Cultural Survival Q
Vol. 41, Issue 4 â€¢ DECEMBEr 2017 US $4.99/CAN $6.99
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Nicole Friederichs Evelyn Arce Erickson (Muisca) Kaimana Barcarse (Kanaka Hawai’i) Jason Campbell (Spokane) Joseph Goko Mutangah Laura Graham Jean Jackson Ajb’ee Jiménez (Mam Maya) Lesley Kabotie (Crow) John King Stephen Marks Tui Shortland (Ma–ori) Stella Tamang (Tamang) FOUNDERS David & Pia Maybury-Lewis Cultural Survival Headquarters 2067 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA 02140 t 617.441.5400 f 617.441.5417 www.cs.org Santa Fe Office Mailing Address 518 Old Santa Fe Trail, Suite 1-641 Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505 Asociación Sobrevivencia Cultural 6ta Avenida 5-27, Local “C” Zona 1, Sumpango, Sacatepéquez, Guatemala Cultural Survival Quarterly
Copy Editor: Jenn Goodman Designer: NonprofitDesign.com Contributing Arts Editor: Phoebe Farris Managing Editor: Agnes Portalewska Copyright 2017 by Cultural Survival, Inc. Cultural Survival Quarterly (ISSN 0740-3291) is published quarterly by Cultural Survival, Inc. at PO Box 381569, Cambridge, MA 02238. Periodical postage paid at Boston, MA 02205 and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to Cultural Survival, PO Box 381569, Cambridge, MA 02238. Printed on recycled paper in the U.S.A. Please note that the views in this magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Cultural Survival.
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Every year, eight million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans. Photo by iStockphoto/fergregory.
F e at u r e s
D e pa r t m e n t s
14 Our Oceans. Our Future. The United Nations Discusses Oceans
Joshua Cooper About 27 million Indigenous people in nearly 2,000 communities across 87 countries live in coastal communities. The state of the world’s oceans has grave effects on all mankind.
16 Respecting the Sea: A Conversation with Elizabeth James-Perry 18 Citizen Stewardship: Mobilizing to Protect the Ocean and Its Resources in Hawai’i Kevin Chang
20 Making Peace with Atabeira in a Time of Climate Crises Roberto Múkaro Borrero
22 Self-Determined Nation Christina Verán
23 The Ocean Is Life Norton Dowries
24 Mni Ki Wakan: World Indigenous Peoples’ Decade of Water Summit Builds a Movement
Executive Director’s Message
2 In the News 4 Indigenous Arts: I Sing What’s Inside Me: Jennifer Elizabeth Kreisberg
6 Women the world must hear Bringing Back Balance: Women Revitalizing the Mapuche Economy
Climate Change The Archipelago of Hope: Wisdom and Resilience from the Edge of Climate Change
10 Rights in Action We Are the Caretakers: The Next Chapter of Standing Rock
26 Bazaar Artist Out of Mud: Habibou Coulibaly
27 In Memoriam Sarah W. Fuller
29 Get Involved Sustainable Development Goals
Lemoine LaPointe, Wakinyan LaPointe, Jon Lurie, Jess Cherofsky
Representatives from over 15 Native nations shared their visions about the future of water in their communities at a summit in Minneapolis, MN.
On the cover Women fishing with nets at a beach in Nungwi, Zanzibar, Tanzania. Photo by iStockphoto/Nicole Moraira.
E xecut iv e Di rector’ S messa ge
Our Oceans. Our Futures.
ater is life. And our oceans are precious sources of that life. As Indigenous Peoples, we have been sounding the alarm for decades, warning the world that a shift needs to happen towards a more sustainable and equitable future. It is sad and horrifying to see how greed is destroying the delicate ocean ecosystems that have sustained generations for thousands of years. Every day Indigenous communities around the globe are impacted by climate change. We are working to adapt or mitigate climate change based on practices rooted in cultural tradition, Indigenous knowledge, and science accumulated over millennia. This work is probably the most important work being done, because it is based in understanding of spiritual relationship and responsibilities given to us as human beings. We must return to this fundamental understanding of relationship to assure the future for all of life. We simply cannot adapt and mitigate in response to climate change, yet continue our destructive behaviors. We must respect the relationships and sacred knowledge and live according to those principles. As Dave Courchene said in reflection about the recent gathering of scientists and Indigenous knowledge keepers at Turtle Lodge, “Climate change is really about human change—a change of heart. We come forward as elders and knowledge keepers to continue to share our knowledge to provide a direction that can help us move forward to a much more sustainable Earth.” This knowledge is deeply embedded in our worldviews and relationship with the natural world, as well as in our cultural practices. As Elizabeth James-Perry said in an interview with Cultural Survival, “Ceremony reinforces these connections. Our culture teaches us to have a healthy respect for the sea, and we have long made our homes by it and upon it, enjoying the
food, mineral and plant resources, harpooning, net and hook fishing, clamming, swimming, diving, and traveling comfortably by dugout canoes to many of the places we needed or wanted to go.” This is the knowledge that must be heard, respected, and implemented. In an article about the continuation of Indigenous activism, Roberto Múkaro Borrero writes, “In 2009, a diverse Caribbean Indigenous delegation joined other Indigenous Peoples from around the world in Anchorage, Alaska, calling upon States to work towards decreasing dependency on fossil fuels and a just transition to decentralized renewable energy economies, sources, and systems owned and controlled by local communities to achieve energy security and sovereignty.” As I write this, COP 23 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is finishing up in Bonn, Germany, and State governments have finally acknowledged for the first time that Indigenous Peoples can play a leadership role in climate change mitigation. A document approved in Bonn recognizes that countries “should, when taking action to address climate change, respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities.” The document also proposes greater participation of Indigenous communities in leadership roles and mentions a need for funding. I am thankful for all the Indigenous leaders and activists who regularly attend these international meetings, pushing State governments to take notice of Indigenous Peoples’ rights, and demanding participation in all matters affecting Indigenous communities. 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 Nati Garcia (Maya Mam), Indigenous Community Media Youth Fellowship Coordinator Dev Kumar Sunuwar (Kumar/Sunuwar), Program Associate, Community Media Grants Project 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 Diana Pastor (Maya K’iche’), Assistant Agnes Portalewska, Communications Manager Angelica Rao, Executive Coordinator & Community Media Program Coordinator Melissa A. Stevens, Director of Philanthropic Partnerships Jackie Tiller (Tlingit), Keepers of the Earth Fund Project Manager Miranda Vitello, Development Associate
Sobreviviencia Cultural STAFF (Our Sister Organization in Guatemala) Elsa Amandar, Project Coordinator Manuel Burrion, Bookkeeper
INTERNS AND VOLUNTEERS Lauren Bond, Megan Davis, Nasteha Feto, Rocío Granero, Nazifa Haque, Tracy Lai, Kim Maida, Ana Lucia Rodriguez
Suzanne Benally, Executive Director (Navajo and Santa Clara Tewa)
2017 Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation: 1. Publication Title: Cultural Survival Quarterly 2. Publication Number: 0740-3291 3. Filing Date: October 1, 2017 4. Issue Frequency: Quarterly 5. Number of Issues Published Annually: Four 6. Annual Subscription Price: $45.00 7. Mailing Address of Publication: 2067 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA 02140 8. Mailing Address of Publisher Headquarters: 2067 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA 02140 9. Full Mailing Address and Complete Names of Publisher, Editor, and Managing Editor-Publisher: Cultural Survival, Inc. 2067 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA 02140, Editor/Managing Editor: Agnes Portalewska, Cultural Survival, 2067 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA 02140 10. Owner: Cultural Survival, Inc., 2067 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA 02140 11. Known Bondholders, Mortgagees, and Other Securities: None 12. Tax Status: The purpose, function, and nonprofit status for federal income tax purposes has not changed during the preceding 12 months 13. Publication Title: Cultural Survival Quarterly 14. Issue Date for Circulation Data Below: December 2017-Issue 41, Volume 4 15. Extent and Nature of Circulation: a. Total Number of Copies: Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months: 3200; Actual No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date: 3400 b. Paid and/or Requested Circulation-1. Paid/Requested Outside-County Mail Subscriptions Stated on Form 3541: 1450; 1300 2. Paid In-County Subscriptions: 270; 260 3. Sales Through Dealers and Carriers, Street Vendors, Counter Sales, and Other Non-USPS Paid Distribution: 800; 600 4. Other Classes Mailed Through the USPS: 100; 120 c. Total Paid and/or Requested Circulation: 2620; 2280 d. Free or Nominal Rate Distribution 1. Free or Nominal Rate Outside-County 50; 60 2. Free or Nominal Rate In-County : 100; 70 3. Free or Nominal Rate Copies Mailed at Other Classes 50; 60 4. Free or Nominal Rate Distribution Outside the Mail 100; 150 e. Total Free or Nominal Rate Distribution: 300; 440 f. Total Distribution: 2920; 2530 g. Copies Not Distributed: 280; 870 h. Total: 3200; 3400 i. Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation: 89; 90 16. This Statement of Ownership is printed in the December 2017 issue of this publication 17. I certify that all information furnished on this form is true and complete: Agnes Portalewska, Communications Manager, Cultural Survival, Inc.
Cultural Survival Quarterly
December 2017 • 1
i n t he new s Peru: Government Support for Indigenous Languages
In August, Japan officially recognized the Ainu as Indigenous Peoples. Photo courtesy of CactusBeetRoot.
The government of President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski is supporting the use of Indigenous languages through broadcasting television news programs in Quechua. Additional programming will also be produced in the Amazonian languages of Shipibo-Konibo and Ashaninka. The policy will additionally require government agencies to provide services in native languages in districts where they are predominantly spoken.
Japan: Government Recognizes the Ainu as an Indigenous People August
For the first time in its history, the Japanese government is recognizing the Ainu people of Hokkaido as Indigenous with their own unique language, religious, and cultural identity. After years of forced assimilation, legislation is being considered that will improve the Ainus’ standard of living and education.
United States: D.C. District Court Judge Upholds Treaty Rights for Cherokee Freedman August
The District Judge of Washington, D.C. has extended Cherokee citizenship rights to the descendents of Cherokee freedmen who were the slaves of the Cherokee Nation until after the conclusion of the United States Civil War. The decision is the result of a case brought by descendants of Cherokee freedmen in 2003.
Rhode Island: Pokanokets Reach Agreement with Brown University Over Land Dispute
places the land in a preservation trust while emphasizing cooperation between local tribes, including the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, the Assonet Band of the Wampanoag Nation, the Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribe, and the Pocasset Tribe of the Pokanoket Nation.
Maine: Governor Restores Tribes’ Public Health Funding September
Maine Governor Paul LePage is restoring state funding for public health programs, including mental health and addiction prevention programs, that benefited four federally recognized Tribes in the state. The state had previously reduced funding for tribal efforts to improve public health by nearly one half.
Mexico: Courts Fail to Sign Over Land to the Huichol People September
After court officials failed to attend a meeting with the Huichol community to sign over title of bitterly contested farmland in western Sierra Madre, Huichol families are setting up camps awaiting their reinstatement. The land has been at the center of almost a century of conflict between the Huichol people and ranchers, who each claim title to the land. A series of lawsuits recently ruled in favor of the Huichol community.
Brown University has signed an agreement with the Pokanoket Tribe of Rhode Island regarding a 375-acre piece of land known as Mount Hope/ Potumtuk, putting an end to weeks of protest by the Tribe. The agreement 2 • www. cs. org
Guyana: Wachipan Develop a Monitoring System to Protect Ancestral Lands September
The Wachipan People have set up a system of monitoring and protecting
their ancestral lands from development with the use of community monitoring teams, smartphone technology, drones, and digital maps. By setting up a website controlled by villages, the Wachipan hope to raise awareness of human rights abuses and environmental damages in the area. Information collected will be used in formal land discussions with the government about the impact of mining and development on local Indigenous communities.
Ecuador: Chevron’s Environmental Disaster Case Heard in Canada September
After Chevron Corporation sold its assets in Ecuador to avoid responsibility for its oil-related catastrophe in the country, the case is moving to Canada, where the company continues to hold assets. Since the discovery of oil in the Ecuadorian rainforest in the 1960s, Indigenous Peoples have suffered the consequences of toxic pits, poisoned rivers, and the dumping of 16 billion gallons of waste into their water. Chevron has continuously avoided accountability for this environmental disaster.
Papua New Guinea: Indonesian President Recognizes Indigenous Land Rights October
Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced the government relinquishing control of nine tracts of forest to Indigenous communities, following a 2013 decision by Indonesia’s highest court that removed Indigenous Peoples’ customary forests from under state control. The nine newly designated customary forests cover 13 square miles on the islands of Sumatra, Borneo, and Sulawesi.
Campaign Updates Belize: Our Life, Our Lands— Respect Maya Land Rights International Court Hearing Shows Government’s Noncompliance in Landmark Maya Land Rights Case In a regional international court on October 23, 2017, Maya leaders attested that the Belize government has failed to uphold a court order protecting the rights of the Maya people of Toledo to their customary lands. The court order, delivered in April 2015, reaffirmed that the 39 Q’eqchi and Mopan Maya Indigenous communities of southern Belize have rights to the lands they have customarily used and occupied. Appellants of the case noted that the government continues to issue forestry and other resource extraction permits on Maya lands without the consent of and consultation with the Maya people, while also failing to develop a legislative mechanism for which Maya customary land title may be established in equal weight to private lands. Appellants also spoke of government efforts to undermine the legitimacy of Maya traditional governance structure by directly contacting Maya leaders in their individual capacity, isolated from their technical assistance and organizational support. The government has faced heavy criticism for its non-compliance both domestically and internationally from human rights experts, Indigenous legal scholars, and foreign government officials.
