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By Lyn Adamson, October 16, 2013. Source: Toronto Media Co-op

Banner drop in front the of Metro Convention Centre, where the NEB hearings are taking place this week in Toronto. Photo: Michael Toledano

Banner drop in front the of Metro Convention Centre, where the NEB hearings are taking place this week in Toronto. Photo: Michael Toledano

NEB Hearings start in Toronto today, here’s what they won’t be hearing.

A banner drop and a series of gaged protestors demonstrated what is being left out of the National Energy Board (NEB) hearings that are taking place this week in Toronto. The subject of the hearings is Enbridge’s Line 9 reversal and expansion proposal, which would allow the company to ship tar sands bitumen from Sarnia to Montreal. Groups today protested the fact that the hearings have explicitly banned discussion of upstream and downstream impacts of the pipeline reversal and expansion, which would allow the tar sands to expand production and refining.

“Stop Line 9: tar sands = industrial genocide” read a large banner that hung from the Metro Convention Centre’s steps. “We want to remind people that Line 9 is one battle of a larger fight against the most destructive project on the planet, which has already transformed an area the size of Florida into what’s termed a ‘sacrifice zone’,” said Vanessa Gray, an Anishnaabe kwe organizer with Aamjiwnaang and Sarnia Against Pipelines. “The tar sands have been termed a ‘slow industrial genocide’ by the native people living downstream, but this term also applies to people living near the refining of this toxic substance. My people are dying from this industry.”

Aamjiwnaang First Nation has 63 chemical refineries within 50 km of the community. Community-monitoring has reported that 40 per cent of the population required inhalers to breath and 39 per cent of women had experienced miscarriages.

Other groups participating in the action highlighted the increased contribution to climate change that Enbridge’s proposal would entail.

“Approving the transport of diluted bitumen means expanding tar sands production which will be a disaster for the planet, said Lyn Adamson Co Chair Canadian Voice of Women for Peace. “These hearings do not replace the need for an environmental assessment. A National Energy Board should be considering alternatives, such as renewable energy and conservation.”

In addition to restricting who could speak at the hearings, the Omnibus Bill C-38 restricted what those individuals could say in the National Energy Board hearing, restricting discussion on tar sands production or refining.

There will be a large rally against Line 9 at the NEB hearings this Saturday, Oct 19 outside the National Energy Board hearings.

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Article source: GJEP Climate Connections Blog

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, 16 October 2013. Source: TruthOut

January 9, 2013. The Idle No More protests reach Moncton (Canada), as about 200 people march on City Hall in support of First Nations rights.  Photo: Stephen Downes / Flickr

January 9, 2013. The Idle No More protests reach Moncton (Canada), as about 200 people march on City Hall in support of First Nations rights. Photo: Stephen Downes / Flickr

On Monday, October 7, 2013, indigenous nations and their allies held 70 actions throughout the world proclaiming their sovereignty. The call to action was issued by Idle No more and Defenders of the Land to coincide with the 250th anniversary of the British Royal Proclamation of 1763, which was the first document in which an imperial nation recognized indigenous sovereignty and their right to self-determination. As we wrote last week, treaties with First Nations are not being honored, and even the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples does not adequately recognize the sovereignty of indigenous peoples.

In Canada, where the Idle No More movement was founded, an attack is being waged by the Harper government on the rights of the First Nations. A bill referred to as C-45 weakens laws that protect the land and allows transnational corporations to extract resources from First Nations’ lands without their consent. Idle No More was founded on December 10, 2012 (the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), when Chief Theresa Spence began a hunger strike to protest C-45 on an island across from the Canadian Parliament.

The Idle No More (INM) movement has grown exponentially during the past year to become a worldwide movement. At its core, the INM taps into issues that are essential to all people. INM is a struggle against transnational corporations that collude with governments to allow the exploitation of people and the planet for profit, and it is a struggle for a new economic paradigm. INM is also about facing up to the horrific history of the way that colonizers have abused and disrespected indigenous peoples so that there can be reconciliation and justice and so that the peoples of the world can coexist peacefully. And INM is about the recognition that indigenous peoples are stewards of the Earth and must lead the way to protect the Earth and teach others to do the same.

Throughout the year, there have been teach-ins, round dances, flash mobs and rallies to raise awareness of the ongoing racist and exploitative treatment of indigenous nations as well as the continued decimation of their land to extract resources. There have been long walks, rides and canoe trips to call for healing of the Earth and for the recognition of indigenous sovereignty. And there have been blockades and other nonviolent direct actions to stop further degradation of the planet. INM has already achieved some successes.

Idle No More is an indigenous-led movement, but it is not a movement exclusive to indigenous people. As Clayton Thomas-Muller, an organizer with Defenders of the Land and Idle No More, states, “We understand that the rise of the native rights-based strategic framework as an effective legal strategy supported by a social movement strategic framework is the last best effort not just for Indigenous People but for all Canadians and Americans to protect the commons … from the for-profit agenda of the neoliberal free market strategists that have taken over our governments … and indigenous peoples have been thrust into the forefront of global social movements not just because of our connection to the sacredness of Mother Earth and our traditional ecological knowledge and understanding of how to take care of the Earth as part of that sacred circle of life but also because our ancestors … made sure we had the legal instruments to be able to confront the enemies of today and that is what Idle No More is doing in the US and Canada and across the world where Indigenous People continue to live under occupation and oppression.”

Sovereignty is Fundamental in the Struggle for Global Justice

The United States and Canada are two of the wealthiest nations in the world. Much of this wealth comes from the extraction of resources on land that belongs by treaty to Native Indians. Rather than honoring these treaties, the governments of the US and Canada have a long history, which continues today, of using laws and even manipulating the process of creating the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to exterminate indigenous sovereignty.

As the extraction of resources becomes more extreme through processes such as hydro-fracking and tar sands excavation and the serious consequences this has on the health of people and the Earth become more apparent, indigenous nations have realized that their struggle for sovereignty must intensify. The INM movement is one manifestation of this effort.

One of the six core demands of the INM movement is to “Honour the spirit and intent of the historic Treaties. Officially repudiate the racist Doctrine of Discovery and the Doctrine of Terra Nullius, and abandon their use to justify the seizure of Indigenous Nations lands and wealth.” This is a particularly appropriate time to reflect on these doctrines as some in the United States celebrate Columbus Day.

Columbus used the Doctrine of Conquest to legitimize seizure of land in the Americas. This doctrine “grants invaders legal title to the lands they conquer.” Additionally, the Doctrine of Discovery from the early 1800s allowed colonizers to occupy and claim title to any lands, and their resources, that were not part of the European Christian monarchy. And the Doctrine of Terra Nullius similarly permitted colonizers to occupy and claim land that was not settled according to European standards, such as having an established township.

These doctrines continue today. The Doctrine of Discovery was codified into law by the Supreme Court decision of Johnson v. McIntosh in 1823, which left Native Indians “with the mere ‘right’ to occupy their ancestral lands, subject to U.S. dominion.” And so it is that Native Indians are subjected to policies that continue to allow corporations to extract resources and poison the air, land and water without their consent.

Although the INM movement began in Canada, it has also taken off in the US. And solidarity between Indian Nations in the US and Canada is developing. This summer, the Dakota Nation Unity Ride from Manitoba met up with the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign canoe trip in Woodstock, New York, to travel together to the United Nations in New York City. Two Row Wampum is the oldest treaty in North America between an Indian nation, the Haudenosaunee, and a European nation. This summer marked the 400th anniversary, which they highlighted with an epic canoe trip down the Hudson River.

The Two Row Wampum treaty ”outlines a mutual, three-part commitment to friendship, peace between peoples, and living in parallel forever (as long as the grass is green, as long as the rivers flow downhill and as long as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west).” The Two Row Wampum campaign seeks to uphold the treaty by creating friendship and peace between all peoples and by working together for a sustainable future, as outlined in their campaign goals. They seek recognition of their laws, the right to self-determination, including living in accordance with their culture and laws, and to be leaders in restoration and stewardship of the Earth.

The Dakota Unity Ride and the Two Row Wampum canoe trip landed in New York City on August 9, which is the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. They walked together to the United Nations building, where they met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, representatives of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and other officials. The UN press statement describes the theme of the meeting as “Indigenous peoples building alliances: honouring treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements.”

This is a positive step, but the fight for sovereignty continues. Sylvia Mcadam, a founder of Idle No More and a professor and author, teaches that sovereignty includes “land, language and culture.” It is not just land that has been taken from indigenous peoples but also their language and culture through the forced attendance at residential schools and barriers to access their traditional foods. Mcadam states that her involvement in Idle No More began when she returned to her traditional land with her parents to do research for her current book. She was shocked to see how the land had been developed without consent of the people.

Mcadam reminds us that the First Nations are not a lawless people but that theCreator’s Laws are “expressed in everything we do.” Colonizers have a lot to learn from Native Indians – not only about caring for the Earth and living in ways that preserve resources for future generations but also about governance. Native Indians are matriarchal societies that practice deep democracy.

While indigenous people describe themselves as people who follow laws, they have suffered injustice on their lands. Last week, a panel of judges at the International Peoples Tribunal on Leonard Peltier issued an executive summary and preliminary findings following three days of testimony from Native Indians who described abuse inflicted by the US government and FBI agents. The tribunal concluded that US laws must be changed in order for FBI agents to be charged for their crimes of assault and murder on Pine Ridge Indian land in South Dakota and elsewhere. Further, the tribunal said justice is dependent on the immediate release of Leonard Peltier.

