Sunday, March 05, 2006

Onondaga Land Rights Series Begins

Tadadaho Sid Hill and Clanmother Audrey Shenandoah of the Onondaga Nation spoke at Syracuse Stage on Monday, February 27th
photo by Iddybud

From Onondaga Land Rights - A Collaborative Educational Series by Frieda Jacques:
Tadadaho Sid Hill began speaking to the large crowd with our Thanksgiving address.

The address is an integral aspect of Haudenosaunee life. Therefore, Tadadaho Sid Hill translated his Onondaga speech into English to aid in the understanding of such powerful words. In this address, it reminds us that we are all a part of a very large circle. The Creator of all, the people, Mother Earth, the grasses and tress, the fruits and foods, the animals, the waters, the air, the winds and rains, moon, sun, and stars and are thanked for continuing their duties that support life for the people here on Mother Earth. It is our duty as people to help and ensure that our Mother Earth is healthy so that this great gift can continue for future generations.

Tadadaho explained that it has been a long process for the Nation to get to this point of filing a land rights action. That a major factor for beginning the lawsuit is the Nation believed that its voice needed to be heard in the role of cleaning up the pollution of our homelands. Sid continued on informing the attentive audience by saying that there has been wide support of our action and especially from communities in the Land Rights Action land base. Some of these communities have sought support from Onondaga in their efforts to clean up their own pollution sites.

Clanmother Audrey Shenandoah, eloquently thanked all for coming and also thanking the organizers for making time for our Thanksgiving address. For the address not only begins our meetings, but our ceremonies as well. At Onondaga, ceremonies are an important factor in our daily life. There continues to be a dedicated group of people who have kept our sacred ceremonies alive. She explained how this hasn’t always been easy at Onondaga. That there was a time when other cultures and religions organizations pressured the people to stop the ceremonies and the people were forced to continue our culture secretly.

Audrey Shenandoah stated that today times are different. The churches and the missions on the Nation support our traditional Onondaga government. This is evident with the support of the land rights action. Audrey Shenandoah remembers when she was young that the nation almost filed a similar case in the past. But it was explained that if the suit was settled, the Nation would receive a cash settlement but would end our title to the land. This was unacceptable to the people. That the Onondagas are the caretakers of the land and this is our mandate from the Creator to continue to do so.

Lecture series begins with thanksgiving message by Tadadaho Sidney Hill

Tadadaho Sidney Hill, the spiritual leader of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, opened the Onondaga Nation’s yearlong educational series tonight with the traditional thanksgiving address.

“We give thanks to the creator and everything he has given us,” Hill said. “We start each of our ceremonies with this address.”

Hill and Onondaga Clan Mother Audrey Shenandoah led the program, “Nation in Our Midst: Onondaga History, Culture and Spirituality,” before a crowded audience at Syracuse Stage. The event was the first in a series of lectures designed to help people understand the nation and its land-rights action.

“This night has been long in the planning,” said Philip Arnold, a member of the planning committee. “Our goal really is to bring together the Syracuse community and the Onondaga Nation to foster a greater understanding in light of recent events.”

The nation, which filed a land-rights action last spring, is collaborating with community groups, Syracuse University and the State University College of Environmental Science and Forestry to present the series.

“We are trying to educate people about our way and our way of thinking,” Shenandoah said. “Everyone here should pass on what they learn to those people who are apprehensive and have anxiety about what is going on.”

Shenandoah said the Onondaga Nation does not want to cause trouble for any of the people living in New York state.

“In our land-rights claim we have no intentions of causing any harm to the people of this land,” she said.’’It’s justice that we are seeking,” she said.

Hill and Shenandoah said the Onondaga Nation had been planning to file a claim for several decades but didn’t because the timing was never right.

“There were things going on around us that pushed us to do this now,” Hill said. “We were seeing everything that was going on in the world and the problems with the environment. There were talks about cleaning up the Onondaga Lake, and we thought that we should be a part of them.”

During tonight's address, Shenandoah spoke about the traditional history and culture of the Onondaga Nation.

“We are roughly 1,200 people, and more than half adhere to our traditional ways,” she said.

Shenandoah said the other half of the Onondaga people may worship in one of the nation’s five Christian churches or on churches off the nation’s land.

“No matter where they worship they still respect our traditional leadership and our traditional culture,” she said.

