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Western Shoshone Visit UN for Human Rights Review

Members of the Western Shoshone Defense Project traveled to Geneva, Switzerland to discuss the human rights record of the U.S. government pertaining to indigenous peoples. Despite the Treaty of Ruby Valley (1863) signed with the Shoshone Nation and the U.S., many harmful activities have been permitted to occur on Shoshone land "Newe Sogobia" including cyanide leach pit gold mining, military weapons testing, nuclear waste disposal and now the Ruby natural gas pipeline cutting through pristine sage grouse habitat and numerous indigenous archeological sites sacred to the Shoshone and Paiute.
From Western Shoshone Defense Project

Monday, November 1, 2010

"Western Shoshone travel to UN for first US Human Rights Periodic Review"

Contact: Larson Bill, Western Shoshone Defense Project, 775-744-2565/775-397-6726 or Seánna Howard, University of Arizona Rogers College of Law, 520-626-8223/520-455-3438

Western Shoshone Travel to United Nations for First Universal Periodic Review of U.S. Human Rights Record

November 1, 2010 Crescent Valley, NV and Geneva, Switzerland.

By Western Shoshone Defense Project

Censored News

 http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com

"This week a delegation from the Western Shoshone Defense Project (WSDP) travels to the United Nations for the historic first Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United States. The UPR is a process by which the country's entire human rights record is reviewed by the United Nations' Human Rights Council. The Western Shoshone, with the assistance of the University of Arizona Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program (IPLP), filed a joint stakeholder submission to the UN in April 2010 as part of the UPR process. Western Shoshone delegates Larson Bill and Rick Spilsbury will be joined in Geneva by IPLP Staff Attorney, Seánna Howard.

The delegates' aim is to highlight the United States' ongoing refusal to comply with the specific recommendations of UN monitoring bodies as well as its own domestic regulation guaranteeing equal protection to indigenous peoples. Despite rulings by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the United States refuses to consult in good faith with the Western Shoshone while continuing to engage in activities that threaten irreparable harm to their lands and culture such as mining, plans for nuclear waste storage, and military weapons testing. Seánna Howard explains, "Both the United Nations and the Organization of American States have issued decisions declaring the United States in violation of the Western Shoshone's human rights, yet the US has and continues to ignore the recommendations of these international bodies. We hope the UPR will provide a space for the Western Shoshone to be heard and that the US will begin to acknowledge its responsibilities and uphold its human rights obligations to the Shoshone peoples."

The WSDP has requested that the Human Rights Council recommend the U.S. take serious steps toward addressing and implementing internationally recognized indigenous rights as well as redressing violations of the human rights of indigenous peoples. Among the WSDP's recommendations is the establishment of a National Human Rights Commission with indigenous rights identified as one of its first priorities. The need for a comprehensive, national approach to indigenous rights is exemplified by local resource issues central to indigenous survival. For instance, as delegate Rick Spilsbury stated, "The United States has ... committed life-sustaining water to the Western Shoshone (Newe) people. And then the United States delegated authority over water to the States. The State of Nevada has, however, not felt the same dedication to those commitments... . We have not gone extinct! We still need our water." Delegate Larson Bill stated: "The United States needs to tell the truth to the Shoshone people on what's happening to the land and resources. The distribution of money does not satisfy the land issue. The Shoshone people are saddened by the destruction of their homeland by the mining industry and private interest groups and politicians."

The Western Shoshone case is emblematic of the widespread discrimination and denial of fundamental rights that indigenous peoples continue to face in the United States. The delegation looks forward to the opportunity to engage the US on these human rights issues and seeks to establish a dialogue that will lead to good faith consultations and full compliance with the CERD and IACHR decisions."

Posted by brendanorrell [at] gmail.com at 3:12 PM

article found here;
 http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2010/11/western-shoshone-travel-to-un-for-first.html





other coverage;



"ELKO - The Western Shoshone Defense Project sent a delegation to Geneva this week for a United Nations review of the United States' human rights record.

The Crescent Valley-based Western Shoshone Defense Project filed a joint stakeholder submission to the U.N. in April with help from the University of Arizona Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program, according to a statement.

Larson Bill and Rick Spilsbury of the Nevada-based Western Shoshone Defense Project were joined by a staff attorney for the Arizona program, Seanna Howard, at the meeting in Switzerland, where they planned to present claims that the U.S. refuses to consult in good faith with the Western Shoshone over land issues.

"Both the United Nations and the Organization of American States have issued decisions declaring the United States in violation of the Western Shoshone's human rights, yet the U.S. has and continues to ignore the recommendations of these international bodies," Howard said in the announcement earlier this week.

"We hope the UPR [Universal Periodic Review] will provide a space for the Western Shoshone to be heard and that the U.S. will begin to acknowledge its responsibilities and uphold its human rights obligations to the Shoshone peoples," she said.

Bill stated that the U.S. "needs to tell the truth to the Shoshone people on what's happening to the land and resources. The distribution of money does not satisfy the land issue. The Shoshone people are saddened by the destruction of their homeland by the mining industry and private interest groups and politicians."

