Genocide: Goldminers “Massacre” Uncontacted Amazon Indians

Evidence of an attack? Burnt communal houses of uncontacted Indians, seen in December 2016, could be signs of another massacre in the Uncontacted Frontier.
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By Staff of Survival International – Public prosecutors in Brazil have opened an investigation after reports that illegal goldminers in a remote Amazon river have massacred “more than ten” members of an uncontacted tribe. If confirmed, this means up to a fifth of the entire tribe have been wiped out. Two goldminers have been arrested. The killings allegedly took place last month along the River Jandiatuba in western Brazil, but the news only emerged after the goldminers started boasting about the killings, and showing off “trophies” in the nearest town. Agents from Brazil’s indigenous affairs agency, FUNAI, confirmed details of the attack to Survival International. Women and children are believed to be among the dead. FUNAI and the public prosecutor’s office are currently investigating. The area is known as the Uncontacted Frontier, as it contains more uncontacted tribes than anywhere else on Earth. Several government teams who had been protecting uncontacted indigenous territories have recently had their funding slashed by the Brazilian government, and have had to close down.

Fate Of Seized Activist May Point To New Era Of State Violence In Argentina

Top photo | Demonstrators hold photos of missing activist Santiago Maldonado, during a protest at Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. Human rights groups say Maldonado went missing a month ago, after Argentine border police captured him during an operation against Mapuche Indians who were blocking a highway in Argentina’s Patagonia. (AP/Natacha Pisarenko)

By Roqayah Chamseddine for MInt Press News – The streets of Argentina are boiling over with demonstrations, as thousands of locals demand that the government produce an indigenous activist last seen one month ago when border police forced a group of the indigenous Mapuche off of indigenous land in Patagonia — land unjustly owned by the Italian clothing company Benetton. According to witnesses, 28-year-old Santiago Maldonado was forced into a van by government officials and disappeared, but so far the Argentinian government has denied any involvement. Argentinian demonstrators, including groups like Mothers of the Plaza De Mayo, are increasingly concerned for the wellbeing of Maldonado in light of the nation’s troubled history of state violence. The US-backed military dictatorship of General Jorge Rafael Videla, which plagued Argentina from 1976 until 1983, killed, kidnapped, and disappeared at least 30,000. Backed by Ronald Reagan, Videla and his security apparatus went on to torture and murder thousands more in a right-wing military hellscape. The case of Santiago Maldonado has revived memories of the Argentinian military junta, and suspicion among activists is growing that he has become President Mauricio Macri’s first disappeared victim—nearly 40 years after the end of General Videla’s rule.

Native American Leader Leonard Peltier Undergoes Triple Bypass Surgery

Leonard Peltier | Photo: International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

By Staff of Tele Sur – “My chest was opened and they took arteries from my legs and placed them in the blocked arteries. I had to be given a liter of blood,” Peltier wrote. Leonard Peltier, U.S. political prisoner and Native American leader, is in stable condition after undergoing triple bypass surgery, his defense committee announced Saturday morning. In a letter published by the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, Peltier wrote that he had been “taken to an outside hospital in Leesburg (Florida) for what I was told was a routine heart stress test,” due to shortness of breath. However, medics found “clogged arteries, 3 of them!” An immediate operation was scheduled and Peltier underwent triple bypass surgery. “My chest was opened and they took arteries from my legs and placed them in the blocked arteries. I had to be given a liter of blood,” he said, adding that now he’s “back in prison” and getting around in a “wheelchair.” Still suffering from a slight shortness of breath, Peltier nevertheless said he was looking forward to his grandson’s visit him next week.

