The Indigenous Environmental Network,
http://www.ienearth.org/, reported, October 9, 2015, that it was participating in,
"Demand Climate Justice Now," "On
October 14, 2015, in cities and towns around the nation, people will be engaging in a National Day of Action.
Once Again we are calling attention to the urgent need for bold steps to be taken to address the global climate crisis.
Initiated by the People’s Climate Movement (PCM) and the Indigenous Environmental Network, these actions are being organized by local groups and organizations from the wide range of diverse constituencies and communities.
The People’s Climate Movement hopes local organizers will develop creative, inspirational events that call attention to the urgent need for immediate action on the climate crisis while highlighting the range of communities and constituencies involved in this new movement for climate justice.
Where possible, we encourage local events that highlight and challenge those people/institutions/agencies that are either still denying climate change or are simply lying about the seriousness of the problems. Where it makes sense to use these local events to strengthen ongoing campaigns and projects, or to initiate new initiatives locally, we encourage that as well."
“ Indigenous Press Conference Demanding True Climate Solutions at COP21,” Indigenous Environmental Network, December 3, 2015, http://www.ienearth.org, reported, “ During the COP21 climate talks in Paris, Indigenous Peoples from the Arctic to the Amazon and their allies will gather to demand real climate solutions, including bottom up initiatives originating in Indigenous knowledge, culture, and spirituality. What: Sunday’s press conference will include Indigenous leaders from the Americas offering solutions to stave off the worst of climate change and protect Mother Earth. The launching of a declaration calling on world leaders to keep fossil fuels in the ground, led by Indigenous peoples and signed by over 150 organizations. The signing announcement from Indigenous women leaders from North and South America of a treaty to protect Mother Earth. Presentation of the Kawsak Sacha “Living Forest” proposal from the Amazon rainforest by the Kichwa Indigenous people of Sarayaku. Indigenous flotilla on the Bassin de la Villette, including Sarayaku’s “Canoe of Life” which has traveled 6000 miles to Paris with a message from the Amazon. Indigenous spokespeople and supporting organizations including leading environmental groups will be available to the media after the press conference. A reception and cultural event will immediately follow the press event.” Contacts: Dallas Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network,, France: +33 75 1413 823, US: (708) 5156158, [email protected], Andrew Miller, Amazon Watch, (202) 4234828, [email protected], Jonathon Berman, Sierra Club, (202) 4953033, [email protected].
For the Indigenous Environmental Network’s Response to the COP21 climate agreement, see dialoguing below.
40,000 people had intended to march in Paris for strong binding anti-climate change measures on the ever of the Paris climate change conference, but after a major terrorist attack days earlier France was under a state of emergency and all marches were banned. A few hundred climate demonstrators did commence a march, but were attacked by police and scatted, some arrested, while numerous environmental organization leaders in Paris for the summit were held under house arrest. Never the less, numerous environmental groups have been active with news conferences, press statements and social media activity in Paris (from various reports preceding and during the conference from Democracy Now, PBS, CNN and others).
Among other Indigenous Environmental Network activity: “Indigenous Leaders Respond to President Obama Rejecting Keystone XL
Pipeline,” “This is a tremendous victory for all the pipeline fighters who have spent several years fighting the TransCanada
“black snake”, Keystone XL! The President’s decision is a clear affirmation of our struggle to defend the sacredness of Mother
Earth and to protect the future generations of all our relatives, human and non-human alike. We celebrate this as a win and a
powerful step to the greater goals of keeping fossil fuels in the ground and shutting down the tar sands at the source!”. -
Dallas Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network KXL Campaign Organizer.
“2015-2016 Grassroots Communities Mining Mini-Grant Program,” “The goal of the Mining Mini-grants Program is to support and enhance the capacity building efforts of mining-impacted communities in the U.S. and Canada to assure that mining projects do not adversely affect human, cultural, and the ecological health of communities.
In 2015 we gave $180,000 to 60 groups across the US and Canada who are dealing with hard rock mining issues in their neighborhoods, Nations and communities. IEN and our partner WMAN are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the on the ground, grassroots work done by the recipients of the Mini-Grant Program. We would like to thank them for working to protect Mother Earth for all of us! - Simone Senogles, IEN Food Sovereignty & Mining-Mini Grant Campaign Organizer.”
350.org is continuing its world wide action to curb global warming, including in the U.S. Its
divest from investments in fossil fuels campaign reported on its web site in late August, 2015, "
Fossils belong in museums : Friends, Today, we’re announcing an exciting new divestment campaign: In partnership with The Natural History Museum, a new mobile museum that champions bold climate action, we’re launching a brand new push in the divestment movement calling on museums to stand up as leaders in the face of climate catastrophe. The iron is red hot. In (More...) Zoë Wong-Weissman August 21, 2015
6 lessons on how we won a £7 billion Norway divestment : Here in Norway, we recently secured one of our biggest climate wins, if not one of the world’s biggest climate wins. Early June, Parliament decided that the Norwegian Government Pension Fund (often called “the oil fund”) is to divest from coal burning and coal producing companies. The decision means that about £7.7 billion GBP ($8.4 (More...) Anja Bakken Riise August 12, 2015
Divestment campaign kicks off in Italy
Blog by Riccardo Rossella – Italian Climate Network The campaign for divestment has started in Italy! As the first step for the campaign, in collaboration with 350.org, Coordinamento Power Shift Italia, The Climate Reality Project, Viração and FIMA, we brought the message of Divest the Vatican… to the Vatican! On 28 June, thousands of people marched (More...)
Melanie Mattauch August 4, 2015"
" Fossil Fuel Divestment: Building the Movement : On Saturday 11th July, over 250 divestment activists came together in London for ‘Fossil Fuel Divestment: Building the Movement’, sharing their campaigning skills, inspiring stories from across the country, and the occasional cup of tea. great images emerging from the big #divestuk meeting in London today! You guys are leading the world! pic.twitter.com/6XcW7vHu0r — Bill (More...) ellengibson July 15, 2015
Divest the Vatican : With the ear of 1.2 billion Catholics and the respect of Christians and non-Christians alike, Pope Francis is uniquely positioned to add both his voice and the unique moral power of his office to the divestment movement. (More...) Thelma Young June 26, 2015
Lutheran World Federation divests! The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) just announced that it will exclude fossil fuel companies from its investments and calls on its member churches with 72 million members to do likewise. It also asks its member churches “not to invest in fossil fuels and to support energy efficiency and renewable energy companies, and to encourage their institutions (More...) Melanie Mattauch June 23, 2015, Faith
Lund University divest direct holdings from fossil fuels , Text by Cherry Tsoi and Joep Karskens, Fossil Free Lund University Our university made the decision on Friday (June 12, 2015) to divest parts of their investments in coal, oil and gas. This is a large victory for our campaign and for climate justice, as the coal, oil and gas industry are for the first time pinpointed (More...) Olivia Linander June 17, 2015
Around 100 members of the Berliner Ärzteversorgung (pension fund of physicians in Berlin) are asking their pension fund to divest
Divestment of fossil fuels additionally discussed at the recent German Medical Assembly in May At the beginning of April, 97 members of the Berliner Ärzteversorgung sent a letter calling on their pension fund to divest all of their fossil fuel shares within the next five years and to reinvest the freed capital in shares that (More...)"
debora June 11, 2015 (at: http://350.org)’s For details go to: http://act.350.org/.
350.org's work to stop the Keystone Pipeline and other tansportation of tar sands oil was contiuing over the past 4 months, Thea includes, " In New England we’re part of the Tar Sands Free New England campaign to keep Exxon from reversing a 50 year-old pipeline and running corrosive, toxic tar sands crude through it for export from Maine. Next we’ll be ramping up local campaigns in the Midwest and West Coast as we steadily shut down all paths to expand the tar sands."
G lobal Power Shift: Phase 2 continues as a world wide campaign to shift away from fossil fuels to safe renewable energy. Among the recent programs, " Continuous Low Carbon Fight in China Campus : On July 19, 2014, with funding from the Yu Foundation of Guangdong Province, the Sixth International Youth Summit on Energy and Climate Change Session, Yu — College Energy Saving Conference of China, was held in Zi Yue Hall in Tsinghua Unisplendour International Center.
