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  #1  
Old 07-17-2003, 07:50 PM
GivinSpirit GivinSpirit is offline
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Default Resources...

Here is a few links you will be able to find:

Newspapers
Radio
TV
Journals
Film & Video Org.
Languages
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Pow Wow

Hope you enjoy!



Internet resources for news
http://www.nativeweb.org/resources/n...ve_indigenous/

HOw to: Native crafts
http://www.nativetech.org/

Wotanging Ikche -- Native American News http://www.nanews.org/index2.shtml

your internet resource
http://www.indianz.com/

*****Latest Native news....my personal favorite*******
http://www.pechanga.net/
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  #2  
Old 07-17-2003, 09:05 PM
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http://www.powwows.com is a great one, too! Have you tried that one yet?
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Old 06-13-2005, 07:13 AM
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Default Letters and News from our Warriors inside

Post news, events and happenings here...
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  #4  
Old 06-14-2005, 03:18 AM
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Default Indian legal representation lags

Indian legal representation lags
By Chet Brokaw, Associated Press Writer
June 14, 2005
PIERRE - Jessica Hinsley didn't know where to turn for help after Standing Rock Sioux Tribe officials took her 1-year-old daughter. The girl had been hurt in a fall at a day-care center, and a tribal judge kept asking why Hinsley's three children had to be in day care.

Hinsley, a 23-year-old who is going through a divorce and works full time while attending college, had trouble finding a private lawyer who could take her case. But then she found out Dakota Plains Legal Services had a new lawyer on the reservation, which straddles the North Dakota-South Dakota border.
The lawyer, Judith Roberts, went to work and quickly got the infant returned to Hinsley.

"They wouldn't listen to me or anything, and then once I got an attorney, which is Judy, that's when they pretty much had to listen," Hinsley said. "I didn't even know we had a legal service or else I would have gone there a long time ago."

Many American Indian reservations nationwide have a shortage of lawyers and other legal services, according to Ron Hutchinson, executive director of Dakota Plains Legal Services, which has six offices in South Dakota and one across the border in North Dakota.

Dakota Plains is part of a network of nonprofit organizations nationwide that provide legal services to low-income people with the help of federal funding. Some, such as Dakota Plains, primarily serve Indians.

Court-appointed attorneys and public defenders help poor people charged with crimes, so the greatest unmet need is for civil matters such as divorce, child custody, wills, land issues and commercial disputes, Hutchinson said.

And though Indians need legal help in state and federal courts, one of the greatest needs is in tribal court, where many people represent themselves without hiring a lawyer, Hutchinson said.

An 1994 American Bar Association study estimated that three-quarters of the nation's low- and moderate-income families facing civil-legal issues handle those problems without getting formal help. Legal-aid lawyers estimate only about 20 percent of Indians' legal needs are met, Hutchinson said.

"The bottom line here is, we don't have the resources to help everyone who needs help. We don't even come close," he said.

Help is on the way, thanks to a grant from the American College of Trial Lawyers, a national organization of courtroom attorneys. The $50,000 grant is intended to let Dakota Plains establish an Internet site to provide a wide range of information related to Indian legal issues, including forms and instructions for those who represent themselves in tribal court.

Jimmy Morris of Richmond, Va., president of the American College of Trial Lawyers, said poor people need adequate legal services so they are not at the mercy of people who can afford lawyers.

"There is an appalling need for legal services to the poor everywhere in the country," Morris said. "But it is particularly acute among Native Americans."

Steve Moore of the Native American Rights Fund in Boulder, Colo., said there is a lack of legal resources to help Indians in tribal, state and federal courts.

"The word 'crisis,' I think, doesn't overdramatize the situation," Moore said.

Indians not only have to deal with state and federal laws and regulations, but they are also subject to tribal laws on reservations and a host of tribal and federal programs for housing, health and other issues that apply only to Indians, Moore said.

That means Indians likely will need legal help to deal with the many regulations that apply to them, Moore said.

"We think that Native Americans are the most regulated segment of the American population," Moore said. "Being Native American just adds multiple layers and layers or regulations and bureaucracy into your life."

The Native American Rights Fund handles high-profile cases for tribal governments and other organizations, disputes that focus on Indian rights, tribal sovereignty, voting issues, land and other issues. But it also works with organizations such as Dakota Plains Legal Services to help develop and improve tribal laws and court systems, including traditional systems of resolving disputes, Moore said.

The grant for Dakota Plains will address those issues.

Hutchinson said the project will emphasize improving services to Indians who represent themselves in tribal court. The new Internet site will include forms and instructions on how to handle the most common legal problems, he said.

The project will supply information to help private lawyers better represent Indian clients and will gather tribal laws and previous tribal court rulings from the Sioux tribes.

Dakota Plains operates seven offices with a budget of about $1.3 million for routine help provided to Indian clients. It has 20 case handlers, but only seven are lawyers. Many cases are handled by paralegals.

The project will provide an improved set of instructions and forms, which now vary widely among tribal courts, Hutchinson said.





If the South Dakota project succeeds, it can be adopted in tribal courts in other parts of the nation.





"What we hope is that this will become a model project that other programs across the country can build on for their own tribal court systems," Hutchinson said.





Joe Steinfield of Boston, a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers who chaired the committee that approved the grant, said the project stood out from the four dozen or so other candidates because it has a chance of accomplishing much where the need is great.





Steinfield said most lawyers have little idea of the legal challenges Indians and tribal courts face.





Hinsley is simply happy that Dakota Plains gave her the legal help she needed to get her daughter back.





The girl had medical and developmental problems before her fall at day care, so Hinsley believes the best thing she can do is wrap the child in love.





Copyright © 2005 The Rapid City Journal
Rapid City, SD
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  #5  
Old 06-14-2005, 03:49 PM
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Default City cops put their foot in it again

June 14, 2005

City cops put their foot in it again

By Kerry Diotte
About two weeks ago, Edmonton Police Service acting Chief Darryl da Costa was asked in a roundabout way if cops here might pick on minorities.
Da Costa was asked to comment on a criminology professor's report that showed Kingston, Ont., police pulled over black people three times more often than whites.

The study - called Bias Free Policing - found aboriginals were 1.4 times more likely to be stopped by police in that city than white people.

The results came after Kingston police did a study noting the age, gender and race of people they stopped, as well as the reason.

"We don't think we have a problem here, but we don't know for sure," da Costa told the Sun May 27.

"We're certainly not above looking at what was done in another jurisdiction to see if it does have any application here."

Well, maybe it's high time to do that study given the EPS is involved in yet another in a series of controversies.

Da Costa has ordered an internal investigation after some EPS cops were circulating a racist e-mail that joked about how to treat an aboriginal.

"I was disgusted by the content of the e-mail and disappointed as well," da Costa told a crush of media at a news conference yesterday originally called to discuss a traffic safety initiative. He called the e-mail discriminatory and racist.

After becoming aware of the nasty e-mail, da Costa sent out an internal bulletin to members that was leaked to the media. He wrote that "the EPS has zero tolerance for this type of conduct" and cops with racist views should "consider other careers."

The controversy is the latest in a string of headaches for the EPS:

*Former chief Fred Rayner was fired in February for his handling of the now infamous Overtime sting.

*An RCMP probe continues into allegations EPS members took unauthorized perks from a company being touted to receive the city's $90-million photo radar contract.

*The city's auditor is probing allegations of impropriety surrounding a push by the EPS to award a contract to a private firm to track pawnshop purchases citywide.

*As well, there have been allegations against EPS members of using excessive force on members of the public, including when a native man was repeatedly Tasered.

The latest racist controversy has outraged the native community.

"I'm just aghast at this," said Mel Buffalo, president of the Indian Association of Alberta. "It's 2005 and we still have this kind of crap."

He figures a meeting needs to be called between native agencies and police.

Buffalo is skeptical anything will come out of an internal probe into the racist e-mail.

"There needs to be an above-board, transparent process if you have a complaint. Police are investigating themselves and that's not fair."

Buffalo said sources tell him aboriginals going through police training sometimes get a hard time from non-natives.

"Especially the females," said Buffalo.

"Everybody thinks they got a special in because they're aboriginal."

Police say there are 58 aboriginals with the EPS.

Reporters at the news conference yesterday also grilled da Costa and Mayor Stephen Mandel about media reports suggesting some police union members were spotted wearing T-shirts indicating no cop should rat on another cop.

Mandel wouldn't comment on that.

Instead he stuck to what has become a standard response on allegations of police misconduct.

He declared he has full confidence in the EPS and said he believes there are only a "few bad apples.

"It's a very, very, very, very small minority."

All Edmontonians - me included - hope that's true. But given the spate of controversies, the few-bad-apples pitch is getting harder to sell.

Isn't it about time to find these bad apples and get rid of them before the rot spoils a whole lot more?

A good, logical first step toward that would be if an outside agency probed most cases of police misconduct - and those investigations were done far more quickly than they are now.

It's time for officials to stand up for all Edmonton citizens and for the majority of good cops in the EPS.

Stop talking about bad apples in the EPS. Start finding them and toss 'em out.

(Kerry's column appears Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. E-mail: kdiotte@edmsun.com)
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  #6  
Old 06-14-2005, 03:50 PM
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Default Horseback riders blaze trail of strength, sobriety

Posted on Tue, Jun. 14, 2005http://www.grandforks.com/images/common/spacer.gifhttp://www.grandforks.com/images/common/spacer.gif

DORREEN YELLOW BIRD COLUMN: Horseback riders blaze trail of strength, sobriety




As I came over a rise on the last leg of my 4½-hour drive home to western North Dakota, I saw a commotion on the highway ahead. At first, I thought it was one of those big-wheeled farm contraptions with those huge outstretched claws that take up the whole highway.

Instead, it was a small group of horseback riders, walkers and support vehicles. The horses walked leisurely in thick, dark-green grass up to their shanks - with all the recent rain, the western Plains have turned into something like a savanna of the South.

