Indigenous affairs and Settler-Colonial Decolonization News Megathread

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Re: Indigenous affairs and Settler-Colonial Decolonization News Megathread

Post by loomer » 2020-05-14 08:54am

In a timely example of where there's a major clash like Ziggy was asking about, the Wet'suwet'en elected chiefs are rejecting the agreement made between Canada and the hereditary Wet'suwet'en chiefs.

I'm definitely no expert on the finer details of Wet'suwet'en leadership and the legislation that created the band chief system, but even as a general skeptic of the legitimacy of Settler-authored and authorized Indigenous power structures it seems like a bad move to have left them out at all.
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Re: Indigenous affairs and Settler-Colonial Decolonization News Megathread

Post by loomer » 2020-05-14 09:50am

Large indigenous territories are necessary for culture and biodiversity in Brazil, study says
  • New research argues that large, legally protected territories are necessary for indigenous peoples to maintain their traditional livelihoods.
    The authors were surprised to find higher population densities inside versus outside of nearly half (295) of all indigenous territories.
  • Indigenous lands provide global-scale environmental benefits. Nearly one-fifth of all Amazonian plants and animals live in these territories, and these areas retain 25.5% of all carbon stocks in Brazil.
  • Altering the protected status of indigenous lands or opening them up to exploitative economic activities will affect ethnocultural integrity and compromise Brazil’s commitments to climate change and biodiversity protection.
In Brazil, indigenous lands make up 13.5% of the national territory and are home to half a million indigenous peoples speaking 280 distinct languages.

New research, published in the journal Land Use Policy, argues that large, legally protected territories are necessary for indigenous peoples to maintain their traditional livelihoods and to safeguard the global-scale environmental benefits provided by these lands.

“Our paper entirely rejects the often-proclaimed anti-indigenous political banner in Brazil of ‘Too much land for too few Indians’ (in Portuguese, ‘Muita terra para pouco índio’),” Rodrigo Begotti, of the University of East Anglia in the U.K. and co-author of the study, told Mongabay in an email.

The authors were surprised to find higher population densities inside versus outside of nearly half (295) of all physically demarcated indigenous territories in the study. Only 208 Brazilian indigenous lands had the low population densities associated with traditional hunter-gatherer, horticulturalist and semi-nomadic societies.

Using census data and land-use maps from indigenous and non-indigenous populations, the researchers analyzed 587 demarcated indigenous territories spanning a combined 1.9 million km2 (735,000 mi2), an area almost four times the size of Spain.

“These results show the critical importance of legally protecting sufficiently large indigenous territories. Larger indigenous populations mainly occupy vast territories and these lands remain critical if Brazil is to accomplish its international commitments to both protect tropical biodiversity and mitigate climate change,” study co-author Carlos Peres, of the University of East Anglia, UK said in a statement.

Indigenous lands provide global-scale environmental benefits. Nearly one-fifth of all Amazonian plants and animals live in these territories, and these areas retain 25.5% (about 13 gigatons) of all carbon stocks in Brazil.

The study found that nearly 90% of indigenous lands analyzed had a higher proportion of native vegetation cover than their surrounding areas, protecting nearly an eighth of Brazil’s national territory — more than 1 million km2 (386,000 mi2) of forests, prairies and savannas.

“We also find that traditional livelihoods of native Brazilians are intricately linked to healthy environmental conditions and that Indigenous Lands are still efficient in deterring deforestation,” Begotti said.

Altering the protected status of indigenous lands or opening them up to exploitative economic activities such as mining and commodity agriculture, according to the authors, will affect ethnocultural integrity and compromise Brazil’s commitments to climate change and biodiversity protection.

“There is now strong political pressure to integrate indigenous peoples into the market economy by means of establishing commodity agricultural crops and unleashing mining activities inside Indigenous Lands,” Begotti said.

“The justification is that indigenous peoples want to gain access to consumer goods and should generate monetary revenues, regardless of the risks to their ethnocultural diversity and traditional knowledge.”

In 1988, the Brazilian constitution recognized the land rights of indigenous peoples on territories legally referred to as indigenous lands (terras indígenas). FUNAI, the federal agency responsible for protection and demarcation of indigenous lands, as well as uncontacted tribes, has had severe budget cuts, making it nearly impossible to demarcate new indigenous lands or enforce protections.

“For indigenous peoples, securing their land rights is critical to maintaining their collective identity and self-determination,” Begotti said. “Unfortunately, Brazil’s current legislative scenario coupled with a hostile federal executive has only fueled land conflicts and rural violence against native peoples, and increased deforestation rates within Indigenous Lands.”