After GPS Phase 2 was held in China by GPS-China team, more actions were taken around the country with countless volunteers support and groups efforts. Around 30 school team leaders from provinces over the big country joined the co-hosted discussion session in Beijing last summer; at the conference, those youth leaders brought with the experiences, questions, tools at hands to learn from each other about “How to apply the result of carbon accounting report from campuses into real actions for a renewable future?'
Few months after, they gathered again at their own campus, hometown and reported back to the world on their achievements for a greener future. Starting with 32 universities, the GPS Phase 2 – Low Carbon Campus Project has encouraged hundreds of students to involve themselves in their school’s energy management as well as helping them develop leadership skills; So far, there are 28 universities have completed their carbon accounting research and 24 of them are combating for carbon reduction. Each university develops its own programs to reduce their carbon footprint. For example, Beijing Forestry University launched 'Lights Off Project' which involved 50 volunteers and managed to save 30,000 watts of electricity in one month. (more…).
350.org held “a national day of protest,” November 14, 2015 against Exxon's decades of funding climate change denial. See Bill McKibben's Op Ed, “Exxon's climate lie: 'No corporation has ever done anything this big or bad',” The Guardian, November 14, 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/oct/14/exxons-climate-lie-change-global-warming, “for details of their treachery and see the recent expose’s in the LA Times (http://graphics.latimes.com/exxon-research/) and Inside Climate News (http://insideclimatenews.org/content/Exxon-The-Road-Not-Taken)for the full detail. For details go to: http://act.350.org/.
For more information visit: 350.org.
Oil Change International was involved in a Thundrclap, nation and world wide, November 15, 2015, in “#StopFundingFossils Day of Action,” following the released a “groundbreaking new report with our partners at the Overseas Development Institute exposing the $450 BILLION our governments are still giving to the fossil fuel industry every. single. year. Something needs to change, which is why we’re changing the game. The focus of the Thunderclap was on “specific individuals who have the power to #StopFundingFossils .” For more information go to: http://stopfundingfossils.org/#target?can_id=2304a48b2891e77b9b6c14d1ce535f4f.
Mark Trahant, "
Tribes pitch Congress on coastal issues, riders," Trahant Reports,
2015, http://trahantreports.com/, reported, "Note: Following are two news releases regarding issues that jeopardize
tribal culture, safety and rights: For immediate Release Photos available on request, Testifying on H.R. 2719,
Quinault Nation President Asks Congress to Support Tribal Management of Coastal Zones to Ensure Public Safety and Protect Cultural Resources.
Washington DC (11/4/15)— Destructive weather conditions including persistent flooding, severe storms, intense storm surge and continued drought are placing coastal heritage sites and tribal culture at risk, Fawn Sharp, President of the Quinault Indian Nation, told members of U.S. House Natural Resources Indian, Insular, and Alaska Natives Subcommittee here this morning.
Testifying in a hearing on H.R. 2719, the Tribal Coastal Resiliency Act, President Sharp said, 'Tribes who have lived in coastal regions since time immemorial do not have the necessary tools to protect their people and culture from the devastating impacts of severe weather events and natural disasters on their communities.'
Sharp, who is also President of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians and Area Vice President of the National Congress of American Indians, said the United States has a trust responsibility to ensure the safety of tribal communities and the protection of tribal culture. 'Upon its formation, the United States acknowledged the existing inherent sovereign authority of Indian tribes over our lands. The federal government entered into hundreds of treaties with Native nations to secure peace and trade agreements, to foster alliances, and to build a land base for the newly formed United States. Through these treaties, tribes ceded hundreds of millions of acres of our homelands. In return, the U.S. promised to provide for the education, health, public safety, and general welfare of Indian people. Persistent flooding, tsunami threats, and erosion put tribal members and cultural sites at risk. These threats cannot be adequately addressed by tribal governments alone.'
The Tribal Coastal Resiliency Act, will expand the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) to recognize the severe challenges tribal governments face in implementing coastal and shoreline measures that support public safety, public access, and cultural and historic preservation. The bill will enable tribal governments to access resources currently only offered to state governments, supporting tribal sovereignty and greater self-determination on tribal lands. The bill upholds the federal government’s treaty and trust responsibilities, while strengthening the government-to-government relationship with federally recognized tribes.
Protecting and preserving coastal areas are essential to the continued existence of tribal culture. “Over the past several years the people of the Quinault Nation have had to endure one natural disaster after another and our tribal government has had to respond with disaster declarations instead of being able to mitigate the damage before it happens,” said President Sharp.
The bill was introduced by Rep. Derek Kilmer (WA-06) along with 20 bi-partisan co-sponsors. It is supported by Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, a tribal organization representing 57 tribes in the Northwest as well as the Midwest Alliance of Sovereign Tribes, which represents 35 tribes in the Midwest.
President Sharp detailed several emergencies Quinault Nation has faced, including a March, 2014 breach of the sea wall protecting the Lower Village. That breach caused severe flooding and property damage. “Our people, our salmon populations, our cultural resources—everyone is suffering. We have been working very hard for a very long time to do all we can to fight back, using every resource at our disposal,” said Sharp. “There is no question that we need the help of Congress and the Federal Administration in these efforts.
She added, 'Our culture is intertwined with nature and our connection to the natural resources of the Olympic Peninsula. Our respect for the Creator’s gifts and our ability to harvest, hunt, and gather is at the core of our cultural identity as well as our economy. Intensified weather conditions, natural disasters, and public safety concerns threaten the very existence of the Quinault people.' For more information contact Steve Robinson (360) 951-2494 [email protected].
Native youth participated in the November 9, 2015, mass rally for justice on climate change, race, and immigration in Washington, DC ( Tara Houska , “Houska: Native Youth Rally for Racial, Climate Justice in D.C.,” November 17, 2015, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/11/17/houska-native-youth-rally-racial-climate-justice-dc-162448).
"Peru: Indigenous Federations Close Oil Wells for 12 days in Protest of Failed Consultation," Cultural Survival,
September 30, 2015,
dexp-carouselOn September 12, 2015,
hundreds of people from Quechua, Achuar and Kichwa communities of the Pastaza, Corrientes, and Tigre rivers united to
form a peaceful protest at the site of the Andoas airport in the Upper Pastaza region of Loreto where Lot 192 has its
headquarters. Using their bodies to block the landing strip, mothers, children, elderly and others occupied the space for a total
of 12 days.
The peaceful protest is a response to the abuse at the hands of the Peruvian state in its inability to comply with the Right to Prior Consultation on Lot 192, the country’s largest oil producing block which is has been issued to a new oil company after the existing concession expired after 45 years of exploitation. Dialogues pursuing a process of consultation with communities were declared ‘concluded’ in late August just as the concession expired on August 29. A new deal was reached with Canadian company Pacific Stratus to operate the concession for the next two years. The communities have declared that they are not protesting against Pacific Stratus, nor oil extraction in general. They understand the value of oil to the Peruvian economy, but insist that the industry be held to standards that do not continue to affect their environment and poison their children.
'Every Peruvian knows that no one likes to be at strike, because it disturbs the peace and also puts our lives and the lives our our children at risk, given the usual policies of repression from the State of Peru. However, our communities are obligated to strike because the state, once again, has gravely abused our rights. This is a flight for our dignity, this is a fight for our sons and daughters!’ declares the first point of a statement by the Quehua, Achuar, and Kichwa Peoples on September 16.
'We are the living ancestors of these territories and we know these lands like the back of our hands. Since Saturday the 12th of September, we have felt obligated to station ourselves peacefully in various points of the territory, including the airport, and various oil wells, stopping one hundred percent of the oil production of Lot 192.'
In addition to the failed consultation, the statement highlights a breach of the March 10 contract made by the State to respond to the State of Emergency that was declared on their lands in 2013 and 2014. At that time, an agreement had been established that the State would provide land titles, environmental remediation, and health services to communities affected by toxic environmental contaminants resulting from the oil industry.
The protest, hosted on Quechua lands, included communities of neighboring villages and river systems who came to support the Quechua and protest alongside them. 'Almost everyday, from the Corrientes River, the Achuar arrive to the protest. They come to visit the Quechuas, to share food they have hunted and fished from their territories. The Achuars arrive to lament in unity about the attitude of the state that refuses to recognize them as owners of their own destinies. Someone in Lima believes that the government can decide for [Indigenous Peoples], decide that behind Indigenous Peoples homes, in the forest they inherited from their ancestors, petroleum be produced in exchange for money dripping in contamination and destruction,' wrote Mario Zúñiga, Tami Okamoto y Peter Rodriguez for PUINAMUDT.
