Sunday, May 9, 2010

Homosexual Men: for Rent or Rents? An Ironic Story about Larry Flatt, Jesus and Mary Magdalene, & Reker and the Rentboy

*All Rights to American Idol 2010 and Fox*

Here, today, I dedicate this song to George Reker, co-founder of NARTH, an organisation designed to turn gay men "straight", who protested vehemently AGAINST gay men being parents, or 'rents of boys (or girls), in Florida. Reker was less outspoken about his "firm" belief that homosexual males are FOR rent as boys, for men. I hope this is clear.

The Gospel According to George Reker:
Gay men ought not be parents of boys who go on vacations together as a family. Reker ought to be able to take a rentboy for sexual massage on a vacation without his family.
This is, really, how many White Conservative Christian Men practice "family values". More on this matter of only one small part of him being vertical with the prostitute, and the rest of him being straight with the press, later in this post.

What's, NARTH, you ask? Oh, that's the National Association for Research and Therapy of Heterosexuality. I mean Homosexuality. Sorry. I keep forgetting what it is that Wise(-ass) Christian Conservative White Men are for and against. I mean politically they lean against gay men, but personally they also lean against gay men. So, as you can see, it's kind of confusing.

The very popular and enjoyable song above was written and performed by Larry Flatt, a former Civil Rights Activist who clearly has his act together and ready for the road in a way that George Reker never will. It is reported that Flatt has been grossly exploited by those who have sought to profit from his song. From
The song was first performed at the ninth season of American Idol auditions where the song became a viral hit. Platt's former manager Jason Mills released the studio version of the song, without him even knowing. The single version of the song was released on February 4, 2010 by American King Music for MP3 download. Jake Records also entered negotiations with Larry Platt to produce a single of the hit song, but the parties were unable to reach agreement on a deal. [4] It was reported that Platt's former manager also gave the song to radio stations without his permission stating that the song "is a promotional and not for profit."

And speaking of the reported and exploited, it occurs to me, as I'm sure it does to a few of you readers, that "rentboy" is both a better and a more demeaning term to use for someone than "prostitute". It has some indication of there being a human being in there, what with "boy" being part of the term and all. But, then again, it's a boy. A child. So, not so good a term there. Why the term isn't rentman has a lot to do with men's sexually political desire to possess those they fuck around with. And nowhere to be found is the term rentwoman.

"Prostitute", perhaps due, in the West, to the overwhelming  sales of a paperback called the New Testament Bible, is fused with the gendered being named "woman". Hence the need for the term, "male prostitute" (kind of like "male nurse" except the expectations by the men who get their services are different). How many times have you heard the term, "female prostitute"? Yeah, this may be the first time I've heard it too. But whether a rentboy or a prostitute, the person is assumed to be for men and "for rent". Which tells you a lot about what can happen to someone. Or, well, it should. It should tell you that "renters" of "the rented" get what they want, and get to demand what they want because they paid "for you" to "do what they want". Sometimes, as in the case with Reker and the Rentboy, George made "Lucien" sign a contract about exactly how much time he'd spend giving him a massage each day (and hour), and how many hours in a day they'd spend together (eight).

I'm sorry, what?

The New Testament Bible?? You've not heard of it? Oh, sorry.

It's a quasi-biographical novel of sorts, about a man named Jesus. It was co-penned by several men who never knew the guy (no, really--they never met him!), so it's filled with lots of rather bizarre, conflicting, and mythic stories about Jesus, who did exist but not exactly in the ways and to the length of time (that time period being eternity) that some of his "mythographers" proclaim. When Our Lorde writes an auto-"biomythography" about herself--who IS someone she knew in person--she therefore has some authority to write accurately about the subject of the book. And so we can trust in Her, Our Lorde to have some integrity about what is written. Not so with biomythography that is written by those patriarchal dudes who never once, twice, or thrice sat down with, broke bread, and interviewed the subject of their book--or even saw a YouTube video of him speaking.

And while on the topic of who he was and wasn't, despite depictions like the one just below, Jesus was a very non-white Jewish man of Central Asian and/or Northern African heritage, who stood with the oppressed against State tyranny. He stood with the oppressed, yes, that's right. With folks like prostitutes and people who would now be termed gay men and lesbians, and the rest of us. Reker, by all accounts, is a man who "lay down before the prostitute as one would lie with a woman", with "woman" back then often meaning... you guessed it... "prostitute".

