Saturday, June 24, 2006

Breaking Bread

[I felt compelled to present this letter from Joel Bastedo to the Caledonia Citizens' Alliance, regarding residents of Caledonia and their physical attacks against Natives reoccupying their lands. Given that the media have popularized characterizations of Six Nations protesters as "terrorists," who should be dealt with in the same way as a foreign military force ("call in the army!"--presumably to ultimately shoot at peaceful civilians), that the United States' ATF was called in for surveillance (an ironic, voluntary surrender of Canadian sovereignty in an attempt to assert Canadian sovereignty), and condemnations of Natives acting as a "nation within a nation," Joel Bastedo's letter underscores the sad ironies underlying these positions. I thank him for his kind permission to reproduce his letter below.]

From: Joel Bastedo
Subject: Bread and Cheese day
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2006

Hello Citizens of Caledonia Webmaster,

I have heard that on Victoria Day, citizens of Caledonia threw bread and cheese at the Six Nations protesters, in reference to the Six Nations' custom of distributing bread and cheese in their May 24th celebrations. I certainly hope I'm misinformed. That day is used to commemorate the military service of Six Nations people in defense of the crown during the War of 1812-1814, and during the American Revolution. For that service, they were granted the land they occupy (and a good deal more), in much the same way as the white Loyalists in the rest of Ontario were granted the land they occupy as a reward for their loyalty (except that the whites were subjects of the crown, whereas the Six Nations were independent allies).

If the reports of this "bread and cheese fight" are true, then as your website predicts, the day may well live long in the history books as one of the grossest infamy conceivable, where white residents of Caledonia twisted the most enduring symbol of friendship and common cause between the Six Nations and white Canadians into an offensive and bitter memory for all....We can never undo those things, but I hope Caledonians will realize the extent of their offense and try to make amends.

In closing, I find it appalling that protesters from Caledonia were singing "Oh Canada" and waving their maple leaf flags as they protested against a group that did much to make the True North "strong and free." If I could send a message to Caledonians, it is that Canadians are sympathetic to their plight (being caught in the middle because of a negligent government is completely unfair, no question), but that we cannot support intolerance and hatred, no matter how provoked and warranted Caledonians believe those feelings to be. Please stop defiling Canada's national symbols.

Yours respectfully,

Joel Bastedo.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Garifuna Protest Disney, Anaheim, CA, June 24

Garifuna American Heritage Foundation United
Cheryl L. Noralez
Phone (562)366-9396
P.O. Box 10054
Long Beach, CA 90810

Press Release

June 20, 2006

Garifuna American Heritage Foundation United organizes a protest against the World Premiere of Walt Disney Pictures’ Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man’s Chest.

Long Beach, California – Tuesday, June 20 2006: GAHFU’s President and Founder Ms. Cheryl Noralez announced that on Saturday, June 24 2006 between the hours of 2:00 to 4:00 pm, her organization along with a group of concerned Garifuna leaders in the Los Angeles area will be protesting the premiere of Disney Pictures’ Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man’s Chest at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.

GAHFU, Inc. is a non-profit organization based in Long Beach, California. Our purpose is to preserve the uniqueness of the Garifuna culture, history, language, music, arts & crafts and values by working closely with the Garifuna community not only in Los Angeles County, but throughout the world. We seek to enhance and showcase the image and vision of the Garifuna people through education, music and the arts.

“It has been brought to our attention that the Walt Disney Company intends to film a movie called The Pirates of the Caribbean in which the Caribs or Calinago, the ancestors of the Garinagu (as we refer to ourselves in our language) are portrayed as cannibals.” These are the words of Michael Polonio, of the National Garifuna Council of Belize.

We believe that not only the Garifuna people have been wrongfully portrayed in the movie as cannibals but also other indigenous people of the Caribbean who are closely related to us as in the case of the Taino people; therefore, we have invited the Taino community in Los Angeles to participate and they have promptly accepted the invitation to stand united with the Garinagu.

We are inviting all of the indigenous people of the Caribbean to join us in this protest. The meeting place to protest will be at Harbor Blvd.’s front entrance of Disneyland in Anaheim, California starting at 1:30 pm. We strongly urge participants not to bring sticks, drums, shakers or anything that could be used as a weapon to the event. Also, teenagers are encouraged to come with their parents to join us for this peaceful protest.

