Category Archives: Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous Organizers Lead Climate Critiques in NYC

Here’s a set of articles and videos highlighting the key role played by Indigenous organizers, many good friends of GJEP’s, in critiques leading up to and coming out of the Climate events of last week.

First, Indigenous Rising posted a video of Kandi Mossett, Climate Campaign organizer for Indigenous Environmental Network, describing her experience within the UN Climate Summit and her frustration at the lack of urgency in world leaders and at how even the few members of civil society allowed in were sidelined. “The planet is going to go on with or without us. It’s up to us to decide if we’re going to be here or not.”

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Justice, Fracking, Idle No More, Indigenous Peoples, Tar Sands

U.S. government to pay Navajo Nation $554 million

In reparation for mismanaging 14 million acres of their lands, United States government will pay the Navajo Nation more than $500 million. According to an article by Reuters reporter Steve Gorman, this record settlement is the result of the U.S. government using “land held in trust for the tribe and leased for such purposes as farming, energy development, logging and mining.”

Photo: www.salon.com

Photo: www.salon.com

Even though Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly hails the outcome victorious, I’m curious to know how much the government made by prostituting out these Navajo lands. How much does their profit compare to their payout? The article doesn’t give specifics and some late night Internet research revealed no answer, either. This record settlement is the highest paid out ever, which is an obvious achievement for native and indigenous peoples, but in return the Navajo Nation promised to “forego further litigation over previous U.S. management of Navajo funds and resources.” What’s being hidden here?

U.S. To Pay Navajo Tribe $554 Million In Landmark Settlement

by Steve Gorman, Reuters/Huffington Post, September 24, 2014

The Obama administration has agreed to pay the Navajo Nation a record $554 million to settle longstanding claims by America’s largest Indian tribe that its funds and natural resources were mishandled for decades by the U.S. government.

The accord, resolving claims that date back as far as 50 years and marking the biggest U.S. legal settlement with a single tribe, will be formally signed at a ceremony on Friday in Window Rock, Arizona, the capital of the sprawling Navajo reservation.

The deal stems from litigation accusing the government of mismanaging Navajo trust accounts and resources on more than 14 million acres (5.7 million hectares) of land held in trust for the tribe and leased for such purposes as farming, energy development, logging and mining.

In return for $554 million, the Navajo agreed to dismiss its lawsuit and forego further litigation over previous U.S. management of Navajo funds and resources held in trust by the federal government.

The deal does not preclude the tribe from pursuing future trust claims, or any separate claims over water and uranium pollution on its reservation, Navajo Attorney General Harrison Tsosie said.

Read the full article here.

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Filed under Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Political Repression, Politics

Indigenous Peoples demand an end to logging in their territory in Quebec

 SOVEREIGNTY DECLARATION NEXT STEPS: THE ATIKAMEKW CHALLENGE THE FSC ACREDITATION OF FORESTRY COMPANIES

Boreal forest, Quebec.  Photolangelle.org

Boreal forest, Quebec. Photolangelle.org

Nitaskinan, Quebec – September 23, 2014 – Intended as the natural next step and logical continuation of its September 8, 2014 declaration of sovereignty, the Atikamekw (indigenous inhabitants of the upper Saint-Maurice River valley of Quebec) announced today that no future forestry operations will be permitted on its territory without the securing of its full consent.

The Atikamekw are seeking to use the auditing period currently underway for the re-registration of companies operating on Atikamekw Opitciwan territory to the Forestry Management Systems (as required by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC),) to ensure that no company currently being audited obtain a renewal of said certification without the observance of Atikamekw rights and the adequate protection of Atikamekw ancestral territory.

“We never agreed nor gave our consent to the massive exploitation of the forest resources on our territory. Should forestry companies wish to exploit the resources that belong to us by right, they are required to contact us and secure our consent, ” said Chef Christian Awashish.

This position is not without precedent, as it corresponds directly to one of the ten Principles & Criteria set out by the FSC in Canada for the obtaining and maintenance of such accreditation.

In its third Principle, the FSC stipulates that “the legal and customary rights of indigenous peoples to own, use and manage their lands, territories and resources shall be recognized and respected,”  providing for the implementation and rigorous enforcement of the international concept of “free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples” to its forest management standards. Principles six and nine require that adequate protection also be assured to certified territory, older sections of forest and certain species of wild animals. The Atikamekw Opitciwan territory has for decades endured the colossal impact of the forest industry without the protection of an adequate conservation plan.

In consequence, Chief Christian Awashish and the Opitciwan Council are calling for the suspension of FSC certification for companies currently operating on Nitaskinan, and in particular, those belonging to the following companies:

• Resolute Forest Products (Comtois and Senneterre)

  • Kruger (Gerard Crete et fils inc., St-Roch-de-Mekinac and Industries Parent inc.)

