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Protect. Defend. Resist. Renew.
Vol. 41, Issue 2 â€¢ June 2017 US $4.99/CAN $6.99
J une 2017 V olum e 41 , Issue 2 Board of Directors President
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Chief Robert “Hawk Storm” Birch (Schaghticoke Nation) sounding the drum at the People’s Climate Change March in Washington, D.C. (see page 6). Photo by Amy Mahaghua’naru Ponce.
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10 Rising Voices: Collaborative Science with Indigenous Knowledge for Climate Solutions
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On the cover Frontline youth and Indigenous leaders holding a red line, demanding the protection of their Peoples at the People's Climate March in Washington, D.C. Photo by Hector Emanuel, ii • www. cs. org Survival Media Agency.
Miriam Anne Frank Rising Voices brought together Indigenous and climate sciences in addressing climate change adaptation and mitigation. Over 130 participants from around the globe convened for dialogue and strategies for action. • On the Forefront of the Struggle— Andrea Carmen • The Connection Between Climate Change, the Environment, and Language—Kaimana Barcarse • Protecting Knowledge—Tui Shortland • We Communicate Earth— Jannie Staffansson • We Create Our Indigenous Knowledge to Adapt—Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim • Collaboration Is Key— Mathew Stiller-Reeve • Impacts of Climate Change on Our Communities—Edgardo Benítez Maclin
20 Right to Development: Taheke 8C, an Example of Ma–ori Resiliency
Mililani Trask The effort of Ma–ori to become economically self-sufficient is strong testimony to their resiliency and commitment to maintaining their cultural values while entering the international economic arena.
22 Fishing Is Our Life, We Are People of the Ocean
Shaldon Ferris Communities of Western Cape, South Africa struggle against an interim relief fishing policy that infringes on their fishing rights.
24 Women Out Front
CS STAFF Indigenous women community journalists from all over Central America gathered in Guatemala City to strengthen capacities in radio production and exchange experiences in combating gender discrimination.
D e pa r t m e n t s 1 Executive Director’s Message 2 In the News 4 Breaking news African Court Landmark Judgment on Ogiek Rights
6 Climate Change On the Frontlines
8 Rights in Action
Nga–ti Rangi: Pioneers in Protecting Ma–ori Land Claims
26 Bazaar Artist Hebron Glass
27 Staff Spotlight Jackie Tiller
29 Get Involved Convention on the Protection of All Migrant Workers
E xecut iv e Di rector’ S messa ge
Defend. Protect. Resist. Renew.
s Indigenous Peoples, we continue more than a 500-year-old fight for our lands, cultures, and languages. Today, we fight to protect our natural resources and Mother Earth as we face the dire consequences of climate change and imminent threats of complete loss of some of our communities. We draw upon knowledge given to us by our ancestors to be in spiritual relationships with Mother Earth and all living things, and appropriately honor and steward the land. There is no doubt that as a human race we are at a crossroads for making intentional decisions and taking immediate actions to ensure the survival of our future generations. Indigenous Peoples hold place-based knowledge about our environments and practice Indigenous science in maintaining special relationships to the land and in adapting and mitigating climate change. Our challenge today is the unprecedentedly rapid rate at which anthropogenic climate change is occurring. In early April, the Rising Voices conference brought together over 130 participants, including students, climate scientists, Indigenous community members, educators, and other science experts, from around the globe in addressing climate change and strategies for action. In this issue of the CSQ, you can read excerpts of the conversations that took place and the themes that emerged from discussions about the need, opportunity, and caution of Western science and Indigenous science working together to address climate change and climate justice. Outcomes from the voices of the conference will be developed and disseminated through appropriate fora calling upon climate scientists and policymakers to listen to and include Indigenous Peoples at decisionmaking tables. A few weeks later, the People’s Climate Change March in Washington, D.C. reminded the world that Indigenous Peoples are on the frontlines of climate change and are demanding their rights. Roberto Borrero (Taíno) writes that the March was “a historic
opportunity to show the current U.S. administration, and the world, that the movement is ready—not only to fight the fossil fuel industry, but to reject racism, hatred, and xenophobia.” Nania Kodi (Nuba from Sudan) participated because she “felt the need to represent the Indigenous woman who contributes the least but gets affected the most by climate change.” She reminds us that “climate change is not only about its effects on the availability of water and food security, but it also affects health via malnutrition and sexual reproductive health as well as security via physical and sexual abuse while women and girls go in search of water and food.” We also share two examples of Māori Iwi in New Zealand claiming their ancestral rights and leading their development based on their traditional knowledge and values. Ngāti Rangi renegotiated land use agreements with the return of several cultural sites and the promise of developing a new governance and management framework for the Whangaehu River catchment. And after years of struggle, the Māori landowners of Taheke 8C are fulfilling their right to development and are moving forward with a strategy for self-development and the development of geothermal energy resources on their land. They secured a partnership with a national energy producer, Contact Energy, and also entered into a project participation agreement with a neighboring Māori landowner, the Whangamoa Trust, to facilitate Māori benefit sharing. As Indigenous Peoples, we will continue to embark on new strategies to find con- temporary solutions to climate change and to achieve climate justice; incorporating and maintaining our traditional knowledge as the key for sustainability into the future. In Spirit,
Donors like you make our work around the world possible. Thanks so much for being part of Cultural Survival. Cultural Survival Staff Suzanne Benally (Navajo and Santa Clara Tewa), Executive Director Mark Camp, Deputy Executive Director Avexnim Cojtí (Maya K’iche’), Community Media Grant Project Manager & Indigenous Rights Radio Producer Jessie Cherofsky, Production Coordinator, Indigenous Rights Radio, Bazaar Program Manager Danielle DeLuca, Program Manager, Advocacy Program and Distribution Coordinator, Indigenous Rights Radio Shaldon Ferris (Khoisan), Indigenous Rights Radio Producer Sofia Flynn, Accounting & Office Manager John Kisimir (Maasai), Senior Fellow Dev Kumar Sunuwar (Kumar/Sunuwar), Program Associate, Community Media Grants Project Melvy Lorena Medina Patzán, Development & Program Associate Maria del Rosario “Rosy” Sul González (Kaqchikel), Indigenous Rights Radio Producer Jamie Malcolm-Brown, Communications & Information Technology Manager Katharine Norris, Program Assistant, Bazaar & Indigenous Rights Radio Teresita Orozco Mendoza, Program Associate, Community Media Program & Indigenous Rights Radio Cesar Gomez Moscut (Pocomam), Community Media Program Coordinator Agnes Portalewska, Communications Manager Angelica Rao, Executive Coordinator & Community Media Program Coordinator Jackie Tiller (Tlingit), Keepers of the Earth Fund Project Manager Miranda Vitello, Development Associate Anselmo Xunic (Kaqchikel), Guatemala Freedom of Expression Rights Project Manager
Sobreviviencia Cultural STAFF (Our Sister Organization in Guatemala) Diana Pastor (Maya K’iche’), Project Coordinator
INTERNS AND VOLUNTEERS Grace Archambeault, Chantelle Bacigalupo, Olivia Bradley, Don Butler, Hadley DesMeules, Meghan Hoskins, Bruna Luniere, Jeanette Wittstein.
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Suzanne Benally, Executive Director (Navajo and Santa Clara Tewa) Cultural Survival Quarterly
June 2017 • 1
i n t he new s United States: UN Special Rapporteur Highlights Indigenous Peoples’ Human Rights Violations in U.S. March
UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, visited the United States in March. She found that many of her predecessor’s recommendations had not yet been fulfilled, citing the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Keystone XL pipeline, and the Pick-Sloan Project as prominent issues that still must be addressed.
West Papua: Indigenous Communities Given Control Over Forests March
In the first implementation of Indonesia’s “Village Forest” initiative, the district government of West Papua has granted control of over 30 square kilometers of state rainforests to Indigenous communities. This action gives them the right to reject palm oil, logging, and pulpwood projects, and institute their own livelihood-granting projects that can minimize deforestation.
Panama: Ngäbe-Buglé Movement—Call to Save Threatened Communities April
The April 10 Movement, created by Ngäbe-Buglé Peoples, issued a call to the United Nations and the international community to stop the floods caused by the Barro Blanco hydroelectric dam. They call the flooding a violation of their human rights under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The communique identifies specific violations and calls on the president of the Republic to be more respectful of their rights.
Colombia: Colombia’s Indigenous Arhuaco Awarded Territory in Ongoing Bid to Regain Ancestral Lands April
Under the Forest Wardens Heart of the World program, the Arhuaco have been granted five square kilometers of land to safeguard. The Arhuaco were deeply 2 • www. cs. org
Rukka Sombolinggi speaks at a UN event in Italy in 2014. Photo by Roberto Cenciarelli for FAO/Flickr
affected by Colombia’s civil war, and are beginning to work to recover and protect their ancestral land from further environmental degradation. The Arhuaco aim to secure over 1,900 kilometers of land.
Brazil: Indigenous Protests Clash with Police in Brasília April
Approximately 2,000 Indigenous people gathered in Brazil’s capital to call for the demarcation of their land. The protest led to a clash with security forces in front of the Congress building where police used teargas against the protesters. Four Indigenous people reportedly were arrested during the confrontation.
Indonesia: First Woman to Lead World’s Largest Indigenous Peoples Alliance March
The Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago has selected Rukka Sombolinggi as their first female secretary general. Sombolinggi is Torajan from the island of Sulawesi. She will officially assume her duties in June.
Peru: Indigenous Woman Fights Peru’s Powerful Mining Industry and Wins March
Juana Payaba Cachique, the former president of Tres Islas, has been defending her community against mining companies destroying the forests of Tres Islas. These forests are integral to the livelihoods of local Indigenous Peoples, who sustainably grow Brazil nuts and palm fruits and harvest timber. Cachique brought the legal battle to the InterAmerican Commission for Human Rights, and eventually the Peruvian Constitutional Court ruled in her favor.
New Zealand: New Zealand Supreme Court Recognizes Fiduciary Duties to Enforce Collective Indigenous Rights March
In Wakatu v. Attorney General, the New Zealand Supreme Court ruled that a fiduciary duty was owed by the government of New Zealand to the ancestors of the Ma–ori Peoples. The decision was based upon the principles enshrined in UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the 2013 Manitoba Metis decision by the Canadian Supreme Court.
Canada: Sinixt First Nation Wins Recognition in Canada Decades after “Extinction” March
In the 1950s, following the death of the last known member of the Sinixt First Nation, Canada declared the Nation “extinct.” The Sinixt have won an unprecedented victory to be officially re-recognized as a Nation after having been pushed mostly out of Canada and into the U.S.
United States: Governor Appoints Mashpee Wampanoag to Cape Cod Commission March
Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe facilities director Mike Maxim has been appointed as the second tribal representative on the Cape Cod Commission by Massachusetts Governor, Charlie Baker. He will join the Mashpee Wampanoag deputy Tribal historic preservation officer, David Wedeen. The commission reviews land use regulatory issues on Cape Cod.
Campaign Updates Guatemala: Save Indigenous Radio Statement to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues by the Indigenous Media and Communication Caucus In April, the Indigenous Media and Communication Caucus released a statement to the 16th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. The Caucus thanked the UN for its efforts to create an Indigenous Media Zone during the UNPFII session. Since this year is the 10th anniversary of UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Caucus focused on the implementation of Article 16 regarding the right of Indigenous Peoples to establish their own forms of media—this right to free expression is incredibly important to maintaining their Indigenous identity. However, around the world, Indigenous Peoples face threats, intimidation, and violence by agents of the government in response to their efforts to establish media in their own languages. For example, in Guatemala, since the declaration has been signed, at least 12 Indigenous community radio stations have been raided by police and Indigenous jour- nalists have been detained and jailed. Indigenous journalists have also been killed in Mexico and Colombia. This persecution of Indigenous journalists represents a gap in implementation of the UN Declaration. The caucus urged States present at the UN Permanent Forum to urgently take steps to implement the right of Indigenous Peoples to their own forms of media as outlined in Article 16 of the Declaration.