Navajo Nations First Solar Project Producing Electricity For About 13,000 Homes

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By Staff of Associated Press – A giant array of solar panels near the famed sandstone buttes of Monument Valley has begun producing electricity for the Navajo Nation at a time when the tribe is bracing for the loss of hundreds of jobs from the impending closure of a nearby coal-fired power plant. The Kayenta Solar Facility is the first utility-scale solar project on the Navajo Nation, producing enough electricity to power about 13,000 Navajo homes. The plant comes at a time when the area’s energy landscape is shifting. o: Antonio Ramirez, APThe coal-fired Navajo Generating Station near Page is set to close in December 2019, leaving a site that both tribal and private entities say has the potential for renewable energy development. The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, which owns the solar plant, said the project advances clean energy on the reservation long known for fossil fuel development, the Arizona Daily Sun reported. Walter Haase, general manager of the tribal utility, said the plant proves to investors, developers and tribal communities that renewable energy projects are possible on the reservation. Economic development often is hampered by the lack of infrastructure, required environmental clearances and consent from anyone holding a permit or lease for use of the land.

Guatemala’s Indigenous Campesinos Occupy Capital To Protest Land Conflicts

A woman sits with her child next the barrier separating the protesters in their encampment from the Presidential Palace. All photos by Jeff Abbott.

By Jeff Abbott for Towards Freedom – On August 8, one hundred Q’eqchi Maya families from the Department of Alta Verapaz arrived to the historic center of Guatemala City, the nation’s capital, to establish a permanent presence in an encampment near the Presidential Palace. They have announced that they will remain there until the administration fulfills the agreement between the campesino communities and the government established in April 2015 to end agrarian conflicts within the department. “We are here in front of the National Palace because of the failure of the state to comply with the accords that came after many dialogues with state officials on the land conflicts in Alta Verapaz,” said Carlos Choc, a member of a Q’eqchi community within the Municipality of Coban, Alta Verapaz, and a representative from the Comité Campesino de Altiplano(CCDA), the organization that coordinated the occupation. “To this date, we do not have a response that is the benefit of the Q’eqchi communities,” Choc told Toward Freedom. “Because of this, our Q’eqchi communities have risen up to demand that [President Jimmy Morales] comply and give us a favorable response. We do not want any more dialogues on the conflict over land.” Black plastic tarps hang from ropes tied to the Guatemalan National Palace, creating a series of makeshift tents that have become the home for these families.

“This Is Our Land”: Indigenous Rights Activists Respond To White Supremacist Rhetoric

Shannon Rivers protested Trump at the Phoenix rally on Tuesday. For Rivers, a tribal citizen of the Akimel O’odham of the Gila River Indian Community, the alliance between indigenous people and Latinos is personal. “Many [Latinos] are our family,” he said.

Photo by Jenni Monet.

By Jenni Monet for Yes! Magazine – Half a city block away, a peaceful gathering had erupted in rapid but short-lived chaos after, police say, someone lodged a burning projectile at an officer, and in response, police fired back. The city’s police chief said pepper balls, tear gas, and other nonlethal chemicals were used. The drama disrupted what had otherwise been an hours-long nonviolent demonstration held by many protesting President Donald J. Trump. He chose Phoenix to host a campaign-style rally, his first event since the deadly clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia. For the indigenous people who attended the rally, this police response was a familiar narrative. “The historical trauma is still happening today. We’re still suffering but in different ways,” said Anthony Thosh Collins, a citizen of the Onk Akimel O’odham with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. His tribe’s land base is surrounded by the nearby sprawling suburbs of Scottsdale, Mesa, and Tempe. But for Collins and dozens of other indigenous rights activists protesting Tuesday night, their message in response to recent white supremacist rhetoric was simple: “This is our land.”

US City Replaces Columbus Day With Indigenous Holiday

Members and supporters of the Mexica Movement march across the overpass of Hollywood Freeway as they protest against Columbus Day in downtown Los Angeles, California, Oct. 11, 2015. | Photo: Reuters

By Staff of Tele Sur – Oberlin City Council members met Monday following a public discussion with town residents and voted unanimously to replace the controversial holiday. The small Ohioan city of Oberlin has decided to no longer celebrate Columbus Day, replacing it instead with Indigenous Peoples Day, out of respect for its Indigenous population. City Council members met Monday following a public discussion with town residents and voted unanimously to remove the controversial holiday, which celebrates Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the Americas in 1492 and his subsequent colonization of the region. “Christopher Columbus was an agent of and continues to be a symbol of the genocide of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas,” said Elissa Washuta, who attended a demonstration Saturday together with around 100 protesters demanding the removal of the statue of Christopher Columbus, the Columbus Dispatch reported. Oberlin councilwoman Sharon Pearson defended the move, employing the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “It’s never too late to do the right thing,” she quoted, according to the Morning Journal. “And I think that it is time for us as a community to take the words of our indigenous people and do the right thing.”

