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From: coaimmwkr workers@ciw-online.org
Wednesday, March 09, 2005

 

VICTORY IS OURS -- Taco Bell boycott over

The news you've heard is true! The Taco Bell boycott is over... and we won!!!

Taco Bell agreed to meet all our demands and then some.

We'll be sending out more information soon, but for now check out this great report (below) from the Washington Post announcing the agreement reached between the CIW and Yum Brands.

And still plan to come to Louisville on March 12 to help us celebrate this victory and to keep building for a better future. Thanks so much for your steadfast support in this phase of the struggle for fair food. Another world IS possible!

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers
www.ciw-online.org


"Accord With Tomato Pickers Ends Boycott Of Taco Bell"

By Evelyn Nieves
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 9, 2005; Page A06

A group of tomato pickers from Florida announced an end to a boycott of Taco Bell yesterday after the fast-food chain and its parent company agreed to meet demands to improve wages and working conditions for the farmworkers.

In what both sides called an unprecedented agreement, the fast-food company said it will increase the amount it pays for tomatoes by a penny per pound, with the increase to go directly to workers' wages. Taco Bell said it will help the farmworkers' efforts to improve working and living conditions.

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers, an advocacy group made up largely of indigent immigrants who work tomato fields in southwest Florida, and representatives of Taco Bell and its corporate parent, Yum Brands Inc., announced the agreement at a news conference at Yum headquarters
in Louisville. The farmworkers had traveled there for a protest on Saturday.

Although they praised the outcome, both sides stressed that the fast-food industry as a whole needs to do more.

"Now we must convince other companies that they have the power to change the way they do business and the way workers are treated," said Lucas Benitez, a founding member of the workers coalition.

Jonathan Blum, senior vice president of Yum -- the world's largest fast-food corporation -- said that laws need to be changed to protect workers and that the industry needs to hold growers accountable. He added that the company had included language in its supplier code of
conduct to ensure that indentured servitude by suppliers is prohibited -- referring to several cases in recent years in which the Coalition of Immokalee Workers helped federal authorities prosecute farm bosses for holding workers as slaves.

The coalition had called a boycott of Taco Bell, which buys its fresh tomatoes from Immokalee growers, after the company refused to negotiate unless everyone else in the industry did as well; Yum argued that Taco Bell's share of the total amount of tomatoes bought is small.

The coalition, meanwhile, argued that Yum, which includes KFC, A&W, Long John Silver's and Pizza Hut as well as Taco Bell, helped keep the workers in poverty by pressuring suppliers to provide a volume discount. Farmworkers today usually earn 40 cents for each 32-pound bucket of tomatoes they pick, the same rate as 30 years ago, and have to pick 2 tons of tomatoes to earn about $50.

The Taco Bell boycott had picked up considerable support in the last two years, especially among students and church leaders. Students at 21 colleges had removed or blocked the restaurant chain from their campuses, and "Boot the Bell" campaigns were active in at least 300
colleges and universities, and in more than 50 high schools. Religious organizations actively supporting the boycott included the National Council of Churches, representing 50 million Christians. Former president Jimmy Carter, among the workers' most prominent supporters, helped negotiate the resolution reached through his center.

About 80 Immokalee farmworkers had traveled by bus to Louisville for what they called their Taco Bell Truth Tour, stopping at 15 cities en route to bolster support for the boycott. The rally on Saturday, featuring celebrities such as Martin Sheen and Kerry Kennedy, a daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy, will go on, coalition members said, as a celebration of the agreement.

 


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WESTERN SHOSHONE DEFENSE PROJECT

Press Release - For Immediate Release

For additional information, please call 775-468-0230.

Western Shoshone Hold Corporate Dialogue Workshop –
Emphasis on Traditional Beliefs and Cultural Values

February 4, 2005 Elko, Nevada. Western Shoshone elected and traditional leaders gathered together this week for a workshop on corporate social responsibility and successful dialogue with mining companies – strong emphasis was placed on traditional beliefs and cultural values. The workshop was coordinated by the Elko Band Council of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians of Nevada, the Indigenous Environmental Network, the Western Shoshone Defense Project and Oxfam America. Speakers were brought in from across the U.S. and Canada and included a Senior Policy Advisor on Corporate Engagement and Native rights leaders and organizers from Laguna, Acoma, Dine’, Ojibwe and First Nations in Canada. Western Shoshone leadership participated in their individual capacities and as members of the newly formed United Western Shoshone Alliance, an alliance of tribal and traditional Western Shoshone composed of seven of the nine tribal governments and the Western Shoshone National Council.

