Hawaii’s Mauna Kea Telescope Opposition Gains Momentum With Rallies, Walk-Out and International Support ICTMN Staff

Posted on Updated on

Telescope Opposition Gains Momentum With Rallies, Walk-Out and International Support


Opposition to the construction of a giant copy.4 billion telescope on top of sacred Mauna Kea Mountain gained momentum Monday, April 13 when hundreds of students and faculty members at the University of Hawaii at Manoa staged a walk-out, thousands rallied on the Big Island and Oahu to call for an end to the project, and support poured in from around the world.

“We are not going to stop until this issue is brought to a halt,” said Jon Osorio, professor in the Hawai‘inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, at a press conference following the walk-out, which was reported by KITV.

Native Hawaiians believe that Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano that is 13,796 feet above sea level, is the most sacred place on all of the islands. The University of Hawaii and its partners want to build the world’s biggest telescope—an 18-story high industrial complex telescope—at the top of the mountain. Scientists say it’s the best location in the world to see the faint and distant objects they can’t observe with existing telescopes. Thirteen other telescopes are currently located on Mauna Kea. Environmental groups oppose the project because of concerns about impacts to the water quality of the aquifer and the environment.

An elder on top of Mauna Kea standing with the Iroquois Warrior Society Flag, which has been flying since the beginning of the protests. (Cliff Matias)
An elder on top of Mauna Kea standing with the Iroquois Warrior Society Flag, which has been flying since the beginning of the protests. (Cliff Matias)

The university’s partners are the Thirty Meter International Observatory (TIO), Goodfellow Bros, the University of Hawai‘i (UH), the Office of Mauna Kea Management, the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, and the Hawai‘i State Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR). The University of California, California Institute of Technology, National Astronomical Observatories of China and Japan and other international institutions are also providing funding for the project, according to the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC). The council has issued a statement calling for international support to stop the desecration of Mauna Kea. …Read More.


The students strike back: 75,000 protest austerity in Montreal

Posted on

The students strike back: 75,000 protest austerity in Montreal

Protesters sent a clear message on Thursday: we are mobilized, we are many, and we are not afraid

The weather report had called for “snow/rain,” but instead the clouds parted and the largest demonstration in Quebec since the student strike of 2012 was bathed in the sunny glow of springtime in Montreal.

UPDATE Apr. 6: La Presse is reporting this morning on photos showing a student trying to run from a police charge on Apr. 2, becoming trapped behind a minivan, and having his head smashed through the rear window of the minivan before he fell to the ground and was kicked and hit with a baton. No first-aid was administered by police, and this incident was not included in any action report from the day. The student was rushed to hospital where he received ten stitches: seven to his face and another three to his leg. The photos show the full sequence of events, and the student appears to have done nothing to provoke police. He has hired a lawyer and announced his intention to sue.

In Square Victoria, a park in the heart of Montreal’s financial district, each metro brought a new surge of people and the place was soon packed, with the crowd overflowing into several side streets.

Over 130,000 students were on strike across Quebec on Apr. 2, and according to the Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante, the crowd in Montreal reached around 75,000 at its peak. Based on my calculations, that’s a reasonable estimate. Other media outlets reported a number of 25,000, attributing it to police scanners, but that may have been prior to the demonstration’s peak.

Alongside students there was a strong labour presence, with public sector employees joining Montreal’s firefighters, labour federation Confédération des syndicats nationaux and dozens of other unions in the streets. McGill University’s law department was on strike for the first time in the history of that institution, and their banner was greeted with cheers wherever it went.

Nine student leaders are currently facing expulsion for strike-related activities at Université du Québec à Montréal, and the teachers’ union there also went on strike for the day, the faculty of that institution sending a strong message by joining their students in the streets. Read More…

Native Americans protest canonization of Junipero Serra at Carmel Mission

Posted on

Native Americans protest canonization of Junipero Serra at Carmel Mission

Native American Martin Lion attends a ceremony protesting Father Serra’s slated canonization at Carmel Mission on Sunday in Carmel. (Vernon McKnight-Herald Correspondent)

CARMEL >> On Sunday mornings, Rudy Rosales helps clean and maintain the graves of his ancestors at the Carmel Mission; either by pulling weeds or placing the abalone shells that adorn the humble mounds of earth.

It’s a ritual that connects the Ohlone Indian with his Catholic traditions and his indigenous roots. And as former tribal chairman of the Ohlone Costanoan Esselen Nation, he wasn’t exactly pleased Sunday, when more than 100 Native Americans from all over California descended onto the Mission Cemetery to hold a ceremony and protest the announced canonization of Junipero Serra, founder of the California Mission system.

“Why didn’t they boycott their own missions?” he asked. “Two thirds of our tribe is Catholic; my mom was a strict Catholic. A lot of tribal members did not ask if it was okay.”

