Call for Support! Trial Set for Flagstaff Indigenous Peoples’ Day Demonstrators
Organizers Denounce Political Attack & State Surveillance
- Rally & pack the courtroom for the trial on January 16th, 2020 from 8:30am – 4:30pm and Friday, January 17th from 1:30pm – 4:30pm.
- Donate to help pay for legal expenses: www.gofundme.com/f/support-
- Spread the word: #indigenouspeoplesdayFlagstaff #supportIPD3
Flagstaff, AZ — Three social and environmental justice advocates, calling themselves the “Indigenous Peoples’ Day Three” or IPD3, will be going to trial on January 16th, 2020 from 8:30am – 4:30pm and Friday, January 17th 1:30pm – 4:30pm at the Flagstaff Municipal Court (15 N Beaver St, Flagstaff, AZ 86001) for charges resulting from a 2018 Indigenous Peoples’ Day demonstration held in Flagstaff, Arizona.
On October 8, 2018, the same day that the City of Flagstaff formally announced their celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, more than 40 people rallied and marched through Downtown Flagstaff to denounce the City of Flagstaff’s “hypocritical” and “empty” declaration. The rally was held as a call for justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, to highlight the criminalization of migrants that leads to mass deportations and detentions, for accountability of the City of Flagstaff for their role in desecrating the San Francisco Peaks, ending criminalization of unsheltered community members, and to address the disproportionate level of racial profiling and arrests Indigenous people face.
Nearly a dozen Flagstaff police officers used body cameras to specifically monitor and document the demonstration. Flagstaff Police Department and the Gang and Immigration Intelligence Task Force then launched a weeks-long investigation that used social media and an unidentified informant to file misdemeanor criminal charges of “Obstructing a Public Thoroughfare.” A total of eleven people were initially charged. Seven of those charged agreed to a plea deal with the option of 40 hours of community service or paying a $150 fine.
Klee Benally, a longtime Indigenous rights advocate in Flagstaff and one of the three facing trial states, “We are facing a blatant political attack by law enforcement agents here in Flagstaff that includes a disturbing level of state surveillance. That we are being targeted and criminalized for fighting for justice in our community underscores the hypocrisy of an Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration here in Flagstaff. Politicians here want to celebrate while they cover-up their role in the killing of Indigenous cultures with their contract to sell 180 million gallons of wastewater for snowmaking on the holy San Francisco Peaks. They look away while extreme racial profiling, Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids, deportations, and police violence is occurring. They disregard cries from the unsheltered community to end their anti-homeless policies. We will not be silenced by state repression, we will continue to stand and fight for justice for the land and all people. That’s really what this trial is about.” states Benally.
Sumayyah Dawud, a human rights activist living in Phoenix, AZ (Akimel O’Otham territory) who is facing trial states, “It is highly hypocritical for the City of Flagstaff to pretend to honor Indigenous peoples by designating a holiday yet conduct extreme surveillance and file charges against Indigenous people for marching on their own land. This is a continuation of over 500 years of colonialism. It is appalling how the Flagstaff Police Department in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies has combed through social media and used other surveillance techniques to identify and prosecute activists engaging in freedom of speech and assembly. The surveillance involved in this case is tainted with racial profiling, transphobia, and other forms of prejudice. As someone who has faced surveillance and prosecution for attending protests in Phoenix and elsewhere, I am deeply concerned with the implications this political attack by the City of Flagstaff has in chilling dissent. These unfounded and unjust charges need to be dropped. The City needs to take meaningful action to honor Indigenous peoples and end injustices rather than providing token recognition in the form of a holiday. Regardless of the outcome of this trial, I will continue to fight for justice, liberation, and equality.”
Alejandra Becerra, a former organizer with Repeal Coalition who is facing trial, sees this a tactical move by Flagstaff Police Department and the Arizona Department of Public Safety to silence increased scrutiny from local community about the obscured racism and injustice of their policies. Three weeks before the Indigenous Day Protest, three women were arrested after chaining themselves to the Flagstaff Police Department’s parking lot in protest of the city and county’s collaboration with ICE. This put a spotlight on how local law enforcement has a key role of criminalizing and funneling loved ones into the violent detention system that separates families in the Flagstaff community. “I spoke in front of the same officers who took an incredible amount of effort to charge people with tickets and again emphasized how they are the common denominator in the disproportionate caging of Indigenous people and the mass deportation system that disappears undocumented people. Who and what are they protecting? Because as an immigrant, as a mother, as an individual who cares about social justice, I don’t feel safe.” states Becerra.
