Underreported Struggles #27, June 2009
United Nations Story 158

Underreported Struggles #27, June 2009

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John Ahni Schertow
June 29, 2009
 

In this Month’s Underreported Struggles:Nak’azdli First Nation goes to court, evicts company; Maya Protesters burn equipment at gold mine; Peru govenrment revokes laws after two months of protest;
Australian Indigenous People burn, spear new government policy; Colombia Approves Involuntary Sterilization Program; US Gov FINALLY cleaning uranium on Navajo land

June 29UN agency ignores indigenous approach to knowledge protection – Once again, the United Nations has been accused of “shutting out” indigenous people — this time over approaches to protecting and sharing traditional knowledge and biological resources.

June 26Nak’azdli First Nation goes to court, evicts company – The Nak’azdli First Nation in British Columbia has filed a petition against the province, in an effort to defend their rights and block a copper and gold mine from being developed on their Traditional lands. The Nak’azdli will also be issuing and eviction notice to Terrane Metals, the company behind the mining project.

June 24Canada: Cold War-era radar sites to get $103M cleanup – It has taken nearly 40 years, but 16 abandoned radar sites that were part of the Mid-Canada line set up to monitor the Soviet air threat during the Cold War will be cleaned up over the next six years at a cost of $103 million. (background)

June 24US Gov FINALLY getting rid of uranium contaminated homes on Navajo land – The federal government is finally moving on its promise to remove and rebuild uranium-contaminated structures across the Navajo Nation, where Cold War-era mining of the radioactive substance left a legacy of disease and death.

June 23 – Statement from Ngobe communities affected by the Chan 75 Hydro dam – The Ngabe speak out against the CHAN 75 Hydro Project, urging the government of Panama to execute the precautionary measure adopted on June 17 by the Interamerican Court of Human Rights which consists of “suspending the construction and other activities.

June 23Colombia Approves National ‘Involuntary’ Sterilization Program – The Colombian House of Representatives has approved a program to convince Colombians to submit to sterilization. News of the bill arrives at the same time Peru ‘s right-wing government announces it will shelve an investigation into that country’s former sterilization program, in which thousands of indigenous women were sterilized against their will in the 1990s, with help from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

June 21Stop devastating the Karanpura Valley! – A unique palaeoarchaeological site dated over 8,000 years old, will be gouged out into 300-feet-deep mine pits running shoulder to shoulder down the Karanpura Valley, rendering the region incapable of supporting human or animal life.

June 20Bhutan: Villagers protest mining boom – About 40 indigenous people from various villages in Bhutan are speaking out against new quarries and other developments on their land. Among their concerns, they say blasting is threatening the safety of their children as well as an important religious site.

June 20Maya Protesters burn equipment at Guatemala gold mine – A group of Maya Mam villagers set fire to a pickup truck and an exploration drill rig, after the Canadian company Goldcorp repeatedly failed to remove the equipment off the community’s land.

June 19Peru revokes land laws, but the struggle continues – Yesterday Peru’s Congress overwhelmingly voted against two of the key land laws that sparked two months of protests, which culminated this month in a violent confrontation that left 34 dead and hundreds more injured and missing. Despite this important victory, the struggle is far from over.

June 17China: new protest over land development erupts in violence – Violence erupted between police and villagers protesting a land acquisition by the government, leaving around 18 people injured.

June 16Celebrity resort threatens isolated tribes – A luxury resort being built on the Andaman Islands in India is threatening the survival of the Jarawa tribe, who number just 320 and have only had contact with outsiders since 1998.

June 14Canada: What’s missing in Mining Act changes? The Right to Say NO – In response to proposed changes to Ontario’s Mining Act, Mushkegowuk Council, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug and Ardoch Algonquin First Nation call on the province to respect the right of First Nations to say NO to all aspects of mining from prospecting to exploration to full mine development in their traditional territories.

June 13Over 250 indigenous people homeless in Bangladesh arson attacks – More than 250 members of Bangladesh’s indigenous Santal community were left homeless after attacks on their homes. Witnesses reported that as many as 300 men attacked the Santal, stealing and damaging their property, then setting their homes on fire.

June 12Australia: Indigenous Protesters burn, spear new government policy – Copies of the Northern Territory Government’s controversial funding policy for remote Indigenous communities have been burned and speared by Indigenous Peoples. Under the plan, funding would be kept at absolute minimum for 500 smaller communities, while they invest millions into 20 large communities with the aim of making them into towns – spelling the end for Indigenous Identity in those regions.

June 12NAFTA Tribunal recognizes Quechan sacred site – denies Glamis Gold’s claim – The only good thing to come of NAFTA. The Tribunal sided the with Quechan People and the U.S. Government who previously blocked Glamis Gold (now known as GoldCorp) from going ahead with a mining project on Quechan Lands.

June 11 – Outrage over WWF denial of indigenous rights around the world – Over 70 human rights and environmental groups from around the world expressed outrage at the planned launch of the World Wildlife Fund’s Aquaculture Stewardship Council last month. Influenced by the aquaculture industry, the WWF is completely ignoring indigenous people in six regions around the world.

