(mainly or initiated by) indigenous participants

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES. The GNAD uses the definition provided by the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues: "Practicing unique traditions, they retain social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live. . . . they are the descendants - according to a common definition - of those who inhabited a country or a geographical region at the time when people of different cultures or ethnic origins arrived. The new arrivals later became dominant through conquest, occupation, settlement or other means." Markers of "indigenous:"
  • Self- identification as indigenous peoples at the individual level and accepted by the community as their member
  • Historical continuity with pre-colonial and/or pre-settler societies
  • Strong link to territories and surrounding natural resources
  • Distinct social, economic or political systems
  • Distinct language, culture and beliefs
  • Form non-dominant groups of society
  • Resolve to maintain and reproduce their ancestral environments and systems as distinctive peoples and communities

Cook Islands churchgoers protest Sunday flights, 2008-2010


For approximately two years, beginning in June 2008 and ending in 2010, churchgoers in the Cook Islands protested airplane flights taking place on Sundays. The protesters viewed Sunday as the day of rest but many local businesses retorted, saying that Sunday flights were crucial for the economy. The protesters’ ultimate goal was to ban all flights from taking off and landing (specifically on the island of Aitutaki) on Sundays.

Solomon Islanders withdraw from colonialism (“Maasina Rule”), 1944-52


As on many Pacific islands, the British colonial rulers of the Solomon Islands set up an economy based on an inter-island trade in indigenous labor. Islanders were often just as happy to avoid the labor trade and continue living in their traditional subsistence economy, so the British instituted coercive methods to encourage people to work on plantations and, during World War II, in military industries. One of these methods was a strict indentured labor system that prohibited laborers from removing themselves from contracts once signed.

Gabon oil workers strike to protest changing labor conditions, 2010-11


Gabon, a nation of 1.5 million people, is the sixth largest oil exporter in Africa. In 2008, the country was producing as many as 250,000 barrels of crude oil a day. Foreign investors included Royal Dutch Shell, Total, Tullow Oil Plc., and Canadian Natural Resources.

Rapa Nui occupy hotel to demand recognition of ancestral rights, 2010


Easter Island (or Rapa Nui) is most commonly known for its moai, monumental stone statues resembling heads. The island has over 800 of these statues; however, in 2010, the subject of land rights also became prominently associated with the island.

Marshall Islanders campaign against nuclear testing sites, 1982


The Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands is home to the Kwajalein Missile Range, which the government leased to the United States beginning in 1978. From the beginning, Marshall Islands natives protested U.S. usage of the range.

Black Rhodesian railroad workers strike for better pay, 1945


Workers in the British colony of Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, bore an increased workload to support the war effort during WWII. As extraction of mineral resources increased, employees of Rhodesia Railways worked upward of 65 hours per week to transport the minerals to ports on the Indian Ocean. While white European railway workers had strong unions representing them, black African employees received inferior treatment and lower pay grades than whites.

East Timorese activists campaign for independence from Indonesia, 1987-2002


East Timor, a portion of the Indonesian archipelago, was colonized by Portugal in the 16th century. It was not until 1975 that Portugal decolonized the area, at which point East Timor declared independence. Shortly after this, however, the Indonesian army, under the orders of Indonesian President Suharto, invaded and annexed East Timor. 60,000 East Timorese were killed or died of starvation during the invasion.

Chippewas stop acid pollution and mining on their reservation in Wisconsin, 1996


The United States government established, by treaty, the Bad River Reservation in Ashland County, Wisconsin, in 1854. The treaty allowed members of the Chippewa tribe to retain their rights to hunt and gather food in this area. In 1995, the Copper Range Mining Company decided to use a technique called solution mining to mine copper. Solution mining by the Copper Range Mining Company and Inmet, another mining company, required that large shipments of sulfuric acid be transported to the mines on railroad tracks that intersected with the reservation. Members of the Chip

Saami and Norwegians protest construction of Alta Dam, Norway, 1979-1981


Located inside the Arctic Circle in northern Norway, the Alta River runs through the reindeer herding grounds of the indigenous Saami people. In 1970, the Norwegian Water Resources and Electricity Board proposed a hydroelectric dam on the river. The proposed dam, which would have completely submerged the Saami village of Masi and interrupted reindeer migration routes, was only the latest affront in a long history of Norway’s marginalization of its indigenous peoples.

Tongan public servants strike for higher wages, 2005


The Kingdom of Tonga is a small island nation in the South Pacific. It is one of the few that did not undergo formal colonization, though became a British-protected state in 1900. Despite this, however, it has retained its own system of government: monarchy. The political structure of the country had barely changed since King Taufa’ahua drafted the constitution in 1875. The cabinet and 2/3 of the parliament are appointed by the king, so the people of the country have very little representation.

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