Led by the American Indian Movement, dozens of Native Americans from different tribes from all over California gathered on the Carmel Mission Cemetery for a ceremony to honor their ancestors and their history on one of the most sacred days in the Catholic calendar.

The timing and place was chosen because Junipero Serra, the Franciscan friar who founded the first nine of the 21 missions in the California system, is buried there. Pope Francis announced in January he would bestow sainthood onto the friar when he visits the United States later in the year.

The news was met with incredulity and anger by many in the Native American community, who blame the California mission system for many of the atrocities their ancestors had to endure. They began organizing the ceremony/protest soon after the announcement. Read More…

Hopi Nation and HARP File Lawsuit in France to Stop Future Sales of Sacred Objects

Posted on Updated on

Hopi Tribe and HARP File Lawsuit in France to Stop Future Sales of Sacred Objects

Herman Honanie

WASHINGTON — The Hopi Tribal Council and the Holocaust Art Restitution Project (HARP) filed a lawsuit in France to appeal a recent decision by the French “Conseil des Ventes” (“Board of Auction Sales”), an administrative body in charge of regulating and supervising auction sales on the French market.

The announcement of the lawsuit filing was made jointly by Herman G. Honanie, chairman of the Hopi Tribe and Ori Z. Soltes, of HARP.

Although the Conseil has the administrative power to suspend sales, it refused to suspend a December 15, 2014 auction sale of sacred “kwaa tsi” owned by the Hopi tribe, the Conseil allowed the sale to proceed after a special hearing held in Paris on December 11, 2014, rejecting the arguments put forth by the Hopi Tribe and HARP that title had never vested with subsequent possessors due to the sacred nature of these objects. Read More…

Women and Youth Fight for Freedom of Expression in Guatemala

Posted on Updated on

Women and Youth Fight for Freedom of Expression in Guatemala
March 16, 2015
On February 25, 2015 the Guatemalan National Police and the Public Ministry once again raided two community radio stations, this time in Chichicastenango, Quiche, a popular tourist destination. Radio Swan Tinamit and Radio Ixmukane both serve important audiences in Chichicastenango. Radio Swan Tinamit is mostly staffed by youth, and the topics they cover include the rights of Indigenous Peoples, youth participation in leadership, and Indigenous traditions, among others. Radio Ixmukane is mostly staffed by women, as the radio was founded as part of and is housed by Asociacion de Mujeres Ixmukane (Ixmukane Womens’ Association). Radio Ixmukane focuses on women’s rights, education on domestic abuse, and reproductive rights.
Persecution against community radio stations is an all too-common occurrence in Guatemala, and increasingly has been on the rise over the last two months… Read more.

Guided Tour at MOA: c̓əsnaʔəm, the city before the city, April 21, 7pm

Posted on

guided tour
c̓əsnaʔəm, the city before the city

April 21, 7pm

Join MOA, the Musqueam First Nation, and the Museum of Vancouver for a series of groundbreaking exhibitions that will connect Vancouverites with the living legacy of c̓əsnaʔəm, the ancient villages and burial sites upon which the city of Vancouver is built. Highlighting language, oral history, and the community’s recent actions to protect c̓əsnaʔəm, the exhibitions invite visitors to engage with the long and dynamic history of the land. MOA’s exhibit features 3D modelling of maps and artifacts, original videography, family-friendly interactivity, and soundscapes blending traditional and modern sounds.

On April 21 join Musqueam community members, Elders, artists, and activists as they share their knowledge and explore the themes in the MOA exhibition. The tour begins at 7pm and is free with admission.

Sarah Harmer concert to raise funds for First Nations’ fight against Enbridge

Posted on

Sarah Harmer concert to raise funds for First Nations’ fight against Enbridge

Juno award-nominated singer and songwriter Sarah Harmer joins Chris Brown for a concert at the York Theatre in Vancouver to raise funds for First Nations’ legal defence against Enbridge and the Northern Gateway pipeline.

Sarah Harmer will be performing for Pull Together in Vancouver on March 24, 2015. Photo courtesy Sarah Harmer.

Juno-nominated singer/songwriter and activist Sarah Harmer will join Chris Brown of the Citizens Band on March, 24, for a performance at the York Theatre in Vancouver to benefit the Pull Together campaign. Also performing will be the Git Hayetsk Dancers and Kristi Lane Sinclair.

The Pull Together campaign, launched by Sierra Club BC and RAVEN (Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs) raises funds to support First Nations in their legal fight against the Northern Gateway pipeline.

Phase one of the campaign raised $350,000, and the second phase has just started.

“It’s very important,” says Harmer of the need to raise funds to do case prep and research for the court battles against the federal government and Enbridge.

“We’re on the deciding point for a lot of important long range visions for our future, economically, and obviously environmentally,” she says.

