August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

CounterPunch: Indigenous Struggle over dams at Belo Monte

From Ecological Disaster to Constitutional Crisis: the Long Struggle Over the Xingú Dams Comes to a Climax at Belo Monte
Once again, the indigenous peoples of the Xingú valley in the Brazilian Amazon are planning to make the long journey to the town of Altamira, where the Trans-Amazonica highway crosses the Xingú. Their ultimate destination will be the island of Pimental a short distance downriver from the town, where the Brazilian government plans to build a huge hydroelectric dam they call Belo Monte after the nearest Brazilian village. The Indians' bold plan, is to prevent the construction of the dam by building a new village directly on top of the proposed dam site and maintaining their occupation until the government abandons its plans for the dam. The planning for the encampment is being led by the Kayapo, the largest and most politically organized of the indigenous nations of the region, but other indigenous groups are also participating.
The Kayapo, however, are not waiting for the discussion of the plan for the encampment among the 23 indigenous groups of the Xingú Valley to reach consensus. They have already seized the ferry that carries Brazil Route 80, an important link in the Trans-Amazonica highway system, across the Xingú River at the Kayapo village of Piaraçú. The ferry and the river crossing are now under guard by armed Kayapo warriors, who have announced that they will continue their blockade until the government negotiates with them about their plans for the Belo Monte dam.
This will not be the first indigenous encampment ... read more ...

First Nations to Shell: Tar Sands Devastating for Boreal Forest

Canadian First Nations and Investors draw line in the tar sands with Shell at Annual General Meeting
Press statement
Photo: Ben Powless, Mohawk, Copenhangen

Today, Shell executives will face questions from investors, environmental groups and Canadian First Nations representatives over its involvement in the tar sands at its annual general meeting.

FairPensions, a responsible investment charity, has coordinated a special resolution that shareholders will debate calling on Shell to report on the financial, environmental and human rights risks of tar sands, which make up a third of the company’s global resources. The Indigenous Environmental Network and Friends of the Earth Europe have sponsored representatives from the Lubicon Cree First Nation, Mikisew Cree First Nation, Duncan Lake First Nation and the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation to be in attendance at the AGM to bring forward questions and concerns about the devastating impacts of tar sands development on Indigenous territory in Northern Alberta.

Many investors have welcomed disclosures made on current tar sands operations, but the company has not provided reassurance about the profitability and risk management of planned ‘in-situ’ projects, which have higher production costs and greenhouse gas emissions. In-situ production is required for the majority of Shell’s vast undeveloped tar sand resources.

Melina Laboucan-Massimo, Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner and member of the Lubicon Cree First Nation attending the AGM stated, "While open pit mines are visually horrifying, the In Situ method of extraction is far more carbon-intensive, water-intensive, and energy-intensive. In Situ completely fragments the boreal forest in Canada, which is the largest terrestrial carbon sinks in the world.” Melina goes on to state, “Local communities are continually bearing the brunt of the detrimental effects of Shell's tar sands projects whether it be from toxic emissions and water contamination to the complete fragmenting and decimation of the boreal forest - tar sands development is completely altering our homelands and destroying the very foundation of who we are as Indigenous peoples."

George Poitras, former Chief of the Mikisew Cree Nation situated 250km downstream of major tar sands development has serious concerns about the unrestricted development. “Our people have inhabited Canada’s Athabasca region for thousands of years. In a short 40 years we have seen unfathomable environmental degradation coinciding with the onset of tar sands development. We have seen the waters of the Athabasca River polluted by heavy trace metals with cancer-causing carcinogens which according to prominent scientists are up to five times worse than what is being reported. Our waters and our lands are all intrinsically linked to our ability to survive, are all intrinsically linked to our ability to pass on our cultural and traditional ways of our lives. When you remove the land and pollute our waterways you are in effect causing the extinction of my people’s way of life, you are in effect causing cultural genocide of my people.”

Shell currently has three major operations in the area and has preliminary plans to expand. Many First Nation communities have responded with interventions in the environmental impact assessment and regulatory process. First Nations litigations have been launched to further delay or stop Shell’s illegal encroachment into their traditional territories.

Contacts for media enquiries/interviews:
In Europe: Contact Eriel Deranger, Rainforest Action Network, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation
European Cell: +4407916945255 Email:
In North America: Contact Clayton Thomas-Muller Indigenous Environmental Network
Cell 613 789 5653 Email:
Notes for Editors
The resolution and supporting statement are available at:; Shell’s response to the resolution is available at:; An investor briefing on the resolution is available at:; Shell has 20 billion barrels of tar sands resource among 66 billion barrels of oil equivalent globally.;
The Indigenous Environmental Network is a North American based Environmental and Justice organization whose mission is to protect the sacredness of Mother Earth from toxic contamination and corporate exploitation.;

Join the IEN Newsletter!;
Clayton Thomas-Muller
Indigenous Environmental Network
Canadian Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign
294 Guigues Ave.
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1N 9H8
Home Office: 613 789 5653
Cell: 218 760 6632;
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Inupiat warns of oil spill in Chukchi Sea

Obama administration approved drilling plans for
Drilling critics warn of dangers from a spill in the Arctic
SHELL: Company's win in court has it poised to begin.
The Associated Press
Read more:

Inupiat Eskimo whale hunter George Kingik follows news accounts of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He cringes when he imagines crude fouling his backyard, Alaska's Chukchi Sea.
"They're not ready for the Arctic," Kingik said from his home in Point Hope, 700 miles northwest of Anchorage. "It's completely different up here."
Shell Oil two years ago spent $2.1 billion for leases in the Chukchi, the arm of the Arctic Ocean that the United States shares with Russia, and the home to one of America's two polar bear populations.
The federal Minerals Management Service estimated the sale area contained 15 billion barrels of conventionally recoverable oil and 77 trillion cubic feet of conventionally recoverable natural gas. Shell is poised to begin exploratory drilling this summer on leases as far as 140 miles offshore.
Alaska Native groups and environmentalists are hoping a judge or the Obama administration will intervene.

Read more:

Undocumented students arrested at protest at McCain's office

Undocumented youths arrested at protest at McCain's office

Raw video of protest:

KGUN: Illegal immigrant who takes part in sit-in at Senator McCain's office speaks out Reported By: Steve Nunez

TUCSON, AZ (KGUN-TV) - Today a number of people from around the country, most illegal immigrants, converged in what could be a costly demonstration for the DREAM Act. The "Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors" is a bipartisan piece of legislation sponsored by Republican Senator Orin Hatch of Utah and Democratic Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois.

The DREAM Act aims to give people brought here illegally at a young age a conditional path to citizenship. It would give them 6 years to complete either a college degree or two years of military service. It is legislation now opposed by Arizona Senator's Jon Kyl and John McCain.

The five activists, four who are illegal immigrants, took a stand by sitting down inside McCain's Tucson office. Just before 6p.m. One of the illegal immigrants, Tania Unzueta, voluntarily walked out to speak for all who share her same story. .

Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras to attend International Tribunal of Conscience

From: The International Tribunal of Consicence
Mexico City, Nov. 4 -- 10, 2010
The International Tribunal of Conscience sends Solidarity Greetings and an Invitation to the ALIANZA INDIGENA SIN FRONTERAS (Indigenous Alliance Without Borders) for Participation at the International Tribunal of Conscience: Mexico DF, November 4-10, 2010, in acknowledgement and opposition to the below pronouncement of the: U.S. Mistreatment of Indigenous Peoples which Continues, and now Arizona is becoming an anti-people of color State!

Sisters and Brothers of Indigenous America, it is with honor that I forward below an invitation for participation with the International Tribunal of Conscience, that together with some 40 Countries and innumerable People's Organizations, made up of base community leadership from throughout Mexico, Central & South America and the Globe-- mobilizing across our Mother Earth for the creation of a permanent global forum on migration and displacement-- which contributes to hunger, illness, extreme deprivation and genocide.

Our brother Camilo Perez Bustillo and sister Patricia Barba, join with me in preparing for welcoming your participation in giving testimony from throughout Turtle Island and Aztlan, in this way as a national delegation to this first and one of a kind assembly of indigenous organizations representing the U.S. and continent-- can testify to the below denial of human rights and the war against the poor and minorities listed below and which targets worker communities as 'illegal' and 'terrorist'. Our coming together at the Assembly, Tribunal and Caravan has as its central focus, putting end to the long history of assimilation, termination, cultural genocide and genocide policies, that have beleaguered our people's from the beginning of the invasion and throughout the history of the neo-colonization and globalization, that disrespects and imposes anti-human measures that today are being challenged by this historic endeavor. We are integral to this process with our essential involvement!

Please let us hear from you with your responses in preparation in sending delegates that shall be honored with providing humble accommodations by local families and gathering planners, offering reception, welcoming protocols and ceremonies at the sacred temples at the Zocalo/Plaza de las Tres Culturas, Tenochtitlan.

We look forward to working with you in preparing for the Panels at the assembly and testimonies at the tribunal, and delivering the findings to the World Social Forum on Climate via a caravan to Puerto Vallarta by the mobilizations of the People in Movement, International Migrant Alliance, Ex-Braceros with local base of 30 groups-- to deliver the verdict of the ITC to civil society forum and government delegations and participate in mobilizations at the site of the IV Global Forum on Migration and Development (FEMD) Nov. 9-11. This, the antidote to the toxins described below of the common histories of the people and the alienation and oppression experienced in the U.S. and throughout the diaspora and Mother Earth.

Finally, we honor your petition below and agree: Its time to Organize, Speak Out, Join Forces with Other People of Color Movements to bring attention and fight for Indigenous Rights, Sovereignty Rights, Border Rights of Mobility & Passage, Cultural Rights and Environmental Protection of Mother Earth.

We welcome your questions, recommendations, support, shared resources, and participation.
En lak etch, the Earth is Our Mother!
Respectfully, Dorinda Moreno, U.S. Cultural Liaison for Camilo Perez Bustillo
International Tribunal of Conscience
November 4-10, 2010
Mexico City, Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta
The Tribunal has already decided to assess the impact of SB 1070 in Arizona as its first case following requests along these lines from immigrant rights groups based in Arizona and California, as well as Honoring the Global Boycott and Action on Saturday, May 29th, 2010.
Sent: Sat, May 15, 2010 11:17 am
Subject: U.S. Mistreatment of Indigenous Peoples Continues and now Arizona is becoming anti-people of color State!
Indigenous Peoples and immigrants have much in common, particular the alienation and oppression we experience in U.S.. society.

U.S., Government fail is to protect Rights of Indigenous Peoples - A roll of the United States Supreme Court throughout history in the protection of the rights of minorities

The Supreme Court has moved away from from guideline principles called 'canons of construction.' Under those guidelines, the court would interpret treaties and Indian statues in favor of the tribes when they were unclear or uncertain, Its one area of law that has always been useful for tribes. Now, with the creation of Homeland Security, War Against the poor, War Against Drugs, War Against Terrorism and Now, with the War Against Minorities in Arizona, Indigenous peoples will continue to be profoundly affected!!

Many Indigenous peoples are intensely caught up in the current debate of issues. Individual Indians and groups in the Indian communities, while they may disagree on current tribal priorities and ways, we must look beyond all current disputes and together the concept of Global vision, Unity, Community Partnership and Coalition Building.

Once again Indigenous Peoples are being left out of the whole anti-immigrant , anti-people of color and anti-ethnic legislation and debate!!

The long history of assimilation, termination, cultural genocide and genocide policies is not over for Indian peoples.

Its time to Organize, Speak Out, Join Forces with Other People of Color Movements to bring attention and fight for Indigenous Rights, Sovereignty Rights, Border Rights of Mobility & Passage, Cultural Rights and Environmental Protection of Mother Earth.

The privilege of citizenship were slow to come to the Indigenous peoples while the responsibility came right of way. The Navajo Code Talkers served at a time that Arizona was still denying them to vote.

Now, all of us Indians have to be careful about being brown in a no brown zone whether you are a veteran or not.. Your children will not be allowed to learn about the contributions American Indians made to this great nation. Our children/grandchildren will not allowed to learn about our elders, culture and ways. They will only learn about the good things the great "White Fathers," founders and builders did for this Nation and for all of us.

The is very much at the heart of the mission of the Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras: calling attention to the people who have the least voice and to bring that conversation forward.
We must be part of the Pozole Event, The Call to Action, Support & PARTICIPATE the Battle of Phoenix ON SATURDAY, MAY 29, 2010!!!!!!
The toxin and the antidote: with a focus honoring the Students, Professors, Women, and Human rights Activists in Arizona in the eye of the storm, organizing, marching, boycotting, being arrested for protecting the human rights to life and the pursuit of happiness, in their language, culture, and pride... As Judges: Elvira Arellano, Cipriana Jurado, honoring the fallen and political prisoners, Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Cuban Five...
Meet with us in Mexico City in November and bring your testimonies...
The Tribunal has already decided to assess the impact of SB 1070 in Arizona as its first case following requests along these lines from immigrant rights groups based in Arizona and California, as well as Honoring the Global Boycott and Action on Saturday, May 29th, 2010.
International Tribunal of Conscience, November 4-10, 2010, Mexico DF and Puerto Vallarta
Call issued for International Workers´ Day, May 1st 2010
November 4-10 2010

Dorinda Moreno, US Liaison, Fuerza Mundial/Hitec Aztec Communications
Patricia Barba, Host Committee, Media Specialist, Colectivo Las Americas
4/30/10, Camilo Perez Bustillo
The International Tribunal of Conscience (ITC):
is the first of its kind to focus on violations of the rights and dignity of migrants, refugees, and the displaced on a global scale, and seeks to build on the contributions and experiences of the Russell Tribunal, the Permanent People´s Tribunal (PPT)of the Lelio Basso Foundation, the Latin American Tribunal on Water, the Tribunal of Migrant and Refugee Women in Argentina, the Tribunal on Sexual Violence during the armed conflict in Guatemala, Mexico´s International Benito Juárez Tribunal and International Tribunal on Labor and Union Rights, and to act in a manner complementary to the mandate of the International Tribunal on Climate Justice and the Rights of Mother Earth recently established as a result of the People´s Summit in Cochabamba, Bolivia (April 2010). Its emphasis will be on investigating, documenting, determining state and corporate responsibility, and recommending remedies and follow-up actions regarding violations of the rights to migrate, not to migrate, and not to be displaced, as measured both against existing legal minimums in international, regional, and national law, and the ethical foundations which underly the demands of migrant movements.
The Tribunal´s first session will be held in Quito, Ecuador Oct.8-12 within the framework of the IV World Social Forum on Migration, as part of our commitment to coordinate our efforts in Mexico City in November with convergent efforts elsewhere. The Tribunal has already decided to assess the impact of SB 1070 in Arizona as its first case following requests along these lines from immigrant rights groups based in Arizona and California.