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Akha Blog Page 16

Our Next SE Asia Project
Nov. 12, 2010
Looking back and looking forward. I continue writing on the Ride for Freedom while getting some new project fliers and pamphlets prepared and getting ready for a leap forward on a documentary.

Meanwhile we are raising funds for a small project in SE Asia, Myanmar, SW China and perhaps Laos. We will be covering quite a bit of distance, looking at the Akha language and literature situation, migration, malaria, farming and land demarcation.

We hope to produce considerable video and photographic documentation on remote areas as well during this project phase.

Your comments and support are greatly appreciated.

You can help support this project with a donation at the link below. Your donation makes a great difference to our work.


The Brao of Cambodia
Sunday Sept. 29, 2010
A paper by Ian Baird.
This paper has some commentary on the situation of the Brao and events with missions in their villages. Good reading.

Thai government policy concerning its indigenous tribal people
Sunday Sept. 12, 2010
Thai reply to allegations
The Thai Government's stance and reply to serious allegations of infringing the rights of Akha and other tribal people, especially through the Queen's projects, is untenable.

Their main untenable position is that indigenous tribal people do not exist in Thailand! This is a blatant denial of facts on the ground!

May the Thai Government be reminded of Thai history, which recognises that Thai people themselves migrated into what is now called Thailand from the region to the north which is now called China!

There is no historical basis for the Thai Government's position that there were no indigenous tribal people living in the region now called Thailand before the Thai people themselves migrated there.

The Thai Government's stance is based on Thai nationalistic propaganda, manipulated history, and fabricated studies of indigenous peoples. They deny the truth.

In ChiangMai there used to be government offices of the Hill Tribe Welfare Division, Department of Public Welfare, until a government reorganisation in 2002/3 abolished this official recognition of hill tribes in Thailand.

Thai government whitewash did not in fact erase hill tribe people from Thailand. Although Thai government policy in effect is attempting to do just that! Missionary and other organisations are allowed to operate in Thailand as long as they assist Thai government policy in its aims, which amount to cultural extermination!

Is this not a replay of Australia's "lost generation" of aboriginal abductions and attempted re-education?

Is this not a replay of many such attempts worldwide, including in the USA and Canada, to dispossess indigenous peoples?

These abominable practices have been slowly exposed and recognized for what they are: Governments in Australia and elsewhere over recent decades have admitted past gross mistakes.

It would seem Thailand has not yet learned these lessons, and continues to abuse its indigenous tribal peoples.

The Thai government's reply to the U.N. on this issue is sufficient evidence to condemn itself!

SEE also: UN Document on Akha Complaint

Urge US Support for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People
Sunday Sept. 12, 2010
The Indian Law Resource Center has asked IFG to contact our allies to urge their support for the Unites States' immediate adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Please click on the links below to send a letter to the White House today. The deadline for comments to the State Department is October 2010. Thanks for helping to protect the rights of the world's 370 million indigenous peoples!
Get Involved with a Click!
Send an e-letter to the White House supporting the US endorsement of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples!
Draft Letter for Indian and Alaska Native Nations
Draft Letter for Non-Governmental Organizations
Letter from the Center for International Environmental Law

Reported on Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Barack Obama Commits to Rights

Barack Obama Commits to the Rights of Indigenous Nations
"You will be on my mind every day I am in the White House"

My Indian policy starts with honoring the unique government to government relationship between tribes and the federal government and ensuring that our treaty obligations are met and ensuring that Native Americans have a voice in the White House.

Indian nations have never asked much of the United States, only for what was promised by the treaty obligations made by their forebears. So let me be clear: I believe that treaty commitments are paramount law, I’ll fulfill those commitments as president of the United States.

Obama: Sign the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples!

President Obama needs to hear from you today. He needs to know that all Americans believe that the day has come for him to endorse the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

This Declaration marks the first time the United Nations has agreed on a single set of values governing relations between national governments and Indigenous Peoples living within their borders. It promises that governments will respect tribal rights to lands and sacred places, and spells out Native Peoples' right to self-determination. It also prevents governments from using tribal land for military purposes. And, it prohibits any development projects on tribal lands-mines, logging, hydroelectric dams, etc- without the tribes' free, prior, and informed consent. The Declaration is a key step towards realizing full governmental recognition and respect for Indigenous Peoples' rights, including their rights to their languages, cultures, and spiritual practices.

The United States is already a party to other international treaties that protect the rights inscribed in this Declaration. Indeed, when it comes to children, women, or disabled people, those rights are specifically elaborated in separate treaties that many, if not most, countries have ratified. For Indigenous Peoples, it has taken almost 25 years to get their rights clarified in a United Nations Declaration. The question of a legally binding international treaty is not even on the table.

The United States is one of the last two countries that have not endorsed the Declaration (the other is Canada). President Obama is reviewing it now, but review is not enough; nor is consent with reservations. Though not having the force of treaties, Declarations are morally binding on countries. They affect the work of the United Nations, inform international and national law, and influence debates on human rights.

Bit of a farm
Friday Sept. 10, 2010
Well, no Akha should be without chickens and we have those now and are already getting eggs. Michu is quite happy with this as are all the children. The children have also started school, four of them, showing up for the bus on a foggy country road, a small army of ambition.

Portuguese TV presenter among six convicted over child prostitution at Casa Pia state-run orphanages
Friday Sept. 10, 2010
Just another example and good reason why we don't want Akha kids in mission orphanages.
Portugal Paedophile Convictions for Abuse at Orphanages

GRACE Final Report on Mission Abuse of Kids in Senegal
Friday Aug. 27, 2010
If you want to know why we don't want missionaries taking away Akha kids to their mission schools in Thailand, HERE is exactly why.
GRACE Complete Report on Sexual Abuse at Mission School in Senegal - August 23, 2010

GRACE main site:

What I see strikingly missing from the report is any recommendation that these people be criminally investigated for what they allegedly did. Wolves in the hen house no less, child abusers, sex offenders, let the criminal investigations begin, let New Tribes Mission be put on trial.