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.
Peru: Force Oil Company to Clean Up Spills Indigenous Federations Enter Negotiations with Peru as Protests Paralyze Oil Extraction Since midSeptember, Indigenous communities in northern Peru have maintained a peaceful blockade of 50 oil wells in Peru’s largest oil concession, paralyzing 12,000 barrels of oil production per day. The federations are calling for respect of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) before a new license is authorized by the Peruvian government. The communities have repeatedly demanded, and been promised, environmental remediation and health services. Because of mismanagement of extraction projects spanning decades, the Achuar, Kichwa, Kukama, Quechua, and Urarina Indigenous Peoples living in the region have dealt with appalling conditions including contaminated rivers, streams, and lakes, along with health problems such as epidemics, miscarriages, skin diseases, and even death. Despite laws that mandate prior consultation, the Ministry of Energy and Mining has excluded Indigenous organizations such as Federacion Indígena Quechua del Pastaza (FEDIQUEP), Federación de Comunidades Nativas del Alto Tigre (FECONAT), and Federación de Comunidades Nativas del Corrientes (FECONACO) from discussion, preventing them from securing their rights and protecting rivers and forests from oil contamination. In 2015, UN rapporteurs issued a mandate to the Peruvian government expressing extreme concern about the lack of prior consultation with Indigenous communities in the area.
Cameroon: Palm Oil vs. People and the Planet Nasako Besingi Arrested; Remains in Custody On September 25, 2017, Nasako Besingi, a human rights defender in Cameroon, was arrested and taken into custody on the initial charges of insurrection, threats, hostility, and promoting false information. He was taken from his office by local law enforcement and military officers, who also confiscated his laptop and phone, to the Buea police headquarters, and ultimately to the Buea prison later that day. Besingi is the director of Struggle to Economize the Future Environment, a nongovernmental organization based in the village of Mundemba, Cameroon, that asserts the land rights of local communities facing palm oil plantations. He has led protests against the American agribusiness corporation, Herakles Farms, which was developing a palm oil plantation in the region until handing operations over subsidiary to SGSOC. As an activist, Besingi has experienced a history of police harassment for his efforts to defend human rights. He has faced fines and charges over defamation allegations from Herakles Farm that “caused injury to the company.” Besingi’s arrest is part of a larger issue of harassment against legitimate human rights and environmental defenders in Cameroon.
Take action at www.cs.org/ take-action. Read more news at www.cs.org/news. Cultural CulturalSurvival SurvivalQuarterly Quarterly December September2017 2017 • • 33
indi geno u s a rts
Jennifer Elizabeth Kreisberg
I Sing What’s Inside Me
Photo by Tailinh Agoyo.
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Photo by Barry Gnyp.
inger, composer, and activist Jennifer Elizabeth Kreisberg (Tuscarora of North Carolina) comes from four generations of singing sisters on her maternal line. Her fierce and passionate vocals have appeared on soundtracks for movies such as Smoke Signals, Unnatural and Accidental, The Business of Fancydancing, Elijah, Follow Me Home, and on the television series, The Native Americans, in a newly released documentary “Rumble: The Indians Who Rocketed the World.” At age 17, Kreisberg became the youngest member of Ulali, the critically acclaimed female acapella trio, who have brought Native music to venues such as Woodstock 1994, the 1996 Olympics, and countless international festivals. Recently Kreisberg performed at Cultural Survival’s summer Bazaars in Plymouth, MA and Tiverton, RI. “I sing what’s inside me. If something bugs me I sing about it. Everything inspires me. It’s what I feel inside and what I see,” Kreisberg says. She cites Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, and Chaka Khan as her contemporary vocal influences, and names her family as her biggest source of influence in pursuing music. Singing in various Native languages, including her traditional Tuscarora language, many of Kreisberg’s songs address Native life. In collaboration with Métis/Dene writer Marie Clements, The Road Forward film features lyrics that shine light on the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women in North America, “I feel your breath, I know your pain, I hear you cry. We carry the load together, you and I. . . .” The spiritual song, Wah Jhi Le Yihm (I Carry You With Me), which Kreisberg co-composed with Ulali for the film Smoke Signals, similarly uses emotionally charged vocals to tell the stories of her people. Kreisberg joined Ulali full time a few years after its initial founding.after singing with a Connecticut-based drum group as a teenager. Kreisberg, her cousin Pura Fe, and the group’s other co-founder, Soni Moreno gelled to become the household name of Ulali. With performances at the People’s Climate March in New York City, the Native Nations March on Washington, D.C. to support Standing Rock, and in Native communities across the U.S. and Canada, Kreisberg and Ulali have been using their talents to support Native voices, initiatives, and struggles for almost 30 years. Kreisberg has won many awards for her music, including the Native American Song of the Year Music Award in 2007 for her single, Have Hope, which will be included in her soon
to be released solo album, Wah Thye Yeh Rak (She Mixed It). She is currently working on multiple projects that continue to bring to light Native American issues. “I’m still working on my next album, but there’s light at the end of that tunnel,” she says. “I’m working on a film now called Dawnland, about the first Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the U.S. It’s about the Penobscot and Passamaquoddy folks; I was graciously brought in to do the soundtrack for that film.” Dawnland documents the tragic forced removal of Indigenous children from their families in Maine—a practice that still continues today—and the consequences the events have had on individuals struggling with the resulting trauma, guilt, and loss, along with the establishment of the Maine WabanakiState Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Recently Kreisberg worked on another documentary by Marie Clements called The Road Forward, released earlier this year in Canada, about an Aboriginal movement that started with a battle for fishing rights in British Columbia and featured the work of the British Columbia Native Brotherhood and The Native Voice newspaper. “I did most of the music for that movie and I was in it for some of the musical parts. A whole movement happened there that none of us knew about; I learned a lot working on it,” she says. The film connects First Nations activism of the 1930s with activism today, while showcasing Native vocalists and musicians.
With movies like The Road Forward and Dawnland, Kreisberg uses her musical talents to raise awareness about Native struggles both contemporary and historic. She also serves as a board member for Honor the Earth, a Native-led organization established by Winona LaDuke and the Indigo Girls, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers, to address the two primary needs of the Native environmental movement: “the need to break the geographic and political isolation of Native communities and the need to increase financial resources for organizing and change.” It was through a benefit concert for Honor the Earth that Kreisberg and Ulali got the opportunity to collaborate with Sherman Alexie (Spokane-Coeur d’Alene), the acclaimed Native American novelist, screenplay writer, and filmmaker, known for works that tell the stories of life on Indian reservations. “We did a benefit for Honor the Earth, and Sherman Alexie, who wrote the screenplay for Smoke Signals, was there. He saw us sing and we befriended each other and kept in touch. He said he needed some music, so he asked us to compose a song for the end of the film, to sort of wrap up the film. He wanted it to be women’s voices and he wanted it to be strong. It took us almost 24 hours. We didn’t really take any breaks. We just kept watching the end of the movie over and over.” Their song, titled Wah Jhi Le Yihm (I Carry You With Me) in the Tutelo language, appears at the end of the film. Released in 1998, Smoke Signals holds the groundbreaking distinction of being the first film written, directed, and co-produced by Native Americans. Kreisberg later appeared in, and contributed music for Alexie’s subsequent film, The Business of Fancydancing. Kreisberg has been acknowledged throughout Indian Country for her achievements as a traditional Native singer and hand-drummer. She was the recipient of the Eagle Spirit Achievement Award from the American Indian Film Institute in San Francisco, a winner of the Native Women’s Recognition Award, a Genie recipient (a Canadian award akin to the Academy Awards) for her song Have Hope, and has also been presented with the key to the city of Greensborough, North Carolina. At the historic Women’s March on Washington, D.C. on January 21, 2017, she sang the opening song, reminding all of the need to recognize and include Native women. When asked if she tries to make crossover songs in her traditional language, she responded, “I don’t. It’s not a goal of mine. If anything I do or I’m a part of gets out there, it’s just sheer luck.” Kreisberg also has a long history of collaboration with fellow musicians. She was recently featured on a song called The Muse, in collaboration with Canadian electronic dance music band, A Tribe Called Red. “I got to be one of the many features on their last album and it was a lot of fun to sing on that type of music,” she says. “They gave me a track and said, ‘do whatever you want,’ and I brought them a love song in English. They were totally supportive of that. They are good guys and always make a safe space for us women at their shows, good homies.”
Jennifer Kreisberg declares an assertion of sovereignty over her body and image.
Photo by Nadya Kwandibens, Red Works.
Hear Jennifer Kreisberg’s music and see her most recent projects on her website: www.jenniferelizabethkreisberg.com
Cultural Survival Quarterly
December 2017 • 5
women th e wo r ld m u st hear
BRINGING BACK BALANCE
Women Revitalizing the Mapuche Economy spaces where they can eat healthy grass to have good quality wool. And here we can’t because of the little space that there is.”
Women Entrepreneurs and a Community Asset-Management Model
Women exchange non-monetary assets during the annual Trafkintu gift exchange, an event organized by Llaguepulli´s Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo.
Alison Guzman and Ignacio Krell
iviana Calfuqueo weaves at her witral, or Mapuche standing loom, on the doorsteps of the house she shares with husband, five children, and their grandmother. She patiently embeds Mapuche ancestral symbols into the colorful wool strands handmade with fiber obtained from sheep, raised by families in her community, or lof, of Allipén, at the shores of Lake Budi in northern Patagonia, Chile. Her fingers, like her mother’s and grandmother’s, delicately separate the naturallydyed threads so that the design of her work will fully emerge in the days to come. Beauty, in Mapuche art production, necessitates endurance. Back inside the small wooden house, with warm mates (tea in a gourd) being passed around, Calfuqueo explains the importance of Mapuche textiles for Indigenous women in today’s southern Chile: “Mapuche life revolves around our family, our lof, our culture. The debt the State has with us as a Mapuche peoples is to return our lands, because that loss was the worst damage that could have come upon us as a people . . . that way, we lose our own economy. Our sheep need large
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Kuzao Zomo (Women Entrepreneurs) is an artisan association founded by women in the Mapuche community of Allipén to revitalize cultural and economic resilience through traditional Indigenous art. Calfuqueo says, “What we have here is unique, because it comes as a birthright of our peoples. This livelihood for women means having the option to not leave her home; these textiles are ours, and we are our own boss. All this is ours. It is the work of our peoples.” For Calfuqueo and her associates, strengthening the textile economy and the central role of women in it, is a challenge. “The goal,” she says, “is to see the women be able to have their own economy without depending on their husbands, or an institution, or have to leave the community. When that goal happens, that is when I will say, ‘ok, work accomplished!’— when I see that the women are able to say to themselves that their work is valued. Culture is the base of our work. Of course the economic incentive is important, but it isn’t the most important. The cultural reason, something we can call our own, is the most essential. From there we begin.” Calfuqueo began her mission toward Indigenous economic autonomy four years ago in the neighboring community of Llaguepulli, where her family of origin is, when she joined three other women managers to form the Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo (Mutual Support Group), or Rekuluwun-Kelluwun, in the native Mapuche language of Mapundungun. A grantee of Keepers of the Earth Fund, Rekuluwun-Kelluwun is a community fund co-designed with Oregon-based nonprofit MAPLE Microdevelopment and members of her community to revitalize Mapuche culture and recuperate their ancestral economy. They aim to create a unique Mapuche community finance model as a tool that will facilitate the community’s 40 families to retain cash flow within their lof. This model, in turn, has strengthened community linkages for the rebuilding of a self-managed Mapuche economy in the community. “For us women, there aren’t alternatives here in the community to earn a living,” Calfuqueo explains. “Here, if it weren’t for this entrepreneurial work, our women would be as we were before…planting the potato crop, which doesn’t take us anywhere. Women are left with no option but to leave as temporary workers for the blueberry season, or pick potatoes. That is where we are stuck in dependency, where it is not our own.” With globalization and pressures of emigration, capital All photos courtesy of MAPLE.
L–R: Alison Guzman of MAPLE, Virginia Lefio, and her niece visit their family organic quinoa farm, a project revitalizing Mapuche ancestral foods and economy.
