Saturday, March 28, 2009

Indigenous Permaculture Certificate Training Program

The Indigenous Permaculture Certificate Training will now be held in June and July, to better accommodate the schedules of youth and college students

The Training is 80 hours of class and field work and includes practices in the field. Course materials will be provided and lunches are potluck. We particularly encourage native peoples, lower-income community members, and youth aged 15-18 to participate. We expect to accommodate 12-18 people.
Indigenous Permaculture Training Program
The first week will be held in June or July in the SF Bay Area, primarily Oakland, San Francisco, and Berkeley, and a July weekend up in the Hoopa Valley/Trinity RiverWatershed. More details are at our website.

To receive certification, participants must attend all class meetings and participate in a final group project. Participants must be prepared to do between three to six hours of work outside of class each week. The final project is a two year commitment implementing aspects of Indigenous Permaculture within the community, and a group presentation at the end of the course.

Please contact us by April 15 to register your interest, and ensure we notify you as we firm up the dates.
(415) 370-1657

The Indigenous Permaculture Program is a grassroots organization that supports community food security to revitalize ecological health.


  • Revitalize Native and local communities through indigenous science, land stewardship, sustainable agriculture, community food security, and sustainable development.
  • Promote awareness of human impacts on the natural environment and on Indigenous communities when unsustainable choices are made
  • Use locally-available resources and demonstrate the power of conscious choices to create self-sufficient communities that care for and preserve Mother Earth

We share traditional farming practices and apply environmentally and culturally-appropriate technology, with the ultimate goal of community food security, and do this work in an affordable way that builds capacity within the community. We provide holistic support to design and implement community food security projects, inspired by indigenous peoples' understanding of how to live in place.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

The Global Economic Crisis and Indigenous Peoples: Recent News Articles and Reports

There have been numerous reports and news stories in the media on how the global economic crisis is impacting financial markets, large and small companies, and state and national governments. However, it has been difficult to find stories on how the global economic crisis is impacting indigenous peoples. Below are several recent articles that address this. If you have a story to share or tell on how the global economic crisis is impacting indigenous peoples, please contribute by leaving a comment. Together we can make this into a valuable resource!

United States: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and Indian Country

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act approved on March 3, 2009 includes approximately $2.5 billion to create jobs and economic opportunity in Indian Country. Below is a summary of Indian Country provisions.


  • Indian Health Facilities – $415 million
  • New construction - $227 million
  • Maintenance and improvements - $100 million
  • Sanitation Facilities - $68 million
  • Medical Equipment - $20 million
  • Indian Health Services - Health Information Technology - $85 million

  • BIA Office of Indian Programs - $40 million (housing improvement and workforce & training)
  • BIA Construction - $450 million (schools, roads repair, jails, irrigation, dams)

  • DOJ Community Oriented Policing Services – tribes eligible to compete - $1 billion program
  • DOJ Violence Against Women Prosecution Grants - $22.5 million (result of a 10% tribal set-aside)
  • DOJ Tribal Law Enforcement Assistance - these grants are targeted to “assist American Indian and Alaska Native tribes, to be distributed under the guidelines set forth by the Correctional Facilities on Tribal Lands program. The Department is directed to coordinate with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and to consider the following in the grant approval process: (1) the detention bed space needs of an applicant tribe; and (2) the violent crime statistics of the tribe” - $225 million

  • Indian Reservation Roads (DOT) – $310 million
  • Tribal Transit Set-Aside (DOT) – $17.25 million

  • Indian Housing block grants (HUD) – $510 million (conference note to use funding to rehabilitate and improve energy efficiency in houses maintained by Native American housing programs)

  • Head Start - $10 million (tribal set-aside)
  • Early Head Start - tribes eligible for a portion of the $1.1 billion program
  • Special Education (IDEA) – tribes eligible for a portion of the $12.2 billion program
  • Impact Aid – language urges targeted funding to military and Indian reservations from the $100 million program

  • Bureau of Reclamation Tribal Water Projects – $60 million for water intake and treatment facilities
  • Safe Drinking and Clean Water Revolving Funds – $120 million (permissive set-aside)
  • Tribal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Black Grants - $56 million (result of a 2% tribal set-aside)
  • Weatherization Assistance Program – tribes are eligible to compete for competitive grants under the $5 billion program

  • Indian Reservation Food Distribution (USDA) – $5 million
  • Native Elder Nutrition (DHHS) - $3 million (Older Americans Act, Title IV)
  • BIA Indian Loan Guarantee Program - $10 million
  • Tribal Community Development Financial Institutions (Treasury) – $10 million

  • Tribal economic development tax-exempt bonds - $2 billion in bonding authority
  • Qualified Indian school construction bonds - $400 million in bonding authority

  • Bill language permits Indian Tribes to contract and compact to build projects and create reservation jobs pursuant to the Indian Self-Determination and Self-Governance Acts

United Nations Press Release March 4, 2009


The twin economic and financial crises threatens poorer nations’ ability to attain basic human rights, such as the right to food and access to water and sanitation, the head of the General Assembly declared today.

