Center for World Indigenous Studies
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Between Life and Death

Published: December 16, 2010, Author: JayTaber

Today’s essay at International Cry notes the importance of transparency, the responsibilities of media, and the value of being informed. Cataloging the escalation of atrocities committed against indigenous peoples worldwide, IC observes that media exposure of wrongdoing by governments and corporations sometimes makes the difference between life and death.

As the UN and its member states pay lip service to the human rights of indigenous peoples, they simultaneously fund development projects in their territories–supporting evictions of indigenous communities, often by force. As time goes on, the ecological destruction of their homelands and the displacement of their peoples combined comprise what in the past was termed genocide. As the late Grand Chief George Manuel of the Assembly of First Nations in Canada once remarked, “Assimilation is annihilation”.

Self-determination and the sovereignty that implies, particularly as described in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, is a recognition that living a life ruled by others is unhealthy, unfair, and undemocratic. It is also inhumane.

While many of the world’s peoples are cynical and apathetic about governance, indigenous leaders and activists are committed to the continuity of their cultural heritage and the endurance of their political entities. They are also devoted to the Cochabamba Agenda, a document that stands in stark contrast to the Copenhagen Accord.

As politically juvenile entities compared to the 5,000 indigenous nations of the world, the 192 member states of the UN have lost sight of the restraint required in balancing the needs of Mother Earth with the wants of the World Bank. Until these immature constructs progress sufficiently in their holistic education, violence, misery and deadly conflict between indigenous nations and corporate states will continue; those of us on the path of respect and reconciliation have a vital role to play.

Chief George Manuel Memorial Indigenous Library

The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.

access here