#tbt Two of my projects were included in “New Architecture On Indigenous Lands” by Malnar & Vodvarka. My design for the Oneida Maple Sugar Camp and the Indian Community School of Milwaukee are featured in the publication. #architecture #architectureporn #publication #nativedesign #nativeamerican #instaarch #art #design #book #cornelius #critday #soarch #superarchitects

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‘We Will Fight to the End’: Munduruku Resistance to the Destruction of their Homelands

This is Munduruku land.

The signs are man-made specks in an ocean of nature but are harbingers of a battle to come. It is a fight between the Munduruku, who have long sanctified this river, and Brazil’s government, which plans to flood much of this land to build a $9.9 billion hydroelectric dam, the São Luiz do Tapajós. The dam is one of seven planned for this river and part of a wider strategy across the Amazon that the energy ministry says is necessary to sate the country’s growing need for power. But the Munduruku say they have a constitutional right to remain on their territory — and that the government is refusing to acknowledge it, in violation of the law. […]

“We will fight to the end,” said Juarez Saw Munduruku. “This is our struggle. … I would die defending my land so that another generation can live here.”


Indigenous people are struggling to clean up 3,000 barrels oil that have poured into the Chiriaco and Morona tributaries of the Amazon River.

As Rivers Run Black in Peru, Indigenous Nations Left Cleaning Big Oil’s Disaster

A disastrous spate of oil spills in the Peruvian Amazon have gone from bad to worse in recent days, leaving Indigenous nations frantically trying to clean up the mess left by the nation’s state-owned oil company.

The catastrophic ruptures in Petroperu’s Northern Peruvian Pipeline occurred on January 25th and February 3rd and have threatened the water supply of nearly 10,000 Indigenous people, says Amazon Watch.

On Monday, Petroperu officials confirmed to Reuters that the oil has poured into two critical Amazon River tributaries that eight Achuar communities depend on for water. According to the news agency, these two tributaries of the Amazon River, the Chiriaco and Morona rivers, are now filled with 3,000 barrels of oil.

Critics charge that the spills continued to spread and caused far worse damage after the responsible company, Petroperu, failed to act to contain the oil released by the pipeline breakages.

A third pipeline rupture was rumored on February 19, reports Amazon Watch, but the state-owned petroleum company took to Twitter to deny those reports.

The devastating spills occurred mere months after Indigenous activists staged massive protests against Peru’s oil industry in September.

Over the weekend, local activist Marco Arana Zegarra posted horrific images of the oil’s spread in the Chiriaco tributary:


“Those responsible? Where are they?” Zegarra appealed.


Waterways flow with black sludge and trees and flowers are rendered nearly unrecognizable by a thick coating of oil in video footage of the spills:

“At least this time,” observed Zegarra, “Petroperu has given Indigenous populations suits to wear for cleaning up oil.”


Petroperu president German Velasquez “denied reports the company paid children to clean up the oil,” reports the Guardian, but then he went on, perhaps damningly, to say that “he was evaluating firing four officials, including one who may have allowed children to collect the crude.”

“It’s important to note that the spills…are not isolated cases. Similar emergencies have emerged as a result of defects in sections of the pipeline,” the national environmental regulator said, according to the Guardian.

The regulator “ordered Petroperu to replace parts of the pipeline and improve maintenance,” states Reuters. The Guardian reports that Petroperu will face fines of up to $17 million if it is proven that the oil spills have affected the health of locals.

“This environmental disaster is just the latest in a long history of oil and gas leaks in the area,” laments Indigenous rights group Survival International, observing that “[m]ore” than 70% of the Peruvian Amazon has been leased by the government to oil companies.“

The group translates a call to action by AIDESEP, an organization that fights for Indigenous people in the Peruvian Amazon, in which it pleads for "international public opinion, the media, NGOs and civil society to pay attention to this serious event that puts in danger the lives of thousands of people living in the area who have traditionally been neglected.”


The Salish Sea: An Ecosystem Divided by an Arbitrary Border

The Salish Sea is a 17,000 square kilometer ecosystem with a haphazardly drawn dividing line directly through its center. While that line (the United States/Canada border) is largely imaginary, it is a serious hindrance on the conservation and study of the ecosystem as a whole.

In Washington state they called it Puget Sound and in Canada they called it the Georgia Basin. It wasn’t until 2009 that the whole ecosystem was given an all-encompassing name.

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Bolivians Clash With Police Over Plans To Build Highway Through Indigenous Land

Hundreds of Bolivian protesters have clashed with police in the capital La Paz, angry over plans to build a highway through protected indigenous land.

Demonstrators marched some 600 kilometres on foot to the capital city, a journey that took two months. They came from Bolivia’s eastern Amazonian lowlands to protest the proposed $420m project.

