Underreported Struggles #16, July 2008

Underreported Struggles #16, July 2008

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August 1, 2008

Indigenous peoples and farmers faced multiple attacks in Guatemala last month; while in Brazil, the government began preparing to station military forces on indigenous lands circling the border. In Canada, the Takla Lake First Nation continued blocking access roads on their territory, and in Fafak, 46 West Papuans were arrested, beaten, and humiliated for holding a flag-raising ceremony.

Meanwhile, Indigenous People in Guam, Papua New Guinea, Peru, India, America, Bolivia and elsewhere, positioned themselves to resist a series of new development projects that threaten to devastate their lands, contaminate their waters, and help destroy their way of life.

Underreported Struggles #16, July 2008

July 30
Brazil army to permanently occupy indigenous territories
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva signed a decree last week to permanently station the military on every indigenous reserve along the border. The indigenous peoples are concerned the army will start taking their lands, influencing their cultures, terrifying them with surprise maneuvers, and raping their women — none of which is unprecedented.

July 29
Tribal group refuses to abandon homes for Vedanta
The Dongria Kondh, and indigenous people from the Indian state of Orissa, have stated they have no intention of abandoning their land for a controversial mining project headed by Vedanta. The Indian Supreme court is currently deciding whether or not the mine can proceed. If it does, the Kondh will face displacement from their traditional lands.

July 25
46 arrested for raising West Papua Independence flag
In the early hours of Saturday, July 19th, Indonesian police arrested 46 people at a flag raising ceremony in Fafak state. According local reports, the Indonesian Police attacked the group, “beating them, kicking them with boots and torturing the demonstrators. The men in the group were then stripped to their underwear before being taken to the Police compound. Two women were included in those arrested.”

July 22
China’s Colonizing Africa, While We Talk Charity
“From Nigeria in the north, to Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Angola in the west, across Chad and Sudan in the east, and south through Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique,” writes Andrew Malone, “China has seized a vice-like grip on a continent which officials have decided is crucial to the superpower’s long-term survival.”

July 21
Popular Assembly Held to Prohibit Uranium Mining
The Indigenous Municipality of Tilcara, in northern Argentina’s Quebrada de Humahuaca district, has ratified legislation that prohibits open-pit metal mining, as well as the storage, use, sale, production, extraction and transportation of dangerous substances used in the mining process. Tilcara announced its decision on July 8, in the final days of a popular assembly that convened in response to Argentina’s expanding uranium industry.

Listen to audio from the Protecting Mother Earth Conference

At Earthcycles.net you can listen to discussions from the 15th Indigenous Environmental Network Protecting Mother Earth Conference, held July 17 — 20, 2008, on Newe Segobia (Western Shoshone) lands, at South Fork, Nevada.

July 20
Canada’s Cameco targets Lakota homelands with uranium mining
Cameco, the company that just bought 500 tons of Iraqi yellow cake via the US and transported to Montreal, has targeted the Lakota homelands. “To Cameco, it’s about financial profit. To us, it’s about wasting and destroying water, and deadly contaminants that can never be contained or cleaned being released into the environment. Many generations of the future will be impacted by lethal contaminants, our generations will become stricken with fatal diseases.”

July 19
Residents of Ni’lin continue to fight Israel’s efforts to take their land
Ni’lin’s story is one of incremental dispossession. Since the 1940’s, Israel has been slowly expropriating sections of land held by this agragiran community. And now they’ve had enough. “In the beginning of May they launched a popular campaign to stop the dispossession, and despite the brutal attempts to suppress the uprising–which has included a curfew and shootings that have left close to 200 people injured — they are unwilling to bow down. This is no minor feat, since the annals of history suggest that it is extremely rare for a whole town to stand up as one person and practice daily acts of disobedience, particularly when confronted with such a violent response.”

July 18
Barriere Lake Algonquins Return to Ottawa
The Barriere Lake Algonquins are once again back in Ottawa for a three day protest. Camping out on Victoria Island, the community, alongside Montreal and Ottawa activists, has organized a panel discussion, a series of protests, marches, and events including a panel discussion, film screening, and poetry show. Last time the Algonquins came to Ottawa, they peacefully occupied MP Lawrence Cannon’s office, demanding the end of a March coup d’etat the government enacted on their reserve.

Tohono O’odham Demand Halt to Construction of Border Wall
On Thursday, July 10, the O’odham Solidarity Project issued a call to mobilize against the proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall. With the April 1st announcement by the Department of Homeland Security suspending thirty six federal laws to finish the wall by the end of the year, the O’odham way of life, their traditions, religious practices, sacred sites, and pilgrimage routes are now threatened.

July 17
Semai Forest Preserved Temporarily from Logging
Spectacular Rafflesia flowers and Rajah Brooke Birdwing butterflies are among the highlights of a Semai nature reserve in Perak State, Malaysia, that has faced the threat of logging for years. Last week, the state government issued a stop-work order to prevent any more logging, at least temporarily, in the vicinity of the Bukit Kinta Forest Reserve.

July 14
Bolivians Declare Emergency Over Brazil Dams
Indigenous People, local communities and labour groups in Bolivia and Brazil have declared an emergency in response to the Madeira River Hydroelectric Complex, a series of four dams along the Madeira river… Once completed, two of the dams would “flood and otherwise devastate Bolivian communities upstream, forcing the relocation of 300 known communities, as well as possibly destroying the territory of uncontacted indigenous communities.”