The other thing that you won't see here is the voice of indigenous children who were exposed to these same perps. The children in the mission, western kids, they had someone they could tell. Someone who could fire back an angry response to NTM about what was going on, and put NTM at risk. But tribal children don't have this leverage. And that is exactly our point about not wanting missionaries to have indigenous children from the Akha tribe, because all the charges leveled at the response attitude of NTM can be pretty much leveled at all of them. Missions sworn to silence. At missions that have up to 500 plus Akha kids at a time, there is NO oversight. Missionaries who abused under one name in Thailand, now change the name of their organization and are not identified for what they were up to previously. These organizations and individuals continue to be supported by donors and churches.

So WHAT about the KIDS?
Friday Aug. 4, 2010
So what is all the fuss about the Akha kids? All these great missions "taking them in"? Well just think if you were a poor Akha family in the mountains of Thailand and you were worried about your rice crop and your kids and the police and army roving through the villages, and the general turmoil in Thailand that has been going on of late. But then the mission comes and offers you a way out. You can just give them your kids. They don't tell you that maybe you could be helped to improve your security in the village? They don't tell the churches that pump millions into the region that you WANT your kids. They tell them any story they have to in order to keep the donations flowing and make the whole thing look justified. That you don't love your kids, that is why you abandoned them. That you sold your kids, or were going to. That your kids were in danger, after all, THEY decided. But no one talks about all these complications with you or the donor. Its just about getting the kids and getting the budget. Donors don't want to know messy details when its about their donation that they gave to "do something great". They don't want to know that "family values" aren't for Akha people too. And they probably don't know that its all about the money and how the missions can get more of it at any cost. The kids of course aren't abandoned, or in any more danger than the hills have always been like. But the missions will keep telling you that until they get "caught" until the lies and deceptions don't work any more and their donations fall off, until it becomes the scandal it is. So how would you feel if all of this was happening to your kids? Would you be upset? Would you wonder why no one cared enough to find out what was really going on or what was really needed even though they had been told over and over? blocked in Singapore
Friday August 3, 2010
We have it from friends that can no longer be seen in Singapore. That beacon of democracy. Well this little website, up for more than ten years, due to the forsight and wisdom of donors who like a bit of beacon of their own, has been blocked in Singapore. Course, the web savvy can use a proxy and still get it. Amazing. Just Amazing.

Our Interview on "Hidden From History" about Akha children being taken away from their families by missionaries in Thailand
Friday Aug1, 2010
Kevin Annett radio interview. Starts about 16:13 min into the broadcast.
Hidden from History The Akha Children taken by misisonaries Podcast

Queen Sells Food Grown on Akha Land
Friday July 29, 2010
Reports confirm that the food that is grown on the land of Hooh Yoh Akha and Pah Nmm Akha by the Queen of Thailand with low paid Akha laborers basically held hostage by increased poverty, that food is in fact shipped out and makes money for the Royal Project, not for the Akha people. So the Queen claims her project was to teach the Akha how to grow vegetables? Well it was, to teach them how to grow vegetables....for someone else to eat.

Thai Govt. Response to "Letter of Allegation"
Friday July 23, 2010
The Thai Government response to the Letter of Allegation from the UN, can be seen in this pdf document. We include this document, actually two parts, with their original links, but we have not yet made a response to the Special Rapporteur regarding the Thai Government response. Basically the Thai Government states that they did nothing wrong, that they were only helping the Akha and that in reality none of the events included in the Letter of Allegation happened at all. A typical Thai Government response, especially since the Thai Government has come and said there are no indigenous people in Thailand. They can't abuse people who don't exist?

It is worth noting that the Queen's Project web site was taken down after this intervention by the UN.

Thai Government Response Hooh Yoh pdf

Statesman Journal Article On Ride for Freedom
Friday July 14, 2010
The Statesman Journal did a nice article, photo and video of one of our visits to downtown Salem. We've met a lot of interesting people and a lot of kids have gotten a chance to talk to Hampton.
Horse rides down Chemeketa Street

Stop the Wild Horse Round Up in Tuscarora, Nevada
Friday July 11, 2010
What do wild horses have to do with the Akha? Well, they aren't getting treated much better by the BLM, but after riding across the US with Hampton, and gaining the interest and support of horse people for the Akha project, we can hardly ignore the plight of the wild horses in the US.

We have listed some links below for those of you who aren't up to speed on this story. BLM conducted similar round ups in Nevada at Calico during the dead of winter in a case where many horses died, being run over sharp volcanic rock. Expected death rate of .5% exceeded 8x. Some foals had their hooves fall off. Herded horses were stored on private land though the horses belong to the public. Horse advocates were prevented from seeing what is going on with these horses.

So now this round up is going on in Tuscarora, Nevada. We can't miss the Ruby Pipeline Project that runs through the region. Further the cattle and mining industry are no small players in these events.

The Mustang Conspiracy - A documentary video
The Cloud Foundation
Cattors was responsible for the Calico roundup.
FBI may probe wild horse roundup - Calico
One of the outfits that does the roundups, Cattoor Wild Horse Round Ups Inc.
RT Fitch Straight From the Horse's Heart
Craig Downer Forever Wild and Free
Save Our Wild Horses
Madeleine Pickens - Help Save America's Wild Horse MANY VIDEOS
Dissapointment Valley - Video
Wild Horse Preservation Campaign
The Petition Site: Don't Kill Our Wild Horses
Equine Welfare Alliance

These are just a few of the sites.

Project Update and Chapter 1
Friday July 8, 2010
We are looking for an admin volunteer who can help with tasks we have as we build up our capacity again, now that the "Ride" is over. We have an order of business cards and new flyers to pay for, and we are doing quite well on an editing of the first chapter of "Ride for Freedom". I am also doing some Akha and Ride related oil paintings. If you purchase one of these paintings it will help finance our ongoing work.

