By Steve Sachs

Environmental Activities

With the U.S. State Department having released it final environmental impact report saying that the Keystone Pipeline is environmental O.K. and is not likely to increase tar sands oil extraction (see Environmental Developments below), which numerous environmentalists say is biased, having been made by close associates of big oil and gas companies, numerous environmental organizations began a series of increased protests and campaigns to move the Secretary of State, and if necessary, the President, not to approve Keystone, beginning with rallies across the U.S. on Monday, February 3 (e.g. Friends of the Earth, "First, find a NoKXL vigil this Monday near you": https://actionnetwork.org/event_campaigns/kxl-fseis?referrer=friends-of-the-earth; and 350.org, including joining other groups in protesting outside the State Department in Washington, DC: https://actionnetwork.org/events/keystone-xl-vigil-abq?referrer=tom-solomon&source=facebook).

On April 22nd, the Cowboy Indian Alliance of pipeline fighters — ranchers, farmers, tribal communities, and their friends —rode into Washington DC for the next, and perhaps final, chapter in the fight against Keystone XL. They set up camp near the White House, "lighting our fire and burning our sage, and for 5 days, we will bear proud witness to President Obama’s final decision on Keystone XL, reminding him of the threat this tar sands pipeline poses to our climate, land, water and tribal rights. Throughout those 5 days, we will show the power of our communities with events ranging from prayers at Sec. Kerry’s home and an opening ceremony of tribes and ranchers on horseback in front of the White House. On April 27th, we invite our friends and allies against the pipeline to join us as we conclude our camp and march once more to the White House for our final, unmistakable message to President Obama. Our community of pipeline fighters just sent 2 million comments against the pipeline in just 30 days. We must follow this up with action in the streets on April 27th as we march with tribal leaders and individuals currently living with the risk tar sands to show all the beauty and power we represent. Everyone is needed and everyone is welcome." Many groups including 350.org are involved. For more go to: https://rally.org/rejectandprotect/iD7sQfJrUOv/350org.

Andrea Germanos, "First Nations Vow: There Will Be No Tar Sands Pipeline," Common Dreams, June 12, 2014, http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/06/12-4, reported, "'We have drawn a line in the earth they cannot, and will not, cross,' said Chief Martin Louie of the Nadleh Whut’en First Nation. That is the message stressed by First Nations communities who say that even if Canada's Prime Minister Harper gives the federal OK to Enbridge's Northern Gateway project, First Nations law and their 'responsibilities to future generations' will stop the project dead in its tracks."

350.org is active internationally, nationally and locally in many projects to curb carbon emissions and switch to renewable energy, including participating in the Cowboy Indian Alliance of Keystone Pipeline Fighters (see above) and in running Global Power Shift, which after its international meeting in Istanbul in 2013, is in phase II, developing numerous national and local chapters and activities. For example, in April 2014, in the Republic of Georgia, local groups were engaged in an anti-coal campaign. In Guatemala, in Guatemala City, from March 21 to 23 2014, Guatemala Power Shift (GPS) developed an event that transformed and improved the working mechanisms of young Guatemalan leaders and national volunteer networks, because it has empowered the efforts of thousands of volunteers in the country. This event was the first national meeting of water and climate change dedicated and committed to propose actions to counter the effects of climate change and promote solutions toward the environment and water conservation, focused on several Guatemala’s rural areas. The event started with an open call to reach participants from multiple sectors of the population (north, south, east, west, and central Guatemala), involving a multiethnic and multicultural group in such meeting. The group of selected leaders, learned, worked and exposed the social issues at a local and community level. After discussing and evaluating their local issues, a map of local climate actions was developed, incising directly on the facts that affect them directly, and promoting solutions. Other GPS groups are active in Kenya, Nepal, Australia, Ukraine, Canada, Vietnam, France, Philippines, Brazil, Egypt, China and India among others  (for more go to www.globalpowershift.org). In the U.S. 350.org has been active nationally, and in its local chapters on many aspects of the struggle to move from fossil fuel to green energy. Local chapters have been involved as well. In Albuquerque, NM, for example, 350.org efforts include working to have utility company PNM replace shut down coal generation with as much renewable energy as possible, and in encouraging University of New Mexico to divest from investments in carbon energy companies. (For more, go to: http://350.org/).

In Calvert County Maryland by Chesapeake Bay, environmentalists are opposing what they call "Keystone on the Bay, “construction of a huge natural gas liquefaction plant to export large amounts fracked natural gas (Rebecca Burns, "Keystone By the Bay," In These Times, March 2014).

Idle No More, Global Exchange, and others participated in the Connect the Dots Refinery Corridor Healing Walk from Martinez to Benicia, CA is May 17, 2014 (All day). For details Contact (510)619-3279 or visit: http://www.globalexchange.org/events/walk-connect-dots-refinery-corridor-healing-walks-0.

In Eastern New Brunswick, Canada, a protest, reported by authorities as violent, in mid-October, against Fracking at the site of seismic testing near Rexton, was broken up by the Canadian Royal Mounted Police enforcing a court ordered injunction. About 40 people were arrested  ("Canada: Shale Protests End in Arrests," The New York Times, October 18, 2013).

"Bushman travels 5,000 miles to tell Prince Charles ‘We’re not poachers’," Survival International, April 8, 2014, http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/10163, reported, "A Bushman from the Central Kalahari travelled 5,000 miles from his home in Botswana today to tell the Prince of Wales, ‘We’re not poachers – we hunt to survive.’ In February Botswana’s President Khama was an honored guest at a global anti-poaching conference in London, alongside Prince Charles and Prince William. The initiative resulted in the launch of Prince William’s United for Wildlife, drawing together seven big conservation organizations, including US-based Conservation International (CI). President Khama is a CI board member. But President Khama has banned all hunting nationwide, even for Bushmen who hunt to feed their families, under the pretext of clamping down on poaching. However, it has emerged that trophy hunters who pay up to $8,000 to hunt giraffes and zebras are still being allowed to hunt. Jumanda Gakelebone, 40, arrived at Prince Charles’s residence this morning with a letter appealing to the Prince to help stop Botswana’s violent regime against the country’s indigenous Bushmen. British barrister Gordon Bennett joined Gakelebone at Clarence House, in his first meeting with his Bushman clients since being banned from Botswana in 2013. Bennett was barred after he and the Bushmen won three court cases against the Botswana government’s persecution of the tribe. Prince Charles first met with the Kalahari Bushmen during a trip to Botswana with his friend and mentor Sir Laurens van der Post in 1987. Sir Laurens was Prince William’s godfather. He later wrote, ‘What I discovered was the profound and intuitive ties that bind the Bushmen to their land; their awareness of the workings of the natural world and of the delicate balance between life, physical surroundings and inner spirituality that they had maintained for so long in the harshest of environments… The Bushman is an innocent victim of what, far too glibly, too many of us would call ‘progress’… We all lose if the Bushman disappears.’ The Bushmen’s letter to Prince Charles states, ‘We have survived alongside the animals of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve since the beginning of time. We know how to look after them and we hunt them for our survival, not for entertainment like many tourists from your country do. We know that you walked with Mr. Laurens van der Post and Bushmen a long time ago. You know who we are. We are begging you to talk with President Khama, and ask him to stop persecuting us the Bushmen. Let us live and hunt on our ancestral land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve like our fathers and their fathers before them. We want our children to live off the fat of this land, in peace’." Download the Bushmen’s letter to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales (PDF, 700 KB) at: http://assets.survivalinternational.org/documents/1197/bushmen-letter-prince-charles.pdf.

