A Canyon Deserves a Monument for Preservation

Project: Native Women Leaders and Advocates Defending Sacred Places in the Southwest

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In Utah, a tribal coalition of Ute Mountain, Uintah and Ouray Utes, Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni tribes has been formed with a singular goal: To achieve monument status from the federal government for the Allan Canyon band of Ute Mountain. They propose to name it Bears Ears National Monument.

Photo: Jim Mimiaga/The Journal
Photo: Jim Mimiaga/The Journal

“It’s never been done, all the tribes working together,” said Octavius Seowtewa, a Zuni cultural leader. “We as native peoples are banding together to work for the protection of Bears Ears instead of bickering about past issues.”

Read the full story here.

Supporting Landless Women Farmers in India

Project: Grassroots Indian women leaders improving food and economic security

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Basanti Dehuri, center, with the land title she received through a Women's Support Center (Photo: New York Times)
Basanti Dehuri, center, with the land title she received through a Women’s Support Center (Photo: New York Times)

Tina Rosenberg, in her article Letting (Some of) India’s Women Own Land, addresses how little land is owned by women in India even though more than three-quarters of Indian women live as farmers.”Without [land] title,” Rosenberg, a Pulitzer Prize award winning author, says, “female farmers acting on their own don’t have access to credit, subsidies, government programs for seeds, irrigation or fertilizer.”

In the face of this reality, WEA’s 2011 partnership with Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group (GEAG) provided ecological farming and climate change resilience training, appropriate technology, rights education, and seed funding to women farmers in India to improve their food and economic security, preserve the environment and traditional knowledge, and build political will. The year-long training program focused on strengthening foundations to support women leaders and farmers through asserting their rights as farmers, better managing their farms and resources, upholding their traditional knowledge systems, and encouraging the leadership of others.

Read Tina Rosenberg’s full article here.

Government Cancels Oil Lease near Blackfeet Reservation

Project: Native Women Leaders and Advocates Defending Sacred Places in the Southwest

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The Bureau of Land Management has made a final decision to cancel a 30 year old gas exploration lease held by a Louisiana oil company on a remote section of Lewis and Clark National Forest, since oil leasing is now banned there. The National Forest is also within the territories of the Blackfeet Reservation.

Photo: Tribune file photo
Photo: Tribune file photo

To the Blackfeet, it is the “Backbone of the World” where they were created, and associated with culturally important spirits, heroes and historic figures central to Blackfeet religion and traditional practices. Today, it’s part of a designated Traditional Cultural District.

You can read more about the historic decision here.

The Fight Over Arizona’s San Francisco Peaks

Project: Native Women Leaders and Advocates Defending Sacred Places in the Southwest

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Source: Indian Country Today Media Network
Source: Indian Country Today Media Network

The San Francisco Peaks are a sacred to over a dozen native tribes in the southwest. They have also long been the hotbed of controversial views and court battles going back to 2000. The Arizona Snowbowl, a ski resort located on land managed by the forest service on the Peaks, entered into a partnership with the City of Flagstaff to use reclaimed wastewater to make fake snow. The Hopi, filed a suit against the city, and then recently voted unanimously to support the implementation of a filtration system if they withdrew their lawsuit. However, the citizens of Flagstaff have only just been made aware of the recent deal (per confidential requirements by law) and thus, the people have been unable to voice their say, including the 12 other tribes that consider the Peaks sacred. Many -Native and non-native alike, have voiced their opinion that they don’t believe the filter will be enough.

The treated wastewater is already required to meet water quality standards set by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, but critics have long complained that some pollutants, including hormones and pharmaceuticals, get through the city’s treatment systems and threaten human and environmental health.

Read the rest of the article here.

A Glimpse at Women-Led Movements

Project: South Asia Small Grants Initiative

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Source: Rucha Chitnis, Yes! Magazine
Source: Rucha Chitnis, Yes! Magazine

Dayamani Barla, the Indian journalist who led an extraordinary movement in an effort to stop ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel company from displacing thousands of indigenous people in Jharkhand. She discusses her views on development and explains them from an indigenous world-view:

“We want development, but not at our cost. We want development of our identity and our history. We want that every person should get equal education and healthy life. We want polluted rivers to be pollution free. We want wastelands to be turned green. We want that everyone should get pure air, water, and food. This is our model of development.”

In addition to Barla, there’s a group of Maasai women in Loliondo, Tanzania, who in 2013 braved threats and violence to prevent a “land grab” east of the Serengeti National Park. Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA), fosters leadership and personal transformation in Latina immigrant women and promotes change for social and economic justice. After the Nepal earthquake in late spring of 2015, it became quickly evident just how crucial the leadership of women has been in rebuilding Nepal -from caring for the sick and injured, looking after children, growing food, to literally rebuilding the cities. You can read about these organizations and more, and the incredible women behind them, here.