Archive for September, 2010

The following is an essay by Chris Mato Nunpa, Ph.D.  He shared this essay with MIRAc, and it is reprinted here with his permission.

Immigration: An Indigenous Perspective

By Chris Mato Nunpa, Ph. D.

On my truck I have a bumper sticker which says, “Immigration Causes Problems   Just Ask An American Indian.”  It makes for a good conversation piece.  However, generally, no one, certainly, most U.S. Euro-Americans, asks our (Dakota People, Indigenous Peoples) opinion of anything, and certainly not about immigration.  Our views are considered insignificant.  However, this Indigenous person, a Dakota man, does have an opinion, does have a viewpoint.  So, I will share some comments about this topic about which many white people, especially Republicans, racists, and anti-Indigenous Peoples, get very excited.

I preface my comments with the statement that I come from a people whose lands were stolen.  So, my opinion will differ from those people who stole the lands.  Also, I will be contrasting the behaviors of those early immigrants from those of the more recent immigrants.  By “early immigrants,” I am referring to those people who came from Western Europe in the period from 1492 to the first half of the 20th century.  By my use of the phrase “recent immigrants,” I am referring to those peoples who generally have come from Mexico, Central America, and from South America, and who came in the second half of the 20th century to the present (2010).


The early immigrants certainly did cause considerable problems for the Indigenous Peoples of what is now known as the United States of America.  For example, these first “boat people” stole approximately three billion acres of land in the continental U.S.  Then, these early immigrants did not pay for these lands, and they still have not.  In my opinion, this is indeed a serious problem.  We, as Indigenous Peoples, and for my Dakota People, have about only one percent of the 3 billion acres we once had.  Thus, we, the Indigenous Peoples, do not benefit from our lands, and the land-stealers, the early immigrants, reap all the benefits.

As I view the recent immigrants (most of whom are Indigenous Peoples), they are not here to steal the lands.  The white man has stolen all the land.  So, there is no land to steal for the recent immigrants.  Thus, from an Indigenous perspective, the recent immigrants do not pose a problem


Another serious problem is the fact that these early immigrants, these land stealers, and their government, the United States government, made approximately 400 treaties with the Indigenous Peoples and violated every one of them.  These early immigrants are not honest and are not people of integrity.  They are  promise-breakers.  One cannot trust them.

The recent immigrants, from Mexico, Central America, and from South America, did not make treaties with us, and, thus, they did not violate or break treaties.   One point I should make is that only sovereign, autonomous, and independent Peoples can make a treaty.  Once our Peoples were strong and, thus, we made treaties with various and autonomous foreign powers, including the United States.  Our Dakota People, also, made a treaty with England.

Again, from an Indigenous point-of-view, the recent immigrants are not a problem for the Indigenous Peoples of these lands which currently bear the name of the United States of America.


One of the more serious problems the early immigrants (the Wasicu, the Dakota word for white man) caused for the Indigenous Peoples is what Russell Means calls “a little matter of genocide”, a phrase for the title of one of Dr. Ward Churchill’s book.  Around 1500, there were approximately sixteen (16) million Indigenous Peoples living in the continental U.S.  Four centuries later, in 1900, the Bureau of Census, counted approximately 237,000+ Native Peoples.  This represented a 98.5 percent population decline, if one says it nicely.  If one says it not so nicely, this represents a 98.5 percent extermination rate.

The United States and its Euro-American population were efficient killers.   In fact, they were so efficient that Hitler learned from the U.S.   Hitler, according to Toland in his book, HITLER, supposedly the definitive biography of Hitler, said, a number of times to his inner circle how much he admired the efficiency of the U.S. genocidal programs against the Indigenous Peoples of the U.S. that he saw them as the models and forerunners of his own programs against the Jews, Gypsies, the physically handicapped, and against everyone else he did not like.   Stannard in his book, AMERICAN HOLOCAUST, a book about the holocaust of the Native Peoples of the U.S., says that by the late 19th century, there was “almost no one left to kill.”

I do not see the recent immigrants killing our Indigenous Peoples.  So, again, from an aboriginal perspective, the recent immigrants are not a problem.

