“Occupy Denver” Adopts Colorado AIM initiative on indigenous peoples’ rights!

From the American Indian Movement of Colorado:

In unanimous consensus, Occupy Denver endorsed the initiative by the American Indian Movement of Colorado on the rights of indigenous peoples (see entire document below). After an hour of discussion, Occupy Denver wholeheartedly supported the proposal at its evening General Assembly. The document was adopted just hours after Boston had accepted a similar, but much less detailed and less specific, proposal.

An Indigenous Platform Proposal for “Occupy Denver” from Colorado AIM:

“Now we put our minds together to see what kind of world we can create for the seventh generation yet to come.” – John Mohawk (1944-2006), Seneca Nation

As indigenous peoples, we welcome the awakening of those who are relatively new to our homeland. We are thankful, and rejoice, for the emergence of a movement that is mindful of its place in the environment, that seeks economic and social justice, that strives for an end to oppression in all its forms, that demands an adequate standard of food, employment, shelter and health care for all, and that calls for envisioning a new, respectful and honorable society. We have been waiting for 519 years for such a movement, ever since that fateful day in October, 1492 when a different worldview arrived – one of greed, hierarchy, destruction and genocide.

In observing the “Occupy Together” expansion, we are reminded that the territories of our indigenous nations have been “under occupation” for decades, if not centuries. We remind the occupants of this encampment in Denver that they are on the territories of the Cheyenne, Arapaho and Ute peoples. In the U.S., indigenous nations were the first targets of corporate/government oppression. The landmark case of Johnson v. McIntosh (1823), which institutionalized the “doctrine of discovery” in U.S. law, and which justified the theft of 2 billion acres of indigenous territory, established a framework of corrupt political/legal/corporate collusion that continues throughout indigenous America, to the present.

If this movement is serious about confronting the foundational assumptions of the current U.S. system, then it must begin by addressing the original crimes of the U.S. colonizing system against indigenous nations. Without addressing justice for indigenous peoples, there can never be a genuine movement for justice and equality in the United States. Toward that end, we challenge Occupy Denver to take the lead, and to be the first “Occupy” city to integrate into its philosophy, a set of values that respects the rights of indigenous peoples, and that recognizes the importance of employing indigenous visions and models in restoring environmental, social, cultural, economic and political health to our homeland.

We call on Occupy Denver to endorse, as a starting point, the following:

1. To repudiate the Doctrine of Christian Discovery, to endorse the repeal of the papal bull Inter Caetera (1493) to work for the reversal of the U.S. Supreme Court case of Johnson v. M’Intosh 1823), and call for a repeal of the Columbus Day holiday as a Colorado and United States holiday.

2. To endorse the right of all indigenous peoples to the international right of self-determination, by virtue of which they freely determine their political status, and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural futures.

3. To demand the recognition, observance and enforcement of all treaties and agreements freely entered into between indigenous nations and the United States. Treaties should be recognized as binding international instruments. Disputes should be recognized as a proper concern of international law, and should be arbitrated by impartial international bodies.

4. To insist that Indigenous people shall never be forcibly relocated from their lands or territories.

5. To acknowledge that Indigenous peoples have the right to practice and teach their spiritual and religious traditions customs and ceremonies, including in institutions of the State, e.g. prisons, jails and hospitals,, and to have access in privacy their religious and cultural sites, and the right to the repatriation of their human remains and funeral objects.

6. To recognize that Indigenous peoples and nations are entitled to the permanent control and enjoyment of their aboriginal-ancestral territories. This includes surface and subsurface rights, inland and coastal waters, renewable and non-renewable resources, and the economies based on these resources. In advancement of this position, to stand in solidarity with the Cree nations, whose territories are located in occupied northern Alberta, Canada, in their opposition to the Tar Sands development, the largest industrial project on earth. Further, to demand that President Barack Obama deny the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline, proposed to run from the tar sands in Canada into the United States, and that the United States prohibit the use or transportation of Tar Sands oil in the United States.

