Welcome to What's Happening!
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WALK FOR WILD SALMON BRINGS 7000 PEOPLE TO LEGISLATURE LAWN, VICTORIA, B.C., MAY 2010
Walking For Wild Salmon - A 500 kilometre walk, from all over B.C. and elsewhere to the capitol Victoria, like a massive migration of fish, to parliament buildings ends with approximately 7000 people on legislature lawn. In support of Alexandra Morton's Get Out Migration from Pt. McNeill, people who love wild salmon, packed cars, buses and trucks, set out on foot and some even on horseback for Victoria, arriving on May 8th after two weeks of steady walking....with lots of people waving and honking in support along the way, to show government and industry that wild salmon are a priority for the health and welfare of the west coast and much more. From Clayoquot Sound; Cosy (Quoashinis) and her partner Courtney Caton, daughter Laterra and their 4 year old son Brennan along with Steve (Lawson) and myself, a little family consisting of 3 generations, some walking, some driving in support vehicles with signs saying "CAUTION, WALKERS ON ROAD", were off to Victoria. Others joined us such as Elder Rose Wilson and family from Ucluelet and tourists from all over the world would stop and walk with us.The support along the way, from the people of the west coast, was amazing! Hot food was being dropped off for us all the way to Qualicum. Mostly wild salmon sustained us...hot chowders, salmon sandwiches, smoked salmon, dried salmon, Indian Candy, even Pizzas were dropped off to us. The help and kindness and support along with the food buoyed our spirits, even when aching joints and legs and blistered feet impeded the journey. Cosy was really a trooper, determined to walk every step in spite of everything.After our muscles and sore feet healed a bit, we made our way down island through Nanoose where Chief Wilson Bob and others such as the Nanoose streamkeepers feasted all the walkers on fresh clams, wild salmon, lasagna and more while speeches and drumming dedicated to the sacredness of the wild salmon carried us through the evening. In Nanaimo, we were escorted into the centre of town by the Scottish Pipe Band in full kilt. With a dozen pipers and drummers leading the way and hundreds of others joining us, it was a moving and powerful experience. A brass band then welcomed the walkers to the town square playing "When the Saints Come Marching In". The chief of the Nanaimo First Nations spoke in support as well as others from the community of Nanaimo. As we proceeded down island, crowds grew and joined us. Audiences packed halls to overflowing to hear Alexandra Morton speak at Galiano Island and elsewhere.The City of Cowichan organized a welcoming at the Duncan Aquatic Centre and hundreds of people showed up from the area and Gulf Islands with salmon signs, then marched together to the Duncan town square where Alexandra, Cosy and the young First Nations women walking with them (Molina Dawson 14, of Kingcome Inlet who walked from Pt. McNeill, Terri Lee Manson 13 who walked from Pt. Alberni and Laterra Lawson, 11, from Tofino) were honored with drums, sashes, blankets and crowns. All along the way, First Nations welcomed us and helped us on our way. Tsartlip and others met the walkers and sang prayers for the walk and the wild salmon.In Sydney, we met up with the paddlers coming from Hope down the Fraser River and across the Straights. One was a 13 yr. old boy (he turned 13 on the paddle) named Will Neuman who inspired us with his determination and kindness. These young people really deserve accolades for what they accomplished and their care and concern for the wild salmon and all they are connected to.Another packed auditorium in Sydney's Mary Windspear Centre where over 500 people watched a brief film on the devastating effects of salmon farms around the world and cheered as Alexandra spoke from her heart about the wild salmon. We launched out the next morning at 7:30 from the Salish Sea Aquarium where a beautiful presentation of pictures from the walk adorned the walls and music inspired all who attended. Hundreds of people were there to be led by the horses and wagons from the Clayoquot Wilderness Resort to Centennial Square (28 kilometres away) by 2:00pm. The excitement in downtown Victoria is hard to describe. Centennial Square was packed with thousands of First Nations, most in full regalia from all over British Columbia, drumming and singing. Cars and vehicles were stopping in the middle of the streets and drivers were getting out and leaving them where they stood, abandoning them to join in the march and celebration. The First Nations truck in front of us as well as the car behind us hemmed us in and with no drivers in them, we had no choice but to join in and do the same. (It cost us later to get it but the police had been trying to contact us for quite awhile before towing it out of the way.) We had police escorts all along the route, they were incredibly kind in helping to keep the walkers safe, opening up intersections and taking care of everyone. We were astounded by the crowds that met and joined in along the way. A brass band was carried along on a flat deck truck keeping everyone happy. First Nations drummers led the march the final 2 kilometres to the legislature where there were more crowds waiting. When we got to the parliament building steps and looked back out over a packed lawn, we couldn't see any end to the lines of people still coming down Government St. We estimated, along with others such as Alexandra, around 7,000 people (the Parliament Building grounds hold 20,000 people and were more than 2/3 covered). It was a sea of people, color, signs and banners calling for fish farms out of B.C. waters and supporting B.C.'s wild salmon. The crowd went wild when Alexandra Morton spoke, their cheers and applause didn't stop for a long time. It was heartwarming to see that energy and outpouring of appreciation for someone who has done so much to protect the coast's wild salmon and life. It was Laterra's 12th birthday on May 8th, the day of the rally at the legislature. As we stood amidst the thousands of First Nations and others, we all sang "Happy Birthday" to her. Quoashinis, her mother, spoke to the crowd saying "I know that this planet will be in good hands with young people like these".Molina Dawson, Laterra Lawson and Terri Lee Manson all sang, along with Holly Arntzen and her partner, the song "I Am The Future, We Are The Future". These young women along with all the walkers who made this long journey were so impressive. Watching Cosy limping along in the pouring rain was heartwrenching but her determination and dedication along with all these young women and Alexandra and her crew was truly amazing and I honor them deeply. Laterra wrote a speech for this occasion as she was asked to speak and although she didn't get a chance to say the words she wrote, here is her speech ..."Hi, my name is Laterra. I'm 11 years old. I'm Nuu Chah Nulth from the Tofino area. I have walked from Tofino for the Wild Salmon because they are so important to me and everyone else in B.C. It's my birthday today (12 yrs) and if I could make one wish, it would be to take all the fish farms out of B.C.'s waters now!"
We live on one of the most amazing and beautiful islands in the world, where the gifts of nature are incomparable. Surely this is something to treasure and protect and our wild salmon are a key to this abundance for all.
After much aplomb regarding Indigenous Peoples and the four host First Nations for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, The US and Canada are the only two countries to not sign the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. (Australia and New Zealand are in the process) DRIP as it is known in brief, has been endorsed by over 140 countries world wide, yet these two North American giants still refuse to sign this document. Some mention ha was made recently by the Federal Government to "modify" the declaration and possibly move to have it approved but considering that history is still being made in British Columbia where the Olympics took place and where many First Nations communities still have not signed treaties with the Federal Government, Aboriginal Title still exists and overrides many efforts at a variety of measures to control jurisdiction on traditional land and waters. One must wonder at the concepts that the government states regarding "modified" Aboriginal Title in treaty negotiations as well as a "modified" Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Modified has become another of those cliches being used to indicate adjustments from the natural state, especially in regards tp food that is genetically "modified". Alternations from the natural state in relation to this planet seem to be all too commonplace these days. Respect for Indigenous connections, traditional knowledge and relations to the land and life and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples may help a civilization badly in need of balance and reconnection to the natural world. (commentary by S. Hare, FNEN)
Okanagan Band in B.C. blockades to stop Tolko Logging Company from destroying watersheds in their traditional territories.
Recent Blockades by the Okanagan First Nation to prevent ongoing logging of the forests in their area have stopped Tolko Industries from continuing however, an agreement to come to the table to find common ground is taking place. (more info will be posted shortly)
TURTLE ISLAND DEFENDERS OF THE EARTH (TIDES) met in Vancouver for 4 days at the end of November, 2009
In the second meeting of TIDES in two years, approximately 150 people gathered over a period of four days in Vancouver to share ideas, concerns, issues and to meet other Indigenous people and supporters from across the country and around North America dealing with environmental issues in their traditional territories.
Elders,Hereditary Chiefs, leaders, Band Chiefs and Councillors, Native Youth and Women, Indigenous Groups, plus many others gathered together to share information and food and to help each other in support of protection of life and health in their regions. Representatives from Aboriginal communities in the regions of the Tar Sands in Alberta ,told stories of high cancer rates and intimidation as well as loss of wildlife and waters due to one of the largest industrial polluted sites on the planet. Oil and gas exploration as well as gas pipelines and industrial processing has turned this once beautiful land into a hell on Earth and the Alberta Tar Sands is shaping up into being one of the biggest environmental disasters affecting the water all the way into the Arctic Ocean as well as everyone and everything that lives in its path. This was just one of the many concerns expressed as destructive industrial practices and "development" impact the lives of Aboriginal Peoples who have lived from the land and waters for eons across North America.
TAR SANDS DEMONSTRATIONS IN SCOTLAND
Demonstrations against the participation of the Royal Bank of Scotland for helping to fund the ongoing Tar Sands project in Alberta, Canada, took place in November, 2009. Elders from Canada and members of the Indigenous Environmental Network in the U.S. attended and spoke, causing concern and an examination into the environmental impacts of the bank's investments. This is in preparation for the Global Climate Conference coming up in Copenhagen in December where Canada will be represented by one of the highest carbon footprints in the world due mostly to effects of one of the largest oil and gas developments on the planet. The tar sands project in in Alberta has been found to potentially killing Indigenous People downwind and downstream from the emissions through cancer and other rarely found diseases. It is also a major destroyer of migrating waterfowl where one of the largest man made lakes containing oil residues entices birds to land en route along their migrating flyways. People are hired to scrape dead ducks off the surface regularly. This lake is a result of waters from the Athabasca River being diverted in use for oil and gas production which is growing daily.
For More Information: Contact IEN at email@example.com
Agent Orange in Canada
In the 1960's, US military used 24D (Agent Orange) to defoliate forests during the war in Vietnam. Here in Canada, in the 70's and 80's, 24D was being used as a cheap defoliant in the forests of New Brunswick and across Canada. It was used in concentrations higher than that used in Vietnam where many vets as well as Vietnamese civilians became sick with cancer after its use.
In towns such as Gagetown and Enniskillen in New Brusnwick, where the defoliant was heavily sprayed, many people have died of cancer and many more are living through this and other diseases such as spina bifida. The town of Enniskillen is a ghost town, where people fled due to the spraying and disease. Many abandoning their homes and possessions in an effort to avoid the chemical. More than a million litres were sprayed in New Brusnwick between 1956 and 1984 while the US had banned its use on American soil.
Chris Arsenault has written about it in his honors thesis at Dalhousie University and now in a book called "Blowback, A Canadian History of Agent Orange and the War at Home".
When Agent Orange was falling over forests in New Brunswick, Elizabeth May and others whose homes nearby were being affected by the blowback, got together to file a lawsuit against Dow Chemical, a court case they lost but were effective in the end by helping to get its use curtailed in Canada. The National Film Board of Canada has this film on archive.
In British Columbia, articles were written entitled "killing spring on Vancouver Island" documenting the amount of the defoliant being used throughout the forests and watersheds of the area. Rachel Carson brought media attention to this herbicide and pesticides in her book called "Killing Spring". In some lakes of Vancouver Island, the legacy is almost a total loss of salmon after runoff killed young fish year after year.
Many people link DDT with the polio epidemics of the 40's and 50's and there is a widespread rethinking of the use of pesticides and herbicides in the minds of people everywhere. Unfortunately, the results of many of these chemicals are residual and remain in the soil and plants, weakening the systems although the manufacturers claim that many wash away. We are still dealing with Roundup and other chemicals that haven't been proven to be harmless over decades and many remain to be seen or proven. Unfortunately the onus is on the public rather than the manufacturer to prove harm, a situation that needs to be reversed.
ELDER JOSEPHINE MANDAMIN: WALK FOR THE WATER
Anishinabe Elder Josephine Mandamin has walked 17,000 miles in a dedicated spiritual journey that is concerned about environmental collapse. She is from Manitoulin Island in Georgian Bay where fish and clear water used to be part of her lifestyle. Over the years she has seen the waters poisoned and the life in it disappear. In 2003 she was moved to pick up her copper pail and circle the Great Lakes in an effort to make the message clear that "the water is sick and people really need to fight for that water, speak for that water and love the water."Many others joined her, some from FNEN, as well as throughout the region.
In 2005, 60 scientists studying the Great Lakes predicted irreversible collapse of the ecosystem of the waters if positive change didn't happen soon. Every spring, Josephine and a group of followers have walked the periphery of this enormous body of water. This year they will be walking the St. Lawrence River to the Atlantic Ocean. There is so much poison in this waterway that one quarter of the Beluga whales that live in it have cancer. At every tributary the walkers offer tobacco and prayers of thanks and healing to the water.
Many First Nations territories have been harmed by the pollution and destruction of the waters and land due to big industries and profit making at the expense of all around it. The waters know no boundaries and affect us all, it is the lifeblood of both Mother Earth, humans and all life. Through her caring and prayers, this powerful energy is being carried around the world for all.
To support her, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Turtle Island Defenders of Earth met in Winnipeg, Nov. 12th to 15th 2008 to share issues and build a stong mutual suppport network
A group of more than 80 First Nations individuals, groups and supporters gathered for three days at the Friendship Centre in Winnipeg to share stories, issues and concerns regarding the challenges faced across Canada and on Turtle Island. Some of the issues involved the destruction of traditional land and waters, resource extraction, toxic wastes and community health, impacts on fish and wildlife and much more. The gathering was called in order to become more informed of the issues, to meet and share with others personally and to build a strong mutual support network across the country to help deal with these problems.
It was a powerful group of people, many of the whom have had experience in dealing with trying to protect their land and resources from industrial development. The experiences and knowledge of the group, from Elders to youth, helped to strengthen the committment and dedication many feel in dealing with such issues in remote areas and across such a large land mass.
A new network was formed entitled TIDE, Turtle Island Defenders of Earth. Many people volunteered to help maintain information and support in order to assist in the ongoing effots of those traditional people working to bring about protection and the health and integrity of Mother Earth and All OUr Relations.
Mon Jul 7, 6:04 PM By Michael Oliveira, The Canadian Press TORONTO - There was no reason to "bring down the hammer" on seven aboriginals who were incarcerated and fined after protesting against mining projects in their communities, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled Monday in calling the six-month sentences "too harsh." Six members of the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation served almost 10 weeks in jail, while Ardoch Algonquin First Nation leader Bob Lovelace was jailed 14 weeks for contempt-of-court charges related to blockades in areas north of Kingston, Ont., and Thunder Bay, Ont. In late May, the Ontario Court of Appeal reduced their six-month sentences to time served, and on Monday, it released its reasons for the decision, saying imprisoning the protesters only magnified the "estrangement of aboriginal peoples from the Canadian justice system." The court also dismissed the fines of between $10,000 and $25,000 the protesters faced. Lovelace said he was thrilled by the decision, which he hoped would allay protesters' fears of being jailed when they rally or man blockades for causes they believe in. "I did do three-and-a-half months in jail, and that's three-and-a-half months lost out of my life, but I guess if it brings some clarification to aboriginal rights, that was time well spent," Lovelace said. "I think it's really significant because it says to people who have a legitimate cause that when governments are not willing to meet their obligations or their responsibilities - particularly with First Nations people, but I think with citizens in general - then it's not the court's responsibility to punish you. It's really their responsibility to uphold the rule of law but also to do it in a just and reasonable way." The protesters had been trying to stop mining on their traditional lands and complained the Ontario government had not consulted with the communities before giving the companies the go-ahead to begin drilling. A panel of three judges ruled the aboriginals' right to protest "cannot simply be dismissed as illusory, flawed or weak," and that Superior Court Justice George Smith failed to consider their plight and handed out sentences that were "too harsh." "That the court found it necessary to imprison the (protesters) simply serves to emphasize the gulf between the dominant culture's sense of justice and this First Nation's sense of justice," the decision states. "Imprisonment, far from being a meaningful sanction for the community, had the effect of pitting the community against the justice system." The panel said the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that judges must take into account all available sanctions other than imprisonment and give particular consideration to the circumstances of aboriginal offenders and the "unique systemic or background factors" that may have spurred their offences. "(Smith) focused exclusively on punishment and deterrence, both specific and general," the decision states. "He said nothing about promoting reformation and rehabilitation of leaders of a First Nation community." Lovelace said he was relieved the court waived the fines and also found the protesters were entitled to their costs of the appeal. "My faith in the Canadian justice system is strengthened," he said. Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, which represents 49 Ontario aboriginal communities, said the decision is meaningful for all First Nations and leaders who are fighting to protect their land. "It's a good decision for communities to be able to say no, and they won't be jailed for doing that," he said. But KI First Nation spokesman Sam McKay, who spent 10 weeks in jail, said the news is promising but doesn't guarantee better relations with the government. "They've failed to recognize Supreme Court rulings that they could have taken into consideration before putting us into jail, so will they want to recognize this? That's the question."
__._,_.___First Nations Leaders Imprisoned for Peacefully Protecting Their Territory from Mining
The KI (Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation) are prisoners of conscience
by Rachel Ariss, Legal specialist in the Department of Sociology at
The Globe and Mail
March 20, 2008
As of this week, Chief Donny Morris and five other band council
members of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation sit in jail.
They were sentenced on Monday to six months in prison by Mr. Justice
Patrick Smith of the Ontario Superior Court in Thunder Bay.
So what "crime" did they commit?
KI First Nation leaders signed Treaty 9 in 1929 to protect their
ability to feed themselves in their homeland (600 kilometres
northwest of Thunder Bay) by hunting, fishing and trapping, and to
prevent the encroachment of early miners and loggers. The native
community saw the treaty as a peaceful way to share the land with
newcomers, while remaining connected to the land's sustenance and
But in the winter of 2005-06, Platinex, a mining-exploration company,
tried to drill on land for which it had staked a claim pursuant to
Ontario's mining laws but which land also is subject to Treaty 9. KI
First Nation members protested on the site, preventing the drilling
from proceeding. The company sued for damages and sought an
injunction to prevent further protests.
It was the KI First Nation, however, that received an interim
injunction based on the irreparable harm it would suffer if drilling
went ahead as Platinex had planned. The injunction was granted on
condition that the parties negotiate toward an agreement that would
allow Platinex to drill. Ontario joined as intervenor, talks between
the three parties followed, but no agreement could be reached.
The court lifted the injunction last May and imposed an agreement,
proposed by Platinex and Ontario. KI First Nation members were
ordered to allow Platinex onto their land to drill. When they did not
do this, they were found in contempt of court.
In other words, when the people of the KI First Nation asserted their
treaty rights - to secure sustenance from the land, to live on the
land in accordance with their spiritual beliefs, and to share the
land, as equals, with the newcomers - their leaders were jailed.
Three laws converge in this place.
The first, since time immemorial and the one that is sacred to the
people of KI, is to follow the duty given to them by the Creator to
protect the land for future generations. According to this law, the
people of KI did not have to follow the court order. In all
conscience, they could not allow Platinex to drill.
Exploratory drilling - and its accompanying noise, campsite, drill
pad, machinery, fuel drums, helicopters and trucks - poses an
unacceptable risk of damaging the Big Trout Lake area, a place of
reliable hunting and fishing sites, trap lines, regular berry
harvesting and burials of still-remembered family members.
The second law, Treaty 9, was a covenant made between equals to share
the land, allowing both peoples to live peacefully together.
According to this law (and the Supreme Court has affirmed that
governments must consult with and accommodate first nations before
doing anything that may infringe treaty rights), it is the Ontario
government and Platinex that have to do things differently. Jailing
the KI leadership will not lead Ontario to properly consult with and
accommodate the community's concerns - it may do the opposite.
The third law is Ontario's Mining Act, with its outdated free-entry
staking system. The contradiction between the Mining Act and KI's
treaty rights is key to understanding why the native leaders are in
The act allows anyone to stake a claim anywhere on Crown land and, as
soon as it is filed with the government, it is valid. The act does
not mention that all Crown land in Ontario is governed by treaties
with first nations people. It doesn't even include the minimal first
step of requiring companies or the ministry to communicate with first
nations about exploration. The system makes money for Ontario and,
especially, for mining companies.
Ontario has long resisted fulfilling its treaty promises, perhaps
hoping that impoverished remote communities will not fight for their
rights. Its pattern has been to resist until there is a crisis, until
the damage of broken trust with aboriginal peoples has been
entrenched - Ipperwash and Caledonia are the most recent and most
publicized evidence of this pattern.
Ontario has failed in its duty to consult, accommodate and, more
important, to reconcile with first nations communities across the
province. First nations people and their supporters are tired of this
Many aboriginal and non-aboriginal people in this province want to
find a way forward, out of the poverty, racism and despair facing
many first nations communities, toward living together peacefully and
Some of these folks were at the courthouse in Thunder Bay on Monday.
Others attended the courthouse in Kingston when Bob Lovelace, a
member of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation, was sentenced in
February to six months in jail for opposing mining exploration on his
community's traditional lands. We will not go away.
The KI Six have been in jail since Monday, March 17th, 2008. They are in jail because
they believe they have a spiritual duty to protect the land for
future generations, and they believe that drilling the land is not
protecting it. They are in jail because they believe they have
legally recognizable treaty rights that remain meaningful as long as
they can maintain their homeland in its pristine state.
The KI Six are prisoners of conscience.
Clearly, the dispute between the KI First Nation and Platinex is a
crisis. But a Band-Aid solution from Ontario is not enough. It is
time for all of us, aboriginal and non-aboriginal, to stand up with
the KI community and demand justice, and to continue demanding
justice until we have true reconciliation between aboriginal and
non-aboriginal people in Ontario.