High rates of suicide and poverty are found in indigenous groups that still lack land rights recognition. Land rights are central not only to poverty reduction but to a wide range of human rights such as food, water, baseline health conditions and ethnocultural identity.

“Begotti and Peres provide a valuable compilation of the flood of setbacks for Brazil’s biodiversity and indigenous peoples since [Brazil’s president] took office as the country’s president in January 2019,” said Philip Fearnside, a professor at Brazil’s National Institute for Research in Amazonia who was not involved with the study.

Now, just weeks after the publication of this study, the situation is worsening. A recent measure opened up 98,000 square kilometers (37,800 square miles) of indigenous lands to outsiders, stripping protections from 237 indigenous areas that had not yet completed the process of “homologação” (final recognition with a presidential decree). The good news, Fearnside notes, is that this measure, known as the “provisional measure for land grabbing” (MP da grilagem), was allowed to expire without a vote, meaning it will not enter into permanent law unless a proposed law that is being drafted for consideration beginning next week enacts the same measures.

The militarization of environmental actions, fires, new roads into the rainforest such as the notorious BR-319 (Manaus-Porto Velho) Highway, and vulnerabilities surrounding COVID-19 are also escalating threats to indigenous lands and people.

When asked what message the authors would like to convey to the Brazilian government, Begotti referred to the words of a famous indigenous peoples’ advocate, Orlando Villas-Bôas. When interviewed nearly 30 years ago, Villas-Bôas urged Brazilian dominant society to respect all indigenous peoples and their cultural legacy, for their ancestral lands were conquered by Europeans in the making of what is now called Brazil.

“Based on this plea,” Begotti said, “we would second Villas-Bôas in stating that we are one big step closer to extirpating a history of at least 8,000 years of ethnocultural diversity of our nation-state and all of its associated traditional knowledge, assimilated over a long process of trial-and-error in rather successfully handling natural ecosystems.”

Citation: Begotti, R. A., & Peres, C. A. (2020). Rapidly escalating threats to the biodiversity and ethnocultural capital of Brazilian Indigenous Lands. Land Use Policy, 96, 104694. doi:10.1016/j.landusepol.2020.104694.
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Re: Indigenous affairs and Settler-Colonial Decolonization News Megathread

Post by loomer » 2020-05-15 02:15am

Today is Nakbah day, where we remember and commemorate the ongoing Palestinian exodus and diaspora. Israel is the youngest settler-colonial state, and viewing its policy decisions through that lens helps to answer the questions of 'why' and 'how' - why are they doing this, and how can they inflict such suffering?
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Re: Indigenous affairs and Settler-Colonial Decolonization News Megathread

Post by loomer » 2020-05-17 01:18am

Travelling at 'frightening speed', coronavirus has hit 38 Indigenous groups in Brazil
The coronavirus is reaching Indigenous territories across Brazil 'with frightening speed', according to the Brazilian Indigenous Peoples' Association.
The coronavirus pandemic has hit 38 Indigenous groups in Brazil, raising fears for populations that have a history of being decimated by outside diseases, the Brazilian Indigenous Peoples' Association (APIB) said Friday.

"The virus is reaching Indigenous territories across Brazil with frightening speed," the association said in a statement.

An APIB survey found 446 cases of the new coronavirus and 92 deaths among the affected groups, mainly in the Brazilian Amazon.

The grim news came a day after the Indigenous community of Parque das Tribos, outside the northern city of Manaus, held a funeral for its chief, Messias Kokama, who died of COVID-19.

Kokama, who was 53, was buried in a closed casket wrapped in plastic to avoid spreading the virus.

Brazil, the Latin American country hit hardest in the pandemic, has seen its death toll spiral.

It has registered nearly 15,000 deaths and 220,000 cases so far, though experts say under-testing means the real figures could be 15 times higher or more.

The pandemic is also creating an opening for illegal miners and loggers to encroach on Indigenous lands, said rights group Survival International.

"Countless tribal lands are being invaded, with the backing of a government which wants to completely destroy the country's first peoples and makes no attempt to hide it," said the group.

It criticised far-right President Jair Bolsonaro for his push to open protected Indigenous lands to farming and mining.
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These are some of the most vulnerable communities in existence, both due to imposed and organic factors. It spreading in them is devastating in every sense.
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Re: Indigenous affairs and Settler-Colonial Decolonization News Megathread

Post by Ziggy Stardust » 2020-05-18 09:35am

We will never know what the actual death toll among the Amazonian indigenous communities ends up being. I don't even know how reliable a census there even is of the Amazon, given how many "uncontacted" tribes are still out there.

