Underreported Struggles #31, October 2009

by November 2, 2009
 

In this month’s Underreported Struggles: Mexican Superior Court Orders Immediate Halt to Gold mine; Amazon mega-dams stoke new wave of Indian protests; Officer arrested over alleged killing of Awa Indians; Tahltan in Standoff over Hunting Rights; Police confront Indigenous peoples of the Didipio valley.

Oct 31Mexican Superior Court Orders Immediate Halt to Gold mine – The Mexican Superior Court has ordered the immediate end to the san xavier mining project at cerro de san pedro, in San Luis Potosi. The court found that the mine, owned by the Canadian company New Gold (tsx: ngd), has been illegally operating since 2006. The illegal work “has created severe and irremediable consequences for the natural environment of the Valley of San Luis, such as the loss of a unique environmental and historical heritage for the Mexican nation.”

Oct 30Continued Aggression Leads to Mapuche Declaration of War – Continued aggressions of the Chilean state has led the Arauco Malleco Coordinator of Mapuche Communities in Conflict (CAM), a radical indigenous Mapuche organization, to formally renounce their Chilean citizenship and declared war on the government.

Oct 29Elders and Activists call for mine closures in face of Lachlan water crisis – Aboriginal elders and environmental activists are calling for mining in the Lachlan Catchment of New South Wales to be halted as the Wyangala Dam dries up. Authorities say the dam could be dry by April 2010, towns would be without water and many farmers in the Lachlan Valley with failed crops and no water either. This area is the breadbasket of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

20, 000 demonstrated against dams in Dersim on Munzur River – The biggest environmental demonstration in Turkey’s history, 20,000 people took to the streets to protest the 100 m high Uzuncayir dam on the Munzur River.

Oct 27Brazil: Amazon mega-dams stoke new wave of Indian protests – Kayapó Indians are to hold a protest against a huge hydro-electric dam planned for Brazil’s Xingu River, one of the Amazon’s main tributaries. The week-long protest will start on 28 October and take place in the Kayapó community of Piaraçu.

Oct 26Southwest Indigenous Uranium Forum a Success – This past weekend Indigenous Peoples from Alaska, North America, Bolivia and Japan converged near Acoma Pueblo for the 7th Southwest Indigenous Uranium Forum in Sky City, New Mexico. Although the forum focused on the uranium developments being proposed at Mount Taylor and throughout the grants mineral belt of New Mexico, it also provided an opportunity for networking. You can also listen to recordings from the summit at http://www.earthcycles.net and watch videos at http://www.livestream.com/earthcycles.

Oct 25Peruvian forces gathered to block eviction of Hunt Oil – Indigenous natives in the Amazon are headed to the town of Salvacion in Peru with a plan to forcibly remove the Texas-based Hunt Oil company from their land as early as today. Peruvian police forces, numbering in the hundreds, are said to be waiting in the town.

Oct 23Commodity Colonialism – Oil Palm development in Papua New Guinea – After multiple rounds of multi-million dollar investment, and the creation of three massive oil palm estates, observers in Papua are beginning to see the effects of imposing a foreign model of development on PNG: increases in deforestation, heightened land conflicts, alcohol abuse, AIDS, and the emergence of landless poverty, a once unknown phenomenon.

Oct 19 – Kenya to Drill for Oil in Samburu Territory – Since February there have been ongoing government assaults on the Samburu people and allied tribes by the Kenyan government, with many people killed and almost all Samburu cattle confiscated. A report in Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper suggests a possible underlying motivation for the assaults: oil.

Oct 18British mining company faces damages claim after allegations of torture in Peru – A British mining company is facing a multi-million pound claim for damages after group of protesters were detained and allegedly tortured at open copper plant mine. (VIDEO)

Oct 17U’wa Reiterate Opposition to Ecopetrol Gas Drilling in their Ancestral Territory – Colombia’s U’wa indigenous people will carry out a mobilization near Cubará, Colombia today in opposition to natural resource extraction projects in their ancestral territory. Colombia’s state-run oil company and largest corporation, Ecopetrol, is drilling within U’wa sacred territory and has plans to expand their exploration operations.

People of Didipio Face Increasing Pressure from Philippines Government – On October 2, approximately 100 armed men from the Philippine National Police (PNP) violently confronted the Ifugao, Indigenous peoples of the Didipio valley, in the Philippines’ province of Nueva Vizcaya. The Ifugao were trying to prevent OceanaGold from demolishing their homes, when the PNP arrived with truncheons (batons), shields and tear gas to disperse the Ifugao.

Oct 15Colombia: Officer arrested over alleged killing of Awa Indians – A human rights prosecutor ordered the arrested of an officer in the Colombian Armed Forces for his alleged role in the killing of five indigenous Awa Indians. In August 2009, 12 indigenous Indians were slaughtered while sheltering in a supposed ‘safe house’ in a region about 700km southwest of the Colombian capital, Bogota. Members of the tribe to which these 12 belonged have repeatedly claimed that they were being targeted because they had witnessed the murder of one of their community at the hands of the Army.