Global Exchange stated, January 10, 2014, http://org.salsalabs.com/o/703/t/0/blastContent.jsp?email_blast_KEY=1290776, "With the Polar Vortex and the Bridgegate Scandal starting off the 2014 U.S. news cycle, we at Global Exchange are instead focusing on pressing human rights issues that affect us all the most." "Stop Fast Track and the TransPacific Partnership (TPP): This month marks the 20th anniversary of NAFTA's passage, delivering two decades of unfulfilled promises. Just this week, a bill was introduced in Congress to fast track the devastating TransPacific Partnership, a trade bill being negotiated in secret with over 600 corporations – but with no input from we the people! We’re gearing up for an exciting day of action to Stop the TPP on January 31, and we’re applying grassroots pressure to make sure legislators understand that we oppose this harmful ‘free trade’ deal. End the war on drugs and the senseless violence and killing in Mexico and unjust incarcerations in the U.S.: We’re working to unite civil society throughout North America around sensible gun legislation and ending costly and dangerous drug prohibition. Ban fracking in California: We’re working with over a dozen communities throughout the state to pass legislation that stops this dangerous practice, stop the oil and gas industry from poisoning our water and accelerating climate change and also asserts our right to local, democratic control.  Expand Fair Trade: Through our grassroots campaign we'll put pressure on Ghirardelli Chocolate to tell us, when it comes to its chocolate “Is It Fair or Not?” We’ll spread the word about the empowering social premium of Fair Trade through exciting holiday actions, too.  Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline: This week's chemical spill in West Virginia, which has contaminated the water supply in several counties plus the crude-by-rail derailments in recent months show the dangers posed by the processing and transporting of dirty energy. We’re working with allies throughout North America to educate the public about the dangers the Keystone XL pipeline has on communities." "We are an international human rights organization dedicated to promoting social, economic and environmental justice around the world."

Food and Water Watch, in January 2014, was engaged in a campaign to "Tell the EPA to Meet With Those Who Have Been Harmed By Fracking": Six people from towns in Pennsylvania, Wyoming and Texas that have been torn apart by fracking, unlike many of their neighbors, "did not sign non-disclosure agreements with gas companies, which means they're some of the only people from these places who are still able to speak out against this dangerous drilling process. It's time for the EPA to meet with these folks who have been harmed by fracking the most.>(But instead of hearing them out, the EPA has shut down fracking investigations in their hometowns, caving under oil and gas industry pressure. Although the preliminary results of all three studies showed that fracking had in fact contaminated local water sources, all three investigations were dropped and the families in these communities were left to find clean water elsewhere. It is time for the EPA to meet with people from these three towns, and to reopen the investigations on fracking." For more information go to: https://secure3.convio.net/fww/site/Advocacy;jsessionid=1547AB9A818F468F76654E5BCF607F70.app331a?pagename=homepage&page=UserAction&id=1057&autologin=true.

Marc Dadigan, "California Tribes Front and Center at Sacramento Anti-Fracking Rally," ICTMN, March 21, 2014, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/gallery/photo/california-tribes-front-and-center-sacramento-anti-fracking-rally-154110, reported, "Parched by drought that is causing water shortages and threatening crops and fisheries, California and the tribes residing there are embattled over fracking, which uses millions of gallons of water per shale well. California has more tribes than any other state, and scores of them were out in force on March 15 at a “Don’t Frack California” rally at the State Capitol in Sacramento. More than 4,000 people gathered to demand that Governor Jerry Brown pass a moratorium on hydraulic fracking for oil."

Carbonfund.org Foundation (carbonfund.org) is engaged in a variety of projects. Its Renewable Energy and Methane Projects involves giving support to local projects that produce wind, solar or other renewable energy, and projects that collect greatly global warming inducing methane that would otherwise escape into the atmosphere, such as from landfills and dairies. Projects ongoing at the end of April 2014 include: Small Scale Indian Wind Projects in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, India, North Country Landfill Methane Project in Bethlehem, New Hampshire, New York State Landfill Methane Project in Rodman, New York(, New Bedford Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project in Greater New Bedford, Massachusetts, Neria Small Hydroelectric Project in Karnataka State of India(, Hilarides Dairy Project in :Lindsay, California>(, and Fujian Nanridao Wind Project of China on Nanri Island of Putian City, Fujian Province of China. Carbonfund Energy Efficiency & Carbon Credits Projects include the Truck Stop Electrification Project across Arkansas, California, Georgia, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas that mitigate climate change, reduce localized air and noise pollution, and reduce fuel usage and the environmental harm caused by fossil fuel extraction while providing for development of new technologies and additional jobs created better resting conditions for drivers and providing alternative to idling in parking lots or road shoulders, and the New Zealand Compact Fluorescent Lightbulb Project. Reforestation & Avoided Deforestation Projects encompass the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley Reforestation Initiative aiming to reforest at least one million acres throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri and Illinois, and Acre, Brazil REDD+ Forestry Projects that while protecting forests establish alternative sources of income and employment opportunities along with social projects and programs such as building a new school and health clinic in the course of providing payments for ecosystem services.

The Chippewa are opposing the return of large scale mining to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where several companies have or are poised to begin mining (John Collins, "Undermining the Northern Peninsula," In These Times, March 2014).

In Ecuador, where the government has approved plans to drill for oil in the Amazon area Yasuni National Park, home of the Waorani people, in summer 2013, polls showed that the majority of the country's citizens oppose the drilling, and activists were pushing for a referendum on the issue, while encouraging protests against the extraction. For more information go to Amazon Watch: http://scim.ag/Yasunidrill ("Opponents Vow to Block Amazon Drilling," Science, August 23, 2013).

Berber tribes people in Imider, Morocco have been protesting at a silver mine of the Imiter Mettalurgic Company, whose principal owner is the king of Morocco, and shut off its water, complaining of its taking and polluting their scarce water, while giving nothing back to them  (Aida Alamijan, "On Moroccan Hill, Villagers Make Stand Against a Mine, The New York Times, January 23, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/24/world/africa/on-moroccan-hill-villagers-make-stand-against-a-mine.html?src=me).