Viviana Calfuqueo weaves at her witral, or Mapuche traditional loom.
becomes essential for basic necessities. However, it is also a controversial topic in a context where communities are striving to recuperate their land-based abundance and social solidarity through a values-based, Mapuche-managed economy. A key component of the Rekuluwun-Kelluwun model is the respect for Az Mapu, or Mapuche cultural norms. Since the project began, key decisions have been made under the guidance of Mapuche traditional authorities such as the Longko and Werken (messengers) through an advisory council. Inclusivity and solidarity became a prioritized norm; hence the name, Rekuluwun, which literally translates to “leaning on each other.” The model ensures that monetary assets are as important as non-monetary assets such as seeds, textiles, and farm animals. Now in its fourth cycle, the Rekuluwun-Kelluwun project serves as a uniquely Mapuche model for communities of Lake Budi to co-manage their assets and support families with specific needs through culturally envisioned business initiatives, organic gardens, chicken coops, and artisan production. These initiatives are in turn linked to larger, multidimensional asset-generating activities, such as community-wide cultural production management and healthy agriculture and food security. Virginia Lefio, a woman leader from Llaguepulli and advisory council member, explains the other main aspect of their Az Mapu: “We as Mapuche, we connect with the Nien (spirits). The Niens exist in every space. One has to respect their space; before entering, or taking something—water, a plant, a herbal medicine—one must first ask for permission.” Furthermore, she explains, “we are not owners of our life. Even though we may be healthy, or have work, or a space to live, we are not owners. We are not owners of our space. We are not owners of the Lake. We are not owners of anything. That is why, in order to live in balance, we must connect with the Nien.” The Mapuches’ lack of farmland is a consequence of historic dispossession by the dominant elites and governmentsponsored development policies, and families have come to rely on chemical intensive agriculture that damages their soils and lowers nutrient levels in the crops produced. Lake Budi has also seen a rapid decline of fish and natural marine
organisms, and much of the responsibility for conservation and restoration is being left to the Mapuche communities, despite the scant resources and technologies they have. With little support from the State, communities have been working since 2013 to create tools for regenerative agroecology and preservation of waters through reforestation. In 2015, the Llaguepulli community began the initiative to help families transition away from chemical pesticide to a healthier, more organic agriculture; in 2017 they began eight pilot quinoa plots. Community work has been centered on dialogues and channeling of local expertise. Today, families, and especially women, in Llaguepulli and Allipén, are becoming leaders and role models for other women in the territory. The vision is that these tools may be replicated and applicable in all community contexts in the Lago Budi region. The students at the community school are also part of the effort to revitalize traditional knowledge of medicine and botany, and to connect this to their communities’ relationship with the Lake and the need to reforest their lands with native trees. Both Calfuqueo and Lefio are working to bring balance and self-sufficiency by creating new Indigenous economic means for their families and their lofs in a rapidly changing world. The Rekuluwun-Kelluwun and Kuzao Zomo projects reflect the urgent shifts communities are implementing to create solutions for their families and future generations so that they can strengthen themselves and the planet. “When one comes to rejoice in their culture, their people, they discover a new world—and our world as Mapuche is complete,” Lefio says. “I tell our students that they have to cultivate this knowledge. They have to take it and cultivate it every day, and never forget. Never forget what peoples they belong to, and all the knowledge that pertains to us. To be able to live in balance with the Earth, we are preparing our people for the future.” — Alison Guzman and Ignacio Krell are Chile program directors at MAPLE Microdevelopment, an international non-profit based in Oregon dedicated to co-designing community development work and building community economic resilience. For more information, contact email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit maplemicrodevelopment.org. Cultural Survival Quarterly
December 2017 • 7
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The Archipelago of Hope W i s d o m a n d Re si l ien c e f r o m th e Ed g e o f C l im ate Ch an ge The following is an excerpt from two chapters of the newly published The Archipelago of Hope (2017) by Gleb Raygorodetsky, an enlightening global journey revealing how the inextricable links between Indigenous cultures and their territories are the foundation for climate change resilience around the world. The Indigenous traditional territories are islands of biocultural diversity in the ever-rising sea of development and urbanization. As we enter the Anthropocene epoch, they are an “archipelago of hope,” for here lies humankind’s best chance to remember our roots and how to take care of the Earth. These communities are implementing creative solutions to meet these modern challenges—solutions that are relevant to the rest of us.
Assam tea tree flowers are highly valued for their role in attracting wild bees, and are dried and sold as tea leaves.
growing number of experts increasingly agree that swiddening is arguably one of the most sustainable forms of agriculture known to man. To learn more about this ancient practice, I traveled to northern Thailand, where the Indigenous Karen and their research partners have demonstrated that shifting cultivation helps them adapt to climate change and mitigate its impacts—something we all benefit from. “We’ve harvested three thousand jars [fifteen hundred pounds] of wild honey this year,” [Chaiprasert Phokha] declares, not without pride, and his face spreads into a satisfied grin. “All of it came from the wild bees living in the rain forest around our village,” Phokha explains with the help of Dr. Prasert Trakansuphakon, my guide and translator, who brought me to Hin Lad Nai—an Indigenous community of Pgakenyaw Karen in northern Thailand. [Here] the Karen people [are] keeping their land-use traditions alive, despite the government’s attempts to ban them because their traditional practices supposedly made climate change worse. The Karen have been collaborating with researchers, like Trakansuphakon, to demonstrate just the opposite, that their traditions are good for the biodiversity, local economy, food security, and a viable climate change mitigation strategy. A Karen himself, Trakansuphakon has been working with the Hin Lad Nai community, helping them document their traditional ecological knowledge, while bringing undergraduate students and researchers from Chiang Mai University to study the Karen land-use practices.
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According to Trakansuphakon, climate in Thailand is expected to become warmer. The summers will be longer, and winters shorter. During the wet season, rain will not fall as often, but it will be more of a torrent than a shower when it does occur. The total amount of rain will likely stay the same every year, but it will not be distributed throughout the seasons as predictably as in the past. An increase in heavy storms, the ensuing floods, and mudslides will lead to more erosion, especially in deforested areas. After such downpours and floods, the oversaturated soil fails to absorb all the standing water, creating a fertile breeding ground for mosquitoes, leading to increases in waterborne diseases, like malaria and dengue fever. At the same time, periods of drought will be longer and more intense, devastating Thailand’s rice paddy agriculture, the third largest global rice producer. Pressured by the government to abandon their subsistence agricultural traditions in favor of intensive farming of major cash crops, like paddy rice and corn, many rural farmers in the region can barely earn enough to feed themselves while repaying the loans they must take to buy seeds, pesticides, and fertilizers for growing these cash crops. When the farmers switch to permanent agriculture focused on a few highyield cash crops, they abandon the diversity of traditional crops that have sustained them in the past and proved resilient to pendulum swings in the weather. When the crops fail because of extreme-weather events—such as floods, droughts, hail, or tornadoes—farmers have few options available to them. Unable to grow their own food, and having to pay off their loans, many farmers quit farming and move to the city to seek menial employment to support themselves and their families. The villagers have been caring for and harvesting [Assam] tea for generations, despite several attempts by the government to introduce the more profitable, but also fertilizerintensive, oolong tea. The Assam tea tree flowers are highly valued and, just like tea leaves, are dried and sold. But even more valuable is their role in attracting wild bees. All photos by Gleb Raygorodetsky.
Three kinds of wild bees live in Hin Lad Nai’s forest, explains Phokha. The giant kenae bees plaster their honeycombs over thick branches high up in the canopy. The medium-size kwae hide theirs in the underground cavities or old trees. And the small kenae pho, the stingless bees, build honeycombs inside bamboo trunks. Traditionally, the Karen would only collect honey from the colonies of the giant kenae bees. The honey hunters would climb fifty to sixty feet high up a tree to harvest the sweet forest nectar. But several years ago, one local Karen family decided to try their hand at beekeeping with local wild bees. Along a forest trail, they set up beehives made of short hollowed-out trunks of local trees. To entice the wild kwae bees to settle in the hives, they smeared the insides of the trunks with the beeswax from the wild kwae honeycombs. The experiment was a success, and today most of the Hin Lad Nai families put out dozens of beehives along forest trails, harvesting hundreds of pounds of wild honey every year. They keep some for themselves, but sell most of it at the market, putting 10 percent of their earnings into a village fund that supports diverse communal activities—from purchasing a truck to deliver harvested tea to a nearby processing plant to paying for the costs of clearing a firebreak around the Hin Lad Nai forest. The landscape where Phokha’s wild honey comes from has been managed by the Karen for generations following time-tested traditions of shifting cultivation—an ancient set of agricultural practices that involves clearing forest patches to plant crops for one or two seasons, and letting the surrounding woodland return, before repeating the cycle. Today, the wooded hills of Hin Lad Nai look just as verdant as the slopes of the Khun Chae National Park we drove through on our way here—diverse and thick vegetation, trees of different sizes and ages under a multistory canopy. The village of Hin Lad Nai is recognized by the government of Thailand as a model of a low-carbon, environmentally friendly lifestyle, and yet most Thai and global environmental experts and government officials continue to regard shifting cultivation as anathema to biodiversity conservation and healthy ecosystems. Graphic images of hewn-down trees and scorched earth shock us easily. Our visceral, though largely uninformed, reaction is to think that any land-use traditions leading to such apparent devastation are backward and primitive practices that must be abandoned. Slash-and-burn agriculture is the commonly used derogatory misnomer that epitomizes the supposedly heinous nature of swidden agriculture. Thai authorities consider the Karen traditions of shifting cultivation to be the most primitive and unsustainable type of land use. It seems improbable that a forest so “misused” could provide a suitable habitat for any creature, let alone such environmentally sensitive pollinators as bees. The honey in my hand, however, tells me a different story of shifting cultivation, and the Karen, stewards of this ageless tradition. It is a tale of a forest with rich soils and abundant wildlife, including that key indicator of a healthy ecosystem—wild bees. A myriad of things must coalesce to fill Phokha’s glass jars with the rich, wild honey. Sunlight, water, and soil must provide energy and nutrients for the plants to grow; wild bees—an important bioindicator of environmental health—have to pollinate the flowers; and wildlife and birds need to eat and distribute the fruit and seeds, enriching the soil and structuring the forest.
Every November, the extended families of Hin Lad Nai Karen villagers harvest dry upland rice in the mountains.
For the Hin Lad Nai rain forest to be healthy, this intricate dance must take place year after year, ad infinitum, despite the Karen tradition of shifting cultivation. Or could it be because of it? “For the wild bees to do well, the forest must have lots of shade from big and small trees of different ages. It all depends on the year, of course. Sometimes there’s more honey, and sometimes there’s less. But we harvest and sell it every year now,” explains Phokha. “Our neighbors in the next valley, though,” Phokha continues, motioning toward the window, “decided to sign up for a government rural development program and converted most of their forest to permanent fields to grow corn for sale. In the past, they’d never spray any pesticides or fertilizers on their fields, just like us. But now, their soil is so poor without the swiddening that they have to do it. There’s no wild bees left there.” Trakansuphakon expands on Phokha’s story. “Intensive agriculture permanently converts rain forest into vast cornfields or oil palm plantations, creating dead zones. Hin Lad Nai forest, on the other hand, has remained remarkably healthy, despite centuries of shifting cultivation. And, at a time when numbers of honeybees are declining worldwide, local wild bees are thriving.” It seems that the conventional disparaging view of shifting cultivation, promoted by government bureaucrats and development agencies, doesn’t reflect the true nature of this tradition. Reprinted from The Archipelago of Hope by Gleb Raygorodetsky, published by Pegasus Books, © Gleb Raygorodetsky. Excerpted with permission from the publisher. All other rights reserved.
After one or two seasons of cultivating a swidden field, it is fallowed. After six, ten, or even twenty years, the tall trees of the fallow are cut down again as the cycle continues. Cultural Survival Quarterly
December 2017 • 9
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We are The Caretakers The Next Chapter of Standing Rock
A Water Protectors at Oceti Sakowin Camp, 1851 treaty land. Standing Rock. Photo by Ryan Begay.
