(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

Algonquins campaign against uranium mining, Ontario, Canada, 2007-2008


The Frontenac Ventures Development Corporation received from the Ontario government in Canada a permit to begin exploratory drilling for uranium on 30,000 acres of Canadian Crown land in its eastern region of Sharbot Lake. In June 2007, the company began surveying. The company planned to dig trenches, log the forest, and remove core mineral samples.

Basotho people demand compensation for Lesotho Dam construction, 2001-2005.


In 1986, the national governments of South Africa and Lesotho jointly launched the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP). The Project would involve the construction of several large dams, tunnels, bridges, and power lines, in an effort to transport water from Lesotho to South Africa and to produce electricity.

Ecuadorian indigenous workers strike for higher wages in Cayambe, 1930-1931


Rural Ecuador had functioned under the huasipungo land-tenure system since the 16th century. The tenant farmers, called huasipungueros, were mainly of indigenous descent and worked 3 to 6 days a week on hacienda estates in the highlands, owned by absentee elite white families. In exchange for their labor, the laborers received a small plot of land for subsistence, access to pasture land for cattle, and a small cash wage. The indigenous farmers were highly attached to their land although their plots were still owned by the hacienda.

Maoris in New Zealand regain Bastion Point by occupying their land, 1977-1978


In Orakei, Auckland, New Zealand, there is a coastal piece of land that overlooks Waitemata Harbour called Takaparawhau in Māori and Bastion Point in English. Before the colonization of the land by the British Crown, it provided shelter, rich fishing and farming areas for the Ngāti Whātua people, a Māori iwi (tribe).

Indigenous Maoris in New Zealand occupy Pakaitore to claim their sovereignty, 1995


Along the Whanganui River, which flows through the North Island of New Zealand, lies a contested piece of land that indigenous Māori call Pakaitore. The government calls this same land Moutoa Gardens, a public park they created in memorial to those who died in the Battle of Moutoa Island in 1864.

Maori New Zealanders occupy Raglan Golf Course, win back land rights, 1975-1983


During World War I, the New Zealand government seized burial grounds and traditionally valuable land from the Tainui Awhiro people to build an air base and bunker. Ten years after the end of the war, in 1928, the Public Works Act codified the government’s justification for keeping the land.

Sarayaku people successfully defend their land against oil extraction, Ecuador, 1996-2012


On 6 August 1996, Argentinean General Fuel Company, also known as Compañía General de Combustibles (CGC), signed a contract with the Ministry of Energy and Mines in Ecuador without consultation of Kichwa natives of Sarayaku. The contract allowed CGC to exploit and explore 200,000 hectares of Block 23.

Native American and environmentalist groups block nuclear waste site in Ward Valley, California, 1995-2000

Anti-Nuclear Power Movement (1960s-1980s)

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.

Nigerian Ekpan women protest against oil company policies, 1986


At 5 a.m. on Monday, 25 August 1986, a group of 10,000 Ekpan women from the Uvwie clan within Ethiope Local Government Area surrounded the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Petrochemicals Plant, and the Pipelines and Products Marketing Pumpstation. The demonstrating women chanted war songs and displayed banners and posters on which they wrote their grievances, such as, “Give us Social Amenities,” “Review all forms of employment within the Petrochemical,” and “Our sons, daughters and husbands are qualified for key posts within the Petrochemical.”

Waiheke Island, New Zealand residents protest the construction of two buildings on a historic burial site, 2012


On 1 October 2012, residents of Waiheke Island, New Zealand, protested against the installation of two pre-constructed buildings in Wharetana Bay, a historic site over 170 years old that is home to a Maori burial ground. This burial ground makes the bay a site of both archaeological and cultural importance.

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