The Daily GRRR! - Dec. 29, 2014 - Your “Ugh, Monday Morning” Edition

The Daily GRRR! HEADLINES for Dec. 29, 2014. 1. Dakota riders gather in memory of largest mass execution in US history. 2. Stats are in: Israel killed more Palestinians in 2014 than any since 1967. 3. Indigenous Brazilians secure nationwide land defense victory. 4. California college students call for K-12 consent ed to combat rape. 5. Alberta doctor outs Canada on lying to U.S. about tar sands health risks. 6. #ShutDownCanada day of action called to demand inquiry for #MMIW.
listen to the Daily GRRR!:  DailyGrrrDec29.mp3

Welcome back to SoundFM! You are now listening to The Daily GRRR! heard every weekday from 9-10 a.m. here on the airwaves at 100.3fm, CKMS in Waterloo, Ontario, and on the web. This is Kathryn and I’ll be your host on this Monday morning show for December 29, 2014.

As always, we are broadcasting from the heart of the Haldimand Tract, the occupied Grand River Territory of the Six Nations, which we continue to recognize as Haudenosaunee land.

The Daily GRRR! is a project of the Grand River Media Collective and is supported by the Community Radio Fund of Canada and CKMS.

We will begin today with headlines:
The Daily GRRR!
HEADLINES for Dec. 29, 2014 
1. Dakota riders gather in memory of largest mass execution in US history
2. Stats are in: Israel killed more Palestinians in 2014 than any since 1967
3. Indigenous Brazilians secure nationwide land defense victory
4. California college students call for K-12 consent ed to combat rape
5. Alberta doctor outs Canada on lying to U.S. about tar sands health risks
6. #ShutDownCanada day of action called to demand inquiry for #MMIW

1. Dakota riders gather in memory of largest mass execution in US history

On December 26, 1862, 38 Dakota people were hanged in Mankato, Minnesota, as punishment for crimes that U.S. authorities said they committed during the Dakota War. It remains the largest mass execution in U.S. history, so on Friday morning, for the 152nd anniversary of the killings, dozens of Dakota runners and horseback riders arrived at the site of the tragedy to remember those lives lost. One group of memorial riders, on horseback, left the Lower Brule Indian Reservation in South Dakota on Dec. 9th. The journey covered more than 300 miles, and in the front row was a riderless black “spirit horse,” who represented the Dakota people who have died – both in the past year, and during the 1862 hangings. Another group of dozens of runners left Fort Snelling, Minnesota, at midnight and traveled the 100-mile journey to Mankato in relay fashion.

The Dakota sentenced to death in 1862 were hanged after a months-long review process by U.S. Colonel Henry Sibley, who was tasked with tracking down those who allegedly killed or assaulted civilians during the summer of 1862 and the U.S.-Dakota War. However, given the context of settler colonialism, any violence on the part of the Dakota should be recognized and respected as self-defense. The names of those who were killed are now written on a 12-foot-high monument at Reconciliation Park in Mankato. It was dedicated two years ago, according to the Mankato Free Press, and at the ceremony the Dakota/Lakota leader Looking Horse said, “Today, being here to witness a great gathering, we have peace in our hearts — a new beginning of healing.”

2. Stats are in: Israel killed more Palestinians in 2014 than any since 1967

According to the critical news site Electronic Intifada, in 2014, Israel killed more Palestinians in the occupied territories than in any year since 1967. They posted this statistic in the context of reporting on the ongoing Palestinians deaths that continue to occur at the hands of the settler colonial forces of Israel that are illegally and violently occupying the land of Palestine. In one recent case, on Saturday, the Israeli occupation army shot and killed a Palestinian youth at the town of Araba, just south of the city of Jenin. Palestinian sources said Israeli soldiers opened fire on a civilian vehicle outside the town, killing one man and injuring two others, while the Israeli army tried to justify the attack by claiming that shots were fired from the car toward a nearby Israeli army camp. That same day, another Palestinian died on Saturday at an Israeli army roadblock near the village of Amatin in the northern West Bank after Israeli soldiers denied him access to medical treatment at a nearby hospital. The man, identified as Azzam Attiyeh Suwwan, 56, reportedly succumbed to his critical illness after he was kept waiting for a very long time by occupation forces at the Israeli roadblock. According to the taxi driver who was transporting Suwwan, “The soldiers beat me and threatened to shoot me. I told them I had a critically ill person with me who needed to go to hospital. The soldiers told me: ‘Let him die!’” The driver said the soldiers only allowed an ambulance to reach the roadblock after they made sure the man was dead.