Cultural Survival’s advocacy program launches international campaigns in support of grassroots Indigenous movements as they put pressure on governments and corporations to respect, protect, and fulfill the rights of their communities.
Argentina: Urge Harvard to Be a Responsible Investor Harvard “Pauses” Investments in Certain Fossil Fuels In April, Harvard University announced that it was “pausing” some of its fossil fuel investments, including minerals, oil, and gas. The announcement comes after years of lobbying and protest from students and impacted communities urging Harvard to divest from companies that are not environmentally and socially responsible. Although a small first step, the announcement is being celebrated as a breakthrough after five years of little progress by Harvard President Drew Faust. While acknowledging climate change, Harvard’s statement stopped short of addressing concerns on the environmental and social impact of other types of its investments. Aside from heavy investment in fossil fuels, Harvard also invests over 10 percent of its multibillion dollar endowment in “green” development projects across the world, in- cluding pine tree and eucalyptus tree plantations in the Iberá wetlands of Argentina. Companies such as Empresas Verdes Argentinas Sociedad Anomina and Las Misiones S.A. have devastated fresh water levels in the Ramsar Convention-protected wetlands, endangered its biodiversity, and encroached on the ancestral land of the Guarani Peoples, negatively impacting their connection to the land and their livelihoods. Community leaders from the Guarani have met with the Harvard Management Company to ask them to divest, and student groups including Divest Harvard have staged protests outside of Faust’s office.
Kenya: Stop Human Rights Abuses Broken Land, Broken Lives of the Pastoralist People in Laikipia and Samburu In March, Cultural Survival wrote an open letter to the president of the Republic of Kenya, H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, regarding the situation in Laikipia. Cultural Survival expressed appreciation for the Kenyan government’s work in facilitating peace in Northern Kenya, and expressed concern over the on- going confrontation among Samburu, Maasai, and Pokot herders in Laikipia County, which has led to the death of dozens of people over the last six months. A drought, declared a national emergency by President Kenyatta, is endangering the herders’ livestock, the main source of their livelihoods, and causing herders to travel further and through more highly contested lands in search of pasture. The government’s response to the crisis has been to placate white ranchers, who hold title to what were historically ancestral pastoralist lands. Rather than creating longterm solutions to the crisis, local politicians are instead hoping to leverage the issue to gain control of the Laikipia North Parliamentary seat. Media accounts have often been biased toward pastoralists as well, calling them “invaders,” “marauders,” and “criminals.” Cultural Survival called on the president of Kenya to address the issue of historical land injustices, guarantee pastoralists migratory routes, stop the police harassment, and implement programs to mitigate the effects of drought and climate change on the pastoralist communities.
Take action at www.cs.org/ take-action. Read more news at www.cs.org/news. CulturalSurvival SurvivalQuarterly Quarterly March June 2017 Cultural 2017 • • 33
br eaki ng n ew s
Ogiek women from Nessuit, Nakuru, Kenya.
African Court Delivers Landmark Judgment on Ogiek Land Rights Case Against Kenyan Government Minority Rights Group International
n May 26, 2017, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the “African Court”) delivered a long-awaited judgment on a case brought before it by Ogiek Peoples against the Kenyan government for consistent violations and denial of their land rights. The Court set a major precedent for Indigenous Peoples’ land rights by ruling in favor of the Ogiek community of Kenya. Putting an end to an eight-year legal battle of a land rights case that dates back to colonial times, the Kenyan government was found in violation of seven separate articles of the African Charter. “Crucially, the Court has recognized that the Ogiek— and therefore many other Indigenous Peoples in Africa—have a leading role to play as guardians of local ecosystems and in conserving and protecting land and natural resources, including the Mau Forest,” says Lucy Claridge, Minority Rights Group International’s legal director, who argued the case. “For the Ogiek, this is history in the making. The issue of Ogiek land rights has finally been heard and the case has empowered them to feel relevant. I know that the case also gives hope to other Indigenous Peoples, [as] it has made the 4 • www. cs. org
issues seem real,” says Daniel Kobei, executive director of Ogiek Peoples’ Development Program (OPDP). The Ogiek, 35,000 of whom are the victims in this landmark case, live in the Mau Forest Complex in the Rift Valley of Kenya. They are one of the few remaining forest-dwelling communities and among the most marginalized Indigenous Peoples in Kenya. Since time immemorial, the Ogiek have lived in the Mau Forest in the forested areas around Mount Elgon, relying on these territories for food, shelter, identity, and their very survival. Even prior to Kenya’s independence from colonial rule, the Ogiek have been routinely subjected to arbitrary forced evictions from their ancestral land by their government, without consultation or compensation. This has had a detrimental impact on the Ogiek’s pursuit of their traditional lifeways, access to natural resources on their land, and access to education, health services, and justice. Ogiek have a spiritual, emotional, and economic attachment to the forest. This is the first time the African Court, in operation since 2006, has ruled on an Indigenous Peoples’ rights case. It is by far the largest ever case brought before the Court. Originally lodged with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the “African Commission”), it was referred to the Court on the basis that it evinces serious and mass human All photos courtesy of MRG/Lucy Claridge.
rights violations. Minority Rights Group International, Ogiek Peoples’ Development Program, and Centre for Minority Rights Development (CEMIRIDE) were the three original Complainants before the African Commission. This is also one of the first cases brought originally by NGOs to have been referred to the African Court by the African Commission, and is the first case to have reached hearing stage. It sets important procedural as well as legal precedents. In 2009, a case was lodged by OPDP and CEMIRIDE on behalf of the Ogiek before the African Commission against the government of Kenya. Minority Rights Group International became involved in April 2010 and, after an extensive fact finding mission and community consultations, drafted and filed admissibility submissions before the African Commission in August of that year. In 2012, the African Commission decided to refer the case to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, as it demonstrated serious and mass human rights violations. On March 15, 2013, the African Court issued a provisional measures order requiring the Kenyan government to (i) immediately reinstate the restrictions it had imposed on land transactions in the Mau Forest Complex, and (ii) refrain from any act/thing that would/might irreparably prejudice the main application, until the African Court gives its final decision in the case. The order was issued as the African Court considered that “there is a situation of extreme gravity and urgency, as well as a risk of irreparable harm to the [rights of the] Ogiek of the Mau Forest.” In late November 2014, the African Court heard arguments from the African Commission legal team as well as two Ogiek witnesses, an expert witness, and an intervention by Minority Rights Group on behalf of the original complainants. Twentyfive Ogiek community members were able to attend the hearing, and an additional 40 were able to view the hearing in Kenya via livestream. While awaiting judgement, there have been continuing violations of the provisional measures order, including a violent eviction of approximately 1,000 Ogiek and police intimidation. In May 2017, the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) noted its concern in response to reports of ongoing forced evictions, and urged the Kenyan government to ensure legal acknowledgement of the collective rights of Indigenous Peoples and to prevent, punish, and sanction acts threatening their security and property. The Kenyan government has also announced plans for the Mau Forest Complex, which will soon become government land and its inhabitants forcibly relocated. “By ruling that through a persistent denial of Ogiek land rights, their religious and associated cultural and huntergatherer practices were also violated, the Court has sent a crystal clear message to the Kenyan and other African governments that they must respect Indigenous Peoples’ land rights in order to secure their livelihoods and cultures,” Claridge says. Ogiek rights over ancestral land are already recognized in both the Kenyan Constitution and the recently enacted Community Land Law, and in light of the upcoming elections and history of lax implementation of the 2010 African Commission Endorois judgment that declared the expulsion of Endorois people from their ancestral lands illegal, the Kenyan
The Ogiek Peoples’ Development Program held their Third Annual Ogiek Cultural Day on April 22 at Nessuit Primary School, Nessuit-Njoro Sub County to promote cultural diversity in Kenya.
government is obligated to fully respect the Court’s judgment and take immediate steps to remedy the violations experienced by Ogiek over decades. “This case is of fundamental importance for Indigenous Peoples in Africa, and particularly in the context of the continent-wide conflicts we are seeing between communities, sparked by pressures over land and resources,” says Claridge. “Ultimately the Court [ruled] on the crucial role of Indigenous Peoples in the conservation of land and natural resources, and consequently, the mitigation of climate change in a region currently ravaged by drought and famine.” —Minority Rights Group International is a United Kingdombased non-governmental organization that works worldwide to ensure that disadvantaged minorities and Indigenous Peoples can make their voices heard, through training and education, legal cases, publications and the media and cultural programs. Cultural Survival Quarterly
June 2017 • 5
c l i mat e ch a n g e
On the FronTlines Youth Leaders and Indigenous Peoples L ead Historic People ’ s Climate March Roberto Múkaro Borrero
n April 29, 2017, over 200,000 people took to the streets in Washington, D.C. for the People’s Climate March, demanding action on “Climate, Jobs, and Justice.” Amplifying the reality of the climate message, demonstrators chanted, sang, and played drums and other instruments on this Spring day that reached 91 degrees and tied a D.C. heat record. While the march was scheduled for before the November election, organizers saw this as a historic opportunity to show the current U.S. administration, and the world, that the movement is ready—not only to fight the fossil fuel industry, but to reject racism, hatred, and xenophobia. The march down Pennsylvania Avenue was led by youth and frontline communities, including a large and diverse contingent of Indigenous Peoples from around the world. Like its 2014 predecessor, the climate march held in New York, the 2017 People’s Climate March included frontline local communities from D.C., women, members of the labor movement, immigrants, LGBTQI community, scientists, environmentalists, the elderly, people with disabilities, religious groups, anti-nuclear activists, and many others concerned about the critical state of a verifiably warming planet and Indigenous Peoples at the front of the People’s Climate March joined by actor Leonardo DiCaprio. Photo by Nova Saigo.
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future generations. They marched in various bloc contingents called “Protectors of Justice,” “Creators of Sanctuary,” “Builders of Democracy,” “Guardians of the Future,” “Defenders of Truth,” “Keepers of Faith,” “Reshapers of Power,” and “Many Struggles, One Home.” “This is more than a march, it is a global movement to affect positive change,” said Roger Guayakan Hernandez, a Borikén Taíno representing the United Confederation of Taíno People at the march. Hernandez was a bus captain for one of two buses of Indigenous Peoples coming from New York City. Supported by the People’s Climate March organizers and the Indigenous People Bloc Committee, these buses were organized by the International Indian Treaty Council to assist local New York tri-state area Indigenous Peoples, as well as Indigenous delegates to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues participating in the People’s Climate March. The New York buses were filled with local Tribal leaders like Sachem Robert “Hawk Storm” Birch of the Schaghticoke Nation, Permanent Forum delegates, and a group of Water Protectors from Standing Rock. Among the Water Protectors were LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, founder of the Sacred Stone Camp and Indigenous filmmaker, and Digital Smoke Signals founder Myron Dewey. Many other Indigenous Peoples attending the march also traveled by bus from various locations around the U.S. Members of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, for example, traveled 1,536 miles from Eagle Bend, South Dakota.
