João Pedro Stedile of the national leadership of the Landless Workers Movement (MST) talks about the current crisis in the agrarian sector and the way forward. He explains how the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro has wrecked agriculture, leading to a rise in hunger. He also talks about the MST’s proposals for reviving the sector which include both immediate steps to alleviate hunger and structural solutions to long-term problems. These include the key role cooperatives must play in the country.
Black faces in high places are dangerous because the masses get caught up in symbolism and style over substance. They become confused and fall for perceived power over real power. An example would be Plantation Manager Joe Biden. He has appointed close to two dozen African Americans (mostly women with European husbands and wives) to his cabinet and senior advisors—more than any other President (including the one he served under), and there has been no significant changes in the conditions we live under. Yet, because there is a Black Woman Vice President, a Black Woman Supreme Court Justice and Black Woman Press Secretary, many Black people, including activists, somehow equate that to “Black Girl Magic”.
Imagine one day City Hall seized your home’s front and back yards, along with your driveway, front walk and back porch. Yes, you’d still have a house where you could eat, sleep and reside. But you’d no longer have your full home and what was rightly yours. Now, imagine you were given the opportunity for that land to be returned to you. All you’d have to do is promise to never change a thing. You could maybe do something benign – pruning the trees or mowing the grass – but you could not build a shed, start a garden, or add a swing set for your children. Would you take the deal? This, in essence, is the deal Indian Country is commonly offered when land conservation organizations offer to return anywhere from 10 to 10,000 acres of land to Native American tribes. Land that was wrongly taken from tribes more than 100 years ago is often only returned if the tribes agree to adhere to someone else’s interpretation of what’s best.
It’s another example of the small-scale farming movement holding the advantage over global mainstream agriculture. Market gardens and community farms are small enough to look inwards, responsive enough to look outwards, and nimble enough to pivot and reflect back what they see. The first stage is the reckoning. A growing public debate around inequality and inclusion in the UK is driving a lot of discourse and the first breath of real change. Industrial agriculture and the traditional institutions of rural Britain often appear willing to ignore their own unjust foundations and oppressive dynamics. Whereas the arguably white, middle-class domain of the sustainable food movement seems increasingly unafraid to ruffle its own feathers.
Dario Azzellini tells Theresa Alt about Venezuelan cooperatives. The Chavez government supported the formation of cooperatives. Many formed; few really succeeded in operating cooperatively. Liberation theology also had been encouraging cooperatives. Other cooperatives arose when entrepreneurs and landowners left Venezuela and the workers took over. Later initiating cooperatives was given to the local-government communes. Local communes have played a more constructive role than central government. Recorded June 8, 2022.
Native to the north of the country, Tanzania’s Maasai people have been protesting against the government’s renewed efforts to strip them of the right to occupy and use their ancestral lands. What would it take to defend their homeland? "I am born to live my life," says Denis Moses Oleshangai, a Maasai youth activist hailing from northern Tanzania, in the Ngorongoro province’s village of Endulen. "But to live my life I need to achieve my dreams, so I will be fighting even if there is any danger, or obstacle for community and myself." In recent years, many Maasai activists were arrested for speaking out. In 2017, around 200 Maasai houses were burned in Loliondo, their livestock confiscated.
Lincoln, Nebraska - On May 2nd, in so-called Lincoln, Nebraska, the Niskithe Prayer Camp was established in opposition to the “Wilderness Crossing development project, which would significantly encroach on sacred Native American purification/sweat ceremonies and disrupt an existing pristine nature park.” According to Nebraska Public Media: Lincoln City Council approved a housing development for 162 single-family homes, 134 townhomes, and 205 apartments near Wilderness Park in Lincoln, across from the only two Native American sweat lodges within the city, last week. Now, a group of Native American community members set up a prayer camp on the approved land in protest. Seven native teepees surround Native Americans while they burn cedar and pray for the sanctity of the sweat lodges across the street. In the 1970s, Chief Leonard Crow Dog set up those lodges on private land surrounding Wilderness Park for Native Americans to hold traditional ceremonies, pray, and heal.