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Re: Indigenous affairs and Settler-Colonial Decolonization News Megathread

Post by loomer » 2020-05-18 11:33am

We'll probably get our best idea from anthropologists over the next decade as they return and ask the people they've been working and studying with. I need to check in with one of my colleagues - he's done a lot of fieldwork over there with a couple of communities so I imagine he's worried with this news.
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Re: Indigenous affairs and Settler-Colonial Decolonization News Megathread

Post by loomer » 2020-05-21 10:49am

“COVID-19 is devastating indigenous communities worldwide, and it’s not only about health” – UN expert warns
GENEVA (18 May 2020) – The new UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, José Francisco Cali Tzay, today expressed serious concerns over the devastating impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on indigenous peoples beyond the health threat.

“I am receiving more reports every day from all corners of the globe about how indigenous communities are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it deeply worries me to see it is not always about health issues.

States of emergency are exacerbating the marginalisation of indigenous communities, and in the most extreme situations, militarisation of their territories is taking place.

Indigenous peoples are being denied their freedom of expression and association, while business interests are invading and destroying their lands, territories and resources.

In some countries, consultations with indigenous peoples and also environmental impact assessments are being abruptly suspended in order to force through megaprojects relating to agribusiness, mining, dams and infrastructure.

Indigenous peoples who lose their lands and livelihoods are pushed further into poverty, higher rates of malnutrition, lack of access to clean water and sanitation, as well as exclusion from medical services, which in turn renders them particularly vulnerable to the disease.

But in the face and in the midst of such threats, the indigenous communities that have managed to best resist the COVID-19 pandemic are those that have achieved autonomy and self-government, which allows them to manage their lands, territories and resources, ensure food security through their traditional crops and traditional medicine.

Now, more than ever, Governments worldwide should support indigenous peoples to implement their own plans to protect their communities and participate in the elaboration of nationwide initiatives to ensure these do not discriminate against them.

States must ensure that indigenous peoples have access to information about COVID-19 in their languages and urgent special measures need to be taken to ensure availability and access to culturally appropriate medical services. It is a major challenge that public health facilities are often scarce in indigenous communities.

The rights to development, self-determination and lands, territories and resources must be ensured in order for indigenous peoples to manage these times of crisis and to advance the worldwide goals of sustained development and environmental protection.

The pandemic is teaching us that we need to change: we need to value the collective over the individual and build inclusive societies that respect and protect everyone. It is not only about protecting our health.”

ENDS

Mr. José Francisco CALÍ TZAY (Guatemala) is the new Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples. He is Maya Kaqchikel from Guatemala, with experience in defending the rights of indigenous peoples, both in Guatemala and at the level of the United Nations and the OAS. Mr. Calí Tzay was the founder and member of a different indigenous organizations in Guatemala and the Ambassador of Guatemala to the Federal Republic of Germany. He was Director of Human Rights at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala; member of the Presidential Commission against Discrimination and Racism against Indigenous Peoples in Guatemala (CODISRA) and President of the National Reparation Program for Victims of the Internal Armed Conflict. Mr. Cali Tzay was President of the Committee for the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination, a treaty body from which he was elected for four consecutive periods of 4 years each.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
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Re: Indigenous affairs and Settler-Colonial Decolonization News Megathread

Post by loomer » 2020-05-26 04:26am

Today is National Sorry Day here in Australia, where in theory we all look towards reconciliation and recognize the horrors of the Stolen Generations (and, more broadly, colonialism itself. Of course, it's treated as a past event by most of the media. Funny that.) Naturally, the NSW government has instead cut funding for Indigenous kids in out of home care and over in the Pilbara, two of the most significant historic sites in Australia were blown up for the convenience of a mining company.

Couldn't really ask for a better set of examples of why the day, good as it might be in theory, is just a fig leaf in practice. The redress schemes for the Stolen Generations haven't been easy to access and there are still huge gaps, but hey, at least we fly the Aboriginal flag for a week over the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

It's also the anniversary of the release of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which laid out a reasonable blueprint towards making actual progress on reconciliation. Naturally, the Liberal government of the day rejected it and created a massive scare campaign to discredit it.
"Doctors keep their scalpels and other instruments handy, for emergencies. Keep your philosophy ready too—ready to understand heaven and earth. In everything you do, even the smallest thing, remember the chain that links them. Nothing earthly succeeds by ignoring heaven, nothing heavenly by ignoring the earth." M.A.A.A

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Re: Indigenous affairs and Settler-Colonial Decolonization News Megathread

Post by loomer » 2020-05-29 12:10am

Some good news - the High Court has rejected FMG's appeal, which means they can get fucked with their attempt to extinguish exclusive native title over a big chunk of Yindibjarni country with an iron mine on it.
"Doctors keep their scalpels and other instruments handy, for emergencies. Keep your philosophy ready too—ready to understand heaven and earth. In everything you do, even the smallest thing, remember the chain that links them. Nothing earthly succeeds by ignoring heaven, nothing heavenly by ignoring the earth." M.A.A.A

