Archive | January 5, 2016

An Indigenous Australian Approach to Healing Trauma*

An Indigenous Australian Approach to Healing Trauma*

By Jonathan Davis

The Healing Power of Listening in Stillness

People have always experienced pain, and in the vast span of time before the colonial expansion of western culture, indigenous cultures weren’t without their methods of dealing with trauma.

For centuries we’ve largely ignored the wisdom of those among us who are still directly connected to ancestral ways of knowledge. As our modern lifestyle collides with the fact that our Earth is not capable of supporting our current way of life, we are finally starting to look to those who once lived in a state of indefinite sustainability and abundance, for a way forward.

“In order to have sustainable community you have to make sure the people are sustainable. This means healing trauma.” -Jarmbi Githabul, Narakwal / Githabul Custodian

What is Dadirri?

“Dadirri is inner, deep listening and quiet, still awareness. Dadirri recognises the deep spring that is inside us. We call on it and it calls to us. This is the gift that Australia is thirsting for. It is something like what you call ‘contemplation’.” -Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann, Ngangiwumirr Elder

When Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann speaks of dadirri, she speaks of a form of deep, contemplative listening that is nothing less than a personal spiritual practice. This type of listening in stillness is widely known all across the Australian continent, in many language groups under many names.

“When I experience dadirri, I am made whole again.” Miriam describes.

“I can sit on the riverbank or walk through the trees; even if someone close to me has passed away, I can find my peace in this silent awareness. There is no need of words. A big part of dadirri is listening.”

Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann – artist, writer and public speaker

Learning and healing through listening

According to Ungunmerr-Baumann the act of learning, from a very young age, is all about waiting and listening; not asking questions. In a culture where everyone is so well practiced at listening that it becomes a spiritual art, it makes sense that when trauma occurred the people would come together and deeply listen to each other. For this reason dadirri also refers to a form of group trauma healing that brings the deep presence found in the solo practice of dadirri to a group setting. Details of dadirri as group practice can be found in Prof. Judy Atkinson’s book Trauma Trails, Recreating Songlines. The essence of dadirri, in this wider context, is the creation of a space of deep contemplative, heart based listening where stories of trauma and pain can be shared and witnessed with loving acceptance.

In my own experiences with original Australians who are deeply connected to country, I have felt that they are so grounded it’s almost as if the land itself is listening to you, through them.

“Healing country heals ourselves, and healing ourselves heals country.”
– Prof. Judy Atkinson – Jiman / Bunjalung woman, author of Trauma Trails, Recreating Songlines

Emotional Completion

According to Prof. Stan Grof, trauma healing comes from finally completing an experience emotionally that may have been physically completed long ago. The initial moment of pain may have become so overwhelming that we make a subconscious decision to ‘check out’; in other words, we emotionally dissociate. Every part of us screams “Stop, I don’t want to feel this!” The problem is that we don’t stop the emotional experience, we just press pause.

When we don’t have the courage or skills (because we are too young, or were never taught) to actually feel all of the emotions of a traumatic experience, we inadvertently trap the part of it we couldn’t handle, and store it away for later. Dadirri is a practice that allows us to open up this trapped pain and trauma in a sacred and held space and with the support of those around us, we can finally feel it in order for it to be released.

Trauma puts you in a disempowered position that makes it easy for you to be influenced. It interferes with your ability to make clear decisions for yourself.”– Jarmbi Githabul, Narakwal / Githabul Custodian

The importance of a practice like dadirri is that it is completely based on non-judgment. Over time, the story is shared on multiple occasions, and by doing so the telling begins to change. The emotional charge is released a little at a time as the circle around them offers an unwavering reflection of loving acceptance. Very often, the person who has suffered trauma starts to adopt this attitude of loving acceptance toward themselves.

Limbic Resonance and Revisioning

The reason this works, from the perspective of neuroscience, is because of: limbic resonance, mirror neurons and neuroplasticity. The notion of limbic resonance asserts that without consistent love and acceptance during childhood our brains don’t develop properly. The part that becomes developmentally stunted is our resilience against emotional distress. Similar problems can occur in people of all ages when they suffer trauma. The process of limbic revisioning is about rewiring the neural structure of a person who has suffered trauma or emotional neglect; in order for this to occur there needs to be an external example for the limbic brain to mimic.

Deep, respectful, contemplative, heart-based listening based on loving acceptance instead of judgment may well be the optimal reflection for a traumatised limbic system to use as a model for restructuring. Mirror neurons see this outer, compassionate reflection and fire internally in the same way; and neurons that fire together wire together. With a bit of repetition, neural re-wiring occurs (thanks to neuroplasticity) which gives a neurological explanation as to why dadirri is good for helping people who have suffered trauma.