There are many other problems that the white man, the early immigrants, caused for Indigenous Peoples, such as suppression of our languages,   suppression of our “religions” (our Spirituality, our ceremonies, etc.),   residential boarding schools,   concentration camps,   bounties,   forced marches,   mass executions,   forced removals from homelands, etc. etc. etc.  However, for lack of space, these will not be discussed.  Suffice it to say that the recent immigrants did not cause the problems mentioned above.

One last comment I would like to make.  Many, if not most, of the recent immigrants who come from Mexico, Central America, and from South America are Indigenous Peoples.   That is, they are descended from ancestors who always lived in what is call the American hemisphere.  Most of them (the recent immigrants), I suspect, are not from ancestors who come from Europe.

One of our teachings that I have heard from many of our Native spiritual leaders is the fact that the Americas (North, Central, and South) were given by the Creator to the Indigenous Peoples to take care of.  And, of course, the Indigenous Peoples did care for the land (“Mother Earth”) for thousands upon thousands of years, and it, the American hemisphere, was a beautiful country when the invaders, the exploiters, the land stealers, the recent immigrants came. Today, we see the destruction, the pollution, the poisoning of the lands (fertilizers, insecticides, etc.) and the degradation of our lands in the past 534 years since the early immigrants (the white man) arrived.

In my mind, all of the Americas are for Indigenous Peoples, and the recent immigrants, most of them Indigenous Peoples, have as much right to be here in the U.S. as the early immigrants (the white man).  In my mind, when a U.S. Euro-American expresses his anger against immigration, s/he is expressing his racial hatred of Indigenous Peoples, just as s/he does here in the U.S. against the Indigenous Peoples who not only were here first but were always here.

Yes, immigration causes problems!

If anyone wishes to see documentation for some of the assertions, please contact me at chris.matonunpa@metrostate.edu

Chris Mato Nunpa, Ph.D.
RETIRED  Formerly, an Associate Professor
Indigenous Nations & Dakota Studies


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On September 15, MIRAc joined with the Welfare Rights Committee and the MN Coalition for a People’s Bailout to demand that Minnesota’s major-party gubernatorial candidates stop ignoring immigrants rights, welfare rights and poor people’s rights. We demanded to know where the candidates stand on immigrants rights issues in Minnesota — the SB1070 copycat bill (HF3830), drivers licenses for all, and collaboration between ICE and local police. We had a visible immigrant rights presence outside the debate between Dayton (DFL), Emmer (GOP) and Horner (I). And some people went inside the debate to demand answers. See some of the protest outside the debate on this video from TheUptake.

And see some pictures from the protest here.

MIRAc handed out a flyer to people going in to the debate with the following questions for all the candidates:

  1. Do you support full legalization for undocumented immigrants?
  2. Would you support a moratorium on immigration-related deportations until a federal immigration reform is passed?
  3. Do you oppose increased militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border?
  4. What is your stance on programs such as the 287g program that allows local law enforcement to act as federal immigration agents?
  5. Do you oppose the E-Verify program, which is being increasingly used to fire thousands of immigrant workers around the country?
  6. Would you oppose the Arizona SB1070 copycat bill in Minnesota, HF3830?
  7. Do you oppose bills like HF4087 and the law in Lino Lakes, which would make Minnesota an English-only state?
  8. Would you support HF1718, the bill that would allow all Minnesota residents to get a driver’s license regardless of immigration status?

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9/15 – 6:30 pm – Immigrant Rights Picketing at Governor Candidates Debate

Don’t let the gubernatorial candidates ignore immigrants rights! Let them know we want legalization for all and an end to deportations that separate families. Demand to know where the candidates stand on immigrants rights issues in Minnesota — the SB1070 copycat bill (HF3830), drivers licenses for all, and collaboration between ICE and local police. Join MIRAc and others to have a visible immigrant rights presence at the governor’s candidates debate between Dayton (DFL), Emmer (GOP) and Horner (I). The debate is at Pantages Theater (710 Hennepin Ave., downtown Mpls) on Wednesday, Sept. 15. Meet outside by 6:30 p.m. for picketing.