According to yearly police reports, Flagstaff police arrest on average approximately 6,000 people annually. About half of those arrests are Indigenous People yet they only comprise about 11% of the overall population.
A recently published article by The Progressive (https://progressive.org/
“This is clearly an act designed to intimidate protesters and chill speech,” stated Gibbons. “Police were on hand and apparently did not see anything to justify an attempt to prevent or stop the protesters from blocking traffic, making these after-the-fact arrests completely absurd.”
Gibbons further stated how concerned he was that surveillance technology was used to enable these arrests.
“Body cameras, which were supposed to be a tool of policy accountability, were transformed into a tool of surveillance,” he says. “Coupled with social media monitoring, police were then able to identify and issue court summons for protesters. The message this sends is clear: If you engage in political expression, police know who you are and know how to find you.”
Gibbons sees this as part of “an alarming national trend,” which has also included social media monitoring of local protests groups by police in Boston, Memphis, and Baltimore.
“We know from the public record that the FBI has continuously surveilled or monitored social movements or questioned activists from those movements,” Gibbons says, “including racial justice movements, Standing Rock water protesters, and Occupy ICE activists.”
The IPD3 are calling for support in the courtroom and a rally before trial on January 16th, 2020 from 8:30am – 4:30pm and Friday, January 17th from 1:30pm – 4:30pm.
They have also initiated a crowdfunding campaign to pay for legal expenses here: www.gofundme.com/f/support-
You can also help spread awareness leading up to the trial using the hashtags: #indigenouspeoplesdayFlagstaff #supportIPD3
Organizers of the initial Indigenous Peoples’ Day rally called for these immediate actions:
- continued boycott of Arizona Snowbowl and for the City of Flagstaff to cancel their contract with the ski resort,
- end to racial profiling & ICE collaboration and further work to abolish police in our communities by establishing community support networks and transformative/restorative justice options,
- repeal the anti-camping ordinance and all anti-homeless policies,
- donations of sleeping bags and winter clothing for unsheltered relatives at Táala Hooghan Infoshop (1704 N 2nd St),
You can read more about the October 8, 2018 action here:
Add your comments (racist, sexist, & trans/homophobic comments will not be published)
Indigenous Peoples’ Day of Rage 2022
This is a call for an Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage Against Colonialism on Sunday, October 9, 2022, everywhere.
We heard that mass actions are a bit out of fashion this season & lone wolfs or affinity groups are all the rage.
Counter the spectacle of the “good, respectable Indian” and their mundane celebrations of assimilation. Your ancestors invite you to embrace the veracious criminality of anti-colonial struggle and be smart (don’t get caught).
A banner drop? An attack on colonial symbols, monuments, etc. Spray paint? A broken window here, a burning xxxxxxx there? Be fierce and fabulously unpredictable and strike in the darkest part of the night (points if you use glitter). Even the smallest Indigenous dreams of liberation are greater than the settler nightmares we live everyday.
We won’t be making any lists or asking for emails this year due to a heightened sense for the need of greater security culture. Though we will post any securely and anonymously sent reports and pics in the aftermath.
In the spirit of Jane’s Revenge, abort colonialism. Colonizer (c)laws off our bodies!
– The insurrectionary anti-colonial invisible council of IPDR.
Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage 2021: Action Report
Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage 2021: Action Report
(More pics and info to be added as reports come in)
From up north in so-called Edmonton, AB down to “Tampa, Florida” and spanning Turtle Island from Sacramento, CA to Washington D.C. – resisters everywhere threw down on Sunday, Oct. 10th, 2021 (plus few days before and after) for Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage (Against Colonialism) – Round Two.
We saw banner drops, militant marches, paint attacks on settler institutions, and a lot of discomfort on colonizers faces before the day even began. Apparently, the politicians including mayors of cities hit hard by last year’s IPDoR actions penciled in overtime for their thinning blue lines while members of the clergy peeked out of windows with trepidation as they sat in round-the-clock vigils anticipating their comeuppance. It was indeed a good day to be Indigenous – not so great of a day to be a colonial relic, as evidenced by Washington DC’s statue of the infamous genocidal maniac Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Park which had “EXPECT US” spray painted on its base in reference to the classic slogan of Indigenous resistance, “Respect us or expect us.”
