Montana’s Missing Women’s Crisis

WHY, WHY, WHY is this problem not seen as a “problem” – in fact, it is much worse than a problem, it is a travesty that oozes of bigotry. Where are the feminists who love to brag about caring about women? Where are the journalists who ignore this issue like it is nothing of importance? Where are the protests or marches from all sides? Where are the phone calls, e-mails, faxes, or letters that should be sent to the officials in Montana, the BIA, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, AIM, the Department of Justice, National Crime Information Center, the Urban Indian Health Institute, and all the other sources that need to be contacted?

During a recent Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing, it was said “that Native Americans in Montana and across this country are dealing with violence at a much higher rate than the rest of the population and you cannot set foot in Indian country without hearing a heartbreaking story about this growing problem.”

The problem is not new in Montana, but in 2019, four pieces of legislation are proposed that should, at the federal level, revamp the way the U.S. Department of Justice compiles a database on missing and murdered Native women to help make sure all law enforcement agencies have necessary information.

In 2016 in a report by the Urban Indian Health Institute said “according to the National Crime Information Center there were 5,712 reports cited of slain or missing Native American women and girls, but only 116 of those cases were logged into a Department of Justice database.” “One of the problems stated is that it takes so long to bring attention to the problem of missing and murdered Native women because of inaccurate stereotypes that degrade how people view Native women.”

According to Senator Jon Tester, “Where’s the problem? Is it with BIA, is it with the FBI, is it with tribal law enforcement?” Tester wondered aloud at the December 12 hearing. “Why are we not finding these people? We would have a different reaction if this was a non-native.”

The Department of Justice has said it’s taken steps to address the problem. Last September it announced more than $113 million in grants to improve public safety, serve victims of crime and combat violence against women in American Indian and Alaska native communities. (This I will have to see to believe that any of this money will go to helping the missing women and girls.)

Studies have shown that this is NOT just a problem in Montana but throughout 71 cities in other states. Police in many U.S. cities fail to track murdered and/or missing Indigenous women. Investigations have shown that records have not been kept, nor have the stories of these missing or murdered women and girls been covered on the news. They have been missing from life, from the news, and from documentation. THIS MUST END!

To read a more indepth story of this travesty of justice, please click on:

Missing-and-Murdered-Indigenous-Women-and-Girls-Report.pdf

WWF Violating Indigenous Rights – Complaint Abandoned

Baka

WWF-funded park guards attacked this Baka woman’s village and assaulted her with pepper-spray. Photo: Survival International.

Survival International has today abandoned trying to get a resolution to our formal complaint that the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is violating international standards about corporate responsibility, and is reverting to using public pressure to try and stop the abuses.

Survival made the complaint in February 2016, in an attempt to stop the conservation giant from contributing to the mistreatment of tribal peoples, and it was admitted under the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) process in Switzerland, where WWF is headquartered.[1] Surprisingly, this is the first time that an NGO has been seen as subject to the same guidelines as other multinational corporations. This is a great leap forward for those who think non-profits must also be held accountable for any negative consequences of their work.

The complaint detailed Survival’s allegations that WWF was party to the theft and control of the lands of Baka “Pygmies” in Cameroon, and that the Baka were suffering catastrophic levels of abuse as a result. We said that WWF had made no attempt either to apply its own policy on indigenous peoples, or to abide by the OECD guidelines, which are designed to prevent human rights abuses arising from corporate activities.

The guidelines are recommendations to multinationals which stress the duty to “avoid causing or contributing to adverse human rights impacts.” Multinationals must take responsibility for the consequences of their actions, and cannot hide behind a government’s failure to uphold human rights. Simply abiding by local legislation is no yardstick for anyone claiming a moral position: That’s what underpins the whole concept of human rights, and is why international laws and conventions are necessary.

Although WWF’s own policy requires that the organization ensure proper consent has been given to projects on indigenous peoples’ lands, and construct systems to handle problems, Survival believes that WWF has done neither.

Survival’s complaint was, firstly, that WWF had made no attempt to consult the Baka when it partnered with the Cameroon government to carve up the tribespeople’s forests into trophy hunting zones and national parks. The Baka were kicked out, and even now WWF won’t consult them over how these areas are managed. Secondly, we pointed out that WWF funds park guards who regularly assault, and sometimes torture and kill, Baka.

