Could you survive on $250 a month? What if it suddenly disappeared? Welcome to the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota, USA where the BIA is on the job–or are they?

What would you do if you were totally dependent upon a single monthly check of $250 to cover all your living expenses from rent, heat, electricity to food and then your check suddenly ceased arriving in your mail box without any explanation? What if you live on a reservation where there is 80-85% unemployment and your tribe is $60 million in debt? Add to the context the highest rates per population of child suicide in the world. Now imagine what goes through your mind when your single source of income becomes “invisible” and you already know you don’t have the gas to drive off the reservation to search for employment, you have no funds to find housing off the reservation, and you are the sole adult caretaker for your grandchildren.  What is now going through your mind at this point?

The following information is directly from Anne Fields who has been in direct contact with people on Pine Ridge Reservation who are currently in precisely the situation presented above.

Anne Fields:

There is a new situation on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota (and presumably on other reservations) that is very dire and perhaps life threatening.

I am a white grandmother who has spent a total of 18 months on the reservation, including four months teaching in the Early Head Start program.  I have friends who are directly affected by the problem and who are growing more desperate each day.  So far my efforts to find information or help for them have been unsuccessful.

Each month the Bureau of Indian Affairs has been providing General Assistance grants (see below) to many residents who are desperately needy.  On Pine Ridge approximately 940 people receive monthly checks of up to $250.  These checks are often their only source of income and their lifeline.

In December 2012 no checks came.  I spent several hours on the phone with officials at the local, regional, and national levels trying to find out what had happened.  Eventually I ended up at the BIA Division of Human Services in Washington where I spoke with Bevette Hern at 202-513-7608.  She told me that there had been new software which had a glitch that was holding things up. She said it was now fixed and that the Treasury would get a file transfer shortly and that the Agencies should have the money by the end of that week.  This did indeed happen.

But then in March 2013 again no checks ever came and there were no notifications to the recipients.  The Post Offices were besieged by people looking for their money.  No checks have arrived for April 2013 and folks are seriously cold and hungry.  They do not know if the money will ever come again. They have had no information from the BIA.

In an effort to try to get some information regarding these crucial funds, I tried to call Bevette to see if this is a permanent situation, only to find that she is no longer working there (even though her answering machine still uses her name).  I spoke with someone who would only give her name as “Roberta” and who said that she knew nothing about the details, only that the money available for “Welfare” has been cut back.  She told me that I needed to talk to the BIA Great Plains Social Services in Aberdeen, SD.  I called them at 605-226-7351 and spoke with “Patti.”  She told me that Central Office has not received any funds so they have nothing to give out.  She recommended that I talk to the folks in Washington–the same people who directed me to call her office.

I have written to South Dakota Congresswoman Noem and Senators Johnson and Thune for clarification, but as of now I have heard nothing back from any of them.

BIA Human Services handles 6 components of Financial Assistance, which consist of:

1. General Assistance

a) An applicant must meet the criteria contained in 25 CFR 20.300 (Who qualifies for Direct Assistance)
b) Apply concurrently for financial assistance from other state, tribal, county, local, or other federal agency programs for which he/she is eligible;
c) Not receive any comparable public assistance, and
d) Develop and sign an employment strategy in the ISP with the assistance of the social service

worker to meet the goal of employment through specific action steps including job readiness and job search activities.

source: http://www.bia.gov/WhoWeAre/RegionalOffices/GreatPlains

So, what should Anne Fields and these 940 people on Pine Ridge Reservation DO to get some information from the BIA and/or the Federal Government?  Any suggestions? Even if you have no notions about how to deal with this continuing situation, please take a moment to send this information via your favorite internet social network sharing options.

Namaste.

Protect Mother Earth, Stop SB 2109, Protect Sacred Sites, No Racism, No Foreclosures, et. al. March Rally Flagstaff, AZ April 28, 2012, 3 pm

Click poster for more images at Navajo Truth SB 2109 on facebook.

Now this is what an alliance looks like. Take note of all the interconnected issues and groups involved in this event. Some people are getting together for mutual support. Something tells me this sort of bridge building is not taught in The Huppenthal Mind Control School Plan. But taking an axe to the Ethnic Studies programs in the state of Arizona sure might have thrown some serious fuel on this bonfire. Protecting Mother Earth is everyone’s common ground. Unless, of course, you’re McCain, Kyl, a Bush, BP, Shell, Chevron, Trans-Canada, Canadian PM Harper, Kinder-Morgan, Enbridge, Palin — whatever will it take to wake these folks up? Oil spills inside their homes? Mandatory gas masks for everyone? Water rationing?
Not in Arizona? Then spread the news cause I don’t think this rally will be aired on CNN, ABC, NBC or Fox news unless it’s a 5 second soundbite IF the police crack open some pepper spray.

Patricia Gualinga Montalvo of Sarayaku, Ecuador speaks about The Living Forest, Laws, Oil Companies, International Allies and The Rights of Mother Earth. Translation provided.

Painted Hills, Grey @ eva wojcik

 Earth Day musing:   Yes, that little dark streak near the top is a human.  We are much like ants on Earth.  Unfortunately in many ways we’re lethal ants destroying everything in our path.

