Tag Archives: Arizona

5/5/2012 Common Dreams UN: US Must Return Stolen Land to Native Americans UN wraps up 'contentious study' of Native American communities

5/5/2012 Published on Saturday, May 5, 2012 by Common Dreams United Nations: US Must Return Stolen Land to Native Americans UN wraps up ‘contentious study’ of Native American communities – Common Dreams staff In an investigation monitoring ongoing discrimination against Native Americans, the United Nations has requested that the US government return some of the stolen land back to Native Americans, as a necessary move towards combating systemic racial discrimination. James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, “said that in nearly two weeks of visiting Indian reservations, indigenous communities in Alaska and Hawaii, and Native Americans now living in cities, he encountered people who suffered a history of dispossession of their lands and resources, the breakdown of their societies and ‘numerous instances of outright brutality, all grounded on racial discrimination,'” the Guardian reports.

“You can see they’re in a somewhat precarious situation in terms of their basic existence and the stability of their communities given that precarious land tenure situation. It’s not like they have large fisheries as a resource base to sustain them. In basic economic terms it’s a very difficult situation. You have upwards of 70% unemployment on the reservation and all kinds of social ills accompanying that. Very tough conditions,” Anaya stated.

“I’m talking about restoring to indigenous peoples what obviously they’re entitled to and they have a legitimate claim to in a way that is not divisive but restorative. That’s the idea behind reconciliation.”

11/5/2011 Zarbin: Tribes have role in Ariz.'s water future Indian – Tribes have unfair advantage in Ariz.'s water future

11/5/2011 The Arizona Republic: Zarbin: Tribes have role in Ariz.’s water future Indian – Tribes have unfair advantage in Ariz.’s water future: Indian tribes are expected to play significant roles in central Arizona’s water future, but they get little recognition of this in the media. For instance, in the past two months, The Arizona Republic has printed columns about two new institutional reports about central Arizona’s water future, but neither article mentioned Indian tribes, much less explained the part they play in the coming drama. In “Watering the Sun Corridor: Managing Choices in Arizona’s Megapolitan Area,” issued by the Morrison Institute at Arizona State University, several hundred words are spent on the Indians, including the possibility that tribes will use 500,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water imported through the Central Arizona Project for agriculture instead of leasing it to cities for people to use.

“This policy choice,” wrote chief Sun Corridor author Grady Gammage Jr., “might be made by central Arizona’s tribal communities. At an average use of 150 GPCD (gallons per capita daily), that’s 2.9 million fewer people to be accommodated.”

If, as Gammage stated in The Republic Aug. 21 (Viewpoints), “the Sun Corridor … watering system can likely support about 9.5 million people at current rates of consumption — but to do that will require virtually eliminating commercial agriculture,” and Indian tribes make a “policy choice” to continue commercial agriculture, what do those 2.9 million people do for water?

Indeed, how did central Arizona Indian reservations come to be in the position of one day being able to decide whether they prefer to farm or to continue to lease water to cities so that 2.9 million urbanites in the Sun Corridor will have water?

Today’s Sun Corridor residents, as well as those in the generations to come, deserve to have a clear understanding of how and why a considerable portion of their water future came to be put into the hands of Indians and what, if anything, could or should be done about it.

The story of how this came about is much too complicated and lengthy to be told in this brief commentary, but an inkling of what is involved may begin to emerge by understanding that less than 5 percent of the state’s 2010 population of 6,392,017 living on Indian reservations control a little more than 51 percent of Arizona’s yearly Colorado River water-surface supply of 2,800,000 acre-feet.

(Gammage pointed out that an acre-foot of water, 325,851 gallons, is “enough to support about five people per year, not including agriculture, mining and other industry.”)

The 51 percent of the state’s Colorado River water controlled by Indian tribes includes almost 46 percent, 650,724 acre-feet, of the water brought from the Colorado River to the Sun Corridor counties of Maricopa, Pinal and Pima by the Central Arizona Project.

Just two of these tribal groups, with one-third of 1 percent of the state’s 2010 population, have been given almost 1 million acre-feet of Arizona’s yearly Colorado River water entitlement. The tribal groups are the Gila River Indian Community, whose reservation abuts metropolitan Phoenix on the south, and the Colorado River Indian Tribes, along the Colorado River.

With about 19,000 residents, the two reservations have 974,202 acre-feet of Colorado River water. The Gila River Reservation is entitled to 311,800 acre-feet and the Colorado River Reservation 662,402 acre-feet.

This seems excessive to this observer, but, then, what does he understand of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which provides for “the equal protection of the laws.” As George Orwell wrote in “Animal Farm,” “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

The second institutional study, “Arizona at the Crossroads: Water Scarcity or Water Sustainability,” provided by the Grand Canyon Institute and reported in The Republic Oct. 3, doesn’t even mention Indian involvement.