'Representatives of the State have the opportunity to not repeat the exclusion committed during so many years against our communities, and to show those who want violence and destruction that as Peruvians, we know how to live in harmony, in equity, and in multiculturalism. We have the opportunity to close an era of exclusion, racism, lies and inequality, and recuperate together the spirit of Buen Vivir. We want to dialogue for a healthy land, for the lives of our children and children yet to come, for the well being of the Indigenous Peoples of Peru, for the future, for mutual respect, and for our dignity as Indigenous Peoples and as Peruvians.'
On September 24, the demonstration was called to an end by an agreement made during a visit by the Minister of Housing, Construction, and Remediation, Milton von Hesse. Among the agreements made, were a commitment to comply with the March 10th act, execution of new development projects for the region, prioritizing land titling, and new investments in clean water decontamination, and electricity. Time will tell if these agreements are respected. Meanwhile, as Pacific Stratus takes control, reports of oil spills have already started to come in from Indigenous environmental monitors who patrol the forests watching for signs of spills."
"'Stop destroying the Earth’s lungs., Amazon Indians plead in Europe," Survival International, October 8,
2014, http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/10472, reported, "
Amazon Indian leaders
and Mauricio Yekuana have completed a unique trip to Europe, where they urged the global population to /stop destroying
the Earth’s lungs.
Davi, a Yanomami shaman who has been called the “Dalai Lama of the Rainforest”, spoke of the illegal mining, ranching and deforestation which pose a serious threat to his tribe and many others across Brazil.
He warned that the destruction of the Amazon is a danger for all humanity, and that if it is not stopped urgently, 'the world will die and we will all die with it'.
Davi and Mauricio’s engagements included a meeting with the King of Norway, a sold-out talk to hundreds of people in London, and a tour of the UK to engage hundreds more in their campaign."
Mong Palatino, "Cambodia: Monks Protest Against
Destruction of the Prey Lang Forest
October 14, 2015, http://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/cambodia-monks-protest-against-destruction-prey-lang-forest, reported, " http://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/cambodia-monks-protest-against-destruction-prey-lang-forest - dexp-carousel http://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/cambodia-monks-protest-against-destruction-prey-lang-forest - dexp-carousel Cambodian monks have been mobilizing in the streets since July 2015 to demand stronger government action against the rapid deforestation of Prey Lang, the largest lowland dry evergreen forest in Cambodia and Indochina Peninsula.
Prey Lang has 3,600 square kilometers of forests, including giant luxury timber trees, which is home to at least 20 endangered plant species and 27 endangered animal species. More than 700,000 people live within 10 kilometers of the forest. The majority of the settlers belong to Kuys, a small indigenous group which has protected the Prey Lang for centuries.
In recent years, the Cambodian government gave land concessions to local and foreign companies in order to develop the country’s agriculture and mining potential. However, many of the land agreements covered protected areas like Prey Lang. The lack of transparency surrounding the land concessions also sparked various legal disputes and violent conflicts across the country.
In 2011, Cambodian activists and indigenous tribes conducted an ‘Avatar’ protest to denounce the destruction of Prey Lang. Dressed like the Na'vi tribe from the Hollywood film Avatar, the protesters urged the government to stop the operations of logging and rubber plantations in Prey Lang.
The campaign to preserve Prey Lang continues to this day since there has been no letup in logging activities in the area. During the same period, Cambodia’s deforestation problem also worsened when the government gave away more land concessions.
Last July, monks belonging to the Independent Monk Network for Social Justice hand delivered five confiscated chainsaws to the Forestry Administration and National Assembly in Phnom Penh, the country's capital, to highlight the continuing destruction of Prey Lang.
The group’s leader, Venerable Buntenh, explained why the monks have decided to hold a protest:
Monks cannot remain silent on the issue given the alarming rate of deforestation.
Those Forestry Administration officers are the ‘dollar officers’, as they don’t care about the forest or Prey Lang and let bad merchants continue to destroy the forest day by day.
During the last week of September, the monks gathered again in the streets of Battambang to remind the public and government officials that agribusiness companies continue to destroy the country’s forests."
"Campaign Update - Kuy villagers step up activism to save Prey Lang," Cultural Survival, October 2, 2015,
http://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/campaign-update-kuy-villagers-step-activism-save-prey-lang, reported, "
The Indigenous Kuy people of the Prey Lang forest of Cambodia are increasing their efforts in the campaign to promote
conservation of their lands and against deforestation by the government and corporations with a new smartphone application to
help them better report on what is going on.
The Prey Lang Community Network (PLCN), organized in the early 2000s to protect the forest, first patrolled using the smartphone application in February 2015. With this new technology these roving patrols can move throughout the area and record data, including audio and pictures, remotely.
New reports have disclosed information collected on PLCN patrols from April - July 2015. The patrols, led by volunteer community members, took place in nearly 70 villages across Prey Lang, all of which are facing threats from companies, logging and Economic Land Concessions made by the government . The results documents by the patrollers records the number of illegally felled trees,, depletion of natural resources, and any and all interactions with illegal loggers or transports witnessed by community members.
From the evidence collected, destructive activity in Prey Lang forest is shown to be a constant issue. The PLCN encountered a multitude of illegal loggers, over 40 transports of wood, over 60 tree stumps and confiscated numerous chainsaws. While the PLCN is organized enough to draw up agreements to sign with any loggers they come across to cease and desist their activities, it is certainly not enough to combat the actions of companies and the Cambodian government.
The PLCN has acknowledged that its members do not have enough time to continue these patrols as often is necessary, and have sought contact with a number of government organizations regarding conservation of Prey Lang -- none of which have brought about any real change. The organization itself has faced backlash, such as the murder of activist Chut Wutty in 2012. Wutty was shot while escorting two journalists into an area of illegal logging, supposedly by a man who had also shot a policeman, but this has been much disputed. The courts of Cambodia have decided not to investigate Wutty’s death. Events such as this highlight the dangers land rights defenders face and show the urgent need for support and protection by the Cambodian government, and the implementation of the right to Free, Prior, Informed Consent for Indigenous Peoples regarding development projects on their land, as is established under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
In September 2015 the PLCN was declared as a winner of the Equator Prize. This prestigious honor is bestowed on 21 Indigenous community-based initiatives battling climate change. Being awarded the prize comes with $10,000 USD and an all expense paid trip to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change that will take place in Paris, France this December. This prize, as well as joining a unique network of nearly 200 past winning initiatives can only mean promising things for the Prey Lang campaign in the future.
'I feel absolutely happy and thankful to our NGO partners that help Prey Lang. We will use this award that is very useful for Prey Lang to take care of natural resources and biodiversity in Prey Lang, to train more people and give them more skills, it is helpful for their livelihood and helpful for Prey Lang,' reacted Mr. Chea Sokhouen, PLCN member from Steung Treng.
Prey Lang forest is an integral part of the culture of the Indigenous Peoples who live within its borders. Within its borders exist more than 20 endangered plant species, 27 endangered animal species, in addition to the near certainty of unknown species yet to be discovered. The Cambodian government must recognize that the forest is vital to the sustainability of Cambodia’s food and water security and that the forest management of these communities is hugely dependent on the continuation of their traditional livelihoods and to the well-being of the forest.
Click here to read the full reports compiled by the Prey Lang Community Network.
Photo: Resin tappers from O Preah Village going back home after a day's work in the community forest, Blue Forest. The red sign on the tree was made by Vietnamese Rubber Group which had obtained a concession from the Cambodian government to do rubber plantation in the forest in 2000. It indicates an area off-limit to the villagers. Oxfam GB Asia.
"Indigenous Environmental Network, “Take
Action Now to Stop the PolyMet Sulfide Mine,” December 1, 2015,
http://www.ienearth.org/, called for, “Comment
Today to Protect Our Waters and Wild Rice: Perched
on the edge of the Laurentian divide, between the Boundary Waters and Lake Superior watersheds, lies the site of
PolyMet's proposed copper-sulfide mine. PolyMet's mine plan – which would be the first of its kind in Minnesota - risks
polluting the headwaters of both unique places with toxic metals and acid mine drainage for hundreds of years.
