Steve Sachs

Environmental Activities

      "Worldwide Climate Activists Protest to Demand Urgent Action," Telsur, September 25, 2020,, reported, " Worldwide young environmental activists demonstrated on Friday to claim urgent action against climate change, marching for the first time after the COVID-19 pandemic began.
      Led by Swede activist Greta Thunberg, demonstrators planned to march in over 3,000 locations, but most of the activities took place online due to pandemic precautionary measu
res. They posted pictures on social media and joined Zoom call to discuss climate action.

Jessica Corbett, "Activists Ramp Up Pressure on Other Insurers After Swiss Company Ditches 'Climate-Wrecking' Trans Mountain Pipeline: 'Zurich's decision to walk away from the pipeline just underlines how risky this project has become,'" Common Dreams, July 23, 2020,, reported,  " Climate campaigners and Indigenous activists celebrated after reporting from Reuters revealed on Wednesday that the Swiss insurance giant Zurich will soon stop providing coverage to the Canadian government-owned Trans Mountain Pipeline, increasing the pressure on other insurers to also ditch the existing tar sands pipeline and long-delayed expansion project.
      'Zurich has done the right thing by refusing to insure the Trans Mountain Pipeline any longer. Hopefully Liberty Mutual and the other companies insuring it do the right thing before the end of August and drop it too,' Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, said in a statement Thursday.
       'Any company insuring Trans Mountain is complicit in violations of Indigenous rights,' he explained, 'because the proposed pipeline expansion does not have the consent of all impacted First Nations along the route.'
      'Zurich's decision to drop Trans Mountain demonstrates that it's waking up the risks of this toxic project to Indigenous land rights, local ecosystems, and the planet,' said Elana Sulakshana, energy finance campaigner at Rainforest Action Network (RAN).
       The decades-old pipeline has a long history of spills —including one at a pump station in British Columbia last month—and Indigenous groups and climate campaigners have spent years in court fighting against the expansion project known as TMX.
       'Some of Zuirch's peers in the global insurance industry are also taking note, as eight companies now have policies that limit or end insurance coverage for tar sands,' said Sulakshana. 'It's way past time for Liberty Mutual and Chubb to follow suit.'
       Liberty Mutual is a top target of the Stop the Money Pipeline campaign, which was launched in January by a coalition of climate, youth, and Indigenous groups to pressure banks, insurers, and asset managers to 'stop financing fossil fuels and deforestation and start respecting human rights and Indigenous sovereignty.'"

Kenny Stancil, "'Bankrolling Extinction': Report Shows Big Banks Lent Over $2.6 Trillion to Fund Global Biodiversity Destruction in 2019: 'Imagine a world in which projects can only raise capital when they have demonstrated that they will contribute meaningfully and positively to restoring the planet's bounty and a safe climate for all. That's the future this report envisions and builds toward," Common Dreams, October 28, 2020,, reported, " The world's largest banks in 2019 provided more than $2.6 trillion in loans and underwriting to economic sectors linked to the global biodiversity crisis while doing little to monitor, let alone curb, damage to life-sustaining ecosystems."
      As Sulakshana explained in an op-ed for Common Dreams earlier this month, Trans Mountain's insurance policy is up at the end of August, so environmental advocacy groups, First Nations, and insurance campaigners have been calling on the 11 insurers that currently cover Trans Mountain to:
      'Publicly commit to not renew their insurance policy for Trans Mountain for 2020-21;
Moving forward, rule out insurance for all tar sands extraction and transport projects and companies;
      Adopt a policy to ensure that projects and companies they insure have obtained the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent of impacted communities.'
      The insurers for the pipeline that she listed are Zurich (Switzerland); Lloyd's (U.K.), Liberty Mutual (U.S.); Chubb (U.S.); AIG (U.S.), WR Berkley (U.S.); Starr (U.S.), Stewart Specialty Risk Underwriting (Canada); Energy Insurance Mutual (U.S.); Temple Insurance (Germany), a Canadian member of the Munich Re group; and HDI (Germany), which is owned by Talanx/Hannover Re.
      'In late June, Talanx indicated that it already dropped the pipeline, and Munich Re signaled that it will not renew its policy,' Sulakshana noted.
Reuters reported Wednesday that "Munich Re said it would review the contract given its new underwriting guideline on oil sands."
      While a spokesperson for Zurich declined to comment on the Reuters report, a Trans Mountain spokesperson told the news agency that the Swiss insurer has decided not to renew its policy. According to Reuters:
      The Trans Mountain Pipeline's annual liability insurance contract, dated August 2019 but filed with the Canada Energy Regulator on April 30, 2020, had shown Zurich was the lead insurer for the pipeline.
      The insurance, which provides $508 million of cover, runs to August 2020, the filing showed.
      Zurich was the sole insurer for the first $8 million of potential insurance payouts and the company provided a total of $300 million in cover with other insurers, the 2019-20 energy regulatory filing showed.
      Despite Zurich's decision, the Trans Mountain spokesperson said that 'there remains adequate capacity in the market to meet Trans Mountain's insurance needs and our renewal.' Given that other insurers still plan to provide coverage, campaigners are maintaining pressure on both companies and the Canadian government to reconsider enabling the pipeline to continue operating and expanding.
      'Insurers should protect us from risk, not accelerate climate change, Ross Hammond of the Sunrise Project and Insure Our Future wrote in a tweet welcoming the Swiss company's move.
      'The Trans Mountain Pipeline puts communities, the climate, and billions of dollars in Canadian taxpayers' money at risk,' said Sven Biggs, Canadian Oil and Gas Program director at 'Zurich's decision to walk away from the pipeline just underlines how risky this project has become.'
      Biggs added that 'it's time for the Trudeau government to take another look at this project, and ask if this is the right time to spend over $10 billion on a pipeline that is rapidly losing the support of the financial sector.'
      The Canadian arm of, in a tweet Wednesday, put the insurer's renewal decision in the context of not only the climate emergency but also the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and campaigners' calls for a just recovery from the public health crisis.
      Nearly 200 groups in Canada including unveiled their demands for a just recovery in late May, arguing that 'recovery efforts must not take us backward; they must accelerate the transition towards a more healthy, sustainable, and equitable society.'
Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License."

"UN plan to protect 30 percent of the planet by 2030 could displace hundreds of millions, NGOs and experts warn," Survival International, September 2, 2020,, reported, " One hundred twenty eight environmental and human rights NGOs and experts today warn that a United Nations drive to increase global protected areas such as national parks could lead to severe human rights violations and cause irreversible social harm for some of the world’s poorest people. 1
      In May 2021, the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) is set to agree on a new target to place at least 30 percent of the Earth’s surface under conservation status by 2030 2 . This ‘30 x 30’ target would double the current protected land area over the coming decade. 3
       However, concerns about the human cost of the proposal as well as its efficacy as an environmental measure are growing as nature protection in regions such as Africa’s Congo Basin and South Asia has become increasingly militarized in recent years. A series of recent exposés have revealed that communities continue to be forcibly displaced and dispossessed to make way for protected areas and face severe human rights violations by heavily armed anti-poaching agents. 4
       In a letter to the CBD Secretariat (, the NGOs warn that as many as 300 million people could be affected unless there are much stronger protections for the rights of indigenous peoples and other traditional land-owners and environmental stewards. 5
      Environmental groups have also stated that ‘fortress conservation’ found in much of the Global South is failing to prevent the rapid decline in biodiversity, citing how typically heavy-handed enforcement can turn local people against conservation efforts and could actually hasten environmental destruction. 6
       Any further increase in protected areas, they argue, must first be preceded by an independent review into the social impacts and conservation effectiveness of existing protected areas.
       Stephen Corry of Survival International, said: " The call to make 30% of the globe into “Protected Areas” is really a colossal land grab as big as Europe’s colonial era, and it’ll bring as much suffering and death. Let’s not be fooled by the hype from the conservation NGOs and their UN and government funders. This has nothing to do with climate change, protecting biodiversity or avoiding pandemics – in fact it’s more likely to make all of them worse. It’s really all about money, land and resource control, and an all out assault on human diversity. This planned dispossession of hundreds of millions of people risks eradicating human diversity and self-sufficiency – the real keys to our being able to slow climate change and protect biodiversity”.
      Joshua Castellino of Minority Rights Group International said: “Urgent measures are needed to arrest the imminent breach of planetary boundaries. This requires reigning in those responsible for its continued destruction, replacing them with those responsible for its safeguarding. Making indigenous peoples pay the price for destruction that took place in the drive towards overconsumption for profit by others constitutes not only the bullying of the dispossessed, it reifies the quest for profit over people privileging western ‘scientific approaches’ borne out of commerce, over the traditional knowledge it subjugated, dominated and nearly destroyed on the path to this precipice.”
       Notes to Editor
2 The target is stated in a draft agreement called the ‘Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework’, which is currently being prepared and negotiated amongst the 186 governments which are signatories to the Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD). See here for the full document:
3 The CBD, adopted in 1992, is seen as the key document regarding sustainable development and provides the overarching international policy framework for conservation. Parties to the CBD are set to adopt a post-2020 global biodiversity framework in May 2021. The draft agenda includes the objective to protect at least 30 percent of all land and seas by 2030, a near doubling of the current target of 17 percent (Aichi Target 11).
4 See, for example, and
5 Based on a paper published in the academic journal Nature analysing the areas most likely to be put forward as protected areas, it is estimated that the new target could displace or dispossess as many as 300 million people. See, Schleicher, J., Zaehringer, J.G., Fastré, C. et al. ‘Protecting half of the planet could directly affect over one billion people’. Nat Sustain 2, 1094–1096 (2019).
6 See, for example, the community-managed forests that could be threatened by conservation land grabs in the Congo Basin,
If other organizations or individuals wish to sign on to the joint statement, please contact Fiore Longo:
About the organisations:
Minority Rights Group International (MRG) is the leading international human rights organisation working to secure the rights of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples. We work with more than 150 partners in over 50 countries.
Survival International is the global movement for tribal peoples.
      Press enquires:
MRG: Samrawit Gougsa, MRG Press Office (London, UK).
M: +44 (0)790 364 5640 /, Twitter: @SamGougsa / @MinorityRights
Survival International: Jonathan Mazower, Communications Director.
M: +44 (0)7841 029 289,"

"NCAI Condemns Formal Withdrawal by the United States from the Paris Agreement; Reaffirms Tribal Nations’ Commitment to the Accord," National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), November 4, 2020,, stated, " The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) condemns the United States’ decision today to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. The Paris Agreement – a global accord designed to reduce the risks and impacts of climate change – features roughly 200 countries as signatories; the United States today becomes the first country to formally withdraw from it. In response, NCAI, the largest and oldest national organization comprised of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments and their citizens, reaffirms its formal commitment to support the Paris Agreement.
      'While expected, today’s action by the United States represents a gut punch to the global effort to save our planet for future generations, and a clear dereliction of the federal government’s trust and treaty responsibilities to tribal nations to protect the ecosystems our communities and cultures depend on for their survival,' said NCAI President Fawn Sharp. 'But tribal nations, who are among the world’s most effective and innovative climate actors, will not be deterred. As sovereign governments, we will continue to wage an unrelenting battle against this existential threat to humanity.'
      In 2017, tribal leaders from across the United States passed NCAI Resolution MOH-17-053 to formally support the Paris Climate Agreement. In furtherance of that resolution, earlier this year, NCAI joined more than 3,900 federal, state, and local climate leaders in signing the ' We Are Still In' Declaration ( The We Are Still In movement is the largest American coalition in support of climate action in history. Its signatories come from all 50 states and represent more than half of the U.S. population, nearly two-thirds of its economy, and more than half of the country’s emissions. It is are backed by over two-thirds of U.S. citizens, who have consistently supported the country’s participation in the Paris Agreement.
      In addition, NCAI also established its Climate Action Task Force in 2018 to identify and advocate for the policies and funding necessary to help tribal nations engage in effective, sustainable climate action, as well as document, inform, and support the climate action initiatives of tribal nations and organizations.
      'Indian Country is on the front lines of climate change. Native people disproportionately experience its impacts, from the loss of subsistence hunting and fishing ecosystems that nourish our people, to changing weather patterns that harm our traditional plants and medicines, to the forced relocation of a growing number of our tribal communities,' NCAI Climate Action Task Force Co-Chairs Melanie Bahnke, Beverly Cook, and Leonard Forsman said in a joint statement. 'Tribal nations are doing their part to reverse these alarming trends before we reach the point of no return, and it is imperative that the United States recommit to doing its part.'
With the outcome of the U.S. Presidential Election still uncertain, NCAI calls upon the next Administration to immediately rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, and ensure that tribal nations have an equal seat at the national and international climate action tables."

Jake Johnson, "With Dirty Energy Sector Crashing, Nearly 70 Groups Urge Fed to Stop Buying Up Wasteful Fossil Fuel Industry Debt: "The Fed needs to reduce systemic risk during this health and economic crisis and stop boosting the industry driving climate devastation,'" Common Dreams, July 30, 2020,, reported, "" A coalition of nearly 70 advocacy organizations is demanding that the Federal Reserve immediately stop using its emergency Covid-19 lending facilities to buy up fossil fuel debt, warning that rescuing the faltering oil and gas industry is both a bad investment of public money and disastrous for the climate.
      The Federal Reserve Board's 'decision to use public funds to subsidize the fossil fuel sector exposes the nation to significant financial losses, both due to sunk costs in failed projects and the fallout from lawsuits over environmental catastrophe,' wrote 69 environmental, religious, and economic justice organizations in a letter (pdf) to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on Thursday.
      'The board should not be purchasing the debts of firms that accelerate climate change by expanding fossil fuels, create real risks of local environmental catastrophe, and threaten the lands of Indigenous people,' the letter reads. 'The board's investment in these firms means the public now also shares a part of these risks.'"

Andrea Germanos, "Green Groups Urge Insurers to Drop Coverage of Trans Mountain Pipeline: 'Now is the time to decisively say no to this destructive project,'" Common Dreams, August 6, 2020,, reported, " Over 140 advocacy groups released an open letter Thursday urging insurers of Trans Mountain to drop their coverage of the tar sands 'megaproject' because it 'puts Indigenous communities, drinking water, and our shared climate at grave risk.'
      'With the policy expiring at the end of August, now is the time to decisively say no to this destructive project,' says the letter (pdf:
      The call is addressed to AIG, Chubb, Energy Insurance Limited, Liberty Mutual, Lloyd's, Munich Re, Starr, Stewart Specialty Risk Underwriting, and W.R. Berkley. Spared from the list is Swiss insurance giant Zurich, which announced in a victory for campaigners two weeks ago that it would no longer cover the project.
      The demand from the groups including Rainforest Action Network, Greenpeace Canada, and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs is part of a tactic by climate activists to increase pressure on insurers to stop underwriting the fossil fuel project, which would triple the capacity of the Canadian government-owned existing pipeline and has faced multiple legal challenges and sustained resistance from First Nations communities"

Joaqlin Estus. "Alaska Natives divided on Arctic refuge drilling," ICT, October 10, 2020,", reported a division among Alaska Natives on whether to allow oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, " Some of the area’s for-profit Alaska Native corporations created under a 1971 claims settlement stand to benefit from oil development. Arctic Slope Regional Corporation President and CEO Rex Rock, Inupiaq, last year wrote an opinion piece for The Hill supporting drilling in the refuge." Some Natives believe that a balance can be kept between some oil development for economic development, and protecting the environment and other interests."
      "Representatives of tribal governments and Native nonprofit organizations have voiced their opposition, most recently at a forum hosted by the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources."
      " Mary David, Inupiaq, is executive vice president of the Nome-based regional nonprofit Kawerak Inc. She said any new development will add stress to beleaguered natural ecosystems.
      'People and tribes in the region take seriously the impact of climate change because our lives are so intertwined, connected and reliant on the environment.'”

Henry Fountain, "White House Releases New Plan for Seismic Tests in Arctic Refuge: The survey would bring heavy trucks looking for signs of oil reserves into one of the most remote and pristine parts of the United States," The New York Times, October 24, 2020,, reported, " The Trump administration has relaunched long-delayed plans to conduct a seismic survey in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska as a prelude to drilling for oil there.
      The Bureau of Land Management on Friday released a proposal to begin a seismic survey in December that would look for underground signs of oil reserves over more than half a million acres on the east side of the refuge’s coastal plain. The Bureau said it would accept public comments on the plan, which was proposed by an Alaska Native village corporation, for 14 days before deciding whether to issue a permit."
       The Trump administration hopes that the testing would leas quickly to selling oil leases.

Amazon Watch stated in an August 7/20/20 E-mail, " U.S. human rights lawyer Steven Donziger has been placed under house arrest for ONE YEAR without trial in retaliation for a historic environmental court judgment against Chevron.
      Donziger was a lead lawyer in the
$9.5 billion judgment against Chevronfor dumping 16 billion gallons of toxic oil waste in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Chevron was found guilty and ordered to clean up its mess.
Instead, the company fled Ecuador and launched a scorched-earth offensive to bury the case in litigation and “demonize Donziger.”
       Please call on the U.S. Congress to act on the request for an investigation into this injustice from members of the European Parliament's Subcommittee on Human Rights.
      Donziger has now been under house arrest for over a year for
refusing to turn over his computer, cell phone, and confidential case files to Chevron. He is the only lawyer in U.S. history who has ever been detained pretrial on a contempt charge, and he has already been confined for four times as long as the maximum possible sentence.
      29 Nobel Laureates, hundreds of lawyers and bar associations, numerous prominent NGOs, and many others have called for his immediate release and for Chevron to comply with the rule of law and pay what it owes to the people of Ecuador."

Kendra Chamberlain, "‘This has got to stop’: Indigenous activists decry lingering contamination decades after the last uranium mines closed," New Mwxico Polrical Report, November  23, 2020,, reported, "Thursday night, a group of Indigenous community leaders gave presentations about the legacy of uranium mining in the state that still threatens the health and environment of their communities, decades after the last mines ceased operations.
      From the 1940s through the early 1990s, New Mexico produced roughly 70 percent of the uranium in the United States, which was used in nuclear weaponry during the Cold War . Members of Indigenous communities across the state did most of the dangerous mining of the radioactive material, and those communities are still struggling to hold the federal government accountable for cleaning up the toxic contamination that was left behind."

Richard C. Paddock, "After Fighting Plastic in ‘Paradise Lost,’ Sisters Take On Climate Change: Melati and Isabel Wijsen began campaigning to reduce plastic waste in Bali seven years ago. Now 19 and 17, they say the pandemic shows that stark measures to protect the planet are possible." The New York Times, July 3, 2020,, reported, " It was trash season on Bali, the time of year when monsoon storms wash up tons of plastic debris onto the island’s beaches. It was also the time for two teenage sisters, Melati and Isabel Wijsen, to organize their annual island cleanup."
      "The sisters, now 19 and 17, are part of a young generation of global activists, including the 17-year-old Swedish climate-change advocate, Greta Thunberg, calling for urgent action to protect the planet

With a great many people using one-use masks and other protective gear during the COVID-19 pandemic, a great many of these safety items have become litter, causing environmental problems, particularly for water ways and oceans (Marie Fazio, "Littered Masks Cause Low Risks to You, But Endange Eco Systems," The New York Times, July 26, 2020).

