(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

U'wa people block Occidental Petroleum (Colombia), 1995-2001


The U’wa people have practiced their traditional culture in the Northeast forests of the Colombian Andes since time immemorial. At the end of the 20th century, there were up to 5,000 people in U’wa communities.

Maori resistance to British land seizure at Parihaka, New Zealand, 1879-81


The Taranaki region of present day New Zealand spreads from the central plateau of the North Island to the western coast. The Maori people, indigenous to the region, once inhabited it and the surrounding areas. By 1860, New Zealand had been a colony of Britain for nearly 20 years and land conflicts were common as growing European settlements encroached onto Maori land; British representatives were determined to assert their authority over the whole country.

Nuxalk People obstruct logging of Itsa old-growth forest, 1995-1998


The Nuxalk people live mid-way up the British Columbian coast, in the region around the town Bella Coola. The Nuxalk have long refused to enter into any treaties with Canada or cede any of their ancestral territory to the national or provincial government. As such, they still claim sovereign rights to much land that the government claims belongs to it. One of those areas is King Island. On King Island is a valley called Itsa, which, according to the Nuxalk, is the sacred place of origin of their people.

Indigenous Peoples in Sakhalin, Russia, campaign against oil extraction, 2005-2007


Sakhalin, an island off the eastern Russian coast and home to many indigenous groups, has long been of extreme interest to oil and gas companies. Exxon, Shell, British Petroleum, and their subsidiaries (Sakhalin Energy being a main one) had been extracting oil on and around the island for 8 years. Shell started working on Sakhalin II, the world’s largest integrated oil and gas project, in 1999.

Tahitians campaign to stop French nuclear testing, 1995


France has conducted nuclear tests in its colonies since before the Cold War began. It conducted atmospheric nuclear tests in Algeria up until 1962 when they won their independence. Consequently, France began testing in French Polynesia in 1966 instead, and by 1974, had moved to underground tests. From 1966 to 1992, France conducted 41 atmospheric tests and 138 underground nuclear tests in French Polynesia.

Rapa Nui campaign for immigration regulation, 2009


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, which are a large attraction for tourists in the area. The Rapa Nui people do not mind the tourism that travels through the island - in fact, they benefit from it. They do, however, take issue with the Chilean residents who freely settle in the area.

Bolivians win democratic control of the country's gas reserves, 2003-2005


Bolivia contains significant natural resources, but also has a long history of exploitation by foreign powers. One of these resources is natural gas. Just like the precious metals from Potosí, however, the gas was mostly exported (partially due to low demand within Bolivia) as a raw material, meaning very little wealth stayed in Bolivia, and the wealth that did remain was concentrated in a few, mostly white, hands. In protest of this policy tens of thousands of Bolivian activists, who mostly came from indigenous backgrounds, worked toward the nationalization of the nation’

Iroquois women gain power to veto wars, 1600s


During the 1600’s the Iroquois Indian Nations, a group of several indigenous tribes in North America, engaged in warfare with many other tribes. The men controlled when and against whom they declared a war.

Tribal Iroquois women decided that they wanted to stop unregulated warfare, and thought of a way to convince the Iroquois men to give them more power in deciding issues of war and peace.

The Force Ouvrière labor union strikes for economic justice and education, Wallis and Futuna, 1994


Wallis and Futuna is an overseas department of France situated in the Pacific, 225 miles west of Samoa and 300 miles northeast of Fiji. The islands’ population stands at around 15,000 people. Between February and June of 1994, the Force Ouvrière union on Wallis and Futuna organized strikes for a variety of demands chiefly dealing with the high cost of living and the lack of a public educational option in primary school.

Kurdish parents and schoolchildren boycott Turkish-language schools, 2010


The Kurdish people are the most populous ethnicity without their own nation-state in the world. The governments of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria have repeatedly disenfranchised and murdered Kurds since the end of World War One, when the Kurds were promised, and later denied, self-rule. In Turkey, where Kurds constitute 20% of the population, the ethnic Turk-dominated government long denied the existence of a Kurdish minority and has pursued an assimilationist agenda designed to quash Kurdish culture.

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