The walkers were on the side of the highway and only looked up and waved when I honked my horn. They were serious, with jackets hanging over their shoulders, and certainly not walking fast. It was overcast but didn't quite rain. It is an organization called the Spirit Riders, my sister told me. They were walking from White Shield, N.D., to Garrison, N.D. - about 25 miles.

Their purpose is to work toward an alcohol- and drug-free reservation using spirituality, culture and horses. They have about 40 members.

The organization does much more than just alcoholism prevention. They have cookouts, do holiday celebrations with their members and also ride for funerals. Riding for funerals is a tradition in which riders on horseback accompany the deceased to their final resting place. The Spirit Riders have become popular in fulfilling that cultural role.

Why horses?, I asked Howard Wilkinson, the president of the Spirit Riders in White Shield. The Spirit Rider remembered, he answered, how important horses were to them when they were growing up. There are very few places on the reservations that didn't have a horse or two. I knew that was true: When I was young, we rode horseback almost everywhere on the reservation - there were few fences back then. Today, you have to follow the fence-lined highways that enclose prairie fields and crops.

During my horseback-riding days, I remembered, we used to pick

chokecherries by riding our horses into the woody areas, standing on our saddles and picking berries from the trees. It could be dicey but we never had an accident.

The idea of using horses to prevent alcoholism was introduced years ago to the Three Affiliated Tribes by Lakota riders who came from Greengrass, S.D., on their way to Canada. They came through the reservation and asked to camp. They were accommodated by Emerson Chase at his ranch, which is not too far from New Town, N.D.

"We met with them, sat in their circles and did sweats with them," said Delvin Driver, president of what would become the Unity Riders. Driver, Jimmy and Sonny Bear, George Fast Dog, Tom Demaray and Clorinda Driver sat with them, too.

They sat in a circle and talked about how they had become alcohol- and drug-free.

Driver and his son followed these Lakota riders to Canada, but were turned back at the border because the horses hadn't been tested.

They formed the Unity Riders for the Three Affiliated Tribes in 1993. There were about 30 members at first. Out of this group, two others have grown: The Spirit Riders and the Renovators from the Mandaree, N.D., area. I wasn't able to talk with their group, so I have no other details about them.

There are other alcohol- and drug-prevention programs on the reservation. The Circle of Life alcohol program is just beginning a program called the Northland Project. It is funded by the Homeland Security Act.

The program also uses horses. Its leaders go to each of the six districts on the reservation to solicit sponsorship. Then they ride the perimeter of the reservation - some 200 miles. This ride will take place at the end of July, said Tex Fox, a former tribal police officer. They are raising money for two drug dogs and a portable machine to detect meth.

Alcohol still is the most prevalent problem, but meth is growing, Fox said. And meth is even more devastating to both the community and individual, he said.

Another project by Community Health Representatives staggered me. It sets up white crosses beside the highway to mark the spot where a person died as a result of an accident. It was hard to believe that in the last six years, 195 people have died on reservation highways. Eighty percent to 90 percent of those accidents were alcohol-related, I was told.

The crosses were put on the highway roadsides a few weeks before and after Memorial Day.

Yes, there are alcohol and drug problems on the reservation, but I could see that people at Fort Berthold are making strides toward an alcohol- and drug-free reservation. Most important, these programs are growing and more and more people are participating.

Last of all, it is volunteers - Native people using their culture and spirituality, with a horse spirit leading the way - who are making a difference.
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  #7  
Old 06-21-2005, 05:29 AM
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Default "Always cover your ash," funny story

Doug Grow: Interest in her project boomed

Doug Grow, Star Tribune June 21, 2005 GROW0621
Sometimes fame just explodes into a life.

Take the case of Hope (Boomer) Flanagan.

For years, Flanagan, a Seneca, has been known and respected among American Indians for her traditional basket-making skills. She shares her art with high school students at Anishinabe Academy, in the old Brown Institute building on E. Lake Street in south Minneapolis.

But on June 9, Flanagan's art reached a new audience, the Minneapolis Police Department's bomb squad.

It happened like this:

Though Flanagan's preferred material is birch bark, she wanted her students to learn about another ancient basket-making resource, strips from black ash trees.

Black ash, which grows in marshy areas, is not easy to use. Among other things, it requires great patience, for the trunk portion of the tree needs to be soaked in water for a year before the wood is pliable enough to be hammered into strips that can be woven into baskets.

Flanagan does not back away from challenges.

A year ago, she went to a marsh near Lake Mille Lacs and was allowed to cut down a black ash. She followed Indian rituals -- thanking the creator for the tree, leaving tobacco at the site, etc. -- in cutting down the tree.

She had to improvise in coming up with a way to soak the 3-foot hunk of ash that was to be used for basket making.

"I don't live near a lake or on a river," said Flanagan, who lives in the city.

She went to a hardware store and bought PVC plastic pipe that was big enough to hold the ash trunk, which had a diameter of about 4 inches. She put her black ash in the pipe, capped one end, filled it with water and capped the other end.

On June 8, the next-to-the-last day of school, she brought the log-in-a-pipe to school so her students could have a sense of the black-ash art form.

They opened the pipe -- "rather strong odor," Flanagan said -- and she peeled the bark, then the students, using mallets, pounded on the ash to create the strips. The work was difficult, progress limited.

At the end of the school day, she put the ash back in the pipe, filled it with water and, because of the odor, set it in a plastic garbage bag outside the school.

At 5:30 a.m. on June 9, the school's head engineer spotted the garbage bag, checked inside and saw the capped PVC pipe.

In these times, no one takes untended PVC pipes lightly.

The engineer called police. They arrived, and though no threatening messages were found, they called in the bomb squad, which is brought into situations like this about 100 times a year.

"If people suspect something, they should err on the side of safety," said police spokesman Ron Reier.

The area around the school was cordoned off, including parking spaces used by light-rail passengers. No one was allowed in the building.

Ka-boom!

The bomb techs blew up the pipe and discovered the 3-foot section of black ash.

Flanagan knew of none of this until she arrived at the school and was approached by a police officer.

"Was that your log out there?" she said the officer asked.

"I was shocked and a little nervous," Flanagan said. "I was afraid they might expect me to pay for the inconvenience I caused everyone."

But the police were very kind.

"They even called me and apologized for blowing up my log," she said.

Though the PVC pipe was shredded, the ash log was pretty much undamaged, except that it dried out and is no longer suitable for basket strips.

Of course, the basket maker's friends are taking great delight in all of this.

"Everybody's teasing me," said Flanagan. "At school, they put up that caution tape on my classroom door. I've got people telling me that this gives new meaning to the term 'basket case.' "

As she retold her story the other day, people around her laughed until they cried.

"You know what the moral of the story is?" asked Clyde Bellecourt, a friend of Flanagan's.

No, Clyde, what's the moral?

"Always cover your ash," he said.
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  #8  
Old 06-23-2005, 08:25 AM
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Default Native american Prison Support links and Links to Circles

THUNDERING DRUMS,AMERICAN INDIAN PRISONER SUPPORT GROUPhttp://www.angelfire.com/wy/nainmatessupportgrp/



This Page Is Dedicated To All Our Sisters And Brothers In The Iron Houseshttp://www.geocities.com/RainForest/Andes/2407/


The Maine Native Prison Project http://www.mnpp.homestead.com/Index.html

Wotanging Ikche -- Native American Newshttp://www.nanews.org/index2.shtml

THE LAKOTA, DAKOTA, NAKOTA SPIRITUAL GROUP SOUTH DAKOTA STATE PENITENTIARY JAMESON ANNEX PO BOX # 5911 SIOUX FALLS, SOUTH DAKOTA 57117-5911 http://members.tripod.com/sapawiyaka/home.html
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  #9  
Old 06-23-2005, 08:44 AM
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Default Letters and News from our Warriors inside

post them in this thread....
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Old 06-23-2005, 08:46 AM
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Default Open letter to the Oyate



Excerpt from: News of the Lake Traverse Reservation
letters to the editor, Volume 36, Issue 25, Wednesday, June 22, 2005
http://www.earthskyweb.com/news.htm#edit
Open letter to the Oyate

Greetings. My name is Johnson W. Greybuffalo. I am of Sisseton-Wahpeton and Yankton blood, and an enrolled member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation. I am currently incarcerated at the Waupun Correctional Institution in the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. I have been incarcerated for 11 years now.

I write this letter to you, the Oyate, today to bring your attention to the continuing struggle of our Brothers and Sisters who are behind these Walls, in these Iron Houses, to be allowed to practice our Traditional Ways, and to continue to better ourselves by walking in a good way with our Brothers and/or Sisters.

First of all, I must say Pidamiya to those Elders who have given their permission for us to be able to practice what we have behind these walls. Pidamiya to those same Elders who have sacrificed of their own personal time to come inside of these Iron Houses to share their knowledge and to at times conduct some of our Ceremonies for us. And finally, Pidamiya to those Brothers and Sisters who came before us, who struggled and died behind these Walls so that we may have the opportunity today, to practice our various Traditions.

In the State of Wisconsin, those of us behind these Walls have been blessed to be allowed to practice, on a limited basis, some of our Traditional Ways, such as being allowed to hold an Inipi, or being able to gather to Pray with the Canhupa, and to sit around the Cancega (Drum) to sing some songs. Within these Walls you can find a number of Oyate from various Tribes throughout the country, who come together in the Spirit of unity to offer Wocekiye, for and on behalf of their various families and Peoples.

We are allowed, but not often given, the opportunity to hold an Inipi once a month. We are allowed to gather once a week for a Canhupa Wakanwakaga (Pipe Ceremony) and to Dowanpi (Sing) around the Cancega. We often, before or after our Canhupa Wakanwakaga hold a Talking Circle, where concerns are voiced and discussed that concern the Group as a Whole.

