On the 2017 International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

Advance the Indigenous Peoples’ movement to greater heights!
Strengthen our solidarity for self-determination and liberation!

As we commemorate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, the Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) challenges all Indigenous Peoples of the world to raise the ante of our campaigns and struggles for self-determination and liberation.

Discrimination, exclusion, poverty, and human rights violations plague our communities as governments and corporations cope with the global crisis through the seizure of our ancestral lands to plunder its riches.

Warring imperialist states have intensified foreign intervention especially of developing nations in order to preserve power amid worldwide economic depression. They make use of military offensives and deceptive political-economic arrangements sugarcoated as aid and development partnerships to impose their might over target territories. The United States, in particular, is using its “war on terror” to profit and get at par with rising superpowers China and Russia, whose international influence is gaining momentum.

This aggression has led to the heightening repression and militarism in marginalized communities including IP. We have witnessed the demolition of our homes, violations of rights, and erosion of identities as governments prioritize support of imperialist interests. Our children encounter threats and harassments more than the uplift of our well-being. Perpetrators point their guns at us; we live in tension and fear.

But that should not be the case. To claim this day as ours is to assert our distinct growth and freedom – in our terms, to our prosperity.

It is thus timely, more than ever, to expand our movement for self-determination and liberation in order to defeat all attempts to our marginalization and oppression. The difficult times attest the greater necessity of building the unity between and among Indigenous Peoples. We should arouse, organize, and mobilize our ranks as we consolidate our solidarity with non-IP allies to broaden our efforts and step up our battles for our lands and lives.

Let us take inspiration of the bravery and determination of fellow IP who scored feats in their respective historic disputes this year. In Africa, the Ogiek people in Kenya regained their legal rights over their ancestral Mau Forest after the continental Court on Human and People’s Rights ruled to their favor – a decade’s worth of arduous struggle (1). The same goes for the Júba Wajiín people of Mexico, with the federal court granting them judicial protection from government-conceded mining projects at the mountain region of Guerrero state (2).

We should also embody the same resolve of other IP groups who relentlessly carry on despite the odds. The people of West Papua are advancing their struggle for self-determination and liberation with a successfully concluded study conference in March. Meanwhile, Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines are embarking on another Lakbayan to the country’s capital to call the end of their communities’ militarization brought by Martial Law – notwithstanding the president’s threat to bomb their schools.

IPMSDL believes that through our collective struggle, greater victories are ours!

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(1) http://www.aljazeera.com/…/kenya-ogiek-win-land-case-govern…

(2) http://earthfirstjournal.org/…/juba-wajiin-community-prote…/

Reference: Beverly Longid, Global Coordinator, info@ipmsdl.org

We Stand With Standing Rock! Stop Attacking Water Protectors!

A Joint Statement by
International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL)
Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)
International Organization for Self Determination and Equality (IOSDE)
23 November 2016

On the night of November 20, 2016, over 400 Water Protectors gathered on a bridge near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, United States and were violently dispersed by police forces in the name of the corporate-owned Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The security forces were in riot gear and used water cannons, concussion grenades, rubber bullets, tear gas and sound cannons against the Water Protectors, who were weaponless and praying, singing and seeking to create access to and through the bridge in order to ensure connection to a nearby town for supplies, support and health care.

In this horrific incident, police forces indiscriminately aimed water cannons at everyone on the site, and targeted people’s heads and legs with their bullets. Tear gas was also used against the Water Protectors. Around 300 were injured and 26 had to be hospitalized, including one arm amputation case, one for cardiac arrest, and another for seizures. Because of the near-freezing temperature in the area, the water from the cannons used by the police caused early signs of hypothermia. Police also illegally detained 16 protesters one day after the incident.

Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, has continued construction of the USD 3.7 billion project despite a request from the US government to temporarily cease construction. The US Army Corps of Engineers, with capacity to implement this request into order, has in fact done nothing to stop ETP from continuing construction. The 1,170-mile pipeline will threaten the water supplies and waterways, and continue to desecrate Native American burial grounds and sacred sites. ETP has already landgrabbed from private US landowners as well as Native Americans in the course of construction. At least 500 activists and supporters have been slapped with trumped-up charges for resisting the project.

The International Indigenous Peoples’ Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL), the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), and the International Organization for Self Determination and Equality (IOSDE) condemn in the strongest possible terms this violent dispersal of Water Protectors by government security forces. Instead of protecting its own people against plunder, environmental degradation and human rights violations, the US government has chosen to side with big corporations such as ETP. It has done nothing to uphold its international obligations to protect human rights, and its continued support of the DPAL construction clearly shows its bias to protect corporate interests and outright disregard of the rights of Indigenous Peoples and other oppressed groups not only in its own country but in the whole world.

We from the IPMSDL, AIPP and IOSDE strongly reiterate our solidarity with the Sioux peoples in their fight against corporate encroachment, plunder and militarization of their ancestral lands. We continue to stand with the Standing Rock Sioux peoples and all Indigenous Peoples in the world in our common struggle for self determination, the defense of our lands, territories and resources, and the protection of our cultural heritage. Global attention and actions are urgently needed to resolve the historical injustices committed against Indigenous Peoples, which is the source of many of the conflicts around the world.

Reference:

Ms. Beverly Longid, Global Coordinator, IPMSDL, info@ipmsdl.org, ipmsdl@gmail.com
Ms. Joan Carling, Secretary General, AIPP, aippmail@aippnet.org
Ms. India Reed Bowers, Director, IOSDE, info@iosde.org

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The Trump effect on the lives of Native Americans and other Indigenous Peoples

Mark Ambay III

Trump is a racist and a bigot, and his statements and actions against Native Americans in the US show it.