Those were the days of fiercely organising and institutionalising patriarchal power in religion. And, Mary Magdalene, who, despite what many allegedly smart Christian men will tell you, was not a prostitute, she was, rather, a central Apostle in Jesus' life, and wrote a Gospel, herself. From a book all about The Gospel of Mary of Magdala:
In the brief text, the male apostles are afraid and despondent after Jesus' post-resurrection departure, so Mary tries to cheer them by revealing some of the esoteric teachings that Jesus imparted to her alone. But the teachings cause discord, as Peter and others refuse to believe that Jesus would have given such "strange ideas" to a woman. ("Did he choose her over us?" a petulant Peter asks.
From *here*:
She is the Savior's beloved, possessed of knowledge and teaching superior to that of the public apostolic tradition. Her  superiority is based on vision and private revelation and is demonstrated in her capacity to strengthen the wavering disciples and turn them toward the Good.
Newby (Century One) Christian menfolk decided, for entirely political reasons--and because they were jealous and pissed, that she shouldn't be included in the New Testicle, I mean Testament (same root, you know), because, well, she KNEW Jesus--some say "biblically", and they didn't know him at all, in any way, shape, or form. HER story would show up theirs to be FILLED WITH LIES.)

Irony was never so horribly ironic as it is in these male supremacist hymns (hims) of hypocrisy.

I hope the difference between Reker and Jesus is clearer now, with regard to their views of homosexual men. But let's have a bit of a refresher before we go on. Jesus stood for them, and would have supported them being parents. George lay down next to a rentboy, but would not stand with a gay men being the rents, especially of boys. (White Preachy Conservative Christian men are so confusing, and confused.)

And, also in review, Jesus didn't look anything like this, ethnically, but he did look like this politically:

[this image is from a webpage that is linked to below]

And he didn't condemn those who The Oppressive State condemned. And he was against State Tyranny. And he wasn't all lovey-dovey. Ooh. Another pun. (Dove: symbol of Peace, as Jesus is sometimes thought to be. Work with me here people.) He was angry, furious even, at least at times. You don't believe me? Well, read this book, by a Christian White Man. Jesus was outraged with what the Roman Empire, or Empire, was doing, and he spoke out against it. Yes, that's right: AGAINST Empire, you know, the way Sojourner Truth did. And Harriet Tubman. And Andrea Dworkin. And Andrea Smith. And Dr. Marimba Ani. Robert Jensen does it too, and also his unrelated colleague, Derrick Jensen. Check out THEIR testaments.

Jesus behaved much more the way all radical human rights and non-racist, non-misogynistic environmental rights activists do than the way most Conservative Christian activists do. I've read up (a whole lot) on what he did and didn't say, and did you know that Western Christian scholars conclude that he may only have said three things, three passages, that are in the New Testament, and that all the other stuff were "words put in his mouth"?! Yup. Read all about it:

Yes, that's right. It's a Christian site. Not ALL Christians just read one book and call it good news.

But, back to Reker and the Rentboy. "Rentboy" makes him sound, you know, like a child, which raises disturbing issues about men having sex with boys, with any children of any gender, as white men, especially, are want to do. Because they are inhumanely yet institutionally entitled, they don't just want, they do. White men will travel to the farthest and nearest ends of the Earth to put their dicks into or on children. Seriously. And are white men stigmatised for doing this? Only if they're gay. The het men get off, so to speak, scott free.

Ah, to be an unstigmatised white het guy who abuses children without care, who will know a fiery hell for all of eternity, let's hope and prayEconomic privilege helps of course, but in the West, the wealth is concentrated disproportionately into the dishonorable hands of white men, but of course not most white men. Capitalism sees to that. Let only the few know of wanting for nothing, so sayeth the Corporate God of Greed.

