Underreported Struggles #17, August 2008

Underreported Struggles #17, August 2008

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September 1, 2008

In this month’s Underreported Struggles: Indigenous peoples in Mindanao call for autonomy, 65 Communities Declare Victory in Peru, Chavez Government steps in to Support the Yukpa, the Comanche fights the Army over a sacred site, the Kichwa and Shuar take a stand against the Oil Industry, and Thousands of Sudanese Refuse to Leave Their Land.

Underreported Struggles #17, August 2008

August 31
World Bank helps to destroy indigenous rights in Cambodia
Ethnicity and Local Governance Cambodia (ELGC), a research project that analyzes state-minority relations in Cambodia, has published a report on the World Bank’s involvement and complicity in the destruction of Indigenous Peoples rights in Cambodia.

August 30
Maya and Other Indigenous Groups Demand Protection for Native Languages
Indigenous writers from around the Americas met at the Colegio Nacional Thursday and Friday to participate in Encuentro Internacional de Literatura en Lenguas Indígenas (International Meeting for Literature in Indigenous Languages). At the end of the congress, the group issued a manifesto that included an action plan to protect indigenous languages throughout the Americas.

August 29
PNG landowners continue to halt nickel mine construction
“Angry Papua New Guinea landowners say they will continue to halt construction at a Chinese owned nickel mine until they meet with the PNG government next week. Police reinforcements have been sent to the mine site to protect Chinese employees, some of who were assaulted by locals.”

Judge upholds land rights in Raposa-Serra do Sol
The first of eleven Supreme Court Judges cast his vote in the landmark case that will decide the future of Raposa-Serra do Sol, a legally-recognized Indigenous Territory in the Brazilian state of Roraima. The judge said that the reservation must remain intact in order for Brazil to uphold the constitutional rights of the the Makuxi, Wapixana, Ingariko, Taukepang, and Patamona peoples who share the territory. A final ruling is expected to be handed down by the end of the year.

August 28
Venezuela Moves to Support the Yukpa
Following last weeks attack on Venezuela’s Indigenous Yukpa community — and the worrisome lack of support by the government to ensure their safety — President Hugo Chavez pledged on Sunday to come to the aid of the Yukpa. “Nobody should have any doubts: Between the large estate owners and the indians, this government is with the indians,” proclaimed Chavez on his weekly television show, Ala Presidente.

August 26
Indigenous peoples in Mindanao want autonomous regions
At a gathering here Monday of around 200 representatives of 13 indigenous peoples’ communities in Mindanao and Palawan, several tribal leaders called for the creation of an Autonomous Region for the Lumad of Mindanao. (also see The State of the Indigenous Peoples Address )

August 22
Company Abandons Plan for Waste Dump in Quitovac
The Centro de Gestion Integral de Residuos S.A. (CEGIR) proposal to build a hazardous dump site near the O’odham sacred site of Quitovac, in Sonora, Mexico, has been defeated by O’odham and local Mexican communities. The proposed facility would have handled anywhere up to 45,000 tons of hazardous materials each year, ranging from asbestos and radioactive materials, to aliphatic peroxides, compressed gasses, explosives, and infectious biological wastes.

August 21
Comanche Nation fighting Army over sacred site
A federal judge has issued a temporary injunction blocking the U.S. Army from starting a construction project near the foot of Medicine Bluffs, a sacred site for the Comanche Nation in Oklahoma. The injunction lasts until September 1, when the Comanche must plead its case for a permanent injunction.

65 Indigenous Communities Declare Victory in Peru
Indigenous groups in Peru are claiming victory after more than a week of protests throughout the state. A day after the government declared martial law in three of the provinces affected by the protests, on August 19 a congressional commission voted to overturn the controversial law known as Decree 1015, which the indigenous groups were challenging.

August 19
First Nations Unite to Fight the Tar Sands
Chiefs from three provinces and the Northwest Territories made the joint declaration Sunday at the conclusion of a water conference in Fort Chipewyan. They want a moratorium on oilsands project approvals until government and industry can assess the damage caused by the developments and find ways to mitigate it.

Thousands of Sudanese Refuse to Leave Their Land
Thousands of Manasir villagers in Sudan are refusing to leave their lands, which are currently being flooded as the reservoir for the nearby Merowe Dam begins to fill. “Local communities have recorded their trauma on video, and say the reservoir is being deliberately filled now to forcibly evict those villages that have been most outspoken in calling for fair compensation and replacement lands.”

August 18
An Open Letter to Canada and All First Nation Leaders
It’s well known that Canada perpetuates discrimination against indigenous people at every level of government, but what does it mean when that discrimination causes the death of innocent people? Death that is enshrouded in bureaucracy, covered up by the government, and ignored by the so-called leaders?