According to the USGS, the United States is now the world’s second largest producer of gold with approximately 85% of the gold coming from Western Shoshone territory. Historically, the Western Shoshone who are connected to the areas where mining is occurring have been blocked by federal regulations and lack of resources from effectively addressing the impacts of mining on their lands, culture and communities. With the global trend by businesses to live up to standards of “social responsibility”, Western Shoshone and other Native communities are bearing witness to corporate attempts to better the existing relationships. Workshop coordinators explained that the workshop was structured on similar trainings that the mining companies have been holding to educate themselves on socially responsible behavior and indigenous rights.

There were sessions on legal protections for indigenous communities – including information about current standards for corporate social responsibility; environmental and cultural concerns, and how to protect significant areas; communication with mining companies, which are often unaccustomed to listening to Native concerns; and a power mapping analysis addressing the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley, Western Shoshone National structures and legal/political histories. The workshop officially concludes on Saturday, February 5 with a site visit to the Mt. Tenabo/Horse Canyon area (weather permitting).

Workshop facilitator, Tom Goldtooth, Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network stated: “We’re very excited about this workshop. Mining issues and corporate behavior have affected indigenous peoples around the world for hundreds of years. This workshop is geared towards bringing information and skills to the Western Shoshone. It’s the first of its kind and allows Native communities to develop the tools to participate on a more equal level when it comes to creating fair channels of dialogue or engagement with corporate interests.”

Hugh Stevens, Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Chairman: “The purpose of the workshop is to share information on what the mines are actually doing to the land and water in our territory – areas identified by the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley - and how the Western Shoshone can effectively participate in any decisions and policies that are made. At this point, we feel that the companies have been leaving the Western Shoshone out of the decision-making process even though they are aware that the Treaty of Ruby Valley is still intact. We want to make sure our people have their concerns addressed on cultural, environmental, and other issues as well as the government to government relationship – Nation to Nation. These issues are important to us as Western Shoshone and to many of our non-Native allies as well because the water is important to all residents of this area. We are very pleased that this workshop was made possible and that our guests were able and willing to travel long distances to share their stories and information with us.”

 

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February 8, 2005

NOTICE TO THE PRESS

U.S. Reception Boycotted by Indigenous Delegates in Negotiations at the Organization of American States (OAS) on a Draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

On the evening of February 7th, the U.S. Mission to the OAS invited participants in the negotiations of the Draft American Declaration to attend a reception at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. Delegates of Indigenous peoples boycotted the reception to send a message to the U.S. government: Dishonorable negotiations will not be tolerated.

This week marks the Fifth Meeting of Negotiations in the Quest for Points of Consensus of the OAS Working Group to Elaborate the Draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Hector Huertas, President of the Indigenous Caucus, stated that, "We cannot accept an invitation to be honoured in the halls of the National Museum of the American Indian when the U.S. and Canada have shown us a complete lack of honour and respect during the negotiations of the OAS Draft Declaration. These two States are putting forth positions that do not recognize the fundamental human rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Indigenous representatives and many other States attend these sessions in good faith with a view to reaching consensus, yet the destructive positions of the U.S. and a minority of others, block this objective."

In the U.S. Department of States' press release of February 3rd, the reception was said to "underscore U.S. Government support for the rights of indigenous peoples and its strong backing for an OAS declaration on these rights." "This characterization is wholly inaccurate," said Hector Huertas, "That is why we did not attend."

For more information, please contact:
Beverley Jacobs at 1-613-878-6922 (English speaking)
Hector Huertas at 1-507-684-5531 or oloubili@yahoo.com (Spanish speaking)
Armand McKenzie at 1-418-965-1765 (French speaking)

Me Armand MacKenzie, LL.L
Innu Council of Nitassinan (NGO in consultative status with the ECOSOC at the United Nations)
700 Laure, bur. 231
Sept-Iles, Nitassinan, CANADA
G4R 1Y1
Tel: 001-418-965-1765   Fax: 001-418-962-6100
Cell in Geneva: 011-41-78-773-6359    Cell in NYC: 001-917-805-9953


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'Western Shoshone challenge Bush Empire'

Western Shoshone protest war

 

Posted: November 29, 2004
by: Brenda Norrell / Indian Country Today

PHOENIX, Ariz. - Western Shoshone Carrie Dann urged American Indians not to be a part of the slaughter of women and children in Iraq. Dann called on Native young people instead to rise to defend Native nations, as the Bush administration steamrolls America and Iraq for corporation gain.

''This government has treated indigenous people as the enemy and now they are fighting this war for them,'' Dann said, speaking at the Nahuacalli Indigenous Embassy in downtown Phoenix.

Dann said America's promise of democracy has never been fulfilled to Indian nations; their treaties were never honored.

''I have not seen democracy in action as far as indigenous people are concerned.''

Upholding the Western Shoshone Treaty of Ruby Valley of 1863, Dann said President Bush's signature on a bill for payment for Western Shoshone land was an illegitimate exercise of power.

