Since the middle of the 20th century, protected areas have expanded all over the planet. Its extension coincided by 50 % with that of the ancestral territories. However, the “Yellowstone model” was imposed, which doesn't take into account that Indigenous Peoples live on those lands.
Today, under the guise of their so-called green agendas, environmental NGOs continue the oppressive legacy of their predecessors. In this case, the aim of their self-proclaimed green capital is to appropriate our ancestral territories in order to sell carbon credits.
The relationship between Indigenous Peoples and the environmental movement has not always been the best. In Bolivia, the Guarani have created protected areas under their own regulations, while five Amazonian peoples have just created a biodiversity-rich protected area.
The environmentalism movement and the Peruvian state haven’t yet fully recognized the role played by Indigenous Peoples in the protection of biodiversity. The Wampís Nation seeks to implement a system of territorial control based and "sustainable bio-businesses".
What at the beginning was an isolated conservation effort, has been transformed into an essential cooperation, where conservation and Indigenous Territorial Management converge in the Madidi Landscape.
In Africa, the protected area model known as "fortress conservation" is encroaching on Indigenous lands. A very clear case is that of the Maasai people, in whose ancestral lands the Tanzanian government wants to create a conservation area in the form of a Game Reserve.
The ancestral practices of Indigenous Peoples use extraction methods that respect nature. At the same time, the mining policy of recent years allowed the proliferation of large mining companies that degraded the environment and affected the living of Indigenous Peoples.
The struggle of indigenous peoples for their land rights has brought about an increase in acts of violence by invading settlers. The Alal Massacre and the attack on Kiwakumbaih mine workers are the two most emblematic acts.
In recent decades, the Asian country has promoted gold mining to develop the mining industry. Consequently, several indigenous communities were forced to abandon their lands. From 2015 to 2021, the Geological Survey of India identified and explored 17 gold blocks.
The country’s economic crisis and the lack of expectations for most of its inhabitants have made Venezuela a breeding ground for despair that forces thousands of people to migrate to the Amazon. For many, illegal gold mining seems the way to beat the odds.
Since August 2022 Patricia Tobón Yagarí, a leader of the Embera Chamí people, has been in charge of the Victims Unit, a body that seeks to provide assistance to the victims of internal armed conflict in Colombia.
The Congressional Commission on Energy and Mining passed a bill that enables Petroperú to be awarded the oil lots on the coast and in the Amazon regions. Meanwhile 6,000 environmental impacts continue without receiving the necessary attention to remedy the contamination.
Annelize Kotze, a Social History Curator at the Iziko Museums of South Africa, highlights the importance of raising awareness and encouraging discussion about the scientific and ethical considerations of human remains collection and their repatriation.
Some 12 Indigenous communities of the Tsimane people are in danger of extinction due to the invasion of settlers and deforestation. In addition to being dispossessed of their traditional lands, the Tsimane are discriminated and have serious difficulties in accessing justice.
Lola García-Alix, a senior advisor at the IWGIA, explains that the Forum play a role of an amplifier, drawing the attention of the international community to issues affecting Indigenous peoples. It is also a tool for Indigenous Peoples to engage in dialogues with States and present their demands.
The forced disappearances and political executions of Mapuche people during the last civil-military dictatorship, must be framed as a continuum of colonial and genocidal violence. Despite the pain, Mapuche families continue to struggle for truth and justice.
The arrival of settlers to ancestral territories of the Mayangna threatens the life and culture of this Indigenous People. While the government is calling for a peaceful co-habitation between the Mayangna and the settlers, their ways of life are incompatible.
In the face of recent crimes against indigenous peoples in Brazil, it is necessary to talk about the past, genocidal practices and develop reparation policies. However, it is also necessary to ensure what is essential for indigenous peoples to flourish.
The people of the Brazilian Amazon have lost the tranquility that the jungle offered them. Illegal gold mining is the main factor affecting their culture and their well-being. Lula has promised that illegal mining will no longer exist, but the past keeps repeating itself.
