Archives for 2007

US Congress Passes Free Trade Agreement with Peru

Reposted from: Upside Down World

Written by Jennifer Gunderman and April Howard
Wednesday, 14 November 2007
ImageA new trade deal with Peru that passed in the US Congress last week boasts non-binding concessions in terms of labor and environmental concessions, and promises more of the same damages to both countries.

President Bush seems to have scored another gain in his trade agenda as Congress approved a free trade agreement with Peru by a comfortable 285 to 132 margin. Still basking in his victory from the recent Costa Rica-CAFTA ratification vote in October, Bush and his supporters hope these recent victories will lead to the approval of pending free trade agreements involving Colombia and Panama.

Concessions That Don’t Concede

This apparent bipartisan free trade approval with Peru became a reality only after Democrats won concessions from the Bush administration regarding labor and environmental issues. These concessions stem from concerns over several NAFTA impact studies that criticized the trade agreement’s lack of protection against trade abuses as well as poor procedures and lack of program funding that could threaten the environment.

A statement released by Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee called “for the inclusion of labor standards [such as the right to go on strike] and environmental protections including access to medicines and logging controls that will create a landmark in free trade agreements.” However, actual environmental concessions in the deal only “require the US and Peru to enforce their domestic environmental laws and conform to international environmental standards.” According to Joshua Holland of Alternet, Tom Donohue, head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said that his members were “encouraged” by assurances that the deal’s labor provisions “cannot be read to require compliance.”

Despite these concessions, according to Amazon Watch, the agreement “grants new rights for oil companies to drill in the Peruvian Amazon, potentially causing massive deforestation and environmental destruction; [which] will therefore lead to more road construction, literally paving the way for colonists, illegal loggers and poachers, fails to explicitly prohibit trade in endangered species, instead merely re-asserting the U.S.’s existing right to reject timber imports from species listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES); Includes in Chapter 10, investor rights provisions that would allow foreign companies to skirt Peruvian law and regulatory authorities [, which] . . . goes further than controversial equivalent clauses in NAFTA and CAFTA; [and] Will benefit U.S. corporations such as Hunt Oil, ConocoPhillips, Occidental Petroleum and Newmont Mining over Peruvian and U.S. citizens.” US copyright and trademark protection in agreement also means Peru’s poor could be hit as the price of medicine rises by 30%, according to the BBC.

Losses to Workers in Both Countries

Opponents to the Peru free trade agreement, most notably strong labor unions both in Peru and the United states, caution that this trade agreement does little to either benefit or protect workers in either country.

Jiron Cusco, president of the General Workers Confederation of Peru (CGTP) takes his opposition a step further stating that the Peru FTA will benefit only a small population of Peru’s wealthiest citizens and that the treaty would “seriously affect Peru’s economy.”

While textiles and agro-export industries, which already export to the US, could benefit, the real benefits are for US businesses. In an interview with Alternet
e=”font-family:georgia,times new roman,times,serif;font-size:100%;”>, research director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, Todd Tucker, named dozens of multinational businesses and corporations including Citigroup, Occidental Petroleum and Wal-Mart, who have “put their full might into getting the Peru deal passed, including showering millions in congressional campaign donations since January alone . . . [Hoping for] privatized social security systems for Citi, rainforest-destroying oil extraction for Occidental, and a push to Wal-Mart’s efforts to buy out Peru’s retail sector, just as they did in Central America just days after Bush signed [the Central American Free Trade Agreement].” Holland also names General Mills and the Grocery Manufacturers Association PAC as interested parties because they grow vegetables in Peru and plans to move processing facilities to the country as well. Financial service firms including Citibank also stand to gain from the deal’s provisions to allow the company to “sue the Peruvian government for damages if progressive activists succeed in reversing a disastrous social security privatization scheme” that has had disastrous consequences for millions of Peruvian retirees.

Duties will be immediately eliminated “on 80% of industrial and consumer product exports to Peru, and more than two-thirds of farm exports.” Many worry that the disastrous effects of NAFTA in Mexico will be repeated in Peru as subsidized US agricultural produce, including wheat, maize and cotton, will rob Peruvian farmers if business and drive up food prices within the country. In fact, Peru’s government reports that it has put aside about $77 million in order to compensate farmers who suffer losses during the first five years of the agreement.

“We will have an absolutely unjust competition between Peruvian agricultural products and North American agricultural products, because the US subsidizes its agricultural products and we don’t”, says Javier Diez Canseco, head of the Peruvian Socialist Party and a former presidential candidate. “So there is a very strong difference between the conditions of production and the subsidies that the US farmers receive and those that Peru has to deal with.” Nearly half of Peru’s population still lives on less than $2 a day.

According to the Third World Network, though Peru’s economy could increase by $417 million increase in the first year of the agreement, “these gains will be directed almost exclusively at the [mainly coastal] urban sector, which could benefit by $575 million.” Lima-based public policy research institute, GRADE, predicts that the poorest of the rural sector, Quechua and Aymara subsistence farmers in the rural highlands, and in the Amazon interior will suffer losses to the tune of $158 million. TWN says that “The findings of this report echo impact analyses conducted in Colombia and Ecuador, who are negotiating similar FTAs with the US.”

On the other end of the spectrum, a study by the Economic Policy Institute’s Josh Bivens found that US neoliberal trade policies have depressed the wages of 70 percent of the U.S. population. In a statement released by the Teamsters Union, president Jim Hoffa cites the “slim margin” of victory in the Congressional approval of the Peru FTA as evidence of its lack of protection for American workers affected by “off shoring of American jobs.” Hoffa is calling on Congress to focus on trade policies rather than ratification of free trade agreements.

Democratic Support and Dissent

One of the most surprising parts of the agreement was the Democratic Party support it received: 109 Democrats voted yes and 116 voted no. Even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi commented on the paradoxical nature of her for the agreement. “Frankly, I have largely been on the other side of it than I am tonight,” she said. During the debate, many Democrats accused Pelosi of betraying the party’s base.

Journalist Steven R. Weisman of The New York Times Media Group points to two factors that led to democratic support. First, the concessions won in terms of “protections for workers and for the environment in Peru, and by extension in trading-partner countries in future trade deals.” And second, “sizable campaign contributions from the sectors that are benefiting the most from the global economy. These include financial services firms, computer chip makers and other high-tech manufacturers, the entertainment industry and farmers dependent on selling to markets overseas.”