Food and Water Watch stated in an August 11, 2020 Email, " Currently we are suing the Trump administration on many fronts. Here’s a snapshot:
       Waters of the United States (WOTUS): The Trump administration is threatening the drinking water of 117 million Americans with the biggest environmental rollback of the Clean Water Act in decades — a dangerous new rule that eliminates Clean Water Act protections for many waterways. We’ve joined forces with four other environmental organizations to sue the Trump administration and put a stop to this attack against our water;
       The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA): Trump’s new rule shortcuts environmental review and eliminates consideration of climate change impacts. It not only gives Big Oil & Gas companies rubber-stamp approval for new pipelines and polluting infrastructure, but also gives Big Ag free range to expand factory farms. Food & Water Watch is on the frontlines with a coalition of organizations that just filed a lawsuit to stop this dangerous rollback;
       Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC): In a groundbreaking lawsuit, Food & Water Watch is fighting to force a key federal agency to follow the law and evaluate indirect effects, including climate change, before it permits dirty fossil fuel projects; and
       Slaughterhouse Food Safety Rollbacks: Food & Water Watch is leading a federal lawsuit challenging the U.S. Department of Agriculture's new rule to remove food safety protections in hog slaughterhouses. This illegal rule is a disaster for food safety and animal welfare."

Lakota People's Law Project stated in an E-mail, September 30, 2020, " As Keystone XL pipeline (KXL) construction continues near our Cheyenne River Nation, youth organizers are leading the resistance! Last Friday, a group of young activists calling themselves “Cheyenne River Grassroots Collective” held an action to bring attention to the ongoing threat of KXL. Some were arrested, but they’ve now been released, thanks to the support of our tribal chairman, Harold Frazier. Over the coming weeks, the Lakota People’s Law Project will help these brave young leaders continue organizing in the community to keep the pressure on
      As you may know, the Trump administration recently lost a battle at the Supreme Court over KXL: in July, the justices upheld a Montana court’s injunction against KXL construction based on potential violations of the Endangered Species Act. But TC Energy, the Canadian company building KXL, is working hard to get around environmental protections and secure permits. There’s a good chance they will eventually succeed — if we don’t stop them. Biden has said that he will shut the pipeline down if elected, but since we don’t know what will happen in November, we must keep fighting.
       Cheyenne River Grassroots Collective is doing more than just organizing demonstrations. In recent days, it outed TC Energy for going, secretly, to several Cheyenne River Tribal Council members in a clandestine attempt to buy off the tribe. The oil company offered $22,000 annually to each tribal member to let the 'zombie pipeline' pass through our treaty territory unmolested. But just as the Black Hills are not for sale, the Missouri River and the Ogallala Aquifer are not on offer to the highest bidder. KXL would put both at risk, and we won't tolerate the destruction of our water systems.
      Instead, we will collaborate with Cheyenne River Grassroots Collective and the Indigenous Environmental Network to ramp up resistance to TC Energy and KXL. Mancamp construction continues just off our western border. West-end districts on my reservation like Cherry Creek and Bridger, closest to KXL’s intended path, are most vulnerable. We’ll hold events in those communities to keep the people activated against Big Oil, and together, we will protect the Cheyenne River Nation.
Wopila tanka — thank you for your solidarity!
Madonna Thunder Hawk
Cheyenne River Organizer
The Lakota People’s Law Project"

"Tribes make new push to shut down Dakota Access Pipeline," ICT, October 20, 2020,, reported, " Tribes opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline once again have asked a federal judge to stop the flow of oil while the legal battle over the line's future plays out."

Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) stated in an E-mail. September 24, 2020, "Please show your support for Weymouth in their fight for health and safety.
      On Friday, September 11th, an accident at the Weymouth Compressor Station released 265,000 cubic feet of fracked gas into the air. The plant isn’t even operational yet and they are having major accidents. Many groups warned of such risks over a year ago, including GBPSR , but were ignored. We need to send a message to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) that Weymouth needs a safety and evacuation plan in place before this dangerous compressor station should be allowed to go online."
      For more information go to:

Nanette Deetz, "California tribes oppose proposed water tunnel," ICT,  October 25, 2020,, reported, "In early March, just weeks before California shut down due to COVID-19, more than 200 tribal citizens, environmentalists and others gathered in the city of Redding to protest a proposed massive water tunnel in the state.
      Members of the Yurok, Hoopa Valley, Karuk, Pit River, Winnemem Wintu, Pomo and Miwok nations held an outdoor rally before speaking at a meeting on the Delta Tunnel Conveyance project, saying it would destroy water quality and devastate the state’s salmon population and other important fish species in the San Joaquin Delta estuary
      The proposed California “Water Resilience Plan" encompasses the multibillion-dollar below ground tunnel, part of a project to pump billions of gallons of water from the San Joaquin Delta to the southern part of the state, with a Sites Reservoir dam project in Northern California.

The Three Ute Tribes and the City of Glenwood Springs, CO have been fighting the proposal by Rocky Mountain Industries (RMI) for a massive expansion of  the Mid-Continent Limestone Quarry, holding it would be seriously damaging environmentally, culturally and esthetically (with negative economic impacts on Tourism). As of September 2020, the proposal was under review by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) (Garrett Briggs, "Protecting the hot springs and vapor caves in Glenwood Springs, Southern Ute Drum, September 11, 2020).

Joaqlin Estus, "5 Alaska tribes protest groundwork for Tongass logging," ICT, October 20, 2020,, reported, " Five tribal nations of southeast Alaska [the Tlingit and Haida tribes] are objecting to a federal agency decision that leaves the U.S. Forest Service poised to open 9 million acres in the Tongass National Forest to logging.
      The federal agency recently recommended lifting a 2001 rule that bans new road construction and commercial logging in the Tongass, the country’s largest national forest at nearly 17 million acres."

Defenders of Wildlife announced in an E-mail, September 24, 2020, "Our Our wild world is in trouble. Countless species are threatened by impacts from climate change, overdevelopment, industrial exploitation, and attacks on bedrock environmental laws such as the Endangered Species Act.
           That’s why we’re launching our new Biodiversity Ambassadors program to empower activists like you! By signing up, you’ll be able to speak out against habitat destruction, the threat of extinction, and powerful corporations that are exploiting our planet. By taking a stand for biodiversity, you’re taking a stand for all of us!
      We're looking for passionate individuals who want to:
      Speak up for imperiled species and their habitat;
      Advocate for strong environmental policies that protect the health of our planet;
      Share their personal stories and opinions with members of Congress;
      Represent themselves or their community in wildlife advocacy;
      And engage in meaningful, action-oriented activities to stand up to industries and politicians aiming to sell off our public lands and the earth’s biodiversity for profit!"
      For more information go to:
      For more information, begin by going to:

"Environmental Justice and Indigenous Communities," First Nations Development Institute, October 9, 2020, via E-mail, stated, " First Nations is excited to publish four upcoming articles in partnership with Nonprofit Quarterly , each focused on environmental justice and Indigenous communities in the United States.
      First Nations Vice President of Grantmaking, Development, and Communications, Raymond Foxworth, kicks off the first-ever series, writing:
       'Too often, Native voices in all aspects of American life are silenced and marginalized, and this has continued to be the case in the global environmental justice movement. This series is an attempt to bring Native leaders working for environmental justice in their communities into the conversation, to speak for themselves and discuss how they are mobilizing to stop environmental degradation and racism and build more sustainable futures for their communities and beyond.'
      Dr. Foxworth goes on to explain how Native nations are reversing histories of exploitation, and how Native nations and Native organizations are actively fighting for the protection of local resources.
      Read the full article here:, and stay tuned for upcoming articles from these leading Indigenous environmental leaders:
      * A-dae Romero-Briones (Cochiti/Kiowa), First Nations’ director of programs and the Native Agriculture & Food Systems Initiative
      * Kendra Kloster (Tlingit/German), executive director of Native Peoples Action
      * Trisha Kehaulani Watson-Sproat (Hawaiian), owner and CEO of Honua Consulting, a cultural resource management and community planning company
      The three authors will also lead a panel discussion
in a webinar next week. Join us for Remaking the Economy: Indigenous Perspectives on Climate Justice, Thursday, October 15, 2020, at 2 pm, Eastern."
      More information is at:

"Atrocities prompt US authorities to halt funding to WWF, WCS in major blow to conservation industry," Survival International, October 2, 2020,, reported, " The US government has halted more than $12 million of funding to WWF , the Wildlife Conservation Society ( WCS ) and other conservation NGOs in a major blow to the conservation industry. The move follows a bipartisan US investigation into whether federal conservation funds supported anti-poaching guards implicated in human rights abuses in Africa.
      Many of these organizations are behind the creation and running of Protected Areas in Africa and Asia (including the
notorious Messok Dja ) that have ruined the lives of thousands of tribal and local people.
The news was revealed in a
leaked government document that also details how conservation organisations such as WWF failed to inform the US government that programs it was funding were responsible for serious human rights abuses in many countries.
      In a bombshell for the conservation industry long called for by tribal peoples and Survival International, the leaked memo announces groundbreaking rules on how projects designed to protect nature can be funded, including:
      - Conservation organizations will no longer receive federal funds unless they have the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples.
      - The US will no longer fund eco-guards, law enforcement or “activities related to relocating communities, voluntarily or involuntarily.”
      The memo, from the US Deputy Secretary of the Interior Kate MacGregor, is dated September 18th and contains numerous revelations including:
      - US government funding was misused by conservation organizations for purposes prohibited under US laws. These include murder, severe torture, multiple rapes, and abuse.
WWF and other organizations hid the knowledge of these abuses from the US authorities whose funds they were receiving.
      - Conservation organizations refused to cooperate with federal investigators; withheld reports that documented the abuses; and were effectively auditing themselves
      The extent of the abuses described in the report, involving a number of international conservation organizations, demonstrates the scale of human rights violations in conservation projects and the abject failure of international funding bodies to monitor them.
      Stephen Corry, Survival’s Director said today: 'WWF and other big conservation NGOs have been well aware of their responsibility for gross human rights violations for decades. Survival first pointed them out over 30 years ago. Over the last half century I’ve personally confronted dozens of corporations and governments about their abuse of tribal peoples’ rights. None have been as duplicitous as these big conservation NGOs. These violations ultimately damage our world too. They destroy the planet’s best defenders. 'Fortress conservation' must be stopped, and conservationists’ current demand to turn 30% of the Earth into Protected Areas must be rejected.'
      - This news comes days after the UN Summit on Biodiversity, where numerous heads of government supported WWF and WCS’s call to declare 30% of the Earth as Protected Areas by 2030. The revelations in the leaked report demonstrate how dangerous this would be.
      - The new measures mean that the US government can no longer fund WCS -India’s project supporting the so-called 'voluntary relocation' of indigenous communities. A letter from Jenu Kuruba villages threatened with eviction, calling on the US authorities to stop 'aiding and abetting the government and WCS’s plans to evict us from our forests,' has been sent to the US Fish and Wildlife Service more than 20 times, but is yet to receive a response."

Food Sovereignty is now a well-established movement, both Indigenous and Indigenous rooted. The International Treaty Council ( regularly reports on annual international food sovereignty Indigenous meetings in the Americas. In the United States, numerous Indigenous nations have been undertaking traditionally based agriculture. Examples are the efforts at Tohono O'odham to overcome a plague of obesity and diabetes (see:, and at Hopii, with Hopi TutskwaPermaculure (, whose "mission is to create community-based solutions in order to pass knowledge to future generations and rebuild culturally sustainable and healthy communities." Considerable encouragement and networking has been provided by Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance (
       Some call this movement agroecology. The September 2020 issue of Cultural Survival Quarterly ( discusses agroecology in Africa (see the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa report in International Developments, below) and in " From the Mongolian Steps to the Andean Mountains," while the discussion continues in in the December 2020 issue of CSQ.
       Food Canada has Indigenous roots and some Indigenous participation ( " Food Security Is A Goal While       Food Sovereignty Describes How To Get There. They Differ In Some Key Ways.
      Food sovereignty is rooted in grassroots food movements.
      Food sovereignty highlights the need for a democratic food system, one that involves inputs from citizens as well as producers.
      Food security is concerned with the protection and distribution of existing food systems
The first six pillars were developed at the l), Mali, in 2007. The seventh pillar – Food is Sacred - was added by members of the Indigenous Circle during the People’s Food Policy process.

    Puts people’s need for food at the centre of policies
    Insists that food is more than just a commodity
    Builds on traditional knowledge
    Uses research to support and pass this knowledge to future generations
    Rejects technologies that undermine or contaminate local food systems
    Optimizes the contributions of ecosystems
    Improves resilience
    Supports sustainable livelihoods
    Respects the work of all food providers
    Reduces distance between food providers and consumers
    Rejects dumping and inappropriate food aid
    Resists dependency on remote and unaccountable corporations
    Places control in the hands of local food providers
    Recognizes the need to inhabit and to share territories
    Rejects the privatization of natural resources
    Recognizes that food is a gift of life, and not to be squandered
    Asserts that food cannot be commodified

       The People's Food Policy Project: Introducing Food Sovereignty in Canada by Cathleen Kneen (former chair of Food Secure Canada)."
       In all of these cases, following Indigenous knowledge that each place is different and must be interacted with in its own terms, the details of food sovereignty vary, but the underlying principle is to provide healthier food and other products sustainably, with respect for the Earth in the particular place, more abundantly and economically than is achieved in mainstream industrial agriculture.

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U.S. Activities

      "Great Plains Tribes Win Important Legal Fight to Protect Tribal Water and Treaty Resources," National Congess of American Indians (NCAI), July 5, 2020,, stated, " The Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association (GPTCA), the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), and the National Congress of American Indians Fund (NCAI Fund) applaud the D.C. District Court’s decision today to vacate the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Lake Oahe easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline, and to require the removal of all oil flowing through the pipeline by August 5, 2020. This decision ensures that the treaty-reserved rights of the plaintiff tribes – the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, the Yankton Sioux Tribe, and the Oglala Sioux Tribe – are adequately addressed, along with any other land and natural resource considerations, in a full-fledged and well-documented environmental review process.
       GPTCA, NARF, and NCAI Fund participated in a coalition of Native organizations submitting an amicus brief in support of the plaintiff tribes during the latest proceedings in the D.C. District Court and are encouraged by this outcome. We hope that this decision helps pave the way for full and proper environmental impact studies as well as meaningful consultation with tribal nations that have direct or indirect stewardship over the lands under review. Our organizations will continue to work to ensure that every time tribal lands and resources are at stake, the environmental review processes meet all legal standards and respect the federal government’s trust obligations to tribes set forth in federal laws."

"Historic Win in McGirt v. Oklahoma," National Congress of American Indians (NCAI),  July 9, 2020,, stated, " The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the nation’s oldest, largest, and most representative organization comprised of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal nations and their citizens, along with the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), the oldest and largest legal organization devoted to protecting the rights of Native American tribes and people, applaud this morning’s decision in the U.S. Supreme Court case, which confirmed that the treaty-defined boundaries of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation still remain in full force today.
       Through treaty, the United States 'solemnly guarantied' the Muscogee (Creek) Nation their reservation as a 'permanent home' in exchange for leaving their eastern homelands ( Treaty with the Creeks (1832) and Treaty with the Creeks (1833)) . In a later treaty, the United States reaffirmed that the reservation was 'forever set apart as a home for said Creek Nation' ( Treaty with the Creeks (1866)) .
      Today’s historic decision by the United States Supreme Court reaffirms that understanding. In issuing the opinion of the Court, Justice Neil Gorsuch said, 'Today we are asked whether the land these treaties promised remains an Indian reservation for purposes of federal criminal law. Because Congress has not said otherwise, we hold the government to its word
      'Through two terms of the United States Supreme Court, and as many cases and fact patterns, this question has loomed over federal Indian law. This morning, NCAI joins the rest of Indian Country in congratulating the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and proudly asserting that its lands remain, and will forever be considered, Indian country – as guaranteed in their treaty relationship with the United States,' said NCAI President Fawn Sharp.
      NARF Executive Director John Echohawk responded to the decision, 'In this case, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation had to fight long and hard to protect their homelands, which were promised in their treaty agreements with the United States. In holding the federal government to its treaty obligations, the U.S. Supreme Court put to rest what never should have been at question. We congratulate the Nation on its success.'”

"NCAI Statement on Legal Filing by Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation Regarding Illegal Taking of Nation’s Missouri Riverbed Property Rights," National Congress of American Indians (NCAI),  July 15, 2020,, stated, " Today, the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation (MHA Nation) took steps to prevent the illegal taking of the Nation’s property rights to minerals beneath the Missouri River on its Fort Berthold Reservation in western North Dakota. The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) holds firm its position in support of the MHA Nation’s land and mineral rights, and has advocated for government-to-government consultation between the MHA Nation and the Department of the Interior’s Office of the Solicitor to confirm the longstanding Executive and Congressional actions declaring that the Missouri River bed within the Fort Berthold Reservation is owned by the MHA Nation.
      'The MHA Nation’s rights to the Missouri River bed minerals have been reaffirmed through a history of longstanding, well-settled, and still applicable legal precedents, and there should be no question as to the validity of the Nation’s claims,' says NCAI President Fawn Sharp. 'We cannot reiterate strongly enough that consultation with tribal nations and upholding treaty obligations is not optional. It is mandatory.'
      For these reasons, NCAI urges the Department of the Interior to immediately withdraw Solicitor’s Opinion M-37056 as an unwarranted threat to longstanding tribal trust assets. The fiduciary obligation of the United States is to protect and preserve tribal trust assets in order to ensure tribal nations have the resources needed to provide permanent homelands for present and future generations of their citizens. Instead, M-Opinion 37056 does the opposite, and completely reverses course on the Department of the Interior’s longstanding legal position with little or no rationale for doing so. NCAI stands with the MHA Nation in its fight to preserve its trust assets.
To view NCAI’s resolution on this issue, please click here."

"National Native Organizations Issue Joint Statement on U.S. Census Bureau Change to 2020 Census Operations," National Congress of American Indians (NCAI),  August 5, 2020,, stated, " This week, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that it is ending its Census 2020 field operations on September 30, 2020, despite severely low response rates in historically undercounted areas, including in many tribal areas across the country.
      The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), and the National Urban Indian Family Coalition (NUIFC) are deeply alarmed and concerned with this unwarranted and irresponsible decision. An accurate Census count is essential to ensure fair and accurate representation of all Americans, including this country’s First Americans, because Census data is used for reapportionment of congressional seats and in redistricting to elect representatives at every level of government. Ending the 2020 Census count early during a global pandemic is not only bad policy, it puts at risk the ability of our communities to access social safety net and other benefits that a complete Census count affords Americans wherever they are
      Our tribal nations and tribal communities have been ravaged by COVID-19, and an extension of the Census enumeration period was a humane lifeline during an unprecedented global health catastrophe that provided critically needed additional time to tribal nations to ensure that all of everyone in their communities are counted. For millions of American Indians and Alaska Natives, whether they live on rural reservations or in America’s large cities, an inaccurate Census count will decimate our ability to advocate for necessary services for our most vulnerable communities. An incomplete count also undermines our representative system of government in violation of the United States Constitution and in derogation of the federal government’s trust responsibilities to tribal nations.
       NCAI, NARF, and NUIFC strongly support a complete Census count and call on the United States Congress to take urgent legislative action to include an extension of the Census field operation timelines in the next COVID-19 package."