This pollution would contaminate drinking water with lead and arsenic, increase mercury contamination of fish, and decimate wild rice, damaging the health of communities as far downstream as where the St. Louis River meets Lake Superior. This proposed sulfide mine would adversely affect children’s health and environmental justice, disproportionately harming local Native and low-income people who rely on fishing and gathering wild rice for subsistence.
The comment period for PolyMet’s final (and highly flawed) environmental review is open now through Monday, December 14. Please take this opportunity to tell State and Federal Agencies to reject PolyMet’s mine plan and prevent them from polluting Minnesota’s waters and downstream communities. Submit your comments/objections here: http://bit.ly/1LPhiHI
Questions? Please contact Jacob Crawford, WaterLegacy Communications Coordinator, [email protected].”
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“National Native organizations come together to release new Native Children’s Policy Agenda: Putting Kids First.” NCIA,
September 22, 2015,
. reported, “Native children form the backbone of future tribal success and someday will lead the charge to create thriving,
vibrant communities which is why four national Native organizations –
the National Congress of American Indians, the National Indian Child Welfare Association, the National Indian Education
Association, and the National Indian Health Board – have come together to update the joint policy agenda for Native youth. The
goal of this policy agenda is to set forth specific recommendations to improve the social, emotional, mental, physical, and
economic health of children and youth, allowing them to achieve their learning and developmental potential. In short, this
initiative calls on key stakeholders to put First Kids 1st.
This agenda is intended as a tool to assist tribal leaders and other policymakers in their work to create and implement a vision for a vibrant, healthy community. It is also intended to guide stakeholders as they prioritize legislation and policy issues that may affect Native children and youth. The partners have identified four overarching themes as guiding principles for improving children’s lives and outcomes. Within each theme, the agenda sets forth tribal strategies and policy objectives to implement these principles.
Native Children’s Policy Agenda: Putting First Kids 1st is the updated work of the 2008 National Children’s Agenda, created by the same four organizations and generously supported by W.K. Kellogg Foundation. This joint work for Native youth is part of the “First Kids 1st” initiative, which was announced last year and focuses on changing federal, state, and tribal policy to create conditions in which American Indian and Alaska Native children canthrive.”
The agenda is set out at: http://www.ncai.org/resources/ncai-publications/Aug_2015_Native_Childrens_Policy_Agendapdf. The Executive Summary states, “For time immemorial, bound by love and responsibility, tribes have worked to ensure the health, well‐being, and success of Native children. Tribal governments are responsible for protecting youth, teaching and guiding these next generations, providing services to families, and creating supportive environments where children can live and flourish. Native children, in turn, form the backbone of future tribal success and will someday lead the charge to create thriving, vibrant communities. In 2008, the National Congress of American Indians, the National Indian Health Board, the National Indian Education Association, the National Indian Child Welfare Association, and the National Council of Urban Indian Health created a joint policy agenda for American Indian and Alaska Native children. The goal of this initiative is to set forth specific recommendations to improve the social, emotional, mental, physical, and economic health of children and youth, allowing them to achieve their learning and developmental potential. In short, this initiative calls on key stakeholders to put First Kids 1st.
This agenda, updated in 2015, is intended as a tool to assist tribal leaders and other policymakers in their work to create and implement a vision for vibrant, healthy communities. It is also intended to guide stakeholders as they prioritize legislation and policy issues that may affect Native children and youth. We identify four overarching themes that we believe must be guiding principles for improving children’s lives and outcomes. Within each theme, the agenda sets forth tribal strategies and policy objectives to implement these principles. The themes are:
Healthy Lifestyles. Native children must have the resources and support they need to develop strong self-esteem, positive self-identity, healthy bodies, and the life skills to usher them successfully into adulthood. One of these resources is good health. Children who are physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually healthy are more able to play, learn, and work. And since health is a component of the mind as well as the body, they are also more apt to influence their peers to promote an encouraging social norm around health and healthy behaviors.
Supportive Environments. Children who have their basic needs met, including love, shelter, food, clothing, and play, are children who are more likely to go on to thrive, explore, learn, and dream. Our children must be supported by our communities and protected from harm.
Successful Students. Children who have a positive, safe, and culturally relevant learning environment will achieve to the best of their abilities. Qualified and skilled teachers, culture- based curriculum, and family involvement are effective and promising practices critical to ensuring children are able to develop to their full potential.
Vibrant Communities. In order to invest in children and the community structures that support them, tribal governments must have options for economic development, flexibility to channel tribal and federal funds into programs that best support their members, and resources to help move families out of poverty. The objective is to foster economically strong and resilient communities which can support community programs that provide basic support for children and families.”"
Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery," Cultural Survival, October 2, 2015,
http://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/dismantling-doctrine-discovery, reported, "On September 24, 2015,
the Continental Confederacy delegation in Lenape Territory (Philadelphia) took place focusing on the process of
Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery coinciding with the US visit of Pope Francis. It featured leaders from Indigenous
Nations from across Turtle Island - Abya Yala. Indigenous leaders from around the Western Hemisphere, joined by leaders
of the Society of Friends (Quakers), gathered in downtown Philadelphia to urge Pope Francis to renounce and rescind
the Doctrine of Discovery, a series if 15th century papal bulls that provided evangelical and legal justification for
European explorers’ subjugation of native peoples in the so-called New World and still forms the basis of Indian land law in the
United States and beyond. The gathering and press conference took place in downtown Philadelphia at Welcome Park, also known as
the Wampum Lot, which was set aside for Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy visits to the then-national capital.
Rescind The Doctrine Of Discovery from Rugged Entertainment on Vimeo.
Below is a statement that came out of the gathering.
Continental Commission Abya Yala, "REAFFIRMING OUR ANCESTRAL RESPONSIBILITIES TO MOTHER EARTH AND TO ONE ANOTHER: DISMANTLING the DOCTRINE of DISCOVERY," Read at the Wampum Lot in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
"We have been called to the lands of the Lenape to unite and reaffirm our ancestral responsibilities as caretakers of Mother Earth in a time of severe climate change.
We stand together today to reaffirm our ancestral responsibilities to Mother Earth and to one another as original Nations. This coalition, and the agreements we have made among our collective Nations will further unite us in our efforts as we stand together to fight colonialism and its lasting effects.
We as Indigenous Peoples and Nations are the original caretakers of the land and have lived here since time immemorial. We, like our Ancestors have agreed to continue to fulfill this responsibility in peace and friendship with all other nations.
As caretakers of Mother Earth we acknowledge and recognize the ongoing impacts of climate change which affects us all, and that the most severe impacts will befall future generations. The denial of this reality by political leaders at the highest level in the world today amounts to the criminal violations of the human rights of future generations which we will not allow to continue.
As a coalition of nations of indigenous peoples that have agreed to work together, we are calling again to our younger brothers of the immigrant settler republics of the Americas to recognize the collective trauma of colonization, and the ongoing destruction to the natural world which has brought the human species to the threat of extinction.
This coalition and any agreements made between our respective nations will further unite us in our efforts to stand together in addressing the ongoing colonization in our territories and its lasting effects.
As children of Mother Earth may we all find the courage and vision to address these challenging issues in peace, friendship, and justice."
Anne Minard, “Tribes Ask President Obama to Designate Bears Ears as National Monument,” ICTMN, October 15, 2015, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/10/15/tribes-ask-president-obama-designate-bears-ears-national-monument-162096, reported, “Five tribes formally unveiled their proposal on October 15 for a 1.9 million-acre Bears Ears National Monument, which would protect lands in southeastern Utah that are both culturally significant and ecologically imperiled. The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, made of representatives from the Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, Ute Mountain Ute, and Uintah & Ouray Ute tribes, hosted a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington and published their full proposal online” at: http://www.bearsearscoalition.org.The proposed monument site contains well over 1000,000, and possibly 250,000 ancient pueblo sites. The Pueblos of New Mexico have ancient connections there andare also involved in protecting these culturally valuable, and in some instances sacred, sites (Stephen Sachs, report from a meeting on Bears Ears at the Pueblo Indian Cultural Center in Albuquerque, NM, November, 2015).
The Battle Mountain Band of of the Te Moak Tribe of Western Shoshones, supported by seveal other Indian nations, has been fighting the resuming of gold mining by the Western Global Mining Co. in their sacred site of Toaswihi Quaries in Elko County Nevada, a traditional source of flint (Stephanie Woodward, “Profits Before Natives,” In These Times, December 2015).