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Re: Indigenous affairs and Settler-Colonial Decolonization News Megathread

Post by Jub » 2020-06-01 02:36pm

This may not be the right place for this but I was just tuned into a political party I've never heard of but which was recommended to me based on my stance on the current crisis in the US. They have decolonization as part of their mission statement but I don't have a basis to understand their policy on decolonization. I'm going to post a link to their policy page here as well as their mission statement, I'd appreciate any feedback related to their decolonization policies (if there's more to add we can split this discussion into its own topic).

https://www.bcecosocialists.ca/?fbclid= ... 4Exyi5Gg9A

BC Ecosocialists Policy

Further left than the NDP, greener than the Greens.

We know that it’s not a dream, but a practical reality that we can all live decent lives without having to keep someone else down. We have the resources to house everyone. We can feed everyone, without subjecting them to the humiliation of food banks. We can afford to provide childcare to everyone who needs it.

We want to better tax rich people and corporations to fund better policies, like building tens of thousands of units of social housing, building new green energy and transportation infrastructure while putting a moratorium on all new fossil fuel infrastructure including all LNG.

We oppose discrimination on the basis of race, class, sexual orientation, gender and disability. These values inform our policies from the bottom up; they are part of a framework of material as well as judicial rights that will shape building codes, vehicle design, program delivery and funding as well as employment equity in both the private and public sectors.

We believe in decolonization; that means returning power, land and resources to Indigenous people, not just tearful apologies and photo-ops.

We are a political party registered in the Province of British Columbia, with the primary purpose of fielding candidates in provincial elections.

Read our policy to find out about how we would handle existing government departments and our ideas for some of the new departments we would create.

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Re: Indigenous affairs and Settler-Colonial Decolonization News Megathread

Post by loomer » 2020-06-02 03:29am

Jub wrote:
2020-06-01 02:36pm
This may not be the right place for this but I was just tuned into a political party I've never heard of but which was recommended to me based on my stance on the current crisis in the US. They have decolonization as part of their mission statement but I don't have a basis to understand their policy on decolonization. I'm going to post a link to their policy page here as well as their mission statement, I'd appreciate any feedback related to their decolonization policies (if there's more to add we can split this discussion into its own topic).
It's an improvement over the mainstream but as a decolonization policy it's a little weak, as it assumes the continued legitimacy of the Canadian and BC governments. The need-based landback scheme is missing the point, which is that all land seized from a First Nation that settlers cannot demonstrate a literal survival need for should be handed back (and any land where that survival need will not be impacted by landback should also be handed back. Land where a legitimate survival need would be interrupted should be negotiated and returned in a form that does not endanger survival.), not only land that the First Nations can demonstrate a need for. This policy should also extend beyond private companies to public government land and private individual landowners to be meaningful. So - it's a good start but it's definitely a compromise document.

That being said, the needs of decolonization vary from nation to nation (in the sense of both settler-state and Indigenous nation), so your best bet is finding First Nations elders and activists in BC and asking them (just make sure to check protocol first - you might be better served by having an introduction in the case of approaching some elders, out of courtesy. I don't know if that's relevant to BC but I'd be remiss not to mention it.) how this policy would address their specific needs.
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Re: Indigenous affairs and Settler-Colonial Decolonization News Megathread

Post by loomer » 2020-06-02 03:31am

Australia still turns a blind eye to Aboriginal people dying in police custody
Solidarity with US protesters following George Floyd’s death is important but Australia also needs to address its own racism

In April, after a long battle, the family of Tanya Day achieved a victory. The inquest into the death of their mother following a fall while in Castlemaine Police station found that unconscious race bias had played at least some part in her arrest. While the coroner fell short of labelling the neglectful actions of the attending police as such (though they were found to have violated Day’s human rights), she did find that the train conductor had made judgement calls based on Day’s Aboriginality which contributed to him calling the police on her in her intoxicated state. In other words, had Tanya – who had a valid ticket – been left to merely sleep on the train like so many other intoxicated commuters who aren’t Aboriginal are, she might still be with us today.

This finding followed an earlier victory Ms Day’s incredible children had achieved: that “public drunkenness” would be removed from the criminal code in Victoria. In 2019, the Victorian premier promised this would happen – a mere 28 years after this recommendation was handed down by the royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody because it was found that such laws disproportionately criminalised Aboriginal people. It’s thanks to the family of Tanya Day that all Victorians now have the right to make it safely home, without police interference, no matter what our state.