Tarcila Rivera (left) of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues with Taíno/Tlingit youth Kayaani and Mainaku Borrero (right) at the sunrise water ceremony. Photo: Amy Mahagua’naru Ponce
The day’s activities began with a sunrise water ceremony led by Indigenous women at the Reflecting Pool across from the Capitol building. The ceremony opened with a welcome from Gabrielle Tayac of the local Indigenous Piscataway Nation and Tom Goldtooth of Indigenous Environmental Network, two of the morning event’s organizers. Spiritual leaders like Chief Arvol Looking Horse and elders Faith Spotted Eagle and Allard also shared words of welcome and prayers. With the Capitol Dome looming in the background, chiefs, elders, spokespeople, and Indigenous dignitaries like Tarcila Rivera, an expert member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, were also present at the water ceremony, led by Ojibwe elder Sharon Day from Minnesota. A long line of attendees, including Indigenous Peoples and others, brought samples of water to be blessed, and the combined water prayers were released in unity from a copper pot into the nearby Potomac River. “This is an amazing and spiritually significant moment for all the Indigenous Peoples gathered in solidarity here today,” commented Chief Damon Corrie, a Lokono Arawak from Barbados who came to the U.S. to attend the Permanent Forum with his daughter, Sabantho, 18, representing the Eagle Clan Arawaks. “To see so many delegates from so many different Indigenous communities is truly inspiring. My daughter and I both feel fortunate to be able to attend and march with so many other Indigenous frontline warriors.” Standing behind a large red banner identifying the Indigenous Peoples’ Bloc and the commitment of Indigenous Peoples to hold a “red line” in defense of their environment, homes, families, and future generations, Chief Corrie also expressed his concern about the impacts of climate change for Caribbean Indigenous Peoples: “We are really seeing the effects of climate change back home in the islands. Our reefs are bleaching and hurricanes are getting more intense. Things are changing rapidly and it is serious.” Nania Kodi, an Indigenous Nuba woman from the Sudan, agreed. “It was important for me to participate in the People’s Climate March because I felt the need to represent the Indigenous woman who contributes the least but gets affected the most by climate change,” she said, passionately noting that “climate change is not only about its effects on the availability of water and food security, but it also affects health via malnutrition and sexual reproductive health as well as security via physical and sexual abuse while women and girls go in search of water and food.”
Roger Hernandez sounds the conch shell at the People’s Climate March. Photo: Amy Mahagua’naru Ponce
The People’s Climate March coincided with the 100th day of the Trump presidency, and it was clear in the brightly colored slogans on banners and signs, as well as in the chants, that the 45th U.S. President and the actions of the current political majority party were a serious concern for the future of the entire planet. From those who stood in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline, to Indigenous Peoples from the Arctic who are concerned with oil drilling in their region, Indigenous marchers continuously remarked on the current administration’s destructive anti-environmental policies, which contribute to the global climate crisis and violate the rights of Indigenous Peoples. As marchers passed the White House, powerful group chants such as “Dump Trump,” “Shame,” “Indigenous Peoples’ Rights,” “Climate Justice,” and “Mni Wiconi—Water is Life” were heard in the intense heat of the day. As Indigenous Peoples passed the White House, marchers following behind took part in a silent sit-in to recognize the damage already caused by the Trump administration and for those losing their lives to the climate crisis daily. These demonstrators, thousands of them, began tapping out a rhythm on their chests following the beat of drummers keeping time. According to march organizers, the heartbeat was meant not only to highlight the diversity of the various contingents, but to emphasize that no matter where people came from, their hearts beat as one in this march and beyond. “This was an incredible experience,” said Sachem Hawk Storm of the Schaghticoke First Nations of Connecticut. “Meeting so many Indigenous Peoples and hearing their frontline stories, I can see that what happens here in the U.S. really impacts others around the world. We need to continue to stand united.” The People’s Climate March ended with a rally at the Washington Monument and included other activities, such as a local Pow Wow later in the evening. While thousands attended the rally, many other participants of the historic march made their way to their buses to begin their journey back to their various places of origin where the work will really begin. Back on one of the buses returning to New York City, 11-year-old Mainaku Borrero (Taíno/Tlingit), commented on the long, hot, but exciting day. “Climate change is real,” she said. Her 9-year-old sister, Kayaani, agreed, and added, “Water is life.” —Roberto Múkaro Borrero (Taíno) is UN Programs and Communications Coordinator for the International Indian Treaty Council. Cultural Survival Quarterly
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r i ght s i n a ct io n
– NgAti Rangi Pioneers in Protecting Maori Land Claims Members of the Nga–ti Rangi negotiations team outside New Zealand Parliament steps.
he Ngāti Rangi, led by the Ngāti Rangi Trust (NRT), have been making headlines recently as they forge a new agreement with the New Zealand government regarding historical grievances over land use and land administration. These agreements restore, in part, Ngāti Rangi’s ability to protect and nurture the health of New Zealand’s rivers and lakes as central to Māori culture. On March 15, 2017, after two years of negotiations, Ngāti Rangi and the Crown signed an Agreement in Principle (AIP), an important step toward reaching a settlement over claims regarding the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi. These developments have overlapped with the NRT’s partnership with Genesis Energy, a relationship that emphasizes the role of ecologically and culturally sustainable considerations in energy production and has allowed for four rivers previously diverted to aqueducts to be released back to their natural paths. Considered the founding document of New Zealand as a nation, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed by many, but not all, Māori chiefs and the British Crown in 1840, and declared British sovereignty over New Zealand. The Treaty recognized Māori ownership over their lands and gave them the rights of British subjects, and in return the Māori gave the Queen the sole right to purchase and govern land. The treaty was meant as a sort of partnership between the Māori and British monarchy, but because it was drafted in English and translated into Māori by a missionary, the two versions varied enough that each party had different understandings and expectations of the treaty’s meaning. Since its signing, there have been breaches to the treaty, particularly regarding land claims; the Māori have held many
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meetings to debate treaty issues. In the 1970s and ‘80s, Māori protests began drawing attention to the treaty and their mistreatment by the New Zealand government. The Treaty of Waitangi Act of 1975 established the Waitangi Tribunal to hear claims and grievances of Tribes that the treaty had been breached and to receive recommendations, but in practice the Tribunal had little social or political influence. Ngāti Rangi lodged its claims with the Waitangi Tribunal in 1992 and got its time in court from 2006-2008. Finally, in 2015, the Ngāti Rangi and the Crown began negotiating to settle historic claims pertaining to the treaty. The settlement process includes seven distinct steps: Deed of Mandate, terms of negotiation, start negotiations, Agreement in Principle, further negotiations, Deed of Settlement, and Settlement in Legislation. The Ngāti Rangi explained in a statement that the AIP “proposes a settlement which includes the Crown’s acknowledgement of numerous breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi, an agreed historical account and an apology from the Crown for those breaches.” Though signing the AIP is an important step forward, it is only a third of the seven part process. As Che Wilson, lead negotiator for the Ngāti Rangi Trust and former Cultural Survival board member, said following the signing, “We are on the right path, but there is still much work to be done.” Central components of the AIP include the return of several cultural properties and the promise of developing a new governance and management framework for the Whangaehu River catchment. The Whangaehu River is a sulfuric river and is one of only a few rivers of its type in the world. The terms in the AIP set “a great opportunity for us to establish a new governance and management framework for our awa,” Wilson explains. “We’ll be getting an increased management
and governance of lands and sites cared for currently by the Department of Conservation that will also include an interim seat on the Tongariro Taupo Conservancy Board. We also get the right to buy back the Karioi Forest. It’s an opportunity for us to transfer and lease back several Crown properties as well as the right to acquire further properties in the future.” Recently, Ngāti Rangi and energy giant Genesis Energy have partnered to find a way forward to acknowledge customary rights and still leave room for power generation. For decades the NRT have fought against the implementation of the Tongariro Power Scheme, filing suit and appealing decisions permitting the project to proceed. According to the NRT website, the continued diversion of ancestral waterways out of their catchments and away from NRT territory, or rohe, and the eastern diversion of the Tongariro Power Scheme, “denies us the ability and responsibility to protect, nurture and uphold the awa ora (health and wellbeing of the river).” The partnership between the Iwi and Genesis Energy is a step forward for Indigenous Peoples seeking to protect their ancestral lands. The “renewed and rejuvenated health” of the Tokiāhuru is even more promising. The Tongariro Power Scheme (TPS) is a large water collection scheme to generate power for use throughout New Zealand. It consists of four main parts: the Eastern and Western Diversions, and Tongariro and Rotoaria sections. The Eastern Diversion consists of the Wahianoa Aqueduct, which diverts 26 waterways and includes the Tokiāhuru, Wahianoa, Mākāhikatoa, and Tomowai, four waterways of great importance to Ngāti Rangi. These waterways, which are considered the “life veins from Mount Ruapehu as they descend from the maunga to join with the principal river of the Tribe, Whangaehu,” had been dry for decades. The Tokiahuru was dry for about six kilometers below the Wahianoa Aqueduct before the recent agreement to allow them flow to the sea once again. In 2001, when Genesis gained a renewed resource consent for continued operation of the TPS, Ngāti Rangi appealed the decision. Three years later the Environmental Court ruled in favor of the NRT, reducing the consent period from 35 to 10 years. Genesis appealed this ruling, and in 2006 the High Court ruled in favor of the corporation. In 2010, after NRT planned to appeal to the Supreme Court, NRT and Genesis met outside of court and agreed to form a good faith relationship agreement. The agreement ended the costly court process, and Genesis senior management agreed to stay at Tirorangi Marae Tribal village and explore the area with NRT to better
Tribal members singing in support of the speech of their lead negotiator in the Grand Hall of Parliament.
understand the impacts of the TPS on the surrounding communities. In 2012, the first changes were implemented and “connected flows” from three awa were released to rejoin their source to the sea. Over the course of the next few years, the two groups began to conduct research to determine a culturally and environmentally acceptable flow to release down the Tokiāhuru, and in 2016 one such flow was permanently released. “Not that many years ago it seemed like we were in legal battles in an environment court situation,” says Jarrod Bowler, renewable energy manager at Genesis Energy. “Now we’ve been able to step beyond that and actually work constructively together, almost hand in hand, in terms of understanding what opportunities exist within these rivers.” Genesis invited Gail Tipa of the research firm Tipa and Associates to work with Ngāti Rangi and learn about their customs and relationship with the land and waterways. They also invited scientists to study the ecosystems to assess the health of the species inhabiting the area. The information collected through these assessments will be passed on to other members of the Iwi. “It’s really wonderful to actually be here and hear the water and her voice in the background singing to us,” Tipa says. “For some of the uncles and aunties, that’s their first time here, sitting here, and it still looks as though it’s not enough.” The partnership between Genesis and the NRT is an important step forward for Indigenous Peoples to protect their lands and resources. Wilson says, “We respect the fact that sometimes the discussions are hard and here we’ve signed things for us to get a connected flow, an agreed flow, but those discussions will still be had.” Nga–ti Rangi octogenarians leading waiata-a-ringa (action song) in the Grand Hall of Parliament.
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Rising Voices Collaborative Science with Indigenous Knowledge for Climate Solutions
Miriam Anne Frank
ndigenous Peoples contribute least to climate change, yet are at the frontlines of its impacts, constantly needing to adjust and adapt to their changing environments. They have always read the weather, understanding its impacts and shifting their practices to accommodate the changes they encounter. It is this place-based knowledge, handed down through generations yet continually updated by present-day observations, that has much to contribute to Western science—especially in relation to predicting and coping with accelerated climate change and the correlating extreme
Rising Voices brought together over 130 Indigenous people and climate scientists in addressing climate change adaptation and mitigation.
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weather patterns and disasters. Cultural Survival joined the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) as a partner in presenting Rising Voices: Collaborative Science with Indigenous Knowledge for Climate Solutions workshop, a unique platform bringing together Indigenous science and climate science to address strategies for climate change adaptation and mitigation. Convened from April 13–15, 2017, in Boulder, Colorado, the workshop was a joint effort supported by Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network, Inter-tribal Council on Utility Policy, Indigenous People’s Climate Change Working Group, the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC), Cultural
– ori); Roberto Borrero (Taíno); Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim L–R: Kim Gottschalk of Native American Rights Fund; Tui Shortland (Ma (Mbororo); Berenice Sanchez (Nahua-Otomí); Jannie Staffansson (Saami); Suzanne Benally (Santa Clara Tewa/Navajo).