The canonization of Junípero Serra at the Carmel Mission in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA, Spaniard who helped the Spanish colonization of California in the 18th century, brought protests from Indians,and on September 28, 2015, unidentified people overturned his six-foot statue, doused it with paint, and wrote “saint of genocide” on a nearby triangle of stone (Laura M. Holson, "Sainthood of Junípero Serra Reopens Wounds of Colonialism in California," The New York Times, September 29, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/30/us/attack-on-statue-of-new-saint-junipero-serra-digs-up-old-conflicts.html?ref=todayspaper).
, “Urban Brawl: Pueblo Fights Plan to Build New City Near ABQ,” ICYMN, August 26, 2015,
Urban sprawl is posing many threats to Indian country when it comes to tribal land and water rights. There is currently a
plan in place to build what amounts to an entire new city west of Albuquerque. The project is called the Santolina Master Plan
and it proposes to develop a reported 22 square miles, and 38,000 homes, atop what is known as the West Mesa. But
opponents of the project
argue the long-term effects could have very negative consequences to the water supply in the middle Rio Grande River
Many tribes across the U.S. who inhabit land close to urban areas that are subject to urban sprawl are already dealing with this concern, or will inevitably be dealing with it as the U.S. population continues to expand. The Pueblo of Isleta, which lies just a few miles south of Albuquerque along the Rio Grande, is ready to take up the fight to keep this development from emerging.”
“Fighting Racism at Yale: Native Students Push for Dialogue,” ICTMN, November 13, 2015,
Native students at Yale joined more than 1,000 people to make their voices heard in an event this week called the March
of Resilience, where students of color and their allies showed unity and strength in the face of ongoing racial problems on
On Monday, November 9, close to 1,200 students of color, faculty, administrators and allies marched from Yale’s various cultural centers toward the Sterling Memorial Library. Student leaders gave speeches and groups such as the Blue Feather Drum Group performed songs, including a version of Northern Cree’s ‘Young & Free.’”
Harlan McKosato , “Anti-Columbus Natives Rally for ABQ’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day,” ICTMN, October 15, 2015, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/10/15/anti-columbus-natives-rally-abqs-indigenous-peoples-day-162083, reported, “ Albuquerque was one of many cities in the U.S. to proclaim the second Monday in October Indigenous Peoples’ Day, basically shunning the traditional Columbus Day celebration. A rally, organized by a local group called The Red Nation, was held in downtown Albuquerque this past Monday and over 600 supporters took to the streets to draw recognition to the proclamation that was signed by Council President Rey Garduno just five days before.”
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“New Interactive Map Helps Tribes Defend Land Right,” ICTMN, November 19, 2015,
A new online interactive map of indigenous and community lands could help communities defend their land rights and head
off land grabs by outsiders, its creators say.
The map , shows boundaries of indigenous and community lands, whether or not they are formally recognized, as well as levels of legal security of land rights. It also provides information about national land-tenure regulations and the sources of the data.
‘We think that shining a light on these lands is an important part of the process of protecting (them),’ Peter Veit, director of the Land and Resource Rights Initiative at the Washington-based World Resources Institute, told Indian Country Today in a telephone interview.
The World Resources Institute is part of a group of non-profit organizations that developed the map.
As much as two-thirds of the world’s land area is in indigenous and community lands, although many are not formally recognized, Liz Alden Wily, an independent land-tenure expert involved in the project, said at an event unveiling the map in Washington, D.C., on November 10.
Making indigenous territories more visible is especially important as the decisive climate summit scheduled for December in Paris approaches, said Andy White, coordinator of the Washington-based Rights and Resources Initiative, which was also involved in developing the map.
Studies have found that rates of deforestation—a key source of greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming—are often even lower on indigenous lands than in government-designated protected areas. That makes those lands important for storing carbon.”"
Indigenous organizations reject calls to forcibly contact uncontacted tribes," Survival International, September 21,
2015, http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/10909, reported, "
Indigenous organizations across South America have
condemned as 'dangerous and illegal
' calls by U.S. anthropologists Kim Hill and Robert S. Walker to forcibly contact highly vulnerable uncontacted
In an open letter, Indian organizations from Brazil, Peru and Paraguay dispute the anthropologists’ claim, made in a Science editorial, that uncontacted tribes are 'unviable', and warn that 'this dangerous myth plays into the hands of those who wish to invade and exploit tribal peoples’ ancestral homelands.'
Instead, the Indian organizations stress that the real threats to uncontacted tribes’ futures are genocidal violence, the invasion of their lands and theft of natural resources, and prevailing racist attitudes.
Among the signatories is the Aché organization FENAP in Paraguay. In the editorial, Kim Hill and Robert Walker refer to a 'success story' of contact with several dozen Northern Aché, but don’t mention the fact that 38% of the total population had already died as a result of first contact. The Aché are now suing Paraguay over this historic genocide.
With the letter, the indigenous organizations join Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, in its rejection of Hill and Walker’s proposal – as well as numerous other Amazon Indians who have spoken out against forced contact.
In July 2015, Amazon Indian organizations AIDESEP and FENAMAD released a statement saying, 'We reject any call or act that seeks to impose a way of life that is rejected by our brothers in isolation and initial contact.'
Davi Kopenawa, Yanomami shaman and President of the Hutukara Yanomami Association, said, 'The place where the uncontacted Indians live, fish, hunt and plant must be protected. The whole world must know that they are there in their forest and that the authorities must respect their right to live there.' The Yanomami are calling on the government to evict the illegal gold miners who are putting the uncontacted Yanomami’s lives at risk in their forest home.
Uncontacted tribes are the most vulnerable societies on the planet. All face catastrophe unless their land is protected. In the letter, the organizations call on Robert Walker and Kim Hill to 'support tribal peoples’ rights to remain on their lands without the intrusion of outsiders.” The full letter is available at: http://www.survivalinternational.org/articles/3390-open-letter-to-u-s-anthropologists-kim-hill-and-robert-s-walker.
"Actor Mark Rylance fronts battle to save the last of the Kawahiva Indians," Survival International, 7 October
reported, "Ahead of Columbus Day on October 12,
actor Mark Rylance and Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, have launched a new
campaign to save the Kawahiva – a small uncontacted hunter-gatherer tribe in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest.
The Kawahiva are one of the most vulnerable peoples on the planet. Their forest is being invaded by armed loggers, miners and powerful ranchers – in a region of Brazil’s Mato Grosso state known for its violence, rampant illegal logging and land grabs.
The uncontacted Indians are forced to live constantly on the run from invaders. Many of their relatives have been killed in genocidal attacks. The Kawahiva have demonstrated their wish to remain uncontacted. Their right to choose not to make contact must be respected.
In a moving video containing unique footage of the Kawahiva – filmed by government agents during a rare chance encounter with the tribe – Mark Rylance says, 'If the Kawahiva’s land is not protected, they will disappear forever. But if Brazil’s government acts fast, they can survive.'
Rylance added today, 'We must not let another part of humanity’s rich diversity fade into history. If the world acts now, we can secure a future for the Kawahiva.'
Like all uncontacted tribes, the Kawahiva face catastrophe unless their land is protected. They could be wiped out by violence from outsiders who are stealing their land and resources, and by diseases like flu and measles to which they have no resistance.
A Brazilian government official said, 'The loggers will wipe out the Indians.'
According to Brazil’s constitution, the Kawahiva’s land should have been mapped and protected as an indigenous territory by 1993. The decree authorizing this has been on the Minister of Justice’s desk since 2013, but he has not signed it.
Survival’s campaign, involving hundreds of thousands of supporters worldwide, calls on the Minister to sign the papers as a matter of urgency, to give the Kawahiva a future.
Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said, 'If the public cannot persuade the Justice Minister to act, and fast, the Kawahiva will be annihilated, and he will bear witness to the needless extinction of yet another tribe. This cannot be allowed to happen. The continued survival of the Kawahiva enriches all of us. Not only because they represent a unique interpretation of what it means to be human, but because defending their land rights also protects the future of the Amazon. If we can protect their forest for them, they will protect nature, for us all.'”
Direct evidence that it is counterproductive to protecting the environment, including preserving wildlife, to remove
Indigenous people from an area or preserve: “
Revealed: Tiger numbers INCREASE when tribes stay in tiger reserves,” Survival International, December 9,
Startling new data reveals tiger numbers have increased rapidly in the first reserve in India where
local tribes have won the right
to stay. The information, which the Indian National Tiger Conservation Authority originally tried to suppress, discredits
government policy to remove the many tribes whose lands have been turned into tiger reserves.