7. To assert that Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions. They have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions. Further, indigenous peoples have the right to the ownership and protection of their human biological and genetic materials, samples, and stewardship of non-human biological and genetic materials found in indigenous territories.

8. To recognize that the settler state boundaries in the Americas are colonial fabrications that should not limit or restrict the ability of indigenous peoples to travel freely, without inhibition or restriction, throughout the Americas. This is especially true for indigenous nations whose people and territories have been separated by the acts of settler states that established international borders without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples affected.

9. To demand that the United States shall take no adverse action regarding the territories, lands, resources or people of indigenous nations without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples affected.

10. To demand the immediate release of American Indian political prisoner, Leonard Peltier, U.S. Prisoner #89637-132, from U.S. federal custody.

Finally, we also remind Occupy Denver that indigenous histories, political, cultural, environmental, medical, spiritual and economic traditions provide rich examples for frameworks that can offer concrete models of alternatives to the current crises facing the United States. We request that Occupy Denver actively utilize and integrate indigenous perspectives, teachers, and voices in its deliberations and decision-making processes. Submitted 8 October 2011

American Indian Movement of Colorado
P.O. Box 292, Sedalia, CO 80135
colorado-aim.blogspot.com ; email: gtm303@gmail.com
www.transformcolumbusday.org (Also on Facebook)

“Occupy Wall Street” to Receive Indigenous Proposal Modeled After Colorado AIM’s

A proposal for presentation to the New York City “Occupy Wall Street” General Assembly regarding endorsement of Indigneous rights and a set of principles guiding their interaction with Indigenous peoples, communities and nations.

As you may already know, by consensus Occupy Denver endorsed the initiative by the American Indian Movement of Colorado on the rights of indigenous peoples. Owe Aku International Justice Project, in making this presentation, has borrowed liberally from the AIM Colorado proposal. Over the past week we have had important discussions on the language and, after review, this seems to be the most consensual document to date. It also covers nearly all the suggestions we have been collecting for inclusion in our presentation. We will do our best to make a concise, honorable and respectful presentation this evening at the “occupy wall street” event and hope that their General Assembly, too, will accept the proposal by consensus. (You can read the new proposal here.)

Wopila to everyone who has provided support and input over this past week. Wopila too, to all of the leaders who went to Washington to ensure that Indigenous opposition was once again voiced to the XL Pipeline. We are always spread thin, yet, with the help and prayers of our people and allies we seem to be able to make a small difference in our work for Mother Earth and future generations.

Kent Lebsock

Owe Aku International Justice Project
on the web at www.oweakuinternational.org

Occupy Asheville Passes Resolution in Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples:

The following resolution was passed by the Occupy Asheville General Assembly on October 9th, 2011 with assistance from Cante Tenza Okolakiciye – the Strong Heart Warrior Society of the Oglala Lakota Nation:


Those participating in “Occupy Asheville” assert the following understandings:

WE ACKNOWLEDGE the United States of America is a colonial country, and that we are guests upon stolen Indigenous land that has already been occupied for centuries, Asheville being the ancestral land of the Cherokee people; and

WE ACKNOWLEDGE members of the First Nations have continued to resist the violent oppression and exploitation of the colonizers since they first arrived on this continent, and as a result have a great amount of experience that could strengthen this movement; and

WE ACKNOWLEDGE First Nations people continue to assert their sovereign rights of land, language, lifeway, and culture under Natural Law; and

WE ACKNOWLEDGE after centuries of disregard for the welfare of future generations, and the consistent disrespect and exploitation of the Earth, we find ourselves on a polluted and disturbed planet, lacking the wisdom to love and honor the community of Life; therefore be it

WE ARE RESOLVED, to seek the consent and involvement of the First Nations in the rebuilding of a new society on their ancestral lands that honors our interconnectedness as well as Indigenous efforts to retain, protect, and revive their traditional cultures and lifeways; and

As a further signal to the national “Occupy” movement and to members of First Nations who have felt excluded by the colonialist language used to name this movement, it shall be declared that “Occupy Asheville” aspires to “Decolonize Asheville” with the guidance and participation of First Nations Peoples; and

Recognizing the interconnected nature of our lives, we extend an open hand of humility and friendship, and hereby invite members of the First Nations to join us in this popular uprising now taking place across this continent while at the same time standing in solidarity with the issues critical to their survival.

