Friday, December 11, 2009

Peace Flag Project - Mary Gopher Parenteau Announces Montana Win/Win Network.

"Following the successful example of the Washington state effort to create cross-issue organizing to defeat TABOR (a regressive taxpayer bill of rights) and yes to Referendum 71 (on domestic partnership); minority, women and the LGBTQ constituents were able to protect mutual interests, and advance their own interests in the political arena.

Loud Thunder International is initiating the Montana Win/Win effort to ensure that these communities engage in cross-issue organizing for the 2010 elections and beyond. This non-profit effort will engage a cross section of communities of color, women, the LGBTQ community, business and labor interests as never before.

This work will be difficult at times, but doable. We may not agree on every issue--but we will ensure that all voices are heard, and respected. Loud Thunder International will advance the progressive agenda on the Montana ballots now, and in the future. We will work to build an informed constituency throughout Indian country, as well as serve as a liason between Indian country and other interests.

We will work to build a progressive agenda on the local, state, and national levels that respects the growing diversity of our nation. We will ask all constituencies to engage in the public discourse of our nation as never before. All voices matter, all voices count. We want to start out by identifying our community efforts that are organizational sponsored, and where we will be seeking partnerships.

Loud Thunder has in the past initiated Red Thunder, Inc., a non-profit that spurred Ft. Belknap residents and the indigenous environmental movement into action to halt cyanide heap leach gold mining just outside the reservation.

This effort began in 1990 and mushroomed. Loud Thunder's Founder, Robert Gopher produced and directed "Indian Tears of Love," to draw awareness to the Gros Ventres and Assiniboine peoples' struggle. In 1996, I-122 increased requirements for cleaner water discharged from mines, but was defeated. This year also saw the largest settlement of its kind in state history; Pegasus Gold would pay 37 million as a result of its non-compliance with federal and state clean water laws. In 1998, Montanans passed I-137, banning new cyanide mines in the state.

There is a need to enact a reclamation economy, as was done in Bonner, MT--post timber industry--on the borders of the Fort Belknap reservation. This is one way to foster cross community collaboration and create meaningful and good paying jobs. A reclamation economy is essential in restoring Historic Hill 57, a culturally and historically significant site recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. There are no doubt other significant sites throughout Indian country in Montana and nationwide that are in need of long term reclamation.
Our sponsored efforts to expand the Montana progressive agenda are:

Montana Jobs Coalition--Loud Thunder is fostering collaboration with like minded organizations to respond to the unprecendented unemployment and lack of job growth at the present time.

Montana Win/Win--this effort will focus on issues organizing and development to ensure Native Americans are fully networked with local, state, and national progressive movements.

Migisew-Asiniweyin Economic Development Corporation--the effort here includes a mix of economic development strategies, including creation of a CDFI structure to serve Montana's urban Indian communities, and grant funding to develop statewide non-profit organizations to address poverty reduction in affected communities.

13 Star Peace Flag Project--this is a local project in Great Falls, MT of national significance. The project attempts to reclaim and preserve Hill 57 because it is a symbol of the tragic federal tribal termination policies in America.

The Win/Win project will organize voting constituencies and engage in issues development to promote lasting social change.
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