Amid the unprecedented global ecological crisis, Africa still supports one quarter of the world’s biodiversity and the largest assemblages of megafauna. Indigenous Africans of the rangelands, desert, and forests have always protected their fauna and flora. Land where they exercise traditional rights has proven to be central for global biodiversity conservation. But today they are facing the threat of a colossal land grab by Western conservation agencies, and their corporate and state allies, who advocate to double the coverage of protected areas around the world by setting aside 30 percent of terrestrial cover for conservation by 2030. Protected areas are the national parks, forests, game reserves, and other places from which states evict original inhabitants for biodiversity conservation.
The Sweet Fern Savanna Land and Water Reserve, in the heart of Pembroke Township, Illinois, offers a glimpse into what much of the area looked like before European settlers drained swamps and cleared forests to grow corn and soybeans. At least 18 threatened or endangered plant and animal species, including the ornate box turtle and regal fritillary butterfly, have been sighted here. Mature oaks tower over verdant fields of clustered sedge and Carolina whipgrass. Warbling songbirds and buzzing cicadas add a mellow soundtrack to the tranquil scene. Sixty miles south of Chicago, this wildlife reserve is among nearly 2,900 acres owned by private individuals and environmental groups — most prominently, The Nature Conservancy — trying to establish a network of nature sanctuaries in Kankakee County.
Traditional Six Nations chiefs have declared a formal moratorium on development within the Haldimand Tract, a broad swath of land spanning 10 kms from either side of the Grand River as it winds its way from Dundalk, Ont. down to Lake Erie. Standing outside the Longhouse, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council said construction can’t proceed without the people’s consent — doubling down on their support for the land reclamation in Caledonia that now enters month 10. “The Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council endorses, supports and recognizes that development should not be proceeding on our lands,” Deyohowe:to Roger Silversmith, Snipe Clan chief of the Cayuga Nation, told reporters on Tuesday.
Prior to the war of 1948, Palestinians owned approximately 78% of total area of historical Palestine, the remaining were state land “as classified by British mandate at that time. Today, in 2021, Israelis constitute 52% of total population in historical Palestine but utilizes over 85% of the total land, while Palestinians comprised 48% of population and utilize 15% of the land (PCBS, press release, 2019) this drastic change of percentages indicates actions of land theft in Palestinian lands by the “Israeli” occupation. Between the years 1967 and 2017, 200 settlements have been established, 131 of which are officially announced as towns, along with 11 neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, and 16 other settlements in Gaza.
Haiti’s borders are curious. The small country is bordered to the east by the Dominican Republic, dividing in two the territory of the island of Hispaniola. To the west it borders the Caribbean Sea and to the south, a forgotten maritime border with the Republic of Colombia. But what interests us here is a border that is not entirely imaginary: to the north and northeast, although the maps would like to indicate otherwise, Haiti borders the United States. It is here, in this region, that most US economic interests – and also those of its smaller partners – are concentrated. This is the case of Canada, that peculiar North American colony that in turn colonizes others. But also those of France, Germany and other European nations.
On August 29, 1911, a Yahi man known as Ishi came out of hiding near Oroville, California. He had spent decades evading settlers after the massacre of his community in the 1860s and had recently lost the last of his family. Whisked off to the University of California’s anthropology museum, he was described by the press as the “last wild Indian.” Ishi spent his final years living at the museum. When he wasn’t explaining his language to researchers or making arrow points for visitors, he swept the floors with a straw broom as a janitor’s assistant.
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.
07 OCTOBER, BALI: At a meeting of La Via Campesina facilitated by Serikat Petani Indonesia (SPI) in Bali, peasant organizations from Asia, Africa, Americas, and Europe have unanimously held World Bank and IMF responsible for facilitating large-scale land grab, deforestation and ocean grabbing around the world, which has led to inequality, poverty, and global hunger. Peasants pointed to several decades of neo-liberal push from the World Bank and IMF for privatization and de-regulation in developing countries, as among the major factors that have led to increased cost of living for peasant communities. Over the last 30-40 years, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and more recently the WTO has forced countries to decrease investment in food production and to reduce support for peasant and small farmers.