What are Arizonans of the future, or today for that matter, to think about the unfair distribution of Arizona’s Colorado River water and the fact that Indian tribes can so drastically impact the off-reservation water picture?

But, then, maybe we aren’t expected to think or to be concerned and are simply to ignore that non-Indians have not been treated alike.

Earl Zarbin, a retired reporter and editor for The Republic, is the author of six history books, four of them about Arizona water.

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/opinions/articles/2011/11/04/20111104zarbin05-tribes-role-arizs-water-future.html#ixzz1dvKhCn1W

5/3/2011 Indian Country Today: USDA Rules Changes Could Affect San Francisco Peaks’ Wastewater Ruling

5/3/2011 Indian Country Today By ICTMN Staff: USDA Rules Changes Could Affect San Francisco Peaks’ Wastewater Ruling: For years, American Indians have been working to get consideration paid to sacred sites. Now, in the wake of U.S. approval of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, it seems that at least some government agencies are listening.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service is revising its policy on sacred Native sites that lie on U.S. Forest Service lands, and as part of the retooling process has held a series of listening sessions with American Indian leaders and tribe members this year. Now officials are preparing a document for comment in June, and will send out the final draft by November 2011.


“We need your help to examine the effectiveness of existing laws and regulations as well as recommendations for future policy or guidelines that will ensure a consistent level of sacred site protection that is more acceptable to tribes,” the USDA Office of Tribal Relations wrote to leaders in November 2010, when the process began.

What they’re trying to do is make changes that better protect sacred sites, said Rodney Tahe, Navajo, a policy analyst with the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission (NNHRC).

“It’s progress,” said Tahe. “We’ll see what comes out of it. Right now we’re just waiting for them to draft the report.”

Any rules changes—it’s up to USDA head Tom Vilsack to say yay or nay—could have major implications for the San Francisco Peaks outside Flagstaff, Arizona, which came up in the discussions, Tahe said. A controversial plan to make snow out of reconstituted wastewater for skiing has been permitted so far, but new USDA rules could cancel that out, he said, since the peaks fall under USDA jurisdiction.

“If you reverse the decision about approved wastewater usage on Dook’o’osliid (San Francisco Peaks), then these listening session will have made an impact,” said Chief Duane “Chili” Yazzie at the last hearing, according to a Navajo Nation statement.

In St. Michaels, Arizona, on March 16 about 80 people, plus NNHRC members, attended the final day of the listening sessions at the Shiprock Chapter House on the Navajo Nation, the statement said. About 40 attended the meeting at the Coalmine Canyon Chapter House near Tuba City, and 50 the one at the Navajo Nation Museum.

More information is available from the USDA’s Office of Tribal Relations.

Forgotten People pull out of Navajo Generating Station (NGS) EN3 meetings

http://en3pro.com/ Forgotten People pull out Friday, March 18th, 2011: Forgotten People decided after much thought and discussion to join all the grassroots and environmental organizations pulling out of the NGS EN3 process. Instead, we will all spend Friday, March 25th together to discuss our next steps to ensure US EPA Clean Air, BART compliance and a transition to renewable energy. Forgotten People does not want to be used as a “checklist” for community input to stall US EPA BART regulations. As directly affected people we see NO real timeline for a transition to renewable energy on the table, NO serious community input in your processes, no series of community tours to allow real input, NO response to our United Nations case submitted 3/1/2011 for the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation…

From the beginning of our participation in this process, we have clearly stated our goal and objective for a transition time line to clean energy.

Unfortunately what we see is a process that seeks to keep the NGS running and stall US EPA Clean Air regs. What the NGS owners and stakeholders will miss seeing first hand on a community tour is significant: Coal dust over Black Mesa, desecrated cemeteries, burial and sacred site desecration, open graves marked by archeologists stakes, people who do not know where their family members are buried in areas that were mined, dismantled wells, water sources degraded and diminished like sacred Sagebrush Spring, people living without electricity and piped water, and impassable, ungraded dirt roads that Peabody refused to grade under a Navajo Nation State of Emergency. It is for these reasons that the people cannot afford to be used to keep the NGS operating. We strongly believe the time for burning fossil fuels is coming to an end and it is time to consider the health of the people and the environment.

Please check out Forgotten People’s case submitted to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on 3/1/2011.

scribd.com Scribd.com Scribd is the world’s largest social reading and publishing site.

Please check out Forgotten People’s PowerPoint Presentation on the NGS website: Forgotten People and NGS – Securing Economic & Climate Justice

Forgotten People NGS PowerPoint Presentation link.

Please check out the US EPA News Release: EPA Proposes First National Standard for Mercury Pollution from Power Plants / Mercury and air toxics standards represent one of strongest health protections from air pollution since passage of Clean Air Act

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Category: NGS Project
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