Saturday, January 24, 2009

Indigenous Peoples Migration: Current Challenges

Millions of indigenous people have migrated from small towns and communities to the big cities of Mexico, and around half a million Mexican indigenous people now live in the United States. It began when people had to look for work to support their families during the severe economic crisis of the 1980s, which still has not ended.

The Mexican government has repeatedly said that Mexico is strong and will be able to resist the global economic crisis and especially the U.S. crisis, which began two years ago. However, Mexico has been in economic crisis for the last 28 years. No government has been able to resolve this, partly because we Mexicans are by now used to living in crisis.

The number of Mexican migrants to the United States in these 28 years now reaches 26 million, and it's not true that many are returning to their communities due to the recent critical situation in the United States. Migration has helped us to feel the crisis a little less, due to the large amounts of money we send to our families that also has supported regional, state, and national economies in Mexico.

Now, faced with the serious economic crisis in the United States, the Mexican government is more worried about shrinking remittances than about implementing true economic development across the country and particularly in regions of high out-migration. The government has even asked migrants not to stop sending money to our families, as though supporting families were the responsibility of migrants while the Mexican government washes its hands of its responsibility.

Indigenous Migration Within the Frame of Migration and Human Rights

Migrants from every country suffer very serious human rights violations, not only in the United States but also in all of Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. In Mexico, the rights of South and Central American migrants and others on their way to the United States are violated. For this reason, the current government does not have the moral authority to ask anything of other governments on behalf of its people when it does not set an example of respecting the human rights of migrants in transit or the rights of Mexicans who participate in social and indigenous organizations.

All migrants suffer violations of our human rights, such as the right to work freely; suitable living conditions; access to healthcare, education, free movement, legal assistance; no language barriers; literacy rights; and the right to civic participation in the country in which we live. On top of this, we suffer discrimination and police and military persecution.

Read more about the challenges of indigenous peoples migration here.

Translated from: La migración indígena y sus desafíos en la coyuntura actual
Translated by: Nalina Eggert

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Aging and the Indigenous People of North America: Call for Papers

Subject: Aging and the Indigenous People of North America announcement

CALL FOR PAPERS - "Aging and the Indigenous People of North America"

The Seventh Annual Conference of the Association for Anthropology and Gerontology will be held at the University of Oklahoma-Norman from June 5 - 7, 2009. This year's theme broadly focuses on "Aging and the Indigenous People of North America." Any topic is welcome; examples include aging and health issues, the revitalization of culture and language, and overviews of the field as a whole. The conference is an interdisciplinary small-scale meeting emphasizing the close critique of works-in-progress. It includes a workshop focused on the future of gerontological work with the indigenous people of North America. It also features an optional mentoring component for students and junior researchers, who are paired with senior researchers who offer technical assistance concerning research proposals or manuscripts.

Papers from the conference will be considered for publication either individually or as a special issue of the Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology. Presenters are invited to submit a one-page abstract by February 15, 2008 to Dr. Lori L. Jervis, University of Oklahoma, Registration forms are available here.

The Association for Anthropology and Gerontology (AAGE) was established in 1978 as a multidisciplinary group dedicated to the exploration and understanding of aging within and across the diversity of human cultures. Our perspective is holistic, comparative, and international. Our members come from a variety of academic and applied fields, including the social and biological sciences, nursing, medicine, policy studies, social work, and service provision.

AAGE is a network of friendly, helpful individuals throughout the U.S. and Canada and in other nations. We provide a supportive environment for the professional growth of students and colleagues. We are genuinely interested in one another's projects and in helping each other contribute to understanding the aging process and the lives of older persons in the Americans and around the world.

AAGE promotes direct intellectual exchange among its members by facilitating the organization of symposia and workshops at the annual meetings of professional organizations such as the American Anthropological Association, Society for Applied Anthropology, Gerontological Society of America and International Association of Gerontology. We have exhibition tables at some meetings. AAGE's annual business meeting is held during the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Work with Indigenous Peoples in Peru: Action Research Opportunities

Action Research in the Andes 2009

The Center for Social Well Being is now in its 8th year offering our 3 week training program with courses in ethnographic field methods and languages (Spanish and Quechua) in the Peruvian Andes. 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 Ethnography centered 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.
Action Research in Peru with Indigenous Peoples
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: June 4th through June 24th

Please contact us for information about other potential programs for 2009.