I feel we’re fortunate to be living in a time where, whether we’re indigenous or non-indigenous, we’re waking up. We’re recognising the common threads between ancient and modern ways of healing ourselves, and by doing so discovering the techniques that actually work.

Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr-Bauman speaking about Dadirri at an Indigenous Theology Symposium


Related Topics:

Inuit Leaders Call for Healing and Education in Wake of TRC Final Report*

The New Year Blues: Saudade

The People of the Dreamtime

The Stolen Generation

In the Beginning

Their Story

What is Uluru

Traditions and Kinship Ties

Reclaiming Identity through Islam

Nigerian Fuel Subsidy, Price Increase by IMF Modulation*

Nigerian Fuel Subsidy, Price Increase by IMF Modulation* 

By Izielen Agbon

FUEL“Hide nothing from the masses of our people. Tell no lies. Expose lies whenever they are told. Mask no difficulties, mistakes, failures…Claim no easy victories.”– Amilcar Cabral (Unity and Struggle)

THE new Fuel Subsidy Removal or Fuel Price Increase by Price Modulation is an updated IMF strategy aimed at imposing fuel price deregulation on the Nigerian masses. The updated IMF strategy called for using the present low price regime to remove fuel subsidy and deregulate fuel prices. The strategy recommended an automatic price change mechanism that changes price slowly. Price modulation means that government will ensure initial slow price increases by regulating the components of fuel price such as taxes, freight, margins, transport, storage and bridging.

The slow fuel price increase will reduce immediate mobilisation and opposition.

There will be no direct government regulation of fuel prices. Rather, the marketers and traders will fix the final fuel price. Price modulation fixes the bottom commodity price in a market by tweaking price components. PPPRA will fix the minimum fuel price and the fuel cabal/marketers can sell at whatever price the customer will pay. The Nigerian fuel market is a corrupt oligopoly. The increase in fuel prices will have oligopolistic limits. Price modulation ignores corrupt practices and allows the fuel cabal to pass the cost of corruption to the masses.

THE new Fuel Subsidy Removal or Fuel Price Increase by Price Modulation is an updated IMF strategy aimed at imposing fuel price deregulation on the Nigerian masses. The updated IMF strategy called for using the present low price regime to remove fuel subsidy and deregulate fuel prices. The strategy recommended an automatic price change mechanism that changes price slowly. Price modulation means that government will ensure initial slow price increases by regulating the components of fuel price such as taxes, freight, margins, transport, storage and bridging. The slow fuel price increase will reduce immediate mobilisation and opposition. There will be no direct government regulation of fuel prices. Rather, the marketers and traders will fix the final fuel price. Price modulation fixes the bottom commodity price in a market by tweaking price components. PPPRA will fix the minimum fuel price and the fuel cabal/marketers can sell at whatever price the customer will pay. The Nigerian fuel market is a corrupt oligopoly. The increase in fuel prices will have oligopolistic limits. Price modulation ignores corrupt practices and allows the fuel cabal to pass the cost of corruption to the masses.

In several meetings held in Abuja and Lagos on December 1-5, 2014, IMF staff members explained the updated strategy to FGN officials (IMF Country Report No. 15/84, Nigeria 2014 Article IV Consultation – Staff Report, Press Release and Statement by the Executive Director of Nigeria, February 2015). The report of these meetings stated:

“Lower oil prices provide an opportunity to phase out fuel subsidies. The recent drop in crude oil prices (and lower petrol and kerosene prices) could facilitate the completion of the subsidy reform, which started in 2012. Staff recommends introducing an independent price-setting mechanism to smoothly pass through international price changes to domestic prices and gradually eliminate fuel subsidies….”

The report indicated that the FGN accepted the updated strategy,” Authorities’ views: The authorities expressed their commitment to subsidy reform, and indicated they were considering options, timing, and modalities of implementing these reforms in light of the decline in oil prices.”. Therefore, when we hear the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources talking about “price modulation” and the APC leadership talking about “thoughtful but decisive subsidy phase-out” we should know that this policy is just a simple summary of an updated IMF policy. We may conclude that President Buhuri’s fight against fuel subsidy corruption is over. Fuel subsidy corruption fought back and won. President Buhari’s forces are in retreat and disarray.