I mention this case because it’s one that everyone who lives in Victoria, and Australia, should know. Day’s family joined the countless other heartbroken Aboriginal families in this country who have had to embark on a journey for justice for their loved ones who have died in police custody. Over 430 of them, incidentally, since the royal commission findings were handed down. Yet despite the fact that this keeps happening, Australia mainly turns a blind eye to the problem, or bends over backwards to justify the fact that Aboriginal people are the most incarcerated race of people on the planet.

It’s therefore been interesting, and disheartening, watching the Australian response to the riots happening in the US following the death of African American man George Floyd while in police custody. The world should be outraged by his death and should be taking action to ensure it never happens again. Yet the 24-7 coverage here shows just how much more newsworthy a Black death in custody from the US is here than the many Aboriginal deaths in Australia.

I’ve had people on Twitter tell me that perhaps if there were riots here, there would be more interest. The thing is, there are riots here. Recently, Palm Island residents were awarded compensation after the federal court found police used excessive force on residents during riots following the 2004 death in custody of Mulrindji Doomadgee. Despite the fact that only Aboriginal people were imprisoned for what transpired on Palm Island, the best Nine News could muster in response to this compensation payout was a news report essentially accusing residents of fraud and reckless spending of “taxpayer monies”.

Redfern rioted after 17-year-old TJ Hickey was killed riding a bike while police pursued him. His body was impaled on a fence. Yet I guarantee you that hardly any Australians remember these riots, let alone his name and the fact that his family are still calling for justice.

Or what about Joyce Clarke who was shot by police in Geraldton last year as she was apparently experiencing a mental health episode? The police officer who shot her entered a not guilty plea to his murder charge only days ago. Authorities at the time were so concerned there would be a riot following Clarke’s death that their racist solution was to ban alcohol sales to certain locals. How many in Australia would have taken to the streets for Joyce?

Further salt is rubbed in the wound when we see Black Lives Matter solidarity rallies in Australia being organised without consultation with the people whose lives are impacted the most by police brutality on this soil – Aboriginal people. It’s fantastic that people know police actions can’t go on unchecked, and showing solidarity is key to racist institutions being challenged wherever they are in the world, but why is solidarity often lacking when it comes to Australia’s own atrocities? Why did a Black Lives Matter US solidarity rally in Melbourne in 2016 attract thousands, yet a rally to shut down Don Dale juvenile detention centre following police brutality enacted on Aboriginal children only two weeks later failed to generate anywhere near that level of public interest, even if that smaller crowd succeeded in closing down the Melbourne CBD until 2am?

Truth is, a large part of it comes down to Australia’s inability to acknowledge and properly address its own racism. Wave after wave of immigrants can come here and experience Australia’s unique brand of racism yet still manage to be more accepted and higher up the social rungs than Aboriginal people will ever be. It’s too hard to deal with local issues and therefore pointing at America and saying “but they’re worse” is an easy method of avoidance.

Global solidarity for the lives of Black people and the fight against institutional racism is so incredibly important. It’s in this solidarity and exchange that we find the strength to continue challenging in the hope that this never happens again. I only wish that while Australia is looking abroad for reasons why it should care, it would spend a bit of time ensuring that things change on this soil as well.

• Celeste Liddle is an Arrernte woman living in Melbourne. She is a union organiser, freelance writer and activist
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Re: Indigenous affairs and Settler-Colonial Decolonization News Megathread

Post by loomer » 2020-06-02 11:28am

"Doctors keep their scalpels and other instruments handy, for emergencies. Keep your philosophy ready too—ready to understand heaven and earth. In everything you do, even the smallest thing, remember the chain that links them. Nothing earthly succeeds by ignoring heaven, nothing heavenly by ignoring the earth." M.A.A.A

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Re: Indigenous affairs and Settler-Colonial Decolonization News Megathread

Post by loomer » 2020-06-04 10:53pm

Sydney councillor under fire for opposing Acknowledgements of Country, arguing they 'just divide us more'

Thousands have signed a petition urging the Hills Shire Council to include Acknowledgement of Country statements at the start of meetings after a councillor said the practice "just divides us more".

A Sydney councillor has been condemned for refusing to say an Indigenous Acknowledgement of Country statement because he says it would be divisive.

Sydney resident Mikaela Gallaway wrote to Hills Shire councillor Brooke Collins, asking why the council in Sydney's west did not include an Acknowledgement of Country at the start of meetings.

Councillor Collins, who lists the Liberal Party as his political affiliation, told Ms Gallaway that doing so could divide the community.

The Response

"Thank you for your email ... I won't single out one race, we are all equal and what you suggest just divides us more," he wrote in one email.