Non-indigenous groups are working in solidarity with Idle No More and other indigenous groups. For example, the Two Row Wampum campaign, led by the Onondaga Nation, works with Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation. This collaboration is particularly evident in the environmental movement.

Stewardship of the Land, Air and Water

Central to the Idle No More movement is protection of the land, air and water from corporations that steal resources without any regard for the environmental effects. Indigenous Peoples believe that many harmful substances, such as uranium and oils and gases, were put in the ground because they were meant to stay there. They oppose the extreme methods of extraction being used today.

During the past year, often with leadership from indigenous nations, the environmental movements in the US and Canada (and elsewhere around the world) have escalated their tactics to protect the Earth. Their focus has primarily been on stopping the pipelines that carry bitumen from the Alberta Tar Sands and stopping fracking for oil and gas. Throughout the summer, there were numerous direct action campaigns, including Sovereignty Summer and Fearless Summer, which collaborated to blockade roads and equipment to prevent pipeline construction.

We highlight three active campaigns that are being led by indigenous nations: The Red Nation’s efforts against an Enbridge pipeline, the Nez Perce fight to stop Megaloads from carrying humongous pieces of equipment through their lands and the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society, which evicted a fracking company, SWN Resources, from its land.

On February 28, Marty Cobenais from the Indigenous Environmental Network ledthe beginning of an occupation, which included building a sacred fire on top of a pipeline that runs across Red Lake Tribal land in Leonard, Minnesota. The pipeline carries bitumen from the Alberta Tar Sands, which is being mined and poisoning the land of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation in Canada without their consent. The pipeline is owned by Enbridge, and the Red Lake tribal members say that it is illegal. They understood that there was a requirement that if there were a permanent structure over the pipeline it would have to be shut down. Unfortunately, that has not happened, and in fact the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously this summer to allow the pipeline to be expanded to carry more tar sands bitumen even though hundreds attended the hearing in opposition to it.

The occupation is ongoing and is being supported by indigenous and non-indigenous environmental organizations. In October 2013, Winona LaDuke and the Indigo Girls led a weeklong Honour the Earth horseback ride along the route of the pipeline to raise awareness. They are very concerned about spills from the pipeline, which are inevitable. Enbridge has a poor safety record.

Spills have occurred already. In 2002, 48,000 gallons spilled near Cass Lake, Minnesota, and continues to pollute the water table. In 2010, more than 800,000 gallons spilled into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, and nearly 300,000 gallons remain today. And last year, 50,000 gallons spilled near Grand Marsh, Wisconsin. The pipeline runs through the Straits of Mackinac, which connect Lakes Huron and Michigan, and so it threatens to contaminate large supplies of fresh water.

A very similar battle is occurring between the Yinka Dene Alliance in British Columbia and Enbridge. There the Yinka Dene is accusing the British Columbia government of violating international law by issuing permits to Enbridge Inc. for drilling and tree removal in their territories along the proposed path for the Northern Gateway pipeline, despite their opposition and the lack of consultation on the proposed pipeline. They made the accusations in a 15-page submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Although the fight against Enbridge and the governments that collude with them have not made much progress, the Nez Perce in Idaho have won a significant victory. Last month a judge ordered the prohibition on the use of 100 miles of roadways through tribal lands to transport huge pieces of equipment, called Megaloads, made by General Electric that are used in extracting Canadian tar sands.

Tribal members filed a court case in August to prevent the Megaloads from crossing their land, something that is already illegal but wasn’t being enforced. They also blockaded the road in August to prevent passage of a Megaload. During the four-day blockade, eight of nine Nez Perce Tribal Council leaders were arrested.

The judge’s decision suspends the passage of Megaloads for now and may be lifted after an impact study is completed. However, another significant aspect of this decision is that the Nez Perce Tribal Council must be involved in future decisions to permit the Megaloads to use roads through their lands.

Another active occupation to protect tribal land is in New Brunswick, where the Elsipogtog have been taking action for months to stop a Houston-based company, SWN Resources, from exploring their land to begin fracking. Tribal members blockaded SWN work trucks throughout the early summer to prevent them from testing the land for potential fracking. In addition to blockading, some of SWN’s equipment was destroyed.

There was a temporary peace beginning in late July, when SWN Resources agreed to leave for the summer. Negotiations at that time included dropping charges against 25 of the 35 people who had been arrested. SWN did say it expected to return in September.

When SWN Resources recently attempted to return, it was met with an eviction notice and another blockade, which included a sacred fire. The Elsipogtog First Nation and Mi’kmaq Warrior Society contend that the land being explored was supposed to be held in trust for them but that the Canadian government has done such a poor job of caring for the land that the tribes are concerned whether the land will be able to support them. Along with the eviction notice, they are claiming sovereignty over the land and their responsibility to care for it.

On October 7, in solidarity with the days of action to proclaim indigenous sovereignty, activists in Houston delivered an eviction notice from the Elsipogtog to the office of SWN Resources. Office staff members refused to accept the letter, so it was left on the receptionist’s desk and copies were faxed directly to the office. The letter requested a response within 48 hours.

At present, the blockade continues. Some of the chiefs met with David Alward, premier of New Brunswick, but the talks have not been satisfactory. Alward would not allow members of the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society to attend the meetings. The Mi’kmaq Warrior Society is calling for solidarity actions October 18, when they expect SWN to serve a court injunction. The blockade has brought together tremendous support from the surrounding community and tribes across Canada.

Moving Toward Peace and a Healthy Planet for Future Generations

Also on October 7, members of Veterans for Peace and their allies held a ceremony in the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in New York City to mark the 12th anniversary of the US invasion of Afghanistan and to oppose all wars. As they did last year, the veterans read the names of those who were killed in wars and laid flowers at the base of the memorial. However, this year, the organizer, Tarak Kauff, began the ceremony by recognizing the 500-year war against First Nations and read the names of Native Indian warriors who were killed.

A shift seems to be happening in public awareness of the ongoing effects of colonialism on indigenous peoples and the importance of indigenous leadership in the struggle to heal and protect the Earth. During the past year, the indigenous-led movement in collaboration with non-indigenous allies has grown, and the tactics being employed to protect the land from extreme energy extraction have escalated.

Just as we must abolish imperialism abroad, we must also end it at home. To accomplish this, we must begin by understanding the ongoing 500-year war against Native Indians, and we must begin to speak about it. The Idle No More and other indigenous-led movements seek a peaceful solution that recognizes the sovereignty of indigenous peoples and their laws so that everyone can live in peace. And they understand that if we are to end the practices that are destroying the Earth, we must learn from those who are stewards of the Earth.

It is time for all of us to be Idle No More. We face common opponents – corporations that profit by exploiting people and the planet and the governments who collude with them. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, currently being negotiated, continues this global exploitation of the planet and people by transnational corporate interests. It is time to end imperialism and the neoliberal economic agenda that perpetuates this destructive behavior.

It is time for solidarity, cooperation, reconciliation and restoration of peaceful human relationships and the land, air and water. It is imperative that we act now so our children and future generations will have the opportunity for healthy lives. The future is literally in our hands.

Article source: GJEP Climate Connections Blog

16 October, 2013. Source: Forest Peoples’ Programme

Photos in an internal report by a Peruvian government agency reveal illegal clearings in a reserve in the Amazon purportedly protecting indigenous peoples living in ‘voluntary isolation’ and ‘initial contact.’

The report is based on helicopter over-flights of the Kugapakori-Nahua-Nanti Reserve (KNNR) made by the National Institute for the Development of Andean, Amazonian and Afroperuvian Peoples (INDEPA) on 2 and 3 February 2012.

Almost a quarter of the KNNR is superimposed by a gas concession, Lot 88, where a consortium led by Pluspetrol has exploited the Camisea gas fields since 2004. According to the report, the clearings, numbering seven in total, are all at the same locations where Pluspetrol is now hoping to drill up to 21 new wells as part of a massive expansion of its operations.

One of the report’s conclusions reads, ‘Of the seven projected future drilling platforms forming part of the Exploration and Development of Lot 88 (San Martin Este, San Martin Norte, Kimaro Centro, Kimaro Norte, Kimaro Oeste, Armihuari Norte and Armihuari Sur), all are marked with clearings.’

The company’s plans to drill three wells at San Martin Este were approved by the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) on 13 April 2012, but MEM has not given its permission for the other 18 wells at the other six locations.

An aide memoir attached to the report states, ‘It should be noted that during the over-flights it was registered that the locations of the proposed platforms for the Kimaro, Armihuari and San Martin formations – all of which are inside the KNNR – have already been cleared. Apparently this relates to biological studies carried out by Pluspetrol in 2010-2011.’ The aide memoir recommends ‘making the respective enquiries about the administrative procedures followed by Pluspetrol in order to have carried out the clearings at the proposed platform locations.’

According to a formal information request made by Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) to the Ministry of Agriculture (MINAG), Pluspetrol received permission on 13 June 2011 to clear 0.24 hectares at locations called Kimaru Norte, San Martin Norte, Armihuari Norte, Armihuari Sur, Kimaru Oeste and Kimaru Centro because it needed to land helicopters inside the KNNR while researching an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of its plans to expand its operations.

However, irrespective of these administrative procedures, the company’s presence in this region is illegal under international, and therefore Peruvian, law.