For those of you suffering from limited attention spans please do not let the length of this video deter you from hearing Patricia’s speech given at the Indigenous Environmental Network Conference on the Rights of Mother Earth Restoring Indigenous Life Ways of Responsibility and Respect.  There are several important things well worth learning in her speech and replies to questions. One very significant element is how a village of 1,200 has developed international alliances for support of all kinds.  I think it’s an art many others need to foster in their own communities.  We need to make the most of our common ground in order to protect Earth.  Respect, support, communication, tolerance for our differences  are not easy to acquire.  If the only thing we have in common is a love for Mother Earth–then we better make the most of it.  Unlike the Nature Conservancy I think we need to do a great deal more than enjoy picnics outside in order to ‘celebrate’ Earth Day.  The Tar Sands operation is just one hard harsh reality  we need to face head on.  Now, when it’s possible to picnic on the Tar Sands site then that would be something to celebrate indeed. We’re a long long way from that picnic. Presently I don’t think we’d be welcome at the Tar Sands site unless our baskets contained a few tons of solid gold currency.

Pachamama Alliance on fb  https://www.facebook.com/PachamamaAlliance

Pachamama Alliance website  http://pachamama.org/

International Indigenous Conference April 4-6, 2012, Indigenous Environmental Network News!

 

RIGHTS OF MOTHER EARTH: RESTORING INDIGENOUS LIFE WAYS OF RESPONSIBILITY AND RESPECT

International Indigenous Conference APRIL 4 – 6, 2012 

Haskell Indian Nations University, Lawrence Kansas

In April 2010, a historical moment occurred.  More than 32,000 people, including Indigenous Peoples, social movements, small farmers and some world governmental leaders, converged in Cochabamba, Bolivia for the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth.  Two outcomes of this conference were the Cochabamba Peoples Accord and the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth. The Accord and Declaration gave voice to peoples of the world experiencing the effects of climate chaos and its many accompanying issues, including  depletion of freshwater and other natural resources and the problems of food security, poverty and environmental crises, along with the financial meltdown within the United States and globally.

During the Cochabamba world conference, President Evo Morales of Bolivia officially proposed that the United Nations adopt a declaration that recognizes that Nature or “Mother Earth” has certain inherent rights that we humans must respect and defend. The adoption by the United Nations and national and local governments of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth would expand the class of holders of legally rights and would initiate a global process of transformation.

Our prophecies and teachings tell us that life on Mother Earth is in danger and is coming to a time of great transformation. As Indigenous Peoples, we are accepting the responsibility designated by our prophecies to tell the world that we must live in peace with each other and the Earth to ensure harmony within Creation.

Our Indigenous lifeways are the original “green economies.”  This is more than an abstract philosophy. Our Mother Earth is the source of life.  Water is her lifeblood.   The well-being of the natural environment predicts the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual longevity of our Peoples.   Mother Earth’s health and that of our Indigenous Peoples are intrinsically intertwined.  When our homelands are in a state of good health our Peoples are truly healthy.  This inseparable relationship must be respected for the sake of our future generations and for the well-being of the Earth herself.

Alliances are being formed, globally of Indigenous and non-indigenous groups and individuals committed to creating a system of jurisprudence that sees and treats nature and Mother Earth as a fundamental, rights bearing entity. A paradigm, that is based on Indigenous thought and philosophy needs to be forwarded which grants equal rights to nature and which honors the interrelation in all life.

This is the greatest challenge facing humanity in the 21st Century. How do we re-orientate the dominant industrialized societies so that they pursue human well-being in a manner that contributes to the health of our Mother Earth instead of undermining it? In other words – how do we live in harmony with Nature?

A 3 day conference has been scheduled at Haskell Indian Nations University, in Lawrence, Kansas, April 4-6, 2012 with Indigenous Peoples together from the North and Global South to learn more and to have a discourse about this Rights of Mother Earth, Rights of Nature movement.

 

We invite humanity to come together to improve our collective human behavior so that we may develop a more sustainable world.  We can preserve, protect, and fulfill our sacred duties to live with respect in this wonderful Creation.  We have the power and responsibility for change.

Tom B.K. Goldtooth

Indigenous Environmental Network

Dr. Daniel Wildcat

Haskell Indian Nation University

Click here to Print Invitation Letter (PDF)

Sponsoring Hotel: Holiday Inn, Lawrence, Kansas. Reservations at a discounted rate of $69.99 per night + tax until March 27th – BOOK NOW! Mention the Conf (+1) (785) 749 – 8932
Conference Registration Fee Includes:

Continental Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner: April 4, 5, 6, 2012

Banquet, Entertainment, Printed Materials and more 

 

Community Indigenous Environmental Groups: $ 50.00          

College Faculty & Staff: $ 70.00          

Elected Tribal Officials, Federal, State and Local Governments: $110.00

Professionals (Attorneys, Allied Organizations): $150.00

Payable by Check, Cash or Money Order or Tribal Invoice


For questions and Conference Attendance Reservations contact: 

Shereena Baker 1-785-550-8592 or email: shereena_rose@hotmail.com

or

Karen Dallett 1-415-561-4522 extension 112 or email: karen@rightsofmotherearth.com

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