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2003 Likely Europe's Hottest in 500 Years

By The Associated Press
Friday 05 March 2004

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Last year's deadly summer in Europe probably was the hottest on the continent in at least five centuries, according to researchers who analyzed old records, soil cores and other evidence. More than 19,000 people died.

Researchers at the University of Bern, Switzerland, collected and analyzed temperature data from all over Europe, including such climate measures as tree rings from 1500. They found that the climate has been generally warming and last summer was the most torrid of all.

"When you consider Europe as a whole, it was by far the hottest," said Jurg Luterbacher, climatologist and the first author of a study appearing this week in the journal Science.

Luterbacher said the study showed that European winters are also warmer now. The average winter and annual temperatures during the three decades from 1973 to 2002 were the warmest of the half millennium, he said.

Some studies have linked rising average temperatures in North America and elsewhere to global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels, but Luterbacher said his team did not attempt to make such a connection.

"We don't make any analysis of the human influence," he said. "We don't attempt to determine the cause. We only report what we find."

Other climatologists, however, say the new study agrees with models that have predicted a steady rise in global temperature as the result of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels and other sources.

Stephen Schneider, a climate expert at Stanford University and a prominent advocate for the theory of human-caused global warming, said the Luterbacher paper is consistent with what climate modelers have been predicting for 20 years.

"The data is starting to line up showing that those projections were correct," Schneider said. "We warned the world that this was likely to happen because we believed the theory, but couldn't actually prove it was happening. Now the data is coming in."

In the study, Luterbacher and his team analyzed the temperature history of Europe starting in 1500 to the present. For the earliest part of the half millennium, the figures are estimates based on proxy measures, such as tree rings and soil cores. But after about 1750, he said, instrumented readings became generally available throughout Europe.

During the 500 years, there were trends both toward cool and toward hot. The second hottest summer in the period was in 1757. That was followed by a cooling trend that continued until early in the 20th century. The summer of 1902, for instance, was the coolest of the entire record.

Starting in 1977, the record shows "an exceptionally strong, unprecedented warming," the researchers report, with average temperatures rising at the rate of about 0.36 degrees per decade.

Then came last summer.

"The summer of 2003 exceeded 1901 to 1995 European summer temperatures by around 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit)," the study said. "Taking into account the uncertainties (in the study method), it appears that the summer of 2003 was very likely warmer than any other summer back to 1500."

Record temperatures were recorded in most of the major cities of Europe last summer, with many readings over 100 degrees. Authorities have attributed thousands of deaths to the excess heat, making the heat wave one of the deadliest weather phenomena in the past century.

In France, the toll was estimated at about 14,802 dead. About 2,000 more than normal died in August in England and Wales. On Aug. 11, Britain's hottest day on record, there were 363 more deaths than average and the temperature reading reached 101.3 in Brogdale in southeastern England.

Altogether in Europe, based on official numbers collected by The Associated Press, there were more than 19,000 excess deaths in the summer months. France was hardest hit, but the average number of summer deaths increased by 4,175 in Italy, 1,300 in Portugal and more than 1,000 in the Netherlands.

The intense heat also wilted crops, caused wildfires and continued a centurylong trend of melting the continent's glaciers.

Luterbacher said some mountain glaciers have shrunk by 50 percent in the past century in Europe, and some ice fields lost 10 percent of their mass last summer alone.

In addition, he said, the long trend of warming temperatures is now melting the high altitude permafrost -- the soil that usually remains frozen year-round -- and that some buildings, bridges and roadways are now threatened with unstable foundations.

And it may get worse, said Luterbacher. He said some studies forecast that if the warming trend continues, Europe may have summers like 2003 every other year starting late in this century.

 

 

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SECRETARY-GENERAL HAILS CONTRIBUTIONS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

TO HUMAN CIVILIZATION IN REMARKS IN MACHU PICCHU, PERU

 

Following is the statement delivered by Secretary-General Kofi Annan on indigenous peoples in Machu Picchu, Peru, on 12 November, 2003:

I would like to thank you (President Toledo) and Eliane for bringing Nane and me here.

You have every reason to take pride in your heritage. When I look around me, and I see the construction here, I often wonder what we are going to leave to future generations, when I see the kind of architecture and buildings that we are putting up in many parts of the world. And, its not just here. The ancient cultures did things that we couldnt imagine, and probably would find very difficult to do today. So, for you to plead with us to treasure this valuable cultural heritage and to share it with the rest of the world is something that we should all listen to.

Here, amidst the peaks of the Andes in Peru, the enormous contributions of indigenous peoples to human civilization are everywhere on display -from the sacred ruins of the Inca empire to the crops that grow on the mountainsides. In the jungles of the Amazon too, indigenous communities have lived for millennia in harmony with the rainforest, and they continue to do so today.

And, throughout Latin America, one sees the extraordinary diversity of indigenous cultures and the potential contribution their knowledge and values can make to poverty eradication, sustainable agriculture, and indeed to our concept of life. From here in Peru to the Philippines, and from the deserts of Australia to the ice-covered lands of the Arctic circle, indigenous peoples have much to teach our world.

