Friday, December 16, 2011

Mexico admits responsibility in rape, torture of indigenous woman

LATimes: Mexico admits responsibility in rape, torture of indigenous woman


For the second time in a month, the Mexican government has formally taken responsibility for military abuses committed years ago, a step demanded by a series of international human rights court rulings. The Rosendo case is especially compelling because indigenous women are among the most vulnerable and disenfranchised groups in the country as a result of poverty and language and social exclusion. A member of the indigenous Me'phaa community in Mexico's southern Guerrero state, Rosendo, then 17, and another woman, Ines Fernandez, were raped by soldiers patrolling the region in 2002. Backed by human rights groups, including Mexico's Tlachinollan organization and the U.S.-based Robert F. Kennedy Center, both women pressed the case for years, turning to often-dismissive officials and government agencies until the case finally reached the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Forbes: Why Are Indian Reservations So Poor? A Look At The Bottom 1%


At a time when there’s a spotlight on America’s richest 1%, a look at the country’s 310 Indian reservations–where many of America’s poorest 1% live–can be more enlightening. To explain the poverty of the reservations, people usually point to alcoholism, corruption or school-dropout rates, not to mention the dusty undeveloped land that doesn’t seem good for growing much and the long distances to jobs. But those are just symptoms. Prosperity is built on property rights, and reservations often have neither. They’re a demonstration of what happens when property rights are weak or non-existent.


MPR: For the modern Indian artist, traditions loom large


Some people take one look at Native American artist Bobby Wilson's long, braided hair and start treating him like he just stepped out of a 19th-century Edward Curtis photo. "People act like I don't keep up with the times," said Wilson, of Minneapolis. "They want to tell me about a sweat lodge they went to once or they got to see a powwow one time and it was so beautiful. And you can't shake people who are romantic about Indians from being romantic about Indians." The term American Indian art often evokes images of beads and buckskin — and that can be a challenge for contemporary American Indian artists, whose work has nothing to do with quills or birch bark.


Campaign begins to keep ND Fighting Sioux name


Two campaigns began Tuesday that would let voters decide whether the University of North Dakota should keep its Fighting Sioux nickname in spite of penalties by the NCAA, which considers it offensive to American Indians. One referendum would repeal the North Dakota Legislature's decision last month to allow UND to drop the contentious nickname, which its teams have used since 1930. The second initiative would change the North Dakota Constitution to require UND to continue using the Fighting Sioux name. The proposed amendment is one sentence: "The University of North Dakota and its intercollegiate athletic teams shall be known as the Fighting Sioux."


ARPN: Court Upholds Alaska Tribal Government Sovereignty


On Friday the Alaska Supreme court agreed with a lower court and upheld Alaska tribal government sovereignty.  The attorney who argued the failed challenge says such tribal immunity doesn’t legally exist. The case was brought by a contractor, Michael McCrary against the Ivanof Bay Village tribe and its president Ed Shangin. McCrary attempted to sue over disputed contract funds and the superior court dismissed the suit based on the Ivanof Bay Village tribe’s sovereign immunity. Federal, state and tribal governments can claim sovereign immunity from lawsuits. McCrary appealed the sovereignty ruling, arguing that Ivanof Bay Village is not really a federally recognized tribe. Heather Kendall Miller defended the tribe

AP: Navajo Tops List of Native Language Speakers in US


A northeastern Arizona county has the highest number of Native American language speakers in the country. The U.S. Census Bureau says Apache County in eastern Arizona has 37,000 such speakers. The county encompasses parts of the Navajo Nation, the Fort Apache Indian Reservation and Zuni Pueblo. The figure is based on five-year estimates from community surveys that allowed the Census for the first time to study small segments of the U.S. population. The Census found that fewer than a half-million people age 5 and over speak a Native American language at home. About 65 percent of them are in nine counties in Arizona, New Mexico and Alaska.


The Atlantic: The Ashaninka, A Threatened Way of Life


The Ashaninka are one of the largest indigenous groups in South America, their ancestral homelands ranging from Brazil to Peru. Since colonial times, their existence has been difficult -- they have been enslaved, had their lands taken away or destroyed, and were caught up in the bloody internal conflict in Peru during the late 20th century. Today, a large communal reserve set aside for the Ashaninka is under threat by the proposed Pakitzapango dam, which would displace some 10,000 Ashaninka. The dam is part of a large set of hydroelectric projects planned between the Brazilian and Peruvian governments - without any original consultation with the Ashaninka.


AP: Former American Indian Movement activist Russell Means says in website video he's cancer free


Russell Means, a 72-year-old former American Indian Movement activist who helped lead the 1973 uprising at Wounded Knee, says he's beaten cancer. Means, in a video posted this week on one of his websites, said he's essentially cancer free now and that he believes the good news will be confirmed in a month. Means, a Wanblee native who grew up in the San Francisco area but returned to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, announced in August that he had inoperable throat cancer and was forgoing chemotherapy and traditional radiation treatment in favor of a targeted radiation therapy, traditional American Indian remedies and alternative treatments in Arizona.


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