Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Politics and Media Censorship -- by Natalie Hand



POLITICS and MEDIA CENSORSHIP

BY: NATALIE HAND
Censored News
As an investigate journalist, I follow controversial stories and often write about them, under the freedom of the press. I also follow a code of ethics in my reporting.
Investigative journalism requires me to intensely probe for the facts and ask pointed questions. Often, my stories expose political corruption so factual accuracy is paramount.
In August 2017, the Lakota Country Times newspaper published a story I reported of a woman being arrested in July, after a routine traffic stop revealed she was in possession of prescription narcotics not prescribed to her, multiple syringes and alcohol in an Oglala Sioux Tribal vehicle assigned to OST Treasurer Mason Big Crow.
The woman, identified as Big Crow's companion, was taken into custody on three outstanding warrants and issued a traffic citation.  She was released on a $5,000 cash bond the following day.
What made the story newsworthy, in my opinion, was that a tribal vehicle was involved in the arrest. 
The story went untouched for weeks, as people worked to conceal the arrest or to dismiss the fact that a tribal vehicle was involved. But I received a copy of the official police report from an anonymous source and reported the story based on that information. 
To be unbiased in my report, I contacted Big Crow for a comment on the case, which was featured in my story. The prosecutor in the case was terminated and the case against the woman was eventually dismissed. Big Crow received no reprimand for violating the Tribe's code on misuse of tribal property, according to a tribal government source.
Fast forward to the evening of February 15, 2018. I received a message from Connie Smith, the publisher of Lakota Country Times, informing me that she will no longer publish my stories. This message came the same day she had met with Big Crow over the newspaper's sharp drop in ad revenues. Additionally, LCT Editor Brandon Ecoffey is no longer with the publication as of last week.
The Lakota Country Times has held the title as the Tribe's "official legal newspaper" and a tribal resolution states that all advertising must go through that news outlet.
Smith informed me that the Tribe had stopped purchasing ad space and was no longer submitting meeting minutes in her publication.  I attributed this to the Tribe's launch of its own news publication last December, funded by General Fund monies under the Office of the Treasurer and managed by former LCT editor Karin Eagle, who is employed as the Treasurer's public relations person. But Smith insisted it was also due to my article on Big Crow.
Abuse of power in any situation is intolerable and can take many forms. Controlling the proverbial purse strings to suppress the truth is one example. Stripping a small, native-owned business of its ability to succeed is the punishment.
Suppressing information because it may be inconvenient or politically incorrect by government figure heads is media censorship.
The people's right to know what their government is doing is their undeniable right. Historically, native peoples worked collectively and selflessly.  Today, greed and power have consumed some.
My belief is that an in-depth investigation of an issue will expose facts to spur change. You cannot change what you refuse to confront.

Natalie Hand, of Shawnee/Creek heritage, is an activist and journalist that has resided on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for 23 years. She believes that there are many frontlines in the battle for justice.

SEATTLE Missing and Murdered Native Women Panel Discussion, March 3, 2018


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

ALBUQUERQUE UNM 'The Last Oil' Feb. 21 -- 23, 2018



Program
Wednesday, February 21Location5:00 pm – 8:00 pm at Keller Hall, Center for the Arts, UNM Main Campus (Building #62 on UNM Campus Map)
5:00 pm:                            Keller Hall—door opens
5:30 pm – 6:00 pm:        Welcome & Introduction
                                              Opening Prayer and Welcome to Our HomelandPetuuche Gilbert, Acoma
                                              Introduction – Subhankar Banerjee, convener
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm:        Multispecies Solidarity
                                             
Maria Williams
                                             David Solomon
                                             Allison Akootchook Warden
                Moderator:       Kymberly Pinder, Dean, College of Fine Arts, UNM                                            (Note: An evening with history, music, performance)
Thursday, February 22Location: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm at the Student Union Building (SUB) Ballroom C (Building #60 on UNM Campus Map)
                    5:30 pm – 7:45 pm at Keller Hall, Center for the Arts
8:30 am:                             SUB Ballroom C—door opens
9:00 am – 10:15 am:      Climate Breakdown?                                             Ken Tape
                                             David Gutzler
                Moderator:        William Pockman, Professor and Chair, Department of Biology, UNM
                                                                    (Note: Impacts of climate change in Alaska & the Southwest)
10:30 am – 12 noon:     Protecting the Sacred Place Where Life Begins                                             Sarah James
                                             Ken Whitten
                                             Vicki Clarke
                Moderator:       Michael Dax, Defenders of Wildlife, New Mexico
                                                                   (Note: On the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge)
12:15 pm – 1:45 pm:     Lunch
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm:        Rights of Nature
                                             