Reker, though, was among the elite, the most privileged. As a Western wealthy white heterosexually-identified man, he has what is termed "disposable income". And with his charitable money did he feed and clothe the poor? Not exactly. This (self-)Righteous Christian Who Preaches Against Homosexuality was, instead, caught paying for his sins with his pants on the ground. Since, amusingly, in the UK "pants" means underwear, our new song lyric works well as Reker's anthem on both sides of the Puritan-and-Slave-transporting pond. In either place, Reker is butt-naked, with only his ifs, ands, and buts-filled protestations of innocence with which to cover his jiggly bits and pieces. Surely the man with the material spiritual means can continue to lie his way out of this one tell the truth that will set him free?

But alas, do you hear it? Another voice harks yonder. A voice that knows what secrets Reker keeps hidden under his oily skin.

Yes, the prostitute has now spoken out, to respond to what Reker has said while lying in so many ways about trying to bring Jesus to this troubled very young man. Well, if Reker calls his greasy straight dick "Jesus", then maybe that's true. But I don't think that's what George wants us to believe about him.

George Reker has revealed himself to be no preacher of any Gospel worth uttering, let alone a Savior of Lost Souls. He is only that which Jesus most despised: an Empire-worshiping, oppressively bigoted, blasphemous hypocrite.

Here's a part of this story about "Lucien" speaking out about his time with Reker. This next portion is from the same place where I found that image of the White Jesus, *here*. Following that, Lucien speaks on video, and I offer up what may well be the moral to this story.

Kudos to “Lucien” as he calls himself, the “travel assistant” who hoisted bags for anti-gay activist George Rekers during a ten-day all expense paid vacation to Europe. “Lucien” has given an in depth interview to New Times Miami which broke the sack-lifting story earlier this week, clearing the air and admitting that intimate contact occurred between the blond student/escort and his outwardly, professionally homophobic psychologist patron.
Seems Rekers liked “the long stroke,” a special nude massage “down there”  which Lucien administered once a day. Rekers also asked Lucien to prepare a document hopes of preventing any future disclosures. Lucien told New Times:
It’s a situation where he’s going against homosexuality when he is a homosexual.
Lucien decided to speak with New Times after a friend explained to him the harm that Rekers’ anti-gay proselytizing has caused for countless LGBT. Lucien said:
In all honesty, he should disassociate himself from these [anti-gay] groups
The Family Research Council, the rightwing Christian group Rekers co-founded with James Dobson has removed Rekers from  their website, despite the turgid Facebook page explanation for his frequent flier frolics:
Like John the Baptist and Jesus, I have a loving Christian ministry to homosexuals and prostitutes in which I share the Good News of Jesus Christ with them (see I Corinthians 6:8-11). Contrary to false gossip, innuendo, and slander about me, I do not in any way “hate” homosexuals, but I seek to lovingly share two types of messages to them, as I did with the young man called “Lucien” in the news story: [1] It is possible to cease homosexual practices to avoid the unacceptable health risks associated with that behavior, and [2] the most important decision one can make is to establish a relationship with God for all eternity by trusting in Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins, including homosexual sins. If you talk with my travel assistant that the story called “Lucien,” you will find I spent a great deal of time sharing scientific information on the desirability of abandoning homosexual intercourse, and I shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him in great detail.
Dr. Rekers, you didn’t have “homosexual intercourse.” You had homosexual foreplay. Either way, it’s still gay sex. Admit it, admit you’re gay, embrace your fabulousity, repent from the sins of having harmed countless LGBT with your BS theories and practices, and come over to the rainbow side. It’s a lot more fun.
*          *          *
Here's a link to what "Lucien" the prostitute has to say to CNN's Anderson Cooper, who is gay, out, and has a boyfriend whom Reker would find unfit to raise a boy. I found this video clip *here* on Towleroad. I am impressed with Lucien's generosity of spirit towards a man who condemns him and the rest of us unrepentant gay men to Burn in Hell for All Eternity. (Ah, but is there any room left in hell, what with the white het men who enjoy their evil-doings unpunished till death?)

Perhaps it is Lucien, the socially ridiculed soft-spoken one, the one with whom Jesus would have stood, not laid down, who will succeed in spiritually transforming Reker into a compassionate human being. Reker, to date, has adequately demonstrated (or is it demon-straighted?) he only has cold cash and a corrupt soul to offer Lucien.