s the sun rose over the Missouri and CannonBall River, shining healing rays of light across the cold Northern Plains at Standing Rock, news that the United States Army Corps of Engineers had denied a permit for the construction of a key section of the Dakota Access Pipeline began to spread throughout Oceti Sakowin Camp. It was December 4, 2016. Tears of euphoria filled the air with prayers from the four directions as victory songs echoed across our camp. Mní Wičóni (Water Is Life) resonated symbolically and politically all over the world. With great purpose and resilience, for more than eight months, Water Protectors, elders, and youth successfully stood on 1851 Treaty land in peaceful and spiritual resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline. All the while, Energy Transfer Partners, TigerSwan, and the North Dakota Sheriff Department’s militarized campaign were escalating further environmental injustice and violence, trying unsuccessfully to provoke us into an armed confrontation. Just five days into the Trump presidency, with the stroke of a pen, executive orders cleared the way for the $3.8 billion dollar Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines; a reversal of the Obama administration’s decision to halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline pending an Environmental Impact Assessment. Up to this point, our peaceful and spiritual resistance at Standing Rock, ignited by a small group of Lakota Youth, had grown into a historic gathering of over 500 Native Nations, along with thousands of friends, allies, and Water Protectors. Together we successfully challenged the encroachment of the Dakota Access Pipeline with prayer, grassroots organizing, and nonviolent direct action, backed with widespread support from all over the world. Lawsuits filed by the Standing Rock, Cheyenne River, and Yankton Sioux Nations have also successfully challenged the legality of Energy Transfer Partners’ Dakota Access Pipeline proximity through 1851 Treaty land and its threat to health,
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livelihoods, and the environment, as well as the company’s failure to obtain Free, Prior and Informed Consent. After 11 months of peaceful and prayerful resistance to protect Indigenous rights and the life-giving waters of the CannonBall and Missouri Rivers, we were ordered to leave the camp. Since the pipeline construction began in the summer of 2016, TigerSwan and North Dakota officials orchestrated efforts with police departments across 10 states to assist North Dakota’s Morton County Sheriff ’s department in an operation trying to crush our movement through the use of military-grade weapons and tactics. Their misinformation campaigns intended to brand Indigenous Peoples and our allies as violent eco-terrorists, and their extensive surveillance of our camps, individual Water Protectors and leaders, as well as numerous environmental organizations and social media platforms, violated their own laws and our rights. On February 22, 2017, as we stood on sacred ground, a blanket of snow began to cover our camp like a prayer of protection. The night before we had gathered around the sacred fires of our camp. Elders and youth offered prayers and songs as we danced with our children in the spirit of our ancestors to the heartbeat of Mother Earth. Throughout that day and into the night I worked closely with the late Dennis Banks (Anishinaabe) and my fellow Water Protectors, transporting children and elders to safety as numerous militarized police forces closed in on our stronghold at Standing Rock. Raids on Indigenous lands, territories, and camps and forced relocation comes with its own historic trauma. I heard police forces making comments such as, “After we raid your camp, we will make half-breed babies with your women.” A young Ojibwa sister and fellow Water Protector replied, “Not this time…not on our watch.” By the next night our teepees, sacred objects, and personal property were seized or destroyed. But they could never destroy our spirit. It is our spirit that has kept us alive for more than 500 years, and it is that same spirit that will keep us alive for the generations to come. Many people believe that our resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline died with the raid on our camps at Standing Rock. However, it’s important to understand that we are spiritual people following a prayer. We have survived genocide, colonization, and oppression. Standing Rock is a continuation of a long historic struggle for human rights, treaty rights, environmental justice, self-determination, and recognition; Standing Rock lives on in dozens of court cases, legal fronts, and in global divestment and Native rock music campaigns. Among the many roads to decolonization and freedom that emerged from our camp is the #DefundDAPL campaign, which takes direct action against the pipeline’s financial backers and the banks and cities who held investments in the Dakota Access and other pipeline projects. Standing Rock Water Protectors have led the largest divestment movement
in history and have succeeded in engaging with city councils across the United States to divest over $4 billion in pipeline investments, with Seattle and the California cities of Davis and Santa Monica leading the way. The #DefundDAPL movement has also persuaded thousands of individuals who have divested from Wells Fargo, Citibank, and other institutions who remain tied to pipeline projects. In Europe, the campaign has persuaded some of the largest banks, such as the Dutch giant ING, Norway’s pension fund (who were lobbied by the Sami), and the French Bank BNP Paribas SA to divest. In June 2017, a federal judge ruled in favor of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in a 91-page decision that determined the Unites States Army Corps’ prior study of the Dakota Access Pipeline was deficient because it failed to fully study or consider the potential impacts of oil spills at Lake Oahe and the Missouri River, or how spills could harm fish and game, which tribal members depend on for subsistence. The ruling is a major victory because it recognizes Standing Rock Sioux’s fishing and hunting rights and upholds U.S. federal law, which mandates that large projects that impact Native Peoples and other marginalized groups must be evaluated on environmental justice grounds. This decision, and the many more that will soon follow, will help us broaden grounds for legal claims beyond the basis of sufficient consultation. In October 2017, federal judges ruled against lawsuits initiated by Energy Transfer Partners by the Kasowitz firm, attorneys closely tied to President Trump and his corporate enterprises. The lawsuits targeted Greenpeace USA, Greenpeace International, and other environmental groups in an effort to silence free speech and advocacy. Energy Transfer Partners and other mining and logging companies are using Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation in a clear pattern of corporate intimidation and harassment, target- ing Water Protectors and environmental activist groups in an effort to shut us down through expensive litigation proceedings. According to EarthJustice, key decisions about the Standing Rock lawsuits are still unsettled, specifically questions about the ability to shut down the pipeline on the Standing Rock Sioux’s case, and whether the Standing Rock Sioux can demand better oil spill planning and other pipeline compliance issues. The Army Corps will complete their
Environmental Impact Assessment in April 2018. In support of the continuation of my work with Banks, the United Nations, and Standing Rock, I’m continuing to organize personal projects, including the “Born on the Rez” Native rock music movement, a poetic journey through history about how we as a people got to Standing Rock and our fight for cultural survival in the 21st Century. “Born on the Rez” supports two primary objectives born out of our stand at Standing Rock: #Honor1851Treaty Campaign, and the Mní Wičóni Legal Defense/Offense Committee. #Honor1851Treaty is designed to generate support and educate the public with Native fashion and style through social media and other online platforms, public rallies, events, and concerts about various violations of United States laws, beginning with The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 and numerous national and international human rights, civil rights, and environmental laws broken at Standing Rock. Mní Wičóni Legal Defense/Offense Committee is an organization formerly co-led by Banks, and under the continued leadership of Madonna Thunder Hawk (Cheyenne River Sioux), Phyllis Young (Standing Rock Sioux), and myself. Its mission is to support and defend Water Protectors on the frontlines of the movement who have been arrested, violated, disenfranchised, marginalized, and displaced. With a global petition to generate over a million signatures, the campaign challenges the United States Congress to #RightTheWrong of at least one of the more than 500 treaties made with Native Nations. In loving memory of Banks and his wishes, on the 50th Anniversary of the Trail of Broken Treaties (September 2022), the campaign will commence a cross-country caravan from the west coast of Turtle Island (North America) to Washington, D.C. with #PeoplesPower. We must remain vigilant as the Trump administration continues its assault on Indigenous Peoples and the environment through deregulation and other measures that defend corporate interests for bottomline profits for the less than 1%. However, my sisters and brothers, we shall not despair or grow weary. Our movement is indomitable. Our voice is global. Eventually world leaders and their representatives will see the wisdom in honoring the rights of Indigenous Peoples and the rights of Mother Earth. They will come to join us in safeguarding and protecting our Treaty lands and territories and the world’s last remaining wild places from environmental genocide. For we are the caretakers, we are the wisdomkeepers, we are of Mother Earth. We are Indigenous.
Left: Born on the Rez single cover. Find out more about the #Honor1851Treaty Campaign at robbyromero. com and tinyurl. com/honor1851treaty. Right: February 22, 2017. Day of raids at Oceti Sakowin Camp. Photo by Robby Romero.
—Robby Romero (Apache) is president of Native Children’s Survival and leader and frontman of Native rock band Red Thunder. Cultural Survival Quarterly
December 2017 • 11
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Indigenous Knowledge Keepers and Scientists Unite at Turtle Lodge “The longest journey we will ever make as human beings is the journey from the mind to the heart.” — Chief Darrell Bob, St’at’imc Nation, quoting Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq (Kalaalit Nunaat, Greenland)
Turtle Lodge Staff
wenty respected Indigenous knowledge keepers and western scientists, witnessed by 150 official observers and guests, met and formed alliances over 4 days from September 9–12, 2017. The gathering took place at the Turtle Lodge, an international center for Indigenous education and wellness, located in Sagkeeng First Nation, Manitoba, Canada. Over the past 15 years, Turtle Lodge has been a center for sharing Indigenous knowledge through events, ceremonies, conferences, and summits that include people from around the world. “The Turtle Lodge is our house, our place of strength, where our leadership as elders and knowledge keepers is rooted,” explained Dave Courchene, founder of the lodge, who built it based on a vision he received. “Our sacred lodges and outside in nature are the places where our ceremonies live and are practiced in their fullness. Using our sacred places for these meetings and practicing our ceremonies makes our alliance and work together all the more powerful, as we are supported and inspired by the forces of nature and spirit.” The gathering was chaired by Courchene, a knowledge keeper of the Anishinabe Nation, who has shared Indigenous knowledge on the international stage alongside the Dalai
Twenty Indigenous knowledge keepers and western scientists gather at Turtle Lodge at Sagkeeng First Nation, Manitoba, Canada. 12 • www. cs. org
Lama, and David Suzuki, who is recognized as a world leader in sustainable ecology. The scientists who attended were challenged to open not only their minds, but also their hearts. It was convened to help offer answers to a public challenge made by Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who stated at the COP21 in Paris in 2015, “Indigenous Peoples have known for thousands of years how to care for our planet. The rest of us have a lot to learn and no time to waste.” The intention of the gathering was to highlight the importance of spirit and ceremony and a foundation of values that underpin Indigenous knowledge. Speaker after speaker insisted that the solutions to effectively adapt to our changing Earth lie in embracing values and teachings found through the observation of the Earth itself, values they referred to as “spiritual laws” and “natural laws.” For the scientists, the goal was to gain a holistic context for their observations. “My whole thrust in my interest in engaging scientists and the Indigenous community is [that] science can’t work without the whole context,” said Suzuki. “In focusing on the parts, science loses the emergent properties. Traditional Native knowledge keepers and elders are a resource in seeing the world in a way that is rooted in the land. We need humility and a way to see the bigger picture. The answers this world is seeking can be found in Indigenous knowledge.” What unfolded was a powerful sharing of two systems of thought—Indigenous prophecies and scientific predictions side by side—and a great deal of overlap emerged. Through Indigenous protocols of ceremony, the gathering provided a ceremonial context for the building of alliances, sharing, and decision-making. “Being hosted in a sacred lodge, a place of strength and leadership for Indigenous peoples, creates the environment for Spirit to lead the gathering and reinforces
L–R: Canadian academic and environmental activist David Suzuki; Kaska Dene youth leader Cole Abou; and founder of Turtle Lodge, Dave Courchene, sign the Turtle Lodge Declaration.
belief in a spiritual connection, gratitude, humility, and respect for the sacredness of life in whatever we do,” said Courchene. The Indigenous knowledge keepers spoke often of not overstepping ceremony in the process of coming to an understanding with scientists, a concept that was new to many trained in Western academic thought. “Spirit and ceremony are critical elements missing in most discussions about climate change and what to do about it,” said Suzuki. “Indigenous Peoples have lived in their places for untold millennia. Is this a coincidence? What is the importance of ceremony? Let’s listen, and explore, together,” said Miles Richardson of the Haida Nation, who co-facilitated the gathering along with Courchene and Suzuki. Richardson is helping to organize a spring conference in Vancouver called Scientia: A Conference on the Intersection of Traditional Knowledge and Science; he came to this gathering to receive guidance in setting a ceremonial context for his 2018 initiative. Indeed, the knowledge keepers answered the call. The entire first day was devoted to ceremony, setting the stage for discussions through a deeply experiential process that left knowledge keepers and scientists alike moved and uplifted. Beginning with the lifting of a Sacred Pipe, which had been commissioned by a national group of Indigenous elders in the fall of 2016, the group gave thanks and sought blessing, sanction, and direction from the spiritual realm in an ancient ceremony practiced by Indigenous people for thousands of years. A water ceremony followed, in which Indigenous grandmothers and women sang a water song and shared teachings on the significance of water and our individual responsibilities in taking care of this element of life. In an act of both love and leadership, Indigenous elders representing nations from across the continent came together to offer a ceremonial gift of adoption to the scientists gathered. As the drums sounded, a young bear dancer, 14 years old and raised traditionally in the mountains of his west coast Xaxl’ip First Nation, led a procession of scientists to stand on buffalo robes in the center of the Turtle Lodge. Each scientist was given a handful of earth to hold in their hands while four traditional elders addressed them. The Indigenous knowledge keepers spoke of their right to invoke this ancient ceremony of making family as the original people and leaders of their homeland, and offered a welcome to the scientists as full citizens of the First Nations and of the land that is commonly referred to as Turtle Island. With the
adoption, the elders explained, came duties and responsibilities as members of the nation, to learn and follow natural and spiritual laws of the land, and to be kind to one another and to the Earth. The adoption ceremony invoked a power- ful spiritual relationship in being a welcome part of the Indigenous family, in which they were given permission to raise their families, live their lives, and engage in activities on this land to advocate for and support the wellbeing of the whole nation and all life on and around Turtle Island. Indigenous knowledge keeper, AJ Felix, of the Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, spoke eloquently to the new adoptees: “Now, because of this ceremony, you will come to feel how we feel about the land; how we feel when the wind blows and when the water crests. You will even feel what it has been like for us, in trauma and poverty, and what we have gone through as a people. You will understand what we feel as Indigenous people, because you are now one of us, part of us.” In the three days that followed, a Turtle Lodge Declaration was drafted by Suzuki, which was amended and signed by the 20 scientists and knowledge keepers on the table. The document was taken to Manitou Api, an ancient sacred petroform site located in the center of the continent, about a 90-minute drive from Turtle Lodge, on the last day of gathering for ratification through a special ceremony. Although formal agreement has not yet been reached on direct actions, discussions did move toward establishing youth training in Earth restoration and stewardship and the development of a green economy. It was agreed in principle that this train- ing should be founded on and led by Indigenous knowledge, natural laws, and protocols, and incorporate the best of scientific expertise, technical skills, and knowledge. Courchene encapsulated the spirit of the four-day gathering thusly: “Climate change is really about human change—a change of the heart. We can create a new economy and new opportunities for the nation based on stewardship. We have an opportunity to set a completely new narrative based on our ancient values and principles. We come forward as elders and knowledge keepers to continue to share our knowledge to provide a direction that can help us move forward to a much more sustainable Earth.” To read the Turtle Lodge Declaration, visit: goo.gl/axhMev.