On 12 July 1978 Peru ratified the American Convention on Human Rights, meaning that all rulings by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights, even if made about other countries, set binding precedents that apply in Peru. Among the Court’s many rulings relevant to the Camisea project is the 2012 judgment about the Kichwa people living in a community called Sarayaku in the Ecuadorian Amazon which reinforces the right of indigenous peoples to prior consultation before concessions are established on their lands. That followed a landmark ruling in 2007 about the Saramaka people in Suriname which established that, in the face of ‘large scale’ projects, states must not only consult indigenous peoples but also ‘obtain their free, prior and informed consent according to their customs and traditions.’

Yet the indigenous peoples in ‘voluntary isolation’ in the KNNR have neither given their consent to, nor been consulted about, Pluspetrol’s expansion plans. Indeed, not only is it impossible to secure their informed consent for such projects but any attempt to contact them in order to seek such consent could kill many of them via epidemics because of their lack of immunological defenses.

Peru’s Constitutional Court has confirmed that international human rights treaties ratified by Peru are incorporated into Peruvian domestic law via the Constitution and enjoy constitutional status, therefore standing above national laws or specific investment contracts.

‘Exploitation of the Camisea gas fields is certainly a large-scale project and it is clear Peru is flouting the law,’ says FPP’s director Joji Cariño. ‘The survival of the indigenous peoples living in ‘voluntary isolation’ in the Camisea region is seriously threatened.’

Pluspetrol has already drilled wells in Lot 88, three of which are in the western part of the KNNR. An EIA for the proposed 18 new wells, a 10.5km pipeline extension and seismic tests across 100s of square kilometres is currently pending approval by MEM.

Pluspetrol admits in this EIA that contact with the indigenous peoples in ‘voluntary isolation’ is ‘probable’ during its operations, that such people in general are highly vulnerable to contact and ‘massive deaths’ can occur as a result, and that the impacts of its expansion on them will be, or could be, considerable for a wide variety of reasons.

In March the UN’s Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination urged Peru to ‘immediately suspend’ the expansion of the Camisea gas project in the KNNR.

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Article source: GJEP Climate Connections Blog

16 October, 2013. Source: Forest Peoples’ Programme

Photos in an internal report by a Peruvian government agency reveal illegal clearings in a reserve in the Amazon purportedly protecting indigenous peoples living in ‘voluntary isolation’ and ‘initial contact.’

The report is based on helicopter over-flights of the Kugapakori-Nahua-Nanti Reserve (KNNR) made by the National Institute for the Development of Andean, Amazonian and Afroperuvian Peoples (INDEPA) on 2 and 3 February 2012.

Almost a quarter of the KNNR is superimposed by a gas concession, Lot 88, where a consortium led by Pluspetrol has exploited the Camisea gas fields since 2004. According to the report, the clearings, numbering seven in total, are all at the same locations where Pluspetrol is now hoping to drill up to 21 new wells as part of a massive expansion of its operations.

One of the report’s conclusions reads, ‘Of the seven projected future drilling platforms forming part of the Exploration and Development of Lot 88 (San Martin Este, San Martin Norte, Kimaro Centro, Kimaro Norte, Kimaro Oeste, Armihuari Norte and Armihuari Sur), all are marked with clearings.’

The company’s plans to drill three wells at San Martin Este were approved by the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) on 13 April 2012, but MEM has not given its permission for the other 18 wells at the other six locations.

An aide memoir attached to the report states, ‘It should be noted that during the over-flights it was registered that the locations of the proposed platforms for the Kimaro, Armihuari and San Martin formations – all of which are inside the KNNR – have already been cleared. Apparently this relates to biological studies carried out by Pluspetrol in 2010-2011.’ The aide memoir recommends ‘making the respective enquiries about the administrative procedures followed by Pluspetrol in order to have carried out the clearings at the proposed platform locations.’

According to a formal information request made by Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) to the Ministry of Agriculture (MINAG), Pluspetrol received permission on 13 June 2011 to clear 0.24 hectares at locations called Kimaru Norte, San Martin Norte, Armihuari Norte, Armihuari Sur, Kimaru Oeste and Kimaru Centro because it needed to land helicopters inside the KNNR while researching an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of its plans to expand its operations.

However, irrespective of these administrative procedures, the company’s presence in this region is illegal under international, and therefore Peruvian, law.

On 12 July 1978 Peru ratified the American Convention on Human Rights, meaning that all rulings by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights, even if made about other countries, set binding precedents that apply in Peru. Among the Court’s many rulings relevant to the Camisea project is the 2012 judgment about the Kichwa people living in a community called Sarayaku in the Ecuadorian Amazon which reinforces the right of indigenous peoples to prior consultation before concessions are established on their lands. That followed a landmark ruling in 2007 about the Saramaka people in Suriname which established that, in the face of ‘large scale’ projects, states must not only consult indigenous peoples but also ‘obtain their free, prior and informed consent according to their customs and traditions.’

Yet the indigenous peoples in ‘voluntary isolation’ in the KNNR have neither given their consent to, nor been consulted about, Pluspetrol’s expansion plans. Indeed, not only is it impossible to secure their informed consent for such projects but any attempt to contact them in order to seek such consent could kill many of them via epidemics because of their lack of immunological defenses.

Peru’s Constitutional Court has confirmed that international human rights treaties ratified by Peru are incorporated into Peruvian domestic law via the Constitution and enjoy constitutional status, therefore standing above national laws or specific investment contracts.

‘Exploitation of the Camisea gas fields is certainly a large-scale project and it is clear Peru is flouting the law,’ says FPP’s director Joji Cariño. ‘The survival of the indigenous peoples living in ‘voluntary isolation’ in the Camisea region is seriously threatened.’

Pluspetrol has already drilled wells in Lot 88, three of which are in the western part of the KNNR. An EIA for the proposed 18 new wells, a 10.5km pipeline extension and seismic tests across 100s of square kilometres is currently pending approval by MEM.

Pluspetrol admits in this EIA that contact with the indigenous peoples in ‘voluntary isolation’ is ‘probable’ during its operations, that such people in general are highly vulnerable to contact and ‘massive deaths’ can occur as a result, and that the impacts of its expansion on them will be, or could be, considerable for a wide variety of reasons.

In March the UN’s Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination urged Peru to ‘immediately suspend’ the expansion of the Camisea gas project in the KNNR.

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By Wen Stephenson, 8 October, 2013. Source: The Nation

Activists with Tar Sands Blockade lock themselves to equipment used to build the Keystone XL pipeline, near Nacogdoches, Texas, November 19, 2012. Photo: Elizabeth Brossa

Activists with Tar Sands Blockade lock themselves to equipment used to build the Keystone XL pipeline, near Nacogdoches, Texas, November 19, 2012. Photo: Elizabeth Brossa

One morning in mid-July, I drove north out of Houston at the crack of dawn, three hours up Highway 59 into the cleaner air and dense, piney woods of deep East Texas. It was Sunday, and I was on my way to church.

I’d been up that way before: my father was born and raised in northeast Texas—in fact, my whole family is from Texas—and I’m no stranger to Bible Belt Christianity. But I’d never been to a church like the one where I was headed that morning: the small, progressive Austin Heights Baptist Church in Nacogdoches, which meets in an unassuming building on the edge of town.

Austin Heights was formed as a breakaway congregation in the charged atmosphere of 1968, when its founders could no longer accept the dominant Southern Baptist line on issues of race and war, and it established a lasting fellowship with the leading African-American church in Nacogdoches, Zion Hill First Baptist. The first morning I was there, the Rev. Kyle Childress, Austin Heights’ pastor since 1989 (and the only white member of the local black ministers’ alliance), preached on the Old Testament prophet Amos, who, he noted, was among the favorites of Martin Luther King Jr. Childress began his sermon by reminding us that this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the protests in Bull Connor’s Birmingham in the spring of 1963 and the March on Washington later that summer, and that one of King’s most-used lines (found, for example, in his 1963 “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” and “I Have a Dream” speech) was a verse from that morning’s Scripture reading in Amos: “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” 

The prophet Amos, Childress told us, was called to be a fierce advocate—among the Bible’s fiercest—on behalf of justice for the poor and oppressed. “Amos’s strong preaching was hard then, and it’s hard today,” Childress said. Just as in Amos’s day, when the wealthy trampled on the poor while worshiping piously in the temples, so today our “programs of care for the poor and needy” are dismantled “with a religious zeal.” Meanwhile, “giant corporations get a free ride. They can diminish people, destroy the earth, pour out climate-changing carbon, all in the interest of short-term profit, and no one can do anything about it.” But Amos knew, Childress assured us, that God is the spring of justice—and that without God, “we are unable to keep up the struggle for justice and goodness and love over the long haul.”

“God calls us to justice, to be a people who embody justice,” said Childress, himself a longtime activist on issues of race, poverty and peace. And yet, as King and all those who fought for civil rights knew, “serving and battling for justice is a long-haul kind of calling.”

Childress—deeply influenced by the likes of Wendell Berry, the late Will D. Campbell and, of course, King—is not a Bible-thumper. He doesn’t shout. Heavyset and ruddy-faced, with a whitening, close-cropped beard, he speaks with a soft, flat West Texas accent. But his voice carries real power and conviction. I would have been impressed with his sermon even if I didn’t know that his words that Sunday morning held a heightened significance for his congregation—not just because of the civil rights history, but because this little East Texas church, which can count perhaps 100 souls in its pews on a typical Sunday, is involved in a new battle. I wasn’t there just to hear the preaching.

