FRANCISCO Excitement was in the air last week as the 11th
Annual Global Exchange Human Rights Awards ceremony was held at
the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, California.
Crystal Lameman, a member of the Beaver Lake Cree First Nation,
was presented with the 2013 Grassroots Award. Ms. Lameman is an
ardent fighter for her community and land, and for the rights and
sovereignty of First Nations in Canada.
The awards ceremony was attended by 300 founders, supporters
and allied organizations of Global Exchange.
Global Exchange was founded 25 years ago to promote human rights,
justice and sustainability around the world. They envision building
a strong US movement addressing global climate change, limiting
corporate power and greed to oil addiction and to the creation of
local green economies.
'For us, it is always an honor to have our
awardees attend this event and to celebrate the work that we all
said Carleen Pickard, executive director of Global Exchange.
Ms. Lameman has been fighting to stop tar sands drilling and
the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Tar sands bitumen drilling has
been occurring on or near her tribal lands in Alberta, Canada for
the past two decades.
She has spoken eloquently and powerfully at past events held
at the United Nations, and will be attending the United Nations
Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in Alta, Norway next month.
Global Exchange Grassroots Award is especially timely given the
mainstream media's refusal to report about the many actions taken
by American Indian groups and environmental groups since the Idle
No More movement began in the US.
"It is my obligation as a mother, my obligation
to my ancestors to ensure we have our rights respected. It's my
obligation to future generations and most of all to our own true
mother-something each and every one of us has in common. That
obligation can never be surrendered,"
comments Ms. Lameman about her work.
The 2013 Human Rights Award was presented to Noam Chomsky. Chomsky
is best known as a US political theorist, writer and activist. His
sharp analysis of corporate capitalism, searing critiques of U.S.
military interventions and support for undemocratic regimes has
challenged and inspired millions for over fifty years.
The 2013 People's Choice Award was presented to Julian Assange
and Wikileaks. The award was accepted by Daniel Ellsberg on behalf
of Julian Assange. Wikileaks was recognized and awarded as a valuable
tool for human rights activists all over the world. Wikileaks helps
whistle blowers bring forth information vital to public debate and
brings stories to the public either hidden by governments or ignored
Lake Cree First Nation
The principal means of survival, namely, the traditional practices
of hunting and fishing are still carried on. Band members are also
actively engaged in farming, ranching, forestry, the oil and gas
industry and other trades and occupations.