Wednesday, July 27, 2011



By Mike Raccoon Eyes Kinney

As a Cherokee Native Advocate and a writer about Indian Country for many years, I have many grave concerns about Human and Civil Rights abuses of both the Canadian and United States governments, that are direct violation nations and international accords that both countries have signed in regards to First Nations Indigenous Peoples.

I have written and lectured extensively about the 'New Indian Wars', this essay is a close examination of Cherokee Resistance and Self-Defense.

Rolling Thunder, a Cherokee Doctor and activist, once stated: " I am NOT good material to be dictated to by any white man as to what I can do and where I can go on MY LAND!"

In the the 1830's then United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Jon Marshall, ruled the Cherokee were a sovereign nation. The had offered a brilliant legal defense in the issue of sovereignty. As Clyde Warrior once noted; The Cherokees...are a very legal-minded people. They want to try everything that is right and proper. Because they believe that if they do everything that is legal and proper that justice will prevail."(1) As was the the case of Cherokee sovereignty in the 1830's as an example.

Warrior made this comment in 1966, resulting in a trial of full-blood Cherokee man named John Chewie. Who was to stand trial ay a county courthouse in Jay,Oklahoma for charges of 'illegally hunting deer on traditional Cherokee land held in trust by the federal government by Oklahoma state authorities.

While the trial was starting 400 full-blood Cherokee men armed with hunting rifles, shotguns and hand pistols surrounded the county courthouse and were duly prepared to defend the life of Chewie and Cherokee sovereignty.

Warrior observed: "What the Cherokee fail to see is that the American system, nothing is done legally, honestly or truthfully. Now when they find out, they are going to be pretty damn mad. If that(the legal way) fails, then VIOLENCE will take place. The country should take HEED."(2)

In the late 1830's the Indian Killer, President Andrew Jackson defied the US Supreme Court ruling and started a new policy of relocation, along with racial and ethnic cleansing. The Cherokee would be the very first victims of this 100 year policy that would forever change the world of Native America.

Almost 100 years later, Adolph Hitler would use the same exact blueprint of relocation, concentration camps and ethnic cleansing in what he termed the Final Solution. Hitler had studied and read carefully, how the Indian Killer had instituted the 'Final Solution'for the Cherokee.

For the full and mixed blood Cherokees in the high hills of eastern Oklahoma on the fringe of the Ozarks and through the traditional homelands of Appalachia have been and still entrenched in an appalling culture of cycle of poverty, hopelessness and violence. In rural Cherokee Country conditions have not improved for the past 100 years. People face daily starvation, with a back drop of high unemployment or no jobs. Drug and alcohol addictions and domestic violence is out of control. Illiteracy and high school drop outs exceeds the national average. Hunger and malnutrition is common place.

This is how it always has been in rural Cherokee Country for the past 180 years to the present! A violent time bomb ready to explode! The factors of historic poverty and the issue of Cherokee sovereignty has always been a keg of dynamite that was then and still is ready to blow among rural Cherokee Country.

By the late 1960's ,in rural Cherokee Country in east Oklahoma starvation was out of control. According to historical sources entire villages and hamlets were suffering on massive level. Traditional full blood Cherokee men decided to respond to the challenge and violating both federal and state laws, began to hunt deer on traditional Cherokee land.

The full-bloods met in secret to address the issues of starvation and Cherokee sovereignty- the right to hunt on their own CHEROKEE LAND. Hundreds of men formed the 'Five County Cherokee Movement. They drafted there own Cherokee Declaration of Independence in the winter of 1966. 'We meet in atime of darkness to seek the path to the light. We come together, just as our father's have done, to do these things...we the Five County Cherokees are one People. We stand united in the sight of our Creator. We are joined by love and concern for each other and for all men..."

We offer ourselves as a voice of the Cherokee People. For many years our People have not spoken and have not been heard. Now we gather as brothers and sisters... We insist on equality under the laws of the United States. We act now peaceably but firmly to carry out THE WISHES OF OUR PEOPLE...We do this for the benefit of all Cherokees. We do this as a good example to all men. Already we have gathered to protect our rights to harvest fish and game to feed ourselves and children..."(3)

So in the winter of 1966, the Movement became a high mark for the advancement of Cherokee sovereignty. Hundreds of men were hunting in the old traditional Cherokee land in the high hills of east Oklahoma. Movement men including John Chewie hunted in small bands to bring deer to the dinner table. The State of Oklahoma-department of Wildlife arrested and charged John for possession of deer meat out season and having no license to hunt , when he was 'caught' by game wardens.

When Movement men had received word of his arrest and pending trial, his brothers quietly encircled the small town of Jay and the courthouse where Chewies trial would take place. Movement men brought their rifles, shotguns and pistols; about 400 in number to defend John's life and Cherokee sovereignty if need be.(4) Chewie had become the the shining icon to Indian Country for the issue of Native sovereignty to hunt on native lands that were claimed by federal and state jurisdictions.

Fearing both violence and bloodshed, the State of Oklahoma legal system decided to pass John's case on to the federal court level in order to AVOID AN ARMED CONFRONTATION WITH THE MOVEMENT MEN.

Not only had the Five County Cherokee Movement been heard and spoken, it had won the first round in it's advocacy for Cherokee sovereignty and the long hard road for the advancement for more Human and Civil Rights for Indian Country! A-ho!

source quotes:(1)(2)(3)(4)from 'The New Indians-Stan Steiner 1968 Delta

Wednesday, May 25, 2011




As was discussed in 'Mixed Blood Natives-The Silence of Indian Country' (Part-1),
Quanah Parker as a mixed blood Native made the decision to leave one culture and enter into another culture.

The story of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminloe has a similar theme as well. The Cherokee culture was steeped deeply into the great Meso-American pyramid temple cities as early as 800 A.D. When the Olmecs, Toltecs, Mayans and Aztecs were moving from North to into the South deep into Mexico and Central America, they quickly absorbed and embraced building their own great pyramid temple spiritual cities they had observed and seen in the great Cherokee cities of the Southeast.

Cherokee intermarriage to both the Mexican and Central Americans would become the norm for the next 300 years. The mixed blood Cherokees would hold a high place of honor within the Meso-American world of Mexico and Central America. For the mixed blood Cherokee of the time were the priests, prophets, engineers and administrators, who were the elite of running the new spiritual pyramid temple cities of both Mexico and Central America. Without the mixed blood Cherokees, the great pyramid temple cities in Mexico and Central America would cease to run, much less function.

The Cherokee started having intergenerational marriage and 'sexual relationships with the Europeans in the early 1700's. Many Cherokee bands and families were quick to see the economic benefits of having trade, land and business dealings with Europeans. In a sense this could be viewed as a classic Cherokee version of the 'hang around the fort Indians'. However this story was not true for the majority of mixed blood Cherokee people of that time!