''Western Shoshone land is not for sale,'' Dann said.

Dann questioned whether the Iraqi people would be subjected to a U.S. orchestrated government, designed to enrich oil corporations, in the same manner that American Indian tribal governments were initiated by the U.S. government for the purpose of seizing their land and energy resources.

''American Indians have been controlled by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Is there going to be a Bureau of Iraqi Affairs? Are they going to be treated the way we are treated?''

Native youths, she said, have entered the military for the purpose of gaining an education because there are no jobs for them at home. Bush's war in Iraq, however, is not a war that Native warriors should be fighting.

''It is a war against indigenous people of that land for one reason, for the petroleum, for the oil. We are fighting for a corporation.''

Dann said it is clear that corporations control America.

Referring to the colonization of this country, she said Indian people once welcomed newcomers who later massacred them. ''We are being oppressed today by the same people we welcomed.''

Dann said it is wrong for indigenous people to be involved with taking the lives of women and children in Iraq. ''It is not the indigenous belief to hurt women and children. I do not think we have a right to do this.''

Although Pres. Bush said Americans are liberators and not conquerors in Iraq, Dann said she sees no proof of liberation or democracy in Indian country.

''If it can't happen here, I can't see that it will happen there. Our young people should not be going to fight for democracy over there, when it is not working for us here.

''They should defend their own nations first,'' Dann said, urging them to use their educations to protect their own people.

While the United States continues to violate the human rights and property rights of American Indians, she said the spiritual essence of their lives is being violated. ''We are tied to this land.''

Speaking on behalf of the generations yet to come, Dann said she is taking a stand for the land, water and air and the spiritual and cultural ways that bind indigenous people together.

''Our indigenous lands are sacred and they are not for sale.''

Julie Fishel, staff member at the Western Shoshone Defense Project, said Pres. Bush has promised to represent all Americans and Native people should hold him accountable. Pointing out that Bush spoke recently of America's ''moral values,'' Fishel said American Indians have not seen proof of this.

''The treatment of the first people of this land is so atrocious,'' Fishel said, pointing out America's failure to honor Indian treaties. She said Western Shoshone have been under increased pressure from the Bush administration in recent years and the U.S. Interior for the past seven years.

The Bureau of Land Management is upholding impound notices for Western Shoshone livestock in Nevada on Aboriginal territory secured by the Treaty of Ruby Valley of 1863.

Threats and pressures are escalating for Western Shoshone. Some who have not paid trespass fines are being told the matter will be turned over to the IRS, making it possible for the U.S. to seize their bank accounts and private lands.

The pace of gold mining exploration has been accelerated in the region of their sacred mountain, the place of their creation stories.

Urging a united presentation to the United Nations, Fishel urged indigenous people to join the Western Shoshone with their stories of human rights abuses and the seizure of their lands by corporations, working in collusion with the United States government.

Tupac Enrique Acosta, coordinator for Tonatierra Community Development Institute at the Nahuacalli Indigenous Embassy, held the sacred staff of the Eagle and Condor of the Peace and Dignity Runners across the American continents from the north and south.

Opening the presentation, Enrique said Phoenix is Aboriginal O'odham territory and in every direction are the remains of the descendants of the Hohokam whose spiritual presence remains.

Enrique welcomed the Western Shoshone, with a message from his people from the south. ''These are our relatives. Our history, our languages and our blood are tied together.''

Enrique shared the support by resolution for the Western Shoshone from the 2nd Annual Continental Summit of Indigenous Peoples and Nations of Abya Yala (Americas) in Ecuador.

The support follows the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights' final report in 2003, stating the United States claims to Western Shoshone land are illegal and contrary to international human rights law. The Commission concluded that the United States had used illegitimate means to assert ownership of the lands.

The press conference at the Nahuacalli was held as U.S. forces continued to attack Fallujah on Nov. 9, after a hospital in the city was bombed in violation of the Geneva Convention.

Pointing out the targeting of Native youths for recruitment in the U.S. military, Enrique said a call is being made to all indigenous nations to stop sending their young people to Iraq. He urged Indian nations to send a strong message: ''We are not sending indigenous people to this war.''

Indigenous people, he said, uphold the warrior tradition and want to fight for honor, but he said there is no honor in the war in Iraq.

Enrique said indigenous people have a sacred responsibility and obligation to carry forward this message of peace on behalf of all indigenous people struggling to be recognized as nations.

Enrique spoke of hope in America.

''At some point in the future this nation will regain its dignity.''