• Tembec (Senneterre)

• Gestion forestière de St-Maurice

• Barette Chapais

• Chantier Chibougamau

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international certification and labeling system dedicated to promoting environmentally responsible development, socially beneficial and economically prosperous of the world’s forests. The FSC sets standards for forest certification and offers a credible assurance to purchasers of wood and paper. The FSC offers the only forest certification system that requires the consent of local indigenous populations with the aim of protecting their rights on public and private land at the same time. FSC requirements for forest development include an entire section devoted to Aboriginal rights (Principle 3), and this principle is widely recognized and respected when it comes to indigenous rights.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Uncategorized

Confronting Climate Catastrophe: Direct Action is the Antidote for Despair

Or, Why the UN is Worse than Useless and we need to Flood Wall Street!

Climate Convergence Plenary Address, Friday, 19 September 2014

Anne Petermann, Global Justice Ecology Project, Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees

UN Security arrests clown at Durban Climate COP shortly before assaulting the photographer.  Photo: Photolangelle.org

UN Security arrests clown at Durban Climate COP shortly before assaulting the photographer. Photo: Photolangelle.org

Good evening everyone and thank you to Jill, Margaret and the other convergence organizers for the opportunity to speak to you tonight.

In four days time, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will hold a UN Climate Summit–a closed door session where the world’s “leaders” will discuss “ambitions” for the upcoming climate conferences (or COPs as they are called) in Lima, Peru and Paris, France.

I was asked to put into context the reason for the march and actions this weekend–especially the problem of the corporate capture of the United Nations Climate Convention, which I have attended and organized around since 2004, when I attended my first UN Climate COP, in Buenos Aires, until 2011 when I was permanently banned from the UN Climate Conferences following a direct action occupation at the Climate COP in Durban, South Africa.

But I actually got involved with the UN Climate Conferences through the work I have dedicated myself to, which is stopping the dangerous genetic engineering of trees.

What happened was in 2003, the UN Climate Conference decided that GE trees could be used in carbon offset forestry plantations. Understanding that this was a potential social and ecological disaster, and being completely naïve about the UN process, we decided to go to the UN and explain to them why this was wrong, and to get them to reverse this bad decision.

But what we found out was that GE trees had been permitted in carbon offset forestry plantations because Norway had tried to get them banned. But Brazil and China were either already growing GE trees or planning to, so they blocked Norway’s proposal. As a result, GE trees were allowed simply because they could not be banned. The UN, we learned, does not reverse decisions, regardless of how ill-informed and destructive they are.

This is the dysfunction of the UN Climate Convention.

But let’s go back a minute to see how we got where we are now.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Africa, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, COP21 Paris 2015, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, GE Trees, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Politics, Posts from Anne Petermann, REDD, UNFCCC, World Bank, WTO

Amazon tribe captures illegal loggers, strips them of their clothing

Fed up?

That’s one way to put it.

With no help from their government, the Ka’apor tribe of indigenous Brazilians have taken the control of the fight against illegal logging in and near their lands. In a recent article on Huff Post, photojournalist Lunae Parracho captured these heated encounters on film.

The Amazon tribe strives to teach illegal loggers a lesson by stripping them of their clothing. Photo: LUNAE PARRACHO/Reuters

The Amazon tribe strives to teach illegal loggers a lesson by stripping them of their clothing, just as they continually strip their land of trees. Photo: LUNAE PARRACHO/Reuters

Illegal logging plagues the Amazon Rainforest. With so many governments controlled by the very corporations that strip this land, it’s not wonder the Ka’apor only receive a cold shoulder from their own. The result? A tribe so fed up and so tired of being threatened, that they apparently capture the loggers, strip them down and tie them up. They set fire to the loggers’ trucks. According to reports, the Ka’apor eventually let the loggers go, but there have been several altercations when the captured men try to escape or fight back.

Photos Capture Amazon Tribe As They Beat And Strip Illegal Loggers

By Nick Robins-Early, Photos by Lunae Parracho, Huffington Post: The World Post,
Sept. 8, 2014

The Ka’apor Indians, a tribe of indigenous Brazilians living in the northeast region of the country’s expansive rainforest, have begun taking up arms against illegal loggers who are threatening their homeland. On one of their recent searches for loggers, they were joined by Reuters photographer Lunae Parracho, who documented the scene when they reportedly found a number of the men.

“The warriors stripped them, tied them up and beat those who resisted,” Parracho details in his account of the event for Reuters. Parracho said that the raids are the tribe members’ way of taking matters into their own hands after a perceived lack of government assistance to stop the loggers.

Illegal logging is an endemic issue in the Amazon. A 2014 report by Greenpeace found that more than half of logging in the two largest timber-producing states in Brazil was done illegally from August 2011 to July 2012.

See more photos from the encounters here.

 

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Filed under Forests and Climate Change, Illegal logging, Indigenous Peoples, South America

Photos: Indigenous Warriors Take Action to Stop Illegal Logging

In the photo essay linked below, Reuters Photographer Lunae Parracho documents resistance by Amazon Indigenous warriors against illegal loggers destroying their homeland.Well worth a look!