For an application contact:

Or click on:

Further information available at

Deadline: March 31st, 2009

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January 14-20, 2009: Five Key Indigenous Peoples Issues

Five Important Indigenous People's Issues for the Week of January 14, - 20, 2009

Bolivia: The Constitutional Challenge of Bolivia

Mariano Aguilera is driving fast down a country road in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, heading towards his sugar cane fields. He coaxes the red Mercedes over ninety and passes a truck full of peasants, regarding them in his rearview mirror. "I bet they're headed to La Paz to take over the Congress or something," he says. "A new constitution is going to bring nothing but more problems."

From August 2006 to December 2007, Aguilera was actually part of an assembly that rewrote Bolivia's constitution. The draft will be approved or rejected by a highly anticipated referendum here on January 25.

Aguilera now says he is against the charter he was supposed to have co-authored. Nonetheless, it's expected to win the 50+1 percent support needed to make it official, setting up the likely re-election of President Evo Morales at the end of this year. But the process has caused many to ask if a new constitution can establish common ground in this divergent nation of 9 million.

Carved out between the Andes and the Amazon Basin, Bolivia is home to thirty-six indigenous groups, mestizos of partly European descent, whites, foreigners and a small group of Afro-Bolivians. Until recently those indigenous groups, as well as Afro-Bolivians, had little political power. Read more about Bolivia's constitutional challenge here....

Brazil: 54 Indigenous Natives Murdered in Brazil in 2008

At least 54 Indians were murdered last year in Brazil in conflicts over land or defending their rights, down 40 percent from 2007, a body linked to the Catholic Church said Tuesday.

According to data from the church's Indigenous Missionary Commission, or CIMI, the most serious situation occurred in the west-central state of Mato Grosso do Sul, which borders with Bolivia and Paraguay, where there were 40 murders and 34 suicides of Indians last year.

The number of suicides in Mato Grosso do Sul grew by more than 50 percent, compared to the 22 Indians who took their lives in 2007, but homicides fell about 25 percent there from the 53 killings the previous year.

Suicide, which was formerly something foreign to the indigenous culture, has been increasing among tribes like the Guarani, which are confronting problems like overcrowding and alcoholism.

Heavily agricultural Mato Grosso do Sul is one of the states with the most Indians and one of the regions with the largest number of land conflicts, given that Indians are concentrated in very small areas.

"CIMI continues to warn about the serious situation of the Guarani Kaiowa people in Mato Grosso do Sul. There were 74 cases of murders and suicides in 2008 and 75 in 2007 among a population of about 40,000 people," said the organization in a communique. Read more about indigenous murders in Brazil here....

Canada: Telecom Boosts Development in Aboriginal Communities

When a group of remote First Nations communities in northern Ontario launched an electronic bulletin board in 1994, it was the seed that would become Canada’s largest Aboriginal broadband network and a model network for Indigenous telecommunications of interest worldwide.

The Bulletin Board System (BBS) was meant to meet the critical need of maintaining contact with the communities’ children and help support them to stay in school while living away from home.

These fly-in communities had no high school and many of their children continuing their education at boarding schools were dropping out.

At the time many of the communities’ approximately 2,800 residents did not even have a home phone—a public payphone had to be shared among several hundred people.

In less than a decade, residents were able to access broadband services from their homes and public places like community centres and libraries.

Today, the communities coordinate with service agencies and universities to deliver an Internet high school, telehealth, telejustice, and webcasts of education and training events to residents via their Kuhkenah Network (K-Net), a system vastly expanded from its BBS days. Read more about telecommunications in aboriginal communities here....