3. Indigenous Brazilians secure nationwide land defense victory

As reported by Survival International, tribes across Brazil have secured a historic nationwide victory in preventing Congress from seizing control of the future of their lands. Following months of vociferous protests by thousands of Indians, representing dozens of tribes, a proposal to change the constitution and give Congress power in the demarcation of indigenous territories has been shelved at last. Last week, dozens of Indians traveled to Brasilia and entered the Congress building to make their voices heard. Five were arrested during the protest, and have since been released. If passed, the proposed constitutional amendment, known as ‘PEC 215’, would have caused further delays and obstacles to the recognition and protection of the tribes’ ancestral land, on which they depend for their survival. PEC 215 was a result of pressure by Brazil’s powerful agri-business lobby group which includes many politicians who own ranches on indigenous land. It threatened to spell disaster for tribes such as the Guarani who have been evicted from most of their land and who face appalling living conditions and one of the highest suicide rates in the world while they wait for the government to fulfil its legal duty to map out their land.

Brazilian Indians continue to fight against the invasion of their lands by loggers, miners, ranchers and others, and against a series of Amazon mega-dams which threaten to destroy the livelihoods of thousands of Indians, and wipe out some uncontacted tribes. But for now, as Indigenous leader Sonia Guajajara stated on her way back to her Amazon home after weeks of lobbying in Brasilia, “I am returning with a cleansed heart, a light soul, and full of courage to do it all over again if ever needed in the fight for the defense of our rights and our peoples.” The Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) issued an open letter to mark this momentous occasion, stating, “We indigenous peoples have shown that we will never allow our lands to be recolonized, invaded or destroyed, even if that means sacrificing our own lives.”

4. California college students call for K-12 consent ed to combat rape

In order to help prevent further cases of college rape, California college students from several universities have banded together to issue a public list of demands to "Take Back The Campus" after a particularly horrific semester. Activists at San Diego State began composing the demands following a Take Back The Night march on campus, where counter-demonstrators waved sex toys, threw eggs and shouted obscenities at marchers. The activists called for the resignation of their student body president, who belongs to a fraternity accused of taunting marchers, while another fraternity was removed from campus altogether following their harassment at the march. This also took place against the horrifying backdrop of 14 reported rapes since the beginning of the semester, with no arrests until one person ~ just one ~ was finally taken into police custody earlier this month. This is the context in which student activists from San Diego State University and from the University of California's Berkeley and Santa Barbara campuses are demanding that schools teach their students, from kindergarten to grade 12, about sexual consent long before they arrive on campus.

Students "get to universities and we expect them to behave like they’re supposed to without any prior understanding of what consent looks like," said Meghan Warner, director of the Associated Students of the University of California Sexual Assault Commission and a UC Berkeley student who endorsed the demands. "Consent is not just for intercourse. It’s for all aspects of our lives, and people aren't understanding or being taught that," Warner said. Consent education also covers verbal harassment, healthy relationships -- romantic or otherwise -- and being aware of people's space. "Concerned parents might think we’re talking about consent in purely sexual context, when really we’re talking on a day-to-day basis," said Alejandra Melgoza, a Take Back the Night coordinator at UC Santa Barbara. A major aspect of consent education is as simple as "keep your hands to yourself," she said, and that’s certainly something fundamental enough that children should be taught at school from day one, right up there with how to share and play nicely at recess.