By Boaventura Monjane for Toward Freedom - (Derio, Basque Country) Peasants across Africa are intensifying their struggles against land grabs and other harmful policies that promote industrial agriculture. At a recent international conference organized by the world’s largest peasants movement, Via Campesina, African peasants had opportunities to share their experiences of struggle and to learn. “It is amazing to see how linked our struggles are”. With a countenance showing enthusiasm and eagerness, Nicolette Cupido could not conceal her emotions. There are two main reasons for her excitement. It was the first time she attended a global conference of peasants’ movements starting July 16 in Derio, in the outskirts of Bilbao, Basque Country. Her movement, the Agrarian Reform for Food Sovereignty Campaign (FSC), South Africa, was among the new organizations accepted into membership of Via Campesina. A community organizer and a member of the FSC, Nicolette engages in food production at home and community gardens in Moorreesburg, a village in Western Cape, 120Km away from Cape Town. She grows a variety of vegetables, that is the way she contributes in building food sovereignty. “I plant tomato, unions, beetroot, cabbage and carrots. The struggle for food sovereignty has to be practical, too”, she said. Like Nicolette, about 20 other African peasants representing movements from Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Niger, Mali, Senegal and Ghana attended the conference.
By Emma Eisenberg for Yes! Magazine - “Land is the most important thing to us, yet it’s not clear at all who owns it,” says Karen Rignall, assistant professor of community and leadership development at the University of Kentucky. “Without broad-scale knowledge of the patterns of land ownership this region cannot work together to move forward. But who owns it on paper is not always who owns it in actuality. That takes time and money to find out.” The coal industry of central Appalachia has been on the decline for more than 30 years, with West Virginia and Kentucky losing more than 38,000 coal jobs in that time. As coal companies pulled out, they took with them the dollars that small towns used to use to fund their schools and infrastructure, and left behind abandoned mines, polluted rivers and vast swaths of vacant land. All over Appalachia, communities and organizations are working around the clock to come up with a way to “justly transition” the Appalachian economy to whatever comes next. Rignall and postdoctoral researcher Lindsay Shade are collaborating with a growing group of citizens that think a part of the answer to a post-coal economy may lie with an old land ownership study—and have been inspired by it to do a new one.
By Survival International. Brazil - Thirteen Brazilian Indians have been hospitalized after a brutally violent attack by men armed with machetes in the Amazon. One man appears to have had his arms severed in disturbing photos released to Survival International. The attack was in retaliation for the Gamela Indians’ campaign to recover a small part of their ancestral territory. Their land has been invaded and destroyed by ranchers, loggers and land grabbers, forcing the Gamela to live squeezed on a tiny patch of land. The Gamela are indigenous to the area in Maranhão state in northern Brazil. Powerful agribusiness interests – reportedly including the Sarney landowning family – have been in conflict with the tribe for some time. The family includes a former president of Brazil and a former governor of Maranhão state.
By Indian Country Media Network. In an effort to make the 700 acres of beachfront property he purchased in 2014 on the North Shore of Kauai as secluded as possible, three companies controlled by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg are suing more than 300 people—living and passed on—with ancestral links to the land. The Honolulu Star Advertiser reports there are close to a dozen small parcels within the estate purchased by Zuckerberg that are owned by Hawaiian families who have rights to be on the property. The legal action Mark Zuckerberg is trying to push is called “quiet title and partition,” and according to the Star Advertiser it isn’t uncommon in Hawaii.
By Staff of Indianz - In the next few weeks Congressman Rob Bishop will attempt to push through the U.S. House of Representatives the first Indian land grab in over 100 years. H.R. 5780, the Utah Public Lands Initiative, proposes to rollback federal policy to the late 1800’s when Indian lands and resources where taken for the benefit of others. In a startling lack of transparency, Congressman Bishop plans only one hearing on this 215-page bill with about 129 other land management proposals in the obscure Subcommittee on Federal Lands.
By EDUCA Oaxaca. Mexico - In the community of Cerro de las Huertas, Ejutla de Crespo (Oaxaca) representatives of 48 communities and 30 social organizations participated on January 29 and 30 in the Conference of Communities and Organizations against Mining, in which they demand the state and federal governments for cancellation of all mining projects in Oaxaca. The goal, according to the “Colectivo Oaxaqueño en Defensa de los Territorios” and the organizing communities, was to create a space for reflection at the national level about the advancements and obstacles of the anti-mining movement in order to strengthen the resistance and defense of communities and organizations.
By Beverly Bell for Other Worlds - Today we live in a crucial moment in which peasants are confronting challenges as they grapple with global warming, with the power of multinational companies over what they eat and how they live, and with an agricultural model that can’t provide them livelihood. Among the risks and catastrophes the peasants confront are lack of quality and quantity in food production, and their right to live as human beings. They also face a challenge in accessing the basic resources they need to produce, especially seeds and water.