The US president-elect has portrayed Mexican immigrants as murderers and rapists, accused a US judge of Latino ancestry of racial bias, and opined that most American Muslims are harboring, or are themselves, terrorists. In a political rally, he derisively called US Senator Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas Warren” and insulted her Cherokee heritage. In a Senate hearing, Trump called out a Native American tribe for not looking like “real Indians.” Furthermore, he has been pushing for taxing of Native American reservations and has been pushing for the construction of more pipelines that will pass through Native American territories.

But it isn’t only Native Americans who are in danger from Trump’s presidency. His slogan of Putting America First should worry Indigenous Peoples the world over. Because Trump does not believe in climate change, he will disregard America’s commitment to reduce global emissions and protect the environment (on a side note, however, the US failed to fulfill it’s environmental commitments even under Obama’s presidency). American companies from the extractives and energy industries will probably have a heyday.

Already billions of dollars worth worth of minerals, oil and gas are being extracted from ancestral lands, and Indigenous Peoples are being harassed, displaced and killed by these companies in collaboration with local governments. Environmental disasters have followed in their wake. If Trump pushes for more income from American companies from their extractive and energy businesses and disregards the effects these industries have on the environment and the lives of Indigenous Peoples, the consequences will be staggering.

Trump’s statements before winning the presidency have also proven his fascist bent, and now he has control of the world’s most powerful military (read: bully). Throughout history the US has used its military to intimidate, dominate and invade other countries, although in recent years this has been in the guise of bringing democracy to supposedly undemocratic countries like Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. But we all know that the US has used its military to protect its own interests, couching it in a very diplomatic language.

Trump will likely use the American military much the same way, except more brazenly. He won’t say he’s doing it for democracy, he’s going to say he’s doing it because he’s Putting America First. Indigenous resistance to American companies that operate on ancestral lands will meet with violence from the US military or its local military counterparts. Trump will make the recent government security actions on the violent Dakota Access Pipeline dispersal of Water Protectors look like a tea party.

But hey, having Trump as president does not mean the world’s about to end (well, I’m hoping). Donald Trump just won the US presidential elections, and his term will start on January 2017, yet his victory has already united many people in America in opposition against him, and this trend will continue. Trump will push for more global plunder and militarization, and this will galvanize Indigenous Peoples’ resistance on a world scale against US neoliberal economic policies that destroy indigenous lives. As global exploitation and oppression of peoples the world over continue under Trump, greater unity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples will be forged in the fight for self determination against US imperialism.

And therein lies the beauty in all this.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and may not necessarily reflect the views of IPMSDL.

Mark Ambay III is Research and Information Officer of the International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL). He is also associated with Katribu National Alliance of Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines and the Assert Socio-Economic Initiatives Network in the Philippines. Read more of his work on www.markambay.wordpress.com and follow him on Twitter @markambay.

 

 

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Attacks against Indigenous Peoples in Bangladesh by government forces must stop!

Bangladeshi police stand and do nothing while private goons torch the homes of indigenous Santal and Bengali faarmers. (photo from Dhaka Tribune)
Bangladeshi police stand and do nothing while private goons torch the homes of indigenous Santal and Bengali faarmers. (photo from Dhaka Tribune)

The International Indigenous Peoples’ Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) condemns in the strongest possible terms the ongoing attacks against the indigenous Santal people and Bengali farmers in Bangladesh by government security forces and private gunmen. To date, these continuing attacks have resulted in 3 deaths and 30 injured. 1,200 families have been forcibly displaced as a result of these actions.

On the morning of November 6, 2016, Bangladeshi police and local gunmen hired by the Rangpur Sugar Mills Authority attacked thousands of indigenous Santal and Bengali peoples in the Shahebgan Bagda farm of Rangpur Sugar Mills in Gaibanda district in Bangladesh. This bloody attack was an effort by the Bangladeshi government and greedy corporations to forcibly evict the Santals from their ancestral lands. 2 died and 30 were injured while another 3 were illegally arrested.

Later that evening government forces and private goons set fire to the houses of the Santals and Bengalis and shot to death another Santal, forcing 1,200 families to flee from their ancestral lands. Unconfirmed reports say another four (4) people were killed by the police and their bodies are being held in the Bagda farm. Following these incidents the Bangladeshi police then slapped more than 400 Santals and Bengalis with trumped-up charges.

Since 2014 the indigenous Santals and Bengali farmers have been demanding the return of over 700 hectares of their ancestral lands from the government and the Rangpur Sugar Mills Authority. The Santals and Bengalis accused the government and the company of violating the previous agreement they had made, wherein the Indigenous Peoples will allow only sugarcane to be planted on their ancestral lands. On July 2016 the indigenous Santals and Bengali farmers occupied over 40 hectares of land and built makeshift homes and a school. This makeshift community was also attacked by government security forces that same month by government forces in an effort to evict the Santals and the Bengali.

These continuing attacks and the refusal of the government and the Rangpur Sugar Mills to honor past agreements with the Santal peoples is a gross violation of the rights of Indigenous Peoples to determine the development of their ancestral lands. IPMSDL strongly demands that the government cease and desist further attacks on the Santal people and Bengali farmers and honor previous agreements made with Indigenous Peoples, and their ancestral lands be immediately returned. Furthermore, we demand that all trumped up charges against the Santal people and Bengali farmers be dropped immediately, and that the government immediately arrest State security forces and hired gunmen responsible for the bloody attacks.

The IPMSDL stands united with the Santal people of Bangladesh in the fight to reclaim and defend their ancestral territories, and we are one with the Santal people in condemning these vicious attacks by the Bangladeshi government on the right of the Santals to self determination.

/ref# s1623/
/mark/

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