Muscogee Nation News Column October 2008

Just back from Norman, Oklahoma where I was involved in honoring of a beloved Maori writer/storyteller and citizen of the indigenous Maori people of New Zealand, Patricia Grace. She was awarded the Neustadt International Prize for literature. She is the first indigenous person to win this award. She has written six novels, five short-story collections and a number of children’s books. She writes about the every day life and traditions of the Maori people. She grew up with only a few books in her home. Her parents shared stories with her. One that caught her imagination as a child, was about the relative way back who had two sets of teeth, both top and bottom, which were great for sawing ropes on ships. She also raised seven children, taught school while she wrote. Now that’s quite an accomplishment!

The organizers were generous and brought in Gary Whitedeer’s southeastern intertribal dance group for the honoring. We danced to honor Patricia Grace and the Maori people and included everyone in the dancing. Grace, her husband, the educator Waiariki, and the Maori performer and storyteller, Rangimoana Tucker chanted and sang in return.

For some of the events the New Zealand consulate, John Mataira came from Los Angeles. He is also Maori. This got me to thinking: why not establish a Muscogee Nation consulate, or office of foreign service? This would be a person who is knowledgeable about other indigenous and world cultures as well as our tribal culture. This, it seems to be an important component of acting as a sovereign nation. What kind of protocols do we have in place for such things? Something to think about, though I can hear the outcry: we have to take care of everyone here at home first. And that’s true, however, we must continue to develop our vision, our relationships with other peoples. In this way we develop allies on this journey.

In the end, we are all representatives of our nation, whether we see ourselves this way or not. Wherever we go, whatever we do, we reflect back to our people, our homeland. Everyone watches our behavior. Every challenge we successfully negotiate, every small and large kindness makes an impact on the minds and hearts of everyone else around us. Why not acknowledge these small and large victories? Instead, jealousy is the most damaging epidemic in Indian country these days. And these days there’s a kind of virulent strain of jealousy going on. There’s way too much talking, and not enough doing for others.

For the last year I have attempted to write a column to address the division in our nation between various groups of citizens. Some would institute a full-blood only club. Others would exclude anyone not living in the boundaries of the Nation in Oklahoma. According to the U.S. inspired and enforced laws of division and disappearance the more we exclude, the smaller numbers we have and the closer we become to dying off as a nation. Why can’t the nation embrace all citizens? Aren’t all representative of genuine Mvskoke human experience? Do we throw away our children and grandchildren?
Send me your notes and ideas to me at nativesax@me.com. I’ll keep trying to find a way to address this in a compassionate manner.
September 21, 2008 Albuquerque, NM

Translation of Statement by Women Poets in Columbia


Ok I am not a native speaker, but I am supposed to be a translator, so this should be fairly accurate.


The following is a declaration written by a group of women poets, outraged by the actions that are taking place in Columbia against the communities of natives, and for the recent events in the Cauca Valley and the declarations of mr.president Alvaro Uribe Velez regarding the facts of Oct, 16th.

If you agree with this declaration please forward it back to me, and to any address you might find proper, adding your name and your nationality to it.
This document will then be sent to an international human rights organization.

Not much silence.

Bogotà, Oct 17th, 2008-10-28

Public declaration from Columbia’s and the world’s good citizens and intellectuals.

This is regarding the astonishing statement made by mr.President Alvaro Uribe Velez during Oct, 16th, in which he said “I pray the governor of Cauca to let the natives have my message: they should find in their imagination a suitable way to beg the forgiveness of the police forces”.

To give you a clear idea of the matter, let’s view this in first person: first I am dispossessed of the lands that I inherited, and that are mine, since the times of my oldest ancestors; then I am threatened of murder, and with me also my family and the men, children, elderly and women of my tribe, because we stand up, completely unarmed, in a pacific march in defense of our rights.
The police forces, sent to control the march, killed five of our tribe members, and wounded 50 more, attacking us with tear gas in all the fields of the Cauca Valley. And we, after such offense, we have to “imagine” how to beg the forgiveness of the police force, that killed our people while they were defending our inalienable rights?

