Dear Treaty Council Elders and Advocates,
As some of you might know, for the past 18 months I have been caring for one of my sons who has a terminal illness, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. It is a vary rare disease in men and I am sure it has been caused by the radioactive pollution in the water on the Pine Ridge Reservation although the doctors are not sure what causes this terrible disease. However, it has not stopped the work of getting the Treaty enforced at the International level. That is always on my mind, and one of the things I know is that we need to constantly educate the public about the 1868 Treaty and the current illegal trespass into our Treaty territory. We need to educate the public not just internationally, although that is where our help will come, but nationally and locally as well. That is where your actions come in, especially educating our own people. This is a small report on some of my activities toward that end.
United Nations First, the United States has withdrawn from the United Nations Human Rights Council. That has no effect on us as we will still pursue that avenue with the UN Human Rights Council as well as the UN Decolonization Committee. The other organizations within the UN that deal with Indigenous Issues cannot work on Treaty concerns so these are the two bodies where we need to place our efforts. We continue to approach the UN as a nation, not an organization.
Secondly, a group of our allies in Geneva raised enough funds (six thousand francs) to have the book, “Indigenous Nations Rights in the Balance”, translated into Spanish. (It is already in Italian.) Our English speaking allies from Canada, Australia, and Europe know that the more people that read that book, the greater understanding there will be of the nationness of all Indigenous nations, and specifically the plight we have of our nation disappearing without International help. It also exposes the continued efforts at the International level of the oppression of all Indigenous nations and peoples, and especially us. Our little book is a great eyeopener at all levels.
I cannot express enough my gratitude to our allies who are doing this. They are also looking for publishers in Central and South America so the information can spread to all Indigenous nations and people in the western hemisphere. In many of the Central and South American countries, even though they were colonized by the Spanish, there are Indigenous men and women at high government levels, including in the UN and the Organization of American States. Once they are aware of our plight, hopefully through this book and other efforts, we will have more help being listed with the Decolonization Committee. If any of you wish a copy of the book, “Indigenous Nations Rights in the Balance”, please let me know.
Interviews In this effort to increase the awareness and educate people about our Treaty, I participate in meetings or interviews about Uranium in our Treaty territory, our land, resources, and human rights violations. The following are a few of such efforts.
Meeting in Arizona On April 28, I gave a presentation at a conference about the effects of radiation in Navajo territory, and was asked to explain what has happened with us in our Treaty Territory. It was organized by Dr. Tommy Rock, Ph. D. in Environmental Science, who is trying to receive funding to conduct research on the pollution in the Missouri River. This kind of meeting not only educates more people about our Treaty issue but also about the human rights violations we endure and builds more allies.
[One of Defenders’ last projects is Clean Up The Mines in which we are working with Navajo environmentalists to get out the word about all the 15,000+ abandoned Uranium mines in the United Sates. For more information go to www.cleanupthemines.org We are currently looking for funds to increase our efforts as the pollution from these abandoned mines hurt everything and everyone.]
Meeting in New Hampshire I will be attending a Peace and Action meeting in New Hampshire the first weekend in October to give a presentation regarding militarization and Indigenous people. It will be a chance to talk about the Bombing Area on the Pine Ridge Reservation and the displacement of 110 families when the U.S. had no business in our Treaty Territory. Hopefully the 9-minute film, “Uranium Mining in the Northern Great Plains” can also be shown as it has the Treaty map and leads into today and what is happening to our nation. The film is also on the website listed above.
Documentary on Land and Resources Recently, a French film maker, Patrick Morell, completed a video interview with me regarding our land and resources within our Treaty territory. He also interviewed others particularly about the pollution. As soon as his film is finished, which will be a few months, I will let you know. This can be another resource to educate people. If it can be translated into French, this could be a resource to present in Africa as many of the Indigenous nations there were colonized by France.
Screenplay – Six Boys A couple years ago, a good friend, Crystal Zevon, came to help me while I was recovering from the injuries received in the car accident. While she was here, she took me to the Sioux San hospital. There is a large picture in the lobby of some of the children who were in the Rapid City Indian School. Both sets of my grandparents were children at the Indian School and I told her the story about the six boys who ran away trying to reach their families on the Pine Ridge Reservation. It is a story I heard all my life as the only healthy survivor who reached adulthood was one of my grandma’s brothers. We are now converting that story into a screenplay and, of course, will bring out the Treaty issue. Hopefully, someday it can become a movie. There are all kinds of ways that we can keep educating and reminding people that we still have a treaty that needs to be upheld and enforced.
Skit and Ancient Laws Reminder This is just to remind everyone that we still have that skit, “To Colonize or Decolonize, That is the Question”. I don’t do Facebook or Youtube, but it would be a great skit to put on there. Also, the booklet, “The Ancient Laws of the Oceti Sakowin” has been edited with new information added. Let me know if you would like a copy, and help with postage would be appreciated.
Presentation at St. Francis Indian School A series of lectures once a month, on Mondays, entitled “Decolonizing Native Education” will be held at St. Francis Indian School on the Rosebud Reservation. I will be speaking on Nov. 26, 2018, from 12:00 – 12:50 pm on “The International Work of the Sioux Nation Treaty Council established in 1894.” For more information contact Dr. Edward Valandra at 605-747-2299.
Sometimes people get discouraged and say to me, “The Treaty is dead. Why do you keep doing this?” I tell them, I am only a messenger and I give people and governments the opportunity to do what is right. That is my job. The choice and the consequences of that choice are theirs. Each of us, when we talk about the Treaty, give others the opportunity to learn and make a choice to help right a terrible wrong that was done, and continues to be imposed on our nation. More importantly, it is a spiritual choice. Wopila tanka to all those elders who gave me this opportunity.
Submitted with respect,
Zumila wobaga - Charmaine White Face, Spokesperson