USA indigenous psychologists criticise APA refusal to consider support on Standing Rock

The Society of Indian (i.e. First Nations/indigenous) Psychologists in the USA has issued a strong statement on the blocking of a call for the APA to support the Standing Rock protestors against State violence.  The APA decision was made behind closed doors and would seem to reveal a staggering degree of institutional racism.

The statement begins:

We are writing to express deep concern with the way that certain senior APA staff took it upon themselves to quash our efforts to entreat the APA for support in addressing the current circumstances of conflict and state-sanctioned violence against the Water Protectors at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

The senior staff in question elected to eschew making any kind of statement or to take any responsive action, to include further consultation with any of APA’s American Indian experts citing that: 1) it was a State, not a federal, issue (which of course Standing Rock sovereignty elevates such concerns to a federal level); and 2) that the issues raised by the situation at Standing Rock (environmental racism, community violence against an American Indians, health disparities, and historical re-traumatization) were not in line with APA direction and priorities.
Read the full Statement (pdf file)

 

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Liberation Psychology: 25 years on. Nacho’s Legacy in the San Francisco Bay Area

Here is the third in our series to mark the quarter century since Ignacio Martín-Baró’s murder.

In “Nacho’s Legacy in the San Francisco Bay Area” Félix Salvador Kury remembers Martín-Baró’s visit to San Francisco in 1988 and talks about his work in El Salvador in the context of a bitter struggle before going on to tell us about the Clínica Martín-Baró, a free service for Latina and Latino migrants, which as Felix says is a lasting legacy of Nacho’s visit and his relationship with North American solidaritarian colleagues.

“I knew of Ignacio Martín-Baró’s work long before I invited him to a conference on Central American refugees in the spring of 1988. It was his first visit to the San Francisco Bay Area. Having “Nacho” for a week in my house was a very special and transformative experience. Three of my cousins of were among his students of Psychology at UCA. One of them was brutally murdered when she was seven months pregnant.

“Ignacio Martín-Baró was “Nacho” to many of us who knew him, who love him and miss him. At at the time of his assassination, he was the vice rector Central American University “Jose Simeon Cañas” (UCA, in Spanish). The University of Central America played a leading role in the effort to resolve El Salvador’s decades-long civil war. Jesuit faculty members, who often spoke out against human rights abuses, were accused by the government and the military of providing intellectual support for the FMLN rebel uprising.

“Ignacio Martín-Baró, a Spanish-born Salvadoran citizen, at age 50 was best known as an analyst of national and regional affairs and as the founder and director of the Public Opinion Institute, a highly respected polling organization. He was also a writer, teacher, and a pastor. He was killed along with five other Jesuit priests and two women on November 16, 1989. He was killed by a military battalion that had just returned form military training at the School Of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia. It was not the first assassination of church leaders: 18 Catholic priests, including Father Rutilio Grande and Archbishop Oscar Romero, and four North American churchwomen, had been killed in El Salvador since the late 1970s – more than any other nation in the world. …. read the rest of the short piece HERE.

Felix is the Program Director & Faculty Advisor for the Clínica Martín-Baró, San Francisco, California, USA. Their website and blog is here (material in Spanish and English.

Here is a gallery of photos illustrating the work that Felix has kindly made available.

7photo 8photo 10 photo 12photo 14photo 16photo 20photo 156263101836 156263121836 156263141836 156263151836 392301586836 Only Justice Heals Wounds Trabajadores voluntarios de la Clinica Martín Baró

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New Pacifica Institute Newsletter on Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology, & Ecopsychology

This newsletter is becoming a useful resource on Liberation psychology and its connections with related fields of study and struggle.  Did you know, for example that despite Bhutan touting its high levels of “Gross National Happiness” (as an alternative to the flawed Gross National Product), its military has murdered, raped, tortured and/or imprisoned many citizens, some of whom are now refugees in other places.  The newsletter includes an article on work with Bhutanese refugees in the USA.  I’m looking forward to the book that will appear this autumn by Mary Watkins and Ed Casey on the Mexico-USA border wall.  They have recently visited  Palestine to learn about the parallels with the apartheid separation wall erected by the Israeli occupation power.  There are many other interesting things in this 36 page edition, with a lot of emphasis on ecological issues and indigenous traditions and knowledge.

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A year later, no progress in the Mexican disappearances | ¡NO MAS VICTIMAS!

A year later, no progress in investigating the disappearance of three youths in Paracho | ¡NO MAS VICTIMAS! (NO MORE VICTIMS!.

