What does a canal have to do with human rights? Plenty, according to the thousands of Nicaraguan protesters who filled Managua’s streetson December 10, International Human Rights Day. With banners, flags, chants, and a petition submitted to the Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights, they came out in opposition to a proposed canal that would pass through Nicaragua, linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. No doubt, the canal would increase Nicaragua’s economic importance in the region, bring in much needed income, and generate jobs. But those benefits come at steep costs: The canal is expected to devastate the environment. Moreover, it would displace indigenous communities and hurt some of the nation’s most marginalized peoples.
This October, as many Americans returned to work after their Columbus Day holiday, rural Dineh, or Navajo, communities in the Black Mesa region of Northeastern Arizona were rocked by an invasion. SWAT teams descended upon this remote region, navigating unpaved, washed out roads, while drones and armed helicopters flew overhead. For nearly two months, Hopi Rangers, with the backing of the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, or BIA, and the Department of the Interior, have been impounding the livestock of the Dineh residents of the area now known as the “Hopi Partition Lands,” or HPL. The official justification given is that residents’ herds exceed the size allowed to them in permits, and that they are, therefore, overgrazing and causing harm to the land in a period of prolonged drought.
It’s two years later. Where is Idle No More now? Or, the question I get often: What was the point of the Idle No More movement? Did Canada change at all? While the round dances in malls and marches have subsided, the hunger fasts on Victoria Island have ended and the calls for resistance to fast-tracked omnibus legislation has quieted, there is more collective action led by indigenous grassroots peoples throughout Canada than ever before. The media has changed. Reporters cannot responsibly choose Ikea monkeys over indigenous peoples anymore. Canadian intellectuals and politicians like John Ralston Saul, Naomi Klein and former prime minister Paul Martin are now building careers off of the lessons they learn from indigenous peoples when writing their books and building their foundations.
I went to their courtroom as an American Indian, not a citizen of kkkanada and/or a subject or the “Crown”, giving them authority over me. I am not be a ‘full blood’ Indian, but I am in part Migmaq and Penobscot. I don’t need an “Indian Status” from the status quo, determining who I am by quantum blood levels. This is their justification of the decision process of who is and who isn’t an First Nation, Native, etc.. And this is, according to the Crown, the enemy. I’m an American Indian, none of the preceeding descriptions. This right to choose where my or your allegiance is, is up to me or you. I don’t need anyone else’s given permission but from the Ancestors. They have given me the right to be a channel to what happened in that court room as an Indian living by Tribal Law and respecting International Law.
About 20 young Cree people have walked nearly 850 kilometres to Montreal’s South Shore from their village in northern Quebec, protesting against uranium exploration in the province. The youth left Mistissini, Que., northeast of Chibougamau in the James Bay region three weeks ago. On the way, they stopped in Quebec City to share their message. They arrived in Longueuil, just across the bridge from Montreal, Saturday. Their final destination is downtown Montreal, where they will deliver that message to the province’s environmental protection agency, known as the BAPE, when it holds the last of a series of public hearings on uranium exploration tomorrow.
The San Carlos Apache Tribe is battling to save a sacred site that has been federally protected from mining since 1955. That is, until now. Lawmakers have slipped a clause into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would allow for a land swap, giving Resolution Copper Inc. 2,400 acres of copper-containing land in return for 5,300 acres of substandard land scattered throughout southeast Arizona. Problem is, it lies right on a scenic—and did we mention sacred?—recreation area set aside by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who specified that it be protected from mining: Oak Flat, Devil’s Canyon, and Apache Leap. It is not only sacred to the San Carlos Apaches and related tribes but also would be subject to a technique called block cave mining.
In 1967 the Peabody coal company came to the Navajo and Hopi reservations in northern Arizona and Utah to excavate a strip mine – but the land it leased from the tribes was on an ancient tribal burial ground. So, as required by law, it hired archeologists and for the next 17 years a dig known as the Black Mesa archeological project – the largest in North American history – unearthed more than one million artefacts, including the remains of 200 Native Americans. Now the bones and artefacts are at the centre of a debate between tribes people who say ancestral remains and archeological ruins have been desecrated, and a coal company and government officials who are planning a new dig.
Apache leaders and concerned citizens from Superior, Ariz., including a strong contingent of former miners, met on Sunday with touring members of the Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians film crew on the sacred ground near Superior, Arizona, where Rio Tinto and other foreign mining companies are planning a takeover of public lands for the installation of a massive copper mine. Congress is set to approve the giveaway of 2,400 acres of National Forest lands, including the burial, ceremonial and medicinal lands of the San Carlos Apaches, to Resolution Copper, a subsidiary of British-Australian Rio Tinto Mining Corp., a company with a long history of environmental and human rights abuses in developing countries.