In another email he said Indigenous Australians had also "turned up on our shores unannounced".

"How do you know they didn't wipe out another race when they arrived here 70,000 years ago?" he wrote.

"Let's agree to disagree ... we have what we all have today thanks to European settlement ... if they didn't arrive you and I wouldn't be here," he added.

"I can't change what happened over 250 years ago [so] let's all move forward."

In a post to social media, Ms Gallaway said the position was "utterly ridiculous".

Council members affiliated with the Liberal Party in 2017 voted down a motion to incorporate Acknowledgement of Country statements into council meetings.

Acknowledgement of Country statements are used to show respect to Australia's traditional owners and the "continuing connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to country", according to Reconciliation Australia.

They are typically delivered at the start of meetings and events, the National Indigenous Australians Agency said.

Since the exchange was shared on social media on Wednesday afternoon, thousands have signed a petition urging the Hills Shire Council to reverse its position.

Currently there is no acknowledgement of traditional owners at meetings or major events within my community," petition creator Samantha Wylie wrote.

"We have been humbled and overwhelmed by the support we have received from the local members that have reached out to us and we would like to see this change in the future."

Western Sydney is the traditional land of the Darug Indigenous Australians.

"Recognition is the first step to reconciliation and please help the Darug people and support our children to grow up in a community that is inclusive of their culture and beliefs with pride," Ms Wylie wrote on the petition.

SBS News has contacted Councillor Collins for comment.
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I'm actually not a huge fan of Acknowledgment of Country myself*, but Councillor Collins is a shithead prick who needs to be voted out at the soonest convenience.

(*: They're a fig leaf most of the time, nothing more. A bunch of pasty whitefellas standing there and going 'I acknowledge this is <x> land' and then immediately afterwards saying some extremely racist shit is pretty common, and the number of bored, glazed eyes during acknowledgments is pretty high - if you ever get a chance to observe that at an academic conference, you'll see what I mean, because by the last day people have heard so many acknowledgments that follow an identical formula that they just switch off until the actual content starts. This is not to say the idea is bad - a good acknowledgement is a great way to interrupt people's comfortable assumptions about the colonial state, and I've seen some absolutely masterful ones shake people up, but they're just too often a mere formality with zero functional impact.)
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Re: Indigenous affairs and Settler-Colonial Decolonization News Megathread

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2020-06-06 08:04pm

US Federal court rules against the Interior Department's decision that the Mashpee Wampanoag do not qualify as "under federal jurisdiction" (which would have cost them their reservation status).

https://capenews.net/mashpee/news/feder ... 4340e.html
A federal judge ruled in favor of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe on Friday, June 5 in litigation brought against the Trump Administration’s Interior Department in 2018.

The ruling from the Washington DC district court found that a 2018 decision by the department that the tribe did not qualify as “under federal jurisdiction” in 1934 for purposes of the Indian Reorganization Act was “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and contrary to law.”

The judge, Paul L. Friedman, ordered that the department maintain the reservation status of the tribe’s 321 acres of land until the department issues a new decision on remand over whether the tribe qualifies as “under federal jurisdiction” in 1934.

A March order by the Interior Department to disestablish the tribe’s reservation land in Mashpee and Taunton had been held up by the Washington, DC litigation. Judge Friedman’s decision came on the last day of an agreed upon 45-day halt to the order.

“Today, the DC District Court righted what would have been a terrible and historic injustice by finding that the Department of the Interior broke the law in attempting to take our land out of trust,” said Cedric Cromwell, the chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council.

“While we are pleased with the court's findings, our work is not done,” the statement from the chairman posted to the tribe’s website said. “We will continue to work with the Department of the Interior—and fight them if necessary—to ensure our land remains in trust.”

The Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 lays out the rules for establishing reservation land.

A 2009 Supreme Court decision, known as the Carcieri decision, found that the word “now” in the act’s first definition of “Indian” meant “in 1934.” Therefore, to qualify for reservation lands tribes must be considered “under federal jurisdiction” in 1934.

The 2018 decision that the tribe did not qualify as “under federal jurisdiction” in 1934 applied a two-part test known as the M-Opinion used for interpreting the phrase “under federal jurisdiction.”

Judge Friedman said in his opinion and order that the Secretary of the Interior Department in the 2018 decision “did not evaluate the evidence in accordance with the directives of the M-Opinion.”

Before the 2018 decision by the Interior Department, the tribe filed hundreds of pages of evidence to support that they had been “under federal jurisdiction” in 1934.

The M-Opinion states that “some federal actions may in and of themselves demonstrate that a tribe was, at some identifiable point or period in its history, under federal jurisdiction,” while “in other cases, a variety of actions when viewed in concert may demonstrate that a tribe was under federal jurisdiction.”