9/18 – 1:00 pm – BAM! campaign meeting

Join us Saturday, Sep 18 at 1:00 pm at El Colegio (42nd & Bloomington S, Mpls) for the Boycott Arizona-MN (BAM!) campaign meeting. Info: 651-389-9174 | http://bamcampaign.wordpress.com

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(En Español:  https://mirac1.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/mirac-condena-la-masacre-de-migrantes-en-territorio-mexicano)

We condemn this massacre of immigrants in Mexican territory

Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee, condemns the recent deaths of the immigrant brothers and sisters that were murdered in Tamaulipas. They were murdered simply because they were undocumented immigrants. Our organization makes a call to all social organizations, we invite them to show their disagreement with the Mexican authorities through letters. It is clearer everyday that there is a lot of corruption and impunity in Mexico. They just follow the example of the United States to be more strict with undocumented immigrants as a way to prevent our brothers and sisters to get to their final destination, which is the United States.

This recent event is a clear example that as migrants around the world, we are being mistreated and our rights are being ignored. There is a need for an unconditional legalization here in the United States, as well as a revision of the interventionist politics of the United States in Latin America which is the fundamental cause of the migration to the north. It is Mexico’s obligation to protect the human rights of those migrants that come from Central and South America with the intention of making it to the United States through Mexican territory.

The only thing this migrants were looking for was to make it to the United States in join the 12 million undocumented people that work hard everyday in this country. 72 migrants from Central and South America were killed in the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico apparently by an armed group called “Zetas”. The official versions said that among the victims there are Hondurans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Ecuadorians and a Brazilian. The authorities also said that a lot of these bodies won’t be identified. However, we all know that these persons were Latinos, from our same blood, same culture, same flesh and same dream of looking a more dignified life.

So want to express the following:

  1. It is proven that Mexico is not capable of respecting and protecting the human rights of Central and South Americans who try to make it to the United States.
  2. It is proven that the majority of migrants that cross Mexican territory are mistreated, always victims of the disorder that we are living in Mexico. It is important to emphasize that a lot of these migrant brothers don’t even make it through Mexican territory because they end up dead .
  3. Like in all massacres there has to be a culprit. We blame “president” Felipe Calderon (FECAL) because it is proven that his so-called fight against drug trafficking is a failure and everyday common people have to face this wave of violence produced by the war declared by Felipe Calderon. This doesn’t eliminate our wish that the main authors of this awful crime be captured.
  4. Every person that goes through Mexican territory trying to get to the United States should have at least basic rights as human being, especially in these moments of high levels of violence.
  5. It is known that legalization won’t be enough to solve the problem of the deaths at the Mexico-U.S border but we believe that it is necessary.
  6. Priority has to be given to people and not to merchandise to move freely from one country to another to work with dignity.

They will be in our memory, in the memory of the murderers, in the memory of those corrupt Mexican politicians. They will also remain in the memory of every racist person, those who always oppose the idea of immigrants obtaining the right to work and move freely from one place to another.

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Volante en formato PDF

Apoya a los 5 Arrestados de Muevan-El-Juego en Minneapolis
Y apoya a la organizacion continua de los derechos del inmigrante en Minnesota

Manta de "Move the Game" en la protesta el 11 de agosto en Minneapolis

El 11 de Agosto en Minneapolis, cinco personas pusieron sus cuerpos en la linea para de esa forma combatir la ley racista y antiinmigrante en Arizona SB1070. Ahora ellas/ellos necesitan de tu apoyo. Los arrestados generaron titulares nacionales (http://bit.ly/miracmedia11aug) pero permanecen con multas de la corte.

Visita http://bit.ly/miracdonate para hacer tu donación para sus multas legales y para la organizacion continua de los derechos del inmigrante en Minnesota.

El Comisionado de las Ligas Mayores (MLB por sus siglas en ingles) Bud Selig y los dueños de los equipos de la MLB estuvieron en un hotel de Downtown sosteniendo una reunión. El Comité de los Derechos del Inmigrante en Minnesota (MIRAc) se unió con MoveTheGame.org, Centro Campesino, y con Presente.org para planear juntos una protesta.

Una delegación de cinco protestantes — Molly Glasgow y Ryan Bittner de MIRAc, Tracy Molm y Mia Overly de SDS y Erick Boustead de un Medio Independiente— ingresaron al lobby del hotel cargando unas cajas que contenían 110,000 firmas de peticiones que iban destinadas a Selig demandando que el Juego de las Estrellas del 2011 sea sacado de Arizona a menos de que el estado acabe con la SB1070. Ellas/Ellos fueron detenidos por la policía inmediatamente y arrestados en cuestión de minutos.

