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Indigenous News Roundup
Fiji Military Halts All Meetings of Indigenous Chiefs
In Fiji, the military grip on power continues to tighten. Fiji's military regime took the unprecedented step Wednesday of halting all meetings of the nation's powerful council of indigenous chiefs — accusing it of failing to accept that the military now controls the affairs of the South Pacific nation. Military strongman Commodore Frank Bainimarama said while the indigenous Great Council of Chiefs had been allowed to meet despite the nationwide state of emergency in place, they "failed to understand the reality" on the ground." Bainimarama said, "I have …issued directions that as long as the state of emergency is in place, the GCC will not be allowed to sit unless the military gives it clearance to do so." Bainimarama's move was seen as a further tightening of his grip on power after he took over government on Dec 5th. He disbanded the Cabinet, banished Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase to his home island nearly 200 miles north of the capital, suspended Parliament and dismissed the president and vice president in an armed coup. He has since been embroiled in a struggle with the chiefs, who have challenged his authority to appoint himself as Fiji's president. The council now says it will adopt the role of observer, make no further statements and await further action of the military.

Navajo Nation Update
The Navajo blockade continues into its 17th day, where the Doodá Desert Rock Committee is resisting plans for a new coal-fired power plant proposed by the company Sithe Global Power and the Dine Power Authority. The resistors spent the holiday weekend huddled around a campfire standing their ground. Elouise Brown, President of the Doodá Desert Rock Committee in Burnham NM made an appeal on their website this weekend. She wrote:
Spending Christmas huddled around a campfire and protecting our land is not something that we, resisters, had originally planned. We are being watched by the police 24 hours/day and every time a vehicle comes by, they charge over and scare the elders and medicine people visiting the Resisters’ Vigil. But feeling the cold wind against our faces at this Doodá Desert Rock Vigil is not something that we regret. It is a time for us to continue standing up for what is right. The warriors of this vigil are the elders and, despite us telling them to go home and rest for a while, they will not leave. Their priority is to protect this area for all of its richness and its beauty. “For the grandchildren of the future, we protect this place.” is what Grandma Lucy says. The challenge for you is to help us in protecting our land and culture. Our Navajo Nation President has sold us out for pennies but we are not walking around with dollar signs stamped on our heads. No amount of coal and pollution can put a price on our livelihood. We are calling upon all native people, tribes and descendants to stand with us. Call, email, fax, write, and use whatever method to tell President Shirley that he needs to do what is culturally right by rejecting this project. Write to your senators, newspapers, television stations etc.
That is what Elouise Brown wrote, President of the Doodá Desert Rock Committee in Burnham, NM. You can get more information at

Okalahoma Centennial
The state of Oklahoma is preparing to celebrate its 100th birthday next year with parades, fireworks and festivals, but the grand celebration is also opening old wounds for some Native Americans. Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith recently wrote an editorial for two local newspapers reminding Oklahomans to remember all the state's history. Tribal leaders and academics say the centennial isn't a time for celebration because in 1907 Oklahoma became the 46th state through the dismantling of tribal territories. Those lands once were guaranteed to Native Americans nations by the U.S. government, but the promises were brushed aside as Western expansion caught fire. Years earlier, tribes were removed from their ancestral lands in the Southeast and relocated to what is now Oklahoma. The most egregious of these relocations occurred with the 1,000-mile Cherokee Trail of Tears. And now, scholars say, children are re-enacting homesteading land runs on school playgrounds without learning about what happened to make those events possible, as if the tribes disappeared in some sort of vacuum at the time of statehood. Chief Chad Smith said, "We should remind the general public that there were 39 governments here in place before the state of Oklahoma was established." The Cherokee Nation, which occupies 14 counties in northeastern Oklahoma, is the largest tribe in Oklahoma and the second largest in the U.S.

Festival of Resistance: Indigenous films, Poetry, Crafts & Music
We speak with Elvira and Hortencia Colorado, who are organizing the Festival of Resistance on January 1st at the Brecht Forum. It is being held in honor of the 13th anniversary of the Zapatista uprising. The Colorado sisters speak about the recent events in Oaxaco, the long resistance of teachers and indigenous peoples in the state, and the upcoming festival. They told us you can call (212) 431-1666 for more information on the festival.

Tribute to John Mohawk: Seneca Scholar and Indigenous Rights Activist
We play an excerpt of a speech that John Mohawk made last month in New York at the "Indigenous Peoples' Resistance to Economic Globalization: a Celebration of Victories, Rights and Cultures." This teach-in was sponsored on by the International Forum on Globalization and the Tebtebba Foundation. Mohawk was pronounced dead at his home in Buffalo on Dec. 12. He was a longtime professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo and wrote several important books and articles, including the classic ''Basic Call to Consciousness."