Until the arrival of “modernity”, Tuxá Indigenous People of North-eastern Brazil lived around the Operá River. Everything changed with the construction of the Itaparica hydroelectric plant. The author asks what did they get in return for losing such an important part of their lives.
In order to resist Western “development”, the last six members of these indigenous peoples had to establish inter-ethnic relations. The Akuntsu contributed their knowledge of wild agriculture and the Kanoé shared their hunting techniques and skills.
The colonial persecution of the survivors of the Avá-Canoeiro peoples goes on. A new judicial decision has reduced their territory mostly to flooded areas with no access to the Javaés River. Conflicts have increased since Incra created a settlement in the 1990s.
The plan to exterminate the Indigenous Peoples has been reconfigured time and again adapting it to the country’s different political contexts. The policies of Bolsonaro and the pandemic have shone a renewed light on the need to decolonize the crime of genocide.
Esese was a baby when her family was captured in the 1960s. Today she is the last survivor of the Karara group first contacted. The fate of Karara was affected by rubber tapping, illegal hunting, mining, surveys for hydroelectric power plants, the land usurpation and malaria epidemics.
Argentina has one of the largest collections of Indigenous human remains in Latin America. In recent decades Argentine museums have become more receptive to the claims of Indigenous communities and have even adopted active restitution policies.
In 1879, the Ryukyu Islands were annexed by Japan. This opened the way for Japanese anthropologists to desecrate Ryukyuan graves and steal human remains. To this days the Ryukyuans continue to fight for the return of their ancestors.
Following the murder of her family in Paraguay, Kryýgi was taken to Argentina. When she died, her skeleton was lost in the La Plata Museum, while her skull ended up in Germany. A century later, the Aché people managed to return her remains to Paraguay.
Between the 18th and 19th centuries, travelers who arrived on the coasts of New Zealand desecrated graves and stole human remains. As of today, over 700 ancestors have returned to Aotearoa-New Zealand. The Te Papa Tongarewa Museum has played a central role in this process.
Financed through the Green Climate Fund the project risks exposing Indigenous population to high levels of violence, displacement from their ancestral lands and promote climate destruction. The countries represented at the GCF Board should play a role in stopping this project.
The Amazonian people are affected by the expansion of the oil frontier, the monoculture of African palm, the invasion of settlers, forced displacements and the contamination of their food sources. The justice and the State do not guarantee their rights to their ancestral territory.
The Guatemalan government implements assimilation policies, does not comply with the principles of FPIC, nor does it respect lands rights of Indigenous Peoples. While the state of siege is used to repress social protests, the “pact of the corrupt” continues to operate with impunity.
In 1990, Indigenous Peoples of Bolivia led the March for the Territory and Dignity demanding implementation of territorial rights. Today, after many years of bureaucratic hurdles, the Multiethnic Indigenous Territory is just a few steps away from the formal constitution of its autonomous government.
Since Dina Boluarte took office, violence against the population has not stopped. Indigenous peoples were the first to denounce the racism of the State. While the government is labelling the demonstrators terrorists, the leaderless collective action is gaining momentum.
President Lula named Joenia to chair the National Indian Foundation. She wants to ensure that after years of desempowerment by the previous government, FUNAI under her leadership meets its purpose again: protects Indigenous communities and monitors respect for IP rights.
The socio-political crisis in Peru is systemic and structural. Indigenous Peoples of the country, treated by the State as second-class citizens are resisting Institutional violence. As long as elections are not moved forward and Constituent Assembly is not formed, the protests will continue.
Reninmer Huiñapi Cardenas, from the community of Inchiyac, was elected by popular vote for the period 2023-2027. "We are going to defend our territory and consolidate the great dream to have our integral territory recognised," said the leader.
The book collects the experiences of Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru. As part of a global trend, Indigenous self-government consolidates plurinationality, self-determination and Good Living as core principles for political action of Indigenous movements in the region.
Faced with the setbacks experienced under the government of Bolsonaro, the Indigenous movement has opted for resistance, organization and political participation through candidacies. The State needs to be aware that the Indigenous struggle is focused on historical reparation.
The head of the Women and Health of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon (CONFENIAE) participated in the Universal Periodic Review and explains that this instrument allows Indigenous Peoples to make their reality and the abuses they suffer known.
