Sorry for the inconvenience. This post will be available later this week.
More on the Sacred Seneca Burial Grounds. This is from Buffalo Rising. It includes a conversation with Degawenodas Ni Ah Agatayonih, born into the Wolf Clan of the Onondowa’ga:’ “I come in peace, but I am armed with the weapon of truth.”
We are all excited to see the city of Buffalo reworked into a world class city. For some of us, nothing can stand in the way of making this happen, and that’s an admirable stance to take. But when we say “nothing”, do we really mean “nothing“?
Let’s take a step back and consider why Buffalo is different than other cities. We are a great city because of our people, our history, our heritage, and our love and respect for one another.
I want to see Buffalo built up, just as much as the next person. I want to see this city strong. At the same time, I understand that Buffalo is only as great as the sum of its parts. The parts that I am referring to include buildings, businesses, parks, schools, and people. All of its people. And when we talk about people, it’s important to talk about heritage.
Last month, I learned that there was a proposal on the table, to build an expansion of the Maritime
Charter School on Buffum Street in South Buffalo. The charter school has outgrown its 266 Genesee Street location, and has purchased the former School 70 (long closed) at 102 Buffum to house its seventh and eight grades (now operational). This is great, considering that the building is already there – there’s no issue at hand. But moving forward, the school is looking to consolidate and expand to Buffum Street, which would further disrupt the site of the Indian burial ground. According to WBFO, “there is a $13 million plan for a gym and a high school building to open in September 2020. That would consolidate 450 students and 75 faculty.” The developer of the three-story, 65,000 sq.’ building, and 24,000 sq.’ gym is Ellicott Development. To continue
Newell Nussbaumer is ‘queenseyes’ – Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world’s largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, and the Madd Tiki Winter Luau. Other projects: Navigetter. Contact Newell Nussbaumer | Newell@BuffaloRising.com
Buffalo, New York – Thursday 18 October – Maritime Charter High School
Buffalo sits on what is traditionally Native land from time remembered, most recently it was the home of the Seneca of the Buffalo Creek Reservation. There is a proposed expansion by the Maritime Charter school on Buffum Street in South Buffalo on to Seneca Burial grounds. The proposed expansion is just a few hundred feet from Seneca Indian Park which was a Seneca burial ground where Red Jacket and Mary Jemison were once buried, and just one block from Indian Church Road where only a few years ago Buffalo Sewer Authority excavated and unearthed remains of the deceased. “Buffalo Creek and Buffum Street are sacred lands and very rich in history and I think that a lot of suggestions of putting a school on a place that’s
sacred territory, I think there are better places for Maritime schools,” Carl Jamieson said. We are asking the Maritime Charter school to stop their plans for expansion onto what even NYS’s Historic Preservation Office has described as a site having “high cultural, historic and archeological sensitivity”. The people who really stand to gain on this project is Carl Paladino’s Ellicott Development Company which has a big investment and involvement in this project.
More on the Sacred Seneca Burial Grounds from Buffalo Rising
I was honored last week to present some of my photography for a class, ‘Resilience: Through the Lens’ to community photographers in Buffalo, NY.
‘Resilience: Through the Lens’ was organized by Rebecca Newberry, the Executive Director of The Clean Air Coalition of Western New York, and Lauren Tent, the Education Director for the CEPA Gallery | Contemporary Photography and Visual Arts Center. My presentation to the class was held on October 4, 2018 at the CEPA Gallery.
I’m a member of CEPA and a co-recipient of Gallery’s 2017 Member’s Exhibition Award (please see the bottom of this post for further information regarding that exhibition and my subsequent solo show at CEPA’s Flux Gallery).
Although part of my presentation concerned my national and international photography that I have used to expose social, economic and ecological injustice, my main focus was my work with people of different communities. I showed photographs of the first concentration camp of Ayoreo Indigenous Peoples in Paraguay (above left), resistance in Amador Hernandez, an Indigenous village in the jungle of Mexico’s state of Chiapas (second above left) and most recently a detailed look into my work with Union Hill, a historic Black community founded by Freedmen and slaves.