Cultural Survival Quarterly
December 2017 • 13
Our future. The United Nations Discusses Oceans
Photo courtesy of FHG Photo.
ceans play a fundamental role for life on earth, providing over 70 percent of the oxygen we breathe and over 97 percent of the world’s water supply, not to mention being a source of food. Yet, our oceans are under threat, with only a tiny fraction—just 3.4 percent—being protected. We have seen the disturbing images of islands of plastic and trash floating in the ocean; turtles with plastic straws stuck in their nostrils; birds dying because of the amount of trash consumed and discarded. The floating mass of plastic in the Pacific Ocean by at least one estimate is believed to be twice the size of the continental U.S. Every year, more than 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into our oceans; according to another estimate, by 2050 there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish. And we hear about the impacts of climate change: warmer ocean temperatures are causing the melting of arctic ice caps, and rising sea levels are having an additional negative effect on the ocean circulation. Indigenous Peoples are at the frontlines of impact for climate change; about 27 million Indigenous people in nearly 2,000 communities across 87 countries live in coastal communities. Rising sea levels have forced whole communities to relocate, as was the case for Vanuatu and Tuvalu, the first “climate change refugees.” A 2017 analysis by the Center for Progressive Reform showed that 17 U.S. communities (5 on the continental mainland and the remaining 12 in Alaska) 14 • www. cs. org
have had to relocate due to climate change; most of them were Indigenous. Coastal communities experience flooding, extreme weather, and erosion at quicker rates than other parts of the country. Loss of access to traditional lands and territories is also linked to loss of ancestral, spiritual, totemic, and language connections rooted in those areas. Seafood is a crucial source of subsistence and closely tied to Indigenous cultures. Overfishing, killing of top predators, pollution, ocean acidification, coral bleaching, and the oceanwide migration of fish due to climate change threatens these resources. According to a recent study by Nippon Foundation Nereus Program at University of British Columbia, Indigenous people who live in coastline communities consume 15 times more seafood per capita than people in other parts of the world —about 2.3 million tons, or 2 percent of the global catch. Pollution does not only affect marine life and their environment, however. It also affects human health. Tourism, overdevelopment, aquaculture (fish/shellfish farming), ocean shipping, and oil and gas spills are all sources of pollution. Every day, toxic chemicals are dumped from industrial sources or flow off land and directly into our rivers and streams, eventually ending up in our oceans. The number of dead zones (swaths of ocean that do not support life due to a lack of oxygen) is growing at an alarming rate, with over 400 now known to exist. Nearly 9,000 square miles of ocean along the Gulf Coast are uninhabitable by marine life, loaded as they are with agricultural toxins and devoid of oxygen. Substances such as oil, mercury, lead, pesticides, and other heavy metals
can all be found within the ocean as byproducts of coal combustion, waste incineration, mining, and other environmentally detrimental activities. Indigenous people in the Arctic are especially susceptible to the effects of methyl- mercury exposure because they consume large amounts of fish and marine mammals as part of their traditional diet. The UN Ocean Conference, the first world conference to address one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, focused on Goal 14: Life Below Water, to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development.” Fiji and Sweden co-chaired the gathering last June at UN headquarters in New York. More than 6,000 people attended the conference, which also featured 150 side events and 41 exhibits. Discussion topics included plastic pollution, sea level rise, and illegal fishing and the protection of marine life, along with the relationship between the health of the ocean and the wellbeing of current and future generations. In order to stress the interconnectedness between the ocean and humanity, discussions on pollution and overfishing were tied to topics such as alleviating poverty, ending hunger, promoting health, ensuring access to water, and sanitation. Peter Thompson, President of the UN General Assembly, described the connection: “When it comes to the ocean, it’s the common heritage of humankind. There’s no North-South, East-West. If the ocean is dying, it’s dying on all of us.” Pacific Islands Developing States highlighted the importance of international cooperation by bringing heads of states to participate, while also renaming themselves Large Ocean Nations. Samoa Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, explained, “The Pacific Ocean provides our cultural and historical identity since time immemorial. The inseparable link between our oceans and Pacific Islands peoples, including our spiritual connection, is the key to our sustainable future. We are the custodians of the world’s richest biodiversity and marine resources. The Pacific unites our islands in common purpose. The Pacific is the lifeblood of our society. It is the fabric of unity we have woven. The Ocean is our life.” Throughout the Ocean Conference, the global community recognized that the world is at a critical crossroads and humanity needs a holistic system honoring our ocean. “If you think about it, it’s about taking care of your family,” said Aulani Wilhelm, a Kanaka Maoli with decades of experience in marine protected areas and senior vice president for Conservation International’s Center for Oceans. Speaking about Malama Honua (Caring for Each Other and the Earth) and the creation
of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, she said, “It’s a cultural and moral imperative to think about the oceans. We didn’t have a rights-based approach to go about. We had a genealogical mandate that gave us the guiding force.” The Pacific Ocean was also significant in the side events, with standing room only in the event on Deep Seabed Mining. Another side event, Voices from the Blue Frontier: Ocean Governance Between Blue Economy and Human Rights, brought together academics, advocates, attorneys, and a Catholic cardinal to discuss how to protect people and the planet. The conversation centered around the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, specifically Free, Prior and Informed Consent. The panel covered the surveys being conducted in the Pacific and the need to involve Indigenous Peoples closely. Cardinal John Ribat of Papua New Guinea commented on the impacts on Indigenous Peoples in coastal communities, warning, “All they were enjoying before will be gone.” Ribat focused on uniting by “encouraging people to protect and preserve the common good of our people.” The panel also covered the newly released report, Resource Roulette, which provides a comprehensive mapping of law and policy governing deep seabed mining, with a focus on violations of the cultural rights of Indigenous Peoples. The world responded to the call to realize Goal 14 with 1,400 voluntary commitments pledged to protect our planet. States, academic institutions, and civil society mobilized to continue the work of the world conference for conservation of natural aquatic resources and sustainable practices. The conference ended with the adoption of a 14-point call to action titled Our Ocean, Our Future, which was presented at the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in July. The call to action included points about fostering ocean-related education and marine scientific research, along with strategies to raise awareness of the natural and cultural significance of the ocean. For Thompson, the call All too familiar to action “affirms our strong commitment to conserve and sights, trashed sustainably use our oceans, seas, and marine resources for beaches and sustainable development.” — Joshua Cooper is a lecturer at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa Center for Pacific Island Studies, and director of the International Network for Diplomacy & Indigenous Governance Engaging in Nonviolence Organizing for Understanding & Self-Determination (INDIGENOUS).
Cultural Survival Quarterly
birds covered in oil from oil spills.
L–R: Photo courtesy of Gerry & Bonni; Louisiana GOHSEP; Jason Karn.
December 2017 • 15
our oceans. Our future.
Respecting the Sea A Conversation with Elizabeth James-Perry
or at least 25,000 years, the ancestors of Wampanoag people have lived at Aquinnah (Gay Head) on the island of Noepe (Martha’s Vineyard, MA), pursuing a traditional economy based on fishing, horticulture, and wild harvest. In the Aquinnah Wampanoag Island origin story, benevolent giant beings, Moshup and his wife Squant, created Noepe and the neighboring islands and hunted whales for people’s sustenance. They are believed to continue presiding over their destinies. Europeans reached Noepe 400 years ago. Gradually, English settlements on the island impacted the Indigenous ocean-going communities through land dealings, religious persecution, debt-servitude and disease. In the 1800s there were three Native communities on Martha’s Vineyard: Aquinnah, Christiantown/ Manitootawun, and Chappaquiddick. Aquinnah was the most populous and organized, and able to keep some control over their land in part due to revenues from global seafaring trades, cranberry harvests, clay sales, and tourism. In the past century, more Native land has been lost as Tribal members have faced economic pressure to sell their land and leave the island altogether, returning to their homeland as time and finances allow. The Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe worked toward federal recognition in the 1970s and ’80s, finally receiving it in 1987. The Tribe continues the fight to protect their rights as a sovereign Nation. Today, they operate a shellfish hatchery cultivating oysters, among other ventures. CS spoke with Elizabeth James-Perry, an enrolled Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe member, about the issues her coastal community faces. James-Perry holds a degree in marine biology and is the federal Tribal co-lead of the Northeast Regional Ocean Planning Body. She is also an artist and writer, focusing on traditional Wampanoag lifeways and contemporary culture.
CS: What does the ocean mean to your community? Elizabeth James-Perry: As Aquinnah Wampanoag people,
our most important ancient stories address glaciation and the subsequent losses and trauma due to melts and periods of rapid sea level rise, so there’s a record of past events in this region we routinely remember to remember. Ceremony reinforces these connections. Our culture teaches us to have a healthy respect for the sea, and we have long made our homes by it and upon it, enjoying the food, mineral and plant resources, harpooning, net and hook fishing, clamming, swimming, diving, and traveling comfortably by dugout canoes to many of the places we needed or wanted to go. It’s interesting to think of traveling by boat for thousands of years over places that were once thriving Native communities and centers of commerce. This way of life went on uninterrupted for a long time. During and after colonization, Tribes continued to maintain themselves with seafood and building materials like huge driftwood. Tribal people for centuries have worked as respected sea captains, traders, whalers, and in the U.S. Navy. Our ways became incorporated into the local economy, with fish, 16 • www. cs. org
sturgeon oil and whale oil, and wampum being accepted as currency. Beach rights, whale rights, and beach access routes were protected by our ancestors, who knew their importance. People continued to identify with ocean clans with surnames like Sturgeon and Seahorse to acknowledge our belief in merpeople. Ocean and fishing-related words abound in Wampanoag, and some were incorporated into the English language whole or in truncated form: words like squid, chum, tautog, that most New Englanders don’t even pause to wonder about the origins of—or acknowledge the sheer amount of side-by-side work it takes to trade languages that way; the same with knowledge of currents and navigation, or recipes like the clambake, New England clam chowder and cornbread, or codfish and beans. CS: What are the threats facing the ocean and the people that rely on it in your area? EJP: Commercial overfishing has already caused extinctions
to happen within the last 400 years or so, and greatly reduced salmon, sturgeon, and herring, which are important for seasonal Tribal sustenance. Fishing practices have impacted eelgrass and other areas that function to support the various stages of marine life, from egg, to larval, to juvenile and adult. Increasingly acidic ocean waters that will be inhospitable to life is a serious concern. Sea level rise, warming waters, and major storms also have impacted the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Nomans, the nearby smaller Elizabeth Islands, Nantucket, and Wampanoag territories overall. Erosion is happening, and whilst that occurs, pollution-soaked sediments from developed areas wash right into the ocean. Some locations, including Nomans, were used as target sites leaving unexploded ordinances as a dump site for hazardous and possibly radioactive chemicals. These are things that Tribal members worry about. And we have encountered other threats, like oil spills, that are detrimental to many forms of sea creatures of cultural significance. Many Tribal members depend on the ocean for their livelihood as fishermen and women. And as a community, we have long relied on seaweed, pelagic and deep sea fish, crustaceans, echinoderms, and various species of clams for food. Included in that list were once-abundant whales, sharks, birds, turtles, and sometimes seals. Distribution shifts of species away from Aquinnah is also occurring as warm water-intolerant species like winter flounder, cod, and lobster move gradually north. Detrimental impacts to our precious marine mammals with very specific limits for tolerances of sound vibrations, acidification, and specific areas to gather, feed, and travel in are occurring as more and more of the Outer Continental Shelf gets developed for wind turbines. It is not clear how they affect sharks, but it occurs to me to wonder who all that energy is going to be for if there is very little nutritious food for humans to be had from either the ocean or freshwater, or the land as soil quality goes down.
There is a terrible irony there, but our traditional culture keeps us from growing bitter and cynical. We remember abundance and are grateful to Mother Earth for all she continues to provide for us, past, present, and hopefully future. Aquinnah people have had to adapt and change over countless thousands of years. We do not take things for granted and know that careful work on all fronts, to gather information, clean up our messes, and respect ocean life and processes, has to happen for life as we know it to continue. CS: What are some local solutions that the Tribe is working on? EJP: Habitat restoration by planting eelgrass in Tribal waterways,
water quality monitoring, dune stabilization, removal of invasive species, annual cleanups, fish species studies with underwater cameras in the herring run and winter flounder restocking, shellfish monitoring, and education are just a few of the projects that the Aquinnah Natural Resources Department have undertaken over the years. As a federal Tribe we have a government-to-government relationship with the federal government and have the right and responsibility to consult on various projects that occur in our ancestral homelands and waterways, including development and sand mining from near shore out to the Outer2 Continental Shelf. It provides a way for us to ask questions, express our concerns and perspectives, and consider ways to protect the ocean and the life within it for future generations of Wampanoag people to enjoy.
Clay, peat, and cedar roots eroding in outer Cape Cod after Hurricane Sandy.
Inundation of ecologically important marsh habitat at high tide.
CS: How can Indigenous knowledge be an asset to Western science in creating change and protecting the planet? EJP: Indigenous knowledge can be characterized differently
from Western science. It has to do with careful, respectful observation and cooperation with natural systems for a sustainable future. Yes, there are Native economies, but somehow those systems of trade are not allowed to dominate every single other concern. Greed is not a celebrated trait in the Native community. It is a conscious choice to steer away from risky, wasteful attitudes towards nature.
CS: What are the next steps in addressing climate change and protecting the ocean, and what is the role of Indigenous Peoples? EJP: It is important to have respect and equality and find
The majestic cliffs of Aquinnah.
ways to support our continuance as a unique culture on Martha’s Vineyard on a healthy Atlantic Ocean. Inclusion of Tribal leaders, culture bearers, and environmental specialists is key. Meaningful consultation is essential—Tribes have limited numbers of members, funds, and resources. The town and state are currently suing my Tribe to fight any kind of economic development that allows us to be self-sufficient, truly care for each other and our homelands. It is an example of a non-reciprocal relationship—we share information, but in truth, may gain next to nothing. Yet, we continue to share. The hope is that in the future, people will have gone through some material change to embrace different, more careful ways of doing things, and consider reciprocal relationships with federal Tribes. We are always going to be the First People, but relatively few non-Natives have taken time to understand what that is, let alone learn to respect it; to work with, and not against, their Tribal neighbors to protect the planet.
All photos by Elizabeth James-Perry.
Cultural Survival Quarterly
December 2017 • 17
our oceans. Our future.