Native Voice Network (NVN), August 21, 2020,, stated, "“NO” to undercounting American Indian and Alaska Native communities. 'YES' to a fair and complete census count!
The US. Census Bureau decided to end the census one month earlier than the October 31 deadline.
      Let’s be clear of what’s at stake for American Indian and Alaska Natives: An undercount could lead to losing as much as $1 billion per year nationally in resources that our Native communities rely on for healthcare, schools, roads, and other essential programs and services.

      This is a deliberate act to try to draw resources away from American Indians, Alaska Natives, and other hard-hit communities of color, while we’re focused on responding to and recovering from the pandemic. We will not be erased. We will be visible and we will be heard
      Indigenous people and communities of color across the country are saying “No.” We’re taking a stand against yet another scheme for stealing from Indian Country and reducing our political clout."
      Let your member of Congress know that you expect them to keep their commitment to the October 31 deadline. Tell them to oppose this obvious tactic to steal resources our communities need."

" Civil Rights Leaders Call on Congress to Ensure an Accurate, Transparent, Equitable Census," National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), October 21, 2020,,
      Charmaine Riley, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights,, 202.548.7166
      Kevin Perez-Allen, NALEO Educational Fund,, 714.499.4481
      Teresa Candori, National Urban League,
      Michelle Boykins, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC,, 202.296.2300 x 0144
      Lycia Maddocks, National Congress of American Indians,, 202.466.7767
      stated, " While the Trump administration rushed to end data collection early last week, the 2020 Census is not over. Civil rights leaders and census experts held a press briefing Tuesday in partnership with Ethnic Media Services to urge Congress to pass an extension to the statutory deadlines for the Census Bureau’s data for apportionment and redistricting by 120 days each, as the Trump administration requested last April. Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in both the House and Senate to extend these deadlines to provide the Census Bureau the time it needs to ensure a fair and accurate 2020 Census.
      A recording of the press call can be found at:
      Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said: 'There’s a domino effect at play. If you erase people from the census, the tentpoles of our democracy like federal programs and fair elections start to fall. Congressional action is the only way to safeguard the data — and our democracy.'      
      'The fight for a fair and accurate Census is not over. Congress must assert its constitutional authority over the decennial count,” said Arturo Vargas, chief executive officer at NALEO Educational Fund. “The U.S. Senate should follow the House’s HEROES Act (H.R. 6800), which extends the December 31, 2020 deadline to deliver the apportionment counts, to April 30, 2021. We are tremendously concerned about the lasting effects on the Latino community of a politicized, truncated, and disaster-plagued 2020 Census.'
      'Everyone in America, regardless of political affiliation or ethnicity, should be deeply troubled by the President’s attempts to undermine and misrepresent data from the 2020 Census,” said John C. Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC. “The decennial census sets the standard for data quality and should be something the U.S. Census Bureau can achieve without interference. Instead, the Trump administration has made countless efforts to sabotage the census to erase historically undercounted communities. The Supreme Court decision may have ended the census count but our push for accurate data continues, not only for Asian Americans but for all Americans.'
      'President Trump’s plan to exclude undocumented immigrants from the apportionment process represents a brazen attempt to amend the Constitution of the United States through a simple memo. The American people are being cheated of their Constitutional right to a representative government, the fair distribution of federal funds and an accurate Census. The National Urban League will continue to resist these unlawful efforts to erase our community through a manipulated census,' said Marc H. Morial, National Urban League president and CEO.
      Kevin Allis, CEO of the National Congress of American Indians, said: 'The Census Bureau normally needs 5 months to process the data and now, there’s less than three months to produce the apportionment counts and the time to produce the redistricting file is decreased significantly, meaning that many American Indian and Alaska Natives may not be accurately represented in the data. Data is very important to tribal leaders in managing their communities. There has never been enough meaningful tribal consultation that is deserved in these kinds of situations. This country has an obligation to communicate with Indian Country, hear their concerns, meet the challenges, and find solutions that make sure we’re not left behind or continue to be invisible.'
      'In order to allow stakeholders to assess the 2020 Census’ fitness for use, the Census Bureau should produce the quality indicators recommended by the American Statistical Association,' said John Thompson, former director of the US Census Bureau.'"
      Earlier, NCAI posted several statements about the great need for a complete and accurate census, and objection to the census being ended early, skewing its findings against many peoples, including Indigenous Ameiricans (

"NCAI Denounces the Continued Destruction of Sacred Sites and the Disturbing Treatment of Peaceful Protestors on Tohono O’odham Homelands," National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), October OCT 19, 2020,, stated, “'The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is deeply disturbed by the intense escalation of actions by local law enforcement targeting nonviolent protestors in the traditional Tohono O’odham Nation’s homelands of southern Arizona. We will not stay silent while sacred sites are destroyed and unnecessary force is used against Native and non-Native land stewards,' says NCAI President Fawn Sharp. 'The fact is the Nation should not have to continuously fight a battle borne of the federal government’s unwillingness to commit to tribal consultation. The Administration’s decision to build a border wall through the Nation’s sacred homelands, to avoid due process, and to destroy such a historic and meaningful place to the O’odham people illustrates a sheer lack of interest in a true government-to-government relationship.'
      NCAI stands with the Tohono O’odham Nation and calls for the Administration to immediately stop border wall construction and perform the necessary consultation and environmental impact surveys that would protect and preserve land that holds sacred and irreplaceable significance to the Tohono O’odham people and their culture."

" NCAI Calls for Immediate and Thorough Investigation of Access to Care for Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Members with COVID-19," The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), October 16, 2020,, stated, "The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is extremely troubled to learn Cheyenne River Sioux tribal members infected with COVID-19 are being sent from South Dakota more than seven hours away to Minnesota to access appropriate hospital care, at a time when South Dakota is reporting that almost 20 percent of the COVID-related deaths in the state have been Native people. While the State of South Dakota claims to have adequate bed capacity, Native patients are being diverted to other states.
      'Cheyenne River Sioux tribal members should not be treated like second-class citizens at any time, especially when seeking care for an infectious disease that has already caused more than 2,000 deaths among Native people across the country,' says NCAI President Fawn Sharp. 'Not only are Native people experiencing COVID-19 infections at higher rates than the national average, the lack of access to quality healthcare and the discrimination Native people face when attempting to access care is unfathomable. This severe imbalance in treatment is caused by centuries of the federal government avoiding its trust responsibility to American Indian and Alaska Native people, which has caused deep social, economic, and health disparities, resulting in an inadequate quality of life for many in tribal communities.
      NCAI stands with the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and calls for an immediate and thorough investigation into the handling of these cases. NCAI also calls on the Indian Health Service and state officials to address the lack of access to adequate healthcare facilities and hospital bed capacity for American Indians and Alaska Natives residing in South Dakota."

"Protect ICWA Campaign Partners Applaud Lawsuit Challenging Data Collection Withdrawal in the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) Final Rule," The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), August 27, 2020,, stated, "Today we applaud the broad coalition of tribal nations and foster and LGBTQ+ youth organizations who filed a lawsuit challenging the 2020 Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) Final Rule. The 2020 Rule rolled back state foster care agency data reporting requirements and undermined the ability of tribal governments, states, policymakers, and advocates to understand the unique experiences and needs of specific populations, and establish effective interventions to keep children safe and end decades of overrepresentation of Indian children in state foster care systems.
      In a lawsuit filed today in Federal District Court in the Northern District of California, plaintiffs California Tribal Family Coalition, Yurok Tribe, Cherokee Nation, and a broad array of organizations serving LGBTQ+ youth assert that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (DHHS-ACF) violated the Administrative Procedures Act when the agency issued its May 12, 2020, AFCARS Final Rule. The Final Rule eliminated over 90 percent of the previous 60 plus AFCARS data elements for American Indian and Alaska Native children established within the 2016 AFCARS Final Rule. AFCARS is the federal government’s largest source of data on children who are in out of home placement.
“While this may sound like a technical data issue, at its heart the decision to not require states to collect data acknowledging the unique political status and needs of Native children means we will continue to be unable to fully understand how Native children and their families experience the child welfare system and support effective solutions to stabilize families and reduce trauma to Native children. Not collecting data about Indian children and LGTBQ+ children in effect makes these children invisible. We won’t see the important patterns and trends in their experience and know how to use existing federal protections like the Indian Child Welfare Act to improve their well-being,” said National Indian Child Welfare Association executive director Sarah Kastelic.
      'All of the 2016 AFCARS data elements are key to ensuring that Indian children and their cases are accurately tracked and handled throughout state systems going forward,' said Kevin J. Allis, Chief Executive Officer of the National Congress of American Indians. 'Erasing 90 percent of the Indian children data points erases their specific needs and cases from consideration. We should be expanding federal data on Indian children and not immediately erasing it after the Agency has done its due diligence in creating the vital data points.'
      DHHS-ACF’s stated reasons for eliminating the data elements for Indian children and families are the perceived burden to states to collect new data and questions about the value of the data. Ironically, these same issues were addressed in detail in the 2016 Final Rule that established the new data elements for Indian children and families.
      Read the Complaint ( from Plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
      Read the AFCARS Final Rule on the Federal Register (, an excerpt is below in Federal Agency Developments)."

"Statement on U.S. House of Representatives Passing Amendment Protecting the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and its Reservation Land," The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), July 29, 2020,, stated, “ The inclusion of this amendment to protect the reservation land of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is a welcome development, and an important recognition of tribal sovereignty by the U.S. House of Representatives. We urge the U.S. Senate to include the same provisions in its appropriations bills, ensuring that the federal government respects this tribal nation’s rights, and that we avoid long, costly litigation that could threaten its very existence.”

"NCAI Statement on Legislative Efforts to Diminish Tribal Sovereignty in Oklahoma," The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), July 23, 2020,, stated, “ 'Last week’s historic Supreme Court decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma was pivotal for its recognition of tribal sovereignty and the perpetual sanctity of treaties with tribal nations. As the decision states, ‘The most authoritative evidence of the Creek’s relationship to the land lies … in the treaties and statutes that promised the land to the Tribe in the first place.’ Pursuant to this ruling, the policy of the federal government – specifically that of the U.S. Congress – ought to be to respect the promises made to the Creek, and to all of the other tribal nations across the country, who were promised permanent homes. In the words of Justice Gorsuch, ‘We hold the government to its word.’
      – NCAI President Fawn Sharp
      NCAI’s mission is to fully protect and support the sovereignty of every tribal government across the country. As such, we will strongly oppose any and all legislation that diminishes the sovereignty, jurisdiction, or treaty rights of tribal nations that are affirmed in the United States Constitution, statutes, and judicial opinions, including in the Supreme Court’s historic McGirt decision. NCAI is aware of a legislative effort currently underway in Congress to disestablish or terminate the reservations of certain tribal nations in Oklahoma, and we will aggressively oppose this baseless action."

"NCAI Statement on Legal Filing by Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation Regarding Illegal Taking of Nation’s Missouri Riverbed Property Rights," The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), July 15, 2020,, stated, "Today , the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation (MHA Nation) took steps to prevent the illegal taking of the Nation’s property rights to minerals beneath the Missouri River on its Fort Berthold Reservation in western North Dakota. The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) holds firm its position in support of the MHA Nation’s land and mineral rights, and has advocated for government-to-government consultation between the MHA Nation and the Department of the Interior’s Office of the Solicitor to confirm the longstanding Executive and Congressional actions declaring that the Missouri River bed within the Fort Berthold Reservation is owned by the MHA Nation.
      'The MHA Nation’s rights to the Missouri River bed minerals have been reaffirmed through a history of longstanding, well-settled, and still applicable legal precedents, and there should be no question as to the validity of the Nation’s claims,' says NCAI President Fawn Sharp. 'We cannot reiterate strongly enough that consultation with tribal nations and upholding treaty obligations is not optional. It is mandatory.'
      For these reasons, NCAI urges the Department of the Interior to immediately withdraw Solicitor’s Opinion M-37056 as an unwarranted threat to longstanding tribal trust assets. The fiduciary obligation of the United States is to protect and preserve tribal trust assets in order to ensure tribal nations have the resources needed to provide permanent homelands for present and future generations of their citizens. Instead, M-Opinion 37056 does the opposite, and completely reverses course on the Department of the Interior’s longstanding legal position with little or no rationale for doing so. NCAI stands with the MHA Nation in its fight to preserve its trust assets.
      To view NCAI’s resolution on this issue, please click"

"Great Plains Tribes Win Important Legal Fight to Protect Tribal Water and Treaty Resources," National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), July 6, 2020,, stated, " The Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association (GPTCA), the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), and the National Congress of American Indians Fund (NCAI Fund) applaud the D.C. District Court’s decision today to vacate the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Lake Oahe easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline, and to require the removal of all oil flowing through the pipeline by August 5, 2020. This decision ensures that the treaty-reserved rights of the plaintiff tribes – the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, the Yankton Sioux Tribe, and the Oglala Sioux Tribe – are adequately addressed, along with any other land and natural resource considerations, in a full-fledged and well-documented environmental review process.
      GPTCA, NARF, and NCAI Fund participated in a coalition of Native organizations submitting an amicus brief in support of the plaintiff tribes during the latest proceedings in the D.C. District Court and are encouraged by this outcome. We hope that this decision helps pave the way for full and proper environmental impact studies as well as meaningful consultation with tribal nations that have direct or indirect stewardship over the lands under review. Our organizations will continue to work to ensure that every time tribal lands and resources are at stake, the environmental review processes meet all legal standards and respect the federal government’s trust obligations to tribes set forth in federal laws."

Harper Estey, "Pride 2020: Indian Country, Black Lives Matter, and the Struggle for Equality Resources," National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), June 30, 2020,, stated, " This year’s Pride Month has been unlike any other, as a social justice movement more powerful, diverse, and widespread than any seen in decades has swept across the United States. As the country grapples with the issues of racism, police brutality, and confronting its history through monuments and statues, we are also marking the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall uprising – the catalyst for the modern fight for LGBTQ2S rights in the United States, and an incredible demonstration of a marginalized group standing up and demanding the respect they deserve.
      In the early hours of the morning on June 28, 1969, the police raided on the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. The Stonewall Inn was a popular location among the gay and lesbian communities, and was known to cater to their most marginalized members such as drag queens and transgender people. The LGBTQ2S community faced an anti-gay legal system in the 1950’s and 60’s, and as tensions escalated outside the Stonewall Inn, New York’s gay community broke out into riots that lasted for more than three days.
      The Stonewall riots prompted organizations like the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance to form, setting the foundation for a half century of activism and advocacy that would bring the LGBTQ2S community to where it is today.
      Indian Country has long stood side by side with the LGBTQ2S community, and far back into time immemorable tribes from coast to coast recognized, respected, and accepted two-spirit brothers and sisters. Just as the Stonewall uprising impacted and inspired tribes across the country, the ongoing social justice movement gets to the heart of the centuries long struggle Indigenous peoples have had to endure.
       This month, a story similar to Stonewall has played out across the country. The death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police spurred protests and unrest across the country, prompting an in depth national discourse on policing in the United States, and the figures that are memorialized as statues and monuments.
      We are watching as people stand up and make sure their voices are heard and their lives respected today, condemning oppressive practices and institutions while demanding statues and monuments to confederate soldiers and colonizing oppressors are removed across the country
      The Stonewall uprising launched a half century of forward progress and hard fought battles for justice and equality, bringing the LGBTQ2S community greater and greater protection under the law, and an ever growing acceptance and love from within our culture and communities. Today’s movement for justice and equality demands that we stand together for our marginalized and oppressed communities, always pushing for what is right and protecting those who are vulnerable, all while bringing the same passion and commitment that those at the Stonewall Inn did a half century ago."

Kevin J. Allis, CEO, National Congress of American Indians, "NCAI Statement on Supreme Court Decision on DACA," NCAI, June 18, 2020,, stated, " Standing in solidarity with our immigrant brothers and sisters, we applaud today's SCOTUS ruling blocking the current Administration's baseless attempt to end the DACA program. Indian Country knows from firsthand experience the painful and pervasive impacts of federal policies designed to rip apart families and destroy communities. DACA has always been about fundamental fairness and respecting the basic humanity of immigrant youth, and we are heartened by the Supreme Court's decision to preserve this important program.”

"NCAI Statement on the Negative Decision in Chehalis v. Mnuchin," National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), June 26, 2020,|, stated, "The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is extremely disappointed in today’s decision by the D.C. District Court in Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation v. Mnuchin.
      Although the Court acknowledged that Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) 'are not federally recognized Indian tribes but are for-profit corporations established by Congress under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act', and explicitly limited its decision to 'the status of ANCs under [the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act] and the [Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act]' , today’s decision would result in critical congressional funding intended for Indian tribal governments being diverted to state chartered corporate entities with no governance authority and no governmental duties to tribal citizens in Alaska.
      NCAI continues to believe that Congress intended for Title V CARES Act funding to be distributed to Indian tribal governments

"NCAI Calls on the FCC to Honor its Trust Responsibility to Tribal Nations During Global Pandemic," National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), July 31, 2020,, stated, " Despite widespread requests from tribal nations, intertribal organizations, the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, Congress, various corporations, and national broadband advocates to extend the 2.5 GHz tribal priority filing window by 180 days, earlier today the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced only a 30-day extension of the 2.5 GHz Tribal Priority Window (TPW) to September 2, 2020.
      The FCC argues that '[a]n extension would delay the ability of those Tribes that have filed to receive licenses to provide badly needed broadband service to their communities.' [1] However, the FCC record provides no support for this assertion, which only serves to create needless and harmful division between tribal nations. As set forth in the National Congress of American Indians’ Motion to Stay, tribal nations that have applied for the TPW would not be harmed by an extension because the FCC has granted Special Temporary Authority to several tribal nations to begin operating in the 2.5 GHz band,and can do so for others. [2]
       The TPW is one of the few inexpensive solutions to overcoming the numerous barriers that have prevented better connection to tribal areas, as well as preparing them for future high-speed connections. A failure to recognize the effect of COVID-19 on the very entities the FCC seeks to help with the TPW will affect access to basic healthcare and education across Indian Country. Significant additional time for tribal nations to file for licenses during this window is necessary and critical.
      The FCC, at a minimum, must provide the same 180-day extension to tribal nations that it gave to the cable industry due to COVID-19. [3]Indian Health Service and Center for Disease Control data document the devastating impacts of COVID-19 across Indian Country. [4] The FCC must uphold its trust responsibility to Indian Country, especially during this unique time of need. Failure to do so is unacceptable. NCAI will continue to advocate for an extension of the TPW – to enable all tribal nations the ability to access this critical resource – and calls upon Congress to pass legislation to ensure Indian Country has access to spectrum on tribal lands.
      [2][3] NCAI Emergency Motion for Stay of the 2.5 GHz Tribal Window at 37.
      [4] See Generally NCAI Policy Research Center, July 30, 2020, COVID-19 Situation Summary,

" NCAI Statementon the Washington Football Team’s Retirement of Racist Mascot," National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), July 13, 2020,, stated, " Today is a day for all Native people to celebrate. We thank the generations of tribal nations, leaders, and activists who worked for decades to make this day possible. We commend the Washington NFL team for eliminating a brand that disrespected, demeaned, and stereotyped all Native people, and we call on all other sports teams and corporate brands to retire all caricatures of Native Americans that they use as their mascots. We are not mascots -- we are Native people, citizens of more than 500 tribal nations who have stood strong for millennia and overcome countless challenges to reach this pivotal moment in time when we can help transform America into the just, equitable, and compassionate country our children deserve."