June 10Victory for Tibetans blockading sacred site – Chinese authorities have come to an agreement with Tibetan villagers over a proposed gold mine in Mangkang county, occupied Tibet. The villagers have been protesting the mine since last April, out of concern that the mine would destroy a site they hold sacred. There was a tense standoff on the road leading to the site last month.

June 9Thousands of Karen Women and children flee Burmese military assault – Thousands of ethnic Karen have fled their camps in Burma for refuge in Thailand after an assault on their camps by the Burmese junta, according to a spokesman for the Karen and aid groups in the area.

June 9Nunatsiavut government refuses to lift uranium moratorium – the Nunatsiavut government in Canada has stated it has no intention of lifting its moratorium on uranium mining. The Inuit legislature put the ban in place one year ago, and it will continue for two more years.

June 8Cordillera: Tribes Fight To Keep Out Mining Corporation – Tribal elders in Cordillera, a province in the Philippines, are renewing a peace pact in a common effort to defend their lands from large-scale mining plans.

June 7 – New Mexico to Protect Mount Taylor – The cultural and natural resources of New Mexico’s Mount Taylor will now be protected by the state, ending a yearlong battle between American Indians and landowners concerned about preserving their rights to use the mountain without interference.

June 5 – Police violently attack peaceful indigenous blockade in the Peruvian Amazon – At 5:30 am this morning, the Peruvian military police staged a violent raid on a group of indigenous people at a peaceful blockade on a road outside of Bagua, in northern Peru. The blockade was part of a two-month-old National mobilization involving more than 1200 indigenous communities. Reports later revealed a total of 34 policemen and indigenous people died. Hundreds more were injured, and as many as 200 indigenous men and women were reported as missing.

June 5360 Mískito communities secede from Nicaragua – representatives from 360 Mískito communities declared the secession of the entire Caribbean coast of Nicaragua, also known as the Mosquito Coast. They announced that the area, which accounts for 46% of Nicaragua’s territory and an estimated 11% of the population, would form the independent Nation of Moskitia.

June 4Indigenous communities in Venezuela seek land rights – The 12,000-strong Yukpa tribe complains that it is victim to a range of powerful business interests – from cattle ranchers to drug traffickers, fugitive Colombians and mulitinational mining groups. The Venezuela govenrment does little to assist the Yukpa.

June 4 – Doe Run Peru shuts down zinc and lead smelter in La Oroya! – US-owned mining company Doe Run has shut down its zinc and lead smelter, which has operated for the last 82 years. The smelter is located in the Peruvian town La Oroya, which is widely considered to be one of the most polluted places on earth.

June 2 – Ipperwash returned to Kettle and Stony Point First Nations – Today the government of Ontario returned Ipperwash Provincial Park to the Kettle and Stony Point First Nations, bringing an end to a saga that goes back to the 1930s. In memory Dudley George, who was killed by police in 1995 for defending his land, and his Brother Sam George, who passed away soon after this meeting.

June 2Ogiek tribe to become “conservation refugees” – The President of Kenya has stated plans to remove the Ogiek from their ancestral lands- in the name of “conservation.” More than 60 Ogiek leaders responded by saying they will resist any attempt at their removal.

June 2Baluch natives call to denuclearize Pakistan – With concerns rising over Pakistan’s horde of nuclear weaponry, a Washington-based education and advocacy group for the Baluch People begins a campaign to denuclearize Pakistan and stop the government from conducting further nuclear tests in the once-sovereign Nation of Baluchistan–now a province of Pakistan.

June 1Andean indigenous propose int’l tribunal for environmental crimes – Latin American indigenous peoples are proposing the creation of an international court to address actions which harm the environment. The tribunal would depend on the United Nations.

June 1Akwesasne Alert — blockade established by police – In the early morning of June 1, the Mohawk community of Akwesasne was blocked off by American and Ontario Police forces on either side of the border – as a result of Mohawk defiance of the order to permit the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) to carry lethal weapons.

Videos

Our Concerns About the Lower Sesan 2 Dam – In this video, villagers in northeastern Cambodia express their concerns about the proposed Lower Sesan 2 dam project. Located on the Sesan river in Cambodia’s Stung Treng Province Province, the Lower Sesan 2 will block two of the largest rivers in the Mekong River Basin, forcing tens of thousands of people to relocate.

Indigenous Resurgence and Traditional Ways of Being – Recommended viewing – University of Victoria Professor of Indigenous Governance Gerald Taiaiake Alfred talks about the “Resurgence of Traditional Ways of Being: Indigenous Paths of Action and Freedom.”

Jadugoda The Black Magic – This 10-minute documentary, based on the 2007 study “Black Magic of Uranium at Jadugoda” conducted by the Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD Patna chapter), explores the harsh realities of indigenous peoples living near the Jadugoda mine, mill and tailings dam in the mineral-rich Singhbum district of Jharkhand, India.

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