Mr.president, if the principles of your Democratic Safety politic have their basis on the formerly described facts, they are not safe nor democratic at all. You were elected to watch over the honor and well being of all the people of Columbia, natives included, but the facts of Oct, 16th only prove the contrary.
For this reason, we sign this document as a formal protest against the actions taken on the native populations of the Cauca Valley and, in general, in the nation of Columbia, and against the subsequent statements of your government, that represent a violation against the dignity of the Natives.

**follows the list of names**


I am receiving information about the struggle in Columbia. I need help with Spanish to English translations so I can post (and read). If anyone can help, please advise, por favor. JH






Bogotá, Octubre 17 de 2008



Ante la asombrosa declaración del 16 de octubre del Señor Presidente de la República ALVARO URIBE VELEZ, en la que “Le ruega al Gobernador del Cauca que les haga llegar un mensaje a los indígenas para que vayan pensando en su imaginación como es que le van a pedir perdón a la policía”.

Para darnos una idea clara del asunto, vamos a ponerlo en primera persona: O sea a mi me expropian de las tierras que han sido heredadas por mis lejanos ancestros, me amenazan de muerte, a mi, a mi familia, y a los hombres, niños, ancianos y mujeres de mi tribu, que salimos en una marcha pacífica, sin armas, en defensa de nuestros derechos. Los integrantes de la fuerza publica, enviada para controlar la manifestación, matan a 5 compañeros indígenas, hieren a más de 50 de nuestra tribu, atacan con gases lacrimógenos a los manifestantes por todos los campos del Valle del Cauca, y nosotros, los agredidos, tenemos que 'imaginarnos' como pedirle excusas a la fuerza pública, por matar a nuestra gente en defensa de nuestros derechos civiles inalienables?

Señor Presidente, si la filosofía de su política de Seguridad Democrática se fundamenta en el hecho anteriormente descrito, de seguridad y de democrática no tienen nada. Usted ha sido elegido para velar por la vida honra y bienestar de todos los colombianos, incluidos los Pueblos Indígenas, y los sucesos del pasado 16 de octubre demuestran lo contrario.

Por lo tanto, los abajo firmantes lo hacemos en señal de protesta por los sucesos que se vienen dando en contra de los Pueblos Indígenas en el Valle del Cauca y en general en todo el país, y por las posteriores declaraciones de su gobierno que violan la dignidad de estos Pueblos ancestrales.


1- María Teresa Arrazola- CC. 41.476.928 de Bogotá

2- Myriam Orjuela Betancourt.- CC. 31.239.529 de Cali

3- Jesús María Rodríguez Vásquez. CC. # 16.580. 269 de Cali

4- María E Peñuela Esteban CC · 41 648 145 de Bogotá

5- José Luis Rodríguez Orjuela. CC.1.130.601.207 de Cali

6- Camila Reyes Azcuénaga. CC.52.905253 de Bogotá

7- Paula Juliana Rodríguez Azcuénaga. CC. 1032430229 de Bogotá

8- Conchita Guerra C.C. 35456247 Usaquén

9- Muriel Garderet

10- Jose Raul Moreno

11- Maria Ester Rodriguez

12- Helga Rocio Moreno

13- Pilar Jimenez B. C.C. 41.663.120 de Bogotá

14- Deisy Peralta C.C. 23.500.153 de San Miguel de Sema

15- Rafael Colmenares C.C. 17195954 de Bogotá

16- Gisele Alzate A. CC 20´068.987 Bogotá

17- Marcela Ramírez CC. 51551139 Bogotá

18 - Myriam Laverde de Salbarrey CC. 41454256 Bogotá

19 - Melissa Laverde CC. 53068696 Bogotá

20-Hector Buitrago CC 79317980 Bta


Phillip Deer, Beloved Mvskoke Person

Phillip Deer, Mvskoke Leader
I took this photo at the U.S. Capitol in the 1970's.

Columbia Update


VILLARICA, Colombia (CNN) -- Two men were shot to death Tuesday in a clash with riot police amid a burgeoning Indian protest in southwestern Colombia.

Thousands of Indians march toward the city of Cali on Tuesday pushing for land rights.

The men were shot in the head and back as they sought to join thousands of Indians marching on Colombia's second-largest city, Cali.

Other demonstrators said government security forces fired on the men, but Colombian authorities denied the allegation. Police claim protesters attacked them with homemade explosives.