-- Sarah Moses

John Edwards Considering 2008 Run for President

John Edwards Considering 2008 Run for President

On today's Meet the Press, former Senator and 2004 VP candidate John Edwards of North Carolina stated that he was considering a run for US President in 2008.

Senator Edwards leads the list of most popular Democratic 2008 hopefuls in a poll of overall most popular US political leaders conducted by Quinnipiac University.
Four Democrats considered potential presidential candidates were also mentioned in the poll's top ten, led by Edwards.

A God-Awful Column by George Will

George Will writes today:
Edwards is roaming around, with 2008 in mind. His travels to more than 30 states have been organized around his interest in poverty.
The pure pessimist, Mr. Will says that he believes most Americans only see "economic injustice" from the selfish and narrow lens of their right to cheap gasoline. I know that Americans are more caring - and far less selfish - than that. Americans would respond positively to moral leadership - if they had any. The sad fact is that we haven't had moral leadership for quite some time in the United States.

Mr. Will appears helpless when he claims that he believes "no one knows how to stop" poverty, criticizing what he calls Edwards' reliance on a tired "1930s paradigm" for poverty resolution. Obviously, Mr. Will has not been paying close enough attention to the work of Senator Edwards. Having no illusions about the problems we face here in America, Senator Edwards is looking for straight-on solutions that fit our modern society. Mr. Will gives no credit to Senator Edwards for all the hard work he has done - especially with the young people across America whom he has inspired to become engaged in finding solutions to the alleviation of poverty in their own individual communities. While Senator Edwards commits himself to shaping the future, Mr. Will unfairly accuses the Senator of looking only to the past. Knowing what I know about Senator Edwards, that makes my blood boil.

Meanwhile, Mr. Will returns to an even more tired and more quickly-failed "new" paradigm - which involves an out-and-out blaming of the poor for who they are rather than who they should be and what could have been accomplished by now had the government done what Senator Edwards is striving to do in order to alleviate poverty from a moral, modern, progressive, and common-sense manner. Like many dull and "stuck" conservatives before him, Mr. Will takes the easy and politically lazy route of blaming the poor for their deficiency in punctuality, hygiene, industriousness, deferral of gratification In reality, the stupidity, stereotyping, and ignorance that surrounds such finger-pointing is being revealed as a failure of imagination and igenuity and a better solution is being researched and formulated by the great ideas of Senator Edwards and his Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina.

Mr. Will's uncreative column ends in a blur of jet-propelled criticisms regarding Senator Edwards' political aspirations. I found it to be a politically-motivated piece with no solution to Poverty other than the employment of naked blame of those who are most in need. Lacking creativity and objectivity, Mr. Will neglects to mention that programs intended to change all those traits he sterotypically throws around about the poor in America (they're late; they're dirty; they're lazy; they're morally deficient) were effectively wiped out by Bush's immoral budget proposal.

The blame-game is old; it's useless; it's for the dull-minded. I know George Will could have done better. I imagine he couldn't resist the chance to take a cheap shot. That's indicative of a character flaw, too - right up there with laziness - isn't it?

Tar Heel Tavern #54

Tar Heel Tavern #54

Tar Heel Tavern #54 is up at gingerrivers. The topic for this week is Grace. Don't miss the varied posts that reveal Grace in diverse faces and places.

NYT's Keller: Bush Admin Declaring War on Democracy

NYT's Keller: Bush Admin Declaring War on Democracy

"There's a tone of gleeful relish in the way they talk about dragging reporters before grand juries, their appetite for withholding information, and the hints that reporters who look too hard into the public's business risk being branded traitors," said New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller, in a statement responding to questions from The Washington Post. "I don't know how far action will follow rhetoric, but some days it sounds like the administration is declaring war at home on the values it professes to be promoting abroad." - WaPo
A strong statement from Bill Keller, who obviously sees this type of intimidating White House damage control as nothing but destructive to freedom of the press and the democratic fabric of this nation.