But to come to the Andean region is also to appreciate how fragile the existence of many indigenous peoples is. In this region -and in other parts of the world, too - indigenous lands, waters, languages, health and cultures, long devastated by the legacy of colonial oppression, continue to be under grave threat. The environment is being destroyed and indigenous people are too often excluded from decisions that crucially affect the life of their communities. They suffer from prejudice, poverty, and disease. Some indigenous groups even face the terrible threat of extinction.

The discrimination and marginalization faced by indigenous children is particularly disturbing. The United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) will soon launch a report that shows the unacceptably high rates of infant mortality, and the unacceptably low levels of birth registration, vaccination and education, among indigenous communities.

The international community can no longer tolerate this situation. Nor should any society where it is happening. I hope everyone will take the UNICEF report, as a call to action to promote the highest standard of health and nutrition, to guarantee multi-cultural education of high quality, and to give indigenous children a voice in the decisions that affect their lives.

Indigenous peoples must be full partners in efforts to protect their children, just as they must participate in all decisions that affect their communities and the countries of which they are citizens. Already, indigenous women are making a special contribution to these processes. They must be allowed and encouraged to do more.

Indigenous peoples must play their full part at the international level, too. They can now, at least, voice their collective aspirations at the United Nations through the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, where their leaders and experts help to shape the policies and priorities of the United Nations, as a whole. This year, the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues highlighted the urgent need for action to give indigenous children a better life. And the Committee on the Rights of the Child just adopted stronger measures to monitor Statesfulfilment of their responsibility to protect and promote indigenous childrens human rights.

Let us all listen to the voices of indigenous peoples, and act as their partners to protect their rights, particularly those of indigenous children. This will not only help to right historic wrongs and remove current injustices. It will truly enrich us all.

With our help, the indigenous children of today can be leaders of tomorrow.

Kutimunay kama. [You will always be with me.]

 

 

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Carrie Dann - Petra Speech, November 7, 2003

Good evening. My name is Carrie Dann. I am Western Shoshone. It is an honor to be a part of this group and I accept this award on behalf of my sister Mary, and myself. It is good that an organization like this recognizes two old women like ourselves. I don't know that we deserve any award, but we do try to live our lives in a good way and keep our understanding of freedom in our hearts and in our minds and in our soul.

I am indigenous to this Turtle Island, what is now called the United States. What that means is that my parents, and grandparents and all of my ancestors before me were born and raised and died on these lands - lands in what is known now as the State of Nevada.

Our teachings tell us that the Creator placed us here as caretakers of the lands, the animals, all the living things. We were placed here with a responsibility. I, and my sister Mary, as traditional Shoshone, live that responsibility every day of our lives. In indigenous society, there are four things that are sacred above all. Those things are the land, the air, the water and the Sun.

We see the earth as our mother, that which gives us all life. The water is like the blood in our veins, the air, that which nourishes the cycle of life and the sun, that which encourages growth, warmth and replenishment. This is our religion. That which is sacred and defines who we are as a people.

We know the creation stories of our people and our land and now, in today's times, the powers of the United States government and the corporations want to rip us from this belief system by paying us in crumbs through a legislative measure called the Western Shoshone Distribution Bill, in the House it is bill number 884, sponsored by Congressman Gibbons.

Not only do they want to rip us from our lands, but the activities the government is allowing to happen in the name of the almighty dollar are destroying our earth, contaminating our water and contaminating our air. One example is the gold mining. The process being used is open pit cyanide leach mining. In that process, the gold companies - large multinationals such as Kennecott, Placer Dome, Barrick and Newmont and others - take the water out of the water table at a rate of 30 - 70 thousand gallons of water per minute.

Do you know what happens to the earth when that happens? Do we know what the earth mother is saying when they are draining her vital liquids? Is she crying out in pain? Do we know? And what are the future generations saying to us as we do these things? Are they saying to us stop! Wake up! What are you doing to our world? And this is not just limited to humans, but to all life. As everyone watches Iraq, and world politics and whose killing who - all the while, our earth mother that which provides us with ALL life is being raped and mutilated, over and over and over again.

Let me tell you quickly - very briefly - what my sister and I have been fighting for. We fight in a battle we were born into as indigenous people in the United States. We did not ask to be in this struggle, we did not look for struggle and controversy - it was forced upon us.

In 1973, the Department of Interior served my sister with a notice of trespass for our animals grazing on lands where they had always grazed. My sister asked what the notice was. The man told her our cattle were in trespass. My sister responded that they couldn't be in trespass because they were on Shoshone lands. The only time we would be trespassing, she told him, would be if we were on Paiute land - over to the west. The Department of Interior sued us anyway.

Our problem is that the lands we were placed upon have now been seen as valuable to the gold corporations, the energy industry and the nuclear industry. Currently, our lands produce the third largest production of gold in the world. We went through the United States Court systems, all the way to the Supreme Court, we went to the United Nations, the organization of American States. Instead of respecting our rights, the United States set up what is called the Indian Claims Commission - an agency to pay us for something we never sold or want to sell - our land which to us is our culture and our identity.

In the United States, the courts shut us out without a hearing on land title - why? Because we are native people. Because this country is founded on racism and oppression. This is not just an historic truth it is the truth of the situation today. Genocide may no longer be taking place against our people in a physical way, but spiritually, we are under full attack - and we're fighting like hell.