Venezuela: Indigenous Venezuelans Get Welfare But, So Far, Not Much Land

The Medellín ranch lies in the foothills of the Sierra de Perijá, a forested mountain range on Venezuela’s border with Colombia. It is the front line of a simmering conflict between ranchers and the indigenous Yukpa people, some of whom, claiming these lands as ancestral territory, have occupied nine nearby ranches. Their dispute illustrates the gap between the rhetoric from Hugo Chávez’s socialist government, championing the rights of indigenous peoples, and the reality.

Only around 2% of Venezuela’s 28m people are of unmixed Indian blood. The constitution, which President Chávez fathered in 1999, recognises their right to “the lands they ancestrally and traditionally occupy.” That is potentially more than half the national territory. The constitution said these lands should all be demarcated by 2002 but this task has barely begun.

Last August four Yukpa leaders, wearing red warpaint and carrying bows and arrows, held a press conference in Caracas. They accused ranchers of employing gunmen to harass and even kill them. The ranchers deny this and accuse the government of encouraging the ranch invasions. At night, local ranchers, armed with shotguns and hunting rifles, patrol the properties most at risk of invasion. Francisco Vargas, the owner of the Medellín ranch, says it has been in his family for three generations. “So far as I know,” he says, “my grandfather didn’t kill a single Indian. These lands were bought, and I have the documents to prove it.” Read more about indigenous peoples in Venezuela here....

Australia: Aboriginal Artists Say Code May Stymie Bad Deals, Fuel Sales

Aboriginal artist Rene Kulitju, who paints at the base of Uluru in remote Australia, says new rules may help curb dealers exploiting artists and fuel sales as the economic downturn crimps the global appetite for art.

Australia has launched a draft code regulating the sale of Aboriginal art, worth as much as A$500 million ($330 million) per year. It aims to outlaw so-called carpetbagging, when dealers exploit artists and buy their work cheaply for alcohol or drugs.

“This industry is not regulated and sometimes people buy paintings cheaply and rip us off,” Kulitju, who was paid A$2,050 for a painting which later sold for A$15,000, said by telephone on Dec. 29 from Mututjulu in central Australia. “This code will help us get a fair price and stop exploitation.”

The Australia Council code bans the sale of art for drugs or alcohol. It says buyers must not take advantage of an artist who is ill, affected by drugs or alcohol or who does not understand the terms of the sale.

Indigenous Australians are almost three times more likely than non-indigenous to get a disease. Half indigenous adults smoke, compared with 11 percent of non-indigenous. Some 55 percent drink alcohol at risky levels and Aborigines die on average 17 years younger than other Australians, government figures show.

“This will help protect the industry because many of the artists are vulnerable and live in remote areas,” Sabine Heider, owner of aboriginal art store Central Art, said in a telephone interview. “This will help stem out carpetbaggers, but there will still be dealers who exploit artists.” Read more about aboriginal artists here....

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

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Cultural Genocide: Call for Papers for Journal of Genocide Research

Cultural Genocide

When Raphael Lemkin coined the term genocide during World War II, he initially had a broader idea of the concept, namely that a group could be effectively destroyed by an attack on its social institutions and cultural heritage, even without the physical obliteration of its members. Since Lemkin, scholars have defined cultural genocide as a form of persecution involving the deliberate destruction of the culture of a people, ranging from violence against material and immaterial culture to assaults on identities of groups. Such destruction is wrought in a variety of ways, typically including restrictions upon of a group's language and traditions, the use of boarding schools to forcibly assimilate children, the ruination of objects and institutions, and the persecution of political, cultural, intellectual, and religious elites.
Journal of Genocide Research
History abounds with examples of cultural genocide. The expansion of Europe from 1492 on, for example, can be read as a long process of (un)intended destruction of indigenous cultures on the American and Australian continents. Other examples include the Russian colonization of the Caucasus, Chinese rule in Tibet, the Japanese occupation of Korea, Nazi policies in occupied Poland, Young Turk cultural policies in Eastern Turkey, and the destruction of Islamic architecture in Bosnia. How can cultural genocide be conceptualized? Why do political elites launch policies to eradicate cultures? How effective are these policies? To what degree are processes of nation formation tantamount to cultural genocide?

