Saturday, December 3, 2011

underreported struggles 56

More essential underreported struggles from Ahni at Intercontinetal Cry this month.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a controversial "land swap" bill giving the UK-Australia mining giant Rio Tinto direct access to places considered sacred by the Apache and other Indigenous Peoples in southeastern Arizona. In exchange for the U.S. House of Representatives' "gift", Rio Tinto will hand over some other land that isn't mineral rich. That is, land to the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

The World Bank is preparing to steamroll ahead with a new funding program that would virtually eliminate 26 of the Bank's safeguard policies, including those meant for Indigenous Peoples, Environmental Assessments, Physical and Cultural Resources, Forests, Natural Habitats, and Involuntary Resettlement. At this point, the World Bank has not consulted any Indigenous Peoples about the proposed "Program for Results (P4R)" - and it likely will not do so, unless the international community can pressure them into it.

An alliance of the Unist'ot'en (People of the Headwaters) and the Likhts'amisyu (Hereditary Chiefs) of the Wet'suwet'en Nation have evicted a group of pipeline drillers from their traditional territory, sending a clear message to Enbridge, Pacific Trails and the entire oil industry: "We cannot and will not permit any pipelines through our territory."

With the Wixarika People continuing to struggle against the threat of mining within their sacred landscape in the Mexican region known as Wirikuta, another area considered sacred by the Wixarika has been licensed out in concessions by the government. According to the Secretary for the Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat), approximately 250 acres of beachfront property including the sacred area of Tatéi Haramara will now be developed for tourism.

The Tribal Council of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians has passed a resolution that would ban hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" on the North Dakota reservation. The resolution also calls for the council to protect "Mother Earth from any pollutants that may cause harm to its citizens, land, water, and air."

At least four Saami communities are standing up to mining companies that want to exploit their customary reindeer grazing lands in Northern Sweden. Last week, two communities warned that the British mining company Beowulf is in breach of its own ethical guidelines for failing to engage them meaningfully, while it pursues a new iron mine on the grazing lands. Meanwhile, two other communities continue speaking out against Scandinavian Resources' (SCR's) proposed iron mines in the Kalix River Valley, less than 200km away from Beowulf's proposed project.

Visit Intercontinetal Cry to read about these issues and many others. There is much connection between all of our struggles.

2 comments:

Simon Lambert said...

Mining and Maori is perhaps the next key environmental battle, a political-economic spat that lines Maori up on both sides. Several months ago there was a discussion on interest.co.nz on NZ mining policy and peak oil that noted how Hekia Parata skirted peak oil (somehwere there's a govt report on NZ's exposure, dating peak oil out to 2015 or even back to 2008(from memory...check out http://www.interest.co.nz/news/55112/energy-minister-parata-says-nz-cannot-ignore-economic-potential-fossil-fuel-resources-due).

I have a (Maori) friend mining in Oz who says don't take the sector on through environmental issues, take on the economics. (Of course, factoring in all negative environmental impacts is the toughie).

Marty Mars said...

Good points Simon - I suspect the old divide and conquer meme will be seen more and more over the mining issue. And the issue is here, there and everywhere as this post showed.

Kia kaha e hoa