Citizen Stewardship Mobilizing to Protect the Ocean and Its Resources in Hawai’i Kevin Chang
here are a number of cultural values and beliefs tied to the ocean in the Native Hawaiian community, but two have been particularly notable in terms of culture and governance in recent years. One is that the ocean is a highway, a connecting source between Pacific people and the world. Another common meaning for rural nearshore communities is that the ocean is our icebox, and that we have a kuleana— a right and responsibility—to take care of it. Communities are working to bring back the understanding that the moana or kai (ocean) is part of the ‘āina (land; also that which feeds). In earlier times, the ocean, like the land, was part of human-made delineations of the environment in order to manage resources, usage, and impacts. There is a long tradition of viewing the ocean as an extension of the land and the community attached to it. The worldwide voyage of the Hawaiian canoe Hōkūle‘a is widely celebrated, but less is known about efforts of rural and Native Hawaiian communities to return to a tradition of community place-based mālama ‘āina, or care for the source of life and food, on the ground. This tradition is part and parcel to a larger system of resource management established by the great O‘ahu Ali‘i (chief) Mā‘ilikukahi some 400–500 years ago, and is referred to today as the ahupua‘a system. The ahupua‘a was a section of land, often running from the mountain to the sea, broken down horizontally into a number of socio-ecological zones by type of use ranging from the wao akua (realm of the gods) to the wao kanaka (realm of man). At the time of the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1893, Kingdom law codified the ahupua‘a boundary as extending as far as the fringing reef—and if there were no reef, a mile out to sea. These places from the shoreline out were once commonly known as konohiki fisheries. Konohiki is a term – lama Members of Hui Ma Loko I'a at a work day on Maui at Ko'ie'ie loko i'a for their 2014 gathering. Photo by Alex Connelly, KUA.
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used for a chief or land manager for a region whose work was to entice and guide the community to be good stewards of their place. The boundaries of the ahupua‘a system persist in many ways, and though Hawai‘i has changed, traditions around management persist within many of them, especially in remote rural Native Hawaiian communities. In the absence of a konohiki, or an equivalent institutional mindset, rural and Native Hawaiian communities are bringing back the tradition of caring for their places and working to bring back this unique mindset. Citizenship is stewardship.
Threats to the Ocean
What happens aground and what impacts the land—including tourism, the defense industry, industrial agricultural practices, population growth—all creates output that flows into and harms the ocean. This is accompanied by concern for the depletion of our icebox, including seaweed and shellfish, by modern practices and values around fishing itself. Fishing is not just a pastime in Hawai’i, but a traditional subsistence practice part and parcel to the ahupua‘a system, which included community-based comanagement guided by the traditional ecological knowledge of the area. The greatest threat, however, is rooted in our relationship to our oceans, which in many ways comes down to the management of our behavior. Government management today is overly centralized and underfunded and exists in an environment of ever diminishing natural resources. In response, rural Native Hawaiians are mobilizing and working to find ways to help resource management succeed in their communities.
In 1994, concerned by impacts of Native Hawaiian subsistence fishing practices and inspired by the work of the organization
Members of E Alu Pu walk along Mo'omomi Bay, Moloka'i where current efforts to establish a community-based subsistence fishing area are occurring. Photo by Kimberly Moa, KUA.
Hui Mālama o Mo‘omomi in managing Mo‘omomi Bay, island of Moloka‘i, the State of Hawai‘i created legislation to empower communities to share power and co-manage with government and to revive traditional roles and practices in how their fisheries are managed. This law was called the Community-based Subsistence Fishing Area (CBSFA) law. After more than 20 years, our state government established the first subsistence fishing rules for Hā‘ena, Kaua‘i: an effort spearheaded by the Hui Maka‘āinana o Makana, a small nonprofit created by the traditional families of the region. Today, following a 25-year effort, the first Moloka‘i CBSFA rules for Mo‘omomi Bay are now at the rule-making process. In part, the effort starting in Mo‘omomi gave birth to E Alu Pū (Move Forward Together), a network of over 30 mālama ‘āina groups from across the state. They have gathered to share knowledge and build a grassroots movement to mālama Hawai‘i for 15 years now. Beyond fisheries, Native Hawaiians also developed a unique style of aquaculture by way of loko i‘a, or fishponds. Upwards of 488 loko i‘a were documented across at least 6 of the main islands. These ponds have become kīpuka, or oases, where communities—especially those led by young Native Hawaiian leaders—are finding a place to work and revive traditions of laulima; working together to revive traditional practices of mahi i‘a (fish farming) with potential to some- day feed Hawai‘i. For this purpose the Hui Mālama Loko I‘a (the group that cares for fishponds) was created not long after E Alu Pū, and has grown today to encompass almost 40 restoration efforts across the state. A key to bringing life to the shoreline and in loko i‘a is the presence of clean freshwater flowing down from the mountains. It is at the shoreline that E Alu Pū elder Uncle Henry Chang Wo said that the ocean will hānau, or give birth, to life such as limu (algae), another important cultural and dietary resource for Native Hawaiian culture. Inspired by the efforts of E Alu Pū, Uncle Henry helped give birth to the Limu Hui to retain traditions and practices around limu gathering and use, to educate the public on its importance, and to bring back limu as part and parcel to a healthy shoreline ecosystem. No limu, no fish.
–ina Ulu ‘Auamo’s Role Kua’a
The E Alu Pū network created the nonprofit Kua‘āina Ulu ‘Auamo (KUA) in 2012 to help support their work; KUA works with and on behalf of E Alu Pū and its members to find ways
Right: Elder Samson Mahuiki speaking – ’ena with his family in support of the Ha community-based subsistence fishing area in Ha’ena, Kaua’i, October 2014. Photo: Kimberly Moa, KUA.
to build capacity through a mix of network solutions, tools, and activities. Since 2012, KUA has been asked to facilitate the Hui Mālama Loko I‘a and worked with Uncle Henry and Wallace Ito to develop the Limu Hui. E Alu Pū, Hui Mālama Loko I‘a, and the Limu Hui each meets annually with a different host on a different island every year. The gatherings focus on the stories and resources of the host place, and together they engage in activities to care for land or nearshore environments. Through these various activities, the hui build an environment to empower each other around common visions, strategies, and governance approaches. From these large gatherings, smaller topic- focused groups, workshops, or projects can arise, and KUA works to assist them when requested.
Addressing Climate Change and Protecting the Ocean
We work from the inside out and from the bottom up. Our journey begins with our relationship with ourselves, each other, and our ‘āina. We reclaim our community agency and traditions of konohiki, laulima, mālama ‘āina, and aloha ‘āina, among others, to affirm and embrace the best of our island communities and their roles in the care of Hawai‘i. We are also informed and guided by current scientific knowledge and ongoing research. All can help lead us to a new era of biocultural resource management and governance in Hawai‘i. We gather around a shared belief that empowered community stewardship efforts lead to an abundant, productive ecological system that supports community wellbeing, or ‘āina momona (abundance; literally the fat lands). If we start by empowering our place, we grow strong from the core; when we connect, we begin to spread this energy across our island in the middle of the sea, the vast ocean, and the globe we reside on. Communities must be resilient in an age of climate change, and we see no better way to address this than by starting from the grassroots. — Kevin Chang is executive director of Kua’a–ina Ulu ‘Auamo (KUA). To learn more about the work of Kua’a–ina Ulu ‘Auamo, visit: kuahawaii.org. Cultural Survival Quarterly
December 2017 • 19
our oceans. Our future.
Making Peace with Atabeira in a Time of Climate Crises Indigenous Peoples of the Caribbean are Sounding the Alarm Roberto Múkaro Borrero Photo courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
n the days preceding the arrival to Caribbean shores by Christopher Columbus in 1492, the Caribbean Sea was referred to as Atabeira (Ah-tah-bay-rah) by the Indigenous Taíno Peoples. The term is used to describe a powerful and generous Earth Mother, who, for the Indigenous islanders, is manifested in more than just the lands; she is the life-giving waters of the bountiful sea. This was, and for some, continues to be, a harmonious, spiritual relationship linking appreciative peoples to life above and below the waters. Following the voyage of Columbus, however, this sacred relationship was brutally disrupted and subsequently replaced over centuries by a mainstream acceptance of patriarchal dominion over the natural world. In the Caribbean, the commodification of the environment, as well as peoples of color via the institutions of slavery and semi-slavery, begins with Columbus. The intergenerational promotion of his unsustainable, exploitative worldview continues to adversely affect all life above and below the waters even today. In fact, this harsh reality may also affect future generations in the Caribbean, as the very possible collapse of ocean ecosystems will have long lasting, dire consequences. The Caribbean islands are the ancient homelands of the Taíno and other Indigenous Peoples such as the Kalinago, Garifuna, and Lokono, as well as other Arawakan peoples. These islands comprise a massive, crescent-shaped archipelago southeast of the interconnected watershed of Gulf of Mexico and the North American mainland. The Caribbean island chain is east of Central America, north of South America, and west of the Atlantic Ocean. The archipelago is divided into two main regions, including the Greater and Lesser Antilles. The latter is subdivided into the Leeward Islands, the Windward Islands, and the ABC Islands. The island of Bermuda and the Lucayan Archipelago, which includes the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos, are often considered a part of the region. However, these islands do not border the Caribbean Sea. In the strictest sense, the phrase “Caribbean countries” would refer only to the insular
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sovereign states and insular dependent territories, but the term has varied uses today. In its widest application, the phrase includes Central and South American countries that border the Caribbean Sea. The Caribbean region sprawls across more than one million square miles, most of which is ocean. Columbus called the Caribbean islands the closest place to paradise on earth. These islands support an impressive and fragile biodiversity within diverse marine and terrestrial ecosystems, including high proportions of endemic plant and animal species. The average temperatures in this tropical maritime region, at least historically speaking, do not vary much throughout the year. Temperatures normally fluctuate between 75–85 degrees Fahrenheit regardless of season. The region is also normally blessed with favorable trade winds, which for the most part make the days and nights relatively comfortable even with high year-round humidity. The rainy season arrives in the autumn months, while the hurricane season usually spans June through November. As colonialism advanced through the region from the early 15th Century conquest period and urban development increased, tourism also increased, while agriculture declined in relative importance. Despite the periods of rain and storms, tourism remains a critical industry for the Caribbean regional economy. Given the importance of tourism, when discussions on the Caribbean climate shifts to climate change, government officials, business leaders, and members of the local communities and Indigenous Peoples continue to express great concern. Climate change is introducing other significant challenges that impact the relationship between those on land and the sea. A recent study on small island developing states by the Inter-American Development Bank, for example, estimates that one out of five residents of the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands live in low elevation coastal zones, which are defined as areas with elevations less than 10 meters above sea level. The 2017 study, entitled “A Blue Urban Agenda: Adapting to Climate Change in the Coastal Cities of Caribbean and Pacific Small Island Developing States,” also identifies coastal erosion as cause for concern, as this condition, along with coastal
flooding, is expected to continue to negatively impact economic output and employment, which in turn could aggravate inflation and increase national debt across the region. One of the greatest threats climate change poses in the Caribbean is the increased intensity of tropical storms and hurricanes. Although climate change is not causing the storms, scientific studies affirm that rising temperatures in the oceans and atmosphere are not only helping to strengthen the storms, but are also intensifying these storms at faster rates. The aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria provide the most recent and stark examples of the devastating effects of these destructive forces in the region. Additionally, these storms provide opportunities to review how well prepared governments are for these extreme climate-related events, and who within these insular populations are the most adversely affected. Unfortunately, when it comes to climate impacts, the evidence is clear. The poorest members of the population are the most exposed, and the least protected, against climate risks. While the contemporary populations of the insular Caribbean can in a sense be considered ethnically heterogeneous legacies of the imposed colonial societies, Indigenous Peoples are verifiable minorities across the region’s independent and dependent countries. Many Caribbean Indigenous Peoples fall within the category of economically impoverished. Granting that livelihoods vary from country to country, a number of Indigenous descendants still engage in the agriculture and fishing sectors, as did their ancestors. The effects of climate change on land and in the sea directly and indirectly affect these communities as well others. In Indigenous Kalinago Territory on the island of Dominica, for example, early reports indicate that a majority of homes in the reserve land were lost in the wake of Hurricane Maria. More than a month after this same storm hit Borikén (Puerto Rico), local communities, including Taíno community members in the interior areas of the island, still had received little or no relief assistance from the government sectors. Beyond the effects of hurricanes, decreased rainfall and subsequent droughts are other climate related concerns in the Caribbean. These conditions impact agriculture, raise food prices, increase the likelihood of brushfires, and decrease water storage and flows. Rising temperatures in the sea are also exacerbating the degradation of coral reef systems across the Caribbean. A recent report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature noted that collapse of coral populations and overfishing are pushing many fish, including food sources like tuna, red snapper, and grouper towards extinction. When the impacts of poor policies and unsustainable development such as pollution and human-caused ocean acidification are added to the scenario, the image of the idyllic Caribbean paradise encountered by Columbus quickly begins to crumble. The Indigenous Peoples of the Caribbean region have long sounded the alarm concerning climate and threats to the ocean ecosystem. In 2009, a diverse Caribbean Indigenous delegation joined other Indigenous Peoples from around the world in Anchorage, Alaska, calling upon States to work towards decreasing dependency on fossil fuels and a just transition to decentralized renewable energy economies, sources, and systems owned and controlled by local communities to achieve energy security and sovereignty. Yet, when looking
Most of the homes on the Indigenous Kalinago territory in Dominica were destroyed. Many Kalinago are now living in tents while they rebuild. Photo Credit: D. Corrie. Chief Charles Williams surveys the damage to Kalinago Territory in Dominica. Photo Credit: D. Corrie.
at overall government response to the recent hurricanes, it seems the call to address the root causes of the global climate crises continues to be overlooked in deference to adaptation and mitigation strategies. The governments of the insular Caribbean all committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and its main theme of “leaving no one behind.” Oceans and climate change are addressed in the global goals, and many current challenges can be addressed with strong political will that involves the meaningful participation of all stakeholders, including Indigenous Peoples, in national level policy and planning processes. It is time to once again make peace with Atabeira, address current inequalities, and recognize that the Old World philosophy of dominion over nature has failed. The lives of our present and future generations depend upon it. — Roberto Múkaro Borrero (Taíno) is a programs and communications coordinator for the International Indian Treaty Council; president of the United Confederation of Taíno People; and co-convener for the Indigenous Peoples Major Group on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. For more information on how Indigenous Peoples are engaging the UN Climate Change Process, visit www.iipfcc.org. To learn more about Indigenous Peoples and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, visit https://indigenouspeoples-sdg.org or http://bit.ly/IITC_SDG.