During our Wakanwakaga, we are not allowed to talk about Unity, as this is a "Security Concern" here in this state. We are not allowed to possess Traditional Teachings or materials concerning Tribal Clans, or our Traditional Warriors, Dance, or Medicine Societies, or about the American Indian Movement. All of these have been labeled as "Security Threat Groups" or STGs by the WDOC.

If you are found to be in possession of any materials concerning a Warriors, Dance, or Medicine Society, Tribal Clan, or AIM, you will be subjected to disciplinary action and be moved to the segregation unit for a period of time not to exceed 368 days. In all probability you will then be placed on what is called Administrative Confinement for being a member of an STG. AC is a form of punishment that means the administration of the institution you happen to be in, deems you to be a "Security Threat," and can then hold you in the segregation unit for an unlimited amount of time.

The government of Wisconsin and the various administrations of the WDOC are currently engaged in systematically eliminating the religious rights of the Native American prisoner population through suppression and intimidation. In this way they curtail our rights by controlling the content of our religious material, by actively monitoring our gatherings, and in extreme cases by placing informants within the Group to identify outspoken individuals.

Unfortunately, I myself have become a victim of the machinations of the WDOC oppression. I have been given a conduct report for having Traditional Teachings written down on paper that I tended to refer to from time to time, these urged the reader to be Generous, Humble, Honorable, Respectful, and Faithful. One of these was even a quote made by Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce. Yet, they don't see these things as Teachings as any Ikce Wicasa would, but as a reason to punish through both suppression and intimidation, one who simply tries to live in a good way, by bettering himself through Tradition.

I have been labeled a "Security Threat" and been stamped as a racist for calling for Unity amongst the Brothers, and for fighting the WDOC as it continues to take. I have fought the WDOC in the courts due to the fact that they are continually whittling away at our rights. Granted I lost the lawsuit, but what is happening now is a direct result for standing up and fighting for the People. It has happened before, it is happening now, and it will continue to happen as long as there are Brothers and Sisters within these Iron Houses who fight for our Traditions. We are all called to make sacrifices at some point in our lives, and as I have mentioned before Brothers and Sisters have died for us to be able to practice what we have today, Elders have sacrificed of themselves so that we may practice what we have today. If this is a sacrifice that I am being called to make to bring the Peoples attention to this problem then I shall embrace it fully and with prayer.

I do not yet know my fate. I have not been called before the adjustment committee to hear how much time I will be in segregation, but I suspect I will be there for a long time. In my struggle and this continuing fight, I ask for your prayers. I stand by my Traditions and will not back down from this fight.

Pidamiya for your time today in listening to what I have said.

Mitakuye Oyasin.

Johnson W. Greybuffalo #229871, Waupun Correctional Institution (WCI) P.O. Box 351, Waupun, WI 53963-0351.

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  #11  
Old 06-23-2005, 08:49 AM
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Default Black Crow's story in his own words

Black Crow's story in his own words:
I've been doing this type of art work for about 10 years now since I've been in the Prisons of Massachusetts, so I've had a lot of practice and got pretty good with it. This Prison at Gardner has a Native Circle so you would well know I've been changing my ways of thinking and of life. You asked where I come from? Honestly I couldn't tell you. I was adopted into a White family at the age of 9 months old. Brought up by them and their ways. I always knew I was adopted but not till awhile ago did I ask if I was Native. She said Yes. I do not know from who or where do I come from. Sometimes I really wonder and would like to know. Though you know ... if I really asked these parents more it would hurt their feelings that they brought me up all this time, leading into a big thing. Right now I am very happy that the Spirit has led me here and I can practice the ways of our Ancestors, Elders and our Native Tradition. It is truly the way to live no matter where we are, not only for ourselves but for the Generations to come.
Black Crow is a named plaintiff in Trapp, et al. v. DuBois, et al. [this link will open in a new window], a lawsuit for religious freedom in prison in Massachusetts.

Black Crow receives mail at the following address:

Chris Black Crow Bousquet
SBCC
P.O. Box 8000
Shirley, MA
USA 01464
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Old 06-23-2005, 09:06 AM
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Default from: NATIVE AMERICAN SPIRITUAL,CULTURAL,GROUP OF INDIANA STATE PRISON



NATIVE AMERICAN SPIRITUAL,CULTURAL,GROUP

OF INDIANA STATE PRISON

P.O. Box 41
Michigan City,Indiana 46361


Letter From The Pipe Carrier



Through out our culture, our teachers and elders talk of the need to heal the Sacred Hoop of Life. We know that the balance will ever be set right until that healing happens. We also understand that means a healing of the entire Sacred Hoop; our families, communities, tribes, our People, our Country and the many different peoples within it. I structured that list the way I did for a purpose, that being, that we also know we can't begin to heal any relationship or people outside our own until we heal those within our own.There in lies a problem.

While almost everyone wants to reach out to help those who are homeless, alcoholic, addicts, mentally ill, etc., there is a segment, a rather large segment, unfortunately, of our people, that are very often not only ignored, but actually shunned: the incarcerated. Admittedily, there are a number of groups and individuals out there reaching out to the incarcerated, but overall, within our community, we unfortunately are facing estrangement to varing degrees.

In some ways, I can understand the reasons behind it. It can be said of course, that we don't help at a time when our people are struggling for credibility and repect. There is also the embarrassment at the crimes we have committed, and the fact that in many instances, they go completely against everything that we, as a spiritual people, stand for. In addition, it an also be said, I suppose, that if we had been on the right path we wouldn't have committed our crimes in the first place, and wouldn't be in here. A somewhat distorted view, but a view.

I am the Bundle Keeper, and Pipe Carrier for the Native American Spiritual and Cultural Council at the Indiana State Prison. For some time we have been actively seeking a replacement for the Spiritual Advisor who had to leave us, but in the mean time, the position has been filled, very well, by the Catholic Priest here, a volunteer. We try to follow traditional ways as much as possible, and Father Paul has never tried to sway us from that path, or convert us, although, he's always there to help us when needed.

It wasn't long ago that Father Paul was on vacation traveling through the south, and happened upon a Native American community there. With us in mind as always, he told them of us and what we're trying to do here, and mentioned that we always have a need for sage, sweetgrass, and herbs. (We receive no money for these things from the state and depend on donations from our members and the occasional donation of herbs from the outside). This Spiritual Community was adamant about not assisting a bunch of inmates under any circumstances when he inquired about the chance of obtaining some sage for us.

On one hand I was disheartened to a point, because it seemed to almost negate whatever positive work we are doing here. I was also angered, because it was like writing us off. At the same time I discovered something a little amusing in it. The fact that it was almost akin to something that's perplexed our people for generations; the idea that Grandmother, and anything that grows from Her, can be possessed, bought, sold, and withheld. They were doing the very thing that our Ancestors fought and bled against.

At any rate, I don't relate that story nor my feelings behind it for the purpose of berating or shaming, hence, the lack of a name to this community down south. Instead, it's only an illustration of part of what I'm talking about. By the way, I hold no animosity or resentment toward them, or those like them. They do what they have to do for the reasons that they have to do it. Granted, twenty years ago, although I knew right from wrong and was struggling inside with the path that was calling me, I made the wrong choices. As have many of the people that live in this Iron House with me. I wish I could say that I was innocent and was wrongly imprisoned, but the fact remains that I wasn't, and I deserved to come here. I'm not on that path now, and have found within me, the peace that comes with knowing that we're fighting the good fight.

Without a doubt there are those within these walls, even our own brothers, that are using spirituality for their own personal gain. There are those who would seek outside help simply to run their own games and scams. But is it worth just disregarding and stereotyping all of us, quite probably punishing and holding back those who are on the Red Path?

The Sacred Hoop can never be healed under these circumstances. No hoop can be a completed circle until all of its members are included. I am assuming that if you're reading this, I'm more or less preaching to the choir, since you probably wouldn't have bothered checking out this site if you were completely anti-incarcerated. However, we need your help, too. Not just us, but every brother and sister that's incarcerated. We struggle each and everyday, the same kinds of struggles you have, as well as struggling against prison administrations that are cold and unfeeling, and prison life itself. There is absolutely nothing easy about following the Red Path in prison.

Earlier I mentioned that even within our own circle, there are no doubt those attending for their own reasons having nothing to do with spirituality or learning about and celebrating their heritage. They weed themselves out over time, and I'm content for the most part to let them do that, because along the way, we just might help show one of them the right way, and gain another brother for the struggle.

In parting, I have something for you to bear in mind. Statistics say that something like 98% of those incarcerated are going to eventually be back outside. They could easily be living in your community, neighborhood, even next door. Would you rather have him or her living there pretty much the same as when they went in, except even angrier, or would you rather they have used their time to learn about their traditions, ways, and spirituality?

Seems like an easy choice to me, but........

Kevin Henry
2002




"Healing Our hearts"

September 11, 2001

Today, all the people of the world suffered a terrible and tragic loss as result of terrorist attacks on innocent men, women, and children in the World Trade Center Towers in NYC, and the Pentagon in Washington, DC.

This was a cowardly and dishonorable act perpetuated not only against all Americans, but also against all the decent people in the World. This was a horrible act against humanity, born of hatred and anger in the hearts of evil men.....Not Of God.

Today, I speak from my heart and the hearts of the men of the Native American Community here at I.S.P. to all of your hearts.
The only way to heal our hearts of this overwhelming sadness, loss and anger is to "unite" into one family, regardless of our differences and be of one purpose.

Let our purpose be to love and support one another. Love is stronger than any other thing, even the kind of hatred that was set upon the people of the world by these Cowardly, evil men. It is a message that rings out loud from every religion.....Love One Another....

No one knows what lies ahead in the coming days. All we are assured of is right now. Hug your kids, Kiss your wife, or husband, spend time with your friends and neighbors. Let them all know you love them. If we all do this, there won't be a place left in the world where this kind of hatred can exist....This to me, is the greatest way we as a world wide family, can honor the men, women and children who have tragically lost their lives today.

Our thoughts, and prayers go out to all the victims of these tragic events, and all our relations.....

