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Indigenous Activism

The Global South In The Arctic North

In January, three months into Israel’s attack on Gaza, a group people in the Inuit city of Iqaluit, the capital of the Canadian territory of Nunavut, rallied and called for a ceasefire. One demonstrator said, “I think Palestinian rights are Indigenous rights to those lands, and we’re on Indigenous land here, and if we’re fighting for the rights of Indigenous people in Canada, in Nunavut, we should be doing the same worldwide.” Bigger rallies took place in the more populated cities of Whitehorse, Yukon, and Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. More than 200 people gathered at the Whitehorse waterfront, some of them descendants of Palestinian refugees from the Nakba of 1948.

Peace Walk 2024: Mindfully Bring The Sacred Back Into Your Journey

Good morning. [Native greeting] Hello, everyone. [Native language]. My name is Sherri Mitchell. My name in my language, Weh’na Ha’mu Kwasset. I am from the Penobscot Nation. My family is Bear clan from the Penobscot Nation and Crow clan from the Passamaquoddy tribe. [Native language] I’m happy to be here with you today. It felt really important for me to come and support what’s happening here for many reasons. As I’ve been thinking about what I wanted to say in these brief comments, this morning, there are a lot of things that I thought about. I have a very dear friend who is currently doing a pilgrimage through territories where only the bones of her ancestors remain: through the Warsaw Ghetto and Auschwitz.

Thacker Pass Protectors File First-Ever ‘Biodiversity Necessity Defense’

Winnemuca, Nevada — In a first for the American legal system, the lawyers for six people sued by Lithium Nevada Corporation for protesting the Thacker Pass mine are arguing a ‘biodiversity necessity defense.’ The necessity defense is a legal argument used to justify breaking the law when a greater harm is being prevented; for example, breaking a car window to save an infant locked inside on a stifling hot day, or breaking down a door to help someone screaming inside a locked home. In these cases, trespassing is justified to save a life.

South Dakota Tribes Face Off Again With Governor Kristi Noem

South Dakota—Last week, while signing two education bills Governor Kristi Noem made comments about wanting to improve Native American students’ achievement, and blamed parents and Tribal leaders for their poor performance. Gov. Noem also said that some Tribal leaders in the state were in partnership with Mexican cartels, and four Tribal Nations have responded demanding an apology. The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (CRST) issued a statement saying, “Last week while visiting Mitchell and Winner, South Dakota, Governor Noem used those events as an opportunity to spew hateful gossip about Native people.

International Indigenous Youth Council Banned From Powwow For Advocating For Palestine

Denver, Colorado — Youth representing the International Indigenous Youth Council’s (IIYC) Oglala Lakota Chapter were told they would be banned from attending the 48th Annual Denver March Powwow if they demonstrated solidarity with Palestine. It's one of the first documented instances where pro-Palestinian messages were prohibited at a Native American cultural event. The International Indigenous Youth Council’s (IIYC) Oglala Lakota Chapter published a statement on its Instagram Saturday afternoon: “Denver March tried to shut youth down, we will not be silenced.

Native American Lawsuit Sheds Light On Dark Aspect Of US History

“The doctrine of discovery refers to a principle in public international law under which, when a nation ‘discovers’ land, it directly acquires rights on that land,” according to a definition offered by Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute. “This doctrine arose when the European nations discovered non-European lands, and therefore acquired special rights.” “​​More broadly, the doctrine of discovery can be described as an international law doctrine giving authorization to explorers to claim terra nullius [‘uninhabited’ land]… in the name of their sovereign when the land was not populated by Christians.”

40 Years After The Ixil Genocide, Case Against General Lucas García Opens

After 36 years, Guatemala put an end to the Internal Armed Conflict –IAC-, with the definitive ceasefire and the signing of the firm and lasting Peace Agreement on December 29th of 1996. Previously, through the Oslo Accords (1994), the parties agreed to the creation of the Commission for Historical Clarification (CEH) with the purpose of “clarifying with complete objectivity, fairness and impartiality the violations of Human Rights and the acts of violence that caused suffering to the Guatemalan population, linked to the armed conflict,” however the Commission would have an extendable term of 6 months of work from its installation, which would occur between 1997 and 1998.

Bolivia: A Judicial Coup

On Monday, January 22nd, the poor in Bolivia set up road blockades. That day marks the fifteenth anniversary of a great step in human dignity called the Plurinational State of Bolivia. The blockaders resisted police aggression for nearly 2 weeks. The closure of the roads had only one objective: To stop a judicial coup that aims to dismantle a range of collective rights enshrined in the 2009 Constitution, a spectacular constitution that was born of the thirty-six; original and indigenous nations including the Quechua, Mojeña, and Aymara, whose organizing changed modern history. The United Nations declared itself on the side of the blockaders.