We want to show that there’s been a decision by the marchers to stay here in the seat of government, to show that there’s still an option of talks here if this problem isn’t fixed,” said Adolfo Chavez, one of the protesters.

Organisers say there could be more violence if the government doesn’t back down from the project.

Women’s History: Berta Cáceres

Honduran environmental activist, Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores, fought for the rights of Indigenous Lenca people and the lands they live on.

Growing up in Central America during the violence of the 1970s, Cáceres developed strong humanitarian beliefs from an early age. Her mother, Berta Flores, was a midwife, social activist and most importantly, her daughter’s role model. After studying education and receiving her teacher qualification, Cáceres went on to dedicate her life to the protection of the environment. In 1993, Cáceres co-founded the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH). Cáceres has led campaigns that addressed a variety of issues, including illegal logging, plantations, and the presence of U.S. military bases on land belonging to the Lenca people. Cáceres was a known supporter of feminism, LGBTQ rights, and a wide range of indigenous issues.

Cáceres was awarded the Shalom Award by the Society for Justice and Peace at the Catholic University of Eichstätt Ingolstadt in 2012. In 2014, she was a finalist for the Front Line Defenders Prize, and in 2015 she won the Goldman Environmental Prize.

In 2006, Cáceres was asked to investigate the recent arrival of construction equipment in the Río Blanco area. She discovered that the Honduran company Desarrollos Energéticos, Chinese company Sinohydro, and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation planned to construct four dams on the Rio Gualcarque. This was a violation of international law as the local Lenca people were not consulted about the project, and it could potentially disrupt their access to food and water. In 2013, Caceres led COPINH and the local community in a year long protest at the construction site. During this protest, Honduran courts forced Cáceres to stay in the country until the case was dismissed in February of 2014.

In 2014, Honduras was ranked the most dangerous country in the world, relative to its size and population, for environmental activists. In addition, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights recommended that the government take “precautionary measures” to ensure her safety. Despite the imminent threat to her life, Cáceres bravely decided to stay in Honduras and continue her work.

“I want to live, there are many things I still want to do in this world but I have never once considered giving up fighting for our territory, for a life with dignity, because our fight is legitimate.”

On the morning of March 3, 2016, Cáceres was murdered in her home. She was forty-four years old.  After news of her death was announced, protests took place in Honduras, the United States, and outside the Honduran Embassies in Colombia, Spain, Austria, Germany, and Mexico. The UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, the Organization of American States, and Amnesty International have called for investigations into her murder. Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernandez has made the investigation into her murder a top priority. Her death has served as a rallying call for increased visibility and protection for environmental activists living in dangerous countries.

Cáceres is survived by her four children, Olivia, Berta, Laura and Salvador, and her ex-husband, Salvador Zúñiga. She will continue to be an inspiration to environmentalists and women around the world.


Amazonian Women March on International Womens Day 2016

On #InternationalWomensDay women from 7 different Amazonian Indigenous Nations began a march in Ecuador against new oil blocks in the rainforest. They call on their government and the international community to respect their rights:

“We stand for our families our planet and the rights of nature!”
"They want to criminalize me for defending my territory.”
“Don’t threaten the rights of Indigenous women, uncontacted peoples and activists!”
“We women are at the front, demanding that they respect our Indigenous rights, our territory, and our rainforest.”

At the very same time, Chinese oil company Andes Petroleum began to enter the Sápara territory in violation of their rights. Sápara representatives are now delivering a formal protest letter in response to this illegal entry onto their lands.

Please support these women fighting for the survival of their culture and the protection of the Amazon rainforest. Call the embassy of China and tell them to stay out of Sápara territory. ACT TODAY:

“If Andes Petroleum enters Sápara territory, they’ll destroy our people.” - Gloria Ushigua
Membertou Purchases Traditional Land
MEMBERTOU — A culturally-significant piece of land to the people of Membertou has been re-acquired as part of an $18-million real estate transaction.

Dan Christmas, a senior advisor for Membertou First Nation, and Terry Paul, chief of Membertou First Nation, look over an information display on Kings Road found at the Membertou Heritage Park. The site they were looking at was once known as the Kings Road Reserve. Membertou re-acquired the land as part of an $18 million real estate deal this week.

The First Nation community announced the purchase of the Medical Arts Building on Kings Road on Friday, which is located on lands where the people of Membertou can trace their origins.

They also announced the purchase of the Health Park adjacent to the Cape Breton Regional Hospital.

“One of the unusual things about Membertou is that we are not located near water and that’s not by choice, that was by design,” said Dan Christmas, a senior advisor to Membertou First Nation, during Friday’s press event.

“Membertou was established in 1926 but our original home was known as the Kings Road Reserve.”

In 1916, Christmas said the federal government ordered the relocation of the community, which eventually came about in 1926.