Army to Investigate Pat Tillman's Death

Army to Investigate Pat Tillman's Death

Although there have been various investigations already, the US Army will launch the first criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the 2004 death of Pat Tillman, "the former professional football player who was shot to death by fellow soldiers in Afghanistan in what previous Army reviews had concluded was an accidental shooting." [NYT/AP] This past November,'s Peter Daou had asked this question, after we learned about Mr. Tillman's real views on the war and politics [ie: Mr. Tillman had called the Iraq invasion "so f*cking illegal" and was an avid reader and fan of leftist Noam Chomsky]:
Now that we know more about his real views on Bush, Kerry, and war, is Pat Tillman considered a “moonbat” by the right, and is he now a liberal or a conservative hero? Or both?
My reply:
Pat Tillman's image as an American athlete-turned military volunteer was used with gleeful partisan craftsmanship by the Right - until the story of the circumstances of Pat's death was widely spread and the Tillman family's reactions and opinions came to light. Then the "Sunshine patriots" of the extreme rightwing, who will hold a soldier to angelic heights only when he and his family agree to their unspoken and undemocratic vow of silence, turned on their destruction machinery. "Pat Tillman could not have been a patriot," the extremists would say. I'd love to spit in the faces of any partisan who would raise a young man to heroic heights and then sully his good name when his political opinions come to light. I see Pat Tillman as a human being - a caring and patriotic American who believed in a vision of America as an indivisible nation. He was lifted to "hero" status by Americans who place a high cultural value on athletes and soldiers. I don't think it's probable that Pat gave too much weight to the divisive political elements that exist today when he decided to join the Military. I think he was moved by all that he'd seen. I think he wanted to put an end to the power of fear that terrorism held over his country. I think he was a brave young man. In 2004, long before the truth came out about Pat's political beliefs, I had written this about him:
The cause in which his country was engaged mattered more to Pat than the dull emptiness of greed. It mattered more to Pat than life.
If Pat was a hero, then all soldiers are heroes. They all risk the same thing - their lives - for their country.
According to the Washington Post, Mary Tillman has expressed deep frustration about what she calls a succession of "lies" she has been told about her son's death. She has said that she believes evidence of a crime has existed all along, and that the family's repeated calls for a criminal investigation were ignored until now. Like Mr. Tillman's parents, I am skeptical that this investigation will bring in any new evidence or revelation. It's a terribly embarrassing situation for the Army, and I'm sure it's painful for Mr. Tillman's family. My thoughts are especially with them at such a difficult time.

David Brooks Eager to See Our Security Sold to Dubai

David Brooks Eager to See Our Security Sold to Dubai

It's amazing how enthusiastic David Brooks is to see our Ports taken over by foreign investors who may have - for all we know - been involved in financing the terrorists that brought us 9/11. It's also intellectually dishonest - and pathetically political - for Brooks to say it's simply because we 'don't trust Arabs.' This past week, Rep. Bernie Sanders confronted those responsible in the Bush administration for checking out what should be such an obvious concern - and they couldn't say with any form of certainty that the Dubai company didn't have investors who've funded terrorism in their ranks. The biggest joke of all is that Brooks points to Democrats when the majority of Republicans are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Democrats on the Ports deal issue. One of Brooks' statements reeks of omission - and what is missing speaks volumes about Brooks' sheer denial of the reality surrounding the Bush administration's strong and constant Arab-nation-related fear-mongering statements since 9/11. (statement quoted below)

The Bush administration has scared American citizens shitless since the World Trade Center fell (while hypocritically allowing Sheikdom-tyrannies to thrive in places like Saudi Arabia). Brooks was perfectly supportive of the pre-emptive war against an Arab regime. He now falls back on "Bush's brand" as if Bush had never promoted mass fear of Arabs with his foreign policy and fear-loaded rhetoric of Arab nations that fund and harbor terrorists.
George Bush's brand was based on the premise that Arabs aren't very different from anybody else, and can be brought into the family of democratic nations.
Guess what, David Brooks? The inept neoconservative experiment in Iraq has been a failure and the only thing "spreading democracy" in the region has proven in the Middle East is that the Bush foreign policy has pushed just about every regional electorate toward the extremists. Arabs aren't different from anyone else - they vote for whom they trust. Thanks to the Bush administration, we've driven them straight to those who hate us most. So much for the "Bush brand."

Bush Has Empowered Iran

Bush Has Empowered Iran
..while demonizing them at every turn..

In the NYT editorial today, it's said that Thursday's nuclear deal with India would have been a bad idea at any time, but it was an especially bad idea now because it has undermined attempts to rein in Iran, whose nuclear program is progressing fast and unnerving both its neighbors and the West. From the article:
For all of the axis-of-evil rhetoric that has come out of the White House, the reality is that the Bush administration has done more to empower Iran than its most ambitious ayatollah could have dared to imagine.

Bush's Cut and Run Plan Revealed

Bush's Cut and Run Plan Revealed

Apparently, Bush tentatively plans to have cut and run from Iraq by about this time next year.