Presidential candidates, “who receive support from unions but also from export-oriented industries,” demonstrate the conflict generated by the issue. O
pposed to the deal were John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, Christopher Dodd and Joe Biden. Sen. Hillary Clinton, surrounded by pro-free trade Clinton administration officials, sent mixed messages, including asking for a review of NAFTA negotiated by President Bill Clinton, but then decided to
support the agreement. According to Alternet, Sen. Barack Obama, “said that he’d vote for the Peru deal because “it contained the labor and environmental standards sought by groups like the AFL-CIO,” but the AFL-CIO released a statement saying that, because of “several issues of concern to working families,” the AFL-CIO “is not in a position to support the Peru FTA.”

However, Lori Wallach, director of Global Trade Watch at the advocacy group Public Citizen said that “Despite all the pressure, most Democrats, most committee chairmen and three-fourths of the freshmen in the House said no to Speaker Pelosi. The Democrats must now abandon the Bush trade agenda and work on an agenda they can agree on.”

Strategic Land Planning on the Pine Ridge Reservation

Today, Village Earth launches a new section on our website to promote strategic land planning on Native American Reservations. While the site is focused on the Pine Ridge reservation, it is hoped that it will also provide information and resources for individuals and families interested in consolidating and utilizing their allotted lands on reservations throughout the United Sates.

Why Strategic Land Planning?

Approximately 24.5 percent of Native American’s, an estimated 800,000 people, are living in poverty at or below the national poverty level. Despite this dire economic situation, Native Americans own a great deal of land, approximately 112,637.29 square miles, second only to the federal government. Yet, many Native American’s have not been able to fully benefit from these vast resources because of various contradictions in the Federal land tenure policy for Indian lands. In particular, the obstacles created by the General Allotment Act (GAA) signed in to law in 1887.

Today, many Native Americans would like to live on and utilize their lands. However, from over 120 years of unplanned inheritance under the GAA, Indian lands have become so fractionated (divided from generation to generation) that in order for someone to utilize their lands for agriculture, business development, housing etc. they might be required to get the permission from hundreds or even thousands of individual land owners.

How Can Strategic Land Planning Help?


Village Earth supports individual land owners by providing education, resources, and support to analyze the different options they have for the management, use and inheritance of their lands, now and for future generations. But also, to choose an appropriate course of action and move towards it. This might include but is not limited to:

    • Consolidating fractionated pieces of land.

    • Creating wills to lessen further fractionation.

    • Creating agreements between landowners for the use of specific undivided allotments of land.

    • Accessing the resources, information and training needed to utilize their lands on their own.

    • Participating in Federal/Tribal land consolidation programs.

Village Earth’s newly launched web resource will help consolidate and disseminate information and resources for individuals interested in strategic land planning. Indian land owners on Pine Ridge can also download an application to participate in Strategic Land Planning Initiative.

The URL for Village Earth’s Strategic Land Planning Web Resource is: //

NO Free Trade Agreement/Tratado de Libre Comercio US (EEUU)-Peru

Take Action: Tell Congress that expanding NAFTA and CAFTA to Peru is a bad idea

Reposted from Upside Down World

Watch this video (Mira este video): No al TLC – No to the FTA with Peru

Portland Central America Solidarity Committee ( activist and Radio Libre Negro Primero volunteer Megan Hise interviewed Peruvian labor and campesino leaders for a short documentary, looking at the damage the Peru FTA will cause on both sides of the border. Two months ago, four million Peruvian campesinos went on strike against the agreement, which will allow highly-subsidized and artificially cheap U.S. agricultural products to be dumped on the Peruvian market . Tens of thousands, if not millions, of campesinos will be driven off their land if they are undercut by US agribusiness.

Reposted from Trade Matters at the American Friends Service Committee….
The Bush administration has begun moving the Peru Free Trade Agreement (FTA) through Congress. A final vote in the House of Representatives is expected in October, with the Senate to follow shortly thereafter.

Please call your Representatives and Senators immediately to urge them to vote against the Peru Free Trade Agreement.

Peru is engaged in a delicate reconciliation process after decades of armed conflict and the country remains burdened by high levels of poverty. In a desperate attempt to gain support for the U.S.-Peru FTA, the U.S. Trade Representative is claiming the trade pact will lead to increased democratic stability in the region and curbed cultivation of coca and trafficking of cocaine. Based on the results of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), we think the opposite is true.

While the Peru FTA includes some significant improvements regarding labor and environmental protections and access to medicines, it still contains many of the NAFTA/CAFTA problems. These fixes do not address the structural and systemic flaws the current framework generates, including growing inequities, the destruction of livelihoods, increasing deterioration in the health and well-being of people living in poverty and environmental devastation both in the U.S. and abroad. The US-Peru FTA will not bring stability or development to the region!
Tell Congress that expanding the NAFTA and CAFTA model to Peru is a bad idea.

Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Ask to be connected to your House or Senate member (give your state and zip code if you’re not sure of your Representative’s name)
When you are connected, ask to speak with the staffer working on trade issues. Tell him or her that you oppose expanding NAFTA and CAFTA to Peru.
Ask for your representative’s position on the US-Peru FTA in writing to be sent to you by email or regular mail.
Use a local or personal story of damage from bad trade deals to illustrate your case or use the call script provided below.
Stop the US-Peru FTA vote call script:
Hello, my name is _________, and I am a constituent. May I speak with the staffer that deals with trade issues?
I am calling to find out Representative/Senator ______________ position on the upcoming U.S.-Peru Free Trade Agreement. Can you tell me how he/she plans to vote?
It is very important that Representative/Senator _____________ come out publicly to oppose this FTA. Despite changes to the Peru FTA it will still (select one or two of the below talking points):
THREATEN SMALL FARMERS. The agreement will favor only a small sector of Peruvian farmers who export to the US. By lowering Peru’s tariffs on agricultural products, the vast majority of farmers would be vulnerable to cheap subsidized imports from the U.S. This would wipe out local farmers—as happened to the 1.3 million who have been displaced in Mexico since NAFTA passed 12 years ago.
THREATEN ACCESS TO LIFE-SAVING MEDICINES. While the amended text of the Peru FTA removes the most egregious, CAFTA-based, provisions limiting the access to affordable medicines, it still includes NAFTA provisions that undermine the right to affordable medicines for poorer countries.
THREATEN WORKERS AND ENVIRONMENT. Changes to the labor and environment provisions are insufficient. The Peru FTA allows discretion for FTA dispute settlement panels to interpret and apply the terms of the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work differently than the Declaration has been interpreted and applied by the ILO itself. Enforcement of the new changes will be dependent on Peruvian President Garcia who has a consistent record of undermining domestic labor and environmental law enforcement.
THREATEN WOMEN, CHILDREN, AND THE POOR. Provisions promoting the privatization and deregulation of essential services such as water, healthcare and education are written into this trade agreement. As these services become less accessible, women and the poor would have to make up for increases in prices of these services.
THREATEN U.S. AND PERUVIAN SOVEREIGNTY. The Peru FTA contains a NAFTA-style foreign investor chapter that allows corporations to bring actions against governments that pass environmental and public health laws that might reduce corporate profits.
THREATEN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES by opening the way for large pharmaceutical and agribusiness corporations to patent traditional knowledge, seeds, and life forms. This opens the door to bio-piracy of the Andean-Amazon region and threatens the ecological, medicinal and cultural heritage of indigenous peoples.
Would you be willing to send me an email with Representative ________________ position on the trade pact to ___________________ [email address].

