A massive march and rally will meet the Washington football team as it closes its season on December 28 at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, organizers said.
“As the Washington team’s season comes to a dismal close, we call on Dan Snyder to claim a simple win: change the name. Washington’s ongoing use of a Native American slur and mascot promotes the dehumanization, marginalization, and stereotyping of Native peoples,” reads a press release sent to ICTMN.
The march will begin at 10 a.m. and will conclude with a rally at a yet to be determined location, according to the release.
Organizers of the event include the National Congress of American Indians, the Oneida Indian Nation’s Change the Mascot campaign, the American Indian Movement, the National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media, Not Your Mascots and other organizations.
OCCUPIED TAMIEN OHLONE TERRITORY (Santa Clara, California) – After successful demonstrations in O’odham (Glendale, Arizona) and Dakota (Twin Cities, Minnesota), four-hundred Indigenous Peoples and their allies poured into Tamien in solidarity with a national grassroots campaign to change the name and mascot of the Washington NFL team. Traveling by carpool, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), and out-of-state flights, many amplified a growing voice for decolonization in sports.
The demonstration began at 8 a.m. with a prayer at one of many desecrated sacred sites (shell mounds and burial grounds) maintaining its indigenous Ohlone place name, Ulistac. According to Corrina Gould, a Karkin and Chochenyo Ohlone, Uli is the name of an Ohlone warrior who inhabited the area and stac refers to place/land. The prayer to the land and ancestors was followed by a march to Levi’s Stadium held prior to the game between San Francisco and Washington.
The peaceful event included a two-hour series of passionate and informed speeches from local, regional, and national activists, including people Indigenous to the area and upcoming leaders like Jacqueline Keeler of Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry (EONM) and Dahkota Brown a 16-year-old Wilton Miwok student and founder of Native Education Raising Dedicated Students (NERDS). Elders who’ve inspired future generations also spoke on the topic, including Charlene Teeters and Clyde Bellecourt of the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and the Media (NCRSM).
Asian, African, and European people also educated fans by engaging, chanting, and holding picket signs and banners. Tribal African music blessed the event and recognized the similar histories between the African and Indigenous diaspora. Mexica (Aztec) dancers joined together in prayer, symbolizing the remembrance of the so-called Latino/Hispanic’s Indigeneity and pan-Indigenous interests across the colonial US-MX border.
Radio and television ads criticizing the nickname were aired throughout Ohlone and Miwok territories leading up to the game. Many broadcasters became allies when they chose not to mention Washington’s mascot. Audiences must understand the scalps of Indigenous Peoples were captured to collect bounties from the United States and expand White Supremacy outside of Europe.
Although Washington’s team owner, Dan Snyder, has vowed to “never change the name” and the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell said earlier this year the nickname has been “presented in a way that honors Native Americans,” the demonstrations outside Levi’s Stadium and nationwide indicate Indigenous decolonization and self-determination is inevitable.
As fans passed the demonstration, many were quite surprised. “I’ve been a Washington fan for a long time and I’ve seen more resistance the last few years,” says Brian Jones, 35. He continued, “This demonstration helps me understand the mascot impacts actual people. It made me think about the other side of this issue.” John, 29, agreed saying, “When I see actual Native American’s are offended—I have to respect that.”
A die-hard Washington fan, Robert Magnini, 60, said, “I’ve been a fan since I was a kid. I think the name is offense and we need to change the name as soon as possible.”
Not all Indigenous Peoples agree, including Joseph Rey Potter, 14, who passed the demonstration wearing a Washington jersey and a Pomo baseball hat. “My Dad was a fan, so I just stayed with it. I understand it’s racist, but I’m just a fan of the game.” Potter concluded, “If they changed their name, I’d be a bigger fan.”
Kris Longoria and Antonio Gonzales, co-chairs of the Bay Area Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media, said they will continue to escalate pressure on the NFL football team and build more partnerships with local organizations and government institutions.
Many urgent struggles exist across the Western Hemisphere and we must all do our part to challenge colonialism and honor Indigenous nations, leadership, and goals.
“PEOPLE SEE THIS ISSUE IS WINNABLE, ATTAINABLE, AND THEY BECOME EMPOWERED TO MOVE ONTO THE BIGGER ISSUES,” COMMENTED ANTONIO GONZALES.
A grandmother and her granddaughter appeared severely wounded, covered in bloody hair and hair buns held together with knives. “Redskin means someone whose been scalped, so me and my grandma put fake blood all over to show what a redskin means,” said Calissa Gali, 11. “None of my friends know what redskin means. They should learn at school, but some of the teachers don’t want to talk about it.”