 

 


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Thanksgiving Day 2004

From: P. Rafferty prafferty@unobserver.com
http://www.unobserver.com/index.php?pagina=layout5.php&id=2024&blz=1



2004-11-25 | Like most religions, the United States has its own Harvest Festival Celebration. Thanksgiving Day is a special day, set aside for people to give thanks to The Creator for the bounties of Nature, by sharing food with family and friends, in gratitude for the Blessings of
Creation.

The holiday is based upon a Sixteenth Century event when the people of one of the original nations of the Americas shared the fruits of the Earth with their European guests, the "Puritans", or "Pilgrim Fathers" of U.S. History.

The "Puritans", "Christian Fundamentalists" of the time, had left their native England, seeking to build a "New Jerusalem", based upon their particular view of Christianity. Thinking themselves an "elect" or "chosen people", they sought to reenact the Biblical settling of "The Promised Land", by eliminating the peoples and nations of North America.

They and their followers succeeded in reducing the Native Americans from an estimated high of 18 million in 1492, to approximately 2 million in the United States, today.

Nevertheless, Thanksgiving Day is one way to honor The Creator and to be grateful for whatever Blessings we have.

We wish everyone, particularly Native Americans, a Peaceful and Blessed Thanksgiving ! May the Spirit of the original harmonious meeting of two cultures provide a source of Inspiration, capable of overcoming all the sorrow that has followed !

We also hope you will read a previous article on Thanksgiving Day which goes into more detail.

Happy Thanksgiving Day ! - plus Some Real History
http://www.unobserver.com/index.php?pagina=layout5.php&id=1219&blz=1



Please also visit:

American Indian Genocide Museum
http://www.aigenom.com http://www.aigenom.com/

Alcatraz Thanksgiving Sunrise Gathering, November 25, 2004
http://www.treatycouncil.org/section_211112.htm


Statistical Reference:
Encyclopedia of North American Indians
Population: Precontact to the Present
http://college.hmco.com/history/readerscomp/naind/html/na_030500_precont actto.htm


Please also see:

Aid trickling in to desperate Fallujans
http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/00349EFE-6579-4F43-860B-85E7AF65B 72F.htm

and


Turkeys
A bald eagle, as the nation's official bird, adorns the Great Seal of the United States of America. But if Benjamin Franklin had had his way, a turkey, not a bald eagle, might have famously gripped those 13 arrows and an olive branch as part of the seal. Franklin knew, like others who have spent time around this large bird, that it would have been an honor for the turkey to represent the United States.

http://www.hsus.org/ace/11490

Turkeys: A Life Beyond the Holiday Dinner Table
http://www.hsus.org/ace/15845


 

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Insurer Warns of Global Warming Catastrophe

By Thomas Atkins
Planet Ark
truthout.org
Saturday 06 March 2004

GENEVA - The world's second-largest reinsurer Swiss Re warns that the costs of global warming threaten to spiral out of control, forcing the human race into a catastrophe of its own making.

In a report revealing how climate change is rising on the corporate agenda, Swiss Re said the economic costs of global warming threatened to double to $150 billion (81 billion pounds) a year in 10 years, hitting insurers with $30-40 billion in claims, or the equivalent of one World Trade Centre attack annually.

"There is a danger that human intervention will accelerate and intensify natural climate changes to such a point that it will become impossible to adapt our socio-economic systems in time," Swiss Re said in the report.

"The human race can lead itself into this climatic catastrophe - or it can avert it."

The report comes as a growing number of policy experts warn that the environment is emerging as the security threat of the 21st century, eclipsing terrorism.

Scientists expect global warming to trigger increasingly frequent and violent storms, heat waves, flooding, tornadoes, and cyclones while other areas slip into cold or drought.

"Sea levels will continue to rise, glaciers retreat and snow cover decline," the insurer wrote.

EXPONENTIAL RISE

Losses to insurers from environmental events have risen exponentially over the past 30 years, and are expected to rise even more rapidly still, said Swiss Re climate expert Pamela Heck.

"Scientists tell us that certain extreme events are going to increase in intensity and frequency in the future," Heck told Reuters by telephone. "Climate change is very much in the mind of the insurance industry."

Over the past century, the average global temperature has increased by 0.6 degrees Centigrade, the largest rise for the northern hemisphere in the past 1,000 years, Swiss Re said.

In the short- and medium-term, simply knowing that the planet is warming will allow society to adapt, for example, through infrastructure to cope with more-frequent floods or by instructing farmers to use drought-resistent cereals.

In other cases, governments need to restrict risk-taking, such as approving housing developments in low-lying areas, and improve catastrophe management capabilities.

In the long term, Swiss Re said, greenhouse gases widely thought to trigger global warming will need to be reduced, the use of fossil fuels cut and new energy technologies developed.

"The role of the insurance industry is through establishing risk adequate tariffs and to give the risk taker the opportunity to implement appropriate measures to reduce the chance of possible losses," Heck said.

 

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