Photos from the September 2007 Buffalo Pickup in Rye, Co.

Below are some pictures from the buffalo pickup this weekend in Rye, Colorado. 15 Buffalo, donated by the Danylchuck Ranch were delivered to Pine Ridge this weekend. The buffalo will be distributed between three families working together to recover land and restore the native ecology on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

The buffalo are carefully sorted into a tub to be guided down an alley into the trailers. Prior to transport all the buffalo must be tested for diseases and treated for parasites by a veterinarian.

The buffalo are then loaded into trailers for the Journey to South Dakota.

KRFC Radio Program – Shipibo, The River of Life

To listen to the recent radio program on KRFC FM, independent community-based radio in Fort Collins, Colorado, click on the file link below:


Limber Gomez, a Shipibo leader, was invited to do an interview on KRFC. He speaks about the hopes and challenges facing the Shipibo people, as well as about the community-based indigenous radio project they hope to do. For more information about this radio project, check out the below blog posting titled: Shipibo Radio Project

Below: Limber Gomez on his recent visit to Fort Collins.

More Buffalo to Be Delivered to Pine Ridge

Village Earth’s “Adopt-A-Buffalo” campaign, already in it’s 4th year, will be delivering 15 more bison to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation September 29th, 2007. The bison were donated by the Danylchuck Bison Ranch in Rye Colorado, their 4th donation of bison to-date. After receiving the necessary vaccinations and quarantining for cross state travel, the bison will make the long journey to south Dakota and will be released on the lands of Lakota Bison caretakers.

For a tax deductible donation of $500 you will receive a certificate of adoption for one of the bison in your name or in the name of a friend or loved one. The funds will be used to help develop and expand bison restoration on Pine Ridge with needed infrastructure such as fencing and wells. To date, Village Earth’s “Adopt-A-Buffalo” campaign has helped start 2 new herds of buffalo and expand an existing one and in the last year alone has helped acquire over 2000 additional acres of land for bison restoration. Smaller donations are also welcome.

Click here to learn more about contributing to the Adopt-A-Bison Program.

Shipibo Leader Visits Fort Collins

Above: Limber with Village Earth founders Ed and Mimi Shinn as he receives his certificate of completion for the Participatory Practices for Sustainable Development (PPSD) course.

Limber Gomez, a Shipibo leader and activist, recently visited Fort Collins, Colorado to attend the two-week PPSD training course at Colorado State University. This course was an extraordinary experience for Limber and all participants to share their experiences working with communities on all continents. This course helped to reaffirm Limber in the value of Shipibo culture as a guide for future development efforts. He realized that many people around the world are facing the same challenges and has decided to arrange for a delegation of Shipibo leaders to connect with parallel indigenous movements throughout Latin America because of the strength in unity across diverse cultures.

Limber also participated in a number of speaking events to both the Fort Collins community and also at Colorado State University. He also spoke on the radio and made connections with the KRFC-FM radio community to support the Shipibo’s radio project initiative (see posting below).

Limber returned home to the Ucayali to energize the newly formed Organization for the Defense and Development of the Indigenous Communities of the Peruvian Amazon (ODDPIAP) by offering workshops to ODDPIAP officials, community leaders, and university students in how to best engage communities in their struggles for self-determination.

We would like to thank Limber for his courage to join Village Earth here in the US and to all the donors that made his fruitful visit possible!

Shipibo Radio Project

As one of the eight parts of the Shipibo peoples’ plans for their self-determination and the “development” of their region, radio as a means of communication was of utmost importance. The Village Earth-Shipibo team has been in contact with Project Tupa, based out of Free Radio Berkeley. Project Tupa has a lot of experience in setting up easy to build and maintain low power transmitters for indigenous peoples throughout the Americas. Using locally-available materials, Project Tupa offers a 3-day workshop which teaches the communities how to maintain and repair the equipment themselves.

During Limber Gomez’, a Shipibo leader, recent visit to the Fort Collins community, we had the good fortune to meet with the Fort Collins’ community’s local community-based radio station, KRFC 88.9 FM. The KRFC team is ready and excited to help out with this interesting project in any way they can.

The Shipibo people see that being in control of their own media is an important step in their struggle for self-determination. Right now, corporate media rules in the cities and extort exorbitant prices from indigenous peoples who want to make radio announcements or have their own radio programs, such as the long-running Indigenous Voice program that had to be cancelled due to lack of funding.This 3-day workshop, materials included, will leave the Shipibo people with 4 of their very own hand-built radio transmitters to be placed strategically throughout the region.

Village Earth, Project Tupa, KRFC, and the Shipibo people can undertake this project with a mere $6000. Unfortunately, radio projects are difficult to fund. However, radio can be an important tool in cultural revival (through the diffusion of indigenous language and music programs), for defense of indigenous and territorial rights (indigenous leaders can communicate issues of concerns with greater ease in this remote region), and for educational programs.