Sacred Sites Protection & Rights of Indigenous Tribes (SSPRIT) has transferred the pain of another desecrated Ohlone Shell Mound in Karkin by decolonizing Vallejo High School’s Apaches and Solano Middle School’s Chieftains this year. The connections between appropriated sacred sites and stereotypes in sports are undeniable.
SSPRIT are now contractors, collaborating with students and administrators to educate about Indigenous mascots at school assemblies. Teacher training was also included in the negotiations to foster an integrated ethnic studies program across the school district. A duplication of this attainable model is also occurring with the Carquinez Coalition to Change the Mascot (CCCM) for John Swett High School Indians in Karkin (Crocket, CA).
Changing Washington’s name and mascot is not the end of changes to come. Colonization was several lifetimes of trauma and decolonization will take several lifetimes of healing. We envision post-colonialism. We’re not your mascot anymore.
Bay Area Coalition Against Racism in Sports is sponsored by American Indian Movement-West, Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits, Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry, Indian People Organizing for Change, Sacred Sites Protection & Rights of Indigenous Tribes, ANSWER Coalition, Idle No More SF Bay, and National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Chapter. National ‘Change the Mascot’ supporters can be found at: http://www.changethemascot.org/supporters-of-change/
More than 500 organizations are planning a historic event for Sept. 21 in New York City, what they say will be the largest rally for climate action ever. Organizers and ralliers will be calling on world leaders to craft a new international climate treaty, two days before those leaders will convene at a Climate Summit at the United Nations headquarters. Jamie Henn, spokesperson for 350.org, the main convener of the event, declined to offer a precise target for turnout, but the current holder of the largest-climate-rally title, a February 2012 march on the White House, drew around 50,000 people, so organizers are expecting more than that — possibly significantly more.
However many people show up, though, this march will likely be historic for another reason: its diversity and its focus on climate justice. More than 20 labor unions are among the organizations leading in the planning and turnout efforts. On Wednesday morning, representatives of a handful of them gathered in the Midtown Manhattan office of 1199, the local chapter of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), for a press conference, and then they were joined in Times Square by more unions for a small pep rally to promote the September event. Other groups present included locals from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the Transport Workers Union of Greater New York (TWU), and local social- and environmental-justice organizations such as UPROSE and the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance.
These locals are larger than they sound. 1199 and 32BJ, another union also affiliated with SEIU, cover multiple large East Coast states including New York, Massachusetts, and Florida. 1199 alone has more than 400,000 members. And they are diverse — 1199 represents health care workers such as nurses, and 32BJ represents custodial workers. These are not like the overwhelmingly white male unions in the construction trades. They are predominantly non-white and largely made up of women. This includes their top leadership, and their representatives at Wednesday’s event.
Speakers at the press conference and the rally focused on the ways low- and middle-income New Yorkers like their members are affected by climate change. Hurricane Sandy loomed large. In the storm’s aftermath, hospital and transportation workers were tasked with trying to save lives and get the city running amid flooded infrastructure and prolonged blackouts. For people who care about being able to provide reliable transportation and health care, the threat of more frequent superstorms, heat waves, and floods is alarming. And the flooding of waterfront industrial districts like the South Bronx and Brooklyn’s Sunset Park caused major disruption for private sector blue-collar workers and nearby working class neighborhoods.
Many of the union members live in public housing, which is often located in waterfront neighborhoods like the Lower East Side, Red Hook, and Far Rockaway. Those low-lying projects were among the worst-hit areas during Sandy. “Twenty percent of public housing in New York City was affected by Sandy,” said Eddie Bautista, executive director of the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance. “It’s about community health, it’s about jobs, and it’s about justice.”
The unions also see moving to a sustainable clean energy economy, instead of one based on extracting fossil fuels, as a matter of economic self-interest. 1199, unlike some construction unions, opposes approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline because, says spokesperson Chelsea-Lyn Rudder, “We want long-term jobs, not the short-term jobs that Keystone might create.” Cutting down on auto emissions and oil consumption by expanding mass transit, instead of building an oil pipeline, would create permanent jobs driving buses and trains. “Mass transit is green jobs,” noted LaTonya Crisp-Sauray, an official from the TWU.
The concerns for these communities go beyond extreme weather events like Sandy. A custodian from the Bronx who gave her name only as Mary, and was there on behalf of 32BJ, pointed out that asthma could be worsened by climate change, and it is already an epidemic in heavily polluted, lower-income communities like the Bronx. “The Bronx has a 20 percent childhood asthma rate, one of the highest rates in the nation,” she said. “[Combatting climate change] is about saving lives.”