The summer heat around Salem reminds me of long days crossing the cactus rich Sonoran desert on the way to Phoenix last year about this time. We rode through the canyon lands of the Salt River as we climbed up into the White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation.

Wasan Sang-rasmi Fears for Life in Bangkok: Update
Friday July 7, 2010
Rescue volunteer ignore a summons CRES
Sun, 04/07/2010 - 13:05 Sun, 04/07/2010 - 13:05
Wasan Sang-rasmi , or Keng, a rescue volunteer who witnessed the killings at Pathumwanaram Temple on 19 May, has been issued a summons by the CRES, but he has decided not to meet the authorities.

On 2 July, Wasan told Khaosod that he had been informed by his relatives who lived at a house in Soi Pracha Uthit 29 that a summons from the CRES had been pasted on the front door since 28 June, ordering him to report to the CRES, but not specifying the date. It was signed by the CRES Chair Suthep Thaugsuban, and it forbade anyone to pull it off.

He said that he had done nothing wrong. He was at Pathumwanaram Temple on that day just to help the injured and the dead. He insisted that he had nothing to do with the violence and the red shirts' protests.

Now he has to live in fear and in hiding, and he will not report to the CRES, he said.

Wasan is a rescue volunteer with the Vajira Hospital Rescue Unit, and has come out to speak about the incident in which many were injured and six people were killed, including Kamolkade Akkahad and Akkaradej Khankaew . He has insisted that when Dr Khunying Pornthip Rojanasunan, Director of the Institute of Forensic Science, conducted an autopsy on Kamolkade's body on the morning of 20 May, a bullet was found in the wound in her stomach.

At Bon Kai community, Malee Sanprasertsri held a religious ceremony on the 49th day after the death of her son, Mana, 25, a Po Tek Teung rescue volunteer who was shot in the head while he was trying to help people during the crackdown near Soi Ngam Du Plee on 15 May. The event was attended by over a hundred people, including Po Tek Teung rescue volunteers, Pathumwanaram survivors and those who joined the protest at Bon Kai.

On the same day, Wuthikorn Intaraphuwasak, an assistant to the Minister of Social Development and Human Security, presided over a ceremony giving money to those affected by the unrests since 12 March. There were 71 recipients, including 66 injured and the relatives of 5 dead, who received a total of 5 million baht.

This is the twelfth distribution of compensation by the Ministry to affected people, with a total of 1,381 cases and 70,743,209 baht. This is the twelfth distribution of compensation by the Ministry to Affected people, with a total of 1.381 cases and 70,743,209 baht. Source: Source:

Friends Help Haiti, NY Times
Friday July 6, 2010
Friends Reid Elder of Salem, Oregon and Patricia Back of Cincinnati, Ohio have been working on a project to help orphans from the Haiti earthquake. Their work has paid off with an article today on the front page of the New York Times:
Haitian Orphans Have Little but One Another by Deborah Sontag

Yes, YOU CAN make a difference.

Thai Medic Wasan Sairasmi fears for life in Bangkok
Friday July 6, 2010
Wasan Sairasmi is a Thai rescue volunteer who helped the wounded during recent riots in Bangkok and saw a number of other medics murdered by sniper fire while working in a temple. He is concerned for his safety, and says that men in black have been following him. He thinks they are army or police personnel.

See video:
Witness to killings

The Kids Talk
Friday July 5, 2010
Michu and the kids and I spent the morning going over details of all they saw on the Ride for Freedom. We talked about bugs, a seed that when you touch it, then it opens up and walks away, animals, towns, cities, panorama, and all the many different people we met. We are writing this all down now, into many notes, for the book Ride for Freedom.

Ride for Freedom Thoughts
Friday July 3, 2010
We've finished the Ride for Freedom and we are promoting the trip, raising further publicity for the Akha. I am currently working on a book, and have some help on that and of course a lot of suggestions. I am also working on a 10 minute promotional video and a longer documentary of the whole trip from the many video files that I have on hand.

Currently we are in Cottage Grove and will be meeting with friends before continuing on. Hampton is fat and happy, getting his grain and lots of green grass. We had him on pasture for a while but it was sort of like breaking up the family, so after a week of that we picked him up and have him with trailer and bus and family together.

If you are along Oregon or the California Coast and would like us to stop in for a visit, please let us know with an email.

We are glad one chapter of the trip is over, but our work goes on with lots of new challenges. Just we don't have to do so much riding and hitch hiking.

Thank You to the Crystal Mirror Community of Salem for Supporting this website
Friday June 28, 2010
We'd like to thank the Carma Cole and the Crystal Mirror community of Salem for Supporting this website and our project once again. The Crystal Mirror helped out several times during the ride for freedom to pay for diesel. We appreciate it very much.

Interested to help fund this website?
Friday June 28, 2010
We are looking for friends who would be willing to help fund this website each year so we aren't contantly facing a shut down as we are now. The site is secure, very reliable, and we have been with these people a long time. We like the quality service we get and we DO get what we pay for. We max out our site capacity and get a lot of visits.

If you can dedicate some funds to help keep this site up and running each year, please let us know.

Back in Salem/Keizer, Oregon 476 days after we left
Friday June 24, 2010
After quite a few days we arrive back in Salem/Keizer, Oregon to bright sunny weather. Everyone is a bit tired from all the driving and the kids want to go fishing first chance they get. And it is also Ah Soh's birthday.

Casper, Wyoming and Diesel
Friday June 18, 2010
We got enough diesel to get to Casper, Wyoming. At least we aren't bone dry, but need to put together more diesel before we head for Shoshoni and Idaho.

$60 Towards Diesel in Douglas, Wyoming
Friday June 18, 2010
We woke up to $60 towards diesel this morning. We thank you and we really appreciate it. We are saving for a push over the mountains into Idaho, then one more push into Oregon. Thanks to everyone who can help out.

The sky is a big bright beautiful blue this morning, the wind never stops, and Hampton is in deep grass.

