Friday, July 9, 2010

Just 70 More Signatures to Go!!!

Please if you have not already done it, please sign the petition to Boxer asking for her help to encourage the Forest Service of the Trinity Forests to close down a small part of the McCloud River for only 4 days so the Puberty Ceremony can proceed with safety and without interference. We need 1000 signatures and we have gathered 930 in a week. Please help!

Here's an article written by a young leader of the Winnemem tribe, Michael Preston, son of Caleen Sisk Franco, Chief.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Almost 1000 signing for the Winnemem ceremony!

Seriously!! In less than a week 834 people have signed a petition to US Senator Barb Boxer of California to do all she can to help the Winnemem Wintu carry on their important Coming of Age Ceremony for Jessie and Marisa Sisk on a small stretch of the McCloud River as it has always been done in safety and without interference and danger. Senator Boxer has been helpful in the past encouraging the Forest Service to support religious freedom and respect of the indigenous peoples of the land over which the FS has authority.

We have only 166 more signatures to go!!! Please take the time to go on site and sign.

Jessica let us know that she ane Marisa practiced swimming across and made it!! They are shy but they are getting ready for the ceremony.

We would not want boaters who ignore our voluntary closure of the river to endanger them as they swim across to join us on the fourth day. We would not want the boaters bring beer and wave their bottles, harass the people, women and children included, flashing them as they did when Babers went through her Coming of Age ceremony. At that time the Forest Service finally did close the river down because the drunken boaters ignored the Forest Service employee in his kayak, giving him a bump when he tried to talk to them.

So please take some time to help this ceremony carry on, support these young women to go through the ceremony which will give them strength as women, and join the tribe and their supporters in our prayers for them. Please go to this link and sign.

I hope that the petition can be sent today!!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

WW/ Will the US Ratify the UN International Declaration of Human Rights

Our Chief and Head Man are headed to Washington DC again, on their own dime, without certainty that they will be heard but with a heart full of commitment on behalf of 90 percent of the tribes in California who were "de-recognized" by the federal government in the 1980's. They will be seeking to be heard about what has been done to the California Indians by the very same Federal Government who is hosting a discussion on whether or not to reconsider their non-ratification vote of the UN Declaration of Human Rights regarding Indigenous Peoples since New Zealand recently joined Austrilia in ratification. The State Department has invited feedback from "FEDERALLY RECOGNIZED TRIBES" and NGO's -- or Non Governmental Organizations.

One would hope that the Winnemem would be "allowed" to speak at least if NGO's can speak unless this so-called free and democratic government also has the arrogance to determine who are federally recognized non-governmental organizations as well. I appreciate that Chief Caleen Sisk Franco and Headman Mark Franco are flying clear over there and taking the energy and time once again to speak on behalf of the tribes/salmon/water and speak to the injustices. If they are heard, then this government is finally doing the right thing. If they are told "you cannot speak; we do not recognize you" it gives the people of this country some valuable information, more evidence that there's something really rotton in Washington when it comes to basic human rights for the Native Peoples of this land. Whether a tribe is recognized or not, whether Caleen and Mark will be allowed to speak as even a non governmental organization or not has nothing to do with the legitimacy of the Winnemem Tribe. There is no doubt that they are a historical, traditional tribe respected around the world. Their legitimacy is not at question here. And there is no question that their leaders are legitimate. Their leaders are being Winnemem and leaders no matter what, against great odds, at great personal sacrifice. I know no leader equal to them when it comes to prioritizing leading over all personal gain, doing what is right for their people, their ancestors, their future generations, for the Earth, their spiritual responsibilities for all the people of the world. Leaders don't get more legitimate than that. If the State Department representative won't hear what Caleen and Mark have to say, the absurdity of federal recognition of tribes will be revealed.

Do you suppose the BIA and the government also have a federal recognition list of who is a non-governmental organizations, or a federal recognition list on who is a human being? A federally recognized human being? Federal Recognition reveals more and more to thinking peoples the rotten core of this policy. Thinking people, if they learn about what federal recognition really is, will all finally arrive at the single observation -- that Federal Recognition is a human rights violation of the worst kind. It's what a government uses to try to hide their sins against humanity by choosing who is Indian and choosing who is to be invisible and stripped of all rights due them by any treaty, the Constitution and the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

I appreciate from the bottom of my heart that Caleen and Mark are flying back to DC once again. I am grateful they keep doing this because it is something leaders must do. They must not allow extermination of their culture and historical presence, responsibility and participation. They cannot disappear. Caleen and Mark are doing the right thing. The big question mark is will the State Department do the right thing.

Caleen Sisk Franco was one of the framers of the UN Declaration of Human Rights for Indigenous Peoples 2009. She was asked to testify, then she was asked to keep coming and representing. Her presence there opened up the whole conversation on "federal recognition" as a tool for human rights violations against indigenous peoples all over the world at the UN conference. What kind of blind arrogance and stupidity would keep one of the very people who helped frame this document from speaking about it? Guess we'll see and I hope the World sees. If you know some journalists out there in DC land, far from the great mountains of California, its rivers, the ordinary people of California, certainly the tribal people of California, let the journalists and media people know to look for Caleen and Mark taking a letter from 90 percent of the California Tribes and their allies around the world and all over the country to help the US understand and make the right decision to ratify the UN Human Rights Declaration for Indigenous People. Tell the story. Were they able to walk through the door? take the floor? speak? be heard? Please give them the back story and encourage them to cover this. If you're in DC and you have a camera and can do YouTube, find where this is happening, and please show up and upload the story. What did you see? Granny said to us, tell the world and the good people of the world will hear you.

It will take us all to get the word out. There will be a Prayer Fire in Eugene, Oregon, praying for justice for the Winnemem and a safe journey there and back for the Leaders.
"from Outside the Belly" was also known as "TBAsian" from 2008-2010. Thank you for reading.

from Outside the Monster's Belly

from Outside the Monster's Belly
. . . following Earth instead (Rakaia River, site of Salmon Ceremony, photo credit Ruth Koenig)


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Eugene, Oregon
I am a citizen of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. I am a Nikkei descendant sansei (third generation);retired teacher, involved in the Winnemem tribal responsibility to Water, Salmon, and our belief that the Sacred is our Teacher. Working locally for human rights and supporting youth leadership.