"NCAI Commends Decision by Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Franchise to Change Its 'Indians' Name," National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), December 14, 2020,, stated, " The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) commends today’s announcement by the Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise in Cleveland to retire its “Indians” name and mascot, which the team has used for more than a century. Cleveland arrived at this landmark decision following an extensive, multi-faceted process to engage with and learn from tribal nations, leaders, scholars, local and national Native organizations, and Native people from all walks of life about how the team’s name impacts them.
      'Today’s announcement represents a monumental step forward in Indian Country’s decades-long effort to educate America about what respect for tribal nations, cultures, and communities entails, and how sports mascots like the ‘Indians’ prevent our fellow Americans from understanding and valuing who Native people are today, what makes us unique, and the many contributions we make to this country,' said NCAI President Fawn Sharp. 'The genuine commitment the team has made to listen to and learn from Indian Country over the past several months is to be applauded, and the process the team used should serve as a blueprint for sports teams and schools across the nation as this movement for racial justice and inclusion continues to grow.'
      'This decision and the team’s ensuing transition to a new name offer us an unprecedented teaching moment, as our work is far from done. We must continue to teach all who will listen the fact that Native people are still here, that we belong to sovereign tribal nations, and that a racially just society must center and celebrate Native people, welcome our perspectives, and value the rich cultural diversity we bring to America’s table,” said Dr. Aaron Payment, NCAI 1st Vice President. “It also presents an opportunity to honor the toil and sacrifice of those who have fought for so long to enable us to reach this moment, individuals such as Clyde Warrior, Suzan Harjo, Lynda Clause, Faye Brings Them, Ray Halbritter, and Amanda Blackhorse.'
      NCAI joined other national and local Native organizations and leaders, local civic leaders, and academic experts in engaging with the team’s leadership during its comprehensive listening and learning process over the past several months, and it is committed to partnering with the team moving forward to share knowledge and information with its fan base, the Cleveland community, and schools across the country about tribal nations, the mascot issue, and the thoughtful process the team devised to address it."

"Statement on Kansas City Chiefs Announcement of Game Day Rituals," National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), September 10, 2020,, stated, " NCAI views the Kansas City Chiefs' announced modifications as positive yet modest initial steps in a long and ongoing educational process that ultimately will lead to comprehensive change, change that respects the humanity, diversity, resiliency, and vibrancy of tribal nations, cultures, and peoples. We remain committed to this process as long as the team and the NFL remain committed to genuinely listening and learning."

"NCAI Partners with Bright Path Strong and Pictureworks Entertainment to Support the Jim Thorpe 'Take Back What Was Stolen' Movement," National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), July 31, 2020, -pictureworks-entertainment-to-support-the-jim-thorpe-take-back-what-was-stolen-movement, stated, "The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is proud to join forces with Pictureworks Entertainment and tribal partners across the country to 'Take Back What Was Stolen,' an initiative to restore legendary Native American athlete and icon Jim Thorpe’s status as the sole gold medal champion of the 1912 Olympic decathlon and pentathlon.
      This initiative is taking root on the heels of the 108th anniversary of Jim Thorpe’s historic victory at the Summer Games in Stockholm, where he competed on behalf of the United States of America, and in response to a resolution put forward by Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-01), Co-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus. According to Haaland, 'Anyone who represented our country in the Olympics is an American hero, especially those that delivered two gold medals to the United States. These heroic individuals should be recognized and honored, but inherent biases stole that from Jim Thorpe because he was Native American. The “Take Back What Was Stolen” initiative is a call to action to right past wrongs so that records reflect Jim Thorpe’s incredible achievements and preserve his legacy.'
      'Jim Thorpe Wathahuck-Brightpath, of the Thunder Clan of the Sac and Fox Tribe competed for this country at a time when American Indians and Alaska Natives were not recognized as U.S. citizens. To keep him removed from history is to continue the erasure of Native people,' says NCAI President Fawn Sharp. 'Native people deserve honor and heroes, and this is how we view Jim Thorpe. For these reasons, NCAI strongly urges the Olympic Committee to restore honor to Thorpe’s name and to his family by designating Jim Thorpe as the sole gold medal winner of both the decathlon and pentathlon in the 1912 Olympics.'
      'Picture Works Entertainment and Bright Path Strong are thankful and energized by the support of NCAI and the Honorable Congresswoman Haaland. And thank you to the more than 23,000 people that have signed the petition so far. In today’s environment, it is unacceptable to let the wrong records stand for the World’s Greatest Native American Athlete,' said Nedra Darling, Executive Producer, Bright Path, and Co-Founder of Bright Path Strong. 'Native people have had enough stolen from us, our languages, our lands, our culture and it is now the time to take back what was stolen from our Sac and Fox and Potawatomi hero and reinstate Jim Thorpe’s original and correct Olympic records!'
      For more information regarding this initiative and to sign the petition to support this effort, please visit"

The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), August 31, 2020, "Native American Legislative Update:  FCNL Calls for Strong Tribal Provisions in FVPSA Reauthorization," AUGUST 2020,,-l, stated, " The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) is the only federal grant program dedicated to providing funding for domestic violence shelters and services. FVPSA is especially vital for Indian Country, as it is the primary source of funding for these services in tribal communities. Shelters, training and technical assistance, emergency response hotlines, and children’s services are all supported by this law.
      Last year, Sens. Bob Casey (PA) and Lisa Murkowski (AK ) introduced the Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act of 2019 ( S. 2259 ), which would increase the tribal set aside within FVPSA. It would also provide funding for additional tribal services, such as the StrongHearts Native Helpline, a culturally appropriate domestic violence helpline for Native Americans and Alaska Natives.
      However , there is currently an effort underway to reauthorize FVPSA ( S. 2971 ) without these important tribal provisions in the next COVID-19 relief package. FCNL, along with our tribal partners, wrote Congress opposing the inclusion of this inadequate FVPSA bill in any relief package, and called for stronger tribal provisions. Read FCNL’s legislative ask for FVPSA reauthorization.
       COVID-19 Relief Packages Fall Short for Tribes
      On July 27, Senate leadership released the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act, a series of COVID-19 relief bills. The package was introduced in response to the House-passed HEROES Act (H.R. 6800).
       The HEALS Act includes a $6.5 million tribal set-aside for the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) and no funding for Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) or Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grants. The HEROES Act, which passed in the House on May 15, included a $5 million tribal FVPSA set aside and $7.8 million in VAWA grants to tribal governments.
       Both bills fail to adequately address the needs of tribal governments and organizations as they deal with the rising cases of sexual and domestic violence in Indian Country during the pandemic. Negotiations are currently stalled, but it is essential that Congress pass a relief bill that provides for the needs of tribal governments and communities.
      Read FCNL’s letter outlining our requests for tribal sexual and domestic violence funding at:"

The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) stated July 27, 2020,, " Funding for a Native Hawai‘ian Resource Center,"
      The grassroots organization, Pouhana O Na Wāhine (Pillars of Women), is requesting $500,000 from Congress for a Native Hawai‘ian Resource Center on Domestic Violence. Pouhana O Na Wāhine is dedicated to addressing domestic and sexual violence against Native Hawai‘ians, who experience high rates of intimate partner violence. Native Hawai‘ians also make up 64% of sex trafficking survivors in the state.
A Native Hawai‘ian Resource Center was first authorized under the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) in 2010, but it was never funded. Funding will allow Native Hawai‘ians to develop culturally relevant training and technical assistance to address the disparate rates of domestic and sexual violence in their communities.
      Funding of the center would follow a similar model to the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center ( AKNWRC), which was funded by Congress in 2017. AKNWRC advocates for the unique challenges that face tribes, victims, and survivors of domestic and sexual violence in Alaska.
FCNL supports the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center ( NIWRC) and Pouhana O Na Wāhine in their funding request. To learn more, listen to NIWRC’s podcast on the topic.
Addressing Domestic and Sexual Violence in Indian Country
As the Senate negotiates the next COVID-19 relief package, FCNL continues to advocate for funding for tribal domestic and sexual violence programs. This includes funding for FVPSA and VAWA grants, as well as grants through the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA).
Read FCNL's letters to House and Senate leadership outlining specific funding asks. Then take action by calling on your lawmakers to prioritize victim services for Indian Country.

Bill Tracker
Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019:
Passed in the House (H.R. 1585), two versions introduced in the Senate (S. 2920 and S. 2843).
Savanna’s Act (H.R. 2733/S. 227) and Not Invisible Act (H.R. 2438/S. 982):
Passed in the Senate and advanced in House.
Special Diabetes Program for Indians: Extended through Nov. 30, 2020.

      Seeding Sovereignty announced in an August 29, 2020, E-mail, " Seeding Sovereignty has created a national coalition effort to get out the vote in Indian Country in record numbers during COVID-19. Radicalize the Vote brings the power of the frontlines to the polls where Indigenous Peoples have long stood to protect their lands, their bodies, and their sovereignty. At the center of this campaign is ( where we are building a centralized Indigenous-led voter registration list.
      Both Indigenous and non-Indigenous folks can register at Radicalize the Vote!
      We have organized a 12-hour online Indigenous Radical Registration Telethon scheduled for August 29th (9am PT, 11am CT, 12 ET) at with an amazing line-up of Indigenous leaders, artists, and culture bearers who will virtually attend the event to speak, sing and dance.

Because mailing in absentee ballots takes much longer from the Arizona portion of the Navajo Reservation than from much of the rest of the state, the Native American voting rights group, Four Directions, brought suit against the state of Arizona asserting that the state's uniform November 3 deadline for ballots being received by election officials violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Four Directions lost in federal district court, but has appealed ( Maggie Astor, "For the Navajo Nation, ‘Everything Takes Time,’ Including Voting: Post offices are few and far between on the reservation, and mail can take a week and a half to reach the county seat. In this year’s election, that has more profound implications than ever before," The New York Times, October 15, 2020,

On the occasion of President Trump's July 3, 2020 visit to Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota, a group of more than 200 Native people and allies went to the site to peacefully protest the President's visit, seen as an insult to sacred lands illegal taken from the Lakota people in violation of rights under a treaty. The protesters went to a free speech site designated by the police. However, it was reported in the Lakota Times, that Trump supporters infiltrated the crowd, aggressively attempting to initiate large scale violence, in the hope of getting the police to break up the protest.
      After some time, the peaceful protestors had enough of the harassment and moved to a new site across the highway, putting up a blockade to keep the aggressive Trump supporters out. Law enforcement, having made no attempt to remove the aggressive counter-demonstrators attempted to force the demonstrators back to the designated site. At that point the demonstrators put up another barricade, blocking the highway with three vehicles.
       The national guard eventually arrived, forming lines on opposite sides of the protestors - effectively preventing anyone from leaving. When the two lines advanced on the protestors, they perceived this as a hostile act and held their ground - indeed, while told to move, the national guard made that practically impossible. The large crowd pushed the guard back, and held their position until additional guard people and police in riot gear arrived to break up the demonstration, arresting, perhaps 21 people ("Black Hills Protest," Lakota Times, July 9, 2020,; Kevin Abourezk, "A Proud day to be Lakota," July 9, 2020,; and Viggo Mortensen,  "Mount Rushmore Perspective," Lakota Times, July 09, 2020,

Ginny Underwood, "Advocates seek Indigenous representation at Oklahoma monument," ICT, July 11, 2020,, reported, " A sit-in Saturday at a massive monument here commemorating an 1889 land run drew hundreds of Indigenous activists and supporters, along with a few dozen armed counter-protesters, some carrying long rifles and wearing bulletproof vests.
      The Society to Protect Indigenous Rights & Indigenous Treaties had obtained a permit for its demonstration at the Centennial Land Run Monument, which depicts the opening of 'unassigned land' in Oklahoma Territory.
      Tensions flared at one point, during remarks by a local Black Lives Matter leader, and police were called to diffuse the situation. The event was otherwise peaceful.
      'Today, we are here for education and awareness about history in Oklahoma,' said event co-organizer Brenda Golden, Muscogee Creek. “ The Land Run monument glorifies the pioneers and doesn’t talk about the Indigenous people who lived here before.”
      "The society, also known as SPIRIT, is seeking Indigenous representation at the site

Win Without War stated, December 12, 2020,, "Right now, the Trump administration is rushing to approve a mining contract in the Chí’chil Biłdagoteel Historic District of Arizona, a high desert oasis considered sacred to multiple Indigenous tribes.
      This contract would transfer ownership of land with deep cultural ties and ceremonial meaning to — and we can’t make this up — a UK-Australian mining company notorious for destroying Juukan Gorge, a treasured 46,000-year-old Aboriginal site
       Trump’s Department of Agriculture (USDA) is ignoring this past destruction — fast-tracking a transfer of 2,422 acres to Rio Tinto’s Resolution Copper Mining and allowing copper mining to start in this district, commonly called 'Oak Flat.'
      It’s despicable, but it’s not surprising. Decades of profit-first policy have privileged the interests of multinational corporations over those of Indigenous communities. We can’t trust Rio Tinto or the Trump administration to ensure this land gets the protections it requires. Congress has got to act fast and pass the Save Oak Flat Act — and YOU can help.
       Add your name to urge your members of Congress to cosponsor and support legislation to repeal the land transfer."

Laura Navitsky and Ariel Iannone Román, "Indigenous Migrant Farmworkers Face Harsh Conditions During COVID-19," Cultural Survival, October 03, 2020,, reported, " From the dairy farms in New York to the vast fields of the Central Valley of California, Indigenous migrant farmworkers are among the most overworked, underpaid, vulnerable, and disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Indigenous essential workers put food on the table every day for us, our children, and our elders, but in return face poor working conditions due to discrimination and harassment, all of which has been exacerbated by the pandemic and the wildfires on the West Coast.
      To bring awareness to the working conditions of migrant workers, Cultural Survival organized a
webinar ( on August 26, 2020, in partnership with International Funders for Indigenous Peoples (IFIP). Cultural Survival Executive Director Galina Angarova (Buryat) spoke with Arcenio López (Mixteco), executive director of Mixteco Indígena Community Organizing Project in Central Valley, CA, Avexnim Cojtí (K’iche’ Maya), Cultural Survival’s community media program manager, and Crispin Hernández (Mixteco), community organizer for the Workers' Center of Central New York . The discussion centered on the impact of the coronavirus on Indigenous diasporas (dispersed and displaced peoples) in the United States, and led to deep inquiries into identity issues, connections to homelands, the retention of language, and the root causes of migration.
      Arcenio López, the son of a migrant farmworker family from Oaxaca, Mexico, began working as a farmworker in the strawberry industry when he arrived in the United States in 2003. In 2004, López began volunteering with the Mixteco Indígena Community Organizing Project, eventually becoming executive director in 2014. The community organizing project fights for social justice and systematic change, respect for the rights of Indigenous Peoples, and immigration reform. They also advocate for access to health, education, and social services in a culturally and linguistically relevant manner and organize Indigenous farm workers in regard to their labor rights.
       In unexpected emergency situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indigenous migrant population is one of the most severely impacted. Farmworkers must often work under conditions which make social distancing and handwashing difficult, and enforcement of workers’ rights is often lacking. As López explained, 'F armworkers at this time are considered essential workers, but they do not receive essential benefits such as health insurance or wage replacement or hazard exposure compensation.' Housing and limited family finances have also proved challenging during the pandemic. Many families need to live in crowded conditions in order to afford the expensive rent in the Central Valley, sometimes with up to 20 people in one unit. With schools and childcare centers closed, oftentimes at least one parent has needed to stop working to care for the children, putting even more strain on household finances.
      Since mid-March of 2020, the Mixteco Indígena Community Organizing Project has transitioned to working completely online. At the onset of the pandemic, the organizing project quickly shifted priorities to better serve the needs of Indigenous migrant communities in their region. They have been advocating for the enforcement of workers’ rights so that farmworkers can follow safety recommendations during the pandemic. Another priority has been fulfilling requests for interpretation services and public service announcements in Indigenous languages, as well as meeting the high demand of providing one-time financial support for undocumented individuals.
      Crispin Hernández emigrated from the Mixtec region of Mexico to New York in 2012 and began to work on a dairy farm. In 2013, he received a health and safety training from the Workers’ Center of Central New York. Prior to his arrival in New York, a Mixtec man named Henaro had been killed at a dairy farm. According to Crispin, this tragic event was due to lack of training, so he very quickly decided to become involved with the Workers’ Center. In 2015, he helped to organize a protest and was subsequently fired from the dairy farm. He was fired again at his next job for forming a committee with his coworkers. That same year, with the help of the Workers’ Center and the Worker Justice Center of New York , Crispin sued the State of New York to demand that the right for agricultural workers to organize be protected. In 2019, in a historic victory, an appellate court in Albany ruled in his favor. Another 2019 victory that involved the joint efforts of the Workers’ Center and the Worker Justice Center resulted in Governor Andrew Cuomo signing the Green Light Law, which allows undocumented workers to apply for a driver's license.
      Crispin officially started working with the Workers’s Center in 2017 as a community organizer responsible for educating workers, particularly agricultural workers, about their rights. According to him, much of what has been achieved around workers’ rights in New York is due not only to the Workers’ Center and the Worker Justice Center, but also to the support of other organizations, unions, and communities in the area who recognize the need to improve conditions for farmworkers.
      Crispin Hernández says, 'I want to emphasize the importance of agricultural work. It is such hard work, and it’s so important, that the workers deserve to be heard. They deserve to receive training so that they can avoid the tragic incidents and other things that are happening in the workplace.'
      With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic this year, the Workers’ Center has turned toward supporting farmworker families with direct aid such as providing basic safety equipment and food. They have also continued distributing information about workers’ basic rights, this time in specific reference to COVID-19. Hernández states, 'COVID has affected all essential workers, not just agricultural workers, and after everything that has happened these last few months, we have succeeded in getting Governor Cuomo to establish health and safety requirements in the workplace. But there are a lot of employers that aren’t meeting those requirements, so we are also working to establish a fund to support the families that need help. We’re also asking for legislation to support essential workers in addition to the HEROES Act. We want our voices to be heard and we want to establish a law that will support the essential workers in the long-term.'
      Cultural Survival is an international, Indigenous-led organization that supports Indigenous rights around the globe through efforts predicated upon the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 'The main connection between Cultural Survival and diaspora communities at the present has been through radio. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, there has been an increase in poverty, abandonment (i.e., no basic services), and even violence from states against Indigenous Peoples. Another big problem is that many countries use aggregated statistical data that lumps all Indigenous nations together, rather than recognizing their individual situations,' stated Avexnim Cojtí.
      According to Cojtí, the UN Migration Agency defines a migrant as 'any person who is moving or has moved across an international border or within a State away from his/her habitual place of residence, regardless of (1) the person’s legal status; (2) whether the movement is voluntary or involuntary; (3) what the causes for the movement are; or (4) what the length of the stay is.' Migrant agricultural workers in the United States and Canada are mainly of Mesoamerican origin, primarily from Mexico and Guatemala, and movement has been common among these Peoples for a long time. Cojtí asked, 'When it comes to actually talking about migrants, how are we the migrants if these are our original territories and we had migration as something very common?'
      In reality, the recent history of movement of Mesoamerican Indigenous Peoples to the United States and Canada has often been involuntary, a result of the dispossession of Indigenous lands and the imposition of government systems in which Indigenous Peoples lack a voice. In addition, the borders mandated by the nation-states now cause many Indigenous nations to straddle two countries, such as on the border between the United States and Mexico. Further causes of involuntary movement have included civil wars, ongoing poverty, displacement due to natural resource extraction, persecution of land defenders, limited local employment opportunities, and violence against women. The destruction of local economies by industrial agriculture, violence linked to narcotrafficking, governmental abandonment and violence, and climate change have also caused Mesoamerican Indigenous Peoples to migrate as a last resort. [Climate change has also contributed significantly to involuntary migration.]
      In spite of the current threats to Indigenous communities, Cojtí chose to highlight the strengths of these communities in their community organization efforts, use of ancestral medicine, collaboration and solidarity amongst nations, and also the solidarity of nonprofit organizations and other organizations around the world that are supporting Indigenous communities.
      Arcenio López shared how the migrant community is moving through this crisis and the strategies communities are enacting. “ Since mid-March of 2020, the Mixteco Indígena Community Organizing Project has transitioned to work completely online. Their team is in a process of transition, adding additional technological capacity like ZOOM and creating COVID-19 informational materials in Spanish and other regional languages. The team shares this information via several platforms, including radio FM, their radio and organizational Facebook pages, YouTube, SoundCloud Audio, and Facebook Live.”
      The Mixteco Indígena Community Organizing Project is providing outreach and education on new labor rights such as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which requires certain employers to provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave to workers affected by COVID-19. They are also collaborating with local, state, and federal agencies to centralize legal resources for Indigenous migrant farmworker families. Their team of 30 caseworkers is simultaneously providing case management to families with COVID-19-positive members to get them the resources they need while in quarantine. Collective advocacy efforts with other community organizations and government agencies have been successful in producing rapid response plans.
       As a result of the organization’s advocacy, the Public Health Department in Ventura-Santa Barbara County agreed to improve Indigenous communities’ access to healthcare by waiving all fees for COVID-related care. López emphasized that 'This is one of the things that COVID has impacted – we’ve been advocating for health access for so many years, but just because we are in the pandemic, they waive the fees. So if they did it this time, I think they can do it in the future, regardless of the legal status of our people.'
      During the pandemic the Mixteco Indígena Community Organizing Project has also provided assistance by teaching virtual organizing skills, distributing basic safety equipment to farmworker communities, providing Indigenous language interpretation at COVID-19 mobile testing sites, and partnering with other radio organizations state-wide. López believes that there is still much work to be done around linguistic justice, especially in the health, education, and legal systems, and in addressing mental health and resiliency in regional communities.
      Crispin says that the Workers’ Center and partner organizations have been doing similar work: distributing face masks, hand sanitizer, and food to isolated families. And he says it’s very important to note that agricultural workers are very isolated, and that most of the workers who have been the worst affected are people of color, migrant workers from Central America.
       'What we’ve achieved with the Governor so far hasn’t been enough. So we keep working to ensure better protections for all essential workers, and especially agricultural workers. We share information by posting videos on the Workers’ Center main page, on Facebook Live, and through Whatsapp. If workers contact us to say they have been affected by COVID-19, we tell them about the clinics where they can go and find out if they have the virus or something else. But really, there isn’t anything very well-established. So that’s why we keep working to get the employers, the Senators, the Representatives, the Governor, and the Federal Government to establish resources and laws to protect the workers at the national level, not just in the United States, but also in other countries. What we are living through with COVID-19 is something very historical, and it’s sad because the essential workers are the most affected. They leave their families, their kids, to go to work to feed the families of the world, and they’re the ones who are losing their lives. And like Arcenio mentioned, we’re going to keep fighting for more protections, especially to protect the lives of all these workers, because we’re all human and we deserve to be protected, too. But to achieve that we will have to keep fighting,' says Hernández.
      Cojtí shared three major ways in which Cultural Survival is working with Indigenous migrant farmworker communities. 'The first is the Keepers of the Earth Fund, which supports Indigenous-led COVID-19 responses. As of this interview, Cultural Survival has awarded 29 small grants to Indigenous communities to accomplish whichever project they find to be the most urgent need in the community. There are projects that have to do with strengthening Indigenous, or Indigenous-hybrid, health systems, exchange of seeds, creating seed banks, distributing food, taking care of the elderly, and taking care of education.'
      Cultural Survival has also been working on a global mapping project that documents COVID-19 within Indigenous nations, including diaspora communities, which is particularly important due to the lack of available COVID-19 data for Indigenous communities. A third project that Cultural Survival has been working on is the creation of a prevention manual for community radio stations in 85 Indigenous languages. Through collaboration with more than 1,200 Indigenous community radio stations around the world, Cultural Survival also created 418 public announcements about COVID-19 in 130 Indigenous languages. Through the distribution of 17 grants, Cultural Survival was able to help 22 community radio stations produce these public announcements in Indigenous languages and other languages spoken by Indigenous communities in Asia, Africa, and Latin America."

