peoples are on the cusp of the crisis in sustainable development.
Their communities are concrete examples of sustainable societies,
historically evolved in diverse ecosystems. Today, they face
the challenges of extinction or survival and renewal in a globalized
world. The impact of globalization is strongest on these populations
perhaps more than any other because these communities have
no voice and are therefore easily swept aside by the invisible
hand of the market and its proponents. Globalization is not
merely a question of marginalization for indigenous peoples
it is a multi-pronged attack on the very foundation of their
existence and livelihoods, for example:
The reality remains that without rapid action,
these native communities may be wiped out, taking with them vast
indigenous knowledge, rich culture and traditions, and any hope
of preserving the natural world, and a simpler, more holistic way
of life for future generations.
- Indigenous people throughout the world sit on the "frontlines" of
globalization's expansion; they occupy the last pristine
places on earth, where resources are still abundant: forests,
minerals, water, and genetic diversity. All are ferociously
sought by global corporations, trying to push traditional
societies off their lands.
- New advances in technology, the reorientation toward export-led
development, and the imperatives of pleasing global financial
markets are all driving forces in the extermination of countless
native communities which stand in their way.
- Traditional sovereignty over hunting and gathering rights
has been thrown into question as national governments bind
themselves to new global economic treaties.
- New trade and investment agreements, which are opening
up previously inaccessible territory to industrial extraction
of natural resources, has forced indigenous peoples to defend
their homelands under an invasion of unprecedented rate and
scale: Big dams, mines, pipelines, roads, energy developments,
military intrusions all threaten native lands.
- Global rules on the patenting of genetic resources via
the WTO has made possible the privatization of indigenous
peoples’ genomes, the biological diversity upon which
they depend, and the very knowledge of how that biodiversity
might be used commercially.
- National governments making decisions on export development
strategies or international trade and investment rules do
not consult native communities.
At the time the IFG began the Indigenous
Peoples and Globalization program, there was little awareness
among indigenous peoples, especially in North and South America,
how globalization's tentacles could reach directly into "sovereign"
societies, and require them to make drastic accommodations
to large-scale corporate development and resource raiding.
The impacts were especially profound in parts of the world
where native peoples—who often have had little contact
with outsiders—lived in areas where pristine resources
such as water, oil, forests, fish, and wildlife, minerals,
biodiversity and medicines—were still in great abundance.
To date, we have achieved two major steps.
The first was to organize, for the first time, a large organizing
meeting among globalization experts and some 25 leading native activists,
including Winona LaDuke, John Mohawk, Debra Harry, Melissa Nelson,
Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson, Atossa Soltani, joined by IFG Board
Member/Philippine indigenous activist Victoria Tauli-Corpuz.
At the meeting, the IFG committed to developing
two very important new documents—a map and a report—to
explain the impacts globalization has on indigenous communities.
The map was issued in 2003 and has been well received in indigenous
and other communities. The map is a first-ever visual representation
of over 250 places in the world where global corporations and bureaucracies
have impacted native peoples, who continue to voice opposition.
In July 2005, IFG released Paradigm Wars
- Indigenous Peoples' Resistance to Economic Globalization, a
report on the impacts of globalization on indigenous peoples. Among
topics discussed in the report are: the fundamental clash of world
views between indigenous and westernized societies; the viability
of traditional ecological knowledge systems; globalization as neo-colonization—including
globalization and culture—and full reports on current goings-on
including Plan Colombia, bioprospecting, industrial development in
the Amazon, contamination from GMOs, oil and the Niger Delta, water
privatization, ecotourism, mining, role of trade agreements and bureaucracies,
and new international opportunities for action. (in late 2006, this
report was updated and published by Sierra Club Books; it is available
at local bookstores.)
On September 13, 2007, after more than two
decades of negotiations and work by indigenous groups and their supporters,
the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the UN General
Assemby voted in favor of the Declaration. Read the Statement
of Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indignenous
Issues (and IFG board member), on the Adoption of the UN Declaration.
In a press statement, Tauli-Corpuz said “The 13th of September
2007 will be remembered as an international human rights day for
the Indigenous Peoples of the world, a day that the United Nations
and its Member States, together with Indigenous Peoples, reconciled
with past painful histories and decided to march into the future
on the path of human rights.”
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ RESISTANCE
TO ECONOMIC GLOBALIZATION
Cooper Union, New York City
November 18, 2006
November 23, 2006
The IFG's Indigenous Peoples and Globalization
program has completed a map depicting the negative impacts of
economic globalization on indigenous peoples. The map provides
a striking visual image of the totality of the problem. It offers
a unique visual representation of globalization across the many
sectors impacting native communities: oil, dams, biopiracy, logging,
militarization, and industrial agriculture, to name a handful.
The map also includes text describing the various impacts.
There are examples from every continent,
save Antarctica. The Bayaka in Central African Republic whose community
is being destroyed by logging; the Dinka and Nuer in Sudan whose
lands are being taken over for oil reserves; the Wichí in
Argentina facing a major highway through their territory; gold
mining on Miskito lands in Nicaragua; eco-tourism on Kuna land
in Panama; mining on Australian aboriginal lands; Jharkhand tribal
community dislocation due to megadam project in India; industrial
plantations destroying tropical forests on which the Dayak people
in Indonesia depend; export coffee plantations evicting Montangards
from their homeland in Vietnam; uranium mining, and the resulting
toxic waste contaminating the ecosystem on which the Dene and Cree
in Canada rely; overfishing jeopardizing survival of Chukchi and
Eskimo in Russia; mining on North American indian lands, including
the Western Shoshone, Quechan Nation, Mohawk, and Zuni peoples.
View or Download the map as a PDF
(To download: Mac users Ctrl + click and Download
Link to Disk,
Windows users right click and Save Target As)
IFG had input on the map from
many NGOs, including: Amazon Watch, Indigenous Environmental
Network, International Indian Treaty Council, Project Underground,
White Earth Land Recovery Project, Oilwatch, Nicaragua Network,
Survival International, Cultural Survival, World Rainforest Movement,
MiningWatch Canada, and the Tebtebba Foundation in the Philippines.
Hard copies of the map are
now available ($10) Order
at the IFG book store
Draft Report: Toward a Campaign
in Support of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
Peoples, August 2, 2007
Download the report
Paradigm Wars: Indigenous
Peoples Resistance to Globalization
Click here for information
Human Rights Council adopts UN Declaration on the Rights
of Indigenous Peoples, June 29, 2006
of Action for the Second International Decade of the World’s
Indigenous People, launched at the 5th Session of the
UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues which was held May
Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,
Declaration of the 2nd Asian Indigenous Women's Conference,
Baguio City, Philippines, March 8th, 2004
- The International
Cancun Declaration of Indigenous Peoples, 5th Ministerial
Conference - Cancun, Mexico, September 12, 2003 (en
Peoples' Declaration on Extractive Industries, 15 April
2003, Oxford, United Kingdom
of the Indigenous Peoples Interfaith Dialogue on Globalisation
and Tourism, Chiang Rai, Thailand, January 2002
Declaration on the Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights
of Indigenous Peoples, 1993