He was referring to the planned distribution of millions of dollars in claims settlement money to the Western Shoshone people under a law passed several years ago."

article found here;
 http://elkodaily.com/news/local/







Treaty of Ruby Valley mostly ignored by U.S. government;

Ruby Valley Treaty
Western Shoshone Indians
Of Nevada - October 1, 1863
Historical Commemoration

Written by the
Traditional Chief of the Western Shoshone,
the late Frank Temoke Sr.(1903-1994)



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


"The following is a historical commemoration of the signing of the Ruby Valley Treaty of Peace and Friendship contrived between the Western Shoshone Indians and the United States Government and signed on October 1, 1863. Just 134 years old, the Ruby Valley Treaty is a portrayal of the period of time when conflicts between the Indian and whites were coming to an end in the West, however, the enclosed document symbolizes a viewpoint that narrates the activity and attitude of the United States Government and it's agencies, as to being equivalent today as that of 1863 or even 1965 when the Traditional Chief of the Western Shoshone, the late Frank Temoke Sr.(1903-1994), of Ruby Valley, Nevada, signed the article that follows. The Ruby Valley Treaty has never been honored by the Government in any manner of speaking.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


{April 24, 1965}

"Our legends tell us how we were brought to this land by the Coyote. We know that we are the first people upon this continent and the true owners. And like the Coyote also we have been subject to much violence since the coming of the white man upon our lands. We of the Western Shoshone Indian people have known that our ancestors were shot, the springs poisoned, germs were spread among our people and we even today are subject to every deceitful and dishonest tricks of attorneys who are supposed to represent us and do not, together with Indian agents in order to steal our lands from us, under the pretense of buying these lands which they say on the other hand that we do not own.

The Treaty of 1863 made in Ruby Valley, Nevada outlines generally the lands which comprise the Western Shoshone Indian Nation. This Treaty was signed by our principal chiefs and headsmen and ratified by the Congress of the United States.

The white man today through his government in Washington is seeking to break this Treaty also in order to steal our lands.

We know that this is not right. Our Treaty was paid for in blood, so I would like to tell you how this Treaty was made.

In the first place the white people at that time(1863) were weak and few in number's and it was they the white man and his government who came to us asking for a peace treaty. It seems that the white people were at war among themselves which war was called the Civil War and President Lincoln of the United States wanted to get gold from California in order to finance the war. And since the government at this time did not have enough soldiers to guard all of the stage coaches which were carrying this gold across Nevada the only solution was a peace treaty with the people whose lands that stage coaches had to travel which was the lands of the Western Shoshone Indian Nation.

So it was that the white people and the representatives of the United States Government put out the word that they were anxious to meet with the chiefs and the people of the Western Shoshone Indian Nation for the purpose of signing such a treaty. So a date was set and the word was passed by runners and on horseback that there would also be a feast with plenty to eat and then the peace treaty would be signed by both parties, Indians and Whites and that there would be no more fighting. And that the Indians were to come unarmed because they would not need their guns.

And so it was that at the appointed time the Indians together with the chiefs did come to this place in Ruby Valley and they came unarmed and the soldiers together with the government representatives also came but the soldiers had rifles which they stacked in bunches. So when the Indians had all gathered, the soldiers grabbed the rifles and killed an Indian which they had previously captured and brought with them. Then they cut the Indian up and put him in a huge iron pot which they had in those days and they cooked him and then the soldiers aimed their rifles at the heads of the people and forced the people to eat some of this man they had killed. Men, women and children were all forced to eat some of this human flesh while the soldiers held their guns on the people. And it was after this terrible thing which the white man did to our people that the Treaty of 1863 was signed. So it is hard for us of the Western Shoshone people to understand why the white man doesn't wish to keep this Treaty. And why the government insist through its agents and attorneys that this Treaty is no good.

We think that our Treaty has been paid for in blood. And the White man will have to live by this Treaty. All of his conniving and scheming will be for nothing, he will have to live by this Treaty. And like the Coyote whom the white man also has tried to exterminate he also cannot exterminate the Indians. We will continue to hold our Treaty and our lands and no part of our heritage, our birthright to this Mother Earth is for sale."

Frank Temoke Sr.
Chief Western Shoshone Indian Nation
April 24, 1965

article found here;
 http://www.thepeoplespaths.net/history/1863rubyhist.htm




From Great Basin Resource Watch;

"The Ruby Pipeline L.L.C. (El Paso Corporation) Project which will transport natural gas from Wyoming through northern Utah and northern Nevada to Oregon is moving along quickly. However, there is still time to take action in stalling this project until all environmental and cultural impacts, as well as alternative routes, have been fully studied. Please download and sign the following letters (or write your own personalized letter) to Senator Harry Reid and Ron Wenker of the BLM."




"In addition to the route concerns, the final EIS, issued on January 8, 2010, is inadequate and incomplete. Environmental and cultural reports continue to be submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. These reports should have been include in the final EIS as required by law. Most disturbing to the cultural studies shortfall is the fact that government-to-government consultation with native tribal communities has been limited to nonexistent. This lack of consultation is a violation of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The lack of consultation with native tribal communities is also a direct violation of Executive Order 13175 which directly addresses consultation and coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, and President Obama's Order of Transparency and Open Government in which Obama states "we will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration". However, neither tribes nor conservation groups were consulted regarding the proposed pipeline route. Consultation would have alleviated many concerns."

Ruby Pipeline background;
 http://www.gbrw.org/