"NCAI and NIEA Statement on BIE School Reopenings," The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), August 14, 2020,, stated, " The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and the National Indian Education Association (NIEA) express deep concern regarding reopening plans for Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools and the safety and health of all students, teachers, administrators, and community members.
      On August 6, 2020, the Department of the Interior (DOI) released a ‘ Dear Tribal Leader Letter ( expressing its intent to reopen BIE schools 'to the maximum extent possible.' NCAI and NIEA strongly urge DOI to consult meaningfully with tribal nations before reopening BIE schools. DOI must ensure it addresses tribal needs and concerns, such as guaranteeing remote education options, securing reliable personal protective equipment vendors, considering teacher willingness to return to in-person instruction, student transportation needs, and other critical issues.
      NCAI and NIEA firmly believe that schools should only reopen for in-classroom instruction if it can be done safely. Moreover, such decisions should only be made after meaningful consultation with, and input from, the local tribal community and its tribal administration
. Given the risks to the safety and welfare of Native students and their families, great deference should be given to the local tribal communities’ opinions concerning reopening classrooms. We also believe that BIE must be transparent with its reopening plan and give specific examples of measures it will take to ensure the safety and well-being of Native students and their families. In addition to in-person instruction, there must be an online instruction option, such that education continues seamlessly, especially for students receiving special education services.
       NCAI and NIEA are eager to see plans in the form of the BIE “Toolkit” outlined in the August 6 letter. The swift dissemination of this information will demonstrate transparency and aid Indian Country and our Native families to understand the protocols and precautions BIE is taking to ensure a safe educational environment for our most sacred beings – our children.
      For more information, please contact the following:
      Kevin Allis, NCAI Chief Executive Officer,;
      Diana Cournoyer, NIEA Executive Director,"

      Chase Iron Eyes, Lead Counsel, The Lakota People’s Law Project, stated in an E-mail, July 23, 2020, "Less than one month ago, we marked the 40-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision awarding more than $100,000 million to the Great Sioux Nation as compensation for the federal government’s taking of the Black Hills. Just a few days later, President Trump’s visit to Mount Rushmore highlighted why we have never accepted that payment. No amount of money could possibly alleviate the pain we feel at the repeated desecration of one of our most sacred sites. True justice can only be accomplished one way: the return of the Black Hills to the Lakota people.
      We’ve recently seen how people power can tear down monuments of hate and influence public policy — and we’ve also seen the backlash. I ask you today to watch the video of our protest action against Trump’s visit, and sign our Congressional petition to return the Black Hills to the Lakota people ( If ever a moment existed when these wrongs could begin to be righted, this is it. Speaking together with one voice, let’s get lawmakers to abide by treaty law and return this sacred land to my people.
       The high court’s ruling shows that the law is on our side. The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 assigned the Black Hills to us in perpetuity, but it didn’t take long for miners to violate that edict in search of gold. The federal government essentially allowed it to happen, eventually imposing upon us our current reservation boundaries. We have never accepted those boundaries nor the taking of our treaty land. The Black Hills are not for sale — and they never were.
      Unless we act together to stop it, there’s no end to the colonial disrespect of our lands, sovereignty, and safety. Trump’s moronic, divisive visit to Mount Rushmore underscores the dangers to our democracy and the Lakota people. Predictably, COVID-19 is again on the rise in South Dakota, and community spread is especially serious around Mount Rushmore and our Oglala Nation.
      That’s why we protested his coming, and that’s why it’s critical that you help us demand safety, justice, and the return of the Black Hills. Once we reach our goal of 20,020 names, our petition will go to Congress demanding #LandBack2020.
      Wopila tanka — thank you for standing with us to restore the sacred!"

Arlo Iron Cloud, "LAND BACK March," Lakota Times, October 15, 2020,, reported, "After a landmark Supreme Court ruling in Oklahoma about jurisdiction pertaining to prosecuting Native Americans left a thought with everyone, even though this was pertaining to jurisdiction for criminal prosecution, some people assumed all across turtle Island thought this was about giving Land back to Native Americans. Even though this wasn’t about actual land being returned to Native Americans, this became about rights. What are our rights to the land as Indigenous peoples? Okla- homa tribes have been fighting long and hard with the state pertaining to jurisdiction pertaining to their relatives when it comes to criminal prosecution. Now after a Supreme Court ruling tribes now have the authority to deal with their own relatives in their own manner, according to their laws. But what about the land?
       NDN Collective has launched a 'Land Back' campaign! With the sole purpose of returning land to indigenous peoples! Not a co-stewardship or an agreement of co-managing but returning He Sapa public lands to indigenous people. Also, shut down Mt Rushmore.
      NDN Collective launch their 'Land Back' campaign [in Rapid City, SD] on Monday, October 12, 2020, also known as Indigenous Day in the state of South Dakota. The sole purpose of this campaign is to begin exploring policy changes to return stolen land."

Madonna Thunder Hawk, Cheyenne River Organizer, The Lakota People’s Law Project, stated in an October 10, 2020 E-mail, "In the U.S., some of the ugly realities of our history continue to unfold, but there is always hope when we push back. We’re seeing this now in the continued struggle for racial justice, a movement that is playing out not only on the streets but in the halls of Congress. We’re grateful that last week, U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced a new bill in the House of Representatives ( to bring to light the injustices suffered by my people at the hands of the federal government.
       The Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policy in the United States Act aims to establish a formal commission to expose the atrocities committed by the federal boarding school policy, and give a voice to the descendants dealing with the resulting trauma. It is co-sponsored by a long list of congressional reps, including Rep. Sharice L. Davids (D-Kan.), a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation. Davids and Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) were recently the first two Native women elected to the House.
      As you may know, the Indian boarding school era is one of the darkest chapters in the history of American Indian policy. Under a government-approved goal to “Kill the Indian, Save the Man,” our children were taken and forcibly assimilated into colonized ways of thinking. Their braids cut and the speaking of their languages prohibited, these children were subjected to repeated physical, sexual, and mental abuse — and too many never made it back home. The horrible reality is that hundreds, if not thousands, of these children still lie in boarding school graveyards around the country instead of resting in their homelands with their ancestors.
      This history is not removed from modern day, either. My sister and I were sent to boarding school back in the 1940s, and this awful practice didn’t end until the ‘60s. I witnessed this genocidal policy firsthand.
      Here at LPLP, we’ve long been proponents of Truth and Healing. Back in 2015-’16, about 50 Native nations signed onto our petition for a congressional committee modeled after Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation effort. We stand with the many other tribal leaders supporting the creation of this commission under Haaland and Warren’s bill.
      In these days of deception and disease — when our rights are once again being violated by officials who seek to limit our power at the polls — a new way forward must be found. Truth and healing is exactly what we need."

Hailey Fuchs, "Justice Dept. Is Set to Execute Native American Prisoner: Lezmond Mitchell faces the death penalty for his part in the 2001 murder of a Navajo woman and her 9-year-old granddaughter, a case that has raised issues about tribal sovereignty," The New York Times, August 25, 2020,, " The Justice Department intends on Wednesday to execute the only Native American man on federal death row[, Lezmond Mitchell], despite urgent pleas from more than a dozen tribes to respect Navajo culture and spare his life."
      "Tribal activists have argued that Mr. Mitchell’s case exemplifies the fraught relationship between tribes and federal law enforcement, which often disregards protections for tribal sovereignty," as the death penalty violates Navajo tradition and the Navajo Nation has asked that the death penalty not be carried out. This would be the first instance of an Indigenous American being put to death by the U.S. government for a crime on the reservation.

The Black Lives Matter protests have been expanding the concerns of activists to other issues related to racism and colonialism. "Why New Mexico’s 1680 Pueblo Revolt Is Echoing in 2020 Protests: Indigenous groups in the Southwest are imbuing their activism this year with commemorations of the 340-year-old Pueblo Revolt, one of Spain’s bloodiest defeats in its colonial empire," The New York Times, September 27, 2020,, reported that the Pueblo Revolt in 1680, that for some years forced out the Spanish, in what is now New Mexico has come increasingly to the fore. "Indigenous groups are referring to the Pueblo Revolt in organizing drives over such issues as stolen lands, the Justice Department’s deployment of federal agents to Albuquerque and the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit Native peoples especially hard."

      "Get Involved in the #LandBack Movement," Cultural Survival, October 10, 2020,, stated, " The NDN Collective ( is an Indigenous-led organization that is leading the #LANDBACK Campaign to build a “movement for collective liberation,” which will officially launched on Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2020 (Monday, October 12th ). On Saturday, October 10, 2020, the NDN Collective livestreamed a campaign launch webinar that explained the precedents, narrative, and demands of the campaign.
      The webinar featured NDN Collective’s Campaign Director Krystal Two Bulls (Oglala Lakota and Northern Cheyenne) and President and CEO Nick Tilson (Oglala Lakota), as well as leaders of intersecting movements, including Black Lives Matter.
      A highlight was the screening of NDN Collective Creative Producer Willi White’s (Oglala Lakota) short film Ȟesápa (Lakota name for Black Hills ), which is the first film in a LANDBACK mini-series.
       Ȟesápa documents the July 3, 2020 action by Land Defenders protecting the stolen lands of the Oceti Sakowin where Mount Rushmore currently stands. The NDN Collective recognized '45’s' uninvited intrusion on sacred Lakota lands to hold a rally at Mount Rushmore as an opportunity for Indigenous Peoples to unite. According to Krystal Two Bulls, the cornerstone of the #LANDBACK campaign is to shut down Mount Rushmore because it is the 'ultimate shrine to white supremacy.' Shutting it down will be an example for all people of color of just how much change is possible in the fight to achieve justice. The immediate goal is to get the government to return all public lands in the Black Hills to their rightful stewards, the people of the Lakota Sioux Tribe, so that they can reclaim their relationships with the land.
      Krystal Two Bulls said that there are four clear demands of the overall campaign: (1) Dismantle institutions that perpetuate white supremacy and (2) defund institutions that enforce it, (3) 'return Indigenous lands and all public lands back to Indigenous hands,' and Free, Prior and Informed Consent for all decisions that will have an impact on Indigenous Peoples. But the campaign is much bigger than these four demands. Tilson suggested that it be seen as a meta-narrative to connect all of the land-based fights today and across generations, in other words, as a 'a continuation of the work of our ancestors.' It is, at the same time, an opportunity for Indigenous Peoples to join forces in solidarity with Black Lives Matter against the common enemy of systemic racism with the recognition voiced by Tilson that “collective liberation will free us all.”
       Learn more about the campaign at:
       Sign the petition to close Mt. Rushmore and Return All Public Lands in the Black Hills to the Oceti Sakowin at:"

Many Dine living on Navajo land along the Little Colorado River in Arizona are objecting to construction of a proposed pumped storage electric generating project there, including four dams, on the grounds it would flood sacred and cultural sites, as well as cause environmental and aesthetic damage (Krista Allen, "'We're going to fight," Navajo Times, October 1, 2020).

David Detmold, "Boston Marches for Indigenous Peoples Day," Cultural Survival, October 10, 2020,, reported, "On Saturday, October 10, 2020, approximately 400 people marched from the Boston Common to the North End Park where a statue of Christopher Columbus once stood.
      Beheaded in June amid a nationwide uproar over structural racism following the brutal murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police, the statue of Columbus is reportedly now under repair in preparation for reinstallation at a North End housing complex for senior citizens owned by the Knights of Columbus
       The march began with traditional prayers from Moonanum James, of the Aquinnah Wampanoag, on Boston Common, where some 50 Native prisoners were shot by firing squad or hanged from an oak tree in 1676 in retribution for the regional defense of Native homelands that came to be known as King Phillips War.
      The Boston Research Center of Northeastern University notes, 'Many of those executed,' on Boston Common, 'had been promised clemency by the English. After surrendering in Rhode Island in 1676, Potuck, a Narragansett sachem, had been promised safe passage by the English colonists. Instead, he was brought to Boston Common and shot. Indian John Monoco and two Nipmuc sachems, Muttawmp and Sagamore Sam, were also assured pardons, transported to Boston, then executed without trial. Those not executed were sold into slavery in the Caribbean.'
      In the blazing heat of a fall Saturday, speakers told the crowd of Christopher Columbus’s role in relation to the Taino people of the Caribbean Islands.
      Citing Columbus’s own journal, one speaker after another recounted his 'discovery' of an archipelago already inhabited by a gracious, welcoming people. Columbus wrote they would make good slaves. He said he could conquer the islands and subjugate all their Native inhabitants with 50 men. On his first voyage, Columbus took six Taino captive, and returned to Spain. Less than a year later, on his next visit, he kidnapped 1500 more Taino. Hundreds died as captives. Hundreds more were shipped to Europe as slaves. Columbus ordered that the hands of Taino men be cut off if they failed to bring him enough gold.
       'We want the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to honor Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday in October and get rid of Columbus Day once and for all,'declared Mahtowin Munro, of the United American Indians of New England. She followed with d emands that the state legislature take immediate action to pass the bill (S.2848) to change the white supremacist flag and seal of Massachusetts, and the bill (H.443) to ban the use of Native mascots in public schools in the Commonwealth.
      'It’s about damned time the legislature listen to Indigenous voices and takes action,' said Munro.
       The bill to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day in Massachusetts did not make it out of legislative committee this session.
      Heather Leavelle, of Bedford, co-founder of Italian-Americans for Indigenous Peoples Day, told the crowd, 'It’s time for Italian-Americans today to recognize the harm this man has done and take Columbus down from all the pedestals on which we placed him.'
      The march stopped at the old State House, where libations were poured to the spirit of departed ancestors including Crispus Attucks, a man of mixed Wampanoag and African ancestry who died there in the Boston Massacre. The next stop was Faneuil Hall, where Kevin Peterson of the New Democracy Coalition once again demanded that Mayor Marty Walsh and the Boston City Council remove slave trader Peter Faneuil’s name from that prominent Boston landmark.
      'For three years, the Boston City Council has prevented us from even holding a hearing, about the slave trading origins of that Freedom Trail edifice,' Peterson said.
      Peterson, along with scores of Native leaders from tribal Nations dressed in their traditional regalia, led the march next through the hushed confines of Quincy Market, where tourists in the food court listened, many with eyes downcast, others quietly applauding, as the marchers passed by in their hundreds singing 'We Shall Overcome.'
      At the waterfront, Chali’Naru Dones of the United Confederation of Taino People, wearing a brilliantly hued headdress of macaw feathers and blowing on a conch shell, addressed the crowd from atop the plinth of the decapitated statue of Columbus.
      As her children were lifted up to stand beside her, she called for solidarity in the struggle to remove the legacy of white supremacy from the land and honor Indigenous People everywhere. 'City by city, town by town, Christopher Columbus must come down.'
      Of the five bills backed by the MAIndigenousAgenda this legislative session, S.2848, the bill to change the Massachusetts flag and seal, with its racist image of a white hand holding a Colonial sword over the head of a Native person, is the closest to passage.
      On July 28, 2020, the Massachusetts Senate voted unanimously in favor of S.2848 and sent it to the House Ways and Means Committee. Today, we are reaching out to House legislators in their home districts, one by one, building support for its passage.
      Advocates for H.443, the bill to ban the use of Native mascots in public schools are also working hard to build more support in both houses of the legislature."

