Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward







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Recent Posts

Indigenous Peoples

Dakota Access pipeline to be shut down by court order in major blow for Trump

Bloomberg reports: The Dakota Access pipeline must shut down by Aug. 5, a district court ruled Monday in a stunning defeat for the Trump administration and the oil industry. The decision, which shuts the pipeline during a court-ordered environmental review that’s expected to extend into 2021, is a momentous win for American Indian tribes that have opposed the Energy Transfer LP project for years. It comes just a day after

Trump’s Mount Rushmore fireworks show is a Fourth of July attack on Indigenous people

Nick Tilsen writes: On Friday, President Donald Trump will continue his tour of racism and colonialism, moving from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to the sacred Black Hills. Make no mistake, this visit is an attack on Indigenous people. I visit the Black Hills alongside many other Lakotas every year as part of a tradition we have maintained for thousands of years. Stretching from what is now known as South Dakota into Wyoming,

Endangered people: Indigenous South Americans blockade villages to avert coronavirus catastrophe

The Guardian reports: Indigenous groups across South America are blockading their villages and retreating into their traditional forest and mountain homes in a bid to escape the potentially cataclysmic threat of coronavirus. In recent days, as the number of cases in South America has risen to almost 8,000 – with many more cases likely to be unreported – indigenous groups in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru have all started taking

Indigenous people may be the Amazon’s last hope

Collecting firewood on the Waiapi indigenous reserve in Amapa state, Brazil, Oct. 13, 2017. A new bill could open Brazil’s Native lands to development. APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images By Robert T. Walker, University of Florida; Aline A. Carrara, University of Florida; Cynthia S. Simmons, University of Florida, and Maira I Irigaray, University of Florida Brazil’s divisive President Jair Bolsonaro has taken another step in his bold plans to develop

Native people did not use fire to shape New England’s landscape

Old-growth forests prevailed in New England for thousands of years. David Foster, CC BY-ND By Wyatt Oswald, Emerson College; David R. Foster, Harvard University, and Elizabeth Chilton, Binghamton University, State University of New York An interpretive sign stands at the edge of the Montague Plains Wildlife Management Area, a 1,500-acre state conservation property in central Massachusetts. It explains the site’s open land vegetation has been shaped by “millennia of fire”

Those financing climate disaster need to learn from indigenous wisdom

Tara Houska writes: “This way of life is not primitive, it is not uncivilised,” I gestured to the image on the screen just above my head. It showed my longtime teacher, Dennis Jones, knocking manoomin (wild rice), the grain sacred to Anishinaabe people, into a canoe. I snapped that photo of us harvesting wild rice years back, before a new pipeline called Line 3 threatened to carry a million barrels

Listen to what the people from the forest want


Indigenous knowledge can help solve the biodiversity crisis

Hannah Rundle writes: The United Nations recently released a preliminary report warning that global biodiversity is declining at an unprecedented rate, with approximately one million species currently at risk of extinction. However, the report noted biodiversity is declining at a significantly slower rate on lands governed by indigenous peoples, demonstrating their success as stewards of their natural environment. Biodiversity describes genetic diversity within and between species and is integral to

Old religious tensions resurge in Bolivia after ouster of longtime indigenous president

Supporters of former Bolivian president Evo Morales rally with indigenous flags outside the city of Cochabamba, Bolivia, Nov. 18, 2019. AP Photo/Juan Karita By Matthew Peter Casey, Arizona State University Days after the powerful Bolivian leader Evo Morales was forced to resign as president after allegations of election fraud, Bolivia’s new interim president made her first public appearance. Climbing to the balcony of the Presidential Palace in La Paz, Jeanine

Indigenous people and illegal miners are engaged in a fight that may help decide the future of the planet

Jon Lee Anderson writes: One day in 2014, Belém, a member of Brazil’s Kayapo tribe, went deep into the forest to hunt macaws and parrots. He was helping to prepare for a coming-of-age ceremony, in which young men are given adult names and have their lips pierced. By custom, initiates wear headdresses adorned with tail feathers. Belém, whose Kayapo name is Takaktyx, an honorific form of the word “strong,” was

We need indigenous wisdom to survive the Apocalypse

Julian Brave Noisecat writes: For hundreds of years, the Mohawk have defied the governments superimposed over their own. Since the 1600s, they resisted successive French, Dutch, British, American, and Canadian invasions, often successfully. And when the wars ended, they kept fighting. In the ­early 1900s, a Mohawk iron­worker crossed the US–Canada border with his family to live and work in Philadelphia. When the Americans prosecuted him as an “illegal alien,”

Why more places are abandoning Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous Peoples Day

Marchers celebrate the first Indigenous Peoples Day in Berkeley, Calif. on Oct. 10, 1992. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma By Malinda Maynor Lowery, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Increasingly, Columbus Day is giving people pause. More and more towns and cities across the country are electing to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day as an alternative to – or in addition to – the day intended to honor Columbus’ voyages. Critics of

How the loss of Native American languages affects our understanding of the natural world

Dance is a unique way of passing on cultural stories to a younger generation. Aaron Hawkins/, CC BY-ND By Rosalyn R. LaPier, The University of Montana Alaska has a “linguistic emergency,” according to the Alaskan Gov. Bill Walker. A report warned earlier this year that all of the state’s 20 Native American languages might cease to exist by the end of this century, if the state did not act. American

400 million indigenous people protect 80% of the world’s biodiversity

The Guardian reports: As presidents, prime ministers and corporate executives gathered at the UN climate action summit on Monday, for the first time, an indigenous representative joined the event in a formal capacity. Tuntiak Katan of the Ecuadorian Shuar people spoke on behalf of the International Indigenous People’s Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC), a caucus of indigenous rights advocates who, for years, has been working towards more robust participation and

Brazil’s army wants to ‘occupy’ the Amazon

The Intercept reports: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is planning to push industrialization and development in the interior of the country’s Amazon basin. It is far from a new project. For more than a century, a series of Brazilian governments have sought to move into the country’s interior, developing — or, to be more precise, colonizing — the Amazon. From the populist president-turned-dictator who made one of the early industrial pushes

Amazon gold miners invade indigenous village in Brazil after its leader is killed

The Guardian reports: Dozens of gold miners have invaded a remote indigenous reserve in the Brazilian Amazon where a local leader was stabbed to death and have taken over a village after the community fled in fear, local politicians and indigenous leaders said. The authorities said police were on their way to investigate. Illegal gold mining is at epidemic proportions in the Amazon and the heavily polluting activities of garimpeiros