Communications & Outreach Coordinator ofc. (613) 569-3439
MiningWatch Canada cell: (613) 761-2273
250 City Centre Ave., Suite 508 fax: (613) 569-5138
Ottawa, Ontario K1R 6K7 e-mail: email@example.com
Percy Schmeiser Wins over Monsanto but
Herbicide Tolerant “Clearfield Wheat” is now registered in Canada
Sent: Thursday, March 20, 2008 2:25 PMSubject: [gene-allies] Percy and Louise Schmeiser win! A day for celebration! Percy Schmeiser wins over Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Canola seed in Small Claims Court…."Monsanto's out-of-court settlement with Schmeiser ($660.00) is pennies but…..a bigger win is that Monsanto (the owner of the seed)is responsible for the contamination of the GMO in the farmer’s field and crops, the farmer doesn’t have to do the clean-up; s/he can hire it done and the owner of the seed will pay the bill.- the owner of the seed is responsible for the contamination. - the farmer doesn't have to do the clean-up; s/he can hire it done. - the owner of the seed will pay the bill. SIGNIFICANCE OF MONSANTO'S FINANCIAL SETTLEMENT WITH THE SCHMEISERSOVER HERBICIDE-TOLERANT (RoundUp Resistant) CANOLA (And it is very helpful against BASF's wheat.) Many thanks to the genius and persistence of Percy and Louise Schmeiser! Percy and Louise Schmeiser have broken the mafia-like intimidation capability of the chemical-biotech corporation Monsanto. There is now a way around the "we'll take you to court" bullying and manipulation. Monsanto uses the threat of the court system (OUR court system) to break people financially. They have been able to use the courts to silence anyone who gets in its way, in both the U.S. and in Canada. The reason that Percy and Louise Schmeiser were able to persist through to the Supreme Court of Canada when Monsanto took them to court was because of determination, but also because hundreds of people chipped in to help pay the legal costs. Then Percy & Louise took Monsanto to court - small claims court. Monsanto settled out of court, in spite of the fact that Percy & Louise refused to sign a "standard release form" (a gag order). Percy and Louise have tested out a successful new strategy. The irony is that a $660.00 small claims settlement is monumental in its implications.. DETAILS OF THE SCHMEISER ACTION THROUGH SMALL CLAIMS COURT (contract = "standard release form") Legal Precedent 1) The original contamination in 1997 that led to the Supreme Court; 2) a follow-up contamination of Louise's organic garden by GM canola, which the Schmeiser’s took Monsanto to small claims court, but the case was dismissed. Percy had photos, witness testimonials, and spray tests as evidence but the court said that because he did not have genetic testing done, the proof was inconclusive; 3) another contamination event of one of their fields that was originally infested with Monsanto's GM canola. They asked Monsanto to clean up the plants. Monsanto came, tested the plants, determined they were indeed Roundup Ready, and said that they would clean up the contamination only if the Schmeisers signed a contract. The contract gagged the Schmeisers from speaking about the contamination and made it impossible for them to seek damages for any "past, present, or future" harm caused by the GM canola "volunteers". The Schmeiser refused, had the GM canola cleaned up, and sued Monsanto in small claims court for $660 expense and won! http://www.canada.com/saskatoonstarphoenix/news/story.html?id=563c7d70-7435-4671-b364-9808cf025541&k=89275 ===================== CHEMICAL GIANT BASF'S HERBICIDE-TOLERANT WHEAT RE: Schmeiser gets cheque from Monsanto, SP, Wednesday, March 19, 2008 Monsanto and Schmeiser got tied up over herbicide-tolerant canola. Thisspring BASF is advertising its herbicide-tolerant wheat on rural radiostations. (BASF is an international chemical company from Germany withrevenues in the billions of dollars. Like Monsanto it designs plant lifethat will not die when sprayed with its chemicals.) In 2003 thousands of people from across Canada fought down Monsanto'sherbicide-tolerant wheat: food designed by the criterion that it can be sprayed with chemicals and survive. Wheat is a centre-piece of our Canadian food supply. Another reason why Monsanto's herbicide-tolerant wheat was defeated:- Plants that are resistant to chemical applications eventually become super weeds. Super weeds have to be attacked with stronger chemicals. (We know the danger of Nature's evolutionary process through the development of super-bugs that are resistant to existing antibiotics.) In Canada there are more acres sown to wheat than to any other crop. That this crop should become one sown to corporately-owned, herbicide-tolerant seed is not acceptable. The disease and developmental problems associated with existing chemical loads on the environment argue against it, as does the development of resistant plants. The Government (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) licenses crops for theCanadian food supply. The CFIA is paid by us, to serve the public interest."Clearfield wheat", designed through a process called "muta-genesis", servesthe interest of BASF. BASF can learn from the Schmeisers. Monsanto (rival to BASF) came to the Schmeiser's place to address contamination by Monsanto's herbicide-tolerant canola. They tested the plants, determined they were indeed Roundup Ready, and said they would clean up the contamination only if the Schmeisers signed a contract (a "standard release form"). The contract gagged the Schmeisers from speaking about the contamination and made it impossible for them to seek damages for any "past, present, or future" harm caused by the GM canola "volunteers". The Schmeisers refused, had the GM canola cleaned up, and sued Monsanto in small claims court for their $660 expense. They won – Monsanto paid out-of-court. Percy and Louise Schmeiser have removed the manipulative capability of the "standard release form", a vehicle to prevent information from spreading. Monsanto is notorious for using the court system to silence those who get in its way. Legal costs can easily bankrupt a farmer. Schmeiser's victory through small claims court lights a way for others. (4) STRATEGY FOR BASF'S HERBICIDE-TOLERANT "CLEARFIELD" WHEAT CFIA (Cdn Food Inspection Agency, part of Agriculture Canada) Crop varieties have to be registered by the CFIA in order to be grownlegally in Canada.The President of the CFIA is Carole Swan, (613) 221-3737. Prior to the CFIA, you can find Carole by google: http://geo.international.gc.ca/latin-america/peru/whats_new/default-en.aspx?id=1949 "A Canadian delegation headed by Carole Swan, Associate Deputy Minister of Industry Canada and made up of government and private sector representatives participated in the 6th APEC TEL Ministerial Meeting hosted by Peru from May29 to June 3rd, 2005." (ii) http://canadagazette.gc.ca/partII/1999/19990623/html/sor246-e.html The wheat is already registered. "VITERRA" IS THE SELLER OF BASF'S HERBICIDE-TOLERANT (CLEARFIELD) WHEAT. The address and phone number for every one of the places where Clearfield wheat can be bought is listed on BASF's website.
Green Party of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon SK S7N 0L1
*This water walk took place in May 2008
For more information, see contacts below
Women's Water Walk to Protect Our Waters*
Subject: Anishinabe Ikewug Ga Naa Wendamin Nibi 2008
*Anishinabe Ikewug Ga Naa Wendamin Nibi 2008*
Booshoo, Tansi, Greetings!
Our traditional teachings tell us that Anishinabequay was given the great
responsibility of taking care of and protecting the sacred nibi (water)
which is the life blood of our Mother Earth. As we look at our rivers and
lakes we hear the spirit of the water calling out to us urging us to help
her heal so our children seven generations from now will have clean, pure
water to drink.
We have heard her and in response to her pleas Anishinabequay is organizing
a Sacred Water Walk that will take us around our 3 main lakes in
Manitoba over the next three years.
Barb Cameron - firstname.lastname@example.org
Adrienne Atkinson email@example.com (204)427-2384(w) or (204)427-3672(h) or
Department of Native Studies
University of Manitoba
fax: (204) 474-7657
Scientists fear 'tipping point' in Pacific Ocean
From: GuuJaaw, President of the Haida Nation
Sent: Sunday, February 24, 2008 11:39 PM
Subject: Forwarded from seattlepi.com:
Scientists fear 'tipping point' in Pacific Ocean
Scientists have documented that low oxygen levels that killed
sea life in 2006 were the lowest in a half-century -- and that
for the first time, parts of the ocean off our coast were
measured with zero oxygen; 2007 was not much better.
* Read the full article at:
Grassy Narrows Youth Gathering and Pow Wow
June 24th, 25,26, 2008
or phone 807 925-2574
"Global Message: 2008
"Our beautiful world is facing many crises.... It is not a time to pretend everything's good.
"Many of the earth's habitats, animals, plants, insects and even micro-organisms that we know to be rare may not be known at all by future generations. We have the capability and the responsibility to act; we must do so before it is too late.
"Just as we should cultivate gentle and peaceful relations with our fellow human beings, we should also extend that same kind of attitude towards the natural environment. Morally speaking, we should be concerned for our whole environment.
"This, however, is not just a question of morality or ethics, but a question of our own survival. For this generation and for future generations, the environment is very important. If we exploit the environment in extreme ways, we will suffer, as will our future generations. When the environment changes, the climatic condition also changes. When the climate changes dramatically, the economy and many other things change. Our physical health will be greatly affected. Again, conservation is not merely a question of morality, but a question of our own survival.
"Therefore, in order to achieve more effective environmental protection and conservation, internal balance within the human being himself or herself is essential. The negligence of the environment, which has resulted in great harm to the human community, resulted from our ignorance of the very special importance of the environment.
"We must now help people to understand the need for environmental protection. We must teach people to understand the need for environmental protection. We must teach people that conservation directly aids our survival. We are all here on this planet, as it were, as tourists. None of us can live here forever. The longest we might live is a hundred years. So while we are here we should try to have a good heart and to make something positive and useful of our lives. Whether we live just a few years or a whole century, it would be truly regrettable and sad if we were to spend that time aggravating the problems that afflict other people, animals, and the environment. The most important thing is to be a good human being." -His Holiness the Dalai Lama
MiKMag Poet Rita Joe passes:
"If you write in a positive way, or think in a positive way about your culture … it will come back positive. I was brainwashed. 'You're no good,' I was told every day at Shubie [residential school]." ...MiKmag Poet Laureate Rita Joe of Eskasoni 1931-2007 (Her philosophy has been to find the beauty in every place or circumstance and to keep an upbeat attitude about life.)
"You just have to put your effort into it and be positive. Don't try to work on the negative stuff."
A long-time activist who wrote numerous articles about native issues, Joe also served on the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, one of the few non-politicians ever to do so. She was given the Order of Canada in 1990 and also won the Nova Scotia Writers Federation Prize.
Message from Chief Arvol Looking Horse... Feb. 2007
Mitakuye (my relative), I, Chief Arvol Looking Horse, of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota Nation, ask you to understand an Indigenous perspective on what has happened in America; what we call "Turtle Island." My words seek to unite the global Community through a message from our sacred ceremonies to unite spiritually, each in our own ways of beliefs in the Creator. We have been warned from Ancient Prophecies of these times we live in today, but have also been given a very important message about a solution to turn these terrible times around. To understand the depth of this message you must recognize the importance of Sacred Sites and realize the interconnectedness of what is happening today, in reflection of the continued massacres that are occurring on other lands and our own Americas.
I have been learning about these important issues since the age of 12, upon receiving the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle and its teachings. Our people have striven to protect Sacred Sites from the beginning of time. These places have been violated for centuries and have brought us to the predicamentthat we are in at the global level. Look around you. Our Mother Earth is very ill from these violations, and we are on the brink of destroying the possibility of a healthy and nurturing survival for generations to come, our children's children.
Our ancestors have been trying to protect our Sacred Site called the Sacred Black Hills in South Dakota, "Heart of Everything That Is," from continued violations. Our ancestors never saw a satellite view of this site, but now that those pictures are available, we see that it is in the shape of a heart and, when fast-forwarded, it looks like a heart pumping.The Dine have been protecting Big Mountain, calling it the liver, and we are suffering and going to suffer more from the extraction of the coal from there and the poison processes used in doing so.
The Aborigines have warned of the contaminating effects of global warming on the Coral Reefs, which they see as Mother Earth's blood purifier. The Indigenous people of the rainforest relay that the rainforest are the lungs of the planet and need protection. The Gwich'in Nation has had to face oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain, also known to the Gwich'in as "Where life begins!" The coastal plain is the birthplace of many life forms of the Animal Nations. The death of these Animal Nations will destroy Indigenous Nations in this territory. As these destructive developments continue all over the world, we will witness many more extinct Animal, Plant, and Human Nations, because of mankind's misuse of power and their lack of understanding of the "balance of life." The Indigenous people warn that these destructive developments will cause havoc globally. There are many, many more Indigenous awarenesses and knowledge about Mother Earth's Sacred Sites, her Chakras, connections to our spirit that will surely affect our future generations.There needs to be a fast move toward other forms of energy that are safe for all Nations upon Mother Earth.
We need to understand the types of minds that are continuing to destroy the spirit of our whole global community. Unless we do this, the powers of destruction will overwhelm us. Our Ancestors foretold that water would someday be for sale. Back then, this was hard to believe, since the water was so plentiful, so pure, and so full of energy, nutrition, and spirit.Today we have to buy pure water, and even then the nutritional minerals have been taken out; it's just empty liquid.
Someday water will be like gold, too expensive to afford. Not everyone will have the right to drink safe water. We fail to appreciate and honor our Sacred Sites, ripping out the minerals and gifts that lay underneath them as if Mother Earth were simply a resource, instead of the Source of Life itself. Attacking Nations and having to utilize more resources to carry out destruction in the name of peace is not the answer! We need to understand how all these decisions affect the Global Nation; we will not be immune to its repercussions. Allowing continual contamination of our food and land is affecting the way we think. A "disease of the mind" has set in world leaders and many members of our global community, with their belief that a solution of retaliation and destruction of peoples will bring Peace.
In our Prophecies it is told that we are now at the crossroads: Either unite spiritually as a Global Nation, or be faced with chaos, disasters, diseases, and tears from our relatives' eyes. We are the only species that is destroying the Source of Life, meaning Mother Earth, in the name of power, mineral resources, and ownership of land, using chemicals and methods of warfare that are doing irreversible damage, as Mother Earth is becoming tired and cannot sustain any more impacts of war.
I ask you to join me on this endeavor. Our vision is for the peoples of all continents,regardless of their beliefs in the Creator, to come together as one at their Sacred Sites to pray and meditate and commune with one another, thus promoting an energy shift to heal our Mother Earth and achieve a universal consciousness toward attaining Peace. As each day passes, I ask all Nations to begin a global effort, and remember to give thanks for the Sacred Food that has been gifted to us by our Mother Earth, so the nutritional energy of medicine can be guided to heal our minds and spirits. This new millennium will usher in an age of harmony or it will bring the end of life as we know it. Starvation, war, and toxic waste have been the hallmark of the Great Myth of Progress and Development that ruled the last millennium. To us, as caretakers of the heart of Mother Earth, falls the responsibility of turning back the powers of destruction. You yourself are the one who must decide. You alone - and only you - can make this crucial choice, to walk in honor or to dishonor your relatives. On your decision depends the fate of the entire World. Each of us is put here in this time and this place to personally decide the future of humankind. Did you think the Creator would create unnecessary people in a time of such terrible danger? Know that you yourself are essential to this World. Believe that! Understand both the blessing and the burden of that. You yourself are desperately needed to save the soul of this World. Did you think you were put here for something less? In a Sacred Hoop of Life, there is
no beginning and no ending!
Chief Arvol Looking Horse
for more info, check out: http://www.manataka.org/page108.html#12_Oct_2006
Statement in Honor of Harriett Nahanee from FNEN
We honor Elder Harriett Nahanee who crossed over in February, 2007 at age 71, she was a Grandmother of the Earth and her heart was connected to the source of all that is good, we thank her for her great clarity and voice to protect our Mother Earth and All Our Relations for the present and generations to come. For All Our Relations, FNEN
Steering Committee Member and Long Time Environmental Advocate, Allister Marshall of Chapel Island First Nation in Nova Scotia and Director of the Potlotek Fish And Wildlife Organization, has been awarded the Marshall Aboriginal Environmental Leadership Award from the Nova Scotia Environmental Network. He received the award in Halifax on January 22nd which was broadcast live on TV on the "Live on 5" news program that evening. All FNEN Steering Committee members and those that know Alllister, wish him CONGRATULATIONS! for his dedication and hard work on behalf of Mother Earth, the Oceans and all life, including his remarkable sense of humor and good relations with all those with whom he works and has worked with. Thanks Allister! from FNEN
GRASSY NARROWS INFORMATION:
LONGEST BLOCKADE IN CANADA: 3 YEARS
For More Information:
FNEN Coordinator, Steve Lawson gets award from International Fund for Animal Welfare in Ottawa, Nov. 21st, 2006
Steve Lawson was presented an award from IFAW and received it on behalf of FNEN withLynda Kitchikeesic of FNEN and Bill Sluiman of ICE Network (Indigenous Cooperative on Environment) also present at the ceremonies. Steve spoke of the dedicated work of the FNEN's Steering Committee across Canada and of the work that Eastern Representative Gkisedtanamogk did in regards to protecting marine life in the Atlantic Region and bringing First Nations understandings in that area.
IFAW’s Animal Action Awards provide an opportunity to recognize those dedicated individuals who do outstanding work for animals.
Seven distinguished Canadians joined Moira Brown, Simon Jackson and Steven Lawson in receiving Awards for their vital contributions and dedication to animal welfare.
IFAW’s Animal Action Awards were launched in Canada in 2003 and provide an opportunity to recognize those dedicated individuals who do outstanding work for animals.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare administers the award by preparing a roster of public nominations from which an internal nominations committee selects winners. Given the tremendous diversity within the animal welfare field, candidates are considered for a range of accomplishments, from the study and conservation of endangered species and their habitats, to the architecture of innovative animal welfare legislation and policies, to the inspiration of the public to become animal action heroes of their own.
Last year, IFAW was pleased to award The Honourable Stéphane Dion and Red Deer MP Bob Mills for their commitment and dedication to protecting Canada’s Seabirds through their leadership in passing Bill C-15, Constable Pierre Schelling for his unique dog-bite prevention program, and Vicki Gabereau for her on-going commitment to companion animals and elevating their status by making them an integral part of her day-time talk show programming. Previous IFAW Animal Action Award recipients have included outstanding Canadians such as York North MP Karen Kraft-Sloan for her work on the Species at Risk Act, Rene Chartrand for taking care of the feral cats on Parliament Hill, Mackie Green for his groundbreaking work rescuing endangered whales in the Bay of Fundy and Katie and Emma Harvey, two girls who helped rescue over 100 Alberta horses. In 2004 IFAW recognized Dr. Jane Goodall with a Life Time Achievment Award, for her life’s work and dedication to primates and numerous animal welfare issues.
IFAW Lifetime Achievement Award
Established in 2002, the IFAW Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes those exceptional individuals whose passion and dedication to animals have shaped and furthered animal welfare itself. The award serves to heighten public awareness of the need for animal welfare and conservation standards that advance the well-being of animals and people.
Founded in 1969, IFAW is an international animal welfare and conservation organization that works to protect wild and domestic animals and to broker solutions that benefit both animals and people. With offices in 15 countries around the world, IFAW works to protect whales, elephants, great apes, big cats, dogs and cats, seals, and other animals. To learn more about IFAW and our Animal Action Week program, please visit .
B.C.'s Fish Farm Aquaculture Review, 2006:
FNEN's Steve Lawson's Presentation: Breaking the Sacred Hoop
"We don't see that there is a future at all in fish farming. It's not sustainable. It won't be sustainable. Given that there are diseases, antibiotics and a large number of different creatures that fall prey to the fish farming…. There are many things that I've seen. I've seen the salmon that have died, and the oils float up to the surface and are carried all along the shorelines for miles, right into the river mouths. I suspect that those salmon died for a reason. They died by way of disease or something that's not healthy for them or the environment. That, I believe, will not only be the key to the downfall of the salmon that are in those pens but a great danger to the salmon that are in the wild rivers.
We have, I believe, six rivers left on Vancouver Island that are unlogged, unimpacted. Some of them have been impacted by mining that took place in the early part of the century, and those effects are still coming down through the leachates from cyanides and crushed, blasted rock that were part of the mining processes. Many of those rivers have just maintained at a very small level. To put salmon farms, probably the most concentrated salmon farming area on the west coast of North America, into an area where the last five wild rivers remain is not a sane precautionary approach. I don't see that it makes science or good common sense in any way.
We view fish farming as a grand experiment, and we see it as going horribly wrong. It started over 20 years ago in this area. It wasn't seen as such a bad thing. But it's documented that there are Atlantic salmon in every stream and every river on Vancouver Island, and in many of those rivers they are reproducing.
What we advocate is that we put our energies as a society into enhancing the rivers that exist now and bringing them back. While the Department of Fisheries has allowed the cod fishery on the east coast to crash and is allowing the salmon to crash on the west coast, we need to put that energy into enhancing the rivers and bringing them back and taking care of them the way that people here did years ago.
We're existing now on probably 3 percent of what once was. We need to bring that back, because without that brood stock and without the gene pool that's there, even the salmon farms can't exist. And we are dealing with climate change, whether it's man-made or part of a natural cycle or both. We need to enhance those stocks of fish so that they can jump those hurdles and get by these times of climate change and do whatever they need to do to mutate to survive, to evolve, as we all are doing.
I want to speak about something that you may not have heard. It's certainly not on a general formal topic, but it is that the forces of nature are conscious. There are forces of nature, and we are coming to a time in human endeavours and human history where we will have to answer for what we do. Our consciousness as humans is adapting, and it's coming closer to these elemental energies. They do exist. I personally have had experiences with them. They're probably the most profound experiences of my life. There are many people in the first nations communities and non–first nations communities who have experienced these things. There are precautions that need to be taken.
I don't expect that there will be notes taken. I don't expect that a lot will come out of this topic of conversation. But sometimes, late in the middle of the night when you're thinking about your future and the future of your family and humans and where we are now, I ask you to remember these things because they are real. They have consciousness, and they are not in approval of what we are doing as humans in altering the nature of one of the wonders of the world — the salmon that could not only feed people but feed every creature in this entire area including the trees, which affects the climate across the country.
These energies are here. They are available, they are conscious, and they are paying attention. Our time will be limited if we don't make the right decisions. Humans are capable of great wisdom. We're also capable of backsliding and doing things for reasons that are not of the highest nature, whether they be out of fear or greed or simply status quo.
That's my presentation, and I thank you once again for the opportunity. I hope we don't stop talking about this. I hope one day we'll be talking about what we can do to bring back the wild salmon, to provide all of us with an economy and to look after, to accept the challenge of caring for the land and everything that's in it — a very old one that we need to remember. A lot of people need to remember it. It's not just about the jobs."
....Steve Lawson of FNEN
Question: S. Simpson: Just one question. Thank you for the presentation. As you appreciate and as everybody in this room will appreciate, this is an issue that there's a lot of passion about, whatever side of it you happen to fall on — and a lot of concern. Do you have any suggestions? How do we have the dialogue? If there's one thing that I realize, it's that the challenge is how we have that discussion among people who have quite different views on this issue, to try to find a resolve. Do you have any thoughts about that?
S. Lawson: No. It's difficult. It's one that we're all facing as humans. Essentially, my perspective and what I've learned and then taught is that there are two forces that we're dealing with in human nature. There's fear, and there's love. If you were to break this down — the confrontation or the conflict or the two opposing sides — that's what it boils down to, in my mind.
If you can think of it in those terms…. Is it love? Is it love for each other and the land and every living creature? Is that where we're putting our energies to further? Or is it fear? Is it fear for our bank account or our job or the unknown or something out of the past? And do we have the courage to take the risk? It's an odd answer. I don't know whether it's the answer you were thinking of.
S. Simpson: I didn't know what answer I was thinking of, so thank you.
Tuktoyaktuk, NWT Conference: The Changing Arctic
Scientists, northerners talk at Tuk about adapting to the changing Arctic
Bob Weber, Canadian Press
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
TUKTOYAKTUK, N.W.T. (CP) - Vancouver-based ecologist Greg Henry studies the changes man and nature are wreaking on the North. Ron Gruben, who grew up on the Beaufort coastline, lives them.
But both have the same hope for a unique conference that opened Tuesday bringing together scientists, bureaucrats and aboriginals to look at ways to adapt to the changing Arctic coast.
"I hope that western science and traditional knowledge can come together to preserve the environment," said Gruben. "Once you scar the land, it never heals."
About 275 delegates from across the North - including scientists from nine federal departments and three territories, native hunters and trappers and aboriginal representatives - are meeting this week in an exploration camp built during the 1970s energy exploration boom to attempt just that.
Conference sponsor Coastal Zone Canada Association has held similar gatherings focusing on every coastline in the country. As climate change and oil and gas drilling bear down on the fragile northern ocean and tundra, it's high time the Arctic got similar treatment, said conference organizer Jack Mathias.
"This is the first (conference) to take a broad look at the coastal zone," said Mathias, a senior planner with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
"This will be the first time that we look across all these sectors in the presence of the people mostly affected."
Those effects are real.
"Energy development is just starting up," said Gruben. "You see a lot of seismic lines out there."
You also see a lot of landslides, where permafrost has melted beneath the hills, and animals straying from their normal ranges due to subtle disruptions they already detect.
Henry dissects the changing North from a scientist's perspective. He's helped run a 12-year experiment attempting to find out what happens when tundra warms up. The increasing number of shrubs now growing in his greenhouses corresponds almost exactly with what's actually happening on the land.
"It's definitely due to warming and it's happening already," he said.
"In every case, every report shows increased cover of shrubs. It really has increased quite dramatically."
Other scientists will discuss how Atlantic cod could be headed north on an "oceanic heat wave" drifting in from Russia or how more shipping through increasingly ice-free northern waters will affect Arctic communities.
The problems of drilling for oil and gas in Arctic waters that are routinely scoured by ice are also on the agenda, as are potential threats to navigation caused by submerged artificial islands built and sunk during the 1970s exploration boom.
Others will explain how the coastline itself is being recarved as climate change defrosts the frozen gravel that comprises Canada's northern land.
By the end of the century, the number of severe open-water storms that wash away the bluffs and beaches is expected to increase by 60 per cent. Floods that now come only every 25 years are expected to arrive annually.
Mathias points out that few Arctic land claims even discuss issues such as development of deep-sea ports and other transportation issues, or assign responsibility for regulating undersea mining or shipping.
"We're just playing catch-up here."
The conference is expected to end Friday with a declaration outlining policy directions for the various governments involved.
"What we're trying to do here is link science with management with government policy," Mathias said.
"It's beginning to sink in that the changes here are going to be much quicker and more dramatic than we thought."
Logging in Clayoquot Sound, B.C. upped to 60% of remaining pristine forests
Surprise decision by the Clayoquot Sound Central Region Board to open up to timber extraction 60% of the remaining ancient forests in the area has stunned many residents as well as people across the country and around the world.