Dina Horwedel,, 303-430-5350, American Indian College Fund Indigenous Activism Speaker Series Presents: How to Engage in Conversations About Race and Social Justice, Thursday, July 16, 10 a.m. MDT," American Indian College Fund, July 9, 2020, announced via E-mail, " The American Indian College Fund is hosting a free Indigenous Activism speaker’s series. Each free webinar features indigenous leaders sharing ways Native students and youth can advocate on important issues impacting their communities. Sarah Eagle Heart, Chief Executive Officer at Return to the Heart Foundation, will present “How to Engage in Conversations About Race and Social Justice” on Thursday, July 16 at 10 a.m. MDT.
      To register for the free webinar, visit the American Indian College Fund’s website at"

Jon Queally, "Calls Grow in US to Make Indigenous Peoples' Day a Federal Holiday: 'Federal holidays should celebrate our heritage and culture, but also honor the struggles that led to society as we know it,'" Common Dreams, October 12, 2020, https://www., reported, "The national chorus of those calling to make Indigenous Peoples' Day an official federal holiday to replace Columbus Day once and for all continued to grow Monday as Native Americans and their allies called out for a permanent and annual recognition for what has been taken from native people and communities as well as a celebration of their countless contributions to the national fabric.
      In a Monday op-ed ( at Common Dreams, activist and author Edgar Villanueva, founder of the Decolonizing Wealth Project, argues that celebrating Christopher Columbus with a federal holiday each year is as much an affront to history as it is to Native Americans who lived here for thousands of years before the European explorer's arrival in 1492."

In the summer of 2020, American Indians in Omaha, NE protested the death of Zachary Bear Heels, a Rosebud Lakota, at the hands of police, as they emphasized solidarity with Black Lives Matter ("Protesting Native Deaths by Police," In These Times, August, 2020).

Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO) in Albuquerque, NM has been moving to regenerate its Ambassadors Program, a two-year leadership nurturing education program equivalent to a masters program, locally with the help of its alumni, establishing new programs locally using its Indigenous values leadership methodology.
       AIO, which has been collaborating to build a greater Albuquerque Indian organization cooperative network, has been partnering with local Indigenous organizations nationally in the Native Voice Network (NVN) to create online collaboration through launching, using an AIO designed platform to allow organizations to share resources, dialogue on current issues and issue calls to action (AIO letter of December 22, 2020).

The Rural Utah Project, a partner of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, has been working to organize Navajos on the Utah portion of the reservation, carrying out an intensive voter registration campaign leading up to the 2020 election (Rural Utah Project 2020 flyer and

A movement has been in progress in 2020 to fully restore Jim Thorpe as the sole winner of 10 gold medals in the 1912 summer Olympics, going beyond the 1962 decision to consider Thorpe a co-winner of events he had won, before being stripped of his medals for being a "professional" (Victor Mather, "Seeking to Restore Thorpe's Gold Medals, More than 100 Years Later," The NewYork Times, December 11, 2020).

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International Activities

      Ariel Iannone Román, "FIMI’s Global Study Highlights Progress and Obstacles Faced By Indigenous Women and Girls Since 1995 World Conference on Women," Cultural Survival, October 05, 2020,, reported, " In commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which was formulated during the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, the International Indigenous Women’s Forum (FIMI) released its report: Global Study on the Situation of Indigenous Women and Girls . Covering five regions of the world — the Americas, Asia, Africa, the Arctic, and the Pacific — the report outlines the progress that has been made over the last 25 years, as well as ongoing challenges within the 12 critical areas of concern that were outlined by the Beijing Declaration in 1995.
      The Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing was the first UN conference to have substantial participation by Indigenous women, with over 100 representatives attending from different regions of the world. Though Indigenous women had already been organizing their own conferences and meetings in their home countries for years, the conference enabled them to overcome linguistic barriers, recognize themselves in their diversity, and build a common position to make visible their priorities and proposals as women and Indigenous Peoples. The goal was and continues to be the achievement of true visibility, to ensure that the nations of the world see Indigenous women as 'protagonists of change and subjects of rights, with decision-making power in international, national and local agendas.'
      The main body of the Global Study analyzes the 11 of the 12 critical areas of concern as they were outlined in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action: women and poverty, education and training of women, women and health, violence against women, women and armed conflict, women and the economy, women in power and decision-making, institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women, human rights of women, women and media, and women and the environment. In general, the Beijing Declaration asked governments to commit to removing all 'obstacles to women’s active participation in all spheres of public and private life by guaranteeing women a full and equal share in economic, social, cultural and political decision-making.' The problem is that many of these obligations, as they were outlined in the Beijing Declaration, do not fully capture the reality of Indigenous women and girls.
      Access to land and natural resources is 'essential to the ability of Indigenous Peoples to maintain and develop their distinct identities and cultures, as well as to develop economically.' The Global Study emphasizes 'self-determination and the relationship with land' throughout their analysis
. It acknowledges the Beijing Declaration of Indigenous Women, which states that any analysis must consider the 'currently dominant growth-oriented development model based on capitalism and globalization, resulting in new forms of economic and political colonialism by a few powerful nations.' The Global Study also acknowledges how the continual 'imposition of Western orientation in all disciplines such as philosophy, politics, economics and science undervalues and discriminates against differing cultures, as well as against the ancestral knowledge of Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous women, resulting in various forms of discrimination and, ultimately, racism.'
       Indigenous Peoples today represent 6.2 percent of the world’s population, and yet they make up 15 percent of the world’s impoverished people. The Global Study comments that statistical measurements of poverty don’t always take cultural knowledge and livelihood assets of Indigenous women into consideration. For this reason, Indigenous women, especially in the American region, prefer to use the term 'impoverishment.' This is intended to counteract the narrative of 'poverty,' which usually leads to public policies based on economic assistance while disregarding Indigenous women’s positions as agents of change who can and should be included in public policy decisions.
       In the 25 years since the Beijing Conference, there has been an improvement in access to basic education for women and girls around the world, but Indigenous women and girls still experience 'higher gender disparities and lower educational attainment compared to non-Indigenous women.' Indigenous women in Africa and Asia-Pacific still struggle to receive a basic education, and in all regions, secondary and tertiary education. Even in countries where Indigenous women complete higher levels of education, there are still barriers to employment. A key challenge is the 'limited access to quality culturally and linguistically relevant education' in all regions, which undermines the 'transmission and preservation of Indigenous language and culture.'
      In the category of women and health, Indigenous women experience poorer health indicators than non-Indigenous women, regardless of location or socio-political situation. There is limited to no access to “quality and culturally and linguistically relevant health care services (including mental health care services) [...]” As is the case for all 12 critical areas of concern, the health of Indigenous women and girls is impacted by an intersection of historical and current factors, including 'the effects of colonization, environmental violence, exclusion, inequality, the loss of ancestral land, cultural discriminatory practices by mainstream health care providers and discrimination with regard to traditional health practices.'
       Gender-based violence against Indigenous women and girls includes “domestic violence, physical and sexual violence, disappearances, femicide, trafficking for sexual exploitation, forced surrogacy and early marriage, among others.' Unfortunately, there is a particular lack of research and data in this area, partially due to 'lower reporting rates, limited or no access to quality and culturally and linguistically relevant services, [and] racialized policing.' Despite this, available information demonstrates that 'Indigenous women experience higher rates of gender-based violence compared to non-Indigenous women.' This is exacerbated by the fact that there is 'limited or no access to justice and insufficient relevant public policies to prevent and protect [Indigenous women] from violence.'
       Armed conflicts are a global problem that disproportionately impacts Indigenous women because of their relationship with land. Indigenous Peoples are severely impacted by land-related violence or forced removal in almost every region, and Indigenous women and girls are subjected to gender-based violence on top of that. This is especially the case when land has been militarized by national armies or organized crime, or encroached upon by the expansion of military bases. Despite this, Indigenous women 'do not see themselves as passive victims but have taken up roles as mediators and peacebuilders.'
       Indigenous women rely heavily on informal work and are also responsible for much of the unpaid care and domestic work in their communities. They are subjected to a slew of economic challenges, including the risks of climate change and 'macroeconomic adjustment policies […]; discriminatory laws related to land rights, natural resources, loans and credit; and aggressive development projects […] which result in contamination, dispossession and loss of traditional livelihood assets.” Indigenous Peoples live in 'some of the most fragile ecosystems in the world.' Furthermore, they are disproportionately impacted by 'the environmental violence caused by large development projects, extractive industries, agribusiness and military contamination.'
      Despite the fact that Indigenous women have succeeded in establishing political participation at the national and international levels, they continue to face barriers to effective and equal participation both in Indigenous and non-Indigenous arenas on the local, national, and international levels. Though Indigenous women are keepers of knowledge for mitigation and adaptation in the face of climate change, they are still 'underrepresented in environmental policy-making at multiple levels.' There is a general lack of disaggregated data on Indigenous Peoples, which undermines attempts to demonstrate socio-economic and cultural inequalities, and jeopardizes the visibility of Indigenous Peoples in official data. This is made worse in countries where Indigenous Peoples are not recognized by national constitutions and laws. All of this, in turn, restricts the advancement of Indigenous women through institutional mechanisms. Even when institutional mechanisms are successfully established, governments and non-governmental organizations often lack the capacity and economic resources to ensure their effective implementation.
       Indigenous women are often represented in media with negative stereotypes and language that reinforces racism and racial discrimination. This is why it is important for Indigenous women to have their own access to media, which can be used as a tool for 'exercising IW’s rights to self-determination, enabling their empowerment through the reclamation of their narratives and allowing them to be voices for social change in the fight against gender discrimination, racism and human rights violations.' Indigenous women’s participation in media has increased, though many obstacles persist, including 'poor communication infrastructure in Indigenous territories, gender discrimination, legal barriers to the establishment of community media and the criminalization of journalists and reporters, among others.'
       The Global Study concludes by reaffirming the remarkable progress that Indigenous women have made in promoting critical issues both nationally and internationally. It reinforces the idea that individual and collective rights must be acknowledged simultaneously, and that all challenges must be analyzed with “careful consideration for the relation between Indigenous Women and the land, and in the context of land rights and land dispossession.” Finally, it points out how the COVID-19 pandemic has irrevocably exposed inequalities on a national and global scale. In the wake of the pandemic, whose consequences will likely be felt far into the future, governments should “consider Indigenous Peoples’ and Indigenous Women’s voices, their ancestral knowledge and their good practices of resilience in developing holistic responses to address this emergency and its aftermath.”
      Read the Global Study in full here:"

"Indigenous Media Caucus Releases Study on State of Indigenous Radio in 19 Countries ," Cultural Survival, November 25, 2020 , Contact: Dev Kumar Sunuwar, Coordinator Indigenous Media Caucus, Philip Lee, General Secretary, WACC,, Avenim Cojti, Community Media Program Manager, Cultural Survival,, reported, "On November 25, 2020, the Indigenous Media and Communication Caucus , a thematic group of Indigenous media practitioners, makers, and communicators at the United Nations released 'A Study on the State of Indigenous Community Broadcasting in 19 Countries ( ).' The study was jointly commissioned by the Indigenous Media and Communication Caucus, Cultural Survival, and WACC.
      The study is a comprehensive snapshot of the status of Indigenous community radio stations in different parts of the world, depicting the implementation of Indigenous Peoples’ right to their own media, as guaranteed by Article 16 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
      'This study is important because it gives community radios at the local level a resource to compare States' advances towards the democratization of media and the experience of Indigenous radio movements that pushed for those changes,' says, Avexnim Cojtí (Maya K'iche'), Cultural Survival Community Media Program Manager.
       Indigenous Peoples continue to face obstacles in accessing media for many reasons, including their geographic location, discrimination, costs for operation and access to license, and language and legal barriers. Indigenous Peoples living in isolated areas have little physical access to urban-based centered media. Similarly, a lack of awareness of human rights and the right to access information further contributes to obstacles.
      Despite challenges , progress has been made by Indigenous Peoples globally in asserting their rights to their own media as Indigenous cultures, needs, and aspirations that are not reflected in mainstream media. Community radio has been a powerful tool to keep Indigenous cultures, languages, and traditions alive, as well as to inform Indigenous communities about relevant issues and events in their own languages.
       Indigenous-led community radio supports the revitalization and promotion of Indigenous languages, serves as a source of alternative media, builds awareness of Indigenous rights, and promotes Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination. In many countries, Indigenous media is threatened by antagonistic attitudes by both government agents and commercial media. Similarly, in many places, mainstream media is only available in dominant languages, making it inaccessible to many Indigenous Peoples and hampering Indigenous Peoples’ rights to access to information in their languages. This issue contributes to the marginalization and loss of Indigenous languages. Indigenous media practitioners and communicators have had to work under threats, intimidation, and regularly experience violence perpetrated by government agents. Many Indigenous journalists live in fear of violence and criminalization simply for exercising their right to freedom of expression, especially when reporting on divisive issues related to environmental protection, land rights, social movements, human rights, and local politics.
      'In geographically remote areas like Nepal, Indigenous radio has played a crucial role in keeping our languages, cultures and heritage alive. Radio has ensured Indigenous Peoples' rights to information in our languages. Thus this study will be helpful as the basis for long-term advocacy to further advance Indigenous Peoples' right to media,' says Bhakta Syangtan, Chairperson of Radio Namobuddha 106.7 Mhz, Nepal.
      This study sheds a light on the status of Indigenous media globally and aims to bring the problems faced by Indigenous community media broadcasts to a larger audience. The study will be the basis of international advocacy at international fora, including the United Nations, for the right to freedom of expression within legal frameworks, as well as for better laws and policies to access community or non-commercial radio frequencies.
      'This study is important because it gives added recognition to community radio as the best tool to keep Indigenous cultures, languages, and traditions alive, as well as to inform Indigenous communities about relevant issues and events in their own languages. I hope it becomes a valuable resource for Indigenous rights around the world, especially at a time when Indigenous Peoples’ voices and participation are needed more than ever,' states Philip Lee, General Secretary of WACC.
      The study includes individual country reports and equally responds to the need to gather information on the advancements made and obstacles found in complying with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Article 16. The study also points out the main challenges and paths to be followed to promote the growth and consolidation of Indigenous community radio.
      The study does not intend to be a comparative study, as it is based mostly on qualitative data. A comparison is given to support the analysis of the results. The report offers a general framework to understand the concept of community radio and provides a short review of its origins and evolution and includes 19 country reports. The study also includes a collective analysis regarding the legal status of Indigenous community radio and the development of Indigenous community radio experiences in the different countries and focuses on the content of Indigenous community radio as an attempt to highlight the motivations and concerns of Indigenous Peoples to gradually overcome historical and current discrimination and marginalization.
       The study is available in Spanish and English.
      The Indigenous Media and Communication Caucus, a thematic group of Indigenous media practitioners and communicators, was formed at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) in 2016 by Indigenous journalists, Indigenous media practitioners and communicators from around the world. Its aim is to coordinate advocacy efforts and bring the problems faced by Indigenous community media and media practitioners to the international stage.
      Cultural Survival is an Indigenous-led NGO and U.S. registered non-profit that advocates for Indigenous Peoples' rights and supports Indigenous communities’ self-determination, cultures, and political resilience, since 1972. For 48 years, Cultural Survival has partnered with Indigenous communities to advance Indigenous Peoples' rights and cultures worldwide. Cultural Survival envisions a future that respects and honors Indigenous Peoples' inherent rights and dynamic cultures, deeply and richly interwoven in lands, languages, spiritual traditions, and artistic expression, rooted in self-determination and self-governance. The core of CS' efforts rest on the principles of supporting, amplifying efforts and raising awareness of self-determination for Indigenous communities.
      WACC is a non-governmental organization that builds on communication rights in order to promote social justice. WACC offers guidance and support to people of all faiths, ethnicities, and cultures worldwide. They believe that everyone has the right to communicate and to be in communication, in the same way that they have the right to food, shelter, and security. In strategic alliances, WACC aims to be a catalyst for change for the common good, sharing information, knowledge, and experience in the field of communication. WACC has members in 120 countries ."

