Commemorating Indigenous History on Alcatraz Island

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘KQED’)

Video: Commemorating Indigenous History on Alcatraz Island

On an average day, Alcatraz Island bustles with visitors taking tours of the former federal prison. Twice a year, however, people adorned with colorful feathered headdresses and instruments in hand board the ferry hours before dawn and travel to the historic site in the middle of San Francisco Bay.

On Oct. 9, a crowd of early risers visited Alcatraz on Indigenous Peoples Day to celebrate the history and culture of native peoples.

Before the sunrise broke through the fog, people quietly circled around a fire to honor their ancestors with a sunrise ceremony, commemorating the occupation of Alcatraz Island from November 1969 to June 1971 by “Indians of All Tribes,” a pan-tribal group of Native American leaders and activists.

On that day, 46 years after the original occupation, Alcatraz pulsed with energy once again. The sound of a conch shell initiating the ceremony interrupted the silent morning. As the drumming intensified, indigenous people from across the country danced to sacred songs, moving around their elders who tended to the flames in the center of the crowd.

“I come out here because it’s who I am,” said Desiree Adams, an indigenous woman of Navajo descent. “It’s in my blood to be here and stand for my ancestors and to keep our tradition and culture alive.”

On Nov. 23, another sunrise ceremony will be held for the annual “Unthanksgiving Day” celebration.

(History/Poem): Spearfish South Dakota

Spearfish South Dakota

 

What an odd name, ye may think of me

But for a lack of luck ye all would know me

Maybe my name would be steeped in lore

In our Country’s Great Plains fabled history

 

Black Hills Dakota, land of the Great Sioux Nation, gold, and blood

Deadwood you know, Bill Hickok dying in blood with his famous hand

Crazy Horse, an outcast child because he cried when bees spilt his blood

Custer and the Seventh etched in history, paying for their genocidal sins

 

I’m in the center of timber and gold

All around me is glory and fame

The great mighty Sioux Nation

And the tears that they paid

 

Now only grade school books tell my story

Come visit the Little Big Horn Custer’s Last Stand

Rapid City now a main gate to the great northwest

Four faces carved in stone, a true monument

 

I stand true to the blood of those who bore me

 Shrouded in the famous Black Hills history

Sturgis’s freedom now rumbles right next to me

Spearfish South Dakota, Paradise of God, then and now

Gold miners at a bar bragged about slaughtering members of a reclusive Brazilian tribe

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

 

Authorities: Gold miners at a bar bragged about slaughtering members of a reclusive Brazilian tribe

 September 11 at 4:59 PM

(G.Miranda/Funai/Survival International)

The outside world might never have heard about the suspected massacre if not for some barroom boasting by a group of miners fresh from working an illegal gig in the Amazon jungle.

The garimpeiros had bragged that they’d come across members of a reclusive, uncontacted Amazonian tribe near Brazil’s border with Peru and Colombia, authorities say.

The tribe members were greater in number — there were as many as 10 — but the gold miners said they’d gotten the better of them and killed the entire lot, said Carla de Lello Lorenzi, communications officer for Survival International in Brazil.

The miners cut the tribe members’ bodies so that they wouldn’t float, Lorenzi said, then dropped them into the Jandiatuba River.

The miners had collected tools and jewelry from the indigenous dead, corroborating their story.

An unidentified person who overheard the story was disturbed by it, recorded the miners’ conversation and turned the audio over to authorities. They have since launched an investigation into what, if confirmed, would be one of the largest mass murders of uncontacted people in decades.

Advocates for stricter protective measures say the suspected massacre is evidence that the Brazilian government isn’t doing enough to safeguard the more than 100 vulnerable tribes that have never made contact with the outside world — and have no desire to.

“If these reports are confirmed, [Brazilian President Michel Temer] and his government bear a heavy responsibility for this genocidal attack,” said Survival International’s director, Stephen Corry. Corry said the government has slashed funds for an agency that protects the tribes, leaving them “defenseless against thousands of invaders — gold miners, ranchers and loggers — who are desperate to steal and ransack their lands.”

“All these tribes should have had their lands properly recognized and protected years ago — the government’s open support for those who want to open up indigenous territories is utterly shameful, and is setting indigenous rights in Brazil back decades.”

According to the New York Times, the government closed five of the 19 bases it uses to monitor uncontacted tribes and prevent incursions by miners and loggers.

