Underreported Struggles #20, November 2008

Underreported Struggles #20, November 2008

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November 30, 2008

In the month’s Underreported Struggles: Talisman decides to ignore warning from the Achuar to “get out now”; A spontaneous tribal uprising forms in West Bengal; Vedanta Resources gets chased away by more than 500 villagers; an indigenous movement takes shape in Canada; and 17 other stories…

November 28Western Shoshone protest Barrick Gold on Mount Tenabo – A group of Shoshone Grandmothers organized a protest against Barrick Gold, who has begun construction of a massive open pit gold mine on their sacred Mount Tenabo. During the action, the Shoshone called for help and an immediate encampment to protect the Mountain and surrounding region.

November 27 – South Dakota Tribes seek to stop pipeline – Four American Indian Tribes have sued in federal court to stop construction of the Keystone oil pipeline through eastern South Dakota and North Dakota. They argue that their treaties and federal laws and regulations were broken during the environmental assessment of the route and subsequent granting of a presidential permit for the pipeline.

November 26Kainai First Nation: We will hold them accountable – Members of the Kainai First Nation in southern Alberta, are tired of being treated as zero-class citizens. They want to have a role in descisions that effect them, and want to make sure their band council can be held accoutable for its actions.

November 25Colombia: The Minga has a life of its own – The Popular and Indigenous Minga, which began more than six seeks ago in La Maria, Cauca, came to a close yesterday in Bogota, Colombia’s capital and most populated city. Of course, It’s not really over. In fact, it’s only just begun…

November 24 – Oilsands development is genocide – Fort Chipewyan is facing a “genocide” from oilsands development, said Mike Mercredi, at the recent “Everyone’s Downstream 2 conference” in Edmonton. “We’re facing another form of biological warfare and it’s killing us off. It’s genocide. They know it’s there but they’re denying it.”‘

November 21Shell’s Arctic Drilling Plan Illegal – The U.S. Department of Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) illegally approved plans by Shell Offshore Inc. to drill for oil in the Beaufort Sea off the north coast of Alaska according to a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. The court previously blocked activity under Shell’s exploration plan while it considered arguments that the plan presented substantial risks to polar bears, endangered whales, and subsistence-hunting communities.

Genocide warning for Brazilian tribe – A Brazilian government official has warned that the last known survivors of an uncontacted Amazon tribe will face genocide unless illegal logging and ranching on their land is brought to a halt. “There is a real risk of genocide if FUNAI is not able to protect the Piripkura’s land,” stated the official.

November 20Ecuador: Mass Mobilizations Confront President Correa – In Ecuador, thousands of indigenous, campesinos, Afro-descendants and environmentalists took to the streets to protest a number of new laws being pushed forward by the President Correa. Activists said the mobilization is the beginning of a broader movement that will confront Correa’s environmental policies.

Riot squad arrest 5 Algonquins, including Chief – Quebec’s provincial police and riot squad have arrested five Barriere Lake Algonquins, including Acting Chief Benjamin Nottaway, during a series of roadblocks that were set up yesterday on highway 117.

November 19 – Malaysia’s indigenous people to get land rights for first time – The government of Malaysia has announced a plan to give land ownership titles to approx 20,000 Orang Asli families… but there is a catch. The government intends to plan cash crops such as palm oil and rubber for the Orang Asli to cultivate.

November 18Mass Tribal Uprising in West Bengal – In what started out as a protest against police brutality, on November 7 more than ten thousand Santhal men and women converged in the Indian state of West Bengal to demand the end to state oppression and the constant dispossession of their lands.

November 17Mapuche Reject Oil Company in Patagonia – A Mapuche community organization in the Patagonia region of Argentina, has rejected a decision by the government to grant the state-owned company YPF-Pluspetrol rights to the Nirihuau hydrocarbon basin.

November 16The Real Price of Farmed Salmon – Salmon aquaculture is devastating the world’s oceans and an international coalition of scientists, Canadian First Nations and tourism operators have called for a global moratorium.

November 14Vedanta chased away by threatened Villagers – Last week, a group of more than 500 villagers set up roadblocks in Orissa’s Puri district to protest the construction of “Dev Sanskrati Vishwavidyalaya” (Divine Culture University) a project funded by the rather-unenlightened company we know as Vedanta Resources.

Talisman ignores warning from the Achuar – Talisman Energy decided to ignore a warning that the Achuar issued late last month, to withdraw from their territories in the Peruvian Amazon or be forced out. The company claims that it has permission from the Achuar to operate in the area. “We not only have their permission, we have their enthusiastic support,” says the company. As of Nov. 14, the Achuar were preparing to set up blockades to stop the company. Background article here.

November 12Defenders of the Land Gathering – Indigenous Organizers, leaders, and community spokespersons involved in land struggles with the Canadian and Provincial Governments assembled in Winnipeg to share strategies and ideas for how to best achieve land rights and self-determination. At its conclusion, participants agreed to work together and, if necessary, take coordinated action to convince Canada to respect indigenous rights.

November 6 – Paraguayan social movements mobilize against the corrupt judicial system and for land reform – Thousands of campesinos mobilized in Paraguay, to demand an end to the use of Judicial Power which represses and criminalizes them. Social sectors demanded a stop to the detentions of mobilizing campesinos and a concrete answer to the severe situation in the countryside through the means of an agrarian emergency plan. There were mobilisations and road blocks set up at more than 10 core points around the country.

November 5Philippines: 3 indigenous tribes get land titles – The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) as given three indigenous tribes land titles consisting of 61,000 hectares of ancestral lands in Agusan del Sur. DAR Secretary Nasser Pangandaman said the return of land is to help promote lasting peace… and hasten development in the countryside.

November 4Guarani demand justice in ‘Great Assembly’ – Two hundred and fifty members of the Guarani-Kaiowa and their supporters participated in an ‘Aty Guasu’ or ‘Great Assembly’ last week, in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul. The assembly demanded that the authorities speed up the recognition of indigenous lands, and bring the murderers of the many indigenous leaders killed in the last 25 years to justice.

Crow Butte uranium mine’s license renewal protested – Opponents of the Crow Butte Resources uranium mine near Crawford used a two-day hearing in Chadron last week to try and convince a panel of Nuclear Regulatory Commission judges that the mine’s operation poses a danger to area water supplies, and may be causing significant health effects on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The effort was blocked however, as they were told that they must convince the panel that they have a right to take part in the hearing.

November 2Swiss Company abandons contested land – Marking the end to a violent conflict over land in Brazil’s Parana state, the swiss-based multinational Syngenta Seeds has announced that it will hand over its experimental farm to the state government. Unfortunately, The land will not be distributed amongst landless farmers, who had been confronting Syngenta and challenging the legality of the farm — but it is none-the-less an important victory for them.


I am a Defender of the Rainforest – Known as ‘Soy defensor de la selva’ in Spanish, I am a Defender of the Rainforest is an award-winning documentary that was filmed, edited, and directed by members of the Sarayaku community in southern Ecuador. The film shows how the community, living in the autonomous region of Sarayaku, organized themselves and confronted the Argentinian oil company CGC.

Eight Mayan Women – Eight Mayan Women is a story of continued resistance to the Canadian mining company Goldcorp and their gold and silver mining operation in the municipality of San Miguel Ixtahuacan, Guatemala.

Broken Rainbow – Broken Rainbow is a 1985 documentary film about the industry-led and government-enforced relocation of more than 10,000 Navajo from their traditional lands.

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