"In Defense of Our Human Rights as Indigenous Women," Cultural
Survival, October 15, 2020,, reported, " The U.S. Department of State hosted its 10th annual Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) project competition in 2020. This year's theme centers on Women, Peace, and Security with a special focus on strengthening the role of women in peace, security, and governance; engaging women as partners in preventing terrorism and countering radicalization and recruitment; promoting the protection of women and girls from violence, abuse, and exploitation; and supporting women’s political, economic, and civic participation.
      'Training Indigenous Women for the Defense of their Human Rights' is one of the winning projects of the competition, which will be implemented in collaboration with Cultural Survival and coordinated by Diana Pastor (Maya K'iche') and Adriana Hernandez (Maya K’iche’) from Guatemala, both alumni of the Department of State educational programs and Cultural Survival staff members. The project seeks to train 24 Indigenous human rights defenders from Guatemala, Mexico, and Honduras by building capacity that will impact other women from their communities
. Many of these women have already demonstrated interest in promoting human rights in their communities, but obstacles in accessing training and receiving recognition and visibility have restrained their efforts and dismissed their results. Through a series of virtual trainings, workshops, and hands-on activities, the participants will become role models for other women who are also interested in becoming human rights activists.
       This project aims to achieve the following goals:
Strengthen Indigenous women’s legal and political understanding of what their individual and collective rights are as women, members of Indigenous communities, and citizens of Guatemala, Mexico, and Honduras.
      Build capacity on how they can exercise and defend their human rights, depending on their local context.
Gain technical skills on how to effectively document and communicate violations of their individual and collective rights.
      Create visibility for women with an international audience tuned into human rights work.
Help Indigenous women rights defenders to build a network of local and international individuals and organizations as potential partners in the defense of their rights

Phillippa Pitts, "From a Place of Love and Rage: Idle No More’s Cancel Canada Day Program," Cultural Survival, July 8, 2020,, reported, " Organized by Idle No More , an Indigenous rights advocacy group, Cancel Canada Day brought together scholars, poets, parents, musicians, filmmakers, and activists for a three-hour digital convening on July 1, 2020. The event, streamed on Facebook live, accompanied the in-person protests and direct actions happening simultaneously across the nation.
      'It’s not that we are fighting against Canada,' clarified speaker Sleydo’ (Molly Wickham), an activist whose home at the Gidimt’en check-point in Wet’suwet’en territory has been raided twice by armed mounted police. 'We are fighting for ourselves. For our sovereignty, for our ability to be free Indigenous people, to live and not be killed in the streets, or killed in our territories, incriminated, removed from our territories like so many generations of our children have been. It comes from this place of love and rage and all of these teachings we have as Indigenous People and centuries of knowing that we have to survive.'
      Sleydo’s words echoed those of opening speaker Ellen Gabriel, an internationally lauded Indigenous rights activist and artist. 'It is not because we hate Canada or hate Canadian citizens, it is because we love peace that we are trying to gain some kind of foothold. A right to self determination that does not come from colonizers.' Gabriel slowed to emphasize: 'We do not need Canada to tell us we are self determining. We already know that.'
      Coming together from a range of backgrounds and expertise, the event’s speakers interrupted popular myths of Canada as a safe, pleasant space. They shared their stories of discrimination in the classroom, on the street, in doctor’s offices, and in political spaces. As Gabriel said, 'Reconciliation is not dead, it has never happened.'
      Speaking from her home on unceded land, Sleydo drew a direct line between past and present violence, saying, 'Canada looks like militarized RCMP [Royal Cavalry Mounted Police] invading our territories--walking around with automatic weapons where we smoke our fish, have our ceremonies, where our elders go to pick medicine. These are things that have been happening to us in the last two weeks. These are things that we experience on a day to day basis... it looks slightly different from smallpox, from slaughtering our people and taking our children away to residential schools, but it’s just a different face.'
      Later in the program, filmmakers Audrey Huntley, Monica Forrester, and Dr. Alex Wilson added examples from their own experience working with trans and Two Spirit people. Screening trailers from their films, Smudge Don’t Judge and Not Just Another Case, they spoke the names and shared the faces of missing and murdered Indigenous women and condemned the ongoing failure of the Canadian police to protect and serve. Forrester—a Two Spirit woman of color who has been an advocate for trans health, inclusion, and well-being for over 25 years—did not mince words about the danger her communities face. 'I always thought: am I going to live past 30? Because all of my peers were dying so young,' she recalled while describing the lethal discrimination Indigenous LGBTQ2IA people face even in spaces 'designed' to serve them.
      'When does it stop?' asked Gabriel, 'Do you physically have to see with your own eyes people dying before you understand what we have been trying to tell you: that we are human beings too. That we have the right to survive, to thrive, to our languages, to nurture our future generations… Assimilation continues and so does our fight.'
       Despite these painful truths, the tone of Cancel Canada Day was solution-oriented and future focused. On a live feed of a rally in Vancouver, virtual attendees heard Audrey Siegel give a powerful address. She called out to a carefully-distanced crowd of rain-soaked Indigenous and non-Indigenous attendees: 'Any benefits that you have that come at my expense, I need you to give them up and I need you to do it now… We want to rise with you, we want to heal with you, we want to do it in a way that Canada cannot do.' Naming human rights violations from police brutality, addiction stigma, epidemics, and the reservation school system, Siegel continued, 'We know what it’s like to be pushed aside and forgotten and we will not let that happen to anyone.'
      Her message echoed across the event. Following Siegel’s speech, musician Dakota Bear called for a movement composed of 'all colors of the medicine wheel: Black, white, red, Free Palestine, Free Hong Kong, Black Lives Matter!' From digital host Erica Violet Lee’s opening remarks, claiming the day 'in honor of all lives lost to the Canadian state: Black, brown, Two-Spirit…,' speakers and attendees alike continuously exchanged messages of support and solidarity through the duration of the program.
      Khodi Dill, a biracial and Métis writer, educator, and spoken word artist, challenged the depth of these promises in his commanding virtual performance. He asked, 'Is it easier for those here in Canada to see injustice south of the border than to take a stand for those fighting for injustice right around them?' He then pushed further, 'Is it easier to look at the United States than it is to look in the mirror? The oppression of Blacks and the oppression of Indigenous people--and all oppressed people--are inextricably linked. We remain stolen people on stolen land. Canada, don’t stand up for me if you won’t stand up for Indigenous people.'
       As a whole, the event highlighted the resiliency of Indigenous and First Nations Peoples in Canada, even after centuries of colonization and forced assimilation, even in the midst of ongoing violence and environmental degradation, while Indigenous women and children go missing and 4,000 children still lie in unmarked graves outside of residential schools. Even during a pandemic, the event’s message was one of hope and power. Indigenous people are making drums, making songs, making medicine, making communities. They are stepping in where the state does not. The revolution they describe is carried out on reserves and in university classrooms, at the United Nations and at the local pharmacy, in city streets and in peoples’ home. This last form was beautifully described by poet Tasha Spillett-Sumner, who spoke from her own sofa, holding her own infant child.
            'The Revolution wants kisses for where it hurts and extra cuddles at bedtime.
      You breastfeed the Revolution and tell it stories.
      The Revolution is wherever we are and some of our bodies are at home,
      Raising the Revolution.'"
      Karen Mackenzie, Cree-Métis & HIP Board Member, Honoring Indigenous Peoples (HIP), "Our Story: 'We walk together to forge a new path,” 2020,, stated," In 2014, a small group of Rotarians from several southern Ontario Rotary clubs sat in the basement of a building in Oshawa talking about creating a country wide organization to work in partnership with Indigenous Peoples. We have gone from planning on the back of an envelope to establishing HIP’s multi-year plan.
       While we continue to listen and learn, we also reflect, adjust and build on our successes. We have taken huge steps forward including increasing our board to 20 members selected from communities stretching from coast-to-coast. Bringing some of Canada’s brightest minds and biggest hearts together has resulted in an updated vision and mission.
       As Indigenous and Non-Indigenous partners, we are committed to working together. While we have refined our focus with an emphasis on relationship building, we will continue our education and awareness activities including supporting the next generation of leaders and changing knowledge, attitudes and behaviours.
       HIP growth means increasing Indigenous and Non-Indigenous participation. We encourage and support relationship building between Rotary clubs and Indigenous communities. As we discover shared purposes, values and how to better support one another, we will be building a better country.
HIP Logo
      Our logo was designed by Jennifer Wemigwans, Anishnaabekwe (Ojibwe/ Potawatomi) from Wikwemikong First Nation. The four colours of the medicine wheel represent many things. In this specific design we are using the symbolic image of people and the four colours to represent the four races of human kind. They are intertwined and inter-related to symbolize that we are all dependent upon one another and that only together do we represent the strength of the circle – a complete unity. The outer circle that envelops the four races is done in purple and white to pay homage to and acknowledge the importance of wampum belts and their historical bond for bringing together people in this land. Traditional wampum beads are a blend of white and purple. The waves emitting out from the circle symbolize the ripple effect and strength that comes from being united as people.
Diagram Description automatically generated
       Our mission is to catalyze societal change by inspiring Indigenous & Non-Indigenous
relationship building, strengthening community well-being and advancing the next generation of leaders.
Our vision is that all Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Peoples work together,
interconnected and interdependent, for the benefit of future generations
       While HIP remains focused on education, awareness and relationship building, we place emphasis on building of meaningful, equitable and long-lasting relationships. By creating bonds and supporting one another, we employ key elements needed to walk the path together. "
      HIP's annual reports and current strategic plan are at:

" AFN National Chief Bellegarde discouraged by Canada’s Announcement that clean water targets will be missed," Assembly of First Nations, December 2, 2020,, stated, " AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde says First Nations are frustrated, yet not surprised, by today’s announcement from Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller, confirming that Canada will not be able to lift all First Nations long-term drinking water advisories by its target deadline of March 2021.
       'First Nations have good reason to be disappointed by the federal government’s announcement that after more than five years in office, it will miss its own target to provide safe drinking water to all Indigenous communities across Canada. While there has been significant progress in recent years, it clearly is not enough,' said National Chief Bellegarde. 'I welcome today’s announcement by Minister Miller of $1.5 billion to continue to close the infrastructure gap faced by many First Nations, and I remain hopeful it will be followed up with concerted efforts in the coming months to fix the drinking water situation across Canada once and for all.'
      At last week’s AFN Water Summit, ISC indicated there were still 59 long-term drinking water advisories in effect, with the majority (75%) located in Ontario. Many of these advisories were flagged as off-track or behind schedule by First Nations and regional organizations prior to the pandemic. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of clean water for health and hygiene, while fighting COVID-19.
'I’m very disappointed, but not surprised, to hear that the previous commitment to end all BWAs by March 2021 will not be met,' said Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald, who oversees the AFN’s Water portfolio. 'While I welcome Minister Miller’s announcement for Operations and Maintenance funding, as this is only one of the reasons that Boil Water Advisories continue in First Nations, increased and sustained funding for modern and reliable infrastructure will remain a key solution. I have asked the minister to work with First Nations to identify the barriers that have resulted in Ontario having the highest number of BWAs remaining in Canada. We want to ensure that this basic human right is met for Ontario First Nations.'
      The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter at @AFN_Updates.
      For more information please contact:
Karen Joyner
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-292-0857 (cell)"

" The Assembly of First Nations Knowledge Keepers Council supports the rights of Mi’kmaq people to assert their Treaty Right to Fish within their Territory," Assembly of First Nations, December 1, 2020, of October 22, 2020 statement, stated, " The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Knowledge Keepers are sending their support to the Mi’kmaq people who are exercising their right to fish and earn a modest living as supported by the Peace and Friendship Treaties from 1752 and 176061, the Royal Proclamation of 1763, s.35 of Canada’s Constitution, and by the 1999 Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. vs. Marshall.
       The current challenges they are facing from the local communities and the surrounding non-Native fishers shows not only a lack of understanding of Treaty rights, but that the escalating violence is racially motivated. The acts of these non-Native fishers to intimidate and deny access to the Mi’kmaq fishers is fundamentally wrong and must be stopped.
      The acts of protest and intimidation against the Mi’kmaq men and women are clearly based on racial discrimination. Fishing has always been a way of life, a part of the Mi’kmaq people’s culture, identity and economy, and has been for generations. To call such attention and enact such violence to this practice now is shameful and ignorant.
      The Mi’kmaq are simply asking Canada to honour their inherent and Treaty rights and the decisions of Canada’s own courts to continue with their right to Fish. Why are they being denied? This right has all been clearly outlined and confirmed by the 1999 Marshall decision by the Supreme Court of Canada. It should not be questioned. The Canadian government has a duty to act in support of the fishers.
Why are the Mi’kmaq being deprived of the opportunity to exercise their rights? This issue must be addressed immediately to ensure that First Nations people have the means to provide for their families and continue the fall lobster harvest.
      The Fishermen and women fish with their families. The violence that the demonstrators are enacting against the Mi’kmaq is nothing short of assault and must be treated as such. They have destroyed Mi’kmaq traps and boats; this cannot be tolerated. The verbal intimidations and violent activities are clearly racially motivated. These actions are disgraceful and must be stopped immediately.
      The Treaties must be respected. At present, the Mi’kmaq People are not safe in their own homes and on their own territory. Law enforcement needs to be proactive in protecting everyone and not just those who they deem deserving of protection. People are in danger. Why is Canada looking the other way and not stopping these acts of violence? The lack of response from the RCMP is very telling.
      We will continue to support the Mi’kmaq until the proper action is taken to ensure the safety of their people and their Treaty rights. We demand that the federal government uphold and honour all Treaty relationships with First Nations in Canada. Know that the eyes of all Indigenous peoples are on you, Canada."

" AFN National Chief Bellegarde welcomes emergency COVID funding for First Nations Early Learning and Child Care," Assembly of First Nations, October 30, 2020,, stated, " National Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) welcomes Canada’s announcement of emergency funding for Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Today’s announcement committed to investing approximately $70 million over the 2020-21 fiscal year to support First Nations ELCC providers to safely reopen and deliver programs and services for First Nations children and families during the pandemic.
      'Today’s announcement acknowledges the important role that First Nations early learning and child care programs play in developing happy and healthy First Nations children. The pandemic has exacerbated systemic disadvantages for First Nations, making these programs that support our children’s wellbeing more important than ever. COVID-19 has complicated how programs are delivered, but the safety of the providers and participants has continued to be a top priority,' National Chief Bellegarde said. 'This funding will help First Nations early learning and child care service providers adjust to the realities of COVID-19 and continue to deliver these important programs in a safe way.'
      Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart holds the Social Development portfolio at the AFN and says that the funding not only will help First Nations ELCC programs reopen safely when they are ready, but also recognizes the work they have done throughout the pandemic.
      'We want to lift up the staff and management at our First Nations early learning and child care programs. They have done amazing work supporting our children and families during the pandemic,' Regional Chief Hart said. 'This investment is a good first step to ensure that this work is recognized and can operate safely as many of our communities move into the second wave of this pandemic. I will continue to monitor the situation and advocate for more investments where they are needed to ensure the continued safety of our children and families.'
       This investment comes in addition to the September 2020 Throne Speech, in which the federal government committed to creating a Canada-wide early learning and child care system.
      'I will continue to speak up for the needs of First Nations children, families and early learning and child care providers, particularly as Canada moves to create a national early learning and child care system,' said National Chief Bellegarde. “We must ensure that First Nations are properly supported in a new national system for early learning and child care, and further that the distinct needs and priorities of First Nations are respected in this, which is especially important in the context of COVID-19.”
      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
Interim Communications Director
Assembly of First Nations
613-859-6831 (cell)
Karen Joyner
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-292-0857 (cell)"

Jesus Nazario and Jess Cherofsky, "'The Communities Know We are Managing the Forest Well': Rainforest and Sacred Site in Guatemala at Risk of Privatization by U.S. Archaeologist," Cultural Survival, July 24, 2020,, reported, "On June 28, members of the Maya group Tujaal , a word in Maya K’iche’ meaning 'tender maize,' released a statement opposing a proposed U.S.-based project seeking to privatize archaeological sites in the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Petén, Guatemala. Inside the protected bioreserve sits El Mirador, a 2,450 square mile basin and Maya cultural site, and a site of contention between Maya Indigenous communities and U.S.-based archaeologists.
      The Mirador-Calakmul Basin is part of the Maya Biosphere Reserve and comprises 1.6 million acres of rainforest covering areas across Southern Mexico and Northern Guatemala. Within the area are remains of over 51 pre-hispanic Maya cities. El Mirador, one of the cities, represents for Maya Peoples 'our historical and cultural legacy,” says Maya K’iche’ archaeologist Iyaxel Cojtí Ren, who is currently finishing a postdoctoral fellowship at the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library. “They are sacred spaces, vital to the practice of Maya spirituality.'
       The 'Architect'
      In late 2019, bill S.3131 was introduced to the 116th United States Senate by Democratic Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico as the 'Mirador-Calakmul Basin Maya Security and Conservation Partnership Act of 2019.' The contested bill’s self-proclaimed architect is Richard Hansen, a Utah-based archaeologist. Senators James Risch, Republican of Idaho, and Roger Wicker, Republican of Minnesota, are co-sponsoring the bill, which seeks to privatize and invest up to 120 million dollars in the Mirador-Calakmul Basin through 'continued tropical forest and archaeological scientific research, law enforcement, and sustainable tourism.'
      Hansen has studied El Mirador for almost 40 years. In a recent VICE video report, Hansen claims that sustainable tourism, as he has envisioned it, is the only way to ensure the protection of the Maya Biosphere Reserve. The U.S. Senate bill states in section 2 that there has been an increase in 'trafficking of timber, gold, wildlife, and other resources' within the protected reserve as a result of 'little central government control or law enforcement.' Hansen’s plans involve 'a privately managed resort, with hotels, restaurants, and guided tours,' as well as a train to allow access to remote areas.
      'You should see the opposition [to the project]...That's my one of my criticisms of the Guatemalans—there’s no vision,' Hansen said when asked about why El Mirador was not a tourist destination.
       A Vision of Biocultural Community Management
      Yet local Maya and mestizo communities have a complex and thriving land management program that meets their environmental goals and provides economic benefits to their communities. The Association of Forest Communities of Petén ( ACOFOP ) was founded in 1995 as a cooperative in charge of managing 500,000 hectares of the Maya Biosphere Reserve through a community forestry model. As of 2016, ACOFOP comprised 23 community organizations , 'representing over two thousand families and providing benefits to an estimated forty thousand people.'
       The communities live within the reserve, carrying out sustainable production and harvesting of mahogany and cedar for timber, latex, allspice, nuts, and xate , an ornamental palm. Their access to the reserve depends on concessions from the government, hard-fought through “mass protests” in the 1990s against both the government and western conservationists. This is the 23rd year of a 25-year concession for ACOFOP, and the ACOFOP land managers’ vision is clear: community governance results in environmental conservation, biodiversity protection, and sustainable development by and for communities, and they have a 23-year track record and scientific studies to prove it.
      As a tourism coordinator in Carmelita, a community next to El Mirador, Juan Carlos Marín represents ACOFOP and works within the forest concessions. Marín says that , during the 23 years of practicing sustainable forestry, the rate of deforestation has been less than one percent in the concession areas. As of 2016, the Rainforest Foundation reported the deforestation rate in the concessions to be 86% less than in government protected areas.
       Indigenous Peoples have the right to conserve and tend their own lands, and they are also the best equipped to do so. In an interview with Cultural Survival staff, Jorge Emilio Soza of the Integral Forest Association ( Asociación Forestal Integral) and native of San Andrés Peten points out that in Guatemala’s case, the nation’s Peace Accords of 1996 stipulate community land management. A 2014 report by Rights and Resources Initiative reported, '[I]t is believed that strong community forest rights [in Brazil] could prevent 27.2 million hectares of deforestation by 2050, equal to three years’ worth of emissions from all Latin American and Caribbean countries. Research in several countries also shows that deforestation rates inside indigenous and community forests with strong legal recognition and government protection are significantly lower than in forests outside these areas. Further, Indigenous Peoples and local communities have effectively protected their environment for thousands of years with little or no outside financial incentive, and limited government recognition.” The report goes on to note that areas benefiting from community management were 'even more effective’ than strictly protected areas at reducing the incidence of fire.' The presence of fewer fires is understood to imply less deforestation.
      The Maya Biosphere Reserve provides a case in point. The cooperative communities’ powerful environmental monitoring system has radically reduced forest fires; while the community-managed concessions comprise 16% of the Reserve, they contain only 1% of all forest fires . Soza applauds how community patrols, trained in drone use, gather data to protect their lands. He highlights how annual forest fires only occur in areas of Petén where community organizations are absent. 'Thanks to the management [in the concessions], El Mirador has that support that guarantees that there won’t be an interruption in soil use, there won’t be forest fires. Why? Because those communities are what provides the buffer zone to prevent all those disasters.'
       Studies ( 2004 and 2005 also found that deforestation was less than prior to the formal establishment of community management and that biodiversity has increased. Evidence also suggests, contrary to Hansen’s and the U.S. Senate bill’s allegation, that trafficking is actually less likely to be associated with community managed lands. Soza says, 'The communities know we are managing the forest well, through a forest management certification which guarantees at the global level...that resource management is being done technically and scientifically.' This also serves as a guarantee to the Guatemalan government.
       After the 25-year concession ends in 2022, it will be up for renewal and thus at risk. Hansen told Guatemalan officials that no one would invest in his project if the concessions continued; in the next breath, he emphasized to them how 'great it would be for you' if they supported his project.
      'These kinds of projects [like Hansen’s] have always been proposed to political leaders; they have never been presented to the community,” says Marín. “Our grandparents have lived here, our parents have lived here, and now we live here.” Consultation with the communities is part of the internationally recognized right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent before any projects that affect Indigenous Peoples on their lands. It is enshrined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other international agreements. Hansen has not complied with this obligation.
      'Should the protected areas in El Mirador be privatized, local communities may lose access they have had to the Maya Biosphere via forest concessions,” says Cojtí Ren. “That is the fear, that they will be excluded and become employees of the planned tourism enterprise; they would no longer be protagonists in the [Mirador-Calakmul Basin].'
      'Of course El Mirador is important to us; it is the natural and cultural patrimony of all Guatemalans,' says Soza. 'By not renewing the [forest] concessions there could be social chaos because there would not be the opportunity for income for the families in the communities. This would have a huge impact.'
      A way to overcome current limitations in sustainable development is to conduct evidence-based environmental studies in the Biósfera Maya to better inform sustainable development policies, and ensure that the communities living in Peten be included in eventual decision making processes, Marín says.
      'I think this is ultimately a case of sovereignty because it should not be possible for someone to come and bypass all of our laws, primarily the laws regarding protected areas,' Marín said. 'The train [that Hansen is proposing] may be an option but it needs to be proven to be the best option.'
       In response to Hansen’s plan, S.3131, the members from the group Tujaal position themselves in direct opposition. Their statement, titled “ The Maya City El Mirador is not up for negotiation, sale, or dispute. It is respected,” ( discusses how the local Maya peoples living within the protected biospheres in Guatemala, where El Mirador is situated, will lose their livelihoods, should the bill pass. The group has made five specific demands:
      For the three U.S. Senators sponsoring the bill S.3131 to not move forward with the bill.
For Richard Hansen to cease his studies in El Mirador and for proper repatriation of Maya artifacts held in private collections across the world.
      For Richard Hansen to disseminate his research findings, since such information has not been published nor discussed with Maya communities since Hansen began his research in El Mirador in 2002.
      For Maya communities to not support Guatemalan politicians that are in favor of supporting the S.3131 bill.
      For an alliance between all Maya elders, healers, authorities, and governments as a whole to oppose and protect the Maya Biosphere Reserve
      Cultural Survival is in solidarity with the Maya and mestizo communities of the Mirador-Calakmul Basin and their right to sovereign management of their lands. We believe it should be up to the peoples living in the Mirador-Calakmul Basin to decide how to govern their lands, be it through the current communal forest concessions or other forms of management. In either case, decisions should be locally determined and always include free, prior, and informed consent when projects are proposed by outside groups. Nation-states should aid in Indigenous Peoples’ self-determination. We reiterate our support and have signed on to an open letter by Tujaal denouncing the S.3131 project.
      A petition has been created with over 200,000 supporters in opposition of bill S.3131. In addition to gathering support against the bill, the petition also asks supporters to reach out to their respective elected officials to voice their concerns over the bill."