At the little pep rally in Times Square, the group of about 100 was filled with union members sporting their locals’ T-shirts and waving their banners. Even the United Auto Workers had a few members present. And the social-justice groups brought out everyone from older women to teenagers.
The result was a remarkable sight. Here was a rally for addressing climate change — an issue so often dismissed by conservatives as of interest only to out-of-touch affluent elites like Hollywood actors and former vice presidents — where both the speakers and the crowd were mostly black and Latino. These were members of the most affected communities — including Roberto Borrero from the International Indian Treaty Council, which works for indigenous rights throughout the Americas — talking about how the issue affects them.
The environmental movement is often criticized for being mostly white, male, wealthy, and college-educated. As Grist’s Brentin Mock just noted, it is the leaders of environmental organizations who come from that demographic, even though the neighborhoods with the worst pollution are disproportionately low-income and non-white. Sure enough, some of the only white male speakers at Wednesday’s event were the ones from environmental organizations. But at least they recognize the importance of communities of color and blue-collar workers in the movement, and they have successfully partnered with civil-rights, social-justice, and labor organizations.
The images from the march on Sept. 21 probably won’t conform to the snarky stereotypes about Vermont liberals wearing Birkenstocks and driving Volvos. Of course, inconvenient truths have never stopped conservatives from casting unfair aspersions. But even if those conservatives won’t admit it, the movement is diversifying.
Ben Adler covers environmental policy and politics for Grist, with a focus on climate change, energy, and cities. When he isn’t contemplating the world’s end, he also writes about architecture and media. You can follow him on Twitter.
ABERDEEN,WA (6/26/14)– The Quinault Indian Nation, Citizens for a Clean Harbor, Grays Harbor Audubon Society, Friends of Grays Harbor and other concerned citizens will join together in a rally to “Honor Lac-Mégantic, Honor the Treaties and Honor the Earth” Sunday, July 6 at Aberdeen’s Zelasko Park. The public is invited.
“It’s no secret that we have been opposing the proposals by Westway, Imperium and U.S. Development corporations to build new oil terminals in our region, and the consequent massive increases in oil train and tanker traffic. But this event is intended to honor the 47 men, women and children who lost their lives in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, on the first anniversary of their death due to a tragic oil train explosion,” said Fawn Sharp, President of the Quinault Indian Nation.
“The Tribe has made its position clear. Treaty-protected fishing rights and oil just do not mix,” said President Sharp. “We have to support sustainability in Grays Harbor, and that means protecting our environment. The fishing industry, tourism and all of the supportive businesses are far too important to let them wither away at the whim of Big Oil.”
The various sponsors of the July 6 rally also concur wholeheartedly that the rally is intended to honor the Earth. “This is what connects all of us here in Grays Harbor County. It’s what connected us with our brothers and sisters in Lac-Mégantic, too, and that’s why we honor their memory,” said President Sharp. “Chief Seattle is credited with saying that all things are connected. It is as true today as it was in his day. We all live on the same Earth, and we have got to work together to protect it for our children, and for future generations.”
The July 6 event will take place at Zelasko Park from noon to 7 pm. At various times during the day, the names of all 47 victims of the Lac-Mégantic oil train explosion will be read, as well as posted. There will also be rally signs, exhibited for the benefit of 4th of July week end traffic, music, food and other festivities. The public is encouraged to come, participate and enjoy.
MINNEAPOLIS – The AIM Twin Cities, the Minneapolis-based chapter of the American Indian Movement, is holding a rally to continue to draw attention to the protest of the Washington NFL team’s continued use of the name that is offensive to most American Indians.
The rally is planned during the Minnesota Vikings and Washington team’s game on Thursday November 7. The rally will begin at 5:00 pm. Participants are asked to meet at the American Indian Center at 1530 East Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Participants will march from the American Indian Center to Mall of America Field and hold a rally against the Washington Football team, protesting team owner Dan Snyder’s refusal to change the team name and mascot, which is a racial slur and stereotype that is offensive to American Indians.
AIM Twin Cities calls on all those who support a mascot and name change for the Washington Football team to join together to encourage Dan Snyder to
“Retire the racist attire! Recognize that American Indians are a living people, not mascots for America’s fun and games!”
All people are encouraged to attend.
Rally organizers stated in a news release:
“Using American Indian slurs like the ‘R-word’ is no different than the use of Black Sambo which offended African Americans or the Frito Bandito which is offensive to the Hispanic community.”
“The continued use of American Indian likenesses and images by sports teams has resulted in widespread racial, cultural and spiritual stereotyping which promotes hatred and disrespect of American Indian people,”
the news release continues.
Drum groups are invited to bring their big drums. Everyone is encouraged to bring their hand drums.
