Friends of Turtle Island :


WESPAC Foundation’s Friends of Turtle of Island is a grassroots movement to increase awareness of Indigenous peoples’ ongoing struggles to protect their human and land rights, environment, sacred sites, dignity, language and traditions. We seek to build relationships, support Native sovereignty, challenge racism, and promote social and environmental healing. We support the reconnection of ancient Indigenous trade routes and the rekindling of those relations. We recognize the importance of freedom of movement for all First Nations peoples as they struggle to retain their ancestral lands, language, culture and identity. The balance of the ecosystem requires this freedom of movement, not only for people but for all creatures living within it. Please contact the office for more information and to get involved at 914.449.6514 or by email at [email protected]


Here is the recording of an important webinar with South Dakota State Senator Red Dawn Foster on the work of Return to the Heart Foundation, an Indigenous-led grantmaking organization that empowers women-led initiatives throughout Indian Country. For Native Americans, Covid-19 has hit hard, from the growing number of infections in Navaho and Hopi Nations to the racism that the Lakota continue to face in protecting their borders. South Dakota State Senator Red Dawn goes into detail about how Native nations are staying resilient and how mutual aid can support their efforts.


Important announcement from Tracy Basile:
SUBJECT: WESPAC and the Ramapough Nation — Join us!
WESPAC’s Friends of Turtle Island committee is forming stronger bonds with the Ramapough Nation across the Hudson River. We want to show our solidarity with this Indigenous Nation standing up for free speech, freedom of assembly, clean water, stopping Pilgrim Pipeline, sacred lands and freedom of religion. We want to also connect indigenous rights with other social justice/human rights issues that are core to our mission.
Last October, in solidarity with Standing Rock, the Ramapough Nation used ceremonial land that they have been legally deeded to start a prayer camp in Mahway, NJ called Split Rock Sweetwater Prayer Camp where environmental and indigenous rights supporters can gather peacefully. 
You can follow them on FB here:
Several tipis were put up. A yurt was built on a platform. All the structures are temporary but the town mayor and town board seem to want to shut it down, claiming it breaks zoning laws and placing hefty fines on the tribe that continue to rise every week the camp remains open.
Are you interested in staying informed on this issue and getting involved? We will be 
  • organizing trips to Split Rock Sweetwater Prayer Camp 
  • Starting an email list through WESPAC so you can stay informed on this and other indigenous issues
If you are interested, send an email to [email protected]

Important statement written by Robin Kimmerer and others.  Robin was a featured speaker in Westchester a few years ago upon the invitation of our Friends of Turtle Island solidarity group with Indigenous Peoples:


What: Solidarity Vigil with Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance

WhenWednesday, September 14, 2016, 12pm to 1:30pm

Where: The Fountain in Downtown White Plains (Intersection of Main Street and Mamaroneck Ave), White Plains, NY 10601

Solidarity Vigil with Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance. We will also link to the resistance locally working to STOP the Spectra Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (AIM), which is planned to run next to the Indian Point nuclear power plant. The Spectra AIM Pipeline is being built by the same company as the Dakota Access Pipeline.  We will have a few signs but please also bring signs.

Speakers: Ms. Betty Lyons (Onondaga Nation), President of the American Indian Law Alliance and Ms. Karenna Gore, Director for the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary, as well as local Westchester County residents who recently traveled to the Sacred Stone Camp in Lakota Territory [North Dakota].

Sponsors: WESPAC Foundation, American Indian Law Alliance, Center for Earth Ethics, Resist Spectra Pipeline, Friends of Turtle Island Committee-WESPAC. 

Membership 1Membership 2

Tonya Gonnella Frichner, Esq. Gowanahs, Snipe Clan name, a citizen of the Onondaga Nation, Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy, Haudenosaunee. Ms. Gonnella Frichner, the eldest of eight children of Henry and Maxine Nolan Gonnella. A global indigenous leader and President and Founder of the American Indian Law Alliance (AILA), since 1989. AILA is a Non-Governmental Organization in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

Ms. Gonnella Frichner was a lawyer, activist and professor of American Indian history and law, Federal Indian Law, and anthropology and human rights for over twenty years. Ms. Gonnella Frichner taught at the City College of the City University of New York (CUNY) and Manhattanville College for eight years, as well as CUNY Hunter College and New York University. Ms. Gonnella Frichner also served as an Associate Member of Columbia’s University Seminar on Indigenous Studies.

Ms. Gonnella Frichner, worked closely with global Indigenous leadership, as well as the Onondaga Nation and the Haudenosaunee. She devoted her life to the pursuing of the right to self-determination, sovereignty, treaty rights, and individual and collective rights for Indigenous Peoples.

