Ongoing Activities

Steve Sachs

Environmental Activities

       Andrea Germanos, "Nearly 200 Groups in Canada Vow to Fight for Covid-19 Recovery That Puts Human and Ecological Health First: 'The choices we make now about how to recover from this pandemic will shape not only our health and economic future, but also the future of human life on this planet,'" Common Dreams, May 25, 2020, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/05/25/nearly-200-groups-canada-vow-fight-covid-19-recovery-puts-human-and-ecological, reported, " A new alliance of Canadian groups is calling for a just recovery. "We are standing on the threshold between the old world and the next and we must choose to build the future we want," they say.
      Nearly 200 Canadian organizations on Monday rolled out their demands for a "just recovery," saying that continuing business-as-usual after the pandemic would prevent the kind of far-reaching transformation needed to put "the health and well-being of ALL peoples and ecosystems first
."
       'The choices we make now about how to recover from this pandemic will shape not only our health and economic future, but also the future of human life on this planet,' Canadian Labour Congress president Hassan Yussuff said in a statement.
      'This moment is a reminder that the status quo can and must be disrupted," the new Just Recovery for All website declares. 'We are standing on the threshold between the old world and the next and we must choose to build the future we want.'
       A just recovery—which would enable the government and civil society to "build back better'—rests in six key principles:
       Put people's health and well-being first, no exceptions. Health is a human right and is interdependent with the health and well-being of ecological systems.
      Strengthen the social safety net and provide relief directly to people. Focus relief efforts on people—particularly those who are structurally oppressed by existing systems.
      Prioritize the needs of workers and communities. Support must be distributed in a manner consistent with Indigenous sovereignty, a climate resilient economy, and worker rights, including safe and fair labor standards and a right to unionize. Improved conditions for essential service workers must be maintained beyond this crisis.
      Build resilience to prevent future crises. We cannot recover from the current crisis by entrenching systems that will cause the next crisis.
      Build solidarity and equity across communities, generations, and borders. In a globalized world, what happens to one of us matters to all of us.
      Uphold Indigenous rights and work in partnership with Indigenous peoples. A Just      Recovery must uphold Indigenous Rights and include the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples, in line with the standard of free, prior, and informed consen
t
.
       The principles were endorsed by progressive groups focused on a broad range of issues including 350.org, the Canadian Federation of Students, Oxfam Canada, and The Leap.
      'The huge collaborative effort that brought these principles to life over many weeks of rich, challenging discussions exemplifies the kind of action we expect of political leaders as we move through this crisis,' Catherine Abreu of Climate Action Network Canada said in a statement.
       'It's going to take a massive and diverse community of voices to encourage governments to be bold in the face of corporate lobbies, and to put people and communities first,' she said.
      'Our goal was to capture the immense amount of care work happening throughout Canadian civil society right now and present a vision of a Just Recovery that leaves no one behind,' Abreu explained. 'We know this is a vision the majority of Canadians support, and millions of people are ready to take action.'
      As for the inevitable question—How are you going to pay for it?—the groups say the money is already there. It's just a question of changing who's on the receiving end. From the new site:
      The government currently gives billions of dollars in handouts to industries that harm our environment and communities, including the oil and gas industry. Canada also loses billions of dollars to offshore tax havens every year.
      Right now, the government is working on a plan to rebuild our economy. It is likely that they will unveil a stimulus package, but it's on all of us to ensure that money goes directly to workers and communities, not corporations. By bailing out people, not big businesses, and closing tax loopholes, we can start to build a sustainable and just future for all.
      Dr. Courtney Howard of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment says it's clear from what she's witnessed amid the global pandemic that people are willing to use moments of crisis as turning points for positive change.
      'To feel safe,' she said, 'we need to manage two planetary health emergencies at once—Covid-19 and its economic fallout, and climate change.'
      'We've shown that when pressed, we prioritize health. We take care of one another,' said Howard.
      'We have a generational opportunity to use this time of crisis and reflection to bring to life a vision of planetary health for all,' she continued. 'We've stayed home to save lives. By working together on a just and healthy recovery, we'll save more.'
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       Jake Johnson, "Return to 'Business as Usual' Means Climate Catastrophe: World's Mayors Demand Transformative Green Covid-19 Recovery: 'Half-measures that maintain the status quo won't move the needle or protect us from the next crisis,'" Common Dreams, May 7, 2020, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/05/07/return-business-usual-means-climate-catastrophe-worlds-mayors-demand-transformative, reported, " Nearly 40 mayors representing more than 700 million people in cities across the globe are calling for a transformative recovery from the Covid-19 crisis that fundamentally alters global economic and energy systems, warning that a mere return to 'business as usual' means accepting a world barreling toward climate catastrophe.
      The mayors on Thursday signed on to a statement of principles that aims to provide a framework for the 'transition to a more sustainable, low-carbon, inclusive and healthier economy for people and the planet.'
       'Covid-19 has laid bare the systemic inequities too often found at the heart of our communities—and as we start to emerge from this crisis, we must rebuild an economy that truly works for everyone,' said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, chair of C40 Cities, the coalition of mayors that crafted the 9-point statement.
      Mxolisi Kaunda, mayor of Durban, South Africa, called on cities to 'approach the future with a new vision, a vision of a prosperous and climate-just society for all.'
       'During this time we are forced to confront the fragility of the current economic system that has created a vastly unequal society and how that inequality makes it difficult for our social and health relief systems to respond effectively,' said Kaunda. 'Let us not lose the painful lessons that we have had to learn during this pandemic and use those rather to become cities that are more resilient to future disasters, including climate change.'
      The principles endorsed by 37 mayors are as follows:
      The recovery should not be a return to 'business as usual'—because that is a world on track for 3°C or more of over-heating;
      The recovery, above all, must be guided by an adherence to public health and scientific expertise, in order to assure the safety of those who live in our cities;
      Excellent public services, public investment, and increased community resilience will form the most effective basis for the recovery;
      The recovery must address issues of equity that have been laid bare by the impact of the crisis – for example, workers who are now recognized as essential should be celebrated and compensated accordingly and policies must support people living in informal settlements;
      The recovery must improve the resilience of our cities and communities. Therefore, investments should be made to protect against future threats—including the climate crisis—and to support those people impacted by climate and health risks;
      Climate action can help accelerate economic recovery and enhance social equity, through the use of new technologies and the creation of new industries and new jobs. These will drive wider benefits for our residents, workers, students, businesses and visitors;
      We commit to doing everything in our power and the power of our city governments to ensure that the recovery from Covid-19 is healthy, equitable, and sustainable;
      We commit to using our collective voices and individual actions to ensure that national governments support both cities and the investments needed in cities, to deliver an economic recovery that is healthy, equitable, and sustainable;
      We commit to using our collective voices and individual actions to ensure that international and regional institutions invest directly in cities to support a healthy, equitable, and sustainable recovery.
      'The only parallel to what we're facing right now is the Great Depression,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. 'Against that kind of challenge, half-measures that maintain the status quo won't move the needle or protect us from the next crisis. We need a New Deal for these times—a massive transformation that rebuilds lives, promotes equality, and prevents the next economic, health, or climate crisis.'
The mayors' statement came after new Oxford University research published this weekfound that "green stimulus" spending on sustainable energy projects would be more effective than conventional stimulus measures in repairing the widespread economic damage done by the coronavirus pandemic.
       'The Oxford study compared green stimulus projects with traditional stimulus, such as measures taken after the 2008 global financial crisis, and found green projects create more jobs, deliver higher short-term returns... and lead to increased long-term cost savings,' the Guardian reported.
      Cameron Hepburn, lead author of the new study, told Reuters on Tuesday that his research shows "we can choose to build back better, keeping many of the recent improvements we've seen in cleaner air, returning nature and reduced greenhouse gas emissions."
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      350.org remains extremely active with numerous climate change related actions. Its main thrust in winter-spring 2020 has been, " Stop Fossil Fuels. Build 100% Renewables. We are standing up to the fossil fuel industry to stop all new coal, oil and gas projects and build clean energy future for all.
      
Some of the other campaigns have been:
      "Tell ECB: Rebuild for People: Tell Europe's Central Bank that coronavirus recovery must center people, not polluters."
      "5 principles for a #JustRecovery: We must put human need before corporate greed and ensure a just recovery towards a safer, healthier and fairer future in the wake of COVID-19. Sign the open letter."
      " No Coal Japan: Support the climate activists in Japan targeting their banks' coal financing through online actions and call-ins their banks."
      "Stand with Climate Defenders: Human rights violations by fossil fuel companies are getting worse with the climate crisis. Read the Climate Defenders report now."
      "Don't fund the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline! Tell Standard Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) not to fund a new crude oil pipeline through Tanzania and Uganda."
      "Uprising at Davos: Campaigners were at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland with calls to end fossil fuel finance."
(at: http://350.org)’s For details go to: http://act.350.org/).

      "TC Energy Files Pre-Construction Plan for KXL Despite Ongoing Lawsuits," Indigenous Environmental Network, January 17, 2020, https://www.mynewsletterbuilder.com/email/newsletter/1414314220, Contact: Jennifer K. Falcon, jennifer@ienearth.org, 218-760-9958, stated. " Despite ongoing lawsuits, TC Energy (formerly TransCanada) has filed a status report with a United States District Court outlining their plan to begin pre-construction activities and construction on their Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline 2020. This construction would include preparations for man camps along the route.
       For the better part of a decade tribal nations, from Dene territory in the north to Ponca territory in the south, have made it clear -- they do not want this toxic tar sands pipeline near Indigenous lands and communities, they do not want to see further development within the tar sands region of northern Alberta, and they will not stand for the active disregard of their inherent Indigenous Rights.
      'President Trump continues to circumvent the law by trying to illegally push the KXL pipeline through despite his first permit being revoked and his second permit being challenged in court. Climate chaos is already here and the KXL pipeline will be devastating to tribal communities and to the world's ecosystems,' said Kandi White, Native Energy and Climate Campaign Coordinator, Indigenous Environmental Network.
      In 2018, United States District Judge Brian Morris, issued a landmark ruling that President Trump violated federal environmental laws when his Administration claimed that the KXL Pipeline was consistent with the public interest. Last December, a judge dismissed Trump’s push to have the legal challenge, in which IEN is a plaintiff, against  his second permit dismissed. The KXL pipeline still sits in legal limbo and the fact TC Energy feels bold enough to start pre-construction without the proper permits speaks volumes to the control big oil money has on our political and legal system.
      'For a decade, we have fought this dirty tar sands pipeline. We will not allow our treaties to be ignored and our communities put at risk. Consultation is not consent and consultation has not happened with the Oceti Sakowin tribes. Not one of them. Man camps surrounding our tribal nations bring drugs like meth and heroin to our nations and violence to our women and children' said Joye Braun, Frontline Community Organizer, Indigenous Environmental Network. 'The KXL will only inflame the epidemic of Missing and Murdered women, girls and two-spirit relatives in our communities. A date for the federal litigation has not been finalized nor do they have all the permits required to begin construction. This timeline is pure fantasy. The KXL Pipeline will not be built through Oceti Sakowin lands.'"

      "Cancel KXL: Rural & Tribal Communities Call on TC Energy to Cancel Keystone XL Pipeline Activity Due to Coronavirus Public Health Threat," 350.org, April 1, 2020, https://nokxlpromise.org/covid-19/, stated in a petition, " For the health and safety of workers, and residents of ill-equipped rural and Tribal communities along the route of TC Energy (TransCanada’s) proposed Keystone XL pipeline, all 'pre-construction' activity should be immediately halted in the face of the public health threat from the novel coronavirus.
      TC Energy must cancel all plans to move forward on construction, and in particular halt at once the establishment of any 'man camps' that would bring thousands of out-of-state workers into rural communities, where rural hospitals and under-funded Indian Health Services cannot be expected to be burdened with any additional strain on their already limited capacity to provide care to those infected by the coronavirus. Man camps also generally bring into communities increased crime and sexual violence — especially targeting Indigenous women
.
      A national emergency has been called. A growing number of cities and companies are cancelling construction projects. We call on TC Energy to immediately halt all activity and cancel its planned construction on the Keystone XL pipeline project, as well as provide ongoing unemployment aid for all their potentially affected workers."

       "Sign the petition to protect Indigenous Sovereignty: Demand fossil fuel profiteers JPMorgan Chase and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. defund the Coastal GasLink pipeline," Friends of Earth  Action, Mach 13, 2020, https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/sign-the-petition-to-protect-indigenous-sovereignty-demand-fossil-fuel-profiteers-jpmorgan-chase-and-kohlberg-kravis-roberts-co-divest-from-coastal-gaslink-pipeline, stated, " Right now in British Columbia, Canada, Indigenous Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and land defenders are resisting the construction of the TC Energy Coastal GasLink pipeline slated to cut through their territories.
      The Wet’suwet’en have been fighting to stop this pipeline for just over five years. The Hereditary Chiefs have re-asserted their right to jurisdiction over their own lands, their right to determine access and prevent trespass under Wet’suwet’en law, and the right to Free Prior and Informed Consent as guaranteed by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples — but TC Energy will not listen
.
      On February 6, militarized police conducted a five-day military raid of the resistance camps on Wet’suwet’en land and illegally evicted hereditary chiefs, land defenders, and matriarchs. The police came with assault rifles, snipers, dogs, sound cannons, and helicopters while Indigenous elders and youth stood by.
       Protests against the Coastal GasLink project have since spread and have included: rail blockades, port shutdowns, government office occupations, and sit ins at banks investing in the illegal pipeline project. Now, the fight is coming to the U.S., right to the doorstep of the largest banker and investor of the Coastal GasLink pipeline — JPMorgan Chase and KKR.
       JPMorgan Chase, the world’s biggest banker of fossil fuels, is helping funnel more than $5 billion in loans to the company behind Coastal GasLink. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR), a New York City based investment firm with over $200 billion in assets, has plans to purchase 65% of the pipeline with Alberta Investment Management Corp (AIMCo). Companies like Chase and KKR actively perpetuate the destruction of stolen Indigenous lands to fuel the climate crisis.
      The upside is KKR’s plans to invest in the pipeline aren’t final. There’s still time to interrupt their plans. We must hold them accountable before it’s too late.
      Sign the petition and rise up with the Wet'suwet'en people: Demand Chase and KKR defund the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
Participating Organizations:
198 methods
Climate Hawks Vote
Corporate Accountability
Daily Kos
Endangered Species Coalition
Friends of the Earth Action
Greenpeace USA
Rainforest Action Network
Rising Tide North America
Seeding Sovereignty
Stand.earth
Women's Earth and Climate Action Network
XR San Francisco Bay Area
   Supporting Organizations:
   Showing Up for Racial Justice
   SumOfUs"

      Charlie Perry, "Indigenous Youth Council's 'Four Directions Climate Strike'," ICT,  February 6, 2020, https://files.constantcontact.com/c2394f27001/26a7162b-5c65-4cce-a38a-102da2a3dbee.pdf, reported, " The Los Angeles chapter of the International Indigenous Youth Council (IIYC) came together this past Friday in Exposition Park to wrap up their 'Four Directions Climate Strike.'"
       This was the fourth and final climate strike IIYC held across east, west, north and south L.A."

       Andrea Germanos, "To Support 'Urgently-Needed Clean and Just Energy Transition,' 450+ Groups Demand Federal Regulators Rebuff Attack on Community Solar: Net metering must continue, the groups tell the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission," Common dreams, June 15, 2020, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/06/15/support-urgently-needed-clean-and-just-energy-transition-450-groups-demand-federal, reported, "Over 450 environmental, faith, and consumer advocacy groups on Monday urged federal regulators to reject a proposal from a secretive rightwing organization that would upend policies seen as 'foundational to achieving the nation's urgently-needed clean and just energy transition.'
       The call comes in a letter (pdf) to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and concerns the New England Ratepayers Association's (NERA) April petition arguing for federal jurisdiction over solar net-metering policies, which are now under states' control.
      Public Citizen—one of the signatories to the new letter—
explained Monday:
      'Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar power generators for the electricity they add to the grid. It is a crucial component of rooftop solar project financing because it makes solar energy systems affordable for small businesses and families through energy credits for the solar power they generate. The NERA petition would grant FERC sole jurisdiction to govern such programs through the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act or Federal Power Act.'
      The alternative to net metering is gross metering. Under this scenario, as Pine Tree Watch
reported last month,
      'utilities pay solar users a low credit for supplying solar energy to the electric grid, then charge them a higher rate—the same as what non-solar users pay—for any energy they consume. This can result in solar customers paying for electricity even if they use less than their panels produce
.'"

       Beyond Extreme Energy stated in an E-mail, May 20, 2020 "Earlier this week, we emailed you and told you how Trump's hand-picked Republican majority at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is working to undermine renewable energy, rubber stamp more pipelines, and set back progress on climate action by decades.
      On May 21, as the FERC Commissioners dial in to their monthly meeting online and by phone, we're taking action to protest their destructive decisions and demand action. Can you back us up? We've made it super-simple to call this month, just dial our toll free FERC hotline (866) 455-3498, and pick a commissioner to get connected: Push one for Chairman Neil Chatterjee, Push 2 for Bernard McNamee or push 3 for James Danly.
      When you're connected to the commissioner of your choice, tell them our three demands:
      Stop sabotaging renewable energy by undercutting state laws in New York, New England and the PJM markets; ( click here for more info)
       In accordance with the demands from 11 Attorneys General and 29 members of Congress, stop issuing permits for pipelines and fossil fuel infrastructure during the pandemic; ( click here for more info)
       Begin work to transition FERC into FREC, with a focus on meeting all US energy needs with renewable energy as part of a Green New Deal. ( click here for more info)
      That's it! Call back as many times as you want to throughout the day to talk to more commissioners and leave more messages! If you want more context and background on why we're calling this month, read on for more from the message we sent you earlier this week, including footnotes to recent news articles.
       BACKGROUND YOU MIGHT LIKE TO KNOW
      BXE and many other groups have been fighting against gas industry rubber-stamping FERC for many years. But as FERC gets even worse under Trump, more of us are stepping forward.
      Over the last month Attorneys General from 11 states and 29 members of Congress have publicly called out FERC.
      The Attorneys General, led by Maryland AG Brian Frosh, called upon FERC to 'impose an immediate moratorium on approvals of all new and pending applications for natural gas pipelines, LNG export facilities, and related fossil fuel infrastructure projects until the end of the COVID-19 crisis.' FERC chairman Neil Chatterjee rejected them out of hand this week. 1
      The Congressmembers, led by Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), also called for 'a moratorium on the approval and construction of new natural gas pipeline projects and LNG export facilities for the duration of the FEMA-declared emergency.' 2
      Unsurprisingly, FERC has done nothing along these lines, just the opposite, as Raskin pointed out: 'On April 2nd the Commission issued an order waiving numerous regulatory obligations pertaining to private industry. . . to make it easier for pipeline companies to continue obtaining approvals and initiating pipeline construction during the crisis.' 3 And last month, the three FERC commissioners reaffirmed a major renewables-discriminatory decision from last fall. This decision allowed one of the primary regional electric transmission networks on the FERC-regulated grid to increase the costs for new renewable energy sources wanting to sell clean energy on the electric energy market. 4
      If you agree that FERC is getting worse, pick up the phone and call our toll free FERC hotline (866) 455-3498 now!
      FERC Into FREC now!
      Ted Glick and the team at Beyond Extreme Energy
      PS - You can also click here to join our live zoom meeting 9:30-11am ET on Thursday May 21, or click here for a recording of our meeting and info to share on Facebook!
      Sources
https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/497648-energy-regulator-declines-states-request-for-moratorium-on-pipeline
https://raskin.house.gov/media/press-releases/raskin-mcgovern-omar-urge-moratorium-new-pipeline-projects-during-covid-19
https://raskin.house.gov/media/press-releases/rep-raskin-releases-preliminary-findings-showing-ferc-pipeline-approval-process
https://www.utilitydive.com/news/pjm-mopr-could-cost-market-consumers-up-to-26b-annually-report-finds/578183/
https://www.utilitydive.com/news/states-should-leave-markets-that-dont-work-for-families-and-businesses-aft/577336/
https://raskin.house.gov/media/press-releases/house-democrats-condemn-ferc-attack-clean-energy-economy."

