for now, about establishing a school that would teach children at the camp site in native languages.

The Morton County Sheriff’s office has blocked one of the main routes to the camp from Bismarck, the state capital, forcing some protesters to drive a lengthier route to the site. Law enforcement is planning to escort school buses that travel through the area, though protesters say they want nothing but peace and prayers.

People have been practicing nonviolent direct action tactics, preparing to try to stop construction should it start again. A lawyer from Colorado working pro bono asked protesters to fill out forms “if you think that you have a clean record and you want to be arrestable.”

Jasilyn Charger, 20, is among a group of young natives who ran together from North Dakota to Washington to protest the pipeline. She remembers the early days of the protest, when just a handful of people prayed by the river.

“When we started this, people thought we were crazy,” she said. “But look at where we are today.”

Don Cuny, 65, was among those impressed with how robust the camp had become. Like Bellecourt, he was at Wounded Knee when natives led a 71-day standoff in the town on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. That effort was driven in part by a goal to rewrite treaties with the government.

“This kind of reminds me of back in Wounded Knee,” said Cuny, who goes by Cuny Dog.  “Except that I’m gaining weight. At Wounded Knee, I lost weight.”