In the past year, the Austin Heights congregation has found itself in the thick of the intense fight over the Keystone XL pipeline, specifically the southern leg of it—running from Cushing, Oklahoma, through East Texas (within twenty miles of Nacogdoches) to Gulf Coast refineries in Port Arthur and Houston—which was fast-tracked by President Obama in March 2012 and is now nearing completion, according to TransCanada, the Canadian corporation building it.

I’d reached out to Childress, and following the morning service I was scheduled to meet and interview, there at the church, several members of Tar Sands Blockade, the diverse group of mostly young, radical climate and social-justice activists (many of them Occupy veterans) who one year earlier had mounted a high-stakes, headline-grabbing campaign of nonviolent direct action—including a dramatic, eighty-five-day aerial tree blockade and numerous lockdowns at construction sites—to stop or slow the pipeline’s construction in Texas. In the process, they’ve worked with everyone from local environmentalists raising the alarm on the dangers of tar sands leaks and spills (as seen in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and Mayflower, Arkansas) to conservative landowners fighting TransCanada’s use (and, they will tell you, abuse) of eminent domain. Most of those who have engaged in and supported the direct action campaign—a true grassroots uprising—have been Texans, young and old, twentysomethings and grandparents.

Last fall, a number of the young blockaders, living at an encampment on private property just outside Nacogdoches, started coming to church at Austin Heights. And though they came from all sorts of cultural and religious backgrounds, and often had no religion at all, they formed a close bond with many members of the mostly white, middle-class congregation—who welcomed them into their homes like family—and had been working with the local grassroots anti-pipeline group Nacogdoches STOP (Stop Tar-Sands Oil Permanently), co-founded by members of Austin Heights.

Since the blockaders began showing up at his church, Childress told me as we drank coffee on his back porch the next morning, people have noticed a change in his preaching. “There’s an urgency that maybe I didn’t have before. They’re reminding us that climate change is not something we’re going to fiddle-faddle around with. I mean, you’ve got to step up now.”

But there’s more to it, Childress continued: “I’m preaching to young people who are putting their lives on the line. They didn’t come down here driving a Mercedes Benz, sitting around under a shade tree eating grapes. They hitchhiked. They rode buses. And they get arrested, they get pepper-sprayed, they get some stiff penalties thrown against them.” (In January, Tar Sands Blockade and allied groups settled a lawsuit brought by TransCanada seeking $5 million in damages for construction delays, forcing them to stay off the pipeline easement and any TransCanada property.)

Childress noted that some of the blockaders, especially the Occupy veterans, refer to the corporate capitalist system as “the Machine.” “And they’re exactly right, using that kind of language,” he said. “They’re going up against the Machine in a real, clearly defined way. Not subtle—really upfront. And I’m trying to help them realize what it’s going to take to sustain the struggle.”

When it exploded onto the scene last summer and fall, Tar Sands Blockade galvanized a climate movement that was ready for escalated direct action to stop the Keystone XL and build resistance to extreme fossil fuel extraction: everything from the exploitation of tar sands, to shale oil and gas fracking, to mountaintop-removal coal mining. As several climate organizers engaged at the national level have told me, the East Texas blockade showed the movement what it looks like to stand up and fight against seemingly insurmountable odds. Now, a full year since it launched, and with the southern leg of the pipeline all but in the ground, I wanted to find out how—and even if—Tar Sands Blockade would go forward.

In some ways, the challenges it faces reflect those facing the climate movement writ large. There’s a tension, which many in the movement feel, between the sheer urgency of climate action—the kind of urgency that leads one to blockade a pipeline—and the slower, more patient work required for organizing and movement building over the long haul. I wanted to know what it will take for Tar Sands Blockade to sustain its struggle—not only what it took to get into the fight, in such dramatic fashion, but what it takes to stay in the fight.

That first Sunday at Austin Heights, I talked for several hours with four blockaders who were still living at the camp outside town. All of them had been arrested while participating in various direct actions on the southern pipeline route. One of them, a young woman in her early 20s who asked not to be identified, was an Occupy veteran who’d engaged in a high-risk tree-sit on the pipeline easement and whose legal case was still unresolved. Another, a recent MIT grad named Murtaza Nek, whose family is Pakistani-American and whose Muslim faith is central to his climate-justice activism, told me he finds a lot of common ground with Childress and the Austin Heights congregation. He was arrested while serving as support for an action near Diboll, south of Nacogdoches.

A third blockader, 42-year-old Fitzgerald Scott, also an Occupy veteran (Tampa, DC, Denver), is a former Marine who was born in Trinidad, grew up in Newark and East Orange, New Jersey, and has a master’s in urban planning from the University of Illinois at Chicago. The only African-American blockader I met, he’d recently been arrested, not once but twice, for locking down at Keystone construction sites in Oklahoma. He told me that he’d joined the blockade out of solidarity with other activists and with people in frontline communities fighting the industry, not out of any deep environmental commitment. “To me, the environmental movement was far removed from blacks,” he said.

The fourth blockader was 22-year-old Matt Almonte. In December, he and another activist named Glen Collins locked themselves to each other and two 600-pound barrels filled with concrete inside part of the pipeline that was under construction—and came close to being gravely injured when police used machinery to pull the pipe sections apart by force. Though he was charged only with misdemeanors, his bail was set at $65,000, and he spent a month in jail.

For Matt, a veteran of Occupy Tampa who grew up working-class in urban New Jersey before his family moved to a “gated suburban thing” in south Florida, the lasting impact of Tar Sands Blockade “was to show ‘ordinary people’ that it’s absolutely vital to take direct action, and that even in a community like East Texas, people are rising against the fossil fuel industry.” He emphasized that trainings and actions are being networked out across the country, in South Dakota, Oklahoma, and elsewhere along the northern pipeline route and beyond—“places that don’t typically see a lot of environmental resistance.” Matt seemed impatient for more escalated direct action, the kind that was no longer happening along the southern Keystone XL route. Shortly after we talked, he and another member of Tar Sands Blockade decided to move on.

By the time I arrived in Nacogdoches, the blockaders’ numbers had dwindled—some who had come from out of state had returned home or drifted off to join other direct-action campaigns, against Keystone and extraction projects—and the group was at something of a crossroads. Indeed, they were wrestling not only with tactics and strategy but with the very nature of the campaign, now that there was essentially nothing left, in the near term, to blockade.

But a solid core of about twenty organizers, many of them young native Texans, had regrouped in Houston and were shifting into something more like community organizing, engaging with environmental justice efforts on the city’s hard-hit, largely Latino east side. As several told me, they wanted their campaign not only to carry on the fight against Keystone and tar sands but to build a base of grassroots resistance to the fossil fuel industry right there in Texas, especially in the frontline communities—most often communities of color—that are most affected by fossil fuel pollution. The kind of places, they point out, where the climate movement has established little, if any, foothold.

Back in Houston, I sat down with several members of Tar Sands Blockade, who talked with me openly about the campaign at this pivotal moment. Kim Huynh, 26, was born in a Vietnamese refugee camp in Indonesia and immigrated with her family to Florida, where she went to the University of Florida and studied political science and sociology. A year ago, she left a job with Friends of the Earth in Washington, DC, where she’d focused on Keystone and climate, and came to Texas to join the blockade. I asked Kim if she has any trouble reconciling the urgency of climate action, as seen in the pipeline fight, with the kind of long-term commitment required for movement-building.

“I certainly feel that tension,” she told me. “A lot of folks that I’ve worked with feel that tension very strongly, feel it in their bodies. It’s an anxiety.” At the same time, she said, she also feels “a commitment to the idea that we need systemic change, like actually hacking at the roots of what climate change is and what’s created climate change.” That kind of change is a long-term thing, she acknowledged. “It isn’t going to come just from stopping the pipeline. Stopping the pipeline is a good start.”

“The challenge and struggle for TSB,” Kim said, “is to figure out how we define escalation, as a campaign that started from this extremely escalated place.”

“Personally,” she said, “I draw a lot of inspiration and lessons from the black freedom movement, the civil rights movement, thinking about groups like SNCC and the way they defined escalation as going into the most deeply segregated areas in the South and doing voter registration.” That’s a whole other kind of escalation, Kim said, “doing the organizing in the areas where it’s possibly most important to do. Maybe that strategy is less like direct action as we know it—lockdowns—and more like community organizing. But that doesn’t mean it’s any de-escalation.”

“The communities that are most impacted by these industries,” she said, “the people who are living and breathing it every day—they need to be leading the fight.”

That idea—the disproportionate impact not only of climate change but of the fossil fuel industry on hard-pressed communities that can least afford it—is at the heart of what Tar Sands Blockade means by climate justice. They want a radical movement, one that grasps the problem whole, at the roots of the system, and fights alongside those who are already on the front lines—and always have been.

When I first met Ron Seifert, we were standing outside on a sweltering early evening at Hartman Park in Houston’s Manchester neighborhood, just east of the 610 Loop along the Houston Ship Channel, across the street from a massive Valero refinery. Ron is a founding member of Tar Sands Blockade—and, at 32, also among the oldest, with the first early flecks of gray showing in his trim black beard. Having trained for years in long-distance endurance racing, his slender frame seems to conceal a reservoir of stamina. Ron grew up in Wisconsin and South Carolina and came to Texas in late 2011 from Montana, where he’d been exploring grad school in environmental science and law. He had joined the historic sit-ins at the White House in August 2011 and was one of the 1,253 people arrested protesting the Keystone XL. Later that fall, along with another activist named Tom Weis, Ron biked the full length of the pipeline route, from Montana to Texas. In the spring and summer of 2012, after Obama fast-tracked the southern leg, he helped launch Tar Sands Blockade, together with members of Rising Tide North Texas, on landowner David Daniel’s property near Winnsboro, in northeast Texas, site of the storied eighty-five-day tree blockade.