The Puerto Rico Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing last Monday on a bill (PS624) that would create a Seed Board and a certification and licensing system to regulate the development and sale of seeds in Puerto Rico.
“Monsanto does not produce, sell (or) offer… basic or certified seed with the purpose of planting in Puerto Rico”, said company representative Eric Torres-Collazo in a letter to the committee explaining the decision not to testify. He also claimed that the company’s activities are not subject to regulation by the Puerto Rican legislature.
Technically Torres-Collazo is correct on at least one count – all the harvest produced by Monsanto and other transnational seed enterprises in the island is exported for use abroad as seed. A major market is the U.S. where most corn and soy is derived from genetically modified varieties.
Committee chair senator Ramón Ruiz-Nieves of the Popular Democratic Party told the media that he intends to summon Monsanto again, insisting that the company should be regulated locally since it receives substantial local and U.S. government subsidies for its activities in Puerto Rico, and is registered with the local Agriculture Department as a bona fide farmer.
Monsanto has also been embroiled in a legal controversy over the fact it plants crops on 1,500 acres, despite the fact that Puerto Rico’s 1952 constitution prohibits agricultural landholdings larger than 500 acres. http://www.80grados.net/tus-contribuciones-enriquecen-a-monsanto/ In May, Puerto Rico Agriculture Secretary Myrna Comas, a well known food security scholar, referred this matter to the Puerto Rico Justice Department, requesting a legal opinion.
Local media reports have pointed out the irony that despite the fact that Monsanto is in apparent violation of the Puerto Rico constitution, it has received $4.9 million in subsidies from the local Agriculture Department to help it cover payroll expenses from 2006 to 2013.
The Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture and Juan Santiago-Cabán, operations manager of Monsanto in Puerto Rico, did not respond to CorpWatch’s interview requests.
Meanwhile local farmers have publicly rallied to the cause. An April 24 event to induct Monsanto, the global leader in seed sales and biotechnology, into the Puerto Rico Agricultural Hall of Fame, became the target of protest by local farmers who are angry about the company’s role in developing genetically modified crops on large plots of land on the island.
The Hall of Fame was set up by Acción y Reforma Agrícola (ARA), a farm lobby group founded by agribusinessman Pedro Vivoni, who owns Agro Servicios, a farm supply company. (Monsanto represents 18 percent of Agro Servicios’ business, according to coverage by the local media). The Hall of Fame has been endorsed by the Agronomists Association (Colegio de Agrónomos) and the Agriculture Department of Puerto Rico, which gave ARA a $5,000 donation earlier this year.
Monsanto also scored big last March when a bill signed by U.S. President Barack Obama into law (in order to prevent a government shutdown) included a “farmer assurance provision” clause that allows farmers to plant genetically modified crops before they have been declared safe by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This clause has been nicknamed the Monsanto Protection Act by activists and biotech critics.
“The Monsanto Protection Act is an outrageous example of a special interest loophole,” said U.S, Senator Jeff Merkley , a Democrat from Oregon who is trying to get it repealed. “This provision nullifies the actions of a court that is enforcing the law to protect farmers, the environment and public health. That is unacceptable.”
2 more charged as New Brunswickers rally against seismic testing
By Miles Howe, Halifax Media Co-op
ELSIPOGTOG, NEW BRUNSWICK, CANADA – About 25 RCMP officers in uniform, along with about a dozen police cruisers, today continued to flank equipment owned by gas exploration company SWN Resources Canada as they proceeded with their seismic testing of highway 126 in Kent County, New Brunswick.
Pushing the scattered crowd of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people back “50 metres distance” from the southward approaching seismic trucks – or ‘thumpers’ – the RCMP first arrested one demonstrator and chased another into the woods before arresting Susanne Patles.
Patles, a Mi’kmaq woman, had scattered a line of tobacco between herself and the approaching police, then proceeded to draw a circle of tobacco in the highway, where she then knelt and began to pray. After about two minutes, the police proceeded to arrest Patles. An officer Bernard noted that she was being charged with mischief.
Today’s two arrests follow another three made last Wednesday, when people again placed themselves in the path of SWN’s thumpers. Residents fear that the tests will lead to hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – of the area.
Lorraine Clair, arrested on Wednesday, continues to recover from nerve damage suffered from the rough treatment handed down on her by RCMP officers.
Resistance to SWN’s presence, which is located in a part of traditional Mi’kma’ki territory known as Signigtog – or district 6 – has so far been strong. Thumper trucks have for days now been met with people who object to fracking from the surrounding communities, as well as supporters from around the Maritimes who are now beginning to flock towards the focal point of the highway.