Tuesday's violence stirred resentment among Indians.

"We went out there today to reject the government, and they open fire on us," one protester said.

Col. Jorge Enrique Cartagena, national chief of Colombia's riot police, said someone in the crowd of demonstrators killed one of the two men.

"We think he was shot from within the crowd, and they're doing that to whip up anger," he said.

Don't Miss
Colombian Indians push anti-government protests
The Indians have said that security forces have been shooting at them with rifles and canisters packed with shrapnel.

Colombia President Alvaro Uribe has denied that police and army forces have been using lethal force against demonstrators, but medics said they have treated scores of Indians injured by bullets and shrapnel.

Protesters have blockaded the Pan-American highway, fired slingshots and hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails in periodic clashes with riot police. Authorities said they have fought back with tear gas, rocks and batons.

Demonstrators want the government to set aside more land for Colombia's 1.3 million Indians and to provide more money for better education and health care. They also would like the government to prevent corporations and multi-national companies from encroaching on their land.

So far, four protesters have been killed since demonstrations began October 10. At least 130 more have been injured. The government says as many as 70 security force members, mainly riot police, have also been hurt. E-mail to a friend | Mixx it | Share



Paula Gunn Allen: A Memorial Tribute
Saturday, October 25, 2008

American Indian Two-Spirit Scholar, Poet, Mother and Grandmother

City College of San Francisco
50 Phelan Avenue

5 PM: Potluck Dinner, Film Showing (Visual Arts Bldg, Rm. 115)
6 PM: Book Sales, Reception
7-9 PM: Memorial Tribute (Diego Rivera Theater)

Hosted by Lauralee Brown, Daughter
Sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Studies and
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Studies Departments, CCSF

RSVP and important details, see Evite below:


Wrestling Knowing

How do you tell beloved friends who are rarely in town (and so are you), who wanted to stop by with their children, that I was wrestling with my knowing? You don't. And though such a wrestling match is futile I went at it for hours. How ironic, I argued with myself. I had been growing my knowing, or rather, it has been growing me, since before this breath into this earth realm. And here I was, hours at the edge of night and into morning and afternoon I fought and wrestled until I was exhausted. My knowing was refreshed and clear, as usual. It has no need to fight, and won't. I exhausted myself against it. What a futility. All this time I have lured my knowing, fed it, given it reflection, roaming space, and have allowed it to naturally step ahead of my wiry, analytic and impatient mind. It loves poetry and music. It loves to sing.

When Knowing leads the way it has no use for games or subterfuge. The way is clear. This doesn't mean the way is easy, however. The way might be clear up to Mt. Everest. And that might be the only way you can go to get to where you know your spirit has to go. Knowing is vision of your spirit. You have to pay for everything, give honor to what honors you.

If I see what I see, why fight it? All the troubles of my past come from ignoring the clarity. I know I’m not the only one. I jumped into impossible relationships, I didn't listen. Everyone one of us has stories of what happened when we didn't listen. Hard-headedness runs in both sides of the family. Knowing is patient. It is eternal. It's voice is beyond secular lingo.

Last night I finally found peace with my knowing. I picked up my saxophone for awhile. And then the guitar and found a cool way to make sound in another way. I talked for quite awhile with my Athabascan friend Candyce whose knowing is immense. She made me laugh at myself and led me through speaking everything I thought, even the craziest things. The bindings in myself were then released. My spirit shimmered with itself, freely, as itself. We all put so many conditions on ourselves, from society, our family, relationships and others. I accepted my knowing. I remembered that when I listen and heed the voice of Knowing I am always in the right place at the right time, I make the right decisions. Even the wrestling match became a useful lesson, one I don't need to repeat, though knowing myself, I might wrestle again. Next time, I'll end the match much more quickly, because I know.


Every day is Indigenous Peoples Day: the Struggle Continues in Columbia. Please read and give support.

This was first sent to me by my friend, the indigenous poet Fredy Chicangana from Columbia. I couldn't read the Spanish well, and the first Spanish translation I received wasn't clear.

Here is a translation by Cristina Eisenberg, Black Earth Institute Literary Think Tank.

Dear Friends

The indigenous villages are developing a nation-wide protest to fight to recover our lands and our rights. We are prepared to die for this cause. The government is repressing us savagely.