July 11
Federal police occupy Mexican village in toxic waste fight
For the past two weeks, some 200 troops from Mexico’s elite Federal Preventive Police (PFP) have occupied the village of Zimapán, Hidalgo, the scene of protests over a toxic waste site that the Spanish firm Befesa is scheduled to open this month.

Indigenous people mark the return of Cape York land
Yesterday, Lama Lama elders and many from the younger generations attended an historic Ceremony which marked the return of 110,000 hectares to its indigenous owners. A large portion of the land has been categorized as a national park,which will be co-managed by the State Government and the Lama Lama people.

Arizona tribes oppose land swap for mining
Arizona tribes are against allowing mining near sacred Apache sites. The tribes testified at a Senate hearing on Wednesday on S.3157, which authorizes a land swap between the federal government and Resolution Copper Co. Resolution would be able to open a copper mine on the land it receives. The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona testified against the bill, citing concerns by the San Carlos Apache Tribe. The copper mine would be located near a sacred site called Apache Leap.

July 10
Peru: Matsés indigenous people say no to oil exploration
The Matsés, a tribe of 2,500 people in the remote Peruvian Amazon, have rejected plans by the Peruvian government to explore for oil on their land. The government has created five exploration “lots” overlapping Matsés territory, and signed deals opening them to two companies, Pacific Stratus Energy and Occidental Oil & Gas of Peru. “No adequate process of consultation was carried out during the creation of these lots, not as the lots were being auctioned, nor when the contracts were signed between the oil companies and the Peruvian government.” (more news here and here)

Indigenous Communities Oppose Deep Sea Mining
During the last week of June, indigenous representatives from the Bismark Sea region of Papua New Guinea held a three day gathering to discuss deep sea mining and what dangers they may face as a result of this experimental mining process. After three days of talks, the representatives emerged as the Bismarck Solomon Seas Indigenous Peoples Council, with a plan to oppose Nautilus’ and any other deep sea mining project in their territories until their concerns are heard and properly addressed.

Crackdown on Local Citizens Opposing Goldcorp’s “Marlin” Mine Escalates in San Marcos, Guatemala
Tensions have increased in recent days in San Miguel Ixthauacán, located in the western highlands of Guatemala, as local opponents to the Canadian company Goldcorp’s profitable “Marlin” mine have received nine new arrest warrants, contributing to an escalating climate of tension for human rights defenders and community organizers in the region.

Guatamelan Campesinos Face Kidaps, Multiple Attacks
Rights Action has sent a media alert concerning the safety of members belonging to the National Committee of CUC (the Campesino Unity Committee) and more than 100 Maya Keqchi families from the Alta Verapaz region of Guatemala. Since June 30, they’ve faced multiple attacks and kidnappings by paramilitaries associated with the bio fuel agribusiness, Ingenio Guadelupe.

Six Nations Halt Construction at Five Sites
On Monday, about 150 Six Nations People stopped construction at a number of development projects in Brantford, ignoring last month’s court injunction that prohibits ‘native protests.’ “Our people have been patient and today our patience has run out,” said Butch Thomas, a Seneca sub-chief. “Any new development in this area or on our land has got to stop. Today is the first day of taking back our territory.”

July 9
Indigenous Peoples’ Declaration on G8 Summit
Prior the G8 Summit in Japan this year indigenous peoples from around the world gathered in Ainu Mosir. This is the official declaration they have prepared.

July 6
Takla Lake Escalates Blockade
In response to the Canadian government’s continued refusal to deal with their concerns, the Takla Lake First Nation has blockaded a second access road to their traditional territory. “The situation is urgent”, states Chief Dolly Abraham. “We need to sit down with the Province and with all mining companies in our Territory if any exploration is to be allowed this year. “We will keep the blockade up until several urgent issues are meaningfully dealt with.”

July 4
Bear Butte bar gets nod for liquor license
The 3-2 vote came after about an hour and a half of testimony from representatives of Target Logistics — a Boston-based company that intends to buy the embattled campground — and Native Americans, concerned citizens and other activists who support a development buffer or an alcohol ban near Bear Butte.

Activists protest ‘violation’ of fishing rights
MEMBERS of the Taotaomona Native Rights Group protested at Matapang Beach Park in Tumon yesterday as they waved the Guam flag and carried signs to appeal to the community, stating that their fishing rights as an indigenous people are being violated. “We have been deprived to fish freely or to hunt freely. If we are caught, we are cited as committing an ‘offense.’ We are arrested, charged fines, even face the threat of jail. These injustices imposed against us is totally wrong!”

Mi’kmaq and Maliseet Say NO to Uranium mining
With Canada’s Uranium boom in overdrive, more and more indigenous peoples are being threatened by the scourge that is the uranium industry. The latest threat, according to Ruth Levi, President of the Mawiw Council of First Nations, concerns the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet on the east coast. Ruth says the two Nations “are experiencing growing frustration with the approach of industry and government toward achieving development and self-sufficiency in the province.”


Penusah Tana: The Forgotten Struggle
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