Revealed in the opening and closing of today's story, it is Larry Flatt and Lucien with some goodness of being and wisdom to share.

CONGRATULATIONS TO RUCHIRA GUPTA for Being the Recipient of the Nomi Award for Abolitionist Work!!! Here is a Heartfelt Congratulations from Ruchira's friend, Ricky Martin

[image is from here
This is not a photo of her receiving the honor mentioned below. She has received several honors, and is deserving of every one.]

Good News:

Ricky Martin congratulates Nomi Network Honoree Ruchira Gupta at Nomi's First Annual Award Ceremony on May 5th.

To see his wonderful tribute and expression of gratitude for her Abolitionist work, please visit here:

I love you, Ruchira Gupta!

And I love you too, Ricky Martin!

The Smithsonian So Far, Remains Unaccountable to American Indians, who they "display" the remains of

This is also a cross post from Brenda--thanks again and again!! From Censored News. Click on title to link back. I apologise for the "you might also like this post" with thumbnails, scattered through this post of Brenda's; I can't find the coding to remove them. Sorry, Brenda!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Wounded Knee photographer files copyright claim against Smithsonian

The Smithsonian, with a long history of harboring Indian remains and refusing to return those to Indian Nations, is now the subject of a photograph copyright case in federal court involving the occupation of Wounded Knee.

The case is significant in another way as well. With the proliferation of the web, photos are often reposted without permission and are often incorrectly assumed to be in the public domain. --Censored News

Wounded Knee Photog Files Copyright ClaimsBy RYAN ABBOTT

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CN) - A photographer claims Firelight Media's documentary, "We Shall Remain: Wounded Knee," used her photos of the violent 1973 standoff without her permission and without giving her credit. Anne Pearse-Hocker, who says she took the pictures "under direct automatic weapons and rifle fire at considerable risk to her own life and safety," accuses the independent film production company of copyright infringement.

Pearse-Hocker says she spent about two weeks in Wounded Knee, South Dakota during the 1973 siege. A group of Native Americans, including members of the American Indian Movement, took armed control of the town, and during the course of the 71-day siege one U.S. marshal was shot and partially paralyzed and two Sioux were shot and killed.

Pearse-Hocker claims she and one other photojournalist were the only press allowed to remain in Wounded Knee during the standoff, during which time she snapped several hundred pictures.

In 1996, she says, she gave the pictures to the National Museum of the American Indian, but retained ownership of the copyrights.

She claims Firelight gained permission to use the pictures from the Smithsonian Institutions to make a documentary, which Firelight released in February 2008.

Pearse-Hocker says Firelight used several pictures from the museum's archives, including images of one of the Sioux immediately after he was shot, being carried from a church for medical aid.

She claims the documentary was broadcast on PBS and is available for purchase through the PBS Web site and from Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Borders.

Pearse-Hocker says she also filed a copyright claim against the Smithsonian in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims for handing over her copyrighted pictures to Firelight.

She wants Firelight Media to stop broadcasting her photos, to return all hard copies and delete electronic copies. She also wants compensatory damages of up to $150,000.

She is represented by Eric Heyer of Thompson Hine.
Smithsonian Without Ethics of Morality
By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

Since the creation of the National Museum of the American Indian, there has been an increased effort to conceal the true history of the Smithsonian Institution, especially in regards to harboring human remains and the racist cranium studies of American Indians. The National Museum of the American Indian is the sixteenth museum of the Smithsonian Institution.

The Smithsonian did not respond to my last request for information, regarding the number of American Indian remains, and American Indian skulls, that currently remain at the Smithsonian.

One of the most censored issues is the racist cranium studies carried about by the Smithsonian, in an unsuccessful attempt to prove white superiority based on the size of skulls. The studies included grave robbing of American Indians.

Here is one of the first articles I wrote in 2004 on the subject. Professor James Riding In, Pawnee, at Arizona State University, provided the information. Hopefully, Native Americans will write books on this subject and US school curriculums will one day change to reflect the truth of US institutions.

Without ethics or morality
American Indians robbed of equal right of burial

Pawnee professor exposes scientific racism

By Brenda Norrell (Written in 2004)

In the dark cavities of American history -- between the pages of the creation of the Constitution and the proclamation of America as a champion of human rights -- there is a haunting chapter missing.