Cultural Survival Quarterly
December 2017 • 21
our oceans. Our future.
Self-Determined Nation Chamorros Seek Justice Under the UN Mandate for Decolonization Cristina Verán
ifty-seven years after the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples was adopted by United Nations member states, seventeen Non-Self-Governing Territories still remain—a not insignificant number of which are islands separated by oceans from their respective colonial rulers. Included among these is Guam (a mispronunciation of its original name, Guåhan) in the Western Pacific region of Micronesia, whose Indigenous Chamorro people have endured not just one, but three waves of foreign invasion and occupation: Spain, Japan, and now the United States. It remains in a kind of interstitial limbo, despite the UN mandate that its people be given the right to choose, as a nation, among the options of free association, integration (with the colonizing entity), or independence. In October, a delegation of 16 Chamorros (elected officials, activists, and academics) engaged in the decolonization process came to New York to address the Fourth Committee of the UN General Assembly to assert their sovereignty and demand that their voices be heard and that the will of the people be given full sway over their island’s future. “The entire Bill
The Guam delegation stands proudly in front of the United Nations in New York on the day they arrived to give testimonies. Photo courtesy of Independent Guåhan
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of Rights doesn’t apply to us,” said Guam Senator, Fernando Barcinos Esteves, referring to the limits a territory faces that states do not. “We’re fighting with a rifle but no ammo in the U.S. court system because we can’t fight on all the merits of the Constitution.” For Guam, the rifle/ammo scenario is not just a metaphor. “Since the U.S. military took control of our island, they’ve treated the Chamorros like children, tried to prevent us from speaking our own language, and have stolen the lands of thousands of our people to build their military bases,” said delegation member Michael Lujan-Bevacqua, assistant professor of Chamorro Studies at the University of Guam. Most recently, as Pim Litiaco of the organization Famoksaiyan noted, “Chamorro access to one of our most sacred sites, Litekyan (a.k.a. Ritidian Point), has been restricted” in anticipation of its forthcoming conversion by the military into a live-fire training complex. Rallying against this level of militarization is no easy task when military activity provides a major portion of local employment opportunities. North Korea, meanwhile, knows well Guam’s strategic significance in the middle of the Pacific; just last summer, Kim Jong-Un threatened to launch a missile
attack on the island to avenge perceived aggression toward him by President Trump and the United States. The threats have sparked more Chamorros than ever before to learn more and become more engaged in the decolonization process. “[Our] people, used to thinking in a primarily liberal- conservative American ideological context, have started to dip their toes into decolonial waters,” Lujan-Bevacqua says, reflecting on the increased turnout for public teach-ins that Independent Guåhan, the organization he co-chairs, organizes. While the UN mandate is to decolonize Guam by 2020, Lisa Natividad of the Guam Commission on Decolonization warned in her petition to the UN that “the unilateral misapplication of U.S. law to the territory” stands in the way. Indeed, the courts have ruled in favor of a suit brought by a nonIndigenous American military retiree residing on the island, insisting that the plebiscite to decide the fate of the Chamorro homeland include all—not just the Indigenous— Guam residents. “The decolonization process is not a matter of civil rights,” asserted Natividad, “but an exercise of the inalienable right to self-determination for those who have collectively experienced colonization.” Julia Faye Muñoz, a student member of the delegation and representative for the Pacific Women’s Indigenous Network who was raised in a family long active in this process, vowed, “We will continue our fight to insure that Guam is recognized by the global community as a self-governing nation to be respected.” The UN Fourth Committee, having heard their petitions, is in alignment with those wishes, affirmed, “There is no alternative to the principle of self-determination; a fundamental human right.” — Cristina Verán is an international Indigenous Peoples’ issues specialist, research consultant, strategist, and multimedia producer. She is a longtime United Nations correspondent and was a founding member of the UN Indigenous Media Network.
Norton Dowries, chairperson of Coastal Links South Africa, comes from a small-scale fishing family that has been catching fish in the Langebaan Lagoon for many generations. Photo courtesy of Norton Dowries.
The Ocean Is Life Norton Dowries (Langebaan), Western Cape, South Africa
was born and bred in Langebaan in the area where the restaurants now stand. My birthplace is where holidaymakers now frequent; this is something that bothers me. I belong to an organization called Coastal Links, and another organization called Masifundise. It is these organizations that taught us how to continue to make a living as a fisherman. The ocean, as well as the lagoon where we live, is very important to us because it is our existence, it is us. But because of the law, it is almost impossible for us to exercise our existence. It is our customary rights, it is our culture, and indeed even our language. A fisherman is one that leaves the house every day so that he can feed his family. In the past, if my father did not go to sea and our neighbor went, he would also provide fish to our household, and vice versa. That is how we lived, even before apartheid. When apartheid came in, all of us were divided. Other threats [that we face] include the fishing control officers; that is, the fishing police. The fishing territory has also been zoned into three categories—A, B, and C—B being our customary fishing area, this has been allocated to us. C has been allocated to “sport” fishers. We have now won a court case that increases our area of fishing, but we are still constantly being monitored by the authorities.The court case included taking the respective government department to court, which we won. Development in the area seems to be booming, holiday resorts are going up; this has an impact on the fish. From what I can see, the sea level is rising. In all my life that I spent in Langebaan, I have never seen a thing as this: some years back there was what I would call a mini tsunami that caused a disaster. It had a huge impact on us, and the minister had to come in to restore the damage so that we can continue fishing. Climate change is a reality and we have to face it. I attended the World Summit on Sustainable Development, as well as COP 17. We are on COP 23 now, and there are no tangible solutions to climate change as yet. We need to prevent the destructive of the [forces on] our fish; we need to be in control of that. There has to be co-management and mutual respect from everyone who uses the source. Holidaymakers and customary fishers need to respect the ocean. Cultural Survival Quarterly
December 2017 • 23
Mni Ki WAkan WATER Summit Builds a movement
Youth Summit participants paddle on Mde Maka Ska (White Earth Lake). Photo by Sharri Abbott-Keller.
Lemoine LaPointe, Wakinyan LaPointe, Jon Lurie, Jess Cherofsky “
hat seed might we plant together today that could make the most difference to the future of the Indigenous Peoples’ Water Summit?”, 26-year-old Thorne LaPointe asked a group of some 50 Indigenous youth, elders, and supporters at the inaugural Mni Ki Wakan: World Indigenous Peoples’ Decade of Water Summit, held July 31–August 2, 2017, in Minneapolis. The question was emblematic of the tone that guided the entire event, marking an exploratory first step upon a 10-year journey toward realizing an Indigenous-led, ecologically sustainable future of restoring clean and healthy water. Indigenous and nonIndigenous participants, primarily youth, began the interactive process of designing a Mni Ki Wakan World Water Agenda, laying out transformative possibilities for the future. Sicangu Lakota organizers of the Summit welcomed representatives from over 15 Native Nations who shared their visions about the future of water in their communities. While delegates and organizers stressed that each Nation’s approach must vary depending on its circumstance, all agreed that the path forward depends on water that is safe, clean, and respected. The participants collectively envisioned a Mni Ki Wakan world water agenda for the coming years, through sharing the wisdom of Indigenous Peoples, youth, and communities at future summits. The focus of the Summit was on Indigenous youth and their hopes for their communities, while adults and elders provided a supportive presence. One Lakota elder, Sandra Little, reflected, “I’ve heard a number of times where the youth have felt disconnected from us elders. It doesn’t have to be that way. To be able to connect with elders in their community or within their own families...it’s a two-way street. We’re there with the wisdom, encouragement, and direction they need sometimes. We just need to reach for each other and connect.”
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The Summit was an example of just such a two-way street. By intentionally facilitating intergenerational exchanges, and by structuring the event around values-based guiding questions and deeply personal conversations, the organizers ensured that the event was Indigenous in form as well as in content. After the opening prayer, each attendee was asked to share a value that they carried with them to the event. Some of these included “respect,” “equality,” “love for the next generation,” “compassion,” and “we are all related.” The Summit, which was the first of 10 events planned through 2026, was inspired by scores of local, urban Indigenous youth of diverse Tribal Nations who, in 2008, paddled the sacred waterways of their Dakota predecessors throughout present-day Minnesota. These scouting expeditions explored the feasibility of offering more cultural adventures for youth. In 2009, the first Mde Maka Ska Canoe Nations Gathering was held upon the ancestral lands of the Dakota Nation to enable hundreds of Indigenous youth to participate in group-oriented experiences that would otherwise not be available to them; this event continues today. In 2015, a series of collective visioning and value sessions, known as the Mde Maka Ska Community Conversations, focused on recovering clean and healthy water, and restoring, through the power of Indigenous patience, the original names upon Great Lakes waterways. The first day of the Summit brought 33 local and visiting Indigenous youth to an early morning Four Sacred Directions Water Walk around Mde Maka Ska (the Lakota name for what is known in English as Lake Calhoun), and a canoe paddle across 3 lakes. The next 2 days were full of powerful, intimate visioning, along with talks and poetry by local Indigenous presenters and intimate musical and dance performances by 17-year-old Tla’amin water activist Ta’kaiya Blaney of British Columbia, Canada, and Dakota dancers Daryl and Ariel Kootenay of Alberta, Canada. Blaney was among about a dozen Indigenous youth who had traveled to attend the Summit. Emerging as an Indigenous leader and musician when she was just eight years old, Blaney has spent the nine All photos by Sharri Abbott-Keller.
years since attending and presenting at multiple UN events and TEDx talks and has combined her activism and her music to make powerful statements about Indigenous Peoples’ rights and lands. Blaney explained how her name embodies her people’s reverence for water. “My name is Ta’Kaiya; it is a formal way of addressing water in which you are recognizing its inherent sanctity. The literal translation into English is ‘that water over there.’ With the values of my elders that have been instilled in me, which have traveled from generation to generation since what we refer to as ‘time immemorial,’ always existing in a way of gratitude to land and that which gives us life, there is an idea of indebtedness in our culture, that you are indebted to what sustains you, to the water, to the air, to the land. It’s an interdependent relationship...it’s an idea that we’re not just trying to nurture the land as a resource but interject ourselves back into a broken cycle of dependence on the land and the land’s dependence on us as caretakers and stewards.” Many of the youth had never attended an event like the Summit before, and all were fired up to act on the energy generated together, to be in a space where they could connect with other Indigenous people passionate about protecting water based on Indigenous values. Amber Fineday, a 16-year-old from the Fond du Lac Reservation, described her motivation to attend the Summit: “My water is sick and I want to raise awareness and try to fix it. Five months ago we were told by the reservation that [the water is] dirty, and if you drink it, you’ll get sick. We have to go to the community center to get water.” Fineday proposed a Facebook group to keep summit attendees and others engaged once everyone had returned home. She committed to talking to people at her Tribal Council and with her school principal to find ways of getting others in her community involved in efforts to protect water. James Freedman, another teen from the Fond du Lac Reservation, said he was motivated to participate in the Summit because “everybody deserves a healthy planet. We’re only here for a short time, so we have to keep it preserved well for the future generations of our families.” Kalila Rampanin, who identifies as Cree, Finnish, and a member of the Nuu-chahnulth First Nation in Canada, said, “Where I live, water is everywhere for us. We all live in a rainforest. I just grew up on the water, ever since I was born. Water is a really good medicine for us. It’s very sacred to me.”
Wrapping up the Summit, prior to a closing prayer, co-organizer and longtime community leader, educator, and rights activist Lemoine LaPointe gave the youth some advice to take home with them. “Above all, just stay united for our values. These cannot die because this is what keeps that fuel, that light [in] you burning. It’s what causes you to walk into a room and everyone in that room can feel you emanate with the power and the positivity that you really are. Don’t let anyone take that away from you. Don’t let anyone dim your lights! We, as Native people in particular, have been through that. We have a bright light that the creator placed in us, a nagi, a spirit. Let’s keep it. The only way to keep it is by standing united. One of my grandfathers said, ‘Healing cannot take place alone.’ So we must stand together and understand that the wisdom of our grandfathers, forefathers, predecessors, is good and wise.” LaPointe’s son and co-organizer, Thorne, added, “You youth came here, and with your best efforts, really helped us to design this. We said it was going to be a water summit designed by our people. We didn’t come here with a premade agenda...we all come from distinctive Nations, and however big or small our efforts may be, we make a difference. We have to understand that we are one. There is a saying: ‘Many people in many places undertaking many tasks can change the world.’ There are 374 million Indigenous people worldwide—that’s 374 million gifts, strengths, and possibilities. Leave knowing that you have a community with you. You are not alone. We are in this together.”
L–R: Daryl Kootenay, Thorne LaPointe, and Wakinyan LaPointe drum at the shores of Mde Maka Ska (White Earth Lake). Photo by Sharri Abbott-Keller.