      "Urgent Call to Action Iin Support Of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation," Cultural Survival, January 16, 2020, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/urgent-call-action-support-wetsuweten-first-nation, reported, "On December 31, 2019, the British Columbia Supreme Court issued an injunction to allow construction on the Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline, giving unlimited access to Wet’suwet’en lands.  The Coastal GasLink pipeline is intended to be 416 miles long, stretching from northeast British Columbia to near Kitimat. Within this swath of land lies 22,000 square kilometers of unceded Wet’suwet’en land. In 1997, the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed that Indigenous claims to land in this area still exist, and the Wet’suwet’en Nation has vehemently opposed the pipeline’s construction. Nevertheless, and without the “Free, Prior and Informed Consent” necessary as stipulated by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, construction has been allowed to move forward.
       The injunction was firmly rejected by the Wet’suwet’en, and on January 7, 2020, the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs issued an eviction notice to the CGL pipeline company, effective immediately. 'Over the past year, Coastal GasLink has operated on our territories despite our opposition to the project,' the letter to CGL states. 'We must re-assert our jurisdiction over these lands, our rights to determine access and prevent trespass under Wet’suwet’en law, and the rights to Free Prior and Informed Consent…The denial of these rights has resulted in irreparable harm to the land and our people.' Encampments intended to prevent pipeline construction and reclaim Wet’suwet’en land play a crucial role in this reclamation of Indigenous rights; to quote Unist’ot’en Camp’s spokeswoman Freda Huson, 'we’re not protestors and this isn’t a blockade…It’s a reoccupation of our traditional lands.' Representing all five of the Wet’suwet’en Nation’s clans, these same hereditary chiefs will monitor the eviction.
      This intimidation and violence has been 'an ongoing experience' for almost a year, according to Wet’suwet’en land defender Sleydo’ (Molly Wickham). In January 2019, the Camp faced intimidation and violence in a raid by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) who used chainsaws to break gates the Wet’suwet’en established on their traditional territories to block construction of the CGL pipeline. The incident lead to numerous arrests. 'The threat of their extreme use of violence and force,' Sleydo’ stated, 'hasn’t gone away since the day of the raid. We’re constantly under that threat and pressure…Any time that injunction order comes down, we could be facing the exact same situation that we did — or worse.'
      Although certain Canadian politicians have called for an investigation into the actions of the RCMP regarding this use of violence toward the Wet’suwet’en (which were exposed in a recent Guardian article that quoted RCMP strategy notes as telling officers to 'use as much violence toward the gate as you want '), RCMP spokeswoman Janelle Shoihet has merely stated that the RCMP was denied access to the documents referenced in the report, and that the report does not 'reflect what actually occurred.' On January 8, the RCMP went further, and released a statement that they 'are impartial in this dispute and our priority is to facilitate a dialogue between the various stakeholders involved.'    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has continued to defend the pipeline , despite his stated commitments to addressing climate change and Indigenous reconciliation.
       British Columbia’s human rights commissioner recently released a statement asking for the government to guarantee that actions against protestors will remain peaceful. 'Canada cannot simultaneously vie for a seat at the Security Council while ignoring their obligations to other parts of the UN,' Kasari Govender argued, and as such, 'Indigenous peoples who oppose development projects on their traditional territories should never be met with violence for peaceful opposition.'
       The pipeline is not solely a question of land rights, though. There is a domino effect; Huson tells of how “RCMP…has always been used to oppress our people and remove us off our land, and [so that] government can access the resources…even if it means destroying our water, destroying our lands, destroying our way of life.”
       With the injunction allowing a pipeline as a legal precedent, the entire future of the Wet'suwet'en Nation is at stake. 'If this is destroyed, we will be destroyed,' said Sleydo. 'You destroy our land and our water, and we’re as good as dead as Wet'suwet’en people.'
       Protestors in Yukon expressed a similar sentiment when they gathered on January 10 in opposition to the pipeline. 'Violence against the earth is violence against the Indigenous peoples that are the caretakers of that earth,' said Siku Allooloo (Inuit and Taino), 'and going ahead with trying to build extractive industry in sovereign territories when Indigenous people are saying no is rape culture. It’s inherently connected to missing and murdered Indigenous women.'
       Further protests followed, with one in Vancouver the following day, and then another in Guelph the day after. The former had over 200 protestors, and the latter had a few dozen. At this third protest, spokesperson Natali Montilla framed the issue clearly: 'Wet’suwet’en land is not part of Canada. They are their own separation nation. Their territory has never been ceded, and violence has continued since then because folks do not consent to CLG, Coastal GasLink going through their territory.'
      'We are all living on occupied land,' she stated, and so 'these struggles are all interconnected.' Finally, Montilla argued, 'It’s not the sole responsibility of Indigenous folks to continue doing this really dangerous work (of demonstrating) It’s the role of settlers to undo colonialism and to put pressure on the Canadian state to stop their invasion of Indigenous territories.'
       Days after the eviction notice, British Columbia Premier John Horgan reaffirmed the construction of the CGL pipeline: 'All the permits are in place for the project and the project will be proceeding.' Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took a slightly more diplomatic route, and was quoted that 'when you have an elected band council that has signed agreements with various entities, corporations, and governments, that has a certain weight to it, but there needs to be a reflection on who speaks entirely, or who speaks in part, for different parts of the community.' However, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has called for security forces to leave Wet’suwet’en lands.
      On January 13, 2019, the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs submitted a formal request to the United Nations to monitor RCMP, government and Coastal GasLink (CGL) actions on their traditional, unceded territory. This request follows the recent directive from the UN Committee on Racial Discrimination (CERD) requiring Canada to halt the CGL pipeline project and withdraw RCMP from our territory in order to avoid further violations of Wet’suwet’en, constitutional, and international law.
      Cultural Survival reiterates our support for the Wet’suwet’en and joins calls to Coastal GasLink and the RCMP to stand down. Unis’tot’en Camp received a grant from Cultural Survival’s Keepers of the Earth Fund in 2017-2018 to host four gatherings to strategize on how to continue protecting their land from pipeline construction and promote traditional livelihoods on their territory."

      Robert Nott, "Congressional leaders want funding to reclaim state's orphaned wells," Santa Fe New Mexican, Jun 2, 2020, https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/congressional-leaders-want-funding-to-reclaim-states-orphaned-wells/article_fa295e58-a417-11ea-9182-57a598c5eabf.html/, reported, " New Mexico congressional delegates are pushing for the creation of a federal fund to help cover the costs of plugging and reclaiming abandoned oil and gas wells.
      According to testimony at the Monday [virtual congressional] hearing, the cost of plugging more than 56,000 wells across the nation could be more than $1 trillion dollars, which would be left to state taxpayers without any federal assistance.
      Some of the wells, abandoned for decades, continue to leak methane and threaten to contaminate groundwater sources
, lawmakers and others said.
      Adrienne Sandoval, director of the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division, spoke Monday to the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources. She and other advocates for a federal cleanup fund emphasized another benefit of the program: jobs."

       The Montana Wilderness Association has been collaborating with the state's Indian nations to protect their lands and sacred places. This has included efforts to keep oil and gas development off the Badger-Two Medicine - a Blackfeet Sacred site; producing a film, in collaboration with the Crow Nation, Awaxaawippiia, as part of an effort to have the U.S. Forest Service manage the Crazy Mountains respectfully toward the historical, cultural and spiritual connections of the Nation to those lands. The Association has been supporting the effort of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the Fort Belknap Indian Community to have legislation passed to uphold tribal water rights that the state and federal governments have been violating for over a century, while restoring management of lands removed from the tribes in violation of their treaty rights ("Honoring Montana's Tribes," Montana Wild, Winter 2020).

       Kendra Chamberlain, "‘Forever deadly’: State officials, communities scramble to fight a proposal to house high-level nuclear waste in New Mexico," New Mexico Political Report, June 3, 2020, https://nmpoliticalreport.com/2020/06/04/forever-deadly-state-officials-communities-scramble-to-fight-a-proposal-to-house-high-level-nuclear-waste-in-new-mexico/, reported, "[Rose] Gardner, who co-founded the Alliance for Environmental Strategies, is part of a groundswell of opposition to a project currently under consideration by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that would see the world’s largest nuclear waste storage facility be built along the Lea-Eddy county line. 
      Holtec International, a private company specializing in spent nuclear fuel storage and management,
applied for a license from the NRC in 2017 to construct and operate the facility in southeastern New Mexico that would hold waste generated at nuclear utilities around the country temporarily until a permanent, federally-managed repository is established. The license application is making steady progress in the NRC’s process, despite the pandemic.
      Proponents of the project tout the estimated $3 billion in capital investments and 100 new jobs that it would bring to the area. But opponents — including the governor of New Mexico, most tribal nations in the state, state lawmakers, 12 local governments and a number of local associations — worry that the proposed interim storage facility would become a de facto permanent storage solution for the nation’s growing nuclear waste.
      'There’s a great concern that this waste, should it end up in New Mexico, will really never move from here,' state Sen. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, told NM Political Report. “A facility that’s not designed to be forever, suddenly becomes forever. That’s really bad for New Mexico. That’s not in our interest at all.'”

       Navajo Nation residents of the Eastern portion of the reservation, and community health experts testified at a hearing of the Nation's Naabik'iyati' Committee, in early March 2020, that with serious health issues ongoing from remains of uranium mining, getting the uranium in the region cleaned up should be a number one priority (From Navajo Times, March 12, 2020: Rima Krisst, "Eastern Agency residents: 'Where's the uranium cleanup," and Rima Krisst, "Uranium cleanup should be top priority").

      In December 2019, soil conservation expert Ernest Begay was urging those with grazing lands on the Navajo Nation that are losing soil to erosion to take the steps they can take with their own labor, and in some case a small amount of money, to curb most of the erosion by their own efforts (Cindy Yurth, "Saving soil: Her'es how to get started").

       Members of several tribal nations and conservationists, in December 2020, were opposing a proposal to build a pair of hydroelectric dams on the Little Colorado River by Pumped Hydro Storage LLC, claiming that the dams would negatively impact the water flow and river ecosystem on the Colorado River flowing through the Grand Canyon, and damage several Hopi Sacred sites. Pumped Hydro Storage says the dams would increase clean renewable energy use and create jobs, with particular benefit to the Navajo Nation (Krista Allen, "Conservationists oppose proposed dams on Little Colorado River," Navajo Times, December 19, 2019).

      Beyond Extreme Energy states in an E-mail, May 21, 2020, "For the last several weeks, we've been honored to work with the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas, in partnership with the Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy, to organize a Tribunal For Human Rights starting TOMORROW May 22nd. Many of you may remember Tribal Chairman Juan Mancias, who joined us for our April 23 webinar with frontline leaders, and previewed this important tribunal as part of our work during Earth Day Live last month.
      The native tribunal on May 22-23 will address the continued attempts to erase the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas’ cultural, historical, environmental, and health significance in South Texas. Brownsville is the location of three proposed LNG export terminals to begin construction this year, which put community health and sacred sites at risk. The tribunal will unfold over two days, with experts and witnesses presenting evidence on Friday, and an announcement of a verdict and community discussion on Saturday.
      Because the issues are closely connected to our work challenging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the expansion of fracked gas infrastructure we invite you to attend, watch, and participate in the tribunal with us. You can click here to RSVP now for the zoom webinar, or click here to learn more on Facebook, where the event will also be streamed and recorded.
       The tribunal will prove that the State of Texas, LNG facilities, the City of Brownsville, and the Port of Brownsville knowingly and intentionally looted and disrupted tribal sacred sites throughout the last 70 years. The Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas recognizes this area of land as one of their many village sites, hunting grounds, and burial sites. These government bodies and corporations have been involved in environmental, cultural, and spiritual racism by disrespecting the sacred sites of the original Native people of Texas and attempting to erase their existence for profit. 
       Texas LNG has proposed an export terminal that will destroy 625 acres of land, with 282 acres being permanently impacted. This would threaten priceless natural habitat of more than 150 threatened and endangered species. According to the FERC's own data, Texas LNG plans to destroy 47% open land, 28% scrub shrub, 14% wetland, and 11% of the open water habitat that is essential to the survival of these protected species in Cameron County.
      
Altogether, the three LNG facilities would emit 10.1 million metric tons per year of global warming pollution, the equivalent of more than 2 million automobiles on the road for a year. Other emissions expected to be released from the facilities include nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and other organic compounds and  particulate matters. These could cause devastating health consequences to the community.      
      The Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe have been fighting to maintain their cultural identity by holding on to their sacred stories and the sacred land. We stand with them, and invite you to stand with us as part of this tribunal process. Click here to RSVP for the webinar, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter May 22-23 at the hashtag #SaveGarciaPasture."

      "President Trump's attempt to weaken coal ash pollution safeguards is nothing more than a total giveaway to the coal industry and must be rejected: Tell the EPA to reject this harmful rollback," The Sierra Club, January 12, 2020, https://act.sierraclub.org/actions/National, stated, " President Trump and his EPA are giving fossil fuel companies and polluters exactly what they want by weakening or eliminating the safeguards put into place by the 2015 federal Coal Ash Rule. This will once again put our water, air and public health at risk from hazardous coal ash.
       Demand that EPA do its job: Protect your health and the environment from coal ash.
       Coal-fired power plants in the U.S. burn more than 800 million tons of coal every year, producing more than 110 million tons of solid waste in the form of fly ash, bottom ash, scrubber sludge and boiler slag -- commonly known as coal ash.
      Coal ash contains a toxic brew of carcinogens, neurotoxins, and poisons -- including arsenic, boron, hexavalent chromium, lead, lithium, mercury, selenium, and radioactive substances. These toxics can cause cancer, heart disease, reproductive failure, and stroke, and can inflict permanent brain damage on children
.
      When this toxic waste is dumped without proper safeguards, as has occurred for decades throughout the U.S., hazardous chemicals are released into the air and water, harming nearby communities and fouling water resources.
      The important 2015 safeguards are supported by sound science and common sense, but some electric utilities and the coal industry, in addition to President Trump, want to put polluter profits ahead of public and environmental protections. Under the proposed rollback, which was granted upon the industry's request, many of the provisions of the 2015 Coal Ash Rule would be weakened.
       Do you live near a coal ash plant that emits pollution into the air, toxic waste into a lake, river or stream, or poisonous chemicals into the groundwater?
      A recent report by the Environmental Integrity Project and Earthjustice found that 92 percent of the coal plants with coal ash ponds reporting groundwater monitoring data pursuant to the Obama EPA Coal Ash Rule (2015) have contaminated groundwater with toxic pollutants exceeding federal health standards.

      Seeding Sovereignty announced via E-mail, January 30, 2020 " Seeding Sovereignty is raising the volume about continued media silence on the escalating climate crisis and Indigenous history by organizing the Indigenous contingent of the Des Moines Climate Crisis Parade on the eve of the Iowa caucus. The parade will take place this Saturday on February 1st, 2020 at noon.
      We are also pleased to announce that we have paired with First Seven Design Labs (@ f1rstse7en) to carry out a moving art exhibit and create an installation for the Parade to uplift Indigenous community engagement in Iowa during this high profile event! We are asking for you to join us in elevating the voices of Indigenous folx not only in the Midwest, but across the world in a united outcry to include and center Indigenous voices in the ongoing climate crisis dialogue."
      "Additional details can be found on our Eventbrite page: https://nativestothefront.eventbrite.com.
      In Solidarity,
      The Seeding Sovereignty Collective: seedingsovereignty.org."
      
       Jessica Corbett, "'One Crisis Doesn't Stop Because Another Starts': 2,000+ Kids' Shoes Form Climate/Covid Protest in London: 'Many young people feel suffocated by fear of what is to come,' says an Extinction Rebellion Youth activist, 'and now with this pandemic maybe others will start to understand our fear for the future,'" Common Dreams, May 18, 2020, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/05/18/one-crisis-doesnt-stop-because-another-starts-2000-kids-shoes-form-climatecovid, reported, " In a protest Monday to call for more ambitious action from the U.K. government to tackle the climate crisis, activists with the group Extinction Rebellion lined up over 2,000 pairs of children's shoes in London's Trafalgar Square and unfurled a banner that read "Covid Today > Climate Tomorrow > Act Now."
      The once bustling central London square was nearly deserted during the demonstration due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. While climate activists often took to the streets worldwide with their demands before the public health crisis, they have had to move online and get creative to stay safe and comply with coronavirus-related lockdowns and social distancing guidelines.
      With the Monday protest, Extinction Rebellion (XR) encouraged the government to address the climate emergency during recovery from the pandemic and to not bail out extractive industries that contribute to global heating. The shoes—donated by London residents, parents, and teachers scared for their kids' future—will be given to the U.K. charity Shoe Aid after the demonstration."

      Seeding Sovereignty states in an E-mail, May 3, 2020, " Despite COVID-19, TC Energy is still building the Coastal GasLink pipeline without Wet'suwet'en consent on their land, putting communities and their workers at even more risk! On May 7th , people around the world are gathering virtually to rise up in solidarity for those fighting on the frontlines of the COVID-19 and climate crises. Join us for a #ShutDownKKR virtual rally and communications blockade on May 7th. RSVP at: https://www.facebook.com/events/230185041566924/."

       Ian Austen, "Pipeline Protests Cause Widespread Travel Delays Across Canada: A small protest in Ontario supporting an Indigenous effort to block a pipeline thousands of miles away has created large-scale disruption in Canada," The New York Times, February 12, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/12/world/canada/gas-pipeline-protests.html,
reported, " A dilapidated snow plow, three tents and some barrels sit beside the snowy tracks of the Canadian      National Railway in Tyendinaga, Ontario, a protest in support of Indigenous leaders trying to stop the construction of a gas pipeline thousands of miles away, in British Columbia.
      The blockade, set up by the Mohawks of Tyendinaga, may not look imposing. But the barricade, and similar ones erected at transport points across the country, has disrupted travel for Canadians since last week — and drawn attention to the pipeline dispute
."

      The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), actions in winter and spring 2020 to attempt to keep public decision making consistent with good science have included:
      " UCS and the Coronavirus: The Union of Concerned Scientists is actively monitoring the coronavirus pandemic and its implications for scientific integrity."
      " Social Distancing, Contact Tracing, and Herd Immunity Matter : Infectious disease epidemiologist Dr. Beth Linas discusses how we move forward after flattening the curve of the coronavirus.
      " In Support of Sustainable Eating : This policy brief makes the case for incorporating recent research on dietary patterns and sustainability into the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans."
      " Voting Rights and Environmental Justice : Disenfranchisement through voter suppression and gerrymandering prevents overburdened communities from fighting back against threats to their well-being."
      " The White House Scrapped the Science on Trichloroethylene—So We’re Urging the EPA to Investigate."
      " Even With Negative Oil Prices and COVID-19 Global Standstill, ExxonMobil, Chevron Must Still Commit to Net Zero Emissions ."
      For more information visit: www.ucsusa.org.

      Amazon Watch stated in an E-mail, May 21, 2020, " Today is an international day of protest against Chevron's abuses by communities all over the world. The company will hold its annual shareholder meeting next week, so we must make our voices heard now so that it can't hide the truth from its shareholders and the world then. Join us!
      At 10 am Pacific (1 pm Eastern), join the True Cost of Chevron Network and Protect the Protest Coalition for an online virtual event . Learn from communities affected by Chevron's deliberate pollution, legal attacks, environmental racism, and climate destruction, and find out how you can take action to support their work.
      Among the other ways to engage today:
Our friends in Australia have called for a Twitter storm starting this morning. Please tweet using the hashtag #AntiChevron at least five times between 8 and 9 am your local time (in your time zone). Grab some sample tweets and images here.
      At 8 am Pacific (11 am Eastern), tune into the live press conference from Ecuador as communities affected by Chevron's toxic contamination in the Amazon talk about their ongoing campaign for justice and a full clean-up of the largest oil-related environmental disaster in history.
       Chevron is the world's worst global polluter and corporate bully. That's why it has earned an annual day of global protest: #AntiChevronDay."

      "Protesters chant 'Shell must fall' at oil major's meeting," Reuters, May 19, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-netherlands-shell/protesters-chant-shell-must-fall-at-oil-majors-meeting-idUSKBN22V1G0, reported, " Dozens of demonstrators chanting “Shell must fall” gathered on Tuesday outside the oil giant’s headquarters in the Netherlands, where a virtual annual shareholders’ meeting was underway.
      Roughly 30 activists from environmental groups Greenpeace, Extinction Rebellion and Code Red sang and danced in protest at the Hague offices of Royal Dutch Shell (
RDSa.L ).
Hundreds of activists had signed up to attend, but Dutch authorities allowed no more than 30 due to coronavirus distancing measures.
      During the shareholders’ meeting, some large investors were expected to press the company for more concrete action to reduce its environmental footprint and meet the Paris climate goals.
      Dozens more protesters, many wearing face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, demonstrated outside the nearby national parliament building and city hall."

      "Save Bristol Bay," Environmental Action, via E-mail, May 17, 2020, https://environmental-action.webaction.org/p/dia/action4/common/public/, stated, " Alaska's Bristol Bay is an irreplaceable wild place. It's home to one of the world's largest salmon runs, sheltering tens of millions of fish as they spawn. Around the vibrant waters, Alaskan tundra blooms into a rich wetland home to hundreds of species of birds and land animals. 1
But just upstream, a company wants to dig the largest open-pit mine in North America, which would do irreparable damage to Bristol Bay. And in April, a court failed to rule against the mine, which means, despite how destructive it could be, there's still a real possibility this project could happen
.
       It's time to put a stop to this wildly irresponsible project and protect this special place forever. Tell the Army Corps of Engineers: Say no to Pebble Mine and save Bristol Bay.
      Each year, all five types of North American salmon pour into Bristol Bay, and up the rivers that feed it, to spawn. After sheltering and growing here for their first few years, the offspring return to the Bering Sea.
      The ecosystem that has blossomed around the bay and its rivers revolves around the ebb and flow of the salmon. Wolves, grizzly bears and 190 kinds of birds live and feed here. The wetlands are rich with life in a way few might imagine the far north could be. 4
      If the gold and copper deposit that sits upstream is fully exploited, Pebble's open pits could cover an area the size of Manhattan. Blowing open that much tundra would block and drain many of the streams and wetlands so important to the salmon's reproduction. 5
      The Army Corps of Engineers is going to release its final environmental impact statement this summer, which could have a big impact on whether the project lives or dies. And the fact that a judge just ruled against mine opponents means that the possibility of this mine getting approved is very real. 6
       Take action: Send a message to the Army Corps of Engineers and tell it to spare Bristol Bay.
       One thing we now know about mines is that they leach toxic metals. In the U.S. alone, researchers have found that 50 million tons of wastewater loaded with toxic metals flow from mining sites every day, nearly half of which enters nearby waterways. 7
If toxic metals flow downstream from Pebble Mine into the salmon-rich Bristol Bay, that could seriously threaten the salmon run and, consequently, the countless wildlife that rely on the salmon to survive.
       Stand up for Bristol Bay."
"1. " About Bristol Bay," Environmental Protection Agency, last accessed October 16, 2019.
2. " An Assessment of Potential Mining Impacts on Salmon Ecosystems of Bristol Bay, Alaska -- Executive Summary," Environmental Protection Agency, January 14, 2014.
3. Liz Ruskin, " Foes of Pebble Mine lose a round in court," Alaska Public Media, April 17, 2020.
4. " About Bristol Bay," Environmental Protection Agency, last accessed October 16, 2019.
5. " An Assessment of Potential Mining Impacts on Salmon Ecosystems of Bristol Bay, Alaska -- Executive Summary," Environmental Protection Agency, January 14, 2014.
6. Liz Ruskin, " Foes of Pebble Mine lose a round in court," Alaska Public Media, April 17, 2020.
7. " US Mines Unleash Millions of Gallons of Polluted Water Each Day," Associated Press, February 21, 2019."

      Amazon Watch, https://amazonwatch.org/take-action/join-the-call-for-a-moratorium, on June 5, 2020, announced a campaign, "Join the Call for a Moratorium on the Invasion and Destruction of Amazonian Indigenous Lands!," "The COVID-19 pandemic has created an additional crisis for indigenous and traditional peoples across the Amazon Basin. In response, they have called for an immediate moratorium on any activity that includes the entering of foreign persons into indigenous territories, the development of mining activities, logging, oil exploration and extraction, industrial agriculture, religious proselytization, or increased militarization.
      Demand that Amazonian governments and corporations doing business there follow through with concrete action and immediately cease all destructive and extractive activities on indigenous lands
!"