FNEN issued the following press release as a response to this decision:
Steve Lawson, a resident of Clayoquot Sound and Coordinator of FNEN, (First Nations Environmental Network)a National Organization that had been previously involved in the early efforts to stop the logging of old growth forests in Clayoquot Sound, has said that "In the hard face of climate change challenges, no further logging of old growth forests in Clayoquot nor on Canada's west coast should be taking place." So much has already been logged in the area and on the west coast, this last remaining ancient forest is important for buffering the dramatic changes taking place. The Steering Committee of FNEN across the country agrees.
Deforestation is a global crime against humanity and all life at this juncture in time considering the shifts and weather patterns that are taking place. With fires, drought and extreme changes happening, the idea of logging of old growth coastal forests, especially in areas where change was hard fought for, is a backward step for all," explained Lawson. Not many will profit and all will lose in the long run.
Those who mounted the campaign to stop the logging of old growth in Clayoquot Sound 20 years ago, cannot understand why anyone would decide to log this vital area now. In 2000, Clayoquot Sound was designated a Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations' Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in recognition of its global, cultural, and ecological importance and uniqueness.
The campaign to save Clayoquot Sound made it a household name across Canada and internationally and many have traveled to see the area for themselves. If the area is opened up for logging the tourism industry will be lost. This spectacular wilderness attracts approximately one million visitors per year.
The First Nations Environmental Network hears from communities across the country. They have noticed a disturbing pattern. Wherever First Nations opposed the extraction of the resources in their territory, they are oppressed and harassed such as at Grassy Narrows in Ontario where they have been fighting Abitibi for years, or Blueberry River against mining. When First Nations negotiators or councils approved resource extraction in their territories, they were applauded and given recognition, money and promises of future prosperity.
As the country suffers from a record heat wave, the FNEN reminds people to look at climate change and the cause. Forests buffer the increasing harmful effects of the thinning ozone layer and absorb the buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere. They give off necessary oxygen; absorb light as well as C02 and their extensive root systems maintain moisture like nothing mankind could ever create. These are just some of the real value of these forests.
Other species such as wild salmon, birds, salamanders and bears, to mention just a few that depend upon these forests are in a struggle for survival due to the loss of habitat. The battle for the forest on Vancouver Island wasn't to continue cutting it nicely but to stop the logging. Over 50% of the valleys had been logged and over 75% of the old growth forests of Vancouver Island have already been removed and heavy clear cutting is taking place now around Nootka Island and into the wilderness areas around Kyuquot. The corporations have taken the best and what is left is necessary to help restore the degraded slopes, maintain what is left of the salmon and fish habitat and to ensure a buffer zone of protection for all the life these forests nurture.
"We are facing a crisis on this planet and we need to collectively make a leap of consciousness to a new and responsible approach about where we are headed. Either we destroy little by little what is left or we muster the courage to say “NO” to this destruction and turn this around before it is too late." Lawson concluded.
For more information:
Steve Lawson, Phone: 250 726-5265
Climate Change Is the Major Challenge Facing the World
By David Attenborough
The Independent UK
I was skeptical about climate change. I was cautious about crying wolf. I am always cautious about crying wolf. I think conservationists have to be careful in saying things are catastrophic when, in fact, they are less than catastrophic.
I have seen my job at the BBC as a presenter to produce programmes about natural history, just as the Natural History Museum would be interested in showing a range of birds of paradise - that's the sort of thing I've been doing. And in almost every big series I've made, the most recent one being Planet Earth, I've ended up by talking about the future, and possible dangers. But, with climate change, I was skeptical. That is true.
Also, I'm not a chemist or a climatologist or a meteorologist; it isn't for me to suddenly stand up and say I have decided the climate is changing. That's not my expertise. The television gives you an unfair and unjustified prominence but just because your face is on the telly doesn't mean you're an expert on meteorology.
But I'm no longer skeptical. Now I do not have any doubt at all. I think climate change is the major challenge facing the world. I have waited until the proof was conclusive that it was humanity changing the climate. The thing that really convinced me was the graphs connecting the increase of carbon dioxide in the environment and the rise in temperature, with the growth of human population and industrialisation. The coincidence of the curves made it perfectly clear we have left the period of natural climatic oscillation behind and have begun on a steep curve, in terms of temperature rise, beyond anything in terms of increases that we have seen over many thousands of years.
People say, everything will be all right in the end. But it's not the case. We may be facing major disasters on a global scale.
I have seen the ice melting. I have been to parts of Patagonia and heard people say: "That's where the glacier was 10 years ago - and that's where it is today." The most dramatic evidence I have seen was New Orleans, after Hurricane Katrina. Was that climate-change induced, out of the ordinary? Certainly so. Everyone who does any cooking knows that if you want to increase a chemical reaction, you put it on the stove and heat it up. If you increase the temperature of the oceans, above which there are swirling currents of air, you will increase the energy in the air currents. It's not a mystery.
So it's true to say these programmes about climate change are different, in that previously I have made programmes about natural history, and now you could say I have an engaged stance. The first is about the fact that there is climate change and that it is human-induced. I'm well aware that people say it's all a fuss about nothing, and even if it is getting warmer, it's nothing to do with us. So I'm glad that the BBC wanted some clear statement of the evidence as to why these two things are the case.
The second programme says, these are some of the changes that are now almost inevitable, these are the sorts of things that the nations of the world have to do, to forestall the worst. Will they do it? Who knows? And many people feel helpless.
Yet the fact of the matter is, I was brought up as boy during the war and, during the war, we actually regarded it as immoral, wrong, to leave food on your plate, you needed to eat what was on your plate because we didn't have enough. I feel in the same way that it is wrong to waste energy now, and if that sort of sea change in moral attitude were to spread amongst the world's population, it would make a difference.
During the past 50 years, I have been lucky enough to spend my time travelling around the world looking at its wonders and its splendours. I have seen many changes, some good many bad.
But it's only in the past decade that I have come to think about the question of whether or not what I, or anybody else, has been doing, could have contributed to the change in the climate of the planet that is undoubtedly taking place. When I was a boy in the 1930s, the carbon dioxide level was still below 300 parts per million. This year, it reached 382, the highest figure for hundreds of thousands of years.
I'm 80 now. It's not that I think, like any old man, that change is wrong. I recognise that the world has always changed. I know that. But the point is, it's changing more extremely and swiftly than at any time in the past several million years. And one of the things I don't want to do is to look at my grandchildren and hear them say: "Grandfather, you knew it was happening - and you did nothing."
As told to Michael McCarthy.
PLANTATIONS, GM TREES AND INDIGENOUS RIGHTS
by Anne Petermann and Orin
The damaging effects of monoculture tree plantations are being resisted
around the world. Timber plantations have occupied large tracts of
indigenous and agricultural land and have been responsible for the loss of
biodiversity and the pollution and depletion of water and soils. Such
plantations are owned by large corporations with little concern for the
surrounding communities or environment. Now, the addition of genetically
modified (GM) tree plantations can only make the situation worse. This
article argues that the development of GM trees needs to be stopped now.
Major Oil Pipeline proposals from Edmonton to B.C.'s Coast
go to: www.enbridge.com/gateway
A proposal by Enbridge Energy to put in place two pipelines from Edmonton to Prince Rupert in B.C. has been doing public reviews across Western Canada. A meeting with NGO's in November in Vancouver was attended by a demonstration outside by Western Canada Wilderness Committee and others against the proposal. Many NGO's refused to attend being wary of their names being used as part of the participation process toward this oil and gas development. As well, a nuclear plant, hydro-electric dams and major road development are being proposed for Saskatchewan in order to further oil and gas development in the tar sands there. Enbridge's plans for two pipelines will go through areas like Burns Lake, Bear Lake, Whitecourt and Edmonton. The second pipeline is to bring solvents into the country for extracting the oil from the soils.
China and the US's need for oil and gas is pushing Canadians into environmentally unfriendly negotiations regarding energy solutions. Canadians need to watch this carefully and stay abreast of these developments.
As the B.C. Government looks into lifting the existing moratorium on oil and gas exploration, the public needs to press for alternative energy solutions and prevent the lifting of the moratorium. With the West Coast's vulnerability to earthquakes and coastal tremors as well as major storms and high risks of sea-going vessels carrying solvents like benzene and oil and gas, it isn't a matter of "if" there is a disastrous spill, it is only a matter of "when". Canada's North and Coasts need to be protected. We need to decrease demand for oil and gas in order to prevent climate change and ensure a healthy future for all.
Alaska spill raises concerns about Mackenzie pipeline... Last updated Mar 14 2006 08:04 AM MST
A tiny hole in an Alaska oil pipeline is causing growing concern for people who may have to live with the Mackenzie Valley pipeline.
The six-millimetre hole in the trans-Alaska pipeline has spilled a million litres of crude oil, causing the worst spill ever in Prudhoe Bay, in the state's North Slope region.
The hole was apparently caused by corrosion inside the pipe.
That has some people in the Beaufort Delta wondering if the same thing could happen in their backyard.
"Well, it makes you wonder how safe is the pipeline," says Ron Gruben, chair of the Inuvik Hunters and Trappers Committee. "They say it's caused by corroded pipe and they say they're supposed to live 100 years or so. Well, how long is the life of a pipeline?"
The Alaskan oil has spread over at least eight square kilometres of snow-covered tundra.
The panel reviewing environmental concerns around a Mackenzie Valley pipeline resumes its hearings in Inuvik Tuesday.
Coastal First Nations - Turning Point Initiative
401- 409 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC V6C 1T2
AN OPEN LETTER FROM AN ALASKAN FISHERMAN
To Whom It May Concern:
Alaskan plaintiffs have waited 17 years for compensation from the Exxon Oil Spill and are still waiting. Please protect yourselves from the oil companies. Please try to learn from Exxon lies, make a contingency plan in case of any major disaster, make Exxon put into a trust fund for future damages they may cause, protect yourselves. Make sure what they say is down in writing and do not accept their lies like Exxon told us. 3000 plaintiffs have already died waiting for the closure to our lawsuit and 17 years later as we speak another Elder dies waiting. Download this program from The Sierra Club Chronicles and watch this 30 minute video, no major networks will show it...."The Day The Water Died", go to www.sierraclub.org/tv/episode-exxon_mpeg.asp. Please pass this on to other tribes, still 17 years later, Elders are waiting for a closure to our lawsuit.
Exxon oil spill clean up was paid back by Lloyds of London 2 billion dollars plus another 50 million from another insurance company so they are not out any money for the cleanup. So please again, load this program "The Day the Water Died" and pass it on.
Lloyd Montgomery Ph: 907 232-3468
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Wolf Sterilization Plan for B.C. Wolf populations A government plan to give vasectomies to male wolves in British Columbia is being studied by the Ministry of Lands and Wildlife. Scientists are studying the plan at present. This will completely upset the family core of the packs remaining in the already impacted wilderness areas. It furthers the profitability of the hunting lobbyists wanting wolf culls which are unpopular with the public. "We can reverse these vasectomies if necessary" said one biologist visiting in Clayoquot Sound from the government recently. For more information, contact B.C. Ministry of Wildlife >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Exploratory drilling is being removed from the Environmental Restrictions CEAA Comprehensive Study List.
Appearing to cave to pressure by industry, and against the recommendations of environmental, legal and fishing interests, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has recommended to the Minister of Environment the removal of exploratory drilling from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) Comprehensive Study List. If this proposal is passed, all exploratory drilling will only require a screening level of environmental assessment.
The recommendation to remove exploratory drilling from the comprehensive study list is not supported by science. A recent scientific review on exploratory drilling found significant gaps in our understanding of the impacts of exploratory drilling. The study concluded that we know very little about the cumulative impacts of exploratory drilling and that the known impacts are dependent on the timing and location of the drilling.
Given the potential for harm, and the gaps that remain in our scientific understanding, is there a defensible reason for removing exploratory drilling from a Comprehensive Study List? The answer is obviously “no”. The proposed change, will make it that much easier for the offshore oil and gas industry to drill for oil on Canada’s west coast.
One exploratory well can impact an area as far as one kilometre from the well site. On the East coast of Canada, over 400 wells have been drilled which translates to approximately 400 kilometres of seabed impacted from exploratory drilling alone. Don’t let this happen on the west coast!
The best protection for the coast of BC is to maintain the moratorium on offshore oil and gas.
Let the government know they must strengthen environmental assessment and put an end to this continual erosion of regulations. Let them know that the moratorium on offshore oil and gas on Canada’s west coast must be maintained – this is one more reason why.
B.C. Native operator wants bear hunt stopped....
Former-hunting guide surrounds ex-employer's yacht to prevent killing of wildlife
A former hunting guide commanded a self-styled armada of little ships to B.C.'s mid-coast Monday to prevent bears being killed there. And he says he'll keep doing it until he knows the bears are safe.
Tom Sewid, the first nations owner-operator of a Vancouver Island eco-tourism business called Aboriginal Adventures with Village Island Tours, led a flotilla of seven vessels to Port Neville and Jackson Bay, an area northeast of Telegraph Cove on the B.C. mainland, where they surrounded an 18-metre yacht belonging to Peter Klaui, a Galiano guide-outfitter and Sewid's former boss.
Klaui wasn't on board, says Sewid, but an employee was. So the ships surrounded the yacht and presented the employee with a message that read: "We don't want any more grizzlies shot in this region. We don't want any more black bears or wildlife shot from the beaches."
Through the late 1990s, Sewid worked for Klaui as a hunting guide, meaning he would look for trophy bears for paying clients to kill. Normally, says Sewid, he would ferry the clients on small boats along the coast at low tide. Bears would appear to fish and when they did, the clients would shoot them.
The problem, he and other eco-tourism operators say, is that so many bears -- black and grizzly -- have been killed by hunters there aren't enough left for eco-tourists to view.
"We're worried about bears, wolves and cougars," Sewid said. "If this industrial slaughter continues at the present rate, we won't have any animals left to view."
Thus he vows to keep dogging Klaui's boats throughout the hunting season to make sure no more bears are killed.
"Any time I see Peter Klaui out in the territory, I plan to exercise my federal right to engage in food, social, ceremonial or harvest. I just have to state that it's my intention to exercise that right and he has to give way.
"And I'm going to keep on doing it from now till hell freezes over."
Phone messages left for Klaui at his company, North Coast Adventures, were not returned.
According to a study done by the Raincoast Conservation Society and the Centre for Integral Economics in 2003, guide-outfitting generates $3.3 million in annual revenue versus $6.1 million generated by eco-tourism.
In view of that, Sewid wants the provincial government to ban all bear hunting along the B.C. coast south of Queen Charlotte Sound. He also wants the government to re-introduce a short-lived moratorium on grizzly hunting imposed by the former NDP government in 2001.
Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell's government lifted the moratorium when it came to power. In the current election only the Green party has promised to re-introduce the moratorium. NDP leader Carole James has said only that she would study the issue.
Tsawataineuk First Nation Put Fish Farms on Notice
This town on a bend in the Mackenzie River has a general store and little else besides endless forests and distant blue mountains. Not an oil derrick is to be seen. But its angry Native tribe is standing in the way of what could be the biggest energy boom in North America's history.
June 4, 2005
Notice to Fish Farm Industry in the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Territory.
It is apparent that the fish farm industry in this Province is controversial, and it is also apparent that 80% people poled did not want open net fish farms even prior to recent findings yet another toxin, malachite green in farmed Chinook salmon produced by Stolt Sea Farm in B.C. Why then does the Province and DFO continue to put marine wild stocks, consumers and our environment at risk? I’m sure 80% of the general public have a similar answer.
What is the difference of the numerous recorded threats and violations past and present, of millions of farmed salmon in comparison to the threat of one mad cow? What will happen if action is not taken immediately for our marine wild stocks, our communities, and way of life for generations to come? Will we change the Campbell River logo to “Farmed Salmon Capital of the World”, and also call our Capital city’s junior hockey team, the “Victoria Farmed Salmon Kings”?
There is no controversy amongst our Musgamagw Nations on this issue as we all have the same mandate against open net fish farms in our territories.
Our mandate has always been firm and not limited to actions necessary to protect our way of life. The intent of this advisory is not to bore you with debate or rationalize our position, but to inform the Province, industry and public that enough is enough, and it’s time for us to do what is right for the future of our environment and communities that live here.
We have served eviction notices to the two companies in our traditional territories, Stolt Sea Farm Inc. and also Heritage Salmon Ltd.
The notice to leave has passed as of December 31, 2004.
Since January 1, 2005, Namgis, Chief Bill Crammer, Kwicksuitaineuk Hereditary Chief, Henry Scow and I have been discussing our mandate and enforcement of our eviction notices to the fish farm industries in our territory.
At a gathering of over 170 Chiefs in British Columbia on March 17, 2005 we asked all the Chiefs to stand if they will support the mandate within our territory and for support of our eviction enforcement measures. We asked them to stand and they all stood. This was one of many forums we asked for the same support and have received unanimous support.
On May 20, 2005, just three days after the provincial election, Premier Gordon Campbell paid a visit to a Joint Assembly in Musqueem (follow up mtg. from March 17, 2005) in which a document called “A New Relationship” was ratified by all the Chiefs in assembly, which represent the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, the First Nations Summit and the BC Assembly of First Nations. This document is also endorsed by the Premier, who designated senior staff from his office to establish the new government to government relationship with First Nations document.
The document sets out a vision statement, goals of the parties, principles of a new relationship, and some action plans.
In the document; “Goals and the Strategic vision of the Province for British Columbia is:
To lead the world in sustainable environmental management, with the best air and water quality, and the best fisheries management, bar none;
We were told that Premier Campbell specified this in the document. Another section of the document that the parties agreed to in the same section, reads:
To ensure that lands and resources are managed in accordance with First Nations laws, knowledge and values and that resource development is carried out in a sustainable manner including the primary responsibility of preserving healthy lands, resources and ecosystems for present and future generations;
After the March 17, and prior to the May 17, 2005 Provincial election a lot of the Chiefs were sceptical that this was a pre-election posturing process designed to keep issues (Indians)quiet.
At the May 20 meeting Premier Campbell respectfully showed up, and spoke of the New Relationship document and our endeavours. After speaking he actually left with an applause and his scalp, which would not have happened four years ago.
Considering the current provincial unity of our nations and the joint ratification of the New Relationship document there is still a lot of “business as usual”, which again begs the question; when is enough, and what will be done if the status quo continues?
On June 9, 10 our Nations members will be meeting with our Hereditary and elected leaders. The issue of our mandate and enforcement of the notice will be calculated and strategies developed.
We will ask the Premier to discuss the importance of this matter with respect to our New Relationship as we believe there are solutions which protect the way of life and the honour of our mutual responsibilities, or we could stay the course which would conflict with his “golden decade” and even the 2010 Olympics.
In summery, we have a responsibility that has been mandated and widely supported, now decisions and actions must happen.
Tsawataineuk First Nation Chairman
Co-chair, Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council
(250) 974-3013, Cell 974-4224
*If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this message, please retain this credit.
UBCIC's Protecting Knowledge Conference site: http://www.ubcic.bc.ca/protect.htm
WE ARE ALL CHILDREN OF A COMMON MOTHER ~
Help the Indigenous People's of Kamchatka!
CHILDREN OF ONE EARTH....by Zhanna Dolgan, Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia
“…We are all branches of one tree,
Flowers of one garden, children of one Earth.”
April 9, 2005
For photos of the Koryaki Dancers of Kamchatka check the the photo page of this web site)
“You look like sisters…” As I was once told from people from afar, meaning that a Canadian aboriginal girl and a girl from Kamchatka looked so similar in their appearances. I would like to add, spiritually, too. Who can object that native people everywhere seem to be calm on the outside but have something special in their inner world? This “inner” something is so relative to each native soul.
They say indigenous people are the salt of the Earth. That is true; without their songs and dances, tales and stories, life in this world would be so boring. Would it not?
I write to you today from my homeland – Kamchatka – in need or your friendship and guidance. My people are struggling with environmental degradation and an underdeveloped legislative base that offers little support and recognition to indigenous peoples.
Our beautiful volcanic land is a fish-shaped peninsula, and if you look at a map you will find a land that is situated north of Japan and west of Alaska. So, it is Russia, the Russian Far East.
Once I was in Canada and spent some hours, without break, talking with a Cree man. We found so many similarities in our cultures and traditions. It is a wonder that people who live in different countries and thousands kilometres from each other can be so close in various ways. I felt at home in their wigwam, which had the same positions for men and women inside as we have in our ‘yaranga.’
I told my Cree brother about my people whose name is Koryak, though in our own language it is Nymylany (cost people) and Chauchuveny (tundra people). Like Canadian aboriginal people we have kin tribes – Itelmen people who live in the southern part of our land and Evens who inhabit two other parts of the Kamchatka peninsula.
Our land’s name, Kamchatka, has its origin in the name of the great Koryak person who struggled against white conquerors (Kchonchat). However, our land was taken in 1718, though there was an attempt to stop it in 1731. And from this time the epoch of distractions began: most people were forced into Christianity and assimilated (mostly in the southern regions of Kamchatka with Kozack people).
During this time many people escaped to tundra and remained true to our ways. Then another period came - the Soviet period. This power destroyed the life of our people. We are still feeling the impact of that period; boarding schools killed one of the most valuable aspects of our culture: our family traditions. Children were separated from their parents and their lifestyle was broken, in the same way that has happened to Canadian aboriginal people.
During hard years of “perestroika” an endeavour was made to re-establish our traditions in the “Pimtchach” community: a traditional indigenous village fostered by an Itelmen enthusiast, Vera Koveinik in 1998. One of the purposes of the creation was to revive our culture so we can survive in this world of globalization as indigenous Kamchatkan peoples, supported by our traditional teachings and ethnotourism.
As with any great undertaking, Vera struggled with her endeavour and we faced many problems such as a lack of business knowledge and marketing strategy; we had to learn these skills the hard way.
Many of us still do not know what a computer and a mobile phone look like. The word “Internet” seemed so strange to our ears. Northern people are still “wild” and “rural” in this rude world of hi-tech. We cannot compete with the business “sharks” that took our opportunities in many areas, including eco- and ethno- tourism. The only thing we still have – this inner “something” – unites us and helps us survive; it is this that we must focus on to bring empowerment back to our peoples.
We have some folk groups who carry the heritage our ancestors – some songs and dances are three centuries old. The secrets of healing grasses and plants, shaman rituals, and beautiful handicrafts are what we still own and are a source of pride. We still have hospitality – any stranger is welcome in our land; even after centuries of suffering we are still openhearted.
We are calling upon Canadian aboriginal peoples to share their knowledge and experience with us so we can raise our cultural profile and protect our local natural environment. We want to build relationships with Canadian aboriginal peoples who are more advanced in environmental stewardship, and more empowered within Canada – and the world – then we are in our own land.
Specifically, we will be grateful if the people from Canada can share with us their own thoughts and experience in the following spheres:
- Fostering sustainable development in our community using our traditional skills;
- Overcoming administrative barriers, and the strategies needed to cope with the struggles along the way;
- Developing a legislative base;
- Successful grant and fundraising strategies;
- Organizing cross-cultural exchange visits between Canadian and Kamchatka people.
We have a very old tradition in our culture to devote songs to definite people. And I want to devote some lines to my brothers and sisters from afar:
“ When you are on the top,
On the highest top of the hill,
But you can’t see the relation of it,
Are you really on this top still?”
It means that we all on this Earth have to share with our highest knowledge, but if we do not do it, we can’t see the reflection of our top…
For our future relationships,
Chief of the all-aboriginal “Aborigen Kamchatki” newspaper
Canada-Kamchatka aboriginal exchange
Ontario First Nation representative who visited Kamchatka in 2004
Koryak Net: www.koryaks.net
Ethno-Ecological Youth Summer Camp: www.summercamp-kamchatka.org
Canada-Kamchatka Exchange (discussion forum) http://groups-beta.google.com/group/canada-kamcahtka-exchange
Anouk Ride (Kamchatka article): www.anoukride.com/reportage.htm
Kamchatka’s Mushrooming Opportunities: www.ecoworld.org/Home/articles2.cfm?TID=316
The Kamchatka Page: www.kamchatkapeninsula.com
Trying to Help the Indigenous Peoples of Kamchatka ......