One of the critical constraints facing African leaders is that the amount of available resources is smaller than the amount required for the basic needs of the people and the government. Furthermore, a large percent of the limited available resources is lost to corruption, mismanagement and other leakages. If a leader is not careful, he/she will start to mistake the echoes of IMF propaganda chanted repeatedly by his/her advisers as the voices of the people. This is what happened to President Jonathan with fuel price deregulation in January 2012 and this is what is happening to President Buhari with his planned January 2016 fuel price deregulation. The IMF/fuel cabal forces have encircled President Buhari and pushed him to undermine his primal policy of fighting corruption by proclaiming PMS price as N87/litre “for now”. Those two words “for now” was all the IMF/fuel cabal price deregulation forces needed to kill his anti-corruption policy.

Speaking at the 10th memorial anniversary of Bala Usman in December 2015, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a national APC leader, stated,

”In a perfect world, I wish we could sanitize the subsidy regime and thus continue it. However, I have reached the conclusion that there are too many demons in the system for this hell to be converted into good earth let alone heaven….Let us begin a process of a thoughtful but decisive subsidy phase-out. While this is occurring, we should simultaneously phase in social programmes benefiting the poorest, most vulnerable among us. Programmes such as transportation subsidies, school feeding, improved basic medical care and coverage for the poor, and potable water projects are some of the things that can be done with the funds.”

This sounds like the former Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okojo-Iweala, promoting the IMF fuel price deregulation and SURE-P programmes policy in December 2011. The similarity is because both efforts are rooted in the IMF policy of fuel price deregulation/fuel subsidy removal.

In 2013, the IMF reviewed the lessons from the 2012 struggles against fuel price deregulation in Nigeria (IMF: Energy Subsidy Reform: Lessons and Implication, January 2013). The report outlined six key elements for a successful fuel subsidy removal. On subsidy phase-in and social programmes, the report stated,

“Appropriately phased and sequenced price increases…Phasing-in price increases and sequencing them differently across energy products may be desirable. Pace and timing of energy price increases. Too sharp an increase in energy prices can generate intense opposition to reforms, as happened with fuel subsidy reforms in Mauritania in 2008 and Nigeria in 2012. A phased approach to reforms permits both households and enterprises time to adjust, and permits the country time to build credibility by showing that subsidy savings are being put to good use”

So, we can see that the IMF updated fuel subsidy removal strategy is the source of Tinubu’s subsidy phased-out proclamation. Furthermore, Tinubu declared that the demons of corruption in the fuel subsidy system are unbeatable on earth and in heaven. This was an open surrender by the APC; a public proclamation of the superiority of the corrupt fuel cabal forces.


Related Topics:

Nigeria Signs Deal for 36 Oil Wells*

Global Oil Prices Climb as OPEC Claims Recovery All of a Sudden*

Destroying Nigeria Vital to World Entropy *

Eyewitness Discloses Saudi Embassy’s Role in Masterminding Recent Massacre in Nigeria*

From Black Man’s Burden to African Renaissance*

IMF Chiefs: Prostitution, Kickbacks and Money Laundering*

Financial Power Struggle, ISIS and IMF Chief Charged for Corruption*

Spanish Judge Makes Bank President and Former IMF Chief Pay for Financial Crimes*

Saudis’ Anti-Shiite Provocation has Clear Geopolitical Goals*

Saudis’ Anti-Shiite Provocation has Clear Geopolitical Goals*

By Andrew Korybko

Riyadh’s execution of Shiite Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr was timed to coincide with the expected lifting of anti-Iranian sanctions and the rejuvenation of the Syrian peace process.

Saudi Arabia just beheaded a prominent anti-government activist and Shiite cleric, Nimr al-Nimr, on trumped-up charges of “terrorism”, executing him alongside suspected al Qaeda fighters. The message Riyadh sent was simple enough — Shiite activists are equivalent to terrorists in the Kingdom’s calculus, and this predictably engendered outrage all across the world, especially in majority-Shiite Iran. The resultant protests, some of which regretfully turned violent and targeted Saudi diplomatic facilities, were cited as ‘proof’ of Iran’s ‘aggression’ against Saudi Arabia and became the publicly presentable reason for why Riyadh cut off all diplomatic and economic ties with Tehran.

Suspicious Timing

Sanctions Removal

The timing of this provocation couldn’t be more suspect, since it convincingly appears as though the Saudis staged it at precisely the moment when Iran was expected to be reintegrated into the global economy. The UNSC sanctions are widely expected to be lifted by the end of the month or early February, and it looks like Saudi Arabia wants to spoil the event by provoking an anti-Iranian maelstrom that puts pressure on the E.U. to reconsider its planned energy and infrastructure investments in the country.

“Ultimately, France and Germany’s economic engagement with Iran will come down to whether or not the U.S. gives them the approval to proceed at their expected pace, and considering how successful Washington was in forcing Brussels to cut its pre-existing and very profitable ties with Moscow, it can’t be precluded that it could do the same in obstructing un-established and still forthcoming deals with Tehran.”