Survival, and NCAR. Over 130 participants, including Indigenous leaders and community representatives, climate scientists, NGOs, and researchers came together to address the theme of this year’s workshop: “Pathways from Science to Action.” Through collaborative research, presentations, and group discussions, participants worked on developing specific pathways to move from science to action for climate adaptation at local, national, and international levels. Rising Voices seeks to diversify scientific research by including Indigenous knowledge and science in solutions to weather and climate extremes. This was the first time international Indigenous participants were invited, expanding the event into an opportunity to address climate change issues impacting Indigenous communities around the globe. It also brought in the richness of their diverse experiences, both from their local perspectives and in regards to the international climate change work many of these participants are actively engaged in. Cultural Survival Executive Director, Suzanne Benally (Navajo/Santa Clara Tewa) explained Cultural Survival’s motivation for co-convening the workshop: “Indigenous people have drawn on Indigenous knowledge and science for millennia to understand and respond to climate and environmental changes they faced. This knowledge is deeply embedded in our worldviews and relationship with the natural world, as well in our cultural practices. What is different and challenging today is the rate of manmade climate change and our ability to respond to it. We must correct the path we are walking on and return to the special relationships, the teachings, the knowledge and practice that maintains respect, honor, and relationship with the natural world.” Heather Lazarus of the National Center for Atmospheric Research highlighted why Rising Voices is so important. The challenges from global climate change “necessitate many different ways of thinking, and those include knowledge systems that come from community, come from tradition, come from diverse cultures, as well as from technical Western science,” All photos courtesy of Jamie malcolm-brown.
she said. “I think that diverse knowledge systems can come together and work together, almost like different pieces of a puzzle, so that you get a picture of the whole, of all the challenges that we’re facing, including the societal, cultural, and spiritual dimensions; the local, community-based, and traditional scientific knowledges can help us alongside technical science to think of more questions to ask, solutions, and deeper understanding. Facing the challenges of climate change, we can’t afford not to have as many perspectives and as many different solutions proposed as absolutely possible.” Rising Voices included presentations and discussions covering such topics as collaborative research; linking local initiatives to international mobilization; the tensions and discrimination Indigenous science faces within the Western science community; building collaborative knowledge about extreme weather, climate change, and disasters; and strategies for implementing knowledge into action and policy making. A highlight was the plenary panel on Building Collaborative Knowledge about Extreme Weather, Climate Change and Disasters, where Indigenous leaders discussed the ways that Indigenous science and Western science contribute to understanding and responding to the impacts of climate change. Jannie Staffansson (Saami) represents the Saami Council, an NGO that works for her peoples living in the territories of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. In her presentation, she highlighted the very personal reason she decided to become educated in Western science, emphasizing that her knowledge “does not come from science, or from the Western systems. It comes from my communities.” She gave the example of how the Saami are using GPS collars on their reindeer to track their migration so that they can prove to the government how they actively use their land. This is to validate what the Saami already know: where the reindeer go and how the Saami migrate with them. Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim (Mbororo) is a leader of a pastoralist community in Chad. She is also one of the co-chairs of the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Cultural Survival Quarterly
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Panelists at the Rising Voices public event at Naropa University. L–R: Bob Gough (Lenape); Gary Morishima (Quinault Indian Nation); Shiloh-Kay Bennet (Kiksapa); Cristina Coc (Q’eqchi Maya); Kalani Souza (Hawai’i).
Change (IIPFCC), the main international Indigenous body working on climate change issues at the international policy level. In her presentation, she highlighted the importance of the traditional knowledge of her communities’ weather forecasting—gained by observing the amount of water in certain fruits, levels of water in the lake, the number of lizard babies born in a given year, and the direction of the winds to predict the next year’s rainy season. “Through our way of life we develop a lot of traditional knowledge. When the ecosystem is changing, our knowledge is growing. We create our own Indigenous knowledge in order to adapt to our changing climate,” she said, before speaking about the difficulties in transmitting that local knowledge to the international level. As one of the key Indigenous actors in the UNFCCC negotiations, she described the hard work they put into the Paris Agreement. Their great collective achievement is in Article 7.5 recognizing that the knowledge of Indigenous Peoples should be considered in environmental policies and actions in regards to climate change adaptation. Berenice Sanchez (Nahuatl/Otomi) is an Indigenous leader from Mexico who proudly described her people’s autonomy since the Spanish Crown. She explained that they do not ask the local, state, or national government for anything; if something is to happen on their lands, the government must ask their permission. In regards to their territories, the communities know their boundaries without markers. They share the forest where they collect food, traditional medicines, and work on the irrigation systems needed for their agricultural practices. Her presentation highlighted the impact of a carbon offset program that deeply divided their communities as some chose to sell the forest, while others, like her community, wanted to conserve it. “They cut down the forest, 500 years old or more, and planted some eucalyptus trees or some other kind of tree, saying to the community that this is the payment for environmental services, that there will be carbon benefits and that the community is going to be very happy—without 12 • www. cs. org
realizing that in a few years they aren’t going to have the permit to go in and pick anything; that in that moment they’re giving away their lands into private hands, which is another form of colonialism. And that on top of all that, it’s affecting my land, my future, my people. And it’s affecting the future of the entire planet.” This panel stood out as one of the highlights of the workshop, best captured by an audience member: “You’ve shown . . . the beauty and the complexity of Indigenous ways of thinking, from poetic, from analytical, from very locally communitybased, to possibly being able to generalize on a much larger scale. At least for my coming here to Rising Voices, and this is the third year I’ve been coming, you’ve really made an incredible impression on me. Hearing you gives me hope that there’s potential for social network and social movement that really combines all of the Indigenous Peoples and allies as well.” At the end of many fruitful discussions and debates, some themes emerged from the Indigenous participants emphasizing key principles; first among them was the importance of honoring Mother Earth. Using the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the guideline for any engagement with Indigenous Peoples is crucial, as is ensuring the application of the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent. The emphasis was on establishing protocols and guidelines that would create an environment of mutually beneficially information sharing, particularly in the context of preparation for extreme events. Most important was the need to honor the holistic worldviews and knowledge of Indigenous Peoples, including following appropriate protocols and respectfully recognizing their contributions to science. It was also key for Indigenous Peoples to have any data derived from their collaborations communicated back in a way that can be understood by their communities, the promise to ensure that presentations are held in a culturally appropriate manner. Underlying it all was the need to understand that the long-term science of Indigenous Peoples can both complement and inform Western science. For many of the Indigenous Peoples in attendance, this was one of the first times they had a chance to directly engage with the scientific community. Cristina Coc (Maya), an Indigenous leader from Belize, had this to say about her first time at Rising Voices: “I’m starting to really embrace and understand that there are opportunities for collaboration between the scientific world and the Indigenous world—where Indigenous traditional knowledge can be valued as equal, if not more important, to inform the scientific world, particularly because these global challenges of climate change are not for any one person or any one community.” —Miriam Anne Frank is an independent consultant to IPOs, NGOs, international organizations, and foundations. As an applied anthropologist, she lectures on Indigenous Peoples’ issues at the University of Vienna, Austria. The following are excerpts from presentations and interviews conducted at the conference.
Emerging Themes from Rising Voices 1. Responsibilities in honoring Mother Earth in all we do. 2. Work with Indigenous Peoples to establish communitydriven working guidelines and protocols that are mutually beneficial to Indigenous Peoples and the scientific communities. These guidelines and protocols should be established and followed from start to finish of the project, ensuring that best practices from the Indigenous perspectives are honored. 3. Capacity-building for both scientists and Indigenous Peoples, that include training the researcher in ethics and engagement and training the Indigenous Peoples’ communities on what they can expect as meaningful engagement. 4. Indigenous Peoples’ holistic worldviews can complement long-term science over generations when done in respectful partnership and collaboration. 5. Long term experiential science and information developed over generations can complement Western science so that both can contend with climate change challenges through time. 6. Recognition of Indigenous Peoples as rights holders, with responsibilities, not just stakeholders (like businesses, governments, etc.) 7. Honor the amount, depth of knowledge, and data that Indigenous Peoples are willing to share. Communicate beforehand the extent of the audience that this knowledge will be shared with. Ensure that the knowledge is protected by following Indigenous Peoples’ protocols. Respectful recognition of their contributions including co-authorship, etc. Accepting Indigenous Peoples’ right to their own peer review process, so that members are involved throughout the process of the publication of their data. 8. Ensuring that science projects in Indigenous Peoples’ communities are communicated back in ways that the community can understand; e.g., publishing results in their Indigenous languages and ensuring presentation in culturally appropriate ways. 9. When looking at preparation for extreme events, there are lessons to be learned from the experiences Indigenous Peoples have in coping with emergencies and disasters in regards to adaptation. 10. Use the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the guideline for any engagement with Indigenous Peoples and ensure the application of Free, Prior and Informed Consent.
On the Forefront of the Struggle Andrea Carmen (Yaqui) Executive Director, International Indian Treaty Council
omen are very strong voices in the work for the protection of the environment. We have a natural connection to Mother Earth and the knowledge of Indigenous women in particular as food producers, as knowledge holders, as the first teachers of the children, plays a very key and central role. The cultural practices and traditions that Indigenous women keep alive and pass down generation to generation in Indigenous communities are being recognized very strongly all the way to the United Nations, but also in Indigenous communities and the broader movements addressing climate change. The importance of that knowledge and that role, in not only addressing the adaptation and mitigation, but also confronting the solutions to climate change: fossil fuel burning, mining, oil development, things like genetically modified seeds, which introduced into Indigenous communities really decreases our ability to utilize our natural biodiversity to respond to changing climate conditions. Indigenous women are at the forefront of discussing these matters on the community level, but also nationally and internationally. In many places we see our young people, our youth, including young women and girls, really on the forefront of the struggle. If you look at the opposition to the oil pipelines, for example in Standing Rock, it was the young people that started that struggle and then got the Tribal Council and the Elders involved in support. Another place that I’ve worked is in the Yanite Traditional School in Alaska, and it was the elementary school students that decided to oppose coal mining there and then convinced the Tribal Council and the leaders to support them in that position. You actually see that happening already, where a lot of young people are taking a stand and asking their elders and Tribal leaders to support them. I’m the executive director now of a very large international organization that has a lot of standing at the United Nations, but I started out in the IITC working as a student intern folding newsletters and answering phones. There is a lot of place and space for young people to get involved in this work. We’re Cultural Survival Quarterly
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constantly looking for new blood, new enthusiasm, new ideas, and we have to keep in mind that our young people, including our young girls, are the knowledge holders and the leaders of the future. I would like to see more youth involved. As we move towards future events, we can do a more effective job at including the voices of youth, students, young activists, and our young women in this work, because it’s very important and they have a lot to offer.
The Connection between Climate Change, the Environment, and Language Kaimana Barcarse (Native Hawaiian) Cultural Conservancy
here’s definitely a connection between the environment and our language. Hawaiians believe that we are a part of the earth and the ecosystem, and we have that connection to the earth. In many ways our deities are all connected to the earth. We have deities that are connected to the mountains, to the trees, to the oceans, to the sky. We communicate with these deities, and we do it of course through our Indigenous language. We have hundreds of names for rain and just as many names for the winds, and knowing the names of the winds and the rains can tell you where you are, what island you’re on. It can tell you what season you’re in, what kinds of events are happening. It can also help you predict what kind of events are going to happen. If we’re in the uplands of Waiakea and we feel the Uluau winds, we know the trade winds are light, and we know this is a land-associated breeze that brings with it a certain feel and certain fragrance. If we feel the Mālualuaki‘iwai winds, it’s a cool, stiff wind, we know that rain is going to follow shortly after because Mālualuaki‘iwai means to gather and bring the rains over. Our language is closely tied to what we observe and what we see out in nature. So in that way we can understand; we can frame the climate and frame the environment through our language, and our language describes the environment. Looking through our oral histories and our written histories to understand what the seasons and the cycles are can give us data over time. That is fully scientific data that is historic, observed over hundreds of years. And when we understand how that cycle changes and compare it to how that cycle changes now, you can see the pattern of climate change— as things start to warm up, as certain areas start to have the sea level rise...We listen to our songs of a certain area, it talks 14 • www. cs. org
about the līpoa, it’s a type of seaweed, and the ‘alamihi, crabs. You go there today, you won’t see alamihi. You won’t smell the līpoa like you used to. That tells us that that the environment has changed. By knowing your language, by knowing your history, by understanding how descriptive and how intimate our language is with the environment, you can understand the nuances, whether they be really subtle or really obvious. You can understand the changes, and by that you can understand your relationship to the environment. I remember being on a canoe, a voyaging canoe, and we were headed into a storm—big waves, but we knew we could handle it. One of the crew members to the front of the canoe in essence said, “Bring it on.” As soon as he said that, the ocean brought it on. Our catwalks on the outside of the canoe snapped off, several of the lines snapped off. The ocean brought it on. So we do have the intimate connection, but we have to also watch what we say. We can use that mana, that spiritual power, and we can use that [ word] which is our language, but we have to use it in the right way. And with that, we’re connected to our environment and our environ-ment is connected to us.
