Underreported Struggles #3, June 2007

Underreported Struggles #3, June 2007

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June 29, 2007

With ongoing protests and blockades in Canada, Women and Children in Australia running to escape the invasion of Police and Military, and the Summit of the Peoples of the South coming to its end — the month of June comes to a close with a reminder that for as long as there is land and People, States and Corporations will continue working to exploit and undermine both…

And so we will continue protecting that land, defending ourselves, and empowering each other so we may stand in greater number, as stronger People.

Underreported Struggles for June

June 29 – First Results from The Genographic Project – National Geographic’s Genographic Project has published the first results from an analysis of their mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) database, which is made up of DNA samples of approx 80,000 people..Apparently however, this database does not include samples taken from Indigenous people. Analysis from that database will come later…

Enawene Nawe blockade succeeds – The Brazilian government has agreed to several key demands of the Enawene Nawe Indians after they blockaded a major highway. The government’s Indian agency, FUNAI, will survey lands claimed by the Enawene Nawe and other tribes, with the aim of officially recognising the areas as indigenous. (see here about the blockade, and here for a video )

Despite Aid, Violence and Displacement Plague Eastern Congo – With vast reserves of diamonds, gold and coltan, the country has been unable to capitalize on its own resources due to a hundred years of colonial rule, followed by dictatorships and years of war that may have claimed over 6 million people. Multiparty elections held last year for the first time in 40 years have failed to provide any relief for the civilian population.

June 28 – Seri now face “the inevitable march of development” – Living on their Traditional lands along the Coast of the State of Sonora, Mexico — the Seri are one of the few People who have managed to remain fundamentally separate of Mexican society. But there’s a plan in the works now to carry forward a tourist development being likened to Cancun and Acapulco. Maybe it will encroach on Seri land, maybe it won’t.

London again delays Chagossian return – Last month, the expelled people of the Chagos Islands, an archipelago claimed by Mauritius, thought they had achieved a breakthrough in their four-decade fight to return to the land that taken from them. The London High Court ruled that the 2,000 expelled islanders must be let to return. But a new Foreign Office appeal will delay the return for at least one year. (see here for more background)

Maori land protests to go on after 13 arrests – Maori land protesters are vowing to continue their fight at two Taupo sites despite angry scenes as 13 people were arrested for trespass, including a 64-year-old woman. In a double-pronged operation yesterday morning, police arrived at 7am at a Taupo District Council-owned house and section at Wharewaka, near Taupo airport, and at a multimillion-dollar subdivision near Acacia Bay to issue trespass notices on two separate groups.

June 27 – Illegal deforestation destroys Ayoreo hunting grounds – A Paraguayan rancher illegally occupying part of the Ayoreo-Totobiegosode Indians’ ancestral territory has destroyed key hunting grounds. A group of Indians were on a hunting expedition, searching for the large tortoises that form a key part of their diet in the dry season, when they saw two bulldozers clearing the forest. The deforestation occurred in the Totobiegosode’s heartland, which they have been trying to recover since 1993. The area is protected by injunctions which prohibit any clearances until the Indians’ land claim is resolved.

June 25 – Forced evictions trigger massive protest in China – Thousands of protesters clashed with police in eastern China last week after security teams moved in to forcefully relocate families involved in a housing dispute, a rights group said yesterday. Residents refusing to move out of their homes threw gasoline bombs at the security forces, igniting riots on Wednesday in Shengzhou City, Zhejiang Province

June 23 – Civil Resistance Aimed at Recuperating Biodiverse Lands – Indigenous and black communities of Colombia’s north-western department of Chocó are trying to recover their lands and food sources, lost to the decades-long civil war that has taken its toll on this area of vast biological diversity.

June 22 – India, Protests against retail chains getting into fruits and vegetables – At least three major cities saw protests in May against Reliance, India’s largest corporation, entering the business of retailing fresh vegetables and fruits through its brand Reliance Fresh. In Ranchi and Indore, the protests had political backing and turned violent. The protestors, mostly street vendors, fear the company’s low prices will destroy their market.

June 21 – Gila River, Victory to shut down hazardous waste facility – In an enormous victory for the Gila River Indian Community and the tribal member group Gila River Alliance for a Clean Environment (GRACE), Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, Youth United for Community Action and other allies, the Gila River Tribal Council this morning voted unanimously 14-0 to reject the proposed US EPA permit for the Romic hazardous waste plant that had operated for decades without proper permits and with a reckless track record on tribal lands.