The community of Union Hill is fighting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and a 55,000 horsepower compressor station planned by Dominion Energy. There are Freedmen and slave unmarked burial sites on or near the site where Dominion wants to build the compressor station.
Local residents see Dominion Energy’s disregard for their community as part of an established pattern of environmental racism in Virginia. The African American community fighting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a strong and proud community.
While at the burial site in Union Hill (above right) I was allowed to capture the intense feelings of the people present. To all it was a sad moment but, also a sense of closure to know where their ancestors are buried.
I discussed the impact that my photos and strategic communications had – and are still having.
This was no doubt one of my best experiences in sharing my images that are meant to foster social change while documenting history. The attendees at CEPA asked very pertinent questions and we engaged in an inspiring dialogue about photography and social change.
More on Orin Langelle and CEPA
On January 27, 2017 the CEPA Gallery (Contemporary Photography & Visual Arts Center) opened its yearly CEPA Gallery Members’ Exhibition. CEPA Gallery’s 2017 Members’ Exhibition featured the photography and photo-related work of some of Western New York’s most talented artists.
Photographers Natalie Dilenno and Orin Langelle received the 2017 Exhibition Awards.
The Exhibition Awards provided both Langelle and Dilenno to have solo exhibits at the CEPA Gallery in 2018.
August 23, 2018
A woman who fled Nazi persecution as a child and later spearheaded a campaign to save an Amazon tribe is being awarded Germany’s top cultural honor, the Goethe Medal.
Claudia Andujar will receive the prestigious award at a ceremony in Weimar on August 28th. Previous winners include the musician Daniel Barenboim, the novelist John le Carré, and the architect Daniel Libeskind.
Claudia is being honored for her groundbreaking work with the Yanomami tribe, which led to the establishment of the largest forested area under indigenous control anywhere in the world. Experts say the Yanomami people would not have survived without Claudia’s activism. Survival International projected the campaign globally.
To read and see more of this historical achievement CONTINUE
“They see our Mother Earth as a business, and for us you should never see it like that. It’s our Mother, she can’t be sold.” ‘Francisco,’ Lacandon Jungle, Amador Hernandez, Chiapas, Mexico in A Darker Shade of Green (2012)
Forest carbon offsets neither protect forests nor reduce emissions. They allow continuation of business as usual. Under forest carbon offset schemes, forests are priced according to the carbon they contain, and credits can be earned by preserving those forests. Corporations can then buy those credits that are then used to further pollute rather than decrease their emissions.
For example, at the notorious Chevron refinery in Richmond, California, “offset” emissions will continue to devastate surrounding communities, and the gross level of emissions remains the same.
The tortured equations of forest carbon offsets also impact Indigenous and forest dependent communities globally, through forced relocations of entire societies so that governments can take over forests and sell the carbon stored as offsets.
Beyond the social injustice of forest carbon offsets is the simple scientific fact that offsets literally mean a net result of standing in place. If today’s living species are to survive, this will not suffice; what is required are drastic reductions in emissions at the source.
Presentation for the Panel “Should We Put a Price on Carbon?” Sheffield University Festival of Debate, 11 May 2018 by Larry Lohmann, The Corner House
Our colleague Larry Lohman stated in his opening:
Should we put a price on carbon? That depends on what our goals are and what we can expect prices to achieve.
If we’re looking for a solution to climate change, then putting a price on carbon isn’t a serious strategy. It can’t address the roots of the problem, and isn’t designed to.
However, if we’re driven less by concern over global warming than by incentives to try to help business muddle through a post-1970s profit crisis in an era of growing environmental regulation, then carbon pricing makes more sense.
In other words, deciding what to think about carbon pricing means deciding who you are and what side you’re on.
And in concluding Lohman said:
In sum, in reciprocally enmiring one another in a sucking swamp of economistic bullshit obligingly dug for them by various neoliberal expertocracies, business and the state have stumbled into a strikingly functional adaptive response to popular concern about climate change.9 Lamenting – as much to themselves as to others – that escape from their swamp is impossible, both capital and the state nonetheless try to console themselves that at least their antagonists in popular movements can’t easily get at them in their smelly refuge.
