Cheetahs in, Adivasis out

The poster was put up six months ago by the Forest Department of Madhya Pradesh acting on official orders from higher-ups. It has found its way into all the villages surrounding the Kuno National Park, where ‘Chintu Cheetah’, the friendly character in the poster, is planning to make his home.

Located on the western edge of Madhya Pradesh’s Sheopur district, Bagcha is a village of Sahariya Adivasis, who are ranked as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG) in Madhya Pradesh with a literacy rate of 42 per cent. This village in Vijaypur block has a population of 556 people (Census 2011), who live in mostly mud and brick homes with stone slabs as roofing, surrounded by the national park (which is also referred to as Kuno Palpur) where the Kuno river flows.

— source | Apr 26, 2022

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Indigenous Resistance to Resource Colonization Worldwide

the fire started, I believe, Tuesday. We got the alert. It was really rapid, within like 15 minutes. There were like four — three or four evacuation notices that came out, just like literally in rapid fire. You would, like, call somebody to check, and then there’d be another street that was being evacuated because of the massive winds that were happening.

The firefighters are doing incredible to try to keep, you know, as many homes safe as possible, but there’s definitely been loss of homes and loss of property and loss of — just a lot of loss. You know, you hear stories about families who had a 1-year-old, and all they could grab on their way out the door was the child, you know, and so they’ve lost everything.

But this community really is incredible and helping everybody get together and stand together in it. On Tuesday, you know, I was out trying to help clear brush from places, especially with elders who had a hard time getting underneath their porches. But yeah, it’s pretty close. It’s moved a little bit further at the moment. But for about two days the sky was just full of smoke.

— source | Apr 22, 2022

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Over 530 Arrested in Historic Indigenous-Led Climate Protests in D.C.

This week over 530 climate activists were arrested during Indigenous-led civil disobedience actions in Washington, D.C., calling on President Joe Biden to declare a climate emergency and stop approving fossil fuel projects. Indigenous leaders have issued a series of demands, including the abolition of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, whose offices they occupied on Thursday for the first time since the 1970s. The protests come just weeks before the start of the critical U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, which President Biden and senior Cabinet members are expected to attend. “We’re not going anywhere,” says Siqiñiq Maupin, with Sovereign Iñupiat for a Living Arctic, who traveled from Alaska to D.C. and was among those arrested during the BIA occupation. “We do not have time for negotiations, for compromises. We need to take this serious and take action now.”

The BIA was created to erase Indigenous people. It has always been against us. And today, or yesterday, and every day, we demand that it be abolished. We do not need a blood quantum to say how Indigenous we are or to qualify that. We know our Indigenous ways to protect this land, this Earth, this water. And we understand that the Earth is unbalanced. And we do not have time for negotiations, for compromises. We need to take this serious and take action now.

— source | Oct 15, 2021

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Tension Brews at Jaipur Fort as Meenas Remove Saffron Flag

A fort that has long been neglected by both the Union and state governments has emerged as a symbol of tribal identity assertion in Rajasthan, after members of the Meena community pulled down a bhagwa (saffron) flag hoisted there by Hindutva organisations last week.

The 18th-century Ambagarh garrison fort is at the centre of the conflict between the Meena Scheduled Tribe (ST) community and Hindutva organisations backed by the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and with vocal support from the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The trouble began earlier this month, when Yuva Shakti Manch, a Hindutva organisation associated with the VHP, hoisted a saffron flag with the words ‘Jai Shri Ram’ inscribed on it, on an electric pole in the premises of the fort.

The Meenas consider the fort sacred as it houses the temple of Aamba Maata, a clan goddess of the community. According to community leaders, hoisting the bhagwa flag with the ‘Jai Shri Ram’ inscription hurt the sentiments of the Meenas.

Members of the Meena community, led by independent MLA Ramkesh Meena, gathered at the fort on July 22 and took down the flag. From a video of the incident, it appears that as the flag was being pulled down, a part of it tore off. This led to outrage by Hindutva organisations, as the video went viral on Facebook and Twitter. Both sides filed police complaints against each other at the Transport Nagar police station.

