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Land defenders

Interview With José Pimentel, Peasant Leader And Land Defender

We had the opportunity to meet with an iconic leader of the Venezuelan campesino movement in the city of San Carlos, Cojedes, Venezuela. José Pimentel is a well-known defender of land rights. For this reason Pimentel has been the target of at least three assassination attempts by large landowners. While there is no consensus on the true number, it said that hundreds of peasants in Venezuela have been assassinated for defending their legally sanctified rights to the land they work. Some estimate that more than 500 peasants have been murdered for their compliance with the land law, while not a single person behind these assassinations is in prison.

Indigenous Leaders, Land Defenders Censored At RBC’s Annual Meeting

Indigenous leaders and land defenders attended Royal Bank of Canada’s 2024 Annual General Meeting (AGM) on April 11 to send the bank their message: put an end to fossil fuel financing. Delegates from across North America travelled to Toronto, O to criticize RBC’s ongoing funding of fossil fuel projects and their violations of Indigenous and human rights. But RBC’s efforts to listen to Indigenous and frontline land defenders were shallow to say the least. During the questioning period, a mere 60 seconds were allotted to delegates, some of which were interrupted by RBC’s board, executives and shareholders.

British Columbia Court Convicts Three Indigenous Land Defenders

Three Indigenous land defenders charged more than two years ago with defying a court order have been found guilty of criminal contempt in B.C. Supreme Court. Justice Michael Tammen, who delivered his decision this morning, will now consider an application by all three to stay the charges based on alleged misconduct by RCMP officers during the arrests, which occurred along the Coastal GasLink pipeline route in Wet’suwet’en territory on Nov. 19, 2021. The hearing began following the verdict this morning. “There can be no doubt that Sleydo’, in occupying the metal structure on Nov. 19, 2021, knew that her actions would tend to depreciate the authority of the court,” Tammen said, adding that two others arrested the same day and standing trial this week were defying the order and “reckless” in blocking access to the pipeline route.

Breaking Into TMX: Secwépemc Allies Try To Stop Construction Of Pipeline

It’s 4 a.m on Sunday, December 10, and Khursten Bullock and Crissy Fox (an alias she prefers to use) are ready for their mission. The mist of their breath trails hangs in the moonlight that dimly lights the rolling grasslands near Kamloops, B.C. They’ve been tasked with dropping tobacco into one of the bore holes inside the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion’s construction site. A Secwépemc prophecy holds that the tides will shift in their favour once the ceremonial medicine touches the bottom. They move silently in the darkness ahead, and barely a word is spoken on the short trek from the site of a sacred fire lit by the Secwépemc to the open pit construction site.

Cop City And The Escalating War On Environmental Defenders

The fight in Atlanta over Cop City, a massive police training facility, has turned into ground zero for overlapping crises facing our country: the climate emergency, vast political and economic inequality, ever-militarizing police forces and systemic racism. If we want a democracy healthy enough to solve these crises, it’s worth paying attention to what is happening in the South River Forest. On May 31, in a disturbing move shortly before Atlanta’s City Council approved more funding for the facility, Georgia law enforcement arrested three members of the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, which provides activists with legal support and bail money.

Why Tortuguita’s Murder Is Only The Tip Of The Iceberg

Few people outside of Atlanta knew about the police training facility nicknamed “Cop City” when plans were approved in 2021, but all that changed in January when Manual Esteban Páez Terán, known as “Tortuguita,” was murdered by police. Their death launched a torrent of news coverage, including an article by NBC stating that police had never killed an environmental activist in the U.S. before Tortuguita. That may be true, but the U.S. has long been complicit in the death of activists abroad through its involvement in resource extraction and training police and military personnel. One such country is Honduras, which had the highest number of killings of land defenders per capita in the world in 2019.

Corporate Prosecutions Of Land Defenders Coming To Canada

On the side of the road just past a bridge that crosses over the Canadian National Railway tracks in New Hazelton, B.C., sits a small tent structure. Inside, pensively warming his hands over a fire on a cold January day, sits Chief Spookw, hereditary chief of the Lax Gibuu (Wolf Clan) of the Gitxsan Nation. This is Lax Gibuu territory — ancient, unceded. The tent is symbolic, an assertion of Gitxsan sovereignty in the face of CN encroachment that started over a century ago when the rail line was built. The Gitxsan have never given up their rights to the land, but the colonizing governments claimed it for their own anyway. “They have not paid any rent for the use of that land in 120 years,” says Spookw, his voice thick with conviction.

