Underreported Struggles #25, April 2009
In this month’s Underreported Struggles: Peruvian Indigenous Peoples Mobilize Across the Amazon; Barrick and Argentine Officials Assault Women at Roadblock; Attawapiskat First Nation prepares to evacuate 700 children; Mayans in Chiapas successfully resist eviction; Thousands of Indigenous Embera flee from armed conflict
April 29 – One foot in the grave for Desert Rock power plant – The proposed Desert Rock Energy Project may be on its last leg now that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has withdrawn the air quality permit that it previously issued for the controversial project.
April 27 – For Want of Food: The Hadzabe Struggle for Life – The Hadzabe People may very well have the oldest genetic heritage of any other people on earth, but today they find themselves on the edge of extinction, with no land rights, and a food supply that’s being “aimlessly” shot away by poachers.
April 25 – Tribes stage mass protest against British mining company Vedanta – Several hundred tribespeople today staged a protest against FTSE-100 company Vedanta, as it bids massively to expand its controversial aluminium refinery in Lanjigarh, Orissa.
April 24 – Peruvian Indigenous Peoples Mobilize Across the Amazon – Thousands of indigenous people are mobilizing across the Peruvian Amazon in continued protest over a set of legislative decrees that undermine indigenous land rights and violate Peru’s constitution as well as international law.
April 22 – No Toxic Dump or Border Wall on O’odham Lands! – Tohono O’odham urge a halt to a scheme of the government of Mexico, acting in collusion with the US EPA, to establish a toxic waste dump near the ceremonial area of Quitovac, south of the US border, in a traditional O’odham community.
April 20 – 5,000 villagers clash with police in China, laying siege to coal mine – About 5,000 villagers clashed with police in eastern China after laying seige to a coal mine blamed for damaging local farmlands, a human rights group said. The villagers had “surrounded and attacked” the coal mine.
April 19 – Respect for human rights, territory and culture of Indigenous Naso Village! – The Alliance for Conservation and Development is heading a solidarity letter campaign for the indigenous Naso People in Northern Panama, who were dispossessed from their lands and violently repressed by police on March 31, 2009. An online petition was put together that you can sign.
April 17 – Kenya: Brutal campaign of violence against indigenous Samburu villages – For more than three weeks now, the Kenyan government has been engaged in a brutal campaign of violence against the indigenous Samburu people in north central Kenya.
April 16 – Farmers resistance growing – 100 actions around the world – Farmers’ and peasants’ organisations, landless workers, rural women and youth are mobilising on April 17th for the International Day of Peasant’s Struggle (1). This year, up to 100 actions are being organized.
April 15 – Nadleh Whut’en Take Stand on Enbridge Pipeline – The Nadleh Whut’en First Nation invited their neighbors, the Carrier and Sekani, to their territory to discuss the impacts surrounding the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline. The message coming out of the meeting is a loud and clear one: “Our Land is Not for Sale.”
April 14 – Barrick and Argentine Officials Violently Assault Women at Roadblock – Argentine government officials, along with personnel from the Barrick Gold Corporation violently assaulted a group of Women at a Roadblock on the Famatina mountain range.
April 12 – Indigenous leaders threaten to cease contact with Queensland Government – Indigenous leaders have threatened to cease contact with the Queensland Government and to “barricade” Cape York unless the controversial wild rivers legislation is overturned.
April 10 – The future of Alaska depends on our efforts – Today, as America attempts to secure a future for their insatiable dependence on oil, and as numerous species in Alaska find themselves on the brink of extinction, the prospect of disaster grows even more.
April 11 – Attawapiskat state of emergency ignored by Government – The Attawapiskat First Nation in northern Ontario is preparing to evacuate 700 children out of fears that continued exposure to toxic fumes is making them sick. INAC won’t agree to an evacuation because, according to their tests, there is no danger to the community. Members are complaining of headaches, nausea, skin rashes, nosebleeds, chronic diarrhea (even in infants), and that children are just “passing out”.
April 10 – Thousands of Indigenous Embera flee from armed conflict – More than 2,000 indigenous Embera people have fled from their territory in the Colombian department of Choco, leaving 25 villages abandoned. “A newly formed irregular armed group” recently arrived in the region, and became increasingly violent against the peaceful Embera, giving them no choice but to seek refuge in neighboring villages.
April 9 – Indigenous Peoples of Brazil Blog To Express Their Cultures – Indigenous groups and individuals are being encouraged to use the blogosphere to dispel myths about their cultures and draw attention to their causes.
Chortí indigenous people occupy archaeological site – From April 2 to April 3 hundreds of indigenous Chortí blocked access to Copán archeological park, probably Honduras’ most important ancient Mayan site, to press demands for land.
April 8 – Government moves to implement peace accord with Jumma tribes – The Bangladeshi government has said it is taking steps to implement the peace accord made in 1997 with the Jumma tribes of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). The accord was designed to end years of violent repression of the Jumma tribes at the hands of the Bangladesh military.
April 7 – Otaraua Hapu occupation of mine reaches 17 days – The Taranaki hapu of Otaraua have been holding their ground near Waitara for 17 days now while the Greymouth Petroleum Co still refuses to meet with them on site. Production has been completely stopped in the meantime.
Thailand: Lampang villagers win lawsuit against power plant – After five long years in court, Lampang villagers in Northern Thailand can breathe a much-needed sigh of relief. The Chiang Mai Administrative Court ordered EGAT to pay 477 villagers approx. 246,000 Baht (US $6,949) each, plus interest, for years of suffering brought on by pollution at the Mae Moh coal-fired power plant in Lampang.
April 3 – The Facade of Indigenous Rights as Rudd’s Racism Devastates Nation-wide – On Friday 3 April 2009 the Australian Government signed the Declaration on Rights for Indigenous Peoples at last. However, the Federal Government continues with its Northern Territory intervention, and the suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act of 1975. The Intervention contravenes 25 of the 46 articles of the UN Declaration on Rights for Indigenous Peoples.
April 2 – Chiapas: Mayans successfully resist eviction – As many as 260 police officers tried to evict 500 Mayan families from a 6-acre lot of land they occupied last month. The eviction ultimately failed, but not before twelve Mayans and fifteen police were injured and about 100 homes were destroyed.
We want to live like Waorani – Despite being dragged into the colonial world fifty years ago, the Waorani have continuously struggled to maintain their way of life. The struggle continues even now with oil companies ripping through the land, and with the government of Ecuador threatening to open up the Yasuni National Park.
A Message from Aida Quilcue – one of most prominent indigenous leaders in Colombia, Aida Quilcue, talks about the situation facing indigenous peoples, the Social and Communitarian Minga, and what it means to be a victim in Colombia.