Out of Diesel in Douglas, Wyoming
Thurs June 17, 2010
Well, I thought maybe we'd make it to Casper, another 49 miles from Douglas but when I pulled out I felt a tremor and when I climbed the ramp to I-25 I felt the motor drag, I pulled off on the shoulder, tipping the fuel in the tank, paused, pulled back on, made it to the onramp, and did a hard U-Turn heading downhill back into town. I turned in next to a fuel station and parked near a field where I could feed Hampton till we got some solution.

Only the second time during the trip that I pulled the fuel so low. But we had been fighting a head wind all day across Nebraska and parts of Wyoming, and that didn't help mileage I am sure.

So we will be here till we put together some more fuel.

Casper, Wyoming Maybe Enough Fuel
June 17, 2010
We have enough fuel for Casper, Wyoming, about 40 miles away, and will be stopping there for the night and until we get more fuel.

Very nice to see mountains once again.

Stunning Sunrise
June 17, 2010
A stunning Nebraska sunrise and we are off for Wyoming. Got Hampton loaded early, doesn't fancy the wind, and enjoying an early departure.

1am North Platte, Nebraska - Diesel
June 17, 2010
We rolled late into windy North Platte, Nebraska. Still looking for more diesel, got better than a thousand miles to go before we are home in Salem, Oregon. The bus is pulling up the great divide, well over 2300 feet now. The grass is getting sparser and the weather hotter.

Tomorrow morning Wyoming but not sure how far we can go with what diesel we have left.

West of Omaha, Nebraska headed for Wyoming - Diesel
June 16, 2010
We are just west of Omaha, Nebraska and headed for Wyoming, but that is about as far as we can make it on the diesel we have now. We will be glad to be in Wyoming and see mountains once again, so long since we have seen mountains.

Our phone is off and our Facebook account is blocked cause we "logged in from a different location" no kidding. Facebook is so rinky dink.

So if you have a coin for Diesel, toss it in, and we keep heading west. Soon Idaho and Oregon.

Night Time in Iowa
June 15, 2010
Headed for Des Moines, we turn Hampton out to grass in eastern Iowa. Tomorrow Nebraska then we look forward to Wyoming, Idaho and Oregon home.

West of Indianpolis Headed for Omaha
June 15, 2010
We are west of Indianapolis headed for Omaha. Any help you can send via the PayPal link above keeps us flying west to Oregon and Home. We hope to be there in a few days with your help. This has been a wonderful journey, we have met so many wonderful people and shared the Akha story.

We are working on a book and thank you so much for your input into the journey and the story as well.

Cincinnati, Ohio and Diesel
June 15, 2010
We stopped by to see our friend Patricia in Cincinnati and had a wonderful time. Patricia is working on a project to help in Haiti and has made several trips there already. We are now headed towards Indianapolis and Omaha.

If you can help with Diesel, please make a donation to the PayPal link.

Hampton is fine, but yesterday was very hot and humid.

Willard, Ohio towards Omaha
June 14, 2010
We made about 245 miles yesterday, leaving from Clearfield, Pennsylvania and picking up Hampton in Grove City, before heading into Ohio. We'll keep making updates as we go along. Cell is not real good on the back roads.

Our main need at this time is diesel fuel. Help out if you can on our PayPal link.

Farm towns across America, this is a beautiful time of year.

A Horse Trailer and...
Diesel Diesel Diesel
June 11, 2010
We have a horse trailer and now its diesel and more diesel all the way to Oregon. Got to get a hitch ball, some temp tail lights and we are done, ready to head west and pick up Hampton. Thanks to all the great people in Pennsylvania who helped in many ways, Kim, Terry. Chris, Michelle and a bunch of others.

We got a hitch for the bus
June 4, 2010
We got a hitch for the bus delivered tonight, have to mount it on the bus and find a trailer and we are a few more steps closer to getting on our way home with Hampton.

Heading home to Oregon by Horseback
June 2, 2010
New videos at
We hadn't really planned to ride back to Oregon. Sure we talked about it, maybe we needed to do it. The economy was good when we planned this trip as a fundraiser and education project in the US about the Akha people, but when we rode out the door by the skin of our teeth, the economy had tanked, people were losing their houses. We thought we'd be lucky to make it to New York without having to push the bus. Well we did make it. A handful of newspapers and TV stations were interested in our story while MOST people were interested, a contradiction that explains the death of the media. We met womderful people, many many wonderful interesting people interested in our story, even though we never considered ourselves the most burnished PR team. I ride, that is what I do every day, I look after the kids, I try to keep the trip interesting and I always meet people. We invite those in we can for a cup of coffee and a story, of which we have many, from this trip and around the world.

I think I need a new spine. Yeah, that has come to mind a number of times when I'm trying to kick start the one I have at 7am in the morning which is the earliest I force myself up, though a troubled mind may wake me much earlier, or concerns about how Hampton is doing. I hide him every night. Look in your closet, he may be grazing there right now. I could win the horse hiding competition and the hitch hiking competition too. I am not only good at hitch hiking, but I can even get people to chase me to pick me up just one more time.

We've got a good crew, a very good crew.

And so we are riding west, if that means we are riding all the way to Oregon I am not sure, or maybe 40 years in the wilderness. Course people could be so lucky.

We talked about it this morning, sending more money to the village, getting a bumper hitch, getting a horse trailer, all the people we meet, and that $30,000 in cash for the mosquito nets that has eluded us so far. But in the towns the mood is a bit upbeat. People know the economy is bad, people know it won't get better fast. And maybe that is better than last year. Course having to look outside the bus to see if an oil slick has surrounded the bus isn't making anyone in America happy. I don't hear anyone screaming "Drill Baby Drill" right now. Among all of this situation, we consider that we'd still like to convey our care for the Akha people to Americans, and we'd still like to raise a bit of money to help them out both in Thailand and Laos. We think that makes the ride worth it. Course we have educated a lot of people about the Akha, but that was only one plan we had. We'd like to deliver on the nets. About $3 each, about 10,000 of them. If that interests you, if you love sleeping without the buzz of a mosquito landing on your face, then write us.