Rural and small-town East Texas is a world away from Manchester. Overwhelmingly Latino, the community is surrounded by oil refineries and other heavily polluting industrial facilities—a chemical plant, a tire plant, a car-crushing facility, a train yard and a sewage treatment plant—and sits at the intersection of two major expressways. The people who live there already breathe some of the country’s most toxic air, and they have the health statistics to prove it. Not just asthma and other respiratory problems—a recent investigation by researchers at the University of Texas School of Public Health found that children living within two miles of the Ship Channel have a 56 percent higher risk of acute lymphocytic leukemia than those living only ten miles away. Yudith Nieto, a local environmental justice organizer who grew up in Manchester, told me of her family’s health struggles, including her own childhood asthma, which improved when she moved out of the neighborhood to attend art school.

The Ship Channel and nearby refineries—along with the refineries near the poor and African-American communities of Port Arthur—are also a prime destination for the vast majority of tar sands crude that will flow from Alberta to the Texas Gulf via the Keystone XL if it’s approved, only increasing the toxic emissions in these fence-line neighborhoods.

I was there in Manchester that evening to tag along with members of Tar Sands Blockade as they canvassed the community door to door, conducting a health survey in collaboration with the local Houston group TEJAS (Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services) and letting residents know about the upcoming Healthy Manchester Festival there at the park. Later, TEJAS co-founders Juan Parras, a longtime labor and environmental justice organizer, and his son Bryan talked with me about the challenges the climate movement faces in places like Manchester, or anyplace where immediate health, economic and social pressures are paramount. Broadly speaking, Bryan Parras told me, most efforts at climate action “tend to leave the same folks that are already in bad situations in bad situations. There’s no incentive for them to get involved.” (He expanded on this and other ideas in an interview posted on my blog at TheNation.com.)

Robert Bullard, dean of the Barbara Jordan–Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University in Houston, is widely acknowledged as the father of the environmental justice movement, thanks to his pioneering work on the disproportionate impacts of pollution in African-American communities, documented in his landmark 1990 book, Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class, and Environmental Quality. “We could stop every pipeline being built from Canada to Texas, we could stop every fracking operation, and still not deal with the justice question—what happens in these communities,” Bullard told me. “What we’re trying to drive home with our friends and colleagues in our larger environmental movement, our larger climate movement, is to talk about these communities that are at greatest risk, put a real face on this. Make it real.”

Tar Sands Blockade is listening to what those like Parras and Bullard are saying. “Disproportionate impact is very real,” Ron said. “And what the communities that are most disproportionately affected actually look like—we need to acknowledge the reality of that, and to understand that climate justice is tied in with racial justice, with environmental justice, with class struggle.”

Ron told me that Tar Sands Blockade wants to support and amplify the work of TEJAS and other environmental justice groups in Texas, not try to commandeer it. He and his Tar Sands Blockade colleagues are highly conscious of what might be called the “parachuter syndrome,” in which outside activist groups, however well intentioned, are perceived to be pursuing their own agendas. Given that apparent tension, I asked Ron if there’s not a disconnect of sorts between the kind of urgent climate action that Tar Sands Blockade has embodied (literally) in its direct action campaign and the slower, and in some ways more difficult, work of environmental justice organizing in these communities.

Maybe, he said. But, ultimately, “it doesn’t matter.”

“Pipelines and refineries and droughts—those are not different things,” Ron continued. “Thatis climate change. The refineries are climate change. Keystone XL is climate change. Tar sands exploitation is climate change. It’s all the same thing. And we understand that these communities are bearing the brunt of this industry—which is one and the same as climate change. And it’s in their backyards.”

“We’re not there to tell them what the problem is and what to do about it,” Ron said. “It’s the same as organizing with landowners in East Texas. We’re not salespeople coming to these communities saying, ‘Time to rise up!’ People have cancer, leukemia. They have children in the neighborhood die. They understand this industry will kill you for profits.”

Over the course of multiple conversations, Ron told me that a core group of Tar Sands Blockade organizers are dedicating themselves to the kind of climate justice organizing that national environmental groups aren’t doing in Texas. From the start, Ron said, Tar Sands Blockade has shown a willingness to defy a status quo within the larger movement, in which only “winnable campaigns” are taken on—and funded. With the fight in East Texas, and by digging in now for the longer, even harder fight in Houston, “we’ve been able to say, ‘This is worth fighting no matter what, even if it looks like we can’t win.’”

“That type of real investment and commitment,” Ron said, “the idea that you have to go into where the problem is worst—like Mississippi during the civil rights era—you have to get in there and get a foothold. We hope we can empower local-led action and resistance. In Houston itself, there are literally millions of people who are being poisoned. We should be able to empower folks here to rise up and defend their own homes.”

“If the climate movement is ever going to win in a really robust way, it’s gotta come to Texas, the belly of the beast,” Ron told me. “Houston, and the Texas Gulf, is the lion’s den—the largest petrochemical complex on planet Earth. If the base isn’t there, if the communities there aren’t organized and informed, empowered to take action, the movement isn’t going to be successful when it needs to be.”

“The industry,” Ron said, “has shown every intention of escalating the climate crisis beyond certain tipping points, and people in these communities are affected by the industry right now, in desperate ways.” In a situation like this, he said, “we need to ask ourselves as organizers, ‘What does escalation look like? What could possibly be too escalated?’ Physically blockading infrastructure is a great place to start that conversation.” They may have failed to stop the construction of the southern pipeline, “but we can still build and cultivate a culture of resistance and action, capable of escalating to the point of shutting this stuff down in the future.”

I asked him what happens if Obama approves the Keystone XL and construction of the northern segment begins. Will Tar Sands Blockade still be committed to Texas? “I can guarantee you that if that segment is approved, and our friends and allies in Montana and South Dakota and Nebraska give us a call, there will be physical blockades in those areas as well, by local folks interested in that kind of resistance. But that doesn’t mean abandoning our base in Houston and East Texas. These are not mutually exclusive things.”

“There are two distinct lines of work that need to be done simultaneously,” he said. “One is to smash these systems that are oppressing us and destroying the world. The other is to build up the world that we want to see.”

“It’s a long-term commitment that we are making,” Ron said.

* * *

Before I left Nacogdoches, the blockaders gave me directions to their camp outside town. I arrived mid-morning, and the four I’d interviewed at the church were the only ones there. Murtaza showed me around. There was the small, ramshackle house that was used as a makeshift HQ and the communal outdoor kitchen under a blue plastic tarp, which had served fifty or more at one time. There was the outhouse that one of the Austin Heights members had built for them. As we walked a footpath into the woods in back, I saw the few remaining tents and an ingeniously rigged (if less than private) shower. Some climbing tackle still hung from a large tree. Nearby was a big pile of buckets and containers once used for hauling water. Murtaza thought the camp now had a vaguely post-apocalyptic look to it—or perhaps, I thought, like a guerrilla encampment after the battle shifts to new ground.

After my tour, I sat down with Fitzgerald at the picnic table by the kitchen, next to a campfire he was tending. I asked him if the “blockade,” as such, was over.

“It’s hard to define ‘over,’” he replied. “When I got here, blockading was as direct action as direct action can get. That part of TSB in Texas, I think, is done.”

What about building a deeper resistance that can go forward?

“TSB didn’t come here to create a resistance,” he said. “That resistance already existed. We partnered in that resistance, and we’re still partnering in it.”

Had Tar Sands Blockade strengthened that resistance? “Without a doubt,” he answered. “As far as resistance is concerned, we are far from done.”

Since we spoke, Fitzgerald has moved to the Beaumont–Port Arthur area, engaging in environmental justice work with the African-American communities there. But he told me that he and the others want to remain engaged with Nacogdoches. He feels close to the Austin Heights community, and he’s been reaching out to the Zion Hill congregation. “I’m trying to get the African-American community more involved,” he said, “because that’s just where I come from.”

The next weekend in Nacogdoches, I sat down again with Kyle Childress, this time in his office at the church. A portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. hangs on the wall. I told him, only half joking, that it was a little intimidating to sit there under Dr. King’s gaze.

“There’s a line in the old King James,” Childress told me, “that says the prayers of a faithful person ‘availeth much.’ One person, one small community, acting in faithfulness, can bring healing, hope, change.”

“Some of these blockaders,” he said, “were risking their lives up there in a tree trying to block that pipeline. And TransCanada has billions of dollars and says, ‘We’ll just go around you. You slowed us down for a day.’ Well, if that’s all there is, by sheer mathematics they win. But I think the prayers of a faithful person availeth much—and those blockaders are acting in fidelity to the goodness, the rightness, of God’s earth. That keeps me going. That’s my hope. And if I didn’t have hope, well, I’d probably just cash it in and go do something else for a living. I mean, you know, I’m not going to be pastor of a church without any hope.”

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Article source: GJEP Climate Connections Blog

Aceh, the northern province on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is a region made famous by separatist conflict and natural disasters, calamities that long held back economic development but helped preserve one of the world’s richest ecosystems. Now conservationists say the rapid clearing of virgin forest is paving the way for environmental catastrophe, turning critically endangered orangutans, tigers and elephants into refugees, and triggering landslides and flash floods.