“Developing countries suffer the most” from the economic turmoil, Miguel D’Escoto told the United Nations Human Rights Council today in Geneva.

“It would be profoundly unjust to expect them to postpone the realization of basic rights,” he added.

The 63rd session of the Assembly has endeavoured to ensure that the poorest nations do not bear the largest brunt of a crisis for which they are not responsible, the body’s President said.

He welcomed the 47-member Council’s recent special meeting to discuss the impact the financial tumult is having on human rights.

During that gathering, it adopted a resolution which stressed the need to set up an equitable, transparent and democratic international system to broaden developing nations’ participation in decisions regarding the economy.

“I see a profound relationship between access to safe drinking water and sanitation and the enjoyment of the right to life or health,” Mr. D’Escoto said. “Indeed, access to water is indispensable for a life in dignity and a prerequisite for the enjoyment of other human rights.”

Further, the right to food, which has been severely jeopardized by the crises, must be considered fundamental to the established rights to an adequate standard of living and to health, he said.

The official also called for greater cooperation between the Council and the Assembly in the area of gender, adding that he believes the time will soon be ripe for the creation of a new UN entity for women.

The Council is currently meeting in its 10th session, which will run from 2-27 March. In 2006, the body replaced the Commission on Human Rights, which had been dogged by accusations of bias and politicization, as part of ongoing UN reform.

News Articles Dealing with Indigenous Peoples and the Impacts of the Global Economic Crisis

International: Indigenous Peoples Bracing for Recession Effects

Asia-Pacific: Women Grapple With Financial Crisis and Globalization

South America: Global Recession May Offer the Indigenous People of the Andes the Chance to Redefine Themselves in a Post-colonial Environment

Mexico: As Mexico’s Problems Mount: The Impact of the Economic Recession on Migration Patterns from Mexico

Australia: Putting Our Money Where Rudd’s Mouth Is

Australia: Indigenous Business – Challenges and Solutions for Economic Independence

Australia: Indigenous Job Losses Up as Employers Wind Back

Taiwan: Focus on Aboriginals During Financial Crisis

United States: Virginia's Indian Tribes Won't be Receiving Any Stimulus Funds

United States: Recession Slows Tribes' Plans for Out-of-State Casinos

United States: State Lawmakers Bet Gambling Can Help With Budgets

United States: How The Recession Is Affecting American Indians

Canada: State of the First Nation Economy Paper to be Released Monday at Inter-Nation Trade and Economic Summit

Canada: Open Letter to Parliament from AFN Chief Concerning Economic Situation

Canada: Aboriginal Economic Stimulus - Looks like Social Programs

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fiji Island Field School Opportunity: Work With Indigenous Fijians



June 6 – July 7, 2009
Application deadline: May 4, 2009

Instructors: [Please contact for more info!!]

Dr. John D. Wingard (undergraduate) (
(707) 664-2319
Dr. Margaret Purser (graduate)
( )
(707) 664-3164

Levuka, Fiji is a historical Pacific island port-of-call which served as that nation’s first modern capital from 1874 to1882. Levuka today is a rich and vibrant community of a thousand people, whose ancestors came from all over the Pacific and the larger colonial world. The Fijian government is currently nominating Levuka to UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The Levuka Cultural Landscape Program was founded in 2000 as a community-based research program designed to support the nomination process by creating heritage management documentation based on local community input and consultation.

The two field schools will introduce students at undergraduate and graduate levels to the basics of community-based research and project design. Program goals include generating community-based definitions of tangible and intangible cultural heritage resources, and assessing the impacts of heritage tourism. Specific skills and training vary between the two courses, but include GPS-based survey, site mapping, architectural recording, oral history project design, and intensive ethnographic field methods.
Map of Fiji Islands
Both field schools will run concurrently from June 6 to July 7, 2009.

The following will be provided: Room (double occupancy): June 8-July 9; Meals: Breakfast Monday-Friday. Transportation from Nadi Airport to Levuka on June 8/9. Students will be responsible for transportation to and from Fiji and incidental expenses while in Fiji.

