Tag Archives: indigenous leader

Indigenous Leader and Land Defender Arthur Manuel Dies in B.C.

Indigenous leader and land defender Arthur Manuel dies in B.C.

Indigenous leader and land defender Arthur Manuel dies in B.C.

Staff | World News – Metro Vancouver, Jan 12, 2017

Arthur Manuel, a long-time outspoken indigenous leader in British Columbia, has died at age 65.

The former chief of Neskonlith First Nation near Merritt, and former elected head of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council, founded the Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade and was one of the leading critics of Canada’s policies towards First Nations.

His father, Grand Chief George Manuel — co-founder and former president of the National Indian Brotherhood, which became the Assembly of First Nations — is considered one of the most influential indigenous leaders in B.C.’s history.

Manuel died on Wednesday, but Metro could not immediate confirm what caused his death.

“Arthur Manuel was, without question, one of Canada’s strongest and most outspoken indigenous leaders in the defense of our indigenous land and human rights,” the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said in a statement Thursday. “We are so profoundly grateful for Arthur’s many sacrifices and contributions to our ongoing struggles to seek a full measure of justice for our indigenous peoples.

“Arthur’s legacy will continue to reverberate throughout our ongoing indigenous history for many, many generations to come.”

Most recently, the veteran leader in the Secwepemc nation joined the Standing Rock Sioux encampment in the U.S., which faced police rubber bullets and water cannons before halting the Dakota Access Pipeline. Last year, he co-authored the book Unsettling Canada: A National Wake Up Call.

Manuel was from a family of indigenous activists. His father, George Manuel, was president of the National Indian Brotherhood and the World Council of Indigenous Peoples.

Manuel’s sister is renowned indigenous filmmaker Doreen Manuel, who teaches and coordinates the Indigenous Independent Digital Filmmaking program at Capilano University.

And his daughter Kanahus Manuel is herself a leading figure in Secwepemc activism — particularly after the Imperial Metals tailings pond collapse at Mount Polley Mine.

Outpourings of support flowed in from other indigenous leaders across B.C. on Thursday. Former three-term Tahltan Nation president Annita McPhee posted on her Facebook wall that the indigenous community “lost a warrior” in Manuel’s passing.

“You were a true warrior of our rights and title and I was so blessed to have known you,” she wrote. “You were so inspirational, humble and so strong. I was so proud listening to you. You didn’t act like we had rights and title, you lived it.”

For Wet’suwet’en land defender and hereditary chief Toghestiy — also known as Warner Naziel — Manuel was a source of guidance to younger generations of indigenous people looking to protect their traditional territories.

“He picked up his late father George Manuel’s indigenous rights torch and carried it proudly throughout the world,” he said on Facebook. “He leaves behind a family of warriors who will continue to do the same. I will miss our conversations and his guidance.”

Manuel was seldom in the mainstream news headlines, but was renowned in First Nations circles and amongst non-indigenous environmental advocates alike. Roughly a decade ago, he co-founded a national network, Defenders of the Land.

“I learned so much from Arthur Manuel,” wrote Tzeporah Berman, co-founder of ForestEthics (since renamed STAND) and author of This Crazy Time: Living Our Environmental Challenge, in a Facebook post. “A great, kind, gentle yet fierce leader … So sad. He will be missed by many.”

For Alberta oil sands critic Crystal Lameman, of Beaver Lake Cree Nation, Manuel “epitomized what it meant to be a warrior, a man for his people and his family,” she said in a Facebook post.

“The indigenous rights movement lost a pillar, a man who upheld what it means to be resistance, to live the struggle, and to never give up,” Lameman said. “… He is a brave reminder of forgiveness, determination, love and perseverance.”

Metro News Vancouver Published on Thu Jan 12 2017

Source: worldnews.easybranches.com

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Renowned Colombia Indigenous Leader Arrested For Kidnapping Soldier


Feliciano Valencia is a well-known and respected leader of the Nasa community.

By Colombia Reports | Sep 17, 2015

A national peace prize winner and indigenous leader of a reserve in southern Colombia was arrested for kidnapping an army officer in 2008, striking tensions between indigenous and the state.

Feliciano Valencia was arrested on Tuesday by the The Technical Body of Investigation (CTI) branch of the Prosecutor General’s Office for kidnapping and physically abusing Jairo Danilo Chaparral Santiago a corporal in Colombia’s military, during an indigenous protest in 2008.

According to Semana weekly, Valencia was sentenced to 28 years in prison.

“The evidence collected by the prosecution has established the indigenous leader as responsible for the case. Subjects with covered faces holding batons and machetes, accosted the third corporal of the army, Jairo Danilo Chaparral Santiago, and forced him in to a van. In the presence of 400 indigenous people, they beat him and then moved him to a town council building where he was put in a guarded cage, tied up and blindfolded,” said the Prosecutor General.

The leader’s arrest has allegedly unsettled members of the Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca (ACIN), a protest group in the province where Valencia is appreciated as an important social leader.

“This is another set up by the state,” a spokesperson from the indigenous authorities of the province told El Tiempo newspaper on Wednesday, demanding clear answers for why Valencia had been arrested.

According to reports, the military member was detained and punished under indigenous legislation after locals suspected that he had infiltrated the protest.

In 2010 Valencia’s involvement in the 2008 kidnapping was flagged, but subsequently not pursued. During Alvaro Uribe’s presidency, the esteemed indigenous leader was detained by the now defunct Administrative Department of Security (DAS), after the Cauca Piendamo Court ordered his arrest in February.