For the the upper class elite of mixed blood Cherokee of the late 1700s and early 1800s, it was not uncommon for them to have extensive plantations, a lavish life-style that would have not been uncommon in London or Paris and a sizable work force of African slaves. Many well to do mixed blood Cherokee were highly educated in New York, Washington D.C. or even London.

The preference of mixed blood Cherokee men of the time were to marry European or other mixed blood Cherokee women. Their children and grandchildren would follow suit. The new generation of light-skinned mixed blood bourgeoisie Cherokee would wash their hands of and renounce the traditional ways of Cherokee culture and Spirituality.

However, there was another side to the mixed blood Cherokee people, that has been neglected and treated with silence. The story is that of the traditional mixed blood Cherokee that retained their cultural and Spiritual identities.

The traditional mixed blood Cherokee lived along the side of their full blood cousins in the pre-1830's in large rural wilderness areas that were isolated communities of families and bands in vast tracks of land through out the greater Southeast of the U.S.

Even during the days of post Contact, while the Europeans were eco-raping the land, extensive outreach by the missionaries to convert out People by force and the Federals in league with newly established State of Georgia authorities were to use brutal and ruthless tactics to remove remove the Real People from our lands with the discovery of gold, both mixed and full blood Cherokee people still retained an amazing amount of sovereignty and autonomy because they knew both spiritually and culturally they were the Creator's original Holy People.

The Indian Killer Jackson enforced the new Indian Removal Act at the heart land of our Great Cherokee Nation in the mid and late 1830s. Bluecoat soldiers started first with the Cherokee in the new policy or ethnic cleansing, relocation and the reservation system. So began 'Our Trail of Our Tears. where 20,000 Cherokee were relocated to Indian Territory. No one was spared! Not full or mixed bloods or even the bourgeoisie Cherokee were spared from Jackson's vision of hell to kill our People!

However, large pockets of both mixed and full blood Cherokee families and bands did manage to escape and offer a sizable resistance coming from Cherokee country. My own family, the Raccoon Eyes were one such family. My Great, great, great, Grandmother- Polly Raccoon Eyes was born in 1714 in Rowan County, North Carolina, she was a full blood woman of the Eastern Band. When Polly was 12 years of age she was a domestic to the Newsome family. In the year 1726, Polly and the Newsome family walked some 400 miles from North Carolina to our family village in Southeast Kentucky.

They would eventually settle in the high hills and river country at a location called Sooky's Creek. Sooky's Creek was our old historical family village and it had old burial mounds of our Cherokee ancestors dating back so 4,000 years. It was the homeland of the Raccoon Eyes band. Elder Newsome a white Englishman would leave his wife and family to join Polly as his common law wife. From the time she was 18 years of age and older, Polly would bear some 12 sons and daughter in their union.

It was here that the mixed blood lineage of the Raccoon Eyes family would begin at our family village at Sooky's Creek. It was here where the Raccoon Eyes family would fight a successful guerilla war against Jackson's Bluecoat Indian killers.
The mixed blood Cherokee were killing high numbers of Bluecoat soldiers in Southeast Kentucky. However bullets were running low for the long rifles, hunger and starvation were abundant and the hard brutal winters were taking it's toll on the children, women and Elders in the campaign against the Bluecoats and their allies.

The mixed and full blood elders and ancestors had to make the decision to surrender and turn themselves in so they could survive as a People! They were forced to take missionary surname, embrace a alien Deity and the most hideous of act all... to have forced sexual relations with the white conquerors. The ultimate goal and reason our Cherokee men and women did this for was to keep lightening and lightening our skin color until we could 'pass for white'. It was the only way as the Real Cherokee People could survive and not become victims of more ethnic cleansing.

Until a generation of fair-skinned, Blue-eyed Cherokee was created! It was the most painful and heart-breaking decisions that our Elders made at the time! BUT WHAT ELSE COULD THEY HAVE DONE?? But we have fulfilled their dream to be alive and celebrate our survival as a People.

I honor and give thanks to my Elder's decisions to let the Raccoon Eyes family to continue to live and exist! And their are hundreds of thousands of we mixed blood Cherokee people alive today to tell our stories and celebrate that we the REAL PEOPLE are still here! We are just as a part of the history of Indian Country as any other Native people! I always celebrate Native folks who look like us.

Like Quanah Parker who chose to leave his Father's world and live among his Mother's world, I chose some 35 years ago to leave my Mother's mainstream world and enter into my Father's world of being who and what I truly am.....a Native Man!
Cousins, I tell it was the best decision I ever made. To reclaim my Culture, my Spirituality and most importantly!

We can no longer afford as mixed blood People of Turtle Island to sit in silence and ignorance of the reality of who we are as true Native People! We can no longer sit back and attack ourselves, beat ourselves up and pound ourselves for crimes we have NEVER committed. It now time to view we mixed blood Native People, with good self-esteem, good self-worth and good self value. For this was the Creator's plan!
Remember all WE Native People are the Creator's Holy People!

Wado and A-ho my Brothers and Sisters,

Tuesday, April 19, 2011



Friday, April 8, 2011


Shane Gray the grassroots Advocate signman to free Leonard Peltier made a stop at the Richmond City Council meeting to get support from the community to bring awareness to Leonard April 7, 2011 inn Richmond, CA.

foto and text: Mike Raccoon Eyes



The Protect Glen Cove Committee and the Board of Directors of Sacred Sites Protection and Rights of Indigenous Tribes (SSP&RIT) have received information that leads us to believe that the desecration of Glen Cove will begin on April 15, 2011.

We are calling for an ASSEMBLY of all Warriors to gather on April 14, 2011 in front of SSP&RIT headquarters at 400 Keats Drive, Vallejo, California.

SSP&RIT will host a prayer ceremony on site. Be prepared to actively protest this assault at Glen Cove. Cameras and video cameras are a must, if you have them. Walkie-talkies are needed for communications. Bring you cell phone chargers.

Bring your sacred medicine and join our prayer circle at Glen Cove. If you can't make the trip, please make a phone call and keep the phone lines of GVRD and the City of Vallejo busy. (see numbers below)


April 7th UPDATE:
GVRD and contractors were meeting at Sogorea Te today (April 7). They refused to listen to our concerns, refused to identify themselves or their employers and tried to harass and intimidate SSP&RIT members and their supporters. The police were called by Steve Pesley of GVRD, but no arrests or interference resulted. Representatives of the Times Herald were on hand and interviewed Wounded Knee.

The contractors intend to fence the ancestors in to protect their equipment. The also intend to employ roving security at the site. We expect that this fence will go up on the 13th or 14th of April.

