6:02 Now Playing
On the 12th September 2013 the Honduran government granted almost 7% of its territory to the indigenous Miskito people who have lived traditionally on this land for centuries. We follow the leadership of the indigenous organisation, MASTA, as they speak to their elders and explore solutions to better govern their land.
7:24 Now Playing
After a seven year battle, the Mayangna community of Awas Tingni won a landmark ruling at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and demonstrated that international human rights law could protect indigenous peoples, their land and their natural resources. As a result a Demarcation Law was passed in 2003 in Nicaragua to recognise and respect indigenous people’s land rights. However a change in law does not always lead to a change in behaviour.
Indigenous communities continue to have to fight to protect their territory from unscrupulous businessmen selling off this land to poor families, some who may have invested all they own into a small plot. This has caused incredible friction between the settlers and the indigenous communities.
Patrols to protect disputed land often turn violent. In 2013 Charlie Taylor was murdered trying to keep colonists from his communities’ land, a Mayangna community situated in the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve. This is a crucial moment, the indigenous peoples are mobilising groups to defend their land against settlers who often cut down large areas of forest and are increasingly violent. Despite laws and promises being made, indigenous communities are facing an intensifying daily battle to protect their ancestral lands and their forests.
6:04 Now Playing
Mapping Riverine Communities
The community of Lago do Mainá have lived with the forest and the river, nature for them is the most fundamental thing they have. However a military training base and increasing incursions by soldiers created tension between the community and the army. Through the use of social mapping the people of Lago do Mainá have been able to secure rights to a concession where they can continue to live as they have done centuries.
7:31 Now Playing
On 1st September 2014 Edwin Chota and three indigenous Asháninka leaders were murdered while defending their forests. They had been denouncing the increasingly violent illegal loggers operating on their ancestral lands for over a decade with little recognition from the government. Through their widows, family and friends we learn about their ongoing fight for land titles. This story is one of many examples of Indigenous Peoples defending their forests and paying the ultimate sacrifice.
6:58 Now Playing
Dayaks and Drones
Even a well-managed, recognised forest faces constant challenges but innovative drone GPS technology, cooperative campaigning, local government support and eco-tourism are helping the Setulang people thrive. They have shown that community rights, the environment and development go hand in hand.
Setulang boasts clean water, sustainable fishing and hunting, building materials, fruit and traditional medicine, a ‘life bank’ for future generations. But by being in a heavily forested area they still face the growing threat of timber, oil palm and mining companies. The head of the village is looking to find new and innovative solutions to protect his land and a team of experts from West Kalimantan may have the answer. GPS based drones are being used for the first time to map community land and the results have been impressive.
2:06 Now Playing
Voices from the community - Friends of the Earth
From Friends of the Earth
The Ugandan Government along with private investors Wilmar International and BIDCO are developing palm oil plantations on pristine islands in Kalangala, Lake Victoria. The project is promoted as bringing development to the islands, but communities who rely on subsistence agriculture and the local forests for survival say their land and livelihoods are being destroyed.
On her 2.5 acres of land in Kalangala, Uganda, Imelda grows sweet potatoes, cassava, banana, yams, and rears goats. She has 9 children. She and her family have been threatened by the palm oil company representatives who say that the land is theirs and want her to move away. Elite land owners are constantly looking for land to sell or lease to the company, everyone’s land or right to land is under scrutiny as profit motives begin to tear apart a subsistent society. Her husband is a heavy drinker and she sees no income from him, her only source of income is from the food she grows on her small plot of land.
12.30 Now Playing
The Indigenous Quest
The Indigenous Quest sheds light on the massive forest loss in Kalimantan caused by big multinationals to clear land for palm oil plantations. These forests are known as the lungs of the earth, as they provide the most oxygen while harboring carbon dioxide.
This short documentary tells the story of Mr. Japin, an indigenous farmer from the Silat Hulu community, West Borneo, Indonesia. He is fighting to get his customary forest back that has been seized without prior and informed consent by the palm oil multinational Sinar Mas Group.
7:42 Now Playing
Communities Combat Coca Growers
Roberto, Teofilo and the Shipibo Conibo communities of Patria Nueva and Nueva Saposoa have been managing their forest for decades. They use an innovative forest monitoring system that incorporates traditional foot patrols and the latest technology-including GPS, smart phone applications, satellite-generated deforestation alerts and drones. These tools have have allowed the community monitors, alongside government officials, to locate and identify land invaders, illegal loggers, and increasingly, the illicit cultivation of coca and drug trafficking activities in their ancestral territory. They face threats from invading colonialists and in 2012 community member Eliseo Picón was killed; Roberto and Teofilo continue to receive death threats.
After the making of this film, on 21st September 2017, for the first time in the history of Peru, these two indigenous communities, the Shipibo Conibo Native Communities of Nueva Saposoa and Patria Nueva, have been officially accredited as Forest Monitors by the State.
It bestows these communities with the historic legal recognition to enforce the Peruvian forest law within their land titles, including the authority to decommission the extraction and transport of natural resources and a direct link to forest authorities.