If you are interested in supporting this team and the Shipibo’s efforts at determining their own rights and methods of communication, then you can make a 100% tax-deductible contribution through Village Earth. You can donate online using Pay Pal (clearly indicate your support for the Shipibo radio project), by using your credit card over the phone 970-491-5754, or by check sent to:
Village Earth
P.O. Box 797
Fort Collins, CO 80522

For more information, please contact the project coordinator: [email protected]

Village Earth Partners with Indian Land Tenure Foundation on Strategic Land Planning on Pine Ridge

(Above: Map illustrating the problem of fractionation on the Pine Ridge Reservation)

Village Earth, was recently awarded a grant from the Indian Land Tenure Foundation to conduct a series of Strategic Land Planning workshops with up to three (3) groups of allottees who own undivided interests on the same allotment(s) on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The purpose of these workshops is to provide the education, resources, and support needed by undivided interest owners to analyze the different options they have for the management, use and inheritance of their lands, now and for future generations. But also, to choose an appropriate course of action and move towards it. This might include but is not limited to:

  • Consolidating fractionated pieces of land.

  • Creating wills to lessen further fractionation.

  • Creating agreements between landowners for the utilization of specific undivided allotments of land for farming, raising livestock, housing, business development, tourism, etc.

The Indian Land Tenure Foundation is a nonprofit organization, based in Minnesota, that is community organized and community directed. The community includes Indian landowners, Indian people on and off reservations, Indian land organizations, tribal communities, tribal governments and others connected to Indian land issues. The mission of the foundation is to ensure that “land within the original boundaries of every reservation and other areas of high significance where tribes retain aboriginal interest are in Indian ownership and management.”


Nearly 1,067,877 acres of the Pine Ridge is owned by individual allottees. Over a century of unplanned inheritance has created a situation where lands have become severely fractioned. This has created a management nightmare where, in order for a land owner to utilize their undivided lands, they may have to get the signed approval of dozens, hundreds or even thousands of separate land owners. As a result of this complexity, most land owners (Nearly 65% on Pine Ridge) have opted to lease their lands out as part of the Tribal/BIA range unit leasing system.

This situation has had a dramatic impact on the overall economy on Pine Ridge. Like other Reservations across the United States, fractionation has been a major obstacle to housing and business development but also native owned farms and ranches. According to the USDA 2002 Census of Agriculture for American Indian Reservations of Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota, in 2002 there was nearly 33 million dollars in receipts from agricultural production on Pine Ridge, yet less than 1/3rd of that income went to members of the tribe.

Despite the fact that most people are leasing their lands out, according to a survey conducted by Colorado State University, it was found that most people on the reservation believe that the Lakota people should be managing reservation lands, not the non-tribal lessees, State or BIA. Despite this situation, many opportunities exist for undivided interest owners of an allotment including stopping further fractionation and even reversing the situation through the creation of wills, land consolidation, or forming cooperative agreements between land owners.

Because of the complex nature of land planning on Pine Ridge we have limited the workshop to three (3) groups of allottees who own undivided interests on the same allotment(s) on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Applications can be obtained by contacting David Bartecchi at 970-491-5754, [email protected] or online at

Completed applications should be mailed to:

David Bartecchi
Village Earth
PO Box 797
Fort Collins, Co. 80522

Application must be postmarked by Sept. 31st, 2007.


86% of all Deforestation in Shipibo Heartland

Although the below reposted article suggests there is a decline in overall logging in the Peruvian Amazon it highlights a major threat to the Shipibo people – the fact that


86 percent of all forest damage was concentrated in only two regions: the area around the Ucayali logging centre of Pucallpa, and along the associated road network.”

That means that 86% of the
127,700 hectares lost per year of the Peruvian Amazon forest cover is in the Shipibo’s and their indigenous neighbors’ territories. Although maybe not technically within the legally allotted territories of the indigenous people according to the government – these remote forest lands serve as indigenous hunting grounds or other areas of important resource or spiritual significance. With global warming on much of the world’s minds right now, protecting these forests is going to play a more critical role in the future of the planet. Right now these forests act as huge carbon sinks, and when cut down, are one of the number one emitters of greenhouse gases because of all the carbon and such that is released from these old forests as they are destroyed.

Below: This aerial photo from Google Earth shows the immense deforestation surrounding Pucallpa and its road network, some legally-titled Shipibo communities are seen in yellow.

Article Reposted from: InterPress Service News

ENVIRONMENT: Satellites Show Logging Decline in Peru’s Amazon Region
By Stephen Leahy

TORONTO, Aug 18 (Tierramérica) – Rainforest conservation policies are reducing the rate of deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon, but roads are unquestionably the drivers of change, new satellite data reveal.

Although Brazil’s Amazon forests draw the most international attention, Peru’s 661,000 square kilometres of rainforests are recognised as a unique and important ecosystem.

However, the impacts of human activities throughout the region were poorly understood, until a study published Aug. 10 in the journal Science.

“Peru’s forest reserves and conservation areas appear to be working well,” said Greg Asner, director of the Carnegie Airborne Observatory, at Stanford University in California.

Deforestation and other disturbances of forested areas — selective logging, oil exploration and mining — increased about 127,700 hectares per year on average from 1999 to 2005, with just two percent occurring in protected areas, according to the study by Asner and colleagues.

By contrast, Brazil’s four million-square-kilometre Amazon forest region loses 2.0 million to 2.4 million hectares annually, with about 10 percent occurring in protected areas.

Better land use policies and the remoteness of the forest in Peru are likely reasons why there has been much less forest loss there, Asner told Tierramérica. Peru has also long had a national forest policy that granted logging concessions, whereas Brazil has only recently implemented a similar system, he said.

Using a satellite-based forest disturbance detection system originally designed and used to measure forest loss in Brazil, along with on-the-ground fieldwork, the study found that 86 percent of all forest damage was concentrated in only two regions: the area around the Ucayali logging centre of Pucallpa, and along the associated road network.

The satellite data reveals a great deal of logging “leakage” outside the concession areas into nearby forests, he said. Although it is difficult to know precisely what is occurring, Asner suspects that once an area has been opened up to logging, concession-holders or others simply move into nearby areas.

The study clearly shows that deforestation follows the construction of the Inter-Oceanic Highway, which ultimately is directly connected with 23 percent of the total damage. “Roads are absolutely connected to deforestation,” Asner said.

Loggers are chasing “red gold”, the valuable wood of mahogany trees, which are still found in commercial quantities in the Peruvian Amazon, says David Hill, a campaigner for Survival International, a Britain-based non-governmental organisation supporting tribal peoples worldwide.