An anti pollution protest against the building of an incinerator in the Chinese City of Hangzhou became violent, in mid-May 2014, injuring at least 29 police officers and ten demonstrators (David Barboza, “Protest of Planned Incinerator Turns Violent in Chinese City,” The New York Times, May 12, 2014). More broadly, amidst the wide range of environmental outrages that increasingly have been blanketing China, a large environmental movement has been growing, and environmental regulation is increasing, though still way behind expanding environmental damage and harm to people. The Chinese government long stressed economic development and job creation at any cost, in part to preempt unrest. What it is finding is that the environmental degradation with its human cost has become a major source of unrest (Michelle Chen, "China's Green Movement: Environmentalists cut through the smog of state repression," In These Times, March, 2014).

"New Penan blockade against oil palm plantation," Survival International, December 23, 2013, http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/986, reported, "Forty Penan families, from the Malaysian state of Sarawak, are blockading in protest against the Shin Yang logging and oil palm plantation company for trespassing on their ancestral land. The Penan from Long Jaik, below the controversial Murum Dam, recently won a court case against Shin Yang for converting their land into an oil palm plantation. The court recognized the Penan’s rights over the oil palm plantation. Shin Yang is appealing the court’s decision. The 40 families, led by their village chief, Tugang Matu, have now begun a blockade to stop Shin Yang continuing to trespass on their land and to demand compensation. Survival International has received a message from the village urging it to alert the media to their protest. The Penan have been fighting for many years to keep logging companies off their land. Oil palm companies are now moving into areas from where the valuable timber has been taken. The recent court decision is a major victory for the Penan, but they fear that it will be ignored and the company will carry on as usual. Shin Yang has established large-scale oil palm plantations on Penan land, often without consulting the Penan. It is also one of the biggest timber firms in Sarawak and is operating on large parts of Penan land.

Return to top

U.S. Activities

National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) President Brian Cladoosby, gave the State of Indian Nations Address, January 30, 2014, saying, “This is an exciting time for Indian Country. Tribes are meeting our challenges head on, improving the lives of our people and our neighbors, and preparing the next generation for even greater achievements. … But our ability to contribute to the collective prosperity of the country is threatened by the federal government’s failure to keep its promises.” Cladoosby opened by reflecting on many of the recent achievements throughout Indian country pointing out that the number of Native-owned businesses in the United States has grown to about a quarter million, while tribes are now large employers in many states, and are increasingly finding trading partners in foreign nations, indicating that “Tribal nations are no longer seen as a footnote to America’s past, but as a force for America’s future.” Cladoosby was encouraged by the 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which included greater protections for most Native American women, but he was quite concerned that Congress glaringly left the 226 Alaska tribes out of the law and unprotected—an injustice that NCAI was working to correct this year. Cladoosby acknowledged that Native and non-Native Americans shared similar aspirations, saying “We all want good schools and sustainable employment, safe communities and new opportunities, drinkable water and breathable air… and a bright future for our children.” To achieve those goals, he proposed that US government must by an ally that promotes sovereignty instead of subordination. The NCAI president was encouraged by what he saw as the Obama administration’s positive relationship Indian nations, and while noting many positive trends for Native America, emphasized the need to meet the many challenges facing Indian country today. He identified many of these problems, which centered on the themes of opportunities for youth, violence, tribal sovereignty, and the federal government’s failure to uphold its trustee responsibilities. Recapping the foundation of Indian-US relations, Cladoosby described the trustee relationship in which the US government “Promised three things: To provide funding for essential services… To guard our right to govern ourselves on our remaining lands, and to help manage those lands and resources in our interests.” He repeatedly mentioned that the government did not sufficiently grant Indian nations the power of self-determination, and resolved that the success of Native communities depends on the federal government respecting indigenous sovereignty. Following Cladoosby’s address, the congressional response was given by Montana senator Jon Tester who was introduced as “a champion of Indian country.” Echoing Cladoosby, Tester described his vision for empowering tribes to make their own decisions. “We must work with Indian country in order to best support Indian country,” said Tester. “Dictating policy from Washington simply does not work.” He expressed regret about recent funding cuts to Native schools. Acknowledging that, “We’ve failed to live up to our trust responsibilities,” Tester affirmed that the state of Indian Nations is a concern that the United States government must face, “The federal government must treat tribes as trusted allies and honor the contracts and treaties we agreed to. It must live up to its trust responsibilities, but then step aside and let tribes take the reins and determine your fate.” For more information, visit: http://www.ncai.org/events/2014/01/30/2014-state-of-indian-nations-address, which includes a downloadable video of the address: and " 2014 State of Indian Nations: Honoring Self-determination," Cultural Survival, January 31, 2014, http://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/2014-state-indian-nations-honoring-self-determination#sthash.3Hv4uuhK.dpuf.

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) published "An Honorable Budget For Indian Country(Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Request,"( January 31, which is downloadable at: http://www.ncai.org/NCAI_2014_Budget_Request.pdf. NCAI publishes this detailed annual document "as part of its mission to serve as a forum for unified policy development among tribal governments. Tribal leaders respectfully request that these recommendations be considered as part of the appropriations process. An honorable budget for Indian Country will empower tribes so they can provide their people with good health care, quality education, decent and adequate housing, and public safety. These services – that every American expects – meet the needs of Native peoples, benefit residents of surrounding communities, and fulfill trust and treaty obligations to tribal nations. The FY 2015 budget requests were compiled with the help of tribal leaders, Native organizations, and partner groups. NCAI is grateful for their contributions and participation in the creation of these requests" ("An Honorable Budget For Indian Country(Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Request," NCAI, January 31, 2014, http://www.ncai.org/news/articles/2014/01/31/ncai-sets-2014-agenda-with-budget-proposal-state-of-indian-nations). " NCAI Analysis of the President's FY2015 Budget Request," March 5, 2014 is at: http://www.ncai.org/news/articles/2014/03/05/ncai-analysis-of-the-president-s-fy2015-budget-request.

NCAI actions and statements since the Winter 2013-14 issue of IPJ include: December 21, 2013: objecting to Wisconsin Governor Walker signing a bill making it easier for schools with Native American mascots to keep them and harder for people who want to change the nicknames to challenge them; January 22, 2014: The NCAI President committed to strengthening the partnership with Boys and Girls Clubs, in a meeting with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and members of the Tulalip Tribe to discuss the importance of supporting Native youth through positive youth development programs. He noted that the Boys and Girls Clubs in Indian Country serve over 85,000 Native youth in over 200 clubs nationwide in Indian country; March 13, 2014: NCAI Encouraged By DOI Opinion On Carcieri; Reaffirms Need For A Robust Fix That Ensures Tribal Equality; May 19, 2014 - having repeatedly supported efforts to have the Washington Redskins Football Team change its name, NCAI and ChangeTheMascot.org launched a new photo project highlighting what Native people are Proud To Be; and May 23, 2014, NCAI Supports Revisions “To Create A Fair And Just” Recognition Process.