Maya land case now in the hands of the Chief Justice – It’s a constitutional case that has the potential to set important precedents both here and internationally… [The People are working for the court to to approve of a declaration] that the lands around the village come under collective title, the Government is to cease and abstain from affecting their existence, value, and use of lands unless through informed consent and under the safeguards of the Constitution of Belize. That “use” would also refer to the issuing of logging and oil concessions. Indigenous human rights law and policy professor, Steven James Anaya argues that the Mayan claim should not be misconstrued as separatism when it’s more about having a say in their future.

Karitiana, Our personal integrity has been violated – The Karitiana, a People indigenous to Brazil have recently discovered that blood and DNA collected from them in 1996–under the guise of a reasonable exchange of medicine which the never received–is being sold to scientists around the world for $85 a sample.

June 20 – To restore, emphasize and revalue ancestral traditions – Colombia – Eight indigenous communities settled in the territory of Puerto Gaitán Municipality, are doing a research with the Universidad Nacional, Abierta y a Distancia (UNAD), on the subject of how to restore, emphasize and revalue the ancestral traditions and knowledge to insert them in the educative programs of the Unuma Plan of Education

June 18 – Previously unknown tribe escapes massacre – Fleeing gunfire and further pursuit by ”white men,” a group of previously unknown indigenous people arrived in a small western Brazilian town in the last week of May, according to press reports and statements issued by the country’s National Foundation of the Indian, or FUNAI as it’s known in Brazil… According to one of the Metykire men, it was after 15 of their people were killed and one wounded – that the group fled through the dense Amazonian forest, trekking for five days before finding the indigenous Kayapo village of Peixoto de Azevedo.”

June 17 – CIPO attacked, six killed, several detained. – On Sunday June 17 their community was attacked by another community supported by paramilitaries. Up to now six people have been killed and several others detained. (details can be found here)

June 16 – India, Economic blockade in Kalahandi – Over 6,000 tribals and non-tribals of Kalahandi and Raygada today laid siege to the 1 million tonne alumina refinery being built by Vedanta Alumina at Lanjigarh. Stopping all vehicles going to the factory this morning, the protesters, led by former Union minister Bhakta Charan Das’s Green Kalahandi, virtually brought activities in the firm to a grinding halt.

June 15 – O’odham Ancestors’ remains unlawfully excavated at border – We Demand the Return of Human Remains Unearthed During a Recent Desecration of a Sacred Burial Ground On May 17th and May 21st of 2007 the remains of at least three humans were unearthed during the construction of a border zone “Vehicle Barrier” wall. hese remains were found buried near the International Border, inside of Tohono O’odham Nation lands in Arizona. The unearthed people are the direct ancestors of five families living in the Ali Jegk community of the Tohono O’odham Nation.

June 14 – Nubian Discontent Continues – The difficulties faced by Nubian refugees settled in so-called “New Nubia”—people exiled from Old Nubia when the Egyptian government closed the Aswan Dam—are getting more international attention. The growing international entertainment and news website Monsters and Critics.com carried a story on Sunday about the conditions the resettled Nubians have to deal with, their struggles to be heard, and the lack of responses by government officials to their plight.

June 12 – Garifuna leader assassinated in Honduras – Garifuna leader Felix Ordoñez Suazo was assassinated at the community of Punta Piedras, in Colón department on the Caribbean coast of Honduras. Community residents identified the killers as members of a group of land invaders who have been encroaching on Punta Piedras’ titled lands.

Tibet Culture Could Soon End – The Dalai Lama warned Friday that Tibetan culture could be “finished” in 15 years if China does not allow the region to govern itself. “Our approach is not seeking independence,” the exiled spiritual leader told reporters in Melbourne. “We are seeking genuine autonomy”

June 10 – India, The Plight of Displaced People Worsens – On the fifth day of the indefinite sit-in of the Omkareshwar and Indira Sagar affected people, thousands of families are still continuing to throng the dharna site. The indefinite hunger-strike of a group of five people comprising of affected persons and activists of the Narmada Bachao Andolan as well as the three-day hunger strike in solidarity by 89 people from 30 affected villages continued today. A large number of people from the Maheshwar dam affected regions visited the dharna site too, and expressed their solidarity. (also see here)

June 8 – Deal with Royals threatens Tanzanian indigenous – The Hadzabe indigenous people of northern Tanzania are facing a serious threat today. Royals from the United Arab Emirates, along with UAE Safari are actively purchasing Hadzabe lands for a fishing and sport hunting enterprise.

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