The contractor is Carone & Company, Inc. Make a call and voice your objections to them:
(925) 602-8800
5009 Forni Drive, Concord, CA 94520

We are now requesting donations for an Emergency Defense Fund. Funds are needed to purchase supplies, food, photocopies, sanitation, signs, etc. Please contribute if you can!
Donations can be made online with a credit/debit card or a bank account, and will be processed securely. To donate, visit:


Numbers to call:
Greater Vallejo Recreation Department: 707-648-4600
City of Vallejo Mayor: 707-648-4377
Vallejo Times-Herald newspaper: 707-644-1141
Times-Herald fax number: 707-643-0128
Carone & Company, Inc. (contracters): (925) 602-8800

Tuesday, March 22, 2011



RICHMOND,CA- Today community activists, clergy and government officials attending a rally in front of the Bible Way Apostolic Church. The church under the direction of Pastor Sidney Keys had the support of Congressman George Miller and Contra Costa Board of Supervisor John Gioia in lieu of having been served evication papers last week.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011



By Mike Raccoon Eyes

As a Spirit Man I tell you when you look at a vision, it is like looking at mists and shadows. As Native spiritual person, it will take you years to interpret what you are really seeing. In the Old days our People didn't call them visions. We called it seeiing or the ability to see.

For many of us, seeing usually comes in dreams. This is not like a dream, when you sleep and have dreams come in fragments. Visions are quite clear and you remember the dream again, quite cleary!

Where as with a 'nightmare', you may questionis it a dream or not. But it lingers and wafts within your mind, it slowly drifts away when you try to examine it more closely. In the dream-vision state, you can recall every detail and look closely; and examine everything that happened. Every detail is recorded for you spiritual review.

As you become more skillrd into understanding and interpreting your visions, you can know something you that you NEVER saw anything about! But when the thought comes into your mind, more than likely out of your mouth! You did'nt mean to say it-but you say it never the less.

What you are saying is so, but you NEVER saw anything else other than your vision to inform you of it! It should be know that "Speaking Out" is also one of the traits that is a part of seeing.

When you master this in Sared Time, you will see- It is a different kind of power, a different kind of energy and a different kind of strength. So it will reflect from a spiritual place, a differnt kind of thinking. A-ho!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011



In Bar Harbor, Maine, Annie Mae Aquash became involved in the Teaching and Research in Bicultural Education School Project (TRIBES), a program designed to teach young Indians about their history. She soon moved to Boston where she met members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) who were protesting against the Mayflower II celebration at Boston Harbor, boarding and seizing the ship on Thanksgiving Day of 1970. Anna Mae was active in creating the Boston Indian Council (now the North American Indian Center of Boston).

It was also at that time that she met her second husband, Nogeeshik Aquash, from Walpole Island, Canada. They traveled to Pine Ridge together in 1973 to join AIM in the 71-day armed re-occupation of Wounded Knee, which is where they were married by Wallace Black Elk. A photo of their wedding can be found in the book Voices From Wounded Knee (1974).

She was also involved in the 1972 Trail of Broken Treaties march on Washington, D.C. that led to the occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs headquarters, and armed occupations by AIM and other indigenous warriors at Anicinabe Park in Kenora, Ontario in 1974 and the Alexian Brothers Novitiate at Gresham, Wisconsin, in 1975. [1]

By the spring of 1975, Anna Mae "was recognized and respected as an organizer in her own right and was taking an increasing role in the decision-making of AIM policies and programs," according to her biographer, Johanna Brand. [1]

She was personally close to AIM leaders Leonard Peltier and Dennis Banks. She worked until her death for the Elders and Lakota People of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota. [1]

THE MURDER OF ANNIE MAE AQUASHOn February 24, 1976, Aquash was found dead by the side of State Road 73 on the far northeast corner of the Pine Ridge Reservation, about 10 miles from Wanblee, South Dakota, close to Kadoka. Her body was found during an unusually warm spell in late February, 1976 by a rancher, Roger Amiotte.[2] The first autopsy (reports are now public information) states: "it appears she had been dead for about 10 days." The Bureau of Indian Affairs' medical practitioner, W. O. Brown, missing the bullet wound on her skull, stated that "she had died of exposure." [1]

Subsequently, her hands were cut off and sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Washington, D.C. for fingerprinting. Although federal agents were present who knew Anna Mae, she was not identified, and her body was buried as a Jane Doe.

On March 10, 1976, eight days after Anna Mae's burial, her body was exhumed as the result of separate requests made by her family and AIM supporters, and the FBI. A second autopsy was conducted the following day by an independent pathologist from Minneapolis, Dr. Garry Peterson. This autopsy revealed that she had been shot by a .32 caliber bullet in the back of the head, execution style.[3]

INVESTIGATIONOn March 20, 2003 two men were indicted for the murder of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash: Fritz Arlo Looking Cloud (a homeless Lakota man) and John Graham (aka John Boy Patton), a Southern Tutchone Athabascan man from Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. Although Theda Clark, Graham's adopted aunt, is also alleged to have been involved, she has not been indicted.

In August 2008, a federal grand jury indicted a third man, Vine Richard "Dick" Marshall, with aiding and abetting the murder. It is alleged that Graham, Looking Cloud and Clark had taken Anna Mae to Marshall's house where she was held just prior to her being driven to her death. This is based on testimony given by Marshall's wife, Cleo Gates, at Looking Cloud's trial. Marshall is alleged to have provided the murder weapon to Graham and Looking Cloud. Marshall had previously been incarcerated for 24 years for the shooting death of man in 1975. He was paroled from prison in 2000. Marshall was a bodyguard for Russell Means at the time of Aquash's murder.[2]

On February 8, 2004 Arlo Looking Cloud was tried before a U.S. federal jury and five days later was found guilty. On April 23, 2004 he was given a mandatory sentence of life in prison. Although no physical evidence linking Looking Cloud to the crime was presented, a videotape was shown in which Looking Cloud admits to being at the scene of the murder but claims that he was unaware that Aquash was going to be killed. In that video, in which Looking Cloud is interviewed by Detective Abe Alonzo of the Denver Police Department and Robert Ecoffey, the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Law Enforcement Services, taped on March 27, 2003, he states that Graham was the triggerman.[4] Looking Cloud appealed his conviction.[5] On August 19, 2005, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed the judgment of conviction. 419 F.3d 781. Other witnesses testifed that Looking Cloud had confessed his involvement to them, including his childhood friend Richard Two Elk, Troy Lynn Yellow Wood, John Trudell, and Aquash's two daughters.[3]