“‘Tree laundering’ is going on, with mahogany supposedly coming from legal concessions being brought in from outside,” Hill told Tierramérica. It is very difficult to monitor or trace the origin of logs in such remote regions, he said.

“Legal logging concessions are facilitating illegal extraction,” he explained.

The activist is dubious of Asner’s findings that indigenous territories contained only 11 percent of the “forest disturbances”.

“There is illegal logging in four of the five indigenous reserves set aside for uncontacted peoples” in Peru, he said.

These indigenous tribes by choice have not been in regular contact with the outside world. The common cold or flu is often fatal to them because they have not had previous exposure to the d
iseases and have not developed the appropriate immune defences.

Illegal loggers brought such diseases to the Nahua tribe in the 1980s and more than half of them died, Hill said.

While logging is the most urgent threat to these isolated indigenous communities, oil and gas exploration has also become a significant problem. Last month the Inter-Ethnic Association for Peruvian Jungle Development, AIDESEP, applied to the courts for a ban on oil exploration and drilling in parts of the Peruvian Amazon inhabited by uncontacted tribes.

Enforceable land rights would go a long way to helping indigenous people in Peru, Hill says.

But keeping extractive industries like loggers out is an enormous challenge for any country. Brazil has struggled with this, largely unsuccessfully, for decades.

“Logging is a multi-billion dollar industry in Brazil — 80 percent of which is illegal, according to the government,” says Bill Laurance, a tropical forest ecologist with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institution, in Balboa, Panama.

Deforestation rates have slowed in the past couple of years due to lower prices for soy and beef, and because of a crackdown on illegal logging, Laurance told Tierramérica.

That crackdown came after the 2005 murder of U.S.-born nun Dorothy Stang, who had been helping local people oppose illegal logging in the northern Brazilian state of Pará.

More than 100 people were arrested in a multi-million-dollar illegal logging network, including 40 people working for IBAMA, Brazil’s federal environmental law enforcement agency, he said.

“Even Canada and the U.S. have trouble enforcing their logging rules in remote areas,” he pointed out.

Slowing deforestation in the Amazon is an enormous challenge. The rise of so-called “carbon markets” offers some real hopes, if a country like Brazil can obtain credits for “avoided deforestation” and the corresponding reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, according to Laurance.

Brazil is the fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases resulting from deforestation. The World Bank recently announced a 250-million-dollar pilot fund to pay tropical countries like Brazil for preserving their forests.

Avoided deforestation is an inexpensive and simple way to slow climate change and brings additional benefits, including preservation of ecosystem services and biodiversity.

Accurate and ongoing measurements of standing forests and deforestation are absolutely crucial to making such as compensation system work, and Asner’s group has the technology, says Laurance.

Previous satellite data and analysis by the group revealed higher rates of deforestation in Brazil than previous estimates. And although Peru’s forest regions are frequently obscured by clouds, the new technology involving use of supercomputers can work around that problem.

By this time next year, thanks to a training plan and a compressed version of the study team’s program, government officials, academics and non-governmental groups in Peru will able to update the forest change analysis on personal computers, he said.

Asner believes the program can be adapted to any tropical country and he plans to present it at the next stage of the negotiations of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, to take place in December in Bali, Indonesia.

“What the Peru study shows is that we have a definitive tool for detecting deforestation and change,” says Asner.

(*Originally published by Latin American newspapers that are part of the Tierramérica network. Tierramérica is a specialised news service produced by IPS with the backing of the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Environment Programme.) (END/2007)

Nuevo Sitio Web de la Nacion Shipiba

La presente pagina es dedicada a los pueblos amozonicos del ucayali, se construyo despues del I Tribunal de Jefes de comunidades indigenas del Ucayali, la cual, fue uno de nuestros acuerdos, con la finalidad de que los pueblos se comunique y den a conocer sus puntos de vistas,problematicas y sus posibles soluciones.
Sitio web de la Nacion Shipiba
Gracias por entrar a nuestra pagina
ah y disculpenos hay algunos errores de articulacion, dentro de poco mejoraremos.

Tribal Buffalo Herd Needs Your Help!

Above: (July 9th, 2007) Tribal Pasture burned in the Stampede Fire on the Pine Ridge Reservation

More News on the Stampede Fire on Pine Ridge
In rural South Western South Dakota, home to half of the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s buffalo herds a fast sweeping fire, called the Stampede fire named because of the response from the buffalo, has wiped out the entire vegetation, fence and a small number of buffalo.

The Slim Buttes Pasture is home to roughly 300 head of buffalo. The rugged pasture of deep gulley’s and steep hills has been completely wiped of any edible vegetation for the buffalo. The fence of 34 miles has been nearly completely destroyed. The buffalo as of today are still within the boundaries of their original home. The corrals and sorting wings have been destroyed. The staff of the Oglala Sioux Parks and Recreation, a total of fifteen individuals, has been extremely busy trying to sustain the herd and repair the damage to the corrals.

The fire which took place on Saturday and Sunday, July 7th and 8th created a crisis for the Oglala Sioux Parks and Recreation. On Monday the OSPRA board held an emergency meeting in the Bureau of Indian Affairs Conference Room. The board officially documented the need to declare a drought and disaster designation and to have the Oglala Sioux Tribe forward this on to FEMA and other Federal Agencies to assist, financially, with the excessive amount of needs. The Bureau of Indian Affairs Wild land Fire is assisting in putting together the initial damage assessment. Much wild life perished and the OSPRA biologists’ are busy attempting to account for all buffalo and perished wild life. Several birds and owls have been found dead. The rutting or breeding season for the buffalo is currently underway. Because of the disaster the Oglala Sioux Tribal buffalo herd may suffer long-lasting effects on their fertility rates.

The Oglala Sioux Parks and Recreation Authority are in the process of attempting to rebuild the corrals, find hay and water. Several calls have been made and public information is being sent out. The rebuilding of the corral is the first priority. Once the wing and corral is rebuilt, the buffalo can then be rounded up and transferred to another pasture. This is a short-term fix. The other buffalo and elk pasture are currently at maximum capacity and the additional buffalo will need to be moved within four to six months. During this time the buffalo will need to be supplemented with hay.

The fence will need to be repaired and in many locations replaced. The cost for buffalo fence is exorbitant and the OSPRA does not have the dollars to rebuild or repair the fence. Therefore, we are sending out this little piece of information asking for any type of monetary or fencing donations.


