Saturday, April 4, 2009

Human Rights Fellowship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Human Rights Fellowships

MIT's Program on Human Rights and Justice offers in-residence fellowships for academic year 2009-10. Fellowships are for post-docs, practitioners, and government and multilateral agency officials. The fellowship fee is $3,000 for one semester, $5,000 for the entire academic year (September through May), paid by the Fellow or his/her sponsoring institution to MIT. The residency includes office space at the MIT Center for International Studies (CIS), all library privileges, access to courses, and all other campus activities. Fellows typically interact with the entire academic community of the greater Boston area, and would be expected to give a seminar presentation during their tenure. The PHRJ Fellows have in the past come from U.N. agencies, other universities, and NGOs. No financial aid is available, and Fellows are responsible for their own housing and living expenses. CIS is a multi-disciplinary research center addressing many global issues. Applications should include a CV and letter explaining their interest in the fellowship, with two references listed. There is no deadline.

John Tirman

Visit the website at

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Cultural Property Returned to Peru: Large Number of pre-Columbian Artifacts Returned

LAREDO, Texas - Officials from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on Wednesday returned to the Peruvian government 334 pre-Columbian artifacts that were seized in 2007 following an ICE-led investigation.

The investigation began when ICE agents in Laredo received information from ICE's National Cyber Crimes Center about the alleged illegal sale in the Laredo area of Peruvian artifacts by a seller, Jorge Ernesto Lanas-Ugaz, 44.
Pre-Columbian artifacts returned to Peru
On March 1, 2007, a CBP officer at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport referred Lanas-Ugaz, who had just arrived from Lima, Peru, for a secondary examination. During CBP's inspection of Lanas-Ugaz's luggage, officers noted several items in bubble wrap, including a clay figurine of a man in a chair and clay bowls. CBP officers held the five items as possible pre-Columbian Peruvian artifacts, which are protected under the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act. CBP contacted ICE, which had the artifacts evaluated by archeologists from the American Museum of Natural History. Museum archaeologists confirmed that the items are authentic pre-Columbian and have significant cultural value.

Four days later, ICE, CBP and Laredo Police Department officers executed a federal search warrant at Lanas-Ugaz's home in Laredo. They discovered many additional authentic artifacts, which included: textiles, ceramic figures, wood sculptures, and metal and stone art. All the items had been illegally exported from Peru into the United States. Lanas-Ugaz, a U.S. citizen, was arrested at his home without incident.
Peruvian Pre-Columbian Cultural Heritage
This is one of the largest seizures of Peruvian pre-Columbian artifacts into the south Texas area. Peru is one of the signatories to a 1970 General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. Through the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act, the United States entered into a cultural property agreement with the Peruvian government to help protect archaeological and ethnological materials through import controls. Read the entire article here....

Read the 1970 General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.

Read the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act here.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

New Mexico State-Tribal Collaboration Act at the End of March

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson Signs Act Seeking to Strengthen State-Native American Collaboration.

Act seeks to promote, strengthen relationship between state and tribes

Governor Bill Richardson on March 19 signed the long-awaited State-Tribal Collaboration Act at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. The governor was joined by Indian Affairs Secretary Alvin Warren and tribal leaders from around the state.

"The State-Tribal Collaboration Act will promote and strengthen the relationship between the state and the 22 sovereign tribes and pueblos here in New Mexico," Gov. Richardson said. "I am pleased to sign this landmark bill, which further expands my commitment to our Native American communities, provides greater consistency across all cabinet-level agencies in working with tribes, and ensures that productive state-tribal relations remain a priority into the future."

Senate Bill 196, sponsored by Sen. John Pinto, enhances government-to-government communication and collaboration between the state and tribal governments. The Act requires cabinet-level agencies to develop policies that promote communication and cooperation between the state and tribal governments and ensures that each of the 34 Executive agencies permanently designates a tribal liaison. It also provides for an annual state-tribal summit, training to state agency managers and employees who have ongoing communication with the tribes and an annual report that accounts for each Executive agency's activities pursuant to the Act. Read more about SB 196 here.