On June 22, 2006 John Graham's extradition to the United States to face charges on his alleged involvement in the murder was ordered by Canada's Minister of Justice, Vic Toews. Graham appealed this order and was held under house arrest, with conditions. In July 2007, a Canadian court denied his appeal, and upheld his extradiction order to the U.S. On December 6, 2007 the Supreme Court of Canada denied Graham's appeal of his extradition. He is presently being held in jail in Rapid City, South Dakota awaiting trial on first degree murder charges. He will be tried together with Marshall.[4]

Graham adamantly denies any involvement in the death of Anna Mae. He claims that the U.S. government threatened to name him as the murderer of Anna Mae if he "didn't co-operate". Claiming that he last saw Annie Mae on a drive that took them from Denver to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where he left her at a "safe house" (in his own words, in an interview with Antoinette Nora Claypoole), Graham explains why he believes he is being charged as her murderer:

" IN THE MID 80'S OR SOMETIME UP IN THERE...."The FBI showed up at my home in the Yukon, and asked me all kinds of questions about Anna Mae and the death. They were trying to say I was there, or I knew about it, or I was aware of it. And I had to tell them I wasn't aware, I wasn't around there and I wasn't involved in her killing at all.

And they wanted me to name leadership that would have given the order to that effect, to kill Anna Mae. And they were trying to tell me they would put me in the witness protection program, they would change my identity, they would relocate me if I would go to testify in front of the federal Grand Jury in South Dakota against the AIM leadership.

So I told them I couldn't do that because it never happened.

I never, ever received orders of any kind like that from any of the AIM leadership. And so I wouldn’t do it; I wouldn't cooperate with them.
And they left. Then they came back a year or so later and said.... if I didn't cooperate with them to put this information on the AIM leadership, then I would be facing all these charges myself."
The question of Graham's innocence or guilt has divided AIM and AIM leadership, with some (including John Trudell and Russell Means) arguing that he was, in fact, the triggerman and others arguing that he is merely a scapegoat.

Leonard Peltier, America's best known American Indian prisoner, has made five public statements on the U.S. government's case against Looking Cloud and Graham. In his first public writing on the case, in 1999, he stated:

“ I have not said anything up until now because I do not want to be involved in an investigation carried out in part, by Robert Ecoffey and the RCMP.

Ecoffey was responsible for much of the terror and corruption that existed on Pine Ridge in the early 70's. The RCMP, working with the FBI, submitted a fabricated statement against me over a year after I was arrested by them in Canada.

This statement has been used to justify my continued incarceration. Who would trust such sources to carry out an investigation into one of the many, many, people who were murdered in conjunction with the FBI on Pine Ridge during that era?

I did not want to be involved in this, but now it looks like I must submit a public statement documenting my stance because I very much fear that innocent people will be railroaded as I have, into prison, and the governments of Canada and the U.S. will be happy to have given AIM the image of a vicious and corrupt terrorist organization which we absolutely were not. ”


Subsequent to these statements, on February 2, 2005, a communiqué was issued through the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) by Robert Robideau, Co-Director of the LPDC. The communiqué stated:

“ There is compelling evidence that has recently come to our attention regarding John Graham that compels Leonard Peltier to dissasociate [sic] himself and the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee from John Graham and the John Graham Defense Committee… Leonard wants to make it very clear he wants justice to run its course and that he wants to also make it clear that he had no involvement in this matter and hence cannot associate himself with those alleged to have committed this crime against Indian people. ”


In a February 17, 2005, press statement Robert Robideau admitted that the February 2 statement was not issued by Leonard Peltier. He describes a phone conversation he had with Dennis Banks, saying, "Dennis wanted to know, 'Did Leonard issue this Statement?' I told Dennis no that I was issuing the statement because I know that not only the FBI was setting him up but also you [Dennis Banks]." [8]

In a letter from Leonard Peltier to Jennifer Wade of Amnesty International in Vancouver, postmarked May 4, 2007, Peltier explains his position on the matter:

“ Do I support Bob [Robideau] in his efforts to get John [Graham] railroaded into prison? Hell No! I¹d be a goddamn hypocrite if I did. Because I know just about as much as Bob knows about Anna Mae's murder and that is not a goddamn thing. I know Bob is full of shit and that if the truth be known he did not even know her. He my have spoken a casual Hello or something like that, otherwise he did not know her. ”


Robert Robideau had previously resigned from the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee in 2004 because of the committee and Peltier's support for John Graham. "I won’t be a party to the LPDC or to Leonard if he is not going to condemn these people," said Robideau in an interview with the magazine In These Times. [10]

Graham has refused to take a polygraph test,[11] something neither requested by the courts, his attorneys or the Canadian government. An independent group of women known as the Indigenous Women for Justice, convinced of Graham's guilt, demanded that he "take a test".

One of Anna Mae’s daughters, Denise Maloney Pictou is the Executive Director of the Indigenous Women for Justice[12], who are convinced of Graham's guilt. She has stated that she believes her mother was killed by AIM members who "thought she knew too much. She knew what was happening in California, she knew where the money was coming from to pay for the guns, she knew the plans, but more than any of that, she knew about the killings."[13] Aquash’s other daughter, Debbie Pictou Maloney, is a Constable with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and has been active in the Annie Mae Justice Fund.[14]

Denise Maloney Pictou claims that Paul DeMain, managing editor of News from Indian Country, arranged (through Richard Two Elk) for Arlo Looking Cloud to call her at home. She claims that Looking Cloud confessed to her the story that has become known as "The FBI story." Neither Debbie nor Denise personally knew Looking Cloud at the time and cannot verify that the caller was indeed him, although he mentioned speaking to the daughters in his videotaped testimony of March 27, 2003.[15]

The case is rife with rumor. Paul DeMain stated that Anna Mae was killed in part because, she knew that Leonard Peltier actually killed the agents. Peltier sued in an attempt to force DeMain and News From Indian Country to reveal the confidential sources upon which this statement was based upon. Shortly after the trial of Arlo Looking Cloud, during which KaMook Nichols testified that Peltier had bragged to her, her sister and Annie Mae about shooting the agents, Bob Robideau on behalf of Leonard Peltier entered into negotiations with DeMain in order to have the lawsuit dismissed. (see testimony of KaMook Nichols:

The current investigation into Anna Mae's murder and original research from which Pictou bases some of her conjecture came from the efforts of Anna Mae's second cousin, Robert Pictou-Branscombe. Branscombe originally began his efforts in the early 1990s, receiving at least some of his "ground-breaking information" from a Denver Police Department detective named Abe Alonzo.

There are many theories about who may have been behind the murder of Anna Mae. John Trudell fingers Dennis Banks, stating in both the 1976 Butler and Robideau trial and the Looking Cloud trial that Banks told him about the killing before the body had been identified.[16] In Dennis Banks' autobiography, Ojibwa Warrior, he states that he was informed by John Trudell that the body that had been found was Annie Mae. Banks states that he did not know until that time that Aquash had been killed.