Gale Courey Toensing, "NIGA Takes Stand With Wind River Against Opposing State Legislation," ICTMN, May 21,2014, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/05/21/niga-takes-stand-wind-river-against-opposing-state-legislation-154956, reported, "The National Indian Gaming Association has promised to fight a proposed bill that would terminate 170,000 acres of the Wind River Reservation and set a dangerous precedent for state expropriation of land throughout Indian country," in a unanimous decision by NIGA members at the association’s annual Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Conference, in San Diego during the week of May 11, 2014. The action is in response to a bill proposed in the Wyoming Senate "to clarify" the boarders of the Wind River Reservation shared by the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone nations, in an attempt to remove the City of Riverton from the two tribes jurisdiction to control air quality under the Clean Air Act of 1970's “Treatment of Tribes as States” provision, after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authorized the tribes to regulate air quality on their reservation in December 2013." For more information, contact:

Laura Harris, 505.842.8677, lharris@aio.org, or Chrissie Castro, 323.420.6844, chrissie.castro@gmail.com.

The National Indian Child Welfare Association, the National congress of American Indians, the Native American Rights Fund, and the Association on American Indian Affairs sent a letter, in early February, 2014, to the U.S. Department of Justice requesting an investigation into the treatment of Indian children by public welfare agencies and private adoption organizations, as there is a great deal of evidence of violation of the Indian Child Welfare Act, which requires that Indian children not be placed outside of their tribal membership. Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a class action law suit on behalf of two North Dakota Indian nations and Indian parents in Pennington County, SD, claiming that the county has been removing Indian children from their parents in custody hearings without sufficient protections (Dan Frosch, "Indian Groups Question Public Child-Welfare Practices," The New York Times, February 4, 2014).

"FEDEX, RETURN TO SENDER: Native American Organizations Call on Washington Football Team Corporate Sponsors to Stop Harming Children," Press Release, Albuquerque, NM, July 10, 2014, stated, "Native American organizations and communities from across the country are calling on the Washington NFL team’s corporate sponsors to do what is right for America’s children, and cancel their sponsorship of the Washington football team, starting with Federal Express (Fed-Ex). This week, the Native Voice Network, a virtual community of Native American families and organizations, will launch a national public awareness campaign aimed at NFL sponsoring corporations, urging them to end their affiliation with a mascot and nickname that harms children. The American Psychological Association (APA)* officially called for the immediate end to American Indian mascots based on research showing that mascots establish an unwelcome and often hostile learning environment for Native youth, and increases negative attitudes about Native youth by non-Native youth. But the hurt doesn’t stop there. The APA also found that mascots undermine the educational experience of non-Native students as well. 'The findings are clear.  Racist mascots hurt Native youth who can’t afford for corporate sponsors to sit on the sidelines in this debate,' says Jennifer Varenchik, a Native American working with youth.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,** suicide is the second leading cause of death for Native youth in the 15-24 age group—two and half times the national rate. 'Our communities are dealing with this crisis founded in the low self-esteem of our children.  When young people hear words like the 'R-word' and see dehumanizing images about our culture, they are directly impacted and often internalize these negative stereotypes, having detrimental effects on their school work and life choices.' 'The bottom line is that no community-minded corporation should sponsor a mascot that hurts American youth. The mascot debate has been missing the point. The issue is not about who is offending or ‘honoring’ who. The Native Voice Network is making clear that harm is being inflicted on America’s youth –Native and non-Native alike.  This can no longer be denied nor tolerated. We hope Federal Express and other NFL sponsors are listening,' comments Laura Harris, Executive Director of Americans for Indian Opportunity, the organizational host of the NVN."

" The Onondaga Nation Files Petition Against United States with Inter-American Commission on Human Rights," Cultural Survival, April 17, 2014, http://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/onondaga-nation-files-petition-against-united-states-inter-american-commission-human-rights, reported, On Tuesday, April 15, members of the Onondaga Nation, a treaty-recognized sovereign nation with homelands in upstate New York, filed a petition against the United States with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). Since 1788, 2.5 million acres of land have been stolen from the Onondaga Nation by New York State, and the failure of the domestic court system has left the Nation with no choice but to seek assistance for human rights violations from the international community. To bring attention to the filing, chiefs from the Onondaga Nation and supporters gathered at the Friends Meeting House in Washington, DC wearing traditional dress and with a historic wampum belt commissioned for the Nation by President George Washington to signify peace and friendship while ratifying the 1794 Treaty of Canandaigua." "On March 11, 2005, the Nation filed a Land Rights Action in the United States District Court, which the federal court dismissed. The Nation then appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed that dismissal. Finally, the Nation filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court seeking review of the dismissal and its affirmance. On October 15, 2013, the Supreme Court denied that petition. No further remedy is available in the United States court system. 'Where the U.S. courts failed, the international community can help us preserve our role as an environmental steward of the land,” added Hill. “That means greater access to our surrounding lands and to cleansing the industrial pollution in Onondaga Lake, which remains a vital location to our nation’s spiritual life.' The response from the U.S. courts bars the Nation from any domestic remedy and refuses it the chance to articulate the violations of New York State dating back to the late 18th Century. The federal courts’ inherently discriminatory ruling refused to consider the merits of the Nation’s case, holding that indigenous peoples’ claims for relief arising from violations of their land rights are “inherently disruptive” and, therefore, cannot be considered. The Nation’s petition at the IACHR outlines the United States’ responsibility for violations of the Nation’s property rights, equality, judicial protection and due process – outlined in multiple domestic and international agreements, including multiple treaties, the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples." The complaint asserts, "The Onondaga Nation has never sold or otherwise relinquished its lands or its rights as a sovereign nation. Between 1788 and 1822 the State of New York took approximately 2.5 million acres of Onondaga Nation land, violating federal law, the Constitution and various treaties. Major land “acquisitions” by New York State in the 18th century were conducted with unauthorized individuals without the knowledge or consent of the authorized Onondaga chiefs. On multiple occasions, the State deceived the Onondagas into thinking the State was only leasing the land."

