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Land Rights

How To Privatize A Mountain

We had followed the trail for a half mile when it ran headlong into a fence. Signs nailed to the trees blared messages of unwelcome: ​“Private Property” and ​“No Forest Service Access.” They were emphatic: The trail ends here. Our map — the official map of the Custer Gallatin National Forest — said different: The trail continued for another seven or eight miles, a substantial orange line winding through the foothills of Montana’s Crazy Mountains. The signs, though, had the desired effect. On the other side of the fence, the trail grew faint. This trail, known as the Porcupine Lowline, had been marked on U.S. Forest Service maps for nearly a century — the earliest I’ve seen is dated 1925.

Hoopa Valley Tribe Reclaim Over 10,000 Acres

The Hoopa Valley Tribe announced today the acquisition of 10,395 acres of land bordering the western boundary of the Tribe’s Reservation. The return of the Hupa Mountain property brings the Tribe’s landholdings to a total of over 102,000 acres. When the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation was created, the Hupa people lost access to and use of more than two-thirds of their ancestral lands. The Tribe’s $14.1 million purchase of the land rightfully returns management, conservation, and use of the land to Hupa People. “Today is a day of intense celebration for our Tribe,” said Hoopa Valley Tribal Chairman Joe Davis.

Violence, Harassment, and Surveillance On Unist’ Ot’ En Land

In December 2019, the British Columbia Supreme Court issued an injunction allowing construction of a 669-kilometer-long Coastal GasLink pipeline that will cut through 22,000 square kilometers of unceded Wet´suwet´en land. The injunction gave the Coastal GasLink pipeline unlimited access to the ancestral lands of the Wet´suwet´en, and was firmly rejected by the Wet´suwet´en people. On January 7, 2020, the Wet´suwet´en Hereditary Chiefs served Coastal GasLink with an eviction notice, effective immediately. Despite the Hereditary Chiefs’ opposition to the pipeline, the Wet´suwet´en elected band council—a form of Indigenous governance established by the Canadian government...

Playbook For RCMP’s Wet’suwet’en Raids Provided By Former CIA Director

The RCMP’s Community-Industry Response Group (C-IRG), a special unit that polices Indigenous resistance against resource extraction in British Columbia, has adopted the playbook from former CIA director David Petraeus, according to a presentation at a summit held on Wet’suwet’en territory this week. Kai Nagata, communications director at Dogwood BC, spoke at the third annual Peace and Unity Summit for Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan hereditary chiefs, elders and allies from human rights organizations from around the world. Looking around the room, those in attendance sat in shock at what they were hearing and seeing.

Tijuana Groups Protest Border Wall Construction At Friendship Park

Tijuana, Mexico — Eduardo seemed not to notice the soft midday rain slowly dampening his clothes and beading up on the sleeves of his jacket. Just a couple hundred feet from where the Pacific lapped the beach of both Mexico and the U.S., drawing no distinction between the two, Eduardo pointed out the native and culinary plants he and his friends tend to each week. The corn, fennel and spinach grow just a foot or two from a row of tightly spaced, 18-foot-tall bollards reinforced with tightly woven steel mesh that mark the international border. On the Mexican side, the rusting metal is covered with brightly colored murals that attempt to lend the miles-long barrier a glimmer of humanity.

Judge Orders Stretch Of Enbridge Line 5 Shut Down On Tribal Land

The Canadian oil company Enbridge has been ordered to pay the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa $5 million in damages for trespassing and to gradually shut down part of its Line 5 pipeline in Wisconsin after a federal judge found that the company has placed the tribe's sacred land at risk of an environmental disaster. U.S. District Judge William Conley of the Western District of Wisconsin handed down the ruling on Friday after the Bad River Band argued in court that there are now fewer than 15 feet between parts of Line 5 and the Bad River following the partial erosion of the riverbank in recent months.

Restoring The Land Rights Of The Garifuna African People Of Honduras

The ages-long severe oppression of descendants of West African slaves in Honduras has yet to receive wide attention. The Garifuna African people in Honduras are increasingly being denied their lands and livelihoods by the Honduran government and the multilateral institutions of the Global North. The plight of the Garifuna African people and their fight to restore their lands and livelihoods should no longer be left only to them to face, especially considering their small population of about 300,000. Continental Africans and those in the diaspora should raise awareness about the case. The Garifuna people are a part of Africa.