Although Arlo Looking Cloud did testify in a video that he was present at the murder and that John Graham pulled the trigger, Looking Cloud did admit on the tape that he was making his statement while under the influence of "a little bit of alcohol."[17] However, trial testimony showed that Looking Cloud also confessed to a number of other individuals in various times and places.[3]

In Looking Cloud's appeal, filed by attorney Terry Gilbert who has replaced his trial attorney Tim Rensch, Looking Cloud has retracted his videotaped confession stating that it was false. He is appealing on the grounds that his trial counsel was ineffective in that he failed to object to the introduction of his videotaped statement, failed to object to hearsay statements of Anna Mae Aquash, failed to object to hearsay instruction for the jury, and failed to object to leading questions by the prosecution to Robert Ecoffey.[18] The U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Looking Cloud's appeal.[5]

Though some are alleged to have believed Anna Mae to be a federal agent, no documentary evidence has emerged proving that she worked for the federal government (COINTELPRO).[citation needed]

1.Anna Mae Aquash, Letter from jail (1975) [19]
2.Michael Donnelly, Getting Away with Murder. (2006) [20]
3.Antoinette Nora Claypoole, Interview with John Graham, Southern Tutchone; conducted at the studios of KPFK/Pacifica Radio in Los Angeles) . (2004) [21]
4.Robert Robideau, There is compelling evidence.... (2005) [22]
5.Indigenous Women for Justice, Man Indicted for Anna Mae's Murder Refuses to take Lie-Detector Test. (2004) [23]
6.Paul DeMain, An interview with Denise Pictou-Maloney on the death of her mother, Annie Mae Aquash. (2004) [24]
BIA interview w/Arlo Looking Cloud

1 The Life and Death of Anna Mae Aquash by Johanna Brand (1993) Toronto: J. Lorimer
2. "U.S. indicts Richard Marshall in Aquash murder case", News from Indian Country, document index
4.Trial for 1975 murder of Canadian woman set for February in South Dakota
5.Looking Cloud Appeal
Claypoole, Antoinette Nora (1999). Who Would Unbraid Her Hair: The Legend of Annie Mae. Anam Cara Press. ISBN 0-9673853-0-X.[25]
Voices from Wounded Knee, 1973, In the Words of the Participants (1974). Rooseveltown, New York: Akwesasne Notes. ISBN 0-914838-01-6.
Hendricks, Steve (2006). The Unquiet Grave: The FBI and the Struggle for the Soul of Indian Country. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press. ISBN 1-56025-735-0.
Smith, Charlie (2007). John Graham says Native chiefs under FBI spell. The Georgia
Straight. July 12, 2007

Posted by Mike (Ali) Raccoon Eyes Kinney at 11:48 AM
Labels: A.I.M, Annie Mae aquash, COINTELPRO, Murder of Annie Mae Aquash

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


February 02, 2011 News » News

EDITOR'S NOTE: It has been my pleasure to know and call Shane Gray a friend for some 11 years in his quest to see Brother leonard Peltier a free man from the System for crimes he did not commit. TEACHING THE VALUES OF PEACE is proud to share this fine piece written by John Geluadi.

Shane's Campaign to Free Leonard Peltier

For years, Shane Gray has been on a singular quest to raise awareness of the jailed Indian activist. But now his ubiquitous signs are drawing the ire of local law enforcement.

Shane Gray has made thousands of posters since learning about Peltier in 1999.
Just past 5 p.m. on a windy January day, Shane Gray rides onto the Central Avenue catwalk that stretches across Interstate 80. He leans his battered bicycle against the fencing, puts a red-tailed hawk feather in his mouth, and begins waving a bright-red placard that reads "Free Leonard" at evening commuters.

Some drivers honk their horns in support even though many don't know that "Leonard" refers to imprisoned Indian activist Leonard Peltier, who was controversially sentenced to life in federal prison in 1977 for the shooting deaths of two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

"It's good when they honk," Gray says cheerfully as a chilly wind tosses his thinning blonde hair, "because then the people who don't know who Leonard is will take notice.... They'll ask, 'Who's this Leonard guy, anyway?'"

About twelve years ago, Gray's "Free Leonard" signs with their distinctive red lettering began appearing on freeway fences, abandoned billboards, neighborhood lampposts, and high in treetops. The signs, sometimes augmented with images of a medicine wheel and arrow, have become such a regular feature on the landscape that they have achieved a quasi-iconic status for the hundreds of thousands of people who have seen them as they drive the area bounded by Oakland, Richmond, and the Carquinez Strait.

While Gray's placards are instantly recognizable, Gray himself has remained little more than a hazy figure blurred by the gossamer of freeway safety fences. But in the past year, the Richmond resident has begun to gain recognition — and not all of it good. To some, Gray is a folk hero who risks arrest and personal injury to rail against the unsympathetic goliath of federal government. Supporters have even purchased his signs as folksy artwork. To others, Gray is a public nuisance who should be stopped from littering the landscape with his lost cause. He avoids posting the placards on private property, preferring fences, poles, and trees that are publicly owned and within view of freeways. Nonetheless, after years of friendly warnings, law enforcement has begun to take a hard line.

On a recent rainy afternoon, Gray sits at a table at the Catahoula Coffee Company in Richmond. At 42, he has an athletic build, and his face is tanned from working outdoors as a landscaper, laborer, and house painter. He wraps his calloused hands around a warm mug of coffee and his light-blue eyes brighten as he talks about his commitment to Peltier's case. "I'm not doing this for myself," Gray said. "I do it because Peltier's incarceration is wrong. It's unjust."

Gray committed to Peltier's cause in 1999 after he attended a powwow in Berkeley held in honor of the imprisoned activist. Gray was moved by the stories of poverty and violent oppression on the Pine Ridge Reservation in the 1970s. He was also deeply moved by the persistent questions surrounding the evidence used to convict Peltier as the sole person responsible for killing two FBI agents during a shootout that at least forty Native Americans participated in, according to FBI documents.

The day after the powwow, Gray made his first placard from a discarded cardboard box and paint leftover at a job site. Now, twelve years later, he has painted and posted thousands of signs and says he continues to make each new sign with the same enthusiasm and determination as he did his first. The campaign has become the central theme of his life and he says he's not quite sure what he'd do without it. "I don't know why I got involved in the Leonard Peltier case," Gray said. "I have never been involved in any other activism before or since."

Occasionally, Gray borrows tree-climbing gear from a friend to post the signs high in treetops. They can be hard to see, but have a bigger impact once noticed. "People are surprised to see the signs sixty feet up a eucalyptus tree and that really gets their attention," Gray said.