Sadly just over a year after the disappearance of three young professionals, tow of them psychologists, in Paracho, Michoacán, Mexico, thre is still no word of what happened to them.  The above link is to the website that covers their disappearance and the inaction, or likely complicity of the local authorities.  It’s a reminder that in some places those committed to a better world do run significant risks.

If you haven’t signed the petition (link from the site) then please do as it is one way of reminding the families they are not alone and the authorities that we are watching them.

 

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Guantánamo Bay USA extraterritorial prison – call to end force feeding of hunger strikers

 HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS URGE PRESIDENT OBAMA TO END

FORCE-FEEDING OF GUANTÁNAMO HUNGER STRIKERS

On August 12th, over 400 health care professionals and human rights leaders sent an urgent appeal to President Obama to order Guantánamo detention camp officials to stop force-feeding hunger strikers, immediately release the detainees approved for release, and make closing Guantánamo his first priority. Now in its seventh month, the hunger strike included 106 detainees at its peak, with as many as 46 of them force-fed.

The letter states that force-feeding mentally competent adults is a violation of medical and nursing ethics, and emphasizes that the method of force feeding in Guantánamo is “exceptionally brutal.” In describing the procedure in which the detainee is forcefully extracted from the cell by several soldiers and strapped into a restraint chair for up to two hours, the letter also notes that “Men weakened by significant weight loss are particularly at risk for serious injury during this regimen.”

Sponsored by Psychologists for Social Responsibility and signed by ten additional organizations, including the Center for Constitutional Rights and Physicians for Human Rights, the letter focuses on the ethical and professional dilemmas of Guantánamo health personnel who force-feed the detainees: 

“Health care professionals, including those in the military, must maintain their licenses in good standing, and to do so they must follow standards of good ethical practice. This is not what is happening during the hunger strike.”

Because information is classified at Guantánamo, doctors, nurses and psychologists cannot honor their ethical obligations to confer with independent experts in such dilemmas, and are “constrained from securing the support of their professional colleagues if they experience reprisals for registering a complaint or refusing to participate further.”

The signers urge President Obama to “act immediately before more prisoners die” and argue that as Commander-in-Chief he has the power to immediately stop the force-feeding, release the detainees approved for release, and make closing Guantánamo his top priority.

The full text of the letter with the list of all signers is available online at www.psysr.org/GTMO-Letter.

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Liberating psychology everywhere

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The key is the symbol of return for the Palestinian people to their homes from which they were displaced.

 

Here is a brief talk I gave for the closing symposium at the International Community Psychology Conference, Birzeit University, Ramallah, Palestine, May, 2013.  It reflects on the question of a locally sensitive but globally aware community psychology from the perspective of liberation psychology: “Liberating psychology everywhere”.  Old ground maybe – but it is brief.  The conference was excellent, so in tune with the approach of liberation psychology, with contributions from Palestine, colonial Puerto Rico,post-colonial South Africa, the former colonial power in Palestine, the UK, as well as Belgium and Norway.  We were honoured to be the guests of Birzeit and of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories, to learn something of the day to day oppression and their dignified resistance. A personal account of our trip can be found here.
Mark Burton

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Petition to convict Rios Montt

See the previous post for detail and relevance of this case in Guatemala for Liberation Psychology.  As of 28 May there is still no resolution although it appears that the allegation made by Rios Montt’s lawyer was unfounded.
There is a petition to the Guatemalan Constitutional Court here.  As of the time of writing there have been 21,451 signatures of a target of 22,000.  Please consider adding your voice too HERE.

 

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Update on our disappeared Mexican colleagues

Ana

Luis Enrique “Kike”

Diego (“Toño”)

Unfortunately there is still no more news about Luis Enrique Castañeda Nava,  Diego Antonio Maldonado and  Ana Belem Sánchez, who were forcibly removed from their hotel in Paracho, Michoacán, Mexico in July.  There is strong suggestion of complicity by the State authorities and this update in English from No Más Víctimas brings us up to date on the case and on the campaign.
If you haven’t already please sign the petition to the authorities at http://www.change.org/petitions/ay%C3%BAdenos-a-encontrar-a-ana-bel%C3%A9m-s%C3%A1nchez-diego-maldonado-y-luis-casta%C3%B1eda
If the suspension of a professor of psychology (who drew the kidnap in Paracho to our attention) can obtain 3,000 signatures on the same site, surely the international psychological community can together achieve at least this level of support for these young colleagues in mortal danger – at present the number of signatures is 750.

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