Of relevance, the U.S. is prepping a new round of unilateral sanctions against Iran due to the latter’s missile tests in October, indicating a shift in strategic attitude towards the country that strongly suggests a corresponding European reaction.

Syrian Talks

Another event that needs to be brought up in the context of Saudi Arabia’s latest anti-Iranian stunt is that the next round of the Syrian Reconciliation Dialogue is supposed to begin by the end of the month. Various terrorist groups (deemed “moderate rebels” by the mainstream media) already convened in Riyadh in advance of this forthcoming summit in order to receive consultations, so it’s a given that the Saudis hold major influence over an array of on-the-ground militants there.

Hidden Motives


The Saudis’ War on Yemen has been a dismal failure, yet their leadership is still obsessed with continuing the conflict. They hope that their recent anti-Iranian ruse can prompt the “anti-terror” coalition to increase their supportive contribution to the theatre under the guise of “countering Iran”.

The reader should be reminded that it’s less of an “anti-terrorist” organization and more like a quasi-legitimized international mercenary marketplace, so what the Saudis really want is a semi-plausible reasoning for contracting more fighters into the field.

Additionally, the Ansarallah are Shiite, and linking them, their sect, and Iran to “terrorism” in the Sunni sectarian-manufactured mindset is also meant to excuse any large-scale crackdown against Bahraini and Saudi Eastern Province protesters (both of which are majority Shiite) on cooked-up “anti-terrorist” grounds.

The end effect of all of this is to transform the “anti-terrorist” coalition into an anti-Shiite one and institutionalize militant Muslim sectarianism.


Saudi Arabia and its American “Lead From Behind” masters want to turn the heat up against Iran and punish it for its anti-terrorist cooperation with Russia. The uni-polar world, especially the members that invested billions of dollars in regime change terrorists, is angered beyond belief by the success that Russia has had in literally blowing up their assets in Syria.

Considering the active and supporting roles that Iran has played on Russia and Syria’s side, most prominently through the use of military advisors and allowing cruise missile strikes through its airspace, there should have been no doubt that some type of consequences would ensue.

It becomes apparent in hindsight that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia were taking their time in plotting their response, which as is visibly being demonstrated, is a dramatic escalation of the New Cold War. In the full spirit of these tense and exclusionary times, a concentrated effort is being made to ‘isolate’ Iran from the rest of the international Muslim community, most of which is part of the Saudi-led “anti-terrorist” coalition and thus under its organizational influence.

Coup Fears
The last main reason why Saudi Arabia chose this specific time to exacerbate tensions with Iran was to strengthen the role of the Defence Ministry and counter any fears of a royal coup. To explain a bit more, King Salman is largely seen as a ceremonial figurehead that’s physically incapable of governing the country, with the real power resting in the hands of the Minister of Interior and his son, the Minister of Defence. Respectively, these are the Crown Prince and the Deputy Crown Prince, both of which are only in their current positions because of a surprise shake-up in the royal succession a few months after King Abdullah’s death.

Many Saudi royals were unhappy about this decision, and 30-year-old Mohammad bin Salman’s reckless War on Yemen angered them even more. Rumours began to swirl that some of the royals were serious in plotting a coup, and they reached such a fever pitch that The Guardian even reported in late September on a mysterious unnamed prince that was at the forefront of the regime change movement. However thought-out the plot may have been, it’s probably largely sidelined now that tensions have been purposefully ratcheted up with Iran. In the interests of ‘national security’, the pervasive mood is such that no ‘patriotic’ Saudi royal would dare rock the country’s stability at a time when ties with Tehran have never been worse, essentially quelling the internal revolt for as long as the crisis carries on for (and which probably won’t dissipate for quite some time anyhow).

Global Perspective

Wrapping everything up, the tactics of staged provocations and multilateral ‘isolation’ being played against Iran at the moment closely mirror those that were earlier used against Russia. To remind everyone, the US.-organized Colour Revolution in Ukraine and subsequent nationalist violence created the conditions where Crimea’s residents felt unsafe and opted to reunify with the Russian Federation.

The patriotic uprising in Donbass sprung up almost concurrent with that, and the following Civil War (all of which was American-provoked) was used as the excuse for the West to sanction Russia.

Worse still, NATO exploited this ‘opportunity’ to illegally deepen its presence in Eastern Europe in contravention to the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act. Multilaterally and in conjunction with the E.U. sanctioning Russia and NATO marching ever more determined to the east, the entirety of Central and Eastern Europe aside from Belarus, Serbia, and the Republic of Macedonia united in presenting a singular front against Russia.

