Occupy Denver endorses Colorado American Indian Movement's indigenous proposal

glennmorris.jpg
Glenn Morris.
Saturday had the potential for seeing a collision course of parades and protests: While the annual Columbus Day Parade was gearing up downtown, the anti-Columbus Day protesters were gathering outside the Capitol, right by Occupy Denver. And Occupy Denver was planning its own march through downtown at noon, right as the parade, and the protests it eternally inspires, wound down.

But somehow, it all came off without a hitch... or an arrest.

And Glenn Morris, the University of Colorado Denver associate professor who's in the forefront of the Columbus Day protests, was back at the Capitol with fellow Colorado American Indian Movement members on Sunday, to meet with reps of Occupy Denver and ask them to sign on to AIM's platform.

Many Occupy Denver members "did participate with us in our protest of the Columbus Hate Speech Parade," Morris reports, "and many of them came to the Four Winds American Indian Center to share a meal with us" on Saturday. And after an hour of discussion and debate, he says, the Occupy Denver General Assembly unanimously endorsed the Colorado AIM-initiated indigenous proposal.

Here it is:

An Indigenous Platform Proposal for "Occupy Denver"

"Now we put our minds together to see what kind of world we can create for
the seventh generation yet to come." --John Mohawk (1944-2006), Seneca Nation

As indigenous peoples, we welcome the awakening of those who are relatively new to our homeland. We are thankful, and rejoice, for the emergence of a movement that is mindful of its place in the environment, that seeks economic and social justice, that strives for an end to oppression in all its forms, that demands an adequate standard of food, employment, shelter and health care for all, and that calls for envisioning a new, respectful and honorable society. We have been waiting for 519 years for such a movement, ever since that fateful day in October, 1492 when a different worldview arrived - one of greed, hierarchy, destruction and genocide.

In observing the "Occupy Together" expansion, we are reminded that the territories of our indigenous nations have been "under occupation" for decades, if not centuries. We remind the occupants of this encampment in Denver that they are on the territories of the Cheyenne, Arapaho and Ute peoples. In the U.S., indigenous nations were the first targets of corporate/government oppression. The landmark case of Johnson v. McIntosh (1823), which institutionalized the "doctrine of discovery" in U.S. law, and which justified the theft of 2 billion acres of indigenous territory, established a framework of corrupt political/legal/corporate collusion that continues throughout indigenous America, to the present.

If this movement is serious about confronting the foundational assumptions of the current U.S. system, then it must begin by addressing the original crimes of the U.S. colonizing system against indigenous nations. Without addressing justice for indigenous peoples, there can never be a genuine movement for justice and equality in the United States. Toward that end, we challenge Occupy Denver to take the lead, and to be the first "Occupy" city to integrate into its philosophy, a set of values that respects the rights of indigenous peoples, and that recognizes the importance of employing indigenous visions and models in restoring environmental, social, cultural, economic and political health to our homeland.

We call on Occupy Denver to adopt, as a starting point, the following:

1.To repudiate the Doctrine of Christian Discovery, to endorse the repeal of the papal bull Inter Caetera (1493) to work for the reversal of the U.S. Supreme Court case of Johnson v. M'Intosh 1823), and call for a repeal of the Columbus Day holiday as a Colorado and United States holiday.

2.To endorse the right of all indigenous peoples to the international right of self-determination, by virtue of which they freely determine their political status, and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural futures.

3.To demand the recognition, observance and enforcement of all treaties and agreements freely entered into `between indigenous nations and the United States. Treaties should be recognized as binding international instruments. Disputes should be recognized as a proper concern of international law, and should be arbitrated by impartial international bodies.

4.To insist that Indigenous people shall never be forcibly relocated from their lands or territories.

5.To acknowledge that Indigenous peoples have the right to practice and teach their spiritual and religious traditions customs and ceremonies, including in institutions of the State, e.g. prisons, jails and hospitals,, and to have access in privacy their religious and cultural sites, and the right to the repatriation of their human remains and funeral objects.

6.To recognize that Indigenous peoples and nations are entitled to the permanent control and enjoyment of their aboriginal-ancestral territories. This includes surface and subsurface rights, inland and coastal waters, renewable and non-renewable resources, and the economies based on these resources. In advancement of this position, to stand in solidarity with the Cree nations, whose territories are located in occupied northern Alberta, Canada, in their opposition to the Tar Sands development, the largest industrial project on earth. Further, to demand that President BarackObama deny the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline, proposed to run from the tar sands in Canada into the United States, and that the United States prohibit the use or transportation of Tar Sands oil in the United States.

7.To assert that Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions. They have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions.Further, indigenous peoples have the right to the ownership and protection of their human biological and genetic materials, samples, and stewardship of non-human biological and genetic materials found in indigenous territories.

8.To recognize that the settler state boundaries in the Americas are colonial fabrications that should not limit or restrict the ability of indigenous peoples to travel freely, without inhibition or restriction, throughout the Americas. This is especially true for indigenous nations whose people and territories have been separated by the acts of settler states that established international borders without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples affected.

9.To demand that the United States shall take no adverse action regarding the territories, lands, resources or people of indigenous nations without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples affected.

10.To demand the immediate release of American Indian political prisoner, Leonard Peltier, U.S. Prisoner #89637-132, from U.S. federal custody.

Finally, we also remind Occupy Denver that indigenous histories, political, cultural, environmental,medical, spiritual and economic traditions provide rich examples for frameworks that can offer concrete models of alternatives to the current crises facing the United States. We request that Occupy Denver actively utilize and integrate indigenous perspectives, teachers, and voices in its deliberations and decision-making processes.