I am from Fort William First Nation, adjacent to Thunder Bay, Ontario, but
now live and work in Sweden. I should probably say that I am not First
Nation, but was raised in that community since I was a one year old,
completely accepted into the my community and family (I have also lived and worked in other FN communities). I had the opportunity to travel to
Kamchatka in September 2004 to meet Zhanna and her family and friends. While there we stayed at a village built by one of Zhanna's friends, Vera, that is being used as a source/forum for cultural education as well as a place to educate visitors that end up in that mystic land of volcanoes.
As an organization, TRN has been working with Zhanna for over a year now to build environmental knowledge and capacity within the indigenous realm in Kamchatka (as well as other places in the Russian Far East). Zhanna is a pure leader and cares very much for her people, her culture and her Kamchatkan environment, and the promotion of it. She has been expressing her interest to network with indigenous and non-indigenous peoples globally to enhance her and her people's ability to protect their environment and culture.
I know that Zhanna needs equipment (e.g. computers) and money, but bureaucracy is one of the major impediments she is facing (and I don't know how to fight that). Canadian FNs and aboriginal peoples have so much strength to be stewards of their environment; I wonder how that strength can be focused to help the peoples of Kamchatka.
Taiga Rescue Network focuses on boreal forest issues, and thus our participants are our participants for this reason.
Damien for TGN
Reindeer People: The Eveny of North Eastern Siberia
written by Piers Vitebsky
The Eveny are a tribal people who live in the north-eastern Siberian
mountains, the coldest inhabited place on earth, where winter temperatures
fall as low as minus 96 deg F. (To get an idea of how cold that is, if you
were to throw the contents of a hot cup of tea in the air at temperatures
below minus 40 deg F, the liquid would freeze before hitting the ground.)
Piers Vitebsky, an anthropologist, has spent almost 20 years visiting an
Eveny community. They live as nomads, leading their reindeer herds to
pasture during the short Arctic summer and living off their meat during
winter, much as their ancestors did thousands of years ago. They still
inhabit what prehistorians call "the Age of Reindeer" - a time when reindeer
were the far northern hemisphere's main source of food and transport.
The Eveny's traditions and rituals are ancient (the word "shaman" derives
from their language) but their way of life in one of the world's harshest
environments is far from assured. Soviet attempts to "civilise" Siberia's
indigenous population saw tribes such as these being corralled into
state-built villages where they were forced to supply reindeer meat to
industrial settlements. The economic and social collapse of the Russian
north - home to 186,000 native people, a third of whose deaths are through
accident, murder or suicide - makes the Eveny's existence appear all the
more precarious and remarkable.
Subscription information for the Russian Environmental Digest: To subscribe,
write to firstname.lastname@example.org with "subscribe redfiles" in message body. The
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Dear Friends of the Taiga,
In association with the Sami Reindeer Herders of Inari, Finland, Taiga Rescue Network is now conducting a cyber action to aid in the resolution of a conflict between Sami reindeer herders and the Finnish state owned forestry enterprise, Metsähallitus, who are competing for use of land in traditional herding pastures in Lapland, northern Finland.
Inari Reindeer Herders need your support! By clicking on the following links you will be able to access more information about this issue and read words from the people of Inari.
Link to the introductory Cyber Action page:
Go directly to the letter-writing interface:
By sending the cyber action letter, you will put pressure on Erkki Tuomioja,
Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs, to resolve the Inari land use conflict
Please show your support - write to Erkki Tuomioja!
Taiga Rescue Network
Haida block logging to stop degradation of their traditional territory and challenge sale of Weyerhauser to Brascan
Late last year, over 4,000 RAN supporters backed the Haida Nation in its legal battle against Weyerhaeuser over the future of the islands of Haida Gwaii, B.C.
This week, after over 18 months of negotiations and a string of broken promises from Weyerhaeuser, the controversy has reached a boiling point. Hundreds of Island residents have begun "Islands Spirit Rising"-- effectively shutting down all logging by Weyerhaeuser on the islands to demand a say in the future of their home. Haida Nation president Guujaaw along with Elders and many others led the blockade demanding respect and acknowledgement of Haida rights.
The message is clear "enough is enough". According to a statement issued by the Islands Spirit Rising, " Weyerhaeuser has shown no respect for the land, the culture, or the people who have worked for them. Weyerhaeuser has also shown no respect for its own word. In commitments made to the [Council of the Haida Nation], the communities and the people who work for them, five of the six commitments [made by the company] have been violated. Now the company is poised to sell its interests and in its final hours is attempting to strip all that it can from this land."
For More Information: www.haidanation.ca
The Thunderbird in The Boreal Forest: Poplar River First Nation
By DeNeen L. Brown
POPLAR RIVER -- The elders used to say that one should not make a sound when crossing the water here, lest one awaken the thunderbird who lives just up there, up there.
Up there, says Victor Bruce, an elder of the Poplar River First Nation. He is pointing above the trees in this boreal forest, where migrating songbirds sing, and fleeting herds of woodland caribou, silent gray ghosts of the boreal, hide.
Bruce says he believes in the thunderbird in the same way he believes that the river is alive and rocks can move, that trees cry when they are cut and the earth cannot be owned. And all the while the thunderbird watches, waiting to descend when it is disturbed, then swooping down, creating thunder and lightning in its wrath, troubling the waters. For thousands of years the Poplar River First Nation, an Ojibway Indian tribe in Manitoba, crossed this water quietly, ever so quietly, not a sound, paddles slipped into the water as if they were slicing clouds. Quietly the people moved from one shore to the next, from one plane to the other, from one generation to the next.
Disturbing the thunderbird meant trouble for us all.
Bruce is wondering why others don't believe -- can't believe that building a road into this forest opens the path to its destruction, that cutting down the trees to make pulp into toilet paper seems wasteful. Why companies with their bottom lines and consumers with their insatiable needs don't think of the trees as having voices and the animals living in them as having souls.
Why don't they believe in the thunderbird?
"It's our guardian, something that watches over you all the time," Bruce is saying. "It's always something that's keeping an eye on you. The old-timers, the ancestors, they used to tell us to respect all the animals and respect the birds. The thunderbird always is flying high. He's always watching everything on Earth. He's someplace in the sky."
From a muddy bank of a healing camp on an island on the tribe's traditional territory on the eastern shore of Lake Winnipeg, Bruce, 72, looks upon the water and he is quiet. The water is quiet too. Surrounding it is a green forest; the sky is gray. The water is clean. The place is surreal. He is in the thick of this place, considered the last frontier of the wilderness in North America. It covers half of Canada's land.
The forest, named after Boreas, the Greek god of the north wind, is threatened by encroaching development. Scientists call the boreal one of the Earth's "lungs"; the other is the Amazon rain forest. Together they "breathe out" oxygen while absorbing millions of tons of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas thought to contribute to global warming. The forest is coveted by those who want to cut trees, build hydropower dams, mine and develop it, seeking gas and oil.
The Poplar River First Nation, a community based about 400 miles north of Winnipeg, is trying to stop that. Not long ago, loggers came here with promises of building an all-weather road in a place that is now only accessible year-round by air. The road would open the door for others to come in. Poplar River elders said no. Developers promised them jobs. The elders said no. Developers promised them economic prosperity, a new way of life, and the elders said no. The elders had seen what happened to the community of the Pimicikamak Cree, north of Lake Winnipeg, not so far from here. So the elders in Poplar River said no. First Nation tribes have a significant voice in development projects in their traditional territories.
"The reason why we protect this land is, in other communities the forest is wiped out already. Now they have nothing," says Bruce. He is now sitting in a huge tepee at the healing camp, a retreat where there is no water running in pipes, no electricity, no artificial heat. The faint scent of burning sage, used to cleanse people of their impurities, lingers in the tent. A fire smolders in the center of the tent. Someone has discovered moose droppings near the camp site and has brought them near the fire to be examined. The perfect droppings indicate the moose on this island are healthy and there is still hope.
The Pimicikamak Cree watched a utility come and build a dam for hydroelectricity but then, they say, shorelines washed away and forest was swallowed by rising water that polluted the lakes and rivers. Now, they say, they drink polluted water.
Bruce continues, "Now they have nothing to go to. The companies wanted to give us an all-weather road. But if we have that road, the same thing will happen here."
He, like most aboriginal elders, professes: "The land, we don't own it. We look out for it. The elders have stated the creator has given us life. Without our land, our people will die. We get everything from this land. But we don't destroy it. If we let them build an all-weather road, they will destroy it. After they clear it out, what will we have? Why should we say, 'Okay, you can come around and cut pulp?' " Pulp Reality
Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, says that the boreal forest is "North America's greatest conservation opportunity."
Most of the world's original forests have been logged and developed. About 80 percent of the Canadian boreal forest is still uncut by roads. Most of its 1.3 billion acres is predominantly owned by the government and inhabited by tribes who call themselves First Nation. They live in and rely on the forests for their food, their livelihoods and their spiritual connection to the world.
Last month in Thailand, the World Conservation Congress, recognizing the international importance of the boreal forests, called upon Canada and Russia, the two countries with more than 80 percent of the world's undeveloped forests in the Northern Hemisphere, to protect them and involve indigenous communities in any development decisions.
Then the NRDC and Greenpeace Canada announced a campaign to target Kimberly-Clark, the world's largest producer of toilet paper. The groups accuse the company of relying on fiber from ancient forests to make its toilet paper, tissue and paper towels.
"North America, home to only 7 percent of the world's population, consumes nearly half of the world's tissue paper products," Casey-Lefkowitz says.
Each year, she says, North Americans use 50 pounds of tissue paper per person, and the United States uses about 7.4 million tons of tissue paper. The group is calling upon Kimberly-Clark to include more recycled materials "so that ancient boreal forests need not be cut to be flushed down the toilet."
Kimberly-Clark spokesman Dave Dickson says the company has strict policies that emphasize economic, environmental and social sustainability in its harvesting of wood. "Our policy prohibits the use of any wood from virgin rain forests or significant old-growth forests, including Canada's boreal forest. We offer products that use recycled fiber."
He acknowledges that some of the products Kimberly-Clark produces are made from pulp that comes from boreal trees. "Yes, we use virgin pulp from the boreal forest in Canada. We do from some areas, yes, but not from ecologically significant old-growth areas." He says pulp is made of leftover sawdust and woodchip waste from the milling process and is used to make products such as Kleenex tissue.
Kimberly-Clark has about 55 percent of the facial tissue market in the United States. Tempting Offers
Sophia Rabliauskas, a member of the Poplar River First Nation, says elders remind the community that land is more important than money.
"Like other aboriginal communities, we struggle with poverty, we struggle with unemployment, we struggle with health issues we've never seen before," she says. "Sometimes, it's tempting. They [companies] will say there is money in it, economic development. But the elders say be careful. Living in poverty, living in high unemployment, it's tempting. But we've seen the damage and destruction to the land in communities just north of here.
"Developers rarely talk about the human destruction left behind -- all kinds of diseases, illness, diabetes, children with asthma and respiratory problems."
Rabliauskas walks around the tepee, closer to the banks of the lake.
"It has happened in the past. Developers came in and destroyed land. It hasn't improved the community at all. I think we have to ask for help. We are a small group of people. Sometimes, it's overwhelming going up against major developers who have money. We will do what we can to protect the land. We will do anything."
Ernest C. Bruce, manager of the Poplar River nation and nephew of Victor Bruce, says the band is constantly being hit with proposals for development, tourism, ideas from the south to turn the land into money.
"We are afraid of the damage. One community allowed eco-tourism and the Americans came in and didn't respect the land. They hunted the moose and took the heads for trophies and left the bodies. That's against nature," Ernest Bruce says.
Other companies, he says, come in and brought with them cigarettes and alcohol and offers of jobs. "Like there was a paper mill company that came in and met with the community and promised employment in exchange for clear-cutting and promised a road. Manitoba Hydro promised employment. We've always said no to them."
Even though the community needs jobs. Only 15 percent of the 1,000 people or more in the Poplar River community work. The rest live on fixed income and social insurance.
"Some people get excited about the promise for jobs," Bruce says. "But the elders express concern. 'Are we willing to sacrifice for something short-term?' Money is only something you can hold, spend and it's gone. But the land will be here." The Divinity of the Wild
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a senior attorney with the NRDC, has come to this camp to help save the boreal.
"The wilderness connects us with generations," he says. "We experience the divine most forcefully when we are in the wilderness. All the Koran's prophets were shepherds who came out of the deserts. The central epiphany in the tradition of mankind has occurred in the wilderness. Mohammed wrestled the camel. Moses had to go to the wilderness to get the Commandments. Christ had to go into the wilderness to discover divinity. In every religious tradition, they all instruct us to study nature, to learn God's message."
The fire in the middle of the camp is burning. The elders are listening. The sage is simmering.
"When we destroy the last areas of wilderness, we cut ourselves off from the source of identity," says Kennedy. "When we destroy those things, it is the equivalent of tearing the last pages out of the Bible. We better hold some places in reserve to show our children."
J.P. Gladu, an aboriginal outreach coordinator for the Canadian Boreal Initiative, is on this trip, too. He is explaining that last year a coalition of energy and forest companies joined First Nation tribes and environmental groups in an agreement to preserve at least 50 percent of the boreal. The other half would be developed in an environmentally sustainable method, carefully.
"Big corporations are pretty powerful. The current model is to get bigger," Gladu says. "But economically, the world needs resources. Unless people's minds shift, it won't stop. People consume. People consume. Until we change that, I don't think it will stop.
Gladu says that for some, the union of environmentalists, First Nation and corporations is dangerous.
"It's like the story of the scorpion and the fox. The scorpion and fox need each other to get to the other side of the river," Gladu says. "The fox says, 'I'm not going to give you a ride. You will sting me.'
"The scorpion says, 'Why would I sting you? We will both drown.'
"The fox gives him a ride and halfway across, the scorpion stings the fox.
"The fox says, 'Why did you do that?'
"The scorpion says, 'It's in my nature.' "
Ernest C. Bruce is standing by the lake. The water is lapping. The trees are swaying. Night is coming. The hill over there, Bruce is saying, is Thunder Mountain. "They say that is where the thunderbird lives. When in the past people traveled through the land, they traveled silently. If they woke the Thunderbird, there would be thunderstorms and lightning."
Somewhere out there, a night bird cries.
For More information check out www.poplarriverfirstnation.ca
Precedent Setting Case against B.C. Hydro
WestCoast Env. Law Victory at Supreme Court! BC Hydro liable for environmental clean-up
The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that BC Hydro is responsible for the actions of its predecessor, BC Electric, which contributed to the contamination of a Vancouver property. West Coast Environmental Law had intervened in the case, together with Sierra Legal Defence Fund and three other environmental groups, to argue that the court should recognize the public’s right to a clean environment and the obligation of polluters to pay for the clean-up of contaminated sites.
Read the full article: http://www.wcel.org/4976/30/03/08.htm
ELEPHANTS OF PHUKET
From the chaos of the Tsunami disaster comes this account...
At a resort on Phuket, one of the popular attractions was elephant rides into the forest. About 20 minutes before the first wave hit, the nine elephants there became extremely agitated and unruly. Four had just returned from a trip, and their handlers had not yet chained them. They helped the other five tear free from their chains, then they all climbed a hill and started bellowing. Many people followed them up the hill...Then the waves hit. After the waves subsided, they charged down the hill and started picking up children with their trunks and running them back up the hill; when all the children were safe, they helped the adults, rescuing 42 people. Then they returned to the beach and carried up four dead bodies, one of a child. Not until the task was done would they allow their handlers to mount them. Then with their handlers atop, they began moving wreckage. The elephants are apparently now being freed to return to the wild, since the tourists whose rides pay for their feed and upkeep have gone.
This report was sent in from Jim France of the Pavilion Hotel Group in Bangkok.
For more information check out www.happyyoga.blog-city.com
TOURISM DEVELOPMENT AND LOSS OF MANGROVES CONTRIBUTED TO LOSS OF LIVES IN INDONESIAN DISASTER
Economic policies that pushed economic
growth at the expense and expanse of human life...
It was the outcome of an insane
economic system -- led by the World Bank and IMF -- that believes in usurping environment, nature and human lives for the sake of unsustainable economic growth for a few.
Since the 1980s, the Asian seacoast region has been plundered by the large industrialized shrimp firms that brought environmentally-unfriendly aquaculture to its sea shores. Shrimp cultivation, rising to over 8 billion tonnes a year in the year 2000, had already played havoc with the fragile
eco-systems. The "rape-and-run" industry, as the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) once termed it, was largely funded by the World Bank. Nearly 72 per cent of the shrimp farming is confined to Asia.
The expansion of shrimp farming was at the cost of tropical mangroves -- amongst the world's most important ecosystems. Each acre of mangrove forest destroyed results in an estimated 676 pounds loss in marine harvest. Mangrove swamps have been nature's protection for the coastal regions from the large waves, weathering the impact of cyclones, and serving as a nursery for three-fourths of the commercial fish species that spend part of their life cycle in the mangrove swamps. Mangroves in any case were one of the world's most threatened habitats but instead of replanting the mangrove swamps, faulty economic policies only hastened its disappearance. Despite
warning by ecologists and environmentalists, the World Bank turned a deaf ear.
Shrimp farming continued its destructive spree, eating away more than half of the world's mangroves. Since the 1960s, for instance, aquaculture and other industrial activities in Thailand resulted in a loss of over 65,000 hectares of mangroves. In Indonesia, Java lost 70 percent of its mangroves, Sulawesi 49 percent and Sumatra 36 percent. So much so that at the time the tsunami struck in all its fury, logging companies were busy axing mangroves in the Aceh province of Indonesia for exports to Malaysia and Singapore.
In India, mangrove cover has been reduced to less than a third of its original in the past three decades. Between 1963 and 1977 India destroyed nearly 50 percent of its mangroves. Local communities were forcibly evicted to make way for the shrimp farms. In Andhra Pradesh, more than 50,000 people were forcibly removed and millions displaced throughout the coastal belt to make room for the aquaculture farms. Whatever remained of the mangroves was cut down by the hotel industry. Aided and abetted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Ministry of Industries, builders moved in to ravage the coastline.
Five-star hotels, golf courses, industries, and mansions sprung up, all along disregarding the concern being expressed by environmentalists. These two ministries worked overtime to dilute the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms thereby allowing the hotels to even take over the 500-meter buffer
that was supposed to be maintained along the beach. In an era of market economy, which was reflected through the misplaced Shining India slogan, the bureaucrats are in league with the industrialists and big business interests. Much of the responsibility for the huge death toll therefore rests with the government and the free market apologists.
Tourism boom in the Asia-Pacific region coincided with the destructive fallout of the growth in shrimp cultivation. Over the last decade, tourist arrivals and receipts rose faster than any other region in the world, almost twice the rates of industrialized countries. Projections for the year 2010
indicate that the region will surpass the Americas to become the world's number two tourism region, with 229 million arrivals. What is being projected as an indicator of spectacular economic growth hides the enormous environmental costs that these countries have suffered and will have to
undergo in the future.
In the past two decades, the entire coastline along the Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea, and Strait of Malacca in the Indian Ocean and all along the South Pacific Ocean has been a witness to massive investments in tourism and hotels. Myanmar and Maldives suffered much less from the killing spree of the tsunami because the tourism industry had so far not spread its tentacles to the virgin mangroves and coral reefs surrounding the coastline. The large coral reef surrounding the islands of Maldives absorbed much of the tidal fury thereby restricting the human loss to a little over 100 dead. Coral reefs absorb the sea's fury by breaking the waves. The tragedy however is
that more than 70 percent of world's coral reef has already been destroyed.
The island chain of Surin off the west coast of Thailand similarly escaped heavy destruction. The ring of coral reef that surrounds the islands did receive some punching from the furious waves but kept firm and thereby helped break the lethal power of the tsunami. Mangroves help to protect
offshore coral reefs by filtering out the silt flowing seawards from the land. Tourism growth, whether in the name of eco-tourism or leisure tourism, decimated the mangroves and destroyed the coral reefs.
If only the mangroves were intact, the damage from tsunamis would have been greatly minimized. Ecologists tell us that mangroves provide double protection -- the first layer of red mangroves with their flexible branches and tangled roots hanging in the coastal waters absorb the first shock
waves. The second layer of tall black mangroves then operates like a wall withstanding much of the sea's fury. Mangroves in addition absorb more carbon dioxide per unit area than ocean phytoplankton, a critical factor in global warming.
It happened earlier in Bangladesh. In 1960, a tsunami wave hit the coast in an area where mangroves were intact. There was not a single human loss. These mangroves were subsequently cut down and replaced with shrimp farms. In 1991, thousands of people were killed when a tsunami of the same magnitude hit the same region. In Tamil Nadu, in south India, Pichavaram and Muthupet, with dense mangroves, suffered low human casualties and less economic damage from the December 26 tsunami. Earlier, the famed mangroves of Bhiterkanika in Orissa (which also serve as the breeding ground for the olive-ridley turtles) had reduced the impact of the "super cyclone" that had struck in October 1999, killing over 10,000 people and rendering millions homeless.
The epicenter of the December 26 killer tsunami was close to Simeuleu Island, in Indonesia. The death toll on this particular island was significantly low simply because the inhabitants had the traditional knowledge about tsunamis that invariably happen after a quake. In Nias Island, which is close to Simeuleu Island, mangroves had acted like a wall
helping people from the destruction. The challenge therefore for the developing countries is to learn from the time-tested technologies that have been perfected by the local communities.
Let us now look at the comparative advantage of protecting environment and thereby reducing the havoc from the growth-oriented market economy. Having grown tenfold in the last 15 years, shrimp farming is now a $9 billion industry. It is estimated that shrimp consumption in North America, Japan
and Western Europe has increased by 300 percent over the last ten years. The massive wave of destruction caused by the December 26 tsunami in 11 Asian countries alone has surpassed the economic gain that the shrimp industry claims to have harvested by several times. With over 150,000 people dead,
the staggering social and economic loss will take some time to be ascertained.
The World Food Programme (WFP) plans to feed some 2 million survivors for the next six months. The feeding operation is likely to cost US $180 million. If only successive presidents of the World Bank had refrained from aggressively promoting ecologically unsound but market friendly economic policies, a lot of human lives and the resulting costs could have been saved.
The life cycle of a shrimp farm is a maximum of two to five years. The ponds are then abandoned leaving behind
toxic waste, destroyed ecosystems and displaced communities, annihilating livelihoods. The farms come up at the cost of natural eco-systems including mangroves. The whole cycle is then repeated in another pristine coastal area. It has been estimated that economic losses due to the shrimp farms are
approximately five times the potential earnings.
Tourism is no better. Kerala, in south India, marketed as "God's own country," destroyed the mangroves in a desperate bid to lure tourists. It is only after the tsunami struck that the state government was quick to announce an Rs $340-million project aimed at insulating the Kerala coastline
against tidal surges. Other tourist destinations in Asia will now probably go for a rethinking. How many more people we
want to die and how many millions we want to go homeless before we realize the grave mistake of pushing the market economy? Who will hold these free
market economists responsible for the human loss and suffering?
Devinder Sharma is a New Delhi-based food and agriculture policy analyst.
Responses can be emailed to: email@example.com
UBCIC's Protecting Knowledge Conference site: http://www.ubcic.bc.ca/protect.htm
7,500 to 9,000 wolves killed in Alaska in last five years, more scheduled to be killed this year through "aerial and land and shot" program....
Alaska is home to the largest remaining population of gray wolves in the United States. Some 7,000 to 9,000 wolves roam the state. But unlike wolves in the lower 48 states, wolves in Alaska are not afforded protection under the Endangered Species Act. Wolf hunting is allowed in most parts of Alaska and nearly 7,500 wolves were killed in the last five years.
But today, the greatest threat to Alaska's wolves comes from aerial killing or same-day land and shoot wolf hunting. Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski signed a bill in June 2003 that re-instates public "land and shoot" and airborne wolf killing. Hunters in planes can now use airplanes to search for wolves, "buzz" the pack, and chase them until the wolves are exhausted. The animals are then shot from the air or on the ground after the plane lands.
Led by Defenders of Wildlife, the people of Alaska have TWICE voted to ban land-and-shoot killing. But certain state officials want wolves killed to boost moose and caribou herds for hunters and passed a law overturning the people's vote. And now Alaska's Board of Game has approved the use of airplanes to kill grizzly and black bears.