Ms. Gonnella Frichner was appointed as the North American Regional Representative for a three year term from 2008-2010, to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), by the President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), an advisory body to the ECOSOC. In that position, her mandates included: human rights, economic and social development, environment, health, education and media. Ms. Gonnella Frichner was nominated by Indigenous Nations, Peoples and Non-Governmental Organizations to the position for her work in the international arena. During that time, Ms. Gonnella Frichner served as Vice-Chairperson as well as the Special Rapporteur for the “Preliminary study of the impact on indigenous peoples of the international legal construct known as the Doctrine of Discovery,” (E/C.19/2010/13), submitted to the UNPFII, Ninth Session, 2010. She has served as an active participant and legal and diplomatic counsel to Indigenous delegations in virtually all United Nations international fora affecting Indigenous Peoples especially during the drafting, negotiations and passage of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), overwhelmingly adopted in December 2007 (A/RES/61/295) by the UN General Assembly. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) sets the minimum standard for the survival, dignity and individual and collective rights of Indigenous Peoples globally.

Ms. Gonnella Frichner has received many distinguished awards for her service. Most recently, she received the Drums Along the Hudson award in June 2014, shared with the Honorable David N. Dinkins, the 106th Mayor of New York City. Other awards include the Harriet Tubman Humanitarian Award, the Thunderbird Indian of the Year Award, the Ellis Island Congressional Medal of Honor, the American Indian Community House International Service Award, the SilverCloud Singer Outstanding Service Award for advancing Indigenous Youth, the Ms. Foundation Female Role Model of the Year, which was shared with author J.K. Rowlings and others, The Mosaic Council, Inc. Visionary Award for Making a Difference, which was shared with entertainer Queen Latifah, the New York County Lawyers Association Award for Outstanding Public Service, the Ingrid Washinawatok El-Issa O’Peqtaw Metaehmoh – Flying Eagle Woman Fund for Peace, Justice, and Sovereignty Award, the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team Recognition, a City of Philadelphia proclamation in honor of United Nations Day and Ms. Gonnella Frichner’s work to “promote the rights for native people around the world,” recognition from the Temple of Understanding, recognition from the Beacon Two Row Wampum Festival, and the Alston Bannerman Fellowship.

Ms. Gonnella Frichner co-founded the Global Indigenous Women’s Caucus, together with Ms. Tia Oros Peters (Zuni), Executive Director of the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples, and Ms. Esmeralda Brown, President of the Southern Diaspora Research and Development Center.

Ms. Gonnella Frichner served on several boards of directors including serving as the Chairperson of the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples, the City University of New York School of Law Board of Visitors, the Interfaith Center of New York, the Connie Hogarth Center for Social Action, the Seven Eagles Corporation, the Flying Eagle Women Fund for Peace, Justice and Sovereignty, the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism, the Boarding School Healing Project, and the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team, the official national team of the Haudenosaunee since 1984. It is a Federation of International Lacrosse member nation and World Lacrosse Championship medalists. Ms. Gonnella Frichner authored a number of articles and papers on Indigenous Peoples and was working on two books, including an autobiography. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from St. John’s University of New York and graduated magna cum laude in 1980, she earned a Juris Doctor from the City University of New York School of Law in 1987 and a Doctor of Laws honoris causa from Colby College, Waterville in Maine in 2012.

In September 2014 United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon quoted Ms. Gonnella Frichner in his remarks: “A longtime indigenous activist and former member of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Tonya Gonnella Frichner, once said, “Indigenous peoples all speak many different languages but in our meetings, we are speaking one language. Our relationship to Mother Earth is identical.”

Ms. Gonnella Frichner, 67 of Union City, New Jersey began her journey to her Creator on February 14, 2015 and is survived by her loving husband of 42 years, University Professor and Fashion Institute of Technology Herb Frichner, and their son Jason M. Frichner (Eva), Assistant Vice-President of Marketing for the Hanes Corporation. Ms. Gonnella Frichner is also survived by her sisters, Nannette Gonnella (Carol), Jacquelyn Gonnella Thomas, and Kimberley Gonnella Tobian (Brian); brothers, Henry Gonnella, Jr., Michael Gonnella, Thomas Gonnella (Lucia) and Christopher Gonnella; her beloved nieces, Betty Lyons (Tadodaho Sidney Hill) and Maya Thomas; nephews, David Tobian and Matthew Gonnella and several nieces and nephews. Ms. Gonnella Frichner held dear to her heart the AILA staff that supported her work, Chief of Staff, Murrielle Borst-Tarrant (Kuna/Rappahanock Nations) and Research & Policy Adviser, Roger Drew. She was predeceased by her father, Henry L. Gonnella in 1993 and her mother, Maxine Nolan Gonnella in 2003.

