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Monday, 22 February

21:34

Oils spills in Peruvian Amazon devastate indigenous communities News from Survival International

Dozens of Peruvian tribes have seen their territories opened up to oil companies
Dozens of Peruvian tribes have seen their territories opened up to oil companies
© Johan Wildhagen/Survival

Indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon have suffered from three oil spills in two months.

The spills are all attributed to State oil company PetroPerú, which has failed to conduct routine maintenance on its pipelines. One spill released at least 2,000 barrels of oil, which spread into the local rivers, affecting indigenous communities that include the Achuar, Shapra, Wampis and Awajún.

The spills have destroyed the ecosystem, compromising the health, food and safety of local communities. Locals have lost their livelihoods and are no longer able to drink water from the rivers or fish for food.

Whilst the cleanup is the responsibility of PetroPerú, both the company and the government have been slow to react. Communities have resorted to trying to clean up the toxic oil themselves. Shocking images reveal that children, without protection, have been involved in this dangerous process.

This environmental disaster is just the latest in a long history of oil and gas leaks in the area. More than 70% of the Peruvian Amazon has been leased by the government to oil companies. Many of these leases are inhabited by indigenous people. These projects not only open up previously remote areas to outsiders, such as loggers and colonists...

16:18

President Obama Has Opportunity to Nominate a Hopi Judge to Supreme Court Aboriginal News Group Newswire

President Obama Has Opportunity to Nominate a Hopi Judge to Supreme Court: [bbsnews.net] One name has surfaced as a possible choice is U.S. District Court Judge Diane Humetewa, who was namedearlier this week by a Huffington Post blogger as the “hard to block Supreme Court nominee.”

Judge Humetewa is a tribal citizen of the Hopi Nation. She may be able to garner bi-partisan support. Her name was first recommended to become a U.S. Attorney in 2007 by Senators John McCain and Jon Kly, from her home state of Arizona. Former President George W. Bush nominated her.

16:14

Lawyers call for action on indigenous incarceration | Chronicle Aboriginal News Group Newswire

Lawyers call for action on indigenous incarceration | Chronicle: Aboriginal people represent just 2.5% of the country's population, but account for 27% of people behind bars across the country.

And 50% of children and young people in juvenile detention are indigenous.

The Law Council of Australia says the rest of the country can learn from recent changes in the Northern Territory and Western Australia that are expected to improve Aboriginal incarceration rates.

Last week the NT Government pledged to halve the rate of Aboriginal imprisonment by 2030 and WA said it would address self-harm and suicides in custody.

14:34

The Racist Portrayal of the Philippines in Historical Cartoons as US Troops Invaded � Global Voices Aboriginal News Group Newswire

The Racist Portrayal of the Philippines in Historical Cartoons as US Troops Invaded � Global Voices: In the past decade, Filipino-American scholars reviewed these cartoons and other propaganda materials that expose how the United States government tried to hide its colonial agenda by describing the occupation as an act of benevolence.

What the cartoons failed to illustrate is that a Philippine Republic was already existing when American soldiers arrived in 1898. Furthermore, Filipino revolutionaries had already defeated the Spanish colonial forces, which ruled the Philippines for more than 300 years. The cartoons also didn’t show that the subsequent war between Filipino and American troops killed more than a million people in the country. The war ended in 1901, but it was only in 1946 when the Philippines gained its independence.

14:30

Matchbox 20's Rob Thomas apologises for racist joke in Melbourne: 'I cried when I found out' | Music | The Guardian Aboriginal News Group Newswire

Matchbox 20's Rob Thomas apologises for racist joke in Melbourne: 'I cried when I found out' | Music | The Guardian: On Sunday the singer of Smooth, Lonely No More and Her Diamonds took to Facebook to explain the joke, which he said was not about race: “I said I drank until I thought I was Australian. Then I drank so much that I thought I was a black Australian and then I drank so much I thought I was a little Australian girl.

“These were 3 things I chose at random to represent 3 things I’m not. I’m not Australian. I’m not black and I’m not a little girl.”

Thomas said that had he known there was a “connection between the indigenous peoples of Australia and a stereotype involving drinking” he would have chosen another example.

“I was so ignorant to the situation that when I heard people groan I actually thought THEY were being racist. I didn’t know until TODAY that just the phrase ‘black Australian’ was racist all on it’s own. (sic)

“I sat in my room and I cried when I found out.”

