(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

Mayan pacifist group Las Abejas pressures Chiapas military base to close, 2000, Mexico


Las Abejas is a Christian pacifist group of about 6,000 Tzotzil Maya indigenous people who live in Chiapas. Las Abejas means "The Bees" in Spanish, reportedly indicating the value of collective work and life that shares the honey with those who need it. Forty-five members of the group were killed on 22 December 1997 when caught in a cross-fire between the Mexican army and the rebel Zapatistas, the Acteal Massacre.

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.

Indigenous Colombians nonviolently dismantle military base and capture guerrilla fighters, 2012


The Colombian military and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas have been at war since 1964. Colombian citizens, especially indigenous, are often caught in the crossfire between the two armies. Both the government and FARC have forced children to fight for them.

Guatemalans refuse to serve in civil patrols, 1988-1993


From 1961 to 1996 Guatemalans endured a bloody civil war. During this conflict the military-controlled government fought the leftist guerillas or the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (URNG). These groups fought each other for political control. The extreme violence pushed many indigenous Guatemalans high into the country’s highlands or displaced them as refugees into other countries.

Hawaiians strike against Inter-Island Steam Navigation Company Limited, 1938


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.

Hawaiian longshoremen win 177-day strike in Hawai'i', 1949


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.

Indigenous groups in Peru massively campaign to protect the rainforest, 2008-2009


In April 2006, the United States and Peru signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which they planned to implement on 1 February 2009. The United States required that Peru make certain regulatory changes in law to allow access to the Amazon rainforest before implementing the FTA. In late 2006, President Alan García passed Law 840, known as the “Law of the Jungle,” which undermined the collective property rights of indigenous groups by giving land concessions to foreign investors.

Brazilian women advance conditions for rural workers (Margaridas' march), 2000


In Brazil in 2000, the Margaridas, or Daisies, formed in honor of Margarida Maria Alves, a union leader renowned for surmounting the embedded cultural stereotypes and obstacles for women, especially those working in rural areas. Alves became the president of the Rural Worker’s Union in her town, but was reportedly assassinated in 1983, at the age of 50, because of her advocacy for those working in rural or forested areas. After her death, she became a feminist icon in the fight for equality

New Brunswick Burnt Church First Nation campaign to defend their fishing rights, 1999-2002


The Mi’Kmaq people of New Brunswick have always fished in the Miramichi Bay and River. On 17 September 1999, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the native fishing rights of Donald Marshall, who had been charged with fishing out of season, fishing without a license, and fishing with an illegal net. The "Marshall Decision" agreed on by the Supreme Court stated that its decision would uphold the honour and integrity of the Crown in its dealings with the Mi’Kmaq people to secure their peace and friendship. This decision caused chaos in New Brunswick.

Hawaiians strike against the sugar industry in Hawai'i' (Hawaii), 1946


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.

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