“The Secretary misapplied the M-Opinion by evaluating each piece of evidence in isolation,” Judge Friedman said.

The evidence includes federal census rolls from 1880, 1890, 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 which list tribal members as Indians, various federal reports and evidence that the tribal members attended the federally run Carlisle Indian School.

“The conclusions about each piece of evidence evaluated in the 2018 [decision] show that the Secretary evaluated each piece of evidence in isolation,” Judge Friedman said.

The Interior Department in the 2018 decision dismissed a federal report known as the Morse Report as insufficient “without more,” discounted the evidence of Mashpee students at the Carlisle School as not sufficient “in isolation” and discounted the census roll evidence as being inconclusive “in and of itself.”

The judge further said that the Interior Department mischaracterized the Morse Report, a report from the 1820s which recommended that the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe not be removed from their lands and sent westward.

“The Court finds the Secretary’s description of the Morse Report as merely being a passive ‘compilation of general information about tribes’ is a mischaracterization that minimized the record evidence without adequate explanation,” Judge Friedman said.

“The Morse Report includes recommendations that the Mashpee Tribe not be removed from their land and sent West,” the judge said. “The making of a recommendation is, in and of itself, an action.”

Judge Friedman ordered that when the Interior Department reviews the tribe’s qualifications as “under federal jurisdiction” in 1934 on remand that the department must view the evidence “in concert.”

Though the Interior Department in March replaced the M-Opinion with new guidance for interpreting the phrase “under federal jurisdiction,” the remand decision must remain based upon the M-Opinion, the judge said.

The Interior Department stated in briefs and in oral arguments before the court that the new guidance streamlined the M-Opinion but did not make changes to the analysis for interpreting “under federal jurisdiction.”

“The Court disagrees that the newly issued guidance does not change the ‘under federal jurisdiction’ analysis,” Judge Friedman said. “The new test does not allow some types of evidence that the 2014 test permitted.”

The tribe argued in briefs that 2018 decision that the tribe was not “under federal jurisdiction” in 1934 implicitly applied the new analysis rather than the M-Opinion.

“The similarities between the Secretary’s reasons for discounting the Mashpee Tribe’s evidence and the new 2020 standards are stark,” Judge Friedman said. “The Court does not need to opine as to whether the Secretary was actually applying this new 2020 guidance, however.”

“The Tribe has yet to receive an appropriate determination under the two-part test that the Department said it was applying,” Judge Friedman said. “The Court hereby directs the Department to apply the two-part test in [the M-Opinion]–correctly this time–on remand.”
The source for this article was a link posted on Joe Biden's Facebook page, with the following comment:
Vice President Biden wrote:When the Trump Admin attempted to remove land the Obama-Biden Admin put into trust for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, I said the U.S. has for too long broken trust with tribal nations. I am pleased the D.C. Court stopped the Trump Admin. I stand with Mashpee.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver

"The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan."-General Von Clauswitz, describing my opinion of Bernie or Busters and third partiers in a nutshell.

I SUPPORT A NATIONAL GENERAL STRIKE TO REMOVE TRUMP FROM OFFICE.

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Re: Indigenous affairs and Settler-Colonial Decolonization News Megathread

Post by loomer » 2020-06-13 05:17am

Dozens more ancient heritage sites could be destroyed by Australian mining companies

Dozens of sacred sites in the Pilbara and Goldfields regions of Western Australia are under threat from approvals granted by the State Government since the destruction of the 46,000-year-old Juukan Caves last month by Rio Tinto.
Key points:

A letter from Banjima native title holders in the WA Pilbara said they were "angry and hurt" about possible destruction of 40 sacred sites
The sites include ochre pits, ceremonial grounds and rock shelters with evidence of human occupation going back at least 10,000 to 15,000 years
Ngalia traditional owners oppose the destruction of another seven sites in WA Goldfields region by Australian Potash

The latest sites under threat are in the WA Goldfields, where traditional owners claim a "blanket" Section 18 approval across 148 square kilometres of Ngalia land for mining company Australian Potash could destroy seven Indigenous heritage places.

Ngalia traditional owner Kado Muir told RN Breakfast that the heritage protection system is "broken" in the Goldfields region.

Mr Muir, an anthropologist and archaeologist, said Aboriginal people had no power to object to Section 18 approvals under the Aboriginal Heritage Act, which allows developers to disturb or destroy sites.

"There's an expectation from government and industry in this development mindset that you [should] no longer protest or stand up for the sites on your country," he said.

"It becomes a rubber-stamp exercise."