His biggest coup, he says, was an abandoned billboard just off of Interstate 580 in Richmond. He painted the billboard white, and in his unique cursive painted "Free Leonard" in four-foot-high letters. Taggers would regularly spray paint over his message with their own. For months, Gray returned several times a week to re-paint until Caltrans finally tore the billboard down.

Gray also brings his placards to the scene of major media events in the hopes of getting his message serendipitously picked up by television cameras. He avoids events where there has been tragedy such as the loss of life or injury, but when a massive sinkhole opened up in Richmond last April, swallowing two cars and attracting a fleet of television news vans, Gray was in the background quietly holding one of his placards. During the 2010 World Series, Gray was a regular feature outside AT&T Park, even paddling a kayak covered with "Free Leonard" signs into the home-run waters of McCovey Cove just over the right-field wall.

Hollywood and recording artists made Peltier's case widely known through the 1980s and 1990s. His cause reached the apex of its popularity in 1992 with the release of the Robert Redford-produced documentary Incident at Oglala and the Michael Apted movie Thunderheart, which is based on the Pine Ridge shootout and stars Val Kilmer and Sam Shepard. Musicians such as U2, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Robbie Robertson, and Rage Against the Machine have recorded songs calling for Peltier's release. His case became an international controversy in the early-1990s when the Italian, Belgian, and European parliaments approved resolutions in support of a Peltier pardon.

But Peltier's cause began to lose momentum in 2000. Attorneys had exhausted all of his appeals, and despite expectations, President Bill Clinton refused to give Peltier a presidential pardon as he left office. Hollywood stopped making films and Peltier's name slowly began to disappear from the headlines. Peltier is now 66 and in declining health. In 2009, a parole commission turned him down in his first hearing in fifteen years, and hope that he might win his freedom diminishes with each passing year.

Gray is not politically savvy nor does he understand the intricacies of the United States Court of Appeals. But the disappointing nuances of Peltier's quest for parole have not lessened Gray's commitment. His signs have served as much needed motivation for Bay Area activists. Aaron "A-Ron" Mirmalek, who produced the 2010 Free Leonard Peltier album, a compilation of hip-hop tracks calling attention to Peltier's case, says Gray is an inspiration. "Shane was at the album release party and I gave him special recognition because he has worked so hard and his commitment over the years has had a huge positive effect," said Mirmalek, who is related to Peltier. "Seeing him on the freeways waving his signs always inspires me."

Supporters regularly offer Gray contributions for paint and other materials. Besides accepting one $20 donation from an acquaintance, he says he has always refused to accept money. But in the past year, there has been some interest in his signs as artwork. Richmond resident Scott Guitteau bought a "Free Leonard" placard for its artistic value. "It's like street-art-meets-folk-art," Guitteau said. "It's more simple as opposed to the urban street work of well-known artists like Banksy or Shepard Fairey. Gray's signs are rural, innocent."

But not everyone thinks so. In years past, Gray was on friendly terms with sheriff's deputies, local police, and CHP officers, many who know him by name. For years they had given him gentle warnings about posting signs in certain areas or waving placards when traffic is particularly heavy. Gray says he has always complied and there was never a serious problem. Typically, he uses any contact with the authorities to promote his cause. "Anytime the police stop me, I ask, 'Are you familiar with the most prominent political prisoner in the United States fraudulently convicted by the FBI?'" Gray said rotely. "And when they say, 'no,' I say, 'Well, that's the reason he's still in prison.'"

But lately, the authorities have not been so friendly. Last summer, the California Highway Patrol arrested Gray near an Interstate 80 onramp, and the evening before Thanksgiving, two Contra Costa County sheriff's deputies showed up at his Richmond apartment and booked him into the county jail in Martinez. He was released with no charges at 1 a.m. though he was twenty miles from his home with no transportation and buses had long stopped running. Contra Costa County Sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee says Gray was arrested because of a citizen complaint, and if he doesn't stop putting up placards, he will eventually face charges.

The arrests have given Gray some pause. Since Thanksgiving he has thought more about retiring, though discussing the idea visibly unsettles him. He gets quiet and looks out the cafe window for a long time. "Or I could expand my territory .... I bet the signs would get a good response in Marin. People there know about Leonard," he said, his eyes brightening. "What I really want to do is find the perfect location for a really big sign. It will be really high ... higher than I've ever put anything before."

John Geluradi-East Bay Express Feb.2,2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mike Racoon Eyes at Intertribal Friendship House in Oakland, CA

A new video shot during Native American Heritage Month 2010 at the Intertribal Frienship House with nationally known Native Advocate Mike Raccoon Eye

Wednesday, January 19, 2011



UN Declaration Sets New Agenda for US-Indian Relations

Today, the United States government at last officially endorsed the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and joined the international community in recognizing that American Indians and other indigenous peoples have a permanent right to exist as peoples, nations, cultures and societies.

The United States is the last of the four countries that voted against the U.N. Declaration in the U.N. to reverse its position. This endorsement reflects the worldwide acceptance of indigenous peoples and our governments as a permanent part of the world community and the countries where we live. The Declaration is the most significant development in international human rights law in decades. International human rights law now recognizes the rights of indigenous peoples as peoples, including rights of self-determination, property and culture.

For me, the United States’ endorsement of the Declaration marks the culmination of over three decades of hard work by indigenous peoples and other members of the international human rights community. In 1976, when the Six Nations and I began the work of drafting and proposing a declaration to be adopted by the United Nations, we did not know that our idea would one day be universally accepted and supported first by indigenous peoples and eventually by the countries of the world. We knew of the terrible inadequacy of legal regimes and the gross violations of indigenous peoples’ human rights in most countries. We turned to international law primarily because of the need to overcome and improve national laws and practices and because of the desire to regain a place for indigenous peoples in the international community.

Our work to ensure justice for Indian nations in this country begins in earnest with the United States’ endorsement of the U.N. Declaration. To see the promise of the Declaration become a reality, we must continue to fight for laws, policies and relationships that take into account the permanent presence of Indian nations in this country, and throughout the world.

The Declaration sets an agenda for the United States and Indian nations to design a reasonable approach to a progressive realization of the duties and responsibilities in it. It serves as a guide for consultations among Indian and Alaska Native nations and U.S. governmental departments and agencies to improve the government-to-government relationship among Indian and Alaska Native nations and the United States.

In our work for Indian rights, we can and should use the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a powerful affirmation of our rights. Only through continued use will its provisions become our reality. We can use the Declaration to evaluate laws that are now on the books and for laws that may be proposed. Does the law measure up to the standards of the Declaration? Does the law or bill satisfy the requirements of the Declaration? It should. And if it does not, then it should be changed or discarded.