My sister, Mary always talks about how she thought this country was founded on freedom and justice. But all we have seen from the courts and the commissions is injustice. Our rights guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States have been denied to the indigenous peoples and we have never been given a hearing on our land title. A year ago in December, the Organization of American States, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ruled in our favor and found the United States in violation of international law and our rights to property, to due process and to equality under the law.

Instead of sitting down and talking with our people in good faith, the United States instead has been using armed military force on our lands to steal cattle and horses and to conduct ongoing surveillance as a way to intimidate us into just accepting the crumbs they are throwing out to us. Now, in the halls of Congress, with the Western Shoshone Distribution Bill, members of Congress seem to hold our fate in their hands.

Economically we were a self-sustaining people. With these recent actions stealing our livelihood we are now facing economic starvation designed to remove us from our lands. To me, that is terrorism. Domestic terrorism. This behavior is designed to steal our dignity, our honor and to make us feel that we are less than or lower than human - we are treated like animals. We are being dehumanized.

Many Western Shoshone continue to press these issues on an international level because to allow the United States to treat indigenous peoples in this way sets an example to the rest of the world that it is ok to treat people in this manner. Hopefully, our actions will help to move the United States into doing what is right in the name of dignity and human rights. Here, in the United States, we have just filed another lawsuit - this one challenges the United States directly on the unconstitutional nature of the Indian Claims Commission and the unlawful manner in which the United States is trying to force us off our lands. Only time will tell if we will be successful, but history will reflect our struggle and the fact that we have never agreed to sell our birth rights. Our land is not for sale - the United States thinks it can do whatever it wants, but we know and our children and grandchildren will know that we never sold our land.

Thank you for your time this evening and again, thank you for this honor.

 

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For Additional Information, please contact:
Western Shoshone Defense Project
775-468-0230

Ms. Magazine Recognizes Western Shoshone grandmothers, Mary and Carrie Dann for Their Bravery in Defending Native Land and Cultural Rights

October 3, 2003

Crescent Valley, NV. Mary and Carrie Dann, Western Shoshone grandmothers and activists have been selected by Ms. Magazine as Women to Watch - 2003. The winter issue of Ms. Magazine, being released in December, will carry the story of these brave and tenacious women who, along with other Western Shoshone, are making a difference and have taken on some of the most powerful industries in the world and the United States government in their struggle to protect Western Shoshone land and culture.

The Danns have squared off against international gold mining corporations, the nuclear industry and the U.S. government since their teenage years. Through the years Carrie and Mary have been recognized time and time again for their unwavering commitment to the rights of indigenous peoples. In the mid-1980s they received the "Wonder Woman Award" from the Wonder Woman Foundation in New York City. For "preserving the distinct values and heritage" of their Western Shoshone ancestors they received the "Ellis Island Congressional Medal of Honor" in April 1992. The sisters were also awarded the "International Right Livelihood Award" from Sweden in 1993 for their "courage and perseverance in asserting the rights of indigenous peoples to their lands." In seeking relief for the ongoing violations against native peoples in the United States, the Danns have gone all the way to the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and are now back in the courts of the United States.

Earlier this week, Carrie Dann returned from Washington D.C. after representing her traditional family as plaintiff in a lawsuit against the United States for violations of the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley. The lawsuit, in which other Western Shoshone tribal and traditional governments and individuals are also serving as plaintiffs, seeks a judicial declaration of Western Shoshone title to their ancestral lands and accounting of monies owed to the Western Shoshone by the United States. The lawsuit charges that the process used by the United States to claim extinguishment of Western Shoshone title is unconstitutional and violates fundamental rights to due process.

Carrie Dann states: "We are standing on the front lines to make sure there is a future for the Western Shoshone and the generations not yet born. We have tried to talk reasonably with Congress and with the United States, but they brush us aside and deal only with those Western Shoshone who agree to be 'good Indians' and take the scraps that are thrown to them. For the muscle and media spin the Department of Interior, Senator Reid and Congressman Gibbons have placed on this issue, it's obvious that the corporate interests that want us off this land are very powerful indeed." "Our intent in the lawsuit is not to attack private property interests of towns and ranchers - in our Treaty of Peace and Friendship with the United States, the Western Shoshone agreed to allow settlements and ranches and the United States agreed to recognize our land boundaries. Our ancestors did not agree to sell their birthrights and neither do we. This land is our home. We have lived up to our end of the Treaty, we only want the United States to live up to theirs and to treat us with dignity and respect instead of harassing us with armed removal and surveillance, and a forced payoff of pennies on the dollar. We are demanding good faith negotiations - the same demand the Western Shoshone have been making for years and no one has been listening." She added. Jeff Herman, Attorney on the Western Shoshone lawsuit against the U.S. added: "This lawsuit is the first of its kind. It raises critical legal issues never before addressed, in fact despite all previous litigation, no case has ever been filed where a judge has had an opportunity to interpret the Treaty."

 

 

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June 4, 2003

Amnesty International Expresses Concern As U.S. Continues Enforcement Actions Against Western Shoshone

Crescent Valley, NV. In the Nation's capital, Amnesty International issued a report on indigenous rights violations in the Americas expressing concern about an international ruling that the United States is violating the human rights of the Western Shoshone people.

Meanwhile, in the winding valleys of the Southfork Indian community in Nevada, the U.S. Department of Interior issued several orders of impoundment against Western Shoshone ranchers over the weekend.