We appreciate you dispersing this information and helping us protect our lives and our battle for justice.

* * *

At 7 a.m. the Minga (the indigenous movement for justice) blocked the via Panamericana. The media lies about the use of explosives, which is not what we have done. We continue to resist the displays of power, which half an hour ago attack our community. There is a simultaneous blockage of Valle de Cauca roads

In the villages we have occupied the road with which they chain us and are killing us. We are risking our lives for liberty. We have dignity and reclaim respect. The government’s violence has caused us to do this. We will not continue to live the life of the living dead. No more.

ORIVAC, the indigenous organization of the Cuaca Valley , has produced an exemplary proclamation that we have adopted. This document is for the history of human dignity. It bears witness to the truth. At dawn the women block the streets on the north and south of the valley. The indigenous people and the representatives of agricultural sectors have initiated a peaceful, but firm protest: the government will no longer be allowed to travel the ancestral roads that link our villages to confine us, exclude us, and rob us.

The government of Colombia with all of its agents, followed by cameras and reporters, are trying to present a spectacle of negotiation and civil behavior, which is laden as always with lies and deceit. They do not have the slightest intention to respect us, because their propositions and their mandates go counter to reverence of life and villages.

Until 5 a.m. today they have gathered to deny workers the right to make a living. These liars call this dialog. They are thieves and leaders of thieves. Masters of rhetoric and propaganda. They are white assassins who have magnified mistreatment and have never suffered.

Today, Tuesday, October 14, 2008, is 516 years since the invasion of the North American continent, which some call “discovery.” We do not celebrate this day, we mark it with sadness, in memory of the millions of indigenous people who were massacred in the most brutal manner recorded in history. http://www.nasaacin.org/noticias.htm?x=8887. This is how the Minga protest goes. More than twelve thousand indigenous people protest. Meanwhile, this morning they will bury and offer to our Mother the Earth the body of our brother Nicolas Valencia Lemus.

Web of communication and relations for truth and life:
Asociación de Cabildos Indígenas del Norte del Cauca - ACIN
Telefax: 0928 - 290958 - 293999
Email: acincauca@yahoo.es
Web: www.nasaacin.org
Santander de Quilichao Cauca -Colombia

Related new: http://www.cmi.com.co/Contenido/noticia.asp?nota=20333&seccion=8

> Subject: Indigenous people of Colombia in struggle for their lands, the police are killed them Pueblos indígenas de Colombia lugan por sus tierras y su dignidad, la policía los reprime brutalmente
> Dear friends,