Between 2010 and 2014 the tiger population in the BRT Tiger Reserve in Karnataka state almost doubled, from 35 to 68. Unlike elsewhere in India , local Soliga tribespeople have been allowed to continue living alongside tigers, even in the core of the reserve. This increase is far higher than the national rate at which the tiger population is growing.
The Soliga have a highly developed relationship with their natural environment, and venerate the tiger. Madegowda, a Soliga man, said, “We worship tigers as gods. There hasn’t been a single incident of conflict with tigers and Soligas or hunting here.
Across India, tribal communities are being broken up and evicted from their ancestral lands in the name of tiger conservation. In 2014, hundreds of Baiga tribespeople were evicted from Kanha Tiger Reserve – home of Rudyard Kipling’s “Jungle Book” – while over a hundred thousand tourists are welcomed into the reserve every year.
Survival International, the global movement for tribal people’s rights, is calling for a new conservation model that respects tribal peoples’ rights and uses their expertise to protect and enhance ecological diversity. Tribal peoples are better at looking after their environment than anyone else: they are the best conservationists and guardians of the natural world.
Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said, ‘ These figures expose government policy to remove tribespeople from tiger reserves as not only immoral but also counterproductive. Tigers tend to do well when tribal communities remain – they have, after all, lived together for generations. But unlike tribal people, the thousands of tourists who drive in every day bring in a huge amount of money to the conservation industry. They also, of course, get the tigers used to close human presence – something poachers find useful. The best way to save the tiger is to leave the tribes that have protected their forests alone. Survival will continue to fight and expose the forced evictions that the conservation industry has tried hard to keep hidden.”
Further evidence that Indigenous people are the best protectors of the environment where they live comes from Guatemala,
where for 15 years, as of 2015, in sections of the Maya Biosphere Reserve, local Indigenous communities have been policing the
In their areas, unlike many other locations, deforestation has been virtually nonexistent (Elisabeth Malkin, “Guatemalans Living Off Forests Get the Task of Saving Them,” The New York Times, November 26, 2015).
"Opening Windows In International Courts For The Defense of Indigenous Rights," Cultural Survival, October 2, 2015,
- dexp-carousel On September 28th and 29th, 2015
FundaMaya and Rights and Resources Initiative hosted the first International Workshop in Guatemala City addressing the
opportunities available to Indigenous communities in their constitutional courts and the International Court of Human
Rights. The workshop was a debate and reflection from various experiences in Latin America that analyzed and provided
lessons learned on the social, political, and strategic use of constitutional courts and the International Court of Human Rights.
Indigenous lawyers, activists, leaders, and communities from Central and South America gathered for two days to discuss their
achievements, hardships, and goals in fighting for their rights.
'Constitutional Courts and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights have been spaces that have allowed Indigenous Peoples and Afro-descendent communities to make use of international and national legal tools to defend and re-affirm their collective rights,' said Gustavo Zambrano, International Consultant. The workshop held three panels with leaders and experts from all over Latin America to talk about three important topics. Panels included: 'Where is the success in making use of our courts: impacts and benefits?' 'What strategic allies and what empowerment have communities reached?' and on the final day 'Strategic use of preceding court wins: achievements and limitations' took place. The panels gave participants the opportunity to ask questions about issues currently affecting their communities and how to go about defending their rights.
The two-day workshop was productive and inspiring. Indigenous leaders from all over Latin America spoke about their courageous work to defend their communities, lands, and resources. They spoke about recent successes regarding territories, use of resources, and the fulfillment of rights by their governments. A signed agreement with ancestral and community Indigenous leaders in Guatemala to establish a support network in local struggles for territory and rights was a major and important outcome of this workshop.
Groundbreaking communications technology gives remote tribes a voice," Survival International, August 10, 2015,
http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/10861, reported, "
Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, has launched a unique project to bring the latest
communications technology to some of the world’s most remote tribal communities.
The "Tribal Voice" project is the first of its kind and allows tribal communities without internet access to send video messages about their lives and their struggle to survive to a global audience in real time.
So far, the project has been adopted by the Guarani and the Yanomami Indians in Brazil.
Mariazinha, from the Yanomami community of Rokoari, said in the first-ever Tribal Voice video, 'Today the communications equipment arrived and I am very happy … If we see illegal gold miners on our land, or if outsiders try to kill us, I will be able to let everybody know … We’ll be able to communicate with people who live far away.'
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The Yanomami are the largest relatively isolated tribe in South America. Their lands and lives are being threatened by illegal gold miners who pollute their streams and bring diseases to which the tribe has developed little immunity.
International Treaty Council reported, December 4. 2015, that “We made many important advances in 2015 that will
be the basis for our work in the year to come.
A few of these include:
• As a member of the Global Steering Committee for the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change , IITC is building strong and effective participation by Indigenous Peoples in the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. We are working to ensure that our rights are upheld and real solutions are adopted at COP 21 which begins in Paris on November 30th. Since July, IITC has organized 7 Indigenous Peoples’ Climate Change Consultations, bringing together over 300 Indigenous traditional knowledge holders, elders, youth, food producers, Chiefs, Tribal leaders and community members to prepare for COP 21, discuss impacts of Climate Change on our lands, cultures and food sovereignty, and share community-based responses using traditional seeds, knowledge and practices.
• IITC continued advocacy to halt environmental violence and contamination impacting reproductive health and to build Indigenous Peoples’ capacity to change policies and hold governments and corporations accountable. In a groundbreaking outcome upholding the human right to child and maternal health, the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Rights of the Child recognized for the first time that “environmental health” is a human right and called on Mexico to halt the import of banned pesticides manufactured in the United States.
• IITC worked successfully with partners for the addition of 3 new toxic chemicals to those banned internationally under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, overcoming US and Canadian opposition through building advocacy efforts by Tribal and First Nations in both countries.
• IITC provided training, capacity building, legal and technical assistance to Indigenous Peoples, Tribes and communities to use international human rights standards and bodies to hold governments accountable for human rights violations. To date in 2015, IITC has carried out over 30 trainings in Indigenous communities and at various conferences and gatherings. IITC also includes Indigenous youth in our delegations whenever possible to build the next generation of human rights leaders and advocates.”
• IITC, at the Paris Climate talks, COP21, where it was an accredited observer, participated with other Indigenous people concerning an ARTICLE 2 ISSUE, In a silent protest on Friday morning, December 4, the indigenous peoples at COP21 held placards inside the conference venue, demanding that their rights should remain under the preamble and article 2 of the climate agreement./Previously IITC had engaged in numerous regional consultations with Indigenous peoples on climate change.
• IITC took part in the Annual Thanksgiving Sunrise Gathering at Alcatraz Island, San Francisco, CA- November 26, 2015,
• IITC submitted on August 19 th, 2015 to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedures by the International Indian Treaty Council and the Shiprock Chapter of the Navajo Nation. It addresses urgent human rights violations impacting the Shiprock Dine Community and a number of other Indigenous Peoples and Nations caused by a release of over 3 million gallons, according to current U.S government estimates, of toxic mining waste released into the Animas River by the negligent activities of the United States government Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on August 5, 2015.
• IITC spoke to the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at its Eighth session, July 20 – 24, 2015, on Agenda Item 7: Study and Advice on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples with respect to their Cultural Heritage; on Agenda Item 4: Panel Discussion on Indigenous Peoples Human Rights in relation to business enterprises; on Agenda Item 5: Post 2015 development agenda and Indigenous Peoples’ rights; and on Agenda Item 3 (a): Follow up to Outcome of the high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples.
For more information go to: http://www.treatycouncil.org.
One Guarani leader told Survival, 'We’ve been saying for years that we need to be able to communicate with people in
Brazil and around the world. This project is just what we’ve been waiting for.'
The Guarani in south-western Brazil have lost most of their lands to cattle ranches and sugar cane plantations. Their leaders are targeted and assassinated and their communities attacked by gunmen hired by ranchers. Only recently, a Guarani community was set ablaze by attackers after the tribe reoccupied parts of their ancestral land.
The Tribal Voice project aims to give tribal peoples a voice in the face of governments and multinationals who are trying to silence them, and will allow tribes to share their views on their environments, ways of life and visions for their futures.
Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, 'Tribal peoples are just like us. They, too, are concerned about their quality of life and their children’s futures. Their understanding of the world is as astute as anyone’s and they have perceptive things to say about almost every aspect of life today. That’s why we’re giving tribes communications technology so they can speak to the world in real time.'
Visit tribal-voice.org for more videos and information about the project.
""Celebrities call for a new conservation that respects tribal peoples’ rights," Survival International,
September 9, 2015, http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/10900, reported, "In a
letter published today in the UK’s 'i'
newspaper (part of The Independent),
world-renowned celebrities have called for a new approach to conservation, one that respects tribal peoples’
Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood; actors Gillian Anderson, Dominic West, Mark Rylance, and Sinead Cusack; comedian, actor, writer & TV presenter Michael Palin; illustrator Sir Quentin Blake; musician Julian Lennon; human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell; photographer Sebastião Salgado; broadcaster John Simpson; artist Kurt Jackson; and Survival’s President Robin Hanbury-Tenison are among those who have signed.
The full letter reads:
We, the undersigned, are calling for a new approach to conservation, one that respects tribal peoples’ rights, for all of humanity.
Tribal peoples are generally the best conservationists; they have managed their lands sustainably for many generations. Forcibly removing tribal peoples from their land usually results in environmental damage. Such removals are a violation of human rights and should be opposed by conservationists.
The cheapest and quickest way to conserve areas of high biodiversity is to respect tribal peoples’ rights – studies show reduced deforestation and forest fire rates, and greater biodiversity, on tribal land. The world can no longer afford a conservation model that destroys tribal peoples: it damages human diversity as well as the environment.
The letter forms Aldersonthe principles behind a campaign by Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, to change a conservation model that is harming tribal peoples around the world.
Baka 'Pygmies' in southeast Cameroon face arrests, beatings and torture by wildlife officers who are funded and supported by WWF. Bushmen in Botswana’s Central Kalahari Game Reserve are being criminalized for hunting to feed their families. And tribal peoples in India are being illegally evicted from their ancestral homelands in the name of tiger conservation.
Survival’s campaign aims to change conservation so that it respects tribal peoples as the best conservationists and guardians of the natural world.
"“COP21: Ogiek hunter-gatherers urge Kenyan President to protect their forest,” Survival International December 4, 2015,
http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/11041, reported, “
In the wake of Pope Francis’s visit to Kenya, during which he called for greater environmental protection, some of
Africa’s last hunter-gatherers have urged their president to save their ancestral forest from destruction.
The Mau Forest is part of the homelands of the Ogiek , who have hunted and gathered in the areasince time immemorial.
Despite having received the Ogiek’s reports of rampant deforestation, the authorities have failed to act, leading one community to take up their case with President Uhuru Kenyatta.
For years the Kenyan government has failed to recognize the role the Ogiek have played in protecting their lands . On several occasions it has even illegally them from the Mau Forest in the name of conservation from their forest home.
Africa’s leading human rights watchdog declared in 2012 that these evictions were a serious violation of the Ogiek’s human rights.
It referred their case to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, asking it to pay particular attention to the essential role that indigenous peoples play in conservation. The Ogiek are still awaiting the Court’s decision.
The evictions have also failed to protect the forest. In many cases they have freed it up for logging and commercial plantations, some of which are owned by government officials.
If the authorities will not stand up to the destruction of their lands, this Ogiek community says it will take the protection of the forest into it own hands.
Survival International is urging world leaders at the COP21 climate summit to recognize that tribal peoples like the Ogiek should be leading the environmental movement.”
“Cameroon: International Civil Society Alarmed by Conviction of Environmental Human Rights Defender,” Cultural Survival,
November 11, 2015,
A coalition of international organizations have denounced Cameroonian authorities’ repression of community leader and
environmental defender Nasako Besingi.
Nasako Besingi is the director of the organization SEFE (Struggle to Economize Future Environment) which has been fighting alongside local communities to protect ancient rainforests of southwestern Cameroon from plans for a massive palm oil plantation. Since 2010, U.S. investors Herakles Farms have repeatedly violated communities’ rights to give Free, Prior, Informed Consent as they moved forward with clear cutting rainforests that communities have traditionally used for small scale agriculture and foraging. Beginning in 2013, Nasako has been pursued many times with legal charges brought by Herakles Farms, for alleged offenses of the publication of false news and holding an undeclared public meeting, among others. Besingi was awarded the 2012 TAIGO prize for non-state actors and was nominated in 2014 as one of the most notable human rights defenders by the Jeune Afrique newspaper.
On November 5th, after a protracted and controversial legal process, Nasako was convicted by local Cameroonian courts on two counts of propagation of false news against the US agribusiness company Herakles Farms and two counts of defamation against two employees of the company. After more than 3 years and multiple judicial delays, Nasako has been ordered to pay 1 200 000 FCFA ($2400 US dollars) in fines or face up to 3 years in prison. He was also sentenced to pay damages of 10 million CFA francs ( $17,000 US dollars) to the two civil parties.
‘I am very surprised by the judgment, the charges against Nasako were trumped up charges and meant to put him away.” says Cameroonian lawyer Adolf Malle.
International organizations, spearheaded by Greenpeace, have been able to pay a bail, and Barrister lawyer Adolf Malle has appealed the case, which will be decided on November 12th. To make a donation to Nasako Besingi’s legal defense fund, please contact [email protected].
Protests by residents and environmentalists have managed to stall the New York-based Herakles Farms’ project to a large degree. The company has only been able to cut down a few hectares of rainforest to date and had to downsize its plans considerably prior to that: Instead of the requested 70,000 hectares, the government approved plantations totaling a reduced 20,000 hectares. In 2010, Herakles began illegally clearing the forest to establish oil palm nurseries, in the absence of a presidential decree authorizing the concession, which is required by law in Cameroon. Herakles farms also violated a court decision made in the town of Mundemba, where SEFE is based, to suspend all activity of its plantation following a complaint filed by local people. The company was found guilty of illegal logging by forestry officials in April 2012.
In April, 2013 during a meeting with investors, Herakles announced their intention to sell their 73,000 ha concession in 2018. But a Presidential decree signed in November 2013, granted the company 19,843 ha of land lease for just a 3 year probation period. The decree also demanded the company fulfill certain conditions which have not been met, notably in the development of social facilities, conducting an environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) in the new concession, and payments of rent to the government of Cameroon for the land being used.
It is now believed that Herakles has pulled investment from the plantation, leaving local Cameroonian subsidiary SGSOC to seek new investors.
Joining in support of Nasako Besingi and SEFE are Cultural Survival and the following international organizations: Greenpeace Africa, Environmental Investigation Agency, GRAIN, Fern, Oakland Institute, SAVE Wildlife, Earth Action, Rainforest Foundation UK, Forest Peoples Program”"
Conservation’s links to eugenics exposed on Park Service anniversary," Survival International, August 25, 2015,
"On the 99th anniversary of the U.S. National Park Service today, August 25, Survival exposes the dark legacy of the U.S. conservation movement that led to the eviction of thousands of Native Americans from national parks – and which continues to be exported around the world today.
In an article published in U.S. journal Truthout, Survival’s Director Stephen Corry reveals how today’s conservation model was based on theories of eugenics and mistaken claims that tribal peoples’ lands are “wildernesses,” even though tribal peoples have been dependent on, and managed them, for millennia.
Oglala Lakota chief Luther Standing Bear said, “Only to the white man was nature a wilderness … to us it was tame. Earth was bountiful.”
Tribal peoples are the best conservationists and guardians of the natural world. Many U.S. parks involved the eviction of Native Americans, and the subsequent loss of their sophisticated land management techniques. The environment has almost always suffered as a result.
Today, Baka “Pygmies” in southeast Cameroon, Bushmen in Botswana, and tribes in India’s tiger reserves face a similar fate. Their lives and lands are being destroyed by the conservation industry, tourism and big business.
Corry writes that many founders of the U.S. conservation movement, such as John Muir, Teddy Roosevelt and Madison Grant, had links to the eugenics movement and held strong prejudices towards the native population.
Corry said, "Conservationists no longer pretend to be saving their “race,” but they certainly claim to be saving the world’s heritage, and too many of the big conservation organizations retain a supercilious attitude towards those they are destroying. Such attitudes must change."