Tribespeople are victimized both when they dare to re-enter their land to hunt or gather food or medicinal plants, as well as when they’re outside park boundaries. The notion that this reign of terror aids wildlife protection is nonsense: Some WWF-funded guards are themselves poachers and the Baka have shown themselves better conservationists than WWF anyway.

Survival highlighted WWF’s violations of both its own 1996 policy and the OECD guidelines, but WWF responded that the guidelines did not apply in its case, and brushed off responsibility for failing to ensure Baka agreement to what happened to their land.

During the toing and froing over the complaint, the Swiss agency tried to stop Survival campaigning against WWF, and said it may be forced to halt the process if we continued (we did). But finally a mediation was agreed between the two organizations for June 6-7, 2017, in government offices in Bern.

Survival did wonder whether Switzerland, a country priding itself on never taking sides, was likely to arrive at any criticism of WWF. The latter is an important organization with a global turnover of three-quarters of a billion dollars (its U.S. chief executive is paid double the salary of the American president, and the international office alone has an income of nearly two hundred million Swiss Francs). Therefore, in an attempt to extract something helpful to tribal peoples, we reduced our several requests to just one: WWF must establish a high-level unit to ensure indigenous peoples’ consent to work on their land, foresee problems, and investigate and act on abuses. In other words, it should have an office to ensure compliance with its own policy.

The Bern mediation took place over two days of grapple and struggle in Switzerland’s largely intact medieval capital, famous for its sunken bear pits. The details are confidential, but nothing new was said. WWF repeated that the OECD complaint process should not be invoked for its work, and asserted that none of the Baka’s allegations were proven. It said it already had a complaint mechanism, so there was no need for the new office that Survival was calling for.

In reality, Survival has first-hand testimony, including from within WWF, confirming that our allegations are the tip of an iceberg which WWF has known about since at least 2001. The conservation giant even commissioned an independent report into the matter but when its findings confirmed the abuse its existence was denied.

WWF treats its policy on indigenous peoples as merely aspirational, despite the fact that it has existed for over twenty of WWF’s 56-year existence. It claims it is trying to do better and admits no wrongdoing.

Following the struggle in Bern, the next step was to see if a “joint outcome” could be agreed. Despite the best efforts of an accomplished mediator, this proved more tortuous. WWF sought to include justifications of its position, while rejecting Survival’s objections. The grappling continued for two months before grinding to a halt over one point: Would WWF accept that the Baka must agree to how the conservation zones on their land were managed in the future? Although this is no more than its own policy and the OECD guidelines require, WWF refused.

It’s not surprising. Although conservation organizations are supposed to ensure that the “free, prior and informed consent” of those whose lands they want to control has been obtained, this never actually happens. It’s what they fear. They know that being bound by such consent would take power out of their hands and give it to local people, who’ve been conserving these lands for generations. In spite of much dissimulation, Western conservationists in Africa know that requiring local consent will erode their control over huge areas and vast budgets.

Any confidentiality around the OECD process is obviously trumped by our duty to tell tribal peoples about policies which look great on paper but which threaten their future. They would clearly be wise to demand fair, explicit and binding written agreements – with time and advice to consider carefully – before accepting any conservation projects.

Coincidentally, at exactly the same time as this back and forth, Survival met with a company we’ve been campaigning against for years. We’ve supported India’s Dongria Kondh in preventing Vedanta plc from mining bauxite on their land. Now, following years of scrutiny and opposition, Vedanta claims it has bowed to change: It agreed that the mine could not go ahead without Dongria Kondh consent, which it accepted was not forthcoming.

It had abandoned the mine because the local people didn’t want it and, of course, because they could call on vociferous and organized national and international support to make their feelings heard. The contrast with WWF’s position couldn’t be starker. Some mining companies now accept the idea they cannot operate without the agreement of the local people; most conservation NGOs still don’t, they just pretend to.

Both the mining and conservation industries have a long history of stealing land, particularly in Africa, and if one thinks the latter might be justified because the land is subsequently “conserved,” then consider that both are in fact destructive. Both smash the local people who have often been protecting the land, and, through conservation’s commercial partnerships with loggers, both destroy large areas of the environment too.

