August 28, 2008

Alternatives to the DNC

Native voices were heard in alternative venues at the DNCThe alternative events began Aug. 24 outside Colorado's gold-domed capitol with an "End the Occupation" antiwar march to the central convention site at the Pepsi Center and continued Aug. 25 with a "Free Political Prisoners" march from Civic Center Park in downtown Denver to the federal courthouse.

Riot-clad police lined the routes and mounted police were at several locations, where both horses and riders wore protective face-gear. Although only minor scuffles occurred during the day Aug. 25, a major confrontation took place in the evening at Civic Center Park between police and predominantly non-Native anarchists.

"There wouldn't be a corporate America" if it had not been for the use of resources extracted from Native nations' lands, said Ward Churchill, a scholar and former ethnic studies professor at the University of Colorado, who addressed the initial rally.

Churchill has long been an outspoken proponent of the Native point of view in U.S. history and is a member of the American Indian Movement. His remarks about 9/11 as blowback from U.S. foreign policy drew the ire of CU, which later fired him for alleged research misconduct.
And:The next day, Savage Family's lyrics fueled a 10-block march from Civic Center Park to the federal courthouse and a rally for Native issues and political prisoners.

"We want to give youth a voice and be a voice for them in the meantime," said a Savage Family member. "Our children right now are dying. They're saying, 'I don't want to live' and they may kill themselves. But our future is through them."

Suicide, over-medication, substance abuse and other problems plague youth on reservations and the reasons are many; but in part, it is because in some reservation communities "youth are despised" and there is no one to listen to them, the member said.

"We want to represent the voice of people held hostage in our homeland," he said, noting "Savage Family" is a code of conduct and an acronym for "Standing against a Violent Adversary in Genocidal Environments/Forever Always Movement."

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