Indigenous resistance on behalf of the land
March 10, 2011 1:51 PM   Subscribe

What are examples of ongoing struggles of indigenous people to protect their lands and the environment from corporations and/or the government? For example: Black Mesa Indigenous Support. I'm especially looking for movements that have organized enough so that they have information on how supporters can take action to help them. Thanks!
posted by long haired child to Society & Culture (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You may want to look into the efforts of the people of Fort Chipewyan to protect their land from pollution from the Alberta Tar Sands. There is an excellent special presentation of The Nature of Things that delves into their fight that I highly recommend.
posted by Polyhymnia at 2:02 PM on March 10, 2011

There's the Aamjiwnaang First Nation Reserve in Sarnia, Ontario, which is nestled up to 'chemical valley' resulting in some not-so-great health effects. I don't know how much organized effort there is around this issue right now, though.
posted by geegollygosh at 2:03 PM on March 10, 2011

You might be interested in the struggles of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake in northern Quebec.
The Trilateral Agreement is a contract between the Federal Government (Canada), the Provincial Government (Quebec) and the ABL that deals with land use of 10 000 km2 of land traditionally inhabited and used by the ABL. It is an alternative to Canada’s preferred negotiation policy, called the "Comprehensive Land Claims." This negotiating process forces First Nations to extinguish their Aboriginal rights and title upon settlement, to give up communal land rights for private property ownership, and to shoulder expensive legal and land use mapping costs that eventually get docked from meager settlements.

The ABL rejected this Comprehensive land claims approach, and chose instead to sign a conservation plan called the Trilateral Agreement. In summary, the Trilateral agreement would see the ABL included in decision making about the land, and gain a financial return from any resource extraction or commerce on their land (logging, hydro-electric, tourism). It would see traditional Algonquin knowledge of the land integrated into how the territory might be used and conserved.

Both the provincial and federal governments have dragged their heels in implementing this agreement, going so far as to deny its legitimacy as a contract and orchestrating coups of the customary government in the ABL community, sowing internal foment. Instead, Canada has hired expensive diplomats to help strategize on how to break their own commitments. Proof of this has been made clear by a report penned by one of these diplomats, Marc Perron, in Dec 2007, in which he outlined strategies to disrupt the community and take them off course from pursuing the Trilateral Agreement. The imposition of Section 74 is but another tactic to try to divide and weaken this community that has shown such strength in its struggle to defend the land. (source)
posted by sea change at 2:18 PM on March 10, 2011

Pebble Mine in western Alaska. Huge battle since the locals are well funded and organized.
posted by fshgrl at 2:23 PM on March 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

British Columbia has an entire treaty commission for native land claims but that's not exactly resistance.
posted by GuyZero at 2:41 PM on March 10, 2011

Er, sorry, Barriere Lake is actually quite far south in Quebec, not in northern Quebec.

Another example: the Mohawks of Tyendinaga. I don't know how active the Tyendinaga Support Committee is, though.
posted by sea change at 2:51 PM on March 10, 2011

Check out the ongoing struggle of the Mirrarr people to defend their land against uranium mining in Kakadu National Park, in northern Australia. Led by Indigenous person Jacqui Katona, they waged a very high-profile fight against the proposed Jabiluka mine which very much sought (and received) assistance from sympathetic supporters around the country and relied on a wide range of direct action protest strategies including blockade and boycotts.

Jabiluka is probably the Australian left's defining Aboriginal and environmental struggle of the past 20 years.
posted by dontjumplarry at 3:40 PM on March 10, 2011

I haven't heard anything recently, but as of a couple years ago there was ongoing action by the Six Nations in Ontario, Canada. (Up to date blog posts in the first link.)
posted by equivocator at 7:15 PM on March 10, 2011

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