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Salt, grease and fried meat filled the air with just a hint of burnt sugar thrown in. My mind wandered to breakfasts past sizzling in a greasy diner. This time, however, I was on my bike, riding past an empty lot in East Oakland at 6:30 a.m. No houses or restaurants were remotely close. And then I saw the smoke and heard the sizzle. It was coming from one of a long line of late model Subarus, Hondas, BMWs, Acura sedans and even a Mercedes.
As I complete this column, the situation in our continental African nation of Zimbabwe is growing evermore intense. Our Elder, Baba, Freedom Fighter and President Robert Mugabe has been forced to “resign” – and removed from his democratically-elected office by that nation’s military and the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) leaders – in an apparent coup.
Protesters blocked three gates of the Kinder Morgan Richmond Terminal this morning, securing themselves to oil barrels and a 12-foot-long mock oil pipeline that reads “No Consent. No Pipeline.” The local activists are demanding that the company halt its new Trans Mountain pipeline in Canada. The controversial project would triple the capacity of an existing pipeline from Edmonton, Calgary, to Burnaby, British Columbia, to 890,000 barrels per day.
President Evo Morales acknowledged Leonard Peltier as a defender of Indigenous Peoples and Mother Earth, and urged President Obama to grant him clemency. He was wrongfully convicted in 1977 in connection with the shooting deaths of two agents of the FBI on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota. The federal prosecutor has twice admitted that the government did not and cannot prove Peltier’s guilt.
The first book I read after I decided to consciously educate myself to be a part of the movement was Sanyika Shakur’s “Monster” in the mid-‘90s. I was inspired by the sharpness of his ideas, his vocabulary and his grasp on history. I respected him in the same way I respected Tupac Shakur. I knew that one day I wanted to be able express myself as articulately as the two of them.
Indigenous peoples are celebrating worldwide after claiming victory over the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Invaders were warned not to enter our lands and now they are to blame for the “worst Olympic games ever.” The invaders have not stolen our land. The land is still here – under concrete or not, it remains – and as long as we remain, we will fight to expel all invaders who destroy or seek to destroy it.
The Olympic torch, a flamed staff that represents white supremacy, is running through Indigenous nations and territories, symbolizing their theft and dominance of our lands and ways. For 106 days every Indigenous nation in these lands has the opportunity to talk to the world about your issues and show unity between all nations here who have a common oppressor and common invader, KKKlanada (“Canada”). Let us unite voices and show the world we are a proud and independent people who will never surrender our lands.