9:55 Now Playing
The Warden of The Jargarian Forest
Jargarian land is a local name for Aru Archipelago. Indeed, not many know the territory that became part of the Maluku. Aru consist of 187 islands large and small settled indigenous peoples living in these islands maintaining the integrity of the Aru Islands indigenous communities until now.
In 2012, there was a sudden survey and plan to plot the forest areas in some villages. This was initially carried out to develop sugarcane plantations. After it was instigated, the Aru Islands Regent issued a concession permit to a plantation consortium called PT. Menara Group which had 28 subsidiaries in 2010. This was done without the prior consent from indigenous peoples in Aru. The area of land covered by the permit is 626 900 hectares.
In response to the development plan by the consortium PT. Menara Group the indigenous peoples in Aru, together with a local youth group, formed a coalition. Learning from a bitter past experience of land seizures conducted by the Navy in 1991, they decided to firmly reject the entry of PT. Menara Group who threaten to take their land. They gathered in Dobo City district capital of Aru Islands.
PT. Menara Group promised that the community will be prosperous and were very persuasive. Companies were facilitated by local government who tried to persuade and seduce indigenous peoples in Aru in many ways.
The rejection transformed into stronger action when they formed the Save Aru Coalition with the support of various local and national NGO’s. With the backing of communities and indigenous youth the #SaveAru campaign was raised to a global level.
Maluku Provincial Parliament finally issued a recommendation to the government to immediately revoke their recommendation related to the license granted to PT. Menara Group consortium. Minister of Forestry in his press statement also stated that Aru is unsuitable for plantations. Up to this time indigenous peoples in Aru Islands are still waiting for the decision of the Ministry of Forestry to revoke licenses that have been issued in principle for conversion of forest areas in the Aru Islands. They want to make sure that the company is completely out of the region.
The Indigenous peoples of Aru are determined to stand guard and ensure their forest is not destroyed.
12:47 Now Playing
Despite their customary land being recognised by the Indonesian Government in 2012, the Seko community have been defending their land against large-scale energy development for the last 3 years. In 2016, 14 community leaders were criminalized, including 1 woman. They were sentenced for at least 7 months.
They oppose a large scale hydro-electric power plant, Seko Power Prima, that will divert their river and would cut through their fertile hills, groves, cropland and hamlets. The communities organised, staged rallies and defended their land.
On August 1st 2017, Amisandi was released from jail but the resistance continues.
7:38 Now Playing
Fly Ash Pollution in Kalinga Nagar
Kalinga Nagar Industrial Estate is a hub for several metal production mills that are built over land forcefully acquired from indigenous peoples. The methods of displacement and land acquisition was extreme and led to several human rights violations including the killing of fourteen indigenous people in a police firing. With the presence of twelve steel factories and proposed ones coming up, chromite and iron mining, Kalinga Nagar is now one of the most polluted places in the country.
8:15 Now Playing
Brazil’s African slave descendants, the Quilombola, have fought a long and hard struggle for recognition. After the abolition of the slave trade they were left abandoned and ostracised, devoid of rights and outside of Brazilian mainstream society. But things are slowly changing amongst rural communities.
In the 1988 constitution Brazil’s Quilombola were granted access to land rights and since then they have been actively building a way to secure land titles on the sites where many have lived for generations. Community mapping is an important tool in this process, as is increasing awareness amongst the Brazilian population through education and ecotourism.
‘Freedom’ looks at two Quilombola communities, one with no land title and one benefitting from legal recognition, and examines the disparities between them.
On the 3rd March 2018, subsequent to this film’s release, Cachoeira Porteira finally won land titles for more than 220,000 hectares, following a 23 year struggle.
12:33 Now Playing
UCHUNYA: Where Will We Live?
In the territory of the Shipibo people of the Peruvian Amazon, the indigenous community of Santa Clara de Uchunya are facing the devastation of their ancestral forests and rivers. This is due to the aggressive expansion of a palm oil plantation operated by Plantaciones de Pucallpa S.A.C., a member of a group of companies controlled by businessman Dennis Melka.
This video, based on community testimonies, shows the impacts which the community are suffering as a result of this appropriation of their traditional lands and the fight to defend their territorial and cultural rights. The community’s efforts to gain recognition of their rights over their territory span more than 30 years and have now reached a critical point. The ongoing legal case of Santa Clara de Uchunya is emblematic, in that its outcome will have far-reaching consequences for the future of the Peruvian Amazon and its indigenous peoples.
More information here: http://www.thisisplace.org/i/?id=2b71b3a2-e3f7-4b7e-8498-fc51cbaa74fa
Playlist - Demand #1: Recognition to Land, Territories and Resources
Global indigenous leaders are calling for 5 demands, in this series of playlists we explore each demand in turn.
Demand #1 Recognition to Land, Territories and Resources
Communities need ownership over their ancestral land to protect forests. With no formal land security traditional communities often face serious conflict when trying to evict illegal loggers, poachers and land grabbers.
There is now clear and undeniable evidence that where indigenous people have strong rights, there are standing forests.
Only 0.6% of forest was lost inside Indigenous lands in the Brazilian Amazon between 2000 and 2012, compared with 7.0% of forest outside such lands.[1