As monuments to colonizers around the globe have been vandalized, smashed, and/or ceremoniously thrown into rivers over the past couple years – it was great to see Andrew Jackson inducted into the club! Along with the Columbus statue in Tampa, FL and Abraham Lincoln’s statue in so-called Bennington, Vermont (not pictured).
The rubble that is the 3rd Precinct, burned to the ground in last years George Floyd protests, was decorated with an “Avenge Indigenous Children” banner to acknowledge the thousands of lives lost in boarding schools and residential schools across the continent during late 1800’s through mid-1900’s.
The Southwest saw militant marches demanding No More Stolen Sisters on behalf of the MMIWG2ST campaign and a rally calling out the mascotization of Native images used by a long-time racist ass business in Durango, CO. In occupied Kinłani (“Flagstaff, Arizona”), a rally and march led to the shutting down of major intersections for a radical round dance that ensnarled traffic. A colonial statue was vandalized and smoke devices were set off throughout the downtown for some anti-colonial mayhem.
Meanwhile, over on the West Coast, freeway overpasses hosted banner drops from occupied California and up through KKKanada. Folx in occupied San Rafael demanded that the city drop the charges of Protectors/Defenders (check out https://ip5solidarity.org/) while roadways in Sacramento declared “Columbus Was Lost,” “Indigenous Sovereignty NOW!” and, “No Justice on Stolen Land!” Our relatives to the north, in Amiskwaciwaskahikan (“Edmonton, Alberta”) reminded drivers that there is “No Pride in Genocide.”
Speaking of stolen land, this year seemed to hold one very resounding cry. Whether it was splashed across barriers in public spaces of so-called Las Vegas, Nevada, or etched brazenly on a wall under the gaze of the ever-present eyeball surveilling “Asheville, North Carolina’s” city hall, done in the colorful handstyle in a more urban setting as submitted by anonymous, or dressed up with the good ol’ circle A in flat black out on Diné Bikeyah (“The Navajo Nation”) – the writing on the wall is clear: LAND BACK.
Signage at colonial institutions were not spared. In Portland, OR, Lewis & Clark College had “CHANGE NAME” not so subtly suggested. And the recently opened Tesla dealership and service station in Nambe Pueblo, NM didn’t escape the rage at the betrayal of the Pueblo’s decision to climb in bed with Elon Musk and become green capitalists.
Understandably, there were many other actions that went down that couldn’t or wouldn’t be documented, such as sabotaged rail lines in the so-called Pacific NorthWest, excavators threatening sacred lands in the “Midwest” that were rendered useless, the Catholic Church in “Denver, Colorado” that allegedly had their truths displayed for the world to see with bright red paint on their walls, and the relatives up in “Portland, Oregon” who struck like ghosts in the night, leaving only the footage of clean up crews sweeping up glass and colonial tears the following day in their wake. Some of the strongest statements are made quietly, as some of our actions have become a silent warcry–an ever present threat–making colonizers clutch their pearls and pocketbooks, in recognition of an Indigenous resistance that is alive, untamed claws-out, rabid and growing. It cannot be neatly confined to one designated calendar day, our anti-colonial agitation is year-round and we celebrate that ANY WAY we damn well please.
This year the justifications for our rage felt more acute, particularly in the so-called US with the colonial authority proclaiming “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.” We’ve seen the farce of this politics of recognition for what it is and this is why we rage; to undermine their co-optation and white/redwashing. We emphasized that arrests weren’t the point this year especially considering how performative Non-Violent Direct Actions have fed so many of our people into the hands of the police state. We don’t want our people and accomplices locked up ever, especially during a pandemic. We’re not out to beg politicians, negotiate treaties, and we will not make concessions – we fight for total liberation. To radicalize, inspire, empower and attack – this is what anti-colonial struggle looks like and we are everywhere.
With Love & Rage –
May the bridges we burn together light our way.
Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage Round Two – Kinłani Report Back
Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage Round Two – Kinłani Report Back
As the sun set on Sunday, Oct. 11 a crowd of Indigenous folx and accomplices gathered outside Flagstaff City Hall and pitched three tents for unsheltered relatives. The cops came to intimidate but no-one from what we could see was listening to whatever it was they were attempting to convey.
