This Week's Program: Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Skywaves: Indigenous News Worldwide.

A news feature about the remaining cultures of Indigenous peoples globally and the struggles they face daily - including those in your back yard.


In South America

Peru’s government is ignoring new UN guidelines on the protection of uncontacted Indians in the Amazon. Instead of backing the UN’s landmark report, which supports the tribes’ right to be left alone, Peru is allowing the country’s largest gas project to expand further into Indigenous territories known to house numerous uncontacted Indians. The new UN guidance makes clear that uncontacted tribes’ land should be untouchable, and that ‘no rights should be granted that involve the use of natural resources’.The expansion plan adds to existing controversies around Argentine gas giant Pluspetrol and its notorious Camisea project in southeast Peru.Past oil and gas exploration in Peru has resulted in violent and disastrous contact with isolated Indians.

In the early 1980s, Shell workers opened up paths into the uncontacted Nahua Indians’ land. Diseases soon wiped out half the tribe. One surviving Nahua who lives close to Camisea’s developments said, ‘The company should not be here. All the time we hear helicopters. Our animals have left, there are no fish. For this, I don’t want the company. No! No company.’ Despite an electoral campaign that promised to respect indigenous rights, Peru’s President Ollanta Humala has done little to guarantee the survival of indigenous peoples. The Camisea consortium includes US-based Hunt Oil and Spain’s Repsol. Both have been accused of violating tribal peoples’ rights.


In North America

Members of the Lakota Nation rose in protest this week to join a 48-hour hunger strike in opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline—and all tar sands pipelines—they say will destroy precious water resources and ancestral lands in the U.S and in Canada. On April 1st, hunger strikers and supporters marched at a rally against tar sands oil mining operations and pipelines in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, a impoverished community on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, close to TransCanada’s 1,700 mile proposed Keystone XL pipeline route to refineries in the Gulf. Lakota tribal members and their children drove to a camp in the rugged hills near the Missouri River to fast in solidarity with a hunger strike at the Bella Bella Community School in British Columbia. Children at the school are protesting a plan to ship millions of barrels of oil through a potentially dangerous “Northern Gateway” pipeline that would pipe corrosive tar sands oil from Alberta to giant super tankers navigating Canada’s treacherous Pacific coast. The massive environmental devastation caused by tar sands mining in Canada and oil company plans to ship it through the U.S. has united Native Americans against proposals to build tar sands pipelines here in the U.S. Karen Ducheneaux, who lives on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, one of the poorest regions in the country, came up with the hunger strike idea after seeing a powerful video protesting tar sands oil by the children of the Bella Bella Community School in Canada. After talking to her family members and tribal leaders, Ducheneaux decided it was time to act in solidarity with the First Nation peoples of Canada. It is a tradition these hunger strikers say they will fight for until there are no Lakota left.


In Africa

West African States Impose Sanctions, Seal Off Mali Borders by Jason Ditz, April 02, 2012 Following a high profile summit today in Dakar, Senegal, the Economic Community of Western African States (ECOWAS) has announced a full scale embargo on neighboring Mali, sealing all the borders of the landlocked nation to the outside world in retaliation for the military’s recent coup d’etat. In addition to closing the borders, ECOWAS will freeze all the assets of the Malian central bank, and will halt all imports to the country. Since Mali produces literally no oil of its own, it relies entirely on imports from the Ivory Coast for its energy needs. The nation’s electricity production is partially hydroelectric in nature, but is likely to still leave the nation in a situation of rolling blackouts. ECOWAS also announced that they are mobilizing a regional military force after the meeting, but exactly to what end was not readily apparent. Though the coup in the official reason for the sanctions, there may also been an effort to effectively quarantine Mali for the duration of its ongoing secessionist war. The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (NMLA), an Indigenous - Tuareg rebel faction, has seized the entire northern half of the country, and while officially they seek only that region there has been speculation that they will eventually seek to incorporate Tuareg-heavy regions in neighboring nations into Azawad. The Mali junta has promised to hold fresh elections soon, but their calls for international military aid to crush the Tuaregs is likely to be stalled indefinitely while the embargo is in place.

There are an estimated 350 million indigenous peoples remaining with Mother Earth. They legally own more than 11% of the world’s forests and those coincide with areas that hold up to 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. Traditional knowledge is a different but no less valid way of understanding the world.

“News sources today include Survival International, Natural Resources Defense Council and the Aboriginal News Group.

“Skywaves is produced in the studios of WBAI NY. and in alliance with First Voices Indigenous Radio and First Peoples World Wide, the only direct funder to Indigenous communities globally,. Email us at or go to and to download todays featured stories. Thanks for joining us.”