      Arianna Adirim-Lanza, "First Nations in Canada Urge Northeast U.S. to Reject Greenwashed Canadian Hydropower," Cultural Survival, February 06, 2020, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/first-nations-canada-urge-northeast-us-reject-greenwashed-canadian-hydropower, reported, " Indigenous communities in Eastern Canada are denouncing a hydroelectric project that is slated to provide “clean” hydropower for sale to Northeast U.S. states.
      Despite vehement opposition from the Labrador Inuit, Nalcor Energy, the provincial energy corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador,
finished flooding the Muskrat Falls reservoir for the first phase of the Lower Churchill Project in September 2019 and is now finalizing plans to build the 2,250 MW Gull Island Dam for the project’s second phase, to be started once buyers are identified . The Gull Island Dam would be nearly three times the size of Muskrat Falls, a project that has fragmented Indigenous communities along the Churchill River, contaminated waterways with  toxic methylmercury, and brought harm to Indigenous ways of life.
      Nalcor has presented the second phase of the Lower Churchill Project as an initiative that will make up for economic losses sustained from the first phase of the project and with potential to export 'clean' energy to regions in the US such as New England. Yet Indigenous Peoples living near the project believe that the provincial government did not fulfill its responsibility to consult with them about development for the project and has disregarded concerns about environmental and Indigenous health risks. Although in July 2010, the Innu Nation gave their consent to the Lower Churchill Project, the Labrador Inuit and Labrador Métis, who live downstream from the major projects, were not consulted at all.
      According to a 2016 report commissioned by the Nunatsiavut government, who represent the Labrador Inuit, and conducted by Harvard University, Memorial University, and the University of Manitoba scientists, the flooding involved in the creation of hydroelectric power for the project results in the production of methylmercury. The accumulation of methylmercury causes a variety of health problems, including impaired brain development that can last for generations.
      The Labrador Inuit, whose land claim area extends into Lake Melville, which is an estuary only 50 kilometers from the site of the hydroelectric project, risk greater methylmercury exposures than others in the area. This is because they are more reliant on the local food web for their survival, and are thus more susceptible to the negative health impacts of consuming seafood from the river.
       Rita Monias, an Indigenous elder of Pimicikamak Cree Nation in northern Manitoba, traveled to Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, to protest the first phase of the project in 2018. She and dozens of other peaceful protestors were banned from Parliament Hill and arrested for trespassing.  “It’s not about me. It’s about our children, our grandchildren, and other people. We all need this place to live,” said Monias regarding the motivation for her activism.
       The Lower Churchill Project is one among many large scale hydropower projects pushed through by the Canadian government which have failed to properly consult with impacted First Nations. Monias previously joined other protestors from Pimicikamak Okimawin Cree Nation to voice opposition against Jenpeg Dam, a generating station built near their home that has severely disrupted their way of life.
`       Other Indigenous opponents of large dam projects who believe that the demand for energy in the US market will drive further development of Canada’s waterways for such projects have toured the New England region to speak against Canadian hydropower. One of these individuals, Roberta Benefiel, a director of Grand Riverkeeper Labrador, has traveled throughout New England to raise awareness about the impacts of such projects on Indigenous communities and the environment.' It’s not just about methylmercury,' said Benefiel. 'It’s about the natural flow of the river, and the loss of a valuable natural resource.'
       The construction of large hydroelectric dams carries significant environmental risks. Large dams disrupt rivers’ important function of regulating an increasingly volatile global carbon cycle. They also contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and destroy food chains, critical habitats, and biodiversity in freshwater ecosystems.
       New England currently receives 1.4 terawatt hours of electricity from hydropower projects in Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador alone, and many state governments in the region have agreed to purchase even more hydropower from other provinces of Canada. In 2018, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a power-purchase agreement with Hydro-Quebec to import 9.4 million MWh of Canadian hydropower energy from Quebec to Massachusetts every year. The transportation of Quebec hydropower to Massachusetts will require the construction of the 145-mile ‘New England Clean Energy Connect’ (NECEC) transmission project, which will cut through Maine’s forests, wetlands, rivers, and ponds, threatening vital wildlife habitats and ecosystems . Governor Janet Mills of Maine has already signed off on the transmission project.
      Additionally, as part of his version of a 'Green New Deal' for New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio is currently considering an agreement that would involve purchasing hydropower from Champlain Hudson Power Express , a proposed transmission line that would run under the Hudson River. The initiative would have disastrous environmental impacts for Indigenous communities throughout Canada.
       Take Action:
      The
North American Megadam Resistance Alliance , a coalition of organizations focused on protecting rivers and their communities by resisting “mega-dam” projects and associated transmission corridors, has started a petition urging New England state governors and Mayor de Blasio to reject Canadian hydropower. You can sign and share the petition here.
      Join Say NO to NECEC, a grassroots environmental education and advocacy group in Maine that opposes the New England Clean Energy Connect.
      S end a message or call 212-NEW-YORK to let Mayor Bill de Blasio know Canadian hydropower is not clean energy, and to urge him not to go forward with the Champlain Hudson Power Express agreement.
      Sign petition to Make Muskrat Right and sign up for updates from the Nunatsiavut government"

      Laura R. Graham, with collaboration from Edson Krenak Naknanuk, "A’uwẽ-Xavante Leaders Denounce Bogus Consultations Regarding 3 Hydroelectric Dams, Demand Halt to Commercial Transport on Federal Highways During Covid," Cultural Survival, May 13, 2020, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/auwe-xavante-leaders-denounce-bogus-consultations-regarding-3-hydroelectric-dams-demand-halt, reported, " A’uwẽ-Xavante leaders from the Xavante Indigenous Territories of São Marcos, Areões, Pimentel Barbosa and Sangradouro denounce the consultation process concerning three hydroelectric dams planned for tributaries to the Rio das Mortes in Brazil’s eastern Mato Grosso state. According to a denunciation issued on March 3, 2020, by A’uwẽ-Xavante leaders (see below), political and business interests are corrupting the consultation process. They are co-opting leaders, excluding representatives of communities to be affected, and seeding division among Indigenous Peoples who inhabit the Rio das Mortes basin.  Because a technical detail absurdly defines the affected zone as the very limited area within a 40-kilometer radius of each construction site, only a small group of leaders from a single Xavante Indigenous Territory, Sangradouro (see map), have been summoned to participate in meetings regarding the development of a consultation protocol. This same small group also authorizes companies involved in the dams’ construction to move forward conducting impact studies.
      In December 2019, FUNAI notified leaders from communities in the westernmost Xavante Indigenous Territory of Sangradouro of the firm Bom Futuro Energy’s plans to construct three small hydroelectric power plants -- Cumbuco, Geologist Lucimar Gomes, and Entre Rios -- on tributaries to the Rio das Mortes. Because these dams will affect four other Indigenous Territories along the Rio das Mortes -- including three additional Xavante Territories (São Marcos, Areões, Pimentel Barbosa) and also the Bororo Territory of Meruri  – the denunciation demands that  representatives from these Territories also be included in consultations and in developing a culturally meaningful consultation process. Moreover, the  authors - who include community leaders and representatives from A’uwẽ-Xavante NGOs - assert that, in order for a consultation protocol to be legitimate, representatives from the firms that have a stake in the construction – and, especially their money – as well as Mato Grosso state representatives who also have a stake in the project, must be excluded from the process.
      Citing the example of an A’uwẽ-Xavante representative from the Xavante Warã Association (AXW) who was banned from the meetings, the denunciation’s authors accuse the current consultation protocol of exclusionary practice, co-option of leadership, and exacerbating divisions and rivalries among A’uwẽ-Xavante.
       In addition to opposing the construction company’s participation in designing the consultation  protocol, the authors object to its proceeding with impact studies until representation from all A’uwẽ-Xavante and Boe-Bororo Territories to be affected are included in the consultation process.  In their denunciation the leaders underscore that the Rio das Mortes is sacred. The lives and cultures of A’uwẽ-Xavante and Boe-Bororo depend on the river’s vitality as well as on  the flora and fauna that are also sustained by a healthy river. For this reason, the leaders demand their right to autonomy and independence in constructing the consultation process (for more on Free, Prior and Informed Consent, see here ). See A’uwẽ-Xavante leaders’ denunciation below,
       While continuing to suffer pressure concerning the implementation of these dams, Boe-Bororo and A’uwẽ-Xavante -- whose territories are located at the epicenter of Brazil’s booming soy region -- are at risk of COVID-19 exposure from traffic along federal highways that run through their territories.  The Xavante Warã Association is demanding that Brazil suspend commercial traffic along Federal Highways BR-070 and BR-158 that traverse the Xavante Indigenous Territories of Areões, Marãiwaitsede, Pimentel Barbosa, São Marcos, and Sangradouro, and the Bororo Indigenous Territory Meruri (see AXW letter below).  Given population increases since 2014, when the last official demographic data was collected, the population in these areas totals at least 10,000.  Hundreds of transport trucks and busses daily travel these highways, potentially exposing thousands of Indigenous inhabitants to contagion.  Illegal fishing and hunting poachers, loggers and miners also enter A’uwẽ-Xavante and Boe-Bororo Indigenous Territories via these highways, further increasing Indigenous Peoples’ risk of  COVID exposure.  A’uwẽ-Xavante and Boe-Bororo also travel these highways to reach towns outside of their reserves where they purchase staple foods. Like many of Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples who began receiving basic food support (cesta basica) through social programs for low income households instituted during the Lula government (2003-2010), they now rely heavily on store-bought food staples. To obtain basic subsistence items, they must travel these dangerous highways which are now even more perilous when the risk of COVID exposure from truckers and other travelers is high. Reports indicate that, as of April 13, Brazil’s Indian Health Service has one confirmed at least one COVID case among A’uwẽ-Xavante.
       A’uwẽ-Xavante are particularly at risk for COVID-19 because of high rates of diseases that represent significant co-morbidity. Studies indicate that A’uwẽ-Xavante have the highest incidence of diabetes of any ethnic group in Brazil. They also have a high incidence of tuberculosis. Closing highways BR-070 and BR-158 to commercial transport would significantly reduce the potential exposure risk for  A’uwẽ-Xavante and Boe-Bororo who live along and travel these heavily trafficked highways. AXW requests support for its work making masks, as well as for food, and medication, to be distributed to A’uwẽ-Xavante communities. (To make a contribution to AXW’s COVID-related work, click here.) Click https://www.culturalsurvival.org/sites/default/files/Carta%20de%20CSBRs_Covid_April2020%5B1%5D.pdf to see Cultural Survival’s advocacy letter requesting Brazil suspend traffic along these highways.
      In the midst of COVID-19, Brazil continues to advance policies that undermine the rights of the nation’s 305 distinct Indigenous Peoples, who comprise more than 1 million of its citizens.  New actions by the Brazilian government not only repeat past injustices but are  accelerating threats to  the rights and livelihoods of Indigenous people.  They also exacerbate negative impacts on the environment, including the cerrado -- home to many unique and threatened flora and fauna species and with fewer legal protections than Amazonia  -- where A’uwẽ-Xavante and Boe-Bororo, along with thousands of other Indigenous Peoples, reside.  
      The government of Jair Bolsonaro favors the interests of  business, miners, land grabbers, local politicians, and representatives of the bancada ruralista in the National Congress (rural caucus) -- stakeholders who consistently violate Indigenous Peoples’ rights to  Free, Prior and Informed Consent- over the interests and lives of Indigenous Peoples.   Brazil’s Articulation of Indigenous Peoples (APIB), which brings together the nation’s Indigenous organizations, repudiates draft Bill 191 (Projeto de Lei 191) that President Jair Bolsonaro submitted to the National Congress on February 6, 2020.   If it becomes law, this bill which President Bolsonaro described as his “dream,” would loosen restrictions on third party activities in Indigenous Territories and permit  mineral, oil and gas exploration and extraction, as well as the implementation of large-scale infrastructure projects such as roads and hydroelectric dams. It would also allow intensive agricultural activities, thereby violating the 1988 Federal Constitution and ILO 169 which Brazil is party to since July 2002.  " APIB, therefore, denounces the Bolsonaro Government’s manipulation of our right to autonomy and repudiates this death project that, at whatever cost, permits the implementation in Indigenous Territories of projects that will cause irreversible impacts, especially to isolated and recently contacted Indigenous Peoples. ” On May 13, 2020, the President of Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies delayed consideration of this bill until the following week.
      Another modification, Institutional Norm #9/2020, dated April 22, 2020 is particularly dangerous because it officially alters the administrative charge of FUNAI, the Brazilian equivalent of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs.  The new norm aligns FUNAI and its work more closely with the Presidential agenda.  The Norm undermines Indigenous Peoples’ constitutionally guaranteed rights to lands by permitting the government to refrain from granting legal title to Indigenous Territories that have not yet completed all of the many steps in the long and complicated administrative process of finalizing title (“homologizing”).  Currently 237 Indigenous Territory cases, in various procedural stages of the titling process, are pending.
During the Bolsonaro regime, the number of Indigenous Territories suffering illegal invasions has more than doubled.  Invaders are involved in illegal activities such as mining, timber extraction, and the poaching and sale of wild animals. With fewer resources and less power and expertise than ever before, FUNAI now operates according to an economic-political agenda that has nothing to do with Indigenous rights and protection.
       Draft Bill 191 and Institutional Norm #9/2020 are part of the 'structured policy' that the government of Jair Bolsonaro is implementing to systematically undermine Indigenous rights and delay the demarcation of Indigenous lands. His strategy involves changing FUNAI’s administrative mandate, issuing requests for the  re-analysis of territorial claims, eliminating resources and  replacing key personnel who are responsible for studies that delimit Territories with individuals who are less capable.  The Bolsonaro’ government’s policies are endangering the lives of Indigenous Peoples and exacerbating existing rural conflicts. FUNAI’s current president, Marcelo Augusto Xavier da Silva, its new officers - who are affiliated with the military and agribusiness - and the Director of the Isolated Peoples’ Program, Ricardo Lopes Dias, support President Bolsonaro’s agenda to evangelize, exploit and dismantle Constitutional protections for Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples. During the COVID-19 pandemic in which, according to APIB, 77 Indigenous Brazilians have died to date and 308 individuals from 34 distinct Indigenous groups have been infected, President Bolsonaro’s inflammatory rhetoric is stimulating invasions into Indigenous Territories and  increasing violence against Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples.  The president is making good on all of the anti-indigenous promises he made during his campaign, including his commitment to  “not demarcate one more millimeter” of land for Indigenous Peoples. The Bolsonaro government is pressing rapidly ahead with its project to undermine Indigenous rights during the pandemic.
       A’uwẽ-Xavante Motion Regarding Consultation Procedures in relation to Construction of Hydroelectrics on the  Rio das Mortes Mato Grosso, Brazil
March 3, 2020, Barra do Garças, Mato Grosso
      'We – caciques, leaders and Associations from Xavante Indigenous Territories of São Marcos, Areões, Pimentel Barbosa and Sangradouro -- publicly denounce the manner in which discussions concerning three Small Hydroelectric Power Plants planned for construction on the Rio das Mortes are being handled by the firm Bom Futuro Energy. The three projects are:  Cumbuco, Geologist Lucimar Gomes, and Entre Rios. Bom Futuro Energy exploits the Mato Grosso region, installing development projects adjacent to Indigenous lands.
      From the outset, when  Bom Futuro Energy first sought to present its project to Xavante, the company has endeavored to cause division among our people.  Its meetings are spaces of co-option and the exclusion of opposing viewpoints.  The documents produced based on these meetings do not express what actually happened at the meetings. The meeting minutes omit discussions that took place regarding the hydroelectric projects.  The debates about the Free, Prior and Informed Consultation managed by the firm seek to manipulate this process within the community of Sangradouro.
      The minutes from the first meeting,  held on December 5, 2019, states that the company presented its project and spoke about the terms of Free, Prior and Informed consultation.
      At that meeting, Mr. Norberto Tseredawa, secretary of the Warã Association, proposed to include Representatives from three additional Xavante Indigenous Territories - São Marcos, Areões and Pimentel Barbosa -- and also Bororo who inhabit the Indigenous Territory of Meruri, because the Rio das Mortes passes through these territories and is essential to the reproduction of our life and cultures. We understand the participation of these communities to be essential to the legitimacy of the consultation process. The meeting minutes indicate that "representatives were chosen" who have the capacity to deliberate the consultation’s procedures.
      At the second meeting held in Primavera do Leste on January 27, 2020, those present decided that only the members of this Commission of representatives could participate [thereby limiting A’uwẽ-Xavante representation to those from Sangradouro who participated in the first meeting]. However, in addition to these members, other representatives who are in favor of the project were also present:  representatives of the Pareci Association; Mr. Aguinaldo Santos, Superintendent for Indigenous Affairs for the State of Mato Grosso; and the President of the Rural Union of Primavera do Leste.  In contrast, the participation of Mr. Felix A’uwẽ, Vice President of the Xavante Warã Association, was barred because he was not part of the first Commission. The inclusion of the members from the first Commission and prohibition against Felix’s participation favored the company’s position. Consensus in favor of the projects was being built into the formation of this Commission, which is responsible for carrying out the consultation process itself.
      We defend the elaboration of the Consultation Protocol in which all A’uwẽ-Xavante people can decide and participate in Free, Prior and Informed Consultation because the Rio das Mortes is a sacred part of our territories and fundamental for the reproduction of our way of life. We are already concerned about what is happening on the Teles Pires River, where the Sinop hydroelectric plant was responsible for a large fish-kill in 2019 that continued into this year. We do not want the same thing to happen with our sacred river.
      The document describing the scope and Plan of Work [Terms of Reference] issued by the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) specifies that consultations will take place with Sangradouro Indigenous Territory thereby excluding all other Xavante and Bororo Indigenous Territories to be affected by these projects. This is legalistically rationalized based on an official decree defining 40 km as the area to be affected by the projects. This is a bureaucratic strategy to avoid consultations with our communities as a whole. This cannot be the starting point for the construction of our Consultation Protocol because we understand that an ensemble of Xavante Indigenous Territories must participate in the Consultation.
      The minutes from the third meeting of this Committee, held on February 11, 2020, and self-titled “Grand Meeting for Prior Consultation” documents the presence of the entire staff of technical specialists from Bom Futuro Energy and MRS Consultants and their participation in debates. The minutes end by stating that the Xavante are not opposed to continuing the studies required for the execution of the Hydroelectric Plants and to the possibility that the company pay for and develop the Consultation Protocol.
      The company’s presence in the development of the Xavante Consultation Protocol, is inacceptable. Even more unacceptable is the company’s money.  We have the autonomy to decide! We assert that the Bororo Indigenous Territory of Meruri  and the Xavante Indigenous Territories of Areões, São Marcos and Pimentel Barbosa, all to be affected by these hydroelectric projects, should also be part of the committee responsible for developing our Consultation Protocol.
      Furthermore, representatives from the company, the Mato Grosso state Office of Indigenous Affairs, and technical specialists paid for by the company among others, must not be present in this Committee. We do not agree with the illegitimate manner in which this process is being managed. Those who defend hydroelectric plants are working to create divisions among Xavante. Our communities are being harassed by development companies who attempt to deepen divisions and exacerbate rivalries. The enemies of Indigenous Rights support this criminal activity.
      The Consultation Protocol must be developed by A’uwẽ-Xavante in an independent autonomous and independent manner, without interference from those with interests in the hydroelectric power plants. These projects will create dependency, worsen our living conditions and have damaging effects on our culture. The Rio das Mortes is our sacred river. Its vitality is fundamental to our culture. We, A’uwẽ-Xavante, wish to build our Consultation Protocol in our own way, independently and according to our traditional organization, as recognized in ILO Convention 169.  This is the only possible way to develop a consultation process that is valid for our people. Any other way is illegitimate.
       Read ASSOCIAÇÃO XAVANTE WARÃ's letter requesting COVID assistance at: https://www.culturalsurvival.org/sites/default/files/Covid%20solicitation_BR%20suspension.pdf      
       Carta de ASSOCIAÇÃO XAVANTE WARÃ em português: https://www.culturalsurvival.org/sites/default/files/Solicitação%20COVID-NO%20BR%20traffic.pdf."

       Adam Nossiter, "One of Europe’s Most Polluted Towns Stages a Noisy Revolt: Residents of Fos-sur-Mer accepted a trade-off for decades: good jobs for foul air. But when the health costs became impossible to ignore, they went to court, a groundbreaking move in France.," The New York Times, April 1, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/01/world/europe/france-pollution-fos-sur-mer.html, reported, " For years, the inhabitants of Fos-sur-Mer, France, accepted their illnesses — for example, a cancer rate that is double the national average [and there is a high rate of asthma]  — in exchange for jobs in the nearly 200 factories, warehouses, gas terminals and industrial sheds that surround them."
      "But enough got to be enough. Citizens in this otherwise sun-dappled corner of the Mediterranean, just west of Marseille, decided not long ago that they would take action, whatever their misgivings about losing their jobs."
      The residents of Fos-sur-Mer have taken their concerns to court with a  file a criminal complaint charging the steel, oil and petrochemical companies in the region of risking their lives
, and indeed many have become sick and a good many died from pollution.

