Underreported Struggles #8, November 2007

Underreported Struggles #8, November 2007

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John Ahni Schertow
December 1, 2007
 

Under the cloak of justice and benevolence, ethnic violence heavily increased around the world last month, providing the backdrop for several emerging conflicts and the advancement of dozens more facing Indigenous and landless People.

Propaganda continues to be utilized by both states and corporations, and indigenous leaders continue to be assassinated while innocent people are punished for standing up and defending themselves.

On the bright side, Indigenous People around the world continued working to protect the land and defend their ways of life. De facto sovereignty is becoming more and more commonplace and the nature of struggle continues to evolve while new relationships and alliances are being forged on every land.

May the work of Indigenous People continue to move forward like this. For the sake of future generations, it must.

November 30
Action needed to protect Mt. Tenabo
The Western Shoshone Defense Project (WSDP) posted an action alert yesterday, warning that Cortez Gold Mines (a subsidiary of Barrrick Gold) may soon be permitted to build a new gold mine on the slopes of Mt. Tenabo. The mountain and surrounding area is of extreme significance to the Spiritual and Cultural life of the Western Shoshone.

November 29
The Mapuche People’s New Forms of Struggle
“A long hunger strike by five Mapuche political prisoners in Chile, sustained by a significant amount of solidarity, seems to be evidence of the deepening of a people’s long struggle for the recovery of lands and control over territory.”

November 28
Indigenous group moves to claim mining land
An Aboriginal group in Australia says it has not approved mining ventures in their traditional territory

Tibet: Vote Will Decide Tibetan Leadership
To counter increasing Chinese interference, the Dalai Lama has called for a referendum to be held to decide the future of the Lama institution, which the steadfastly atheist communist authorities have angrily, and contradictorily, denounced as the destruction of Buddhist tradition.

November 26
Colombia: Urgent Action for Wayuu People
The following message is a request for action in support of the Wayuu People in the Alta Guajira region of Colombia. For more information, please visit organizacionwayuumunsurat.blogspot.com.

Court between the devil and the deep blue sea
It was a dream come true. Against all expectation, India’s highest court last week told Vedanta Resources it couldn’t mine Orissa’s Nyamgiri hills – sacred to the Dongria Khonds. Within days, however, the truth had dawned. Although the notorious UK company has been officially banned from the project, the door is left wide open for a subsidiary to get straight back in.

November 25
Ethnic Indians on the Warpath
Malaysia’s Hindus — mostly Tamil descendents of 19th century labourers — on Sunday ignored warnings by Prime Minister Abdul Badawi and braved tear gas and police batons to protest alleged official discrimination and demand a fair share of the national wealth. Commuters, shoppers and workers ran helter-skelter as teargas canisters rained on the protesters and filled the air with chemicals. Malaysiakini.com, an independent online news provider, put the number of protesters at 20,000, while other estimates said upto 50,000 people had turned up.

November 23
Big Trout Lake FN Will Resist drilling attempts without their consent
An aboriginal leader says the dispute between a Northwestern First Nation and an exploration company could get ugly if the province doesn’t help mediate. Nishnawbe-Aski Nation Grand Chief Stan Beardy warns the dispute is heading toward “a major confrontation” at big trout lake first nation. The community and Platinex are battling each other in the courts over plans to explore a potentially large platinum deposit about 40 kilometres from the reserve. Beardy says his people will offer significant resistance if police attempt to enforce a Platinex-held permit to drill in the area without band consent.

November 22
Eviction of Tatars may lead to violence rivaling the Gaza Strip
In recent months, ethnic tensions have been rising in the Crimean State of the Ukraine “laying the ground work for a bloodbath that will rival Bosnia and the Gaza Strip.” The Tatars have been literally reclaiming their lands–but State authorities and various others label them as illegal squatters and have been moving to evict them–or perhaps more accurately, to protect their business interests

Have the Birhor Vanished?
“Apparently the Indian state of Jharkhand has forgotten the existence of the Birhor people. While other states around the world have hassled their peaceful societies, expelled them from their lands, removed them from their villages, and desecrated their sacred places, completely forgetting about them is remarkable.”

November 20
‘We Want No Invader on Our Land’
Kayapó Indian leader Raoni has delivered a letter to Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, telling him, “We will not accept mining on indigenous land.” The letter, signed by Indians from the Kayapó, Panará, Tapajuna and Yudjá tribes, was prompted by a bill currently being debated in the Brazilian parliament. If approved the new legislation would open up indigenous territories to large scale mining.

Invitation to help spread Zapatista knowledge in the USA
This is an invitation to participate in a campaign that starts in 2008. It’s dedicated to spreading material throughout America to inform and educate people about the Zapatista struggle, and the movement founded in community that continues to inspire millions around the world.

