Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Opportunity to Work on Indigenous Peoples Issues in the Peruvian Andes

The Center for Social Well Being is now in its 7th year offering our 3 week training program with courses in ethnographic field methods and languages - Spanish and Quechua - in the Peruvian Andes.

Founded in January 2000, the Center for Social Well Being is a non-profit organization dedicated to the enhancement of citizen participation to improve the lives and opportunities of children, youth and adults in Andean communities in Peru. They work to sensitize students and visitors to the region to global and local issues they can actively take part in to contribute to the development of mutual respect required for a just society. Their program team and partners consist of anthropologists, ecologists, agronomists, nutritionists, health workers, school teachers, herbalists, midwives, community members and leaders who collaborate in areas of research, training and civic participation to effectively analyze, prioritize and resolve issues of concern through the implementation of strategies aimed to improve social, health and environmental conditions.

The Centers intensive language courses are FLAS approved by the US Dept. of Education. Students will be housed at the center’s rural base, an adobe lodge on an ecological ranch in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range of the Callejón de Huaylas, 7 hours northeast of Lima. Coursework provides in-depth orientation to theory and practice in anthropological investigation that emphasizes methods in Participatory Action Research and Andean Ethnographycentered on themes of Health, Ecology, Biodiversity and Community Organization. Students will have the opportunity to actively engage in ongoing investigations in local agricultural communities to develop effective field research techniques, and to acquire language skills. In addition, the program provides excursions to museums, archaeological sites, glacial lakes and hotsprings; optional recreational activities include hiking, mountain biking, rafting, kayaking, rock climbing and trekking.

Total cost is $2,700 US dollars. This includes all in-country travel, food and accommodations at the rural center, and course materials. The program is under the direction of Applied Medical Anthropologist, Patricia J. Hammer, Ph.D., and Ecologist, Flor de María Barreto Tosi.

Program dates:

August 1st through August 21st
Biodiversity Session

September 17th through October 6
Ritual and Fiesta Session

For an application contact:

Or visit the Center for Social Well Being website.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

June 3 - 9, 2008: Five Key Indigenous Peoples Issues

Five Important Indigenous People's Issues for the Week of June 3 - June 9, 2008

Indigenous Native Chief Decries State of Canadian First Nation Affairs

First Nations Chief Rose Laboucan has seen a handful of aboriginal communities begin to crumble beneath her feet. Houses are falling apart and infested with mould. Drinking water is unsafe. Some families are living in rundown trailers while a wait-list for social housing continues to grow.

"It's totally devastating," she says. "To me, it's a crisis." As the leader of northern Alberta's Driftpile First Nation, Laboucan says there are 79 people in one of her smaller communities that are currently homeless - meaning there are thousands in the same situation across Canada.

She joined nearly two dozen chiefs from Alberta's aboriginal groups today, meeting in Edmonton as part of a national day of action to discuss the Third-World conditions emerging on some reserves. A report released this month found a growing number of aboriginals, even in urban areas, are living in overcrowded homes in a state of disrepair. Read more about the story here....

Brazilian Landowners and Military form Front Against Indigenous Peoples Policy

The battle to defend Brazil’s Amazon region "began in Roraima," according to Paulo Cesar Quartiero, a central figure in land conflicts in the indigenous border territory of Raposa Serra do Sol (RSS) which are prompting politicians and military officers to organise an opposition front.

Quartiero, a 55-year-old agronomist, moved from the far south to the north of the country 32 years ago and settled in Roraima, a jungle state bordering Guyana and Venezuela, where he acquired two farms with a combined area of 9,200 hectares and became a large-scale rice producer.

In 2004 he was elected mayor of Paracaima, a town of 9,000 people. In early May he was arrested and held in Brasilia for nine days on charges of possession of explosives and supplying guns to men who shot 10 indigenous people who -- Quartiero says -- were invading his land.

If anything, this seems to have confirmed his leadership of those who, like him, are opposed to the recognition of the RSS as a single, unbroken indigenous territory of 1.7 million hectares. Read the rest of the story here....

Indigenous Peoples Fishing Rights Hits Legislation Snag in Australia

The state government is winding back indigenous traditional fishing rights because some people are allegedly not doing the right thing. Yesterday, Primary Industries and Fisheries Minister Tim Mulherin introduced legislation to State Parliament that would amend laws introduced 14 years ago to expressly protect the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to fish in a traditional way.

The new laws will forbid indigenous fishermen and women access to 15 sensitive areas in which they previously had rights to fish and restrict the type of fishing gear indigenous people can use elsewhere.

Mr Mulherin said recent events in Rockhampton's Fitzroy River prompted the change.

"While most indigenous communities respect the laws and their intent associated with traditional fishing, a small number of individuals have exploited the situation for themselves," he said. "The amendments seek to reduce the risk of exploitation of fisheries resources by limiting traditional and customary fishing to personal, domestic and non-commercial communal use. "This definition clearly excludes the commercial sale of fish. Read more about this story here....

Japan to Recognize Indigenous Ainu People

Japan is set this week to recognise the Ainu as an indigenous people, in a landmark move for a nation that has long prided itself as ethnically homogeneous. The move comes ahead of next month's summit of the Group of Eight rich nations on the northern island of Hokkaido, home to most of Japan's estimated 70,000 Ainu. Japan's parliament is scheduled to adopt a resolution on Friday to urge the government to "immediately" provide support for the Ainu, who have long faced discrimination and income disparity, lawmakers said.

The resolution to be submitted jointly by ruling and opposition lawmakers stipulates for the first time that the Ainu "are an indigenous people with a distinct language, religion and culture."

"It's one of the steps forward, but it's a major step," Yukio Sato, an Ainu and director general of the Utari Association which campaigns for Ainu rights. Read more about this story here....

Renewed Plight Against Mining by Indigenous Peoples in the Andean Cordillera

Last May 2008, community leaders, elders, women, and youth have reconfirmed their stand on Olympus Pacific Minerals and other large mines in their ancestral domain, in which they condemn them for “grossly violat[ing] the rights of the indigenous cultural communities/indigenous peoples over their ancestral domain and failed to comply with the requirements under the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) and NCIP AO No.1, S. 2006.”. In simultaneous caucuses on issues that affect them, the elders, women and youth came up with another set of resolutions strongly backing the tide of official petitions received by regional and provincial offices of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).

In the community meetings with Olympus and the NCIP, community leaders called on them to stop the process of any further development of mining activities. Therefore, not allowing Olympus to conduct any large-scale mining to take effect in their ancestral domain. Furthermore stating that the violation of their collective rights over their ancestral lands, destruction of their livelihood resources and environmental disasters is connected to mining. Read more here....

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

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