“Eibugaba lidan ligemeri Inaruni - Walk in the light of truth “- James Lovell

Cheryl L. Noralez, President & Founder

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

"Canada" Opposes UN Draft Charter for Indigenous Peoples

The Government of "Canada" is determined to oppose the United Nations Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, joining other colonial powers also opposing the motion, such as the United States, Australia and New Zealand. "Canada's" opposition was announced in Parliament by Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Jim Prentice. Ironically, just a few short weeks ago, Phil Fontaine, the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, had praised Jim Prentice on CBC News as someone who was sensitive to the situation of aboriginal peoples in "Canada," as someone who was very knowledgeable, "someone we can work with"--comments made by Fontaine as he opposed the Six Nations protesters in Caledonia. Fontaine's reward for loyalty? Nothing.

More on this story appeared in CBC News online at:

Research Position Available: Essex, UK


in the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, University of Essex
The AHRC-funded project

'American Tropics: Towards a Literary Geography'

seeks a Senior Research Officer to play a full role in its development. Applicants will have a background in studies of the US South, the Caribbean, or Latin America. Further details about the project, and further particulars about the post, can be found at

Appointment to this full-time post, which will run from October 2006 to September 2010, will be made at £25,633 per annum. Application details may be obtained by telephoning Colchester (01206) 872462 (24 hours) quoting reference RE124, by writing to the Personnel Section, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester CO4 3SQ, or by visiting our website:

Closing date: 28 July 2006

Peter Hulme
Professor in Literature
Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
University of Essex
Colchester CO4 3SQUK
Telephone (office) +44 (0)1206 872608

American Tropics: Towards a Literary Geography

Upcoming Changes to the CAC

During the next few months the Carbbean Amerindian Centrelink will be undergoing several changes. The intention is to redesign the site (once again), not so much in graphic terms as in navigability and manageability. As a result, several of its current services will be deleted. The services to be deleted include:

The CAC Discussion Board and Chat Area
Free Hosting
Classified Ads
Free for All Links
Free E-Mail
CAC Users Survey
CAC Website Awards

The focus of the CAC will be on its Directory, The CAC Review, Issues in Caribbean Amerindian Studies, and resources for Research and Teaching. We are also planning some exciting new additions to the CAC's base of research information.

Most of these facilities have either been too under-utilized to merit continued management or they have become redundant through either disuse or the creation of alternative means of contact and discussion.

Should anyone be seriously inconvenienced by these changes, please contact Max Forte.

Six New Articles Published in KACIKE

I am very happy to announce the publication of the following articles in KACIKE: The Journal of Caribbean Amerindian History and Anthropology.

By Divaldo Gutiérrez Calvache, Rasco Fernández Ortega y José González Tendero

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Caribbean-American Heritage Month

[Thanks to CAC Editor Cheryl Noralez for forwarding both this information, and the news concerning the impending release of Pirates of the Caribbean (see post of June 17, 2006). We are reprinting this communique from the White House. No endorsement of the contents or the source of the statement is necessarily implied.]

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 5, 2006

Caribbean-American Heritage Month, 2006
A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

During Caribbean-American Heritage Month, we celebrate the great contributions of Caribbean Americans to the fabric of our Nation, and we pay tribute to the common culture and bonds of friendship that unite the United States and the Caribbean countries.

Our Nation has thrived as a country of immigrants, and we are more vibrant and hopeful because of the talent, faith, and values of Caribbean Americans. For centuries, Caribbean Americans have enriched our society and added to the strength of America. They have been leaders in government, sports, entertainment, the arts, and many other fields.

During the month of June, we also honor the friendship between the United States and the Caribbean countries. We are united by our common values and shared history, and I join all Americans in celebrating the rich Caribbean heritage and the many ways in which Caribbean Americans have helped shape this Nation.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2006 as Caribbean-American Heritage Month. I encourage all Americans to learn more about the history of Caribbean Americans and their contributions to our Nation.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirtieth.