Oct 14Three people dead after Villagers attacked by hired thugs – At least three people are dead after a group of “club-wielding gangsters” attacked residents of Baijiamao village in Lin Xian county, central China. The villagers were attempting to protect a local coal mine—which the villagers say they own collectively— when the “gangsters,” presumably hired by the mine’s current private owner, stormed the site in an attempt to remove the villagers who had gathered there.

Venezuelan Yukpa Indigenous Community Attacked, Two Murdered Following Land Grants – On Tuesday, the day after the national government granted more than 40,000 hectares of land to Yukpa indigenous communities in northwestern Venezuela, individuals attacked the community of Yukpa chief and indigenous rights activist Sabino Romero, killing two and injuring at least four.

Oct 13 – Truth Commission on Amazon massacre established – Peru’s Amazonian indigenous alliance AIDESEP hailed the government’s formation of an investigative commission on the June 5 massacre at Bagua as “an important step” towards reconciliation in the wake of June’s deadly unrest in the lowland rainforest.

Tahltan in Standoff with Province over Hunting Rules – Members of the Tahltan Nation say they will continue blockading two major hunting areas in northwestern B.C. until Environment Minister Barry Penner agrees to discuss what the nation describes as unchecked hunting in its traditional territory.

Oct 12Former Canadian Prime Minister Suppressed Mercury studies – A newly published book about Minamata disease has revealed, possibly for the first time to Canadians, that former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau personally interfered with the publication of one or more studies concerning the mercury problem at Grassy Narrows.

Global Mobilization in Defense of Mother Earth and the Peoples – The Global Minga began with protests, meetings, blockades, and other actions in at least 14 countries around the world. Most notably, in Colombia, more than 25,000 indigenous People are protesting.

Indigenous peoples are the most effective protectors of rainforest! – A new study by researchers at U of Illinois and U of Michigan has added to the growing body of evidence that indigenous peoples are better protectors of their forests than governments or industry.

Oct 9Chad pipeline threatens villages – Human rights activists in Chad say they fear a new Chinese-backed oil project will displace hundreds of people and will destroy at least 10 villages. Activists say an environmental impact assessment was inadequate and residents were not properly consulted. Chad’s government says those who have to move will be compensated.

Oct 8PacifiCorp agrees to tear down four Klamath River dams! – Under a historic settlement, PacifiCorp plans to remove four dams on the Klamath River under a tentative agreement with tribes and other parties. PacifiCorp will continue to operate the dams until 2020. But after that, the agreement calls for the Interior Department to decommission their removal.

Oct 6 – Judge dismisses tribes’ lawsuit against pipeline – A judge has dismissed a federal lawsuit filed by four American Indian tribes from South Dakota and Nebraska in an attempt to stop construction of the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline.

Another Site 41? Landfill in southern Ontario starts legal battle – After years of blockades and campaigning, another battle to protect wetlands and water in southern Ontario is going to court. Cayuga is a small community on Six Nations territory south of Hamilton. For five years, protesters, First Nations and Cayuga residents have been trying to stop the development of a landfill by SF Partnership Chartered Accountants and Haldimand Norfolk Sanitary Landfill Inc.

Tribes in India determined to stop British mining company – Thousands of people rallied yesterday against billionaire Anil Agarwal’s mining company, Vedanta Resources, which wants to mine a sacred mountain in India for aluminium ore. The event marked the end of a week-long march around the villages of the Niyamgiri mountains in Orissa.

Oct 510 Year-Old Mapuche Shot by Chilean Police – A total of nine Mapuche youths have been wounded by Chilean polices forces in the last week. Among them, Felipe Marilan Morales, age 10, who was shot in the forehead with a projectile after a failed eviction of Mapuche from the usurped La Romana estate near the Mapuche community of Temucuicui in Ercilla.

Oct 2Grassy Narrows begins suit against Ontario government for infringement of rights – On October 5th the Ontario Superior Court begins hearing evidence in Grassy Narrows First Nation’s case against logging on its traditional lands. Grassy Narrows is challenging Ontario’s right to approve industrial logging that interferes with its constitutionally guaranteed treaty rights.

Videos of the Month

Tar Sands Documentary: Downstream – The Aboriginal community of Fort Chipewyan is located downstream from one of the most polluting oil operations in the world – the tar sands. Downstream follows Dr. John O’Connor as he fights for the lives of residents who are dying from rare forms of cancer.

Life in Porgera Valley – Reporting for theangle.org, Independent photojournalist Damian Baker examines life in Porgera Valley, a once-pristine region in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea—now ravaged through multinational gold mining.

Prisoners of a White God – An award winning documentary film about a mountain ethnic group in South East Asia, Prisoners of a White God investigates the activities of christian missionaries and international development among the Akha peoples in Thailand and Laos.