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.
Today, land access remains largely unfair and inequitable. Never has such a high percentage of the world's population been displaced from their indigenous or ancestral lands, left without land, a secure home, or the ability to feed themselves.
There is a need to integrate gender into all levels of power to enable women to participate and become full beneficiaries of the oil revenue. That's why we're advocating for women to be part of government and part of whatever bodies are set up to address the issues of the Niger Delta.
Some 800 Wixarika people -- 18 busloads -- are gathering in the desert below are expected to descend on this tiny town within an hour and will begin the trek up the sacred mountain of Cerro Quemado, the place where they believe the sun was born.
They came by the hundreds from the Western Sierra Madre, native Wixarika or Huichol people on a spiritual quest, seeking to consult with the spirits of their ancestors. This year, however, would be vastly different from years past.
I have the honor of working with the First Nations Two Spirit Collective. We are a group of activists who identify as indigenous and are doing work in the queer community to create space for First Nations people.