Monday, February 13, 2012

underreported struggles 58

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

Black Hills Sioux Nation Treaty Council won a key judgment against RainDancer Resource Management, a company that was trying to get exclusive rights to economic development on allotted lands. The Company, which has clear ties to the oil industry, had a keen interest in funding an 'off shore' or 'central' bank that would, they asserted, be protected by the Tribe’s treaty rights and sovereign immunity. The company is now essentially barred from doing any business on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Tibetan Villagers successfully halted a controversial mining operation that threatened Kawagebo, one of the most sacred peaks in the Tibetan world. In the midst of rising tensions, on January 23, a vice-official from the prefecture government heeded the Tibetans' concerns and ordered a Chinese company to close its mine and remove all equipment out of the village.

Bangladesh Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, gave renewed hope to Indigenous Peoples in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). The Prime Minister recently pledged to implement the historic (CHT) Peace Accord treaty, which brought an end to decades of unrest in the region. The 1997 Treaty promised recognition for the rights of the indigenous peoples in CHT--rights which are still consistently ignored.

Around 30 Indigenous representatives met in Copenhagen to discuss the best way to secure Indigenous Peoples' full participation in the 2014 UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. As the representatives know all too well, the UN has become notorious for sidelining Indigenous Peoples at high level meetings and conferences, despite the impact such gatherings tend to have on our rights and our quality of life as Indigenous Peoples.

Laura Baymarrwangga, senior traditional owner of Murrungga Island and one of the last remaining Yan-nhangu speakers, is setting a powerful example for all of Australia. The 95 year old woman has created a series of projects to secure the future of her language and her people under a grassroots effort known as the Crocodile Islands Initiative (CII). These projects include the Crocodile Islands Ranger (CIR) program which provides "coastal surveillance and bio-security" on the islands; the development of a Web-based Yan-nhangu Ecological Knowledge (YEK) DataBase; and a Yan-nhangu dictionary project for kids.

Visit Intercontinental Cry to read about these issues and many others.

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