This bill, although at the State level, reinforces the Executive Order signed by President Clinton in 1998: Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments.

The United States has a unique legal relationship with Indian tribal governments as set forth in the Constitution of the United States, treaties, statutes, Executive orders, and court decisions. Since the formation of the Union, the United States has recognized Indian tribes as domestic dependent nations under its protection. In treaties, our Nation has guaranteed the right of Indian tribes to self-government. As domestic dependent nations, Indian tribes exercise inherent sovereign powers over their members and territory. The United States continues to work with Indian tribes on a government-to-government basis to address issues concerning Indian tribal self-government, trust resources, and Indian tribal treaty and other rights.

Therefore, by the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to establish regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration with Indian tribal governments in the development of regulatory practices on Federal matters that significantly or uniquely affect their communities; to reduce the imposition of unfunded mandates upon Indian tribal governments; and to streamline the application process for and increase the availability of waivers to Indian tribal governments; it is hereby ordered as follows: read the rest of Executive Order 13084 here.

What other acts or laws have been passed that designate official collaboration and cooperation between state or federal agencies and Native American Indians? Please leave a comment if you have thoughts to contribute.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

March 25-31, 2009: Five Key Indigenous Peoples Issues

Five Key Indigenous Peoples Issues for the Week of March 25 - 31, 2009

International: Declaration of the International Conference on Extractive Industries and Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous Peoples and support organisations from 35 countries around the world and representing many more Indigenous Nations have gathered together for the International Conference on Extractive Industries and Indigenous Peoples. Read the Declaration here....

Paraguay: Paraguay's Indigenous Peoples In Peril

The Paraguayan state is failing to adequately protect the rights of its Indigenous Peoples, forcing many to live in misery and effectively condemning some to death, Amnesty International has said.

The Yakye Axa and Sawhoyamaxa Indigenous communities have been displaced from their traditional lands and have been living at the side of the Pozo Colorado-Concepción highway for more than 10 years. Without access to their land they live in precarious conditions, unable to source water and food for themselves and with inadequate provision of health and education.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled in 2005 and 2006 that the Paraguayan authorities must return the land to each community, in light of their desperate situation.

“In these conditions, the very survival of the Yakye Axa and Sawhoyamaxa is at risk,” said Louise Finer, Paraguay researcher at Amnesty International. “But the government has the power to show its commitment to Indigenous Peoples’ rights by fully complying with the Court's rulings. These two communities have waited long enough.” Read more about Paraguay's indigenous peoples here....

Cameroon: Live Around Ngovayang Forest

Environmental experts have started implementing field level micro-projects aimed at improving the livelihood of people living in and around the Ngovayang Forest in the South Region. The initiative to conserve and sustainably manage the biodiversity of the Ngovayang Forest was officially launched in November 2008 at a workshop organised under the auspices of the Cameroon Biodiversity Conservation Society (CBCS)- an affiliate of Birdlife International. The launching ceremony brought together representatives of relevant government Ministries, community-based organisations and traditional institutions in the area.

The Ngovayang Forest constitutes an important source of livelihood for the local people derived from the use of non-timber-forest products. The management and sustainable harvest of these products necessitate a better understanding of the collection, processing and marketing of the products.

The indigenous people of the area are the Bagneli and Bakola living alongside their Bantou neighbours who often claim ownership of all natural resources in the region. Read more about the indigenous people of Ngovayang Forest here....

Australia: Tribunal Resolves Flinders Ranges Claim

South Australia's biggest native title claim has been resolved, giving traditional owners non-exclusive rights over a large section of the state's mid-north.

Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland described the decision as practical and sustainable, recognising the coexistence of Aborigines, pastoralists and mining companies.

The ruling will ensure the Adnyamathanha people, who lodged the claim more than a decade ago, have access to 41,000 square kilometres of land for ceremonial and cultural activities such as hunting, camping and gathering bush tucker.