      Amazon Watch, stated in a July 2020 E-mail, " The Amazon and its peoples are in crisis. Following the rampant deforestation and unprecedented fires that ravaged the Amazon rainforest last year, we are fast approaching a tipping point of ecological collapse. The Amazon is also confronting a humanitarian emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Indigenous peoples are facing potential ethnocide. In 2020, our yearly Amazon in Focus report has been renamed Amazon in Crisis, due to the multiple escalating threats against Indigenous peoples and the rainforest.
      While the challenges may seem daunting, we still have time to shift from 'tipping point to turning point' for the Amazon, the global climate, and our Mother Earth.
       In this publication, you will find highlights of our work this past year, including our victories and continued struggle for Indigenous rights and sovereignty across the Amazon Basin. With your solidarity, we have expanded direct support and coordination with partners on the ground across the Amazon and distributed over $1 million in rapid response grants to support women defenders, stop the fires, and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
      We also expanded our global campaigns in coordination with Indigenous and international allies, including the over 250 organizations who signed a global call for an immediate moratorium on all extractive activities in the Amazon. And, we are building a Pan-Amazon Alliance and launching international initiatives in solidarity with Indigenous peoples, including the Amazon Emergency Fund and Artists for Amazonía.
      Thank you for standing with us during these challenging but transformative times! We are building a unified global movement to act for the Amazon, Indigenous rights, and climate justice. Your solidarity with Indigenous peoples is crucial at a time when the world desperately needs their wisdom, guidance, and solutions to restore the balance of nature and respect for humanity and all life."
       Download "Amazon in Crisis" at:

"Brazil: 439,000 signature petition to be handed in to Congress for Yanomami Covid campaign," Survival International, December 2, 2020,, UPDATE December 4: *The petition was handed over during an online ceremony yesterday attended by Dario Yanomami, Mauricio Ye’kwana, Congresswoman Joenia Wapichana and others.
      To mark the occasion, stunning Yanomami paintings of the xapiri – spirit beings – were projected onto Brazil’s Congress: photos below.
December 2:
       A 439,000 signature petition calling on the Brazilian government to prevent the genocide of the Yanomami people will be handed in to Congress in Brasilia on Thursday December 3.
      When: December 3
      8am EST / 10am BRT / 1pm GMT: Petition hand-in to Federal deputies ( online)
      5pm EST / 7pm BRT / 10pm GMT: Projections of Yanomami images on Brazilian Congress
       The 'MinersOutCovidOut' ( petition calls for the immediate expulsion of 20,000 illegal miners from inside the Yanomami Indigenous Territory. The miners have brought in outside diseases such as Covid-19 and malaria, and their prospecting has polluted the rivers.
      The original target for the petition was 100,000 signatures.
       Covid-19 is now rampant across the Yanomami Territory, and from August to October alone, confirmed cases jumped from 335 to 1,202. Lack of testing means the real number of cases is probably far higher.
      Jair Bolsonaro’s government backs the miners. Its actions have seriously hampered efforts to prevent Covid-19 spreading inside indigenous territories. Little has been done to remove the miners, whose numbers have increased dramatically in recent years.
       Joenia Wapichana, Brazil’s first indigenous congresswoman, will receive the petition virtually from Yanomami and Ye’kwana leaders. Other indigenous representatives will also be present in the online event.
      On the day of the hand-in, in a historic first, a campaign message and Yanomami paintings will be projected on to the Congress building.
      The hand-in comes after the publication of an explosive new report revealing the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Yanomami Territory ( Dario Yanomami, campaign spokesperson and Vice President of Hutukara (an organization that represents Yanomami and Ye’kwana people) referred to it as a 'historic document [showing] how the disease spread in our territory'.
      Dario said: 'We want to deliver this document to the Brazilian authorities. It’s an instrument to denounce the problems with the invasion of miners, the contamination of the environment including our rivers, and infection from diseases, like this xawara [epidemic], which are killing a lot of people.'
      Fiona Watson, Survival’s Research and Advocacy director who has worked with the Yanomami for three decades, said today: 'The government is rapidly creating conditions for another genocide of the Yanomami people. If the authorities don’t act now to expel the miners and stop the spread of coronavirus and malaria, the Yanomami, the Ye’kwana and several highly vulnerable uncontacted communities in the territory will see their lives shattered beyond repair. Public concern is mounting and the government must be held to account before it’s too late.'
      The campaign was launched in June 2020 by several Yanomami and Ye’kwana associations: the Yanomami and Ye’kwana Leadership Forum, 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 Affluents (AYRCA).
      It is supported by various organizations worldwide, including Survival: APIB (Coalition of Indigenous Organizations of Brazil), COIAB (Coordinating Body of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon), ISA (Instituto Socioambiental), Survival International, Greenpeace Brasil, Conectas Direitos Humanos, Amnesty International Brazil, Rede de Cooperação Amazônica (RCA), Instituto Igarapé, Rainforest Foundation US and Rainforest Foundation Norway and Amazon Watch."

Erica Belfi, "Indigenous Activists Demand Tesla Stop Buying Nickel from Nornickel in Russia," Cultural Survival, August 11, 2020, https ://, reported, "The Aborigen Forum, a coalition of organizations, activists, and community leaders that represent and protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples in the North, Siberia, and the Far East of the Russian Federation, released an open letter on August 6, 2020, concerning the mining company Norilsk Nickel, otherwise known as Nornickel. The letter is addressed to Elon Musk, billionaire and CEO of Tesla Inc., who recently announced his search for more nickel to expand production of Tesla electric cars. While Nornickel is the leading producer of nickel, Aborigen Forum advocates that Musk not endorse the mining company by buying their nickel, copper, or other products. Nornickel operates on and has caused extensive environmental damage to the territories of Indigenous Peoples in the Arctic. The Sámi, Nentsy, Nganasan, Entsy, Dolgan and Evenki communities have occupied the land for generations but have suffered from Nornickel’s negative impacts on their herding, hunting, fishing, and overall economic and subsistence activities.
      'In light of their concerns, the Aborigen Forum set forth a series of demands in their letter, asking Musk to refrain buying from Nornickel until the company reviews and implements their requests. Aborigen Forum demands that Nornickel conduct an environmental review of the degradation that their company has caused while mining for metals in the Taymyr Peninsula and Murmansk Oblast. Nornickel must also compensate the Indigenous communities that they have disrupted and harmed. Furthermore, Nornickel must implement a thorough plan to recultivate and restore contaminated lands in the Taymyr Peninsula and Murmansk Oblast. Lastly, the Aborigen Forum demands that Nornickel change their manner of interacting with Indigenous Peoples to comply with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The company must abide by the standard of Free, Prior and Informed Consent and work in consultation with Indigenous Peoples when mining activities affect their territories and resources.
       The Arctic region is particularly vulnerable to environmental damage and it can take decades to recover from the effects of pollution. On May 29, 2020, a Nornickel power plant failed and released 21,000 tons of diesel oil into the local rivers. The letter notes that the extent of the spill was substantial: 'the second-largest environmental disaster in the Arctic region, after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska.' Oil spills are a recurring problem, leaving the land devastated beyond its traditional use. Air pollution is yet another toxic byproduct of the company’s practices. In Monchegorsk on the Kola Peninsula, observers report a region of dying trees that expands over several square kilometers near Nornickel smelters that are used to process the mined metals. In January of 2019, the company’s smelters released so much sulfur dioxide into the air that municipal authorities in a Norwegian town across the border issued a health warning alarm , advising all people, especially those with heart complications, to stay away from the area. A 2018 Greenpeace analysis of NASA data ranked Russia the second top global emitter of sulfur dioxide in the world, with Norilsk, Russia ranking number one for the most hotspot regions.
      The devastation caused by Nornickel’s practices does not stop there. One of Nornickel’s enrichment plants disposed of its wastewater into a nearby tundra on June 28th, 2020, dumping approximately 6,000 cubic meters of waste onto the land. The next day, a Nornickel industrial waste landfill burst into flames, burning high enough for the smoke to spread towards the tundra. While Vladimir Potanin, the company’s president, denies storing toxic waste in the landfill and downplays the environmental disasters that Nornickel has caused, environmental activists in the region accuse the company of attempted cover-ups. Given their secrecy, the true extent of the company’s destruction is unclear.
      Tesla Inc. prides itself on being a major leader in electric car manufacturing, producing vehicles that are meant to be more economically and environmentally sustainable. Tesla even has its own Company Code of Conduct, which includes statements requiring that the company’s suppliers minimize their negative impacts on the environment in order to abide by long-term sustainability goals. An article in the Barents Observer draws attention to the mismatch between Tesla Inc.’s arguments for the environmental viability of electric cars and the ultimate destruction that occurs in the mining process for their essential battery components. Aborigen Forum thus calls on Elon Musk to adhere to his own company policies and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by respecting Indigenous rights and refusing to support Nornickel until the letter’s demands are completely met."

"KOEF Grant Partner Spotlight: Il'laramatak Community Concerns Kenya," Cultural Survival, September 29, 2020,, reported, "Founded in 2011, Il'laramatak Community Concerns (ICC:,  works to address human rights and development concerns of Indigenous pastoralists, who are part of minority communities in Kenya. ICC has a special focus on women and girls by empowering women and girls to transform their lives through improved education, justice empowerment, and socio-economic development. 'ICC believes and recognizes that pastoralist communities in the arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya have much to offer to the country, and ICC would like to look at these groups differently, recognizing their strengths and the resources they have, and understanding what makes them distinct.'
       The COVID-19 pandemic has brought an economic crisis and is rapidly exacerbating an on-going food insecurity and nutrition crisis in pastoral areas of Kenya. Since pastoralists rely on their local livestock and markets for subsistence and sustenance, they had been hit hard upon prevailing closure of markets and supplies to the local shops have dwindled with the restriction of movement. This is why ICC are taking action in communities in Kajiado and Samburu counties by carrying on a project funded by Keepers of the Earth Fund to provide food packages to elderly women and children. They are providing soap for people to be able to keep sanitation measures. As a complementary strategy, they are conducting radio talk shows to disseminate timely and accurate information on COVID-19 in Maa through local radio stations. Up to 600 Maasai people will benefit directly from this project.
      'Our local food systems have been seating on a knife edge for decades. Children have suffered with school closure, meaning one-meal-a day has been withdrawn. In indigenous communities, families among the poorest have been ‘one-missed-day-wage’ away from food insecurity. The lock-down and disruption triggered by COVID-19 have shown the fragility of people’ access to essential goods and services. In health and food systems, critical weakness and inequalities/inequities have come to light. COVID-19 is a wake-up call for food systems that must be met. In this wake of the pandemic, we cannot sit back and watch the communities' lack of information and capacity plunge them into desperation and death, we have been in the forefront in helping them with food items, information, masks, and sanitation kits for prevention of the coronavirus.' said Agnes Leina, executive director of Il'laramatak Community Concerns."

"U.S. prepares to block cotton imports from Uyghur Region," Freeedom United, Freedom United, September 11, 2020,, stated. " Last week, Freedom United signed a petition urging the U.S. to ban the import of cotton goods from Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China, where over a million Uyghurs have been detained and many forced to work.
      Less than a week later, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has moved to accept our demands

Freedom United Stated in an Email, September 29, 2020. " Write directly to fashion brands ( our new action to end the forced labor of Uyghurs.
      We’re grateful for your petition signature. In a few short months, we’ve gathered more than 50,000 names, including yours, calling for the Chinese government to end its system of forced labor in the Uyghur Region and beyond. We've brought the power of our collective voice to protests and actions at Fashion Week in New York, London, and Milan."

"Outrage from Indigenous leaders: notorious ‘Factory School’ for 30,000 children set to host World Congress of Anthropology," Survival International, July 14, 2020,, reported, " Hundreds of Indigenous leaders, activists and anthropologists have denounced plans to hold the 2023 World Congress of Anthropology at the world’s largest “Factory School,” where children are told they are “never fully human.”
      Protestors have signed an open letter ( ) calling on the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences and other anthropological bodies to 'sever their ties' with the giant Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) in India, a residential school for 30,000 tribal children.
       KISS calls itself an ‘anthropological laboratory’ while divorcing Adivasi (Indigenous) children from their cultures, languages and ways of life. It declares its mission is to 'turn tax consumers into tax payers, liabilities into assets ('
KISS recently opened a branch of the school jointly with notorious mining company Adani ( Oraon Adivasi leader, Nicholas Barla said: “KISS’s collaborators are the same companies and corporates, who take away our Adivasi land, dispossessing us of our livelihood and forcing us to live in misery, to live in slums in subhuman conditions.”
      One of the petitioners, Pranab Doley, of the Mising tribe said: “The model of education that KISS promotes is anti-Adivasi and anti-children. It is a model of colonizing Adivasi children and uprooting them from their own land and culture.”
      30,000 girls and boys from different Adivasi communities stay at KISS for 9 months of the year.
      An anonymous KISS student told Survival: 'The Deputy CEO tells us, ‘We give you so much here but you will only ever be Adivasis – never fully human’.' KISS’s founder gave a speech in 2019 in which he refers to an Adivasi community by name as ‘monkeys’ and says: "There are so many variety of primitive tribes – they don’t understand anything.”
      Prof Nandini Sundar, a renowned sociologist from Delhi University who signed the petition, said: 'It is a travesty that an anthropological congress which aims at understanding the human condition should partner with an institution which is aimed at blocking any understanding of Indigenous people in its own home state Odisha.'
      Survival is campaigning to end Factory Schools like KISS, which strip around two million Indigenous and tribal children of their identities and teach them to feel ashamed of who they are and where they come from. It’s campaigning for Indigenous education to be under Indigenous control."

"Bangladesh: Free Rohingya Refugees Detained on Isolated Island: Five international human rights organizations request access to Bhasan Char," Fortify Rights, November 12, 2020,, stated, " The Government of Bangladesh should free more than 300 Rohingya refugees detained on Bhasan Char island and cease plans for further relocations to the island until after independent appraisals that allow Rohingya to make informed and voluntary decisions, said Fortify Rights today."

"Myanmar: Ensure Voting Rights, Restore Citizenship Rights for Rohingya: National elections scheduled for November 8 ," Fortify Rights, July 10, 2020,, stated, "Ahead of the upcoming national elections, the Government of Myanmar should ensure all voting-age Rohingya—including refugees in Bangladesh—have the right to vote, said Fortify Rights today. On July 2, the Myanmar Union Election Commission announced that national elections are scheduled for November 8."

"Myanmar: Release Imprisoned Rakhine/Arakanese Student Leaders : Lift internet blackout, protect freedom of expression," Fortify Rights, July 30, 2020,, stated, "Myanmar authorities should immediately release Myat Hein Tun and Kyaw Lin, two student leaders of the Rakhine Students’ Union imprisoned for protesting internet restrictions in Rakhine and Chin states, said Fortify Rights today. On July 23, the Kamayut Township Court sentenced the pair to one-month in prison for failing to inform the authorities in advance of the protest."

      "Malaysia: Release Inquiry Report on Mass Graves and Trafficked Rohingya, Ensure Accountability: One year on, Royal Commission of Inquiry report remains unpublished," Fortify Rights, September 16, 2020,, commented,  " The Government of Malaysia should immediately release the final report and recommendations of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into the human trafficking and mass graves of Rohingya and Bangladeshis discovered in Wang Kelian, Perlis State in 2015, said Fortify Rights today. The RCI submitted its report to the King of Malaysia one year ago this month, according to media reports.
      Fortify Rights released a short film today with footage of Wang Kelian, where Malaysian authorities discovered 139 graves and 28 suspected human trafficking camps in 2015."

"Donor Donor Governments: Recognize Crimes Against Rohingya as Genocide: Governments convene to raise US$1 billion for Rohingya relief," Fortify Rights,," October 21, 2020,, stated, " Donor governments seeking to raise one billion dollars in aid for Rohingya should acknowledge the crimes perpetrated against them in Myanmar as genocide and crimes against humanity, Fortify Rights said today. Tomorrow, the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, and the U.N. refugee agency will co-host a virtual donor conference to raise humanitarian funds for displaced Rohingya and host communities."

Galina Angarova and Daisee Francour, "Indigenizing Philanthropy: Shifting Grantmaking Practices from Extractive to Reciprocal," Cultural Survival, beginning December 1, 2020,, stated, " The Indigenizing Philanthropy Series is a five-part article series accompanied with a webinar and toolkit to provide a framework in how to transform and Indigenize philanthropy. Co-authored by Cultural Survival staff Galina Angarova (Buryat) and Daisee Francour (Oneida), both authors have unique experiences as Indigenous women who have worked both in philanthropy as program officers for private foundations and as fundraisers for NGOs. Angarova and Francour, Indigenous women from the United States and Russia (Siberia), offer their dynamic expertise and shed an important light on how philanthropy can take a serious, introspective look at its colonial roots and take authentic actions to remedy its future in a way that is aligned with natural law and responsible ways of being and knowing." The articles, webinar and tool kit are available at:

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