Shaky Ground: How The United States Uses The Law To Steal Indigenous Land

In Federal Anti-Indian Law: The Legal Entrapment of Indigenous Peoples, Peter d’Errico exposes the capriciousness and hostility with which the United States uses the law to apply — or deny — justice to the original peoples of this land. “When we enter a realm called ​‘federal Indian law’ … we are entering a semantic world created by the United States to control Native peoples and claim their lands,” writes d’Errico, an attorney and professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Despite its confusion and contradictions, federal Indian law — in d’Errico’s terms, ​“anti-Indian law” — has long had an unchanging purpose.

Decolonizing Black Women’s Health Through Land Reparations

One day, my mother dialed zero for the operator. As a Black woman living in Reagan’s 1980s era, isolated and economically struggling while surviving physical and sexual violence, she knew could not count on her predominantly white neighbors to stop her from committing suicide. My mother was past the stage of suicidal ideation and well into a solid plan to kill herself after my father had beaten her for confronting him when he sold off her land in Florida. It wasn’t until years later that I understood the manifold losses my mother sustained as a result of my father selling her 2.5 acres of land north of Miami.

Mexico: Wind Energy Is Not As Clean As You Think

March 2023, U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry met with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Oaxaca, Mexico, to discuss U.S.-Mexico collaboration over renewable energy. It was announced that the United States would commit to invest in at least 10 new wind and solar parks in the region — already one of Latin America’s top wind power hot spots. But there’s a problem. These wind farms there have been largely constructed and run by foreign transnational corporations. Residents say that while on the surface these wind turbines are generating clean energy, they have been disrespecting communal land rights, stiffing local residents money owed for renting their land, and refusing to benefit the local community with discounted or subsidized utility rates.

Peru: Rosalino Flores’s Death And Comuneros Win Land Struggle

Perú continues to face crises upon crises over 100 days since the coup regime ousted democratically elected President Pedro Castillo. The masses have remained mobilized in the streets and delegations from various regions throughout the country continue coming to the capital city to overturn this dictatorship, as well as to reinforce their local struggles and blockades. Despite a long battle in the hospital, a young person lost his life at the  hands of this regime. This past Friday also marked the victory of an indigenous campesino community in Cusco from being evicted from their ancestral lands.

The Kichwa Community Demands Justice For Violation Of Territorial Rights

A public hearing was held for the writ of amparo lawsuit filed by the Puerto Franco Kichwa community, who sued the Peruvian State and the Cordillera Azul National Park (PNCAZ) for failing to title their traditional lands, the imposition of an exclusionary conservation model and the generation of profits from the sale of carbon credits without their consent, in the San Martin region of the Peruvian Amazon. On 22 March, a public hearing was held as part of the amparo process that has been going on before the Mixed Court of Bellavista since 2020, brought forward by the Indigenous Kichwa community of Puerto Franco and the Ethnic Council of the Kichwa Peoples of the Amazon (CEPKA).

Life Inside An MST Landless Workers’ Settlement In Brazil

For nearly 40 years, Brazil’s Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) has been fighting the concentration of landownership among the country’s elite through the direct occupation and settlement of fallow lands. Founded at the end of Brazil’s military dictatorship, the MST now has settlements and occupations throughout the nation. TRNN contributor Michael Fox reports from an MST settlement in the state of Paraná, where landless workers have built their own homes, schools, and cooperative farms. Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement, or MST; the largest social movement in the Americas, one and a half million members.

Native American Sacred Sites Are Being Damaged At Thacker Pass

Nevada - The Thacker Pass Lithium Mine in northern Nevada is headed back to Federal Court on January 5th as the lawsuits against the project near completion, but project opponents are raising the alarm that Lithium Nevada Corporation has already begun work on the proposed mine. Lithium Nevada’s workers at Thacker Pass have begun digging test pits, bore holes, dumping gravel, building fencing, and installing security cameras where Native Americans often conduct ceremonies. Lithium Nevada also conducted “bulk sampling” earlier this year, and may be planning to dig dozens of new test pits across Thacker Pass. They are claiming this work is legal under previous permits issued over a decade ago. But tribes and mine opponents, including the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and Summit Lake Paiute Tribe, disagree.

Abahlali baseMjondolo’s Fight For Dignity And Land, 17 Years On

17 years ago, the residents of 12 informal settlements in the city of Durban came together and formed Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM), or ‘shack dwellers’ in Zulu. The movement emerged at a time of widespread mobilizations against the ruling African National Congress’ failure to fulfill its promises to provide services and housing for the poor in post-apartheid South Africa. “What do we want?” AbM’s founding member and president, then 30 year-old S’bu Zikode had asked in 2005, “The basics. Water, electricity, sanitation, land, and housing.” Over the following years, AbM grew into a militant collective with more than 100,000 members, fighting for dignity and land for the urban poor in the face of deadly repression by state forces.
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