Land Back! is a popular slogan among Natives on social media in the form of memes, hashtags and posts advocating decolonization. It is spray painted on the sides of buildings and bronze statues of euroamerican colonizers (preferably in red), as well as appearing as a talking point on an episode of Reservation Dogs. Although the term has gained popularity via social media and perhaps viewed as a recent trend, Land Back! actions have been in effect since the Red Power movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s. One of the more well-known Land Back! events from that era was the 1969 occupation of Alcatraz Island, a former federal prison near the San Francisco Bay. Hundreds of angry and motivated Natives arrived by the boatload and demanded the deed to the island.
When Captain James Cook encountered the ancestors of the Nuchatlaht people in 1778, the British explorer wrote in his journal that he had "no where met with Indians who had such high notions of every thing the Country produced being their exclusive property." Those words may come back to haunt the Crown in the coming weeks as the Nuchatlaht embark on an uncharted journey of their own: a legal quest to obtain Aboriginal title over 200 square kilometers of land off the west coast of Vancouver Island. Members of the First Nation will be in B.C. Supreme Court on Monday for the beginning of what some observers expect to be a groundbreaking trial as they attempt to prove their right to Crown land mostly comprised of Nootka Island.
Officials at Crown-Indigenous Relations worry the Crown may lose a lawsuit launched by Six Nations of the Grand River’s elected council over the community’s numerous outstanding land claims, internal documents suggest. Negotiators with the Treaties and Aboriginal Government branch informed their deputy minister, the department’s top public servant, of the law department’s opinion in an August 2020 briefing package obtained by APTN News. “The First Nation is claiming approximately 900,000 acres of land that was improperly surrendered in southwestern Ontario,” the memo explained. “Justice Canada advises that portions of the Six Nations litigation claim poses high risk for the Crown, and will result in a significant damage award.”
Two years ago, a small pocket of land three kilometres from Auckland’s international airport became the most prominent site of a struggle by Māori, New Zealand’s indigenous people, to reclaim land confiscated by the crown more than 150 years ago. Ihumātao contains evidence of New Zealand’s first commercial gardens, where thousands of hectares were planted with kumara, a tropical sweet potato which thrived in the warm and nutritious soil. The adjacent stonefields, today a category one Unesco heritage site, are rich with ancient nurseries and storage pits. When William Hobson, then-governor of New Zealand, founded Auckland in 1840, the produce of Ihumātao sustained the growing population.
Phoenix – Tourists speeding toward Grand Canyon National Park rarely notice the rocky protuberance that juts above the flat expanse of Arizona's Coconino Plateau. But to the Havasu 'Baaja, known to the world as the Havasupai Tribe or "People of the Blue-Green Water," the isolated hill forms the center of their lands and spiritual life. Red Butte (Wii'I Gdwiisa or "Clenched Fist Mountain") is the abdomen of Mother Earth. Mat Taav Tiivjunmdva, a meadow about 3 miles north of the distinctive mountain close to the Canyon's South Rim, is her navel. But Red Butte and Mat Taav Tiivjunmdva are part of the Kaibab National Forest and do not lie within the trust land borders of the Havasupai, who were evicted from Grand Canyon National Park in 1919.
Congratulations to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes on their recent acquisition of the National Bison Range. In September 2018, I made my first official trip as assistant secretary-Indian affairs to the homelands of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. The purpose of the trip was to learn about the irrigation project on the Flathead Reservation. I learned about the challenges with rate setting, aging infrastructure, the differing needs of Indian and non-Indian water users, water rights, the history behind the project and the need for a fair and just water claims settlement with the federal government. In addition to the irrigation project, I had the opportunity to visit the National Bison Range and learn about the cultural significance of the bison, and the range, to the Salish and Kootenai peoples.
Since the end of April, Colombia’s streets have smelled of tear gas. The government of Colombian President Iván Duque imposed policies that put the costs of the pandemic on the working class and the peasantry and tried to suffocate any advancement of the Havana peace accords of 2016. Discontent led to street protests, which were repressed harshly by the government. These protests, Rodrigo Granda of Colombia’s Comunes party told us in an interview, “are defined by the wide participation of youth, women, artists, religious people, the Indigenous, Afro-Colombians, unions and organizations from neighborhoods of the poor and the working class. Practically the whole of Colombia is part of the struggle.”