Amnesty noted particular concern about recent developments indicating an escalation of Indigenous human rights abuses.

Amnesty's report is based on the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights' December, 2002 decision that the U.S. government is violating international human rights laws in regard to its treatment of the Western Shoshone.

The report calls into question the U.S. government's handling of millions of acres of Western Shoshone ancestral land. For the United States, rounding up Western Shoshone livestock appears to be business as usual.

"They may not be killing our people physically as they did before, but they are killing us spiritually, emotionally and economically and violating international law too. Our leaders signed a treaty of peace and friendship with the United States, we have acted in good faith. We have taken up cattle grazing and allowed settlers to cross our lands and set up some private establishments." Stated Raymond Yowell, Chief of the Western Shoshone National Council.

"But the United States has not lived up to its word. If we live in a civilized world, what is stopping the U.S. from sitting down with us and treating us as human beings worthy of respect?"

The livestock confiscations occur at the same time Congress pushes a bill for a one-time payoff of 15 cents an acre for Western Shoshone lands now worth billions to developers and gold mining companies.

The Amnesty International Report is timely indeed and raises serious questions about the U.S.' failure to find a fair remedy to the situation.

"The United States has perpetuated an attempted fraud against the Western Shoshone for many years. The pinnacle of this legal maneuvering was in 1985, when the U.S. Supreme Court held that when the U.S. Interior Secretary accepted monies from the U.S. Indian Claims Commission, that it was the same as payment being accepted by the Western Shoshone for their land - despite the fact that, the people had rejected the money and the Indian Claims Commission process. We were then told we could no longer use our land title as a basis for litigation in the U.S. courts.

" In Dec. of 2002, the O.A.S. issued its report on our case and found violations of due process, equality under the law and the right to property.

" In Jan. of 2003, the Indigenous Law Institute found that even under its own written law, the U.S. Indian Claims Commission had never filed a final report with Congress as required.

" Now, in May of 2003, Amnesty International has issued its report, expressing concern for U.S. accountability and compliance with international law in our case.

" Finally, the years of deception practiced by the United States government against the Western Shoshone have come to light and the only process that the United States hung its hat on in relation to Western Shoshone Territorial rights is beginning to unravel."
Chief Raymond Yowell, Western Shoshone National Council.

For a copy of the report, Indigenous Rights are Human Rights: Four Cases of Rights Violations in The Americas, please contact Reah Johnson at rjohnson@uisa.org.

WESTERN SHOSHONE DEFENSE PROJECT P.O. Box 211308 Crescent Valley, NV 89821 775-468-0230 775-468-0237 (fax) www.wsdp.org

 

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Thursday, June 5

FYI -- Coalition of National/International Organizations highlight the situation of the Western Shoshone in Bechtel Action Week. Protests in San Francisco to feature Western Shoshone National Council speaker Ian Zabarte. *** Contact: Mary Bull: 415-509-1188 June 4, 2003

 

Massive Peaceful Protest At Bechtel's World Headquarters

 

Bechtel Exposed as Threat to Iraqi Environment, Human Rights, & Basic Services
US citizens flooding Congress with calls for cancellation of contract

WHAT: Protest at Bechtel's World Headquarters
WHEN: Thursday - June 5, 2003 7:00am all day
WHERE: 50 Beale Street

*Attention photo & TV editors -- Dramatic, Colorful and Expressive Visuals!*

Additional Actions at Bechtel's Lobbying Offices in Washington, DC
Today is National Congressional Call-In Day

BACKGROUND - On March 20 and 21, anti-war activists shut down Bechtel's world headquarters in San Francisco to "unplug" the U.S. corporations pushing and profiting off of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. On Thursday, June 5, activists will return to Bechtel to peacefully demand that their $680 million contract be rescinded so that the needs of the Iraqi and American people can be met and the corporate invasion of Iraq stopped. Protests will also take place at Bechtel's lobbying offices in Washington, DC and at a nuclear submarine facility managed by Bechtel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

"Bechtel has a legacy of unsustainable and destructive practices that have reaped permanent human, environmental and community devastation around the globe," said Mary Bull of Direct Action to Stop the War. "The selection of Bechtel makes it clear that the Iraqi people's desperate need for humanitarian assistance is being sacrificed in favor of U.S. corporate profit."

"Rather than be granted control over many of Iraq's most valuable resources, Bechtel should be held accountable for its past and current destructive practices," said Buff Bradley, a member of the Presente Cluster of Direct Action to Stop the War. "We shut Bechtel down in March to stop the military invasion of Iraq, and we'll shut them down again on Thursday to stop the corporate invasion before it begins."

Communities in on-going struggles with Bechtel will take part in the protests, including San Francisco IFPTE Union Local 21 and Ian Zabarte of the Western Shoshone National Council. "I traveled from Nevada to deliver a letter from my people to Riley Bechtel demanding that he respond to the cancer, the environmental devastation and the social upheaval brought by his company to our land." Bechtel manages the Nevada Nuclear test site and wants to manage a nuclear waste facility on Shoshone land.

Several letters from other Bechtel affected communities will also be delivered on Thursday, including a letter from the people of Cochabamba, Bolivia to the people of Baghdad warning them of the threat posed by Bechtel's potential water privatization based on their own devastating experience.