Indigenous Demonstrators Continue Opposition To Racism In Sports, Media

Las Vegas—On Sunday, February 11, a group of Native people demonstrated near an entrance  at the Super Bowl, where some say Kansas City’s continued use of the “Chiefs” is racist. It is  the second consecutive year that Kansas City has appeared in the Super Bowl, and opposition  to the “tomahawk chop”, an act some say mocks Native culture and must change, continues.   “I’m here to show people that it is not acceptable in this day and age to mock a people,” said  Rhonda LeValdo to Last Real Indians (LRI Media). LeValdo, an Acoma Pueblo citizen, traveled to Las Vegas  from Kansas City, where she teaches journalism at Haskell University in Lawrence, Kansas.

Facing The Storm: An Interview With Mazaska Talks

I recently sat down with Rachel Heaton and Matt Remle as part of the Facing the Storm series focused on the Indigenous response to the climate crisis. The first question I asked Matt, Wakinyan Waanatan (his Lakota name), Hunkpapa Lakota was how he came to the direct action of divesting money from financial institutions to stop their funneling of funds into fossil fuel projects. Specifically, as a way to combat against the companies many abuses against our Indigenous nations, our Mother Earth, and the detrimental loss they cause of our finite resources in the current climate crisis. Matt said for him it actually began before the Dakota Access Pipeline and on a smaller scale during the early fight against the Keystone XL pipeline.

Climate Criminals Put Profits Over Humanity At COP28

Dubai, UAE — The outcomes of the UNFCCC 28th Conference of Parties has left Indigenous Peoples and frontline communities across the world sitting in disappointment as world leaders put forward watered-down climate commitments and text that continue to compromise our future. The biggest takeaway from this year’s climate summit is the grotesque depth of greed and disregard for humanity as a whole. There was a huge missed opportunity to implement real climate solutions, but bullies from the Global North reaffirmed their false solutions to maintain their extractive economies, and so, lined their pockets with their reinforcement of settler-colonialism and imperial dominance over the Global South.

A Beacon Of Hope To The Unhoused Faces Eviction

Minneapolis, MN — Camp Nenookaasi is throwing the subject of Minneapolis’ encampment policies into the spotlight again as it faces eviction on December 19. The camp’s supporters are waging the latest skirmish in a longer fight between the city’s prohibition of encampments and those who claim that allowing encampments to remain intact is the most humane approach to the issue, as well as a crucial first step toward getting people into stable housing and recovery programs. On Dec. 8, a group of activists arrived at Mayor Jacob Frey’s office to deliver an eviction notice to his door, symbolically evicting him from the city in an attempt to draw his attention to the issue and sway his decision to further displace the unhoused.

NDN Collective’s Second Week At COP28 In Dubai

For three weeks, members of NDN Collective’s Policy and Advocacy, Regional Deep Dive program, NDN Fund, Communications, Tactical Media, and Creative Resistance Teams, have been on the ground in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Our second week of being on the ground began with the official opening of the  United Nations 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) and opening of the International Indigenous Peoples’ Pavilion. It was also filled with panels and discussions with panels, side events, participating in actions to uplift the Indigenous caucus’ priorities, and tracking negotiations and meeting with government officials.

COP28: NDN Collective’s First Week At COP28 In Dubai

NDN Collective’s delegation has been on the ground in Dubai, United Arab Emirates for the past two weeks participating in pre-meetings and the first week of the United Nations 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28). This is NDN Collective’s third year participating in COP – a series of intensive events and discussions where governments around the world negotiate and determine actionable items on international climate change policies. Our delegation has been participating in the Indigenous Peoples Caucus and the Local Communities Indigenous Peoples Platform, as well as tracking negotiations, meeting with government officials, and more. Here is a round up from their first week on the ground with links to recorded events.

New Docuseries Highlights Indigenous Response To The Climate Crisis

Mikayla Gingrey, a flourishing film maker, and her talented assistant, her mother Marya Gingrey are both descendants of the Apache nation. I have been invited to introduce and write accompanying articles about the upcoming docuseries, Facing the Storm: The Indigenous Response to Climate Change, an Aminata Multimedia Group docuseries. Mikayla is using her talent to highlight and document the important stories that often get overlooked, the struggles, the heartbreaking losses, along with the love, and sometimes overlooked triumphs of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. These films will highlight indigenous leaders, activist, and community members who are working towards our collective future here.
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