Much of the current activity is illegal, they say, but if a land-use plan proposed by Aceh’s governor, Zaini Abdullah, is approved by the national government, currently protected forests could be rezoned as “production forests,” paving the way for logging, palm oil and mining concessions. The Aceh government argues that the change is needed to develop the local economy.

“They are very eager to build new roads and open up forests,” said Muhammad Zulfikar, of the Indonesian Forum for Environment, or Walhi, a nongovernmental organization opposed to the governor’s plan. “The government must see things not only from a political or investment point of view. What would be the point of investing if it only leads to natural disaster in the future?”

Mr. Zaini’s proposal is part of a startling shift by an Aceh government dominated by former separatist rebels who once billed themselves as protectors of the region’s natural environment against outside exploitation. It also illustrates a wider problem facing Indonesia, where the tightly centralized power structure of the late authoritarian leader Suharto has given way over the past 15 years to considerable local control. Nowhere is that more the case than in Aceh, where the 2005 peace accord between the Indonesian government and rebels of the Free Aceh Movement granted the region special autonomy.

“The regional autonomy law gives the power to mayors or regents to manage their affairs, to give concessions, to issue licenses related to economic activity,” said Mas Achmad Santosa, legal adviser to a presidential working group tasked with monitoring Indonesia’s forests.

A recent study by Greenomics, a Jakarta-based policy institute that researches forest management, determined that unauthorized permits for mining and palm oil plantations — meaning they were issued by local officials without approval at the national level — have affected more than 520,000 hectares, or 1.3 million acres, of protected forest in Aceh. Elfian Effendi, the executive director of Greenomics, called the proposed Aceh plan “an effort to legitimize illegal permit operations.” Protected forests currently account for about 1.84 million hectares of land in Aceh. There are about 32 million hectares of protected forest throughout Indonesia.

Indonesia has one of the world’s fastest rates of deforestation, much of it to make way for palm oil plantations. From 1990 to 2010, 20 percent of forest area was lost, according to a report by the United Nations.

In 2010, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono declared a freeze on new logging concessions as part of a deal with Norway, which agreed to pay Indonesia up to $1 billion for progress toward reducing deforestation. In May, Mr. Yudhoyono extended the ban to 2015.

But critics note that the moratorium applies only to new concessions, while weak governance and a complex structure of forest management leave nominally protected areas open to exploitation. For example, local governments can request that the National Development Planning Agency rezone protected areas they consider vital to economic growth.

Aceh is a case that stands out because its history of separatist uprisings eventually led to the special autonomy that has left Jakarta hesitant to intervene in how the local government manages natural resources.

“It’s quite a careful balancing act the national government has to do in accommodating Acehnese aspirations, but also imposing national law,” said John McCarthy, a senior lecturer on environment and development at Australian National University.

For decades, the separatist rebellion spared Aceh from some of the deforestation taking place elsewhere in Indonesia. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which killed an estimated 170,000 people and left half a million homeless in Aceh alone, further stymied development. But it also paved the way for the peace accord that ended the fighting and put the former rebels in charge of the devastated region.

Irwandi Yusuf, who served as governor from 2007 to 2012, was among them. Known to make surprise visits to logging concessions and comb forests in search of illegal chainsaws, Mr. Irwandi was the “green governor” who pledged to preserve Aceh’s rain forests.

He did so by embracing a United Nations-backedcarbon-trading plan that aimed to reduce deforestation and inject much-needed money into the economy. In 2007, he barred companies from clearing primary forest or peatland. Three years later, he proposed a land-use plan that would increase the amount of protected forest by 1 million hectares.

In 2011, however, he changed course, allowing the palm oil company PT Kallista Alam to develop a peat swamp inside the Tripa conservation zone, home to endangered Sumatran orangutans.

The move caused an uproar among conservationists, who alleged that the concession violated national law. Mr. Irwandi defended his decision, saying the money expected from projects aimed at reducing deforestation had not materialized, in part because of bureaucratic delays at the national level. One environmental group has taken the case to court. But it marked the beginning of a transition from a leadership focused on environmental protection to one that gave precedence to economic development.

“A lot of people in Aceh never accepted that such a large area of their homeland should be locked up by conservationists,” said Mr. McCarthy. Many had hoped to cash in by brokering deals for access to Aceh’s natural resources. He said Mr. Irwandi had supported conservation as a means of development, but when the carbon scheme failed to pay, he abandoned it.

His successor, Mr. Zaini, has proved no more environmentally friendly. Shortly after taking office in June 2012, he dissolved a management body tasked with ensuring conservation inside the Leuser Ecosystem, one of the last places where the Sumatran elephant, rhinoceros, tiger and orangutan live together. Conservationists say it is no longer possible to monitor what is happening in the forests.

“People are up to grab what they can while they can,” said Dr. Ian Singleton, the head of conservation at the environmental organization PanEco and director of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program. The program’s orangutan rehabilitation center, built to accommodate about 25 animals, currently has double that number, largely because of the increase in forest clearing, Dr. Singleton said.

Mr. Zaini’s proposal to the national government would revise a land-use plan enacted in 2000. Officials who helped draft the proposal say the changes are needed to accommodate expanding human settlements and infrastructure development.

“The population has grown a lot since the previous spatial plan was drafted,” said Martunis Muhammad, the head of investment and development financing at Aceh’s development planning agency, Bappeda. “The changes need to account for changes in land-use patterns.”

Under the proposed plan, Mr. Martunis said, some protected forest will be reclassified as production forest, allowing communities to cultivate the land they live on. He concedes that the plan would reduce the protected forest area but says it would not violate a national law designating the Leuser Ecosystem as off limits to human activity. “The spatial plan is aimed at guiding the development of Aceh, while protecting the environment,” he said.

Even if the plan is not approved, Dr. Singleton said, without decisive action from the national government, plantations will continue to encroach on protected areas. “It’s now all open for business,” he said.

Article source: GJEP Climate Connections Blog

13 October, 2013. Source: Al Jazeera

Some of the protesters threw rocks and other objects at police after the main, peaceful march earlier Saturday. Photo: Luis Hidalgo/AP

Some of the protesters threw rocks and other objects at police after the main, peaceful march earlier Saturday. Photo: Luis Hidalgo/AP

Protesters clashed with police in Chile’s capital Saturday during an anti-Columbus Day march organized by Indigenous groups, with activists calling for the return of ancestral lands and the right to self-determination on the 521-year anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the Americas.

Demonstrators in Santiago threw rocks and other objects at police who responded with water cannons. At least 10 protesters were detained by police, local media reported.

More than 15,000 people participated in the march, organized by the country’s largest indigenous group, the Mapuches, who have been in a long struggle with the government over ancestral land taken from them during colonization.

While Columbus Day celebrations took place across Latin America, the Mapuche affirmed, “we have nothing to celebrate”, according to the Santiago Times.

A press release by the group complained of mistreatment by the state, particularly against Mapuche political prisoners, and on-going land disputes in the south.

On Wednesday, a major police operation cleared indigenous occupants from disputed land in Ercilla, in southern Chile, and eight Mapuche activists were arrested. Witnesses said the police response was aggressive and unprovoked, the Santiago Times reported.

The Mapuche people have been fighting to accelerate the process of repatriation of traditional lands. The government has said it will return some of the land, but the process has been slow and the perceived inaction has been met with demonstrations and occasional violence.

Mapuche protesters have been treated as ‘terrorists’ by the Chilean government — which uses an anti-terrorism law against them. Thousands of Mapuche and their supporters demanded an end to the application of this law on Mapuche land activists in peaceful marches Saturday.

The U.N. urged Chile to stop applying the anti-terrorism law against the Mapuche in July.

“The anti-terrorism law has been used in a manner that discriminates against the Mapuche,” U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism Ben Emmerson said in a press release. “It has been applied in a confused and arbitrary fashion that has resulted in real injustice, has undermined the right to a fair trial, and has been perceived as stigmatizing and de-legitimizing the Mapuche land claims and protests.”

Though the Mapuche resisted Spanish conquest for 300 years and wish to be autonomous, in the late 19th century they were defeated militarily and forced into Araucania, south of the Bio-Bio river — about 350 miles south of Santiago. Most live in poverty on the fringes of timber companies or ranches owned by the descendants of those who arrived to the region in the late 1800s from Europe.

Another anti-Columbus Day protest took place Saturday in Mexico City, where people from various indigenous groups marched peacefully to observe “Dia de la Raza,” or Indigenous People’s Day, as Columbus Day is called in Mexico.

“Indigenous people are in resistance because we are survivors after 500 years of the European invasion,” Leonico Macuixle, a demonstrator, told The Associated Press. “They came to take from us our culture, our language, they built Catholic churches in our sacred places.”

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Article source: GJEP Climate Connections Blog

13 October, 2013. Source: Al Jazeera

Some of the protesters threw rocks and other objects at police after the main, peaceful march earlier Saturday. Photo: Luis Hidalgo/AP

Some of the protesters threw rocks and other objects at police after the main, peaceful march earlier Saturday. Photo: Luis Hidalgo/AP

Protesters clashed with police in Chile’s capital Saturday during an anti-Columbus Day march organized by Indigenous groups, with activists calling for the return of ancestral lands and the right to self-determination on the 521-year anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the Americas.