Bear Hayes
Spiritual Leader/Representative
N.A.S.C.C.
Indiana State Prison






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  #13  
Old 06-23-2005, 09:21 AM
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Default Addresses of Circles, resources Inside...plz add on

post addresses and contacts for circles and resources inside the walls
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Old 06-23-2005, 09:45 AM
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Default Circles & Resources, Alphabetically By State

ALABAMA
Native American Prisoners Of Alabama
T.F. Station Corr. Center
Religious Coordinator
P.O. Box 56
Elmore, AL. 36092

Native American Prisoners Of Alabama
Religious Coordinator
Rt.1, Box 33
Wetumpka, AL. 36092

ARIZONA
Native Religious Services Coor.
American Indian Assoc. of Tuscon
P.O.Box 7246
Tuscon, AZ.85725

Black Canyon Inter-Tribal Group
Religious Coordinator
F.C.I. Phoenix
P.O. Box 1700
Black Canyon, Stage I
Phoenix, AZ.85092


CALIFORNIA
San Quentin Indian Culture Group
California State Prison
Religious Coordinator
San Quentin, Ca.94964

Tribe Of Five Feathers
U.S.P. Lompoc
Religious Coordinator
3901 Klein Blvd.
Lompoc, Ca. 93436

Antelope Circle
California State Prison
Religious Coordinator
Box2210
Susanville, Ca. 96130

Sequoia Circle
California State Prison
Box 400
Tracy.Ca.95376

Native American Religious Society
ATTN: Religious Coordinator
P.O.Box 8130
San Luis Obispo, Ca. 93403

Native American Religious Society
ATTN: Religious Coordinator
P.O. Box 617
Jamestown, Ca.95327

Native American Religious Society
ATTN: Religious Coordinator
P.O. Box 1841
Norco, Ca.91760

Native American Religious Society
ATTN: Religious Coordinator
P.O. Box 1800
Norco, Ca.93760


Native American Religious Society
Religious Coordinator
P.O.Box 2000
Vacaville, CA.95696

Native Spiritual Circle
Religious Coordinator
P.O.Box W
Folsom Prison
Represa,CA.95671

Friendship House utilizes a holistic model linking culturally-relevant substance abuse treatment, rehabilitation, and prevention.
  • The treatment component includes substance abuse and mental health counseling, as well as medical referrals
  • Rehabilitation includes educational and job training, housing referrals, and aftercare counseling to support re-entry into the community
  • Prevention involves wellness education, parenting skills, and traditional American Indian spiritual and cultural values
http://www.friendshiphousesf.org/NEWS.html


INDIANA
Native American Spiritual Cultural Council
Of Indiana State Prison
Religious Coordinator
P.O. Box 41
Michigan City, IN. 46360

Sisters of The Sacred Circle
ATTN:Religious Coordinator
P.O. Box 225
Bainbridge, In.46105

KANSAS
Red Knife D/S Networkbr
P.O. Box 6130
Kansas City, KS.66016


North American Indian Culture Group
ATTN:Religious Coordinator
P.O. Box 1000
Levenworth,Ks.66048

LOUISIANA
Native American Brotherhood of LA.
Religious Coordinator
Louisiana State Prison
Angola, LA. 70712

MAINE

MASSACHUSETTS


MINNESOTA
Indian Culture Club
Religious Coordinator
Northeastern Regional Corr. Ctr.
5378 Munger Shaw Road
Siginaw, MN.55779

NEW HAMPSHIRE


NEW MEXICO
Eagle Spirits Society
P.O. Box 1328
Los Lunus, N.M. 87031

NEW YORK

NORTH CAROLINA
Native Religious Society
C/O Chaplin
Southern Corr. Center
P.O.Box 786
Troy, N.C. 27371

NORTH DAKOTA



OHIO
Native American/Metis Brotherhood
Religious Services Dept.
Southern Ohio Corr. Facility
P.O.Box 45699
Lucasville, Ohio 45699-0001

OKLAHOMA
Confined Intertribal Group
Religious Coordinator
P.O. Box 548
JHCC
Lexington, OK. 73051



OREGON
Lakota Oyate Ki
Oregon State Penitentiary
2605 State Street
Salem, Or.97310

SOUTH DAKOTA
Native American Council of Tribes
ATTN:Religious Coordnator
P.O. Box 5911
Sioux Falls, S.D. 57117-5911

Native American Council of Tribes
ATTN:Religious Coordinator
P.O.Box 428
Springfield, S.D.57062


The Dakota/Lakota/Nakota Human Rights Advocacy Coalition is chartered on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation in south-central South Dakota. Our members are volunteer American Indian activists and activists for American Indian issues involved in advocating for integrated human, civil, legal, and indigenous rights, and social justice for traditional Dakota/Lakota/Nakota People. In addition to advocating in these matters, DLN is dedicated to providing solutions to Indian families who face hardship within reservation and border communities.

Dakota Lakota Nakota Human Rights Advocacy
c/o Alfred Bone Shirt
P. O. Box 634
St. Francis, SD 57572


http://www.dlncoalition.org/dln_issu...ns_in_jail.htm

http://www.dlncoalition.org/dln_issu...g_sep_2004.pdf

TEXAS
N.A.C.S.C.T. Women's Group
Religious Coordinator
Rt. 4, Box 800
Gatesville, TX. 76528

VIRGINA
Native American Rights Group
C/O Religious Coordinator
P.O. Box 43
M.C.I.
Norfolk, VA. 02056

WASHINGTON
Brotherhood of Native American Nations
ATTN:Religious Coordinator
P.O. Box 520-C, M.S.C.
Walla Walla, Wa. 99362

WISCONSIN
Waupun Indian Council
Waupun Corr. Inst.
Religious Coordinator
P.O.Box 351
Waupun, WI.53963
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  #15  
Old 06-25-2005, 03:26 AM
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Default New center offers 'Red Road' to sobriety

MISSION DISTRICT
New center offers 'Red Road' to sobriety
Program emphasizes American Indian values

San Francisco Chronicle
Vanessa Hua, Chronicle Staff Writer

Friday, April 15, 2005










At a newly expanded residential drug and alcohol treatment center in the Mission District, about 30 residents gathered recently for a morning meeting. The group leader, Tom Phillips, 61, began the session with a prayer:

"Creator, provide for our needs and enlighten us with understanding of what we need to walk in balance."

It's not uncommon for a sobriety support group to begin with a prayer. What was unusual was that Phillips spoke in Kiowa, an American Indian Language.

And as he led the 1 1/2-hour session at the Friendship House Association of the American Indians, Phillips talked about how addiction was not a part of Indian culture -- until contact with outsiders led them away from their traditional values.

The meeting was held in spacious new $12 million digs at Julian and 15th streets. Clients moved in at the beginning of this month, and the grand opening is April 22. Public funds, along with private donors such as the 29 Palms Band of Mission Indians and the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians, two successful gaming tribes, helped pay for construction of the center, which aims to provide culturally relevant services.

"Before, we had a role in the community, a function defined," said Phillips, a faculty field instructor in the graduate Social Work department at Cal State Stanislaus. "When they displaced us, we were no longer hunters, protectors. We were placed on the reservations, where America wanted us to be farmers. To be Americans."

He was showing the group how to walk the "Red Road," a treatment approach that incorporates American Indian values and traditions, such as belief in the Creator, the importance of kinship and communal sharing and reciprocity. The Red Road philosophy -- a guide to daily life and function -- has been handed down for generations orally in American Indian cultures.

Finding value in one's identity, and drawing strength from it, is an important tenet of the culturally relevant treatment at the Friendship House, founded in 1963 by the Christian Reform Church and Native Americans in the area.

The new center has doubled its capacity, to 80 beds, and has extended its inpatient program from 90 days to six months.

Before, clients were just getting in touch with their feelings when they would be forced to leave and return to the same troubled environment, and the sobriety would not last, said Phillips, 61, a recovering alcoholic with 27 years sobriety. In addition, they will get up to six months of job-skills training.

The four-story center, painted a cheerful yellow, looks like upscale condos from the outside. Beside the entrance, near the basketball court, ground has been cleared for a traditional sweat lodge.

Giving a tour of the center, Executive Director Helen Waukazoo was proud of even the smallest details, such as the American Indian-inspired colors and designs in the bathroom tiles.

The old building, located next door, was dark and worn inside, with threadbare carpet and a pervasive smell of cigarette smoke. The new center is airy and filled with light, its walls covered with framed traditional weavings and other artwork.

In the 2000 U.S. Census, 43,529 residents in Bay Area counties identified themselves as American Indians or Alaska natives, and 57,858 people were of American Indian descent mixed with another race -- one of the largest urban American Indian populations in the country.

Today, the Friendship House has a staff of 50 and an annual budget of almost $4 million from public and private sources.

Three-quarters of the staff are of American Indian descent. About half of the clients are California Indians, the rest trace their Indian ancestry elsewhere. A few clients are non-Indians. About half of the clients are women, and most are ages 18 to 35 -- a marked change from about 25 years ago, when clients were predominantly men in their 50s, suffering from alcoholism, and not drug addiction.

Many of the clients are referred there by the courts, parole and probation officers, child protective services and social workers. Some clients have walked out of mainstream recovery programs, finding their approaches sterile and unwelcoming. They may feel uncomfortable opening up to non- American Indians in traditional 12-step programs.

The center incorporates medicine men, traditional herbs and treatments.

Some of the potential clients live on remote reservations, in homes that lack telephone service, electricity and running water. Asking them to keep calling weekly to check on the waiting list is not feasible; instead, Friendship House may allow people to designate someone else to call in for them.

Family ties are also very important in American Indian culture, so the center hosts activities that bring together generations.

And there are other smaller, but no less important, touches: fry bread, an Indian favorite, might be served at lunch.

The first month of their treatment, clients are not allowed to receive phone calls or letters or to leave the house. Later on, they are allowed out first with an escort to powwows and other events where alcohol is not served, and as they gain more privileges they get weekend passes.