300 buffalo need to be transported
Corral Rebuilding cost – $51,092.55
Fence Rebuilding cost – $562,342.52
Transporting cost – $4,800

Hay/Feed cost – $115,200.00

Send Your Support to OSPRA’s Stampede Fire Fund

Oglala Sioux Parks and Recreation Authority

P.O. BOX 570
Kyle, SD 57752

[email protected]

Banking Information:

First National Bank
134 N. Main Street
PO BOX 290
Gordon, NE 69343
Phone: 308/282-1103
Fax: 308/282-08
Account Name: Stampede Fire Fund
Account Number: 138150

Bank Routing #: 104102781


The Oglala Sioux Parks and Recreation Authority (OSPRA) is responsible for wildlife management policies, activities and plans for the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. OSPRA, through its “Lakota Stewardship Model”, has worked diligently to manage tribal lands in a culturally appropriate manner with decisions based on scientific data. Maintaining species and community diversity is a critical component of our ecological and cultural heritage.

The Oglala Sioux Parks and Recreation Authority (OSPRA) is currently in its 32nd year as a Tribally Chartered Organization of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. OSPRA is charged with wildlife management policies and activities for the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation which encompasses about 2 million acres, roughly the size of Connecticut. Its population – primarily Lakota – is currently estimated at approximately 25,000. Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is a land of tremendous geographic diversity, ranging from undulating prairies to the stark and picturesque badlands. With the adjacent Badlands National Park, the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is considered to be one of the most intact indigenous prairie ecosystems in North America.

Since its original Charter in 1973, OSPRA has taken the lead role in protecting and preserving the natural and biological resources of the Tribe. OSPRA has four basic divisions:

    • 1) Buffalo/Elk Division
    • 2) Biology Division
    • 3) Enforcement Ranger Division
    • 4) Administration Division

The Buffalo/Elk Division has steadily increased the Tribe’s buffalo herd from just a few animals to a population of almost 1,000 animals grazing naturally over approximately 31,000 acres of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. We have carefully maintained the genetic integrity of the herd. Our management practices regard
ing the buffalo demonstrate OSPRA’s capacity to nurture a species to health. In addition, these ranges have been utilized for several species studies and reintroductions, including black-tailed prairie dogs, burrowing owls, and ferruginous hawks. The OSPRA has also assisted in the Badlands National Park’s Black Footed Ferret Reintroduction Program.

The Enforcement Ranger Division is responsible for enforcement of game laws on the Reservation in addition to such activities as game survey, research projects, and educational initiatives. All Rangers are fully certified law enforcement officers with authority to investigate offenses, make arrest, etc. Each Ranger is making a career at OSPRA and most have more than 10 years of service to the organization. OSPRA has invested considerable training in the officers, especially related to wildlife management. The proposed project will make extensive use of skills possessed by our Rangers and will provide additional opportunities for them to engage in productive research and receive additional professional training.

OSPRA’s Administration Division has been significantly strengthened in the past year. The new OSPRA Executive Director has extensive experience in program administration and management. Besides having an extensive background in environmental issues, he is considered to be a leading cultural figure on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He has implemented steps to document performance standards among staff and has streamlined administrative functions. OSPRA’s Finance Office is now utilizing a Comptroller to enhance accountability.

The Executive Director has identified wildlife research as a necessary component of OSPRA. The organization has already developed essential elements of its “Lakota Stewardship Model” that emphasizes both the biological and cultural aspects of wildlife management. Through this plan OSPRA has worked diligently to manage tribal lands in a culturally appropriate manner and to create a harmonious balance between plant and animal life requirements and the needs of the human population. One of OSPRA’s primary objectives is to restore key elements within the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation ecosystem to a condition before attempts were made to introduce systematic agriculture.

OST and Brave Heart Buffalo Pastures Damaged by recent Wildfire

Below is a story reposted from the Rapid City Journal about a recent wildfire on the Pine Ridge Reservation. This fire destroyed part of the fencing shared by the OST Tribe and the Brave Heart Family, allowing their buffalo to get loose. We are currently accepting donations to help support the reconstruction of this portion of the fence and the recovery of the buffalo.

To learn more read the article below.

Reposted from Rapid City Journal

Stampede Fire spares buffalo, scorches pasture

Anyone who sees stray buffalo should call the parks and recreation authority at 455-2584

By Heidi Bell Gease, Journal staff

Most of the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s buffalo herd has survived a fire that has so far burned 23,000 acres on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

But the Stampede Fire — named for the herd’s response to the flames — has burned 17,000 acres of pasture that’s home to about 300 buffalo.

“All the grass burned, so we’re in the process of rounding them up and moving them to another pasture between Allen and Kyle,” Birgil Kills Straight, executive director of the Oglala Sioux Tribe Parks and Recreation Authority, said Tuesday. “But at some point, we need to find more of a permanent place for them.”

The parks and recreation authority manages the tribe’s herd of about 680 buffalo. About 300 have been living in pasture near Slim Buttes, with another 380 or so held in pasture land near Allen. The herd provides buffalo meat for wakes and funerals, school and elderly meals, diabetes programs and other needs.

The Stampede Fire, still burning west of Pine Ridge started Saturday. Kills Straight said it burned through the middle third of the Slim Buttes’ buffalo pasture first, then burned the rest of the land after the wind shifted later in the day. On Sunday morning, the fire was still burning in some of the pasture’s deep canyons.

Most of the buffalo appear to have survived the fire, though Kills Straight isn’t sure how. “They’re smart, so they somehow escaped,” he said.

He said crews had so far found just four older buffalo cows dead. They counted about 220 animals in the pasture area Monday, and on Tuesday, crews were conducting an aerial search to try to spot the rest.

Kills Straight said Page Baker, superintendent of Badlands National Park, had asked the Civil Air Patrol to help tribal authorities find any animals outside the burn area. Anyone who sees stray buffalo should call the parks and recreation authority at 455-2584.

Kills Straight said crews would use ATVs and horses Tuesday to move the herd toward an area where they could get hay and water. The animals will then be loaded into stock trailers and hauled 75 miles to the pasture near Allen, where they will join the rest of the herd.

“We might be able to hold them in that pasture for awhile,” Kills Straight said, depending how many buffalo survived. “We have another pasture that’s about 10,000 acres (near Oglala) that we need to fence immediately.”

That alone will be a big job. Kills Straight estimates they’ll need at least 4,000 new fence posts, plus lots of wire.