— To get involved in the 2018 Mni Ki Wakan: World Indigenous Peoples’ Decade of Water Summit in Minneapolis, MN, visit mnikiwakan.org; Facebook.com/MniKiWakan; or Twitter @ mnikiwakan.
Summit participants. Photo by Tiana LaPointe.
Cultural Survival Quarterly
December 2017 • 25
B a z aar art i st: Out of Mud
O No two cloths are exactly alike. Habibou Coulibaly fills in the pattern with naturally-derived paints.
Habibou Coulibaly stands in front of two of his hand-dyed cloths as they dry and set in the sun.
Dyes made of trees leaves and barks, grains, and clay give the Bogolan textiles their earthy tones. All photos courtesy of Habibou Coulibaly.
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ne is immediately drawn to the geometric patterns in Habibou Coulibaly’s indigo and earth-colored textiles. Coulibaly, a textile artist from the Bamana people, is an active member of the Kadiogo Dyers’ Cooperative (Coopérative des Teinturiers et Teinturières du Kadiogo) in Burkina Faso. He works to share his knowledge and bring support to the youth and women of his community through the training, production, and sale of Indigenous art. “My craft is vegetable and mineral dyeing, a very old tradition discovered by hunters of the empire of Mali. This dyeing process is called Bogola Fini in the local Bambara language, meaning ‘result of clay on the fabric,’” he says. Coulibaly’s art is part of his creative and cultural identity, spanning generations among his family and community. Bogolan is a traditional dye made of tree leaves, barks, grains, and clay. Coulibaly describes the process: “We use leaves, bark, roots, seeds of medicinal trees, and clay, which gives us three essential colors: yellow, which is also an ocher, and black fixative; the mixture of these three colors gives us various shades of colors.” For the process of obtaining the colors, Coulibaly explains, “We soak the leaves and stems, boil the bark, and ferment the clay all in different containers. We add potassium alum to strengthen the color fastness. We soak the cotton three times in the yellow color, make white patterns with soap paste, and black patterns with clay. Each soaking and drawing is followed by drying. We repeat the process three times. Then the finished piece is washed and treated with alum. The designs we use are masks, signs, and symbols that were already carved on stones or on the walls of our huts. The artists added geometric and decorative drawings.” Born in Konna in Mali, West Africa, Coulibaly now resides near Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, with his wife and four children, where he is a Bamanan Knight of the Burkinabé Order of Merit, a national recognition for his work. Of his professional background, he says, “I learned my art from my grandmother in the family workshop. I received other trainings in the family workshops following my visits to my parents in San, Ségou, Koutiala, and Bamako in Mali. In Ouagadougou, I attended training courses in graphic design, in the knowledge of plant-based dyes and textile processes, [as well as] in management, sales, and marketing.” Coulibaly is an expert in traditional dye processes at the Ouagadougou National Arts and Crafts Center. “As artists, we face the challenge of finding successors to follow our craft because all those who study no longer wish to make the traditional art. It is difficult to source the raw material that has become very rare and more expensive. Financial resources are increasingly inaccessible to artists, making it difficult to produce and market our products,” he says. Despite these challenges, Coulibaly is committed to his craft: “Art is the beginning of my life. The art of bogolan and indigo is a cultural identity. For me and my family, it is a cultural heritage, a know-how. It is a means of educating and expressing oneself as a continuation of traditions for future generations, and has international dimensions. Art is a profession that allows me to provide for the needs of my family and is a source of pride for my village, reducing unemployment and poverty. Through our cooperative, by organizing and participating in training workshops, fairs, and festival markets, we aim to help young people and women by training them in the production and sale of their products—and we adhere to the spirit of fair trade.” Reflecting on his experience at the Cultural Survival Bazaars, Coulibaly says, “They offer the opportunity to educate ourselves, to exchange, to share, to give and receive culturally. It is also an opportunity to improve production quality. It is one of the best opportunities to sell and promote our art while creating long term relationships with organizers and artists from around the world.”
Join us at this Winter’s Cultural Survival Bazaars: December 9–10, Cambridge, MA • December 15–17, Boston, MA Visit bazaar.cs.org and facebook.com/culturalsurvivalbazaars for more information.
i n memor ia m
Sarah W. Fuller
O cto b er 20, 1949 – O cto b er 29, 2017
ith great sadness, we mourn the loss of Sarah Wilder Fuller, former chair of Cultural Survival’s board of directors. Sarah was a champion for Cultural Survival and a generous and committed benefactor. Sarah often spoke of her deep commitment to Cultural Survival’s stewardship stemming from her relationship with, and admiration for, Cultural Survival co-founders David and Pia Maybury-Lewis’ work with Indigenous Peoples. Sarah joined the board of directors of Cultural Survival in 1997, eventually becoming the treasurer, and then chairperson, of the board. She skillfully advised and guided the organization through changing leadership and financial ups and downs. “Sarah became a board member a few months before I joined the staff,” recalls Mark Camp, Cultural Survival deputy executive director. “I worked very closely with her since the beginning; she was always there for us. She was a key partner in growing Cultural Survival. In 20 years, we went from five staff members in Cambridge, MA, to 20 staff in seven countries. She will be deeply missed. It is a huge loss for our community.” Suzanne Benally, Cultural Survival executive director, adds, “Sarah will be deeply missed by Cultural Survival’s
board of directors and the staff. She was a great visionary and leader in her support of our organization. Her dedication to the work of Cultural Survival with Indigenous Peoples was reflected throughout her service as chair of the board and in her philanthropic generosity. It was my honor to work with Sarah, and I will miss Sarah’s presence in my leadership of the organization. More importantly, we all acknowledge that Sarah is beautifully woven into the tapestry of Cultural Survival, the fabric that give us strength and resilience. Ahéhee’, with appreciation. Sarah was a pioneer and inspiration for women in business and led an impressive career. She received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s degree from Harvard University. After completing her graduate studies, Sarah served as the president at AMR/Arlington Medical Resources, Inc. and was the co-founder, president, and chief operating officer of Decision Resources Group. She later served as president emeritus of Decision Resources and as acting president of HealthLeaders-InterStudy where she oversaw all new product initiatives. Previously, Sarah served as vice president of Arthur D. Little, Inc., from which she coled a buyout of Arthur D. Little Decision Resources in 1990. She served as executive chairman of Millennium Prevention, Inc., and was also the director at Halloran Consulting and The Forbes Consulting Group; a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania; director of MedPanel, LLC; and director of Cytel, Inc. Sarah also served on the board of overseers and the Huntsman and Life Sciences and Management advisory boards for Penn, as well as on the board of trustees at Plimoth Plantation. Sarah passed away suddenly on October 29, 2017. She was 68 years old. Our hearts and prayers go out to her husband and surviving family.
Sarah Fuller hosting the families of Bazaar artists in her Rhode Island home. L–R: Lisa Henries, Veronica Domingo, Sarah Fuller, Bernard Domingo, Sarah’s sister Wendy Larsen. Bottom row: Danae Laura. Photo by Hawk Henries.
Cultural Survival Quarterly
December 2017 • 27
get i nvo lve d
What Do the Sustainable Development Goals Mean for
Indigenous Peoples? Danielle DeLuca (CS Staff)
he year 2017 marks the first year of implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are a set of 17 Global Goals measured by progress against 169 targets covering social issues like poverty, hunger, health, education, climate change, gender equality, and social justice. The goals are part of a global agenda to eradicate poverty, among other indicators of well being for people and the planet, by the year 2030. They are an extension of the previous Millennium Development Goals, which concluded in 2015. The High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York is the central platform for followup and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, and provides for the full and effective participation of all State members of the United Nations and specialized agencies. The Forum meets annually under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council for eight days in July. It is the main UN platform on sustainable development, and it has a central role in the followup and review of the 2030 Agenda for the Sustainable Development Goals at the global level. A central feature of the Forum are the voluntary national reviews from States on their implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the development goals. “Sustainable Development Goals embody a new era of engagement and exploration in pursuit of equality for everyone on our planet,” said Joshua Cooper, director of Inter- national Network for Diplomacy & Indigenous Governance Engaging in Nonviolence Organizing for Understanding & Self-Determination (INDIGENOUS). “The 17 Goals outline an opportunity to organize, to overhaul global governance,
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to be honest for future generations; [they are] rooted in a philosophy of ‘no one left behind,’ with a human rights blueprint dedicated to ‘furthest behind first.’ Indigenous Peoples will be the moral measurement of achievement and nurturers of a new relationship with nature.” Although significant progress has been made towards realizing the development goals, that progress has been tempered by criticism that progress has not made evenly across race, ethnicity, social status, or gender lines. Indigenous Peoples, along with other minority groups, have pushed for recognition that the next steps for development must leave no one behind. Yet, Indigenous Peoples have faced difficulty in seeing their perspectives reflected in the 2030 Agenda. Although all of the 17 goals are relevant for Indigenous Peoples, only 4 out of 230 indicators specifically mention Indigenous Peoples (see sidebar). Many have additionally argued that these few indicators in which Indigenous Peoples are included do not reflect Indigenous definitions of well being. The Major Group for Indigenous Peoples explained in their 2016 paper, “For Indigenous Peoples around the world, ‘leaving no one behind’ means respecting subsistence economies and promoting nonmonetary measures of well-being. For instance . . . the financial measure of $1.25/day for extreme poverty is inappropriate for Indigenous Peoples, for whom security of rights to lands, territories and resources is essential for poverty eradication. From this perspective, the linear monetary measure of poverty can contribute to further impoverishing Indigenous Peoples under the guise of the theme ‘leaving no one behind.’” The Indigenous Peoples Major Group is one of nine sectors of society that have been identified as stakeholders in sustainable development and have been involved in the
processes at the UN level. An indicator of particular interest to Indigenous Peoples under Goal 1, “End poverty in all its forms everywhere,” focuses on the “proportion of total adult population with secure tenure rights to land, with legally recognized documentation and who perceive their rights to land as secure, by sex and by type of tenure.” Questions have been raised about whether this indicator is exclusively focused on individual land tenure rights, or may be also inclusive of communal land title held by an entire Indigenous community. The Indigenous Major Group commented, “The targets under SDG Goal 1 do not fully reflect the special situations of Indigenous Peoples and could be detrimental for traditional economies that are based on subsistence and harmonious relationship with natural environment.” Indigenous experts participating at the UN gathered for a live discussion on Indigenous land rights within the SDGs at the High-Level Political Forum in July 2017. Gam Shimray of the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact stated, “Land is the only basis for continuity of identity and also of holistic development, which we call self-determined development. So in [Goal 1], if land is left out, we are already being left behind. That’s why land is so important when we talk about [Sustainable Development] Goals.” Janene Yazzie (Diné), Southwest United States, agreed, stating, “The lands that we are protecting conserve 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity. In the 2030 Agenda, there is an emphasis around land measurement based on individual ownership that threatens our ability to collectively manage our traditional territories. In the Southwest United States, that can translate into policies at the federal level being implemented under the guise of sustainability that inhibit our Peoples’ ability to continue traditional practices of land management.” Daniel Ole Sapit, Maasai from Kenya, added, “Land for Indigenous Peoples is not just a means of production. It is an interactive space for us to engage with all of our livelihood options and opportunities. If you remove the land from the discussion, you are leaving us completely off—not just behind, but completely off— the discussion.” The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues additionally warns that “The 2030 Agenda...involves serious risks for Indigenous Peoples, such as clean energy projects that encroach on their lands and territories. To avoid negative impacts, the implementation of the Sustainable Develop- ment Goals needs to take place in conformity with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. . . . It is also important that programs to implement the 2030 Agenda are culturally sensitive and respect Indigenous Peoples’ self-determination as well as collective rights in terms of land, health, education, culture, and ways of living.” The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues has identified the following recommendations for including Indigenous Peoples in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals moving forward: • Implementing the 2030 Agenda with full respect for the rights of Indigenous Peoples: By protecting and promoting the rights of Indigenous Peoples, as reflected in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, States will be able to address challenges faced by Indigenous Peoples and ensure that they are not left behind.
SDGs Mentioning Indigenous Peoples Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture • Indicator 2.3: By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, Indigenous Peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment • Indicator 2.3.2: Average income of small-scale food producers, by sex and Indigenous status Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all • Indicator 4.5: By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples and children in vulnerable situations • Indicator 4.5.1: Parity indices (female/male, rural/ urban, bottom/top wealth quintile and others such as disability status, Indigenous Peoples and conflict affected, as data become available) for all education indicators on this list that can be disaggregated
• Making Indigenous Peoples visible in data and in the review of the 2030 Agenda: At the national level, relevant indicators for Indigenous Peoples should be identified and included in national indicator lists. Data-disaggregation and recognition of Indigenous identity in national statistics as well as integration of community-based data from Indigenous communities will allow for assessing progress for Indigenous Peoples. • Ensuring Indigenous Peoples’ participation in imple- mentation, followup, and review: Indigenous Peoples can contribute to the development of national action plans, follow-up and review at all levels, including for the voluntary national reviews at the High-Level Political Forum. In July 2018, the next High-Level Political Forum will assess 48 countries that have signed up for the voluntary review. This is a critical opportunity for Indigenous Peoples to submit reports on how Sustainable Development Goal targets are being met in their countries and communities. To learn more about the SDGs, visit: sustainable development.un.org. To get involved with the Indigenous Peoples Major Group or to contact organizational partners, visit: sustainable development.un.org/majorgroups/about.
CulturalSurvival SurvivalQuarterly Quarterly Cultural
December 2017 • 29
Six easy ways to support Indigenous Peoples and Cultural Survival in this giving season
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