Are they right? Well, political realism does require us climate activists to acknowledge that carbon pricing – despite its ineffectiveness in addressing climate change – is not just another zombie shuffling interminably across the neoliberal policy landscape. There are good reasons for its continuing popularity among business, politicians and the experts that orbit them. These reasons must be fully understood if the rest of us are to move forward.
Carbon markets are business as usual and represent the commodification of Earth – Orin Langelle
“People have to think more holistically about their actions. Everything comes down to ‘how much money can I make from this.’ Until this changes, all this talk of environmental protection is bullshit.” Cree Helen Atkinson in Whapmagoostui, Quebec, Canada 1993
Virginia – In response to a letter from his own advisory committee calling for a halt to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline due in part to its disproportional impact on poor and minority communities, the assistant for Governor Northam’s press secretary, Marissa Astor, told Global Justice Ecology Project (GJEP) that it is the Governor’s position that the letter is only a draft, and not final until voted upon by the committee “in the coming weeks.”
The letter, obtained by GJEP, was the subject of comment by various members of the Governor’s committee in a GJEP press release on 8/16. The committee is clear that the letter is a finished piece of work deserving of action by the governor.
A member of the Governor’s Advisory Council, Dr Mary Finley-Brook told GJEP in an email:
“I am surprised by the Governor’s press staff questioning the finality of the letter after we worked for 3 months to achieve consensus. The Council has voted on this letter more than once already and members have repeatedly communicated an urgent need to address environmental justice concerns surrounding the ACP and MVP in a timely fashion given the pre-construction and permitting processes currently occurring.
“I was not aware of any plans to call for a vote or any further discussion of this pipeline letter. The public agenda for the advisory council’s next meeting on August 28th, makes no mention of discussion or vote on this matter. As a council member, my understanding was that we were done with this letter and that it was finalized and would be given to the governor.”
“For the Governor to have such an insipid response to such an important call to action is disturbing,” said Anne Petermann, Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project. “It seems that Northam is hiding behind arcane machinations in an attempt to avoid uncomfortable realities of this project and his own committee’s recommendation to address them.”
This was originally published in Climate Connections on 13 April 2011. I’m republishing in Langelle Photography because Global Justice Ecology Project released a statement on 15 August 2018 explaining that carbon offsets are a false solution to climate change.
Photo Essay by Orin Langelle
Mist rises near the community of Amador Hernandez in the Lacandon jungle and the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve
At the Cancún, Mexico United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2010, journalist Jeff Conant and I learned that California’s then-Governor Arnold Swarzenegger had penned an agreement with Chiapas, Mexico’s Governor Juan Sabines as well as the head of the province of Acre, Brazil. This deal would provide carbon offsets from Mexico and Brazil to power polluting industries in California—industries that wanted to comply with the new California climate law (AB32) while continuing business as usual.
The plan was to use forests in the two Latin American countries to supposedly offset the emissions of the California polluters.
Conant and I took an investigative trip to Chiapas in March 2011. When we arrived, we were invited by the people of Amador Hernandez–an indigenous village based in the Lacandon jungle (Selva Lacandona)–to visit, document and learn of the plans of the government to possibly forcibly relocate them from their homes. What we uncovered was another battle in the ongoing war between a simpler or good way of life (buen vivir) vs. the neoliberal development model.
The following photographs were taken in or near the community of Amador Hernandez; during an over flight of the Selva Lacandona and surrounding African palm plantations; and in the “Sustainable Rural City” Santiago el Pinar.
Men on horseback were a common sight in Amador Hernandez. On horseback was one of the few ways to get out of the community by way of a twelve kilometer trek to the nearest village. There are no roads to or from Amador Hernandez.
When the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect on 1 January 1994, the Indigenous Peoples of Chiapas staged an uprising. The EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation) denounced NAFTA as a “death sentence” for the Indigenous Peoples of Mexico.
Amador Hernandez, deep in rebel territory, was a hotbed of resistance to the Mexican military’s attempt to crush the Zapatistas.
In the Mexican daily, La Jornada, journalist Hermann Bellinghausen wrote in 1999, “A detachment of 500 Mexican Army troops, made up of elite troops and Military Police, are keeping the access blocked leading to the road that joins Amador Hernandez with San Quintin, where the chiapaneco government and the soldiers are trying – at all costs – to build a highway.
