The Ecologist


Indigenous Peoples: 1/25 of 263
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Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, at the 14th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues - 27 April 2015, New York. Photo: via

Vicky Tauli-Corpuz: 'The better protected areas are those where indigenous peoples live!'

Joe Eisen / Conservation Watch

19th October 2016

Indigenous Peoples are often the victims of nature conservation, according to a new report by Vicky Tauli-Corpuz presented to the UN this week, as they are expelled from lands they have inhabited for millennia. One reason, she told Joe Eisen, is that indigenous territories are precisely the places where biodiversity is best preserved - thanks to the protective, nurturing presence of their traditional owners. more...
No place for oil drilling: lonely Mountain in the Sierra del Divisor national park, Peru. Photo: Diego Pérez / El Taller / Ministerio del Ambiente via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Peru: national park 'Master Plan' opens uncontacted tribe's land to oil drilling

Lewis Evans & Sarina Kidd

7th October 2016

Full credit to Peru for creating the Sierra del Divisor national park in one of the most precious areas of the Amazon, write Lewis Evans & Sarina Kidd. But not for leaving it open to oil drilling, risking the future of uncontacted indigenous tribes that depend on their pristine rainforest environment to survive. more...
Native youth and supporters protest in New York against Dakota Access Pipeline, 7th August 2016. Photo: Joe Catron via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Standing Rock and the long struggle for Indigenous freedom

Stanley L. Cohen

21st September 2016

While the confrontation at Standing Rock has galvanized Indians and non-native supporters from across the continent, writes Stanley L. Cohen, it's but a symptom of a much deeper crises facing several million Indians holding on to endangered traditions and cultures that predate 'our' arrival by several thousand years. We may call Indian people sovereign. But it's all a grand, perverse lie. more...
Soldiers came with the park officers. They planted a Thai flag and told the Karen to leave the village at once, or be shot. Photo: via CW.

Thailand court: National Park officers 'can burn indigenous homes'

Chris Lang / Conservation Watch

20th September 2016

The Thai government was right to evict an indigenous community from the Kaeng Krachan National Park at gunpoint and burn down homes, a Bangkok court has ruled - even though one resident had lived there for 100 years and the Park was only created in 1981. more...
Yanomami children in their forest home - which, with notorious 'Soy King' Bairo Maggi as agriculture minister, is now looking decidedly less secure. Photo: Dung Nguyen via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Brazil’s new government to sacrifice the Amazon for 'growth'

Ed Atkins, University of Bristol

19th September 2016

It's not that Dilma Rousseff, Brazil's ousted President, was wonderful for the environment, writes Ed Atkins. It's that Michel Temer's new regime is certain to be far worse. Plans are afoot to weaken environmental assessments for large projects like mines, roads and dams. And the new Minister of Agriculture is a notorious campaigner for hugely increased deforestation. more...
Chief Caleen Sisk holding an exchange with Hawai'ian sacred site custodians at the 2016 World Conservation Congress in Hawai'i. Photo: Sacred Land Film Project.

World Conservation Congress votes to protect indigenous sacred lands

Hal Rhoades

13th September 2016

As the global assault on indigenous lands intensifies, the world's largest conservation group, the IUCN, has just voted at its World Conservation Congress for the sacred natural sites and territories of indigenous peoples to be recognised as 'No-Go Areas' for destructive industrial scale activities, writes Hal Rhoades - and for corporations to permanently withdraw from such areas. more...
The Baka have lived sustainably in their rainforest home for generations. Photo: Selcen Kucukustel / Atlas / Survival International.

Corporate capture: Big Conservation must break out of its Stockholm syndrome

Dr Margi Prideaux

2nd September 2016

Big conservation NGOs increasingly resemble the nature-destroying corporations they should be opposing, writes Margi Prideaux. This ideological capture is reflected in their vapid marketing to conservation 'consumers'; the serious abuse of indigenous communities they should be engaging as partners; and their willing sacrifice of core objectives to money and influence. more...
Brazil's Zo'é tribe are starting to recover from epidemics in the 1980s and '90s now that their land is protected. Photo: Survival International.

Brazil's Olympic triumph - don't mention the genocide!

Lewis Evans

25th August 2016

In the thick of the Olympic frenzy, one voice that was systematically excluded from mainstream narratives is that of Brazil's Indigenous Peoples, writes Lewis Evans, who have fought to survive through centuries of dehumanisation, theft and genocide. And now they face a fresh attack as a proposed constitutional change, PEC 215, threatens a new round of indigenous land theft. more...
Bushmen have hunted at subsistence levels in the Kalahari for millennia. Photo: Survival International.

Botswana: shooting Bushmen from helicopters is wrong!