James Riding In, Pawnee historian and professor, can prove it.

The U.S. Army paid bounty for the crania of American Indians for research designed to prove a white supremacist theory, that whites were superior to other races based on their skull size.

Moreover, the vast majority of those crania are now housed in the Smithsonian Institute, which has been less than forthcoming under a new federal law -- the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act -- mandating it to notify tribes of the identity of human remains.

The recent admission that the skull of Ishi, the last of his people, was housed in a Smithsonian warehouse is the latest proof of silence and complicity in a crime against Native people.

Riding In said the Smithsonian Institution curators acquired 18,500 bodies and most of the skulls were collected by the Army Medical Museum in the 1800s.

In most instances, the crania gather dust at the Smithsonian today.

But others have been destroyed by carbon 14 dating analysis.

While white society severely punishes those that rob and loot graves of white people, American Indians have been denied equal protection under the law.

Riding In joined tribal leaders, scholars and attorneys at Arizona State University’s Indian Legal Program Feb. 25-26, for the "Symposium on Land, Culture, and Community: Contemporary Issues in Cultural Resources Protection."

Riding In’s research reveals a missing chapter in U.S. history books.

Samuel G. Morton, in the early 1830s, worked under the new disciplines of craniology and phrenology, to devise tests on skulls, in relation to intelligence and crania size.

Morton poured mustard seeds into human skulls to determine size and volume in his research. In the process, he assembled a large collection of American Indian skulls.

"He never questioned the morality of stealing Indian crania from graves," Riding In says in an essay now included in the university’s law course materials.

Morton paid soldiers, settlers, and others for Indian skulls. Economic rewards provided incentive to grave looting. Field collectors took advantage of the recurring diseases and political forces that depopulated and displaced Indian people, he said.

"Because of the demand created by Morton and others, gathering Indian skulls in frontier areas grew into a cottage industry," Riding In said.

In the meantime, it became obvious that American Indians would rather submit to extermination than "wear the yoke" of slavery.

Riding In said this attitude, combined with the belief that American Indians were savages, shaped public opinion and the development of federal Indian policy.

Since the early 1800s, soldiers stationed in frontier posts frequently opened Indian burial sites and shipped the contents to Morton.

The United States Army established a program during the 1860s for studying Indian crania. Among those massacred, beheaded and their crania taken, were a group of friendly Cheyenne, Kiowa and Arapaho near Sand Creek.

The Surgeon General said in 1863 that the Army Medical Museum had 143 specimens of skulls. The reason for the collection was stated as anthropological research on Native people.

Army personnel in Indian country were encouraged to contribute skulls.

But it was not only the military seizing Indian crania.

Riding In said during the Gold Rush in California, tribal burial sites were ravaged by exploiters searching for Indian treasure. In one instance, three hundred skulls were taken, exhibited in San Francisco, then sold to Harvard University’s Peabody Museum.

Across the United States, university researchers carted off thousands of human remains in the name of science.

Riding In said Franz Boas, considered the father of cultural anthropology, is a case in duplicity.

"While professing friendship and gathering oral traditions in British Columbia, Canada, in 1886, Boas stole Indian bodies," Riding In said.

While promoting his career, Boaz wrote in his diary, "Yesterday I wrote to the Museum in Washington asking whether they would consider buying skulls this winter for $600."

Riding In said, "Archaeology, a branch of anthropology that still attempts to sanctify this tradition of exploiting dead Indians, arose as an honorable profession from this sacrilege."

Calling it "virulent racism," Riding In said archaeologists must be viewed as the grave looters their history proves them to be.

American Indians painstakingly prepare their dead for burial. A California Indian pleaded at the time of his death that he be buried in his homeland, so his spirit would not wander homeless and friendless in a strange country.

Many Native people feel that "disinternment stops the spiritual journey of the dead, causing the affected spirits to wander aimlessly in limbo."

"These affected spirits can wreak havoc among the living, bringing sickness, emotional distress, and even death," Riding In said.

Navajo, Apache, Pawnee and other tribes believe that anyone that disrupts a grave is an "evil, profane, and demented individual who plans to use the dead as a means of harming the living."