The Declaration can also be used as a guide for procedures and processes in dealing with indigenous peoples. Some of the most important rights in the Declaration are the right to participate in the decision-making process and the right to be consulted on important matters relating to indigenous peoples. The rights proclaimed in the Declaration can also be used to defend against proposals and actions that violate Indian rights. The Declaration can be used in this way by all people: Indian leaders, public officials, educators and others.

The Declaration can also be used to support and advocate for positive legislation and positive government action relating to Indian peoples. In particular, the Declaration can be used as a basis for making demands that the federal government fulfill its responsibilities to tribes and carry out its obligations to promote and respect the human rights of Indian nations and tribes. Congress needs to hold hearings to examine the United States’ human rights obligations to Indians and to assess whether existing laws and policies adequately respect the rights established in international law.

Continuing to work in this way to ensure justice for Indian peoples is the best way to celebrate and honor the United States’ endorsement of the U.N. Declaration. This is a very important first step in the process. We thank all of the advocates, leaders and government officials who have made this vision of freedom and equality a reality.

Chi Megwetch.

For further information about the U.N. Declaration and how you can participate in its implementation, contact the Indian Law Resource Center at (202) 547-2800 or (406) 449-2006, or visit

Robert Tim Coulter, founder and executive director of the Indian Law Resource Center in Helena, Mont., and Washington, D.C., has practiced Indian and human rights law for more than 30 years

Indian Country Today- January 19, 2011

Monday, January 3, 2011


Destroying Indigenous Populations

by: Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Perspective

Most of the Sioux's land has been taken, and what remains has been laid waste by radioactive pollution.

The Fort Laramie Treaty once guaranteed the Sioux Nation the right to a large area of their original land, which spanned several states and included their sacred Black Hills, where they were to have "the absolute and undisturbed use and occupation" of the land.

However, when gold was discovered in the Black Hills, President Ulysses S. Grant told the army to look the other way in order to allow gold miners to enter the territory. After repeated violations of the exclusive rights to the land by gold prospectors and by migrant workers crossing the reservation borders, the US government seized the Black Hills land in 1877.

Charmaine White Face, an Oglala Tetuwan who lives on the Pine Ridge Reservation, is the spokesperson for the Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council (TSNTC), established in 1893 to uphold the terms of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. She is also coordinator of the voluntary group, Defenders of the Black Hills, that works to preserve and protect the environment where they live.

"We call gold the metal which makes men crazy," White Face told Truthout while in New York to attend the annual Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the United Nations in late May. "Knowing they could not conquer us like they wanted to ... because when you are fighting for your life, or the life of your family, you will do anything you can ... or fighting for someplace sacred like the Black Hills you will do whatever you can ... so they had to put us in prisoner of war camps. I come from POW camp 344, the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. We want our treaties upheld, we want our land back."

Most of the Sioux's land has been taken, and what remains has been laid waste by radioactive pollution.

"Nothing grows in these areas - nothing can grow. They are too radioactive," White Face said.

Although the Black Hills and adjoining areas are sacred to the indigenous peoples and nations of the region, their attempts at reclamation are not based on religious claims but on the provisions of the Constitution. The occupation of indigenous land by the US government is in direct violation of its own law, according to White Face.

She references Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution: "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."

The spokesperson for the TSNTC declares, "We need our treaty upheld. We want it back. Without it we are disappearing. They might have made us into brown Americans who speak the English language and eat a different kind of food, and are not able to live with the buffalo like we are supposed to, but that is like a lion in a cage. You can feed it and it will reproduce, but it is only a real lion when it gets its freedom and can be who it's supposed to be. That's how we are. We are like that lion in a cage. We are not free right now. We need to be able to govern ourselves the way we did before."

Delegations from the TSNTC began their efforts in the United Nations in 1984 after exhausting all strategies for solution within the United States.

Homeland Contamination

There is uranium all around the Black Hills, South and North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. Mining companies came in and dug large holes through these lands to extract uranium in the 1950's and 1960's prior to any prohibitive regulations. Abandoned uranium mines in southwestern South Dakota number 142. In the Cave Hills area, another sacred place in South Dakota used for vision quests and burial sites, there are 89 abandoned uranium mines.

In an essay called "Native North America: The Political Economy of Radioactive Colonialism," political activists Ward Churchill and Winona LaDuke state that former US President Richard Nixon declared the 1868 Treaty Territory a "National Sacrifice Area," implying that the territory, and its people, were being sacrificed to uranium and nuclear radiation.

The worst part, according to White Face, is that, "None of these abandoned mines have been marked. They never filled them up, they never capped them. There are no warning signs ... nothing. The Forest Service even advertises the Picnic Springs Campground as a tourist place. It's about a mile away from the Cave Hills uranium mines."

The region is honeycombed with exploratory wells that have been dug as far down as six to eight hundred feet. In the southwestern Black Hills area, there are more than 4,000 uranium exploratory wells. On the Wyoming side of the Black Hills, there are 3,000 wells. Further north into North Dakota, there are more than a thousand wells.

The Black Hills and its surroundings are the recharge area for several major aquifers in the South Dakota, Nebraska, and Wyoming regions. The crisis can be gauged from the simple description that White Face gives: "When the winds come, they pick up the [uranium] dust and carry it; when it rains or snows, it washes it down into the aquifers and groundwater. Much of this radioactive contamination then finds its way into the Missouri River."

She informs us that twelve residents out of about 600 of the sparsely populated county of Cave Hills have developed brain tumors. A nuclear physicist has declared one mine in the area to be as radioactively "hot" as ground zero of Hiroshima.

Red Shirt, a village along the Cheyenne River on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, has had its water tested high for radiation and local animals have died after consuming fish from the river.

After three daughters of a family and their mother died of cancer, a family requested White Face to have the municipal water tested. The radiation levels were found to be equal to those inside an x-ray machine. Little wonder then that the surviving sons and their father are afflicted with the disease. People procuring their grain and cattle from the region are advised to be extra cautious.

One cannot but feel the desperation of her people when White Face bemoans, "It's pure genocide for us. We are all dying from cancer. We are trying not to become extinct, not to let the Great Sioux Nation become extinct."

The Ogala Sioux are engaged in ongoing legal battles with the pro-uranium state of South Dakota. They are aware of the unequal nature of their battle, but they cannot afford to give up. White Face explains how "... Our last court case was lost before learning that the judge was a former lawyer for one of the mining companies. Also, the governor's sister and brother-in-law work for mining companies [Powertech] and a professor, hired by the Forest Service to test water run-off for contamination, is on contract with a company that works for the mining company. When I found out the judge was a lawyer for the mining company I knew we would lose, but we went ahead with the case for the publicity, because we have to keep waking people up."