Lewis Evans

16th August 2016

Botswana's war on its indigenous population, the Bushmen of the Kalahari, has reached a new pitch, writes LEWIS EVANS. No longer content to arrest and intimidate them as they engage in subsistence hunting on their own land, the state has begun to shoot them from aircraft. These illegal, genocidal acts must stop! more...
View south from the mine site to Narsaq below. Photo: Bill Williams.

Greenland Inuit oppose open-pit uranium mine on Arctic mountain-top

Bill Williams

17th August 2018

A collapse in the price of uranium has not yet stopped Australian mining company GME from trying to press ahead with a massive open-pit uranium mine on an Arctic mountain in southern Greenland, writes Bill Williams - just returned from the small coastal town of Narsaq where local people and Inuit campaigners are driving the growing resistance to the ruinous project. more...
How will the promoters of GMO golden rice ensure that malnourished children receive it in the first place? Will they also ensure they get the dietary fat they need to actually assimilate the carotene once they have eaten it? Photo of children playing in M

Millions spent, no one served: who is to blame for the failure of GMO Golden Rice?

Angelika Hilbeck & Hans Herren

15th August 2016

The real reason why 'golden rice' remains uncultivated after a 20 year effort is its poor agronomic performance, write Angelika Hilbeck & Hans Herren. But beyond that, the very idea of golden rice as a 'solution' to Vitamin A deficiency fails to recognise the real causes of malnutrition - poverty, hunger and poor diet. How will golden rice reach poor children in the first place? And will they ever get the rich, oily diet they need to assimilate its fat-soluble nutrients? more...
Munduruku indigenous people set up a sign to demarcate their land. Photo: Greenpeace.

Brazil's indigenous peoples fight Amazon dams threat

Helle Abelvik-Lawson

1st August 2016

Brazil's new neoliberal government is intent on building a massive new dam deep in the Amazon rainforest on the on the Tapajós river, writes Helle Abelvik-Lawson, obliterating the indigenous territory of the Munduruku people in defiance of their constitutional rights. more...

Indigenous Peoples: 1/25 of 263
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Nonhle Mbuthuma on her land which is proposed to be mined. Photo: The Shore Break.

Victory in the campaign against mining South Africa's Wild Coast - but it's not over yet!

Rachel Lees

21st July 2016

Campaigners have forced the biggest shareholder in a titanium mining project on south Africa's 'Wild Coast' to withdraw, reports Rachel Lees. But they now fear the project itself will continue under the auspices of local 'front' companies, while the big profits enrich the British and Australian investors that are the real masters of Africa's neo-colonial minerals boom. more...
A local fisherman navigates the Diphlu River, which runs alongside India's Kaziranga national park - which operates a strict 'shoot on sight' policy for people found within the park boundaries. Photo: Frank Boyd via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Guards shoot indigenous boy in India's 'shoot-to-kill' national park

The Ecologist

20th July 2016

A 7-year old boy has been shot by park guards in Kaziranga national park, India, visited in April by Prince William and Kate, which operates a strict 'shoot first' policy. The incident highlights the government's wider efforts to evict tribal peoples from their forests in the name of conservation. more...
Muskrat Falls on 23rd October 2011, before dam construction commenced. Photo: innovationtrail via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Controversial dam robs, poisons Canada's indigenous Innu people

Colin Samson, University of Essex

14th July 2016

A new dam on indigenous lands at Muskrat Falls will join a network of other hydroelectric projects spanning Innu territories across the Labrador-Quebec peninsula, writes Colin Samson. The continual violation of Innu rights imperils their ability to enjoy healthy and sustainable lifestyles - and follows in a long tradition of indigenous land theft in North America. more...
Muckaty Traditional Owner Kylie Sambo is an objector to what she considers radioactive blackmail: education in return for accepting nuclear waste. 'As Australians we should be already entitled to that.'

Radioactive waste and the nuclear war on Australia's Aboriginal people

Jim Green

1st July 2016

Australia's nuclear industry has a shameful history of 'radioactive racism' that dates from the British bomb tests in the 1950s, writes Jim Green. The same attitudes persist today with plans to dump over half a million tonnes of high and intermediate level nuclear waste on Aboriginal land, and open new uranium mines. But now Aboriginal peoples and traditional land owners are fighting back! more...
The Comida Conscience mobile restaurant. Photo: Fabrizio Uscamayta.

Abundance for everybody - 'conscious food' supports a thriving urban activist community in Bolivia

Sian Cowman

July 2016

Rooted in the Andean principles of sharing, resilience and 'Vivir Bien' (Living Well), Bolivian activists in the world's highest capital city are building cooperative, grassroots alternatives to the profit-oriented economy, writes Sian Cowman. Their weekly lunch party is just the most visible way in which they are challenging the injustice of capitalism and the fragmentation it inflicts on communities. more...
Karen people gather to protect their rivers. Photo: Kesan Media.