> This is the real and grave situation of indigenous people in Colombia.
> They are disposed to be killed by the police in order to recover to
> their land. The government is attacking them, even when are children,
> yesterday were killed two.
> We appreciate you forward the news and help to protect their lives and
> just struggle.
> ***
> Queridos amigos,
> Los pueblos indígenas están desarrollando una proptesta en todo el
> país en lucha por recuperar sus tieras y sus derechos, están
> dispuestos a morir por ésto. El gobvierno los está reprimiensdo
> salvajemente.
> Les agradecemos difundan esta información y nos ayuden a proteger sus
> vidas y su justa lucha.
> ***
> A partir de las 7:00 de la mañana la Minga ha bloqueado la Vìa
> Panamericana. Los medios ya mienten con informaciones sobre el uso de
> explosivos, lo que es contrario a nuestra acción de hecho.
> Continuamos resistiendo los embates de la fuerza pública, que desde
> hace media hora atacan a la comunidad. Simultáneamente se realizan
> bloqueos en vías del Valle del Cauca.
> Ya Basta Carajo!
> [ 10/14/2008] [ACIN ]
> A los pueblos, que hemos salido a ocupar las vías con las que nos
> encadenan y nos están matando. Arriesgamos la vida por la libertad.
> Tenemos dignidad y reclamamos respeto. Violento es el orden de codicia
> que nos ha obligado a esto. No estamos dispuestas ni dispuestos a
> seguir muriendo en vida. No más.
> La Organización Indígena del Valle del Cauca, ORIVAC, envía la
> proclama ejemplar que anexamos. Un documento para la historia de la
> dignidad humana. Un testimonio de la verdad. Las mujeres de los
> corteros amanecen bloqueando las vías del Sur del Valle y del Norte del
> Cauca. Los indígenas y representantes de sectores agrarios y populares
> del Valle y del Cauca inician la acción de hecho pacífica, pero firme:
> el Capital no seguirá circulando tranquilamente a través de territorios
> ancestrales encadenando a los pueblos con vías que encierran, excluyen
> y sirven para robarse todo.
> El Gobierno de Colombia con los
> empresarios, seguidos de cerca por las cámaras, los micrófonos y la
> gran prensa, corren vergonzosamente a montar un espectáculo de
> negociación y civilidad cargado como siempre de engaños y mentiras. No
> tienen la menor voluntad de respetar porque sus propósitos y su mandato
> son contrarios al respeto de la vida y de los pueblos. Hasta las 5 de
> la mañana de hoy reunidos con los corteros para negarles el derecho a
> ser trabajadores y ganar lo necesario para vivir. A esto llaman diálogo
> los falsos. Son ladrones y mayordomos de ladrones. Maestros de
> retóricas y propagandas. Mentirosos de buenos modales que aprendieron a
> ejercer como señores de los eufemismos. Lo que dicen es exactamente lo
> contrario de la verdad. Asesinos de cuello blanco, explotadores cultos,
> sensibles y sentimentales que aplican a otros magnificado el maltrato
> que jamás han sufrido y consideran insoportable en sus hogares.
> El Gobernador del Cauca declara esta mañana así:
> 1. Que la vía Panamericana es un bien público y que NADIE puede abusar
> de el o bloquearlo.
> 2. Que solo han muerto dos indígenas y que no fueron las Águilas
> Negras porque estas no operan en esta zona (Norte del Cauca)
> 3.
> Que el Gobierno Nacional está buscando dinero de inmediato para cumplir
> con el acuerdo de El Nilo en uno o dos días (a más tardar pasado
> mañana).
> Nosotros le decimos Gobernador:
> 1.
> Que la vía Panamericana es un bien privado de las corporaciones y
> gamonales por el que llegan a robarnos y reprimirnos y por el que sale
> la riqueza que le roban a la tierra y a los pueblos. Que sea pública y
> no la cadena con la que nos someten; precisamente es el pueblo el que
> la ocupa.
> 2. Que han sido asesinados además de los dos
> compañeros del Norte del Cauca de que usted habla, Raúl Mendoza, en
> Popayán, 5 compañeros en Nariño, tres en Riosucio, Caldas. Pero además
> se salvó por obra de nuestra resistencia el Gobernador de Canoas,
> mientras han asesinado a un líder afro en Tumaco, Olga Lucía Vergara y
> su familia en Medellín. No se le olvide que también en el Cauca
> asesinaron a Ever González del CIMA y a César Marín de la ANUC. Es
> posible, Gobernador, que a Nicolás y a Celestino no los hayan asesinado
> las Águilas Negras como a todas y todos los demás. Nos da lo mismo, en
> últimas, se beneficia de este terror el proyecto que entra y sale por
> la vía Panamericana, que se firma en tratados de libre comercio, que se
> impone con la seguridad democrática y la parapolítica que representa su
> predecesor y el establecimiento del Gobierno desde los más altos
> escaños, que se legaliza con las leyes que nos despojan de territorios
> y derechos, como el Estatuto Rural, el Código de Minas, el Plan
> Departamental del Aguas. Es el terror y son todos los muertos y
