How do we grieve the death of a river? Written by Winona LaDuke “Our people blocked the road. When the troops arrive, we will face them .”– Ailton Krenak, Krenaki People, Brazil This eighteen months saw three of the largest mine tailings pond disasters in history. Although they have occurred far from northern Minnesota’s pristine waters, we may want to take heed as we look at a dozen or more mining projects, on top of what is already there, abandoned or otherwise. These stories, like many, do not make headlines. They are in remote communities, far from the media and the din of our cars, cans and lifestyle. Aside from public policy questions, mining safety and economic liability concerns, there is an underlying moral issue we face here:the death of a river. As I interviewed Ailton Krenak, this became apparent. The people in southeastern Brazilian call the river Waatuh or Grandfather. “We sing to the river, we baptize the children in this river, we eat from this river, the river is our life,” That’s what Ailton Krenak, winner of the Onassis International Prize, and a leader of the Indigenous and forest movement in Brazil, told me as I sat with him and he told me of the mine waste disaster. I wanted to cry. How do you express condolences for a river, for a life, to a man to whom the river is the center of the life of his people? That is a question we must ask ourselves. November 2015’s Brazilian collapse of two dams at a mine on the Rio Doco River sent a toxic sludge over villages, and changed the geography of a world. The dam collapse cut off drinking water for a quarter of a million people and saturated waterways downstream with dense orange sediment. As the LA Times would report, “Nine people were killed, 19 … listed as missing and 500 people were displaced from their homes when the dams burst.” The sheer volume of water and mining sludge disgorged by the dams across nearly three hundred miles is staggering: the equivalent of 25,000 Olympic swimming pools or the volume carried by about 187 oil tankers. The Brazilians compare the damage to the BP oil disaster, and the water has moved into the ocean – right into the nesting area for endangered sea turtles, and a delicate ecosystem. The mine, owned by Australian based BHP Billiton, the largest mining company in the world, (and the one which just sold a 60-year-old coal strip mine to the Navajo Nation in 2013) is projecting some clean up. Renowned Brazilian documentary photographer Sebastiao Salgado, whose foundation has been active in efforts to protect the Doce River, toured the area and submitted a $27 billion clean-up proposal to the government. “ Everything died. Now the river is a sterile canal filled with mud,” Salgado told reporters. When the mining company wanted to come back, Ailton Krenak told me, “we blocked the road.” They didn’t get the memo. – Read more at: http://americanindiansandfriends.com/news/how-do-we-grieve-the-death-of-a-river-written-by-winona-laduke#sthash.oVTqm8uZ.dpuf
Episode 2 The Meaning of Climate Change 1st December, 2015 (Part 1) Indigenous Oil . Combining anecdotal experience of indigenous groups on the front line of Canada’s environmental conflict with academic research. Produced and directed by Will Hood.
This episode explores the role of story in our on-going relationship with energy, ecology and economics.
This episode features: Chief Billy Joe Laboucan Massimo Chief of the Lubicon Cree Band, Little Buffalo, Alberta, Canada; David Attenborough Broadcaster, UK; Ernie Gambler Indigenous Musician from Calling Lake, Alberta, Canada; Isabel Altamirano-Jimenez Indigenous Scholar at the University of Alberta, Canada; J.B. Williams, Tsawout First Nation Flood Story Narration (with music from Elder May Sam); Makere Stewart-Harawira Indigenous Scholar at the University of Alberta, Canada; Peter Newell Professor of International Relations at the University of Sussex
Episode Extras: Oil On Lubicon Land: A Photo Essay
Australia is a giant in African mining, but its vast — and in some cases deadly — footprint has never been examined.
Australian-listed mining companies are linked to hundreds of deaths and alleged injustices which wouldn’t be tolerated in better-regulated nations.
The stories that follow are from people across Africa, rarely heard outside their own communities.
via FATAL EXTRACTION.
