3 July 2007
The United States Social Forum (USSF) has taken up the issue of indigenous rights, as part of an evaluation of how civil society treats marginalized groups or deals with hardships they experience as a result of prevailing socio-economic conditions. The forum connects the issue of indigenous rights with the interests of other marginal groups struggling to resolve chronic social disadvantages, such as immigrants, homosexuals and political dissidents.
Jule Fieshel, of the Western Shoshone Defence Project, said in an address on "Indigenous Voices", that "Indigenous rights are the foundation of human rights in this country and we have to come to terms with that". The idea is that the society as a whole must function in harmony among its distinct parts in order to ahieve harmony in its broader aspirations.
Patty Grant-Long, of the Cherokee tribe's Eastern Band, mentions the problem of cultural legacy and personal identity. She attended native-American boarding schools, organized by the government, in which students were forced to give up their identities, distance themselves from native names and language, family traditions, and community aspirations.
This type of "assimilation" is considered counter-productive, because it robs individuals of their own frame of reference, which can perfectly well function as a base for assimilation into a larger, multicultural environment. Lacking that personal frame of reference, the individual is more defenseless in situations that require the community or familial base that most social actors take for granted.
A group known as the Aloha Anina Society is pushing for the demilitarization of Hawai'i, saying the state's indigenous population is still struggling with a kind of cultural occupation. Many groups present were hoping to promote the idea that acceptance of the diverse cultural and social traditions of indigenous peoples could help the broader US society function in a healthier more integrated way, with the benefit of long-term thinking and greater possibilities for real cooperation.
APN reports "Faith Gemmill of the REDOIL Network in Alaska said 95 percent of indigenous land there is open for oil and gas mining". Enei Begaye, representing the Black Mesa Water Coalition, a Hopi-Navajo collective, told those gathered "Our Mother Earth is not for sale". Black Mesa is working to protect land sacred to indigenous peoples from industrial development for natural resource extraction. [s]
BUSH, SENATE LEADERS REACH AGREEMENT ON LANGUAGE FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM BILL
After more than a year of intense debate and heated opposition, a bipartisan group of senators have reportedly reached an agreement with the White House on language that would allow passage and signing for sweeping immigration reform legislation. The bill would give legal status to an estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants, and would create a new merit-based system for approving visa applications. [Full Story]
Before his party reached any agreement on proposed immigration policy reform legislation, Pres. George W. Bush yesterday signed a new law imposing harsh restrictions at US border crossings, establishing 700 miles of fencing to be patrolled by military, border guards, dogs, and drones. [Full Story]
BUSH PRESENTA CINCO PUNTOS A FAVOR DE LA REFORMA MIGRATORIA
Anoche, George W. Bush presentó desde su despacho en la Casa Blanca, un plan de cinco puntos claves para una "reforma comprensiva" de la política migratoria de Estados Unidos. El plan incluye despachar 6 mil soldados de la Guardia Nacional a la frontera con México y un carnet biométrico para los inmigrantes, pero también moderó su retórica, recordando que "todo ser humano tiene valor y dignidad, a pesar del estatus de sus papeles de ciudadanía." [Texto completo]