" Seminole and Miccosukee Leaders Fight to Save Burial Grounds in Florida," Cultural Survival, May 22, 2014, http://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/seminole-and-miccosukee-leaders-fight-save-burial-grounds-florida, reported, "A group of Indigenous leaders in Florida, known as the Council of the Original Miccosukee Simanolee Nation Aboriginal Peoples, is trying to halt a government infrastructure project which would result in the destruction of indigenous burial grounds, after becoming aware of the plans in April, 2014. The proposed project, authorized under the Flood Prevention Act of 1954, would flood a significant portion of the Three Forks Marsh Conservation Area (TFMCA), near Port Malabar, Florida, to create a water retention and filtration area. Following standard protocol, the Army Corps of Engineers first conducted an archeological survey of the area in 2003 to identify any cultural resources which would be damaged by the plans. As a result, a total of nine different sites at TFMCA became eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, three of which - Elder Mound, Platt Mound, and Lone Oak Mound - were identified as large mounds containing human remains. The human remains that were uncovered during the fieldwork were reburied on site. Collaborating with the Seminole Tribe of Florida and the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, the Army Corps initially agreed to construct ring levees around the three burial mounds to protect them from being inundated by 12 to 15 feet of water, but those plans were later scrapped. The Army Corps stated in a letter that “After compiling the engineering data, we have come to the conclusion that we cannot construct the levees to protect the sites from inundation,” and further maintained that what were originally thought to be burial grounds were actually prehistoric fishing locations, given the quantity of animal bones found during excavation. Although the Seminole Tribe and Miccosukee Tribe informed the Army Corps that they could not accept the inundation of human remains, they did not legally challenge the reversed decision by the Army Corps to flood the sites. While the Seminole Tribe and Miccosukee Tribe were officially notified about the plans, the Army Corps failed to notify the Council of the Original Miccosukee Simanolee Nation Aboriginal Peoples, an indigenous group in Florida who are not federally recognized and who continue to govern themselves under their traditional laws. Upon learning about the proposed project at TFMCA, the Council wrote a letter to the Army Corps challenging the decision. Signed by Bobby C. Billie, Cecil Osceola, and Leroy Osceola, the letter read, “The Council of the Original Miccosukee Simanolee Nation Aboriginal Peoples does not want you to use our sacred (holy) aboriginal burial grounds as a dumpsite for your dirty water… Desecrating our aboriginal burial grounds with 12-15 feet of dirty water is wrong, and the removal of any aboriginal human remains and belongings violates domestic laws, international laws, and the Creator’s Natural Law.” Further actions are planned, and the Council of the Original Miccosukee Simanolee Nation Aboriginal Peoples is urging people to write letters to the Jacksonville District of the Army Corps of Engineers, the St. Johns River Water Management District, and the Seminole Tribe of Florida asking them to halt the Three Forks project. For further information, contact the Council of the Original Miccosukee Simanolee Nation at Ancientrees@hotmail.com."

Dine Minds is a grass roots organization on the Navajo reservation working to bridge the communication gap between the Navajo public and their government. Concerned that too many council decisions have been made with little or no public input, the group put on a forum, January 17, 2014, Meeting of Dine Minds, to encourage community dialogue with council members and other officials (Alastair Lee Bitsoi, "'Dine Minds' tries to bridge gap between government, governed," Navajo Times, January 23, 2014).

"EONM Calls on Governor Fallin to ‘Recognize the Racism in Oklahoma’," ICTMN, May 21, 2014, http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/05/21/eonm-calls-governor-fallin-recognize-racism-oklahoma-154966, reported, "A group of Native American parents protested outside of the Oklahoma State Capitol building on Monday to draw attention to Governor Mary Fallin’s recent actions toward the Native community. The group known as Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry presented more than 8,000 signatures in their effort to spur Fallin to 'recognize the racism [against Natives] in Oklahoma and do something about it.'” EONM was moved to protest following a number of actions by Fallin, and in one case by the Governor's daughter, including the Governor signing an extradition order leading to the removal of Baby Veronica from her birth parents, failing to call attention to the killing of a Native teenager in Custer County, and her daughter Christina Fallin’s offensive behavior, wearing Native headdress, and performing a fake war dance during her band’s performance in April 2014.

Return to top

International Activities

" NAIPC calls for Cancellation of the United Nations World Conference on Indigenous Peoples," Cultural Survival, March 5, 2014, http://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/naipc-calls-cancellation-united-nations-world-conference-indigenous-peoples, reported, "The North American Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus (NAIPC) to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, which convened in Kamloops (Secwepemc Territory), British Columbia, Canada on March 1-2, 2014, has called for the cancellation of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples." The text of the NAIPC letter is in Dialoguing, below. Note discussion of the issues at the UN Permanent Forum On Indigenous Issues at the beginning of International Developments, below.

Idle No More, http://www.idlenomore.ca, has continued to be involved in numerous events, including, Aboriginal Day In Orangeville>(. Saturday, June 21, 2014 at 12:00 pm, (Alexandria Park on Second Street, Orangeville, ON, Digital Story Telling on the illegal theft of the Black Hills at the Homestake Gold Mine>(. Friday, August 29, 2014 at 08:00 AM(, Homestake Mine, Lead, SD, and Memories of the Past and Future... Idle No More, a virtual event to support our First Nations brothers & sisters in Canada through solidarity and elsewhere, September 30, 2014 at 12:00 PM (http://www.idlenomore.ca/events). On May 27, 2014, AFN Special Chiefs Assembly (SCA) passed a resolution rejecting the Canadian Parliament's legislation on First Nation Education, Bill C-33, and calling for Indigenous Education by and for Indigenous people (See "Indigenous Education by and for Indigenous people," in Dialoguing). Tsleil-Waututh Nation launching a legal challenge May 2, filing a legal case against the Canadian Government and its National Energy Board for their conduct thus far in the review of the tar sands Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion project (KMX).>(( The link to their Livestream page for the press conference May 2 is: https://new.livestream.com/tsleilwaututh/kindermorgan, and the media advisory is at: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=696316270426610&set=a.639946432730261.1073741828.630937800297791&type=1&theater. In February, Idle No More Supported the February 14th Annual Women’s Memorial March, held on Valentine’s Day each year to honor the memory of Indigenous women, including trans and two-spirit women, who have died as a result of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual violence. "Now in its 23rd year, the March remembers and honors murdered and missing women, and seeks to organize against ongoing gendered" (For more, see, " Idle No More Supports the 23rd Annual February 14th Women’s Memorial March, Cultural Survival, February 14, 2014. http://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/idle-no-more-supports-23rd-annual-february-14th-womens-memorial-march).