      Nati Garcia, "Exchanging Experiences of Communities Affected by Dams," Cultural Survival,  January 18, 2020, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/exchanging-experiences-communities-affected-dams, reported, "On September 24-27, 2019 , the third gathering of Peoples affected by dams, For Water, Energy and Sovereignty of the Peoples, was held in Panama with the organizational support of the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAR) and Red Nacional en Defensa del Agua en Panamá (RNDAP) at the University of Panama. Over 100 delegates Indigenous and non-Indigenous from Canada, United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Uruguay, Peru, Cuba, Haiti, Uganda, El Salvador, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Germany, and Panama attended.
      A grant from the Keepers of the Earth Fund supported the participation of Indigenous delegates from Panama to help strengthen communication and relationships with Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in Latin America and to unify their struggles at the international level.
       With the dynamics imposed by the global economy, Latin American countries are seen as a commodity full of raw resources and material to exploit, where large corporate companies and international banks appropriate natural assets such as water and oil for investment in the energy development sector as means to concentrate the wealth and detriment access to the people habituating the source. Panama and many other countries have been experiencing a rapid increase of hydroelectric project construction without the consent of local communities and with no plans for reparation measures or accountability; consequently, contributing to the increase of poverty, cultural fragmentation, and social vulnerability. Hydroelectric constructions deeply affect the surrounding ecosystem by flooding areas of fertile land and biodiversity. These processes are also responsible for the increase of violence, particularly affecting Indigenous women and children.
       Most corporate companies who benefit from the energy sector are transnational. Other beneficiaries include companies that sell equipment, construction material, as well as international banks that fund the projects. Since there is little accountability for human rights violations committed, impunity only multiples and no legal regulation is imposed.      
       It is from this context where social movements and organizations are confronting the effects of hydroelectric projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. This was one of the objectives for the continental gathering held in Panama, along with bridging acknowledgment of the presence of Indigenous Peoples in these conversations as the ones severely impacted and most excluded. As attendee Rogelio Urriola, cacique from Ngäbe Buglé Comarca, Veraguas, stated, 'It is important to know the worldview of Indigenous Peoples. I believe that the people that have a fundamental basis of processes, struggle and life of the territory is the original Peoples. We are not people that return to nature nor do we defend nature, we are nature. When companies arrive in the villages they always want to negotiate and we do not want to negotiate. We then do not manage to reach a resolution in our favor.'
       In the western part of Panama alone, over 25 hydroelectric project licenses have been granted for construction of large multipurpose dams which also support transportation and mining companies to have an easier entry into Indigenous and campesino territories without community approval. These projects have caused much controversy and division among communities.
       The Panamanian government does not recognize Indigenous territories as collective lands. Many Indigenous communities continue to reside outside the comarca. Their lands are labelled as 'protected areas' by law without Indigenous consultation. The management of the territories is then administered by the Ministry of Environment, facilitating investment for large hydroelectric projects, mining operations or residential tourism. This places Indigenous Peoples in a situation of a constant struggle in reclaiming their territory and natural resources.
      Indigenous delegates from the Ño Kribo, Bagama, Nedrini and Ködridri areas of the Comarca Ngäbe Bugle, as well as delegates from the Emberá and Naso communities attended the meeting. The Indigenous delegates shared their experiences in defending their territories in Panama and the need for support from national and international movements. Delegates impacted by the controversial hydroelectric projects such as Barro Blanco, Changuinola 1 Hydroelectric Dam (Chan-75) and Central Hydroelectric Bonyic also shared actions taken at the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights and UNESCO as examples of their resistance. "'It was a very good experience, a space to meet brothers from other countries with the same struggle, about territorial rights and natural resources. It allowed us to publicize the reality of Panama to the other countries. It was good to know more about MAR, which is an immense ocean that unites us all, with a single thought for the rivers, for the land, for our rights, and for the defense of future generations, against bad intentions from companies and governments that do not understand the rights of Indigenous Peoples and Afro- descendants,' said Feliciano Santos (Ngäbe) land defense coordinator in Bocas del Toro.
      'We have to be aware of the fight and struggle, the fight is not only for this moment, it’s always present,” a statement declared by Weni Miranda (Ngäbe) from a small village called Kiad located in Bagama in the Ngäbe Bugle Comarca where construction of Barro Blanco Hydroelectric project has imposed human rights violations and damage to the ecosystem. Miranda is also a member of the April 10th Movement (Movimiento 10 de Abril), where her family continue to resist operations of the hydroelectric project. It is a reminder that for many Indigenous communities the struggle for existence is always present. It is a sacrifice to guarantee the survival of future generations and protection of mother earth. In the cosmology of many Indigenous Peoples who have been stewards and allies of the natural world, there is no separation, there is one holistic identity.
      The four-day gathering paved the route for strengthening strategic organization, communication, and development of solidarity among continental struggles for the defense of Indigenous lands. The event was deemed a positive development that reaffirmed hope, commitment, and determination.
      In addition to continental gathering, a meeting was held exclusively for women. Over 50 women from 20 countries affected by dams participated. Indigenous and non-Indigenous women gathered to share stories and experiences. 'We, women, are a main part of the fight. Without women, a struggle never progresses as it should. We have been in conflict with Barrio Blanco dam for many years and continue,'  said Guedia Jiménez (Ngäbe), a member of the  Movimiento 10 de abril against the Barro Blanco dam.
      The space was a supportive and multicultural embrace of many women who denounced the violations of transnational companies who benefit from the water and energy of Indigenous communities and prevent communities from living a dignified life that respects human rights and nature. There are many challenges that women face when confronting these struggles where inhuman systems of equality hinder their manifestation for self-determination. There is great need to create spaces for women to self-organize and develop fighting strategies against violence, discrimination, and destruction. "Indigenous Peoples and women have proposals for development that have nothing to do with banks or other countries that have an interest in our territory," stated a representative from Bloque de Organizaciones Campesinas Indígenas del Norte Amazónico in Bolivia (BOCINAB).
      Very often Indigenous women are on the frontlines defending life and face patriarchal, imperialist, and colonialist systems. As a delegate from Peru sang “When my people are in danger, I will give my life, my blood, for my brothers who suffer…Together we will fight with one heart for the sovereignty of Latin America to advance to a revolution. Together we will fight with one heart.” Her voice echoed the resistance and strength of the women, who then in unity chanted, 'Women, water, and energy are not merchandise to be violated.'
      The exchange of experiences at the four-day continental gathering demonstrated cooperation between various organizations and movements, showing vitality and commitment to social change to face the challenges in a world of climate crisis."

      "Koef Grant Partner Spotlight: Lokiaka Community Development Centre," Cultural Survival, January 27, 2020, https://www. culturalsurvival.org/news/koef-grant-partner-spotlight-lokiaka-community-development-centre. reported, "The Ogoni in the Niger Delta region face threats to their livelihood as the quality of their land depletes and the biodiversity of the local ecosystem deteriorates due to oil and gas extraction on their land. Their farmlands are less fertile and integral plants are becoming extinct, escalating food insecurity. Through a grant from Keepers of the Earth Fund to the Lokiaka Community Development Centre, volunteers at Lokiaka worked to replenish the land by conducting two intensive training sessions with Ogoni women. Workshops taught 65 women farmers the skills to start mangrove and fruit tree nurseries, and trained 55 women to make fuel-efficient stoves out of clay. Lokiaka emphasizes the role of Indigenous women farmers in maintaining the health of the land and ecosystem to ensure that women are recognized as important stewards of the land. With the aid of KOEF’s resources, Lokiaka helped Ogoni women utilize their natural resources to improve their living standards while reducing carbon emissions, deforestation, and climate change.
       The population of mangroves in the Niger Delta Region has substantially diminished due to clearings for commercial agriculture urban construction, pollution due to artisanal refining, oil spills, and runoff containing chemical and biological contaminants. Additionally, the changing climate has brought an influx of cyclones, hurricanes, and tsunamis that cause severe damage to the mangrove population. Mangroves are extremely versatile in their usage for the Ogoni people as they can be used as water-resistant wood for buildings and furniture, serve as domestic fuel, protect shorelines from erosion, and filter pollutants to maintain water quality. Participants learned about sustainable nursing of mangrove propagules and how to transport them within the mangrove swamp forest of Kwawa. The women also learned how to preserve seedlings in fruit tree nurseries; encouraging plant growth in these communities combats food insecurity and health issues. Many women also cultivate medicinal plants and local herbs to remedy llnesses.  
      Barisi Dumbor, a participant from Kegbara Dere in the Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State, raised several nurseries of palm nut, fruit trees, and mangroves. This is one of the most polluted areas in Ogoni, but Indigenous women trained by Lokiaka effectively utilize their resources to grow and harvest plants here. Instead of buying seeds, she gathers them from waste dumping grounds, under fruit trees, and from the fruit she eats herself. Nursery cultivation has proven to be a low cost and highly effective way to increase her income through farming: 'Raising fruit tree nurseries is new to me, and it has helped to put food on my table and helped train my two boys,' Dumbor commented. 'Now I know that I do not need to have farmland before starting my agriculture business. Even my veranda and garden can give me money today, and I’m happy.' Namon Grace Nwidee, another training beneficiary, said, “I agree with the resource person who said planting trees will wipe away our tears and would drive away hunger in the land.' In addition to increasing food accessibility in Ogoni, women also practice sustainable farming and forest management techniques to combat deforestation and mitigate climate change. Participants were able to support plant nurseries despite the harsh weather conditions and insecurity within their provinces with the help of Lokiaka’s training and resources. However, women in the Nyokhana district, the largest and most remote area in Ogoni, were unable to maintain their nurseries due to violence and conflict.
      The second training Lokiaka offered taught Ogoni women how to make fuel-efficient stoves. Many older women in these communities are potters, but the practice is less common among younger generations due to the lack of commercial use for pottery. The introduction of the “new” technology of clay stoves is transforming the skills of the potters into a valuable asset for the community. Producing and using these stoves reduced 55 households’ dependency on forest wood for heat and energy, lowering carbon emissions. The stoves also serve as a stepping stone towards the implementation of forest conservation and more sustainable, environmentally friendly practices in the future in Ogoni.
      The importance of Indigenous women farmers cannot be overstated. With this work, the Ogoni community is contributing to climate resilience in several ways. Mangroves are among the most carbon rich tropical forests and can store twice as much carbon on a per area basis as salt marshes, preventing carbon from escaping into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas. Carbon storage also results in the accretion of sediment, allowing the coastline to keep up with rising water levels. By training Ogoni women in sustainable agricultural practices, their knowledge of conservation forest practices will continue to rejuvenate the local ecosystems and improve the health of Ogoni communities."

      "COVID-19 and the Dangerous Trade in Wildlife," Center for Biological Diversity, March 26, 2020, via E-mail, stated. "Even as we isolate ourselves, COVID-19 reminds us how connected we are to each other — and to wildlife, the likely source of the current pandemic.
      That's why this week the Center for Biological Diversity joined more than 100 other organizations urging Congress to tackle wildlife trade and habitat destruction. Our letter noted that 60% of known infectious diseases in people can be transmitted from animals, and 75% of emerging "zoonotic" infectious diseases originate in wildlife. These emergent diseases have quadrupled in the past 50 years.
      'The solution couldn't be clearer: One crucial way to reduce disease risk is to curb wildlife exploitation
,' wrote Tanya Sanerib, legal director of our International program, in an op-ed in The Hill this week. "China, to its credit, slapped a moratorium on live markets and a temporary trade ban earlier this year. But much stronger, broader action is needed around the planet.'
      Read Tanya's op-ed (https://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/489299-coronavirus-shows-exploiting-wildlife-poses-risks-to-human-health) and learn more about our letter to Congress (https://biologicaldiversity.org/w/news/press-releases/100-groups-urge-congress-address-covid-19-causes-wildlife-trade-habitat-destruction-2020-03-24/). More than 1,400 members and supporters joined our call on these important issues last night. You can listen to it at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01ZwGO7XVyE."

      Environmental Action stated, May 21, 2020, https://environmental-action.webaction.org/p/dia/action4/common/public/, " At least three-quarters of emerging infectious diseases -- including COVID-19 -- are believed to have originated in animals and jumped to human populations.
      When diseases cross from wildlife to people, it's almost always because humans have interfered with wildlife or their habitat. Destroying habitat, taking animals from their homes, and forcing them into cramped conditions to be trafficked and sold increases the risk that new diseases will make the jump.
2
      Putting an end to wildlife trafficking would help save some of the planet's most endangered animals -- and help protect human populations from the threat of newly emerging diseases.
      
Take action to support the PAW Against Trafficking Act (HR 6043), which will help stop the importation of trafficked wildlife into America and cut down on the global wildlife trade. "
_________________
James Horrox, " Sick ecosystems lead to sick people: How deforestation is aiding the spread of disease," Frontier Group, April 14, 2020.
2. Rachel Nuwer, " To Prevent Next Coronavirus, Stop the Wildlife Trade, Conservationists Say," The New York Times, February 19, 2020.

      Joaqlin Estus, "Tribal leaders call Bears Ears opening an 'unlawful action'," ICT,  February 13, 2020,  https://files.constantcontact.com/c2394f27001/6ff64ea9-6da1-4f8c-ae05-572b3c893867.pdf, reported, "Thursday the Trump administration announced it was opening two national monuments to development. The culturally and geologically significant Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante monuments will be available for cattle grazing, mining, and oil and gas development.
      Five tribes had formed a coalition in 2015 to promote protection of the Bears Ears region; dozens more tribes have expressed support for their effort.
      In a prepared statement, Shaun Chapoose, Ute, co-chair of the Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition and representative of the Ute Indian Tribe Business Committee, said the coalition is united in opposition to the administration’s management plan for the two monuments."
      "Let's make it green on January 20th: High Atlas Foundation will Plant Thousands of Trees," High Atlas Foundation, January 10, 2020, https://mailchi.mp/highatlasfoundation/lets-make-it-green-on-january-20th-high-atlas-foundation-will-plant-thousands-of-trees, stated, " As the new year begins, the High Atlas Foundation (HAF) would like to invite Moroccan communities to aid in the planting of thousands of trees on Monday, January 20 th, 2020, in celebration of 'Annual Tree Planting Day 2020,'"

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U.S. Activities

       The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) held its annual Executive Council Winter Session in Albuquerque, NM with NCAI President Fawn Sharp, Quinault,  giving the annual State of Indian Nations Address and New Mexico Congressperson Deb Haaland, Laguna Pueblo, giving the annual Congressional Response to the President's State of the Union Address, a week after President Trump gave his address. Kolby KickingWoman, "‘Undeniable truth … Indian nations’ are strong," ICT, February 10, 2020, https://indiancountrytoday.com/news/undeniable-truth-indian-nations-are-strong-3DATH32DWku8StT6SDDJXA, reported that, President Fawn Sharp, delivered the State of the Indian Nations Address, saying early on, “I stand before you today, supported by more than 600 tribal nations and governments across this land to share with you this undeniable truth, the state of Indian nations is strong.” “The purpose of this annual address is to memorialize and affirm the enduring government-to-government relationship between tribal nations and the U.S. government.”
       In reporting on progress and remaining challenges on Indian issues, Sharp called for Indian Nations to raise the bar and issue a new standard of accountability to the federal government. This included insisting the federal government enact a clean Carcieri fix, advanced appropriations for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Indian Health Service, and end attacks on the Indian Child Welfare Act. She said, “This is what we demand and this is what we deserve. We will settle for nothing less, and we will exercise our rapidly growing political power and voice in Washington and at the ballot box against any and all who fail to meet this standard.” In concluding, Sharp stated, “We are strongest when we think and act as one regarding the things that matter most to all of us.” “When we join together, we are an unstoppable force capable of overcoming our greatest challenges and achieving our greatest and unimaginable futures and aspirations.”
      In the Congressional reply to the President Trump's State of the Union Address, Haaland voiced a number of criticisms of the U.S. President's actions. These included objecting to the Trump administration’s downsizing of Bear Ears National Monument by 85-percent, the reduction of the Grand Staircase Escalante by 50-percent, his and his administration's attacks on climate change and the lack of formal interaction between the administration and tribes, as well as the President's divisive language and appeals to settler colonialism. She expressed concerns that the Executive Order creating the “Operation Lady Justice Task Force” to deal with missing and murdered Indigenous women lacks transparency and does not include the voices of survivors or tribal leaders. She commented, “If we are truly going to address this crisis we need the Administration to recognize the centuries of violence that Native people have endured, which won’t be solved without concrete procedures and with only $1.5 million,” Haaland asserted that this year the two critical issues that rise above everything else are the Census and 2020 general election, and urged all of Indian Country to take part in both. “The president’s disdain for decency and respect of human beings and our institutions are untenable. I urge Indian Country to devote every possible resource to electing a president who reflects the values that define us.”

      The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) has shifted with the COVID-19 pandemic from face to face meetings to on-line dialogues. These include, Native Vote Rally: Join us live on Facebook and YouTube!, May 28, 2020; 2020 Census Roundtable Discussion, May 26, 2020; Congressional Town Hall on COVID-19 Legislative Efforts: a virtual  town hall for tribal leaders to hear directly from members of Congress who fought for Indian Country’s inclusion in the third Congressional COVID-19 Package; and Forum: Tribal Government in Action: showcasing several innovative and forward-thinking approaches that tribal nations are deploying in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, April 30, 2020 (all were announced by NCAI via E-mail).

       Leading National Civil Rights and Racial Justice Organizations Denounce Murder of George Floyd, Call for Impartial Investigation of Officers Involved," The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), June 1, 2020, http://www.ncai.org/news/articles/2020/06/01/leading-national-civil-rights-and-racial-justice-organizations-denounce-murder-of-george-floyd-call-for-impartial-investigation-of-officers-involved, stated, " As the foremost national coalition of organizations dedicated to civil rights and racial justice, we are both heartbroken and outraged at the brutal and senseless murder of George Floyd by officers of the Minneapolis Police Department. George Floyd becomes the latest in a long and growing line of members of our communities who have needlessly died at the hands of police acting outside of the bounds of the law and their sworn duty to uphold and protect the public. This epidemic of racialized violence must stop, and it must stop now. Bringing it to an end will require the affirmative commitment, solidarity and sustained action of all Americans, from grassroots advocacy to the ballot box.
       Our collaborative calls for swift, full, and impartial justice for George Floyd and his family. We call for justice for the many other Black, American Indian, Alaska Native, Latino, Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander people of color who have suffered the same fate at the hands of law enforcement across this country. And we call for justice for the future victims from our communities, who no doubt will lose their lives unless all Americans come together to compel federal, state, and local governments to dismantle the deep-rooted power structures that allow these brutal acts of violence to occur, and then go unpunished. We call for:
· the immediate arrest of all of the officers involved in George Floyd’s murder;
· President Trump’s appointment of an independent special prosecutor to lead the federal government’s full and impartial investigation of the murder of George Floyd, specifically to determine whether violations of federal hate crimes statutes have occurred and to prosecute those violations accordingly to the full extent of the law;
· the systematic reinstitution by the Department of Justice of consent decrees on police departments and municipal governments across this country that have demonstrated patterns of racism towards and mistreatment of people of color;
· Congressional oversight hearings, at least annually, to review the status of the implementation of the Death in Custody Reporting Act to compel the collection, reporting and analysis of all deaths, by race and gender, that occur in law enforcement custody, including any while a person is detained or arrested;
· federal, state, and local governments to issue states of emergency declaring racism a public health crisis, and to develop targeted policies to address this crisis; and
· all Americans to commit to working with us to dismantle systemic racism that has enabled this scourge of race-based violence to grow unabated
.
      As the Bishop Desmond Tutu once declared, 'If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.'”

      "NCAI Condemns the Behavior of the Officers Involved in the Death of George Floyd," The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), May 29, 2020, http://www.ncai.org/news/articles/2020/05/29/ncai- condemns-the-behavior-of-the-officers-involved-in-the-death-of-george-floyd, stated, "The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the oldest and largest national organization comprised of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments and their citizens, denounces the reprehensible conduct and fatal actions by the Minneapolis Police Department that caused the death of George Floyd.
       Indian Country knows too well the terrible harm that racist and unaccountable police officers can inflict upon peaceful citizens. Police violence is occurring across the United States and is growing at alarming rates. The growth in unlawful and racially-motivated conduct by police officers demonstrates the prejudice that communities of color are continuing to endure, and our cries for equal rights and justice are being ignored. And far too often, these perpetrators in uniform are shielded from prosecution and other forms of warranted punishment by indifferent or enabling law enforcement leadership and police unions.
      'As someone who served in law enforcement for a decade and took an oath to protect and serve all of my fellow citizens, I am sickened by what I’ve witnessed over the past several days, first with the murder of George Floyd, and the inadequate response since to apprehend and bring to justice all of those responsible. This latest unjustifiable tragedy is a stark reminder that people of color face disproportionate rates of police brutality, a situation that merits a comprehensive national policy response. No one should be harmed or murdered simply because of the color of their skin,' said Kevin Allis, Chief Executive Officer of the National Congress of American Indians.
       Law enforcement officers who swear an oath to protect all citizens yet use violence as a tool to oppress and harm communities of color should be investigated and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. We stand in solidarity with the African American community and the organizations that serve the African American community, and are committed to working together to advance policies of racial equity, policies that must begin with creating a law enforcement system in this country that protects and serves all Americans. #BlackLivesMatter."