The parallel can be taken further: Both industries tolerate or support armed groups to further their interests. In the case of the proposed bauxite extraction, these were called “goons,” and operated with police collusion. They intimidated and physically assaulted those who opposed mining. The conservationists’ goons are the park guards. They operate in collusion with the authorities, and also threaten and assault people.[2]

If supporters of conservation are shocked by the comparison, and by the fact that some mining companies now occupy a higher moral ground than many conservation organizations, then they should be. The idea that you must ensure that local people have given their free, prior and informed consent to any planned project on their land is seeping through to a mining industry under pressure to change (with some notable exceptions). That’s just not happening in the big conservation organizations.

During the months of trying to thrash out a mutually agreed text to complete the OECD process, Survival tried the different WWF complaint mechanisms.[3] We raised incidents of guards abusing Baka, and a new national park (Messok Dja in Congo) proposed without even telling the tribal people. At the time of writing, not a single complaint has received a substantive response. The best we’re told is that WWF will look into some of them.[4] Even if the Baka didn’t fear reprisals, which they do, they would find it impossible to use any of these supposed complaint mechanisms.

Anyway, we are now exiting the bear pit with the conclusion that WWF has no intention of seeking, leave alone securing, the proper consent of those whose lands it colludes with governments in stealing. It has no intention of facing the fact that its own indigenous peoples policy isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on: It’s just public relations fluff used to rebuff criticism.

WWF is also incapable of controlling the forces it funds and unleashes on the hapless tribal people who have seen their land stolen, and it seems unwilling or unable to try. It continues to partner with destructive industries, such as logging. It continues to be responsible for guards employed to protect safari-hunting areas, where rich, invariably white, people (including a WWF trustee) hunt elephants, at the same time as poor tribespeople are beaten and abused for trying to feed their families. It continues to perpetrate its version of “fortress conservation” which, we believe, will lead to the destruction of conservation itself.

The OECD complaints process has proven incapable of stopping this. A cynic might think those charged with adjudicating OECD violations will be relieved: Governments don’t want complaints about flagship NGOs which they themselves fund. The conservation behemoths are accustomed to being fêted as progressives in America and Europe – the fact that they’re hated and feared in much of rural Africa must be kept out of sight.

Encouraged by a growing movement of concerned environmentalists, Survival has decided to revert to other mechanisms to get WWF to abide by the law and its own policy, to stop its abuse of tribal people, and to start working for the environment instead of against it. We have no illusions about how strongly the conservation industry will fight back. If this struggle were easy, it would have been won decades ago. Inept conservation has become one of the principal problems faced by tribal people today and has destroyed the lives of millions; it’s also laying the basis for its own destruction and great environmental damage. This is a struggle whose time has come and which should be engaging those who care about the environment and human rights.

Wealthy conservation organizations must start asking local people whether they want outside help to protect their own lands, and offering their resources only where they’re wanted. The power structure must be inverted. That would be a win-win for both the environment as well as the people. The losers though would be conservationists, unwilling to give up their own power and money, and justifying their reign with the claim that they know best, in spite of all the evidence that they really, really don’t.

Notes.

[1] The Swiss government agency responsible for examining the complaint, SECO (which had itself funded WWF), delayed examination for several months because it believed WWF’s false claim that the matter was being resolved.

[2] In both cases, they can include individuals from the societies they oppress.

[3] WWF itself seemed confused about which ones were for what.

[4] WWF described one mechanism as available to anyone to voice complaints, including anonymously. However, our first call to the relevant number was met with the curt reply that it was for WWF employees only (something which the organization had specifically refuted). We were told that WWF would be “unlikely” to take the complaint further. (A more recent call was heard and we were told it would be passed on – so that’s a small step!)

More articles by:

Stephen Corry has worked with Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, since 1972. The not-for-profit has a San Francisco office. Its public campaign to change conservation can be joined at www.survivalinternational.org/conservation. This is one of a series of articles on the problem.

Help Save the Lives of Uncontacted Tribes

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For years I’ve been a member of Survival International.  Please join us in our quest to save the uncontacted tribes around the globe, as governments, logging and mining corporations are burning down their villages, killing the people, and all for money, profit, and control.

These people have endured since the beginning of mankind and they have a right to live on their land.  They are innocent and do not bother or hurt anyone.  If you believe in the sanctity of life, then add them to your group of people to stand up for.

It only takes a few moments to send an e-mail to the various government leaderships.  Your e-mails help put pressure on the people and governments who are more concerned with money than they are human life.

To learn more about Survival Internationals, please click on the link below:

http://www.survivalinternational.org/

$ 3.9 Million to a White Man for Wounded Knee?…NO WAY!