The protest is part of nationally coordinated actions against Bechtel during the first week of June. Today, Congressional offices are being flooded with demands to cancel Bechtel's contract and implement a truly democratic reconstruction, led by the Iraqi people with the help of international institutions like the United Nations.

 

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April 18, 2003

Western Shoshone Continue Gathering Support
in Native Land Rights Struggle

Crescent Valley, NV In a showing of solidarity and support, two-time Green Party Vice-Presidential Candidate Winona LaDuke and grammy-award winning musicians Indigo Girls paid a personal visit to Western Shoshone National Council members Raymond Yowell and Carrie Dann. The visit was made as part of the Honor the Earth Tour kicked off April 10 at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. The tour highlights native environmental issues and alternative energy production. The Western Shoshone are currently facing an onslaught of foreign owned and other multinational corporate attempts to begin massive energy production on lands subject to a longstanding legal dispute. The corporate efforts are heavily supported by the Bush administration's new "expedited" energy policy and Nevada Senator Harry Reid. Senator Reid is also sponsor to the Western Shoshone Distribution Bill allegedly paying off the native people for their lands at approximately 15 cents an acre. The majority of the disputed lands are currently classified by the United States as "Public Lands".

"This visit underscores the ongoing strength of our struggle for justice we will continue on our path, encouraged by the support that flows from individuals like Winona LaDuke and the Indigo Girls." Stated Chief Raymond Yowell, Western Shoshone National Council.

 



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February 5, 2003

ACTION ALERT!!!

Today, federal agents started moving into Western Shoshone homelands to set up impoundment operations to seize Mary and Carrie Dann's horses scheduled for tomorrow, February 6. Due to bad weather the previous weekend, over 400 horses still remain to be gathered by the Western Shoshone Nation. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is refusing to wait until the horses can be corralled, as they previously indicated. We are preparing to monitor the situation and need your help in bringing attention and justice to this struggle.

ACT IMMEDIATELY!!!! Please call, write, or email President Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, Senator State Director Robert Abbey, U.S. Senator Harry Reid, and U.S. Representative Gibbons (addresses below). Tell them to stop the impoundment of Western Shoshone horses and honor international treaty obligations to the Western Shoshone Nation.

As President Bush prepares for war against Iraq for supposedly violating international agreements, call upon him to honor the international treaty agreement between the U.S. government and the Western Shoshone Nation.

Following is a sample letter of support regarding the current situation. Thank you for your support and taking action in this time of crisis.


SAMPLE LETTER OF SUPPORT
Re: Call for Western Shoshone Land Talks

Dear ___________________________:

I stand in solidarity with Western Shoshone Grandmothers Mary and Carrie Dann and the Western Shoshone Nation. The Western Shoshone are in a crisis situation caused by the actions of the federal government. I call upon you to take whatever action you can to immediately stop the impoundment of the horses owned by traditional Western Shoshone grandmothers Mary and Carrie Dann and instead enter into good faith negotiations with the Western Shoshone.

Last September, the federal government sent 40 armed agents, ATVs, rented cowboys, and a helicopter and seized over 200 head of cattle from Western Shoshone grandmothers Mary and Carrie Dann. Now the State and federal government are moving in and preparing to seize hundreds of Indian horses belonging to these same grandmothers. Simultaneously, the United States is also attempting to automatically distribute monies set aside by the Indian Claims Commission in a forced payment of approximately 15 cents an acre for Western Shoshone land title. The pressures are mounting and many Western Shoshone feel the end is coming, either the end of a long fight with a successful resolution, or the end of themselves as Western Shoshone people and as caretakers of their mother earth.

On January 9, 2003 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Organization of American States, rendered its final decision in the case of Western Shoshone land rights in the favor of Mary and Carrie Dann. This international body found the actions of the U.S. government to be in violation of Western Shoshone rights to property, to due process and to equality under law. The United States was called upon to remedy the situation, either legislatively or otherwise and to review its laws and policy with regards to indigenous peoples and their rights to property. Instead of seeking to find a just and fair resolution of the Western Shoshone claims, the United States has stepped up its threats against these people.

[If this is a letter from your organization, please enter organizational information here]

I ask you to act immediately to stop the impoundment actions of the Western Shoshone horses and act honorably in accordance with international law to commence good faith negotiations with the Western Shoshone Nation.

Sincerely,
Your Name

Address

Please help us to pull in as many voices as possible perhaps then we can force the government's hand and turn a terrible tragedy into a story that can be handed down to future generations. We call upon the United States to stop their present destructive actions and to act honorably by immediately commencing good faith negotiations with the Western Shoshone. We also call upon individuals and organizations across this United States and around the world to join in this struggle and to stand strong alongside the Western Shoshone.

Letters of support should be sent or e-mailed to:

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
(202) 456-1414
president@whitehouse.gov

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell
Department of State
2201 C St., NW
Washington DC 20520
(202)647-7098
www.state.gov
secretary@state.gov

Secretary of Interior Gale A. Norton
Department of the Interior
1849 C St., NW
Washington DC 20240
(202)208-3100
www.doi.gov
gale_norton@ios.doi.gov

State Director Robert Abbey
Bureau of Land Management Nevada State Office
1340 Financial Blvd.,
Reno, NV 89502
(775)861-6400
www.nv.blm.gov
bob_abbey@nv.blm.gov

Senator Harry Reid
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-3542
www.senate.gov/~reid/email_form.cfm

Representative Jim Gibbons,
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-6155
mail.gibbons@mail.house.gov

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February 5, 2003

PRESS RELEASE

For more information please contact
the Western Shoshone Defense Project at 775-468-0230

February 5, 2003 Western Shoshone grandmothers brace for seizure of hundreds of Indian horses despite international ruling finding U.S. actions illegal.

