Category Archives: Indigenous Peoples

Black Mesa Navajo face ‘scorched earth campaign’ spurred by coal mining interests

Black Mesa banner during impoundments,(WNV / NaBahe Kateny Keediniihii)

Black Mesa banner (WNV/NaBahe Kateny Keediniihii)

In Waging Nonviolence, Liza Minno Bloom reported on recent federal campaigns to forcibly impound sheep herded by Navajo living in the Hopi Partition Lands (HPL) of Black Mesa in NE Arizona. (Yep, impound, like a car, for us city folk.)

The government claims that the livestock were impounded because there are too many and they were overgrazing and harming the land, but the weight of history and the violence of what’s currently happening suggests a different reason.

The sheep being impounded from the communities on Black Mesa indicate the continued use of scorched earth policies by the federal government and the continued use of Black Mesa as a resource colony for ever more unsustainable Southwestern cities.

More specifically, Minno explains the history and current state of Peabody Energy on the land, going back to the 1970s when the Partition Lands were created, forcing relocation off of the HPL and ushering the way for a grab of the coal-rich land. The herders facing the pressure continue to live on these lands despite the forced relocation.

She also clarifies that Peabody Energy now wants to expand mining into the areas used by the Navajo herders that are being targeted.

The three families targeted so far need to pay about $1000-2000 to get their sheep back, but also have to sign a condition of release and sell the majority of the sheep right away.

Minno writes,

Currently, Peabody seeks to combine the Kayenta Mine [their current coal mine] and the NGS [Navajo Generating Station] leases under one renewal permit that would allow the facilities to continue operating past their 2019 deadline for expiration. Since, according to the Department of the Interior, the Kayenta Mine lease area will provide only enough coal to power NGS until 2026, part of the lease renewal includes expanding mining into the lands adjacent to the Kayenta Mine and reopening the defunct Black Mesa Mine — the equipment for which remains intact on Black Mesa. Instead of calling it a re-opening of the Black Mesa Mine, however, they are referring to the expanded permit area as the Kayenta Mine Complex. Were this approved, it would mean further incursion into the HPL, which is occupied by the Dineh relocation resisters and their sheep. This explains the impetus for the impoundments.

The history Minno gives going back to the 1974 Navajo-Hopi Settlement Act is definitely required reading, but most important is what’s going on right now and the work needed to keep the coal in the ground and the herders on the land.

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Filed under Climate Justice, Coal, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs

Photo Essay: The Pillaging of Paraguay

Woman holds photo of baby whose condition is blamed on agrotoxins, during rally in Asunción, Paraguay, 3 Dec 2014.  PhotoLangelle.org

Woman holds photo of baby whose condition is blamed on agrotoxins, during rally in Asunción, Paraguay, 3 Dec 2014. PhotoLangelle.org

“All signs show that Paraguay, both its territory and its population, are under attack by conquerors, but conquerors of a new sort. These new ‘conquistadors’ are racing to seize all available arable land and, in the process, are destroying peoples’ cultures and the country’s biodiversity — just as they are in many other parts of the planet, even in those areas that fall within the jurisdiction of ‘democratic’ and ‘developed’ countries. Every single foot of land is in their crosshairs. Powerful elites do not recognize rural populations as having any right to land at all.” – Dr. Miguel Lovera

Photographs by Orin Langelle. Analysis at the end of the essay by Dr. Miguel Lovera from the case study: The Environmental and Social Impacts of Unsustainable Livestock Farming and Soybean Production in Paraguay. Dr. Lovera was the President of SENAVE, the National Plant Protection Agency, during the government of Fernando Lugo.

To view the entire photo essay click here.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biiotechnology, Biodiversity, Food Sovereignty, Frontline Communities, Genetic Engineering, Indigenous Peoples, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Pesticides

Rio Tinto gifted precious AZ land by US Senate, just as it’s accused of collusion in its home country, Australia

Rio Tinto's Warkworth mine in the Hunter Valley. Photo: Dean Osland via Sydney Morning Herald

Rio Tinto’s Warkworth mine in the Hunter Valley. Photo: Dean Osland via Sydney Morning Herald

Last Friday, the US senate passed the defense spending budget. This budget gave 2,000 acres of ecologically precious Apache sacred land to Resolution Copper, a venture of the Australian-based Rio Tinto mining corporation. Technically, it’s a ‘swap.’ In exchange, Rio Tinto will return ecologically and culturally barren land to the US government. Rep. Paul Gosar has been working on this swap since 2011, but opponents have fought it off. However, John McCain slipped it into the new budget.