In 2003, the Friendship House had 148 clients, of whom 79 percent had problems with alcohol and 85 percent with drugs, according to the center's annual report. Many also suffered domestic violence, homelessness and childhood physical abuse. Their involvement with the Friendship House helped many clients make a connection with the American Indian community, a client survey found.

The center also sponsors a youth program to prevent substance abuse by teaching young people about traditional ceremonies, going on field trips and other activities.

"Our hope is that we don't want to see them here. We want to see them as strong leaders and not get entangled in drugs and alcohol," Waukazoo said.

The inaugural celebration of sobriety last month began with singing, praying and beating of a traditional drum. Navajo clay pendants, with Pueblo Indian designs and the length of sobriety, from a couple of months up to 24 years, were handed out to great applause.

Desiree Mota, 49, a Pomo and Yuki Indian who grew up in Sonoma County, was at the Friendship House for a second time. She has been addicted to heroin for more than 20 years.

After completing the program in 2003, she relapsed from pain over deaths in her family: her mother, her father, and then her grandchild, who was killed by a drunken driver.

Mota has been in and out of jail as a result of her addiction, and the Friendship House is giving her an opportunity to heal. Growing up, she was called an "apple" -- red on the outside, white on the inside. "I don't know hardly anything about it at all," said Mota, whose long black hair falls to mid-calf. "Native Americans are always the low man on the totem pole. It's a beautiful culture, and I want to learn about it."


http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cg...BGC4C5OOI1.DTL
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Old 06-25-2005, 03:31 AM
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Default Federal prisons increase restrictions

a little old, but very revelent


Federal prisons increase restrictions
© Indian Country Today December 31, 2004. All Rights ReservedPosted: December 31, 2004by: Brenda Norrell / Indian Country TodayWINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - Ceremonies for incarcerated American Indian inmates are facing new restrictions in state and federal prisons, where most inmates are already forced to hold sweats in dilapidated lodges, build fires of scrap lumber and burn commercially-processed sage.

''The indifference towards our Native men, women and juveniles who are incarcerated must stop and an effort must be made to provide outreach support because they are coming home someday. Our people are not expendable,'' said Lenny Foster, Navajo spiritual advisor to Indian inmates for 24 years.

''The trend within the past several years throughout the United States prison system has been to restrict the traditional spiritual practices of the Native prisoners.''

Foster, program supervisor and spiritual advisor with the Corrections Project of the Navajo Nation Department of Behavioral Health Services, provides spiritual counseling and advocacy for 2,000 Navajo and other American Indian inmates in 96 state and federal penitentiaries.

Nationwide, the current trend of prison officials is to limit the amount of time Indian prisoners can participate in sweat lodge ceremonies, pipe ceremonies, talking circles, spiritual gatherings and drum practice. By reducing the time for ceremonies, prison officials are limiting the rehabilitative effects for inmates.

''At one time these practices were allowed six to eight hours on a given day, usually a weekend, where the Native population could fully participate without any interference, harassment or indifference,'' Foster said.

''To rush through a ceremony does not allow full expression or participation because these ceremonies are very sacred.''

The Leonard Peltier Defense Committee said the warden at Leavenworth Penitentiary, where Peltier is incarcerated, imposed new restrictions on the religious ceremonies of American Indian prisoners.

Until recently, Peltier and other prisoners were permitted eight hours per week for the Inipi (sweat ceremony). The warden has now reduced the time to four hours per week.

''This infringement is both illegal and unconstitutional,'' said the Defense Committee. Although the prison claims the wood supply for ceremonies is depleted and needs to be rationed, supporters said the wood provided is scrap wood, regardless of supply.

Foster said he would contact the head chaplain for approval to deliver firewood and lava rocks from the Navajo Nation for the sweat lodge at USP-Leavenworth after the holidays. Meanwhile, the Defense Committee urged advocates to call and write Warden E.J. Gallegos.

At the prison complex in Florence, located between Phoenix and Tucson, Indian inmates struggle to hold sweat lodge ceremonies.

''The wood that was brought was from wooden pallets, or from stinky trees cut down in the yard; they weren't like mesquite, they would give you a headache,'' one Indian inmate incarcerated in the Arizona state prison at Florence told Indian Country Today.

''The sage was processed and had to be bought at the prison store. It didn't even smell like sage. The sweat lodge was so old, it was covered with an old army tarp and we had to dig the sweat lodge deeper so people could get in there.

''That's all we had; we had to make our drum out of a tin can.

''I went, but I didn't get anything out of it.''

When the ceremonies are held in the traditional and sacred way, however, Indian inmates receive beneficial rehabilitation, Foster said.

''All of these traditional practices and beliefs are very important for the rehabilitation of the Native prisoner, or else the incarceration becomes nothing more than warehousing.''

When American Indian inmates are merely warehoused, Foster said no change results in the prisoners' behavior and lifestyle. There is no increase of respect or true restoration to sobriety. Rehabilitation is vital because Natives return home to their community and family and should not be a burden or problem.

Prison systems need new regulations to allow Indian inmates to exercise their fundamental freedom of religious rights protected by law. Prisoners need the purity of sacred items, adequate time for prayers and authentic medicine men to conduct ceremonies, advocates say.

''It places a burden on the Native prisoner to obtain his own firewood, lava rocks, sage, cedar, tobacco and other sacred items,'' Foster said.

''The Chaplain's religious services provide Bibles, rosary and chapel for Christian inmates, and Islamic and Jewish inmates have their support from their respective outside community.''

However, Indian nations have an obligation to assist their incarcerated tribal members with sacred items that are necessary for the sweat lodge ceremonies and pipe ceremonies. Sometimes, Indian nations do not respond and neither do the family and friends of inmates.

''It has become vital and essential to have American Indian spiritual leaders and medicine persons visit the prisons and provide the necessary instructions and conduct and facilitate the ceremonies, circles and gatherings,'' Foster said.

http://www.indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1096410090


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Old 06-25-2005, 03:33 AM
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Default Religion in prison tested


Article Published: Saturday, March 19, 2005 - 7:23:12 PM PST
http://www.sbsun.com/Stories/0,1413,208~12588~2772453,00.html

Religion in prison tested
Supreme Court asked to limit law

By Brad A. Greenberg, Staff Writer

Rarely do Christians and Satanists play on the same team.
But politics make for unlikely alliances.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments Monday that challenge governments' ability to limit religious freedoms in prisons and other institutions.

In one corner the state of Ohio, which claims prisoners use religious services to organize violent gangs. The state will argue that the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, gives preferential treatment to religious prisoners, violating the First Amendment.

In the other corner a group of inmates supported by unexpected allies: civil libertarians and social conservatives, Jews and neo-Nazis, President Bush and former President Clinton.

"The most important religious liberty case before the Supreme Court this term is Cutter v. Wilkinson,' said Jared Leland, media and legal counsel for the Washington-based Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of 50 civil liberties and religious organizations that include Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and American Indians.

The court's ruling is expected in June.

If the law is struck down, Jews and Muslims could be forced to handle pork, Catholics could be prevented from wearing the crucifix, American Indians could be required to cut their hair and any religion deemed dangerous could be blacklisted, Leland said.

Constitutional scholars do not believe the court will rule against the law because it benefits all religions: The more obscure the belief, the greater the law's need.

"Chances are this will be seen as a constitutionally permissible accommodation for religious liberty and not a cracking in the wall of the separation of church and state,' said Jesse H. Choper, a UC Berkeley law professor who specializes in church-state issues.

It is unclear how the law has improved religious practices at local prisons and jails and if they would be affected by the high court's ruling. Safety first

At San Bernardino County's Central Detention Center, which boards an average of 550 federal inmates daily, sheriff's Capt. Larry Brown said the jail lacks the staff and facilities to offer much more than chaplain prayer and chow-hall chapel services.

"Safety always has to come first. That is usually our problem here,' said Brown, who runs the jail in downtown San Bernardino. "The more you move them around, the more you have problems.'

The jail is bound by the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act's requirements because the U.S. government pays the county to house federal inmates, who make up more than half the jail's population.

At the California Institution for Men in Chino, the law has not improved religious services, said Michael Nichols, a staff chaplain.

The Sun was unable to speak with inmates at the Chino prison because it was on lockdown when a reporter was allowed to visit. Brown declined access to inmates at the Central Detention Center.

In Ohio, several inmates claim the state has infringed on their religious rights. They are of various religions, including Wicca, Satanism and the Christian Identity Church, which advocates violence against nonwhites and Jews.

"Ohio is not opposed to religion in prisons,' said Douglas R. Cole, Ohio's state solicitor and lead attorney in Cutter v. Wilkinson. "But Ohio thinks that religious practice needs to be appropriately balanced with safety needs in prisons. State prisons officials are best able to decide, and they shouldn't have their hands tied by Congress.'

In 1997, the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional the current law's predecessor, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. The high court said the 1993 law overstepped Congress' authority and infringed on states' rights to manage their own prisons.

The 1993 law still applies, however, to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Unlikely allies

After three years of work, Congress drafted the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. Sponsored by two senators of very different political beliefs Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, and Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass. the law skirted its predecessor's downfall by making it a requirement on states and counties that take federal money for their prisons and jails.

"If you don't want to comply with the federal act, don't accept federal funds,' said Leland. "It's as simple as that.'

The tactic has been used by Congress before. In 1984, it passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, which told every state to set its drinking age at 21 or else lose federal transportation dollars.

The Supreme Court upheld this law in a 1987 case, South Dakota v. Dole.

When the court struck down the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, only Justice John Paul Stevens said the law unconstitutionally endorsed religion.

The composition of the court has not changed since, which encourages supporters of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.

The law has been upheld by four federal courts of appeals, including the 9th Circuit in San Francisco. But the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati sided in 2003 with the state of Ohio.

"If (the law) is overturned, it makes it much easier for all religious practices to be obstructed. It doesn't matter what it is,' said Chaplain Gary Friedman, spokesman for the American Correctional Chaplains Association.

