Monday, March 31, 2008

March 17 - 23, 2008: Five Key Indigenous People's Issues

Five Important Indigenous People's Issues for the Week of March 17 - 23, 2008


Peru Indigenous Tribe Battles Oil Giant Over Pollution

It is a familiar story. Big business moves into a pristine wilderness and starts destroying the environment and by turn the livelihoods of the indigenous people who live there. But in a reversal of plot, there are now cases of people living traditional lifestyles who are now invading the territory of the big companies and taking them on at their own game. The story of the Achuar tribe living in the Amazon rainforest of north-eastern Peru is one of them. Read the rest of the story here...


Tar Sands: Environmental Justice and Indigenous First Nation Native Rights

The application of treaty rights as a legal strategy implemented by the First Nations themselves must be the key focus in efforts to challenge Big Oil in Alberta. Resources and effort must be placed into building the knowledge and capacity amongst First Nations and M├ętis leadership, including grassroots, elders and youth, to engage in both an indigenous-led corporate-finance campaign and in decision-making processes on environment, energy, climate and economic policies related to halting the tar-sands expansion. Canadian policy makers need to understand that there is an inextricable link between indigenous rights and energy and climate impacts. Read the rest here...


Uganda: High Court Clears Balaalo Eviction

Pastoralists who roam around Uganda yesterday lost a crucial bid in the High Court to block their planned eviction from parcels of land in the western district of Bulliisa. Justice Akiiki Kiiza dismissed the case filed against six government officials on grounds that the pastoralists commonly known as Balaalo used a wrong law and procedure to go to court.

This means the government is now free to either evict or relocate the pastoralists from the land they have been occupying in Buliisa District. Find out more here...


Safeguarding Indigenous Abelam Culture

My first encounter with Abelam art was in 1974, when a group of men from the Maprik district of East Sepik province came to the University of PNG to paint a facade at the University Library, now the Sir Michael Somare Library. In 1978 I had the next encounter with Abelam art, when I commenced post-graduate studies at the Australian National University (ANU), and met my program supervisor, Professor Anthony Forge, whose area of interest and expertise was Abelam art.

From the understanding I have developed over the years of Abelam art, it is one of the most intricate, elaborate and spectacular in the country. This art culture is now becoming iconic to Papua New Guinea. Read the rest here...


Coca Crackdown and Indigenous Peoples in South America

The Incas chewed it. For the last 3,000 years the indigenous peoples of Bolivia and Peru have chewed or drunk coca tea without any apparent harm to their health. It is also used by healers and in ceremonial offerings to the gods. Pope John Paul II even drank coca tea on a visit to Bolivia in 1988. Now a UN body wants to ban it.

The INCB (International Narcotics Control Board) has decided to crack down on the culture of coca among the Indian population of the Andes as part of the increasingly futile efforts to stem the flow of cocaine to western countries. According to the INCB report, "Consuming the raw, unprocessed leaf abets the progression of drug dependence." No credible scientific evidence has been advanced to support this hotly-contested claim. Read the rest of the story here...


Last weeks Five Key Indigenous People's Issues can be found here.

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