      " 100+ Corporations & Partner Organizations Support COVID-19 Action Agenda," National Congress of American Indians, April 30, 2020, http://www.ncai.org/news/articles/2020/04/30/100-corporations-partner-organizations-support-covid-19-action-agenda, reported, " Collectively our ten organizations are leading conveners for business leaders in championship for diverse communities: Pan-Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, women, LGBTQ, Native Americans, persons with disabilities and employees of all and no faiths. We redouble on our mission of promoting inclusion and stand together in collaboration to address the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. While low-wage earners are particularly vulnerable during this public health and economic crisis, the coronavirus outbreak has also claimed disproportionate numbers of lives in communities of color and has given rise to a surge of anti-Asian sentiment. We call on our members, partners and associates to join us along with the growing list of Supporting Companies in affirming the following 5-Point Action Agenda:
Promote Inclusion:  Advocate for a diverse and inclusive workplace and society
Raise Awareness: Highlight the unique impacts of COVID-19 on vulnerable groups
Denounce Bias: Encourage individuals to report virus-linked discriminatory acts against Pan-Asians and other targeted groups and communities in the workplace and in public
Support Communities: Contribute time, knowledge and / or other resources to aid frontline workers, COVID-19 victims and families
Give Donations: Provide funds and / or other resources to support vulnerable populations of people and impacted businesses
      Finding sustainable solutions to the current public health, social and economic challenges is a global imperative. Discrimination targeted at Pan-Asians in forms of shunning, harassment and assaults impedes our ability to stem the spread of the pandemic. About 20% of U.S. healthcare workers are immigrants; 17% of doctors in the U.S. are of Asian descent, while people of all backgrounds work to save lives on the frontline. Discriminatory threats against any first responders also put at risk the patients they serve and delay finding a cure for the disease. Pan-Asians and our diverse communities are an integral part of the solutions to this global crisis.
      Heeding historical precedents for scapegoating marginalized groups for diseases and economic instability, our organizations are working together to combat anti-Asian stigma and all forms of bias based on age, color, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation and veteran status. We will continue to advance best practices to safeguard protections for Pan-Asians and other marginalized employee segments. These efforts also include working with key coalitions such as CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion to advance awareness and education of bias at the highest levels of the business community.
      We recognize the fight against the current pandemic requires a whole-of-society approach. We urge supporters to engage in our programming, share widely our 5-Point Action Agenda and resource materials. Post-COVID-19 recovery will require the collective networks, capacities, knowledge and skills of our organizations. Almost 200 years ago, Alexis de Tocqueville observed that the success of America’s experiment is our exceptional belief in the "common good." We are all in this together; now more than ever, we need to ascend to the challenges before us and rebuild a whole post-crisis world. Together, our organizations and Supporting Companies will act to catalyze progress for our resilient future.
#AscendTogether
Anna Mok President, Ascend
Damian Rivera CEO, ALPFA
Lorraine Hariton President & CEO, Catalyst
Steve Odland President & CEO, The Conference Board
John Rice CEO & Founder, Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT)
Walter J. Smith, CPA President & CEO, National Association of Black Accountants (NABA, Inc.)
Fawn R. Sharp President, National Congress of American Indians (NCAI)
Carol Glazer President, National Organization on Disability
Erin Uritus CEO, Out & Equal
Joyce S. Dubensky, Esq. CEO, Tanenbaum,"

      "NCAI Update and Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Webpage," ," National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), March 13, 2020," http://www.ncai.org/news/articles/2020/03/13/ncai-update-and-coronavirus-covid-19-resource-webpage, reported, "      This afternoon, President Trump issued an emergency declaration in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic. NCAI is currently engaging key Administration officials to ensure that vital federal programs and funding continue to support the needs of Indian Country.
      The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is receiving a lot of questions from tribal nations and others about the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and requests for help with finding credible, factual information. NCAI has created a webpage featuring links to resources on COVID-19 from known and reliable sources.
      View the webpage here: (
http://www.ncai.org/initiatives/partnerships-initiatives/resources-for-indian-country-coronavirus )
      NCAI also recommends caution when viewing information on social media unless it comes from trusted sources. Most of the resources on our webpage use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) webpage to develop their information.
      View here: (
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html )
      Thank you for all you are doing for our communities during this difficult time. We plan to send regular updates on this topic to ensure you have the latest information."

       NCAIPress@ncai.org / Natalie Landreth / nlandreth @narf.or g, "NCAI and NARF Joint Statement on Recent Census Announcement and Call for Congress to Extend Census Operations," National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), April 14, 2020, http://www.ncai.org/news/articles/2020/04/14/ncai-and-narf-joint-statement-on-recent-census-announcement-and-call-for-congress-to-extend-census-operations, stated, " The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) applaud the decision by the U.S. Census Bureau to request statutory authority from Congress to extend 2020 Census operations by 120 days.
      The U.S. Census Bureau has requested that field data collection and self-response for the 2020 Census be extended until October 31, 2020 due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has already resulted in a suspension of all census field operations. The Bureau further requested that apportionment counts be delivered to the President by April 30, 2021 and redistricting data be delivered to the states by July 31, 2021
.
      The U.S. Census Bureau’s in-person field operations are critical to getting a complete count of rural Indian Country and urban American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs). Although millions of Americans can respond to the census questionnaire through the Internet, by phone, or by mail, those options are largely unavailable to AIANs. Most AI/AN tribal areas and reservations are located in geographically isolated areas that lack access to broadband and reliable cellular coverage. AIANs living on reservations or in rural areas typically lack street addresses which prevents them from receiving census materials by mail. These barriers and others, such as language and illiteracy, are why the U.S. Census Bureau has designated many households in tribal areas to receive their 2020 Census questionnaire directly from Bureau staff visting their communities.
      The impact of the U.S. Census Bureau’s suspension of field operations on Indian Country is profound. While the national response self-response rate is over 48 percent, the self-response rates in many tribal areas that depend on in-person enumeration are in the low single-digits
· Fort Apache Reservation (Arizona) - self-response rate of 1.7 percent;
· Crow Reservation (Montana) - self-response rate of 2.3 percent;
· Pine Ridge Reservation (South Dakota) - self-response rate of 2.9 percent;
· Acoma Pueblo (New Mexico) - self-response rate of 3.7 percent;
· Pala Reservation (California) - self-response rate of 4.4 percent; and
· Turtle Mountain Reservation (North Dakota) - self-response rate of 4.9 percent.
      'The COVID-19 pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on efforts to get a complete count in Indian Country,' said Natalie Landreth, Senior Staff Attorney at NARF. 'Native Americans living on tribal lands had an undercount of at least 4.9 percent in 2010, the highest of any population group. If Bureau staff and their national and tribal partners do not have sufficient time to complete the count of urban Natives and those living on reservations, entire tribal nations could virtually disappear. That will cost tribes and the State and local communities where they are located billions of dollars in lost federal funding, and deprive AI/ANs of their constitutional right to vote.' 
      'Following safety guidelines in the wake of COVID-19 and having a full and accurate count in the 2020 Census should not be mutually exclusive. We call on Congress to ensure tribal nations are not forgotten nor left behind,' said NCAI CEO Kevin Allis. 'The data collected from the 2020 Census will inform the formulas used to determine funding and political representation that will be crucial to tribal communities moving forward as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. For too long, Indian Country has been undercounted, underfunded, and underrepresented. We hope that this extension will allow enough time for field operations to resume and safely provide the in-person enumeration that is essential to a full and accurate count of AI/ANs in this country.'
       NCAI and NARF encourage Members of Congress to work with the U.S. Census Bureau and provide the Bureau with the legal authority to extend 2020 Census Operations by 120 days. In a time of crisis, we must all unite to ensure that all Americans, including AIANs, are counted."

      Elana Needle / eneedle@unidos.org / 201-248-9724 "Civil Rights and Racial Justice Organizations Lament Absence of Full Inclusion of All People in CARES Act Coverage," National Congress of American Indians (NCAI),  April 8, 2020, http://www.ncai.org/news/articles/2020/04/08/civil-rights-and-racial-justice-organizations-lament-absence-of-full-inclusion-of-all-people-in-cares-act-coverage" As national civil rights organizations, we know that everyone must be equitably included in the protections and support provided by the CARES Act if we are to slow the spread of coronavirus in our communities and revive our economy. Now more than ever, our fates are tied together. Unfortunately, the CARES Act passed one week ago fails to meet a simple moral test - that we protect the most vulnerable among us. In the United States, the most vulnerable disproportionately includes communities of color, yet this legislation fails to adequately safeguard communities of color. We are deeply disappointed and urge Congress and states to remedy this mistake in the next rounds of COVID-19 legislation.
      The CARES Act passed by Congress fails to meet this test in part because it largely excludes immigrant and mixed-status families, including their U.S. citizen children, from Unemployment Insurance and direct stimulus payments. We believe that all workers must be eligible for rebates, including those who pay federal taxes with ITIN numbers provided by the IRS. We all have a stake in making sure immigrant workers who are on the front lines of producing and distributing food and caring for the sick, elderly, and disabled are able to stay safe.
       We applaud the progress that was made last week to refocus the CARES Act on hospitals and working people, but our work is not finished until everyone is included. So we ask Congress to do the right and wise thing by enacting additional legislation to include all families, including those that happen to include an immigrant."

      "Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Threatened with Land Disestablishment, Tribal Leaders Step in to Address Ongoing Land Issues and Threats to Sovereignty," National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), March 30, 2020, http://www.ncai.org/news/articles/2020/03/30/mashpee-wampanoag-tribe-threatened-with-land-disestablishment-tribal-leaders-step-in-to-address-ongoing-land-issues-and-threats-to-sovereignty, stated, "On Friday, March 27, 2020, the Secretary of the Interior notified the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe that he has ordered the disestablishment of the Tribe’s reservation, an act that would take Mashpee’s tribal homelands out of trust status. This action is being taken despite Interior’s prior commitment that no such action would be taken until litigation defending the status of the Tribe’s reservation is resolved. This surprise action is a devastating blow to not only the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe but all of Indian Country, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, and violates the federal government’s solemn trust responsibility to safeguard tribal nations and their lands.
      'The steps being taken right now – in the middle of a nationwide pandemic – to disestablish our reservation and take our land out of trust has created a crisis on top of a crisis. Our land is sacred. It’s where our people receive health services. It’s where our children attend our language immersion school. It’s where we are building houses for our citizens. Taking our land is a direct attack on our culture and our way of living,' said Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Chairman Cedric Cromwell. 'We now have no choice but to divert precious resources from COVID-19 to address this unwarranted attack on our sovereignty. This is an unconscionable act that’s ushered in a new termination era, and it is the latest evidence of the erosion of the Department’s willingness to act consistent with its trust duties to protect tribal lands
.'
       The land within the Mashpee Reservation has been Mashpee Wampanoag land since time immemorial, and was set aside in trust to serve as a permanent homeland for present and future generations of Mashpee citizens. Last week’s misguided decision undermines the Tribe’s ability to continue to self-govern, provide vital programs and services to its citizens, and protect its traditional lands and cultural resources.
      Last year, through a strong bipartisan vote, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 375 (companion bill, S. 2808), commonly referred to as the “Clean Carcieri Fix,” which would have protected Mashpee’s and other tribal nations’ rights to permanent homelands by resolving the damage caused to Indian Country by the Supreme Court’s baseless 2009 opinion in Carcieri v. Salazar.  Unfortunately, the Senate has so far failed to consider or take any action on this legislation, which is intended to restore certainty and fairness to all tribal nations in the land-into-trust process. For a decade, Indian Country has advocated that Congress address the Carcieri problem and that this should be achieved by (1) restoring the Secretary of the Interior’s authority under the Indian Reorganization Act to take land into trust for all federally recognized tribal nations; and (2) reaffirming existing Indian trust lands, which NCAI noted in its written testimony (http://www.ncai.org/resources/testimony/ncai-testimony-on-h-r-375).
      'Removing the homelands of established communities and villages endangers the very existence of an entire nation of people. This is unacceptable, and such an action during this pandemic is an outrage,' said Kevin J. Allis, CEO of the National Congress of American Indians.
      'At a time when tribal governments and their leaders are desperately working to protect the health of their citizens and the economic security of their communities in the face of the catastrophic COVID-19 pandemic, they shouldn’t also have to contend with attacks on their tribal homelands from the very trustee that is legally obligated to protect those homelands,' continued Allis. 'Just like with the destruction of the sacred sites of the Tohono O’odham along the southern border, that of the Apache and Yavapai peoples at Oak Flat in Arizona, the endangerment of Bears Ears and Chaco Canyon, and the inability of our Native brothers and sisters in Alaska to take land into trust, this latest action illuminates a disturbing pattern: the federal government and this Administration’s brazen assault on the right and ability of all tribal nations to sustain their cultures, identities, and ways of life through deep and abiding connections to their time-honored places.'
      'The action by this Administration in rendering such a decision is dishonorable and reprehensible on its face, but to do so when we are fighting a national pandemic is shameful. If there was any question before, it is clear that we are experiencing a crisis in Indian Country at this moment,' said President Kirk Francis of USET’s Sovereignty Protection Fund. 'We must all come together, stand up, and fight to protect our inherent sovereign rights to and authorities on our own lands. Congress has had more than a decade to do the right thing. Baseless and nefarious challenges to our sovereign right to restore and rebuild our tribal nations, after decades and centuries of unjust actions that robbed of us of our lands and natural resources as the United States pursued its growth and expansion through a rationalization of manifest destiny, must come to an end. It is time that the United States Congress finally does the honorable thing and pass a clean Carcieri fix.'
      NCAI and the USET Sovereignty Protection Fund exist to strengthen and support tribal sovereignty for tribal nations such as the Mashpee Wampanoag and the 574 federally recognized tribal nations in the United States. We call upon our champions in the United States Senate to advance the passage of H.R. 375/S. 2808 with all due haste. Its passage would represent a monumental victory for Indian Country, as tribal land bases are integral to tribal sovereignty and economic opportunity."

      "The Protect ICWA Campaign Urges Federal Appeals Court to Affirm ICWA’s Constitutionality Following Oral Arguments in Brackeen v. Bernhardt," National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), January 22, 2020, http://www.ncai.org/news/articles/2020/01/22/the-protect-icwa-campaign-urges-federal-appeals-court-to-affirm-icwa-s-constitutionality-following-oral-arguments-in-brackeen-v-bernhardt, reported, Following today’s United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals oral arguments in the Brackeen v. Bernhardt case, the Protect ICWA Campaign, consisting of the National Indian Child Welfare Association, the National Congress of American Indians, the Association on American Indian Affairs, and the Native American Rights Fund, issued the following statements:
      'We look forward to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision,' said Sarah Kastelic, Executive Director of the National Indian Child Welfare Association. 'We are confident the Fifth Circuit will affirm ICWA’s strong constitutional grounding. ICWA protects children in state child welfare systems and helps them remain connected to their families, cultures, and communities.'
      'NCAI applauds the strong advocacy of the intervening tribes and the federal government, as Indian Country’s trustee, in defending the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act before the entire Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals this morning,' said Kevin Allis, NCAI Chief Executive Officer. 'We pray for relief that upholds ICWA in its entirety and continues to protect the best interests of Indian children and families.'
       'There has been an overwhelming amount of resources coming forward to support the Indian Child Welfare Act. We should be spending our resources protecting Indian children and not fighting interest groups that seek to dismantle the government-to-government relationship between the United States and Tribes. The Fifth Circuit will be on the right side of history protecting Indian children, and by doing so strengthening the child welfare system for all children,' said Shannon Keller O’Loughlin, Executive Director and Attorney for the Association on American Indian Affairs.
      'We are confident the full Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will again confirm the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act,' said John Echohawk, Executive Director of the Native American Rights Fund.  'We will always stand with our children, families, and Tribes against any and all efforts to diminish our communities, well-being, and sovereignty.'
       More about the Indian Child Welfare Act
      The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is a 41-year-old federal law protecting the well-being and best interests of Indian children and families by upholding family integrity and stability and keeping Indian children connected to their community and culture. ICWA also reaffirms the inherent rights of tribal nations to be involved in child welfare matters involving their citizens.
The law protects the best interests of American Indian and Alaska Native children by requiring agencies and courts take into account not just the immediate needs of Indian children, but also their long-term interests as they grow and move into adulthood.
       A nationwide coalition of 495 tribal nations, more than 60 Native organizations, 26 states and the District of Columbia, 77 members of Congress, 31 leading child welfare organizations, and Indian and constitutional law professors agree ICWA is vital to the well-being of Indian children and the stability and integrity of Indian families today.
      To learn more about ICWA visit: nicwa.org/about-icwa/ or read the full text of the Indian Child Welfare Act.
       The following briefs were filed at the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Fifth Circuit in Brackeen v. Bernhard t:
Defendants-Appellants Briefs
United States Brief
Tribal Intervenor Defendants Brief
Navajo Nation Brief
Amicus Briefs Supporting ICWA
486 Tribes and 59 Indian Organizations Brief
26 States and District of Columbia Brief
Members of Congress Brief
Casey Family Programs and Child Welfare Organizations Brief
Indian Law Professors Brief
Administrative Law and Constitution Law Professors Brief
Professor Gregory Ablavsky Brief
Native American Women, Indian Tribes, and Organizations Brief
Quapaw Nation Brief
Protect ICWA Campaign
      The Protect ICWA Campaign (the Campaign) was established by four national Native organizations: the National Indian Child Welfare Association, the National Congress of American Indians, the Association on American Indian Affairs, and the Native American Rights Fund. Together, the Campaign works to serve and support Native children, youth, and families through upholding the Indian Child Welfare Act. The Campaign works to inform policy, legal, and communications strategies with the mission to uphold and protect ICWA."

      "Protect ICWA Campaign Partners to Attend Fifth Circuit Court’s Brackeen v. Bernhardt Rehearing," The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), January 21, 2020, http://www.ncai.org/news/articles/2020/01/21/protect-icwa-campaign-partners-to-attend-fifth-circuit-court-s-brackeen-v-bernhardt-rehearing, reported, "On Wednesday, January 22, the full United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals (Fifth Circuit) will rehear Brackeen v. Bernhardt, a case challenging the constitutionality of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), and the Protect ICWA Campaign and its coalition partners will be there, on behalf of Indian Country, to show support for the 41-year-old law that protects the best interests of Indian children and families.
       In 2018, a federal district court in Texas, in a widely criticized decision, held that ICWA violates the U.S. Constitution. Last year, in response to appeals brought by the federal government and the intervening tribal nations at that time (the Cherokee Nation, Morongo Band of Mission Indians, Oneida Nation, Quinault Indian Nation, and the Navajo Nation), a three-judge panel from the Fifth Circuit reversed that decision, reaffirming the constitutionality of ICWA. In an en banc review, complex cases of broad legal significance are reconsidered by the entire court, and not just a three-judge panel. For the Brackeen v. Bernhardt case, the decision reached by the en banc review panel will replace the three-judge panel decision from August 2019.  
      'We are proud to be part of a broad bipartisan coalition supporting the Indian Child Welfare Act,' said the Protect ICWA Campaign, noting that the pro-ICWA coalition has helped garner support from 495 federally recognized tribes, 26 states and the District of Columbia, 77 members of Congress, more than 60 Native organizations, and the nation’s leading experts in child welfare, constitutional law, administrative law, and Indian law. 'We are confident that the hearing before the full panel of judges signifies the Court’s recognition of how careful Congress was to craft ICWA as a model of cooperative federalism, and how important ICWA is every day in helping achieve the best interests of Indian children and families.'
      Principals from the Protect ICWA Campaign will be available for interviews following the hearing, including leadership and representatives from the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA), National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), Association on American Indian Affairs (AAIA), and the Native American Rights Fund (NARF). To schedule interviews, please contact NICWA Strategic Communications Manager Amory Zschach at amory@nicwa.org.
       WHO:
Sarah Kastelic, NICWA executive director
Kevin Allis, NCAI chief executive officer
Derrick Beetso, NCAI general counsel
Shannon Keller O’Loughlin, AAIA executive director and attorney
Erin C. Dougherty Lynch, NARF senior staff attorney
Dan Lewerenz, NARF staff attorney
WHEN:
Wednesday, January 22. Court convenes at 9:00 a.m. Central Time.
WHERE:
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit John Minor Wisdom U.S. Court of Appeals Building, 600 Camp Street, New Orleans, Louisiana, 70130
      Briefing in the case can be found here: https://sct.narf.org/caseindexes/brackeen_v_bernhardt_lower_courts.html, including the States’ Amicus Brief, the Members of Congress Amicus Brief, the Tribal Amicus Brief, the amicus brief submitted by the leading child welfare experts, and others."

      "NCAI Response to Usage of the Term, 'Indian Country," The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), December 27, 2019, http://www.ncai.org/news/articles/2019/12/27/ncai-response-to-usage-of-the-term-indian-country, stated, " The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) applauds President Trump’s signing of the recent bills that help advance the preservation of culture, rights, and sovereignty for American Indians and Alaska Natives. Most notable of the three bills is the passage and signing of the National Defense Authorization Act that granted federal recognition to the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana, making the Tribe the 574th federally recognized tribal nation in the United States. 'Signing these bills into law, the President affirmatively acknowledges the existing government-to-government relationship between the United States and tribal nations, and the responsibility Congress and the Administration both have in ensuring the lives of American Indians and Alaska Natives across the county are improved,' said NCAI’s CEO Kevin Allis. 'We only ask for what has been promised to us in Indian Country, through treaties and past legislation, and the President’s actions recognize the debt owed to the first peoples of this country,' Allis states.
      It is important to understand that the term 'Indian Country' is leveraged broadly as a general description of Native spaces and places within the United States, and it is inclusive of the hundreds of tribal nations that occupy these spaces. The term is used with positive sentiment within Native communities, by Native-focused organizations such as NCAI, and news organizations such as Indian Country Today. In law, the term Indian country (lower case 'c') is found in several areas of the United States Code, and is also an official legal term referenced in many Supreme Court opinions, collectively articulating the meaning as it pertains to federal law relating to American Indian land and people.
      When used appropriately, Indian Country takes on a powerful meaning, legally and symbolically, for all tribal nations. Indian Country is wherever American Indian spirit, pride, and community are found. It resides not only in law books, legislation, and historical treatises, but also on ancestral homelands, within our homes, and in the hearts of American Indian and Alaska Native people everywhere."

      "NCAI Commends DC Mayor Bowser’s Call for Washington NFL Team to Change Its Name and Mascot, Appeals to State and Local Officials and Corporations to Do the Same," The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), June 15, 2020, http://www.ncai.org/news/articles/2020/06/15/ncai-commends-dc-mayor-bowser-s-call-for-washington-nfl-team-to-change-its-name-and-mascot-appeals-to-state-and-local-officials-and-corporations-to-do-the-same, stated, " The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) commends the public statement of Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who declared Friday in referring to the “R*dskins” name and mascot of the Washington NFL team that “it’s past time for the team to deal with what offends so many people.”
      'Mayor Bowser’s statement represents a watershed development in Indian Country’s decades-long struggle to remove this and the many other offensive and degrading Native ‘themed’ mascots from sports and popular culture, said NCAI President Fawn Sharp. 'In this historic moment for racial justice, Mayor Bowser’s declaration reflects the growing tide among our nation’s leaders and all Americans to choose respect for Native people and all other people of color by ridding our country of the symbols of racism and intolerance that have long marginalized and dehumanized us.'
       NCAI calls upon the leaders of professional sports leagues, school systems, state and local governments, and the business world across the country to condemn and abolish these mascots, which cause profound and well-documented harms to Native people, in particular Native youth.
      NCAI is the oldest, largest, and most representative national organization serving American Indian and Alaska Native tribal nations and their citizens, and has been leading Indian Country’s movement to eradicate offensive Native “themed” mascots from sports and popular culture for more than 50 years."