Three of the closed bases were in the Javari Valley, home to more uncontacted tribes than anywhere else on Earth.

For obvious reasons, little is known about the indigenous group involved in the suspected killings.

Locally, Lorenzi said, they’re known as Fleicheros, or “the ones who throw arrows,” but their language and customs — and how they interact with at least two other uncontacted tribes in the immediate area — remain a mystery.

But the tribe members are not the only people in that part of the Amazon, Lorenzi said. It is illegal to mine there, but prospectors have brought earth-moving equipment to the area, leaving giant craters that can be seen from the sky.

They also bring violence, according to the government, which says garimpeiros are responsible for threats, child prostitution and killings.

Even their nonviolent presence in the protected lands can be dangerous to uncontacted tribes, which lack the immunity to fight the diseases that miners and loggers bring.

Any contact can be contentious and even violent, with the uncontacted usually getting the worst of it because, as Lorenzi told The Post, “it’s usually bows and arrows against guns.”

Details about those contacts remain hazy, because they involve two groups of people unlikely to speak to authorities.

Still, tales of the worst violence sometimes get out. Survival International documented the story of Marisa Yanomami and Leida Yanomami, survivors of the Haximu massacre in 1993:

“The gold-miners killed our brothers and sisters and also killed our father with machetes; some of them were killed with guns,” they told the organization. “After the first 10 people died, at the start of the war, we moved to another place to hide and stayed in our shabono(communal house), but the next day, the miners appeared again.”

In a statement on its website, the Brazilian National Indian Foundation, or Funai, said it had prompted the federal public prosecutor’s office to investigate the most recent allegation.

The government has also trumpeted its latest operation against incursions on protected lands. In August, it shut down an illegal mining operation. Soldiers destroyed four dredging machines and fined mining operators $1 million for environmental crimes.

Investigations are tough undertakings. The site of the suspected killing, for example, is a 12-hour trek by boat during the dry season. And it involves a group of people with their own language and a centuries-long wariness of outsiders.

Even the details of the killing are sketchy, Lorenzi said. And the vacuum of information speaks to another fear advocates have: that these types of violent interactions happen a lot more frequently than is reported.

“That’s highly probable, yes, because it’s so difficult to document,” she said. “It’s the uncontacted versus illegal miners who think they can get away with anything.

“Unfortunately, a lot of the time they do.”

Read more: 

Before Irma hit, a stranger gave the last generator to a crying woman for her ailing father

Archaeologists unearth a 500-year-old tower of skulls — and another gruesome Aztec mystery

A researcher discovered how cave men cleaned their teeth. It will make you want to brush yours.

Was Anne Frank’s family betrayed? After 72 years, historians have a new theory.

May 28th, 1830 President Andrew Jackson Signs the “Indian Removal Act”

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NATIVE NEWS ONLINE)

THIS DAY IN HISTORY – MAY 28, 1830 ANDREW JACKSON SIGNS INDIAN REMOVAL ACT

Known as Indian-killer President

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

Published May 28, 2017

WASHINGTON – On this day in 1830, President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act.

The Act established a process whereby the president could grant land west of the Mississippi River to Indian tribes that agreed to give up their homelands. As incentives, the law allowed the Indians financial and material assistance to travel to their new locations and start new lives and guaranteed that the Indians would live on their new property under the protection of the United States Government forever.

WITH THE ACT IN PLACE, JACKSON AND HIS FOLLOWERS WERE FREE TO PERSUADE, BRIBE, AND THREATEN TRIBES INTO SIGNING REMOVAL TREATIES AND LEAVING THE SOUTHEAST.

By the end of his presidency, he had signed into law almost seventy removal treaties, the result of which was to move nearly 50,000 eastern Indians to Indian Territory—defined as the region belonging to the United States west of the Mississippi River but excluding the states of Missouri and Iowa as well as the Territory of Arkansas—and open millions of acres of rich land east of the Mississippi to white settlers. Despite the vastness of the Indian Territory, the government intended that the Indians’ destination would be a more confined area—what later became eastern Oklahoma.

The Indian Removal Act set in motion the Trail of Tears, which attributed to the genocide of thousands of American Indians and the death of one-quarter Cherokee people. For this reason, Jackson is referred to by American Indians as the “Indian-killer” president and does not feel he should be honored or celebrated in any fashion.

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