Year's Top Issues: Indigenous Peoples

Control of natural resources, language, education, access to traditional lands — these are just a few of the issues that indigenous activists rallied around in 2008.

Armed with a U.N. declaration affirming a variety of rights around these topics, advocacy groups started last year with a push for greater legal protections.

This comes at a time for rising political fortunes for leftists in Bolivia and Ecuador, who successfully harnessed the indigenous vote.

And in Brazil, activists won a Supreme Court case that affirmed the land rights of tribal communities living in the northern Amazon region.

In Guatemala, however, an leftist advocate for Mayans opposed to large-scale mining in their communities was found beaten and hacked to death.

Advocates also said that the attention paid to endangered animal species, such as polar bears, has overshadowed media coverage of endangered tribal communities, such as Indonesia’s Orang Rimba people, who claim they are being driven off their lands by illegal logging.


“In South America, Land Rights go Native”
Sept. 3, 2008

“Save the (Native) Humans”
Aug. 14, 2008

“Indigenous Rights Wend a Legal Labyrinth”
Jan. 24, 2008

One thought on “Year's Top Issues: Indigenous Peoples

  1. I am Native American living in the middle Canada (North-Western Ontario); The forest industry is dying or dead in most communities, and now mining is taking its place.

    In 2008, Six (6) members of a First Nation, including the chief and counsel members, where thrown in jail for two months for denying the whites access to their lands.
    Those leaders argued that past mining behaviors, no consultation and their concern for future generations, left them with little option but to defy the ‘judges’.

    In 2008, the Canadian Federal Gov. also issued a formal apology, for past crimes committed against an entire people. AKA genocide; police brutality, religious fanaticism. I for one, do not accept that apology. The words mean nothing, and the actions speak everything.

    Look to Israel as a more current example. The Palestinians ARE First Nations people, living on what amounts to a ‘Reservation’.
    There can be no ‘Justification’ for the killing of children; Indigenous peoples’ everywhere, have long suffered in that reality, and the time approaches when those blood debts must be paid.

    I get much comfort in knowing that ALL spiritual cultures on the earth point to these days, where earth changes will finally lead the young white race, down the path they created; to nowhere.

    As for us who remain traditionally faithful to our duties, to the future generations and to the Earth, we shall continue to survive.

    This is what i believe.

    be well