Wet’suwet’en Land Defenders Say Inaction Prompted Enforcement Of Coastal GasLink Eviction

Wet’suwet’en land defenders and supporters say inaction from B.C. and Canada left them no choice but to enforce an eviction order against Coastal GasLink workers and deactivate road access to the project, a pair of measures that have prompted the provincial and federal governments to call for a peaceful resolution to the blockades. “We were sending a clear message to the province, to Canada, and they weren’t acting on it — they weren’t hearing what we were saying — so we had to get a little bit louder,” Gidimt’en camp spokesperson Sleydo’ Molly Wickham told The Narwhal in an interview. “They’re destroying absolutely everything that is important to us in our territory. And they have been continuing to do work, despite the eviction order last year.”

Lessons From Down Under: Supporting Indigenous Stewardship

Indigenous Guardians across the country are managing lands and waters, protecting important animals like salmon and caribou and ensuring development occurs responsibly. We are caring for lands and waters we love on behalf of our Nations. This work is good for the land, and it’s good for people too. Guardians programs provide local jobs rooted in culture and connections between youth and Elders. They transform people’s lives and strengthen our communities. Investment in Indigenous-led conservation helps create these positive results—and with more investment we can expand them. Canada can look to Australia for a model of the proven benefits of long-term support.

Provinces Crackdown On Indigenous Land Defenders

Toronto - Months after a group of Haudenosaunee people set up camp on a construction site near Caledonia, Ontario, a provincial court granted Haldimand County an order permanently forbidding people from “interfering” with any public road. A lawyer for the county argued that the injunction was the “only remedy” to keep roads open in the event of future blockades over disputed land. “I kind of jokingly—but not jokingly—say, if you get a flat tire and are impeding traffic with that flat tire in any kind of way, you are now breaching that injunction,” Skyler Williams, a spokesperson for the 1492 Land Back Lane camp, said in a recent phone interview.

Indigenous Women Lead Land Struggle Against Wealthiest People In The US

While the United States shudders in the shambles of another election year, whether from a collective sigh of relief or fear of what’s to come, a different system of governance blooms in a swath of woodlands jutting into the Atlantic Ocean. This sandy shoreline now part of what is called Long Island has always been home to the Shinnecock people. A group of Shinnecock women, organized as the Warriors of the Sunrise, are called to rise up in the face of invasive settlement. This is not their first battle.  Members of the Shinnecock Nation know of a time before there was a Southampton

Indigenous Land Defenders Shut Down Port Access

Vancouver, BC - A group of Indigenous land defenders have taken over the intersection of East Hastings Street and Clark Drive in Vancouver, blocking one of the access routes to the Port of Vancouver.  About 75 people first gathered at Grandview Park as part of a national week of action promoted by Indigenous leaders hoping to call attention to a number of issues including climate change and systemic racism. “This is what we have to do. We can’t sit back anymore and watch our Indigenous people being treated the way they’re being treated from coast to coast,” said Will George, of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.

Open Letter From Williams Family About Police Intimidation At Land Back Lane

About a hundred years ago, in 1927, when First Nation peoples were increasingly organizing land claims, the federal government amended the Indian Act to make it illegal for anyone to fundraise for First Nation peoples’ legal representation. It also made it illegal for any litigator to represent any First Nation person in a judicial proceeding. The penalty for such activity was a fine and/or imprisonment.  As Haudenosaunee people continue to fight the colonial theft of land along the Grand River, the government still criminalizes our resistance. 

Police Use Violence Against Land Defenders At Land Back Lane

Six Nations, Ontario - An argument between police and land defenders erupted in violence Thursday when officers tried to arrest someone outside a protest camp on Haudenosaunee territory. Witnesses say police fired at least six rubber bullets and tasered a young man after someone threw a rock at their cruiser. In the ensuing chaos, Ontario Provincial Police fell back to a reinforced position about 500 metres from the camp’s back entrance. “I was hit right in the fucking back,” said one young man, who did not want to be identified.

Indigenous Defenders Are Front-Line Essential Workers

Canada - Expect to work 24/7 on-site. There are no benefits, no days off, and shelter is not provided. You will likely face threats, violence, criminalization, and arrest. So, why are some of the most passionate, informed, brilliant, and resourceful people in Canada dedicating themselves to work that is insecure, dangerous, and unpaid? Indigenous cultures are distinct but we share values of community, holistic understandings of all life, and a deep connection to the land and water. We know that colonial definitions of livelihood are incomplete and that our role is to live in harmony with the land that sustains us.
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