This thematic issue of the Journal of Genocide Research aims to contribute to our understanding of cultural genocide. The editors welcome original and innovative articles dealing with all possible aspects of cultural genocide. After initial editor screening, all submissions will undergo peer review. Proposals (max 1.5 pages) for papers should be submitted together with a short curriculum vitae by 1 March 2009 both to the editors of the JGR

Dominik J. Schaller (

Jürgen Zimmerer ( and to the guest editor

The articles, which should be a maximum of 8500 words including documentation, will be due on 1 July 2009.



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Monday, January 19, 2009

United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples Issues: Registration Open for Eighth Session

Eighth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Pre-registration is now open

Indigenous Peoples' Organizations and academics that have previously attended the Permanent Forum and all NGOs with ECOSOC consultative status

Indigenous Peoples' Organizations that are attending the Permanent Forum for the first time

Academic institutions that are attending the Permanent Forum for the first time

18 - 29 May, 2009
UN Headquarters, New York

Provisional agenda and documentation for the eighth session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

  1. Election of officers.
  2. Adoption of the agenda and organization of work.
  3. Follow-up to the recommendations of the Permanent Forum on:
    • (a) Economic and social development;
    • (b) Indigenous women;
    • (c) Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People.
  4. Human rights:
    • (a) Implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
    • (b) Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples and other special rapporteurs.
  5. Half-day discussion on the Arctic.
  6. Comprehensive dialogue with six United Nations agencies and funds.
  7. Future work of the Permanent Forum, including issues of the Economic and Social Council and emerging issues.
  8. Draft agenda for the ninth session of the Permanent Forum.
  9. Adoption of the report of the Permanent Forum on its eighth session.

Practical Information for Participants

Frequently asked questions on NGO participation:

[Accreditation and Pre-registration]
[Submission of written statements]

Handbook for Participants at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Indigenous Communities Mining Mini-Grant Program: Application Deadline

The goal of the mini-grants program is to support and enhance the capacity building efforts of mining-impacted indigenous communities to assure that mining projects do not adversely affect human, cultural, and the ecological health within their traditional territories.

The applicant must be an indigenous community organization with limited funds and has demonstrated the capacity to successfully carry out the project. Individual grants will not exceed $4,000 U.S. and cannot be used for general programmatic or operating expenses.
Indigenous Communities Mining Mini-Grant Program
WMAN/IEN Indigenous Communities Mini-grants program criteria:

  1. Applications will be taken at fixed times during the year (February 1, 2009)
  2. Indigenous-led, indigenous community-based organizations, and Tribes or Tribal programs in the U.S. and Canada with any budget level may apply. However, if there are more applicants than funds available, priority will be given to indigenous organizations with an organizational or mining-specific project budget under $75,000 U.S.; priority will also be given to Indigenous community-based grassroots groups.
  3. Requests must be project-specific for an immediate need such as legal assistance, organizing and outreach, development of campaign materials, media development, reports, travel, mailings, etc. to be fulfilled within the next four months on a specific mining campaign. Funds cannot be used for an organization’s general operating funds, staff salaries, rent or telephone bills.
  4. Applicants who have received funds twice during the previous two grant cycles will be given lower priority than new organizations and programs. This will not apply to “emergency” grants.
  5. Each grant issued will not exceed $4,000.
  6. Funding recipients must submit a brief report detailing how funds were spent before the next grant cycle begins (4 months from the grant cycle deadline). Reporting on use of grant funds is extremely important. Failure to submit a report in a timely fashion or to make arrangements for a report extension will significantly lower chances for said organization to receive grants from the Indigenous Environmental Network/Western Mining Action Network Indigenous Mining Grant funds in the future.

