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Indigenous People

North Carolina City Takes First Steps Toward Cherokee Cultural Corridor

For decades, the town of Franklin, North Carolina, owned Noquisiyi (later interpreted as Nikwasi) Mound. The mound is the only thing that remains of a Cherokee settlement that dates back to the 16th century. The town’s meeting hall once sat atop the mound. Now, the Nikwasi Initiative is working to protect and honor local sites that play an essential role in the heritage of a regional Indian tribe — including the Nikwasi Mound. The organization, which was founded in 2019, is the byproduct of a conflict that arose between Franklin city officials and members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, according to executive director Elaine Eisenbraun.

The Lower Sioux Need Homes, So They’re Building Them From Hemp

For now, it’s only a gaping hole in the ground, 100-by-100 feet, surrounded by farm machinery and bales of hemp on a sandy patch of earth on the Lower Sioux Indian Reservation in southwestern Minnesota. But when construction is complete next April, the Lower Sioux — also known as part of the Mdewakanton Band of Dakota — will have a 20,000-square-foot manufacturing campus that will allow them to pioneer a green experiment, the first of its kind in the United States. They will have an integrated vertical operation to grow hemp, process it into insulation called hempcrete, and then build healthy homes with it. Right now, no one in the U.S. does all three.

Activists Disrupt Thanksgiving Parade: End Genocide, Don’t Celebrate It

Today, pro-Palestine protestors disrupted Thanksgiving Day Parades in New York City and Detroit, all sending the same message: end genocide, don’t celebrate it. In Detroit, protestors marched in front of the Thanksgiving Day parade route carrying banners reading: “From Turtle Island to Palestine, genocide is a crime” and “Detroit stands with Gaza,” giving a spotlight to Palestine during Israel’s ongoing atrocities. In Manhattan, protestors disrupted the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, an annual corporate parade watched nationwide, with signs and banners reading “Genocide then, genocide now.” 

These Indigenous Leaders Started Rapid City’s First Lakota School

After the 30 documented boarding schools that operated in South Dakota until the 1970s stripped the state’s Indigenous Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people of their culture, language, history and human rights, Indigenous students have floundered in the state’s public school system. With high school graduation rates for Native American students hovering around 50%, some communities have sought to right educational wrongs through charter schools. But their proposals have repeatedly been stalled: A bill proposed by Native American legislators and communities to create state-funded charter schools focused on teaching Lakota language, culture and history failed for the third time last year.

Indigenous-Led Solutions Essential To Reversing Plastic Pollution

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.

American Indian Movement Announces Walk For Leonard Peltier

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.”

California’s Grim Genocidal Past Implicates University Of California

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.

Land Acknowledgements To Honor Indigenous People Often Do Opposite

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.”

Racism In Chile

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.

The Struggle To Protect The Sacred Place Where Life Begins

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 And Six Centuries Of Genocide

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 Endorse Governance Agreement With Canada And BC

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...

Brazil: Favela Residents And Indigenous Communities Among Those Most At Risk Of COVID-19

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.

Trudeau’s Demand: “The Barricades Must Come Down”

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. [1] 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.

Wet’suwet’en Supporter Toolkit 2020

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.
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