Los 5 en el lobby del hotel, justo antes de ser arestados

Los cinco arrestados fueron inicialmente acusados de traspaso. A cuatro de ellos se les redujo la sentencia a delitos insignificantes pero a la vez se les negó la opción del servicio comunitario y tuvieron que pagar $250 dolares cada quien. A la quinta persona se le sigue acusando de traspaso, así que si su multa no es reducida podría llegar a pagar hasta $1000 dolares.

Como resultado de sus arrestos, la protesta del 11 de Agosto llego a tener amplia cobertura de los medios locales y hasta en los nacionales. La historia fue publicada en USA Today en la pagina de MLB, NBC Sports Hardball Talk blog, y se transmitió todo el día en ESPN.com, generando 1300 comentarios.

La protesta, y los dramáticos arrestos de cinco personas quienes simplemente trataban de hacer llegar unas peticiones a Bud Selig ha tenido impacto y ha ayudado al movimiento. Ahora es hora de que el movimiento les apoye para que puedan pagar sus multas.

Por favor haga una donación. MIRAc es una organizacion de voluntarios así que todo el dinero que dones ira directamente hacia la cobertura de las multas legales y así estarás apoyando a la organizacion continua de los derechos del inmigrante en Minnesota. Puedes hacer tu donacion en linea via paypal en este link: http://bit.ly/miracdonate, también puedes hacer un cheque a nombre de “Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee” a MIRAc, PO Box 7266, Minneapolis, MN 55407.

Si no puedes hacer una donación pero quieres apoyar a la campaña nacional de Move the Game, ve a MoveTheGame.org para firmar la petición y enterarte de las acciones futuras. Para saber mas sobre la organizacion continua de los derechos del inmigrante en Minnesota, visita la pagina web de MIRAc.

Gracias por apoyar al movimiento a intentar parar la SB1070 y todas las leyes antiinmigrantes! Pasa esta información a tus amigos!

Link para Hacer su Donación: http://bit.ly/miracdonate

Prensa de la acción del 11 de Agosto: http://bit.ly/miracmedia11aug

Los siguientes grupos e individuos apoyan esta campaña y te animan para que tu también participes y hagas tu donación.

  • Comite por los Derechos de los Inmigrantes en Minnesota (MIRAc)
  • Estudiantes por una Sociedad Democrática, de la Universidad de Minnesota (dos de los arrestados en la protesta del 11 de Agosto son de SDS)
  • Carlos Roa, MoveTheGame.org, Presente.org, Miami, FL *
  • Carlos Montes, Southern California Immigration Coalition, Los Angeles, CA *
  • Joel Olson, miembro, Repeal Coalition, Flagstaff, AZ *
  • James Jordan, Co-coordinador Nacional, Alliance for Global Justice, Tuscon, AZ *
  • Brook Bernini, activista de los derechos del inmigrante, Tucson, AZ
  • Viviana Moreno, Estudiantes por una Sociedad Democrática (SDS por sus siglas en ingles), Wright College, Chicago, IL *
  • Kati Ketz, Estudiantes por una Sociedad Democrática (SDS), Columbus, OH *
  • Jude Ortiz, trabajador legal anarquista, miembro de RNC 8 Defense Committee and the Scott & Carrie Support Committee (SCSC), Minneapolis, MN *
  • Hatem Abudayyeh, Arab American Action Network, Chicago, IL *
  • Masao Suzuki, Profesor de Economia, Skyline College, San Bruno, CA *. Autor de “Important or Impotent?: Taking Another Look at California’s Alien Land Laws” y otros articulos sobre la historia economica de la migracion.
  • Cherrene Horazuk, antes directora nacional, Comité en Solidaridad con la Gente de El Salvador (CISPES) *

(* las organizaciones están únicamente listadas por propósitos de identificacion)

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Flyer in PDF format

Support the 5 Minneapolis Move-the-Game Arrestees
And support ongoing immigrant rights organizing in Minnesota

On August 11 in Minneapolis, five people put their bodies on the line to fight Arizona’s racist, anti-immigrant law SB1070. Now they need your support. The arrests generated national headlines (http://bit.ly/miracmedia11aug) but have left the five with court fines. Please visit http://bit.ly/miracdonate to make a donation to their legal fees and to ongoing immigrant rights organizing in Minnesota.