“Hundreds of tzeltal indigenous from the region have been holding… a protest sit-in at the entrance to the community, which is also the entrance to the vast and splendid Amador Valley, at the foot of the San Felipe Sierra, in the Montes Azules.”
The people of Amador Hernandez did not let the army go through with their road plan and the army broke its encampment.
The uprising continues today and has been an inspiration to millions of people throughout the world.
Earlier that day (24 March 2011) the boy above had convulsions; by the next day, several others from the community had experienced the same thing. Drinking water from the community supply was suspected. Since last year, Amador Hernandez has been denied medical supplies, and the Mexican government has suspended emergency transport of the gravely ill.
Communiqué from Amador Hernandez, Chiapas:
“We, the residents of the Amador Hernandez region in Chiapas, which forms the core of the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, well known for its extraordinary biological richness, and the site of historic resistance by indigenous peoples, denounce that the illegal threats by the bad government to expel us, culturally and physically, from our territories, have moved from words to deeds.
Our opposition to the theft of our territory, as decreed in May 2007; our rejection of the unilateral delimiting of the agrarian border of the Lacandona Community demanded by investors in projects associated with the REDD+ [Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation] Project; our refusal to accept the conservationist programs of “payment for environmental services” and “productive land reconversion,” and our decision to reinitiate a process of self-determined community health based in our traditional medicine, together have aroused the arrogance of the bad government, motivating them to advance a “new” counterinsurgency strategy to undermine our resistance.
It is a strategy that doles out sickness and death, dose by dose.”
Amador Hernandez is a barrier to the Chiapas-California deal. People ‘are in the way’ and it appears for the deal to go through, they need to be relocated. The community of Amador Hernandez is refusing.
Many residents of Amador Hernandez feel that in addition to REDD, another reason for potentially relocating them from their village is because the Lacandon jungle is rich in biodiversity which the transnational pharmaceutical companies want to exploit.
The Mayan ruin of Bonampak
After leaving Amador Hernandez, we flew over the Lacandon jungle and see the dense forest and some Mayan ruins, but when we left the jungle, we were confronted by many African oil palm plantations that the government says are going to be used for agrofuels (biofuels).
Addendum: These photographs were taken when I was the photographer and one of the organizers of this trip into the Lacandon jungle. We knew the village was under threat of forced relocation. The Mexican military was going to move in within four days after we arrived. They did not. Due to the community’s resistance, supported by our presence and subsequent international publication of our photos, video and interviews, Amador Hernandez was not relocated and the people continue to live on their land (as of 15 August 2018). Mexico now is nationalizing its carbon trading program, however, and it appears they will strike a bilateral deal with California – putting the people and land in Amador Hernandez again in the sights of the carbon market.
The following week, Jeff Conant and I visited of Santiago el Pinar. The government of Chiapas has begun developing “Sustainable Rural Cities” like Santiago el Pinar– as places where scattered rural populations can be relocated. The government claims this enables these populations to have services such as electricity and roads, that they could not have in the rural areas. We were told by activists, however, that these “Sustainable Rural Cities” are designed to enable the relocation of communities that are based where development projects–such as large-scale hydroelectric dams, agrofuel plantations, mines, etc.–are planned.
We were told the hothouses were built with food security in mind, but instead we found roses being grown.
The Government overseer of Santiago el Pinar told us that the day before we arrived, Chiapas Governor Sabines had been there for the official dedication. He informed Sabines that a few days earlier his children has been playing inside his pre-fabricated home and they fell through the floor.
This photo essay was first published in Climate Connections on 13 April 2011
All photographs are copyrighted by Langelle Photography (2015), all rights reserved. No photo can be used without the consent of Langelle Photography. See Publishing and Acquisition Information.
Why Copyright? One of the reasons I copyright my photographs is to track where these photos are being used in order to monitor the impact of my work and evaluate the effectiveness of Langelle Photography, a nonprofit organization.
Click here for the statement by NPPA President Michael P. King.
The New York Times published an updated story on Aug. 8.
Orin Langelle is a member of the National Press Photographers Association.