The Nasa and Guambiano indigenous communities within the department allegedly stood in the leaders’ defense, and the Cauca judge dropped the case.

In March 2015, he was charged for being involved in a car accident in the rural area of Santander de Quilichao and being under the influence of alcohol.

According to local media, Valencia was awarded the peace prize in 2000 for being an example of passive resistance to the armed conflict that began in 1964.


25 Years Since Elijah Harper Said ‘No’ To The Meech Lake Accord

Aboriginal leader Elijah Harper, a former Manitoba MLA and MP, played a key role in defeating the Meech Lake accord. Here, Harper holds an eagle feather for spiritual strength as he refused to support the accord in Winnipeg in 1990. (Wayne Glowacki/Winnipeg Free Press/Canadian Press)

Aboriginal leader Elijah Harper, a former Manitoba MLA and MP, played a key role in defeating the Meech Lake accord. Here, Harper holds an eagle feather for spiritual strength as he refused to support the accord in Winnipeg in 1990. (Wayne Glowacki/Winnipeg Free Press/Canadian Press)

CBC News

Retired indigenous leader Phil Fontaine remembers “a powerful moment for First Nations.”

It’s been 25 years since Elijah Harper held an eagle feather, stood in the Manitoba Legislature and quietly said no to the Meech Lake Accord.

The accord was a series of constitutional amendments aimed at keeping Quebec in Canada – but was fiercely opposed by indigenous leaders who felt it ignored their rights and place in this country.

Phil Fontaine was then Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and a key player in the accord’s defeat. Fontaine says AMC had been looking for a legal way to challenge the accord but soon realized the solution had to be political.

Truth Reconciliation 20150602

Former Manitoba Grand Chief Phil Fontaine. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Fontaine says he called Elijah Harper, who was meeting with his constituents in northern Manitoba.

“I said, ‘look we have to meet to talk about the accord and we think you can play an important role in this,” he says.

According to Fontaine, the two arranged to meet in the restaurant of the Charter House hotel in downtown Winnipeg,

The accord required unanimous ratification by parliament and all 10 provincial legislatures. In Manitoba, the first ratification vote was set to take place on June 12, 1990 and was expected to be passed without any resistance.

If Harper voted against it, Fontaine said, the accord could be defeated.

That meeting between Fontaine and Harper lasted over an hour and Fontaine remembers Harper – then the only aboriginal MLA in Manitoba – feared his political career might suffer from going against the accord and the entire legislature. Harper was also dealing with a possible challenge to his leadership.

“I said, look, don’t worry about that. Just focus on this issue. This is the big issue,” Fontaine says.

On June 12, 1994, Fontaine says chiefs were meeting downtown and decided they wanted to be there when Harper voted no so dozens marched from their meeting to the legislature.

“But when we got to the legislature, up to the steps, we were met by security,” he says.

CBC footage from the time shows scuffles as those security guards try in vain to keep chiefs out.

“There was a real big push. Pascal Bighetty, who was a chief, his sports jacket was torn,” recalls Fontaine.

Eventually, the chiefs managed to push through and made their way to the gallery to witness Elijah Harper stand up and say no.

“It was an empowering moment,” Fontaine says. “This was a powerful moment for First Nations.”

Between June 12 and 21, Harper stood up with the feather and refused to support the accord 8 times. Soon, Newfoundland and Labrador followed suit and the accord withered and failed.

Fontaine says it was a turning point in history for indigenous people.

“We came to the realization very quickly that our voice mattered. We could make history, we could change the course of history. We knew and understood what was possible.”

There will be an event marking the 25th anniversary of Elijah Harper’s stand on the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature this Saturday.



Brazil: Guarani ‘despair’ as female indigenous leader murdered

Guarani leader Marinalva Manoel was stabbed to death after campaigning for her tribe's ancestral land.

Guarani leader Marinalva Manoel was stabbed to death after campaigning for her tribe’s ancestral land.

Nov 04, 2014. Posted by Survival

An indigenous leader has been killed in central-western Brazil, after campaigning for her tribe’s ancestral land to be returned.

Marinalva Manoel, a 27-year-old Guarani Indian, was allegedly raped and stabbed to death. Her body was found on the side of a highway on Saturday.

Last month Marinalva traveled over 1,000 km to the capital, Brasília, with a delegation of Guarani leaders, to insist that the authorities fulfil their legal duty to return the land to the Guarani before more of their people are killed.

The Guarani Council, Aty Guasu, which voices the Indians’ demands, has released a letter calling on the authorities to investigate the murder, and proclaiming, “No more Guarani deaths!”

Guarani leader Marinalva Manoel's body was found on the side of a highway.

Guarani leader Marinalva Manoel’s body was found on the side of a highway.

Guarani leaders are frequently attacked and killed by gunmen employed by the ranchers who are occupying indigenous land and earning huge profits from sugar cane, soya and cattle whilst the Guarani are squeezed into reserves and roadside camps.

Suffering alarming rates of malnutrition, violence and suicide, the Guarani sometimes decide to reoccupy small patches of their ancestral land stolen from them decades ago, without which they cannot survive. Seven communities which recently carried out land reoccupations, including Marinalva’s community, now face eviction orders which could force them off their land yet again.

Guarani leader Eliseu Lopes told Survival, “We are fighting for our land, and we are being killed, one by one. They want to get rid of us altogether… We are in a state of despair, but we will not give up.”