Other tribes, such as the Navajo and Hopi in New Mexico, have been exposed to radioactive material as well. Furthermore, the July 16, 1979, spill of 100 million gallons of radioactive water containing uranium tailings from a tailing pond into the north arm of the Rio Puerco, near the small town of Church Rock, New Mexico, also affected indigenous peoples in Arizona.

Her rage and grief are evident as White Face laments, "When we have our prayer gatherings we ask that no young people come to attend. If you want to have children don't come to Cave Hills because it's too radioactive."

The exploitative approach to the planet's resources and peoples that led to these environmental and health disasters collides with White Face's values: "I always say that you have to learn to live with the earth, and not in domination of the earth."

Nuking the Colonies

The US government practices another approach. In occupied Iraq and Afghanistan, the uranium that has caused genocide of sorts at home has proceeded to wreak new havoc.

Two Iraqi NGO's, the Monitoring Net of Human Rights in Iraq (MHRI) and the Conservation Center of Environment and Reserves in Fallujah (CCERF) have extensively documented the effects of restricted weapons, such as depleted uranium (DU) munitions, against the people of Fallujah during two massive US military assaults on the city in 2004.

In March 2008, the NGO's were to present a report titled "Prohibited Weapons Crisis: The effects of pollution on the public health in Fallujah" to the 7th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council

Muhammad al-Darraji, director, MHRI and president, CCERF, was to present the report with an appeal, "We are kindly asking the High Commissioner for Human Rights to look at the content of the report in accordance with the General Assembly's resolution 48/ 141 (paragraph 4) of 20 December 1993, to investigate the serious threat (to the) health right in Fallujah and Iraq, and to relay the results of this investigation to the Commission on Human Rights to take the suitable decisions."

Attached to the aforementioned is another report co-authored by Dr. Najim Askouri, a nuclear physicist trained in Britain and a leading Iraqi nuclear researcher and Dr. Assad al-Janabi, director of the Pathology Department at the 400-bed public hospital in Najaf. Their report includes a section on the "Depleted Uranium Crisis" from Najaf, 180 miles from where DU was used in the First Gulf War.

Dr. Najim begins the report by noting that Coalition Forces, mostly US, used 350 tons of DU weapons in about 45 days in 1991, primarily in the stretch of Iraq northwest of Kuwait where Iraqi troops were on their retreat. Then, in 2003, during the Shock and Awe bombing of Baghdad, the US used another 150 tons of DU. He says that cancer is spreading from the conflict area as a health epidemic and will only get worse. The cancer rate has more than tripled over the last 16 years in Najaf.

According to Dr. Najim, "When DU hits a target, it aerosolizes and oxidizes, forming a uranium oxide that is two parts UO3 and one part UO2. The first is water soluble and filters down into the water aquifers and also becomes part of the food chain as plants take up the UO3 dissolved in water. The UO2 is insoluble and settles as dust on the surface of the earth and is blown by the winds to other locations. As aerosolized dust, it can enter the lungs and begin to cause problems as it can cross cell walls and even impact the genetic system."

One of Dr. Najim's grandsons was born with congenital heart problems, Down Syndrome, an underdeveloped liver and leukemia. He believes that the problems are related to the child's parents having been exposed to DU.

Detailing a skyrocketing rate of cancer and other pollution-related illnesses among the population of Fallujah since the two sieges, the report states, "Starting in 2004 when the political situation and devastation of the health care infrastructure were at their worst, there were 251 reported cases of cancer. By 2006, when the numbers more accurately reflected the real situation, that figure had risen to 688. Already in 2007, 801 cancer cases have been reported. Those figures portray an incidence rate of 28.21 [per 100,000] by 2006, even after screening out cases that came into the Najaf Hospital from outside the governorate, a number which contrasts with the normal rate of 8-12 cases of cancer per 100,000 people.

"Two observations are striking. One, there has been a dramatic increase in the cancers that are related to radiation exposure, especially the very rare soft tissue sarcoma and leukemia. Two, the age at which cancer begins in an individual has been dropping rapidly, with incidents of breast cancer at 16 (years of age), colon cancer at 8 (years of age), and liposarcoma at 1.5 years (of age)." Dr. Assad noted that 6 percent of the cancers reported occurred in the 11-20 age range and another 18 percent in ages 21-30.

"The importance of this information confirms there is a big disaster in this city.... The main civilian victims of most illnesses were the children, and the rate of them represents 72 percent of total illness cases of 2006, most of them between the ages of 1 month and 12 years.... Many new types and terrible amounts of illnesses started to appear [from] 2006 until now, such as Congenital Spinal cord abnormalities, Congenital Renal abnormalities, Septicemia, Meningitis, Thalassemia, as well as a significant number of undiagnosed cases at different ages. The speed of the appearance these signals of pollution after one year of military operations refers to the use of a great amount of prohibited weapons used in 2004 battles. The continued pollution maybe will lead to a genetic drift, starting to appear with many abnormalities in children, because the problems were related to exposure of the child's parents to pollution sources and this may lead to more new abnormalities in the f uture. According to the security situation with many checkpoints and irregular cards to allow the civilians to enter or exit the city until now, all this helps to continue the terrible situation for this time. Therefore, we think that all these data is only 50 percent of the real numbers of illnesses."

The Sioux tell their youth to avoid their radioactive native lands if they wish to procreate and prosper. Those in Iraq have no option but to lead maimed lives in their native land.

On February 4, 2009, Muhammad al-Darraji sent President Barack Obama a letter, along with the aforementioned report. A few excerpts are presented here:

"We have the honor to submit with this letter our report on the effects on public health of prohibited weapons used by the United States during its military operations in Fallujah (March-November 2004). It was our intention to present the report to the Human Rights Council of the United Nations on 4 March 2008, but both security and political reasons played a significant role in making this task impossible. The report, now in your hands, contains vast evidence and documentation on the catastrophic and continuous pollution in Iraq (to prevent) which nobody has taken any real action to help the victims or clean up polluted places. Some months ago, and in June 2008, I sent this report directly to some US congressmen. Two of them went to my town, Fallujah, and visited the general hospital to investigate the claims contained in our report. No substantial result came out of this visit. In February 2009 one of my colleagues, who worked in the hospital's statistical office and helped gather information about the pollution, was killed by unknown individuals. The blood of my friend is the driving force that led me to write to you directly in order for you to release the facts for which my friend paid with his life. Therefore, we are kindly asking you to look at the content of the attached report and to investigate the serious threats to the right to life of the inhabitants of Fallujah and other polluted places in Iraq, as well as to publicly release the results of this investigation under right of information about what really happened in Iraq."

The president has yet to respond.


Jason Coppola and Bhaswati Sengupta contributed to this article.

Mantaka 'Smoke Signals'-Jan.2011