Plastic pollution is an international problem, as trillions of pieces of plastic have made their way into the ocean from commercial and household waste, blown from landfills and trash cans into sewers and rivers and out to sea. Marine animals can ingest and become entangled in ocean plastic, leading to sickness, starvation and death. Plastic leaches toxic chemicals and doesn’t biodegrade naturally in the environment. An inordinate amount of plastic waste has been dumped in the Pacific Islands (Te Moananui) in what is referred to as waste colonization or waste colonialism — where a disproportionate amount of plastic pollution is dumped in a region, leading to threats to the livelihoods and health of its people, a press release from The University of Newcastle, Australia, said.
Minneapolis, Minnesota - The American Indian Movement’s Grand Governing Council (AIMGGC) announced on Tuesday that it’s organizing a freedom walk for Leonard Peltier later this year, from September 1 through November 14, 2022. “Leonard Peltier’s Walk to Justice” will start in Minneapolis and end in Washington, D.C., where organizers plan to meet with government officials to demand the release of Peltier from the U.S. federal prison system. “The vision and prayer for this walk—Leonard Peltier’s Walk to Justice—began almost two years ago through dreams,” said American Indian Movement of Indiana and Kentucky Chapter Director Rachel Thunder to Native News Online. “We, AIMGGC, knew we had to move in a big way to see Elder Leonard Peltier released.”
The United States of America is founded on the original sin of Native American genocide and the myth that the Indigenous Peoples that lived on these lands for thousands of years had no right to it. White settler colonialism is not just a stain on the country’s history, it is its very raison d’etre. To this day, all non-Native Americans live on stolen land. The prosperous, liberal state of California is not exempt from this original sin, nor has it made reparations for the devastation of Indigenous Peoples and their lands. In a recently reissued book, Tony Platt, the acclaimed author of 10 books and professor emeritus who taught at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Chicago, and California State University, Sacramento, uncovers another more recent abhorrence committed against Native Californians by one of the state’s most revered institutions, the University of California, Berkeley.
Many events these days begin with land acknowledgments: earnest statements acknowledging that activities are taking place, or institutions, businesses and even homes are built, on land previously owned by Indigenous peoples. And many organizations now call on employees to incorporate such statements not only at events but in email signatures, videos, syllabuses and so on. Organizations provide resources to facilitate these efforts, including pronunciation guides and video examples. Some land acknowledgments are carefully constructed in partnership with the dispossessed. The Burke Museum at the University of Washington in Seattle describes this process: “Tribal elders and leaders are the experts and knowledge-bearers who generously shared their perspectives and guidance with the Burke. Through this consultation, we co-created the Burke’s land acknowledgement.”
Recently, when a retired Chilean U.N. employee tried to enter ECLAC (United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, based in Santiago de Chile) to claim her pension in a bank inside the compound, her car was stopped by a U.N. security officer. She was asked to complete formalities. To her taste, the process was taking too much time, and she began honking. The head of security approached her, trying to explain the procedure, which had recently toughened up, due to the outbreak of COVID-19. The security head happened to be an African-Brazilian.
As the Trump administration neared the end of its first year in office in 2017, it seemed environmental activists had lost one of the most hard-fought battles in the movement’s history. Thanks to a last-minute maneuver by Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Congressional Republicans succeeded in passing legislation allowing oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR. Some of the worst fears of environmental and Indigenous rights groups for what might happen under the administration appeared to be coming true. However, two and a half years later, no drilling or seismic testing has taken place in the refuge — and there is a very real chance it might never happen. A nationwide grassroots movement led by the Indigenous Gwich’in people has repeatedly delayed the oil leasing process and made the prospect of drilling less attractive to major companies.
Andrea Circle Bear, of the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation near Eagle Butte, S.D., was the 29th federal inmate to die due to the coronavirus in Bureau of Prisons custody. She was sentenced to serve 26 months. Circle Bear was being held at Tripp County Jail in South Dakota up until March 20. Then, because she was pregnant, she was transferred to Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas. FMC Carswell is the only federal medical prison for women in the United States. (Indian Country Today, April 29). Upon her arrival, social distancing and quarantine measures for prisoners and guards were not deployed to prevent the spread of coronavirus until after the facility officer of the American Federation of Government Employees Local filed complaints about the minimal guidelines they were given.
