The official site of William Loren Katz and Black Indians

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black lives solidarityPeople of Color: The First Victims of Fracking and Pollution

     By William Loren Katz

 

People across the United States are suddenly being forced to learn fracking and other examples of danger to the water supply has deadly results. Moreover, since “water is life” as one protest slogan shouts, the entire country, and especially its children will face serious health consequences.

This knowledge is old news to communities of color – ask the residents of Flint Michigan. Everyone now knows what happened to the poisoned water channeled to Flint’s African American majority population. Today’s news reports vividly describe the resistance mounted at Standing Rock Sioux Reservation where 100 and more Native American Nations are fighting the dangers of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DPL) and its record of broken pipes. DPL promises to bring 470,000 barrels of crude oil a day through a 30-inch pipe from North Dakota across four states to Illinois and through the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers down to the Gulf of Mexico.

This DPL pipeline costs $3.8 billion, funded by Wall Street largest speculators in fracking, will make some rich people richer. People of color along the way, especially children with nowhere find clear water, will become ill and many will die. This happened in Flint where an appointed City Manager seeking to save money ordered the use of untreated Flint River water containing lead. The result was devastating: children and women especially were hit mentally and physically. Children suffered behavioral disorders, hearing problems and delayed puberty. Pregnant women suffered reduced fetal growth. Flint adults had damage to hearts, kidney and nerves.

Just this week almost 100 U.S. scientists have signed a letter decrying “inadequate environmental and cultural impact assessments” for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), and calling for a halt to construction until such tests have been carried out “as requested by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.”

Standing Rock Sioux members in April began the greatest Indian uprising in a century, and their protest has revived old alliances with African Americans against oppressive white encroachments on communities of color and their lands. At Standing Rock now over 100 tribes have banded together. Supporting the Sioux are of young members of Black Lives Matter who arrived by August . Few Americans know these women and men affirmed a tradition that began five centuries ago when people of African and Indigenous descent united to fight European invaders and slave-catchers in the Americas of Christopher Columbus. Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage definitively reveals this story from its beginnings in the 1500s with European enslavement of both peoples of color.

By September thousands of protestors of all races were shouting “water is life.” They soon faced state troopers and police using attack dogs in scenes that looked like Birmingham Alabama in 1963 when Sheriff Bull Connor unleashed snarling dogs against civil rights marchers. Men and women were bitten and bleeding.

Then the fury spread nationwide. People of all races joined huge protest marches called by Indigenous leaders in U.S. cities from San Francisco to Denver, and Birmingham to New York.

A Black Lives Matter website explained its presence at Standing Rock with this statement:

“Black Lives Matter stands with Standing Rock. As there are many diverse manifestations of Blackness, and Black people are also displaced Indigenous peoples, we are clear that there is no Black liberation without Indigenous sovereignty . . . . . America has committed and is committing genocide against Native American peoples and Black people. We are in an ongoing struggle for our lives and this struggle is shaped by the shared history between Indigenous peoples and Black people in America, connecting that stolen land and stolen labor from Black and brown people built this country.”

This echoed a centuries old famous African American statement quoted in Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage  [Atheneum, 2012 revised edition]. In 1852 Dr. Martin R. Delany, a militant abolitionist lionized as the father of Black Nationalism in the United States, said of Indigenous Americans.  “We are identical as subjects of American wrongs, outrages and oppression, and therefore one in interest.”

The battle for safe water for all people continues at Standing Rock. Indigenous Environmental Network organizer and Cheyenne River tribal member Joye Braun stated, “When this proposed pipeline breaks, as the vast majority of pipelines do, over half of the drinking water in South Dakota will be affected. How can rubber-stamping this project be good for the people, agriculture, and livestock? It must be stopped . . . with our allies, both native and non-native.” Standing Rock descendant Waniya Locke explained, “The Missouri River gives drinking water to 10 million people. We are protecting everyone. We are standing for everyone…. They are violating not only my people of Standing Rock, but they are violating ranchers and farmers and everybody else who lives along this river.”