At the beginning of 2016, almost the exact same thing is now happening to Iran. Saudi Arabia chose to savagely behead Sheikh al-Nimr in order to create the ‘Ukrainian-like’ chain of destabilizing excuses to ‘justify’ a pre-planned multilateral response against Iran. Just as NATO and the E.U. teamed up against Russia, it now looks like the Saudis’ “anti-terrorist” coalition and other Riyadh-dominated Mideast institutions will do the same against Iran. Altogether, the general strategy is to create ‘containment’ coalitions across Eurasia in a desperate bit to hem in the most active multi-polar forces in the supercontinent, be it Russia in Eastern Europe or Iran in the Mideast.

Accordingly, it follows that China will be next, and the preconditioning necessary for the next pre-planned provocative action is already being practiced in the South China Sea. If some members of ASEAN such as Vietnam and the Philippines formally team up with the US and Japan to ‘contain’ China, then the three multi-polar Great Powers will only have the shared space of Central Asia between them to exercise strategic manoeuvrability. As a result, the Eurasian Heartland would become ground zero for the next regional destabilization, be it a ‘Central Asian Spring’ or an IS-like terrorist invasion, albeit one which has the potential to offset all three multi-polar leaders in one fell swoop.


Related Topics:

Saudi Arabia $135bn in Deficit*

Saudi Set to Implode*

Britain is arming Saudi Arabia in Yemen Conflict*

US-Saudi Man-Made Famine Threatens 20 Million Yemenis*

Saudi Arabia to allow Israel Airspace to Strike Iran*

How Saudi Arabia is Sponsoring Religious Eugenics*

Catastrophe in Saudi Arabia, Pillar of Washington’s Middle East Policy*

Saudi Invasion of Syria Blocked by Putin*

Russian Source: Saudi Intelligence Responsible for A321 Bombing Killing *

Eyewitness Discloses Saudi Embassy’s Role in Masterminding Recent Massacre in Nigeria*

The CIA, Saudia and Bin Laden Were Behind the Chechen Wars*

Britain’s Illegal Air Campaign in Syria so Far is a non-Event with Four Airstrikes*

Terrorists Surrender in Syria*

Fifteen Indigenous Rights Victories in 2015*

Fifteen Indigenous Rights Victories in 2015*

By John Ahni Schertow

Good news. Sometimes, it comes in the form of a cancelled hydro dam that spares 20,000 people from the burden of displacement. Other times, it takes the shape of a simple court admission that Indigenous Peoples do actually make the best conservationists.

In this day in age such stories are incredibly rare. They are even more difficult to find amidst the constant deluge of media that doesn’t matter. That makes them all the more valuable.

Indigenous rights victories give us all pause to celebrate, to reflect and to rejuvenate our own quests for justice.

May we encounter 10,000 more victories just like these in 2016!

  1. Justice for the Ogoni

Alali Efanga & Chief Fidelis Oguru from Oruma, two plaintiffs in the Dutch court case against Shell. (Photo: Milieudefensie/flickr)

In a landmark decision last week, the Dutch Court of Appeals ruled that four Ogoni farmers from Nigeria can take their case against Shell to a judge in the Netherlands. Alali Efanga, one of the Ogoni farmers who, along with Friends of the Earth Netherlands, brought the case against Shell, said the ruling “offers hope that Shell will finally begin to restore the soil around my village so that I will once again be able to take up farming and fishing on my own land.

The ruling by the Court of Appeals overturns a 2013 decision in favour of Shell, who, in another big hit to the multinational oil giant, agreed to clean up two massive oil spills in the Ogoni community of Bodo following a three-year legal battle in London.

  1. Wampis Autonomy

The Wampis nation, who made international headlines in 2009 when they stood up to the government of Peru alongside their brethren the Awajun, took an unprecedented step forward by establishing the first Autonomous Indigenous Government in Peru’s history. Spanning a 1.3 million hectare territory – a region the size of the State of Connecticut – the newly created democratically-elected government brings together 100 Wampis communities representing some 10,613 people.

Speaking of the challenges that the Wampis Nation will now face, the newly elected Pamuk (first President) Wrays Pérez Ramirez, told Intercontinental Cry by phone: “We know that it will be difficult to get the National Government to support us and recognize our territory. It will seem unacceptable to the Government to have to consult us regarding any activity that could affect our territory. We know that it is going to be hard work but we are prepared. We are not going to stay silent not least when we have legal backing from national and international legislation regarding our right to self-determination and free, prior and informed consent. It will be difficult, but not impossible.”