Jenna Winton, " Omushkegowuk Walkers: Reclaiming the Past, Present, and Future," Cultural Survival, April 18, 2014, http://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/omushkegowuk-walkers-reclaiming-past-present-and-future, reports, "On January 4, 2014, three Cree men, Danny Metatawabin, Brian Okimaw, and Paul Mattinas, began a 1,700km trek from Attawapiskat First Nation to the Parliament Hill Building in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, to send a message and raise awareness of the treaty rights made between First Nations and the Canadian government. In the past, lack of housing, infrastructure, increasingly poor health care programs, and very few educational opportunities have led to unsustainable living conditions and a disproportionate percentage of social issues in First Nation’s communities. According to Metatawabin, these factors and the government’s lack of respect for treaty rights inspired them to walk, with the intent of sparking a discussion between both the federal and provincial governments and First Nation’s leaders on implementing the treaties. He commented, “I find that the government is not treating First Nations with respect and honor, and I find that they don't understand the spiritual intent of the treaties.” Throughout the fifty day walk through frigid conditions, the participants, now known as the Omushkegowuk Walkers, visited local First Nation’s communities along the way and were received by overwhelming support. “We were greeted with respect and were treated very well; we had accommodations, or were provided with places to stay as well as meals. And for those communities that were able to, they feasted for us. But I always reminded them that the feast is not for us. It's for their people and their communities. It was very positive. We prayed daily, and we'd also like to acknowledge the people for their prayers.” While passing through Fort Albany, Moosonee, Cochrane, North Bay and other communities, the group grew as the message spread and people took up the cause, joining the walk for treaty awareness. On their scheduled arrival in Ottawa on February 24, a total of 18 Walkers showed up with the original three. The demonstrations continued as they rallied on Parliament Hill after a ceremony at the Human Rights monument. “In a good way it was very overwhelming. I want to thank all of the people, the communities for the empowerment in order for myself and the Walkers to complete the journey, because we did this for the people,” Metatawabin stated. On their Facebook page “ Reclaiming Our Steps Past, Present, and Future” there is a call for action beyond the walk. “This spiritual journey, echoed by our ancestors is a calling for all of First Nation Peoples to be awakened and take action on matters that affect our existence- past, present and future. We cannot remain silent and/or be silenced [any]more. This is our time. Change is upon us and we are the change.” Metatawabin encourages supporters to keep pressuring the governments to honor and respect the treaties. “The walk didn't end there. We still continue, we'll still add pressure. Just stay tuned for more.”

" Central American Youth Forum Inspires Indigenous Youth to Work Together Across Borders to Promote Indigenous Cultures and Rights," Cultural Survival, February 26, 2014, http://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/central-american-youth-forum-inspires-indigenous-youth-work-together-across-borders-promote, reported, "On February 8, 2014, 55 youth from Guatemala, Belize and El Salvador gathered in Panajachel, Sololá, Guatemala for Cultural Survival's First Central American Youth Forum. This event was the third and final in a series of youth conferences that Cultural Survival organized with three grassroots Indigenous organizations: Tumul K'in Centre of Learning (Belize), ADECCAP (Guatemala) and Africa 70 (El Salvador). The same youth that participated in the two prior events, met once again at beautiful Lake Atitlán, greeting each other with hugs and smiles in the early morning sun." "The main goal of this project was to improve integration and participation for Indigenous Central American youth, using community radio as a tool. At the prior events, the youth learned about their shared histories, the history of community radio, and Indigenous values, among other topics. They practiced investigative journalism and gained experience presenting for radio and in front of their peers and elders. The forum was organized to motivate the youth to create their own projects following the closing of this training series. One participant acknowledged the need to work together with other Indigenous youth from different countries stating, 'It seems like were are from different countries, but really we are all united as one community. We need to erase the imaginary lines that divide Central America.' On the first day of the event, youth worked in groups, tackling important questions in creative ways. They participated in a scavenger hunt, searching the premises for their groups’ questions. Once they found and answered a question, they could grab their next clue card. Some of the questions included, “How does community radio deal with youth issues in our communities?”; “What are the most important social issues that are affecting Indigenous youth in our communities?” Following this activity, the youth groups presented their ideas to each other, then they reached consensus regarding which issues were most relevant to their communities and which issues most deserved follow-up projects. The topics that the groups chose were discrimination, Indigenous rights, youth issues, and history. Youth were given the responsibility to create real project proposals that tackled the identified issues in their various communities. They had to take into consideration distance, the lack of funds and all other difficulties that they might encounter. T, was at the youth groups worked together, guided by facilitators who stressed the importance of making these project proposals viable, under the expectation that these would be real projects that the youth would have to execute." "The youth arrived in the conference room ready to present their project proposals. The group with the topic 'Indigenous Rights' decided that their project proposal would be to create a Facebook page dedicated to Indigenous rights. They recognized that this proposal is one that is viable, considering the distance between the group members, and that it is a great tool for sharing information and creating networks. They planned on creating a team who would search for issues that were happening internationally and teams that would update about their own communities. The page would share stories regarding both Indigenous rights violations, as well as communities who are fighting to protect their rights. As Mauricio Guerrero, one of the youth panelists commented, 'The majority of youth now use social media. Do we have access to Facebook? The majority of us do. But we have to use these mediums productively. There we have to influence others and fight against discrimination against our Indigenous communities.' After the presentations, the event closed with the youth participants making commitments to proceed with the projects that they themselves had designed. They fleshed out the proposals, detailing who would take what role, and what each role entailed. Then, they signed their names next to their roles, with their contact information, making a commitment to continue with their projects after the closing of the event. For each project, at least one coordinator was assigned, and in some cases, one coordinator per country. These coordinators closed the event by presenting their groups name, its main objective, and all of the members’ names and roles. These coordinators also accepted the responsibility of organizing their group members after the closing of the event so that they may move forward with their projects. The youth expressed deep gratitude for having participated in the project. Motivated to make a difference in their communities and in Central America, one youth stated, 'We are going to do something, even if it is something small. Let’s be the black dot in the monstrous white that is the monopoly of the mediums of communication.'"