Saving the Salween: Southeast Asia's last major undammed river

Tom Fawthorp

13th June, 2016

The free-flowing Salween is the last big undammed river in Southeast Asia, home to a flurry of endangered species including tigers and clouded leopards, writes Tom Fawthrop in Hpa-an, Karen State, Myanmar. And thanks to support from both the indigenous Karen people, and senior officials in China who see the huge ecotourism potential of the river and its dramatic gorge, it could just stay that way. more...
Vezo fishers primarily use only traditional fishing methods - their boats have no motors and the dive without scuba gear. Thriving markets for shark fin and sea cucumbers, however, are changing many aspects of the way they live. Photo: © Garth Cripps.

Madagascar's 'sea nomads' are the new ocean defenders

Charlie Gardner

8th June 2016

The Vezo, Madagascar's indigenous 'sea nomads', are travelling hundreds of miles to the remote 'Barren Isles', the Indian Ocean's largest locally-managed marine protected area, writes Charlie Gardner. Drawn by valuable shark fins and sea cucumbers, sold into Chinese markets, the Vezo are now joining with local fishers to protect the ecosystem and expel illegal divers. more...
A Guarani woman at the roadside. Photo: Survival International.

The 'slow genocide' of Brazil's Guarani people must stop

Lewis Evans

3rd June 2016

Land theft, agribusiness and violence pose an existential threat to Brazil's Guarani people, writes Lewis Evans. They maintain a powerful resolve to regain their historic lands, and even have the law on their side - but the tribe will need international support to prevail against murderous ranchers and farmers, corrupt politicians and a paralysed legal system. more...
If laws currently being debated by Brazilian lawmakers are passed, we can expect huge tracts of the Amazon to go up in flames in coming years, like these 2011 fires along the Rio Xingu. Photo: NASA's Earth Observatory via Flickr (CC BY).

Ecocide in Brazil: new laws threaten Amazon devastation

Jan Rocha

12th May 2016

Amidst the turmoil of the presidential impeachment, writes Jan Rocha, right wing members of Brazil's Congress are set to pass new laws that would build new roads across the Amazon, open up indigenous reserves to industrial exploitation, and create a surge in carbon emissions from burning forests. more...
Nonhle Mbuthuma of Amadiba Crisis Committee shows the red sand at Kwanyana Beach near Xolobeni that is at the centre of the dispute. Photo: Loyiso Mpalantshane via Sustaining the Wild Coast.

Mining, money and murder: the deadly struggle to protect South Africa's Wild Coast

Hal Rhoades

12th May 2016

The pristine landscape of South Africa's Wild Coast is under threat from mining, writes Hal Rhoades, and the communities standing up to defend the land are facing deadly consequences: harassment, threats, physical assault and murder. Attacks on mine opponents have taken four lives so far and many others have been injured. But the opposition is growing and gaining international support. more...
The war on drugs under way near Tumaco, Colombia, June 2008. But how come nothing like this happens in Colorado or Amsterdam? Photo: William Fernando Martinez / AP Photo via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

The 'war on drugs' is a war on culture and human diversity

Benjamin Ramm

28th April 2016

The 'war on drugs' is presented as a necessary battle against social evils, writes Benjamin Ramm. But from the Andes to the Caribbean, prohibition has criminalised both religious and cultural expression. And it's a war that is strictly for the global poor: people in Colorado can grow pot - so why not Colombians? more...
Loure's personal experiences, cultural background, and education put him in a unique position to lead the Ujamaa Community Resource Team (UCRT), an NGO that has championed community land rights and sustainable development in northern Tanzania for the past

Securing communal land rights for Tanzania's Indigenous Peoples

Sophie Morlin-Yron

25th April 2016

Commuting between land rights negotiations in the city and herding goats on the plains, Edward Loure is at once a traditional Maasai and a modern urbanite, writes Sophie Morlin-Yron. That ability to straddle the two very different worlds he inhabits has been key to his success at having 200,000 acres of land registered into village and community ownership - and his own 2016 Goldman Prize. more...
Dozens of people have been shot on sight in Kaziranga in recent years. The park guards are immune from prosecution. Photo: © Survival International.

India's 'shoot on sight' conservation terrorises indigenous communities

Lewis Evans

20th April 2016

The endangered Bengal Tiger and One-horned Rhino desperately need protection, writes Lewis Evans. But in India's Kaziranga National Park, 'fortress conservation' includes a brutal 'shoot on sight' policy that is terrorising local communities, many of them tribal. Indigenous peoples are the natural allies of conservation and need to be engaged in constructive solutions - not shot! more...


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