"If you prevent one faith from its religious practices, it can domino and often does.'

In general, the California Department of Corrections allows more religious freedom than other state prison systems, Friedman said.

But the men's prison in Chino "is one of the worst in the state,' said Nichols, the chaplains' representative to the Association of Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees.

The prison is so often on lockdown, most inmates can't speak with chaplains, let alone attend religious services, Nichols said.

"You have to have consistency of the program,' he said, "and we do not have any consistency. So we are doomed to failure.'

The minimum-security portion of the prison, which houses the least violent criminals and allows for more religious exercise than other parts, was on lockdown during a tour by a reporter last week. An inmate had been slashed in the yard shortly after breakfast.

"We try to afford all those that want religious services,' said corrections Sgt. Ari Sams, prison spokesman. "Based on the situation of a particular day, that dictates whether or not an inmate will be able to continue that daily schedule.' Divided chapel

The minimum-security portion has a chapel divided into two rooms. In one there are Islamic prayer mats and Catholic decorations. The other has walls that bear both the Christian cross and the Jewish Star of David.

The prison also has a sweat lodge for American Indian purification ceremonies, which are held weekly for about 35 inmates.

"There are only two things they have left when they come to prison: their identity and their religion,' said Chaplain Al Davis, a Protestant minister on staff.

When the five staff chaplains two Protestants, one Muslim, one Jewish and one American Indian are thrown a religious curveball, such as Wicca witchcraft they seek literature and community members who can better minister to the inmate.

Inmates in the prison's maximum-security central facility are not allowed to go to chapel. Chaplains walk the tiers and talk to them.

But even that practice often is limited, as it was in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 10 killing of corrections Officer Manuel Gonzalez.

Nichols has cited the death as a tragic example of what prisoners are driven to when they can't practice religion. Inmate Jon Christopher Blaylock is the suspected killer. Women's prison

It's a different world at the California Institution for Women near Chino. The prison has about 1,900 inmates. Though it houses everyone from minimum-security inmates to Manson Family members, the women mingle freely in a collegiate-like grassy quad.

"They don't have to utilize the chapel to communicate,' Warden Dawn Davison said during a tour last week. "When they go to religious services, it is because they want to have God in their life.

"For many of them, it has saved them.'

Little research has been done on religion's ability to rehabilitate the 2 million incarcerated American men and women.

"It's very difficult to measure religiousness,' said Harry R. Dammer, chairman of the sociology and criminal justice department at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. "How am I going to measure how religious you are compared to me?'

Anecdotally, though, everyone has heard stories about a person who went to jail for murder and found religion.

"People who commit crimes are broken people, wounded people, people who have pain. Religion gives you comfort,' said Romarilyn Baker, a 40-year-old Catholic who is serving 17 years to life at the women's prison.

"Committing the crime of murder was devastating to me,' she said. "I didn't only break my heart; my soul ached. I had to seek God.'

Baker wears a crucifix on a chain around her neck that she constantly clutches for comfort.

Prison officials, and especially chaplains, say stories like hers show "jailhouse religion' is often a good thing. Creating a religion

Seen as a threat to the exercise of religion are faiths that inmates draft for special treatment. Friedman, the chaplain association spokesman, mentioned an inmate who created a religion that included as sacraments sirloin steak and Baileys Irish Cream.

This is indicative, he said, of the single flaw in the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act: It is too broad in what it defines as a legitimate religion.

But prisons do have the authority to investigate the sincerity of an inmate's faith.

"The concern raised by Ohio about gang activity and sham religious beliefs espoused for other reasons that sometimes exists. But the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act was drafted to address that,' said David Fathi, director of the National Prison Project at the American Civil Liberties Union.

The law's broadness is the reason it likely will survive the constitutional test, supporters said. They hope the Supreme Court agrees.

"Inmates are on the bottom of the totem pole. It is hard for them to get anything,' said Rabbi Menachem Katz, director of prison and military programs at a Surfside, Fla.,-based Jewish organization, The Aleph Institute. "It is not like (the law) is this magical thing that opens all the doors. But at least it keeps the door cracked.'

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Robert Hugh Wilson, also known as Standing Deer, was found dead in his home here in Houston, TX on Tuesday. Standing Deer was stabbed to death by a houseguest, Pius Smashed Ice (a Native American who had recently been released from prison and was staying with Standing Deer because he had no money). The police report said that Pius killed Standing Deer after an argument on Monday, but didn't call police until Tuesday, where he attempted to pass the crime off as a break-in. Pius later confessed and is in custody now. Standing Deer was stabbed in his bedroom, so it's still not clear if it happened during an argument or later after a dispute. Whatever the case, the loss of Standing Deer is something we in the area are struggling with.
Standing Deer is best known as the prisoner who was affiliated for many years with Leonard Peltier, and who exposed the government assassination plot against Leonard. He was released only two years ago after serving 27 years in the pen. To his friends, Standing Deer epitomized kindness, warmth, honesty and revolutionary commitment. He had been working with many young indigenous activists in Houston and Texas, offering his insights and wisdom. His death was senseless, but Standing Deer's spirit will live on.
Standing Deer is expected to be cremated on Friday, and his remains taken to Oklahoma, his birtplace. He was 70 years old.

Coming Home

http://www.sonic.net/~doretk/ArchiveARCHIVE/NATIVE%20AMERICAN/Coming%20HomeStanding%20Deer.html

by Standing Deer Wilson #640289 Ellis 1, Huntsville, TX 77343


Excerpted from "A Message to the People from Standing Deer," Boston, Massachusetts, 19 November 1994, delivered to those who attended the meeting for POWs and political prisoners at Amherst.
MY NAME IS STANDING DEER. I am full-blood Oneida/Choctaw. Eighteen years ago, I was captured and sent to the Control Unit at the political prison in Marion, Illinois. I have been locked down in super-max ever since-with no relief in sight.


Some of you folks may have read In the Spirit of Crazy Horse by Peter Mattheissen. Peter's book recounts, with documentation, how-in 1978-I was hired by U.S. agents to kill Leonard Peltier in Marion Prison. Rather than kill him, I exposed the government conspiracy first to Leonard, and then to the world. I'm not going to re-tell that long story, but I do want to tell you one incident that is sacred to me because with that one incident Leonard transformed my life, brought me home to my People, and put me dead in the middle of the political struggle for the survival of my People.

The government involved me in their conspiracy to assassinate Peltier in May of 1978, and although we were both in Marion prison I didn't actually meet him until the fourth of July 1978. It was a really hot afternoon, and since Marion hadn't yet been locked down, we were having a cook-out on the yard. It felt good just sitting with Leonard and several other brothers while Leonard talked about this and that, and as the afternoon went on, I could see the intensity and emotion beneath the surface of this man when he discussed the problems of his People. I could sense, rather than hear or see, the degree of love and total commitment he felt for the People.

I saw the marks of flesh offerings and the piercings of the Sun Dance on his body, and I listened in awed reverence as he quietly told us about sacred matters. As I listened, I realized what a deeply religious man he was, and I thought what an upside down world we live in when the criminals of this world portray the victims as criminals and make 90% of the sleeping future victims believe in their charade.

Although I had not come to the yard with settled intentions of telling him that the United States was scheming to take his life, I found myself revealing the plot to him in all its sordid detail. I didn't know what reaction to expect because in my heart I was not pure. I reeked with shame. I harbored guilt because I wasn't sure I was going to tell him until the moment I did it. Leonard silently gazed at me for a long time, then he shook my hand as he looked into my eyes with a look that radiated total love and trust. He smiled as he softly said, "Thank you for telling me, my Brother."

The next day Leonard and a 300-pound Lakota summoned me from my cell and took me to the law library which was deserted. They led me into a room where books were stored. The big man produced a length of rope while Leonard placed a bandanna blindfold over his own eyes. Leonard's hands were tied securely behind his back; then the big man left the room and the law library. We were completely alone. Leonard told me to close the door and push a bookcase across it so that it would not open. When I turned back around he was lying on his back on the floor. He told me to reach behind the law books on the third shelf and I would find a rolled up newspaper and I should withdraw it. When I picked up the newspaper it was very heavy and I felt the hardness of something metal so I removed it from the paper, and I was looking at a 15-inch knife, beautifully made, obviously in a machine shop. It was razor sharp and had a point like a needle. It gleamed the reflection of light in my eyes and I became so dizzy I could hardly stand.

The knife turned into a snake in my hand, and as I stared paralyzed it became the face of the blond, blue-eyed stranger who wanted Leonard dead. As I looked into the blue eyes, I saw the face of the man who murdered my grandfathers and grandmothers. I was terrified, but when I looked at Leonard he was smiling, and I could hear his smile and it sounded like a gentle waterfall. I could no longer see through my tears but I heard the waterfall say, "Do whatever it is you have to do, my Brother." And I fell to the floor and cut his bonds and removed his blindfold and he had tears in his eyes that looked like a rainbow. I discovered I was weeping for the first time since I was nine years old and my brother died. It was then I knew I was coming home to my People.

From that day in Marion to the present I have thanked my lucky stars that he re-centered my life. He put me in touch with my roots and started me on the road to recovering the humanity that had been buried all my life under the conditioning of the culture of greed.

For eighteen years I have been held captive in the very worst of Greed's ironhouses. The reason I have been able to get out of bed each day is because I have a treasure: my wife, Anna, and our children. She is my reason for existence. I have been blessed by having Anna by my side. Her love has never faltered. It's true the years have been cruel in many ways, but in a spiritual sense my family's love makes me feel like I've been living in a garden of roses with garlands connecting my spirit to Mother Earth. Together, we have dealt-and will deal-with whatever obstacles might confront us; our hopes and dreams of freedom and the future are still very much alive.