We wish to further the process of healing and reconciliation and implore Indigenous Peoples to share their understanding, experience, and guidance, as they see fit, so as to help us restore true freedom and democracy and initiate a new era of peace and cooperation that will work for everyone, including the Earth and the original inhabitants of this land; and

We hereby declare that Columbus Day should be referred to as “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.”

Occupy Austin’s Indigenous Struggle Solidarity Statement

Approved by the Occupy Austin General Assembly (7pm) on 10/8/11

Occupy Austin recognizes that the land now referred to as Austin, Texas is already occupied. It was stolen from the indigenous peoples, including the Tonkawa and Apache, in a genocide against indigenous peoples that continues to this day.

Before colonization, this land was the home to several truly sustainable cultures; cultures that were integrated into the land-base, cultures that did not have to worry about corporate influence on the political process. These cultures were destroyed and are being destroyed by the corporate state, starting with Columbus’ state-sponsored invasion of North America more than five hundred years ago. This invasion is not something to celebrate.

Occupy Austin recognizes that the injustice of colonization by the culture of the corporate state is a wrong that must ultimately be righted, and as such we stand in solidarity with the struggles of indigenous peoples in North America and all over the world.

Occupy Boston Declares Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples:

Boston, MA, October 10, 2011 – Occupy Boston ratified a statement of solidarity with indigenous peoples at the Saturday October 8­ General Assembly. Recognizing that “we are guests upon stolen indigenous land,” the memo declares the Occupation movement must honor the history and wisdom of Native Americans and resolves that Columbus Day henceforth be referred to as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. ­

The memo was drafted by a small working committee of the General Assembly and ratified by consensus after some deliberation. Boston thus became the first city in the broader “Occupation movement” to clearly declare its solidarity with indigenous peoples. Occupy Boston has released one other statement so far – an internal document prohibiting white supremacy, patriarchy, and several other forms of oppressive behavior within the camp (posted October 4 at www.occupyboston.com).

Drafters and supporters celebrated its ratification and see the resolution’s content as consistent with the values of Occupy Boston. Martin Dagoberto declared, “calling this movement an ‘occupation’ without recognizing the historical context of occupation excludes a long-marginalized segment of the 99% – native peoples. ” Referencing Native American critics of Occupy Wall Street, Dagoberto continued, “If we’re going to tap into the people power of the entire 99%, we need to avoid the same old systems of deeply ingrained oppression. In this way, we can ‘Decolonize’ this movement, and cast off the colonizer mindset at the root of the very crisis we face.”

“Decolonize Wall Street” has emerged as a critique of the Occupy Wall Street movement. As stated in the #decolonizewallstreet flier distributed over recent days in New York, “colonization continues to this day, with indigenous communities across the globe still under attack. To dismantle corporate greed and imagine a different world we must make connections between the histories of colonialism, genocide, capitalism, human trafficking, globalization, racism, imperialism, ecocide, patriarchy and so much more.”

Activists have been camped out in Boston’s Dewey Square in the heart of the city’s financial district since September 30. Boston is one of hundreds of occupations worldwide, sparked by Occupy Wall Street. Messages and motives vary, but all seem outraged at the fleecing of the silent majority– the 99% – by banks, corporations, and a government beholden to private financial interests rather than the good of the people.


2 responses to “#DecolonizeTogether

  1. YES! As one of the heirs of European “settlers”, I wholeheartedly support the rights of indigeneous natives of the Americas to have their demands honored, respected, and acted upon. We are all part of the 99% who are being disenfranchised, ignored, and robbed to kill “other people’s families” (Thom Hartmann – http://www.thomhartmann.com). We are being excluded from the discussions in almost every arena. WE The People all need to be included in the massive reform of our societies Worldwide! Thank you. JEC aka Poet

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