Meanwhile, Defenders of Wildlife, a national conservation group, has donated some hay for the herd. The Tribal Land Enterprise from Rosebud has also offered its help to get the animals through the winter.

The Stampede Fire was about 80 percent contained by Monday night, said Daigre Douville, fire management officer for the Bureau of Indian Affairs Pine Ridge Agency Fire Management Office. No structures are currently threatened.

A setback for firefighters on the Alabaugh Fire at Hot Springs proved to be a benefit for crews fighting the Stampede Fire last weekend. Two heavy air tankers called in to help with Alabaugh were instead used to fight the Stampede Fire, Douville said.

With fires raging throughout the West and firefighting resources in short supply, the Pine Ridge fire might not otherwise have had the aerial support.

“We just got lucky that day because they got smoked in (at Hot Springs),” Douville said. “Visibility was too poor, so we got to use them.”

Without the tankers, he said, “it could have been worse.”

An investigation team arrived Tuesday to determine the cause of the Stampede Fire. Two 800-gallon single-engine air tankers are stationed at Pine Ridge, and Douville said a strike team of volunteer engines from Pierre, Kennebec, Parker, Renner and Colman was also on hand.

Support The Wounded Knee Tiyospaye Project

Above: Calvin White Butterfly, Director of the Wounded Knee Tiyospaye Project

Village Earth first met Mr. Butterfly in 2003 where he invited us to visit with him to learn about his vision for the Wounded Knee District and the Pine Ridge Reservation.

The goal of the Wounded Knee Tiyospaye Project is to revitalize the tiyospaye system to become a legitimate and recognized unit of social and political organization in the District of Wounded Knee and across the reservation. Another goal of the project is to reclaim and sustainably utilize lands traditionally held by tiyospayes for living and economic development such as raising bison, farming, and tourism.

The objectives of the project include:

  • Identify individuals in the Wounded Knee District to serve as liaisons for their tiyospaye in district and reservation-wide planning and decision-making.
  • Develop a representative board of directors made up of tiyospaye liaisons.
  • Assist each tiyospaye to develop a long term vision and plan for their tiyospay.
  • Assist each tiyospaye to develop projects in their communities such as gardens, craft coops, housing, raising bison, tourism, etc.
  • Partner with Village Earth and other organizations to locate, access, and manage resources needed by tiyospayes for their plans (e.g. cash, tools and equipment, information, training, etc.)
  • Bring tiyospayes together periodically to focus on district wide issues such as land use, tourism, craft sales, etc.

As of July 2007 the Wounded Knee Tiyospaye Project has identified and mobilized eight separate tiyospayes and corresponding liaisons in the Wounded Knee District who are now recognized at district meetings. They include: Wounded Knee (Canke Ope), White Butte (Makoska), Manderson, White Horse Creek (Sungska Wakpa), Hehun Gleska, Grass Creek (Peji Wakpa), Crazy Horse (Tasunke Witko), Pepper Creek Tiyospaye, and Wakan Tiyospaye.

The project has also developed an initial map of the traditional tiyospaye communities on reservation using a geographic information system (GIS). The purpose of this map is to raise awareness and begin a dialogue on the nature, role, and potential future of these communities on the reservation life.

Community-based Geographic Tech Workshops

Land rights is a constantly recurring theme in our work with indigenous peoples throughout the world. And the Shipibo people have asked for our assistance in their struggles over territory. In June, the Village Earth Peru Project Coordinator held a community-based geographic technology workshop in the lower Ucayali. Leaders from two communities in the Calleria district joined forces to protect their land. Both communities were given legal titles to their land years ago, however, in the dynamic Amazonian environment their lands have changed dramatically since the initial titling. Half of what was once part of the community is now overtaken by the mighty Ucayali River with more and more of the community being washed away daily into the river as it changes course. Originally, indigenous communities changed location as the river moved, but now communities are forced to remain within government-imposed boundaries. 

Forcing indigenous peoples to be subjugated within externally-imposed borders does not work in the dynamic environment of the Amazon. However, protecting indigenous land through titling and demarcation is a necessary evil right now in order to protect communities’ rights to land and resources. Much of the strategy of the Peruvian government has been to conquer and divide indigenous territories. However, many indigenous leaders and activists are calling for a new way to think about indigenous territory – and to remind the world they have sustainably managed their forests for thousands of years. “The demand for territorial clarity and non-overlapping negotiations on land issues is predicated on an acceptance of the EuroAmerican way of viewing land, demarking and dividing the land and environment and relationships between people on the basis of European-derived notions of property, ownership, and jurisdiction.”* 

Therefore, these communities are looking to expand their legally allotted territories, in order to maintain a sufficient land base that can provide for their self-sustainability. Workshop participants learned how to mark and find way points, use the compass, and many other useful features of Geographic Positioning System (GPS) in order to accurately locate boundaries. Each community was given a GPS unit and they are currently marking the points to which they wish to expand their territories and then will send them to Village Earth, where using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology, we can help them to create maps that they can use in their negotiations with the government.


Both communities expressed worry about the current land grab in the Amazon by non-indigenous colonists. Roads are slowly creeping into their remote district bringing more and more settlers taking forest resources from the indigenous inhabitants.


These communities still have an expensive and arduous process ahead of them in order to expand their allotted territories. And their are many more communities interested in Village Earth mapping and geographic technology workshops. If you would like to make a contribution to these important efforts, please contact: [email protected]

Thank you to the community that provided lunch to the workshop participants!

*Alfred, Taiaiake. 2005. Wasase: Indigenous Pathways of Action and Freedom. Broadview Press, Canada.

Chief Alfred Red Cloud to Travel to Europe in June to Speak About Bison Project

Chief Alfred Red Cloud, 5th generation descendant of warrior/statesman “Makhpiya-Luta” (1822-1909), will be traveling to Luxembourg and France this June to speak about land recovery and bison restoration on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Alfred and his Tiyospaye have been working with Village Earth since 2003 to recover, protect, and utilize their alloted lands in the southwest corner of the Reservation. They have also helped other families follow the same path, recognizing the relationship between land, cultural survival, and political sovereignty.

Watch a Short Video Below of Alfred Speaking About the Buffalo.

Chief Red Cloud is scheduled to speak:


June 25th – Coshoola espresso bar, Glacis business center 9, allee scheffer, l-2520 luxembourg – tel 00352 2762 3075 – 6 – 10pm.