Another thing we thought of is that we need your help if you have any background in PR, writing, TV, Radio or magazine? Know any personalities? Can you get our story out there to all your web friends, facebook, twitter, places like that? We need that help, we need to get this story to as many people as possible.

Today Hampton has off, buried in the woods, eating, grain, water, sun and shade. Soon we will be in Ohio, so we are enjoying the hills we have now.

Here is a video clip from a news program in State College, Pennsylvania when we were there.
Ch. 10 TV

Pennsylvania is green, we haven't figured out when we get back to Oregon. We need a hitch on the bus and a horse trailer, but we need help for the Akha more than anything.

$100 in Horse Trailer Fund
May 17, 201
We have gotten a start on the purchase of a horse trailer for our return trip. $100. A used horse trailer will run $1500 to $2500. While we love the return trip across the US, we also have other projects we must begin on.

We got our EZ990 filed with the IRS on time, not the best year financially but we really got a lot done.

Once again we want to thank all the people who helped out and all the people we met along the way.

Pennsylvania is a land of rolling hills now covered with vibrant green trees, old farms, new housing, and friendly people.

Vote for us on Ebay Fundraising Tournament
May 12, 2010
Humanity Calls has a fundraising tournament with Ebay. We are slowly climbing up the list as we get votes. You can raise our standing by voting for us at the link below.
Vote for the Akha Heritage Foundation
Thanks for your vote, thanks for all your great help over the last year and then some.

Hitch Hiking w/Horse: Headed Home Across Pennsylvania
May 12, 2010
We are finally headed home. Our work for the moment at the UN is done, Hampton is well rested, its time to go and we are on our way home to Oregon. Hitch hiking with horse, got a trailer?

And that is how we do it, we ride, we catch a ride, we ride some more, through the hill country of Pennsylvania. You can help us if you have a bit for diesel, cause we got to keep the bus up with the horse, can only go so far as we can go together. Still looking for a second hand three horse stock trailer. But overall we are happy to be headed home.

Today is the 433 day since we left Salem last year.

Reflections on 9th Permanent Forum - Culture and Identity
This years Permanent Forum was different than others in that it appears the forum has matured some what, and that the lines of organization in countries like Thailand are clearer than they were before among the NGO and supportive organizations. Happily enough it was clear that some of the political divisions had been eliminated making it easier to network. I was able to get done in a few days what had taken at least a week in the past. I found it a bit difficult to meet with some of the officials I wanted to meet with, as the Forum was held in the Generaly Assembly Hall which is much bigger.

I have some follow up I must do for the Special Rapporteur via Email.
There is also some networking I must do with new people on the situation of the Akha.

At any rate, I felt that for only having a few days to spend at the two week Forum, I was still able to get a lot done.

My oldest son, Ah Soh also went with me, his second time at the UN and his third time at a human rights event.

Meeting with Special Rapporteur Prof. James Anaya
We had a joint meeting with SR James Anaya, and discussed ways in which the human rights situation could be improved for the Akha and what procedural actions we might continue to make. Currently we need to supply more information on the next step for the case of the Queen taking Akha land and the missions removing Akha children.

We discuss our Intervention with the Thai Delegation
I spoke briefly with the woman from the Thai delegation. She said that she thought conditions for the Akha had improved. I asked her if she could explain how that was?
She stated that the 2007 Internal Security Act had been repealed. It has not of course.
She noted that I spoke of the Queen, and I stated that this case was already solidly on the UNHCR website.
I said we might focus on what we agree on, which is the case of the missionaries taking Akha children as the Thai government sees this as a problem to, to which she agreed that yes this was a problem.

However my general impression was that the Thai government is not able to readily accept criticism. I pointed out to her that for years we have tried to get the Thai government to discuss the problems the Queen's project has caused, and to other situations such as ID cards, extra-judicial killings and so forth. Of course we haven't had much luck.

Akha Intervention at 9th Session Permanent Forum
April 23, 2010
UNPFII April 2010 9th Session Culture and Identity
The Akha Heritage Foundation
The Human Rights Situation of the Akha people in Thailand

My name is Matthew McDaniel. I and Michu have come to the UN Permanent Forum many times, and also to the Working Group in Geneva in order to speak up for the rights of the Akha people. Since 2004 we have seen little dialogue with the Thai Government and little change in the situation of the Akha people in Thailand.

1. In 2008 the Akha case came to the attention of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous people. UN HCR website

I quote from the UNHCR Website:
“In August 2008 the UN Special Rapporteur highlighted the case of the Akha indigenous people in Chiangrai province, whose land was allegedly seized in 2003 as a result of the Highland Development Station Project. The objective of the station was purportedly to serve as a 'centre of knowledge on agriculture for the hill tribe people'. The Akha claim that the project has left them with only a few small plots around the village, and they have lost their traditional livelihoods. The land seizure was reportedly accompanied by widespread harassment of Akha villagers by members of the military and forestry personnel. Villagers say they were not consulted, nor did they consent to the project, and they have not yet been compensated for their loss. The government has so far not responded to the concerns raised by the Special Rapporteur.”

The Highland Development Station Project is a Royal Project of the Queen of Thailand. If we are to visit the website today for this project we will find that it is no longer on the internet. It has been pulled down. Where the Queen's website used to be for Hooh Yoh Akha

2. Our second concern is that the Akha of Thailand are not given ID cards for a large percentage of their population. This has long been the case. Now under the draconian Internal Security Act passed in 2007 the Army and Police can stop and do search and seizure of anyone they choose for any reason, with few legal obligations that would protect the rights of the Akha. The Akha are thus prevented from travel, for health or education or employment. Extortion, land seizures, forced relocations and extra-judicial killings continue.