This includes access to the 918 sq km Flinders Ranges National Park and partially resolves a claim relating to the 367 square kilometre Angepena pastoral lease contained within the full title.

"(The outcome) demonstrates that native title need not operate as a technical legal process or an adversarial contest creating winners and losers," Mr McClelland said. Read more about the tribunal here....

International: Neglect Of Tuberculosis Control Among Indigenous Communities Unethical

The need to include indigenous people in the Global Plan to Stop TB was echoed by many participants at the 3rd Stop TB Partners’ Forum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (23-25 March 2009).

“We demand inclusion of indigenous peoples in the Global Plan to Stop TB strategy and have launched a strategic framework aimed at addressing tuberculosis among indigenous peoples. The Stop TB Strategy builds on the successes of directly observed treatment shortcourse (DOTS) while also explicitly addressing the key challenges facing TB. Its goal is to dramatically reduce the global burden of tuberculosis by 2015″ said Wilton Littlechild, Regional Chief, Assembly of First Nations.

There are approximately 370 million indigenous peoples globally in more than 70 countries. Although programmes have been designed to combat TB, indigenous populations globally have been left out of such efforts due to cultural barriers, language differences, geographic remoteness, and economic disadvantage. TB rates among indigenous people are consistently higher than general public. During the five year period 2002-2006, the first nations TB rate was 29 times higher than others born in Canada - for the Inuit, it was 90 times higher. Pacific islanders and Maoris are 10 times more likely to contract TB than other people living in New Zealand. In Kalaallit Nunaat, Greenland, residents have a risk rate more than 45 times greater than Danish born citizens. Read more about tuberculosis and indigenous people here....

Last weeks Five Key Indigenous People's Issues can be found here.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Maori Treaty Tribes Coalition Hosts Annual Fisheries Conference

Treaty Tribes Coalition is proud to host the Te Matau A Maui Maori 4th Annual Maori Fisheries Conference.

New Zealand has the world’s fourth largest fisheries area and the seafood industry is this country’s fifth biggest export earner, with average earnings of around $1 billion and projections of a $2 billion turnover by 2010. It is estimated that Māori exercise effective control of between one third and one half of the entire industry. The significance of this conference to the wider New Zealand seafood industry should not be under-estimated.



This year’s 2009 conference is designed to challenge and provoke thought, discussions and strategies to take control of issues Maori face domestically, and taking heed of the global economy, explore and pursue opportunities locally and internationally. The emphasis being on active participation and engagement is the point of difference between being in control or being controlled.

Join us in welcoming an indigenous Canadian contingent and Sig Hansen of “The Deadliest Catch” who will participate in a televised interview from Los Angeles both providing examples of being “in control”. In keeping with previous successful conferences, the messages from our international speakers will be reinforced by a further line up of inspiring guest speakers and topics. Workshops will also be a part of this years programme.


The 2008 conference continued the trend of these conferences being fully subscribed with over 200 participants representing Iwi and industry players from throughout Aotearoa. All participants continue to indicate that they will return to the next conference, and tell others to do the same.

In 2009, we are confident that the maximum registration of 200 attendees will be fully subscribed prior to the conference beginning. This will include governance and management of every significant iwi seafood business in the country, as well as many non-iwi businesses, again a full cross section of the seafood industry will be represented. We look forward to seeing you there.


Treaty Tribes was formed in 1994 to represent the common commitment of its constituent iwi to the tikanga of manawhenua, manamoana in relation to the allocation to iwi of fisheries settlement assets held by Te Ohu Kai Moana. The Coalition maintained a very active participation in that debate, in pursuit of a principled and tikanga-based outcome. As resources have allowed, it has also endeavoured to represent the interests of its constituent iwi in the development of marine and fisheries policy and legislation.

All Treaty Tribes iwi have a strong and active interest, as kaitiaki of their rohe moana, in the integrated sustainable management of their fisheries. Each of the constituent iwi of Treaty Tribes considers itself, fundamentally, to be a maritime iwi, for whom the marine environment and fisheries resources are particularly significant elements of its identity, economy and taonga tuku iho.