Protecting Knowledge –
Tui Shortland (Maori) International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity, New Zealand
ecause we’re a part of the community, we can observe changes that are happening. For example, my nana, she was one of the main eel fishers in the corner of the river that we come from. In many areas of our ancestral territories, it was the grandparents that would take the children out to teach us how to fish. Being that it is a very climatic dependent species of eel, women can observe the changes over time and what it was during her day as opposed to what it is during my day. Jannie Staffansson (Saami) with Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim (Mbororo).
One of my first jobs for my Tribe was around establishing a sacred sites database. The elders said they wanted them to be recorded appropriately and protected appropriately so that they can be shared with future generations, [so] we established different levels of access to information. Some areas of knowledge can be accessed by everyone; we want the world to know about our stories around sacred places. Other sacred placed are just for the Tribe to know about. And others, the families are the caretakers of that place and the knowledge around that place, so they keep that knowledge. But at the Tribal level we’re aware that there’s a place of significance there, so if there’s any kind of development that may impact it, we have triggers within our organization that ensure that the families are engaged with. On other levels we’ve established biocultural community protocols. When scientists are coming into our territories to do research, if we support the research, we look at co-authoring, so we share the knowledge. We ensure that the knowledge within the community remains the property of the community, even if it’s publicly paid-for research. New knowledge is shared equally, so if there is any commercial benefit deriving from the new knowledge, then we share that as well. I understand how people are motivated to say that traditional knowledge is science, but my understanding of what science is, and the basis of modern science, was Sir Francis Bacon, who said that the spirit needed to be separated from the plant. He also said we need to torture nature’s secrets from her. And that was literally when they were torturing women who held nature’s wisdom in England at that time. Our knowledge is based on not only our genealogical link to the environment, but also that the environment is its own spiritual entity, with its own rights, and that it needs to be respected. We look at it like a forest as a whole, as a living entity in a holistic way. To me, there’s no spirit within “science” or the environment [when] you break it down to micro bits to understand it. For me that is quite opposite to Indigenous knowledge.
Cultural Survival Indigenous Rights Radio Producer, Shaldon Ferris (Khoi-San).
Cristina Coc (Q’eqchi Maya) of Maya Leaders Alliance.
We Communicate Earth Jannie Staffansson (Saami) Saami Council, Norway
come from a reindeer herding family. We are pastoralists. We believe if the reindeer has good life, then we will have a good life. My knowledge does not come from science, or from the Western systems [but] from my communities. As a young girl, I started to hear about climate change from the elders and from the community because we constantly
Lea Kekuewa signing a song about saving the environment. Cultural Survival Quarterly
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talk about weather. I noticed on the news and media that they didn’t really know that much. I asked my father, why don’t they know this? And my father said, well, we don’t have an education in their system, so therefore they don’t believe us. They don’t validate our beliefs and our ways of knowing. So I went into science. I studied environmental chemistry and organic chemistry, and with that I went into politics within the Saami Council. I work mainly with the Arctic Council, which is an international forum. We collaborate [with scientists] on pollutants, toxins, and atmosphere, and make a lot of assessments. But we also have different groups in the Arctic Council that are working with cultural, language, and social issues that are circulating in the Arctic. And from this, [we found we needed] guidance when it comes to using traditional knowledge within Western science. So we developed these fundamental principles on the use of traditional knowledge, which the colonizers call it; we might call it samu, or Indigenous knowledge, to help guide the work of the Saami in the Arctic Council. The Swedish state has a lot of history with mining issues, and we have had difficulties with hydropower dams that forced us to leave our homelands. We also have climate change, with unreliable ices and avalanches cresting all the time, and deforestation issues. There is one community that is dealing with huge windmill parks, and they themselves have to go up to court to fight for their rights to the land and for the reindeer’s right to the land. There’s a huge corporation that is coming in on Indigenous Peoples’ land and we need to defend those rights. Another good example is Laponian, a World Heritage Site. Today it is an NGO and the Saami communities have members and the majority within that board. The community members are conducting research relating to fishing based on the traditional knowledge that they have. We also have these kind of movements coming from the local level. This was a mine that was planned on Sámi land called Kallak, and then small leaders from Saami communities started to raise their voices against these huge companies. Up to the COP21 in Paris we had gatherings and made this joik, a song from one of the greatest artists we have in Sápmi called Gulahallat Eatnamiin (“We communicate Earth”). Because speaking is just one way, but communicating is both ways. Together if you lead, then you can create a movement. We are the nature fighting back.
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We Create Our Indigenous Knowledge to Adapt Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim (Mbororo) Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad
e are Mbororo pastoralists, and we are called after our red cows with the big horn. We are nomadic and semi-nomadic peoples living from around Lake Chad to the south of Chad in five countries: Chad, Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria, Central African Republic. This way of life, we develop a lot of traditional knowledge from our ecosystem. When the ecosystem is changing, our knowledge is growing. We go from the center of Chad to the Congo River and then we come back. We used to have three seasons: dry season, rainy season, and cold season. But now the cold season has disappeared. We used to have six to nine months of rain, but now it’s between two and six months. This is impacting the food security in all the lives of the people; then that’s created desertification and the loss of biodiversity, and our livestock, too. Where our traditional knowledge and science meet, we say that climate science uses modern knowledge and the forecasting system. But for us, we are just using our information and other factors that we observe. And from this we create our own Indigenous knowledges to adapt. During the rainy season we eat the fruit; at the end of the rainy season, we take the fruit and we break it down. When we break it, we see the liquid inside. If the liquid is abundant, we know that the tree is predicting for the next year; that helps us predict if it’s going to be a good year or not. And we have certain kinds of lizards, when they give babies they give a lot of babies, and in some years there are not a lot of babies because they are not sure in the next generation. That helps us also to predict if we are going to have a good rain season next year or not. If the wind is coming from the South to the North, North to the South; if the wind is heavy; if the wind is dry; if it is hot . . . that helps us to say if the rain is going to be heavy or not. The elders who are holding the traditional knowledge are becoming few. To transfer it to the new generation, the mechanism has been changing a lot because young people are migrating from the communities to the big towns. From all those knowledges, how do we transmit it to the international level? Because we know that at the international level they are discussing our future and we are not included. We have the Paris Agreement, into the preamble, incorporation
of Indigenous Peoples’ rights. Then we have Article 7.5 where they recognize Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge of adaptation to climate change. And into the decisions we have the participation of Indigenous Peoples and the rights of Indigenous Peoples, but the most important is Paragraph 135, the establishment of the Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge platform. This had been discussed during the COP22 in Morocco. As Indigenous Peoples, we say, ‘You cannot talk about us, for us, without us. We have to be at the table with you. Even if the government can negotiate, we have to talk ourselves.’ We won only because we sat at the table with them and we negotiated.
Collaboration Is Key Mathew Stiller-Reeve Uni Research and the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Norway
work with communities in Bangladesh and have done so for seven years; my Ph.D. project was a climate sciencebased project. For the people of Bangladesh, the monsoon season during the summer is really important. I tried to apply definitions of the monsoons to the data so we could find out how long it was, when it started, when it ended. I quickly realized the scientific definitions of the monsoon—there’s a multitude of them—each one of them gives very different
results when you apply it to the data. I was thinking, who am I to decide which one of these definitions could be applied to the data for information for the people? I actually ended up asking the people when they defined the monsoon to start and how they defined it, and it turned out that one definition was more representative of the people’s perceptions in Bangladesh. But it wasn’t representative of what the science world thought of the monsoon. I realized that we needed more collaborations with social scientists and local communities, so we got this project TRACKS, which stands for Transforming Climate Knowledge. The approach we took was something called postnormal science, which basically says that everyone has a seat at the table when it comes to these issues. We went out to the communities at the beginning of the projects, asking them what weather and climate meant for them. We used those stories both to motivate the climate science but also to motivate the community approach as well. We’ve initiated community-based citizens’ science projects for creating community awareness, capacity building, and creating community around these issues in general. I’ve always been fascinated with how science and art could work together. We’ve got this guy from Dhaka in Bangladesh involved in this project and he was really keen to come up to
L–R: Berenice Sanchez (Nahua-Otomí); Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim (Mbororo); Jannie Staffansson (Saami); Roberto Borrero (Taíno).
Cultural Survival Quarterly
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our workshops with the citizen scientists, interact with them, and then create an artistic piece of work from that. And the way he did that was he got all of the citizen scientists to use the artistic method, to draw and paint what they thought was important for them when it came to climate and weather. He circulated around the group and listened to their stories about climate and weather. And [then] he went back to Dhaka and created this piece of art. Instead of just creating that piece of art and hanging it up on a wall, he took it back to the communities and told them the story behind the artwork—how he incorporated their stories into the artwork and whether or not they agreed with how he had painted this. What the painting contained was different indicators that they use, mango buds, snakes, frogs, and fish, and then the impacts of these different climate events that can occur. I don’t think you have many artists who willingly change their artwork with a community like that. So it’s not just producing science or knowledge in that sense, it’s co-producing knowledge. We as climate scientists, we think far too often on the global scale. We really need to be thinking more about the community-level and place-based knowledge, getting these collaborations going with these communities. We never ask them about what they think of global climate change. [Our project has] always been about their place and the stories from that; in their region they used to talk about six seasons
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during the year and now there’s just two, for example. There’s more erratic rainfall and more intense rainfall—it’s taught me that we really need to focus our science and understanding down to those scales in order for these collaborations to work. The whole point of this project is that these traditional knowledge systems and climate science, so to speak, are at the table together.
Impacts of Climate Change on Our Communities Edgardo Benítez Maclin (Tawahka) Organización Ecologista Indígena, Honduras
e are nine Indigenous and Afro-Honduran peoples. Each community has their own reality based on their territory in the region where they live according to the resources they have. That means that a national strategy for climate change without respecting the particular issues of each pueblo is not going to work. We have to
Breakout sessions had participants discussing key questions and themes, outside of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.
distinguish on the basis of regions, on the basis of climates, on the basis of the people, on the basis of traditions, and a distinct focus has to be applied on each area. We are doing this right now, documenting what each pueblo has. The dialogue between pueblos is serving quite well to understand what is happening. On the Patuca River, immediately the most complex issue is the drought. I know because the only means of mobility is the river, which has been our highway, our path. The Patuca River for us is the pillar of the Tawahka peoples’ cosmovision. So for the adults to see that river dry is very, very serious. But apart from this, it limits us and our business and our mobility, because in the summer it gets too dry and in winter it rises too much. They’re two extremes that didn’t exist before because there always was a balancing point. Now we don’t know how much it will grow in winter. That means that the fields people cultivate in the lower areas can’t be cultivated any longer because a winter could come that would take the entire harvest away. Production is not the same when farming in the mountains or in meadows. Apart from that, there are other impacts on farming beans, corn, and rice fields. [There are] new plagues that eat the side of the beans. So the people somehow feel forced to use chemicals to spray because you can’t be killing plague after plague. All of that brings consequences for the economy; as well the use of chemicals logically goes into the food and people are not used to it. That’s why in the past 10 years we have seen a surge of illnesses that didn’t exist before. Apart from the fact that food is declining, apart from having food of bad quality because now it has chemicals in it, there is the fact that people don’t have enough resources to go to specialized hospitals. Now [we are] returning to use some fruits that we used to have in the olden days. We used the masika, which is a tree that gives fruit and then you take out the fruit and make it into tortilla. But then corn was brought in, beans . . . people came and the masika was forgotten. Then we went with our crops. Now we return again to recover the old, because they are big trees that are not affected by the plagues as are beans. Another is the biri biri system, which is the traditional system of mutual labor, you help me I help you. The biri biri is like a grid so we can see when the one who has money can do more. [In] the last 25 years, the more educated people have become, the more they forget about the collective reality and become more individualistic. So helping is like this, the one who knows how to do this helps the other, and the other helps another. For more information about Rising Voices or to read the outcome document and listen to radio programs produced from the event, please contact email@example.com.