Any questions? Please contact Simone Senogles, Indigenous Environmental Network, (218) 751-4967 or Sarah Keeney, WMAN Network Coordinator at (503) 327-8625

More Info:
Indigenous Environmental Network
Western Mining Action Network

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Miziwe Biik Development Corporation Aboriginal Logo

Call For Submissions / Aboriginal Arts, Culture and Entrepreneur Centre (AACE)/Aace Logo Contest / Toronto, ON / Deadline Date: Friday, January 30, 2009

The Miziwe Biik Development Corporation is in the process of developing a centre that will promote a sustainable cultural economy through showcasing the excellence of Aboriginal artist entrepreneurs through the arts and culture. The Centre will be located in Toronto and it will include space for art galleries, artist work studios, events programming, classrooms, artist live-work studios and retail spaces that will support and promote Local, Provincial, National and International Aboriginal art and culture.

The contest is open to Canadian Aboriginal (see Rules and Regulations below) Artists and designers.

All entries must be post marked on or before 12:00 noon PST on January 30, 2009

The winning qualified entry will be awarded $5,000.00. There are no secondary prizes.

Design Requirements
Designs submitted to the AACE Logo Contest:

  • must be original and not based on any pre-existing design
  • must include traditional and contemporary design elements
  • must not be representative of a single Aboriginal group
  • may not include any text/words other than the acronym "AACE"
  • should include silver and/or copper
  • should be designed with production in mind
  • artwork designed in or that can be made readily adaptable in, Encapsulated Postscript (.eps) or Illustrator (.ai), will be given preference AACE Logo Contest - Miziwe Biik Development Corporation
  • designs should be effective and easily reproduced in various branding/identity formats including print (e.g. letterhead, posters, banners) and digital (e.g. web, PowerPoint, video)
  • designs must scale up/down depending on use
  • designs should look good in different colour spaces for screen and print (RGB and CMYK). 1-3 colour Pantone designs are acceptable
  • original uncompressed and or layered production quality files will be required from the winning entry.

Rules and Regulations
By entering the logo contest, entrants:
  • confirm that they have reached 18 years of age or older before the deadline for entries date (January 30, 2009)
  • confirm that they are of Canadian Aboriginal ancestry (Status, Non-Status, Metis, and Inuit peoples). The contest winner must provide proof of eligibility
  • confirm that their work is original and not based on any pre-existing designs and does not infringe on any copyrights or trademarks
  • agree to transfer the copyright on their design to Miziwe Biik Corporation should they be the contest winner. With the transfer of the copyright, the winning design becomes the property of Miziwe Biik Development Corporation and any reproduction or use of the design requires the permission of the Development Corporation. Also, with the transfer of the copyright, Miziwe Biik Corporation may make changes or further developments to the design.

Winner Selection/Notification
Selection will be based on creativity, design and how well the entries represent the intentions or vision of AACE. A strong emphasis will also be placed on how well the entries meet with standard reproduction requirements for identity and branding artwork/design. The selected entrant must sign an agreement that acknowledges their acceptance of all the rules and regulations of the contest. If it is determined that none of the entries, meets the specific requirements of AACE, Miziwe Biik Development Corporation reserves the right not to award a winning prize.

The selected entrant will be notified by telephone at the completion of judging, on or around February 16, 2009. The prize will be awarded and the winner announced, once it is confirmed that all conditions of this contest have been met.

  1. Entry Specifications/How to Enter
  2. Entrants may submit up to 2 original designs
  3. Entries should be in the form of a digital file sent on a CDR/DVDR disk (no mini disks).
  4. Do not send original artwork or slides.
  5. Files should be print quality and can be saved in any standard graphic format (tif or jpeg) but ideally, they should be original vector files (.eps /.ai, up to CS4).
  6. Include an 8.5 in x 11 in print out of your design(s) (do not roll).
  7. Include a printed note (100 words or less) describing your design and on the same page, include a bio note (50 words or less).
  8. Please ensure that all documents include your name and contact information.

Miziwe Biik will not be responsible for any designs or information that cannot be readily identified.

Submit Entries To
Miziwe Biik Development Corporation
167 Gerrard Street East
Toronto ON M5A 2E4
Ref: AACE Logo Contest
Tel.: 416.591-3602

Note: The telephone number is for courier requirements only. For any inquiries, please direct them to the email address listed below.

Enquiries (do not send entries by email)

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