Survival’s "Stop the Con" campaign demands a new conservation model – one that works with the original guardians of the land, rather than against them – and is asking supporters to send in their photos and videos of support."
"Survival Director condemns rise of ‘green militarism’ in conservation," Survival International, August
13, 2015, http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/10876, reported, "
Survival’s Director Stephen Corry has exposed the hypocrisy in today’s conservation movement which is increasingly
militarizing and targeting local populations for subsistence hunting.
In a damning article in U.S. journal Truthout, Corry wrote: 'Local people, including local tribespeople, have long been thought of by some conservationists as ‘in the way’ of the environment. They’re termed ‘poachers’ and abused accordingly. Baka people in Cameroon, the Bushmen in Botswana and Adivasi tribes in India are beaten up or worse by those claiming to protect nature.'
But while tribal people are the best conservationists , they are accused of “poaching” for hunting to feed their families and targeted for 'subsistence poaching' by conservation organizations."
National Indigenous Youth Political Discussion Held in Guatemala City, Cultural Survival, July 28, 2015, reported, "As
an ongoing initiative to include Indigenous youth voices in petitions put forward by Indigenous organizations and groups,
the first national Indigenous youth political discussion was held in Guatemala City on July 17, 2015. Youth
representatives of all three linguistic groups in Guatemala: Mayan, Xinca and Garifuna, were present during the meeting. Previous
regional meetings were held earlier during the year throughout Guatemala where a political agenda was developed from the various
work-groups. The goal of the national discussion was to polish the youth agenda before it is presented to Congress during this
Due to recent political instability of the country, various Indigenous organizations and groups are mobilizing to introduce amendments to Congress that are beneficial to indigenous communities. One important proposal is the respect and protection of sacred land sites and Indigenous territories against mining and hydroelectric companies. 'It doesn’t matter if these companies promise 100% economic return for exploiting our land, our answer will always be no, we will not damage our mother for money' one leader expressed, and murmurs of approval were heard throughout the room.
There are currently several petitions before Congress from various Indigenous and non-Indigenous NGO’s, organizations and groups demanding to suspend elections until realistic and necessary changes are made to the electoral system. Among these changes that specifically effect indigenous communities is the fair representation of indigenous people in Congress. It is estimated that over 50% of the population of Guatemala identifies as Indigenous yet they make up only 3% of Congress. At this particular Indigenous Youth Discussion, the participants talked about the necessity to respect, emphasize and demand bilingual education in all school systems so that they function according to the needs of each specific indigenous community.
The energy at the discussion was ambitious and hopeful as young indigenous leaders discussed the current political state of the country and their plans to confront it and redefine it. The event began and ended with a traditional mayan ceremony in honor of all the indigenous brothers and sisters who have given their life for a better Guatemala."
"Venezuelan tribes protest against violent mining gangs," Survival International, June 18, 2015,
http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/10819, reported, "
Venezuelan Indians blocked the landing strip of Canaima National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in protest at
illegal miners destroying their lives and lands.
Over the last decade, illegal mining for gold, diamonds and other minerals – some run by armed gangs claiming to be members of Colombia’s guerrilla army FARC – has spread like wildfire through the Venezuelan Amazon, affecting tribes such as the Yanomami , Hoti, Eñepa, Yekuana and Arekuna.
An Arekuna spokesperson told Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, 'Mining is a huge problem in our indigenous territories. The miners are extracting the riches of our land and the earth is crying out for help. Our rivers are drying up because of the mining. We must look after nature; if we don’t, the whole planet will suffer.'
Rivers are being contaminated with poisonous mercury used in gold mining, which is entering the Indians’ food and water supply and devastating their health. In some indigenous communities, the infiltration of gangs has led to prostitution and alcoholism.
A study found that the majority of indigenous women living along the Caura river in the Amazon had levels of mercury above internationally accepted standards. It also found that one in three women showed a high risk that their newborn children would suffer neurological disorders.
The Indians have denounced the Venezuelan military for failing to tackle the illegal mining and for “creating a climate of terror and fear.” Some officers are known to be involved in the illegal gold trade.
While Venezuela’s constitution recognizes indigenous peoples’ rights to their ancestral lands, few have received official title to their territories and the government has announced it will open up large parts of the Amazon rainforest – including Indian land – to legal mining.
Tribal peoples are the best conservationists and guardians of the natural world, yet their lands, resources and labor are stolen by industrialized societies in the name of "progress" and 'civilization.'”
"Spanish construction giant targeted over uncontacted Indians’ land grab," Survival International, June
24, 2015, http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/10823, reported, "
Protestors demanded “Save the Ayoreo” at the annual shareholder meeting of Spanish construction giant Grupo San José in
Madrid today. The company has been implicated in the destruction of the
last forest refuge.
Grupo San José’s subsidiary Carlos Casado SA, a South American agricultural firm, was caught illegally bulldozing and constructing roads and reservoirs on the ancestral land of uncontacted Ayoreo Indians in the Chaco forest in Paraguay. The company has also allegedly attempted to forge Ayoreo signatures for the construction of an access road through the tribe’s territory.
Most Ayoreo have been forced out of the Chaco – which has the world’s highest deforestation rate – but some of their relatives remain hiding in an ever-shrinking island of forest. They are one of the most vulnerable societies on the planet, who could be wiped out by violence from outsiders and by diseases like flu and measles to which they have no resistance.
Ayoreo man Porai Picanerai said, 'I ask Grupo San José to give us back our land, because if they chop down our forest, our brothers who remain there will be scared.'
Another Ayoreo said, 'I am very worried about this destruction because we don’t know where exactly the people still in the forest are living. This is why we don’t want the outsiders to destroy more of the forest with their bulldozers.'
The Ayoreo have been claiming legal title to a fraction of their ancestral land for over 20 years, but much of it is owned by powerful ranching companies. Like many recently contacted Indians, the contacted Ayoreo are succumbing to respiratory diseases contracted from outsiders that often go undetected in medical tests.
Survival International is calling on Grupo San José’s shareholders , such as Santander, to withdraw from the company over its involvement in the destruction of the Ayoreo’s last forest refuge.
Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said, 'Forced contact has brought disease, death and destruction to tribes across the Americas, and the Ayoreo are a textbook example of the danger involved. Today, contacted Ayoreo are dying from diseases to which they have no immunity, and while their forest keeps being felled their uncontacted relatives face the same sorry fate. If Grupo San José cared one bit about the lives of Indians it would return the land to its rightful owners.'
”"Experts meet to ‘prevent humanitarian catastrophe’ in Ethiopia and Kenya," Survival International, October
1, 2015, http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/10928, reported, "
Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, is hosting
two events in Milan, Italy, on October 1 and 2
, in an attempt to prevent a humanitarian and environmental “catastrophe” in Ethiopia and Kenya.
Representatives of tribal peoples from Kenya and Ethiopia, as well as international experts, are meeting to expose the threats to hundreds of thousands of people and point towards solutions.
Speakers include: Anuak refugee Nyikaw Ochalla, Director of Anywaa Survival; Ikal Angelei, Turkana spokeswoman and co-founder of Friends of Lake Turkana; British human rights lawyer Gordon Bennett; Berkeley Professor Claudia J. Carr; and Will Hurd, Director of Cool Ground.
In one of the most audacious land grabs that Africa has yet seen, the tribes of Ethopia’s Lower Omo Valley are being evicted from their ancestral homes, and their grazing and farming lands are being transformed into industrial sugar cane, cotton and biofuel plantations.
The massive Gibe III hydro-electric dam, which is being constructed by the Italian-based Salini Costruttori, will end the natural flood on which many tribes depend for cultivating crops, and dramatically lower the level of Kenya’s Lake Turkana, the world’s largest desert lake, on which many tribal people depend for a livelihood. Up to 500,000 tribal people in Ethiopia and Kenya face catastrophe .
Survival recently revealed that the U.K. government attempted to cover up gross human rights violations following a visit to the Lower Omo Valley by Ethiopia’s key donors, such as the U.K.’s DFID, USAID, and the European Union.
Francesca Casella, Director of Survival Italy, said, 'The situation has never been more critical for the indigenous peoples of Ethiopia and Kenya. Aid donors can no longer turn a blind eye to the serious human rights abuses in the region. At this meeting we hope to launch an unprecedented effort to promote a model of development in the Horn of Africa that neither destroys tribal peoples nor denies them their rights.'” Return to top