Tuition: $832 (4 units, graduate or undergraduate)
Program Fee: $1400


Enrollment will be through the School of Extended Education, Sonoma State University, 1801 East Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park, CA 94928. Phone: (707) 664-2394


June 6 thru July 7* (dates include travel)


John D. Wingard, PhD
7961 Viola Court,
Sebastopol, CA 95472
Work: 707-664-2319

Margaret Purser, PhD
P.O. Box 56,
El Verano, CA 95443
Home: 707-996-8312
Work: 707-664-2312

Fiji Islands in Oceania
The Field School will be based in Levuka, Fiji. Students will be working on a faculty-directed project designed to collect information necessary to gain World Heritage Site status for the community of Levuka. The work will introduce students to the basics of community-based research and project design with the goal of developing cultural heritage resources, including both tangible and intangible resources, and assessing the impacts of heritage tourism. Students will help develop and carry out key components of the project. Students will be fully engaged in collaborative/participatory research with the local community and contribute directly to public education and interpretative program development.

Students can enroll in either of the following courses:

ANTH 454 Ethnographic Field School (4) (undergraduate credit)
A field school designed to help student develop their ethnographic field work skills, especially rapid appraisal techniques, in an applied setting. Students will learn how to design and carry out a research project utilizing such skills as participant observation, interviewing, and data analysis. Students will be required to write a report based on their research and experiences. Contact department for more information. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: upper-division standing or consent of instructor

ANTH 554 Field School in Cultural Heritage Management (4) (graduate credit)
A field school designed to introduce graduate students to fieldwork in cultural heritage management. The field techniques employed will emphasize participatory and community-based research skills, GIS data-gathering and analysis, and cultural landscape approaches. Students will learn how to design and carry out a research project utilizing skills appropriate to the specific focus of their project. Students will be required to write a report based on their research and experiences. Contact department for more information. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: graduate status or consent of instructor.

PROGRAM FEE: $1400* (non-refundable) payable in two installments—Installment 1: $400 due May 4, 2009; Installment 2: $1000 (or remaining balance) due May 25. All checks payable to Ethnographic Field School (regardless of which course the student enrolls in). The program fee covers Room (double occupancy): June 8-July 7; Meals: breakfast Monday-Friday.

TUITION: Tuition: $832 (4 units, graduate or undergraduate). Enrollment will be through the School of Extended Education, Sonoma State University, 1801 East Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park, CA 94928. Phone: (707) 664-2394

TRANSPORTATION: Students are responsible travel costs and arrangements to and from Fiji. Flight information can be accessed at as well as other online sources. Flights are from San Francisco to Nadi, Fiji (SFO – NAN). Transportation from the airport to Levuka will be arranged by the instructors. A passport valid for at least three months after scheduled departure from Fiji is also required by the Fijian Government.

* You will depart the U.S. on June 6. Because you cross the international date line, however, you will arrive in Fiji on Monday, June 8, local time. If you depart Fiji, on July 7, you will arrive in the U.S. on July 7.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

March 18-24, 2009: Five Key Indigenous Peoples Issues

Five Key Indigenous Peoples Issues for the Week of March 18 - 24, 2009

Indonesia: REDD In Indonesia Could Evict Forest People From Their Lands, Warns U.N. Committee

In a letter released today, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination expressed concern that a scheme to promote forest conservation in Indonesia via the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) mechanism could increase conflict over land if the government doles out forest-carbon concessions in the same manner that it has with logging and plantation concessions. In the worst cases, forest people could be denied access rights to their traditional territories say indigenous rights' groups.

"The Committee has received information according to which Indonesia continues to lack any effective legal means to recognize, secure and protect indigenous peoples' rights to their lands, territories and resources. For instance, it seems that Indonesia's 2008 'Regulation on Implementation Procedures for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation' reiterates Law 41 of 1999 on Forestry that appears to deny any proprietary rights to indigenous peoples in forests," wrote Fatimata-Binta Victoire Dah, Chairperson of the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UNCERD).

The letter urges the Indonesian government to "review its laws ... as well as the way they are interpreted and implemented in practice, to ensure that they respect the rights of indigenous peoples to possess, develop, control and use their communal lands." Read more about the indigenous Indonesian forest people's struggle here....

