Center for World Indigenous Studies
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FW Hunger: Land & Refugees

Published: November 28, 2014, Author: Rÿser Rudolph C.

Fourth World peoples frequently live in the most remote regions of the world making up a major portion of the non-urban population. Significantly, the diversity of Fourth World peoples’ locations has historically produced most of the food variety on which all of humanity now depends. Grains, fruits, herding animals, tubers, seeds and sea life were and in many places in the world continue to be exploited by Fourth World peoples. The relationship between human cultural diversity and the world’s foods is absolute. Forced displacement of Fourth World peoples risks the collapse of the world’s natural food system. Virtually all other commercially produced “foods” aren’t food at all, but simulations augmented by chemical and processing additions. Artificial vitamins and nutrients are introduced into natural foods that have been intensively processed resulting in the replacement of natural vitamins and nutrients.

Fourth World peoples on six continents are being pushed off their lands by commercial exploitation of natural resources (oil, land, water, forests), state policies of forced removal, climate changes, and forced development by international bodies, states and commercial businesses. The result is an increased number of Fourth World Refugees suffering from malnutrition, social violence, and chronic poverty. Removal from the land by human induced or nature’s means–creating Fourth World Refugees–is perhaps the most significant factor affecting their health (social, mental, physical and cultural) health.


FW Refugees in Panama

Of the 1.3 billion Fourth World people of 5000 nations none that have been forced from their lands is recognized by the United Nations as having official “refugee status.” More than thirty Fourth World nations (Tule, Embera, Awá, Jiw and Nukak among them) in the state of Columbia are caught up in a raging war between the state government and an insurgency.

Hunger is essentially being induced in Fourth World nations by displacement from the source of their foods. As producers of foods Fourth World peoples are by virtue of their displacement, refugee condition and now landless condition are less and less the source of basic foods for themselves and for all of humanity.

Induced landlessness and ultimately displacement forces Fourth World peoples to depend on states and multilateral institutions for substances that appear to be food, but actually contribute to ill health. Restoring Fourth World peoples to their national territories by taking land back from commercial enterprises that were given the best lands for their use leaving Fourth World peoples to occupy the worst lands.

The leaders of Fourth World nations must act swiftly to reclaim their territories and in the absence of that possibility (adverse effects of climate change), they must move to organize adaptations and demand territories of equal quality and size from those who have confiscated lands for the benefit of state and commercial enrichment.

Fourth World leaders cannot sit by and remain helpless. They must act!




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.

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