The constituent members of Treaty Tribes Coalition are: the Hauraki Mäori Trust Board (representing the 12 iwi of Hauraki); Ngäti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated; Ngäi Tamanuhiri Whänui Trust; and Te Rüfnanga o Ngäi Tahu.

Treaty Tribes Coalition iwi represent 15-20% of the Mäori population and approximately 60% of coastline of New Zealand.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Alaska Native Perspectives On Earth and Climate: New Educational Resources

As the environmental, economic, and political consequences of climate change are felt in Alaska, the Arctic, and throughout the world, we have much to learn from both the traditional knowledge of Native peoples and ongoing scientific research. These two methods of observing nature and solving the challenges of survival can provide complementary perspectives on these issues. This collection looks at Alaska’s unique geology and the impact of development and climate change using both of these tools, and features Alaska Native scientists who are working toward solutions.
Alaska Native American Indian Traditional Food
Alaska Native peoples have traditional ways of understanding and relating to the world and to each other. Such ways of knowing are based on a systematic method of observing the natural world, much like Western science uses. Western science often develops theories based on a process of experimentation. While at times Alaska Native science may mirror a process of experimentation, Alaska Native peoples rely on direct experiences as well as knowledge and information passed down from generation to generation. This enables them to develop a holistic perspective of the natural world that is linked to their individual and community survival, well-being, and safety. Still, Alaska Native science and Western science are complementary. These different approaches each contribute relevant information about an object, problem, or natural system that can be used to enhance the understanding of a given topic.

Over the centuries, village Elders have shared their vast body of accumulated knowledge and life wisdom through stories and demonstrations. Lessons include videos, discussions, interviews, and class room activities.

To access the educational resources, go here.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Aging And The Indigenous People Of North America: Call for Papers

Call for Papers and Presenters: Aging and the Indigenous Peoples of North America - Annual Conference of the Association for Anthropology and Gerontology

The Seventh Annual Conference of the Association for Anthropology and Gerontology will be held at the University of Oklahoma-Norman from June 5 - 7, 2009. This year’s theme broadly focuses on Aging and the Indigenous People of North America. Any topic is welcome; examples include aging and health issues, the revitalization of culture and language, and overviews of the field as a whole. The keynote speaker is Dr. J. Neil Henderson from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

The conference is a small-scale meeting (20-25 participants) emphasizing the close critique of works-in-progress. It features a mentoring component for students and junior researchers, who are paired with senior researchers who offer technical assistance concerning research proposals or manuscripts. Papers from the conference will be considered for publication either individually or as a special issue of the Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology. Those who wish to present a paper are invited to submit a one-page abstract as an e-mail attachment by February 15, 2008 to Dr. Lori L. Jervis, University of Oklahoma,

Registration: Required By Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Payment: Payment In Advance Only
Registrant Fee
Participants $ 104.00
Student Participants $ 60.00

Hotel Information and Reservations

NCED Conference Center (Marriott)

2801 East State Highway 9

Norman, OK 73071-1198

Phone: 405.447.9000

Conference rate: $70/night

For hotel reservations, please submit a check made out to the “University of Oklahoma” to Lori Jervis at the address listed above. Checks must be received by April 1st, 2009.

As a federal training facility, the NCED Conference Center does not allow children under the age of 18 to stay overnight. If you will be bringing a child and need to arrange other accommodations, contact Lori Jervis at

Abstract and Mentoring Request Deadlines

Presenters should send a 1-page abstract to Lori Jervis at the e-mail address listed above by February 15, 2008. Please indicate what type of AV equipment will be needed. Presentations will take place on June 5th - June 6th.

Mentees: Participants who are interested in receiving mentoring should send a 2-page proposal for an aging-related research project or paper outline via e-mail by February 15, 2009. Mentees will meet with mentors on the morning of June 7th.

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