Executive Directors Andrea Carmen and Suzanne Benally, of International Indian Treaty Council and Cultural Survival, respectively.
L–R: Panelists Karen Cozzetto (Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals); Katie Spellman (University of Alaska-Fairbanks); Andrea Carmen (International Indian Treaty Council); and Russanne Low (Institute For Global Environmental Strategies).
Daniel Wildcat, Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Haskell Indian Nations University.
Cultural Survival Quarterly
June 2017 • 19
The whanau (family) are land and resource owners and shareholders.
Right to Development
Taheke 8C, an Example of Māori Resiliency Miliani Trask
n December 1986, the United Nations marked the end of the colonial period by passing the UN Declaration on the Right to Development. The Declaration made clear that “development is an inalienable human right by virtue of which every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized.” It also established that the right to development “implies the full realization of the right of peoples to self-determination, which includes . . . the exercise of their inalienable right to full sovereignty over all their natural wealth and resources.” Despite this pronouncement, it would take more than 20 years for States to recognize that Indigenous Peoples possess these rights, individually and collectively. Māori leaders and attorneys including Moana Jackson, Moana Sinclair, Fergus McKay, and Tracey Whare worked with Māori Kupuna, Nganako Minhinnick, and Pauline Tangiora to ensure that the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples would establish the right of Māori as Indigenous Peoples to Development. The success of their effort can be seen in the progress made by many Māori Iwi who are involved in the development of their lands, territories, and resources to the tune of $6 billion NZ per year. The community of Ngapuhi has a new worth of $53 million, most of which is invested in fisheries earning 5 percent per annum; Ngati Whatua Orakei has a net worth of $717 million, most of which is invested in property earning 16 percent annum; Ngati Porou has a net worth of $201 million invested in equities earning 5 percent per annum; Waikato- Tainui has a net worth of $940 million in property earning 7 percent per annum; Tuhoe has a net worth of $325 million
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in managed funds earning 7 percent per annum; and Ngai Tahu has a net worth of $1.27 billion earning 14 percent per annum. All of these Māori Iwi, with the exception of Ngapuhi, have settled claims with the Crown and are using their demarcated lands and resources to provide for their Indigenous Iwi members.
The effort of Māori to become economically self-sufficient is strong testimony to their resiliency and commitment to maintaining their cultural values while entering the international economic arena. There is no better example than the Māori landowners of Taheke 8C, who for years struggled to regain control over their traditional lands and resources and who today are moving forward with a strategy for self-development. In the 1920s and ’30s the Taheke lands were lumped together with other Māori lands under the “supervision” of the New Zealand Government Department of Māori Affairs. During this time, the government provided capital funding for development on Māori lands but assessed these costs as a debt on land. In 1954, special legislation was passed by the New Zealand government to release Māori lands from government departmental supervision. Taheke 8C fell under this legislation, but because of the previous debt incurred, Taheke lands remained under state supervision for another 40 years. In the 1980s, facing threat of takeover by the Te Tira Ahu Iwi, the Taheke Māori owners responded quickly by allocating their undeveloped lands to forestry and capitalizing their forestry rental agreements. The funds generated from the reorganized operations were applied to the debt owed to the Office of Māori Affairs. The strategy was successful, and in 1994 the Taheke 8C Incorporation was finally released from departmental supervision. All photos courtesy of Taheke SC.
Geothermal springs located on Taheke 8C land, in northern New Zealand.
Today, Sandra Eru is the general manager of Taheke 8C, which has made great advances in implementing their land and resource development plans. “The most important advice I have for Indigenous and Tribal Peoples is to choose your advisor or advisors very carefully. Take the time necessary to determine what advice you need. Do not sign up with the first person/persons that come knocking on your door— due diligence should never be ignored,” she says. Taheke 8C has approximately 3 square kilometers of land dedicated to pastoral farming that contributes to the Iwi’s food sustainability. The incorporation is part of the First Light Wagyu Ltd supply group and raises store cattle to sell. An additional 5.5 kilometers are planted in Radiata Pine and managed under a forestry lease. Unlike prior agreements in the era of Crown supervision, all lands harvested are returned to the incorporation for future development planning. In 2009, Taheke 8C worked with the Innovations Development Group, an Indigenous Hawaiian consulting and development organization, on the testing and development of geothermal energy resources on their land. They secured a partnership with a national energy producer, Contact Energy, and also entered into a project participation agreement with a neighboring Māori landowner, the Whangamoa Trust, to facilitate Māori benefit sharing. “In terms of our geothermal development journey there were [several] key questions to be answered: Who should we engage to advise the incorporation? What advice do we need? What skills and experience do they bring to the table? Will they be able to work with us and will we be able to work with them?” Eru says. “Owner/shareholder support is fundamental. When our advisors were in place the questions were addressed, Taheke 8C was able to move forward confident in the knowledge that the Incorporation, with the assistance of our advisors, would be able to address any issues that may arise as the development progressed.” In 2010, a drilling program commenced that has yielded encouraging results. However, due to a softening of the New Zealand energy market, Contact Energy withdrew from the venture and Taheke 8C is now the sole owner of all project assets, including intellectual property. On the ecotourism front, Taheke 8C lands include parcels adjacent to the world renowned Kaituna River with its Class 6 rapids for recreational uses, and Lake Rotoiti, popular with boaters and fishermen, as well as beautiful and secluded areas for high-end tourism development. These development opportunities are being explored by the Taheke team, who have already determined that they will opt for the smaller, more exclusive resort development that preserves the unique quality and cultural heritage of their land. Eru says there were two main challenges for Taheke 8C in developing their assets: communication and lack of capital. “You have different audiences and each one requires something different from the messenger, both verbally and non-verbally,” she says. “For example, when reporting back to our owners/ shareholders, the message needs to be clear so that you can be reasonably sure that everybody hears the same thing. They must never feel as though they are being talked down to, and if they have questions, time must be taken to answer those questions honestly. Communicating with bureaucrats is something else, especially when they don’t appear to know
much about the difference between Māori freeheld land and general land, and they don’t appear interested enough to go out and learn about the difference. Dealing with such people was, and still is, a huge challenge for me as I am very passionate about Taheke 8C, our whenua (land), our development, and our owners.” Regarding communication with potential partners or advisors, Eru emphasizes that “this is definitely not a time to be blinded by science. If you don’t understand what is being said, don’t sit there pretending you do understand—ask questions, get them to explain in plain language. Kaua e whakamā! Don’t be shy! This is your land, your resources, your people that you are representing, and you need to understand what is being said.” In general, Eru believes that financial settlement of claims with the Crown is positive for Māori. “When one considers the history of the claims—the land stolen, the blood spilled, the desecration of sacred sites, the suffering and humiliation of people such as those of Parihaka—of course there must be an economic benefit to settlement. How else can these huge losses and pain be recognized in today’s world? In many cases the stolen land has not been returned, and I guess never will be. The dead cannot be resurrected. Many claims have taken years to settle; indeed many original claimants passed away before their claims were settled. The fact that Iwi who settled with the Crown now collectively have $6 billion in assets is testimony to their careful and prudent management of their settlements. This is a positive story for Māori in a world where there is so much negativity.” —Miliani Trask (Native Hawaiian) is an Indigenous Peoples’ rights attorney and Indigenous and community advisor to Innovations Development Group. Cultural Survival Quarterly
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Fishing Is Our Life, We Are People of the Ocean The Communities of the West Coast, South Africa Shaldon Ferris (CS STAFF)
s the Portuguese sailed from Europe to India in the late 1400s and early 1500s, they made frequent stops at the southern tip of Africa. Early skirmishes between the original inhabitants of the area, the Khoi Khoi, and European sailors have been well documented. The most notable of the scuffles was the one in which Antonio de Saldanha was wounded by Khoi Khoi people before quickly boarding his ship again. Just 120 kilometers north of present-day Cape Town is a bay named after Antonio de Saldanha—Saldanha Bay. After hearing about the plight of the fisherfolk of Cape Town when they protested at Cape Town’s parliament on November 25, 2016, I visited the communities of Western Cape to evaluate the impact that Cultural Survival’s Indigenous Rights Radio programs about fishing rights could have on the local people. An interim relief fishing policy that was supposed to have
been only temporary was now in its tenth year, and the fishers’ protest at parliament was to demand a more permanent and equitable solution. We stopped at Saldanha Bay first, and were informed that other areas were also affected by this policy. Some of these areas include Pater Noster (“our father” in Latin, or “beads” in a Khoi language) and the Langebaan, which is also rich in
Shaldon Ferris with Naomi Cloete, small scale fisherwoman from Paternoster, West Coast, South Africa.
Small scale fisherman of Khoi descent holds a fresh catch, Saldanha Bay, West Coast, South Africa
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history from the first inhabitants, the Khoi Khoi and San. Other affected fishing communities on the west coast of South Africa include Lamberts Bay and Duikers Island, along with Jacobs Bay, which offers recreational fishing for holiday makers. In Saldanha Bay, we were quickly directed to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, which put us in touch with some of the small scale fishers. We met with Carmelitha Mostert, a woman with strong roots in Saldanha, who explained that the reason that she is a fisherwoman is because the tradition had been passed on to her from her great grandparents. “It’s all we know. We are not people who have completed school...some level of school, yes, but most of us fish. We fish to live and we live to fish!” Mostert introduced us to many of the fisherfolk in her area, and soon her living room turned into a conference where all of the grievances were shared. The grievances can be summarized as follows: there are enough fish in the sea, but all of the permits are handed to corporations or large companies with only certain days allocated for small-scale fishers. When fishers go out to sea on a Monday, they can only go out again the following Thursday, more or less once every third day, regardless of weather conditions. Fines imposed on fishers are exorbitant and lessen their chances of survival. When I was among the people, I could see that they are very aware of the way in which the globalized world works. A great number of them had completed high school and were up to date with current international affairs. The world that they choose to live in, however, is different, and functions differently. They choose to respect the sea and live with it, to co-exist with the ocean and the elements thereof. Their understanding of the ocean is vast, and has been carried on from generation to generation. They speak of the ocean with a love that resembles the love of a person. The ocean indeed takes on living characteristics, and so does everything around it, include the weather, the moonlight, and the sun. These sentiments were echoed when I went to the Langebaan area, where I met Solene Smith. We first took notice of her in a Daily Maverick photograph, complete with placards and posters, a bullhorn in hand, in front of Cape Town’s parliament. Placards behind her read “NO FISH, NO EAT” and “Fishing for our Dignity.” We were honored to meet Smith at a local community hall, where her other “job” includes cooking daily for underprivileged kids. This superwoman is out at the harbor at 5:00 a.m. and returns around 12:00 noon to cook for kids coming from school. “Fishing is our life; we are people of the ocean,” she says. As the chairperson of Coastal Links in the Langebaan area, Smith is also the spokesperson. We sat down in her kitchen where we interviewed her to the smell of garlic, ginger, and bay leaves while she was chopping onions, the bread dough already kneaded and risen. “A fair fishing policy is all that we ask for. We have been struggling for years to get it implemented,” she says. A fair fishing policy will basically mean that Smith and the fisherfolk that she represents will be able to go out to the ocean more frequently, thereby enabling them to make a proper living, which will afford them the necessities needed to live a decent life, purchase a decent home, and take their kids on vacation. We travelled further to Pater Noster where we connected with ordinary fisher folk there. Pater Noster is seen as the All photos by Shaldon Ferris.