      "NCAI Statement on the Removal of Christopher Columbus Statues," The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), June 13, 2020, http://www.ncai.org/news/articles/2020/06/13/ncai-statement-on-the-removal-of-christopher-columbus-statues, stated, "The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country, does not acknowledge Christopher Columbus as a hero. To Indigenous peoples, he was the opposite:
      [O]ut of timbers for the Santa Maria, . . . Columbus built a fort [on Hispaniola], the first European military base in the Western Hemisphere. . . . He took . . . Indian prisoners and put them aboard his two remaining ships. . . . [H]e got into a fight with Indians who refused to trade as many bows and arrows as he and his men wanted. Two were run through with swords and bled to death. Then the Nina and the Pinta set sail. . . . When the weather turned cold, the Indian prisoners began to die. . . .
      In the year 1495, they went on a great slave raid, rounded up fifteen hundred Arawak men, women, and children, put them in pens guarded by Spaniards and dogs, then picked the five hundred best specimens to load onto ships. Of those five hundred, two hundred died en route. The rest arrived alive in Spain and were put up for sale. . . .
      Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States, 3-4 (1980 Ed.).
       'This growing movement across the country to rid our shared spaces of symbols that represent hate, genocide, and bigotry illustrates that it is past time for all cities to stand on the right side of history moving forward,' said NCAI President Fawn Sharp.
       NCAI also strongly supports the recent actions taken by United States citizens and the international community calling for proper law enforcement reforms and the recognition of basic human rights for the African American community and all communities of color. We are humbled that these voices are including Indian Country’s perspectives. NCAI encourages local governments and their citizens to seek mutual understandings of their diverse perspectives and to develop peaceful solutions that are mindful of all human beings and our rich distinct and shared histories. Together we can build the tomorrow our children deserve to lead."

      Joaqlin Estus, "'Lost confidence' plus claims of unfair diversion for $8 billion fund," ICT,  April 16, 2020, https://files.constantcontact.com/c2394f27001/51011329-f6dc-4d7d-b1d5-d3cc1343c74d.pdf , reported, " A group of tribal leaders from North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska is calling for the removal of Tara Sweeney from the position of assistant secretary of Indian Affairs in the Interior Department over the inclusion of Alaska Native corporations in emergency money for tribes.
      The Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association contends Alaska Native corporations are not tribes and should not be allotted any of the $8 billion set aside for them by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act
. The association is made up of more than a dozen tribal chairmen and presidents from 16 tribes."
      Joaqlin Estus, "Alaskan tribe joins opposition to funding for tribes going to Alaska
Native corporations," ICT, April 16, 2020, https://files.constantcontact.com/c2394f27001/51011329-f6dc-4d7d-b1d5-d3cc1343c74d.pdf, reported, " The Akiak Native Community of Alaska has joined some Lower 48 tribes that oppose the coronavirus relief funds for tribes going to for-profit corporations created under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. Akiak is a Yup’ik village of about 350 people located on the Kuskokwim River in western Alaska."

       "Tribal Leaders Demand COVID-19 Protections," Lakota Times, April 30, 2020, https://www.lakotatimes.com/articles/tribal-leaders-demand-covid-19-protections/, reported, " As numbers continue to climb after the COVID-19 pandemic hit South Dakota hard last week, the state’s governor, Kristi Noem, has not yet instituted a stay-at-home order, banned evictions and power shut-offs or closed nonessential businesses. Now, as they see a growing threat to their reservations, Native American leaders from around her state are speaking out."
      Leaders of all of South Dakota's Indian nations, representing the state's 72,000 Native people, demanded that the governor take immediate action to limit the spread of the virus
.

      Lakota People's Law Project reported via E-mail, March 24, 2020, "First and foremost, I hope that you are staying safe and healthy. At this critical moment for our shared society, it’s more important than ever that we look out for one another — even as we are asked to keep our distance. Right now, the Lakota People’s Law Project has staff stationed at Standing Rock, Pine Ridge, and Cheyenne River. We are talking to tribal leaders about ways we can support them in essential work, even while they create emergency plans to respond to the spread of COVID-19. We will keep you updated.
      Meanwhile, I write to share with you today about an inspirational partnership that has yielded three wonderful outcomes at Pine Ridge: four college scholarships for Native American girls, the planting of at least 7,000 trees on the reservation, and a new way to support Native artisans.
      For some time now, the Lakota People’s Law Project has enjoyed dedicated support from the good people at Nomadics Tipi Makers. Like LPLP, Jeb and Nicole, who run the company, are always looking for ways to best support Native communities. As time has passed, we have deepened our connection with them and shared ideas.
      As part of that, we’ve helped network them with others in the community. One such connection is with Henry Red Cloud — who, like our own Phyllis Young, is a MIT Solve Laureate. He is a visionary environmental leader at Pine Ridge who installs solar around the reservation and plants trees to restore sacred sites and provide increased access to fresh fruit for our people. With his company, Red Cloud Renewable, Henry has facilitated a (literally) fruitful partnership by agreeing to work with Nomadics to plant one tree for every tipi pole the company sells — with all expenses for the project covered by Nomadics.
      Jeb and Nicole’s commitment to providing sustained support to Native people also includes the establishment of a $20,000 per year scholarship fund — $5,000 each for four young Native American women to attend Oglala Lakota College on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The first round of scholarship money is already headed to young women at Pine Ridge.
      Finally, Jeb and Nicole have also found a great way to provide resources to Native artists at Pine Ridge by collaborating with them to paint tipi covers with personal, authentic artwork. Nomadics will send tipi covers to the artists and will pay forward to the reservation 100 percent of the artwork price as charged to individual customers.
      These measures to bring support and health to Pine Ridge take on extra meaning at a time like the present. As we all hunker down for what looks to be a challenging road ahead, know that your support of the Lakota People’s Law Project has helped facilitate some extremely positive connections that will matter greatly, both right now for local artists and into the future for our young people and our reservation as a whole.
Wopila — Thank you, as always, and please stay safe and well!
      Chase Iron Eyes
      Lead Counsel
      The Lakota People's Law Project.

      Carolyn Smith-Morris, "Addressing the Epidemic of Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls," Cultural Survival, March 06, 2020, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/addressing-epidemic-missing-murdered-indigenous-women-and-girls, reported, " Native American women are murdered and sexually assaulted at rates as high as 10 times the average in certain counties in the United States—crimes overwhelmingly committed by individuals outside the Native American community. These crimes are particularly likely in remote settings where transient workers - oil workers, for example - live in temporary housing units called 'man camps' on and near Tribal lands. Their crimes fall between jurisdictional cracks, leaving victims and their families without recourse. As Nick Martin summarized, these are 'Patterns of violent men and extractive industries breezing through land they do not own to take lives that do not belong to them. Patterns of Tribal sovereignty being undermined and jurisdictional borders being crossed. Patterns of police dismissing concerned mothers and fathers and aunties and grandparents with the excuse that ‘runaways always come back.’ Patterns of coroners dodging paperwork and scrawling ‘other’ next to the line titled ‘Race’ and ‘ accidental death’ next to ‘C.O.D.’ Patterns of government officials, top to bottom, ignoring practical, sovereignty-first reforms and instead hoarding the kind of power that keeps the crisis alive.'
       The Hashtag & Grassroots Responses
       In response to this epidemic of violence, the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (#MMIW) movement is finally drawing much-needed attention from law enforcement, legislators, and the general public. Grassroots efforts of First Nations women and families in Canada first compelled the Canadian government to initiate a national inquiry in December 2015. Similar groups later achieved the same in the U.S. And it has been the #MMIW hashtag in social media, begun by Sheila North Wilson, former Grand Chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc., that helped propel local and regional activism to a transnational scale.
       In the middle of Canadian government’s inquiry, #MMIW and #MMIWG tweets produced 55,400 unique users and 156.1 million impressions. Now, according to a Union Metrics Twitter Snapshot Report, #MMIW tweets can generate several hundred thousand impressions every 4 hours. Most of these tweets use the hashtag to call attention to their own missing loved one, to blanket local and regional networks with time-sensitive information; to share information about police and FBI response to family’s requests for help; or to respond to both specific MMIW cases and general MMIW education and awareness campaigns (e.g., Drag the Red and #NotInvisible). In short, the hashtag is mobilizing advocacy across Indian Country.
       One such advocacy group is MMIW-Texas , created in the Winter of 2018 by Jodi Voice Yellowfish (Oglala Lakota, Muscogee Creek, and Cherokee) with her sister, Snowy Voice. MMIW-TX addresses the unique circumstances of vulnerable native women in a region where several nations have claimed sovereignty since the 16th century. The Voice sisters aim to build MMIW-TX in a way that is sensitive to this history, with a focus on education, on creating a safe community aligned “against predatory behavior and lateral violence”, and on expanding the resources available to victims and families over their lifetimes.
      Over just a few months in 2017, Jody Voice went from collecting names for a small, local vigil, to being invited to lead off the Dallas Women’s March as MMIW-TX and raising the visibility of MMIW to communities across Texas. Voice was already an Indigenous rights advocate and American Indian Heritage Day (Texas) Ambassador when she volunteered to help with that first vigil. But she credits Dallas’ 2018 Heritage Day Celebration for igniting the MMIW movement locally.
       MMIW-TX is now an established program within the American Indian Heritage Day of Texas , identifying resources, helping victims and families, and offering workshops on self-defense and internet safety. Voice emphasizes safety, awareness, and inclusivity, and says that MMIW-TX is using its second year to 'hone their message.' Facebook and the hashtag movement are still a “main avenue” for sharing information about missing and victimized women and girls.
       And Voice hopes to expand from there, ensuring MMIW-Tx is a trusted resource not only for Texas’ three reservation communities , but for its thousands of urban and non-affiliated Native Americans. 'We’re not just dealing with jurisdictional issues here,' says Voice, referring to the deadly gap in oversight plaguing women in reservation communities. 'Our community is spread out… urban but not dense.' And this too makes Indigenous women invisible, their vulnerability unrecognized.
       Recognizing the Problem
       U.S. federal attention to the MMIW crisis first seemed to improve when the 2016 NIJ Research Report on Violence Against American Indian/Alaska Native Women and Men was published. That report was based on 1,542 phone surveys completed in 2010, and found that more than 84% of American Indian/Alaska Native women (1.5 million people) experience violence in their lifetimes, 67% were concerned for their own safety, and 41% had been physically injured from physical violence by intimate partners, stalking, and sexual violence.
      Then in 2018, the Seattle-based Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI) completed its landmark survey , reporting 5,712 missing Alaska Native and American Indian women and girls, only 116 of whom were registered in the Department of Justice database. Using data from 71 urban cities, the UIHI report exposed the tremendous scale of this problem: thousands of Indigenous women who’d gone unrecognized, ignored, and unprotected.
      With these publications, it became clear that not only was there an invisible epidemic, but that active neglect, discrimination, and apathy had kept it hidden. A February 2018 policy brief by the National Congress of American Indians explained how the NIJ report (and several census-based reports) was dependent on faulty Department of Justice databases. By September of 2019, BIA Deputy Bureau Director Addington testified that his office had not compiled data on missing persons or domestic violence statistics. In other words, Tribal affiliation data were left out of these national databases.
      The alarming statistics are now becoming widely known. AI/AN are 2.5 times more likely to experience violent crimes, 2 times more likely to experience rape/sexual assault. Data gaps and conflicts over jurisdiction are a large part of the problem, since Federal, state, Tribal and local governments share responsibilities in many of these cases, 'These data gaps impact how law enforcement officials handle or follow up on cases. Underreporting, racial misclassification, potential gender or racial bias, and a lack of law enforcement resources required to follow through and close out cases appropriately, are just some of the challenges faced when working on MMIP cases.'
       U.S. Government Responses
       A new partnership between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) will address data management and tracking in these agencies, aiming to improve not only tracking, but also budgeting and educational efforts specific to MMIW in both Tribal and non-tribal offices. Traditionally, the BIA’s Office of Justice Services collects monthly crime statistics from both Tribal and BIA law enforcement programs, but this did not track missing persons or domestic violence statistics. The new BIA partnership with DOJ’s National Missing and Unidentified Persons System ( NamUs: https://www.namus.gov) went live with its new data collection strategies in late February 2019.
       Legislative responses are also under consideration. The 1994 Violence Against Women Act, which had largely failed to protect Native women, was reauthorized in 2013 to give Tribes jurisdiction over domestic-violence cases committed against Native Americans on Tribal lands. This meant Tribal courts could prosecute non-Native suspects in domestic-violence cases. But a new provision proposed in the 2019 reauthorization would have closed “the boyfriend loophole” even further by extending Tribal jurisdiction to include perpetrators of sexual violence and stalking. That reauthorization failed in the Senate last April, over largely Republican and National Rifle Association opposition to provisions barring stalkers and abusive partners from buying guns.
       A bill to address the data collection gaps, nicknamed Savannah’s Act (named for Savannah LaFontaine-Greywind who was abducted and killed in North Dakota) and targeting DOJ/Tribal coordination in reporting, failed to pass the House last year, but is again under consideration in both the House of Representatives ( H.R.2733 ) and the Senate ( S.227 ) for 2020. And a third piece of legislation, the Not Invisible Act ( H.R.2438 , S.982 ) would create a joint commission between the DOI and DOJ to promote coordination with an ongoing advisory body. Finally, in November, the president signed an executive order establishing his own task force to address MMIW - Operation Lady Justice. Representatives of Indigenous communities attending that signing expressed support for the task force, but others consider the effort underfunded and without Tribal representation .
       State level legislative responses have also emerged, such as in Washington , Arizona , Montana , North Dakota , and South Dakota , and task forces have been created in many more states.
       What Else Is Needed?
      Legislative reform to support Tribal law enforcement and governments is critical to resolving the MMIW crisis. Failure to pass pending legislation in 2020 would represent a failure of the many MMIW task forces to capitalize on this recent momentum.
      Meanwhile, grassroots Indigenous groups (like the Voice sisters’
MMIW-Texas ), which keep up pressure on legislators to achieve remedies, remain fueled by the #MMIW hashtag and community support. Native American leaders are also building and maintaining community databases , running book groups and youth initiatives , holding red dress exhibitions , and taking action on social media , marches , and in vigils . These urgent actions should be at their peak in advance of May 5, 2020 National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls. There are many ways to participate."

      Kalle Benallie, "Uniting online for missing Native women, girls," ICT, May 7, 2020,  https://files.constantcontact.com/c2394f27001/760b793f-b657-43cc-85a9-f33349a47ac6.pdf, reported, " May 5 is the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls." Usually the day is marked by marches and demonstrations for action on the issue. In 2020, in the face of COVID-19, those actions took place widely on the web.

      Chase Iron Eyes, Lakota People's Law Project, wrote via E-mail, June 11, 2020, "With a mix of indignation and hope, I call on you today. Militarized police roam the streets of America, much as they traversed our treaty lands during the #NoDAPL protests a few years ago. Once again the world is watching and standing in solidarity with communities of color.
      In this time of uprising, my organization has a duty to do whatever we can to help. And in the wake of my successful legal defense three years ago, we interviewed dozens of attorneys, activists, water experts, tribal officials, and government personnel to ensure that the full Standing Rock story can always be told.
      Now, as we await a ruling from Judge James Boasberg on whether to suspend the flow of oil through DAPL, our team is releasing videos as quickly as we can. Please watch our flagship mini-documentary and donate to help ensure that, over the coming months, the release of all these key assets becomes a reality (https://www.lakotalaw.org/resources).
      In 2017, we did exclusive interviews with participants in the NoDAPL effort, including Harold Frazier, Julian Bear Runner, and Rodney Bordeaux — the respective leaders of the Cheyenne River, Oglala, and Rosebud Nations. We videotaped interviews with witnesses and deposed law enforcement personnel. And afterwards, the state's attorney tried to suppress those depositions, knowing them to contain troubling truths about what really happened at Standing Rock.
      For example, you’ll see Kyle Kirchmeier, the incident commander for law enforcement during NoDAPL, acknowledge that when he arrested me and 75 other water protectors in February of 2017, he didn’t even know he was on treaty land."
      Alexandra Carraher-Kang, "Protecting Sacred Shinnecock Hills, Cultural Survival, January 20, 2020, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/protecting-sacred-shinnecock-hills, reported, "On January 14, 2020, over 100 individuals, including members from other Indigenous Tribal Nations, stood with the Shinnecock Indian Nation in part of an ongoing protest against development on sacred burial grounds in New York. Located in Sugar Loaf, a designated critical environmental area, the development of a single-family, two-story residence with a three-car garage was approved by the town Southampton. However, the applicant did not inform the Shinnecock Nation of its plans.
      In 2018, during construction on Hawthorne Road in Shinnecock Hills, a Native American grave was desecrated when remains were dug up. Ever since, to quote Shinnecock Nation Vice President Lance Gumbs, ' Despite the formation of a Stewardship Committee to craft legislation to protect Shinnecock lands, the Committee met only twice in 2019. 'We’re being told...that they want to work with us,' Shinnecock Tribal Member Chenae Bullock explained to Cultural Survival, 'but the actions are showing something different,' and when governments ignore their past promises, it becomes 'intentional desecration.'
      The ongoing construction marks how, Gumbs stated, 'the words of the town leaders are meaningless when it comes to keeping their promises to the Shinnecock Nation.' In the words of Shinnecock Tribal member Tela Troge, 'The town of Southampton should follow their own laws. They need to notify us so that we can tell them this is a very sensitive site, this is a very important site, and you can’t desecrate it.' Speaking about longtime Shinnecock activist Becky Hill, Bullock put the reality bluntly: 'She wasn’t even notified.' If the correct procedure had been followed, the Shinnecock Nation has argued, they would have pushed for soil tests in order to prove the Sugar Loaf site’s existence as a burial ground. But, since neither the applicant nor the town informed Shinnecock Nation of the building plans, there was little the Nation could do.
       Despite meetings between town officials and Tribal leaders over crafting legislation regarding such processes, there remains little consensus. Moreover, Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman stated, 'One of my biggest concerns is that if we come up with too onerous of a process, that developers – it would be unethical and potentially illegal – but my concern is that they would look the other way. And push the bones in a different direction, bury them, pretend like they never saw it.'
      When lands are taken and remains are excavated, these same remains must be reburied by the Nation. ' Just in the last year alone, over 100 remains that were taken across the East End of Long Island were repatriated back to us and just in the last couple of weeks we’ve had to rebury 106 of our ancestors’ remains that were repatriated for us,' said co-chairman of the Shinnecock’s Grave Protection Warriors Society Shane Weeks. It’s a painful process, too, with Shinnecock Tela Troge calling it 'a trauma we have to relive every single time this [development on sacred lands] happens, and we put up a fight every single time this happens, but it shouldn’t be this way.'
      Since December 28, when Shinnecock Tribal members realized that digging was occurring on ancestral lands, rallying against the Sugar Loaf construction has taken place. 'This is a joining of forces to bring our message to the Town of Southampton, State of New York, and to all the developers who come out here and desecrate in their rush to construction,' said Shinnecock elder Margo Thunderbird. 'This is a demonstration of determination and we are determined to stay the course of resistance until ‘not one more acre’ becomes our rallying cry and our collective reality.'
       'We are not protestors, we are protectors,' Thunderbird stated. Other than land and remains, those protesting are protecting their entire historical legacy; Bullock said, 'If they desecrate our skeletons, that’s a way of erasing us' and removing the Tribe from history. In the meantime, Bullock explains that, 'We need to ensure that local governments are doing their due diligence,' because the developers are still going to build, “but what they don’t know is that these lands are ancestral burial grounds.'
      'I’ve watched my elders fight the same exact battle on the same exact highway,” Bullock continued. 'This fight isn’t from two weeks ago, from 25 years ago, from 100 years ago. This fight is 400 years old...There has to be some type of resolution. We’ve done everything. The next step is a decision.'
      Although the January 14 protest was successful, with no construction occurring that day, protests are expected to continue until building and construction on the site end. 'No Indigenous person needs permission to fight for what is right,' Bullock declared."

      Members of the Dine Medicine Association, The Dine Haraalii Association and the Azee'bee Nahagha of the Dine Nation protested, on December 5, 2019, the desecration of the San Francisco Peaks Ragwart, a sacred plant, that would result from the U.S. Forest Service permitting the Arizona Snowbowl to replace its Agassiz Chair lift, at the ski resort on the San Francisco Peaks (Krista Allen, "Protecting Ch'ilaghani: Dine medicine group protests plan that would desecrate sacred plant," Navajo Times, December 29, 2019).

