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Indigenous Activism

Why I’m Thankful For 500 Years Of Indigenous Resistance

Starting in 1452, under the guise of the Papal Bull Romanus Pontifex and later the 1493 Papal Bull Inter Cetera, the Christian Doctrine of Discovery, European Christians began their efforts to expand colonial rule, and the Christian Empire, throughout the world. These Papal Bulls sanctioned European Christian Nations to “capture, vanquish, and subdue the saracens, pagans, and other enemies of Christ, to put them into perpetual slavery, and to take all their possessions and property” and were authorized “to take possession of any lands discovered that were not under the dominion of any Christian rulers.” Early colonial efforts centered on the western coast of Africa as Portugal “claimed” lands and engaged in the trafficking of African slaves.

Court Rules Against Waratah Coal Mine In Landmark Ruling

The Queensland Land Court has ruled human rights would be unjustifiably limited by a proposal to dig the state's largest coal mine in the Galilee Basin in Central Queensland. First Nations-led activist group Youth Verdict challenged an application by mining company Waratah Coal, owned by billionaire Clive Palmer. The group of young Queensland activists challenged the mine on the basis it would impact the human rights of First Nations peoples by contributing to climate change. The coal mine would remove about 40 million tonnes of coal a year for export to South-East Asia, with a forecast life span of 30 years. It is the first time a group has successfully argued coal from a mine would impact human rights by contributing to climate change.

Indigenous Activists Call For Vote On Protect Native Heritage Act

Speaker Ronald Mariano must call for an immediate floor vote towards the passage of An Act to Protect Native American Heritage. The November 10 Harvard statement is indicative of a broader issue of how our sacred objects and our human remains continue to be held captive for racist, eugenicist, and colonialist means,” said Jean-Luc Pierite, member of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, and president of North American Indian Center of Boston, “We must act to refine the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) enforcement on the state level to include all publicly funded entities. Consultation and repatriation or rematriation are essential to putting our ancestors to rest. We mourn especially for children separated from their families and lost to boarding schools.

Indigenous Organizers And Allies Fight For Indian Child Welfare Act

Washington D.C. - This morning Indigenous organizers and allies shut down the lobby of the Gibson Dunn law firm in Washington D.C, protesting their involvement in trying to strike down the Indian Child Welfare Act for their big oil client, Energy Transfer. The Supreme Court is hearing arguments on Haaland v Brackeen today and will decide if they will gut ICWA in 2023, which will further weaken tribal sovereignty. Organizers entered the lobby with a drum singing prayer songs before security removed them from the building. Matthew McGill, a lawyer at Gibson Dunn, is representing the Brackeens in this case pro bono, alongside Paul Clement, an attorney who has a history of regularly attacking existing Indian law and worked to disestablish the Mashpee Tribe’s reservation in 2020.

Native Americans And White Farmers Form An Unlikely Alliance

South Dakota - Since 2010, Joye Braun, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, has fought the construction of oil and gas pipelines in her region, working to protect sacred places where her forebears hunted and fished and lived and died. In many of those battles, Braun came up against white ranchers and farmers who supported the pipelines and received fees from the developers for the use of their land. Today, Braun is opposing a huge new pipeline that would transport carbon dioxide across five Midwestern states — Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota. But this time she finds herself in an unusual alliance with white landowners who are also against the pipeline, like Ed Fischbach, a South Dakota farmer.

Indigenous Women Are Defending Weavings From Cultural Appropriation

The vibrant colors of the Indigenous weavings from Guatemala that appear on the traditional blouses known as huipiles, skirts and other items hold a deep symbolic meaning for communities across the Central American country, but they are also deeply intertwined with the promotion of tourism in Guatemala. The intricate designs greet tourists in promotional material at the airport, and companies and non-government organizations have sought to capitalize on the designs. For the last six years, Indigenous women have sought to challenge the exploitation of their sacred designs through the promotion of legislation that would protect their collective intellectual property rights. On Sept. 5, the Women’s Association for the Development of Sacatepéquez, or AFEDES, and the weavers of the Ruchajixik Ri Qana’ojbäl **movement, which means Guardians of Our Knowledge in the Kaqchikel language, presented their latest proposal for a law that would protect their weavings.

Ecuador: Anti-Neoliberal Resistance

A neoliberal ‘redesign’ of the State is underway in Ecuador, activated since 2017 through different surreptitious tactics, especially “lawfare”, known for resorting to judicial and media plots as ruses to reverse alternative projects.  Also on the scene are different expressions of authoritarianism, which are con-substantial to the pursuit of the neoliberal model, to impose the dominance of the market over the interests of society.  It is a programmatic agenda, which is made possible by the conversion of State institutions into minimal operational agencies, in charge of executive aspects to attend primarily to private actors, especially transnational and national corporations, financial capital and related. In this case, the imposition of a radical neoliberalism brings with it the destruction of a sovereignty project, constitutionally based (2008) on a perspective of the common good and the public, with a horizon projection that places Good Living as a counter-hegemonic proposal, aiming at the primacy of life rather than the reproduction of capital.