Reburial within Mother Earth enables those spirits to continue their journeys.

Thomas Jefferson, before becoming the third president, took a lead in unearthing Indian graves in the name of science.

In his "Notes on the State of Virginia," Jefferson admits excavating for the sake of curiosity an Indian burial site in Virginia where about 1,000 human remains were interned.

Riding In said regardless of Jefferson’s attempt to understanding Indian people, he remains a "racial imperialist," a person who philosophized against slavery and owned slaves.

Further, Jefferson was architect of the Indian removal policy, a disastrous program that uprooted and relocated tens of thousands of eastern Indians to west of the Mississippi River between the 1810s and 1850s.

With Indian people removed from their ancestral lands, grave looters robbed tribal graves and carried away the contents.

"Jefferson’s diggings had lasting ramifications. Jefferson gave an illusion of morality to the expropriation of contents from Indian graves," Riding In said.

Further, generations looked upon Jefferson with admiration.

And while non-Indians are quick to bring to justice the perpetrators of the Holocaust in Europe, they turn a blind eye to the Holocaust carried out by their own ancestors.

The Catholic Church’s beatification of Father Junipero Serra disgusted California Mission Indians, who knew him as an enslaver of Indians.

Serra’s missions were no more than concentration camps. Brutal slave labor, starvation and disease killed all but a fraction of the Native population.

California Mission Indians denied archaeologists permission to study the remains of individuals who died while in Serra’s missions.

From these tragedies, the Indian burial rights movement was born in the 1970s. The Native American Rights Fund emerged as a fighter for burial rights and repatriation.

But the movement carried a stronger message: Indians are part of humankind and deserve to be treated as such.

Walter Echo-Hawk pointed out that while religious concerns are important, the major issue is equality under the law.

"Indians, as members of the human race and the United States, should receive the same burial protection taken for granted by every other racial and ethnic group," Riding In said.

State laws are often racist in nature, often charging a person looting an Indian grave with a misdemeanor while charging those who commit the same crime against a marked cemetery with a felony.

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, passed by Congress in 1990, makes it a crime to disturb graves on federal and tribal lands and makes it a crime to sell human remains.

But, the federal law requires the victims -- Indian people -- to bear the cost of reburying their dead, rather than those who committed the crimes – archaeologists, museum curators, physical anthropologists and others.

Riding In said legislation should address two issues: Should scholars use information gained through the theft of human remains; should universities and libraries pull from their shelves research based on immoral acts.

Those immoral acts were committed against individuals, families and communities.

Harry Coons, a Skidi Pawnee from Oklahoma visited a site in Nebraska in 1896 where he had lived as a boy. Coons discovered the gravesites of his sisters had been pillaged.

Riding In said, "Grave looting has caused Indians a great deal of suffering, mental anguish, and distress."

Riding In, who also authored a factual biography of Geronimo, is an assistant professor of justice studies at Arizona State University.

ASU’s Law School course materials for the symposium includes Riding In’s essay, "Without Ethics or Morality: A Historical Overview of Imperial Archaeology and American Indians."

Consider Honoring The Earth This Mother's Day

There's a lovely image of our Earth below.

This is a full cross post from Brenda Norrell @ Censored News. Thank you once again, Brenda. It won't be the last thank you, I'm sure! Brenda mentions and includes a link to a longer piece, that I couldn't access. Perhaps you'll have better luck.

At any rate, let's consider honoring the planet by taking care of Her, and by politically supporting all sustainable societies on Earth.

Peace and Love to All Women, Mothers and Women who choose to not be Mothers, or who aren't mothers for other reasons, too!

The valuing and honoring of women ought not be dependent on whether or not they have "dependents". What women deserve and ought to have, in the view of this blog, is independence from all patriarchal imperatives, institutions, and the oppressive pressure to exist to feed, care for, and accommodate the needs and desires of other people. Men can feed ourselves, or ought to. And we ought to feed other people too. With love, regard, respect, nurture, and food.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Native Women: Honoring the Earth on Mother's Day

Western Shoshone, Navajo and Havasupai women honor the Earth each day in their struggle to defend and protect Mother Earth

From Editor's Note: This post comes to us from our friends over at Earth Island Journal. It offers a different perspective on Mother's Day from Women's Earth Alliance, and asks you to think of celebrating Mother Earth this holiday. For a full version of the guest post, head to Earth Island Journal.