The opposition by Ngalia traditional owners in the Goldfields is similar to the concerns of traditional owners from the Banjima people in the Pilbara over the potential destruction of 40 sites in the Djadjiling Range area by BHP.
Traditional owners wrote in opposition to BHP development in April

Earlier this week, RN Breakfast revealed BHP was planning to destroy 40 Aboriginal cultural sites as part of an expansion of the $4.5 billion South Flank mine.

RN Breakfast has been supplied a letter that confirms senior traditional owners from the Banjima people in the Pilbara had already explicitly stated their opposition to an application for the destruction of the sites in the Djadjiling Range.

Charles Smith, senior Martidja Banyjima elder, said in the letter that he and his family were "angry about [the Section 18 approval] and don't support the destruction of those sites at South Flank for any reason".

Dated April 16 this year and sent by the Banjima Native Title Aboriginal Corporation (BNTAC) to the director of Aboriginal Heritage Operations in WA, Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt's department, the letter documents senior traditional owners explicitly stating their opposition to the Section 18 approval and destruction of the sites.

The letter states that BNTAC's current chair, Maitland Parker, said he knew that the Banjima people had no legal right to object to the Section 18 approval "in accordance with the comprehensive agreement between BHP and the Banjima People" signed in 2015, but that the Banyyjim people felt a cumulative loss every time a site was destroyed.

Mr Parker said in the letter that he felt it was very important that the feelings of the Banjima people were put on record for future generations "so they know we didn't just sign off on this stuff and forget about it, we put up a fight about these places, about our lore and culture".

"We need people to know that," he said.

The letter states: "The significance of the sites impacted by the Notice to Banjima People is such that Banjima People cannot and do not support the destruction of those sites as proposed by the Notice as to do so would be inconsistent with [our] cultural obligations to protect those sites{s]".

The cultural sites in the Ddjajaling Range were approved for destruction by Mr Wyatt on May 29 — just five days after the 46,000-year-old Juukan Caves in the west Pilbara were blown up by Rio Tinto.

On Thursday, BHP said it would not damage the Ddjajaling Range sites without "further extensive consultation" with traditional owners.

"That consultation …will include further scientific study and discussion on mitigation and preservation."
Section 18 application by Australian Potash considered

The WA Government's Aboriginal Cultural Materials Committee (ACMC) met on Tuesday this week to consider Australian Potash's Section 18 application to destroy sites on Ngalia land in the Goldfields.

Mr Muir, who has previously served as a specialist anthropologist for the ACMC, claims Australian Potash has refused to negotiate with native title holders and is using Section 18 to avoid its responsibilities to protect heritage sites.

He said there were seven known cultural sites, but Australian Potash lodged their Section 18 application without conducting an Aboriginal heritage survey.

"We need greater capacity for traditional owners and native title holders to have a veto over Section 18 applications, to have a final say over what happens to their heritage," he said.

Australian Potash was contacted for a response but chief executive Matt Shackleton said the company would prefer not to comment at this time.
Minister says he approved destruction after Banjima letter

In a statement to RN Breakfast, Mr Wyatt said that a number of Section 18 notices had been lodged by BHP for its South Flank mine in the Pilbara, with the most recent on October 16, 2019.

"No objections were filed and I approved the notice on May 29, 2020. This notice covers 40 Aboriginal sites."

The sites include ochre pits, ceremonial grounds and rock shelters with evidence of human occupation going back at least 10,000 to 15,000 years, but also archaeological evidence of "occupation of the surrounding landscape has been ongoing for approximately 40,000 years.

Acknowledging the Banjima people's opposition to the destruction of the Djadjiling Range site, Mr Wyatt said he had "asked BHP to work with Banjima to do what it can to avoid or minimise the impact on this site, regardless of the Section 18 approval".

In a statement to RN Breakfast, BHP said it hoped to continue working with the traditional owners throughout the development of the South Flank mining operations.

"As part of our ongoing engagement, we speak regularly with the Banjima community and have reiterated our commitment to working closely with them through the lifecycle of the South Flank development to minimise impacts on cultural heritage," the statement said.

A Labor motion supported by the Government in Federal Parliament on Thursday will see the destruction of the Juukan Caves investigated by the Joint Standing Committee on Northern Australia, including "the interaction of state Indigenous heritage regulations with Commonwealth laws".
Source

This is your daily reminder that settler-colonial capitalism is literally built on the back of destroying the history of Indigenous people.
"Doctors keep their scalpels and other instruments handy, for emergencies. Keep your philosophy ready too—ready to understand heaven and earth. In everything you do, even the smallest thing, remember the chain that links them. Nothing earthly succeeds by ignoring heaven, nothing heavenly by ignoring the earth." M.A.A.A

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