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International Activities

      " COVID 19 and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: The International Indian Treaty Council calls for Rights-based Responses and Denounces On-going Human Rights Violations," International Indian Treaty Council ( IITC), April 15, 2020, http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/1383891/8b5364c9e1/545546365/aa063f1824/, stated, " The International Indian Treaty Council (IITC), an Indigenous Peoples’ organization with hundreds of affiliates from the North, Central, and South America, the Caribbean, and the Arctic and Pacific regions, is profoundly concerned about the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Indigenous Peoples’ territories and the resulting loss of life and human rights violations.
      Indigenous Peoples have suffered violations of their inherent right to health for centuries. Resource exploitation, destruction of traditional food systems and toxic contamination of Indigenous Peoples’ lands, air and waters cause disproportionate disease rates including cancers, diabetes, and asthma which compromise immune and respiratory systems among all ages. Poverty, overcrowding and long-standing lack of access to health care have further increased vulnerabilities. The current COVID-19 crisis is highlighting these ongoing human rights violations. The highest death rates are among Indigenous elders, who are the wisdom, language and knowledge holders for their Nations.    
       In the United States, the Diné (Navajo) Nation has been particularly hard hit, ranking third behind the states of New Jersey and New York in the number of cases per capita as of this release. Chile Yazzie, President of the Shiprock Chapter of the Navajo Nation is helping to coordinate community relief efforts. He stressed that 'we [the Diné] have weakened immune systems because of our heart and respiratory conditions, which are caused in large part by breathing carbon polluted air from power plants all of our lives and living amongst abandoned uranium and massive coal strip mines. We live in a national energy sacrifice zone and because of our overcrowded housing situation, we are more susceptible to catch the virus.'
       Panama's Kuna have also reported growing impacts as well as the conditions that have made their sovereign Indigenous Nation vulnerable. On April 13th, Manigueuigdinapi 'Mani' Stanley Icaza, advisor to the Kuna Youth Movement, reported to IITC that 'our 50 Kuna Autonomous Communities are in quarantine in Panama. There are 20 cases of COVID-19 in Kuna Yala and many more cases among Kunas living in the city. Several Kuna Youth have passed away in Panama City. Our Wiseman and Leader Iguayokiler Ferrer is in the hospital in Panama City in an Intensive Care Unit. The situation is very complex due to the fact that there are no hospitals, no adequate health centers, no doctors, nor supplies in our territory.'
       IITC is outraged that the COVID-19 pandemic has been used by some federal and state/provincial governments and corporations to roll back environmental safeguards and fast track development projects that Indigenous Peoples have long opposed. In Canada on April 1st, 2020, the Alberta Provincial government committed over 1 billion Canadian dollars for the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline to bring tar sands oil from Alberta through the US heartland, committing to begin construction immediately despite the pandemic. This transnational pipeline is strongly opposed by Indigenous Peoples all along its route, as a violation of their cultural, environmental and Treaty rights. In March, the state of South Dakota along the proposed Keystone XL route adopted “anti-protest” laws expanding the definition of 'critical infrastructure' to include oil, gas and utility equipment, and declaring 'substantial interruption or impairment' of that equipment as a felony.
      IITC has also received reports that attacks on Indigenous human rights defenders are increasing, including in Brazil, where deforestation continues unabated while the attention of the world is focused on the pandemic.
       Now, more than ever, the rights of Indigenous Peoples must be respected in all efforts to address this crisis. This includes our rights to environmental and community health; Free, Prior and informed consent; and the right to participate in decision-making regarding the planning, development, and implementation of programs aimed to protect our Peoples and build sustainable, resilient and just post-COVID solutions. For our collective survival, IITC calls on the human family and the governments of the world to respect the rights and knowledge of Indigenous Peoples at this critical time. IITC will continue to oppose all attempts by governments and corporations to use this crisis to increase resource extraction, destruction of sacred sites, and contamination of lands, air, and waters that will further compromise Indigenous Peoples’ right to health.
       To further this discussion, IITC will host a weekly series of webinars focusing on the COVID-19 Pandemic and the rights of Indigenous Peoples, beginning on Friday, April 25th. Upcoming webinars will focus on Food Sovereignty, Environmental Health and Justice, links between COVID-19 and the Climate Crisis, and the impacts of the pandemic on Indigenous women and children. More information on these webinars will be posted on IITC’s web site at www.iitc.org. IITC is also posting information received from Indigenous Peoples and UN bodies about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
      For more information contact IITC's Executive Director, Andrea Carmen, at andrea@treatycouncil.org"

      "Preventing Criminalization of and Impunity Against Indigenous Peoples," Cultural Survival, December 17, 2019, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/preventing-criminalization-and-impunity-against-indigenous-peoples, reported, " Indigenous human rights and environmental defenders are killed on a daily basis. The Global Initiative to Address and Prevent Criminalization and Impunity Against Indigenous Peoples , launched by Indigenous Peoples Rights International and a broad coalition of organizations working on Indigenous rights, aims to 'prevent, respond, and  reduce acts of criminalization and impunity against indigenous peoples and to provide better protection and access to justice for actual and potential victims not only as individuals but as collectives or communities.' In order to do so, the initiative has formed a database, a website, and an annual report to be released around September. The Initiative aims to work closely with Indigenous and human rights networks and organizations to gather data on threats and actions against Indigenous leaders. The Initiative is working towards establishing a legal and support fund for victims of criminalization or impunity.
      Led by UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the full-scale launch will occur in April 2020 at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. The numbers demonstrate what she calls a 'global crisis’ of attacks against environmental human rights defenders wherein a majority of them are members of Indigenous communities. The past three years show an alarming trend in the persistence of criminalization and impunity against Indigenous Peoples.
      The Initiative has gathered information from 2017 onward regarding 19 countries: Brazil, Guatemala, Bangladesh, Cambodia, the Philippines, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Finland, Russia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Vietnam, the Philippines, Cameroon, Uganda, the United States of America. In total, they have documented 472 killings, 423 arbitrary detentions, 237 illegal arrests, and 1630 reported cases of threats and intimidation.
       In the 2017 figures alone, which focused on only a handful of the above countries, there were over 125 killings of Indigenous people (with 110 of these being in Brazil). There were over 250 arbitrary detentions, with most reported from Guatemala and Bangladesh.  In Bangladesh alone 401 cases of trumped-up charges were reported. Finally, threats and intimidation made up the majority of documented incidents of criminalization against Indigenous Peoples, with 1,176 in Bangladesh among others incidents almost all of the above countries.
      In 2018, the Initiative reported over 200 murders, with over half occurring in Brazil. There were over 9,500 arbitrary detentions, with almost all of them reported from Colombia, and 170
illegal arrests in Bangladesh and Cambodia.
       In 2019, according to the data collected, the majority of killings were reported in Colombia (60) and Mexico (35), and the majority of illegal arrests were reported in Indonesia (43). Most cases of threats and intimidation were reported in the Philippines (15).
      It is important to remember that incidents described are only those that have been documented by the platform, still in its infancy. Due to marginalization and discrimination by authorities, unequal access to justice, language barriers, and the lack of coverage by mainstream media, there  are many acts of violence, criminalization, and impunity against Indigenous Peoples that remain undocumented and unheard. 'This available data is just the tip of the iceberg of the true scale of the crisis
,' Tauli-Corpuz warns."

      "AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Calls for an Independent Review of the Police Shooting of Chantel Moore,"  AFN, June 15, 2020, https://www.afn.ca/afn-national-chief-perry-bellegarde-calls-for-an-independent-review-of-the-police-shooting-of-chantel-moore/, stated, " National Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) today demanded a full investigation into Thursday’s police-involved shooting of a young First Nations mother in Edmundston, N.B. News reports said Chantel Moore was in distress when she was confronted and shot by police, allegedly five times. National Chief Bellegarde said the shooting must be investigated by an impartial third party to determine why lethal force was used and whether race was a factor in the police officers’ response.
      'How does a call for help turn into a call for the coroner? This should never happen,' Bellegarde said. 'We need to find out whether race played any role in the police response and whether a less extreme use of force should have been used. This young First Nations mother and daughter did not need to die. The killing of our people by those who have a duty to protect and serve has to stop.'
      'My heart goes out to Chantel’s family, friends and the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation. We should all be concerned that a wellness check resulted in the death of someone so young and full of potential. This type of thing happens far too often in this country and it needs to change.'
      National Chief Bellegarde said the AFN is calling for an immediate investigation into the circumstances, decisions, policies and processes that led to Ms. Moore’s death. New Brunswick, and all governments, should consider whether an armed response without proper social supports and training is ever the correct response for a 'wellness check.'
       From the B.C. Missing Women’s Report to the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry in Manitoba to the Viens Commission Report in Quebec and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenious Women and Girls, study after study has exposed the existence of systemic racism against First Nations within police forces and the legal system. Governments and police forces across the country need to take immediate action to review their practices and take the necessary steps to rebuild their relationships with First Nations. They must be accountable to the First Nations people they serve.
      The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.
      For more information please contact:
Michael Hutchinson
Senior Communications Advisor
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 244
613-859-6831 (cell)
mhutchinson@afn.ca
Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 382
613-292-0857 (mobile)
poirierm@afn.ca."

      "AFN Women’s Council response to delay of National Action Plan," AFN, June 15, 2020, https://www.afn.ca/afn-womens-council-response-to-delay-of-national-action-plan/, stated, " One year after the release of the National Inquiry’s final report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), the high rates of violence against First Nations women and girls continues. The Chair of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Women’s Council, Chief Connie Big Eagle, said a National Action Plan which addresses violence, policing, and justice issues is urgently needed.
      'My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Chantel Moore. This is another tragic event that stresses the need to implement the Calls for Justice of the National Inquiry. There are numerous recommendations within the National Inquiry’s report that deal with policing issues and police interactions with First Nations women and girls,' said Chief Big Eagle. 'The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the issue of domestic violence across the country and we know that First Nations women and girls are experiencing higher rates of abuse. The AFN Women’s Council believes the focus must be on ending violence against First Nations women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA.'
       The AFN and the AFN Women’s Council have consistently advocated for immediate action such as greater funding for shelters and safe spaces, mental health supports, programming for men and boys, prevention, and greater funding for First Nations to develop land-based prevention and healing programs.
       Several studies, including the National Inquiry’s final report, have shown that violence against First Nations women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA is interconnected with long standing systemic and institutional bias against First Nations people. A National Action Plan must address these issues in a way that is comprehensive and responsive to First Nations unique needs."

      "Indigenous organizations slam London Zoo: 'Why are they asking for money to help us?'" Survival International, https://www.survivalinternational.org/news/12342, February 13, 2020, https://www.survivalinternational.org/news/12342, reported, " London Zoo has been fiercely criticized by indigenous organizations in Nepal over a fundraising video which campaigners describe as 'patronizing rubbish.'
       Three organizations representing the Tharu people who were evicted from the world-famous Chitwan National Park in Nepal, have written to the ZSL, the zoo’s parent body, saying: “ZSL doesn’t do anything to help the Tharu people who have been evicted from the park in the name of conservation, so why are they asking for money to help us?
      ZSL has worked in Chitwan National Park since 1997 and has supported anti-poaching ranger patrols since 2013. In addition, ZSL claims it works with 'communities around Chitwan and Bardia National Parks to support livelihoods and address the competition for grazing between livestock and wildlife.'
       ZSL’s video suggests that the local people are damaging the forest, yet the Tharu organizations explain: 'The forest and wildlife are only there because we protected them for thousands of years.'
       The Tharu organisations also sent their letter to Rt Hon. Alok Sharma MP, Secretary of State for International Development, because the UK government promised to double any donations that were received before the 31st of December.
      Survival’s Senior Campaigner, Sophie Grig, who has visited communities evicted from Chitwan park, said: 'This video is patronizing rubbish. It’s nonsense to suggest that the best way to save the forest and wildlife is to ensure that 'communities no longer rely on the forest for survival.' These forests are there precisely because the local people have managed and protected them for so long. The Tharu worship the tiger and have a special relationship with many animals, including elephants which, they say, only understand the Tharu language. One Tharu man told me: ‘It’s a gift from God that we can communicate with elephants.’
       The indigenous communities in Chitwan have suffered greatly as a result of the park’s creation. They have been forcibly evicted, beaten, tortured and even killed, in the name of conservation. Promised community benefits from the park mostly go to the migrant communities, not the indigenous people who were evicted and have had their lands and livelihoods stolen by the park.
      Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today: ' It’s now being recognized that indigenous peoples are responsible for managing the most biodiverse regions of Earth. Yet the colonial model of so-called “conservation” is still widely practised in much of the Global South – including by all the major conservation NGOs. This is a gross human rights violation and it’s time it was ended. Those backing this are supporting abuse on a huge scale.'”

      “Conservation” funds stopped because of abuse," Survival International, June 1, 2020, http://view.email.survivalinternational.org/?qs=f06246e5f88bb2f61a7c14e98998ea4de8846a5caea8eb5a7b0c6c85f5b9de27317095318c00e93b66540ec0f648659fae857f64bf531e50251699c0584a2aec4f19ca328e58ace2, reported, " One of Survival’s controversial campaigns is to stop the theft of tribal lands in the name of conservation. This crime has been going on for 150 years, displacing and destroying millions of people particularly in Africa and Asia, and it’s now set to increase massively. Although many environmentalists agree that this must end, and that it harms biodiversity as well as people, Survival remains the only international NGO making an uncompromised stand against it.
      
We’ve had a major breakthrough. Some of the biggest funders of destructive colonial conservation have been made to suspend funding and to insist on what was supposed to be happening anyway – that projects can’t take place on tribal land without the proper agreement of the people.
       WWF has been pushing for a new park in Congo (called Messok Dja ) and has been backed with millions of euros from EU taxpayers. Since the project started years ago, park rangers have beaten, sexually abused, imprisoned and even killed the local Baka (so-called “Pygmies”). WWF knows this but always pretended the park had local agreement. We know that’s not true. It’s hardly surprising, why would Baka agree, given that WWF wants to stop them living on their own land?
       It’s not just the Baka, many others have also lost their lands to conservation throughout the Congo Basin, and have been reduced to abject poverty, living alongside roads and eking a living as best they can. They repeatedly ask us to get this stopped. It’s not an isolated example, it’s been the pattern of national parks throughout Africa for 100 years, and Survival’s been working hard against it.
       We met with Messok Dja’s funders last February, shortly before lockdown, and now the EU has suspended grants and insisted on the issue of local consent being examined yet again. WWF will try and push on regardless, but it’s the first time ever that EU money for 'conservation' has been halted for violating tribal peoples’ rights. It gives the Baka around Messok Dja a chance of survival.
       It’s part of the battle to decolonize conservation everywhere. We believe that big NGOs should approach indigenous and tribal peoples with humility, stop trying to take their land from them, and offer support when it’s asked. Conservation initiatives should be controlled by those who’ve long been caring for the land. They are the best conservationists, as Survival has been saying for 50 years."

      "Cultural Survival Releases Covid-19 Prevention Manual for Indigenous Community Radio Stations," Cultiural Survival, May 26, 2020, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/cultural-survival-releases-covid-19-prevention-manual-indigenous-community-radio-stations, reported, " Indigenous communities are mobilizing in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through Cultural Survival’s experience and work with Indigenous Peoples around the world, we are hearing that the pandemic is revealing deep inequalities, poverty, and vulnerability in Indigenous communities.
       Indigenous Peoples are experiencing unemployment; violence; lack of access to potable water; and obstacles in accessing health services and information about the pandemic. In many countries, people cannot access information due to commercial television and radio stations broadcasting only in mainstream languages, which increases the inequity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples.
      At Cultural Survival, we firmly believe that Indigenous community radio stations’ role is to inform and disseminate culturally and linguistically relevant information to reduce the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are committed to supporting and protecting Indigenous radio journalists and broadcasters around the world, who are at their radio stations every day making extraordinary efforts to keep their communities safe, often risking their own lives.
       Cultural Survival has produced a prevention manual (available in Spaish at: https://www.culturalsurvival.org/sites/default/files/MANUAL%20CULTURAL%20SURVIVAL.pdf) to support the essential activities of radio stations, including general guidelines for good communication going beyond prevention. This manual contains tools to prevent and protect journalists from possible spread of the virus at radio stations, and promotes the important role of a community engagement agent. Some examples shared include how radio stations can be a voice to call for a calm and unified community prevention strategy. Community radio stations have opportunities to also promote and defend human rights as many governments are abusing their power during the pandemic. Another example included is how radio stations can become educators and serve as a space for community teachers trying to reach children that do not have access to the internet and cannot attend online schooling.
      The manual is currently being shared in Spanish and soon will be available in English and 20 Indigenous languages from Abya Yala, Asia, and Africa.
      Community radio is a powerful tool for Indigenous Peoples. Through this medium, Indigenous communities can exercise their rights to self-determination, to defend their territories and lands, and to freedom of expression in Indigenous languages. Indigenous Peoples will be able to communicate relevant, useful, and culturally pertinent information for their communities."

       The Zapatista Army of National  Liberation held three days of protests in defense of Mother Earth, in February 2020, as part of their defense of their land and water, and recognition of those who have died in the struggle ("Mexico: Zapatitas Defend Mother Earth," Cultural Survival Quarterly, March 2020).

      "Amazon leaders call on Boris Johnson to 'stand with us' in face of attacks," Survival International, February 3, 2020, https://www.survivalinternational.org/news/12325, reported, " Some of the Amazon’s most prominent indigenous leaders have handed in a letter to 10 Downing St, calling on Boris Johnson’s government to 'stand with us to defend the Amazon.'
       Davi Yanomami , known as 'the Dalai Lama of the Rainforest', renowned Kayapo leader Raoni Metuktire , and three others will make an urgent appeal to the British Prime Minister to 'ensure that no gold, other minerals or agricultural products from our lands come to the UK.'”
      "Davi Yanomami was recently awarded the 2019 Right Livelihood Award, known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize.” He is a highly respected shaman, and author (with Bruce Albert) of “The Falling Sky.”
      Two weeks ago Raoni hosted a major indigenous gathering in Brazil, whose final declaration was a call to protect the Amazon and its indigenous people from the 'genocide, ethnocide and ecocide' being carried out by the country’s President Jair Bolsonaro.
      In the leaders’ joint letter they call on the UK government to use its hosting of the UN Climate Conference in November to “put tribal peoples centre stage and recognise our key role in conserving some of the most biodiverse and threatened regions of the world for the benefit of humanity.”
      They also denounce President Bolsonaro’s plan to open up indigenous territories to mining."

      "Yanomami launch global campaign as goldminers and Covid-19 endanger entire tribe," Survival International, June 2, 2020, https://www.survivalinternational.org/news/12405, reported, " The Yanomami tribe has launched a global campaign to expel 20,000 gold miners from their land amid the coronavirus pandemic.
       Three Yanomami people have died from Covid-19 and dozens more are infected. There are fears the disease could wipe out thousands of Yanomami people, and hit several Ye’kwana communities who also live in the territory.
       New research (https://acervo.socioambiental.org/acervo/publicacoes-isa/o-impacto-da-pandemia-na-terra-indigena-yanomami-foragarimpoforacovid) released as part of the campaign reveals that thousands of Yanomami people living near the illegal mining zones in the Yanomami Indigenous Territory could become infected, and that the territory is the most vulnerable in the entire Brazilian Amazon to the virus.
      Dario Yanomami of the Hutukara Yanomami Association said: 'We are monitoring the Covid-19 disease spreading through our land and are very sad at the first Yanomami deaths. Our shamans are working non-stop to counter this xawara (epidemic). We will fight and resist. To do this, we need support from the Brazilian people and from the whole world.'
       The '#MinersOutCovidOut' campaign has been launched by several Yanomami and Ye’kwana associations and many supporting organizations worldwide (list below).
      The Yanomami aim to get 100,000 people signing a petition calling on President Bolsonaro’s government to expel the miners from their territory – the largest indigenous territory in Brazil. It has been the target of illegal gold mining since the 1980s. Malaria epidemics introduced by the miners in the 1980s killed a fifth of the tribe’s population in Brazil, and many in Venezuela.
       Miners have been operating close to one of several communities of uncontacted Yanomami, who are known as the Moxihatatea.
      The following people are available for interview:
Hutukara Yanomami Association
Dario Kopenawa
(Portuguese only, Survival can translate)
Survival International
Fiona Watson
(English and Portuguese)
comunicacao@survivalinternational.org/ +55 62 99425 3317
Instituto Socioambiental
Antonio Oviedo (Author of campaign report)
marinaterra@socioambiental.org
(Portuguese & English)
Instituto Socioambiental
Marcos Wesley (PRN)
marinaterra@socioambiental.org
(Portuguese only)
      Uncontacted tribes are at particular risk of being wiped out by diseases to which they have no immunity. Davi Kopenawa, a Yanomami leader known as “the Dalai Lama of the Rainforest” recently warned the UN that the uncontacted Yanomami could soon be exterminated if nothing is done to protect the territory.
       Miners appear to be exploiting the chaos caused by the coronavirus and have been emboldened by President Bolsonaro’s pro-mining stance, with an increase in Yanomami land destroyed by gold miners in March compared with February.
       President Bolsonaro has actively encouraged land invasions in indigenous territories and has introduced a bill to sell off their lands for logging, mining, ranching and farming.
      Survival’s Research and Advocacy Director Fiona Watson said today: 'The Yanomami’s survival as a people depends on the miners being removed. At the moment their rivers are being polluted with toxic mercury, their forest destroyed, their children are dying of malaria and more miners are invading under cover of the coronavirus pandemic. A humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding.
      'The Yanomami are up against 20,000 gold miners and a President determined to finish off the country’s indigenous peoples.
      'If the government doesn’t act now we could witness the appalling scenario of the 1980s gold rush again, when one fifth of the Yanomami population died from diseases due to government inaction.'
      Notes to Editors:
      1. The #ForaGarimpoForaCovid (#MinersOutCovidOut) campaign is an initiative of the Forum of Yanomami and Ye’kwana Leaders and the following organizations: Hutukara Yanomami Association (HAY), Wanasseduume Ye’kwana Association (SEDUUME), Kumirayoma Yanomami Women’s Association (AMYK), Texoli Ninam Association of Roraima State (TANER) and the Yanomami Association of the River Cauaburis and Affluentes (AYRCA).
      2. The campaign is being organized with the support of: APIB (the Network of Indigenous Organizations of Brazil), COIAB (Coordinating Body of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon), ISA (Socio-environmental Institute), Survival International, Greenpeace Brazil, Conectas Human Rights, Amnesty International, RCA (Amazonian Co-operation Network), Igarapé Institute, Rainforest Foundation US and Rainforest Foundation Norway.
      3. As part of the campaign ISA and the Federal University of Minas Gerais have published a report on the impact of goldmining on the Yanomami. According to their research, 40% of the Yanomami living near the illegal gold mines could become infected with Covid-19.
      4. ISA’s radar monitoring system, Sirad, has detected an increase in gold mining activity. Sirad’s results show that since the first analyses 1,925 hectares of forest degraded by illegal mining have been detected. In March 2020 alone, 114 hectares of forest were destroyed by gold miners.
      5. After a long international campaign led by Davi Kopenawa, Survival and the CCPY (Pro Yanomami Commission), Yanomami land in Brazil was finally demarcated as the ‘Yanomami Park’ in 1992. Combined with the Yanomami territory in Venezuela, it is the largest area of rainforest under indigenous control anywhere in the world."

      "Tell the Ecuadorian Government to Respond to Indigenous Peoples' Demands for Urgent Action on COVID-19!," Amazon Watch, March 27, 2020, https://amazonwatch.org/take-action/tell-ecuador-to-respond-to-indigenous-peoples-demands-on-covid-19, " In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Ecuadorian indigenous and human rights organizations sent an urgent letter calling on their government to implement multiple protective measures to guarantee their rights, safety, and equal access to public services during this health emergency.
      Demand that the government immediately reply to this letter and follow through with concrete action!
      'To: President Lenin Moreno      CC: Alexandra Ocles, Secretary of Risk Management Juan Carlos Zevallos López, Public Health Minister María Paula Romo, Interior Minister
      We call upon you to immediately respond to the letter sent to you by multiple national indigenous organizations demanding that your government provide concrete, culturally-appropriate, and effective measures in order to guarantee the fulfillment of indigenous peoples' rights to life, integrity, access to health care, and self-determination during this emergency.'