3. Our final concern, can be best illustrated by what has happened this last year in Haiti. Amerian missionaries were caught trying to transport children, who they claimed were orphans, to an orphanage they were setting up. However none of the children turned out to be truly orphans. They ended up in jail for doing this, as they should have. The deception they used fits the UN definition for trafficking. While the the world was alarmed at what was done, the fact is that missionaries remove thousands of Akha children from their families in Thailand. The removal of Akha children is done under this same deception, and while the international press fails to comment on it, the Thai government also fails to do anything about it. This is human trafficking and it has been going on for decades, used as a means of generating money from donors who think they are supporting an orphan, when they are only making the missions wealthy and are helping break up families. Sex abuse of these children continues to be a problem as it was in the residential schools of Canada. Right as we speak, thousands of Akha children are in mission residential schools in Chiangrai and Chiangmai province.

We ask the Forum to help us defend and protect the rights of the Akha people by urging the Thai government to defend these rights and by seeing greater investigation into the removal of Akha children from their families.

Thank you, Chairperson

Press Conference 9th Session of the UNPFII
You can view the press conference document above. The highlight is that New Zealand now supports the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

UN Permanent Forum at General Assembly Hall
April 18, 2010
The first three days of the Permanent Forum will be held in the General Assembly hall of the UN. We have a scheduled meeting with Special Rapporteur staff this week. We will be addressing the issue of the Akha land that was taken by Queen of Thailand, ID cards, the removal of Akha children by missionaries similar to the Haiti scandal (yet going on over 20 years) and the destruction of Akha culture.

If there is a specific issue you think we should address, please send us an email.

Arrest the Pope
Arrest the Pope
Professor Richard Dawkins has hired a TEAM OF LAWYERS: Promises to Arrest the Pope.
Worldwide there is anger that the Pope helped cover up the sexual abuse of children. Hopefully the church will now reap the whirlwind.

UNPFII Permanent Forum April 19-20, 2-10
We look forward to the Permanent Forum where we will be doing interviews and talking to human rights officials.
Stay tuned.

UN then Headed Home
March 30, 2010
We will participate in at least the first week of the UNPFII at New York. Then we hope to be headed home. We are looking for a two horse bumper pull trailer and a bit of diesel fuel. Problems to be solved to get us on our way. A friend puts us up on her place in New Jersey for the moment, but two weeks will fly by and we will soon have to be moving. If you can help, please send us an email. Thanks.

Keizer Times: McDaniel Crossed Nation on Horseback
Local Activist Takes His Story Nationwide

Video of Wounded Knee
An informative video about the massacre at Wounded Knee. Moving.
Wounded Knee Video
Petition Here

Day 382 We Arrive at the UN
March 22, 2010
At 8 am I rode across from Times Square and Rockefeller Center to the UN at New York. 18 hours from west of Newark, New Jersey. The police in New Jersey, the Port Authority and the police of New York were absolutely fantastic. We give them our thanks.

To all the people who supported this trip, to the many people whom we met along the way, and in memory of a few of our friends who passed away. To all the Akha who never got justice in this life.

The Queen of Thailand must give back the land of the Akha people.
Day 382 Ride for Freedom Video

Resting for New York
We are weathering a four day rain storm before we advance to New York. Plus I got my feet literally worn to the bone, they need some time to heal.

Thank you all for your great support over this long journey.

Board Member John Nance Passes Away
On March 9th, 2010, one of our board members and dear friends, John Nance, passed away. I include his story below. We will sure miss John.

John Edwards Nance
NANCE John Edwards Nance, writer and photographer, who chronicled the Tasaday tribe of the Philippines, died Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at his home in Columbus, Ohio. He was 74. Nance spent 40 years photographing and writing about the Tasaday, a group of cave-dwelling people discovered living in the Philippine rainforest in 1971. He authored three books and took tens of thousands of photographs of the tribe. He also established Friends of the Tasaday, a foundation that helped preserve their rainforest home, provided them with education and health care, and taught them sustainable agriculture. A graduate of the University of Oregon, where he was a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and pitched for the university baseball team, Nance left Oregon in the late 1950s to travel the world, and eventually landed a job with the Associated Press, covering the war in Vietnam with an outstanding group of journalists and photographers, including Pulitzer Prize winners Horst Faas, Nick Ut and Eddie Adams.

His work took him throughout Asia, and in 1968 he was assigned to Manila as AP Bureau Chief. It was there that he covered a story about aviator Charles Lindbergh on an expedition to meet a group of 26 people discovered by a trapper living in isolation in the rainforest. John's articles and his subsequent book, The Gentle Tasaday, published in 1975, helped catapult the group to worldwide attention. The peaceable Tasaday, whose unique language did not include words for enemy or war, were studied in the caves by dozens of social scientists, who determined that they lived a stone-age-like existence, subsisting on roots and tadpoles. Nance eventually left the AP, moved back to Oregon, and authored two more books, The Mud-Pie Dilemma, and a history of the Philippines. In addition to The Gentle Tasaday gaining worldwide acclaim, his children's book, Lobo of the Tasaday, was a Horn Book Award Honor Book of 1982. His photographs were represented by Magnum and he designed a curriculum for the Oregon schools, based on the Tasaday story. In the late 1980s, the Tasaday fell victim to political intrigue, when interests eager to claim their rainforest for mining and logging exploitation engineered an elaborate scheme to declare them a hoax. Despite the fact that the Aquino government conducted an official inquiry and eventually declared the tribe authentic, worldwide media and scientists using second-hand studies pronounced them fake. Linguists eventually proved their authenticity. Nance spent the next 25 years working in behalf of the Tasaday, whose rainforest preserve shrank from 45,000 to 4,000 acres.