Young small scale fisherman with crayfish in Paternoster, South Africa.
crayfish hotspot of the west coast of South Africa, and tourists flock here to get a taste of this delicacy. Yet the plight of the people there is the same. Quotas have been implemented that restrict them to going out on the ocean only on certain days. Prior to our visit to these communities, Cultural Survival conducted an interview for a radio program with Stephen Schnierer, a freshwater scientist from New South Wales, Australia, who explained to us that the Convention on Biological Diversity contained two articles that could assist Indigenous fisherfolk. Article 8(j) states, “Each contracting Party shall, as far as possible and as appropriate: Subject to national legislation, respect, preserve and maintain knowledge, innovations and practices of Indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and promote their wider application with the approval and involvement of the holders of such knowledge, innovations and practices and encourage the equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of such knowledge innovations and practices. Article 10c states, “Each Contracting Party shall, as far as possible and as appropriate: c) Protect and encourage customary use of biological resources in accordance with traditional cultural practices that are compatible with conservation or sustainable use requirements.” With the help of Wes Kus FM, a community radio station that reaches the fisher community of the entire west coast, Cultural Survival was able to have our radio program on Indigenous Peoples’ rights to their traditional fisheries aired. Through the program, local fisherfolk can listen to how Aboriginal Peoples in New South Wales, Australia have utilized the Convention on Biodiversity in similar struggles. Cultural Survival is still in touch with the fisherfolk of the west coast, as well as Coastal Links, the organization that looks after their interests, and we will keep our ear to the ground to keep you updated on their progress.
Listen to our Indigenous Rights Radio program on fisherfolk at: goo.gl/9mj581.
Cultural Survival Quarterly
June 2017 • 23
women out front Indigenous Community Journalists Building a Fairer World in Central America
Above: A yoga session for the workshop participants helped break down barriers.
n March 16–20, 2017, 16 Indigenous women community journalists, ages 19 to 54, from Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Panama gathered in Guatemala City to strengthen capacities in radio production and exchange experiences, all within the framework of a critical analysis of discrimination faced by women. “This workshop taught me that as women, we should not put limits on ourselves. As human beings we have no limits, and there are no differences between men and women besides genitals. If we suffer discrimination it is because they create the differences in minds because of hegemony and patriarchy. Therefore, as women, even if they tell us that we cannot do something, if we fight we will achieve great things. I am sure to accept the challenges because every challenge is an opportunity to contribute to the construction of a more just world for men and women. My challenge as a community journalist is now to bring this message to my community through the radio,” said Bessi Ramírez, (Nahuat Pipil) radio journalist from Radio Sensunat, Sonsonate, El Salvador. Participants from all over Central America filtered into the Indigenous Women’s Political Association Capacity Building Center in Guatemala City throughout the day on the day before the commencement of the workshop. For many it was their first time leaving their communities, and for most it was their first time leaving their countries. It was an exciting and scary experience and meant considerable risk for many of the participants. Due to the issue of travel safety in some of their home countries, personal male accompaniment was arranged for portions of some of the women’s trips. One woman even had to cancel her participation at the last moment because her male colleague was no longer able to travel with her.
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The first welcome activity took place late in the evening to accommodate for the latest arrivals. Rather than using words to introduce themselves, the activity had all of the women dancing around, giving hugs, sharing eye contact, laughing, shouting, and generally having a lovely time. The energy in the room was vibrant, and many were teary-eyed at the power of this first experience. Foregoing formal introductions with names and nations of origins, it was a breath of fresh air to first be introduced soul to soul with soon-to-be friends and colleagues. The next morning at breakfast, there was already a poignant feeling of sisterhood in the air. The first activities of the day mirrored those from the night prior in the women’s capacity to skip the formalities and dive straight into the depths of shared humanness. The Movement of Power exercise instructed participants to stand silently at one end of the room while statements were announced and walk to the other side of the room if the statement applied, or stay in place if it did not. Confronting shared and distinct experiences of privilege, discrimination, marginalization, and pain, women looked each other in the eyes, noting who had shared in their experiences of oppression and who had not. In some cases (“have you ever been scared to walk alone for fear of being raped or assaulted?”), most women found themselves together. In other cases, (“did you have to leave school early to help your family to earn a living?”), the room was split almost equally and participants were forced to look at their distinct experiences of loss and privilege in the eyes. On occasion, women found themselves alone, either in their privilege or their marginalization. Having confronted their shared and distinct experiences of patriarchal power relations, the workshop participants were prepared to embark on a journey of critical learning about gender dynamics, intercultural feminism, patriarchy, All photos by Teresita Orozco Mendoza.
and radio production. For most of the women it was their first introduction into concepts related to gender dynamics and intercultural feminism. Thus, a full day of the three-day workshop was devoted to discussing and reflecting on new concepts and ideas, such as feminism, misogyny, machismo, patriarchy, etc., and relating them to the women’s lives. Lauriz Diaz, Guna community broadcaster from Guna Yala, Panama, reflected, “I didn’t know what the words ‘misogyny,’ ‘sorority,’ or ‘feminism’ meant before this. I mentioned that I wanted to give classes to the women in my community through the radio because most of them are illiterate. Now I know what to teach them because of the new concepts I learned.” On day two, the women’s newly acquired knowledge was integrated into journalistic exercises and radio production, and on the third day, they produced and edited spots promoting equality and the active participation of women within patriarchal systems. Participants worked in three groups, each accompanied by a producer, producing a total of 18 radio pieces to be broadcast not only on their radio stations but on all Spanish-speaking community radio stations in Cultural Survival’s vast network. Ramirez commented, “in my [community radio station], we make productions that denigrate women without even realizing. It isn’t direct, but there are double meanings and it is invisible. If we are trying to respect women in the radio, we cannot continue with spots like these. I’m going to bring with me the commitment to speak to my team about fixing this.” This process of professional capacity building, developed by Cultural Survival with the support of the Channel Foundation, had the objective of strengthening the visibility and leadership capacity of women journalists for the development of their own radio spaces and the promotion of actions in favor of gender equity and non-violence. “We recognize that every woman is like a world, with different experiences and learnings. As a facilitating team we had to consider for the success of the process [to be] developed in three days and not five as we expected, because we had to adapt it to the tight agendas of every woman and her different roles. It is important to recognize the effort of each participant to be in a process like this. Many of them, to arrive to Guatemala, had to travel for four days between arrival and return, leaving children and responsibilities at home,” said Teresita Orozco, Cultural Survival program associate. As the workshop came to a close, the women joined their evaluation groups to talk about what they had learned and what they hope to learn in the future. On the whole, the workshop exceeded participants’ expectations, as they
Recording radio spots at the Central American Indigenous Women’s Radio Production Workshop: Intercultural Gender Issues.
L–R top row: Julia of Nuestros Raices Indígenas; Nicaragua; Maria Amparo Amaya Mendoza, Honduras; Karin of Radio Voces Unidas, Guatemala; Concepción Ajanel, Guatemala; Keilen Blanco Salazar, Costa Rica; Meghan Hoskins, Cultural Survival; Esmeralda Leiva Moralez, Costa Rica; Olga Ajcalón, Guatemala. L–R bottom row: Alfredo Rax, Guatemala; Vanessa Cortez, Nicaragua; Madga Tzoc, Guatemala; Lauriz Diaz, Panama; Angélica Cubur, Guatemala; Maria Francisca Díaz, Honduras; Bessi Ramirez, El Salvador; Teresita Orozco Mendoza, Cultural Survival; Angelica Rao, Cultural Survival; Rossy Gonzalez, Cultural Survival; Maria Marta Ramirez, Honduras; Vilma Washington, Nicaragua.
demanded more support, especially in the technical and professional realms. Responding to these requests, two follow up workshops are set to take place in Guatemala and Nicaragua in September of this year. Building on the theoretical and practical skills that were the focus on the first workshop, the second will emphasize improving locution, scriptwriting with inclusive language, and audio mastering to improve the quality of their radio programs. The women’s introductory level understanding of the study of gender, intercultural feminism, and social structures of inequality will be enhanced with more critical and interactive discussions on the initial concepts. In future processes, the goal is to provide more complex editing workshops for the women whose voices resonated this desire to become more experienced broadcasters. The sentiment behind this initiative can be encapsulated in a statement by Suzanne Benally, Cultural Survival’s executive director: “The rights of Indigenous women are crucial to our collective rights as they stand on the front lines as mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers—as women leaders concerned about the survival of our planet, the future of the next generations, our children and those yet to walk the earth. At Cultural Survival, we believe that for Indigenous rights to be respected, protected, and fulfilled, women need to be involved at every level.”
Machismo, feminism, gender roles, prejudice, and stereotypes are some of the concepts the Survival Quarterly participants explored and Cultural discussed.
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B az aar art i st s : Creating Colorful Waves of Phoenician Glass
Hebron Glass Olivia Bradley
eautiful colorful swirls of sea glass is what describes the art of Hebron Glass, a family-owned traditional Palestinian glass blowing business. “According to family history, this craft correlates with the Natsheh family’s presence in Hebron between 122 BCE–330 CE,” says artist and co-owner Hamzeh Natsheh. Established in 1890 and located in the city of Hebron in the West Bank, Hebron Glass employs approximately 60 artisans who work in one of three workshops across the city or from their homes. “All glasswork we do embodies real old stories of Palestinians, unique shapes and patterns. Every home used, and still uses, the glass we make in Hebron as a Palestinian tradition. My brothers and I learned from my Father Tawfiq. My father learned from my grandfather Abed Alhamid Khalil Natsheh. Our handicraft has been proudly inherited from generation to generation and each family member needs at least five years to learn the skills,” Natsheh says. Hebron Glass aims to partner with fair trade associations and uses recycled bottles from local homes and businesses as the raw base material in many of their products. The fuel for the ovens and furnaces is repurposed motor oil from local garages. Natsheh says the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and constraints on freedom of movement in Palestine have impacted the industry, but by recycling these everyday materials, Hebron Glass is able to keep the craft alive and sustainable. They also strive to provide a safe and lucrative working environment for their artisans. Hebron Glass makes a variety of hanging plates, dishes, bowls, goblets, pitchers, and vases. All tabletop items are lead-free, so they are completely safe to use. Phoenician glasswork and ceramics runs in the family of the owners of Hebron Glass and are integral to local heritage. “We used our ceramic and glass in the past (and still) to decorate homes and places in the special events. Palestinians like to use traditional glass and ceramic to present food and pride of Palestinian heritage,” says Natsheh. During the 1940s, business slowed as materials became too expensive, but the tradition has since been revived and is again popular. While the precise process is a family and trade secret, the techniques that the artisans at Hebron Glass use to make their hand-blown glass and hand-thrown ceramic pieces have been used for hundreds of years. “The glass depends on the high skills of the artist who faces the high temperatures of the hot fire,” Natsheh explains. “The glass is fused under approximately 1000 degrees Celsius until it becomes liquid and suitable for blowing. We use a kammasha (steel pipe tool), which is 1 to 1.5 meters long. We leave the piece as soon as it finished in a near room to the oven for cooling down slowly. We recycle and use Coca Cola glass bottles as main raw materials, and we use expensive materials for coloring mixed with plain glass during the blowing stages. The ceramics are thrown on the handwheel, leave for two days to dry then baked on 1000 degrees C, after we decorate it with black and other six colors, glaze it and bake it again under 1000 degrees C.” Hebron Glass has exhibited at Santa Fe International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Salon des métiers d’art du Montreal, Québec; the London Chamber of Commerce art fair; International Festival of Glass UK; Muscat Festival, Oman; Ten Thousand Villages; and most recently, the Cultural Survival Bazaars.