Harmer toured the Northern Gateway pipeline route and the various communities affected from the Athabasca tar sands, to Fort Chipewyan through to Kitimat. Read More…

First Nations vow legal challenge of anti-terror bill

Posted on Updated on

First Nations vow legal challenge of anti-terror bill

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde: 'This is not an abstract argument for our people.'
AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde: ‘This is not an abstract argument for our people.’The Canadian Press

Canada’s First Nations will challenge the constitutionality of Bill C-51 unless the Conservatives withdraw the divisive security legislation and consult aboriginals before drafting any new bill, the head of the Assembly of First Nations vowed Thursday.

“We want the whole bill gone,” AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde told reporters after testifying at a turbulent House of Commons committee on the proposed omnibus bill, which would give extraordinary powers to federal spies, government departments and the RCMP to thwart national security threats.

The authorization to launch a Supreme Court challenge would first need the permission of AFN chiefs.

Bellegarde said the government has created grounds for a court action by not meeting its so-called “duty to consult” when its actions could adversely affect potential or established aboriginal or treaty rights enshrined in the Constitution. The common-law duty was upheld in Supreme Court decisions in 2004 and 2005.

“Unfortunately, the process for developing this legislation did not meet the federal government’s duty to consult and accommodate and on that point alone is subject to challenge in the courts if the government tries to impose it on us,” said Bellegarde, elected national chief in December. “We had no input at all.” Read More…

Ireland Pays Tribute to Choctaw Nation’s Kindness

Posted on

Ireland Pays Tribute to Choctaw Nation’s Kindness

By Toyacoyah Brown on March 15, 2015

Joe McCarthy, East Cork’s municipal district officer, explained the reason for the project to the Irish Examiner: “These people were still recovering from their own injustice. They put their hands in their pockets and they helped strangers. It’s rare to see such generosity. It had to be acknowledged.”

each feather is unique.jpg

Of course the acknowledgement could not be small in stature. Officials chose a unique idea from sculptor Alex Pentek to pay homage to the Choctaw. See the artist’s rendering below of the Kindred Spirits sculpture.

Alex Pentek. Kindred Spirits. 2013. Memorial to the Choctaw Nation’s aid to Ireland during the the great Famine. from Alex Pentek on Vimeo.

On his Vimeo page Alex Pentek writes this:

By creating an empty bowl symbolic of the Great Irish Famine formed from the seemingly fragile and rounded shaped eagle feathers used in Choctaw ceremonial dress, it is my aim to communicate the tenderness and warmth of the Choctaw Nation who provided food to the hungry when they themselves were still recovering from their own tragic recent past.

I have also chosen feathers to reflect the local bird life along the nearby water’s edge with a fusion of ideas that aims to visually communicate this act of humanity and mercy, and also the notion that the Choctaw and Irish Nations are forever more kindred spirits.

I would love to see this in person! I am sure a representative from the Choctaw Nation will be on hand later this year to witness the unveiling of the statue. We will keep you posted if so!

Read more:

Decolonizing Bolivia’s History of Indigenous Resistance

Posted on

Decolonizing Bolivia’s History of Indigenous Resistance

  • Elisa Vega Sillo, Director of Bolivia

    Elisa Vega Sillo, Director of Bolivia’s Depatriarchalization Unit in the Vice Ministry of Decolonization | Photo: Youtube

Published 17 February 2015
Elisa Vega Sillo interviewed by Ben Dangl.

Shortly after the October 12th elections last year which granted President Evo Morales a third term in office with over 60 percent of the vote, I visited the government’s Vice Ministry of Decolonization. The Vice Ministry is first of its kind and a center for the administration’s efforts to recover Bolivia from what is seen by much of the country’s indigenous majority as 500 years of colonialism, imperialism and capitalism since the arrival of the Spanish.

The walls of the Vice Ministry’s offices were decorated with portraits of indigenous rebels Túpac Katari and Bartolina Sisa who fought against the colonial Spanish in 1781. I sat down to talk with Elisa Vega Sillo, the current Director of the Depatriarchalization Unit in the Vice Ministry of Decolonization, a former leader in the Bartolina Sisa indigenous campesina women’s movement, and a member of the Kallawaya indigenous nation. In the interview. Elisa spoke about the unique work of the Vice Ministry of Decolonization, the role of historical memory in the country’s radical politics, and the importance of decolonizing Bolivia’s history of indigenous resistance.

Ben Dangl: Could you please describe the type of work you do here in the Vice Ministry of decolonization?

Elisa Vega: We develop public policies against racism, against discrimination toward people with different abilities, the elderly, indigenous people. We also work on issues related to machismo and patriarchy. These are things we discuss and work on with young people, to help them question and raise awareness about these issues, because no one is questioning them… Another part of our work involves the issue of decolonization and the recuperation of our [indigenous] knowledge and skills.

…Read More