  1. Protected Lands

Members of ACIYA Indigenous organization (Fundacion Gaia Amazonas, 2014)

After five years of legal contests and what felt like a lifetime of uncertainty, Colombia’s Constitutional Court confirmed that Yaigojé Apaporis, an indigenous resguardo (a legally recognized, collectively owned territory), has legitimate status as a national park.

Comprising a million hectares of the Northwestern Colombian Amazon, the pristine forest region of Yaigojé Apaporis is home to numerous endangered species including the giant anteater, jaguar, manatee and pink river dolphin. It is also home to the Makuna, Tanimuka, Letuama, Barasano, Cabiyari, Yahuna and Yujup-Maku Indigenous Peoples, who share a common cosmological system and rich shamanistic traditions. Together these populations act as Yaigojé’s guardians, a role that was strengthened in 1988 when they successfully established the Yaigojé Apaporis resguardo over their traditional territory.

In the late 2000s Canadian mining multinational Cosigo Resources started trying to exploit a legal loophole in Colombia that would let them mine for gold inside the resguardo. The Constitutional Court’s decision brought a welcomed end to that dishonest effort.

  1. Indigenous Passports

On October 12, 2015, the day of Indigenous Resistance, Kichwa lawyer Carlos Pérez Guartambel entered Ecuador with a Kichwa passport, sending out a clear reminder to the international community that indigenous nations are not simply “bands” or informal groups whose rights stem from the good graces of U.N. member states, but actual nations.

Ecuador’s immigration authorities did not know what to do. After 30 minutes of hesitation, they decided to accept the Kichwa passport as a form of ID, stamped Guartambel’s immigration card (not the passport) and allowed him to enter Ecuador. Within a few hours, however, Ecuadoran state officials reversed themselves and denied the validity of the Kichwa passport. This can be seen in a video released by the Department of Immigration in the Ministry of the Interior. Minister Serrano ridiculed the Kichwa passport as a “fantasy” on Twitter, posting a montage of the Kichwa passport with the portrait of a cartoon character.

Later that afternoon, the Council of Government of ECUARUNARI, an organization founded in 1972 by 18 Indigenous Peoples and representing 14 different nationalities, met in Quito to distribute over 300 passports, including one to Salvador Quishpe, the Governor of the Amazon Province of Morona-Chinchipe. During the passport ceremony, the Kichwa leadership insisted that Indigenous passports were as valid as ancestral medicine, inter-cultural education, and Indigenous justice–all recognized in Ecuador.

  1. “Not Guilty”

Not Guilty (Photo: Ruben Curricoy Nañko)

After more than three years of preparation, an Argentinian court vindicated three Mapuche land rights defenders in a first-of-its kind inter-cultural trial.

The case began in the Mapuche community of Winkel Newen on December 28, 2012, when Officer of the Court Veronia Pelayes, representatives of the Apache Oil Company and a contingent of police arrived with an eviction notification. The community defended itself by throwing stones, one of which hit and injured Pelayes and damaged a vehicle. It was this incident that lead to an accusation of “attempted homicide” against Relmu Ñamku and charges of “serious damages” for Mauricio Rain and Martin Velasquez Maliqueo. In the case of Ñamku, the public prosecutor called for a 15-year prison sentence — disproportionate given that eight years is the norm for manslaughter cases.

“The public prosecutor and oil companies in Zapala had a clear political intention with this trial, for it to be an ‘exemplary punishment’ to intimidate and discipline other indigenous communities who defend their rights against the advance of oil exploitation in their territories,” said writer Maristella Svampa and law professor Roberto Gargarella.

Their attempt failed and instead this historic trial marks an important step in curbing attempts to criminalize indigenous leaders defending their territory.

  1. What’s In A Name?

Mount Denali formerly Mount McKinley originally Mount Denali

The highest mountain in the United States recovered its original indigenous name, Mount Denali, for all official purposes, after a decades-long dispute. The name “Denali” has its origin in the language of the Koyukon people, who inhabit the area north of the summit. In the Koyukon language, “Denali” means “the tall one.” The 6,168-metre high mountain was officially known until now at federal level as Mount McKinley, in honour of an American president assassinated in 1901.

It is hoped that the U.S. government will restore the indigenous names of other monuments, parks and places including Devil’s Tower, the Yosemite National Park, the Grand Canyon, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Rainier to name a few.

  1. Biocultural Rights

Sacred site custodians from Bale Ethiopia. (Photo: Tamara Korur)

Indigenous custodians from Benin, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia issued a challenge for the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to protect sacred sites, governance systems and custodians in a ‘decisive policy and legislative response’ to the new scramble for Africa and its impact on Indigenous territories.