Wounded Knee pic

Reprint from:  https://www.change.org/p/national-historic-site-of-wounded-knee-inc-3-9-million-to-a-white-man-for-wounded-knee-no-way

How sad Tim Giago (Mario Gonzales is involved) is promoting the Commercialization of Wounded Knee! I wonder if he has consulted the relatives of those buried there first?….and why would he pay 3.8 Million for land owned by a white man smack in the middle of a reservation?…Something wrong here! United Urban Warrior Society will NOT support this!….Assimilation at its best!

“United Urban Warrior Society” doesn’t support this at all and will stand with those who oppose it! and will host a couple rallies this summer at the Wounded Knee Site & Tims news Paper “Native Sun news”

Please contact them and tell them NO! WAY!:

P.O. Box 9344, Rapid City, SD. 57709               Phone: 605.716.5421, Fax: 605.716.5425

Giago: “I signed an agreement to be the sole purchaser of Wounded Knee. The reason is that it has been sitting there idle and doing nothing for over 40 years.” Then he said: “I said the land would be put into trust for all of the tribes of the Great Sioux Nation.”

There is MAJOR! Questions here about Giago’s true motivation and intent here. If purchase does occur, who is he planning on holding it in trust with? The Federal Government???? When you start looking at this deal it starts to smell. After Wounded Knee ’73 old Gildersleve sold this to Czwyczynski for $ 20,000. Now this brings up 2 questions.

1) How the heck did Gildersleve ever get a clear title to those 40 acres anyway? According to the 1868 treaty a white man cannot own land within the boundaries of the reservation! unless he is married to a Native who is an enrolled member, but when she dies it goes to her family NOT the white guy! The Gildersleve illegally sold this land and the Oglala Sioux Tribe should fight this and retain the land! From what I have been told the BIA made this mistake and hasn’t got the balls to fight it! Or being paid off to look the other way!

2). Why is Giago willing to pay $ 3,900,000? That’s MILLION dollars for something that sold for $20,000. In the 1970’s? Trust me; he’s greasing his and Mario’s palm somehow on this deal. Mario Gonzales is involved here we know its about money and this alone draws many red flags!

What about the other land owners around this site? What is their input? From what I have been told they are not happy about this deal either.

I have been told that Tim Giago has never done anything for the Memorial at Wounded Knee. Back in 1973 he supported Dick Wilson’s regime. Dick & his goons used Tim’s paper “Lakota Times” to trash & condemn AIM & murder our people at that time. So, Mr. Giago has blood on his hands. It is well known that Tim Giago has attacked and wrote stories against the American Indian Movement “Blaming them for firebombing his news paper‘s office in Pine Ridge”. He has also spoken against Leonard Peltier, slamming those who would support him.

Giago says: he has already created a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization called the National Historic Site of Wounded Knee Inc. There is a Wounded Knee Memorial already there at the site! But because it is associated to The American Indian Movement he will not support it nor recognize it.(Own by the Fire Lighting Tiospaye!)

Giago: My attorney is Mario Gonzalez, who is Oglala Lakota, and he will be putting together the trust for all the tribes. Scared of this! Mario has been removed from the Treaty Council and has been involved in several scams to get money from the Black Hills!

Giago has also talked with former U.S. Senator Tom Daschle in Washington DC and several friends in New York City to begin fundraising efforts in Washington DC and New York. (This boils my blood! Why would we ask the same Government who massacred our people in cold blood and still honor 18-medals of honor to the soldiers who killed innocent woman and children at this site!)

Giago: Can you imagine a really beautiful Holocaust Museum and a big trade pavilion for Indian artisans and craftspeople? They could set up booths year-round and sell their arts and crafts to the tourists. We would have tourists come from all over the world and stay in Rapid City go to the restaurants and hotels, Take buses to Wounded Knee, It would create over 200 jobs For the people down there. It would be also a boost financially to Rapid City, South Dakota,” he says.

Are you kidding me? Here is the true motive right here! He said it in his own words! Why would we want to boost Rapid City and not Pine Ridge?

A little side note here folks! In all this talk there has been NO mention of those Murdered here! Those Ancestors buried there are not all Ogalala’s they are Miniconju’s and Hunkpapa’s From Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Have their relatives been asked about this? And are they involved? They must have a say in this matter!