Calling hours will be held at the Ballweg & Lunsford Funeral Home, Inc. located at 2584 Field Lane, LaFayette, NY 13084 on Tuesday, February 17 from 3 to 7 p.m. Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, February 18 at 10 a.m. at the funeral home and 11 a.m. at the longhouse. Interment to be in the Onondaga Nation Cemetery located on Route 11A.

Donations can be made to the American Indian Law Alliance to carry on Tonya’s important work. For more info on donations email [email protected].

To express sympathy please visit


Civil Disobedience


Article quoting Tonya Gonnella Frichner on the Doctrine of Discovery:

Article regarding the Treaty of Canandaigua arriving in Washington, DC for the “Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations,” exhibit at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC:

“Mni is our first home, when we arrive here on Mother Earth, the water of our mothers’ womb is our first dwelling. Water is our first medicine. Without water, there is no life.”  

Debra White Plume


(Kiza Park, Oglala Homeland, August 24, 2014) Sacred Water Protection “is a long term priority of the work of Owe Aku to engage in the protection of sacred water inside treaty boundaries.  This part of our work is conducted through treaty rights and human rights education and action in regards to drinking water and environmental protection. We began this work in 2005, conducting research into drinking water quality and the health conditions of our people on the Pine Ridge” (Environmental Justice & The Survival Of A People: Uranium Mining & the Oglala Lakota People, by Debra White Plume, Owe Aku,  Since then, Owe Aku has made many allies and instituted several projects that pertain to the protection of Sacred Water.  


Although our work has been concentrated over the past several years on the Keystone XL Pipeline, our efforts have included challenges to uranium mining in the Black Hills, including the PowerTech application for an area near Edgemont, South Dakota.  The process proposed by PowerTech is highly toxic and called in situ leach mining which uses 9,000 gallons of water per minute.  PowerTech, which was a Canadian corporation sold to a Chinese company (Azarga Rsources Ltd.) since the challenge to their uranium mining permit began back in 2010, is now on its second application for a permit before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  This last week the process continued in Hot Springs and Rapid City.  


Monday (August 18) was dedicated to public comment in Hot Springs.  Several bright yellow and red signs were seen in the front yards throughout town, stating “No Uranium Mining.” It was clear that Clean Water Alliance and Dakota Rural Alliance had done their jobs well and we say wopila (thank you).  At the public comment forum, 68 people from the communities whose water would be most effected spoke before the administrative judges.  59 of them were opposed to the assault on SacredWater.  These challenges were brought by the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the Consolidated Intervenors (Susan Henderson, Dayton Hyde, Aligning for Responsible Mining, and many individuals).  Under the very complicated rules and bureaucracy, the panel of Atomic Licensing Board Judges had the opportunity to choose from the extensive list of challenges brought by opponents (the list of challenges to the permit that were addressed are at the end of this report).  The 59 people that spoke in favor of SacredWater addressed different issues but all with the same goal:  to keep the water safe and clean for future generations.  


The City Attorney spoke on behalf of the mayor of Rapid City and told the panel that PowerTech’s proposal threatened to contaminate the main source of drinking water in that town and that raised grave concerns for the City Council and the city’s people.  Others spoke of the 100% risk being taken by all the peoples of this region in order to give away free water for the profits of a foreign corporation.   “One of our greatest concerns is the quantity of water [that PowerTech will take].  14,000 acre feet of water will be gone forever.”  Under a Powertech self-monitoring system South Dakota is giving to PowerTech, “once water rights are granted, the state of South Dakota no longer has ANY control over what happens to the water, how it’s used, or what happens with negative impacts,” stated a member from Dakota Rural Action.  A member of Clean Water Alliance told the panel of judges how treaties with the Lakota Oyate were being violated and that they, the NRC, were not following their own federal laws and regulations, interestingly the same argument Owe Aku International Justice Project has used at venues like the United Nations.   


The following three days (September 19th – 21st) of formal proceedings were moved to the Hotel Alex Johnson and the first day Water Protectors had a victory.  Since the beginning of these proceedings several years ago, PowerTech had acquired new information relating to the proposed mine site through the use of sample bores in the Earth, and had failed to reveal that information to anybody, including the NRC or the panel of judges in this proceeding.  PowerTech was, however, ordered to turn that information over.  (See


Although highly technical, most of the hearing focused on the same objections to the application’s contentions as those at the public hearing on the previous day.  Each side had several different expert witnesses answering questions from the judges about the connection of the aquifers, their relationship to each other and to surface water, the effects of flooding, earthquakes and wind on waste ponds, as well as the consequences of drought and the overwhelming impact of the use of water on the regeneration rates of the aquifers.  Although not a court proceeding, lawyers were permitted to question the “witnesses” and testimony was submitted about the critical results of in situ leach mining on the cultural, historical and contemporary heritage of the Lakota Oyate.      