This week, the House and Senate Armed Services Committees quietly attached a provision to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would mandate the handover of a large tract of Tonto National Forest to Resolution Copper, a subsidiary of the Australian-English mining company Rio Tinto, which co-owns with Iran a uranium mine in Africa and which is 10-percent-owned by China. The “Carl Levin and Howard P. ‘Buck’ McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015” – named after the retiring chairmen of the Senate and House Armed Services panels – includes the giveaway of Apache burial, medicinal, and ceremonial grounds currently within the bounds of Tonto. News of the land provision was kept under wraps until late Tuesday, when the bill was finally posted online.
Peru – host of the COP20 UN climate conference now under way in Lima – is facing rebellion by a 3,500 strong indigenous people deep in the Amazon committed to fighting oil exploration in their forest territory, writes David Hill, following the government’s failure to consult Matsés communities or respect their rights. We don’t want the oil company. If they don’t listen to us, if they don’t understand our no means no, there’ll be conflict that’ll lead to people being killed. Members of an indigenous people living on both sides of the Brazil-Peru border in the remote Amazon say they are prepared to fight with spears, bows and arrows if companies enter their territories to explore for oil.
A coalition of activists on Tuesday protested outside the office of the federal Bureau of Land Management in Reno to decry an auction of huge tracts of public land for private oil and gas exploration that they claim damages the environment and guzzles water in a time of drought. Wearing blue and carrying empty jugs to signify the loss of water, protesters said that auctioning leases on 189,000 acres of public lands in the state’s eastern reaches had angered Nevadans of all social stripes and politics to speak out against fracking, which they say threatens public health, wildlife and quality of life.
A small group of Native Americans opposing the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline continue to occupy a protest camp northwest of Winner. A handful of protesters have been at the Spirit Camp every day since March, although the camp population increases for events and gatherings. The camp is on tribal land along the route of the proposed pipeline, near the Rosebud Reservation. Campers have persevered through blizzards, heat waves and rain storms, as well as what they call the theft of large bales from the camp wind breaks. But camp spokesman Gary Dorr says they won’t leave.
Let us recognize that accounts of the first Thanksgiving are mythological, and that the holiday is actually a grotesque celebration of our arrogant ethnocentrism built on genocide. Native Americans in the Caribbean greeted their 1492 European invaders with warm hospitality. They were so innocent that Genoan Cristoforo Colombo wrote in his log, They willingly traded everything they owned . . . They do not bear arms . . . They would make fine servants . . . They could easily be made Christians . . . With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want. This meeting set in motion a 500+-year plunder of the Western Hemisphere, which then spread to the remainder of the globe. And it has not stopped! Historian Hans Köning concludes that what sets the West apart is its persistence, its capacity to stop at nothing. Cultural historian Lewis Mumford declared, Wherever Western man went, slavery, land robbery, lawlessness, culture-wrecking, and the outright extermination of both wild beasts and tame men went with him.
CAMPO MARIPE, Argentina, Nov 18 (IPS) – The boom in unconventional fossil fuels has revived indigenous conflicts in southwest Argentina. Twenty-two Mapuche communities who live on top of Vaca Muerta, the geological formation where the reserves are located, complain that they were not consulted about the use of their ancestral lands, both above and below ground. Albino Campo, logko or chief of the Campo Maripe Mapuche community, is critical of the term superficiary – one to whom a right of surface occupation is granted “ which was used in the oil contracts to describe the people living on the land, with whom the oil companies are negotiating. We are the owners of the surface, and of what is above and below as well. That is the ˜mapu’ (earth). It’s not hollow below ground; there is another people below, he told IPS.
The Tribe has done its part to remain peaceful in its dealings with the United States in this matter, in spite of the fact that the Rosebud Sioux Tribe has yet to be properly consulted on the project, which would cross through Tribal land, and the concerns brought to the Department of Interior and to the Department of State have yet to be addressed. “The House has now signed our death warrants and the death warrants of our children and grandchildren. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe will not allow this pipeline through our lands,” said President Scott of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. “We are outraged at the lack of intergovernmental cooperation. We are a sovereign nation and we are not being treated as such. We will close our reservation borders to Keystone XL. Authorizing Keystone XL is an act of war against our people.” In February of this year, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and other members of the Great Sioux Nation adopted Tribal resolutions opposing the Keystone XL project. “The Lakota people have always been stewards of this land,” added President Scott. “We feel it is imperative that we provide safe and responsible alternative energy resources not only to Tribal members but to non-Tribal members as well.