— source | Mahim Pratap Singh | 29/Jul/2021

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Western tribes already lacked water access

That problem is at an inflection point for the Navajo Nation and 29 other tribes in the Colorado River Basin, which stretches from the Rocky Mountains to Mexico. A new analysis shows that Native Americans in the region are severely impacted by lack of water infrastructure and water supplies contaminated by arsenic and other harmful chemicals, a problem that has been laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic. The report was published by the Water and Tribes Initiative, a consortium of tribes, nonprofits, and academics. It’s the first comprehensive analysis of water insecurity among all of the tribes in the Colorado River Basin.

— source | May 05, 2021

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Protecting Indigenous Languages Is Protecting Biodiversity

One million animal and plant species face extinction due to human activity, according to the United Nations. Now, think about cultural production—art and literature that we have invested to address the extinction of just a handful of species (passenger pigeon included). Quite a bit actually. The extinction of one million species feels rather abstract, beyond the comprehension of human cultural production at the moment. We do not know how to speak of the scale of such extinction, except as a mere number: one million!

At the same time, the United Nations also warns that between 50% and 95% of the world’s languages “may become extinct or seriously endangered by the end of this century,” and that, the “majority of the languages that are under threat are indigenous languages.” The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues points out that even though “indigenous peoples make up less than 6% of the global population, they speak more than 4,000 of the world’s languages.”

Is there a connection between loss of biodiversity and loss of Indigenous languages? Or, to put another way, what significance protecting Indigenous languages might have for protecting biodiversity?

To answer these questions, let us begin in Arctic Village, Alaska, a community of about 150 Indigenous Gwich’in residents, situated above the Arctic Circle and just outside the southern edge of the now-imperiled Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the largest national wildlife refuge in the United States.

Over the past twenty years, I have often used this sentence in my writing and lectures: Iizhik

— source | Subhankar Banerjee | Nov 30, 2020

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Pandemic Rips Through Indian Country

As the coronavirus death toll in the United States passes 410,000 and the vaccine rollout continues shakily across the country, we spend the rest of the hour looking at the fight to save tribal elders and Native language speakers who have been devastated by the virus.

Facing woefully inadequate healthcare, lack of government support, and the living legacy of centuries of colonialism, tribal communities have faced staggering losses as COVID-19 rips through Indian Country. Native Americans have died at at least twice the rate of white people across the United States. Pillars of tribal communities have been lost, along with their knowledge of Native languages. Jason Salsman, a spokesman for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, told The New York Times the losses were akin to a “cultural book-burning.”

To combat this crisis, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has prioritized elders who speak the Dakota and Lakota languages to receive the COVID vaccine. This is Tribal Health Director Margaret Gates speaking in December.

— source | Jan 22, 2021

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Cancel the Dakota Access Pipeline

On his first day in office, President Joe Biden issued an executive order to shut down the Keystone XL pipeline. Indigenous and climate justice groups are now urging him to do the same with the Dakota Access pipeline. DAPL transports 500,000 barrels of crude oil each day.

Still with us, Jodi Archambault, citizen of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, former special assistant to President Obama for Native American affairs for the White House Domestic Policy Council. Also with us, Alex White Plume, former vice president and president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Reservation, a Lakota interpreter, who just lost his wife, Deb White Plume, who we’re going to learn about.

Jodi Archambault, can you talk about this distinction, why you understand Keystone XL was stopped, but not Dakota Access pipeline, and what your demands are?

JODI ARCHAMBAULT: I don’t understand the distinction that the Biden administration is making, because the pipeline is illegal. Dakota Access pipeline is an illegal pipeline. It was stated in the lower — the D.C. district court that it violated NEPA. And the easement was revoked. And so, basically, the Energy Transfer Partners and the Dakota Access pipeline, they are trespassing. They’re encroaching on

— source | Jan 22, 2021

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Methamphetamine overdose deaths rise sharply nationwide

Deaths involving methamphetamines more than quadrupled among non-Hispanic American Indians and Alaska Natives from 2011-2018 (from 4.5 to 20.9 per 100,000 people) overall, with sharp increases for both men (from 5.6 to 26.4 per 100,000 from 2011-2018) and women (from 3.6 to 15.6 per 100,000 from 2012-2018) in that group. While much attention is focused on the opioid crisis, a methamphetamine crisis has been quietly, but actively, gaining steam — particularly among American Indians and Alaska Natives, who are disproportionately affected by a number of health conditions.

— source NIH/National Institute on Drug Abuse | Jan 20, 2021

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