A contingent of a liberal Indigenous group called “Indigenous Circle of Flagstaff” attempted to communicate what the police could not. Something about “change coming from policy,” about not wanting something “bad” to happen to the demonstrators. There was some sort of debate but we weren’t close enough to hear what was happening and decided to ignore the clear attempt at movement policing. After all, the night was emerging and we weren’t there to debate hang-around-the-fort Natives.
A jail support number was shared with the message that “We’re not here because we want any more of our people locked up in the system. Our plan is not to get arrested and if they try, to make sure we don’t let that happen.” Some words were said on a megaphone but we’ve learned to tune that frequency out after years of marching, somehow the megaphone ends up in the same hands and our ears are tired of the cheer-leading.
A bright orange banner led the way with the words “Avenge Indigenous Children” referencing the brutal legacy of boarding school violence that has resurfaced with powerful calls for accountability throughout the so-called US and KKKanada. The crowd started a quick march on the sidewalk. Cops on bikes tried to heard us but we were swift. We pushed passed them and quickly with a chant of “Whose streets? Our streets. Whose land? Native land” took the intersection of Route 66 and San Francisco St., which is the busiest intersection in the downtown area. Cop cars rushed around. Traffic downtown was fully stopped. The drummer started a round dance song, and at first it seemed some of us weren’t sure do dance or stand there with banners. But we took our time. The beat was steady and echoed off the walls of this colonial settlement that our great grandparents are older than. Banners reading, “Colonialism is a Plague,” “Indigenous Resistance,” “Land Back,” and many others were carried in the dance that was held for about 20 minutes or so. At some point the crowd gathered around an obnoxious and controversial statue of a white railroad worker (which obscures the reality of forced Chinese labor and the advancement of waves of colonial invaders via the rail system).
The statue was enhanced with red paint. Some in the crowd used banners to provide tactical cover then moved on. Cops followed and tried to get ahead of the crowd. A series of massive smoke devices were set off by someone. The streets of downtown “Flagstaff” looked overrun by angry ancestors emerging from the smoke chanting “Fuck Columbus, fuck the police!” It felt like the nightmares of colonizers coming to haunt the futures they have stolen. By pumping millions of gallons of recycled shit water on the sacred San Francisco Peaks. By attacking Indigenous unsheltered relatives and leaving them to freeze in the winter months. By arresting what amounts to half the Indigenous population every year. By doing absolutely nothing when Indigenous womxn have gone missing or were murdered, Vanessa Lee. Ariel Bryant. Nicole Joe. We screamed their names and asserted our rage. We weren’t there to debate, plead, or negotiate as the pacified Natives who tried to make rooms in their chains for us. We were there to celebrate our dignified rage (as the Zapatistas have so beautifully named this anger that is a powerful component of the centuries of resistance against colonialism). Another busy intersection was taken and a round dance ensued. Some colonizers yelled something and we’re quickly told to “Fuck off.” There was a moment when the marching stopped in a central part of downtown, a relative who had been there every fierce step of the way spoke, (pieces of her words from memory here): “Ariel Bryant was my best friend. She went missing and the cops told me not to look for her. She was found dead and nothing has been done. I’m here for all missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, trans, and two-spirit relatives.” Another relative who said they were from Tsé Bit’ a’í spoke about a Diné elder named Ella Mae Begay who has been missing for months now. “No one is taking this seriously except her family and some community members.” They said stepping out into the streets to rage for missing relatives was a powerful experience. Last year there were more numbers out (less people due to protest burnout? Fuck activists anyways). But this year the spirit and fire was just as fierce. We had friends not come out ‘cause they got cases. We had other friends who just are done with protesting and focus on direct underground actions. (Which we were inspired to see the colorful redecorating occurring in other spaces throughout the town).
Overall the politicians, cops, settlers, and sellouts were all afraid of how fragile the facade of their colonial structures really are. The officially recognized and formal Indigenous Peoples’ Day proclamations and “celebrations” lets them off the hook for accountability and the reckoning that is long overdue. Sometimes its the alchemy of catharsis that keeps us going through the despair of colonially induced trauma and the spiritual and physical brutality we (and the land which also hold trauma) face everyday. What we felt was healing. What we felt was anti-colonial struggle. When monuments (and the systems of violence that uphold them) fall, our people can only come up. Let’s tear them all fucking down. Fuck movement police and “Indian scouts.” Fuck Biden’s proclamation of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
– An anonymous hashké Diné
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