Defenders of Wildlife is committed to protecting Alaska's wolves, bears and other wildlife, but we need your help. Please let Gov. Murkowski know you are outraged by this action by sending him the petition at the bottom of this page. And remember to tell your family and friends about this issue so that they too can take action. Alaska's wildlife legacy is a national treasure which should be safeguarded -- not slaughtered.
Please take time to sign a petition to Governor Murkowski at www.savealaskawolves.org to stop this slaughter
"We are all connected"
Tsunami: Andaman Island Indigenous People secure through Elders teachings and living with knowledge of natural forces....
'We can tell a tsunami from its amplitude, frequency'
Jarawas tell JNU's Kumar how they survived tsunami.
New Delhi, January 7: Jarawas never flout
the basics of an island (or coastal) existence. All over the Middle Andamans, there is no human settlement within 10 km of sea
They do not memorise the laws of simple harmonic motion. But they know how to judge the frequency and amplitude of sea waves, a knowledge that saved around 266 Jarawas when the killer tsunami wrecked havoc on the "civilised world".
For Pramod Kumar, a research scholar from the school of linguistics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, talking to the tribals, who inhabit Kadamtalla and Bara Tang in the Middle Andamans, after the disaster, was a revelation. Over the past one year, he has been working with the Jarawas, trying to draw up a written text of Jarawa grammar, his Phd topic. Kumar returned from his "workplace" in the Middle Andamans on Wednesday night.
"Immediately after the tsunami, we interviewed several tribals in an effort to find out what exactly had forewarned them. An elderly Jarawa man called Chew, explained that there is a stark contrast between the amplitude and frequency of normal tidal waves and those of a tsunami. The moment the first wave was spotted, the tribals knew what was coming and fled to the highlands," Kumar recounts.
He was also told that the expertise to detect the nature of waves, and to act accordingly, is handed over from one generation to the next among these people.
The Jarawas' brush with civilisation is fairly recent. It was only in the latter half of 1998 that contact with them was first established. Now, however, the tribals have learnt to trust outsiders, Kumar says, and are "quite friendly".
Points out Anvita Abbi, Kumar's guide and professor of linguistics, JNU: "The tribals are very advanced in their knowledge of the ecology. That is how they have survived for thousands of years without any of the sophisticated gadgets that the modern world depends on. For instance, in case of a massive incursion of the sea, they know exactly which trees to climb, which trees would hold out against the fury of the waves."
Ecological knowledge apart, Jarawas have their own quaint explanation of an earthquake - and they know it always precedes a tsunami. Says Kumar: "Chew explained to me how certain ghosts, when they are angry, tie ropes to sturdy tree trunks and pull them hard in a bid to destroy the mankind. This, according to Jarawa wisdom, causes an earthquake."
But Jarawas follow science, too, albeit in their own ways.
The basic rule for construction in costal areas, that was flouted so blatantly in the rest of the country, is strictly followed by the Jarawa community. "All over the Middle Andamans, there is no human settlement within 10 Km of the coast," Kumar says.
"It is globally accepted that tribals use their traditional knowledge to survive. Ancient Japanese, for example, were warned of an impending tsunami by the behaviour of frogs," says Professor Abbi.
MIGGAM'AGAN THREATENED BY GAS PIPELINE
The Passamaquoddy, members of the Wabanaki Confederacy, located in southern New Brunswick Canada and northern most New England, primarily in northern Maine, are facing some extreme challenges for their People, Homelands, Culture, and risk to their natural Way of Life. An advancing industry in liquid gasification, as a consequence to the gas exploration and extraction, and the laying of several hundred miles of pipeline to export natural gas to the northeast, is coming to the Maritimes and consequently, impacting the First Nations, and at this moment, particularly affecting the Passamaquoddy People at Sipayik and Qonasqomkuk. We have, what i firmly believe, is a classic example of environmental racism.
As most of us know all too well, the scenario held over most First Nation Communities---economic desperation, in need of a viable economy and economic future, rampant with social and financial dilemmas, fuelled by lack of self-sustaining businesses and investments, and under-pinned by federal and state/provincial misuse of political and extrajudicial power/authority. Passamaquoddy People are being fed a good story by their tribal elected officials, convinced of the vast economic potential and a bit of bribery from corporates, on the benefits of housing liquid natural gasification tanks, docks, and the dredging of Passamaquoddy bay---a primary fishing ground for the Passamaquoddy and many other fishing communities. However, there is no serious open debate, community discussion, solid information nor direction from the community for the Tribal leadership to hold closed-door discussions, forge agreements, and/or sign contracts.
Most of us know the highly volatile nature of liquid gas and its grave potential for disaster. The corporates state their track record, security, and safety features, but it only takes one serious "accident" and all is lost. If the community does, in fact accept this enterprise, they may likely need to move their Community elsewhere, whether due to the development of this plant and infrastructure, or due to accident. Either way, a coastal People's Way of Life and access to their natural resources will be inescapably altered, maybe even irreparably so, since all the facts are not present to them.
The Community has been responded to from the Indigenous Environmental Network, and is expected to help the Community in several meaningful ways, including sending Community representatives to areas where LNG plants are located for further experiential knowledge; invitation to conferences; and sending IEN representatives to the Passamaquoddy Community of Sipayik, the proposed site of the LNG plant.
As is the usual case, the community response is lead by conscious-minded Women, working to defend their Community with little to no financial and community support to wage this important defence and informative campaign. A referendum on this subject held last week, resulted in a 192-136 in favour of the LNG project. The vote represented approximately 30% of the community's voters. The circumstance is likely that the Community will not have the full picture of the extent of the devastation to their Homelands and the fishery they have customarily survived on since time immemorial.
Save Passamaquoddy Bay is an international coalition bringing three nations together to defend their Communities, resources, and Way of Life, Canadian, American, and Passamaquoddy citizens are banning together to defend their interests against this proposed LNG plan. As expected, financing this is a big concern and its demands are a greater effort when dealing with major corporates. Any response, financially, knowledge of LNG, experiences, legal aid will be of tremendous help. Small communities deserve to be able to defend themselves and determine their own future.
Contact and contributions can be made at the following:
Ntulankeyutomnen Nkihtaqmikon ["Protect Our Homeland"]; Vera Francis [ firstname.lastname@example.org]
Save Passamaquoddy Bay; c/o The Commons PO Box 255, Eastport Maine, 04631
Save Passamaquoddy Bay; c/o Atlantic Coastal Action program, PO Box 374, St. Stephen, NB E3L 2X3
i'll be more than happy to keep anyone interested informed, gkisedtanamoogk
Esgenoopetitj Kespekeoaq Mi'kmaq'ik
via: "Burnt Church FN, NB, canada E9G 4J9"
FNEN Elder Cecile Asham receives Workplace Leadership Award for Promoting Abiriginal Issues at Aboriginal Government Employees Network Conference in Saskatoon
FNEN Elder, Cecile Asham of Ft. Qu'appelle, Sask. received the "Mamawatoskewak" (Working Together) Award at the conference in Saskatoon for being a role model to the Aboriginal Community and for articulating the importance of the role of Aboriginal People and their impact; and for promoting respect, mutual understanding and acceptance of Aboriginal Issues in the workplace. We honor her committment and dedication not only to her family but her people in bringing this to her work and in all that she does. Meegwetch>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Supreme Court of Canada Confirms that Aboriginal Policies Must Change (Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, November 18, 2004) “Today’s Haida and Taku River Tlingit decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada are significant advances in our ongoing legal battle to protect our Aboriginal Title and Rights,” says Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, “but the work is not yet done.” “In these decisions, the Supreme Court has rejected once and for all the Crown’s argument that they do not have to consult First Nations about land and resource decisions until First Nations have proven their rights in court. These decisions put ‘rubber on the road’ in terms of the duties of consultation and accommodation of both governments, but the Crown has a long way to go” observed Chief Phillip. He noted that both the Haida and the Taku River Tlingit were compelled to seek legal remedies before the Supreme Court of Canada because of the arrogance and unilateral resource management approaches of the governments of BC and Canada. “Business as usual is no longer tolerable,” Chief Phillip continued: “The current policies of BC and Canada are a complete failure and must be revisited. The courts have consistently stated that governments must honourably engage in good-faith negotiations to address and accommodate our Aboriginal Title and Rights. This is not presently occurring. Although the court held that the duty to consult cannot be delegated to resource companies, resource rights (such as tenures) granted without meaningful consultation and accommodation of Aboriginal Title and Rights may still be challenged in court, creating a legal and financial liability for resource companies affecting company investors and creditors. “The vulnerability of logging tenures, such as those that changed hands in recent corporate mergers in the timber industry come to mind,” said Chief Phillip. “If the duty to consult and accommodate is not taken very seriously, the Crown will find itself bogged down in a wave of title cases or more land-use confrontations on the land resulting in decades of legal battles.” Chief Phillip concluded, “This uncertainty is not good for anyone. Long-term economic certainty will only be achieved through the full recognition and accommodation of Aboriginal Title interests, not by blindly continuing a policy of unilateralism with First Nations in the ineffectual attempt to ‘open BC for business.’” FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:Chief Stewart Phillip (250) 490-5314 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Our planet is running out of room and resources. The Living Planet report, World Wildlife Fund (WWF)http://www.observer.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,750783,00.html Earth 'will expire by 2050'Modern man has plundered so much, a damning report claims this week, that outer space will have to becolonised
Mark Townsend and Jason Burke Sunday July 7, 2002 The Observer: Earth's population will be forced to colonise two planets within 50 years if
natural resources ontinue to be exploited at the current rate, according to
a report out this week.
A study by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), to be released on Tuesday, warns
that the human race is plundering the planet at a pace that outstrips its
capacity to support life.
In a damning condemnation of Western society's high consumption levels, it
adds that the extra planets (the equivalent size of Earth) will be required
by the year 2050 as existing resources are exhausted.
The report, based on scientific data from across the world, reveals thatmore
than a third of the natural world has been destroyed by humans overthepast
Using the image of the need for mankind to colonise space as a stark
illustration of the problems facing Earth, the report warns that either
consumption rates are dramatically and rapidly lowered or the planet will no
longer be able to sustain its growing population.
Experts say that seas will become emptied of fish while forests - which
absorb carbon dioxide emissions - are completely destroyed and freshwater
supplies become scarce and polluted.
The report offers a vivid warning that either people curb their extravagant
lifestyles or risk leaving the onus on scientists to locate another planet
that can sustain human life. Since this is unlikely to happen, the only
option is to cut consumption now.
Systematic overexploitation of the planet's oceans has meant the North
Atlantic's cod stocks have collapsed from an estimated spawning stock of
264,000 tonnes in 1970 to under 60,000 in 1995.
The study will also reveal a sharp fall in the planet's ecosystems between
1970 and 2002 with the Earth's forest cover shrinking by about 12
percent,the ocean's biodiversity by a third and freshwater ecosystems in the
region of 55 per cent.
The Living Planet report uses an index to illustrate the shocking level of
deterioration in the world's forests as well as marine and freshwater
ecosystems. Using 1970 as a baseline year and giving it a value of 100,the
index has dropped to a new low of around 65 in the space of a single
It is not just humans who are at risk. Scientists, who examined data for 350
kinds of mammals, birds, reptiles and fish, also found the numbers of many
species have more than halved.
Martin Jenkins, senior adviser for the World Conservation MonitoringCentrein
Cambridge, which helped compile the report, said: 'It seems things are
getting worse faster than possibly ever before. Never has one
singlespecieshad such an overwhelming influence. We are entering uncharted
Figures from the centre reveal that black rhino numbers have fallen from
65,000 in 1970 to around 3,100 now. Numbers of African elephants have fallen
from around 1.2 million in 1980 to just over half a million while
thepopulation of tigers has fallen by 95 per cent during the past century.
The UK's birdsong population has also seen a drastic fall with the
cornbunting population declining by 92 per cent between 1970 and 2000, the
treesparrow by 90 per cent and the spotted flycatcher by 70 per cent.
Experts, however, say it is difficult to ascertain how many species have
vanished for ever because a species has to disappear for 50 years before it
can be declared extinct.
The WWF report shames the US for placing the greatest pressure on the
environment. It found the average US resident consumes almost double the
resources as that of a UK citizen and more than 24 times that of
Based on factors such as a nation's consumption of grain, fish, wood and
fresh water along with its emissions of carbon dioxide from industry
andcars, the report provides an ecological 'footprint' for each country by
showing how much land is required to support each resident.
America's consumption 'footprint' is 12.2 hectares per head of population
compared to the UK's 6.29ha while Western Europe as a whole stands at
6.28ha. In Ethiopia the figure is 2ha, falling to just half a hectare for
Burundi, the country that consumes least resources.
Lifestyles of the rich nations are mainly responsible for the exploitation and
depletion of natural wealth. Human consumption has doubled over thelast30
years and continues to accelerate by 1.5 per cent a year.
Now WWF wants world leaders to use its findings to agree on specificactions
to curb the population's impact on the planet.
A spokesman for WWF UK, said: 'If all the people consumed natural resources
at the same rate as the average US and UK citizen we would require
atleast two extra planets like Earth.
Surprise CO2 rise may speed up global warming
By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor 2004
How 'feedback' can suppress the earth's ability to remove greenhouse gases
The rate at which global warming gases are accumulating in the atmosphere has
taken a sharp leap upwards, leading to fears that the devastating effects of
climate change may hit the world even sooner than has been predicted.
Atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2 ), the principal greenhouse gas,
have made a sudden jump that cannot be explained by any corresponding jump in
terrestrial emissions of CO2 from power stations and motor vehicles - because
there has been none.
Some scientists think instead that the abrupt speed-up may be evidence of the
long-feared climate change "feedback" mechanism, by which global warming
causes alterations to the earth's natural systems and then, in turn, causes
the warming to increase even more rapidly than before.
Such a development would mean the worldwide droughts, agricultural failure,
sea-level rise, increased weather turbulence and flooding all predicted as
consequences of climate change would arrive on much shorter time-scales than
present scenarios suggest, and the world would have much less time to
co-ordinate its response.
Tony Blair expressed anxiety that global warming's dire
effects would arrive not just in his children's lifetime, but in his own, and
would "radically alter human existence".
The feedback phenomenon has already been predicted in the supercomputer models
of the global climate on which the current forecasts of warming are based. A
key aspect is the weakening, caused by the warming itself, of the earth's
ability to remove huge amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere by absorbing it
annually in its forests and oceans, in the so-called carbon cycle. (The
forests and oceans are referred to as carbon "sinks".)
Hitherto, however, that weakening has been put decades into the future.
The possibility that it may be occurring now is suggested in the long run of
atmospheric CO2 measurements that have been made since 1958 at the
observatory on the top of Mauna Loa, an 11,000ft volcano in Hawaii, by the
American physicist Charles Keeling, from the University of California at San
When he began, Dr Keeling, who is still in charge of the project and who might
be said to be the Grand Old Man of CO2 , found the amount of the gas present
in the atmosphere to be 315 parts per million by volume (ppm); today, after
the remorseless increase in emissions from power stations and motor vehicles
over the past four and a half decades, the figure stands at 376ppm.
This growth is what most scientists believe is causing the earth's atmosphere
to warm up, as the increasing CO2 retains more and more of the sun's heat in
the atmosphere, like the panes of a greenhouse.
But the worry now is not merely the swelling volume of CO2 but the sudden leap
in its increase rate. Across all 46 years of Dr Keeling's measurements, the
average annual CO2 rise has been 1.3ppm, although in recent decades it has
gone up to about 1.6ppm.
There have been several peaks, all associated with El Niño, the disruption of
the atmosphere-ocean system in the tropical Pacific Ocean that causes changes
to global weather patterns. In 1988, for example, the annual increase was
2.45ppm; in 1998, 2.74ppm; both were El Niño years.
Throughout the series those peaks have been followed by troughs, and there has
been no annual increase in CO2 above 2ppm that has been sustained for more
than a year. Until now.
From 2001 to 2002, the increase was 2.08ppm (from 371.02 to 373.10); and from
2002 to 2003 the increase was 2.54ppm (from 373.10 to 375.64). Neither of
these were El Niño years, and there has been no sudden leap in emissions.
The greater-than-two rise is also visible in two separate sets of CO2
measurements made by America's National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration, at Mauna Loa and other stations around the world.
At the weekend, Dr Keeling told The Independent the rise was real and worrying
as it might indeed represent the beginnings of a feedback.
He said it might be associated with the Southern Oscillation, a pattern of
high and low atmospheric pressure previously always associated with El Niños,
or it might be something new.
"The rise in the annual rate of CO2 increase to above two parts per million
for two consecutive years is a real phenomenon," Dr Keeling said.
"It is possible this is merely a reflection of the Southern Oscillation, like
previous peaks in the rate, but it is possible it is the beginning of a
natural process unprecedented in records.
"This could be a decoupling of the Southern Oscillation from El Niño events,
which itself could be caused by increased CO2 in the atmosphere; or it could
be a weakening of the earth's carbon sinks. It is a cause for concern."
Leading British scientists and environmentalists agree. "If this is a rate
change [in the CO2 rise], of course it will be very significant," said Dr
Piers Forster of the meteorology department of the University of Reading. "It
will be of enormous concern, because it will imply that all our global
warming predictions for the next 100 years or so will have to be redone. If
the higher rate of increase continues, things will get very much worse. It
will makes our predicament even more catastrophic."
Tom Burke, a former government adviser on green issues who is now an academic
and environmental adviser to business, said: "This series of CO2 measurements
is the world's climate clock, and it looks as if it may be ticking faster,"
"That means we are running out of time to stabilise the climate. Governments
and business will both have to invest dramatically more if we are to avoid
the global warming catastrophe that Tony Blair has warned against."
© 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd
'MOWHACHAT PEOPLE'S EFFORTS TO PROTECT LUNA THE KILLER WHALE......(Note: Luna died in the spring of 2006 due to getting caught in the propeller of a large log barge. He will be missed.)
The drama about the lost killer whale, Luna
is unfolding in strange and
mysterious ways off the west coast of Vancouver Island. Although there
have been a lot of media about this, the following article includes
some of the mystery.
Sense and sentimentality
Vancouver Island News Group
Sat 03 Jul 2004
I've learned a few things at the dock at Gold River. It's the dock, next to the abandoned pulp mill, that appears in any TV coverage of Luna - also known as Tsu 'Xiit (pronounced Tsukeet), the whale that has used up more ink and film than all the 84 endangered southern resident orcas together.
While I was in Gold River reporting on the whale's proposed capture and relocation, I spent most of my time, like the rest of the media circus, waiting at the dock. It's like all federal docks these days: rotting, falling apart and needing some loving care and attention - which pretty much describes the state of the nation. But what happened at the dock should give us all a clue how to conjour up those two rare qualities of statesmanship. The story starts with the assumption of a problem.
The problem we were told, is Luna. Luna, as you will be more than sick of hearing, was left in Nootka Sound at a young age by L-pod in one of their winter wanders three years ago off the coast of Vancouver Island. As far as western understanding of whales (abut 30 years of research) goes, this is unusual. Males usually stay with their maternal pod for life, with only a very few becoming breeding males within the larger resident population. L-pod is part of the southern resident orca population, which is endangered. The problem was Luna habituating to human company and boats around the dock at Gold River and Muchalaht Inlet.
With our extraordinary emphasis on safety, some members of the public started calling this a problem. Others used to driftwood in the water, bears in the forest and the vagaries of weather on a wild west coast called it life and shrugged their shoulders. The existence of a law that said you can't pet a wild whale and a public that liked petting a whale who liked being petted put fisheries into an untenable position.
With the dual emphasis of pleasing those who called Luna a problem, and the well-intentioned people who wanted to see the whale reunited with its pod in the wake of the Springer story and "Free Willy," the Department of Fisheries and Oceans after two years of having a wait- and-see approach were pressed into action. The pressure came largely from aquariums and individuals across the border ponying up the funds as
well as the Vancouver Aquarium.
It was public knowledge that should Luna not be accepted by his pod that he would go to an aquarium to be protected from himself.
The story also starts with the assumption of another problem. The problem, we are told by the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nations, is the proposal to put fish farms into their territory. Fisheries and Oceans issue permits for fish farms. Chief Mike Maquinna, chief number one of the Mowachaht/Muchalaht, told me that after three years of going through the process, their request that open-net fish farms not be located in their territory was ignored. They are now currently fighting out the issue in the Supreme Court of BC. From the dock, you look up Muchalaht
Inlet and can almost see the first brand new, flashy fish farms,
belonging to Norwegian giant Grieg Seafood, located at the mouth of one of the richest salmon bearing streams of their territory.
When DFO came to talk about moving the whale, Chief Gerry Jack, chief number two, told me he said, "You move the fish farms out and we'll talk about the whale."
DFO passed me back and forth between communications personnel when I asked for a response to this question, and I began to get a sense of what unmeaningful consultation was.
The story also starts with a curious coincidence.
In one of those long council meetings three years ago, dealing with endless referrals from schizophrenic government agencies, the late Chief Ambrose Maquinna leaned over to Chief Gerry Jack with a twinkle in his eye and told him that he was going to die soon and come back as a pesky killer whale. He did pass on soon after and Tsu 'Xiit turned up in his traditional territory at Bligh Island at exactly the same time.
Fast forward to two weeks ago, when DFO bring to the docks of Gold River the travelling road show of net pens, cranes, boats and hoards of scientists, PR people and enforcement officers.
Enter the media's travelling road show of cameras, wires, trucks and hoards of reporters, cameramen and press types.
Enter Grieg Seafoods, travelling road show of net pens, cranes, boats and hordes of fish farm workers, farmed salmon and enforcement officers.
Remember this is a very small dock that is rotten and falling apart. Over the next two weeks, those of us on the docks experienced one of the most amazing, creative, mysterious and moving acts of civil disobedience newspeople have ever seen.
Mike Parfitt of the Smithsonian Institute told me that in 40 years of making documentaries he has never seen anything like it. The events of the fortnight played out like a bizarre game of capture the flag, except the flag was a whale. DFO would go and find Luna in their boats and lure him down to their pen and native canoeists braving seas and strong winds would lure him over to the canoes and back down the inlet to Bligh Island or Yuoquot-some 20-30 km away- with their singing and drumming.
Fishing boats joined in to relieve the paddlers after long days on the sea. Day after day this was repeated.
One evening, DFO lured Luna into the pen after getting past the paddlers resting in the lee of the island. Just as they were closing the nets on Luna, in some strange quirk of fate, the biologist coming up from one of the American institutions crashed his plane about 20 metres from the
dock. The biologist was only shaken but the capture was delayed. The entire village came down to sing to Tsu 'Xiit to return to them, including Ambrose Maquinna's widow and granddaughter. I watched the whale break through the line of DFO boats and swim again to the canoeists and fish boats waiting across the bay. By sunset on midsummer's night, with the sun sinking down behind Yuquot, the flotilla had taken Tsu 'Xiit back again to his ancestral home.
That canoeists - women, men and children, wet, cold, frightened,
exhilarated and exhausted on their 10th day of paddling passed us all - the media circus, the DFO circus, the fish farm circus, the helicopter logging circus and disappeared over the horizon. Chief Maquinna issued a request that evening asking for the DFO to stop their attempts to capture the whale and to use the money for the capture to start a stewardship programme led by his people. The next day, the DFO charged a native fisherman for interfering with the capture of Luna. The day after that they agreed to stop the capture and talk.
So what have I learned from the dock at Gold River? That there is
absolutely no way to separate science and spirituality, but there is a big separation between common sense and sentimentality.
The source of the separation lies in the conflicting urban and rural values and western and First Nation world views. The media exacerbates the problem, but we can always get off the sinking dock and report from somewhere else.
Most importantly, the assumption of what is a risk needs to be re-
evaluated in proportion to the real risks that we face in the world
today; which are losing our diverse ecosystems and cultures. In the grand scheme of things Luna is not the problem.
No matter what the outcome will be, anyone who was on the Gold River dock that midsummer's night learned we have to pay some care and attention to the real problems.
Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR)
Massacres In Columbia
Violent drug competition traps peasants, indigenous tribes in middle
Date: Sun, 11 Jul 2004 06:26:19 -0600
Violent drug competition traps peasants, indigenous tribes in middle
By Galle Sévenier
Special to The Denver Post
Sunday, July 11, 2004
Cabo de la Vela, Colombia - At least 34 farmers near the Venezuelan
border were massacred June 15 in the latest violent competition to
control drug production and distribution.