" Increased International Pressure Needed To Legalize Community Radio in Guatemala," Cultural Survival, January 29, 2014, http://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/increased-international-pressure-needed-legalize-community-radio-guatemala, stated, "Cultural Survival, a Cambridge-based Indigenous Peoples’ rights organization, submitted a Statement of Information on the Prohibition on Indigenous Peoples Community Radio Stations in Guatemala to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya as a measure to further call attention to the violation of Indigenous Peoples’ freedom of speech in Guatemala. Community radio has had a presence in Indigenous communities around Guatemala since the 1960s. Indigenous Peoples in Guatemala rely on community radio to keep their cultures, languages, and traditions alive as well as to inform their communities about issues and events relevant to their lives. Because of its relatively low cost, community radio is an accessible tool. However, the laws of Guatemala do not allow for any form of non-profit radio, including community radio. Instead, Guatemala only provides for commercial and government use of radio frequencies; obtaining a commercial license is done through a bidding process with the highest bid winning. As a result, the vast majority of Guatemala’s Indigenous communities are unable to legally operate community radio stations; only a rare few have been successful in the awarding of a frequency. Instead, many Indigenous communities operate community radio stations illegally, typically borrowing frequencies that are not in use, but always under the threat of raids, confiscation of costly equipment, and imprisonment by government officials. Since the Peace Accords ending Guatemala’s Civil War were signed in 1996, Indigenous communities have been working together to push the government to change these discriminatory laws. As explained in more detail below, this strong and vibrant lobbying effort led to a 2010 legislative bill that would have legalized community radio. That bill was awarded a favorable recommendation by a Congressional subcommittee but was later shelved, continuing to leave radio stations and operators vulnerable to persecution and raids. A community radio movement emerged in Guatemala after it became clear that ensuring that Indigenous Peoples have access to communications media was not a priority for the Government of Guatemala. Lobbying campaigns to change the current General Telecommunications Law are numerous. Hundreds of Indigenous community members have traveled to the capital to lobby Congress on behalf of community radio stations. Thousands have participated in public demonstrations and marches. The Special Rapporteur has recognized the role that media plays in protecting Indigenous Peoples’ rights to freedom of expression, which includes the right to seek, receive and impart information, culture and participation, paying attention specifically to community radio. Community radio, as a form of media, is linked to the maintenance of languages and cultures, is a valuable tool to educate children, and promotes democracy by advancing participation and non-discrimination. On behalf of Indigenous communities in Guatemala operating community radio stations or wanting to, three organizations, Cultural Survival, La Asociación Sobrevivencia Cultural, and Asociación Mujb’ab’l Yol (Encuentro de Expresiones) submitted a Statement of Information pursuant to the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples to “receive…information and communications from…communities and organizations, on alleged violations of their human rights and fundamental freedoms….” The petitioners are three separate organizations devoted to ensuring that Indigenous communities are able to exercise their rights to culture, language, freedom of expression, and political participation. Cultural Survival, La Asociación Sobrevivencia Cultural, and Asociación Mujb’ab’l Yol (Encuentro de Expresiones) view Indigenous community radio as a crucial tool for Indigenous Peoples and are therefore committed to building the capacity and supporting existing Indigenous community radio stations in Guatemala. As recognized by the international community and as provided for in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, access to all forms of media, including radio, is an essential means for Indigenous Peoples to exercise many of their human rights, including culture, language, participation and freedom of expression. Despite a commitment from the Government of Guatemala nineteen years ago to provide access to radio frequencies in a non-discriminatory manner to Indigenous Peoples, the Government continues to fail in meeting its human rights obligations. “We have submitted a petition to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in order to increase international pressure on the Government of Guatemala to provide a way for non-profit Indigenous community radio stations to acquire broadcast licenses. The government promised to do so 18 years ago in the Peace Accords that ended the civil war, but continues to drag their feet. The tireless efforts of many Guatemalan citizens has led to a favorable recommendation of the Proposed Community Media Law, Initiativa 4087, from the Indigenous Peoples Committee in the Congress, but additional pressure is needed to make that Bill into a Law,” said Mark Camp, Deputy Executive Director of Cultural Survival."

"Ayoreo Indians send urgent video appeal to Spanish tycoon," Cultural Survival, February 27, 2014, http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/10032, reported, " Ayoreo Indian leaders in Paraguay have sent an unprecedented video appeal to Spanish construction giant Group San José and its subsidiary ranching company Carlos Casado S.A., demanding the return of their ancestral land which is inhabited by their uncontacted relatives. In the short video clip, three Ayoreo men speak of the urgent threat of deforestation being carried out by the ranchers on the uncontacted Ayoreo’s land and call on supporters to help protect the Chaco forest from further destruction." "Grupo San José’s subsidiary, Carlos Casado S.A., owns large parts of the Ayoreo’s ancestral land in the Chaco forest in northern Paraguay, and was previously caught red-handed clearing the forest illegally. The Chaco already has the highest rate of deforestation in the world." "The last uncontacted Indians outside Amazonia are forced to live on the run from the bulldozers that flatten their houses and gardens to make way for cattle. Diseases brought in by outsiders could decimate the Indians. The majority of Ayoreo that have been contacted and brought out of the forest now suffer from serious respiratory illnesses such as tuberculosis. Several have died in recent years. Survival International has written to Grupo San José’s shareholders, urging them to disinvest over the company’s involvement in the destruction of the uncontacted Ayoreo’s forest, and Survival’s supporters have sent thousands of letters to Paraguay’s Environment Minister. Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘Paraguay has already earned the unsavory reputation of having the highest deforestation rate in the world. If the country had any genuine concern for the remaining forest it need look no further than the Ayoreo, who are the true guardians of their land. Instead, this UNESCO biosphere is being rapidly devastated for the benefit of Brazil’s beef industry, and to line the pockets of one of Spain’s richest men.’"

"Brazilian indigenous leader slams Amazon mega-dams in Paris protest," Survival International, March 14, 2014, http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/10062, reported, "Brazilian Indian Sonia Guajajara led a protest in Paris today – the International Day of Action for Rivers – calling for a halt to the construction of mega-dams in the Amazon. Sonia led over a hundred protestors to the offices of French companies GDF Suez, EDF and Alstom, which are involved in the construction of several destructive dams. She led the group in forming ‘human waves’ which crashed into the office buildings to represent the destruction of large Amazonian dams by the global anti-dam movement. The group then carried its messages to the River Seine. Survival supporters carried placards reading ‘STOP AMAZON DAMS’. Sonia, of the Guajajara tribe in the north-eastern Amazon, is the national coordinator of the Association of Indigenous Peoples (APIB), a network of indigenous organizations in Brazil. She said, ’Brazil’s reputation is at stake… We are here to bring visibility to the unacceptable prejudice and discrimination suffered by indigenous peoples and to demand that it stops’. Despite fierce opposition, Brazil is forging ahead with its construction of the massive Belo Monte dam on the Xingu River, and the Madeira and Tapajós river dams, all in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. Thousands of Indians have been protesting against these projects, warning that they are devastating the forest and putting at risk the lives of the thousands of Indians who live there. Indian leader Megaron Kayapó said, ‘Which rivers will we have for fishing? The Xingu is our river, our supermarket… We live by hunting, fishing, and planting… We have always been against it (Belo Monte), and we will always be against it’. The uncontacted Indians living near the dam construction sites could be completely wiped out by outside diseases brought in by the thousands of migrants being drawn to the areas. On Tuesday, Sonia denounced Brazil’s abuse of indigenous rights at the United Nations in Geneva, including the government and landowners’ aims to weaken indigenous rights and open up indigenous territories for massive industrial projects. Director of Survival France, Jean-Patrick Razon, said today, ’Sonia’s demands in Paris today, just three months before the World Cup kicks off, act as another wake-up call to the human rights scandal inflicted on the Indians by these French companies, and by the Brazilian state. When will they listen and put a stop to this once and for all?’ Sonia’s visit to Europe was coordinated by Amazon Watch, France Libertés and Planète Amazone." Survival’s 2010 report highlighting the great negative impact on Indigenous peoples of large dams being built worldwide is at: http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/6323.