Windel Bolinget, General Coordinator of Cordillera Peoples Alliance, warned that the government has not complied with the recommendations made by the Universal Periodic Review in previous reviews. At the same time, Bolinget regrets that indigenous peoples cannot speak at the official level.
Eliesio Marubo, legal representative of Univaja, spoke about the new landscape that is emerging with the arrival of Lula to power. Eliesio narrates the violence being experienced in the north-west of the Brazilian Amazon and explains the protection mechanisms developed.
Taking their own customs, law and socio-economic situation into consideration, sanctions other than imprisonment are imposed. While the two justice systems should be hierarchically equal, the ordinary justice system in practice limits the powers of the Indigenous authorities.
The people of the Peruvian Amazon have the goal of building an autonomous and intercultural justice system that reincorporates customary law and the dialogued sanctions applied by the elders. The challenge lies with the members of the community to rely on their justice system.
Eliel Castillo, leader of the Wayúu people, explains how communities are affected by wind farms set up in La Guajira: from the war amongst families, to vision and hearing damage. The Colombian Caribbean leader speaks about his people's vision of self-government and the link to their territory.
The law promotes harmonious social coexistence and cooperation between ordinary, Indigenous and agro-environmental justice. Despite the existence of a broad regulatory framework, there are still many obstacles to the exercise of and respect for Indigenous law.
In the exit referendum, two-thirds of Chileans voted down the new constitution. Elitism, a lack of work on the ground and the poor popularity of the government and the Assembly members appear to be just some of the reasons for this defeat, which threatens to put a halt to human rights progress.
The Nationally Determined Contributions make it possible to identify governments’ political priorities on climate action including with regards to Indigenous Peoples. A review of Latin American submissions shows that Indigenous Peoples lack recognition both as rights holders and knowledge holders.
One year after the Norwegian Supreme Court rendered a land-mark decision in favor of Saami reindeer herders against wind energy developer Fosen Vind, the Norwegian government fails to act on its responsibility to safeguard Indigenous Peoples’ rights.
Indigenous Peoples are among the groups most affected by climate change. Indigenous leaders demand respect for their right to self-determination and have opened the debate on how to compensate retroactive losses and cultural damages.
The Indigenous Peoples in Africa are victims of climatic changes generated as result of polluting industry in other parts of the world. While suffering from drought and famine, Indigenous pastoralists engage in livestock keeping that protects biodiversity.
The summit was attended by seven national Indigenous organizations and 8,000 participants. The event produced a document that will be submitted to the new government. Ancestral thinking and dialogue as a basis for building unity were the cross-cutting themes of the committees.
The leader of the Arhuaco people will be the first Indigenous person to hold the post of Ambassador to the United Nations. Leonor believes that indigenous peoples can contribute to the country with their experience of building solutions through dialogue.
The election of Petro and Francia Márquez marks a milestone in Colombian history. The sudden entry of these new players on the political scene symbolizes a profound change in the ruling elite. However, it has been a long road, fraught with adversity, violence and the increase in poverty.
Asdrúbal Plaza Calvo is a Yanacona who has been involved with the Indigenous movement for 40 years. From the perspective of his professional career, he highlights the importance of supporting processes of recovery of ancestral knowledge in environmental matters with the Nasa Tewalas.
Colombia's new government faces enormous challenges, but the Indigenous movement must "not let the moment pass it by" to support it, says Mama Luz, governor of the Cabildo of the Guambia Indigenous Reservation and host of the “Weaving Unity” Indigenous Peoples’ Summit.
Norman Bañol Álvarez is a congressman for the special Indigenous constituency in the House of Representatives. He has been spokesman of the southwestern Minga Indigenous movement and founder of the MAIS, a political group that is part of the Historical Pact headed by Gustavo Petro.
In the Awajún territory, the dredging activity and the use of mercury in gold mining pollutes the river and therefore, the water is no longer fit for human consumption. However, the inhabitants continue to eat the contaminated fish. The Awajún communities are trying to find solutions.