The killings followed an incident two months earlier in which a Wayuu
Indian village in the Guajira desert of Colombia was wiped out, with
more than 100 people dead or missing, according to survivors.
On one side of this lethal struggle are right-wing paramilitary
organizations; on the other are leftist guerrillas called the
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Their conflict, once
ideological, now includes control of drug-making territories.
In the middle are peasants and indigenous tribes that, with few weapons
and few choices, are pressured into growing coca, from which cocaine is
processed. Wayuu are streaming across the border into Venezuela, whose
officials have denounced what they call the "Wayuu genocide."
I asked for international humanitarian attention so that the ... United
Nations would investigate the matter," said Noeli Pocaterra, vice
president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, who spoke recently to a
U.N. assembly on indigenous issues in New York. "A real genocide
happened in Colombia, and we need international help."
Government forces in Colombia are stepping up efforts against
conservative paramilitary groups and leftist rebels, whose violence
contributes to the U.S. State Department finding that "Colombia is one
of the most dangerous countries in the world."
Meanwhile, the country continues to endure the most dire refugee problem
in the Americas, with an estimated 3 million people uprooted, including
19,000 refugees now in the United States, according to a report in May
by the private U.S. Committee for Refugees.
The June 15 killings took place around 5 a.m.
Thirty-four farmers from Tibu, many of them bound hand and foot by ropes
from their hammocks, were slain, survivors and government officials in
Colombia and Venezuela said.
Government officials and survivors hold the Revolutionary Armed Forces
of Columbia, or FARC, responsible.
According to the survivors, FARC accused the farmers of collecting coca
leaves for the paramilitary groups.
Two months earlier, on April 18, it was the rival paramilitary forces
doing the killing.
Wayuu villagers had complained about increased drug trafficking in the
area, as well as the chemical smells from a nearby drug-processing plant.
A drug factory was built, planes would land there, many foreigners came
to buy contraband," recalls Maria Pinallo, 40, who raised goats with her
six children in the small port of Bahia de Portete. She is now a refugee
in Venezuela. "When the wind would blow hard, our children would get
sick from the sulfuric acid and all the ingredients they put in cocaine."
She said the drug lord who controlled the area heard of the complaints
and wanted to ensure that there would be no witnesses to the increased
"They came with the paramilitaries to exterminate us," Pinallo said.
The paramilitary group, known as the United Self-Defense Forces of
Colombia, or AUC, were scheduled to begin peace negotiations this month
with the Colombian government.
In April, witnesses said, about 200 of them surrounded the 50 ranches of
Bahia de Portete.
"In the desert, we can see people coming from far away, which saved our
lives," Pinallo said.
She grabbed her youngest child and told everyone she could to run. Many,
she said, didn't have time to escape.
Jose Vincente, 8, drew in the sand to show how he ran through the
blinding sand to escape Bahia de Portete. He said he saw them killing
men, women and children, decapitating them, cutting them in pieces "with
their machetes." He reported seeing people being burned alive.
The paramilitary group released only one person, survivors said. The
elderly man was shot in one hand and slashed in the other, and he was
ordered to tell the others never to return.
After the massacre, hundreds of Wayuu walked for days in the desert,
without food or water, until trucks picked them up and helped them cross
the border into Venezuela.
Five days later, the Colombian army arrived in Bahia de Portete and
found body parts spread over the area. Only 30 bodies were found,
according to Wayuu, who helped bury the dead, and more than 80 people
Colombian officials, supported by American aid, are trying to bring home
some of the hundreds of thousands of people displaced in drug and
political battles over the years.
Luis Alfonso Hoyos, with the Department of Colombian Social Actions,
said that since 2002 the government has returned 80,000 Colombians to
It's unclear whether survivors of the Bahia de Portete bloodshed will
ever go back.
Luis Angel, a fisherman from Bahia de Portete, said he will avenge the
deaths of his sons, ages 5 and 7. "Of this I am certain," he said. "We
will have our revenge for our dead family members."
Today there is no one left in Bahia de Portete.
"A ghost town," said Pinallo, "with the spirits of the dead."
Galle Sévenier, a freelance journalist specializing in Central and South
America, has a master's degree in mass communication from the University
www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36%7E11676%7E2263847,00.html#>Madeleine Diaz / La Verdad
Colombia's civil war between paramilitary groups and guerrillas has
resulted in a massive migration of Wayuu Indians into cities and
neighboring countries. More than 700 Wayuu, including those above, live
in poverty in Maracaibo, Venezuela.
RESOLUTION BY FNEN:
The Indigenous People of Columbia are being massacred due to being caught in the crossfire between two groups of controlling paramilitary forces. They are being forced to grow cocaine and produce drugs for markets around the world in their traditional territories. The First Nations Environmental Network of Canada condemns these killings and asks governments around the world to join together to bring an end to this tragedy.
You may be interested in
participating in Native Alliance. It is an open and free message board
that focuses on First Nation issues. Members from communities and bands
across Canada interact on a regular basis at:
You can register here:
The ultimate vision of Native Alliance is to unite the Aboriginal Peoples
of Canada by providing access to resources, services, and information by
way of open discussion forums. We hope that you will help to build
friendships & networks with us by sharing your knowledge, expertise and
experiences with others. Although we focus on Canadian First Nation issues
we welcome our American friends and those from around the world... as many
of the issues we deal with are shared with other nations!
BC CLEAN AIR
BC's dirty secret is that we have several polluting mills like the one in Crofton, and almost no laws to protect citizens from their toxic emissions," said Michael Ableman of the Citizens Group. "It's not going to be a secret anymore."
According to Canadian government data, BC is Canada's largest emitter of dioxins and furans, mainly from the pulp and paper sector.
"Everyone has the right to breathe clean air. Our local industries have to be accountable to people's lives", said Randy Bachman, renowned musician who lives within the air-shed of the mill.
The current controversy began in late 2003 when Norske submitted a proposal to burn coal, tires, and creosote-laden railway ties in its Crofton mill in order to reduce fuel costs. Local citizens organized to oppose the proposal, and in the process tapped into widespread concern over existing pollution from the facility. The Crofton mill operates under a thirty year old permit that regulates only three of hundreds of dangerous emissions.
According to Canada's National Pollution Release Inventory, each day approximately 24 million cubic metres of exhaust gases leave the Crofton mill, carrying a tonne of fine particulate matter, a tonne of volatile organic compounds, two tonnes of hydrochloric acid, three and a half tonnes of sulphur dioxide, one and a half tonnes of methanol, dioxins and furans, chlorine dioxide, formaldehyde, PCBs, and hexavalent chromium. Each of these substances is dangerous to human health.
"This is a classic David and Goliath battle of local citizens trying to get a multinational polluter to stop endangering their health," said Ableman. " The air belongs to all of us, no one company has the right to hijack that commons for its own profit and place communities and the environment at risk".
Contact: Michael Ableman 250-537-1449
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Listen to the wolves
By Gloria Goulet and Suzanne Hare
Guest Columnists, Raven's Eye
Two wolves were killed on Vargas Island located off the west coast of Vancouver Island by BC Parks officials after a camper was injured on in July of 2001. The camper reported waking to an animal tugging at his bedroll spread out on the beach. He yelled to scare the animal away but it jumped on him. He landed a solid kick, and the wolf bit him on the head and hand. The BC Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks responded by killing two wolves, based on their concern for public safety. They neglected to consult the Ahousat Nation, whose traditional lands include Vargas Island.
Traditional Ahousat families have a strong spiritual connection to the wolf. Hereditary chiefs (some of whom are buried in this island) have their most significant and sacred traditional ceremonies based on that connection. Traditional people view the killing of the Vargas Island wolves as yet as another example of human resistance to listen to what our animal relatives are trying to teach us. The Ahousat do not normally kill wolves. Some years ago, wolves were shot as they swam between the islands. Elders requested the bodies be retrieved and the wolves were buried with a ceremony.
Traditional ecological knowledge is recognized at national and international levels of government as a powerful and unique base of environmental knowledge relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of the biological diversity. But the events surrounding the killing of the Vargas Island wolves clearly highlight the cultural differences that exist between traditional Aboriginal peoples and some government officials. Traditional teachings tell us to talk softly and respect wolves when we meet them.
"If you don't harm them, they won't harm you." Conversely, the BC Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks posted signs on Vargas Island beaches requesting campers to "yell and throw rocks, sand and sticks" when they encounter wolves. The bodies of the two wolves were disposed of in a dump, according to BC Ministry of Environment representative Lance Sandquist despite a written First Nations request for the return of the wolves' remains.
Numerous encounters between the wolves and humans on Vargas Island prior to July 1 did not result in injury to either groups. Some biologists suggested that wolves get progressively bolder with successive human encounters, but evidence, based on interviews, suggest that aggressive attempts to chase off the wolves contributed to the attack on the camper and that it may not have been an unprovoked incident. Two other groups encountered wolves while camping on Vargas on July 1. They heard loud noises like pellet gunshots or firecrackers coming from the area where the campers were injured.
Traditional Aboriginal people recognize wolves as the teachers, pathfinders and innovators that can open doorways to knowledge. Ahousat Elders tell us that the wolves are showing themselves because they have no where else to go. That is both symbolic and literal as they cling to the rocks of the sparsely populated small islands of the most westerly areas of Canada. The teachings are similar in other Nations across the land.
Cree Elders in Manitoba teach that "what happens to the wolves will happen to us" and Haudenosaunee philosophy tells us that "animals send us messages about the current health of the planet and warnings of what our future will hold. We rely on our animal relatives for more than food, shelter, clothing and medicine. They give us spiritual and emotional strength."
After the man was injured some Ahousat Elders wanted Vargas Island temporarily closed to campers to provide time to monitor the wolves and learn how the two species can share the area. However, aware of the potential economic impact on local outfitters, they suggested that kayakers should have to agree to camp "at their own risk." Is that such a radical idea? Why do people seek wilderness experiences and crave wolf song? Why are we so resistant to finding ways to live together? Should economic interests always take precedence when they result in the destruction of our natural world?
Raven's Eye columnists say wolves are sending a message to their human brothers and sisters, but who is listening? Photo: Adrian Dorst
BAY SHORE: Women walked to honor water
BAY SHORE - A group of American Indian mothers and grandmothers is walking along the Great Lakes to raise awareness about the need to value and protect water resources.
The Mother Earth Water Walk started from Walpole Island, Ont., near Port Huron in the summer of 2004.
Josephine Mandamin, "lead Water Walk grandmother," said it is right for women to take up the cause of protecting water.
"Just as a mother gives life to her children through her blood, our mother, the Earth, gives us life through her water," said Mandamin, 62, an Ojibwe from the Wikwemikong reservation of Thunder Bay in the Canadian province of Ontario.
"The grandmothers are standing up because society has become complacent about all of the toxic spills and degradation of our lakes, rivers and streams," she said. "It is up to the original people of this land, and all like-minded people, to stand up and demand change."
Charlevoix resident Jo Anne Beemon, a local environmentalist and Charlevoix County's drain commissioner, accompanied the Water Walkers ... "I'm here to learn," Beemon said. "The thing I've learned is, I need to get back to my own Judeo-Christian heritage and learn the ancient ways to take care of the Earth. I need to go back to my own roots, as these women are doing."
Raising awareness of the need to protect fresh water is a cause worth "walking the talk," Mandamin said.
"I want to leave what I am doing for all of the future generations, so that they will know somebody cared enough to say something," she said.
On the Net:
ALLISTER MARSHALL OF FNEN
RECEIVES EAC SUNSHINE AWARD
The Ecology Action Centre membership has voted for its annual awards and the race was a close one! "These awards are a good way to recognize the work of individuals and groups - who are not known as environmentalists per se and to also recognize where unnecessary environmental damage is being done." say's EAC volunteer, Susanna Fuller.
The Sunshine Award is given to a group or organization who has contributed most to the environmental issues in Nova Scotia in the past year. This years winner is the Dr. Arthur Hines Elementary School in Summerville, Hants County.
The school integrates coastal and marine activities into all aspects of their curriculum for which principal Hazel Dill was awarded a Gulf of Maine Council Visionary Award in 2003. Tony Bowron, of the EAC Coastal Issues Committee says, "This school represents the true heart of a sustainable community - I wish I could start grade primary again!".
The Bubby Mooers Award is given in honour of folk artist Bubby Mooers who donated many pieces of his art to raise money for environmental issues. It is given to an individual who has demonstrated particular commitment towards a healthy and sustainable environment in Nova Scotia. Allister Marshall has been active on environmental issues in his own community of Chapel Island and across Canada for many years. Several years ago he founded the Potlotek Wildlife Association, a First Nations environmental organization. Allister is known for his sense of humour throughout the battles he has fought.
For more information please contact
Susanna Fuller at email@example.com
May, 2004: PERCY SCHMEISER loses appeal against Monsanto in Federal Supreme Court of Canada re:Genetically Modified Grain issue. (see below)
It is a sad day for farmers, lovers of the earth and pure,
unadulterated organic foods.
This morning the Canadian Supreme Court ruled AGAINST Percy Schmeiser
in his suit against Monsanto.
Percy Schmeiser is a canola farmer of over 50 years from Saskatchewan
who has meticulously farmed, sorted, and saved his seed over many
years. Several years ago his canola field was contaminated by pollen
from Monsanto's Genetically Modified (GMO) Roundup Resistant canola
plants being grown by neighboring farmers.
Canola is a seed that is about the size of, or a little smaller than, a
mustard seed. It is very small, round, and has the consistency of
water when you gather a lot of it together. This means that it is very
easy to spill, leak and spread. In addition, the seed pods literally
explode when touched, sending their seeds all about. A very effective
means of propogation, that's nature!
Percy's field was contaminated, either by pollen-drift or by seed that
spilled out of a neighbor's truck and collected at the edges of his
field. Monsanto sued Percy for STEALING their patented Roundup Ready
seeds and for not paying a fee for using their seed.
The Canadian Supreme court just ruled against Percy. This now sends a
message to corporate agri-chemical GMO giants that they can spread
their frankenfood seeds with impunity, at least in Canada, and I'm sure
it won't be long until it is the same here in the U.S. But, it doesn't
have to be this way.
This is why it is IMPERATIVE that the Vermont Legislature pass the
FARMER LIABILITY ACT which protects organic and conventional farmers
from suits such as this. GMO corn is already being grown here in
Vermont and it is a prolific pollinator. Organic corn farmers are at
great risk from pollen drift from these GMO monsters. Contamination
means the loss of their organic certification and, obviously, the loss
of their income.
The legislative session is about over, and the Farmer Liability Bill
was prevented from making it to the floor of the Vermont House of
Representatives. This summer is the time to **hold your
representatives accountable** for their action on this issue (or
inaction, if appropriate). Now is the time to continue the pressure by
sending letters to the editor of your local papers and to inform your
friends and neighbors of the dangers posed by GMO foods. You would be
amazed at how uninformed people are about the presence of GMOs in
For more information go to:
Organic Consumers Association
Jeffrey Smith's Seeds of Deception
(discusses in depth the food safety issues/dangers posed by GMOs)
Innu President, Peter Penashue Responds to the Cariboo Protest Kill in Labrador as "inconsistent with Innu values"....
The President of the Innu Nation, Peter Penashue, responded to concerns over the kill of between 60-160 Cariboo in the region of the endangered Red Wine Cariboo Herd by Innu Chiefs in Quebec, declaring the hunt as inconsistent with Innu values.
......"the hunt in the Red Wine caribou range was not just an illegal protest, it was completely inconsistent with Innu values. We are brought up by our elders to respect wildlife, especially caribou. Respect for the land and for the animals is central to our culture. This is why putting a threatened caribou herd at further risk can never be justified on the basis of aboriginal rights. Such actions erode the very foundations of who we are as a people, and undermine the foundations of the very rights that the Quebec chiefs were trying to assert.
The struggle for recognition of aboriginal rights is a just cause, and it is a cause that all Canadians should support. But aboriginal people must understand that we will never achieve anything resembling respect or recognition from government or anyone else by acting in ways that go against our values.
We have always believed that a just cause must be pursued through just means."
The struggle of the Innu People of Labrador, Newfoundland and Northern Quebec for justice and environmental rights has been a long one;
The blockades to protest NATO's low level military flights over Innu territory in the 80's;
Cconcerns about Inco's Voisey Bay mining proposals;
Logging in their territories among the sacred white pines;
The lower Churchill River Hydro Electric development by the Newfoundland government
and many other environmental threats to life-sustaining systems, wildlife and habitat are just some of the challenges to which the Innu have responded.
For more information, contact www.innu.ca
250 Buffalo slaughtered in Yellowstone National Park
2500 Buffalo have been slaughtered over the past decade in Yellowstone National Park, USA, as they approach the Northern boundaries of the park. 250 Buffalo have been slaughtered this year in the excuse that they carry Brucellosis bacteria and are a threat to cattle although this has never been proven in those that have been slaughtered and there is no proof that this can be carried to free-ranging cattle in the areas surrounding the park's boundaries. Write to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department and the Yellowstone National Park Wardens to express your concerns over this ongoing slaughter.
Contact www.worldwildlife.org to write a letter online
Manitoba Hydro plans to flood Boreal Forest with Wuskwatim Dam
Manitoba Hydro is presently developing plans for a dam in the Boreal Forests of Northern Canada called Wuskwatim. Hearings are taking place in May throughout the territory. Thousands of acres will be flooded to comply with this plan which will result in the loss of many species and critical habitat to wildlife throughout North America. This land is a provider and is the traditional territory to First Nations of Cree, Algonquin and Ojibwe plus more. Please write Manitoba Hydro to express your views. Meegwetch.
Canada's Shame: Help Now to Stop the killing of seals in Canada!
During March and April, on the ice floes of Newfoundland, the Federal Fisheries and Oceans Ministry in Canada permits the "sustainable" hunt of over 300,000 baby seals! The hunters, armed with clubs and other weapons, beat the baby hooded and harp seals in front of their mothers, who often die trying to save their pups. Male adults are often left to bleed to death after having their penises brutally removed to export to countries such as Japan where they are used as aphrodesiacs. In 2001, an international team of Veterinarians who witnessed the hunt, found that 42% of the seals had been skinned alive. In 2004, 350,000 seals were killed and the plan is to kill over a million seals in 3 years. The quota last year was exceeded by 32,000 animals. This is the largest mammal killing in the world and this massacre and torture is an unecessary and brutal action. Groups in other countries are calling for boycotts of Canada such as not travelling in the country nor buying Canadian products.
"The greatness of a Nation and its' moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." ... Ghandi
Write to Paul Martin, Prime Minister of Canada,
80 Wellington St, Ottawa, Ont. Canada, K1A 0A2
Ph: 613 992-4211 Fax: 613 941-6900 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 1-800-O-Canada (1-800-622-6232) and ask for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Contact: Sea Shepherd Society, www.seashepherd.org
Grassy Narrows First Nation News:
Upcoming information on this will be available shortly, for further information please contact:
Judy da Silva at email@example.com (Ph: 807 925-9914) or Steve Fobister at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nuu Chah Nulth Tribal Council goes to B.C. Supreme Court to assert Fisheries Rights...
After many years of efforts to establish their rights to fish and sell fish through their Aboriginal Title on the West Coast of Canada, the Nuu Chah Nulth Tribal Council (10 bands within the Council) issued a writ in the B.C. Supreme Court asserting rights to the fisheries in their territories. After being charged by the DFO and fined $60,000.00 and losing their right to sell their smoked salmon in a state of the art smokehouse they built near Pt. Alberni several years ago, they have gotten frustrated in trying to negotiate any further with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and have proceeded with a lawsuit against the Crown filed on Dec. 16th, 2003. "We want to be able to earn a moderate livelihood from the ocean resources around our communities, is that too much to ask?" said Archie Little, NTC Co-chair. "Nuu Chah Nulth will pursue all avenues, including negotiation, litigation and direct action, to have Nuu Chah Nulth Title and Rights recognized and regain access to our sea resources" stated Co-Chair David Dennis.
For More Information: See www.nuuchahnulth.org
Lawyer Barry Bacharach Speaks out about the Trial and Conviction of Arlo Looking Cloud in the Murder of Anna Mae Aquash, Feb. 2004> "Ladies and Gentleman of the Press,> A major occurrence in Rapid City last week. A trial,> if that's what you want to call it. Many of you covered the murder> trial of Arlo Looking Cloud. A 10-minute defense? Pretty sensational> stuff.> You didn't find what you were witnessing at all strange? I did. I mean,> who was on trial?> The majority of the testimony presented had nothing whatsoever to do> with Arlo Looking Cloud, but prominent members of the American Indian> Movement (AIM) and my client, Leonard Peltier, in particular.> Leonard Peltier or the AIM leadership, I would remind you, are not on> trial for the 1975 murder of Annie Mae Aquash. They have not been> charged with the crime, either, simply because there is no evidence against> them. Only rumor, conjecture, and innuendo.> And that's all you were treated to in that courtroom this week. There> was not one iota of proof presented to support many witnesses'> "beliefs". And for every witness presented, there are any number of> other individuals who could be called to appear and who would tell very> different stories - that Annie Mae wasn't afraid of AIM, but the Federal> Bureau of Investigation (FBI); she had stated this to various> individuals on numerous occasions; and she had actually put such fears> in writing. In 1975, she said she'd been told by investigators that she> would be dead within the year if she didn't cooperate with FBI agents in> framing AIM leaders and Leonard Peltier.> How credible are the witnesses in this case? Paid informants, for> example, must immediately be called into question, as must others who> have long been accused of fabricating evidence in the Peltier case> and/or of playing some part in the murder of Ms. Aquash.> Ask yourself, too, what didn't come out at this trial.> During the 1970s, the AIM leadership was targeted by the FBI much like,> as we have seen this week, they are targeted now. The Bureau's> documented intent was to "expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or> otherwise neutralize" the AIM organization. The FBI had decided that> Native Americans who were committed to uniting all Native Peoples in an> effort to uplift their communities and promote cultural pride and> sovereignty were "enemies of the State". Fact, not fiction.> Virtually every known AIM leader in the United States was incarcerated> in either state or federal prisons since (or even before) the> organization's formal emergence in 1968, some repeatedly. After the 1973> siege of Wounded Knee (SD), for example, the FBI caused 542 separate> charges to be filed against those it identified as "key AIM leaders".> This resulted in only 15 convictions, all on such petty or contrived> offenses as "interfering with a federal officer in the performance of> his duty". Organization members often languished in jail for months as> the cumulative bail required to free them outstripped resource capabilities of AIM and> supporting groups. Fact, not fiction.> After Wounded Knee, AIM activities were forbidden on the Pine Ridge> Indian reservation by the then Tribal Chairman Dick Wilson.> Traditionalists were not allowed to meet or attend traditional> ceremonies. Wilson hired vigilantes who called themselves Guardians of> the Oglala Nation (GOONs) to enforce his rules. Fact, not fiction.> The three years following Wounded Knee are often referred to as the Pine> Ridge "Reign of Terror" because anyone associated with AIM was targeted> for violence. Their homes were burned and their cars were run off the> road. They were struck by cars, shot in drive-by shootings, and beaten.> Between 1973 and 1976, over 60 traditionalists were murdered. Pine Ridge> had the highest murder rate in the United States, people! Fact, not fiction.> And now we're supposed to believe, I take it, that the lives of these 60> or more human beings are somehow less significant than that of Anna Mae> Aquash? Yes, we want justice for Anna Mae, but what about the many> others? Don't they deserve justice, too? In almost every case of violence, witness accounts> indicated GOON responsibility, but nothing was done to stop these> bloody events. On the contrary the FBI, the agency responsible for> investigating such violence, supplied the GOONs with weaponry and> intelligence on AIM. The FBI, in fact, looked the other way as the GOONs> committed crime after crime against members as well as supporters of AIM.> Fact, not fiction. Yet, there was no mention of these facts during last> week's trial. That means only part of the story was told. A very small> part. The public didn't hear about the shoddy> investigation the FBI conducted into the death of Anna Mae Aquash, either. It took> them 28 years to bring someone - anyone - to trial? The FBI is better> than that. Everybody knows it. Why did the FBI not find the bullet hole in the back> of Anna Mae's head, or the blood on the back of her jacket? These things> were immediately discovered by means of an independent autopsy. Fact,> not fiction. Why did the FBI rule the cause of death instead as> "exposure"? Fact, not fiction. Why did the FBI find it necessary to sever Anna> Mae's hands, when the agents on the scene - in particular, David Price,> who testified this week - should have been able to identify the body of> a woman with whom they were well acquainted? Anna Mae's body lay> frozen in a gully when found. Winter in South Dakota. The body was too> decomposed, they say. "Unidentifiable." Fact, not fiction.> And why then was a photo of Anna Mae's severed hands later used to> frighten another Indian woman into signing several false affidavits> against Leonard Peltier? Why was Myrtle Poor Bear told that the same> would happen to her if she failed to cooperate with the FBI and the> federal prosecutors? Fact, not fiction.> On the basis of these fabricated affidavits, a Canadian court was> convinced to extradite Peltier to the U.S. for trial. Bob Newbrook, a> retired police officer who arrested Peltier in Alberta in 1976 recently> stated, "Canada should have learned from the Peltier case that it cannot> trust U.S. evidence presented against American Indian activists."> Newbrook said he has thoroughly investigated the Peltier and Aquash> cases and has come to regret his role. "I'm haunted by the fact that I> now think we seized an innocent man, with no valid Canadian arrest> warrant, based on false evidence from the U.S.," he said.> Warren Allmand, a former Canadian justice minister, and the judge who> later extradited Peltier said they would never have agreed to his> extradition had they known affidavits and evidence presented by the U.S.> were false.> Despite its carefully contrived image as the nation's premier crime> fighting agency, the FBI then as now (and you have only to look at the> U.S. Patriot Act to know this is true) functioned primarily as America's> political police. This role includes not only the collection of> intelligence on the activities of political dissidents and groups, but> often counterintelligence operations to thwart those activities. At its> most extreme dimension, political dissidents have been eliminated> outright or sent to prison for the rest of their> lives. These activities are well documented. Fact, not fiction.> Many activists were "neutralized" by intimidation, harassment,> discrediting, and a whole assortment of tactics,including "snitch> jacketing" where the FBI made the target look like a police informant or> a federal agent. This served the dual purposes of isolating and> alienating important leaders, as well as increasing the general level of> fear and factionalism in the group. Just like the fear described in that> courtroom last week. Yet, you heard agents of the FBI, deny there ever> was such a thing as snitch jacketing, didn't you? This and other tactics> used by the FBI also are well-documented. Fact, not fiction.> The trial was well-orchestrated - not to convict the man on trial, but> to convict AIM activists and prosecute Leonard Peltier all over again> (another violation of his constitutional rights, I would argue) in the> court of public opinion.> The style and content of the articles being published last week> (machine-gun-toting Indians?) focused on Peltier, specifically, who is> due for a full parole hearing in 2008. These articles were reminiscent> of articles published at the request of particular FBI agents during the> campaign in 2001 to convince President Clinton to grant Mr. Peltier's> petition for Executive Clemency. This is why Leonard Peltier has filed a> civil suit against the FBI, naming former director Louis Freeh, current> director Robert S. Mueller, and a dozen or so active and retired agents> of the Bureau. Allegations contained in the suit include providing to> the media as fact "numerous [...] knowingly false> and unsupported accusations [...] against the Plaintiff designed> solely to deny him the right to due process both before the [U.S.] Parole> Commission and in petitions for Executive Clemency".> Nothing has changed, it seems. The only difference now is that the FBIand federal prosecutors are using a court of law to> advance these false and unsupported accusations - when they know and> have admitted twice before the appellate bench that they can't prove> Peltier's guilt. They believe they're not culpable now because they are> only indirectly providing false information to the press.> In our system of justice, trials are open and public. This is, in part,> to guard against official misconduct and to ensure that only justice is> done. In our mature society, this means that the print and electronic> media are the witnesses to due process - the public's eyes and ears, so> to speak. This means that you have the responsibility to tell the truth,> the whole truth. This means you must remain independent observers and> guard against manipulation by the FBI and government prosecutors who> fight only to win, not for the sake of justice. Might does not make> right, ladies and gentlemen. And the end does not justify the means."