Building An Indigenous Agenda To Decolonize The United States

Today is Indigenous People's Day, still celebrated by some as the violent colonizer Christopher Columbus Day. Clearing the FOG speaks with Jean-Luc Pierite of the North American Indian Center of Boston (NAICOB) and United American Indians of New England (UAINE) about the growing recognition of the trauma and murder of American Indian children who were sent to assimilation centers called residential schools across the US and Canada and how that theft of children's cultural heritage and identity continues today through the foster care system. A major Supreme Court case that could destroy the Indian Child Welfare Act is set to be heard in November. Pierite also discusses the campaign in Massachusetts to recognize Indigenous People's Day statewide, the Massachusetts Indigenous Legislative Agenda and the work being done in solidarity with indigenous peoples around the world and the Black Lives Matter movement to create a path to a better future.

Boston Marches For Statewide Indigenous People’s Day

Indigenous people and their allies rallied and marched in Boston on Saturday, October 8, 2022 to observe Indigenous Peoples Day in Boston and demand that the MA state legislature vote to establish the day statewide which will replace Columbus Day. They called on the presumed next Governor, Maura Healey, to make it a priority to support this and other Indigenous-centered legislation (MAIndigenousAgenda.org). Furthermore, because Indigenous liberation is intertwined with Black liberation, they also call edfor Faneuil Hall, named after a slaver, to be renamed. Marchers celebrated the declaration of Indigenous Peoples Day in Boston and urged city, state and federal governments to take further steps to address Indigenous community concerns.

Two Women Seek To Decolonize Thru-Paddle And Canoe

Lake Itasca, MN – Embarking on a voyage to feminize and “decolonize” the wilderness, two women in a canoe have started their expedition down the entirety of the Mississippi River. Immigrant Indigenous Latina, Cory Maria Dack, who’s also a transracial transnational adoptee, along with Espoir DelMain, a queer white woman are aiming to empower and inspire others to enjoy the outdoors and connect with nature.  On a sunny Sunday afternoon in August, friends and family gathered at the Mississippi Headwaters in northern Minnesota to witness the launch of Cory Dack and Espoir DelMain’s 2,552 mile thru-paddle of the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. Dack and DelMain said they would like to “decolonize the concept of ‘thru-paddling’ to empower and inspire others from underrepresented demographics to see the wilderness as a place where they belong as well.” 

Orange Shirt Day Boston

Boston, MA - According to Jean-Luc Pierite, President of the Board of the North American Indian Center of Boston (NAICOB), “We want to show our solidarity today with all those internationally observing Orange Shirt Day. We must honor the thousands of children who were forced into residential schools where they suffered and too often died. The governments of Canada and the United States continue to take a disproportionate number of Indigenous children into foster care. These governments further fail to address access to clean water on tribal lands. Canada and the US continue to boost pipelines and other extractive projects. Meanwhile the crisis of Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women goes underreported and under-investigated.”

DOI Removes Native American Slur From 650 Locations Across The Country

The Department of the Interior said the Board on Geographic Names (BGN) voted on the replacement names for the geographic features featuring the offensive word. The final vote completed the last step in the historic efforts to remove a term from federal use that has historically been used as an offensive ethnic, racial and sexist slur, particularly for Indigenous women. “I feel a deep obligation to use my platform to ensure that our public lands and waters are accessible and welcoming. That starts with removing racist and derogatory names that have graced federal locations for far too long,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. “We are showing why representation matters and charting a path for an inclusive America.” The list of new names can be found on the U.S. Geological Survey website with a map of locations.

Over One Million Bolivians Mobilize To Support President Arce’s Government

On Thursday, August 25, under the banner of ‘March in Defense of Democracy and Economic Reconstruction’, over one million Bolivians mobilized in support of the government of President Luis Arce and Vice President David Choquehuanca and its socialist economic policies. Workers from diverse sectors, peasants, students, and members of various Indigenous organizations and social movements from all nine departments of the country arrived in capital La Paz to ratify their support for the national government of the ruling Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) party. The call for the march was given by the Pact of Unity (PU), a national alliance of grassroots organizations, and the Central Obrera Boliviana (COB), the country’s trade union center, in the face of attempts by far-right opposition sectors and capitalists to destabilize the national government and the country’s economy.

Activists Shut Down Department Of Interior Over Climate Emergency

Unceded Piscataway Lands AKA Washington D.C.- As the sun rises an autonomous Indigenous-led delegation of Black, Indigenous, people of the global majority and their allies have shut down the streets surrounding the Department of Interior Washington D.C early this morning painting CLIMATE EMERGENCY in front of the building.  The group is demanding President Biden declare a climate emergency and stop approving fossil fuel projects, including leases, exports, plastic plants, and pipelines. Permitting new fossil fuel projects will further entrench us in a fossil fuel economy for decades to come — and encourage the continued violence and genocide the fossil fuel industry brings to Black, Indigenous and communities of the global majority.

Hawaii Law Could Break Years-Long Astronomy Impasse

The state of Hawaii has set up a new way to manage the mountain Maunakea, the summit of which is home to many world-class astronomical observatories. A law signed by Hawaii’s governor on 7 July removes the University of Hawaii from its role as the main authority overseeing the land on which the telescopes sit, and gives that responsibility to a newly established group with much broader representation of the community, including Native Hawaiians. Many hope that the shift will mark a path forwards for astronomy in Hawaii, after a years-long impasse over the future of telescopes on Maunakea. Since 2015, some Native Hawaiians have intermittently blocked the road to the summit, primarily to prevent the start of construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) — a next-generation observatory that will have a huge light-gathering mirror to make astronomical discoveries.
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