June 26th – Haus vun der Natur, Route de Luxembourg, L – 1899 Kockelscheuer (8.00 p.m.)


June 29th – TBA

If you are interested in scheduling a speaking event or interview with Mr. Red Cloud please contact David Bartecchi at [email protected] or by phone at 1-970-491-0633.

Geographic Technology as a Tool for Indigenous Empowerment

There is only one month left before the monumental Indigenous Tribunal in the Ucayali region of the Amazon!

As part of the Tribunal, Village Earth was asked to facilitate community mapping workshops for Shipibo Communities but we need your support to get the necessary resources to indigenous leaders.

We’ve bundled these resources into a low-cost and easy to use “Mapping Kit” that we would like to give to community representatives participating in our free mapping workshop.

You can help by purchasing one of these kits for a Shipibo community today!

Support Village Earth and the Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon with your sponsorship of a Mapping Kit!
(Contributions of any amount are welcome, greatly appreciated, and 100% tax-deductible.)

Each Mapping Kit will include a hand-held GPS unit and Map Book of their territory to be given to community leaders. Village Earth will then provide the instruction in how to use this technology to their advantage.

Mapping Kits will enable communities to:

  • Identify their boundaries to determine if outside interests are illegally taking their resources or colonizing their lands.
  • Identify illegal logging using the satellite imagery available in the map books.
  • Map existing resources to establish a baseline for future comparisons of resource depletion/restoration
  • Better manage and plan for the use of their limited resources.

Village Earth has been using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to create maps of indigenous territory combined with satellite images of the region. Some Shipibo leaders have already used these maps to dispute government and colonist land claims and build their case in support of indigenous land rights in the region.

Your contribution not only provides the mapping resources, but will help further the greater collective vision for the alternative development of the region based on indigenous knowledge and values. By supporting the Shipibo’s efforts at mobilizing the region and these community-based mapping endeavors, together we can:

  • Organize indigenous communities in the Ucayali region to increase their economic and political clout to determine their own futures
  • Teach GPS technology to indigenous leaders so they no longer have to rely on expensive and biased government GPS technicians
  • Support Shipibo efforts to reclaim and restore indigenous land stewardship practices.


Update from the Field

Thank you to Nerio Reategui, our Shipibo project partner and friend, for sending these photos. He works as a translator between Shipibo, Ashaninka, and Spanish languages for an indigenous organization in the Ucayali region and spends a lot of time traveling to different communities some so remote it takes 3 weeks to reach by boat. Nerio has been involved in past Village Earth workshops and project activities.

Above: They are planting beds of Camu camu, a medicinal plant whose fruit they sell in regional, national and international markets. These photos were taken in Tahuania, a district in the Ucayali department of Peru.

Protecting Indigenous Shipibo Territory Through Community-Based Mapping

During the past 40 years, close to 20 percent of the Amazon rain forest has been cut down – more than in all the previous 450 years since European colonization began.”*

Yet, the Shipibo have sustainably managed their forests for many generations. However, an aggressive program of Amazonian “development” has been promoted during the past 50 years, which has fragmented Shipibo territory by the incursion of non-indigenous colonists, government “development” projects, and foreign corporations exploiting the land by logging, hydrocarbon extraction, and industrial-scale agriculture. However, protecting indigenous land rights has come to the forefront in their struggles for self-determination as the Peruvian government continues to open up the farthest reaches of the Amazon basin for oil exploration and other extractive enterprises.
Below: This map, originally created by the Instituto del Bien Comun and given to a Village Earth representative by AIDESEP, shows indigenous communities, protected areas, and oil concessions in Peru.
Peru Shipibo Community Mapping

Protection and defense of indigenous territory was decided as the most important focus area out of their plan for self-determination of the region’s indigenous inhabitants from the last Village Earth-Shipibo regional workshop.

To aid the Shipibo in the protection and defense of their territory, Village Earth created map books of the region using GIS layers of the native titled communities (as provided by the Sistema de Informacion sobre Comunidades Nativas de la Amazonia Peruana [SICNA] of the Instituto del Bien Comun [IBC]) and colonist settlements overlaid onto satellite images. Satellite images are an interesting mapping medium because they show vegetation cover, as well as land degradation based on the light reflected from different vegetation or soil types.
Below: A Village Earth program coordinator conducting a mapping workshop in one Shipibo community in Masisea district.
Community Mapping Workshop
As well, Village Earth held a Geographic Positioning System (GPS) workshop and gave hand held GPS units to Shipibo leaders so they can continue to use the technology to protect their lands.

Peru Community Mapping Workshop
After the Village Earth mapping workshops, two Shipibo communities have begun the process of increasing their legally-titled land in order to protect more forest from outside exploitation, as well as remove illegally settled non-indigenous colonists using their new map books and GPS points. Shipibo jefes (chiefs) even asked a Village Earth representative to attend meetings with them at the local AIDESEP and Defensoria del Pueblo offices in Pucallpa – local NGOs that work to protect and defend indigenous rights in Peru. We, accompanied by reps from Defensoria del Pueblo, then attended meetings with the local Ministry of Agriculture in Pucallpa, the branch of government that deals with indigenous land titling.

As well, these Village Earth initiatives have increased intercommunity cooperation and participants in the workshops now have a greater consciousness of their geography.

Empowering indigenous peoples by providing the training and materials to use geographic technology, in turn, allows for self-determination of their way of life – since their land and resources are inextricably linked with their culture, economy, and physical health.
Issues of land and territory will be a hot topic throughout the Indigenous Tribunal being held in June of this year. This will be a seminal event in mobilizing and organizing their communities to better protect their land and resources. The outcome of this Indigenous Tribunal will be to form a grassroots, indigenous organization in the region to direct their own path to self-determination which includes forming an indigenous working group on environmental conservation.
Thousands of hectares of highly biodiverse forest and the accompanying watershed have the potential to be protected the indigenous inhabitants taking a stand against the market forces of globalization.
*Wallace, Scott. “Last of the Amazon” in National Geographic. January 2007.

View “THIS LAND IS OUR LAND” Online! VE’s Documentary Short About Land Recovery on the Pine Ridge Reservation

“THIS LAND IS OUR LAND” explores the complex issues which hinder the efforts of residents of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to utilize their land base and chronicals Village Earth’s efforts to support Lakota Tiyospayes to recover lands for self sufficiency and to restore the sacred bison.