> Barry Bachrach> Attorney at Law >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
75 YEAR OLD GRANDMOTHER SENTENCED SERVES OVER 10 MONTHS IN JAIL FOR PEACEFULLY PROTESTING ONGOING LOGGING OF OLD GROWTH FORESTS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA
Betty Krawczyk speaking to sentencing in courtroom, Oct. 14th, 2003 (excerpt):
"In prison I have been learning to drum and sing Native songs with the Native Sisterhood and I have noted the respect afforded Elders is still alive and breaathing in their society, even in prison. Elders were respected in most ancient societies. We are told by anthropologists that Elders bridged the gap between generations. As an Elder, I want to say this message to all:
What good will high tech computers be to us when the Earth's waters are so polluted and dried up that children sicken and die everywhere, and not just in Third World Countries; when our food has become so industrialized and chemicalized that it is more a chemical gumbo than food; when our forests are all gone and remaining top soil washed away - what good are high tech computers then?
Elders have perspective because we were there, a long time ago, and while politicians may have been just as corrupt as they are today, and the wars just as brutal or more so, and greed was rampant everywhere in high places - at least the Earth itself and the Earth's waters were all okay.
That is no longer true. The Earth is not okay. And it's not okay in ways that fill many of my generation with absolute terror because we are aware of how this is already affecting the health of our grandchildren, and this one overriding fact fills us with increasing alarm and sadness. My immune system and most of those of my generation, is stronger than the immune systems of my grandchildren, and the grandchildren of other seventy year olds.
This is because we enjoyed a blessing our grandchildren will never know - that of growing up in a largely chemical-free environment. And the chemicalization of industry has spread everywhere and the logging industry is no exception.
Clear-cutting, recently renamed "retention logging" by forest companies, require massive amounts of herbicides and pesticides upon replanting. These chemicals contain compounds that mimic the female hormone estrogen. These compounds lodge in top soil, and seep into ground water and are being linked by an increasing number of medical researchers to the highly unusual prevalence of diseases that were previously only associated with old ones. like breast cance and prostate cancer, showing up in alarming numbers of very young peoppe. This is well documented in books, articles and documentaries.
So it seemed to me for a long time that the men in charge of the world's affairs have not been willing to aproach the Earth's environment in a respectful manner, and it was a year and a half ago that I, along with a group of like minded women came together and formed a collective we called 'The Women of the Woods', to facilitate our understanding and protection of the public forests of Brisith Columbia. As women, mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, neices, aunts and friends, we have a special interest in the preservation of our life support systems and have been moderators of society and stewards of the land.
In this role, we struggle to protect what is left of the public forests of B.C. from privatization and devastation by Provincial Governments, logging companies and the indifference, if not actual collusion, of the Courts of British Columbia."
For More Information see www,womeninthewoods.org
B.C. Government's Ministry of Wildlife has plans of taking young Bald Eagles, Owls and other birds of prey for hunting purposes...."falconry practices". The B.C. Ministry of Wildlife is proposing taking nestlings of coastal Bald Eagles, Owls, Hawks and other "Birds of Prey". This is being endorsed to establish a type of "falconry" hunting plan which is presently under consideration. FNEN will be addressing this issue at the upcoming Species at Risk Conference in March at the Victoria Conference Centre. More information on this can be obtained from the B.C. Ministry of Wildlife or from the Haa Shilth Saa's Nuu Chah Nulth First Nations News in Pt. Alberni.
MAORI DECLARE WAR ON GENETIC ENGINEERING....
"We are going to war against GE protagonists" declared the first National Maori Hui on GE at Te Ao Hou Marae at Wanganui today.
"These GE protagonists are Life Sciences Network, Multi and Trans National Chemical and Fertiliser companies, and scientists at Universities and Research Institutes experimenting with GE on Agricultural, Horticulture, Aquaculture, Flora and Fauna" proclaimed the Hui.
"These GE protagonist's threaten our whakapapa, threaten our plant whakapapa and threaten our animal whakapapa" went on the Hui. "We have a responsibility to protect the existing environment for the future of our mokopuna."
"Every Maori has the exclusive right under the Treaty to their whakapapa and every Maori is asked to protest against GE" added the Hui.
"Our strategies are being developed to mount a political campaign which is wide ranging targeting for instance all political parties, all scientists at universities and scientific research institutions, involved in experimenting and researching GE" stated the Hui.
"A strong voice at the Hui called for immediate direct action,"concluded the Hui.
All communications to Cheryl Smith (021) 162 4059
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Update: In May, 2004, Percy Schmeiser lost his appeal in the Supreme Court of Canada...
We have included all of Percy Schmeiser's talk here as we feel it is very revealing and important.....
Sunday, January 11, 2004 12:48 PM
Percy Schmeiser versus Monsanto: David and Goliath......
Percy Schmeiser vs. Monsanto Vancouver talk - GMOs on trial
Common Ground, January 2004
Percy Schmeiser vs. Monsanto
By Percy Schmeiser
I’ve been farming since 1947 when I took over from my father. My wife and I are known on the Prairies as seed developers in canola and as seed savers. Hundreds of thousands of farmers save their seed from year to year.
I was also a member of the provincial legislature. I was on many agricultural committees, both on the provincial level and representing the province on the federal level. I was mayor of my community and a councillor for over 25 years. So, all my life I’ve worked for the betterment of farmers and rules, laws and regulations that would benefit them and make their farming operations viable.
The whole issue of GMOs can be divided into three main categories: the first category is the issue of the property rights of farmers versus the intellectual property rights of multinationals like Monsanto. The second issue is the health and danger to our food with the introduction of GMOs. The third issue is the environment.
Over this last year there have been other very important issues. The GM wheat issue, and what I think is one of the worst things: the pharmaceutical issue of GM plants producing prescription-type drugs, which I’ll touch on later. I want to concentrate on the issue I’m involved with: Property rights of farmers vs. the intellectual property rights of multinationals.
In August 1998 I received a lawsuit document from Monsanto. Up to that time I never had anything to do with Monsanto’s GM canola. I’d never bought their seed or gone to a Monsanto meeting. I didn’t even know a Monsanto rep.
There were a number of items in the lawsuit. First of all, they said I had somehow acquired Monsanto’s GM canola seed without a licence, planted it, grew it and therefore infringed on their patent. They went on to say that it was 80 or 90 percent contamination that I had in a roadside ditch and so on.
When we were sued my wife and I immediately realized that 50 years of research and development on our pure canola seed that was suitable and adaptable to certain conditions on the Prairies, climatic and soil conditions and especially diseases that we had in canola, could now be contaminated. We said to Monsanto at the time, "Look, if you have any of your GMOs in our pure canola seed you are liable for the destruction of our property and our pure seed." So, we stood up to them.
I think at that time there were two main issues. We lost 50 years of research and development and we felt that if farmers ever lose the right to use their own seed the future development of new seeds and plants suitable to their local climatic and soil conditions would be stopped. Those are the two main reasons we stood up to Monsanto.
It took two years of pre-trial and in those two years Monsanto withdrew all allegations that I had ever obtained seed illegally. They even went so far as to admit the allegations were false.
But, they still found that the fact that they had found some of Monsanto’s GM canola plants in the ditch along my field, not even in the field, meant I violated the patent. So, it became a patent infringement case. I had no choice where it would be heard. Patent laws are federal, so it was before the federal court of Canada immediately, with one judge. It went to trial in June 2000 and lasted two and a half weeks.
That ruling is what brought my case to international attention. These are some of the main points:
1. It does not matter how Monsanto’s GM canola or soybeans or any GM plant gets into a farmer’s field. The judge went on to specify how this could happen: cross-pollination and direct seed movement. Believe me that’s a primary cause - wind, birds and bees, because we have a lot of wind on the prairies.
The judge said it doesn’t matter how it gets into a farmer’s field, destroying or contaminating your crop, it all becomes Monsanto’s property. You no longer own your crop. That’s what startled people all over the world; how an organic or conventional farmer can lose a crop and seeds or plants overnight. He also went on to say that all the seeds and plants that my wife and I had developed over half a century go to Monsanto.
2. The other issue was that my entire crop from all our canola fields in 1998 goes to Monsanto. He also ruled that I was not allowed to use my seeds or plants again. So, all our research and development was gone and Monsanto got our crop for nothing.
We went to the federal Court of Appeal, which took over a year. Then I had three judges, but at the appeal court they only address the issues of facts of law, points of law or where the first judge erred in law. The viability issue and the property rights issue were never addressed.
After so many days of trial the federal Court of Appeal stated that although the judges did not agree with all of the first judge’s decisions they upheld his ruling. All three judges ruled against me.
Next was the Supreme Court of Canada. Now it was a pretty depressing time because we didn’t know what our chances would be that the Supreme Court would hear it. We applied in November 2002 and in May 2003 we received the best news in five years of legal battle when the Supreme Court ruled that it would indeed hear the case. That was a tremendous victory for us.
I’d like to explain the main issues of what the Supreme Court will be addressing. I will concentrate on four or five facts out of many.
1. Can living organisms, seeds, plants, genes and human organs, be owned and protected by corporate patents on intellectual property?
2. Who is responsible for the genetically modified traits of noxious weeds that then become resistant to weed killers? We now have these super weeds.
3. Can farmers’ rights to grow conventional or organic crops be protected?
4. Can farmers keep the ancient right to save their own seed?
5. Who owns life?
The first trial judge said it doesn’t matter how it gets there, even when he specified how this could happen. I think that’s what really alarmed farmers and property owners in North America and right around the world, how quickly you could lose your rights as a farmer.
Another issue that you never hear about in GMOs is the issue of corporate control of contracts that exist on the Prairies of North America. You would say to yourself that this can’t happen in a free country like Canada, but it has happened and is happening even today.
Besides the environmental, food, health and contamination issues, there is the issue of contracts. To me this is one of the most vicious contracts on the face of the Earth, taking farmers’ rights away.
These are some of the main points in a contract with Monsanto:
1. A farmer can never use his own seeds.
2. You must always buy seeds from Monsanto.
3. You must only buy your chemicals from Monsanto.
4. If you commit some violation of this contract, and they fine you, you must sign a non-disclosure statement that you cannot talk to the media or to your neighbours about what Monsanto has done to you. Monsanto often says there have only been a few cases, but we don’t really know because farmers have to sign this non-disclosure statement.
Another point. You must pay Monsanto $15/acre per year licence fee for the privilege of growing GMOs and in the 2003 contract they’ve added another clause - you can no longer sue Monsanto for whatever reason. You can never take Monsanto to court. That is their contract.
Another important issue, you must permit Monsanto’s detectives to come onto your land or look in your granaries for three years after you sign this contract, even though you may only grow it one year. And who is Monsanto’s police force? They’re former RCMP officers. They go under the name of Robinson Investigation Services of Saskatoon and they cover all of Canada. In the US it’s the Pickerton Investigation Services.
In Monsanto’s advertisements they say that if you think your neighbour is growing GM canola or soybeans without licence you should inform on them. If you do this you get a free leather jacket from Monsanto. Believe me, there aren’t many people on the prairies now wearing a new Monsanto jacket.
What happens when Monsanto gets this tip or rumour? They immediately send out two of their detectives. We call them gene police on the Prairies. They’ll go to the farmer’s home or farmyard and say to him or his wife that they have this tip. But, first of all, they’ll always say they are ex-RCMP and a lot of times the farmers don’t hear the "ex." They only hear police. It’s a form of intimidation.
They’ll say they have a tip or a rumour that you’re growing GM canola without a licence and the farmer will say No, that he or she has never had anything to do with it and doesn’t want to grow it. The farmer is often told that he is lying and if he doesn’t confess Monsanto will drag him through the courts and the farmer won’t have a farm left. So, it’s real harassment and intimidation of farmers by these gene police.
Now what do you think happens when these detectives leave the farmer’s home? The farmer will wonder which neighbour caused him the trouble. So, now we have the breakdown of farmers not trusting one another and afraid to talk to one another. We have the breakdown of our rural farm culture and society where farmers are not working together or trusting one another.
My grandparents came from Europe in the late 1890s. I’m a third generation farmer and our families had to work together to build our society, our infrastructure, our schools, our roads and our hospitals. Now you have that breakdown of working together and I think this is one of the worst things that could happen with the introduction of GMOs.
Now, Monsanto doesn’t even stop there. Believe me, on this issue I’ve had I don’t know how many farm wives crying on the phone after Monsanto’s police have been there saying, "What can we do? They’ve threatened us." And I’ll try to get them proper legal advice. That’s the whole fear culture where farmers are even scared to talk to one another.
The other means of control is what can be considered extortion letters.
This has been done all across America. We don’t know how many thousands of these letters have been sent out; I have quite a number of them. The letters state: we have reason to believe that you might be growing Monsanto’s GM canola or soybeans without a licence. We estimate you might have 200, 300 or 500 acres. In lieu of us not taking you to court send us $100,000 or $200,000. I’ve got one here for $190,000. This one here is for $30,000 because they think someone might be growing GM canola.
Can you imagine the fear in a farm family when they get a letter from a multibillion dollar corporation asking for many thousands of dollars so the company might not take them to court?!
Another clause: You’re not allowed to show this letter to anyone and you’re not allowed to tell anyone that you’ve received this letter from Monsanto or what Monsanto has done to you. So, a total suppression of farmers rights, freedom of speech and expression.
If they can’t find a farmer at home and they don’t know his mailing address, they can go to the local municipality and get the location of his land. They will then use a small airplane or helicopter and drop a Monsanto Roundup herbicide spray bomb on the field. It covers about 30 feet in diameter, in the centre of a canola or soybean field.
About 12 days after Roundup has time to activate, they’ll fly back. If the crop, which was hit by the spray, has died they’ll know the farmer has not been using Monsanto’s Roundup, but if it hasn’t died, God help the farmer.
These are the tactics. I’m talking about Canada and the US. This is what a multinational corporation is doing here.
I’ve talked about our rural social fabric being broken down and how our freedom is threatened as farmers. Two other very important issues come out of this.
First, with the introduction of GMOs always remember there is no such thing as containment. Once you introduce a life form, a life-giving form, into the environment there is no calling back. You cannot contain the wind. You cannot contain the seed movement through cross-pollination - birds, bees, and other animals. You cannot contain it and it will spread as it has on the Prairies.
The other important issue is there is no such thing as co-existence.
Believe me, as a farmer for half a century, I know that once you introduce a GMO gene into the environment, into any seed or plant, it’s a dominant gene. It will eventually take over whatever species of plants it gets into. You can’t have GMOs in the country and have organic or conventional farmers.
It will all eventually become GMOs. That is the danger. There is no more choice left. Believe me, organic farmers on the Prairies no longer can grow soybeans or canola. All our seed supply is now contaminated with GMOs. Those choices have been taken away for both conventional and organic farmers.
The other issue to remember is canola comes from the brassica family, which includes close cousins such as radishes, turnips and cauliflower. It is now cross-pollinating into the close cousins.
Therefore, we’re again destroying many crops that organic farmers no longer can raise.
The other issue is wheat. If GM wheat is ever given regulatory approval, which is before the federal government right now, it will totally destroy the organic farmers because wheat comes from the grass family and again will cross-pollinate into both the close and even the distant cousins in canola and wild mustard. So, remember there’s no such thing as containment or co-existence.
When Monsanto or the other corporations that promote GMO say they’ll make buffer strips of so many feet, half a mile or a kilometre or so - there’s no such thing as a safe distance. A whirlwind or especially all the geese and ducks we have on the prairies. It passes through these birds after they eat it and they may fly 50 or 100 miles.
I get asked a lot why farmers ever started to grow GMOs when they were introduced in 1996. At that time Monsanto told farmers, among other things, that it would be a bigger yield, that it was more nutritious and used less chemicals. I think the third point is really what caught the farmers’ ears because on the prairies since 1946-47, after the Second World War, farmers started using chemicals by the hundreds of tons each year. A lot were highly potent and farmers realized the damage being done to the environment, human health and animals.
There were other things Monsanto said and you’ll hear the same thing today: We’ll now be able to feed a hungry world. We’ll always have sustainable agriculture. Well, believe me, to feed a hungry world doesn’t take the Monsantos of this world. What it takes to feed a hungry world is politics, transportation and economics.
When I speak to farmers in Third World countries - Africa, India, Bangladesh and so on - I tell them at least they have a choice left. We don’t have a choice left for many of our grains in Canada. It’s all contaminated. And we didn’t have anybody to come and tell us what could happen. We believed Monsanto, but worst of all we believed our own federal government and they let us down on the introduction of GMOs.
They were developed in government agricultural research stations across the Prairies, so Ottawa is fully responsible. They also worked with Monsanto to develop GM wheat on government test plots and research stations. Now it has been reported that if GM wheat is introduced and the government gives regulatory approval the government will get a royalty from Monsanto on every bushel.
We’re saying that if the government is going to receive royalties from Monsanto on GM wheat how much has it already received on sales of GM canola all these years? So it’s coming out that the government has been in bed with Monsanto giving them regulatory approval and worked for them to develop the GMOs.
In a statement to the media Chris Jordan, Monsanto’s communications manager for Canada, based in Winnipeg, stated that all these millions of dollars that they collected from farmers is given to charities, they don’t keep it. So, the question has been asked of Monsanto to name one charity they have given the money to from fines. They have not replied.
Within two to three years after the introduction of GM canola on the Prairies, through cross-pollination, our regular plants became a super weed.
Monsanto wasn’t the only company at that time selling GMOs, so, there were now the GMOs from three companies combined in one canola plant which now took at least three chemicals to control and kill. All Monsanto said was, "No problem. We’ve now come up with a new, more super-toxic chemical to kill the new super weed." So everything they said about less chemicals turned out to be false. Now their yield is down about 6.4 percent on canola. The US Department of Agriculture has admitted that soybeans yield is down at least 15 percent. So now we have less yield.
The third issue of nutrition is that what they’re not saying is the quality is way poorer, maybe half, of conventional canola. I won’t go into why that is, but it’s primarily with the erucic acid content, the greens in canola, which makes it more bitter for cooking.
So, now we have less yield, more chemical use, a new super weed and the quality is much poorer.
I’ll say that if anything is going to lead to starvation or hunger it’s the introduction of GMOs around the world.
I haven’t touched on the economic issue. We as Canadians cannot sell one bushel of canola to the EU, so one-third of our markets have gone and our prices have dropped. Now they want to introduce GM wheat where even the Canadian Wheat Board said we would lose over 80 percent of our market.
I was in Japan a couple of months ago and I have a statement by the millers, the processors and the consumers of Japan and South Korea which says what contracts will be cancelled if we introduce GM wheat. That’s how serious it is.
I mentioned a bit about pharmaceutical plants. That is the worst curse that has come in with the introduction of GMOs. I went through the whole 50 years of the development of chemicals after WWII and then GMOs since the ‘80s. Now the introduction of prescription drugs from GM plants - there were about 300 test plots in North America last year.
In the US there are six major drugs now being produced by plants. I’m told by scientists from universities in Indiana, Ohio and Nebraska that there is already cross-pollination with close cousins of these species. The pharmaceutical plants are primarily sunflowers and corn, or maize. Some of the prescription drugs being produced by plants are vaccines, industrial enzymes, blood thinners, blood clotting proteins, growth hormones and contraceptive drugs. These are all prescription drugs now being produced by plants which are in the open.
I can’t believe that our governments are permitting prescription drugs to be produced in the open. Plants are a cheap way of producing drugs compared to laboratories.
What if someone has major surgery and then eats a food laced with a blood thinner, or if a pregnant woman eats a food laced with a contraceptive? The introduction of what they call pharma-plants, or prescription drug plants, is the worst curse that is coming. Whether it’s GM wheat or soybeans these prescription drugs are something we should all be concerned about.
What can we do? I think all of us must contact our MPs and members of the cabinet as they have done in Europe and Japan. We have the right to know what we’re eating. If people knew what they were eating, 90 percent of the Canadian people would not eat GMO foods.
I haven’t spoken on the environmental issues or the issue of the safety of food, but in Japan, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and England, extensive testing has been done on the health dangers of eating GMO products.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency did not do one bit of testing. They only used the data supplied to them by Monsanto. Japanese and Netherland governments are now saying that the CFIA reached a fraudulent conclusion.