In their statement, the custodians describe the centrality of sacred sites to their existence, writing that “Sacred natural sites are where we come from, the heart of life. They are our roots and our inspiration. We cannot live without our sacred natural sites, and we are responsible for protecting them.”

“We are deeply concerned about our Earth because she is suffering from increasing destruction despite all the discussions, international meetings, facts and figures and warning signs from Earth… the future of our children and the children of all the species of Earth are threatened. When this last generation of elders dies, we will lose the memory of how to live respectfully on the planet, if we do not learn from them now,” say the custodians.

  1. Two Centuries in The Making

Nearly 300 Poqomchi’ Maya families that make up the Primavera communities in the Guatemalan department of Alta Verapaz won a significant victory after negotiating a settlement with the Guatemalan Minister of the Interior, the Secretary of Agrarian Affairs, and representatives from Maderas Filips Dias/Eco-Tierra, a logging business that was seeking to harvest the land’s forests.

“This is a major victory, especially under these conditions of corruption,” said Rony Morales from the Union of Veracruz Campesino Organizations (UVOC), which worked closely with the communities to obtain this victory.

The fact [that] a community can finally win their land at no cost to the community is very important. For the other indigenous communities in San Cristobal Verapaz and the valley [of] Polochic that are in this same process, they have found hope in this victory.”

The Maya families struggled for over two centuries for the rights to their land, which was privately held for years as the Finca Primavera. They faced intimidation, nearly 25 assassinations, and over 50 arrest orders in response to their claims on the land.

  1. Bye Bye Herakles

A group of Women from the Fabe village, threatened by Herakles’ oil palm project

Herakles Farms, a New York based investment firm and the parent company of SG Sustainable Oils Cameroon (SGSOC) formally abandoned its plan to establish oil palm plantations astride the Iconic Korup National Park and Rumpi Hills Forest Reserve in Cameroon.

Supported by an “eco-friendly” non-profit owned by Bruce Wrobel, former Managing Director of Sithe Global and Founder of Herakles Capital Corporation, the oil palm project would have brought disastrous pollution resulting from pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides and sewage disposal; adversely affecting the health of animals in the Korup Park that depend on the water.

The project would have also degraded the livelihoods of the Baka, Bakola, Bedzang and Bagyeli –so-called ‘Pygmy’ peoples–who are are heavily dependent on the region for subsistence.

  1. The Land Is Ours

After 18 years of continuous struggle, the Enxet Sur Indigenous community of Yexwase Yet finally received legal title to 10,030 hectares of their ancestral land in the Chaco region of Paraguay.

The hard-fought victory was tested just a few weeks after the President of Paraguay handed the title over to the community. A retired Paraguayan football star and his family attempted to move on to part of the 10,030 hectares claiming he had recently purchased it to build a cattle ranch estate.

“We called the police and the State prosecutor immediately and they told the footballer to leave, that he had no right to be there,“ Gabriel Fernandez, one of the leaders of Yexwase Yet, told Intercontinental Cry.

“For once it was someone else being evicted. Now the land is really ours.”

  1. Nuclear Waste Free

After a four-year, hard-fought campaign to keep the province of Saskatchewan free of nuclear waste, last Spring, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) announced that Creighton was no longer a contender in the organization’s sitting process. It was the last of three Saskatchewan communities in the running to host a deep geological repository for the long term storage of spent fuel bundles from Canada’s nuclear reactors in Ontario, Québec and New Brunswick.

“This announcement is the culmination of four years of research, sacrifice, networking and hard work by a group of dedicated people with one goal: to keep nuclear waste out of Saskatchewan,” said Candyce Paul, a founding member of the Committee for Future Generations.

The powerful Nuclear Waste Management Organization with all their money and all their experts could not beat back the duty we have to protect our future generations,” said Paul.

  1. Mauna Kea

The Hawaii state Supreme Court invalidated the permit allowing construction of the hugely controversial Thirty Meter Telescope atop the sacred mountain known as Mauna Kea.

The court said the state Board of Land and Natural Resources erred when it issued the permit before a contested case hearing was held for the $1.4 billion project.

The struggle to defend Mauna Kea, however, doesn’t end there. Officials behind the Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT) have said that they are now considering their next steps. Indigenous activists and allies, meanwhile, patiently wait for them to make their move.

  1. Pulling Anchor

Cermaq, the Norwegian-based salmon farming company (that was recently purchased by the Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi) pulled anchor on a new salmon farm inside Ahousaht territory north of Tofino in British Columbia.

Soon after dropping anchor on the salmon farm a group of five Ahousaht men stepped forward to tell Cermaq to get lost, vowing that they would risk arrest rather than see another salmon farm in their territory.