Guatemala’s Indigenous Campesinos Occupy Capitol Over Land Conflicts

A woman sits with her child next the barrier separating the protesters in their encampment from the Presidential Palace. All photos by Jeff Abbott.

By Jeff Abbott for Toward Freedom. On August 8, one hundred Q’eqchi Maya families from the Department of Alta Verapaz arrived to the historic center of Guatemala City, the nation’s capital, to establish a permanent presence in an encampment near the Presidential Palace. They have announced that they will remain there until the administration fulfills the agreement between the campesino communities and the government established in April 2015 to end agrarian conflicts within the department. “We are here in front of the National Palace because of the failure of the state to comply with the accords that came after many dialogues with state officials on the land conflicts in Alta Verapaz,” said Carlos Choc, a member of a Q’eqchi community within the Municipality of Coban, Alta Verapaz, and a representative from the Comité Campesino de Altiplano(CCDA), the organization that coordinated the occupation.

From Charlottesville With Resolve + Indigenous Youth Paddle To Protect

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By Eleanor Goldfield for Occupy – This week on Act Out!, a special episode to discuss what happened last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. Note: we will not show the video. Next, we take a look at an old decaying pipeline, a brand new one and the company that craves more land and water for the sake of black gold. We talk with two indigenous youth activists standing up to the company and taking to the water to raise awareness and build resistance: Stop Line 3 and Paddle to Protect. From tweets to marching in the streets, this is Act Out!

Tacoma Residents And Indigenous Communities Unite To Oppose LNG Plant

Activists marching down the streets of Tacoma, Washington on August 8. (WNV / RedLine Tacoma Community Forum)

By Brandon Jordan for Waging Nonviolence – Around 250 people, mostly women, carried banners and sang with drummers while marching through the streets of Tacoma, Washington, on Tuesday. Led by Cheryl Angel, an indigenous activist present at Standing Rock last year, the demonstrators headed toward a city council meeting to protest a liquefied natural gas plant project. There was just one problem — officials had locked the doors to City Hall. Demonstrators weren’t discouraged, however, as they finished their march at a nearby plaza. “They call it protesting,” Angel said, while speaking in the plaza. “Why are they calling it protesting? Are we really protesting, or are we standing up for what’s right? Because this shouldn’t have to be a protest, it should be an acknowledgment [of our rights].” Washington’s oldest energy utility, Puget Sound Energy, or PSE, is behind the over $300 million facility, which is expected to be completed and operational in the port area of the Tacoma Tideflats by late 2019. The Tacoma LNG Facility, as it’s called, will be able to process and hold approximately eight million gallons of liquefied natural gas — obtained via hydraulic fracking from nearby Rocky Mountain states and parts of Canada — and is mainly intended for use by local residents, as well as ships passing by the Port of Tacoma.

Five Indigenous Farming Practices Enhancing Food Security

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By Staff for FoodTank – On the 2017 International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, the United Nations is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The Declaration, formally adopted in 2007, is an international human rights instrument that sets a standard for the protection of indigenous rights. UNDRIP addresses the most significant issues affecting indigenous peoples regarding their civil, political, social, economic, and cultural rights. It recognizes a range of fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples including their right to self-determination, spirituality, language, lands, territories, resources, and free, prior, and informed consent. Over the centuries, indigenous peoples have provided a series of ecological and cultural services to humankind. The preservation of traditional forms of farming knowledge and practices help maintain biodiversity, enhance food security, and protect the world’s natural resources. There are approximately 370 million indigenous peoples in the world occupying or using up to 22 percent of the global land area, which is home to 80 percent of the world’s biological diversity.