Faced with the trauma left by the armed conflict, the philosophy of “vivir sabroso ” offers Colombians a new vision of life for their country. This sentipensar or thinking-feeling of Indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples is helping to reshape the narrative of how we imagine the nation.
The Act for Peace marked a truce. However, the political environment has not calmed down and society is waiting for the president to comply with the 10 agreed demands. The Indigenous peoples will not return to dialogue if the Government does not comply with what has been agreed.
The association Diálogo y Movimiento created the Diploma for the Training of Interpreters in Indigenous Languages to improve the quality of access to justice. The training is essential to avoid the daily problems that Indigenous people face, especially concerning conflicts with criminal law.
Indigenous women face disproportional levels of violence due to colonization and because they are Indigenous and women. But they shall not only be portrayed as victims. Indigenous women are active change agents and important leaders in the struggle for the rights of their peoples.
Lesle Jansen belongs to the Khoikhoi Indigenous community and has dedicated over 20 years of her professional life to the promotion and defense of the rights of Indigenous peoples. She spoke to us about the situation of Indigenous peoples of South Africa and especially about Indigenous women.
A law promoting the arming of civil groups was passed in Peru without the consent of the Indigenous Peoples. It violates our autonomy and would overlap with the peasant and rural patrols. This law could be used by extractive companies or illegal economies to repress the population.
The southeast of Mexico continues to be plagued by extreme poverty and violence generated by criminal economies. In this context, the collective Fases de la Luna promotes educational processes of political training to eradicate violence against women and promote autonomy.
The FUNAI is an active agent of a political strategy to expose peoples in voluntary isolation to contact with outsiders. The Piripkura people, the Pirititi Indigenous Land and the Ituna Itatá Indigenous Land demonstrate the connivance of the indigenist body with the economic and political power.
In recent decades, the spiral of violence on the Indigenous peoples’ territories in Colombia allows us to speak of a deliberate extermination as a strategy for the appropriation of their natural resources for extractivism and drug trafficking with the complicity of the State.
After 98 years, the justice recognised the State’s responsibility in the crimes of aggravated homicide and subjection to servitude as crimes against humanity committed as part of a process of genocide. In addition, it stipulated a series of reparatory measures.
Today, they number less than 1000 and mostly live in some 30 villages. Intensive industrial development on their ancestral territory is posing a serious threat to their survival, but the Izhora remain strong thanks to their determination to preserve their traditions and defend their land.
As never before, leaders from all over Brazil came together for a show of force against Bolsonaro's anti-Indigenous and genocidal policies. The Indigenous peoples want to be protagonists of a new development model and thus seek to increase their representation in the national Congress.
The crisis we are experiencing in Peru is not new. The days go by and the misgovernment grows stronger. After five presidents in five years, the only permanent and lasting features seem to be police repression and an economic model based on the exploitation and export of raw materials.
Over the past 10 years, society has had little to no control over the exploitation of the deposits located in the Uyuni Salt Flat. The Indigenous communities of Potosí are demanding that they be informed of the impact of the evaporation ponds, industrial plants and water supply plants.
In recent decades Myanmar has become a major producer of yaba, a synthetic drug distributed in pills easily available throughout the country. Rakhine State has now been transformed into one of the major hubs for drug transit in the country and is living through a drug addiction crisis.
The strategy of "combating drug trafficking" militarizes territories and dispossesses Indigenous peoples of their natural resources. In addition to Colombia and Mexico, there is drug trafficking in Central America and on the borders between Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru.
Before the advance of the presence of the State, the Maya Máasewáal nation lived in times of abundance. The arrival of tourists to cities such as Cancun and Tulum resulted in a market for drug trafficking and drug dealing in the region. Hope lies in community organization and resistance.
The normalization of violence is exacerbated by the penetration of drug cartels into State structures. The conflict particularly affects Indigenous communities who suffer criminalization by police and military, as well as from forced displacement from their territories.
After Gabriel Boric's call for a peaceful solution to the conflict, the most radical Mapuche organizations, along with some analysts and politicians, rejected a negotiation. The experience in other countries suggests that peace is possible.
