There was an inspiring sight for indigenous and women's rights in the mountains of Chiapas this week, as more than 3,200 women from 49 countries reportedly gathered together for the second annual International Gathering of Women Who Struggle.
From the opening statement at the event:
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As the Zapatistas that we are, we know that they will give us many examples of women who have advanced, triumphed, won prizes and high salaries—who have been successful, as they put it. We respond by talking about the women whom have been raped, disappeared, murdered. We point out that the rights they talk about above are won by a precious few women above. And we respond, we explain, we shout that what is lacking is the most basic and most important of rights for all women: the right to live. We’ve said it many times, compañera and sister, but we’ll repeat it again now:
Nobody is going to grant us our right to live and all the other rights we need and deserve. No man—good, bad, normal, or whatever—is going to grant these to us.
The capitalist system is not going to give them to us, regardless of the laws it passes and the promises it makes.
We will have to win our right to live, as well as all our other rights, always and everywhere.
The US government detained more than 69,000 migrant children last year in the course of its brutal family separation policy. There's no guarantee these kids will ever be reunited with their parents; in fact, some of them have already been put up for "adoption" (read: legalized kidnapping) after their parents were deported. Many of these adoption agencies are of course Christian organizations, who genuinely believe themselves to be acting from a compassionate, altruistic pro-life perspective.
This is not breaking news; nor is it necessarily unique to the Trump administration. But I was reminded of it as I scrolled through Twitter over the weekend:
And for whatever reason, this reminder flagged another connection in the mind: the second season of the "Missing and Murdered" podcast, produced by CBC, the Canadian public broadcasting service.
Also known as "Finding Cleo," the 10-episode second season follows host Connie Walker as she tries to track down the truth about a deceased Cree girl named Cleo. According to Cleo's sister, Christine, all of the siblings in their family were forcefully taken from their First Nations home by Canadian child protective services. Somehow, Cleo ended up being adopted by a white Christian family in the United States until she was allegedly raped and murdered. Read the rest
The Sentinelese are one of the world's last "uncontacted" indigenous peoples, a hunter-gatherer tribe who live on the remote North Sentinel Island in India's Andaman Islands chain. You may recall that last November, a missionary named John Allen Chau, 27, obsessed with trying to convert the tribe to Christianity, paid local fishermen to help him get near the island. As soon as he illegally landed his canoe on the shore and started preaching, the Sentinelese fired arrows. He escaped with injuries but returned twice later and was eventually killed.
This footage above of the Sentinelese from 1991 was taken by anthropologist T N Pandit of India's Ministry of Tribal Affairs who attempted to visit them for several decades. Usually, the Sentinelese hid or fired arrows, but in 1991 they waded into the ocean to meet Pandit and his team peacefully.
"We were puzzled why they allowed us," he told the BBC last year. "It was their decision to meet us and the meeting took place on their terms."
"We jumped out of the boat and stood in neck-deep water, distributing coconuts and other gifts. But we were not allowed to step onto their island."
According to the BBC, "Mr Pandit says he does favour the re-establishment of friendly gift-dropping missions with the tribe, but says they should not be disturbed. 'We should respect their wish to be left alone, he said.'"
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The Sentinelese are one of the world's last "uncontacted" indigenous peoples, a hunter-gatherer tribe who live on the remote North Sentinel Island in India's Andaman Islands chain. This week, John Allen Chau, 27, eager to meet the tribe and hopefully convert them to Christianity, paid local fishermen to help him get near the island. As soon as he illegally landed his canoe on the shore, the Sentinelese fired arrows. He escaped with injuries but returned twice later and was eventually killed. From CNN
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"We refuse to call him a tourist. Yes, he came on a tourist visa but he came with a specific purpose to preach on a prohibited island," said (Dependra Pathak, Director General of Police of the Andaman and Nicobar islands).
Chau did not inform the police of his intentions to travel to the island to attempt to convert its inhabitants...
"According to the fishermen, they used a wooden boat fitted with motors to travel to the island on November 15," Pathak said.
"The boat stopped 500-700 meters (1,640 - 2,300 ft) away from the island and (the American missionary) used a canoe to reach the shore of the island. He came back later that day with arrow injuries. On the 16th, the (tribespeople) broke his canoe.
"So he came back to the boat swimming. He did not come back on the 17th; the fishermen later saw the tribespeople dragging his body around."
(A) 2011 survey only spotted 15 Sentinelese on their island -- the count was done from a distance due to the danger in approaching the tribe.
In honor of Indigenous Peoples' Day today, I suggest cranking up the following selections from Light in the Attic's essential Grammy-nominated box set "Native North America (Vol. 1): Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966–1985, Morley Loon's "Northland, My Land," and Willie Thrasher's "Spirit Child."
(top photo: Quebec’s Sugluk) Read the rest
Our European immigrant ancestors did an unspeakable number of shitty things to North America's Indigenous peoples. Massacres, rapes, pillaging and residential schools designed to destroy their culture – we ticked off all of the genocidal boxes.
Take a visit to a nearby reservation and you'll find that the legacy of our white asshole doings still echo on today. Amidst the systematic racism and down-home bigotry that many natives in the United States and Canada are still putting up with, federal and local government officials are doing what they can to make amends for the atrocities of the past. Issuing an official apology for the indignities, pain and death visited upon those forced into Canada's residential school system is a good example of this.
However, not every gesture needs to be as grand in scope: inclusion, education and acceptance of indigenous cultures that were, for generations, forced outside of the mainstream, can go a long way towards healing the wounds of the past on a local level. To help move things along in this area, Professor Onowa McIvor of the University of Victoria's Department of Indigenous Education has put together a collection of words, greetings other and phrases in the languages of British Columbia's Indigenous peoples that can be incorporated into our day-to-day lives.
From The CBC:
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Learning how to say "hello" or displaying a welcome sign in the language of the local First Nation are just a few ways the author is encouraging people to get involved.
"To learn a greeting but also the appropriate response is a way of deepening our understanding of that language a little bit, and being able to have just a very short conversation," McIvor told On The Island host Gregor Craigie.
In 1853, the U.S. Government bought a 29,670 square mile chunk of dirt in a deal that, as history buffs will tell you, ended up being called the Gadsden Purchase. It was a dick move: purchasing the land meant bisecting the territory of the area's indigenous Tohono O’odham Nation. This left half of the Tohono O’odham in Mexico and the other half in the United States. Today, the Tohono O’odham are a federally recognized tribe, with somewhere around 34,000 members. This number includes around 2,000 Tohono O’odham who live in Mexico. It's not uncommon for the tribe to cooperate with Homeland Security where protecting the border is concerned. But guess what? A tribe that had their lands split up by the Federal government once isn't crazy about having it done again.
According to Splinter, the Tohono O’odham Nation controls the second largest land base in the United States. This includes a full 75 miles of the U.S./Mexico border. Given that members of their tribe live on both sides of the border, they're less than chuffed with the notion of allowing the National Guard onto their lands to surveil their territory or to allow a border wall to be built on their property. The reasons for their objections are sound: Having a wall thrown up in the middle of their land would keep members of their tribe from easily traveling to participate in culturally important events on their own frigging land.
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Tohono O’odham chairman Edward D.
Allergan has disclosed that it transferred title to six of its contested eye drug patents to the St Regis Mohawk band in upstate New York, in a bid to use the band's sovereign immunity to prevent generic pharma companies from dragging the company into court to show that its patents are invalid. Read the rest
Almost 40 years later and we're still treating indigenous peoples like this. (r/ObscureMedia, thanks UPSO!)
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