The Struggle Is Never For Nothing

200 members of Indivisible San Pedro formed the word "RESIST!" on Satruday at the Trump National Golf Course in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. (Photo: Twitpic/@indivisible_sp)

By Leonard Peltier for Counter Punch – Well, here we are, another year, another memorial. After 42-years this does not get any easier. It seems as if you get lost for words. At times I feel as if it has all been for nothing, but I know that’s just weakness speaking. The struggle is never for nothing. So many of our children, grandchildren and in my case now, great-grandchildren, depend on us to try and save our lands, our Nations, our culture, religion and our People. But the young people should know many of us are growing old and soon it will be our time to leave this world. The next generation has to step into our shoes and become leaders. As they say, they will have to step up to the plate and be a strong hitter of the ball. These are words that I have repeated many times over the years. To see the younger Sisters and Brothers who are doing just that is an enormous relief from the stress that stems from feeling we may have lost the Battle for Survival as a Nation of Peoples. From in here all I can see is a lot of areas where we are losing ground. Like the young drinking, drugging and gang banging – KILLING our own kids on our Rez. Streets with these drive by shootings, “How cowardly is that!” Then there are so many children who are living in this world of oppression. They take their own lives because they believe it is their only way out.

Huge Victory: Blackfeet Nation To Control Its Own Water After 35 Years Battle

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By Staff for Counter Current News – Harry Barnes, Chairman of the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council, called it a “historic day for the Blackfeet people,” and well worth the time that Blackfeet staff and leaders had put into the effort the past four decades. “My faith in the wisdom of the people’s vote has come to reality,” he said in a statement. The history of the struggle between the tribes in Montana, and the State of Montana, over water rights began in the 1970s, when the federal government filed court water rights cases on behalf of all Montana tribes. Montana filed competing water rights cases in state court. The U.S. and the tribes challenged Montana’s assertion that it had jurisdiction over Indian water rights on the reservation. What ensued was a history of court battles, meetings and negotiations that eventually led to the compact agreed to by Montana and the federal government. The last step was an April 20 vote by the Blackfeet membership. The compact confirms the Tribe’s water quantity and rights, the Tribe’s jurisdiction and its authority to manage those rights on the reservation. Montana’s legislature ratified it in 2009, Congress approved the bill, and it was signed by President Barack Obama in January 2017.

Indigenous Youth Took Center Stage At People's Climate March

Christian Miles Studio

By Cherri Foytlin for AlterNet – The ceremony, which welcomed the spirits from the four directions, officially opened the People’s Climate March, a massive show of resistance on a day that also marked Trump’s 100th day in office. Within a few hours, the youth would be braving record heat, to take the lead of the 1.5 mile march, which covered eight city blocks and ended near the Washington monument. As participants made their way along the route, gigantic banners, puppets and signs could be seen above the crowd. “Water is Life,” “Native Nations Rise,” “Defend the Sacred,” and “Respect the Rights of Mother Earth,” were some of the messages. As the convoy reached the White House, the crowd sang and native drum lines took to the front. Merlejohn Lone Eagle, from Bridger, South Dakota, was among them. Although he is only 13, Merlejohn is already an experienced pipeline fighter. He said he worked with youth in his community to send videos to President Obama showing their opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline. He was overjoyed in the fall of 2015 when Obama rejected the pipeline.

Indigenous Peoples – Best Allies Or Worst Enemies?

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By Baher Kamal for IPS – In a world in which climate change brings new challenges and uncertainties, we cannot eliminate hunger without the participation of youth, said da Silva, noting that “they must participate in these issues that will affect their children and their children’s children. Let’s work together and do it right now.” The Sustainable Development Goals provide an opportunity for countries, indigenous organisations and the United Nations to work together to make an impact starting now through to 2030, he added, while reminding that since the creation of its Indigenous Peoples team in 2014, FAO is strengthening its work with indigenous organisations based on a double approach: “On the one hand, we consider indigenous peoples as fundamental allies in the fight against hunger, food insecurity and poverty because of their wealth of ancestral knowledge and good practices. “On the other hand, “we are aware that the lack of recognition of their rights in the management of natural resources and the marginalization they suffer places them in a vulnerable position. I speak above all of your ancestral rights to land tenure.”