Crescent Valley, NV As American citizens brace themselves for an attack on Iraq due to non-compliance with international law, Western Shoshone grandmothers Mary and Carrie Dann ready themselves for a U.S. attack on their own homelands. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has stated that they will commence activities to round up, impound and dispose of hundreds of Shoshone horses on Thursday, February 6. The federal agency claims that the animals are trespassing on "public" lands; the Shoshone claim these are Shoshone lands. The BLM's seizure activity occurs at a dangerous time for the horses, with mares already dropping foals and snow covering the vast mountain areas where the horses live.

The land dispute between the United States and the Western Shoshone has been actively debated for over thirty years with the Shoshone going all the way to the United Nations and the Organization of American States. Both international fora have sharply criticized the United States on its laws and policies regarding native peoples and on January 9, 2003 the Inter-American Commission published its final decision finding the United States in violation of international law in its treatment of the Western Shoshone and their land rights. This recent action by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is timed just weeks after the international report of violations and the publication of a legal research report finding that the U.S. Supreme Court, the Department of Interior and the Indian Claims Commission failed to finalize the decision upon which the U.S. rests its legal argument to the disputed lands.

"I've heard of burying the evidence, but this is outrageous," stated Julie Fishel, an attorney and Director of the Land Restoration Program at the Western Shoshone Defense Project in Crescent Valley. "The United States needs to recognize its obligations to the Western Shoshone, to the international bodies which they work with and to the American public who deserves to see a just result in our own country."

"The Western Shoshone have been calling upon the United States to enter into good faith negotiations. Legal and negotiations experts have told the United States that negotiations are reasonable. The Inter-American Commission has told the United States its current behavior violates international law. Instead of talking, the United States is choosing to oust our people from their lands," stated Patricia Paul, daughter of Carrie Dann.

"The horses aren't the issue. This has always been about the land. This is just another intimidation tactic by the United States government to break these ladies down." Stated Shawn Collins, a Western Shoshone, or "Newe" which means of the people. "Mary and Carrie Dann are modern day heroines."

 

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January 27, 2003

Western Shoshone Dann Sisters Evacuate Horses
Under Federal Attack

Only days after release ofthe Organization American States (OAS) Inter-American Commission on Human Right final decision that U.S. is in violation Western Shoshone rights to property due process and equality under law face forced federal seizure hundreds horses owned by grandmothers Mary and Carrie Dann.

Despite the call by the OAS to remedy the situation, the United States has stepped up its threats against the Dann sisters. In September, after the preliminary decision had been released, the federal government came to the Dann area with 40armed agents, ATVs, rented cowboys, a helicopter and seized 227 head of cattle. Later these agents of the federal government said they were coming back for the Western Shoshone horses.

On January 6, 2003, we learned that the BLM was lining up buyers for the Dann horses through the Nevada Department of Agriculture that sent out a memo to non-profit horse rescue organizations painting the picture that the horses were being confiscated and would go to slaughterhouses, if not purchased.

"I said it before, these horses are in good condition and healthy," said Carrie Dann. "The only thing these horses need to be rescued from is the BLM: that's what we're doing now."

The Western Shoshone Defense Project contacted the horse rescue organizations to alert them to the fact that the horses are not starving, nor wild or unclaimed: that they in fact belong to the Western Shoshone. The wires have been buzzing among horse rescue organizations about the ethics of purchasing the Dann horses from the state. Several organizations came forward to offer support to the Danns. One organization led by a Missouri woman, Rainbow Farms, nominated Carrie Dann for Oprah's, "Use Your Life award."

In response to the imminent danger, a major effort is under way in Crescent Valley to safely round up and evacuate the horses to a safe haven. The Western Shoshone National Council (WSNC) announced on January 15th the creation of the Western Shoshone International Goodwill Horse Program to facilitate the horses passage to safety. The program is being initiated by a donation of hundreds of horses owned by Carrie and Mary Dann. The purpose of the program is to promote economic development opportunities for Indian Nations through horse management and gentling programs and to strengthen youth empowerment activities.

The issue continues to be about title to the land. Concurrently, the U.S. is attempting to distribute monies set aside by the Indian Claims Commission in a forced payment of approximately 15 cents an acre for Western Shoshone land title.