The Reclamation of an Indigenous Continent

[This essay was authored and presented by Roberto Rodriguez of Column of the Americas. He has asked readers to please post this essay, to forward and disseminate it widely. If you would like to receive news from the Column directly, write to them at:]

JUNE 19, 2006


Along the U.S.-Mexico border, the body count continues to pile updaily. Meanwhile, the Minutemen patrol the U.S.-Mexico border and shameless politicians find it easy to denounce illegal immigration as the cause of all the nation's problems – including linking it with"the war on terror."Amidst all the clatter, the only views not being heard are the ones that matter most. Thus here, we bring you a truly historic column, featuring the views of those that have come before us to these lands: American Indians:

"The immigration issues are many and are so very complex; however, we cannot have a productive dialogue about anything when we begin theconversation, thinking it is 'us against them' or when the truth' is only half true or we only use rhetoric to back our claims. We can't resolve any of these complex issues if we label our neighbor as an'immigrant and not as a relative, friend or human being."
Nadine Tafoya
Mescalero Apache -Salt River Pima -Maricopa
"I feel that as Native Peoples of the Americas, we have the right to be anywhere on this continent as we have for generations. To hear people telling my relatives that they are 'illegal aliens and criminals and to get out of our own land is very disturbing!"
Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart, PhDPresident/Director, The Takini Network
"Indigenous peoples haven't known any borders. Colonial borders are new. It's ironic that essentially white men of privilege who created the category of white - that it is they who determine who gets permitted into our lands."
Winona LaDuke, founding director, White Earth Land Recovery Project
"From the point of view of the laws of the indigenous nations of North America, the Europeans are the original illegal immigrants in the area of North America. The United States… has, for more than 200 years, methodically and militarily violated indigenous law, and even solemn treaties, in order to take over and occupy the vast majority of the lands of Indigenous nations and peoples.… it is hypocritical in the extreme for the people of the United States to now pretend that it is a paragon of virtue, and a country that has always conducted itself on the basis of the rule of law."
Indian Law Scholar, Steven Newcomb
"The movement to try to force the Mexican people to learn the English language and the culture and traditions of America to stay in this country may not be totally successful. I can tell you from firsthand experience that when the federal government tried to strip me of my language and traditions, it did only a partial job, because of my resistance to being subdued. Today I am glad I have retained myculture, traditions and the Keres language, for that is where my heart and soul belong"
Katherine Augustine - Laguna Pueblo, retired nurse
"Too bad WE didn't think of insisting that European arrivals speak OUR language. We'd all be speaking Ojibwemowin right now."
Patty Loew, Assoc. Prof., UW-Madison
"In an important and emphatic way, the indigenous peoples of the Americas are reclaiming their continent, whether with the ballot, by boat, by air, or on foot. Let us call it repatriation on the march."
Shirley Hill Witt, Coauthor, El Indio Jesus
"The white supremacists masquerading as patriots are building a fence at the southern border to keep out the brown people. Notice that they aren't building a fence at the northern border… Recall too that the 9-11 terrorists were here legally, complete with freakin' flyernumbers. I'm for all the Native people to have cross-border privileges up and down our hemisphere, and would close the borders against all the peoples from other places who look down on us."
Suzan Shown Harjo - Cheyenne & Hodulgee Muscogee - Director, Morning Star Institute
"I suspect at least half those people coming across that southern border are indigenous peoples who have been directly or indirectly affected by anti-indigenous rights policies and U.S. lead neo-liberal free trade regimes often resulting in the privatization of land. I am concerned the U.S-Mexico border is becoming a war zone giving rise to old world colonial attitudes spawning white-lead vigilante militias with U.S. military support. Indigenous peoples of the U.S. and our tribal governments must demand border justice and not be used by the homeland security program of the U.S. to undermine the civil liberties of our indigenous peoples and mestizo brothers and sisters of theLatin American countries."
Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network
"The argument used by the Minute Men, that their mission is to keep terrorists out of the U.S., cannot be ignored: With terrorist training camps recently found just north of the U.S.-Canadian border, their mission makes little sense and gives weight to my belief that the Minuteman movement is clearly racist. So is the new U.S. policy to keep our southern relatives out by militarizing the border to the south. Not that troops are wanted on the northern border either, but why send 6,000 troops to the southern border when no terrorists ever have been detained there?"
