Ndee-Nnee Alliance statement on the Future Work of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Twelfth Session United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
May 20-31, 2013 New York, New York
FUTURE WORK OF THE PERMANENT FORUM
The NdeeNnee Alliance would like to thank Bik’ehgo’ihi’nan, the Life Giver, and Nigodzan, Earth is Woman, for giving us all life and for allowing all our indigenous brothers and sisters to be present here within the great land of the Lenape, whom, we thank for allowing us to gather in their inherent territory.
The Ndee-Nnee Alliance recommends to the UNPFII for future work the areas of herbicide, pesticide, chemical and toxic contamination, the violations of sacred sites by governments and corporations, and the militarization of the US/MX border that now inhibits the culture, heath, and autonomy of IP’s, not only in our region, but around the world.
While the United States mouths the empty rhetoric of concern about human rights in places around the world, like Burma, China, Tibet, and Syria, to name some examples, even furnishing an assessment of human rights through its own State Department, virtually nothing is ever said about the continued and incessant violation of human rights of the original people of this land, the Indigenous people. It’s bad enough that of the 370 so-called treaties made between the U.S. government and Indigenous nations from the early colonial settlement in Turtle Island, not ONE was kept.
It is thus relevant that the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination of the United Nations Human Rights Commission in its report of March 1, 2013 has expressed serious concern about the failure of the United States to provide a responsive report to the Committee’s raising of human rights violations of Indigenous peoples due on November 20, 2011, specifically regarding the following key issues:
The construction of a vast security wall on the Texas-Mexico border based on the purported aim of preventing entry of alleged terrorists, undocumented migrants, and drug traffickers into the United States that involved the Department of Homeland Security disregarding 36 Federal and State Laws in the wall construction, including the National Environmental Policy Act, the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, and the Administrative Act and where the lands on which the Kikapoo Traditional Nation of Texas, the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo (Tigua) nation, and the Lipan Ndé (Apaché) have lived for time immemorial are being victimized by wall construction that occurred with consultation of these respective Indigenous peoples and have uprooted ecological systems and lands while violating sacred cultural sites integral to these communities and preventing such peoples from gaining access to materials needed for traditional ceremonies. The rights of the Lipan Endé (Apaché) in particular warrant serious attention considering that the nation is unrecognized by the U.S. government and has no access to the courts as avenues for redress. It is also worth noting that commercial non-Indigenous enterprises such as the River Bend Golf Resort on the Texas-Mexico border were spared any disruption of their property and operations in the wall construction.
The impact of the Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort Project in the sacred mountain in Northern Arizona, Dook ‘o’oosliid (San Francisco Peaks) on the cultural practices and sacred ceremonies of all Indigenous nations of the U.S. southwest, particularly given the Ski Resort Project’s plan to pipe sewage water to the mountain with the plan of making snow for skiing. Extractive Industries, mainly large scale mining corporations, since contact was made with Nnee, exploit the natural resources within the community’s territorial, cultural and spiritual boundaries causing harm to the health and welfare of Nnee and all peoples. The ongoing fight with Rio Tinto, Zinc and B.H.P. Biliton (whom both create a subsidiary company called Resolution Copper Company) and Nnee over the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2013. This bill was introduced into the United States House of Representatives in February of 2013 without the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Nnee. The area Resolution Copper wants to mine copper Ore, is a holy place for Nnee and other indigenous peoples in the southwest United States and Northern Mexico. The site also maintains historical significance in the annuls of time through oral history and spirit within the Nnee, but also within the colonized history of Arizona, United States, Mexican, and Spanish histories as well. Not only culture is at stake, Water is as well. In a territory that is known for its desert dry lands and seasons of drought our sacred and precious water for a thirsty peoples will be depleted for the wealth of kingdoms, nations, governments and corporations, disguised as capitalism and free market societies, that continue to promote and impose adverse health effects, especially the polluted air from the mine smelter, that Nnee breathe in daily, which is known to effect the thyroid in human beings. There are repeated attempts by state and federal legislators to disturb Indigenous people’s ancestral lands by opening them for transfer to multinational extractive mining and energy corporations and commercial developers. Particular mention was made of the lethal destructive effects of dumping nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada and the resumption of underground nuclear testing on Newe Segobia (Western Shoshone) ancestral lands in fundamental violation of the Treaty of Ruby Valley of 1863. The Newe Segobia have declared their lands a nuclear-free zone, yet the U.S government continues to use these lands for underground nuclear testing, over 1,000 having been detonated over the past 60 years, actions which are foundationally illegal.
It is germane to add that the rights of the Nnee Nation in San Carlos, Arizona, were and are being expressly violated with the introduction and spraying of twelve major herbicides–minopyralid, chlorsulfuron, clopyralid, dicamba, glyphosate, imazapic, imazapyr, metsulfuron methyl, picloram, sethoxydim, sulfometuron methyl, and triclopyr– (containing ingredients used in Agent Orange that was used as a defoliant by the U.S. military in Vietnam) at the rate of 9,000 acres per year on the Coconino, Kaibab, and Prescott forests around federal and state highways. The spraying of these toxic herbicides by the U.S. Forest Service under the pretext of eliminating invasive weed and plant species without prior informed and free consent of the Nnee Nation and its members, has been deployed in every Ranger District and spans vast ecological diversity from the Sonoran Desert to mixed conifer forest, including watersheds covering Salt River, Verde River, Agua Fria, New River, and Cave Creek and contaminating water resources in the process. Some 2,872, 876 acres of forest have been affected. These hazardous conditions have resulted in lethal health conditions of many among the Nnee Nation who are now suffering from cancer and other serious illnesses from poisoned water and vegetation. The Chircahua Apaché Alliance is currently engaged in documenting such hazardous health accounts of Indigenous community members.
It is also disturbing to note that members of the Indigenous Tohono O’odham nation whose lands span the Arizona-Mexico border continue to experience harassment, intimidation, and terror by U.S. border authorities as they cross the border to participate in ancestral ceremonies, due to the presence of an electrified wall and the violation of sacred sites by state agencies like the U.S. Border Patrol. The situation of fear has escalated to the point that O’odham community members no longer visit their neighbors and are afraid of leaving their homes at night due to concerns about safety of their children and elders. The sovereignty of the Tohono’ O’odham needs to be recognized by the U.S. government in accordance with the legal protections assured by international law and U.S. state security agencies are called upon to immediately desist from further invasion of O’odham lands on the pretext of pursuing drug smugglers.
The genocide of Indigenous people began with the first invasion by European pirates under the leadership of Columbus in the 15th century, starting in the Caribbean, followed by South and Central America, and then in the 17th century, Turtle Island (North America). While the United States has created a vast capitalist and globalized empire that has made trillions of dollars in wealth over four and a half centuries, few in the world recognize that this lascivious and insatiable greed for land, minerals, and wealth that resulted in the wealthiest economic and military power in the world, actually entailed the enslavement of African people and the systematic genocide of Indigenous peoples on these lands. It is high time for the world bodies of justice like the United Nations Human Rights Commission and the World Court to demand that the U.S. desist from its ongoing genocidal actions in violation of international human rights law and that it restore Indigenous people’s lands and sovereignty unconditionally in the interest of global justice, peace, and harmony. The United States can no longer be shielded from scrutiny in its obsessive pursuit of resources for capitalist industrialism through perpetual genocide and war in all continents of the world, making it the leading outlaw nation in the world.