The WSDP calls upon individuals and organizations to join in this struggle alongside the Western Shoshone. Please support the Western Shoshone Horse Defense Fund through a tax-free donation to provide food and safe transport for the horses that are being safeguarded. Write a letter to call upon the U.S. to desist from the present actions and honorably commence good faith negotiations with the Western Shoshone. To make a donation, please send check or money order earmarked for the Western Shoshone Horse Defense Fund to Seventh Generation Fund, P.O. Box 4569, Arcata, CA 95521


For more information: Western Shoshone Defense Project 775-468-0230 wsdp@igc.org

Seventh Generation Fund, www.7genfund.org and www.home.earthlink.net/~dann horses/

 

 

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January 27, 2003

(Great Basin, January 30, 2003 —For Immediate Distribution)

Western Shoshone National Council
Indian Springs, NV 89018
NEWE SOGOBIA
Contact: Chief Yowell Tel: (775) 744-4381
Western Shoshone Defense Project
Crescent Valley, NV 89121
NEWE SOGOBIA
Contact: Julie Fishel Tel: (775) 468-0230

NEWS RELEASE

The Western Shoshone Nation and the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council formed an alliance to protect both nations treaty lands from efforts by the US to consummate the US’s forced claim to the land of both the Western Shoshone Nation of the Great Basin and the Black Hills Sioux Nation. According to Chief Raymond Yowell, leader of the Western Shoshone Nation’s delegation, “The alliance between our two nations is a significant event -- creating alliances between Native American nations is a historic role played by Native American nations that emanates from International Law.”

The meeting between the Western Shoshone Nation and the Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council took place in Rapid City, South Dakota recently, focusing on the mutual concerns of both nations in their opposition to the US Indian Claims Commission created by the US in 1946 to award monetary compensation for Native American lands taken by the US without tribal consent. “The international personality of Native American people allows this alliance. Violations of treaties -- International Law and documented human rights violations by the US required this alliance.” Stated Western Shoshone Nation, Secretary of State, Ian Zabarte.

The Western Shoshone delegation meeting in South Dakota discussed each nation’s concerns, vital interests and steps that each nation will take to support the goals of the alliance. The two nations formalized the alliance. Gold mining in the Great Basin and the Black Hills adversely impact the spiritual, cultural, social and economic interests of both nations. At the end of their meeting the two nations agreed to protect each other’s people against ongoing attempts by the US to pay out the monetary awards. “We have never been alone in resisting the forced claim to our land by the US.” Stated Western Shoshone National Council Representative, John Wells responding to the news.

 

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WESTERN SHOSHONE DEFENSE PROJECT
Carrie Dann wsdp@igc.org
January 25, 2003

Update on Western Shoshone Horse Evacuation

The crisis continues...Current status is 300 horses in the corrals with approximately 400 left to gather. Horse gathering will continue through this weekend - weather permitting. The BLM is currently expressing a desire to cooperate and to continue to hold off on immediate impoundment actions.

Donations to help with the costs of getting the horses to safety (unless the U.S. decides to recognize Western Shoshone land rights before then) and to initiate the Western Shoshone International Goodwill Horse Program can be made to the Seventh Generation Fund - see www.7genfund.org (specific information on the project available there or at www.home.earthlink.net/~dannhorses/).

 

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WESTERN SHOSHONE DEFENSE PROJECT
Carrie Dann wsdp@igc.org
January 2003

 

RE: Wild Horse Herd

The media coverage on this is really disturbing and very dangerous. All over the country they are covering the story as a "rescue" of wild horses. These horses are not wild horses, they are Indian horses and are owned by Mary and Carrie Dann. They are in good health and face no danger except from the BLM. These are valuable Indian horses grazing on even more valuable Indian lands. Please communicate with the media outlets, make sure they have the full story.

National Geographic is especially troubling given their February 2003 article "Searching for Sacagawea" - with a fold out picture of Indian horses and a quote by Meriwether Lewis: "The circumstances of the Snake Indians possessing large quantities of horses, is much in our favour, as by means of horses, the transportation of our baggage will be rendered easy and expeditious over land." The Snake Indians are better known as the Shoshone Indians. The perfect - and accurate - story that needs to be covered is how the Shoshone, specifically Sacagawea, assisted non-Indians such as Lewis & Clark with use of their horses as they made the trek across the Rockies and now the federal government is trying to steal those same Indian horses from the people who helped them and agreed to share their lands with non-Indians.

 

Please let us know if you need additional information. (775) 468-0230

Deadline Looms for Nevada Wild Horse Herd http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/01/0113_030113_wildhorses.html
and here is the online news story: http://www.pnnonline.org/article.php?sid=4151&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0

 

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weekend of January 17, 2003

ALERT -- Mass Round Up Imminent This Weekend

We have received information that the BLM WILL be out in full force to round up Dann horses on the weekend of January 17 -- this weekend. Please come to monitor the situation if possible.

Things to DO:

1.      Come out to Crescent Valley to support Western Shoshone grandmothers Mary and Carrie. They will need all the support they can get. We understand there are anti-war protests this weekend -- what better way to protest the war than stopping the war against the Western Shoshone.

2.       The Good Horse people. Contact the Wild Horse and Burro Alliance at www.savewildhorses.org . They may be able to help stop the round up because of the danger to the horses. The Round up is dangerous for the horses in the mountains -- the BLM could wait until late summer. Dangerous because of the pregnant mares, ice in the mountains and the abusife techniques employed by the BLM when rounding up. THe Alliance also has a coalition of organizations listed on their website - contact all of them if you can.

3.       The Confused Horse people. Contact the organizations that think they are "rescuing" the horses. We understand they care about the horses but there are ways to ensure a safer rescue of the horses. (Thereby saving even more horses.) The plan is to adopt the valley horses from the Danns. The mountain horses cannot be brought in at this time -- it's unsafe. They should lobby the BLM and others (see below) to hold off on the roundup until late summer when the Danns can bring them in - with buyers and donees lined up. Please be polite to these folks. They, like us, believe they are helping.

