The San people who live in Metsimantle are part of an indigenous minority group. The Sans' story is one of indigenous peoples' around the globe -- that of struggle to keep their traditional way of life alive.
Over the past few weeks, all twelve indigenous villages participating in a referendum voted against mining on Niyamgiri, a mountain sacred to the tribe. The victory gives rare hope to India's 650-odd tribes, many of which face displacement by mining, dams, and other "development."
Armed with bows, arrows, and heavy wooden clubs, roughly a dozen indigenous men of the Munduruku tribe take shifts guarding the entrance to the construction site of the world's third-largest dam, the Belo Monte.
This past Monday, a funeral procession over 100 strong trudged solemnly towards TransCanada's offices in Westborough, MA. Dressed in black and carrying paper flowers, the mourners sang a chilling dirge.
The first group of protestors at Occupy Wall Street publically delivered 23 complaints, outlining the ways in which corporations control our daily lives. Number four asserted, "They have poisoned the food supply through negligence and undermined the farming system through monopolization."
So vast and fiery are the problems that it may seem impossible to imagine that solutions exist or that change may be imminent. And yet, 2012 brought advances and victories that shifted the debate, transformed power, and won real gains in quality of life.
In the southern Amazon basin of Ecuador, the air is filled with the sound of macaws and the distant sound of thunder. But as soon as next year, the metallic hammering of oil drills may join the chorus. Local indigenous leaders are dead-set on not letting that happen.
Right now is the perfect time to think about those throughout history and across the world who, because of their regional, cultural, or ethnic ties, have been colonized, marginalized, displaced, or oppressed.
An amazing idea took hold in the last few weeks. People from around the world decided that they could do something to right a terrible wrong that has existed for hundreds of years here in the United States.