I forwarded these documents to the CFIA two weeks ago. I haven’t had a reply. I also discussed it with them on the phone. What results we’ll get I don’t know.
To give you another example, before I came here to Vancouver I received a call from Germany. On German national television on Monday night there was a story about a farmer who had illegally grown GMOs. I don’t know if it was soybeans or corn, but he had fed it to his cattle and his cattle all died. He contacted me to ask if he could use some of my documents that were submitted to the Supreme Court.
He said the reason it’s just coming out now is because he didn’t say anything to the authorities. He’d been growing it illegally. One of the GMO companies had gotten him to do it. When his neighbours heard that his cattle had died there was an inquiry and he finally admitted he had grown GMOs. That is just one example.
I can give you all kinds of examples from the US where pigs fed GM soybeans will not reproduce. Once they are off that feed they start to reproduce again.
However, my emphasis is really on farmers’ rights, the rights to use one’s own seed from year to year. The judge in my first case ruled that although farmers in Canada have the right by federal law to use their seed from year to year, Monsanto’s patent law is over and above all farmers’ rights. Farmers do not have any rights over patent law.
Another issue is that I never used Monsanto’s patent and in Canada patent infringement is when you use a patent. To use their patent I would have had to spray their chemical Roundup on my crop and I never did that. The judge ruled that that was immaterial. He said the fact that plants were growing in the ditch along my field meant the patent was violated.
At that time I had two scientists pull samples from all my fields. I had eight fields of canola in 1998. These were sent to the University of Manitoba and they tested the seeds and found that two of my fields had no contamination. Others had one percent, some had two percent and one had eight percent. In the ditch along the fields where we first noticed it, contamination was around 60 percent.
The judge said it didn’t matter. Even with the fields that had no contamination he said because I was a seed saver and was using my seed from year to year there was a probability there could be some of Monsanto’s GMOs in those fields also, so the crop all goes to Monsanto.
So, even on a probability you can lose your rights overnight. That’s why my case became so well known worldwide. Remember, it’s a total control of the world’s seed supply they’re after and whoever controls that will control the food supply. In many Third World nations whoever controls the food supply controls the nation.
I have a lot of confidence in the Supreme Court of Canada and I’m sure they’ll rule in favour of the rights of people to use their own seed from year to year.
I have photos to show you how fields have been contaminated and of Monsanto’s gene police in farmer’s fields. These detectives go into any fields they choose to without permission and steal seeds or plants to check on them. If a farmer catches them trespassing they will laugh at the farmer and make threats.
When farmers hear what my wife and I have gone through with five years of legal battles and about $300,000 in court costs and legal fees how can any farmer stand up to them?
There is no justice for an average person. You cannot stand up to a multibillion-dollar corporation in court. I would not have been able to do it without people from all over the world, organizations and foundations. To give you an extent of the ruthlessness of Monsanto, about a year ago they took me back to court on the issue of their costs.
They sued me for $1 million this time because they said I was arrogant, stubborn and didn’t do what they wanted.
So, what did the judge rule on that case? He ruled that I have to pay Monsanto $153,000 for their court costs.
I think there was some humour in this because they had to itemize what some of that million dollars was comprised of. There was $1,100 for a digital camera they said they used in court - well, you know, you can’t use a camera in court in Canada. The other issue, which I found slightly humorous, was $1,500 for light entertainment of Monsanto’s lawyers while the court was on. I couldn’t help but ask what light entertainment the lawyers had.
After the judge awarded them the $153,000 what did they do? They then put a lien on all our land and even our house so I could no longer borrow any more money to fight them. They tried to stop me financially. They tried to break us down mentally. They would come into our driveway and sometimes park all day. When my wife came out of the house they would take off. They watched us day after day when we worked in our fields.
They try to intimidate us. A farmer in North Dakota, who they also had a lawsuit against, said they even followed his children to school as a means of intimidation and harassment to bring people down. As I said, this is what’s happening in North America.
In conclusion, why did we stand up to Monsanto? My wife and I are 72 and 73. We don’t know how many good years we have left and we look at it this way: as a grandfather I ask what kind of legacy I want to leave to my grandchildren. My grandparents and parents left a legacy of land. I don’t want to leave a legacy to my children of land, air and water full of poisons. I’m sure all of you tonight feel the same way.
So, we will go on fighting for the rights of farmers all over the world to be able to use their own seed.
From a speech by Percy Schmeiser December 10, 2003 at Vancouver’s central library sponsored by Council for Canadians http://www.canadians.org/
"...the spread and impact of technological change will continue to drive economic growth in all sectors. Let me be clear: this is where the true new economy is to be found - not in short-lived speculative trends, but in enduring change, and in the transformative cascade of new technologies. This is producing a shift that is adding value and momentum to a wide range of existing industries, from mining to oil and gas, from agriculture to traditional manufacturing. At the same time, it is giving rise to whole new fields of industrial endeavour - information technology and biotechnology today, fuel cells, nanotechnology and genomics tomorrow. It is to this latter category that I particularly want to draw your attention. New technologies create new industries. New industries bring new rules, and rule number one is don't be second. To the first mover go the prime opportunities - to hit the ground running, to corner untapped markets and to become the standard that future rivals will have to displace. In Canada we have moved to take advantage of this new reality. In so doing, we understand that these opportunities are not going to be handed to us. Rather, we must aggressively seize them."
- Paul Martin, speaking to the Canadian Society of New York , January 17, 2001
"I mentioned a bit about pharmaceutical plants. That is the worst curse that has come in with the introduction of GMOs. I went through the whole 50 years of the development of chemicals after WWII and then GMOs since the ‘80s. Now the introduction of prescription drugs from GM plants - there were about 300 test plots in North America last year. In the US there are six major drugs now being produced by plants. I’m told by scientists from universities in Indiana, Ohio and Nebraska that there is already cross-pollination with close cousins of these species. The pharmaceutical plants are primarily sunflowers and corn, or maize. Some of the prescription drugs being produced by plants are vaccines, industrial enzymes, blood thinners, blood clotting proteins, growth hormones and contraceptive drugs. These are all prescription drugs now being produced by plants which are in the open. I can’t believe that our governments are permitting prescription drugs to be produced in the open. Plants are a cheap way of producing drugs compared to laboratories."
- Percy Schmeiser
Let Prime Minister Martin, the agriculture minister and your MP know your feelings on this issue, click here.
If you can assist financially with the legal challenge facing Percy please go to http://www.percyschmeiser.com/ or send your contribution to Fight Genetically Altered Food Fund Inc., Box 3743, Humboldt, SK, S0K 2A0
This response to the recent Cook Inlet oil and gas exploration
propaganda tour has been supplied courtesy of Bob Shavelson, Executive Director, Cook Inlet, Alaska and was published in
the North Island Gazette.
Another side to the oil and gas industry in Alaska:
Members of the North Island community, including First Nations representatives, came to Cook Inlet, Alaska, to view our oil and gas operations. A recent story in the North Island Gazette, however, suggests the tour was more a dog and pony show rather than a fact finding mission.
For example, did the delegation visit any of the hundreds of toxic waste sites created by oil and gas operations? Did anyone tell them Cook Inlet is the only waterbody in the U.S. where oil companies dump billions of gallons of toxic waste into rich coastal fisheries each year?
Did they talk to any Alaska natives who have been fighting decades of pollution and discrimination? Did they know the oil platform they visited was not dumping toxic wastes only because citizens sued to protect their fisheries?
Did they hear about the government study that found a broad array of toxics in native subsistence fish and shellfish? Did they know about the crash in the Cook Inlet beluga whale population, and oil industry efforts to undermine stronger beluga protections?
Did they learn the largest oil producer in Cook Inlet is being prosecuted for over 550 violations of our Clean Water Act? Did they hear about the recent job cuts to improve the oil industry's bottom line? Did they learn how the oil industry recently played a central role dismantling our coastal resource protection law? I imagine not.
But as the North Island debates the merits of oil and gas development, local citizens should get the full story on industry performance in Cook Inlet.
Bob Shavelson, Executive director
Cook Inlet Keeper
HYDROGEN MOTOR BEING DEVELOPED IN QUEBEC
To the first nation environmental network:
My grand mother was a Mohawk and married a French man , he was a carpenter he built La Trappe at Oka.
Our aim is the preservation of the environment.
We are in the retrofitting boat business ,from gas or diesel to alternative , electric battery operated, hybrid with genset for water taxi, canal boat, Solar, fuel-cell Stirling engine..
In our quest for new technology we stumbled on the new hydrogen generator at will for combustion; no retention, no storage or handling of gas cylinder necessary, thereby very safe.
It is a breakthrough and eventually it will replace many fossil application that we presently used because of the no fume and pollution.
Our fuel is water and our by-product is water.
Welding, steel cutting, heating, hot water home and industrial , steam..small incinerator. green-house heating, semiconductor, jewellery, glass factory, ect.
Any application that required a flame or torch.
We will be launching soon in North America.
Why hydrogen and why water? Because when hydrogen is burnt, water is formed again, thus the energy carrier is inexhaustible and has no competitors.
In welding, it eliminates acetylene, and in industrial Ng furnaces or oven hydrogen could be add at the combustion air to enhance more heat with the same fuel or the same heat using less fuel.
for more info please do not hesitate to contact....
Pointe Claire, QC
Study Releases Information on Toxicity of Farmed Salmon - suggests only eating occasionally to avoid toxic buildup and negative health effects....
A report in Science Magazine reported its' findings of high levels of toxins in farmed salmon as opposed to wild salmon. High levels of Persistent Organic Pollutants, including PCB's and all of the twelve most dangerous chemicals on the persistent pollutants' list have been found in a study done in the United States on several tons of farmed salmon taken from all over the world. The tests were done on both wild and farmed salmon and the farmed salmon were designated to be dangerous if eaten in any quantity, suggesting that meals of farmed salmon be limited to only once monthly.
This is just a part of the problem of farming salmon: the toxins created from farming salmon are also affecting the environment creating pollutants that are affecting the ecosystem and all life in and around them. Farmed salmon in Clayoquot Sound have created diseases that brought about quarantines on the processing facilities and the transport of these salmon (although the fish were still deemed fit for market). Dumping of massive die-offs of penned salmon in the open ocean has been protested by local First Nations on the West Coast but has been ignored by government officials of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans as well as the Ministry of the Environment. See Science Magazine, January edition for the complete report.
Blueberry River First Nation Sues B.C. Government over impacts of oil and gas development
Blueberry River First Nation’s Lawsuit Against the Province of
BC and Canadian Natural Resources Limited (Vancouver, Coast Salish
“The Blueberry River First Nations are
now compelled to bring a lawsuit against the Province of British
Columbia and Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) to begin to
address the impacts and effects of the provincial regime on oil and
gas development on our community. The Campbell government must respect
the law and honor the Crown’s treaty obligations,” stated Chief Malcolm
Apsassin, chief of the Blueberry River First Nation. “Clearly, the
Provincial Caucus has deliberately violated the spirit and intent of
Treaty No. 8. Treaty No. 8 was signed by our forefathers in good faith
to be honored and upheld. The actions we have taken, we have done for
the next seven generations,” added Chief Apsassin.
Chief Apsassin was commenting on their lawsuit where the Blueberry River
First Nation is seeking compensation for damages and a permanent injunction
against the development and production activities within ten kilometers
of the reserve. The lawsuit will show that the Province, who asserts its
legislative jurisdiction over all aspects of oil and gas development, and
CNRL, who have significant operations in the vicinity of the reserve, have
directly impacted the use and nature of the reserve.
“Our community is surrounded by wells which produces and releases quantities
of hydrogen-sulphide gas. We are keenly aware of the threat as we experienced
a massive release of hydrogen-sulphide gas in 1979. Everyone fled for their
lives. The gas is a significant threat to the health and safety of our
community,” added Chief Apsassin.
Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, stated,
“We are confident that the Blueberry River First Nation will be successful in
their lawsuit,” said Chief Stewart Phillip. “Sadly, we see a growing pattern
of the readiness of the Campbell government to grossly violate the title and
rights of First Nations. Contrary to the boasting and gloating of the Campbell
government, BC will not have the economic certainty of collecting the billions
of dollars in revenue, unless they reach an accommodation with First Nations
through honest, honorable and good faith negotiations. What we will witness
is the growing discontent of First Nations as government-led processes begin to
collapse. The actions of this Campbell government will create a nightmare of
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Chief Malcolm Apsassin Cell: (250) 787-6851
Blueberry River First Nation
Chief Stewart Phillip Cell: (250) 490-5314
President, Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs
Established in 1969, the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs is a
political organization protecting the Aboriginal Title and Rights of our
member communities. We are based in Kamloops and have an office in
Vancouver. For further details visit our website at http://www.ubcic.bc.ca.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>VERY LIMITED DUCKS - A REPORT FROM ONTARIO -from Chief Steve Fobister
Do you have anyone who might answer some of the concerns we had with migratory birds example the "mallards" The trappers have noticed significant decline of these ducks and vertually nil now. Some trappers have brought back these that were loaded with infections in the flesh. However, there seems to be alot of these ducks where the ducks unlimited have developed these sanctuary's or waterfowl resoration areas. Frankly, I don't see how they call these area saunctuaries when they just gather them to a specific site and shoot the hell out of them for sport and game. The area after all has become loaded with lead which is effecting these birds. I have strong suspicions that this is where these ducks are picking up the diseases because of a large concentration of other kind of animals (domestic dogs) and constant human presense and what it
becomes is a land fill sites. The continuous building of these site may also disrupt migratory flight patterns and what initially these birds are becoming domestic rather born free ducks. Do you think ducks unlimited have adopted the same policy from Indian Affairs? Could it be possible that the enormous amount of clear-cutting going on is affecting navigational flight patterns on migratory birds or other species? I mean aboriginal people hunt these ducks it's for subsistance and are taken in areas normally not designated sites.
This avoids large concentartions of lead in one spot.
We did ask this ducks unlimited organization a few years ago to help us replenish the duck population. In response they gave and repatrioated 800 geese to Grassy. Boy we pissed off all the locals in Kenora and Dryden because these geese were shitting in their yards and eating all their grasses. Echoes of protest hailed all the way Honolulu even. It cost the ducks unlimited organization $15,000 to transport these geese from Toronto from some golf course. Well the only thing we learned from this experiment is to find a way
how to really piss off white people. Now more on serious note? I'm just thinking whether this approach by ducks who ever seems to think they are doing such a supurb job of increasing duck populations are going against the way nature intended things to be and there could be price at the end. This may result in a struggles on what reflection is this method is based on. To
support sport or sustainance people of the land need. Who could be the organization we can approach who would conduct a research on this....
EVERYTHING IS SACRED
EVERYDAY IS THANKSGIVING
Pukatawagan First Nation fighting oil spills and PCB contamination - leaders fast to bring change
Pukatawagan Indian reserve is situated about 500 miles
north of Winnipeg. For years, the people there have been plagued with massive spills of diesel fuel, originating from a former school tankfarm. This spill had taken place between 1952 - 1980. The Roman Catholic Church, then the Department of Indian Affairs and later Manitoba Hydro operated the diesel generating plant until 1976. The Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Canada and Manitoba Hydro have acknowledged the spill
and have funded numerous studies to assess the contamination levels and to develop remediation plans. Additonally there have been concerns on polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) contamination from leaking electrical transformers owned and operated by Manitoba Hydro.
According to Mr. Leonard Daniels, a band member and traditionalist, Canada approved $18 million for clean up and remediation, however, only $4 million dollars have been allocated. Mathias Columb Cree Nation Band Chief, Pascal
Bighetty has expressed that Canada and Manitoba Hydro remain "uncommitted to put their share for the clean up."
In 1988, Chief Pascal Bighetty went to visit the City of Chernobyl in the Ukraine to see the devastation of the contaminated area. Chief Bighetty compares Pukatawagan to Chernobyl where people are dying a slow death.
During the 1960's and 1970's the people were "considered abnormal", according to a press release by Leonard Daniels (July 25, 2003). The press release says the students had to inhale fuel in school which held most of the contaminated soils and that former janitors all died of skin diseases and breathing problems. Daniels says, "there are a high rate of abnormalities among the parents born during the 60's-70's." After the
discovery of contaminated soils, the school was taken down along with the nursing station, houses, including a $3.5 million complex.
Chief Bighetty plans to invite CNN to Pukatawagan. He states in the press release, "The world must see that we have Third World living conditions in Canada."
To bring national and international attention to this issue, Mr. Leonard Daniels, a local traditionalist will be fasting until something is done to allevate this serious issue on the reserve. Daniels says, "The Ethiniwak people of Canada are the land owners and should not be deprived of healthy living standards, including our heritage and cultural aspects of livelihood."
Chief Pascal Bighetty (204) 553-2090, (204) 627-9107 or (204) 553-2142
Rosalie Sinclair, Keewatin Drum Editor (204) 553-2089 ext 232.
WHITE MOOSE FOUND IN NORTHERN MAINE
Cancun, Mexico's WTO Meeting
An Indigenous Declaration demanding recognition, respect and jurisdiction over traditional territories and resources was brought forward. To view this declaration or for more information, please contact Priscilla Settee, Director, Indigenous People's Programs, University of Saskatoon.
CHIEF ALEX MATHIAS OF TEMOGAMI, ONTARIO CHALLENGES LOGGING IN HIS TRADITIONAL TERRITORY
Ahishinabe Family head and Spiritual leader and teacher, Alex Mathias, continues his efforts to try to stop the incursions of logging and mining in his traditional territory. For years now, the battle to save the remaining forests of Temogami, some of the last old growth in Ontario, have been ongoing. He has been holding annual gatherings on his land to teach and inform others of the sacred manner and traditional knowldege of a life way which sustains and respects all life. He welcomes support and assistance in his efforts to protect his territory.
For more information:
NUXALK HOUSE OF SMAYUSTA CHIEFS STOP FISH FARMING IN THEIR TRADITIONAL TERRITORY
Chiefs and members of the Nuxalk community along with other nearby First Nations communities have been monitoring and protesting encroachment of fish farming companies attempting to establish hatcheries, rearing pens and any fish farms in their traditional territories. Summer 2003 blockades prevented fish farm trucks carrying Atlantic salmon smolts from entering into Nuxalk waters and territory.
The detrimental aspects of present fish farming practices has been documented by the David Suzuki Organization (www.davidsuzuki.org/fisheries) in extensive research and public hearings up and down the West Coast of Canada...
-the killing of marine and land mammals, birds and other species, is permitted by the Canadian government,
-thousands of foreign species like Atlantic Salmon, who are drastically different from the traditional West Coast species, have escaped and are devouring the smolts and food sources of local fish.
-Diseases created by net pens (and the crowded and inhumane treatment of the salmon) have been found in local species and the waters to the point that entire harvesting and processing facilities have been quarantined.
-Harvesting of local shellfish has been affected due to red tides and other dangers manifesting in the local waters as a result of the high pollution and nitrogen levels of the surrounding waters.
-Farm workers have documented serious skin diseases as a result of handling fish farm feeds, antibiotics and chemicals used in the industry.
And the list goes on as more and more problems are being encountered by foreign Atlantic Salmon overwintering and reproducing in West Coast rivers and waters.
For More Information and to support the Nuxalk House of Smayusta contact:
Chief Ed Moody Ph: (250) 799-5322 Email: email@example.com
Chief Lawrence Pootlass Ph: (250) 799-5535
Or The House of Smayusta: Ph: 250 799-5356
MikMag win forestry appeal in New Brunswick Courts
The New Brunswick Court of appeal, in a likely to rock the east coast forest Industry has ruled in favour Joshua Bernard a Mi'kmaq logger who claimed he had a right to log harvest and sell trees growing on crown land. This decision is expected to have ramifications on the forest Industry if it is appealed in the Supreme court of Canada. Remember Mr. bernard was convicted of illegal possession of 23 spruce logs from crown land not far from his reserve. The province argued that there will be no anarchy in the woods. Courts could not and Judge Joe Daigle who argued that not only does aboriginal title exists on the basis of historic use but also that those rights have been infringed upon
by the crown with no proper justification. This question really reflect as if
we gave our rights to everything and instead to live on the reserve. The other matter as the province puts we surrendered our resource in exchange to only stay on reserves. However, all the treaty documents were signed with X and below were written in translation of their linguistic aboriginal names. (Remember it was the Indian who gave us colonized names like Steve Fobister. How would have our grandfathers know the word surrender meant? There is no such defination in our language but to share. Surrender was forbidden but only to the creator, to your higher power. It would be no more than to worship and bow down on your knees to something you don't know. However, this is a land
mark in respect to of forest resources in the way the marshall decision was with fishery resources.
September 19, 2003
Cheam Nation rejects ski resort and logging in traditional territory
We, some of the people and Elders of Cheam, have been voicing concerns over the development of a ski resort and logging within the Pilalt Territory.These concerns have fallen on deaf ears.
We cannot sit back any longer and let all of the proposed development plans to proceed.
As one of our late elders said "the mountains are our leaders, the mountains are our idols, the mountains are our source of food, medicine and communication, a place for us to pray, and a place of teaching and learning".
"Riches are in your qualities for what you could do for your people". These were more valuable than money or gold.
Logging in Elk Mountain has already started without our consent and has been
going on for approximately four days.
"We have tried negotiations, litigation and written notices so far none of these tactics have worked. It does not matter what we say, governments, and big corporations go ahead and do what they want even if it means destroying someone else's life," says June Quipp, elder and former Chief of
the Cheam Nation.
This attitude leaves us no other alternative than to take action to protect what is rightfully ours. This shameful theft by governments and corporations has to stop.
Any support is welcome.
Contact person: June Quipp
Ph. 604 794 5715
CLAYOQUOT FIRST NATION EVICTS INTERFOR
Tofino, BC The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations have issued a notice of eviction to International Forest Products (Interfor), informing the logging company to leave their traditional territory in Clayoquot Sound.
³We¹ve had enough,² said Chief Moses Martin of the Tla-o-qui-aht. ³This logging tenure was given out decades ago without our consent, and Interfor and the government continue to operate without meaningfully accommodating our interests. Distant corporations will only ever pay lip service to sustainability and ensuring long-term jobs and benefits for local communities. The only real solution is for us to manage the tenure ourselves.²
Recently the Ministry of Forests approved a 10-year forest development plan by Interfor for 19,000 logging trucks worth of wood, ignoring the rejection of the plan by the Clayoquot Sound Central Region Board. The Board, a local body established under an interim measures agreement between the Clayoquot Sound Hereditary Chiefs and the Province in 1994, proposed changes to the plan that Interfor refused to make. ³This unresponsive attitude makes a mockery of the Board and the agreement we signed in 1994,² said Chief Martin.
The eviction notice, addressed to Ric Slaco, Interfor¹s Chief Forester, states:
³Effective immediately, you will cease and discontinue all activities associated with forestry operations within Tla-o-qui-aht Territory, including all engineering, road lay out, road building and forest harvesting.
The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations demand control over how the forest resources within our traditional territory, as well as all other resources, are managed to enable our people to achieve our goals now and in the future. We will negotiate with the Province of British Columbia in support of transferring control of Tree Farm License 54.
We will explore our full range of options to vigorously defend our Aboriginal rights and title against infringements related to the alienation of resources from our traditional territory.²
The eviction notice comes just weeks before a major gathering in Tofino on August 9 marking the 10-year anniversary of the Clayoquot protests that put BC in the international spotlight for bad forest practices.
A tiny hole in an Alaska oil pipeline is causing growing concern for people who may have to live with the Mackenzie Valley pipeline.
The six-millimetre hole in the trans-Alaska pipeline has spilled a million litres of crude oil, causing the worst spill ever in Prudhoe Bay, in the state's North Slope region.
The hole was apparently caused by corrosion inside the pipe.
That has some people in the Beaufort Delta wondering if the same thing could
happen in their backyard.
"Well, it makes you wonder how safe is the pipeline," says Ron Gruben, chair of the Inuvik Hunters and Trappers Committee. "They say it's caused by corroded pipe and they say they're supposed to live 100 years or so. Well, how long is the life of a pipeline?"
The Alaskan oil has spread over at least eight square kilometres of snow-covered tundra.
The panel reviewing environmental concerns around a Mackenzie Valley pipeline resumes its hearings in Inuvik Tuesday.
Coastal First Nations - Turning Point Initiative
401- 409 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC V6C 1T2