Africa: Human Rights Committee Conclude Consideration Of Rwanda's Report With Concerns Raised About The Treatment Of The Batwa

While Rwanda's recent history was stained by "massive violations of civil and political rights", a system based on the rule of law had been painstakingly constructed to tackle forces seeking to sow division, Rwandan Ambassador Joseph Nsengimana said today [19 March 2009], responding to a panel of experts concerned by persistent reports of the lack of political space and press freedom in that country, as well as the Governments' marginalization of minority groups.

As the 18-member Human Rights Committee wrapped up its two-day examination of the third periodic report on Rwanda's adherence to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Mr. Nsengimana said that, since the horrific 1994 genocide, his country was steadily becoming more politically aware and, as with any political system, some fine tuning would be necessary.

Nevertheless, and contrary to lingering misconceptions about Rwanda, a power-sharing Government of both Hutus and Tutsis was indeed in place. " Rwanda wants the rule of law," he said, adding that it was determined to build a State governed by those rules, aimed at ensuring fundamental civil and political rights for all. The Government wanted to allow as much press freedom as possible, but it was ever watchful, especially since the forces that had sparked the genocide were hovering close by in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and even inside Rwanda. Read more about the Batwa here....

Colombia: UN Says Some Indigenous Groups In Colombia Threatened With Extinction

The UN refugee agency reports thousands of indigenous people in Colombia continue to be displaced from their homes. The UNHCR warns ongoing fighting between illegal armed groups could cause some of the more vulnerable indigenous groups and their cultures to disappear.

Women of the indigenous Embera tribe participate in a rally in Bogota, Colombia's main plaza, to protest a dam that has wrecked environmental havoc on their ancestral lands. In the latest incident, the U.N. refugee agency says about 2,000 indigenous Embera people have been displaced this month from their territories in different areas along the Baudo River in the Colombian department of Choco.

The UNHCR says they fled as a result of threats and conflict between two illegal armed groups.

This is not a new experience for the Embera people. They have been repeatedly displaced by fighting between the nation's largest guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and a right-wing paramilitary group called the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia. Read more about Colombia indigenous peoples facing extinction here....

Brazil: Supreme Court Rules Raposa-Serra do Sol Indigenous Territory

In a landmark ruling, Brazil's Supreme Court March 19 found that the Raposa-Serra do Sol indigenous reserve in northern Roraima state should be maintained as a contiguous territory. The 10-1 decision upholds the demarcation of the territory, home to some 18,000 members of the Makuxi and other tribes, as designated in a 2005 presidential decree. The decision requires the removal of rice growers within the reserve, who brought the legal challenge to the demarcation.

"This was a real victory for the peoples of Raposa Serra do Sol," said Dionito José de Souza, general coordinator of the Indigenous Council of Roraima (CIR). "We're going to strive to ensure that all indigenous peoples in Brazil enjoy these same rights." A provisional Court ruling in December also backed the Makuxi, but the final verdict was only issued this week.

While the decision was a victory for Raposa Serra do Sol, the judges also issued a number of conditions to the decision that could limit indigenous peoples' rights and future demarcation of indigenous lands. One condition, for example, says that the state could build infrastructure projects found to be in the national interest on indigenous lands without the prior and informed consent of the indigenous communities. Another condition could prevent indigenous communities from regaining lands they occupied prior to 1988, the year the Brazilian Constitution was ratified.

However, the decision also found that indigenous lands along national borders do not constitute a threat to national security—an important ruling given the location of many indigenous communities along the northern and eastern borders of Brazil. The ruling comes as a blow to leading Roraima politicians who had backed the rice farmers, and to Brazil's military, which argued that the reserve represents a national security threat. Raposa-Serra de Sol borders Venezuela on the north. Read more about the Brazil ruling here....

Nicaragua: Caribbean Women Face Double Discrimination

The first criminal prosecution for racial discrimination in Nicaragua, in response to a complaint brought by a woman lawmaker in the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN), has focused attention on the segregationist treatment of indigenous and Afro-Caribbean women in the Caribbean coastal regions.

Indigenous and black women make up 52 percent of the 650,000 people living along the country’s Caribbean coast, and they bear the greatest burden of gender and racial discrimination, the rector of the University of the Autonomous Regions of the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua (URACCAN), Alta Hooker, told IPS.

The complaint was lodged on Feb. 12 by Bridgete Budier Bryan, a PARLACEN lawmaker for the governing Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), and has highlighted the historical marginalisation of the two autonomous regions, which occupy nearly 46 percent of the land area of this country.

Nicaragua's eastern coastline is on the Caribbean Sea (part of the Atlantic Ocean), and its western shores are on the Pacific. Read more about Nicaragua indigenous discrimination here....

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

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Native American Indians and Large Corporations: Examples of Successful Collaborations

We read a fair amount in the media, in various scholarly studies and journal articles, and from activists and NGOs (Non-governmental Organizations) about how corporations are exploiting or using indigenous peoples and their lands. Common examples of such negative associations between corporations and indigenous peoples includes mining companies and their various projects around the world (such as with the Dongria Kondh indigenous people and Vedanta Resources), oil and gas companies and their exploitation of natural resources on indigenous lands (such as in Ecuador with oil drilling impacts to the A'ingae and Cofan indigenous peoples), or in terms of intellectual property and bioprospecting (such as with drug discovery, biological diversity, and intellectual property rights). However, what we don’t often hear about is how indigenous peoples have also successfully worked and collaborated with many large companies for the mutual benefit of both.

Reminded by a query from a colleague about a roundtable session I organized and chaired at the 2007 annual Society for Applied Anthropology conference entitled Indigenous Strategies for Mitigating Impacts from Large-scale Natural Resource Exploitation, I decided to ask some of my friends and colleagues if they could think of some positive examples of Native American Indian tribes working collaboratively with large corporations.

Several examples came back:

  • The Hilton Chain and Pojoaque Pueblo
  • The Hyatt Chain and Santa Ana Pueblo
  • Jicarilla Apache Nation and John D. Jones Engineering Inc.
  • Jicarilla Apache Nation and Advanced Resources International
  • Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and Golder Associates, Inc.
  • Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and Legacy Energy Corporation
  • Harrah’s and the Eastern Band of Cherokee
  • Seminole Nation of Florida and Agricultural Production
  • Osage Tribe and Dauben International Energy Consultants
  • Northern Cheyenne Tribe and Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory
  • Northwest Alaska Native Association and TechCominco and Advanced Resources International
  • Fort Peck Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes and GCRL Energy Ltd.
  • Ute Indian Tribe and Black Coral LLC
  • Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes of the Wind River Reservation and Marathon Oil Company

I highly doubt these are all the examples out there. If you know of an example or two of a successful collaboration between Native American Indians and large corporations, please leave a comment and contribute it to the list. Together we can make this an informative and useful resource.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Crow Creek Reservation Losing Power from Central Electric Cooperative

South Dakota-based Central Electric Cooperative has a policy in effect to provide electricity to its customers in the winter months regardless of their ability to pay. However, Crow Creek Reservation tribal members are getting their power turned off by the company in the midst of extreme blizzard conditions.

In numerous instances, Crow Creek residents have medical conditions that require the use of electricity, and many other residents have small children and/or elderly in the home.

In a place where tribal members remember promises from Central Electric to provide electrical power free of charge, tribal residents’ pay electricity rates one-third higher than the national average.

In 1955, Central Electric displaced an entire town of American Indians on the Crow Creek Reservation with the construction of the Big Bend Dam, built to provide a source of electricity. Read the entire article in Indian Country Today.

To read more about the situation on the Crow Creek Reservation and how the Can-Do organization is effecting change, follow this link.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs Offers Free Workshops to First Nations Leaders

Specific Claims Tribunal Act Information Workshops: What it Means for Your Community

March 2009

The Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, in conjunction with Mandell Pinder, Barristers and Solicitors, is pleased to offer a free half-day information workshop geared to First Nations leaders, researchers and staff to examine the new legislation and the changing specific claims landscape.

* Williams Lake March 10 12:30 – 3:30 pm
Thompson Rivers University
1250 Western Avenue
Room 1258

* Kamloops March 17 1 - 4pm
Chief Louis Centre
Kamloops Indian Band
315 Yellowhead Highway

* Kelowna March 18 9am – 12pm
Ramada Inn
2170 Harvey Avenue
(Hwy 97 N)

* Hope March 24 1 - 4pm
Hope Golf & Country Club
900 A Golf Course

* Victoria April 6 1 – 4 pm
Harbour Towers & Suites
345 Quebec Street
Saanich Room, 2nd Floor

Presented by Bruce Stadfeld and Anne Cullingham from the Law firm of Mandell Pinder, the workshop will address the pros and cons of the new specific claims legislation, and discuss the implications of the legislation for specific claims in British Columbia. Space is limited and we recommend that each community send a maximum of 3 participants to take part in these discussions.

Deadlines vary so register early!

For more information contact: Rose Joseph at 604.684.0231

See enclosed Registration Package for details or register online at:

Please Note: The workshop is free, but travel costs will not be reimbursed

Registration Package at:

The UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

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