Gitxaala Thanks Tsilhqot’in and Calls on Crown to Live Up to Its Own Lawsby ahnationtalk on June 27, 2014June 26, 2014KITKATLA, BRITISH COLUMBIA–June 26, 2014 – Gitxaala extends its thanks to the Tsilhqot’in for bringing the important issue of aboriginal rights and title to the forefront and gaining a significant victory for aboriginal people – especially for nations such as ours who have not ceded their aboriginal title.In its decision today, the Supreme Court of Canada has made it clear that aboriginal title is very much like private property rights – at its core it is the right to decide what use is made of our land and waters.
I am a “blue dot” member.
A “blue dot” movement has taken the Twittersphere and Facebook by storm. Photographs of Indigenous people with a blue dot on their chest are being posted on social media.
It follows what happened at a joint announcement on the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act (FNEA).
The proposed legislation was announced in the Kainai First Nation on the Blood Tribe Reserve in Alberta. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt held a ceremony in the community to “seal the deal.”
Visit cbc.ca Aboriginal
Cookie-cutter solutions for F.N. education won’t work
Social media responds to the new F.N. Education Act
First Nations education funding still does not provide equality
Twila Singer and her two children attended the event.
Historical photos like this one of the American Indian Movement are showing up with blue dots. Christi Belcourt is using old photos of vocal figures to make a point with the blue dot campaign. (@christibelcourt/Twitter)
“We were separated at the door and given either a blue dot or a yellow dot. The blue dots were uninvited guests and were ushered to the gymnasium, and the invited guests were the yellow dots and they were brought to the auditorium where the dignitaries were.”
Most of the questions relate to implementation of this standard in Latin America, but his answers to the final two questions were particularly interesting to me, and applicable to many nations that are being called on to implement the prior consent standard.
Q: Do you think the state would lose its sovereignty if an indigenous community has the last word on whether or not an investment project can be undertaken on their territory?
A: The state does not lose its sovereignty if it respects human rights or indigenous rights. It has to comply with these rules to respect those rights; the state cannot do whatever it wants.I would say that the respect of these rights is a way of ensuring that this sovereignty is exercised. When the state respects human rights, it exercises its sovereignty, because it is acting in favour of its citizens and peoples.
Q: Nevertheless, there has been a loss of trust in governments. What can be done to ensure legitimate consultations and to open up dialogue?
for more, go here…
So simple. But it requires the will to let go – of fear, of greed, and of false and limiting beliefs.
For shame. Absolute, unadulterated shame.
They have kneecapped the political opposition, ignored the premiers, muzzled the scientists and even told federal librarians not to let their hair down when they’re not at work.
Now the Harper government has brought its godfather negotiation tactics to the poorest postal code in the nation.
As the CBC has reported, seven of the ten poorest postal codes in Canada are attached to reserves.
The lesson? Beware the Ides of March, especially if you are a member of the Burnt Church First Nation in rural New Brunswick….
THERE will be echoes of 1967 in Parliament House on Wednesday when both sides of politics pass legislation that will give momentum to the push to recognise the first Australians in the nation’s founding document.
Shirley Peisley was 26 when she pinned badges on the lapels of politicians in support of modest but hugely symbolic constitutional change. On Wednesday she will watch as a new indigenous generation does the same in support of something more ambitious.
Back then, Ms Peisley was a woman in awe, inspired by the leadership and example of Lowitja O’Donoghue, who organised her trip from Adelaide to a planning meeting for the 1967 referendum campaign. Like most of the activists, they stayed at Brassey Hotel, then called Brassey Hostel. ”Anyone who had a room – and some of us did – would have swags all over the floor,” Professor O’Donoghue recalls. ”The dining room was full of people who weren’t guests. It was amazing how they put up with us.”
Lowitja O’Donoghue and Shirley Peisley on Tuesday. Photo: Andrew Meares
When they weren’t talking about the struggle or singing We Shall Overcome and other anthems of the American civil rights movement, Professor O’Donoghue recalls some of the activists throwing boomerangs on the vacant land opposite.
This week, the two women are back in the same digs, and hoping that the unity, energy and optimism that abounded almost half a century ago will be replicated – and help transform the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The 1967 referendum resulted in indigenous Australians being counted in the census and gave the national government the power to make laws for their benefit, but only conferred what Noel Pearson described as a ”neutral kind of citizenship”.