The Kings Road property remained in the hands of the federal government until 1964 when the Medical Arts Building was constructed. It’s recent re-acquisition was from Ontario-based Northwest Healthcare Properties.

“The Mi'kmaq have a very close connection to water, be it the lakes, rivers, oceans,” said Christmas.

“It’s a huge part of who we are as a people and to be dispossessed of that land back in 1916 and now 100 years later almost to get reconnected and reconciled back to our traditional territory is very, very significant for us.”

He said that loss of land on Kings Road is still felt deeply in the community and the recent land acquisition is seen as a chance to reconnect with the area where they settled and made homes for centuries.

Apart from the cultural significance, Christmas said his people had always had envisioned that the property would have a strong commercial value and that was also a regret associated with the original sale.

Both buildings are now part of Membertou’s strategy to diversify its investments and sources of revenue, said Terry Paul, chief of the First Nations community.

“This fits in well with our plans,” said Paul. “Health services is a growing industry in the real estate industry.”

Paul didn’t rule out other future acquisitions along Kings Road, or other parts of Cape Breton and around Canada, for that matter. However, he said nothing is pending.

With Friday’s purchase announcement Membertou now has an estimated 75 properties, valued at more than $40 million.

By The Numbers

$18 million — purchase price for the Health Park and the Medical Arts Building

95 per cent — occupancy of Health Park

80 per cent — occupancy of Medical Arts building

75 — approximate number of commercial properties owned by Membertou First Nation

Stand with Amazonian Women!

Hundreds of Indigenous women from the Ecuadorian Amazon are marching to protect nearly a million acres of their rainforest territory from an oil deal that Ecuador recently signed with Chinese state-owned oil company Andes Petroleum. The deal includes the territory of the Sápara Indigenous people, a small threatened group of only 300 that has official recognition by UNESCO as an “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.” It also includes the territory of the Kichwa people of Sarayaku, who won a historic case in 2012 at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights when Ecuador facilitated the entry of another oil company into their territory without prior consultation.

Once again, instead of obtaining the consent of the communities as Ecuadorian and international law requires, the government waged a relentless campaign to divide the Sápara. Despite the government’s false claims of community approval and attempts to create its own Sápara federation, the legitimate federation of the Sápara refuses to recognize any agreement for oil operations in their territory.

“The government has not conducted free, prior, and informed consultation as the Constitution requires,” said Manari Ushigua, president of the Sápara Federation. “We reject and do not recognize what the government is doing. We do not accept oil extraction on our lands. We have the right to decide our own future and survival, and are carrying out projects that protect our territory and protect our planet from the impacts of climate change.”

Both Indigenous groups have condemned the deal and refuse to sacrifice their territory for what amounts to a few hours’ worth of global oil supply.

The deal with Chinese state-owned oil company Andes Petroleum likely came from China’s desire to recover the $25 billion it has loaned to Ecuador and by the government’s desire to pay back those loans.

Please call your country’s Chinese embassy now and ask them to insist that Andes Petroleum pull out of the contract. Please be respectful and remember that calls are in support of Indigenous peoples and the Amazon, not anti-China.

Continue here for instructions

Also, please send an email message to the Ecuadorian Minister of Strategic Sectors Rafael Poveda urging him to cancel the contract with Chinese oil company Andes Petroleum.

Thank you for taking action on behalf of the Indigenous peoples of the Amazon and our global climate.


#IndependenceForWhom #LestWeForget

“Between 1776 and 1887, the U.S. seized over 1.5 billion acres, an eighth of the world, from America’s indigenous people by treaty and executive order”

Environmental Activists 'Being Killed In Record Numbers' After At Least 116 Die In 2014
Activists have died opposing logging, hydropower, mining and land disputes

An Indigenous woman confronts police guarding the venue where Ecuadorian government officials were meeting with oil company representatives in Quito, Ecuador, Thursday Nov. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

At least 116 environmental activists died last year while campaigning against mining, logging, water and land grabs, according to a report.

The number of deaths is rising, UK-based group Global Witness reported, with two people dying on average every week – up a fifth on 2013.

Some have been shot by police during protests or gunned down by hired assassins, its research found, while many more activists are threatened by the companies they oppose.

According to the “How Many More?” report, the death toll could be far higher as the remote location of clashes in villages and jungles means many are not officially recorded.

Nearly three quarters of the known fatalities were in Central and South America, with Honduras being the most dangerous country per capita and Brazil, Colombia and the Philippines also seeing high numbers of deaths.

Around 40 per cent of those victims were Indigenous and involved in disputes over hydropower, mining, logging, land disputes and water.

“In Honduras and across the world environmental defenders are being shot dead in broad daylight, kidnapped, threatened, or tried as terrorists for standing in the way of so-called development,” said Billy Kyte, a campaigner at Global Witness.

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