Wet’suwet’en clans in British Columbia have ratified a memorandum of understanding that will see them take back management of their traditional territories, although one clan says the deal doesn’t go far enough in response to the controversial Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline now being built across their lands. The communities’ deliberation over the draft agreement between the Wet’suwet’en, Canada, and British Columbia took two months, and the result “could change the future of Indigenous rights and title negotiations in B.C.,” The Narwhal reports. It has yet to be ratified by Ottawa or B.C. “The Wet’suwet’en People have reached consensus and have agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding between the federal government and province of B.C. to resume the full management of our yintahs [traditional territory] using our governance system...
As of noon on April 8th the total number of Covid-19 positive cases reported by Brazil’s health ministry exceeded 14,000 and the number of deaths exceeded 700. This is, by far, the highest number of reported cases in Latin America (though Ecuador has a greater number of reported cases and deaths on a per capita basis). The actual number of cases is likely many times greater, given that the current rate of testing for Covid-19 in Brazil is still very low – 258 per million, compared to 3,159 per million in Chile, 6,423 per million in the U.S. and 10,962 per million in Germany. In São Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city, and the hardest hit urban area in the country, the local health secretariat is reportedly only providing tallies for severe cases of the virus.
Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau has called the imbroglio between the Wet’suwet’en nation and Canada a matter to be decided by the rule of law.  However, the Wet’suwet’en have refused to back down and have defied the British Columbia Supreme Court injunction allowing pipeline work to continue. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) were sent in to enforce the injunction.
We stand as witnesses to this historic moment when the federal and provincial governments, RCMP, and Coastal GasLink/TC Energy (formerly TransCanada) are openly violating Wet’suwet’en, Canadian, and international law. Coastal GasLink/TC Energy is pushing through a 670-kilometer fracked gas pipeline that would carry fracked gas from Dawson Creek, B.C. to the coastal town of Kitimat, where LNG Canada’s processing plant would be located. LNG Canada is the single largest private investment in Canadian history.
It’s time that American politicians, both Democratic and Republicans, give Koreans a chance to shape their own destiny. Last month, I took part in an international women’s peace delegation to South Korea, led by Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire and Women Cross DMZ founder Christine Ahn. It was my first visit to my native Korea in over 3 years. Everywhere I went, I witnessed the afterglow of the inspiring candlelight movement that restored democracy to the country, and sensed the deep conviction with which Koreans support the current peace process initiated by President Moon. Our delegation noted in one of its first official statements following its arrival in Korea: “What initiated the Panmunjom Declaration was the completely non-violent and peaceful civil revolution in 2016 that began with orderly marches of demonstration with warm candlelight through the winter.
RED LAKE -- The Red Lake Tribal Council voted Tuesday to remove Enbridge-owned oil pipelines from its land. The unanimous vote came two months after the council agreed to rescind a resolution accepting a land swap agreement with the Canadian energy company. That Jan. 9 vote paved the way for Tuesday’s action, according to Red Lake Representative Robert Smith. The pipelines in question are located on a 24-acre parcel of land about 30 miles northwest of Bemidji. They were installed by Lakehead Pipeline Co. Inc. sometime before the 1980s, when the reservation realized it owned the land. Enbridge Energy now owns the pipelines, but does not own the land under which they are installed. So in December 2015 the tribal council voted to accept $18.5 million -- meant to be spent on other land -- in exchange for the parcel.
Recent events in the Yaqui traditional territory, located in Sonora, México, give us worrisome lessons about neoliberalism and cultural genocide. The Yaqui lands are enduring threats to the Rio Yaqui that put the entire people, ecosystem, and culture at risk. But there are other, more valuable, lessons to be learned, and these are lessons about struggle and solidarity. The threats include the diversion of water by the Independencia aqueduct to serve big agribusinesses and an industrial zone populated with foreign and transnational factories in the city of Hermosillo. Presently, the traditional agriculture of the Yaquis is so affected that there is the possibility that they will not be able to sow winter crops for the coming year. On February 17, Irrigation District councilor, and president of the 4P8 Irrigation Module, announced that, “We always say that the Independencia aqueduct would affect us, and this is already happening.
Mexico's first Indigenous female presidential hopeful might not even get her campaign off the ground, thanks to outright discrimination and a host of arduous requirements that stop ordinary people from participating in politics. The campaign of Maria de Jesús Patricio Martinez (also known as Marichuy) so far has just 14 percent of the signatures necessary to register her as a candidate for July's general election. Marichuy is representing the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), as well as a broader campaign in defense of land against multinationals, for environmental justice, women's rights and more. But those campaigning for her know she doesn't stand a chance.