> desplazados, no solamente los que Usted escoja hoy con su memoria
> selectiva, los que nos movilizan. NO MAS TERROR PARA ACUMULAR, venga de
> donde venga.
> 3. Que ahora corren a aparentar que negocian con
> los corteros, corren a ofrecerle dineros a ASONAL Judicial y corren a
> buscar con qué cumplir con los acuerdos de El Nilo, 17 años después.
> Diez y Siete años después y solamente porque volvemos a movilizarnos!
> Gobernador, con sus palabras reitera Usted que es la institucionalidad
> que Usted representa la que nos obliga a las acciones de hecho. Que sus
> incumplimientos y encubrimientos y leyes y el terror que imponen para
> robarnos, existen para obligarnos a la acción directa. Ustedes son los
> mayores promotores directos de la lucha popular. Ustedes y el orden de
> odio y falsedades que representan y que acaba de cumplir 516 años.
> YA
> BASTA CARAJO! Estamos dispuestos a dialogar con la verdad si del otro
> lado no hay mentiras y trampas. Estamos dispuestos a creerle a los
> hechos y no a las palabras. Más que Usted Gobernador, le exigimos al
> orden que Usted representa que respete el Mandato de los pueblos:
> 1. No más Tratados de Libre Comercio que nos roban el territorio y la
> vida sin consultarnos ni respetar nuestros derechos.
> 2.
> Que se acabe la Seguridad Democrática , la Política de Guerra, el Plan
> Colombia II en nuestros territorios. Que se vayan a la cárcel los
> parapolíticos y que los pueblos juzguemos a quienes han sido criminales
> de Estado como su predecesor Juan José Cháux Mosquera. Quienes se han
> servido del poder para someternos y acabar con las culturas ancestrales.
> 3.
> Deroguen de inmediato todas las leyes del despojo, empezando por el
> Estatuto Rural (Ley 1152 de 2007), el código minero y el Plan de Aguas
> con el que la privatizan para matarnos de sed y acumular ganancias.
> A
> los pueblos, que hemos salido a ocupar las vías con las que nos
> encadenan y nos están matando. Arriesgamos la vida por la libertad.
> Tenemos dignidad y reclamamos respeto. Violento es el orden de codicia
> que nos ha obligado a esto. No estamos dispuestas ni dispuestos a
> seguir muriendo en vida. No más. A los policías y soldados, que no
> sigan defendiendo a quienes los utilizan para reprimir y matar a
> supropio pueblo. A quienes se acostumbraron a mirar desde lejos, que
> despierten, que luchamos por su dignidad, por nuestra libertad. A
> quienes desde el exterior sienten interés y compromiso, que se hagan
> solidarios, que no crean más mentiras, que esta lucha es por ustedes y
> nosotros, en la acción su frente de dignidad y resistencia. No nos
> ayuden, nosotras y nosotros ya estamos luchando por ustedes. Esta
> lucha es por la vida y la dignidad. YA BASTA CARAJO!
> Asociación de Cabildos Indígenas del Norte del Cauca ACIN (Cxab Wala Kiwe)
> Orivac: por qué nos movilizamos!
> Hoy..martes 14 de octubre de 2008, 516 años de invasión para el
> continente americano, (descubrimiento para algunos). No celebramos esta
> fecha, simplemente la recordamos con tristeza, en memoria de los
> millones de indígenas que fueron masacrados de la manera más dantesca
> que se conozca en la historia. http://www.nasaacin.org/noticias.htm?x=8887
> ONIC: así va la Minga!
> Más de 12 mil indígenas desde la María Piendamó, resisten, mientras en
> Tacueyó esta mañana sembraran y ofrendaran a la Madre Tierra el cuerpo
> del hermano Nicolas Valencia Lemus.
> http://www.nasaacin.org/noticias.htm?x=8888
> Tejido de Comunicación y Relaciones Externas para la Verdad y la Vida
> Asociación de Cabildos Indígenas del Norte del Cauca - ACIN
> Telefax: 0928 - 290958 - 293999
> Email: acincauca@yahoo.es
> Web: www.nasaacin.org
> Santander de Quilichao Cauca -Colombia
> Related new: http://www.cmi.com.co/Contenido/noticia.asp?nota=20333&seccion=8


New Mexico in Focus on the Desert Rock Power Plant

Friday, October 17, 2008, from 7 to 8 pm, on Channel 5, New Mexico in Focus looks at the controversial Desert Rock power plant, and how this coal-burning plant – if built where two other plants on the Navajo reservation already exist – will affect, not just the Navajo Nation, but also all of New Mexico including Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

I was commissioned by KNME to specifically produce the 15-minute segment for this New Mexico in Focus episode. The segment will be used as a springboard for discussion for the advocates and opponents of Desert Rock.

I would like to acknowledge the following New Mexicans, without whose production services my work-in-progress doc and this broadcast segment could not have been possible: Chris Candelario, David Cortez, David Floeter, Brandon Johnson, Sophie Rousmaniere, Marni Samuels, Adrian Wall, and Patrick Willink.

Tony Estrada
Wild Horse Films