This land should be returned back to the tribe and the land must! If sold be sold at a fair market value…and ANYONE wanting to build a memorial on this sacred ground must have the approval of the families of those buried there and an agreement with landowners nearby! As well as an agreement to include or support the Wounded Knee Take over in 1973! Without predigests!

When I first posted that we would not support this I recieved this response from Time Giago!

“Hi James. I am sorry you are so angry that I have set out to buy the lands around Wounded Knee. I think this is a time we should all pull together. My feelings about AIM and Leonard Peltier should have nothing to do with what we are trying to accomplish. There is no one who has worked harder to save the Black Hills than Mario Gonzalez. He litigated for the Black Hills in 1980 before the Supreme Court and the Hills would have been assumed purchased if he had not represented several tribes in litigating this action. The preservation of the Wounded Knee site is of historic importance and as I said the land would be put into trust for all of the tribes of the Great Sioux Nation. What is wrong with that? I need your help and not your anger. Tim”

In closing Mario Gonzalez did not! Litigate for the Black Hills in 1980 before the Supreme Court! It was the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council who he at the time he worked for and was asked by the elders to do this! They dismissed him because he was scamming moneys and have since been caught a couple times with his hands in the cookie jar!

This is a bad deal! Why would we keep buying our own lands back from the white people at 10 times the value when it still belongs to us as per the 1868 Treaty! Something wrong here people! Think about it! Then to turn around and ask us to chip in when our people and community’s are some of the poorest in the Nation?

Hecetu Welo, Mitakuyepi, nis inyan tankunl iyapo!

Here is the original post! This is where it all started!

https://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/01/03/help-buy-wounded-knee-website-now-donations-162941

United Urban Warrior Society

This petition will be delivered to:

National Historic Site of Wounded Knee, Inc. P.O. Box 9344 Rapid City, SD 57709. 605.716.5421, National Historic Site of Wounded Knee, INC.

Let Them Live – Survival International

LET THEM LIVE

Watch the film with Gillian Anderson and Mark Rylance

Join the movement today.

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There are more than a hundred uncontacted tribes around the world. They are a vitally important part of humankind’s diversity, but they face catastrophe unless their land is protected. We’re doing everything we can to secure their land for them, and to let them live. But we depend on you.

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Call to Action on Standing Rock Pipeline

800dakotaaccesspipelineprotest-kstpmattbelanger

Early Monday news – I love that the Veterans going to Standing Rock seemed to make a difference. It is about time that so many other people are standing with the Sioux tribe. It is way past time. I’ll be keeping my eye on the breaking news today to see if the people will be leaving as asked, or if they will remain to keep up the pressure. The Corp of Engineers has said they would not try to force people to leave, but thousands want to stay to make sure their voices are finally heard.

The Governor of the state apparently is fighting this, stating this “is a serious mistake”, so for all you activists out there, please call, e-mail, fax, or write the Governor Jack Dalrymple, 600 E. Blvd., Bismarck, ND 58505-0001,Fax: (701) 328-2205, Phone: (701) 328-2200, e-mail: governor@state.nd.us. Send the info to your friends, and post it on Twitter and any blogs or websites you have.

I’m not liking the little I know of what the Trump administration may do, but I’m holding back any opinion until he is in office and I know more about his plan for “privatization”, which from past history doesn’t work out too good for the Native American community. It could very well mean more land being taken away from them, so now it is a “wait and see” game, but for the time being, the pipeline appears it will be redirected away from Sacred ground and the water supply at Standing Rock.

To see this morning news report on the latest facts, click on http://kstp.com/news/dakota-access-pipeline-protesters-plan-to-remain-camped-federal-land/4335419/#.WEWZtNveTTo.facebook

Another Success for the Awa Tribe

A judge has ordered Brazil’s largest mining company to stop work on a project which sees some of the world’s longest trains plough through the Amazon with their cargo of iron ore–just meters from the Awá’s hunting grounds.

This is an incredible victory for the Awá, and marks another success for the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights.

Last year, your letters and emails pushed Brazil into launching a huge operation to save the Awá by removing all invaders from their territory. This latest ruling gives even more hope to the 100 Awá who remain uncontacted.

It is just one of many incredible successes you have helped achieve.

Survival’s work with the Awá would not be possible without your money, energy and enthusiasm. The movement to protect tribal peoples’ human rights is growing. But the fight is not over yet. Tribes around the world still need your help.  To learn more or to help, please click on the link below:

http://www.survivalinternational.org