By Caitlin Sislin, Esq., Advocacy Director, Women's Earth Alliance
(Photo NASA)
Today is the day of the mother, the day we honor the source of life. As we give thanks for all the nurturing and resources our mothers provide for us, we also celebrate our shared mother - the Earth. Without her flowing waters, warm sun, rich soil and fresh air, even our most advanced technologies wouldn't be able to sustain our collective life here.

We write to you from the front lines of a critical struggle for justice and sustainability - unbeknownst to many of us - that is unfolding right here in North America. For the past week, the intrepid Women's Earth Alliance (WEA) Advocacy Delegation has been meeting with three Native American communities whose sacred places are gravely threatened by mining and commercial development.

Our team of eight dynamic women - legal, policy, and business experts -convened in Elko, Nevada, to begin our journey. There, we learned from Western Shoshone elder and longtime land rights activist Carrie Dann about the ravaging of sacred Mt. Tenabo by Barrick Gold Mine. For the Western Shoshone and many other tribes in the region, all life emerged from Mt. Tenabo; now, this sage and pinon-covered range is the site of the largest open pit cyanide heap leach gold mine in the United States. The Shoshone say that because of the 1.8 billion gallons of water per year that will be drawn from within the mountain, along with the 2,200 ft. deep mine pit and the toxic cyanide tailings ponds, the mountain itself will die if protective action is not taken.

We then traveled to Flagstaff, Arizona, where Jeneda Benally and the Save the Peaks Coalition shared with us the epic legal and grassroots campaign underway to protect the San Francisco Peaks. These holy Peaks hold the utmost spiritual significance to 13 tribes, and are at risk of total desecration through the use of reclaimed wastewater to make artificial snow at a ski resort. For the Navajo, putting 180 million gallons of wastewater annually on the mountain would irreversibly contaminate the mountain's holy purity.

Finally, we traveled to the magnificent Grand Canyon, where Havasupai leader Carletta Tilousi explained the grave threat of uranium mining to the tribe's sacred Red Butte mountain, to the community's health, and to the safety of the regional aquifer. Since 2005, because of a major spike in the price of uranium on the world market, over 10,000 new uranium claims have been filed on the land surrounding the Grand Canyon, the traditional homeland of the Havasupai. Uranium mining - including one mine just a few miles from the Havasupai's holiest mountain shrine and from the rim of the Canyon, situated directly over the aquifer that provides water to the tribe's village and many other communities - would expose the air, water, land, and community to toxic and carcinogenic contamination through the extraction of hundreds of thousands of pounds of uranium ore.

The unfortunate fact is that our land-use and environmental policies, while allowing for the constitutional protection of some religious freedoms, do not yet protect sacred land for its own sake or for the people who revere it. We have seen that when economic development clashes in court or in the legislature with the protection of Native American holy places, development usually wins - no matter the devastation of natural resources and human community that may result.

On this Mother's Day, why should we care about these injuries to communities we may never know? This week, our team has learned that we all owe our lives to the delicate balance of the planet, and disruption of that balance in one place will impact all of us everywhere.

Lila Watson, Australian aboriginal leader, said: "If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come here because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together."

Our liberation is bound up with the health of the Earth and all her people. WEA's Sacred Earth Advocacy Network is proud to stand in solidarity with the indigenous female environmental leaders of sacred sites protection campaigns in North America, through pro bono legal, policy, and business advocacy collaborations. On this day of honoring our mothers, we invite you to join us in protecting our shared, sacred Mother Earth by learning more about these urgent issues, spreading the word in your community about the impacts of consumption on people and land, and supporting our work toward sustainability and justice. Most of all, take a moment today and every day to stand on the earth, give thanks for all that she provides, and make a commitment to protect her, for the sake of future generations and all life.


Women's Earth Alliance (WEA) is a global organization that implements solutions to issues of climate, water, food, and land by connecting grassroots women environmental leaders to urgently-needed resources, training and advocacy.