Wednesday, September 28, 2011

distance learning

There are issues all over the world with empowerment of indigenous rights and it is important that we, at least, try to understand the complicated tensions that abound and how they influence indigenous rights and are used by the powers that be to fractionate indigenous peoples. 

The first article is an awesome analysis by Julia Good Fox called "From Arab Spring into Indian Summer?" Julia discusses the lessons for self determination that can be learned from the uprisings, including cosmopolitanism (shared responsibility for each other) and informationalism (using social media intelligently with the goal of spreading/gaining knowledge while increasing political development). I highly recommend the article and julia's blog - goodfox- Culture. Politics. Indian Country - some of the best writing I have found on the net on subjects dear to my heart.

... But Arabs and American Indians have more in common than being routinely caricatured or savaged in mainstream films for mass consumption. We also share the experiences of living, at one time or another, under political tenures that have been more interested in undermining our communities (under the guise of “civilization” or “reorganization”) than in investing in an informed and engaged people who can be the basis for a participatory style of intelligent and community-based government. Arab Spring, like other events, promises to be of help in learning how to create such a style of governing through the supportive role of cosmopolitan communication.
... In the case of American Indian self-determination, there exists the extra struggle of contending with anti-Tribalism. Anti-Tribalism is a form of extremism that insists upon erasing differences in our humanity, it is an extremism that refuses to recognize that Tribes do belong in a thriving international community...  Arab Spring, like the Self-Determination movement, through its belief in global conversations, offers us one possible pathway into a world which acknowledges both Tribal and Non-Tribal Peoples.
Māori and all people dedicated to tino rangatiratanga can learn from the struggles of other people for equality. 

Sometimes the struggle is messy and distorted and influenced by enemies and sometimes it is impossible to see the truth from this far away. Bolivia is undergoing upheaval at the moment and it is pitting indigenous peoples against other indigenous peoples, add in - environmentalists, lobby groups, evo morales, police brutality, economic growth, enemies of Bolivia's indigenous government, environment destruction, a highway and international environmental protests against it including petitions, gas and oil and you have a very volatile mix. 

I cannot sort it out from here but I am interested and Federico Fuentes from Bolivia Rising gives a very through runthrough about what has and is happening. He is backing Morales and offers disturbing insights on the enemies using indigenous peoples to further their own agenda. I don't agree with all of the analysis or conclusions. It cannot be disputed that the objective of the road namely economic growth is considered more important than the destruction of the environment and disruption to indigenous people on the route. Let alone the mentality of thinking growth into the future is possible or even desirable now that peak oil has occured. One strong counter argument is that it is hardly fair for middle class wealthy western societies to mouth off while underdeveloped, poor countries try to get on their feet and give their people more opportunities. This is true. 

I love so much about the Bolivia indigenous program for development starting at the top with government. There are so many positives as empowerment is activated. That doesn't mean there are not lessons to learn and sometimes, mistakes are made. I am not sure what the answer is there but communication must be essential. The Bolivian people will work it out as we must all work our stuff out. And if in doubt we must all follow our heart, our values and beliefs. We must walk the walk as well as talk the talk.

September 25 will go down as one of the darkest day in Bolivia since Evo Morales was elected as the country’s first indigenous president almost six years ago.
After more than 40 days of marching, police officers moved in to repress indigenous protesters opposed to the government’s proposed highway that would run through the Isiboro-Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS).
The controversial highway has been opposed and supported by many of the indigenous and social organisations that make up the support base of the Morales government.
Differences over the project have resulted in tensions escalating between both sides during the past month and particularly in the days leading to the violence. Protesters were set to reach a town were locals were organising a blockade in protest against march demands they felt would negatively impact on them.
After the repression, Morales rejected accusations he was behind events he described as “an abuse committed against our indigenous brothers” and called for an international commission to investigate the incident.
During the police action, which lasted around half an hour, tear gas and rubber bullets sent indigenous marchers, including pregnant women and children, fleeing for safety.
Shock and anger at these events led to a wave of mourning and questioning as to how an indigenous-led government could carry out such actions against its own people.
The backdrop to this terrible event is the conflict that has been brewing over months regarding the proposed 306-kilometre highway that would link the departments of Beni and Cochabamba.
Legitimate anger at the failure of the Bolivian government to carry out its obligation in consulting local communities within TIPNIS over the tract of the proposed highway that would cut through their territory, led locals to organise a march onto the capital, La Paz.
I urge you to read this post and this one and the comments underneath because it is instructional and the struggle is a real one, with real people being hurt - kia kaha Bolivian People

We cannot hide from the messyness of life, much better to front up and work through it. The same struggles will occur here and are occuring now between Māori as some want to protect, and others exploit, our land and sea, our home. If you look at the volatile mix of environmentalists, lobby groups, pitting indigenous peoples against other indigenous peoples, police brutality, economic growth, enemies of indigenous self determination, environment destruction, a highway and international environmental protests against it including petitions, and gas and oil there, it is easy to see the same mix, more or less, here.

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