14:27

Matchbox 20's Rob Thomas apologises for racist joke in Melbourne: 'I cried when I found out' | Music | The Guardian Aboriginal News Group Newswire

Matchbox 20's Rob Thomas apologises for racist joke in Melbourne: 'I cried when I found out' | Music | The Guardian: Matchbox 20’s lead singer Rob Thomas has apologised for an insensitive joke made during his solo Melbourne show on Saturday, in which he said “I keep drinking until I think I’m a black Australian”.

The poorly worded joke immediately drew the ire of many Indigenous Australians, include country music singer Troy Cassar-Daley who tweeted “Rob Thomas always came across as a smart Bloke to me, I guess I was wrong”, and rapper Briggs:

14:18

Opals' Alice Kunek blackface costume draws ire from team-mate Liz Cambage - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Aboriginal News Group Newswire

Opals' Alice Kunek blackface costume draws ire from team-mate Liz Cambage - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation): "I'm am so shocked and disturbed to see this behavior (sic) from someone I'm meant to call a "teammate"," wrote Cambage, whose father is Nigerian.

"Blackface is disgusting, I honestly have no words.

"People wonder why I have issues with some @BasketballAus teammates, I've been dealing with these (sic) behavior since we were kids."

For her part, Kunek delivered an apology within an hour of Cambage's missive.

"I am so unbelievably sorry to all my followers who were offended my by previous post. It was never my intention to offend anyone at all. It was an honest mistake," Kunek posted on Instagram.

Blackface is considered a relic of last-century minstrel shows, which featured unfortunate lampooning of black Americans.

The act of wearing blackface is regarded by many as highly offensive.

06:49

The Week That Was: The Big Stories in Indian Country, February 21, 2016 Indian Country Headline News

In the Now We’ve Heard Everything department, the news out of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge this past week stunk—literally....

06:00

Debbie--have you seen... J. Albert Mann's SCAR: A REVOLUTIONARY WAR TALE American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL)

A reader asked if I've seen J. Albert Mann's Scar: A Revolutionary War Tale published in 2016. A second reader sent me a copy. The publishing info is interesting. It says:

Calkins Creek
An Imprint of Highlights
When I look it up online using "Calkins Creek," I'm directed to Boyds Mills Press. Sometime I ought to find out how all this "imprint" thing works!

I'll read the copy I was sent, but for now it is in my "Debbie-have you seen..." series. Here's the synopsis:
Sixteen-year-old Noah Daniels wants nothing more than to fight in George Washington’s Continental Army, but an accident as a child left him maimed and unable to enlist. He is forced to watch the Revolution from his family’s hard scrabble farm in Upstate New York—until a violent raid on his settlement thrusts him into one of the bloodiest battles of the American Revolution, and ultimately, face to face with the enemy. A riveting coming of age story, this book also includes an author’s note and bibliography.

From the Kirkus review, I see that Scar is "a wounded Mohawk soldier allied with the British" and from SLJ's review, I see that it "sheds light" on the "Iroquois Confederacy's alliance with the British."

That's all I have for now. When I read it, I'll be back with a link to a review.

Thursday, 18 February

22:26

Revealed: Brazil's most corrupt politician targets uncontacted tribe News from Survival International

José Riva, a former state deputy, has been labelled the most corrupt politician in Brazil.
José Riva, a former state deputy, has been labelled the most corrupt politician in Brazil.
© Local media

Survival International can reveal that a rancher targeting the land of an uncontacted tribe in the Amazon is a former state deputy labelled “the most corrupt politician in Brazil.”

José Riva, who has formerly been a deputy in Mato Grosso state, is in prison and currently being investigated for over 100 instances of alleged fraud, corruption, formation of criminal gangs, and other crimes.

Mr. Riva owns a ranch on the land of the uncontacted Kawahiva tribe, one of the most vulnerable peoples on the planet. He has repeatedly claimed that the tribe does not exist, despite video and photographic evidence proving they do, and has lobbied for the right to open up swathes of tribal land for cattle ranching and plantations.

He is a prominent advocate of PEC 215, a proposal to change Brazil’s constitution which, if implemented, could strip Brazilian tribes of their hard-won land rights.

Speaking about the Kawahiva territory, Mr. Riva said simply: “There are...

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