Ever since salmon farms started appearing on Ahousaht lands in 1999, the Ahousaht have observed an alarming decline in shellfish, salmon and herring populations. Aware of this, the group of activists, who came to be known as the Yaakswiis warriors, stated that the Cermaq salmon farm was not legal because the Ahousaht people had not been consulted, nor did they provide their consent.

Warriors for Yaakswiis during blockade of fish farm near Ahousaht, Sept 2015.

  1. Baram Dam Shelved

After maintaining a blockade for two straight years, Indigenous Peoples in Sarawak, Malaysia can finally breathe a sigh of relief. The Sarawak government decided to shelve the controversial Baram hydroelectric dam.

Commenting on the surprising move, Sarawak’s Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem stated that they decided to put the dam on hold out of respect for the views of the affected communities, adding:

“If you don’t want the dam, fine. We will respect your decision.”

Had the project gone ahead, it would have flooded 20,000 Indigenous men, women and children from their homes.


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Obama Changes Mountain’s Name to Its’ Indigenous Name, but Continues to Steal Indigenous Land*

Canada Forcing the Indigenous to Give Up their Land*

The French Patent an African Indigenous Plant (anti-cancerous)*

Australians Rally against Kicking the Indigenous off their Own Land*

US Vaporized and Experimented on the Indigenous of Marshall Islands*

Indigenous Group Rejects $1 Billion Offer for Natural Gas Terminal on Ancestral Lands*

Indigenous Activists Chase McCain off the Navajo Land he intends to Mine*

Brazil vs. the Indigenous Fight against the Belo Monte Dam*

EPA from Congress on Toxic Mine waste Spilt in Indigenous Waterways*

Brazil: Corporations Continue to Seize Indigenous Lands and Hire Hit Men to Murder Residents

Indigenous Women Shut Down Tar Sands Pipeline Hearing*

Indigenous Hawai’ians Move One Step Closer Sovereignty from U.S.*

Indigenous Canadians Sue Government over White Adoptions*

Eugenics: Kidnapping of the Indigenous Sioux in South Dakota*

IDF Destroys’ 400 acres of Gaza’s Crops*

IDF Destroys’ 400 acres of Gaza’s Crops*

More than 400 acres of crops have been destroyed by the IDF near the fence surrounding Gaza, in a lethal no-go zone maintained unilaterally by Israel on the Palestinian side of the border. They say they sprayed pesticides to enable a security operation.

The no-go area is volatile and many explosives are found in it. The IDF told RT this was such a case, as it continues to patrol the area for improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and signs of border infiltrations. Israel’s ground forces have also been regularly entering the Gaza Strip to clear obstructions and for other purposes.

The IDF added the spraying of the pesticides did not harm the environment, but Palestinian farmers say hundreds of acres have been laid to waste, and showed evidence of this.

“A catastrophe took place here. A farmer works to make a living for his family. The IDF sprayed the crops. I wonder who will take responsibility for these actions. No one thinks of us. The proof is here. Come and take a look. All of our crops are damaged. They are no good for humans, or even animals,” Azam Said Abo Abed said.

“We had prepared to take crops to the market. But we were told to destroy them.”

Another, Salam Muhana, said he worries the IDF will spray the crops again, if they are replanted.

The farmers told RT they had received just one visit from the former minister of agriculture after the war.

“We don’t even know the name of the current minister…”

The farmers are now picking what little crops have not been damaged.

Asked whether they believe the IDF is employing some sort of tactic here, the farmers said they didn’t know, and some choose to blame the Ministry of Agriculture, which had not kept in touch or asked them about the damage. By contrast, they say, the Red Cross showed up to repair the area the last time.

The IDF’s actions didn’t come as a surprise to the Gaza farmers. Saleh al Najar, one of the farmers, said the spraying also took place on December 19, 20 and 21, at a place called Bawabet Surej.

“The spray they used damaged all the crops, such as vegetables and wheat, and it’s known that it’s an agricultural area that provides the Gaza Strip with these crops.”

They are now appealing to the government, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Red Cross – particularly the latter, who last time sent specialists to take samples of the crops and survey the farms.

The IDF has maintained a no-go buffer zone around the Gaza border for years. Many have been killed and wounded there, as Israel attempts to defend the area near the fence from angry demonstrators.

However, farmers and scrap collectors also end up being targets.


Related Topics:

Gaza Unable to Export Produce*

Palestinian Child Beaten to Death after Being Shot by Military*

Holiday Season Holy Land Atrocities for Palestinians*

Brazil Cancels $2bn Contract with Israeli Security Firm for 2016 Olympics*