Nicole Whittington-Evans
                                             Debbie Miller
                                             Jeff Fair
                Moderator:       Mary Tsiongas, Associate Dean of Faculty, College of Fine Arts, UNM
                                                                   (Note: On environmental conservation, justice, law, and ethics)
3:45 pm – 5:00 pm:         Alaska and Beyond
                                             
Stephen Brown
                                             Finis Dunaway
               Moderator:        Joseph Cook, Professor, Department of Biology, UNM
                                                                   (Note: On transnational ecology and grassroots activism)
5:30 pm:                             Keller Hall, Center for the Arts—door opens
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm:         Next North
                                             
Julie Decker
                                             Brian Adams
                                             Marek Ranis
               Moderator:        Arif Khan, Director, UNM Art Museum
                                                                   (Note: On art, the North, and climate change)
Friday, February 23Location: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm at the Student Union Building (SUB) Ballroom C —
                    5:30 pm – 8:00 pm Woodward Lecture Hall  (Building #82 on UNM Campus Map)
8:30 am:                            SUB Ballroom C—door opens
9:00 am – 10:45 am:      Protecting Our Seas and Coastal Communities
                                            
Melanie Smith
                                            Rick Steiner
                                            Rosemary Ahtuangaruak
               Moderator:        Samuel Truett, Associate Professor, Department of History, UNM
                                                                   (Note: On marine ecology, environmental justice and indigenous rights—Bering, Beaufort, and the                                                                                                                                                     Chukchi Seas, and the federal proposed 5-yr offshore drilling plan and its impacts)
11:00 am – 12:45 pm:    Truth to Power                                             Joel Clement
                                             Pamela Miller
                                             Robert Thompson
               Moderator:        Traci Quinn, Curator of Education and Public Programs, UNM Art Museum
                                                                   (Note: On suppression of science, and intimidation, lies, myths, deception and broken promises)
1:00 pm – 4:30 pm:        Act Now!                      Led by:        Bernadette Demientieff
                                             Monica Scherer
                                                                    (Note: If you ever asked the question, “What can I do to help?”—register for this workshop on writing and organizing toward                                                                                                   becoming an activist; lunch will be provided for all; registration is required for this session.
                                                                                 —REGISTER BY FEB 16 to guarantee your lunch. To register, please email Traci Quinn at tmquinn@unm.edu)
5:30 pm:                             Woodward Lecture Hall—door opens
6:00 – 8:00 pm:                Rise of The Red Nation
                                            Melanie Yazzie
                                            Nick Estes
                                            Cheyenne Antonio
                                            Jennifer Marley
               Moderator:        Jennifer Nez Denetdale, Associate Professor, American Studies, UNM
                                                                   (Note: Diné-Pueblo solidarity to protect the Greater Chaco Canyon and Mni Wiconi: Water is Life)



No More Deaths Volunteer Indicted on Additional Felony Charge, Faces up to 20-Year Prison Sentence



Humanitarian Aid Worker Scott Warren indicted on additional felony charge, facing up to 20 year sentence
By No More Deaths
Censored News
A grand jury has indicted Scott Daniel Warren, a volunteer with the organization No More Deaths/No Más Muertes, with three felony charges: two counts of felony harboring and one charge of felony conspiracy. The maximum sentence for these charges is 20 years in prison.
The new conspiracy charge is notable, as conspiracy charges have been used by the government to scare and suppress social justice movements and target political dissidents. This case holds critical weight as the Trump administration targets immigrant rights leaders and those who stand with them nationwide. 
No More Deaths is committed to resisting this troubling trend in enforcement and continue our work of ending death and suffering in the borderlands.
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Scott Warren's arrest came after No More Deaths released a second report exposing U.S. Border Patrol agents destroying life saving water and blankets for migrants in the desert, on the Arizona border

Watch Video of US Border Patrol Agent Destroying Life Saving Water for Migrants on Arizona Border -- Call U.S. Border Patrol with Complaints
"This video evidence of US Border Patrol agents participating in the destruction and confiscation of aid supplies takes place over a seven year period, from 2010-2017. They include destruction of water, and confiscation of blankets. This demonstrates a routine practice of destruction of aid supplies. No More Deaths demands an immediate end to the destruction and confiscation of humanitarian aid supplies. No known disciplinary action has been taken against any agents. We demand that the Border Patrol institute a formal policy prohibiting the destruction of humanitarian aid supplies, and make this act a fireable offense. Call the Tucson Sector Border Patrol at 520-748-3000 and ask to leave a message for Deputy Chief Raleigh Leonard or Division Chief Tom Martin." -- No More Deaths