Monday, March 13, 2006

SUPRISE! U.S. in Violation of Anti-Descrimination Treaty

There's a saying among students of the past that history doesn't repeat itself, but that it often rhymes. Take for example the case of the Western Shoshone, whose scenic tribal lands are threatened by U.S. Government plans to privatize them. The U.S., many will remember, has a long history of reniging on treaties made with American Indian groups. In this case, the Feds, who are charged as "trustees" of Western Shoshone lands want to cash in on some of the mineral wealth there.

Sound messed up to you? Well a recent decision by the United Nation Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) thinks so. The decision condemns federal privatization attempts as violations of an international anti-discrimination treaty.

Response from members of the Western Shoshone Delegation:

We have rights to protect our homelands and stop the destruction of our land, water, and air by the abuses of the United States government and the multinational corporations. The situation is outrageous and we’re glad the United Nations Committee agrees with us. Our people have suffered more nuclear testing than anywhere else in the world and they’re continuing underground testing despite our protests. Yucca Mountain is being hollowed out in order to store nuclear waste. We cannot stand for it – this earth, the air, the water are sacred. People of all races must stop this insanity now in order to secure a safe future for all. - Joe Kennedy, Western Shoshone.

“We are Shoshone delegates speaking for a Nation threatened by extinction. The mines are polluting our waters, destroying hot springs and exploding sacred mountains—our burials along with them--attempting to erase our signature on the land. We are coerced and threatened by mining and Federal agencies when we seek to continue spiritual prayers for traditional food or medicine on Shoshone land. We have endured murder of our Newe people for centuries, as chronicled in military records, but now we are asked to endure a more painful death from the U.S. governmental agencies —a separation from land and spiritual renewal. We thank our past leaders for their persistence and courage and the CERD for this monumental step - Bernice Lalo, Western Shoshone.

Thanks to Paula Massouh for bringing this development to the attention of RUFNKM.

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