Most recently, Friends of the Tasaday was successful in a many-year effort to have the preserve mapped and government-certified as an Ancestral Domain, protecting it in perpetuity for the indigenous people who live there. In addition to his work for the Tasaday, Nance continued to write and take pictures and gave lectures for several organizations and institutions, including Esalen Institute, the Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation and the Pacific Program. John loved sports, and particularly favored the Blazers, the Cavs, and the Yankees; this year's Rose Bowl was a tough call for him. In the late 1990s, he moved to Ohio, where he had been a Writer in Residence at the Thurber House literary center and where he met his second wife, Sally Crane. In addition to Crane, Nance is survived by his children Gillian Nance (Robert Lyons) of Portland, Oregon, and Christopher Nance of San Diego; his stepchildren, Cameron MacPhail, Alastair MacPhail and Elinor MacPhail of Columbus; his first wife, Joyce Nance, of Portland; and numerous loving in-laws. Calling hours will be held Friday, March 12, from 4-7 p.m. at the Thurber House, 77 Jefferson Avenue, in Columbus; a memorial service will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, March 13 at SCHOEDINGER MIDTOWN CHAPEL, 229 E. State Street. Another celebration of John's life will be held in Portland on Sunday, March 28, at 2 p.m. at the Multnomah Arts Center, 7688 SW Capitol Highway. In lieu of flowers, friends are encouraged to make a donation in John's memory to the Tasaday Archive Program, c/o So-Hum Foundation, 4894 Lone Mountain Road, #170, Las Vegas, NV 89130. Visit to send condolences.

368 Days in the Saddle
March 8, 2010
After more than a year in the saddle, we prepare to ride into Phily and our last 6 or so days headed to New York City and the UN.

Floyd Red Crow Westerman sings it like it is
A song about missionaries.
Floyd Red Crow Westerman - "Missionary"

The Ant in the Queen's Tea Cup
March 3, 2010
We heard that calls to the Thai Embassy about the Ride for Freedom and the Queen of Thailand taking Akha land went unanswered. Oh, so so sorry there is an ant in the Queen's teacup. And sorry she had to take her website down:
Queen's Highland Development Project

Maybe it was because she got caught, as mentioned here:
Letter of Allegation

Even an ant can load enough small pebbles into the Royal Yacht to capsize it.

We Cross the Mason Dixon Line into Pennsylvania
March 3, 2010
Last night in falling snow and sleet I and Hampton crossed the Mason Dixon line from Maryland into Pennsylvania. No, the snow can't hold us now. Huge drifts along the road reached out with icy fingers, inviting us to a banquet of cold love. A long hike back to Maryland and a great ride from Steve Schultz late at night, back to the bus. About five days crossing Pennsylvania, four days in New Jersey, into New York and to the UN.

Right now we need diesel, grain and propane. We are out of all three. Thanks for helping. Soon we reach our second goal.

We also made the Silver Springs Gazette, a paper published by the Washington Post.:
Activist-Cowboy Travels Through Silver Springs on Way to UN Forum

Wash. DC.
I rode into Washington DC on the 22nd of February, 2010, some 354 days after I rode out of Salem, Oregon on March 6, 2009. I was surrounded by narrow shoulders cluttered with ice, sidewalks that are no longer shoveled, snowed on, frozen, snowed on again. That really surprised me, that so few people shoveled the walks out front of their houses or businesses. This all added a lot of stress for Hampton and myself, we had to pick our way very carefully and switch the side of the street or pick a different street. We stopped at a grocery and I got enough oats, carrots, apples and brown sugar to give Hampton a good meal. After a cup or two of coffee to warm me and a sandwich, I headed for the Capital Mall in a rain, cold, wet, foot sore. We rode across the Potomac and around to the front of the Lincoln Memorial. Then a Park Police cop through us out, said horses weren't allowed in all of DC, but couldn't cite the law to save his life. Neither could the watch commander over the phone. "Oh, look it up on the internet" he said, Badge Number 251. Anyway, we headed back for downtown Arlington, and spent the night waiting for the sun to rise.

We then headed north and crossed the Potomac again, I had to dismount and run Hampton across on foot, a very long run, as fast as I could go, then I rode to Walter Reed Army Medical Center where I had told a woman I would visit her son, injured in Afghanistan. After that I rode north to Silver Springs and a man put the horse up for me, and gave us excellent hospitality. I had been up for 60 hours. I got back to the bus and moved the bus from Manassas, Virginia to Silver Springs. The next day the whole family went back into DC and spent the day visiting our Senator Merkley's office, Senator Leahy's office, touring the capital, and visiting the different monuments. There is an incredible lot to see in DC, I'd recommend four or five years.

We got to the Air and Space Museum, the Native American Museum, the Museum of Natural History, the Washington Monument, and the White House.

We have a few weeks left of the ride to freedom, battling cold and more snow coming down even tonight, Phily got 16 more inches, New York got more snow, so winter will not let us out of it's frozen windy grip.

Reflections Before Wash. DC.
Feb. 16, 2010
As I begin circling towns on the map that lead into Wash. DC, I reflect on this long journey as our two end goals come into view, Wash. DC and New York city at the UN. I hope to compress all the videos into a Ride for Freedom DVD. As well, I plan to write a book, looking long months across the US into the many towns that we rode through. The brutality of the long walks back towards the bus are engraved in my mind, and many pairs of totally destroyed boots. Hampton has been a wonderful horse and companion on this trip, so dependable, so steady, and has given a lot of children joy who never touched a horse before.

From the woods of Oregon, to the beautiful California coast, across a boiling desert, and into the great expanses of New Mexico and Texas the miles went by.

I wish I could have taken the trip to just take photos alone, so many pictures I wanted to take, but there wasn't time to get off the horse, or cross the fence, or walk up that other hill to get there and take the photo. Sometimes in towns I wasn't able to get the camera out or investigate something further, that I really wanted to do. I would have liked to have spent more time talking to people, stopping in great downtowns that were still surviving, just to hear the local stories, something that would have taken a couple years longer had I done that.

Most impressive were all the people I met who came out to tell me something of the area, of their lives, and find out what we were riding for. Many people asked how they could help, and they did. We really appreciate that.