Wilmer Mesteth and Dennis Yellow Thunder of the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s Natural Resources Department entered public comments into the official record. Mesteth, a well respected instructor at Oglala Lakota College and Traditional Spiritual leader of the Lakota Nation, spoke completely in Lakota without translation. It was interesting that the organizers of the proceedings did not consider how many Lakota people may have commented if there were an interpreter available. 


David Frankel, attorney for Alignment for Responsible Mining, used a basketball analogy (appropriate in Lakota Country) in explaining the proceeding:  “PowerTech has a full bench of players with trainers and physical therapists, while we got five guys running around on the floor who are always there.  The think they can beat us but what they don’t realize is that we ain’t procedurally, PowerTech still has to clear several hurdles.  Meanwhile their legal funds are being depleted, the price of uranium is crashing, and who knows what their new corporate owners in China might do.  We do know what we will do:  protect SacredWater.

Debra White Plume of Owe Aku with the legal team from the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the Consolidated Intervenors


Contention List in the Matter of Powertech (Dewey-Burdock In Situ Uranium Recovery Facility) Before the
Atomic Safety and Licensing Board

  • Failure to meet applicable legal requirements regarding protection of historical and cultural resources
  • Failure to Involve or consult all interested tribes as required by federal Law
  • The FSEIS failes to include necessary information for adequate determination of baseline ground water quality
  • The FSEIS Fails to include adequate hydrogeological information to demonstrate ability to contain fluid migration and assess potential impacts to groundwater.
  • The FSEIS Fails to adequately analyze ground water quantity impacts.
  • The FSEIS Fails to adequately describe or analyze proposed mitigation measures. 


Documents related to the Dewy Burdock application are available on the NRC website (  Documents regarding this Baord proceeding are available on the NRC’s Electronic Hearing Docket ( by clicking on the folder entitled “Powertech_USA-40-9075-MLA” in the left-hand margin of the webpage.  [It works; we tried it.] 

Owe Aku is a grassroots organization of Lakota people and our allies founded to promote the protection of sacred water and preservation of our territorial lands.  Our actions for environmental justice rely upon cultural revitalization as our major tool in achieving our goals.  The principle location from which are operations are based are on Lakota territory along Wounded Knee Creek on what is called the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation .  From within the tiyospaye system comes our guidance which includes work such as  Moccasins on the Ground, Unite to Fight, Peoples School of Liberation, the Lakota Media Project and Owe Aku’s international program, the International Justice Project.  More information on our work can be found at
2014 Owe Aku International Justice Project
You are receiving this email because you are an ally in our struggle to preserve sacredwater

Our mailing address is:

Owe Aku International Justice Project

720 W. 173rd St., #59

New York, NY 10032

Tax Exempt Hearing

Monday, September 8th 2014

Will be held in the solution Center’ conference room 501 East State Street,1st Floor Trenton , New jersey


The Hearing is to determine if The Ramapough Lunaape Nations Ceremonial Grounds should be declared Tax Exempt


We are requesting All of our Friends and people of Good Conscience To: Please Send Letters of support To:

Program Assistant, Cherylynn Cooke            Chief, Dwaine C. Perry

Green Acres Tax Exempt Program                  Ramapough Lunaape Nation

 Mail Code 501-01                                               189 Stag Hill Road

Trenton, NJ 08625-0420                                     Mahwah, NJ 07430

E-mail [email protected]              [email protected]       



  1. We have owned the property since 1980
  2. We pay approximately $3,000.00 Dollars a year in Taxes on Land we are told cannot be built on.
  3. We have always used the Land for Open Air Prayer: We have held Weddings on it , We have sent a number of our People to Walk Across From It. (Funerary)
  • There is a Living Altar whose teachings is given to everyone who may want to hear.
  • There is a Kunduweewiikaan (Church) adorned with Msiingw (carvings)
  • We have hosted  Many from the UN
  • There is a Dance Circle
  • There are Three(3) prayer Homes (sweat Lodges) belonging to different peoples
  • It should be noted the Ceremonial Grounds has been used by Hindus, Christians, Jews and Tribal People from both North and South America.


In addition across the pond our Land is used almost exclusively by non-Tribal members for hiking, fishing and the launching of small crafts , canoes ect.


Again I implore All to: please write and to support our effort in meeting this challenge.


Help us to continue growing in the understanding of the spirit and in the Love for the Earth… Anushiik Sachem Maqua.




Chief Perry