13 Incredible Photos of Amazon Tribe Fighting Back Against Illegal Loggers

by WILL POTTER on SEPTEMBER 8, 2014 in ACTIVISM & ACTIVISTS’ RESPONSE

Photo by Lunae Parracha.  Courtesy Reuters

Photo by Lunae Parracha. Courtesy Reuters

Brazil is the most dangerous place in the world to be an environmentalist. It accounts for about half of all recorded killings of environmental advocates.

And those numbers are going up, globally. As I reported recently for Foreign Policy:

Between 2002 and 2013, at least 908 people were killed because of their environmental advocacy, according to “Deadly Environment,” a new report from the investigative nonprofit Global Witness. That’s an average of at least one environmentalist murdered every week, and in the last four years, the rate of the murders has doubled. In 2012, the deadliest year on record, 147 deaths were recorded, three times more than a decade earlier. “There were almost certainly more cases,” the report says, “but the nature of the problem makes information hard to find, and even harder to verify.”

That incredibly dangerous environment makes what photographer Lunae Parracho documented even more incredible.

Parracho (websiteTwitterFlickr) followed the Ka’apor tribe, an indigenous community in Brazil, as they fought back against illegal loggers.

Ka’apor warriors ventured into the Alto Turiacu territory in the Amazon basin to track down illegal loggers, tie them up, and sabotage their equipment.

They stole their chainsaws and cut the logs so the loggers couldn’t profit from them.

They released the loggers, but only after taking their shoes and clothes, and setting their trucks on fire.

To view the entire photo essay and article, click here.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Forests, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Uncategorized

Deadly repression of environmental protests in Peru

Peruvian police block the way to people carrying the coffins of three of the demonstrators who died during the protests against the Conga mining project in Celendin, Cajamarca, Peru, on July 6, 2013. Source: Ernesto Benavides/AFP/GettyImages

Peruvian police block the way to people carrying the coffins of three of the demonstrators who died during the protests against the Conga mining project in Celendin, Cajamarca, Peru, on July 6, 2013. Source: Ernesto Benavides/AFP/GettyImages

WW4 reports on a series of violent and deadly attacks on environmental protestors in Peru, at protests against pipelines and mines in particular. This included the death of a 16-year-old boy. The UN has criticized the “disproportionate use of force” against Indigenous protestors.

Peru: deadly repression of pipeline protests
By WW4 Report. September 5, 2014.

The UN Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination on Sept. 2 issued a statement expressing “concern” about the “disproportionate use of force” against indigenous protesters in Peru. (Celendin LibreAIDESEP, Sept. 2) The statement came the same day that a 16-year-old protester, Jhapet Claysont Huilca Pereira, was shot dead by National Police troops at Santa Teresa village in the Valley of La Convención, Cuzco region, during a protest against construction of the Gasoducto Sur Peruano through local lands. 

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Filed under Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Indigenous Peoples, Political Repression, South America

Gran Canal in Nicaragua would displace Indigenous peoples, wreak havoc on ecosystems

 

Rama people, one of the Indigenous groups most under threat by the canal. Photo by MaSii via Mongabay.com

Rama Cay, island of the Ramas, one of the Indigenous groups most under threat by the canal. Photo by MaSii via Mongabay.com

A Chinese consortium plans to start construction on a canal through Nicaragua by the end of this year, with the completion date of 2019.

Jeremy Hance of Mongabay.com has written an excellent article on how the canal threatens the Indigenous peoples and protected areas that stand in its way, and the ripple effects that it would have on ecosystems throughout Nicaragua.

The Gran Canal: will Nicaragua’s big bet create prosperity or environmental ruin?
By Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com. August 27, 2014

A hundred years ago, the Panama Canal reshaped global geography, allowing ships for the first time to bypass the long and perilous journey around Cape Horn by simply cutting through a continent. Now a new project, spearheaded by a media-shy Chinese millionaire, wants to compete with the infamous canal, building a 278-kilometer (173-mile) canal through Nicaragua. While the Nicaraguan government argues the massive project will change the country’s dire economic outlook overnight—Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere after Haiti—critics contend it will cause undue environmental damage, upend numerous communities, and do little to help the people of Nicaragua.

Not only might the Gran Canal not monetarily benefit the Nicaraguan people in the near-term, but it might worsen living conditions, already destabilized by environmental issues and longstanding conflict. 

In fact, according to Huete-Perez, the canal will force the relocation of at least nine indigenous and Afro-Nicarguan communities in Nicaragua’s South Atlantic Autonomous Region. Although the autonomous regions were set-up to provide local communities with greater access and management of their natural resources, this special status doesn’t impact the approval of the Gran Canal. 

Read the full article on Mongabay.com.

 

 

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Filed under Biodiversity, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean