WINNIPEG – In the spirit of peace, love and solidarity with our relatives at #OccupyINAC Toronto, the Indigenous occupation of INAC in Winnipeg releases the following official statement. We have been peacefully gathering since yesterday morning at the Manitoba regional office of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, a department which derives its mandate from the racist colonial legislation called, The Indian Act.
I turn my sights here to one bee in particular, Apis mellifera, the western honeybee, the European honeybee, to tell a tale of colonization, agriculture, food, capitalism, and domination. Through so small a subject can we weave an epic history. Before 1622, so-called North America (hereafter Turtle Island) had been a stranger to the buzzing wings of Apis mellifera. European settlers, engaged in a process of violent colonization of these territories, mandated that the bees be packed into crates and shipped across the Atlantic Ocean in order to pollinate the newly appropriated agricultural land. The settlers wanted to grow crops familiar to them from Europe and they knew that the honeybee was integral to that new system.
Six Nations resident Fran Doxtador sits in her mobile home in Six Nations of the Grand River. She will receive an earthship this summer free of charge, courtesy of Earthship Biotecture. The earthship homes, which have been around since the 1970s, are wholly off-grid and harness environmental elements for power. Solar panels and windmills replace a reliance on fossil fuels. They are built using organic and reusable materials such as bottles, cans and tires chock full of compacted earth, which act as heat reservoirs. Angled, south-facing windows provide additional warmth and light for a greenhouse; a cistern collects rainfall, providing water for drinking, washing, flushing toilets and plants.
“They follow me. They threaten to kill me – to kidnap me. They threaten my family. That is what we face,” said Berta Cáceres (Lenca) when talking about the dangers activists face in Honduras. Cáceres was a prolific environmental and Indigenous rights activist who had the courage to continue to defend the land and her community in the face of corporate and government violence. Sadly, Berta was assassinated in her own home in La Esperanza, Honduras on March 3rd, 2016.
OTTAWA – A historic land claim agreement in principle struck by the Algonquins of Ontario with the federal and provincial governments is being denounced as fraudulent and illegal by chiefs of a number of Iroquois and Algonquin First Nations. They charge that the vast majority of the Algonquins of Ontario (AOO) are not actually Algonquin or even aboriginal.
PERU – Under the guise of a land-titling project, Peru is breaking up and privatising indigenous common lands across the Andean highlands, writes Arthur Scarritt. While the law provides for communal titling and democratic votes, in practice there's no provision for communities to exercise these rights, and the many are being dispossessed in favour of large, 'efficient' market-oriented producers.
GANIENKEH – 40 years ago on this day, Karoniaktajeh (aka Louis Hall) authored what he termed "The Mohawk Ten Commandments" in the Warrior Society's newsletter. Karoniaktajeh was an artist and teacher who designed the Unity flag, and he was also deeply involved with supporting the establishment of Ganienkeh, an "Independent North American Indian State" which was created through the reclamation of traditional Mohawk territory in what was then called Moss Lake, NY. (Ganienkeh was later moved to its current location in Clinton County, NY after a long standoff with state authorities led to successful negotiations.) For more information about Ganienkeh please visit http://www.ganienkeh.net/.