My prayers are with those of you who are working on this most important project even at a time when the reactionary propaganda is calling for our executions, or at least for them to lock us up and throw away the key. In the words of William M. Kunstler, my all-time hero,"The Establishment will not rest until it roots out and destroys all opposition. For that reason, those who challenge the Establishment must have the same tenacity." So let us breathe new life into our efforts, and let us be tenacious! We MUST free Mumia! We MUST free Peltier! We must free ALL political prisoners and prisoners of war!

To all of you who struggle in unity to free our encaged sisters and brothers, I extend the left hand of my left arm which is closest to my heart. Whatever you do, my love and strength are with you.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

-Standing Deer



by Standing Deer


Greetings from the dungeon in February of '98. Winter is such a lovely time of year. Even when I'm in the dungeon, I have my memories to keep me peaceful. I love to just walk in the cold, brisk air and take in the smell and feel and presence of the Great Spirit. But in so many ways, prison is such a sad place to be, seeing the brothers from the reservations with such gloom on their faces, some of them in the white man's prison for the first time ever, and so many of them doing time for minor alcohol-related crimes.

There was this older Lakota man on the yard one time in the middle of a snowstorm. You could hardly see him, and Security had ordered all the prisoners off the yard because visibility was almost down to nil. He was very calmly sitting cross-legged on Mother Earth with his shirt off as the snow began to pile upon his shoulders. It was obvious he was praying with a Sacred Pipe he didn't have, and when I gently touched him on the shoulder he passed to me his invisible Pipe. I took it from him with great respect and puffed on it as I turned to each of the Four Sacred Directions. Then I passed it to the invisible Spirit that was standing to my left. The Brother's lips were turning blue as I helped him to his feet and said, "Let's go inside and drink some coffee." He smiled and said, "I'll be home before the days grow long." I didn't know what he meant, but smiled in return. He followed me into the building and I could feel the presence of his Spirit, and it was overpowering.

I knew that here was a man I could learn from, but in the spring the guards beat him to death over in the hole because they could not make him stop singing a song about his people. Although he had a life sentence, he went home before the days grew long.

In Texas, our Indian religion is against the law, and I see how much the traditional brothers suffer from being denied the religion of their Grandfathers and Grandmothers. For those sisters and brothers who wonder why the most important thing in their lives -- their religion -- has been banned and made against the law, I have written the following poem. I pray my words will lend some comfort to those sisters and brothers who need comforting, and perhaps my poem will help others not of our faith to see what a brutal injustice it is for the prisoncrats to suppress Indian religion in their Iron Houses.


What is in your heart they cannot take. Do they forbid you to have a sweat lodge? You are sitting in one every day. The roof of your prison is the sacred covering; the bars the sacred willow; the stone floor is your mother; the sacred rocks are heated in the fire of your Indian heart. Take the water from the sink in your cell and pour it over your head and you shall be purified. Do they take away your pipe, your feathers, your medicine, or your privileges? Who can take your power? Who can take your dream? Who takes your visions? Your pipe is your soul. It has no form. Yet, look at your brother. Do you see the living pipe? You have no feathers? They are invisible. Yet Wakan Tanka knows you wear them and pray with them. Your holy medicine is your tears. It is good to cry like a man for wisdom. When you see your brother crying, go to him and lick the tears from his cheeks, and you shall have medicine. These are your privileges. Your power is to resist through your will. Strengthen your will. With every tear, you grow stronger because they fear your will to endure. They are already defeated because they abuse what they cannot conquer. Your life is their defeat.


Standing Deer Wilson, 640289,
Estelle Unit, Huntsville, TX 77340
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Default Leonard Peltier Moved to Indiana & Solitary Confinement

Leonard Peltier Moved to Indiana & Solitary Confinement



FROM THE Leonard Peltier Defense Committee HEADQUARTERS

CALL TO ACTION FOR LEONARD PELTIER, #89637-132

This morning, July 1, 2005, Cyrus Peltier, grandson of Leonard went to visit his grandpa as he has for the last 13 years. He was stopped at the visiting area and was told, "He's gone". Upon questioning, he was told that Leonard was transferred and after further inquiries, finally found out that Leonard has been moved to USP Terre Haute, Indiana. At this time, Leonard is in the hole and is being kept there indefinitely. NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT.

It is basic procedure to keep transferred inmates in the hole while processing takes place, however we do not know how long that will take. We are asking anyone and everyone to get on the phones and get out their pens and paper. Let's flood the telephones with calls regarding Leonard! Let's stuff their mailboxes with letters about Leonard! Urge the prison to allow Leonard to contact his family as soon as possible. Ask how he is, ask where to write, ask if he's OK, ask about his health, his privileges (phones, letters, visits, religious rights, ability to paint, etc.) inquire as to his safety-anything-just keep calling and let the prison know that the entire world is watching and is concerned about Leonard. Please be sure to be courteous and professional, as we do not wish to complicate Leonard's situation.

The Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, Peltier Legal Team and Leonard's family are working hard to ensure Leonard's safety and we will keep you informed as things develop.

Mitakuye Oyasin.
LPDC, Inc

USP Terre Haute
U.S. Penitentiary
4700 Bureau Road South
Terre Haute, IN 47802
Phone-812-244-4400
Fax----812-244-4789
THP/EXECASSISTANT@BOP.GOV

Federal Bureau of Prisons
320 First Street NW
Washington, DC 20534
202-307-3198
info@bop.gov




--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Political Prisoner Leonard Peltier was moved to Terre Haute, Indiana on 6/30/05 and is in solitary confinement. He was framed on false murder charges, has sat in prison for some 30 years, and is now a frail 60 year old man. His lawyers, family and friends were not notified of this move. This is another "rendition" or kidnapping perpetrated by Nazi USA.
Political Prisoner Leonard Peltier was moved to Terre Haute, Indiana on 6/30/05 and is in solitary confinement. He was framed on false murder charges, has sat in prison for some 30 years, and is now a frail 60 year old man. His lawyers, family and friends were not notified of this move. This is another "rendition" or kidnapping perpetrated by Nazi USA.

From: http://www.leonardpeltier.org/main.html:

LEONARD WAS MOVED TO TERRE HAUTE, INDIANA, THURSDAY JUNE 30TH, 2005. HE HAS BEEN PLACED IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT INDEFINITELY. OUR OFFICE IN LAWRENCE KANSAS IS CLOSED AND WE NEED ALL THE SUPPORT YOU CAN GIVE TO MOVE AND REVITALIZE THE ORGANIZATION AT THIS TIME OF DIREST NEED.

PLEASE SEND DONATIONS TO LPDC C/O RUSS REDNER, 10905 KUHLMAN RD. #B, OLYMPIA WA, 98613, OR C/O TONI ZEIDAN.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL TOLL FREE: 866-534-6151

Call your congresspersonand 2 US Senators listed in your phone book today and demand that Leonard Peltier be moved to the general population TODAY.

The quick facts on the Peltier case are listed at:
http://www.freepeltier.org/quick_facts_peltier.htm
A good biography of Leonard Peltier may be found at:
http://www.freepeltier.org/story.htm
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I was so shocked when I read about this. How much more can this poor man endure.

[quote=Wingy]Leonard Peltier Moved to Indiana & Solitary Confinement
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Default The Prisonification of Indian Women



by Stormy Ogden

In the warmth of my fantasy
I awake to the cold gray walls
Of my reality


These words echoed in my mind as the Judge read the sentence, "Ms Ogden, you are to be sentenced for a period of 5 years to be served at the California Rehabilitation Center located in Norco." My reality is becoming devastatingly more common among the women of the United States. Women are the fastest growing segment of the prison population especially in California, which now has the distinction of having the most women prisoners in the nation. Historically, the most brutal methods of social control are directed at a society's most oppressed groups. And the most brutal form of social control in the United States is the state and federal prison system. The ones that are most likely to be sent to jail and prison are the poor and/or women of color. In North America a very high proportion of these people are American Indians.

The number of American Indian prisoners, especially the women, is nearly impossible to obtain. The major reason is the prison classification system that in the majority of prisons classifies prisoners as White, Black, Hispanic, or Other.

Located outside the door to my room was a small white 8x5 card that listed my last name, Ogden, my state number, W-20170, and my classification, Other. Every morning as I left for my job assignment, I would cross out Other and write AI. Then each afternoon when I returned for count there would be a new card with Other written on it. This went on for a few days when finally the CO approached me, "next time, Ogden, it will be a write up and a loss of good time." That next morning, before going to work, I found a permanent laundry marker, tore the card off the wall, and wrote on the wall, American Indian.
Women in prison are fighting to maintain a sense of self within a system that isolates and degrades, a system that is designed to punish. But, for the American Indian woman, we must also fight for our identity.

I write this as a California Indian woman, a tribal woman of Yokuts and Pomo ancestry. I also write as an ex-prisoner of the state of California and a survivor of colonization by the European powers. The history of colonization is a tragic one from the time of European contact to the present day.

The colonizers brought with them two tools of mass destruction, the bottle and the bible, both which were forced upon the Native people. The outcome was the erosion of peoples' language, culture, life-ways, religion, land base and lives. Their traditional ways of behavior and conduct became illegal. With increased attacks on Indian sovereignty and culture, imprisonment became the government principal means of intimidation and punishment. As stated by Professor Luana Ross in her book: Inventing the Savage: the Social Construction of Native American Criminality "Through various procedures, state and federal governments defined Native Americans as 'deviant' and 'criminal.'"

Almost every aspect of life of Indian people has been subjected to the unrestricted jurisdiction of the United States. The history of relations between Indian nations and the United States has been marked by oppressive laws and policies designed to undermine the sovereignty of Indian nations and to weaken their culture. These laws were geared towards the total annihilation and then assimilation of Indian people into the mainstream dominant society. Native people have been imprisoned in many different forms, such as, Military forts, Missions, Reservations, Boarding schools, and now the State and Federal prisons. These can only be instruments of racism and a form of social control.