November 19
Chile: Indigenous Group Besieged By Salmon Industry
Fighting for years to preserve the last, tiny plot of land it has left following years of state and more recently industrial encroachment, a small Mapuche-Huilliche indigenous community near Puerto Montt, Region X is now resting all of its hopes on a group of strangers in far-away Washington, DC…

November 18
Homeland Security preparing to seize Apache lands
Margo Tamez recently sent out a call for support, explaining the Army Corps of Engineers, Border Patrol and National Security Agency teams have been tracking down and enclosing upon the Apache in el Calaboz, Texas; saying the people have no choice but to give up their lands for a fence. Once built, they will have to travel a distance of 3 miles to go through checkpoints, to walk, recreate, and to farm and herd goats and cattle ON THEIR OWN LANDS.

November16
Salween on a precipice
During a lull in construction preparations, villagers whose ancestral lands face oblivion from a proposed series of dams on the Salween River are eager to make the public aware of the fragile beauty of the riverine system

November 15
Report-back on the Indigenous Border Summit
For those of you who may not have had the chance to listen to the live online broadcast of the Indigenous Border Summit, here’s a good 20 hours of audio for you, along with an overview of the summit.

UBCIC Challenges Kamloops Gold Mine Decision
UBCIC President Grand Chief Stewart Phillip today called on the BC Minister of Mines, Kevin Krueger, to reverse a recent provincial decision granting a mining permit for a gold mine near Kamloops, citing the government’s failure to accommodate the aboriginal interests of local Shuswap Nation Bands.

Land-grabbers attack adivasis
At 7:00am on November 5, a neighbourhood of the indigenous Oraon community in Uttar Kazipara village of Patnitala Upazilla of Naogaon district woke up to a violent assault by local hoodlums who set fire on 16 thatched mud houses, broke them, looted goods, and burnt the rest that could not bagged. More astonishingly, the attack was launched upon the women of the community as most of the men had gone to work.

November 14
A week of violence in Nandigram births ‘a new dawn?’
The situation has quited now, but for the past week violence has gripped the Nandigram region of West Bengal, India. Under the guise of “cleansing” the area of political rivalry, cadres said to be hired by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) began entering village after village; burning houses, forcibly occupying land, and destroying crops. Dozens if not hundreds of people were attacked, killed and even raped.

November 9
Iban leader arrested over oil palm dispute
Police in Sarawak, Malaysia, have arrested an Iban indigenous community leader. Rajang anak Sengalang was arrested from his longhouse on Wednesday. The local Iban organisation believes that the arrest was due to a conflict with an oil palm plantation company operating on Iban land.

November 7
Grassroots Resistance to the Plan Puebla Panama
The government of Mexico, in conjunction with multinational corporations, the Inter American Development Bank and World Bank, has undertaken a massive windmill building project in Mexico’s southern state of Oaxaca. The construction of these wind farms – known in Spanish as parques eolicos – is being increasingly resisted by local communities, such as La Venta and La Ventosa, which are in and around Juchitan of southern Oaxaca.

November 6
Argentine indigenous in protest
Indigenous people from northern Argentina have lodged a legal complaint against the government after more than 20 of them died of hunger. They came to the capital, Buenos Aires, to air their grievances at a public hearing in the Supreme Court. But they are not confident their voices will be heard. The situation is worst in the northern Argentina province of Chaco, where several people have died and many more are suffering from malnutrition.

November 5
In Defense of Fishing in Mar del Plata
Grito del Caladero, an assembly which works since 2005, gathers neighbours, fish filleters and fishermen of Mar del Plata, Argentina. Its members aim at raising awareness on the conflicts of fishing and they organize debates to study this issue. They also have publications in which they give a local, national and international approach to the problems. In addition, they produce communitary short-films. Real World Radio correspondants, Raquel Schrott and Ezequiel Miodownik talked to Veronica, member of Grito del Caladero who talked about the assembly and the fishing problems.

November 1
Indigenous Bukindnon farmers on 1,700-km trek for land
A group of lumad farmers in Bukidnon province reached Leyte as they continue a 1,700-kilometer protest march to press the government to return their ancestral land. The journey of the 55-farmer group will end in Manila on December. 10

Videos of the Month

Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide

In the following video, you will hear Indigenous scholar and activist Andrea Smith give a lecture on the topic of her book, “Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide.” The lecture took place in Grand Rapids, Michigan on February 7, 2006.

Teardrops Of Karnaphuli
Teardrops Of Karnaphuli (Karnaphuli Kanna) tells the story of a dam that was constructed in the Karnaphuli region of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, and the resulting impoverishment and suffering that was brought on to local inhabitants. About 100,000 people were evicted from their land during 1959-1962. This is but one of perhaps thousands of stories about the struggles of the Jumma People

“India: The Broken People”
Reporter Ramita Navai and producer Siobhan Sinnerton travel through India exposing the horrific plight of the country’s 170 million Dalits: literally “the broken people”, and previously called “the untouchables”; who are at the bottom of India’s caste system and are some of the most oppressed people on Earth.

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