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Filed under Corporate Globalization, Indigenous Peoples, Law, Mining, Politics

Indigenous Amazon Leader Denounces REDD on Democracy Now!

Another blow to REDD: a false solution to climate change that is giving big polluters license to continue polluting, as well as displacing Indigenous Peoples around the world from their lands. For more on the dangers and impacts of REDD on Indigenous Peoples, watch this important interview on Democracy Now!

Brazilian Indigenous Leader: Carbon Trading Scheme “REDD” a False Solution to Climate Change

Democracy Now!, 11 December 2014

The controversial carbon trading scheme known as REDD, or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, has set off protests not only in Africa, but also in South America, especially in the Amazon region. We speak to Chief Ninawa Huni Kui, president of the Federation of the Huni Kui, an indigenous group in Brazil. He has traveled to the U.N. climate summit in Lima to voice his opposition to REDD.

Click here to view the interview on Democracy Now!

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Filed under Biodiversity, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD

Nature Rights Tribunal finds corporations, United Nations and governments guilty

http://indigenousrising.org/

http://indigenousrising.org/

The UN Climate Conference’s alternative spaces and events are much more interesting that the supposed main event.

Here’s a major example:

Last Friday and Saturday (December 5 & 6) in Lima, Peru, the International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature judged twelve international and domestic cases, examining the violation of the rights of peoples and nature committed by corporations, the United Nations, and government entities. The judgments reference the legal framework of the Rights of Nature and the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth made in Bolivia in 2010.

Report from Indigenous Rising:

According to Alberto Acosta, president of the tribunal and former president of the Constitutional Assembly of Ecuador, the rights of nature must have a universal validity. “As long as nature is seen as property in law, there can be no justice for communities, the climate or nature.”

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Filed under Climate Justice, Court Decision, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Fracking, Indigenous Peoples, REDD

The Green Economy, Forest Peoples and Territories: Rights Violations in Acre, Brazil

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – As officials from California EPA and members of the California Air Resources Board attend the United Nations Conference of Parties in Lima, Peru this week, they should consider the negative social and economic impacts of linking California’s carbon markets with forest protection efforts in Acre, Brazil, suggests a new report from the Brazilian Platform for Human, Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Carbon Trading, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples

BREAKING – Murdered before Lima climate protest: Ecuadoran indigenous anti-mining activist José Isidro Tendetza Antún

Photograph: Pete Oxford/Corbis via The Guardian

Photograph: Pete Oxford/Corbis via The Guardian

The killing of José Isidro Tendetza Antún highlights the risks facing environmental activists in Ecuador. Earlier this week, a group of campaigners travelling in a “climate caravan” were stopped six times by police on their way to Lima and eventually had their bus confiscated. The activists said they were held back because president Correa wants to avoid potentially embarrassing protests at the climate conference over his plan to drill for oil in Yasuni, an Amazon reserve and one of the most biodiverse places on earth.

Once lauded for being the first nation to draw up a “green constitution,” enshrining the rights of nature, Ecuador’s environmental reputation has nosedived in recent years as Correa has put more emphasis on exploitation of oil, gas and minerals, partly to pay off debts owed to China.

– Patrick Bond in Durban, South Africa

Ecuador indigenous leader found dead days before planned Lima protest
By  and , The Guardian. 6 December 2014

The body of an indigenous leader who was opposed to a major mining project in Ecuador has been found bound and buried, days before he planned to take his campaign to climate talks in Lima.

The killing highlights the violence and harassment facing environmental activists in Ecuador, following the confiscation earlier this week of a bus carrying climate campaigners who planned to denounce president Rafael Correa at the United Nations conference.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Forests and Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, Political Repression, UNFCCC

Selling off forests is a business for the Peruvian government

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New report finds that Peruvian government is failing to address the real causes of deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon while undermining Indigenous peoples’ efforts to protect their forests.

LIMA, PERU (4th December 2014) – On the eve of the arrival of negotiators at a crucial UN conference on climate change, a new report shows that, despite public commitments to protect Peru’s forests, the first Amazonian host of the UN COP is ignoring the real drivers of deforestation and failing to safeguard the rights of indigenous peoples. This, despite the fact that these peoples occupy approximately one third of the Peruvian Amazon and offer the best chance of defending the country’s precious forests.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests and Climate Change, Frontline Communities, Indigenous Peoples, South America