The rides that I got back to the bus, each one every night happened a different way, the people were unique, and I got about 20-30 minutes to find out what THEIR life was about too, and tell them more about the Akha.

The kids have seen more of the US than most kids, and will see more yet.

A Long Day Into Charlottesville, Virginia
Feb. 14, 2010
A long day down narrow Hwy. 29 we can't wait to get onto another road for at least a while. We finally make Charlottesville in the evening, ride to the north of town, then walk back 8 miles to the highway, where we get a great ride back to the bus, its only 5am.

And we get a great story on NBC Channel 29 Charlottesville:
NBC Ch. 29 Charlottesville, Virginia

Great Visit in Nelson County
The sun is out again, the snow has stopped for a moment, and we press on through friendly Nelson County.

Chilhowie, Virginia Police Chief Steve Price Says Investigate
Feb. 11, 2010
The police chief of Chilhowie, Virginia says that I should be investigated (for talking about Chilhowie apparently) and wanted to know at Thursday's City Council meeting who was sending me photos and information (about corruption in Chilhowie).

This is the town that people are still writing me from, telling me how corrupt the city officials are. The Chief of Police should tell the towns people to stop telling anyone how corrupt the place is. Citizens write me about rapes, about how all the corruptions gets swept under the carpet, about how the cops are like in the town, about the power elite running the place, most of whom are said to belong to the Baptist Church. I wonder if Dear Whoever will get arrested too?

A lot of people wrote me about a cop they call "Rick the Prick" because of how he treats people in the town and because of allegations they would like to level against him.

It is time the people went to the next City Council meeting with their pitchforks.

Channel 13 Lynchburg and the Lynchburg News Advance
Feb. 10, 2010
ABC Ch. 13 Lynchburg TV

Lynchburg News Advance Article

Haiti:Haitian lawyer for jailed U.S. missionaries fired
Missionary Lawyer Tried To Bribe Court
Missionary Lawyer Fired in Haiti

People have written us questioning that these missionaries were involved in any wrong doing.
We quote the current article:
"The Dominican consul in Haiti, Carlos Castillo, has said he warned Silsby on Jan. 29, the day the group was detained at the border, that she lacked the required papers and risked being arrested for child trafficking."

The missionaries use various stories to get the children:
"But at least 20 of the children had living parents. Some told the AP they gave the kids to the group because the missionaries promised to educate them at an orphanage in the Dominican Republic and said they would allow parents to visit."

These are the same tactics that missionaries use to get children from Akha parents, because they must have the children if they are going to build their orphanage franchises. These franchises produce a vast income for the missionaries. But in Thailand, no one will ask you if you have the documents for the children. The situation in Thailand is basically anything goes.

Stop Baptist Predators
Here is a link to a website that tracks sexual predators in the Baptist Church. The Baptist Church turned down the opportunity to set up a national data base about these people in their churches.
Stop Baptist Predators

Missionaries Steal Akha Children in Thailand
Missioanries Haiti - Missionaries Akha
While the uproar continues in the news about ten US Baptist missionaries having become victims because they were caught trafficking children, little is said that the Protestant and Catholic missions in Thailand have been busy doing this for more than two decades. Its far away, people can ignore it. But the story is the same.

One missionary assures the others there are documents on the kids. Rotary international goes along with it, now Kristi Halvorson Gov. of Rotary District 5100. The children are abandoned, the children deserve to live different, the children come from an "dark culture". Look at Vern's video on youtube about Eden House Children's Home. The stories about why the white missionaries are justified in taking native children goes on from the last four hundred years, the same story that was used to take Native Amerians away from their families, Canadian Indians in Canada, Aborigines in Australia. David Stevenson of brags he has 500 children. The Australian Federal Police don't think they will be able to find any irregularities in all these missing children.

The children are seperated from their families, their language, their culture, sexually abused, traded between homes like they were a stock on the market. The Catholics told us they trade kids back and forth with the protestants all the time. Camillion Social Center.

Now will Clinton, the twin biscuits, stand up and defend these missioaries like it is one big misunderstanding? Leave our criminal white supremacists alone? Boy, their wisdom takes another hit.

What can you do about it? Blog it, pass links on facebook, tell your friends, go to Thailand and take a first hand look yourself. Come to understand the issues and context of these events and the implications for the Akha and other children who are victimized by these people.

Recently I got a newsletter, that Bobby Morse, accused by several Lisu girls in Thailand of raping them, well he says it was ALL a BIG misunderstanding, that the girls lied, that it was a joke, that the name of Jesus has been vindicated. People tell us there was a whole lot of cash flying around.

No one has a copy of the police report, there was no oversight at his mission to prevent those events in the first place, so it is only what he tells us.

Uproar in Czech Republic: "Prisoners of a White God" - Screens on Czech TV
Czech TV

The video Prisoners of a White God, which speaks of missionary abuse of the Akha people, has gone balistic in Czech Republic after screening on the TV there. The church will have to respond. The issue is heating up the world over, and it is time people see missionaries for what they are really up to and what they are really about.

Big Snow Storm a'comin
We brace for up to two feet of new snow to be coming here tomorrow. Trucks, salt trucks, tractors, and road equipment are prepped in the region. We have a lot of hay and grain. The winter is going to fight us for every mile to Wash. DC and NY.

Roanoke Star-Sentinel Carries Article on Ride for Freedom
Another good article.
X Country Trek Passes Through Valley

Salem Times News, Virginia
Another good article about the ride for freedom.
Horseman Rides Across Nation for Thai Natives Rights

Is Clinton trying to get a bunch of Baptist child stealing missionaries off the hook?
The children were picked up last week by members of an Idaho-based Baptist group called New Life Children's Refuge who tried to take them across the border to the Dominican Republic where they planned to establish an orphanage.

This is ALL the missionaries in Thailand do, steal Akha children and take them to town to "establish orphanages". There needs to be a bounty put on these people, and we need to hunt them with dogs.

Clinton terms Haiti child smuggling case 'unfortunate'

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