Diné included in U.S. apartheid report to UN

By Brenda Norrell, Special to the Times
Navajo Times, JANUARY 24, 2008

San Francisco – Navajo victims of coal mining and uranium mining are among the indigenous peoples included in a report on racism, forced assimilation and apartheid in the United States.

The “Consolidated Indigenous Shadow Report,” was released Jan. 16 by the International Indian Treaty Council. The report will be presented to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in February.

Dedicated to Floyd Red Crow Westerman, who passed away on Dec. 13, 2007, the report is compiled from the testimony of individuals and groups of indigenous peoples and includes data from a wide range of sources.

The data reveals “a system of apartheid and forced assimilation,” where indigenous peoples are “warehoused in poverty and neglect” in the United States.

Alberto Saldamando, IITC board president, and board member “Lenny Foster, Navajo, who contributed to the report regarding denials for freedom of religion for indigenous prisoners in the U.S., will present the report to the UN Committee in Geneva.

Western Shoshone and other organizations and nations will join Saldamando and Foster.

The data includes the overwhelming disparities in the income, life expectancy, poverty and unemployment between indigenous people and the population at large.

In the report, Abdelfattah Amor, the special rapporteur on religious intolerance, drew attention to the forced relocation of Navajos on Black Mesa and the United States’ refusal to take into consideration their spiritual practices.

There are over 1,000 abandoned uranium mines and mills on the Navajo Nation that have not been reclaimed. It has been over 50 years since the federal government or the corporations reaped millions of dollars in the mining and milling processes.

These contaminants pose a continuing health hazard to traditional Navajos who live in close proximity to these sites.

The report also mentions the 1970 tailings spill when United Nuclear Corporation’s Church Rock Mill near Gallup released 94 million gallons of wastewater into a wash that flows through reservation communities.

The report also includes the Jackpile Mine on the Laguna Pueblo Reservation, which is 2,000 feet from the Laguna village of Paguate, the effort by Western Shoshone to fight against the planned Yucca Mountain waste dump in Nevada, indigenous peoples who are protesting the 700-miles wall Homeland Security wants to build along the border with Mexico and the taking of the Black Hills in South Dakota, for which the Lakota have refused to accept money from the U.S.



Reprinted as an historical reference document under the Fair Use doctrine of international copyright law. http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html