In August of 2008, Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen was premiering his new documentary, “Leaving Fear Behind”, to a group of journalists in a Beijing hotel when Chinese police interrupted and forcibly shut down the screening.
Navajo and Hopi tribes campaign to remain on Black Mesa lands and protect it from coal mining, United States, 1993-1996
The land on the Big Mountain reservation has been disputed by the U.S. Government and the Navajo and Hopi tribes since 1882. This area in Black Mesa, Arizona, which was extremely rich in sulfur coal deposit, attracted mining companies and the government due to the potential profit. Mining began on the Navajo and Hopi land and started to increase greatly by the 1970s. Congress signed a relocation act in 1974, which would allow one company, Peabody Coal, to mine this area uninhibited. The reservation lands of Black Mesa were then to be used as strip mining sites for private U.S.
Hawaiian workers attempting to organize unions in the 1920s and 1930s faced enormous difficulties. They met stern opposition from an alliance of plantation owners and large companies, including the Inter-Island Steam Navigation Company. Hawaiian workers were also divided into various ethnic groups, which made it easy for the companies to use a policy of divide-and-rule.
By 26 January 1949, negotiations between the International Longshoreman’s Worker Union (ILWU) and the longshoreman employers had reached a standstill. Leaders Jack Hall, Harry Bridges, and Louis Goldblatt negotiated for pay raises for the Hawaii longshoremen. Workers were aware that longshoremen on the west coast of the U.S., who were employed by the same company and loading/unloading the same cargo, were being paid $1.82/hour whereas the Hawaii longshoremen were only being paid $1.40.
The Great Hawai'i' Sugar Strike was launched against the Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association and the “Big Five” companies in 1946. The “Big Five” were made up of a handful of corporate elite companies: Alexander & Baldwin, American Factors, Castle & Cooke, C. Brewer, and Theo. Davies. They exercised complete control over Hawai'i's sugar plantation workers and the majority of the island’s multi-ethnic workforces.
Native American and environmentalist groups block nuclear waste site in Ward Valley, California, 1995-2000
In March of 1988, U.S. Ecology, a national dump operating company, decided upon Ward Valley, California as the most desired location for building a new nuclear waste dump. Because this was federal land in the state, the government of California needed to buy Ward Valley land from the Bureau of Land Management in order to give U.S. Ecology the rights to build the dump. The Valley, however, is located in the Mojave Desert, an area home to an endangered species of desert tortoise considered sacred to a number of Native American tribes.
In the 1950s the Eisenhower administration enacted the Relocation and Termination programs in regard to American Indian federal policy. The first part meant that Native Americans were to relocate from their respective reservations into big cities. In doing this, Native Americans would lose the unity of the immediate communities as they individually integrated as citizens into separate cities. Meanwhile, the reservation lands would be liquidated into the hands of the federal government. The second part, termination, was a broader result of the relocation.
After the occupation of Alcatraz from 1969 to 1971, and subsequent forcible removal of American Indians by the United States government, the movement for civil rights for Native Americans became increasingly determined, firm, and conflictual. The government responded to this shift with exceedingly vigorous and sometimes fatal tactics. By 1979, some researchers and scholars had deemed the period the “continuing Indian Wars”.
Native Americans have long had to fight with the American government for recognition of their rights to land and to resources. Fishing rights were, however, one of the few rights Native Americans of Washington State thought they had secured. In 1853, Native American tribes of the Pacific Northwest were stripped of most of their land and resources and forced onto reservations.