Demonstrators in Santiago threw rocks and other objects at police who responded with water cannons. At least 10 protesters were detained by police, local media reported.

More than 15,000 people participated in the march, organized by the country’s largest indigenous group, the Mapuches, who have been in a long struggle with the government over ancestral land taken from them during colonization.

While Columbus Day celebrations took place across Latin America, the Mapuche affirmed, “we have nothing to celebrate”, according to the Santiago Times.

A press release by the group complained of mistreatment by the state, particularly against Mapuche political prisoners, and on-going land disputes in the south.

On Wednesday, a major police operation cleared indigenous occupants from disputed land in Ercilla, in southern Chile, and eight Mapuche activists were arrested. Witnesses said the police response was aggressive and unprovoked, the Santiago Times reported.

The Mapuche people have been fighting to accelerate the process of repatriation of traditional lands. The government has said it will return some of the land, but the process has been slow and the perceived inaction has been met with demonstrations and occasional violence.

Mapuche protesters have been treated as ‘terrorists’ by the Chilean government — which uses an anti-terrorism law against them. Thousands of Mapuche and their supporters demanded an end to the application of this law on Mapuche land activists in peaceful marches Saturday.

The U.N. urged Chile to stop applying the anti-terrorism law against the Mapuche in July.

“The anti-terrorism law has been used in a manner that discriminates against the Mapuche,” U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism Ben Emmerson said in a press release. “It has been applied in a confused and arbitrary fashion that has resulted in real injustice, has undermined the right to a fair trial, and has been perceived as stigmatizing and de-legitimizing the Mapuche land claims and protests.”

Though the Mapuche resisted Spanish conquest for 300 years and wish to be autonomous, in the late 19th century they were defeated militarily and forced into Araucania, south of the Bio-Bio river — about 350 miles south of Santiago. Most live in poverty on the fringes of timber companies or ranches owned by the descendants of those who arrived to the region in the late 1800s from Europe.

Another anti-Columbus Day protest took place Saturday in Mexico City, where people from various indigenous groups marched peacefully to observe “Dia de la Raza,” or Indigenous People’s Day, as Columbus Day is called in Mexico.

“Indigenous people are in resistance because we are survivors after 500 years of the European invasion,” Leonico Macuixle, a demonstrator, told The Associated Press. “They came to take from us our culture, our language, they built Catholic churches in our sacred places.”

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Article source: GJEP Climate Connections Blog

13 October, 2013. Source: Al Jazeera

Some of the protesters threw rocks and other objects at police after the main, peaceful march earlier Saturday. Photo: Luis Hidalgo/AP

Some of the protesters threw rocks and other objects at police after the main, peaceful march earlier Saturday. Photo: Luis Hidalgo/AP

Protesters clashed with police in Chile’s capital Saturday during an anti-Columbus Day march organized by Indigenous groups, with activists calling for the return of ancestral lands and the right to self-determination on the 521-year anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the Americas.

Demonstrators in Santiago threw rocks and other objects at police who responded with water cannons. At least 10 protesters were detained by police, local media reported.

More than 15,000 people participated in the march, organized by the country’s largest indigenous group, the Mapuches, who have been in a long struggle with the government over ancestral land taken from them during colonization.

While Columbus Day celebrations took place across Latin America, the Mapuche affirmed, “we have nothing to celebrate”, according to the Santiago Times.

A press release by the group complained of mistreatment by the state, particularly against Mapuche political prisoners, and on-going land disputes in the south.

On Wednesday, a major police operation cleared indigenous occupants from disputed land in Ercilla, in southern Chile, and eight Mapuche activists were arrested. Witnesses said the police response was aggressive and unprovoked, the Santiago Times reported.

The Mapuche people have been fighting to accelerate the process of repatriation of traditional lands. The government has said it will return some of the land, but the process has been slow and the perceived inaction has been met with demonstrations and occasional violence.

Mapuche protesters have been treated as ‘terrorists’ by the Chilean government — which uses an anti-terrorism law against them. Thousands of Mapuche and their supporters demanded an end to the application of this law on Mapuche land activists in peaceful marches Saturday.

The U.N. urged Chile to stop applying the anti-terrorism law against the Mapuche in July.

“The anti-terrorism law has been used in a manner that discriminates against the Mapuche,” U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism Ben Emmerson said in a press release. “It has been applied in a confused and arbitrary fashion that has resulted in real injustice, has undermined the right to a fair trial, and has been perceived as stigmatizing and de-legitimizing the Mapuche land claims and protests.”

Though the Mapuche resisted Spanish conquest for 300 years and wish to be autonomous, in the late 19th century they were defeated militarily and forced into Araucania, south of the Bio-Bio river — about 350 miles south of Santiago. Most live in poverty on the fringes of timber companies or ranches owned by the descendants of those who arrived to the region in the late 1800s from Europe.

Another anti-Columbus Day protest took place Saturday in Mexico City, where people from various indigenous groups marched peacefully to observe “Dia de la Raza,” or Indigenous People’s Day, as Columbus Day is called in Mexico.

“Indigenous people are in resistance because we are survivors after 500 years of the European invasion,” Leonico Macuixle, a demonstrator, told The Associated Press. “They came to take from us our culture, our language, they built Catholic churches in our sacred places.”

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By Renee Lewis, 12 October, 2013. Source: Al Jazeera

People hold signs during one of many worldwide March Against Monsanto protests against Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and agro-chemicals, in Los Angeles, California Saturday. Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

People hold signs during one of many worldwide “March Against Monsanto” protests against Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and agro-chemicals, in Los Angeles, California Saturday. Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Activists from around the globe participated in a global ‘March Against Monsanto’ Saturday, calling for the permanent boycott of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This was the second global, anti-Monsanto protest — the first took place on May 25 with over 2 million participants, organizers said.

Photos appear to show hundreds of marchers taking to the streets in cities around the world including Vienna, London, Chennai and Sydney. Rallies have kicked off in U.S. cities as well including Los Angeles and Denver.

Critics of Monsanto, a multi-national biotech corporation, say its seeds destroy the soil and are designed to make constant repurchase necessary because the seeds last only one generation. The seeds must also be used with a variety of the company’s other products like fertilizers, fungicides and pesticides, which have been linked to mass bee deaths.

Monsanto, which touts itself as a “sustainable agriculture company” and is worth over $55 billion, says it produces high-yield conventional and biotech seeds that enable more nutritious and durable crops and “safe and effective crop protection solutions.” The U.S. government also says Monsanto’s products are safe.

March Against Monsanto (MAM), however, says GMOs are not properly monitored to ensure public safety and that no long-term, independent studies were carried out on GMOs before they were introduced for human consumption.

“In the U.S., the revolving door between Monsanto employees, government positions and regulatory authorities has led to key Monsanto figures occupying positions of power at the FDA and EPA. Monsanto has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to obstruct all labeling attempts; they also suppress any research containing results not in their favor,” MAM said in a press release.

GMOs have been banned to varying degrees in Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Madeira, New Zealand, Peru, Russia, France, Switzerland and Costa Rica.

GMOs are labeled in 62 countries, but not the U.S. despite several attempts. Last fall, Californian voters narrowly rejected an initiative to label GMOs, and a similar initiative is on the Nov. 5 Washington state ballot.

Prominent environmentalist Vandana Shiva has been outspoken against Monsanto, particularly in light of the corporation’s link to hundreds of thousands of Indian farmer suicides.

More than 250,000 farmers have committed suicide in India after Monsanto’s Bt cotton seeds largely failed. Many farmers left in desperate poverty decided to drink Monsanto pesticide, ending their lives.

“The creation of seed monopolies, the destruction of alternatives, the collection of superprofits in the form of royalties and the increasing vulnerability of monocultures has created a context for debt, suicides and agrarian distress,” Shiva wrote.

Josh Castro, organizer for the Quito, Ecuador march said in a press release that he hopes to stop the “destructive practices of multinational corporations like Monsanto.”

“Biotechnology is not the solution to world hunger … Monsanto’s harmful practices are causing soil infertility, mono-cropping, loss of biodiversity, habitat destruction and contributing to beehive collapse.

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Article source: GJEP Climate Connections Blog

By Renee Lewis, 12 October, 2013. Source: Al Jazeera

People hold signs during one of many worldwide March Against Monsanto protests against Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and agro-chemicals, in Los Angeles, California Saturday. Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

People hold signs during one of many worldwide “March Against Monsanto” protests against Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and agro-chemicals, in Los Angeles, California Saturday. Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Activists from around the globe participated in a global ‘March Against Monsanto’ Saturday, calling for the permanent boycott of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This was the second global, anti-Monsanto protest — the first took place on May 25 with over 2 million participants, organizers said.

Photos appear to show hundreds of marchers taking to the streets in cities around the world including Vienna, London, Chennai and Sydney. Rallies have kicked off in U.S. cities as well including Los Angeles and Denver.

Critics of Monsanto, a multi-national biotech corporation, say its seeds destroy the soil and are designed to make constant repurchase necessary because the seeds last only one generation. The seeds must also be used with a variety of the company’s other products like fertilizers, fungicides and pesticides, which have been linked to mass bee deaths.

Monsanto, which touts itself as a “sustainable agriculture company” and is worth over $55 billion, says it produces high-yield conventional and biotech seeds that enable more nutritious and durable crops and “safe and effective crop protection solutions.” The U.S. government also says Monsanto’s products are safe.

March Against Monsanto (MAM), however, says GMOs are not properly monitored to ensure public safety and that no long-term, independent studies were carried out on GMOs before they were introduced for human consumption.

