Correction and Retraction (June 28, 2022): The original text of this article when it was initially published back on April 5 indicated that USP Victorville was on a facility-wide lockdown due to a series of drug overdoses. It was also reported that prison staff were bringing drugs into the facility. This information came from outside activists and has subsequently been proven partially false. There was an overdose-related facility-wide lockdown that did take place at USP Victorville, but the article also referenced a different incident at a different facility around approximately the same time that may or may not have involved prison staff. The exact location is still unknown. Oso Blanco was in no way connected to nor did he provide information on this incident. The editors also wish it known that Oso Blanco does not ever seek out, nor would he ever share, information pertaining to this type of activity, and had no involvement in or responsibility for the original error. OB also never said that it was staff who brought drugs into USP Victorville. Also, subsequent to publication, the sweat lodge has been rebuilt.
Oso Blanco, other Native Prisoners, campaigning for their rights
A campaign was recently launched on behalf of indigenous political prisoners at the US Penitentiary Victorville in Adelanto CA, and their right to engage in their religious ceremonies and practices, especially the restoration of their sweat lodge, which had been destroyed and desecrated by prison authorities.
In response, there have been some developments regarding Oso Blanco (Byron Shane Chubbuck), a Native political prisoner recognized by the Jericho Movement, who is incarcerated there. His outside supporters have been instrumental in the campaign.
Here are some recent developments:
–Oso Blanco (OB) is currently in administrative segregation. In accordance with his personal beliefs, he does not use or distribute drugs. Prison staff and administration know this.
–OB was not directly informed why he was placed in segregation. But he was placed in administrative segregation following an exchange with Chaplain Doran Kelvington in which OB calmly advocated for peaceful resolution of the issues around rebuilding the sweat lodge.
–AW Lepe came and told OB on March 29th that a couple people including the pipe holder, Larry, will start cleaning up the sweat lodge area.
–Lepe stated that he will be sure to get the willows himself, he will not wait for the chaplain to do this.
–OB also told Lepe that grass is needed surrounding the area due to the intense heat. It is dangerous to step on the ground/dirt barefoot. Shade is also needed so that no one is at risk for heat stroke which could be fatal.
You can write to Oso Blanco at
Byron Shane Chubbuck #07909-051
USP Victorville United States Penitentiary
PO Box 3900
Adelanto CA 92301
You can read more about the campaign in Turning The Tide: Journal of Inter-communal Solidarity, here: https://antiracist.org/ttt-vol-34-1-jan-march-2022/ on page 5 of the PDF.