4.      Contact the Governor of the State of Nevada -- Kevin Quinn 775-684-5670 - the state should not be helping the BLM and they should push to stop the roundup.

5.       Contact Secretary of State Gale Norton -- 202-208-3100

6.       Contact State BLM Director Robert Abbey -- 775-861-6400.

7.       Contact your local media - they should be covering this.

8.       Donate money for horse feed and transportation for those horses we can get out before the BLM gets here. (For tax deductible donations, those donations should be made out to the Seventh Generation Fund - earmarked for the Western Shoshone Horse Defense.) Address: P.O. Box 211308, Crescent Valley, NV 89821.

Please call with questions. 775-468-0230. Thank you for your continued support.

 

From: ED Reese edreese@m7bedlam.com
Mon, 13 Jan 2003
Subject: [nonprofitrescue] Dann sisters
Reply-To: nonprofitrescue@yahoogroups.com

I've been contacted, as some of you have, by various people claiming to represent the Dann sisters. I have explained to them, as I have explained to the board countless times, that my interest and the interests of this group is not in the Dann sisters, the state of Nevada, the BLM, or the government. My interest is completely and entirely in the welfare of these horses. The Dann sisters have offered, if we will help pay for the round up, the coggins, the health certificate, and the brand inspection, to give us these horses. This will come to more money than we will need to pay the state of Nevada. We are not here to aid the Dann sisters in their dispute, nor are we here to make the state of Nevada look like the good guys. Everyone involved should have thought first and foremost about the welfare of these horses.

Our job, and our position, is to take care of horses, not the feelings of people. Those of you who have telephone conversations with the Dann sisters' representatives are going to be made to feel very guilty about what we are doing. The Dann sisters have had 30 years to settle this with the government. As to whose fault, or who is to blame for this problem, remains to be seen. No one should feel guilty when their only concern is for the welfare of the horses, rather than for themselves.

We have all worked extremely hard in securing that welfare. It isn't a matter of our pride or our loyalty to the government, or our desire to help one another that has brought this group together. Many times the only thing that holds us together is our beliefs that all horses should lead a safe, secure, and happy life. That's the reason why you did what you have done, and you should not have to make any excuses to anyone for your thoughts or actions.

Thank you all!

Jerry Finch

 

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WESTERN SHOSHONE DEFENSE PROJECT
For additional information call 775-468-0230.
Press Release For Immediate Release

January 15, 2003


United States Ignores Findings of Inter-American Commission on Human Rights while Western Shoshone Horses begin Evacuation Process aided by Traditional Shoshone Government.

January 15, 2003 Crescent Valley, NV. Only days after release of the Inter American Commission on Human Right's Final Decision in a landmark indigenous rights case finding the U.S. in violation of Western Shoshone rights to property, to due process and to equality under the law, the Western Shoshone face forced federal seizure of hundreds of horses owned by grandmothers Mary and Carrie Dann. In response to the imminent danger, a major effort is currently under way in Crescent Valley to safely round up and evacuate the horses to a safe haven. The Western Shoshone National Council (WSNC) announced today the creation of the Western Shoshone International Goodwill Horse Program to facilitate the horses' passage to safety. The program is being initiated by a donation of hundreds of horses owned by Western Shoshone grandmothers Mary and Carrie Dann. The horses are being moved to an undisclosed horse preserve for safekeeping until the program is fully implemented. The purpose of the program, developed from the WSNC's Horse Management Proposal is to promote economic development opportunities for Indian nations through horse management and gentling programs and to strengthen youth empowerment activities.

The horses are now in the process of being rounded up and immediately evacuated to an undisclosed preserve where they can remain in their family groups and live on open range to which they accustomed until it is safe to repatriate them to Shoshone country or other Indian lands. The Danns will retain a personal herd of 100 horses and those mares too pregnant to safely make the journey to the preserve. The round up and evacuation is expected to last several weeks. The Bureau of Land Management and the State Department of Agriculture have been informed of the effort to move the horses and are expected not to hinder the safe and orderly relocation of the animals. Helen Hankins, BLM Elko District, informed the Dann's attorney today that the BLM supports a peaceful relocation of the horses by the Shoshone and will not attempt to seize the horses at least through the end of next week. Several horse rescue operations have been working tirelessly to assist the Shoshone in bringing these horses to safe haven before the pending federal attack. Most notably, Rainbow Farms run by Becky Lloyd out of Missouri and individual Jo Belasco from Texas have contributed immensely to the effort.

"I said it before, these horses are in good condition and healthy. The only thing these horses need to be rescued from is the BLM. That's what we're doing now." Mary Dann stated. Carrie Dann added: "The United States is terrorizing us on our own lands. They took our cattle, now they are trying to take our horses. What will they do next?"

"We are very pleased to assist the Dann's in this crisis. The program will keep the horses safe and in Indian country. Horses are important to our people. Every youth should have the opportunity to work with horses to keep them sure footed on their path in life." States Ian Zabarte, Western Shoshone National Council. "It is unfortunate but we must remove these horses, however given the immediate danger they currently face both from imminent seizure by the United States and by the effects of destructive land management by military and civilian programs in Western Shoshone territory, we see no alternative."

 

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