Highlighting the Struggles of
Highlighting the Struggles of
Indigenous People - Intercontinental Cry
With today, August 9th, being the United Nations International Day
of the World’s Indigenous People, I thought I would highlight a
few of the Struggles facing Indigenous People… the vast majority
of which the United Nations seems to completely ignore.
Algonquins of Barriere lake - Located about 400 km north of
Montreal, Quebec, the Algonquin community is struggling to regain
control after the government unjustly deposed their traditional
government and placed them under third party management.
Mi’kmaq and Maliseet - These two Indigenous Nations, along with so
many others in Canada, are poised to resist the encroachment and
destruction of their land by the Uranium industry.
Ihanktunwan - In South Dakota, the Ihanktunwan People (Yankton
Sioux) are resisting an industrial hog farm being constructed
right beside them. The resistance culminated a couple months ago,
with state troopers encroaching on their land to defend the farm.
Shoshone - For years the US government has systematically
abrogated the Shoshone’s land rights. Continuing to do so, the
government is preparing to increase it’s nuclear weapons
development efforts on Shoshone lands. Meanwhile, the sacred Yucca
Mountain continues to be eyed for a major nuclear waste repository.
Takla Lake - Located in central British Colombia, the People of
Takla Lake currently have two blockades erected to block access to
their lands - which the government is illegally selling to mining
and forestry companies.
Dineh - The Dineh People of Black Mesa, in the US state of
Arizona, are working to resis the efforts of the US Government–
acting in the interests of the Peabody Coal Company—to relocate
the Dineh and destroy their homelands. This land is the basis for
the Black Mesa peoples’ traditions, livelihoods, and spirituality.
Haudenosaunee - More commonly known as the Six Nations, the
Haudenosaunee are heading over a dozen land reclamation efforts.
Chipewyan Prairie Dene - Following the massive lawsuit filed by
the Beaver Lake Cree Nation — and the one filed by the Woodland
Cree last year — the Chipewyan Prairie Dene First Nation in
Alberta is suing the government for illegally leasing away their
Lubicon - Also in Alberta, the Lubicon Cree have for years been
struggling for the rights as a sovereign people. Currently, the
Alberta Utilities Commission is going out of it’s way to deny the
Lubicon their rights, in a politically lame attempt to claim
Innu - More than a hundred Innu families in the Province of
Newfoundland Labrador are currently facing eviction from homes
built on their lands.
Taino - In Puerto Rico, the Taino People were recently told they
are ‘not allowed’ to clean the Bucana river in Jacanas. The Taino
want to clean the river and “mend the damage caused to the sacred
site of Jacanas… and to renew its integrity.”
Zapatista - Respected around the world, the Mayan People known as
the Zapatista are under an increasing amount of militant pressure
from paramilitaries and the Mexican government. The pressure began
last year, around the time of the Intercontinental Encuentro.
Cucapa - supported by the Zapatista, the Cucapa recently had 9
tons of gulf corvina taken from them by armed Mexican marines and
the federal police. A fishing community, the Cucapa depend on the
Corvina for subsistence.
O’odham - Living on either side of the US/Mexico Border, the
southern O’odham are struggling to protect one of their most
sacred Ceremonial sites, near which the government wants to build
a toxic waste dump.
Keqchi - More than 100 Maya Keqchi families from the Alta Verapaz
region of Guatemala — along with members belonging to the National
Committee of CUC (the Campesino Unity Committee) — have faced
multiple attacks and kidnappings by paramilitaries associated with
the bio fuel agribusiness, Ingenio Guadelupe. The Inter American
Development Bank promotes the bio fuel industry in Guatemala.
San Miguel Ixtahuacán - also in Guatemala, this Mayan community
was recently attacked for opposing a mine headed by Montana
Exploradora de Guatemala, a subsidiary of Canada’s Goldcorp. The
Police shot tear gas at local children and used force against
Ngobe - In Panama, the Ngobe are currently facing displacement at
the hands of the Chan 75, a hydro project headed by the US company
Allied Energy Systems (AES). More than 1000 Ngobe will be effected.
Terraba and Chinakicha - In Costa Rica, the Terraba and Chinakicha
are also facing displacement at the hands of another hyro project,
known as El Diquis. Not only will the dam flood their lands, but
it will destroy over 200 historical sites; including Burial
Grounds, Sacred Sites, and Ancient Ruins.