After 130 years of systematic breaches with the Agreement of Wills, the Constitutional Convention has opened a window of hope for the Rapa Nui people to achieve their right to self-determination and for the State of Chile to become a "friend of the island".
The election of the Mapuche constituent member Elisa Loncón as President was a symbol of Indigenous peoples' protagonism in the drafting of the new Magna Carta. In the same sense, the victory of Gabriel Boric meant greater institutional support.
In Chile, communication from an Indigenous perspective is absent. The democratization of a concentrated media ecosystem must make visible a reality in which Indigenous peoples have the full right to generate cultural content in their respective languages and forms.
The new Constitution will establish the guidelines for Chile for the next 50 years. The Indigenous constitutional assembly members are aware of this and are therefore promoting a political debate, which includes political autonomy and territorial autonomy.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights published a report that looks into various experiences of self-determination in Americas from the intercultural perspective and includes testimonies of indigenous people and opinions of experts, NGOs and States.
Indigenous autonomy as an exercise of self-determination is today a reality in several countries of the Americas. Autonomy may also constitute an expectation of the future for Indigenous Peoples that gives meaning to past and present political struggles.
The struggles for the processes of autonomy building have gained prominence in Latin America. However, they are challenged by the fragmentation of the indigenous movement and the fear of the States that the autonomy discourse challenges national unity.
The political situation in many countries of Asia has always been volatile. Recognition of the right of Indigenous Peoples to self-determination will not only help mitigate historic injustices, but will also serve to strengthen democracies in the continent.
The Adivasis have been fighting for their collective right to self- determination and identity, and for reclaiming their rights over territories and natural resources for centuries. The Pathalgari Movement is a new incarnation of that struggle.
Encroachment onto Indigenous Lands has increased under Jair Bolsonaro’s government. Numerous bills are now passing through Congress in response to the need for extractivism and these will affect traditional Indigenous occupation.
In the name of development, gold mining is destroying our environment, affecting the lungs of Mother Earth, contaminating rivers and weakening social relations in our communities. As we fight to breathe, we are surrounded by a deafening silence.
Because of mining, Indigenous communities are becoming more dependent on the cash economy. In order to reverse this situation, the Arakbut people need to rebuild their autonomy, governance and self-determination.
In addition to open-pit coal mining, gold mining companies are also expropriating Indigenous Peoples’ lands and polluting the environment. Gold mining puts at risk the very survival of the Shor traditional way of life and livelihoods.
Over the last few years, mining activities and the use of mercury to amalgamate the precious metal have intensified in the Kaka River. Even though the risks are clear, no research has been carried out to determine how much the health of the Lecos is affected.
In 2021 Germany had reached an agreement with Namibia acknowledging the genocide against Herero and Nama peoples and agreed to pay 1,1 billion euros. The descendants of the victims were not part of the negotiation and feel that their demands were not heard.
The post-genocide government is implementing an ambitious nation-rebuilding program which has restructured the social and physical landscape through modern development initiatives and “homegrown” solutions to reconciliation and national unity.
Almost 24 years after the signing of the accord, its lack of implementation has reached alarming levels and human rights violations persist. In addition to the ongoing militarization of the area, land grabbing of Indigenous territories continues.
Indigenous youth in detention live under the burden of sadness, depression and injustice. As a result of their detention, they end up losing contact with their families, their culture, their community life and the environment.
Despite this Caribbean region’s natural wealth, Wayuu children in La Guajira are dying of hunger and thirst. Exploitation by multinationals, a lack of rainfall and the contamination of their wells only add to the historical debts.
The coup that happened amid the worsening Covid-19 emergency has broadened an already deep educational crisis in Chin state. Parents pledged not to send their children to the junta’s schools, rallying behind the slogan: “No need for military slave education”.
In August, ahead of the Federal Supreme Court’s decision regarding the Ibirama - La Klãnõ indigenous territory, Brazil witnessed the largest indigenous protest in its history. The experts believe the decision will set an important precedent for territorial rights.
They organize their community life under the principles of the Sumak Kawsay. At the same time, they are undergoing a renovation and strengthening process in their organization to be able to fully exercise their rights. Their main concern is to protect their territory.