Where did this story of unified resistance to tyranny begin? Black Indians traces it to 1502, when the first enslaved Africans in the Americas on the island of Hispaniola escaped to and found a welcome in Indian villages. Hispaniola Governor Ovando reported it this way: “They fled among the Indians and never could be captured.”  These four words announced the First Rainbow Coalition, and an alliance that despite many attacks, lasted 500 years.

Black Indians follows this alliance history and its many forms as a joint resistance to slavery and colonialism. There were many Indian stations of the Underground Railroad in the North and South, and a full-blown 42-year Seminole war in Florida against slaveholder aggressions in the 1800s.

    Black Indians reveals the narrative of this country’s Indigenous-African courageous alliance into our own century. It details its resurgence in the Civil Rights movement, the American Indian Movement, the Poor People’s March and other daring ventures that drew two oppressed peoples of color into a united front against oppression.

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William Loren Katz – www.williamlkatz.com

 

 

 

 

 

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 “Black Indians: Freedom Fighters of the Frontier”

William Loren Katz is interviewed by Gary Glennell Toms and shared stories of European rule and the powerful bonds Black Indians developed with the enslaved Africans who had escaped bondage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BLACK INDIAN RESISTANCE: COLONIALISM AND SLAVERY

Award -winning journalist and producer Dred-Scott Keyes interviewed me for his weekly show “The Cutting Edge”, heard on Pacifica station WBAI in New York City.

Bill-selfie Bill-signing-book

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Conversation with Bill Fletcher

Bill Fletcher, the noted writer and broadcaster, interviewed me by Skype on his program recently. You can see the interview by clicking on the video below.

 

The 2015 Maroon Conference

One of the founding myths of this country is that world liberty began in 1776 with the Minute Men at Concord Bridge, the Declaration of Independence, and Thomas Jefferson. This neglects the history of maroon resistance by African and Native Americans that ranged from Canada to South America for more than a century before 1776.

Those of us who have long labored to bring to the light the long-neglected story of maroon resistance to invasion and colonization are delighted to celebrate the successful “Operation Suriname: Maroon Day” that united the living relatives of North and South American maroons this October. Their intrepid ancestors were our first freedom-fighters, and in many instances they also became self-liberated people and forces of resistance within their home countries.

“I wanted to build Cultural Bridges to other Black Indian and Maroon Freedom Fighters in the Diaspora” said Da Pompey Fixico, who represented the maroons of North America. Fixico, now President of the Semiroon Historical Society, has devoted his life to spreading the word in blogs and articles, speaking at events, meetings, and on radio often with me, whose book, Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage (Atheneum, 201200), he calls “a classic.”

The successful Maroon Day organizer was Her Excellency Dr. Ambassador Fidelia Grand-Galon, who invited Pompey Fixico and the other delegates to Suriname, a country of half a million people and 120,000 maroon descendants of enormous ethnic diversity. The 2015 National Celebration of Maroon Day recognizes the 255th Anniversary celebration of the “Peace Treaty” signed in 1760 by the Dutch Colonizers in favor of the Maroons, who won their Freedom from the Dutch oppressors through arduous combat and also won the land that they resided on.

Fixico, an honored guest of and accompanied by Ambassador Extraordinary Plenipotentiary, Dr. Fidelia Graand-Galon, has written movingly about the experience: “Deep in the Rain forest I visited Proud Maroon People in 10 different villages, on two major rivers both the Tapanahony/Ndyuka and the Cottica River. The villages visited were: 1. Diitabiki, 2. Dataa Konde, 3. Sanbedum, 4. Loabi, 5. Pikinpiisii and Kisai (all on the Tapanahony River), 6. Wanhatti, 7. Agitii-ondo, 8. Lantiwei, 9. Pikisant, 10. Langa-uku (all on the Cottica River).  In addition these villages I was invited — with Ambassador Extraordinary Plenipotentiary, Dr. Fidelia Graand-Galon, I get to see Maroon War Sites and other Secret Sacred places that must not be spoken about.”

We all salute Maroon Day organizers who have for the first time bought together maroon descendants from all of the Americas.