Move the Game banner from the August 11 protest

Major League Baseball (MLB) commissioner Bud Selig and MLB team owners were at a downtown Minneapolis hotel for an annual meeting. The Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAc) teamed up with MoveTheGame.org, Centro Campesino, and Presente.org to organize a protest.

A delegation of five of the protesters — Molly Glasgow (MIRAc), Ryan Bittner (MIRAc), Tracy Molm (U of M SDS), Mia Overly (U of M SDS) and Erick Boustead (independent media) — entered the Graves Hotel lobby carrying boxes filled with 110,000 signature petitions to Selig demanding that the 2011 All-Star Game be moved out of Arizona unless the state repeals SB1070. They were immediately stopped by police and were arrested within minutes.

The five arrestees were initially charged with misdemeanor trespassing. Four were reduced to petty misdemeanors, but they were denied a community service option and have to pay over $250 in fines each. The fifth person is still being charged with misdemeanor trespassing, so if his charge isn’t reduced his fine could be up to $1000.

As a result of their arrests, the August 11 protest extensive local coverage, and even broke into the national press. The story was on USA Today’s MLB page, NBC Sports Hardball Talk blog, and was on the front page of ESPN.com all day that day, generating over 1300 comments.

The 5 in the hotel lobby about to be arrested, with the petitions on the floor in front of them

The protest, and especially the dramatic arrest of five people who were simply trying to deliver petitions to Bud Selig, had an impact that helped the movement as a whole. Now it’s time for the movement to support them to help pay the legal fines they received as a result of the protest.

Please consider making a donation. MIRAc is an all-volunteer organization so any money you contribute will go directly to help cover their legal fines, and to support MIRAc’s ongoing immigrant rights organizing in Minnesota. You can donate online via paypal at this link: http://bit.ly/miracdonate, or mail a check written to “Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee” to MIRAc, PO Box 7266, Minneapolis, MN 55407.

If you can’t make a donation but want to support the national campaign to Move the Game, go to MoveTheGame.org to sign the petition and see about upcoming actions. To find out about ongoing immigrant rights organizing in Minnesota, check out MIRAc’s website.

Thank you for supporting the movement to stop SB1070 and all anti-immigrant laws! Pass this on to your friends!

Donation Link: http://bit.ly/miracdonate

Press from the August 11th action: http://bit.ly/miracmedia11aug

The following groups and individuals endorse this letter and encourage you to make a donation.

  • Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAc)
  • Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), University of Minnesota (two of the people arrested at the August 11 protest are members of U of M SDS)
  • Carlos Roa, MoveTheGame.org, Presente.org, Miami, FL *
  • Carlos Montes, Southern California Immigration Coalition, Los Angeles, CA *
  • Joel Olson, member, Repeal Coalition, Flagstaff, AZ *
  • James Jordan, National co-coordinator, Alliance for Global Justice, Tuscon, AZ *
  • Brook Bernini, immigrant rights activist, Tucson, AZ
  • Viviana Moreno, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Wright College, Chicago, IL *
  • Kati Ketz, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Columbus, OH *
  • Jude Ortiz, anarchist legal worker, member of the RNC 8 Defense Committee and the Scott & Carrie Support Committee (SCSC), Minneapolis, MN *
  • Hatem Abudayyeh, Arab American Action Network, Chicago, IL *
  • Masao Suzuki, Professor of Economics, Skyline College, San Bruno, CA *. Author of Important or Impotent?: Taking Another Look at California’s Alien Land Laws and other articles on the economic history of immigration.
  • Cherrene Horazuk, former national director, Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) *

(* organizations listed for identification purposes only)

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Here’s a resource that has useful information.

Deportation 101 Manual (pdf format)

A manual produced in 2010 by Detention Watch Network, Families for Freedom,  Immigrant Defense Project, and National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild.

Direct link: https://mirac1.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/10_deportation101manual-final-20100712.pdf

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