While awaiting for a referendum to approve their autonomous status, the five communities seek to strengthen the management of their territory and its natural resources threatened by illegal hunting and timber trafficking.
Oil exploitation in Loreto has affected the environment, health and the ways of life of indigenous communities. The Achuar, Urarina, Kichwa and Kukama peoples are fighting for their right to prior consultation in view of the concession for an operator to exploit Lot 192.
They visit different communities that resist territorial dispossession and the destruction of nature. In the context of a civilizatory crisis that has generated the pandemic, they intend to strengthen ties of solidarity that allow us to imagine other possible worlds.
The Jödi, the Yanomami and the Uwottüja living in voluntary isolation are threatened by the extractive activities and by the presence of illegal groups. The Covid-19 worsens this situation due to the epidemiological and immunological vulnerability.
Close to 150 members survive in the Chaco region. They are threatened by deforestation, the construction of roads, megafires and the advance of the farm and cattle ranching frontier. Bolivia and Paraguay should take measures to guarantee their protection.
The advances in its defense, supported by the State for the last 14 years, have not been translated into an effective protection within their territories. Over and over again, a “schizophrenic” State failed to keep the promises made to protect their rights.
The Brazilian Amazon has the largest number of peoples living in isolation in the world. Their livelihoods and territories are under pressure and threatened. The situation has deteriorated under the government of Bolsonaro and the arrival of the pandemic.
The election reflected a tremendous turning point in Chile. In addition to 21 indigenous seats there was gender parity among all members. The conservative forces failed to gain the one-third of representatives that would have allowed them to veto agreements.
At the same time as the particracy is demolished and the political class defeated, the epicenter of decision-making finds its way back to the people. Indigenous and Chilean men and women must unite to reach Kume Mongen and respect for Mother Earth.
Peaceful and anonymous protests have broken out simultaneously in hundreds of cities. The protagonists are young people who have decided to form the mouthpiece for the widespread malaise of a country ravaged by an immutable government.
Photojournalists were at the front line of social protests registering both the collective action of the protesters and the repression by the law enforcement forces. Photographer Manuel Rodríguez, was present in the protests that took place in Bogota.
Luis Jiménez was elected as a Constitutional Assembly Member for the Aymara people. The lawyer affirms that the new Constitution must guarantee territorial autonomy and political participation in decision-making, and recognize pachamama as a subject of law.
Racial inequality, the legacy of enslavement and colonialism, flourished in the intensity of the armed conflict and has become even more stark with the pandemic. The national strike is offering a space in which Afro-Colombians can express their indignation.
Coal mining is destroying the forests of Siberia. Over the past 15 years, the number of open-pit coal mines has increased several times over.Contamination of the taiga and rivers is harming the Shor people, who live from hunting, gathering and fishing.
For decades, organized Indigenous women have wondered why some deaths in Mexico are more visible than others. Who decides which bodies matter? It’s time to start talking about the violence perpetrated against us, Indigenous women.
The author shares her insights on her 12 years long-work with indigenous women in prison: the racism that exists in prisons, the concealment of ethnic profiles during jail censuses, and the prisons’ violence and function as an instrument of dispossession.
The criminal procedure confronted by Reina Meraz, a Bolivian immigrant woman, exposes a double issue of the Argentinian judicial system: the need to train judicial officers in both gender perspective and interculturalism.
Moreover, indigenous women represent 34% of the total number of inmates. As if this wasn’t enough, the legal and welfare systems are removing indigenous children from their families and culture, serving as a mechanism of forced assimilation.
Racism and patriarchy present profound challenges within the Guatemalan prison system. The penal system is a reflection of the discrimination experienced by indigenous women all over: for being women, indigenous and poor.
Rachel Mariano and Betty Belén, indigenous women and human rights advocates share their incarceration stories due to trumped-up charges and evidence. The cause of their persecution is clear: they defend their ancestral lands.
Official statistics obscure the fact that the majority of the prison population is of indigenous and African origin and had been affected by racism, deprivation, massive waves of displacement to cities and oblivion.