People of Tilcara - The Indigenous Municipality of Tilcara, in
northern Argentina, are attempting to prohibit open-pit metal
mining, as well as the storage, use, sale, production, extraction
and transportation of dangerous substances used in the mining
Kofan In Columbia, the Kofan are concerned about a new base the
Colombian army is building at a site called “Finca Maravales,”
which they consider to be sacred ground. The Kofan say the
presence of the army is destroying the environment and disturbing
their region’s peace to such an extent that they can’t practice
Nasa - Also in Colombia, the Nasa were recently attacked by the
ESMAD, the Colombian version of a ‘SWAT’ team. Leading up to the
attack, nearly 500 Nasa had claimed their right to land promised
by the government for the its role in the 1991 massacre of El Nilo.
Bari - The indigenous People of Venezuela, especially the Bari,
continue to find themselves surrounded by the prospect of their
own demise. That is, despite the demarcation of their territories
and the Decree issued last year (see comment) by President Hugo
Chavez that prohibited new coal mines from being built in the
Sierra de Perija.
Yakye Axa - One of 17 indigenous Peoples in Paraguay, the Yakye
Axa are struggling to return to their ancestral territories. In
2005, the IACHR ruled unanimously that the Paraguayan State must
allow them to return, but they have so far refused to do so.
Maya - Especially Maya women are murdered in a genocidal war in
Guatemala. Since the year 2000 over 3.200 women were murdered in
what only can be described as the most brutal Ethnocid of
South-America. Overall already more than 200.000 Maya have been
killed since the eighties.
Ogiek - Located in Kenya, the Ogiek have faced numerous attacks by
militias and the state police. One article in February explains
that the Ogiek are being hunted down like rabbits.
Hadzabe - The Hadzabe, indigenous people of northern Tanzania,
just freed from Arab Royals from the United Arab Emirates, who
tried to purchase Hadzabe lands for a fishing and sport hunting
enterprise, face new threats from mining companies.
Kgeikani Kweni - in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve of Botswana,
the Kgeikani Kweni, more commonly known as the bushmen, were
evicted from their lands a few years ago. They won a case in court
affirming the eviction was illegal, and were told they could
return home. The government, however, refuses to comply. The
busmen are denied water, are arrested for hunting for food, and a
great number are stranded far away from their lands, unable to get
Dongria Kondh - In the Indian State of Orrissa, the Kondh are
currently facing the destruction of their land, their sacred sites,
their culture and their livelihood… for the aluminum industry.
Penan - Living on the island of Borneo, the Penan are under an
immense amount of pressure by the logging industry. For the past
twenty years, the Penan have been setting up blockades to defend
the rainforest and their way of life. Now, with the forest almost
gone, several other industries are emerging, even further
threatening the Penan.
Karen - Living in Burma, the Karen — along with the Karenni, Mon,
Shan, Wa, Pa-O, Lahu, Padaung, Akha, Lisu, Kachin, Kukis and
Palaung — are facing displacement at the hands of Burma’s military.
Papuans - The People of West Papua struggle for rights and
independence, a prospect the Indonesian government views as “treason.”
Papuans are frequently arrested, assaulted, and humiliated for
exercising their rights.
Jumma - Living in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHTs) of Bangladesh,
earlier this year the Jumma were attacked by hundreds of illegal
settlers. Over 500 houses are reported to have been burned, and an
unknown number of Jumma were assaulted, raped, and looted during
the attack. Unofficially, the government is thoroughly pleased
with how things turned out.
Pacific Islands and Australia
Bismark Sea region - Indigenous Peoples in the Bismark Sea region
of Papua New Guinea are working to stop a Canadian mining company
from pursuing an experimental deep sea mining process off the
Subanon - Located in the Southern Philippines, the Subanon People
recently tried and found guilty the Canadian mining company TVI
Pacific, for a number of human rights abuses and violations of
Subanon customary law.
Bugkalot - The Bugkalot, along with the Kankaney, Ifugao, and
Kalanguya tribes in northern Philippines have been recently
setting up blockades to protect their lands against foreign mining
Northern Territory Australia - It has now been one year and one
month since the Australian government ‘intervened’ in the lives of
dozens of indigenous communities in the Northern Territory.
Ethnic Fijians - A worrisome proposal was recently tabled in Fiji
that seeks the de-reservation of all Indigenous lands on the
Pacific Island — allegedly, to ensure the survival of the Sugar
Cane Industry on which thousands of people depend. This request
was prompted in a report authored last November which stated the
land could be ‘better utilised’ if the military-backed interim
government de-reserved native land and increased the size of sugar
cane lots from 4 hectares to 40 and 400.