JoKay Dowell, Quapaw-Peoria-Cherokee, OK Eagle and Condor Indigenous Peoples' Alliance
"Indigenous peoples are brothers and sisters, regardless of which sideof the line drawn in the desert sand they are from. Our historic relations pre-date any European conquest. Our 'free trade' was much less conflictual, and was on more of an equal basis. Corporate 'free trade' is the driving force behind American politics and international actions…. It continues to be, contradictory to the interests of humanity."
woliwon chi miigwech, Karen S., Ypsilanti
"Are 'immigrants' the appropriate designation for the indigenous peoples of North America, for enslaved Africans and for the original European settlers? No. Are 'immigrants' the appropriate designation for Mexicans who migrate for work to the United States? No. They are migrant workers crossing a border created by US military force. Many crossing that border now are also from Central America, from the small countries that were ravaged by US military intervention in the 1980s and who also have the right to make demands on the United States. So, let's stop saying 'this is a nation of immigrants.'"
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz – mixed-Cherokee activist, professor, writer
"False and violent borders have been imposed upon our many peoples and upon the landscape, dissecting our Mother Earth, our home continent, in two and attempting to sever our deep connection with the land, and with each other… We maintain our recognition and respect for all our Indigenous brothers and sisters of the Western Hemisphere, with whom we traded, learned from, loved and laughed with for millennia. We are Indigenous, of this place on Mother Earth, called Turtle Island, the Middle Place, Abya Yala and the Fourth World. And we remain bonded together forever, knowing ourselves as the K'iche and Karuk, Saraguro and Cheyenne, the Cherokee, Xicano and Chumash, we are all relations."
Tia Peters, Zuni, Seventh Generation Fund
"If America is a shining beacon of hope for legal immigrants perhaps the laws should be adjusted to make it a reality for the illegal immigrants. They also see America as a place where dreams can be lived. Ironically, most of the illegal immigrants are Indians, or Indios as they are known in Mexico, and in Central and South America. Most of their ancestors did not come over on the Mayflower or on the Spanish galleons. They were indigenous to the Western Hemisphere."
Tim Giago, president, Native American Journalists Foundation
"Americans can say, surely not with pride, that our country knows from centuries of personal experience how unchecked immigration devastates life and why it's an issue that deserves the best of our thinking and empathy. These are thoughts that cross some of our minds when we hear rhetoric about the so-called invasion of illegal immigrants (many of whom are -- gasp -- Indians) and calls to protect "our" land. If we smile in response, it's not so much out of agreement. We see a paybackcoming home to roost."
David House - mixed Cherokee/Scots-Irish, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
"It's never been clear to me why animosity exists toward today'si mmigrants, considering the founding fathers arrived as immigrants. Are today's anti-immigration voices afraid of a new Manifest Destiny?… Many Native prophecies foretell the demise of U.S. indigenous people from European invaders. But the stories also speak of a time when the land will be reclaimed by indigenous people.Perhaps the time has come.
Jodi Rave reports on Native issues for Lee Enterprises.
On Haudenosaunee citizenship & naturalization:
"Naturalization was not race-based as the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) granted citizenship to other ethnic groups. Once a person became a Haudenosaunee citizen they were expected to discard any previous connection to their birth nation. They had to speak an Iroquoian language, dress as Iroquois, contribute to the security of their host nation and provide for the well being of their new families and communities though a host of activities ranging from hunting, fishing, food preparation and home building. They took part in the elaborate ceremonies which defined Haudenosaunee spirituality and were given extensive instruction into the history, customs and beliefs of their new nation. In the end, the Haudenosaunee people expected the new citizen to undergo an almost complete transformation; physically, mentally and spiritually. This process worked extremely well… [it] secured our survival and provided for our prosperity"
Doug George-Kanentiio Mohawk writer
The Popul Vuh – one of the most important books ever written on this continent -- offers us a valuable lesson and roadmap about migration disputes. The volatile conflicts among the Maya finally ended when those who were new to the land accepted those who were here before them as their guides. In this spirit, we do the same. So too should the general public, Congress and the president.

Feel free to send your views to or 608-238-3161. You may also post them here.

The original bilingual columns are posted at:

Info regarding their Amoxtli San Ce Tojuan documentary and origins/migrations research can be found at: