Indigenous Rights - Intro Notes - Back to Index



I looked to see what videos were available on the fPcN website and noticed "The Coconut Revolution" which people have recommended to me in the past. I watched and it was indeed excellent, but researching to write this entry I realised that its proper title is Bougainville - Our Island Our Fight and it came out in 1998, not 2001 as stated on the fPcN website. It documents how the people of Bougainville shut down the mining operation destroying their island and fought off the PNG army. The island was subjected to a blockade so the people had to learn to be self sufficient. The coconut was crucial, not just for food, but as a source of oil for running the old trucks abandoned by the mining company, for lamps, and for oiling their guns (both home made ones and ones captured from enemy forces).


US officials are seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit brought against the government by descendants of Apache leader Geronimo to recover his remains.


Indigenous groups in Peru have called off protests after two land laws which led to deadly fighting were revoked.


From 20-24 April, 2009, Indigenous representatives from the Arctic, North America, Asia, Pacific, Latin America, Africa, Caribbean and Russia met in Anchorage, Alaska for the Indigenous Peoples' Global Summit on Climate Change. Here is the resulting Anchorage Declaration.


The New Zealand government has agreed to acknowledge Maori ownership of the haka war dance used by the national rugby team, the All Blacks.


Indigenous leaders in Brazil say they have won an important victory for the rights of their community, at a key hearing of the Supreme Court.


The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) is a democratic, international organization. Its members are indigenous peoples, occupied nations, minorities and independent states or territories which lack representation internationally. There are a few dozen members, but here is a much longer list of active autonomist and secessionist movements.


In a historic settlement, the New Zealand government has signed over huge tracts of forest land to the ownership of seven Maori tribes.


Mohawk Kahentinetha Horn beaten and hospitalized at border.


Canada has apologised for forcing about 150,000 aboriginal children to attend state-funded Christian boarding schools aimed at assimilating them.


The Australian government has made a formal apology for the past wrongs inflicted by successive governments on the indigenous Aboriginal population.


fPcN has a channel on miro.


The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the UN General Assembly on Thursday September 13, by a vote of 143 in favour, 4 against and 11 abstensions. Haider Rizvi wrote about it.


From the Google Earth Blog - Google Earth Helping Amazon Indians.


Survival has launched a dramatically improved website, featuring tribal news, photo galleries and a new film on the historic Bushman campaign.


Families expelled from the Chagos Islands by the British have won their legal battle for the right to return home at the Court of Appeal.


I was just looking at the website of the The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers.


On March 3rd, 2006, Rotin'oshon'ni Six Nations people set up camp on the Haldimand Tract, located at the entrance to Douglas Creek Estates, a 71-lot subdivision under construction by Henco Industries Ltd. on Six Nations territory. There is some good stuff being posted about this Six Nations Reclamation on Sketchy Thoughts.


Bushmen from the Kalahari desert have won a court case in which they accused Botswana's government of illegally moving them from their land.


Judges in Botswana's High Court will rule on Wednesday on the landmark case brought by the Kalahari Bushmen against the Botswana government.


The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council on 2006-06-29.


The Kalahari Bushmen of Botswana have made a desperate appeal for help to Leonardo DiCaprio, who stars in the forthcoming film "The Blood Diamond".


Matthew McDaniel, who runs the Akha Heritage Foundation, has launched two new websites dealing with indigenous issues. Endangered Languages was created to assist in the protection and preservation of endangered languages "but not as a separate matter from protecting the people who speak them" while Indigenous Support is intended to facilitate the sharing of mobilisation and networking ideas for indigenous activists.


I have been seeing lots of discussion about a new Hollywood Movie called "End of the Spear" about the work of Rachel Saint and the Summer Institute of Linguistic. It seems that Rachel was collaborating with multinational petro-chemical companies, and far from helping the Huaorani as the film suggests, she was in fact complicit in a plan which has resulted in massive environmental destruction and the loss of their traditional lands. For a detailed critique check this End of the Spear important information.


Exit polls from Bolivia's presidential election suggest a clear victory for left-wing Aymara Indian candidate Evo Morales - though not an outright win.


Roy Sesana, winner of the Right Livelihood Award, gave this eloquent speech at the award ceremony.


RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Federal police are evicting settlers and loggers from an Amazon area that experts believe is home to one of the world's most isolated Indian tribes, the government said Wednesday.


Canada has offered to pay more than C$2bn (US$1.7bn) compensation to indigenous people who were abused at government-funded residential schools.


Ten years ago today, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight Ogoni colleagues were executed by the Nigerian state for campaigning against the devastation of the Niger Delta by oil companies, especially Shell and Chevron. Take a moment to Remember Ken Saro-Wiwa.


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has said he is about to expel a US missionary group, New Tribes Mission. Nice one Hugo!


The 2005 Right Livelihood Awards have been awarded. The recipients include the organisation "First People of the Kalahari", and its founder Roy Sesana.


At this very moment there is a Bushmen Benefit Party happening at LSE with input from an arts and cultural education charity called Indigenous People.


A woman by the name of Sezin was present at the recent UN WGIP meeting in Geneva and wrote a report on her website. It seems that she never spoke to any of the fPcN delegates but for some reason took issue with their presence and made some veiled allegations of impropriety. Her guestbook now contains a response from fPcN but I am not aware that she has yet retracted her irresponsible comments. Apparently the report was also posted in the ngoipundecade group at Yahoo! but the archives are only available to members and subscription requires approval by the moderator.


Six of Venezuela's indigenous communities have received title to their ancestral lands. "What we're recognising is the original ownership of these lands," president Chavez said during the ceremony.

The fPcN CD "Tribes and Tribulations" has been well reviewed in GREEN ANARCHY #20.


UN WGIP Opens Largest Meeting on Indigenous Peoples to Date:

Over 1,000 representatives of indigenous peoples and communities from around the World, along with Government delegates, non-governmental organizations and United Nations agencies, are in Geneva from 19 to 23 July 2004 to participate in the largest international meeting on indigenous peoples' rights.

Benny Wenda, Chair of The Koteka Tribal Assembly, gave a powerful and moving speech on behalf of the indigenous people of West Papua in their struggle against the ongoing Indonesian occupation.


Indonesia's vice president has said accommodating a key Aceh rebel demand finalising a peace agreement will require a constitutional amendment.


The UN refugee agency has announced it is withdrawing from the tsunami-hit Indonesian province of Aceh.


Tonight at 19:30 Geshe Lobsang Tenpa, who was detained and tortured for his support of Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche, will be speaking at the Indian YMCA. This is part of a speaking tour aimed at preventing the execution of Tenzin Deleg.


The government of New Zealand is attempting to push though a controversial Foreshore and Seabed Bill which it is said will effectively steal Maori land. Perhaps this explains why New Zealanders have been targeted by a widespread and probably unlawful SIS campaign called Operation Leaf which has been infiltrating Maori organisations. One of the spies says he quit the operation in September last year because he was "disgust(ed) at a system that was spying on decent, law-abiding New Zealanders".


Ten years ago the United Nations (UN) announced a decade of indigenous peoples and began work on a declaration of their rights that was supposed by now to have stood beside the famous Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Hundreds of consultations were carried out with indigenous representatives, and a draft was finally completed with their agreement. Now the UK and some of its former colonies (eg. Australia and Canada) are blocking the new declaration. Read more about Collective Rights and the UK -2004 from the Survival International website.


Amnesty International has called on Indonesia's president-elect, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, to investigate human rights abuses in Aceh province.


Human rights groups have called for an international tribunal to punish Indonesian officials implicated in the violence in East Timor in 1999.


The 22nd session of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations will take place from 19 to 23 July in the Palais des Nations at the United Nations in Geneva. The main theme this year is "Indigenous Peoples and Conflict Resolution". A live stream should be available here.

Three exiled leaders of GAM have been arrested in Sweden. It is not clear why, but it was presumably on the request of the Indonesian government. Fortunately they are Swedish citizens and can not be extradited.


The all new fPcN website is now online.


I just read this article about KAMP, a national federation of indigenous peoples' organisations in the Philippines.


Alex Kirby, BBC News Online environment correspondent, reports that traditional knowledge is in peril. As an example, US patent regulators refused to accept oral evidence of an Amazon shaman regarding traditional knowledge of the healing properties of a rainforest plant called ayahuasca. This puts indigenous peoples in the Catch 22 situation of having to put traditional knowledge into the public domain for intellectual property protection purposes.


The UN International Decade of the World's Indigenous People is coming to an end this year, so what has it achieved? How much progress has been made on the UN Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples? Bugger all, according to this article by Jeff Corntassel and Gerald Taiaiake Alfred of the University of Victoria Indigenous Governance Program.


Aceh has effectively been closed to observers since Indonesia imposed martial law in May, but Acehnese refugees in Malaysia have revealed widespread abuses as documented by Human Rights Watch.


There will be a two day film festival called "Tribes and Tribulations" at the Dogstar Bar in Brixton on the last weekend of September. This will be an opportunity to see previously unseen films from around the world and discuss the problems facing native people fighting for their right to live a traditional lifestyle. Check out further details.


This UN press briefing on World Day of Indigenous People is worth a read. Ian Gregory 2010