August 17
Kichwas and Shuar Against the Oil Industry
Escorted by military intelligence, on Saturday July 19th top officials of Petroproduccion visited the Kichwas and Shuar, hoping to trick them into authorising oil production in the forest territory of Oglan Alto-Shuar washents. The people moved TO REJECT AND WATCH OUT FOR ANY ATTEMPT TO INTRODUCE ANYTHING (PERSONS, TOOLS AND MACHINERY) to this place. They now call upon the Local, National and World Press, Peoples and social groups to support their decision.

Venezuela visits Sioux Nation in first step toward unity
The Venezuelan vice minister for Indigenous Affairs visited four Lakota communities in early August to explore possibilities for friendship, student and cultural exchanges and other mutually beneficial projects between the Native peoples here and in the South American country. The Lakota communities participate in Venezuela’s CITGO Petroleum Corp.’s discounted heating oil program, which was established in 2005 to help poor communities deal with harsh winters and rising energy costs. More than 200 tribal communities across the northern U.S. benefit from the program.

August 15
Indian Court lashes out against Indigenous People, Farmers
Last Friday, the Indian Supreme Court issued two rulings against Indigenous People and rural farmers in the eastern state of Orissa. Favoring development over the people’s rights and livelihoods, the court gave the go-ahead to Vedanta Resources and their bauxite mine on the Nyamgiri Hills, as well as to the South Korean steel-maker Posco’s massive steel project in the same state.

August 14
Flashpoint Chengara – landless Dalits, the Left Democratic Front, and terror
A historic land struggle has been unfolding at Chengara in the Kerala state of India, involving about 7500 families, the majority of them being Dalits (outcastes) and Adivasis (indigenous people). The Landless people have claimed a tract of land previously leased to the Harrison Malayalam Plantation. They are demanding the land be redistrubuted them, fearing that the government will instead hand it over to multinationals.

August 13
Indigenous groups hold protest over loss of lands to mining
Indigenous groups from Central Luzon, Phillipines, led by the Central Luzon Aeta Association (CLAA), held a protest against the destruction of their ancestral lands due to mining. Indigenous groups in the country are in decline because of the government’s “militarist and aggressive economic policies,” they said.

August 11
Court reverses decision protecting San Francisco Peaks
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has issued its long awaited ruling surrounding Arizona’s San Francisco Peaks, and the religious freedoms of 13 Indigenous Nations who hold the Peaks sacred. The court decided to allow the Arizona Snowbowl’s plan to place fake snow (made from treated sewage wastewater) on to the Peaks.

August 9
Tuhoe leader backs self rule
Maori activist Tame Iti is calling for self-government arrangements for the Tuhoe, similar to those Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have in the UK. The call has been backed by a leader likely to negotiate the tribe’s Treaty settlement with the New Zealand state.

August 7
UN ‘clean development’ money sought for dam that threatens Indigenous People
The US company Allied Energy Systems (AES) is trying to get funding from the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) for the Chan 75, a hydro project in Panama that threatens to displace more than 1,000 indigenous Ngobe from their lands, and cause significant destruction to the environment.

August 6
Indigenous people in CHT become victim of land grabbing, displacement
Indigenous people in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) are now under threat from large-scale displacement due to land grabbing, setting up of parks and social forestation, Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum (BIPF) leaders said yesterday. The situation might worsen further due to the absence of constitutional recognition of indigenous people’s identity and rights, lack of effective policy, non-implementation of the CHT Treaty and non-functioning of the CHT Land Commission

August 5
‘Landmark victory’ for Aboriginal sea rights
The Australian High Court has recognised Aboriginal ownership rights to a huge stretch of the northern Australian coast. The court ruled that Aborigines from Blue Mud Bay in the state of Northern Territory have freehold title to both the seabed to the low water mark and the waters above it. This gives the Aborigines unprecedented control of commercial and recreational fishing in the area.

August 1
End the war against the Zapatista communities
A statement supporting the end of the war against the Zapatista communities, signed by the organizations, collectives, movements, networks, communities, peoples, families and individuals who are adherents or sympathizers of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle.


The Leech and the Earthworm
Named after a story about a deadly lie, The Leech and the Earthworm is a documentary film that explores western science, biotechnology and the commodification of indigenous peoples genetic property. The film was produced in 2003 by Yeast Directions and the Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism (IPCB).

Yakoana – The Voice of Indigenous Peoples
Yakoana – The Voice of Indigenous Peoples, is documentary film about the First World Conference of Indigenous Peoples, which took place in the jungles of Brazil in the summer of 1992. Bringing together nearly 1000 representatives from 92 Indigenous Nations, the conference was organized in lieu of the United Nations Earth Summit, which took place on week after the conference.

The people of Nigeria versus Shell
The people of Nigeria versus Shell is a 5 minute short that discusses a new legal effort against Royal Dutch Shell. On May 15th 2008, Friends of the Earth Netherlands, her Nigerian sister organization ERA and four Nigerian plaintiffs took legal action against the company over a series of oil spills in the Niger Delta.

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