      "'Don’t fund our eviction”: honey-collecting tribe pleads with US government," Survival International, January 19, 2020, https://www.survivalinternational.org/news/12320, reported, " Two tribal communities famed for their honey-gathering skills have written to the US authorities urging them to scrap support for a conservation project that could lead to the tribe’s eviction from their ancestral forests.
      The villagers, members of India’s Jenu Kuruba (“honey collectors”) tribe, object to the US Fish and Wildlife Service funding a project in Karnataka state, home to the Nagarhole Tiger Reserve, which was created on their tribal lands
.
       The project is a partnership with Wildlife Conservation Society-India. Its first objective is to 'facilitate government-sponsored, voluntary relocation of forest-interior families to new sites outside the forest.' But the Jenu Kuruba are determined to stay in their forests, and view U.S. government money being used in this way as “Aiding and abetting the government and WCS’s plans to evict us from our forests.”
       Other Jenu Kuruba people were previously evicted from Nagarhole, where WCS-India has worked for decades. They told Survival that they were pressured to “voluntarily relocate” after their lives in the forest were rendered impossible, and they were left with no choice. One described it as 'a kind of torture.'
      Gurumala, a Jenu Kuruba man who was evicted from a nearby tiger reserve 30 years ago, told Survival: 'Our children were once independent and free; the whole community was their teacher. After the government came, we lost so much, they moved us out of the forest and restricted our lives. Now our children who grow up here have no freedom. I’m sad that our children have to live like this. I feel very sad that I have to tell our children and grandchildren about our way of life as if it were just a story from the past.'
       The WCS is the parent organization of the Bronx Zoo. One of its founders, Madison Grant, was a notorious eugenicist and author of The Passing of the Great Race, a book Hitler referred to as his 'bible.'
       Survival’s research (https://assets.survivalinternational.org/documents/1894/illegal-evictions-from-indias-tiger-reserves.pdf) into Indian government-sponsored 'voluntary relocations' of tribal people from tiger reserves has found them to be forced evictions, and so illegal under Indian and international law.
       The letter (https://assets.survivalinternational.org/documents/1897/nagarhole-adivasi-letter-english.pdf)  comes just weeks after members of the US government’s House Committee on Natural Resources started to investigate WCS’s role in conservation grants tied to human rights abuses. In December the committee wrote (https://republicans-naturalresources.house.gov/uploadedfiles/2019-12-16_bishop_gohmert_mcclintock_to_samper_wcs_re_conservation_grants.pdf) to WCS President and CEO,  Christián Samper requesting information 'related to WCS’s awareness of the occurrence of human rights abuses, funding for eco-guards or law-enforcement that committed human rights abuses, and policies addressing the rights of indigenous and local peoples.'
       A member of the US Congress has also submitted a law (https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/katiejmbaker/a-us-lawmaker-wants-to-ban-funding-for-conservation-groups) that would prohibit the government from funding international conservation groups that fund or support human rights violations.
      Survival International Director Stephen Corry said today: 'Tribal people have long been considered disposable and just 'in the way' by big conservation NGOs who want to kick them off their land. But now at least some of them are able to lobby the government funders behind the schemes, which usually do a worse job of conservation than the original inhabitants themselves. Governments shouldn’t fund illegal land grabs and conservation NGOs must learn to treat people with respect. Times are changing.'”

      Bia'ni Madsa 'Juárez López, "Indigenous Terra Madre: Indigenous Youth and Women in the Americas Protect Food Systems," Cultural Survival, April 20, 2020, https://www.slowfood.com, reported, " Tlaola is a small Nahua community in the state of Puebla, Mexico, which positioned itself internationally thanks to a group of women who accepted the challenge of hosting an international event, Terra Madre Indígena de América , which for the first time was held in the Americas. The central focus on the meeting was the role of Indigenous women and youth in the protection of traditional food systems.
      Dalí Nolasco (Nahua), member of Slow Food México and Mopampa, commented, 'In my mind and heart I thought, I must bring my beautiful Tlaola to the world, they must come, get to know my town, walk the streets, enjoy the rainy green and wet landscape, eat tamales in the garden, greet my neighbors. Let everyone know that we are here!'
      The women hosts of Mopampa have a long history of organization. In 1992, they started cultivating the serrano pepper. Fifteen years later, in 2007, they created the Network of the Organization of Indigenous Women of Tlaola to develop productive projects to improve the living conditions of women. In 2016, they achieved the recognition of the serrano pepper by Slow Food, an organization that recognizes great work in sustainable and agro-ecological practices.
      On February 21-24, 2020, 45 Indigenous delegates from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and the United States, and 20 representatives of international organizations and observers from Italy, Panama, Mexico, Guatemala and the United States; and Indigenous representatives of Nahua, Tsotsil, Maya, Ayuuk, K'iche ', Binizá, Mbya Guaraní, Aymara / Calacalita, Me Phaa, Wichi, Yoruna, Kiriri, Creole Raizal, Inga, Shuar, Afro-Ecuadorian, Kañari-Kichwa, Puruwa Kichwa, Quechua, Raramuri, Chinanteco, Tseltal, Otomí, Mixteco, Chahla, Muskoke, Uma and Guaraní Peoples came together to reflect on their communities, share stories, and connect global production of conventional foods with climate change, loss of biodiversity and conflicts associated with land racism and discrimination.
      The months of anticipation work began with an open call in which 141 young people from 27 countries sent in proposals, showing the great need to generate these international intergenerational dialogues.
       Slow Food (https://www.slowfood.com) is a global network committed to changing the current logic of agri-food production, for an alternative based on values ​​such as fair trade, a healthy ecological footprint, through traditional foods that protect biodiversity and cultures. In Mexico, there are 36 Slow Food communities dedicated to protecting culturally important foods such as pulque, corn, serrano chile, native honey, vanilla, salt, among many others.
      Tlaola was filled with different colors and sounds, the dialogue at the event was mixed with traditional Nahua music in the background, resulting in an exchange of experiences, the formation of strategic alliances, and the strengthening of the network of Indigenous youth and women of Slow Food of America. The participants will return to their communities to continue working the land while influencing public policies locally and internationally."

      "Koef Grant Partner Spotlight: Centro Sapichay," Cultural Survival, February 27, 2020, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/koef-grant-partner-spotlight-centro-sapichay, reported, "Uniting Rural and Urban Indigenous Communities in Peru, Centro Sapichay is working to unite the rural and urban Indigenous communities of the Wanka, Chanka, Ashaninka, Ya’nesha, Awajun, Kana and Quechua Peoples in Peru through an Indigenous-led rapid response network, AWAY (Quechua for “to weave”).  AWAY draws upon shared value systems to support rural communities and facilitate communication between urban and rural members.
       Many Indigenous Nations are located in remote areas but also have diasporas in more urban areas. These communities did not have an effective way of communicating quickly with one another and with their Indigenous urban populations. A grant from the Keepers of the Earth Fund to Centro Sapichay helped establish the AWAY Rapid Response Network, organized primarily by the communities in Junin. AWAY is the first network of its kind, a first step to creating an increased sense of solidarity between urban and rural Indigenous communities. The grant supported urban and rural Indigenous people of Peru to stay in contact and to report on and address any urgent issues they are facing, including human rights and environmental rights violations.
      According to Paloma Abregu, the executive director of Sapichay, the purpose of this AWAY network is to 'quickly disseminate information on events and critical community survival needs, by use of phone trees, websites, and encrypted text.' It creates a way for Indigenous communities to correspond about rights abuses that may be being violated and creates a support network of medical and legal help if they are in need of either. Before AWAY could start being effective, Sapichay organized workshops about tactics for legal defense, technical support in areas of conflict, as well as workshops that informed the rural and urban Indigenous communities about their rights. The project has already shown how effective it can be. Centro Saphichay was able to inform Indigenous communities in urban areas of Peru about a mining contract that was solicited illegally and make both rural and urban communities aware that they have rights to their lands. One participant said, “They should spread this information to more communities, because here we were unaware of many things, the radio did not even inform us about these rights.'
      Centro Sapichay wanted to create a way for communities in the Peruvian Andes, central rainforest, and urban areas not only to learn about their rights, but also for the rural communities to learn how to use photography and video equipment, and to create an interactive mapping website for all communities to upload information on and communicate about recent conflicts. The AWAY network has created a newfound relationship and trust between rural and urban Indigenous communities, a sense of unity and belonging for all Indigenous people involved in this project. Centro Sapichay hopes to inspire other Indigenous communities to create similar network systems. AWAY has given a new feeling of strength to communities, especially those located in rural areas and places where people can easily be taken advantage of because of barriers to accessing information. Sapichay intends to nurture this new solidarity in order to advocate for Indigenous rights and raise awareness of human rights violations through social media campaigns."

       Violent protests against an amendment of a citizenship bill took place all over India,  in December 2020, including by large numbers of Indigenous people who feared that the legislation might make them minorities in their own lands, and could lead to elimination of their land rights, culture and language (India: Protests Arise Against New Citizenship Amendment Bill," Cultural Survival Quarterly, March 2020).

      "Bangladesh: Protect Refugees in COVID-19 Response, Suspend Use of Bhasan Char Island: First case of COVID-19 confirmed in Rohingya refugee camp ," Fortify Rights, May 15, 2020, https://mailchi.mp/fortifyrights/bangladesh-protect-refugees-in-covid-19-response-suspend-use-of-bhasan-char-island, stated, " The Government of Bangladesh should utilize existing quarantine facilities for Rohingya refugees potentially exposed to COVID-19 and suspend its use of Bhasan Char island for refugees, said Fortify Rights today. Bangladesh authorities confirmed yesterday the first case of COVID-19 in the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar District.
       Bangladesh authorities are currently holding in quarantine at least 300 Rohingya refugees on Bhasan Char, a poorly equipped, flood-prone island located off the coast of mainland Bangladesh."
      
      "Myanmar: New Evidence of Denial of Rohingya Citizenship : Internal government documents reveal ongoing campaign, Fortify Rights, January 16, 2020, https://www.fortifyrights.org/mya-inv-2020-01-16/, stated, "The Government of Myanmar should take steps to urgently restore full citizenship rights to Rohingya, said Fortify Rights today. New evidence collected by Fortify Rights, including eyewitness testimony and internal government documents, confirms that Myanmar authorities are continuing to force and coerce Rohingya to accept National Verification Cards (NVCs), which effectively identify Rohingya as foreigners and strip them of access to full citizenship rights."

      "Malaysia: End Violent Threats and Anti-Rohingya Campaign : 84 organizations call on Malaysia to end discriminatory rhetoric against Rohingya refugees," Fortify Rights, May 11, 2020, https://mailchi.mp/fortifyrights/malaysia-end-violent-threats-and-anti-rohingya-campaign, stated, "The Government of Malaysia should immediately address hate speech and violent threats against Rohingya refugees, Fortify Rights and 83 other organizations said today in an open letter to Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. In April 2020, hateful messages targeting the Rohingya community in Malaysia proliferated social media platforms, causing widespread fear of physical violence and discrimination among Rohingya refugees."

      "Myanmar: Ban Landmines, Lift Travel Restrictions on Aid Groups: COVID-19 and longstanding restrictions on humanitarian aid hamper landmine-survivor support ," Fortify Rights, May 14, 2020, https://www.fortifyrights.org/mya-inv-2020-05-14/, stated, "The Myanmar military and ethnic armed groups should end the use of landmines and the Government of Myanmar should lift restrictions on humanitarian aid groups providing life-saving support to landmine survivors in ethnic areas affected by ongoing war, said Fortify Rights today. Since January 1, 2020, landmine explosions in Myanmar have reportedly killed or injured at least 68 civilians, while longstanding government-imposed restrictions on aid groups coupled with new COVID-19-related restrictions hinder access to essential aid and services."

      "Thailand: Protect Rohingya Refugees from Forced Return, Indefinite Detention: Thailand threatens to return 35 Rohingya, including six women and 16 children, to Myanmar ," Fortify Rights, June 5, 2020, https://www.fortifyrights.org/tha-inv-2020-06-05/, stated, "The government of Thailand should prevent the indefinite detention or forced return of Rohingya refugees and possible survivors of human trafficking, Fortify Rights said today. Thai authorities are detaining at least 35 Rohingya men, women, and children in the Tak Immigration Detention Center (IDC) and threatening to return them to Myanmar, where they face certain persecution.
      Thai authorities deny that the detainees are ethnic Rohingya, instead alleging they are 'Myanmar Muslims.' Fortify Rights confirmed the detainees are Rohingya from Myanmar."

      "Koef Partner Spotlight: Coalition Against Land Grabbing," Cultural Survival, March 30, 2020, https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/koef-partner-spotlight-coalition-against-land-grabbing, Reported, "The Coalition Against Land Grabbing (CALG) is an Indigenous-led organization based in Palawan province in the Philippines. The organization serves and is run by members of the three main Indigenous communities living in Palawan, the Pala’wan, Tagabanua, and Batak. The Coalition Against Land Grabbing  has been working on its mission to secure land, forest, and natural resources for the local Indigenous communities since 2014 in order to oppose the massive, on-going land grabbing taking place in the region. With a Cultural Survival’s Keepers of the Earth Fund grant, the Coalition worked with local communities to protect their resources from agribusiness corporations and other forms of land grabbing.
       The Coalition used the funds to advocate against agribusiness companies that are trying to implement development projects on Indigenous ancestral land, petitioning a silica mining company, and facilitating requests for ancestral domain titles (CADT) procedures and preparing Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plans in some communities.
       In 2016, two major agribusiness companies, the Green Power Palawan Agriculture Corporation (GPPAC) and Lionheart Agrotech, started to clear land in the ancestral domain of the Pala’wan of Barangay Ransang without adhering to the proper Free, Prior, and Informed Consent practices. The companies were planning to convert the land into coconut plantations. This land borders valuable territories and areas conserved by Indigenous Peoples and local communities. The Coalition Against Land Grabbing had proven to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples that the companies did not adhere to proper Free, Prior, and Informed Consent guidelines. As a result, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples suspended the companies’ Certificate of Precondition. This suspension stopped the companies from continuing to carry out operations.
      In response, in June 2017, both companies filed a motion of reconsideration. They requested that the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples lift the suspension and allow the companies to resolve the issue by paying the required bond that is decided by the affected tribes. The Commission decided that the companies should pay the required bond, but it did not allow the companies to resume operations. The companies were requested to submit an Environmental and Socio-Cultural Impact Statement, a comprehensive work plan, and comply with all Free, Prior, and Informed Consent guidelines. The companies suspended operations for a couple of months but soon resumed clearing and even expanding planting operations. About 1000 hectares of  Indigenous ancestral domain have been cleared.
      The Coalition Against Land Grabbing documented an encroachment by migrants in the areas claimed by Lionheart Agrotech and the areas Lionheart Agrotech would like to expand into. As a result, large areas of land have had the natural vegetation removed, and roads have been built illegally by Lionheart Agrotech that has caused erosion and the destruction of Indigenous burial sites. The company’s encroachment has also caused negative effects on the environment and internal community cohesion in some areas. One lowland Pala’wan from Ransang stated, 'Before the companies came to our land, the communities were united, we helped each other in case of need, we exchanged food with each other, no one was left alone. Now brothers are against their own brothers, cousins against cousins, relatives against their own relatives. Trustworthiness and reciprocity have all been affected. This is because companies have divided people’s hearts, they hired some people and left others with no jobs, they paid some people and gave nothing to others, and they created inequalities and injustices. This is why community unity has been lost.' 
       Recently, Lionheart Agrotech entered into a joint venture agreement with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for a project without the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent of the affected Indigenous Peoples. The Coalition Against Land Grabbing facilitated a number of meetings with relevant government authorities. Such meetings highlighted that the agreement did not have legal merit due to a lack of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent of the affected communities. Regardless, due to the obstacles of corruption and intragovernmental collusion, the matter remains unresolved. A complaint was made to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, but there was no response. The Coalition, pending approval from its attorneys, plans to aid the affected Indigenous communities in filing another complaint and will monitor any response.
       As Lionheart Agrotech has begun to try and comply with Free, Prior, and Informed Consent practices, the Coalition is concerned such practices will not be conducted in a transparent manner. There have also been a number of instances in the past in which the company has used intimidations and harassment.
      The Coalition is supporting the Barangay Capitan of Ransang in monitoring the activities of Lionheart Agrotech. The elected Indigenous Peoples’ Mandatory Representative is also working with the Coalition by sending frequent updates on the situation. The Coalition is also trying to legally support seven Indigenous leaders during court trial because they participated in the destruction and removal of a fence placed on their ancestral domain by Lionheart Agrotech.  
      On November 25 and 27, 2019, the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and Indigenous representatives met to discuss the  Lionheart Agrotech case. The Coalition Against Land Grabbing provided funds for the Palawan delegation for transportation, accommodations, and food. The Palawan delegation was also able to visit the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples’ regional office and meet with the Enbanc Chairperson. At the meeting, a number of issues including the transparency and legality of  Lionheart Agrotech’s Free, Prior, and Informed Consent practices and the joint venture agreement were discussed. The Chairperson assured the delegation that the joint venture agreement will be classified as void, and advised them to wait for the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent procedures to be finished before calling for a dialogue to challenge it.  
      An upland Pala’wan from Ransang stated, 'Everybody comes to our land with a purpose. The oil palm companies say that they want to make us rich, the mining companies say they will build hospitals for us, the environmentalists claim that they want to save animals and plants in our forest, the missionaries want to save our souls. The government tells us that if we stop our upland farming they will give us livelihood alternatives. Everybody comes here with a plan, but no one asks us what is our plan and our vision for our land and our people.'
       In the Municipality of Rizal, the Coalition was also able to assist the Indigenous communities in submitting a petition against a silica mining company that would impact Indigenous land. In a parallel effort, the Coalition also worked on an education and information campaign in various communities to inform them about the long-term impact of mining and share the experiences of communities that have been impacted by mining.
       In Ransang, Candawaga, and Culasian, the Coalition also has successfully implemented requests for ancestral domain title procedures (CADT) processes. A CADT data gathering and census project is near completion. The Coalition has also accomplished an Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan and has sent a letter to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples for its validation.
      The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples should be releasing a memorandum of agreement to be signed by the Indigenous representatives of the area soon. This is a key step in the CADT process, but other steps must be taken in order to accomplish the demarcation and recognition of ancestral territories
.
      Going forward, the Coalition Against Land Grabbing is facing a new challenge. The provincial government of Palawan passed a resolution that supports the passage of a law that declares certain areas of land of the public domain in Palawan as alienable and disposable and open to distribution for agricultural, commercial, residential, industrial, and other productive purposes. The areas of land in question include areas of land in which CADT is being applied. The Coalition will challenge this resolution by highlighting that Indigenous ancestral domains can not be converted into alienable and disposable land and that the communities must be consulted in regard to any development plans for the land.
      The Coalition and the Indigenous people of Palawan have been facing a number of other obstacles from the federal government. Under the administration of President Duterte, there has been a deterioration of democracy and human rights that has impacted the Indigenous Peoples of Palawan. The Coalition staff has experienced death-threats and are in increased danger. Major constitutional changes proposed by the president could cancel the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act, which is the cornerstone for the work being done by the Coalition. Furthermore, some activities by the Coalition had to be put on hold due to an election ban from September 2018 - June 2019.
      The Coalition Against Land Grabbing and the Indigenous Peoples of Palawan are working tirelessly to protect their ancestral territories for future generations. The issues they are battling are continuously changing and the Coalition continues to monitor and respond to developments of the situation as they arise in creative and strategic ways. One Pala’wan from Candawage stated, “If our land is not spared from destruction, time will come that we will have to cross mountains and rivers to find medicinal plants, perhaps we will have to reach the other side of the island, just to discover that no matter how far we walk, the animals are gone, the forest is gone, the food is gone.”  

      Chung-Wha Hong, Executive Director of Grassroots International, wrote in an E-mail, May 5, 2020, "From mile-long lines of people waiting for food at food banks in the US, to the lockdown of local markets across the globe, to border closings and unemployment of millions of low-wage workers … the COVID-19 pandemic is pushing the pre-existing hunger crisis to the brink. The UN World Food Program warns against a hunger pandemic resulting in 130 million more people facing acute food insecurity and mass starvation due to COVID-19.
      This is why we need to fundamentally change the food system. Will you join our partners?
       Small-holder farmers and Indigenous People have been working to create a new approach called food sovereignty that puts control of food production and markets in the hands of communities, not corporations. It’s a system based in agroecology and sustainable techniques that is healthy for farmers, farmworkers, consumers, and the planet. And it’s a system that produces more food per square foot than industrial agriculture!
      It’s the system we need to end the food crisis and now is your opportunity to support the creation of a “new normal” that will have long-term, lasting impact.
      Although the pandemic and closed markets are threatening farmers’ livelihoods, our partners are responding with immediate social support and demands where governments have failed. They are fighting back against agribusiness encroachments on land and small farmers’ rights, defending territory, seeds and water, and demanding sustainable prices. For example:
      In Mexico, our partners are coordinating an effort to purchase seeds and vegetables from local farmers that have a surplus and redistributing them to communities in need during this crisis
. Families can count on fresh food produced in their own homes, farmers are able to sell their goods, and the food shortage is counteracted locally.
       A Palestinian partner is creating 2,500 home and rooftop gardens and is distributing more than 300,000 vegetable seedlings to kickstart the gardens and provide vital food  to families struggling amidst both COVID-19 and the Israeli occupation.
      Grantees in Burkina Faso are reallocating funding to support home gardens since families are unable to get to their farms or to access local markets because of governmental lockdowns.
      In Puerto Rico, our partner organized a Caravan for Life demanding automatic Food Stamp approval and stable food prices even as they continue to organize volunteers to cook and feed the community with the slogan 'We don’t eat austerity. We cook dignity.'
      Now is the time for us to show our solidarity beyond our borders and with the movements that are expanding food sovereignty, that will not only feed their communities during this pandemic, but build a lasting community-led food system for the future."

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