 

Tearing Down the Flags of Hatred and Oppression

Bree Newsome1935 was half a century before Bree Newsome was born and 80 years before she climbed that flagpole to pull down a Confederate flag that stood for slaveholders, racial terror and treason. She and James Tyson her spotter were quickly arrested.

On July 26, 1935 Bill Bailey, a broad-shouldered Irish American seaman and union organizer, decided to pull down the swastika flying from the bow of Nazi Germany’s luxury liner BREMEN anchored in New York harbor. Posing as tourists Bailey and other American seamen came aboard. As his buddies started a fight to distract the ship’s crew, Bailey climbed the flagpole and tore at the flag that represented Nazi persecution of religious, racial and political minorities.

Bill BaileyBailey yanked, his friends battled Nazi sailors, and the swastika would not come loose. “I would have eaten the thing to get it off,” he later told me. Finally the swastika gave way, he threw it into the Hudson and New York police arrested him and his comrades. When Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbles denounced Bailey and demanded protection for his diplomats, Mayor LaGuardia sent along ten Jewish police detectives, further infuriating Goebbles.

The world applauded Bailey’ s brash courage as they did that of Bree Newsome . By the next year Bailey joined The Lincoln Brigade, 2800 other Americans of every race, who rushed to Spain to fight a fascist military take-over orchestrated by Hitler and Mussolini. He fought in an integrated machine gun company. During World War II, he helped liberate the Philippines.

Freedom fighters Bree Newsome and Bill Bailey never met but had a lot in common. Their audacious acts against racial hatred and oppression were four generations apart but remain forever linked by a strong sense some ordinary people have to defend others from injustice and persecution.

 

African Americans, Native Americans, and the Confederate Flag

I was interviewed by FireWalker on Talking Stick Radio to speak about this issue. Please click on the video below to listen to the broadcast.

 

Semiroon Society

This award was issued by Phil Pompey Fixico, President of the Semiroon Historical Society. He is a direct descendant of the Caesar Bruner Band of Florida that battled the United States Army, Navy and Marines for forty two years. He is also a direct descendant of the John Brown Band of Seminoles (who along with other young men from Indigenous Nations) fled the Oklahoma Indian Territory during the Civil War. These brave men of the First Kansas Volunteers then served under John Brown’s former officers!

 

 

Congratulations to Phil Pompey Fixico

FIRST, Congratulations to Honorable Ambassador Fidelia Graand-Galon of the Republic of Suriname who, speaking for her country’s “Maroon Women’s Network,” invited my dear friend Phil Pompey Fixico, President of the U.S. Semiroon Historical Society to an important international maroon conference in Suriname. Attending as an honored guest for his many activist networks and international reputation, he will represent North America’s maroon descendants at this “Freedom Fighters National Maroon Day” celebration. It commemorates the 255th anniversary of the historic Suriname Peace Treaty of October 10, 1760. […]

 

Roxanne Dunbar-OrtizA Review of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

It is not easy to condense the United States narrative from its Indigenous people to the US Gulf Wars in less than 300 pages. It is even harder when the author is determined to be thorough, informative, and engaging. And it is harder still if the author’s compelling story challenges the “American Exceptionalism” mythology that dominates our schools, colleges and corporate media. […]

 

 

Black Indians Celebrated in Native American Heritage Month

6a00d8341c4eab53ef019b000f3798970c-800wiNPR “explores shared black and Native American heritage with William Katz, author of Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage, and Shonda Buchanan, an English professor, who is of North Carolina and Mississippi Choctaw Indian ancestry.” Please listen to the radio program or read its transcript here.

 

Black Indians 2014

View an excerpt from Cultural Caravan TV’s interview with William Katz here.

Drawing from his forty books on African American History, William Loren Katz offers such powerpoint lectures as:

 

Black Indians — Revised, Expanded and Updated

Black Indians: Revised. Expanded. Updated.The expanded and updated edition of Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage brings the Native American and African American alliance that for four centuries challenged the European conquest and slavery into the 21st century with additional research and documentary and photographic evidence.

Please click here to view a complete list of books by William L. Katz.