5. Alberta doctor outs Canada on lying to U.S. about tar sands health risks

As reported by The Vancouver Observer, a northern Alberta doctor warned U.S. Senators on what he says have been the devastating health impacts of the tar sands on families – effects, he says, that have been willfully “ignored” by the Canadian and Alberta government. Family physician Dr. John O’Connor was invited to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to brief two U.S. Senators who are opposing the proposed TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline which, if approved, would carry bitumen from Alberta to Texas. “I appeal to you to keep up the pressure – this is an ongoing tragedy. A total disgrace,” O’Connor said. He cited statistics for rare cancers – of the bile duct, for example – that have shot up 400 times in frequency for what is considered normal for a tiny community such as Fort Chipewyan, which is downstream from the tar sands. As he explained, “These are published, peer-reviewed studies that indicate that the government of Alberta and Canada have been lying, misrepresenting the impact of industry on the environment.”

The Alberta government has long denied cancer links with the province's multi-billion-dollar crown energy jewel. It states on its website that there is "insufficient evidence to link the incidence of cancer in Fort Chipewyan to oil sands operations" and rates of cancer are "within the expected range." But O'Connor finds that hard to believe: “All of the scientific studies that have accumulated, it’s almost like they don’t exist,” he said. One new study, for example, shows evidence that leukemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma have spiked in the last 10 years – especially among men who live downwind of pollution plumes from the oil, gas and tar sands facilities east of Edmonton. California Senator Barbara Boxer said the Alberta doctor is an important “witness” as to why the Keystone pipeline should be turned down, based on health concerns alone. O'Connor said he came "with absolutely no political agenda" and simply as an “advocate for patients” because he feels his repeated calls for Canadian authorities to take precautionary health actions have been ignored. O’Connor attends primarily to indigenous patients between Fort McKay and Fort McMurray, where he first noticed a rise in cancer in the area several years ago. He said that the government has been slow to do anything about it, but that, “in my experience, when pressure is exerted outside Canada, the government reacts.”

6. #ShutDownCanada day of action called to demand inquiry for #MMIW

As announced on Facebook by the online community In Solidarity with All Land Defenders, a day of action has been called for February 13th, 2015. Here’s the call-to-action they’ve put out on the Facebook event page, which we’ve also linked to on the podcast page for today’s show:

“The system has failed us all miserably. There is no democracy and we the people have an obligation to demand justice for all. The current status quo in Canada serves only the elite few while the majority of Canadians are financial slaves to the system. Politicians do not represent the people, nor have they ever. Indigenous communities know this all too well and have been actively resisting subjugation since contact with the first colonizers who illegally imposed their jurisdiction through covert biological warfare and the ongoing genocide implemented with the residential school system.

“The residential schools took the children from the land to disconnect people from their culture in order to take the land from the children. The genocide is ongoing, we still see the constant removal of indigenous children from their ancestral lineages and the untimely deaths of so many indigenous men, women and children. Indigenous peoples are over-represented in the (in)justice system and homeless populations are disproportionately indigenous. The systemic racism in the RCMP and Police forces negates any effective justice from taking place. This is the reason why so many indigenous women have gone missing or been murdered without any real action to prevent further violence.

“Everything is interconnected. This government blatantly oppresses indigenous peoples in a calculated effort to create dysfunction within communities to maintain control of the land and exploitation of natural resources. The rape and destruction of our mother earth is another facet of the ongoing genocide which holds no prejudice affecting all children of the earth. We are all directly affected by ecocide.

“Make no mistake that systemic racism and structural violence are connected to the needs of this illegal colonial state to maintain control of the land for exploitation. That is why we must call attention to these issues at the same time - the tars sands, the pipelines, fracking, mining and justice for #MMIW -- it's all connected.

“(This is a) CALLOUT for communities across Canada to blockade their local railway, port or highway on February 13th. Don't buy, don't fly, no work and keep the kids home from school. A diversity of tactics is highly recommended! Get everyone involved. The goal is to significantly impact the Canadian economy for a day and demand there be an independent inquiry into the 1000+ cases of missing or murdered indigenous women. It's Time to #ShutDownCanada.

“Get together with your friends and family to start planning now. Please share any info on local events on this event page we will use as a networking hub. Tell as many people as you can, time to get the ball rolling.”

Midway Music: When the Ink Dries by West My Friend

Feature: “Wage Solidarity to Nourish the Nation: Interview with Ruby Smith Diaz” by CKUT News Collective

Closing Song: Harper’s Pond by As the Crow Flies