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.
NYMHM HAS THE DETAILS:
“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