The holding of the Olympics in Sochi, Russia was attended by local Indigenous protests. " Circassians Demand Russia Admit to Genocide in Sochi," Cultural Survival, February 15, 2014, http://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/circassians-demand-russia-admit-genocide-sochi, reported, "The hosting of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia has caused a recent uproar in the local Indigenous Circassian community. The Circassian ancestral home is Circassia, Russia, an area in the North Caucus along the North East shore of the Black Sea. The 2010 Russian census recorded a population of 718,727 Circassians. Circassians are divided into two main tribes, the Adyghe and the Karbardians. However the whole is made up of twelve different tribes, represented on their flag by twelve distinct stars. Once the predominant ethnic group in the Caucus, the Circassians were nearly wiped out in the aftermath of the Russian-Circassian War. In what is considered by some the first genocide in modern Europe’s history, the “ethnic cleansing” of the Circassians from 1860 to 1864 resulted in close to 95% of the Circassian nation disappearing by either death or deportation. In preparation for the Games, Sochi, which was once the Circassian capital, constructed facilities on areas alleged to hold mass graves of Circassians killed during the “cleansing”. Circassians organizations have objected to these developments stating it is a desecration of these graves. However their protests were dismissed and the Olympic Games in Sochi are currently taking place on these historic areas. Circassian’s demand the Circassian genocide be acknowledged and apologized for by the Russian government. The winter Games also happen to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the genocide. A particular area in concern is Krasnaya Polyanas or 'Red Hill'. It is the site where a group of Circassians returning home were massacred in battle. The hill derives its name from the Circasssian blood spilt there. Ivad Yoghar of the International Circassian Council stated, 'we want the athletes to know that if they compete here they will be skiing on the bones of our relatives,.” For more information visit: ( http://www.thenation.com/blog/178409/sochi-land-circassians-they-cant-hi... ( http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/18/world/russia-sochi-circassians/, ( http://news.yahoo.com/olympics-divide-sochi-39-indigenous-circassians-17...

" Campaign Update– Cameroon: Urgent Action Needed!," Cultural Survival, May 30, 2014, http://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/campaign-update-cameroon-urgent-action-needed, reported on its campaign, "Herakles Farms, a US company, has been chopping down miles of dense forest without the full authority to do so -- and in the face of desperate pleas and resistance from local communities. The palm oil project will also destroy precious chimpanzee and forest elephant habitat if it goes ahead. In February, Herakles began clear-cutting trees with an illegal permit in hand. The permit also allows the illicit timber to be sold on international markets. And this is all happening with the complicity of the Cameroonian Ministry of Forests and the full knowledge of the European Union (EU). We must act fast. The illegal timber is now in port, leaving for markets in China any day now -- our window to stop the trade is closing. - See more at: http://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/campaign-update-cameroon-urgent-action-needed#sthash.GEeCg6TV.dpuf." For more on Herakes in Cameroon, see International Developments below.

"New York and Berlin travelers urged to join Botswana boycott," Survival International, March, 10, 2014, http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/10048, reported, "Supporters of the Bushman tribe in Botswana have targeted travel fairs in New York and Berlin to highlight the persecution of Africa’s last hunting Bushmen by the Botswana government, following protests in London, Madrid and Milan. Hundreds of flyers were handed to visitors and industry representatives at the New York Times Travel Show and the Internationale Tourismusbörse in Berlin, calling for a boycott of tourism to Botswana until the Bushmen are allowed to live in peace on their land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Botswana is using glossy images of the Bushmen to attract visitors to the country, meanwhile driving the Bushmen off their ancestral land by restricting the tribe’s access to the reserve and arresting and torturing them for hunting – the Bushmen’s main means of survival. Botswana’s treatment of the Bushmen violates a landmark 2006 High Court ruling which upheld the Bushmen’s right to live and hunt in their reserve after they were brutally evicted by the government. Requirements to carry a permit on their land have been likened to the hated pass laws under apartheid South Africa, and Botswana’s treatment of the Bushmen has been denounced by renowned journalists such as the BBC’s John Simpson. Survival’s travel boycott of Botswana has so far received the support of several tour companies and over 7,000 travelers from around the world. Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘These protests follow hot on the heels of President Khama’s announcement that Survival is blacklisted in Botswana. Yet another own goal for the Botswana government. Many Survival staff – including myself – have been banned from the country for years already, so Khama has only succeeded in drawing attention to his government’s readiness to silence all opposition. Blacklisting all those who criticize your regime begs the question, what does Botswana have to hide?’

United to End Genocide was engaged, in June 2014, in a campaign to stop the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya in Burma, saying, "Recent ethnic and religiously motivated violence, burning of homes and hateful rhetoric are ominous warning signs of genocide in Burma. While Burma’s government has sat by — or even worse, participated in the fighting — over 125,000 innocent civilians have been displaced. Yet, the United States has continued to reward Burma for limited political and economic reforms by scaling back sanctions. Urgent action is needed to prevent genocide from being unleashed on Burma’s ethnic minorities. Contact President Obama now and demand that the United States take immediate action to stop the violence." For more information visit: http://endgenocide.org/actions/protect-the-rohingya/.

"Protestors call for the release of Papuan political prisoners in Indonesia," Survival International, April 3, 2014, http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/10131, reported, "The two Papuan students who were arrested yesterday have now been released. Both were severely beaten and remain in pain; one required stitches for his injuries. Around 100 protestors demonstrated today outside the Indonesian embassy in London to call for the unconditional and immediate release of all Papuan political prisoners. 76 of the protestors were handcuffed and had their mouths taped shut to represent the 76 political prisoners currently being held in Indonesian prisons. The protest was organized by Tapol, Survival International, Amnesty International and the Free West Papua Campaign. According to data from Papuans Behind Bars, the number of political arrests more than doubled in 2013 compared to the previous year, and reports of torture and ill treatment of political detainees have increased. West Papua’s tribal people continue to be arrested for peaceful activities and are often charged with treason or incitement, which can carry lengthy prison sentences." A demo the previous day in West Papua about political prisoners was dispersed by the police who fired warning shots. Two students wee arrested. Wiki Meaga was arrested in November 2010 while he was on the way to the funeral of a relative who had become ill after being tortured by the police. Meaga and eight other Papuans were accused of raising the banned Morning Star flag before they left their village in the Papuan highlands. It is believed that they were tortured after their arrest. Six of the men were found guilty of ‘treason’ and sentenced to eight years imprisonment. The fate of the other three men is unknown. Dominikus Surabut, a Papuan activist, writer and documentary film maker who was arrested in 2011 sent a message to the protestors in London, saying ‘I can’t be with you in person today because I am in jail, but my soul and my spirit are with you. United and strong we will overcome.’ Nixiwaka Yawanawá, a Yawanawá Indian from the Brazilian Amazon, who joined Survival International to speak out for indigenous rights, also participated in the protest. He said, ‘As an Amazon Indian I can understand the Papuans’ fight for freedom and justice. The Papuan tribes have suffered racism and violence at the hands of the Indonesian government for over 50 years; this inhumane action has to stop immediately.’ Indonesia has occupied Papua (the western half of the island of New Guinea) since 1963, and more than 100,000 Papuans are believed to have been killed since then. Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said, ‘This is an excellent example of why the current vogue amongst some American ‘popular science’ writers for claiming that the ‘peaceful’ state pacifies ‘violent’ tribes is nonsense. Indonesia’s occupation of West Papua has only been secured through the killing and torture of tens of thousands of tribespeople, who object to their new colonizers. It is one of the world’s longest-standing, and under-reported, gross violations of human rights.’

Return to top

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.