Hebron Glass creations were a top seller at the Cultural Survival Winter Bazaars.
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Join us at this Summer’s Cultural Survival Bazaars: July 22–23 at DCR Pilgrim Memorial State Park, Plymouth, MA; July 29–30 at Tiverton Four Corners Art Center, Tiverton, RI. Visit bazaar.cs.org for more information.
All photos by Jess Cherofsky.
s t af f s pot lig h t
Making an Impact through Collaborative Grantmaking Jackie Tiller, Project Manager, Keepers of the Earth Fund
ultural Survival is elated to welcome Jackie Tiller to our staff. Tiller was born and raised in Ketchikan, Alaska. Her mother was Tlingit and her father was Filipino, but, she says, “sadly, my mom left before I was one year old and I was raised by my father and older siblings.” Tiller reconnected with her mother later in her childhood and met Jackie Tiller more of her relatives, also learning about traditional Tlingit foods like eulachon (a small anadromous ocean fish), herring eggs on pine boughs or seaweed, and smoked salmon. Tiller started her professional life as an assistant in her local Tribal economic development office. In 1982, she married a man in the U.S. Coast Guard and moved to Virginia. For the next several years she worked for a nonprofit organization administering a USDA Child and Adult Care Feeding Program. In 1995, remarried, between jobs, and raising three boys, she saw an ad in the paper for a program assistant at a Native American nonprofit in Fredericksburg, Virginia and decided to apply. “I did not have a computer and was out of cover letters to submit with my resume, so I had to handwrite one on the only paper I had, yellow legal pad,” she remembers. She got the call for an interview, and then a second interview. Finally, “after two weeks of waiting and nearly giving up hope, I arrived home to a message on my answering machine from First Nations Development Institute saying they had an offer for me, and would I please return the call as soon as possible. I was jumping for joy in my living room and screaming at the top of my lungs before I had even heard the offer. I wanted that job!” Tiller was offered the position of program assistant in the newly created grantmaking department of First Nations Development Institute, which served reservation-based and rural Native-led nonprofits and Native American Tribes doing economic development. She stayed for more than a decade, eventually leaving when she realized career advancement within the organization was no longer possible. About six months into her next job, a chance email would send her on the career path to which she continues today—or as Tiller describes it, “I received the call that put me back on the path of serving Indigenous Peoples.” For the last decade, Tiller worked as the administrative, grants, and internship manager at First Peoples Worldwide, helping to bring structure and systems to the organization and its programs with emphasis on Indigenous Peoples grantmaking. She also served as a board member of Native Americans in Philanthropy and the Community Food
Security Coalition, and has participated extensively on grant review panels of several federal agencies and other Indigenous nonprofits, advocating for funding to be directed to Indigenous community projects. “My inspirations have been Indigenous Peoples from around the world who have used their voices and their bodies to protect their territories. I am especially inspired by women, Indigenous and non, who carry the torch for their communities and light the way for others to follow in their footsteps. Women inspire me. They make me feel proud to be Indigenous. . . . I will never cease to be amazed by the resilience of Indigenous Peoples in voicing their rights to resources and demanding their voices be heard.” Tiller joins Cultural Survival as the Keepers of the Earth Fund grants project manager, where she is responsible for administering and coordinating Indigenous Peoples’ grants for community development. “As grantmakers, we are the holders of the resources,” she says. “Our communities often lack expertise in fundraising and information about sources of support, have no or archaic technology, and often face language challenges. We need to be mindful of the challenges our communities face, especially technologically. We need to be sure we are truly supporting their project as they have designed it, [and to] encourage open lines of communication. We are the donor, not the gatekeeper.”
Jackie Tiller (right) in action at a food sovereignty workshop with the Community Food Security Coalition.
To learn more about the Keepers of the Earth Fund, contact Jackie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cultural Survival Quarterly
June 2017 • 27
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Convention on the Protection of the Rights Joshua Cooper Human rights are measured through United Nations covenants and conventions. Regular State reviews monitor how the rights enshrined in these treaties are being implemented. The review of every nation offers a chance to educate citizens and demand realization of the rights enshrined in the treaties ratified by their governments. Indigenous Peoples’ involvement is essential to seek justice through the review process. In this series we aim to break down the core treaties.
he International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (CRMW) is a global diplomatic deal to guarantee dignity and equality in an era of globalization. The UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 45/158 without a vote on December 18, 1990. The Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (CMW) is the mechanism to monitor and measure the national agencies and actors responsible for implementation of the CRMW articles. The Convention sets minimum standards for migrant workers and members of their families, with a focus on eliminating the exploitation of workers in the migration process. The reporting cycle is an important process to ensure compliance of rights with international obligations under the core human rights conventions. The cycle creates a unique opportunity to assess the state of human rights protection within one’s own jurisdiction and to create a national plan for effective policymaking and implementation of the rights recognized in the Convention. The Convention defines groups of migrant workers in specific categories: frontier, seasonal, self-employed, seafarer, and itinerant, and consists of nine parts: scope and definitions; non-discrimination with respect to rights; human rights of all migrants; other rights of migrants who are documented or in a regular situation; provisions applicable to particular categories of migrants; the promotion of sound, equitable, humane, and lawful conditions in connection with international migration; application of the convention; general provisions; and final provisions.
A 14-member committee serves as the main mechanism to monitor and measure States’ abilities to apply the articles of the Convention. The CMW reviews State reports and inter- acts with governmental delegations to enforce the rights in the Convention. Essential to the interaction at the international human rights level is the ability of advocates and activists to provide input during the reporting process to ensure the effectiveness of the Convention. The initial report is due one year after a country ratifies the Convention. Periodic reports are due every five years and 28 • ww w. cs. org
Migrant workers from Laos and Myanmar in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo courtesy of ILO/Sai Min Zaw.
whenever requested by the CMW. These reports clarify the current situation and commitment to comply with the convention, and should cover the substantive CRMW articles as well as build on its constitutional and legal frameworks. The Committee encourages governments to use the Convention as a guide in administrative policymaking and legislative practices. There is a List of Issues Prior to Reporting (LOIPR) to guide the entire cycle, and the Concluding Observations to guarantee results before the beginning of the next review. The reporting process is centered around a conversation where the voices of the migrant workers and their families are heard. The CMW was modified in April 2011. Now the Committee draws up a list of issues first, with the subsequent State report being a response. Civil society should still begin the reporting cycle with communities sharing their visions of fundamental freedoms relating to migration and how they want to realize rights. From these basic conversations, campaigns can be coordinated to generate pressure on States throughout the five phases of the reporting cycle. The people’s movement can shape the conversation by choosing the issues. There are two plenary sessions every year. The first takes place for two weeks in April, and the second for a week and a half in late August to early September. During each plenary session, the Committee examines initial and periodic reports. It will also adopt the LOIPR for other States coming up in next year for review. As with all treaty bodies, the Committee meetings all take place in Geneva, predominantly at the Palais Wilson. There are a variety of ways for people to be heard at the plenary sessions, and it is important to be involved as early
of All Migrant Workers and Their Families as possible in the process—up to 18 months prior to the State review. NGOs should present the information from the community and national level conversations to put people’s priorities as central concerns, and must be persistent in every phase of the process. It is vital for NGOs to participate with the Committee immediately prior to the consideration phase through the informal meetings and lunchtime briefing during the plenary sessions. It is also crucial to be available for any discussion regarding the drafting of the Concluding Observation recommendations. The International NGO Platform for the Migrant Workers Convention is an important partner in the implementation of the Convention. The UN human rights treaty body process follows a similar pattern of the five phases for each State review: preparation, interaction, consideration, adoption, and implementation. The first and final phases are concentrated more in one’s community and country, where human rights matter most. The three middle phases are centered around the Committee process and the directly impacted individuals and communities.
Preparation: Education and Explanation
The preparation phase is predominantly centered around engaging with one’s own community to understand the United Nations human rights instrument and institution. Civil society must educate people around the rights enshrined in the Convention and explain what the UN human rights mechanisms can and can’t do to realize these rights. The heart of the action in the preparation phase is examining the human rights record of the government under review, holding the State accountable and moving toward a campaign that can utilize the UN to change daily human rights conditions. It is an opportunity to influence state policies and practices to positively impact Indigenous Peoples’ daily lives and promote dignity, equality, and justice. The most important result of the preparation phase is the creation of an alternative report that supplements the State report and the LOIPR. It is advisable to coordinate the preparation phase at least 12–18 months prior to the review of the State.
Interaction and Consideration
The interaction phase consists of participation with the CMW to ensure that the issues, questions, and specific recommendations from the people’s conversations are understood and considered in the State review. It prepares the 14 Committee members, especially the Country Rapporteur, to be able to read through the government rhetoric and raise specific questions that capture the main challenges regarding current practices by policymakers and politicians. The core of this phase is initiation and building of relationships with Committee experts. Civil society’s purpose is to provide simplified documents for each article and the LOIPR in one to two pages. The documents are to be shared with Committee members to allow for more constructive dialogue. It is essential to attempt
to engage with the State to partner for solutions. Recommendations should be targeted toward a country’s national policies and transformation of the current political model to achieve the articles of the Convention. It is best to start the campaign 15–18 months in advance. NGOs can assist the Country Rapporteur to ensure questions and recommendations are featured prominently in the Concluding Observations. The interaction allows civil society to begin engagement at the plenary session one year prior to the review of the State. Civil society provides input from directly impacted individuals to Committee all the way up to the actual start of the review. The interaction phase intensifies one month prior to the plenary session with submission of a shadow report. It is also important to begin distributing the short summary sheets with Committee experts during this phase. The consideration phase is where civil society’s earlier interactions result in an informed Committee speaking on behalf of a national human rights movement. The coordination of civil society should result in national recommendations that provide a roadmap to realizing rights for migrant workers and members of their families. NGOs should submit their shadow reports to the CMW and Secretariat three weeks prior to the plenary session.
Adoption: Mobilization and Connection
The adoption phase is where recommendations are issued to the State based on the responses to the LOIPR, the shadow reports of NGOs, civil society briefings, and the interactive dialogue in the six-hour review of the State. At the adoption, the CMW releases its Concluding Observations, which provide a blueprint for a better approach to promoting and protecting human rights of migrants. There is also mention of wide dissemination so there can be a national conversation on the results of the CMW that can generate conversations in government agencies and departments all the way to the grassroots communities throughout the country. It is vital to ensure the communities receive results of the campaign. The thematic working groups and national coalition must maintain its mobilization and create new connections to realize the recommendations in the Concluding Observations.
Implementation: Dedication and Realization
The final phase of implementation requires dedicated followup for fundamental rights and freedoms cited in the Concluding Observation announced at the adoption. The Concluding Observations create a blueprint highlighting the major concerns to build better policy, and also provides the next deadline for a national report, allowing all advocates to create a multi-year plan to realize human rights at home. — Joshua Cooper is a professor at the University of Hawai’i, West Oahu, Kapolei and director of the Hawai’i Institute for Human Rights. Cultural Survival Quarterly
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Announcing the Keepers of the Earth Fund Cultural Survival is proud to announce the Keepers of the Earth Fund, a small grants fund designed to support Indigenous Peoplesâ€™ community advocacy and development projects. Keepers of the Earth Fund provides grants ranging from $500 to $10,000 that go directly to grassroots Indigenous organizations and groups to support their self-designed advocacy and development projects based on local, traditional values. Projects can address a vast array of economic and cultural development strategies including cultural retention, language revitalization, food sovereignty, climate change, gender equality, environmental defense against extractive industries, Free, Prior and Informed consent, leadership and governance, and much more. Since 2007, the Keepers of the Earth Fund has instilled a new sense of hope and future orientation through small grants and technical assistance to over 350 Indigenous-led projects in 64 countries around the world, totaling nearly $2.5 million.
Make an impact today by investing in Indigenous rights.
Donate online at cs.org/donate or call 617.441.5400 x18 Thank you for all you do. You make our work possible every day!