The criminalization and imprisonment of Native people can be interpreted as yet another attempt to control Indian lands and the ongoing attempt to deny Indian sovereignty, as we see by the alarming number of Native people that are being locked up on their own ancestral homelands. No Native person can ever forget that his or her homeland was taken and that they live in poverty on the margin of society, desperately fighting to hold on to their traditional ways of life. Keeping this in mind, it can be said that the Prison Industrial Complex was built right through the lives and the ancestral lands of the Indigenous people of this continent.
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Peltier moves to Indiana penitentiary

Leavenworth becoming medium-security institution

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Leonard Peltier, serving two life sentences for the 1975 slaying of two FBI agents in South Dakota, has been moved to a federal penitentiary in Indiana, according to his attorney and the Bureau of Prisons.

Peltier’s relocation to the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind., was prompted by a change in mission at the federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan., where he has been held.

Maximum-security prisoners had to be moved out of the penitentiary so the facility can be transformed into a medium-security institution.

“We kind of thought he was going to be transferred,” Peltier’s attorney, Barry Bachrach, said Wednesday. “We didn’t know when.”

It apparently happened last week and Bachrach found out Friday when Peltier’s grandson went to visit him.

Peltier’s move also means that the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee is in the process of moving from its downtown Lawrence headquarters to a new location in Terre Haute.

Paula Ostrovsky, media and public relations officer for the committee, said it made sense for the organization to be located near Peltier.

“It is his wishes that we move as he moves,” Ostrovsky said.

Bachrach said he talked to Peltier by telephone Wednesday afternoon. Peltier was told by prison officials that he will remain in solitary confinement indefinitely but “was given no reason,” he said.

Initially, prison officials told Peltier he would be “in the hole” until his paperwork arrived, Bachrach said.

“The situation is not good,” he said. “He has no fresh air, no stamps, no way to call and he’s about ready to run out of his meds.”

Peltier, who suffers from diabetes and other ailments, has two days of medication left, Bachrach said.

“I’m going to try to get U.N. and congressional intervention. There’s a U.S. Supreme Court case that says they can’t do this,” he said.

An employee at the Indiana prison said no one was available to answer media questions about Peltier’s status.

Peltier, 60, was a member of the American Indian Movement in the 1970s and was convicted in Fargo, N.D., of killing agents Ronald Williams and Jack Coler 30 years ago, on June 26, 1975. Both men were shot in the head at point-blank range after being injured in a shootout on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

AIM member Joseph Stuntz also was shot that day. The Justice Department concluded an FBI sniper killed Stuntz, who was clad in Coler’s FBI jacket when his body was found.

Peltier has maintained his innocence, but numerous appeals have failed to overturn the convictions or order a parole hearing. Several human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, have called for Peltier’s release.

At a hearing last month in Fargo, N.D., Bachrach argued that the government had no right to send Peltier to prison. An assistant U.S. attorney argued the claim is frivolous and the only way Peltier could get back in court.

Bachrach said he’s still awaiting a ruling on his request.

Peltier’s move came just days before the death of 75-year-old Calvin Jumping Bull, whose family ranch was the site of the killings.

Peltier’s defense committee had been located in Lawrence for at least the past 13 years, which is the amount of time Peltier has been housed in the Leavenworth penitentiary, Ostrovsky said.

The office, located at 932 Mass., already was in a state of transition before the unexpected transfer of Peltier. Ostrovsky and her husband, Russell Redner, were in the process of moving from Olympia, Wash., to Lawrence to run the office. Ostrovsky said they would rather be in Lawrence than Terre Haute but were willing to make the move for Peltier’s sake.

“We really can not live in peace knowing that he is suffering,” Ostrovsky said.
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Default Boston tosses archaic Indian law...FINALLY

Monday, June 13, 2005

Boston Native American Indian Law To Finally End



Governor Romney of Massachusetts signed a bill repealing The Boston Indian Imprisonment Act. Passed in 1675 during King Philip's War, the law made it legal to imprison any Native American entering Boston. Obviously, it has not been enforced for many years. "It is our hope that signing this bill into law will provide some closure to a very painful and old chapter in Massachusetts history," said Romney. "This archaic law belongs in the history books, not the law books."
I am willing to bet that there are many other similar laws and bylaws still in existence in areas located in both the United States and Canada. I'm sure that nobody actually enforces these archaic laws today but they should still be finally wiped out since they are an insult to Native American Indians and Eskimo Inuit peoples as well. We should be doing everything we can to celebrate our different heritages and enjoy our different cultures freely.
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Default O'Connor's footprints on Native sacred landsPosted

Harjo: : July 07, 2005 by: Suzan Shown Harjo / Indian Country Today politicians stake out ground for the fight over Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's replacement on the Supreme Court, the right is condemning her and the left is praising her for being a moderate, by which they mean a swing vote. In Indian cases too, she often has been the deciding vote, especially in decisions against the Native interest, but her overall record reflects an indecisive judicial philosophy regarding federal Indian law.

Her main area of consistency is that land-grabs of the past are not to be revisited and that actions cannot benefit Native people if they deprive non-Native people or states of anything.

She has been an important voice for the canon of construction that treaties and laws are to be interpreted in the way that Indians understand them. At the same time, she has approached Native religious freedom issues as if there were no history of violations of Native religious liberties and as if Native sacred places always belonged to the federal government.

O'Connor trampled on everyone's religious rights in a 1990 decision by proclaiming Oregon's compelling (read: superior) interest in prohibiting the ceremonial use of peyote by two state employees. Congress had to step in and enact broad, clarifying legislation about state burdens on religion, as well as an amendment to the American Indian Religious Freedom Act for peyote use by members of the Native American Church.

In an earlier case in 1988, she opined that neither the First Amendment nor AIRFA provides a door to the courts for protection of Native sacred places, mainly because the Native view of the sacred is too expansive.

That decision has done deep and lasting damage to sacred places and Native people who care for them. In the 17 years since that decision, Congress has talked about, but not enacted, the needed statute providing a cause of action for protection of these historic and cultural sites.

This case involved a federal logging road that the Forest Service routed through a Native sacred place in northern California. O'Connor authored the April 19, 1988 majority opinion for Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and justices Byron R. White, John Paul Stevens and Antonin Scalia.

''It is undisputed that the Indian respondents' beliefs are sincere and that the Government's proposed actions will have severe adverse effects on the practice of their religion,'' read the court's opinion. ''Those respondents contend that the burden on their religious practices is heavy enough to violate the Free Exercise Clause unless the Government can demonstrate a compelling need to complete the [logging] road or to engage in timber harvesting in the Chimney Rock area. We disagree.''

The five-judge majority overturned decisions by district court and appellate judges, who ruled for the traditional Indian people, and made it clear that the Supreme Court knew that harm would result from the opinion. ''The Government does not dispute, and we have no reason to doubt, that the logging and road-building projects at issue in this case could have devastating effects on traditional Indian religious practices ... we can assume that the threat to the efficacy of at least some religious practices is extremely grave.''

O'Connor's there-goes-the-neighborhood concern is best appreciated in her own words: ''No disrespect for these practices is implied when one notes that such beliefs could easily require de facto beneficial ownership of some rather spacious tracts of public property ...

''The Constitution does not permit the Government to discriminate against religions that treat particular physical sites as sacred, and a law prohibiting the Indian respondents from visiting the Chimney Rock area would raise a different set of constitutional questions. Whatever rights the Indians may have to the use of the area, however, those rights do not divest the Government of its right to use what is, after all, its land.''

Nowhere in the decision is there a hint of admission that most of the public lands were stolen or coerced from Indian nations and that federal rules prohibited Indian people from going to sacred places on those lands for more than 50 years.

''Nothing in our opinion should be read to encourage governmental insensitivity to the religious needs of any citizen ... The Government's rights to the use of its own land, for example, need not and should not discourage it from accommodating religious practices like those engaged in by the Indian respondents.''

A dissenting opinion was filed by justices William J. Brennan, Thurgood Marshall and Harry A. Blackmun. Brennan wrote for the three-judge minority: ''The land-use decision challenged here will restrain respondents from practicing their religion as surely and as completely as any of the governmental actions we have struck down in the past, and the Court's efforts simply to define away respondents' injury as non-constitutional are both unjustified and ultimately unpersuasive.''

Reading the dissent again reminds me of the clear thinking and good writing that passed with these three justices. They wrote that the ''Court's concern that the claims of Native Americans will place 'religious servitudes' upon vast tracts of federal property cannot justify its refusal to recognize the constitutional injury respondents will suffer here ... That case, however, is most assuredly not before us today, and in any event cannot justify the Court's refusal to acknowledge that the injuries respondents will suffer as a result of the Government's proposed activities are sufficient to state a constitutional cause of action.

''Today, the Court holds that a federal land-use decision that promises to destroy an entire religion does not burden the practice of that faith in a manner recognized by the Free Exercise Clause. Having thus stripped respondents and all other Native Americans of any constitutional protection against perhaps the most serious threat to their age-old religious practices, and indeed to their entire way of life, the Court assures us that nothing in its decision 'should be read to encourage governmental insensitivity to the religious needs of any citizen.'''

Brennan concluded their dissent in this way: ''I find it difficult, however, to imagine conduct more insensitive to religious needs than the Government's determination to build a marginally useful road in the face of uncontradicted evidence that the road will render the practice of respondents' religion impossible. Nor do I believe that respondents will derive any solace from the knowledge that although the practice of their religion will become 'more difficult' as a result of the Government's actions, they remain free to maintain their religious beliefs.

''Given today's ruling, that freedom amounts to nothing more than the right to believe that their religion will be destroyed. The safeguarding of such a hollow freedom not only makes a mockery of the 'policy of the United States to protect and preserve for American Indians their inherent right of freedom to believe, express, and exercise the[ir] traditional religions' (quoting AIRFA), it fails utterly to accord with the dictates of the First Amendment. I dissent.''

Members of Congress can honor the record of O'Connor by doing as she suggested and crafting a statutory cause of action for Native sacred places. But the reasons for doing it will be found in the words and reasoning of the departed dissenters.
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Last edited by Wingy; 07-11-2005 at 11:52 AM..
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