“In the U.S., the revolving door between Monsanto employees, government positions and regulatory authorities has led to key Monsanto figures occupying positions of power at the FDA and EPA. Monsanto has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to obstruct all labeling attempts; they also suppress any research containing results not in their favor,” MAM said in a press release.

GMOs have been banned to varying degrees in Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Madeira, New Zealand, Peru, Russia, France, Switzerland and Costa Rica.

GMOs are labeled in 62 countries, but not the U.S. despite several attempts. Last fall, Californian voters narrowly rejected an initiative to label GMOs, and a similar initiative is on the Nov. 5 Washington state ballot.

Prominent environmentalist Vandana Shiva has been outspoken against Monsanto, particularly in light of the corporation’s link to hundreds of thousands of Indian farmer suicides.

More than 250,000 farmers have committed suicide in India after Monsanto’s Bt cotton seeds largely failed. Many farmers left in desperate poverty decided to drink Monsanto pesticide, ending their lives.

“The creation of seed monopolies, the destruction of alternatives, the collection of superprofits in the form of royalties and the increasing vulnerability of monocultures has created a context for debt, suicides and agrarian distress,” Shiva wrote.

Josh Castro, organizer for the Quito, Ecuador march said in a press release that he hopes to stop the “destructive practices of multinational corporations like Monsanto.”

“Biotechnology is not the solution to world hunger … Monsanto’s harmful practices are causing soil infertility, mono-cropping, loss of biodiversity, habitat destruction and contributing to beehive collapse.

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Article source: GJEP Climate Connections Blog

October 14, 2013. Source: Friends of the Earth International 

A four day high-level Friends of the Earth International visit to Friends of the Earth Palestine (also known as PENGON) concluded on October 13th,when Friends of the Earth International chair Jagoda Munic presented a report during a press conference in Ramallah.

The report, “Environmental injustice and violations of the Israeli occupation of Palestine” [1] documents some of the environmental injustice that a Friends of the Earth International delegation observed in 2012.

Friends of the Earth International deplores the confiscation of land, taking control of water resources, buildingof illegal settlements, restrictions to freedom of movement, dumping of solid and liquid waste including hazardous and nuclear waste, and the movement of banned hazardous industries from Israel to occupied Palestinian land.

Dr. Ayman Rabi from Friends of the Earth Palestine / PENGON said:

“The continuation of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory is the prime cause of environmental injustice and degradation in Palestine. The illegal acts that the occupation authorities are currently practicing against the Palestinian People are clear violations of international law and humanitarian law. These include land confiscations to expand illegal Israeli colonies, over-exploitation of natural resources, and pollution of the environment as well as denying Palestinians the right to access and use their natural resources”.

Jagoda Munic, the chairperson of Friends of the Earth International, said:

“Apart from illegal Israeli settlements and the separation wall, we have witnessed less visible forms of occupation including toxic waste-dumping, the expropriation and diversion of fresh water sources from Palestinian communities to the benefit of Israeli settlers, the development of polluting industries close to Palestinian towns and landgrabs. Friends of the Earth International has exposed environmental injustices and resource grabbing around the world, but the Israeli government‘s systematic policies of segregation, land grabbing, and water resources expropriation are truly shocking.”

She added: “Palestine stands as an example of the link between environmental injustice and social and political injustice. The environmental and subsequent humanitarian impact of the Israeli occupation worsens every year. Therefore, Friends of the Earth International supports the demand of Friends of the Earth Palestine / PENGON in calling upon the international community and the United Nations to hold Israel accountable for its illegal acts against Palestinians and to stop treating Israel as a country above international law.”

Friends of the Earth Palestine / PENGON believes that now is the time to ensure that Israel agrees to a time-frame to end its occupation of Palestinian territory (as per United Nations Resolutions 242, 338 and 194), allows Palestinians to live in dignity and gain their sovereignty over their land and natural resources and promote a true, just and lasting peace in this region.

The Friends of the Earth International delegates who visited Palestine are from Croatia, Mozambique, Uruguay, the UK and the US. They visited areas around Bethlehem, Hebron, Tulkarem, Nablus, and villages around Jerusalem and Northern Jordan valley.

They observed the water, soil, and air pollution in these areas and witnessed and commended the valuable work carried out by Friends of the Earth Palestine / PENGON in Palestine, extending their solidarity to the Palestinians.

 

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Article source: GJEP Climate Connections Blog

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Article source: GJEP Climate Connections Blog

October 12th, 2013

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“Rexton, NB” unceded Mi’kmaqi – On “Colombus Day”, a day which celebrates 521 years of genocide and oppression of Indigenous peoples, the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society has released the following video call for support. Suzane Patles, an Ilnu woman and member of the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society calls for physical support at the blockade, solidarity actions across Turtle Island on Oct. 18th and a flooding of Kanadian official representatives’ phone and mail lines. The October 18th Day of Action is a response in protest to the court injunction that SWN is looking to serve against the encampment. Organize an action in your community, use #INDIGENIZE and send us a write up with photos to post online: reclaimturtleisland [at] gmail [dot] com.

The compound, where SWN has over hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment, has been shut down and their equipment seized by local Indigenous peoples. Patles is among many Wabanaki Confederacy peoples asserting their inherent and treaty rights and titles over their territories at an active road blockade since Sept 28th. The HWY 134 blockade is preventing SWN equipment from illegally excavating Mi’kmaq territory and conducting seismic testing in order to begin the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on unceded native lands.

The road blockade has been estimated to cost SWN over $60, 000 a day. Due to the recognition of Indigenous inherent and treaty rights and title, the RCMP have been hesitant to interfere with the blockade though not without conflict. The blockade site has the support of Wabanaki Confederacy traditional governance, and widespread community support amongst Indigenous and settler groups. Flood colonial government mail and phone systems with statements of support for the blockade including the demands of the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society. The Warrior Society has issued the following demands to New Brunswick Premier Alward:

  1. Produce all Bills of Sales, Sold, Ceded, Granted and Extinguished Lands for New Brunswick.
  2. Produce documents proving Cabot’s Doctrine of Discovery.
  3. Produce the Treaty of Peace and Friendship 1686.
  4. Produce Treaty of Fort Howe 1768.
  5. Produce consents for Loyalists to land in Nova Scotia/New Brunswick.
  6. Produce records of Townships created and consents by Chiefs to allow this.
  7. Produce agreements or consents by all New Brunswick Chiefs who agreed to Confereration of 1867.
  8. Produce evidence of consents to The Indian Act by all Native Tribes.
  9. Produce records of Trust Funds.
  10. Produce agreements for 4% of all mineral shares of finished products in Canada, except coal.
  11. Produce all correspondence letters pertaining to Numbered Treaties (Promises).
  12. Produce all documents creating border divisions, that divide the Wabanaki confederacy.
  13. Produce the Orders from the Lords of Trade to the Governor of the Colonies.

Article source: GJEP Climate Connections Blog

October 12th, 2013

img_9678

“Rexton, NB” unceded Mi’kmaqi – On “Colombus Day”, a day which celebrates 521 years of genocide and oppression of Indigenous peoples, the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society has released the following video call for support. Suzane Patles, an Ilnu woman and member of the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society calls for physical support at the blockade, solidarity actions across Turtle Island on Oct. 18th and a flooding of Kanadian official representatives’ phone and mail lines. The October 18th Day of Action is a response in protest to the court injunction that SWN is looking to serve against the encampment. Organize an action in your community, use #INDIGENIZE and send us a write up with photos to post online: reclaimturtleisland [at] gmail [dot] com.

The compound, where SWN has over hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment, has been shut down and their equipment seized by local Indigenous peoples. Patles is among many Wabanaki Confederacy peoples asserting their inherent and treaty rights and titles over their territories at an active road blockade since Sept 28th. The HWY 134 blockade is preventing SWN equipment from illegally excavating Mi’kmaq territory and conducting seismic testing in order to begin the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on unceded native lands.

The road blockade has been estimated to cost SWN over $60, 000 a day. Due to the recognition of Indigenous inherent and treaty rights and title, the RCMP have been hesitant to interfere with the blockade though not without conflict. The blockade site has the support of Wabanaki Confederacy traditional governance, and widespread community support amongst Indigenous and settler groups. Flood colonial government mail and phone systems with statements of support for the blockade including the demands of the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society. The Warrior Society has issued the following demands to New Brunswick Premier Alward:

  1. Produce all Bills of Sales, Sold, Ceded, Granted and Extinguished Lands for New Brunswick.
  2. Produce documents proving Cabot’s Doctrine of Discovery.
  3. Produce the Treaty of Peace and Friendship 1686.
  4. Produce Treaty of Fort Howe 1768.
  5. Produce consents for Loyalists to land in Nova Scotia/New Brunswick.
  6. Produce records of Townships created and consents by Chiefs to allow this.
  7. Produce agreements or consents by all New Brunswick Chiefs who agreed to Confereration of 1867.
  8. Produce evidence of consents to The Indian Act by all Native Tribes.
  9. Produce records of Trust Funds.
  10. Produce agreements for 4% of all mineral shares of finished products in Canada, except coal.
  11. Produce all correspondence letters pertaining to Numbered Treaties (Promises).
  12. Produce all documents creating border divisions, that divide the Wabanaki confederacy.
  13. Produce the Orders from the Lords of Trade to the Governor of the Colonies.

Article source: GJEP Climate Connections Blog