Submitted 8 October 2011

American Indian Movement of Colorado

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18 comments
RobertPFrancis
RobertPFrancis

Please don't buy into this. Decolonization is a separate agenda. Look at whats happened in Albuquerque. "indigenous" rights groups got the name changed here to "un" occupy and they fractured the Occupy Wall Street movement here and its all but falling apart now. Time energy and support have been lost. Sympathize with them but don't let them vote to change what we are all about. This sort of thing is destroying the movement. They highjacked the name here and it feels like the whole thing is falling apart. I can guarantee if you let the so called indigenous people take over with their message of decolonization you will lose support and detract from the economic messages. Albuquerque is a case study in what happens when you let this sort of agenda take over. It will spell disaster. 'Un" occupy albuquerque is now fighting for a place to stay, receiving an eviction, and the issues above played a part in it. You cant change the agenda or name and not expect major problems. This isn't a movement about reclaiming lands for Indians, it just isn't. Let them carry that message in their own groups and please please do not let them use Occupy Wall Street for that. I think the movement here is about to fall apart on account of it.

Jeff Armstrong
Jeff Armstrong

If you are correct, which I'm quite sure you're not, that indigenous participation will bring down the movement, it will be racism that is to blame, not the minimal demands of those who have suffered the most from authoritarian rule and corporate exploitation.

GeorgiaSaundersHome
GeorgiaSaundersHome

To guest and Nativerenigade, Glen is a fine person of good character.  The fact you want to slander him, and especially bringing up Annie Mae Aquash's murder tells me you are in the Bellecourt camp.  No big news there - except, you see, when the movement has finally begun, who is there ready to bring all of the legal situations that must be addressed to light?  Where are you, Guest, who wont even give your name while speaking evil things of a brother.  And you, Native renigade, where is your presentation of the facts, of what needs to happen legally?.  Talk is so easy...when all you have to do is denigrate.  Glen and Russell are among the great men of our times. 

Rthiede03
Rthiede03

AHO!!! well said. Ive even heard Russ referred to as the " Sitting Bull of our time". Keep the faith BROTHERS!!!Mitake Oyasin!!!

Concerned
Concerned

"To recognize that Indigenous peoples and nations are entitled to the permanent control and enjoyment of their aboriginal-ancestral territories..."Can anyone explain to me what this means, and what the practical application of point 6 would be?

Jeff Armstrong
Jeff Armstrong

The right of Native peoples to be free in the remants of their ancestral homelands reserved in international treaties with the United States, along with the attendant right to protect and utilize the environment and natural resources within reservation boundaries without fear of further future encroachment or colonization. What's so hard to understand? 

Concerned
Concerned

I just wanted to make sure I was interpreting it correctly, since apparently Occupy Denver agreed to endorse it. They don't mention "remnant"in point 6, at all, which led me to believe that they wanted pretty much wanted various chunks of the United States to dissolve into independent nations, which, at this point in time seems not only unlikely, but quite disruptive for any large communities that have formed in those areas in recent times, ignorant of their past history.

Nativerenigade
Nativerenigade

yeah well glenns all about himself and geting his name in the papers .HE only come sout one time a year to beaqt his chest say he's  proud to be native !!! well if u must know the rest of the year he lives in a huge house writes books on traditional living give me a break glenn gto back to highland ranch . Ans allow the real Native community to speak for it's self .s

Rthiede03
Rthiede03

Do you even know what your talking about? Sounds to me like you have nothing to say. What have you done for the "Native" community? Highland ranch? Give me a break!!!

Guest
Guest

Nativerenigade: You are confusing Glenn Morris with Glenn Spagnuolo.  Glenn S lives in Highlands Ranch with a wife.  Glenn Morris lives in Sedalia, CO and can't keep a wife because of his pathological ego.  Both have squandered more political good will than can be counted.  Morris pimped for the genocidal Obama because that's where all the cameras were the last few years.  Now he's trying to hitch his sad wagon to the Occupy Wallstreet movement.  Real NDNs left the posers in AIM after Annie Mae's murder.  Both Glenns will do anything to get in the media.  Avoid them both like the plague.

njcronk
njcronk

I've been down to the Occupy Denver site, and I can tell you if there is an Occupy Denver General Assembly, they are self-appointed, and do not represent many of the people who show up as protesters. That said, most protesters are on the left (not all) and I believe most would support the Native American movement, as well as he above proclamation. Why? They are decent people who care about others.

RobertPFrancis
RobertPFrancis

This is a very bad move. This is a separate agenda which will alienate support of Occupy Wall Street. Here in New Mexico they got the name changed to the local group to Unoccupy, because they are wanting all of us to leave and give them their land back. this is ridiculous, the west was won, we are all Americans. The local group is falling apart, the name makes no sense and is costing the movement dearly. Sympathize with them, but do not adopt their separatist agenda. SOLIDARITY means sticking to Occupy Wall Street. I won't get here to post much, so please spred the word. This sort of thing is destroying the movement. It is hurting badly what is going on in Albuquerque. The group may even fall apart!

Jeff Armstrong
Jeff Armstrong

As I understand it, the General Assembly is a forum open to all participants in the occupations. Rather than a representative body, it is an outlet for direct democracy. If you did not participate in the decision-making process, it is hardly the fault of those who did.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Perhaps it is possible to be a decent person by being willing to consider the merits of the proposal from AIM without necessarily endorsing all its rhetoric or specifics.

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