Saturday, May 2, 2009

White-Indian Relations: Moving into the 21st Century: International Symposium

The international and interdisciplinary symposium entitled "White-Indian Relations: Moving into the 21st Century" will be held at Leuphana Universität Lüneburg, in Lüneburg, Germany, from May 14-17, 2009. The WIR symposium will serve as a discourse with and not only about Native Americans and First Nations as well as look at native literature, culture, and contemporary history from an interdisciplinary angle.

Symposium participants from Canada, the United States, and Germany will address a plethora of 21st century topics, including the Canadian government’s recent apology, European Powwow enthusiasts, critical whiteness studies, and contemporary artistic expressions.

Special guests include Lee Maracle and Drew Hayden Taylor. The renowned Cree/ Salish novelist/feminst/activist Lee Maracle will participate in the debates with a paper on “Equity and First Nation's Women in the Midst of Multiple Global Crises” as well as read excerpts from her novels (I am Woman, Ravensong: A Novel, Sojourner’s Truth and Other Stories). The acclaimed Ojibway playwright Drew Hayden Taylor (The Berlin Blues, Only Drunks and Children Tell the Truth) will read from his work as well as talk about “white-Indian relations” from an insider’s point of view.

For more information and registration details, please see

Dr. Sabrina Völz
Leuphana University Lüneburg
Scharnhorststraße 1
Building 5 Room 135
D-21335 Lüneburg
Germany (Europe)

Tel.: 0049-(0)4131/677-2664
Visit the website at

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Friday, May 1, 2009

Movie On Bioprospecting Indigenous Traditional Knowledge In Bolivia

The Green Gold Rush

The Green Gold Rush is the name of a video documentary about bioprospecting (the exploration of biodiversity for commercially valuable genetic and bio-chemical resources) and indigenous peoples that was realized in October-November 2008 in Geneva, Switzerland.

The production of this film is the first result of a project between a Swiss NGO and the national government of Bolivia, that is being realized since October 2008 and till July 2009.
Bioprospecting in Bolivia: Movie
The entire movie can be watched here or downloaded on the Green Gold Rush website.

About the Project

This project is the result of a collaboration between the Swiss NGO Group of Volunteers Overseas - GVOM and the Vicepresidency of the Republic of Bolivia.

It is financed by the Service of International Solidarity of the Canton of Geneva, the Delegation for Cooperation of the City of Geneva, and the Municipalities of Genthod, Jussy and Meinier, Switzerland.

In Switzerland, the project has been realized with the support of the Mission of Bolivia before the UN Office and other International Organizations, CETIM – Europe-Third World Centre, SOPAM – Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples of the Americas, CIEL – Centre for International Environmental Law, DOCIP – Indigenous Peoples' Center for Documentation, Research and Information, and Third World Network.

In Bolivia, the project is realized in coordination with COINCABOL – Coordination of Indigenous Peoples' and Peasants' Organizations of Bolivia, and various governmental agencies and NGOs that work on these issues.

The objective of the project is to stimulate the debate about the protection and valorization of traditional knowledge and biological resources in Bolivia.

It is articulated in two phases.

During the two first month in Geneva, Switzerland (October-November 2008), a video documentary was produced and information about international experiences and strategies was collected.

During the next six months in La Paz, Bolivia (January-June 2009), various public presentations of the video documentary and debates, weekly meeting of experts, seven workshops with more than 700 delegates of indigenous peoples and a national encounter of 50 delegates of indigenous peoples, are going to be organized.

The national encounter will take place in La Paz during three days of the first week of June 2009 in coordination with a regional encounter of 180 indigenous peoples' delegates on “intellectual property and traditional knowledge” organized by COINCABOL. It is also expected that various international experts, intellectuals and activists will be able to come this week to La Paz, Bolivia, and participate to a seminar to debate these issues.

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bio Diverse Press Offers Free Book on Food Security & Sustainability to Indigenous Organizations

Free! Green resource book available to Native organizations

Bio Diverse Press is accepting requests for Food Security & Sustainability for the Times Ahead from non-profit organizations that serve indigenous populations. The book’s underlying vision is that we all—individually and collectively—can begin to heal the damage to our planet by our personal choices. When we thoughtfully care for our families and communities, we also care for the earth. Traditional teachings underpin each chapter; pointing in the direction of renewable lifestyles.

Organizations such as libraries, community gardens, food banks, and referral and information services will find the book offers an abundance of helpful information. Below are some examples of the way Food Security & Sustainability may support various programs:

~ Emergency preparedness is covered in the chapters on “Packing the Emergency Cache,” “Your Food Storage Plan,” and “Additional Items for Emergency Caches.”

~ Food distribution programs will find information to help their clients keep food from spoiling or becoming infested with insects in the chapter on “Storing Staples Securely.”

~ Gardening projects will find a unique study guide offered by the chapters on “Food Security 101,” “Food Security and the Garden,” and “Old Time Food Preservation and Storage.”

~ Healthy food and diet programs, as well as money management workshops for at risk populations, will find the chapters on “Food Security 101” and “Balance is Everything” to be indispensable.

~ Sustainability projects will benefit from the chapters on “Sustainability,” “Shop Flexible, Shop Wise,” and “Rethinking Economies and Careers.”

~ Traditional health programs will benefit from the chapters on “Don’t Forget Your Immune System” and “Other Essential Herbs.”

Requesting a copy is simply a matter of sending an e-mail to: Include the official name of your organization and a link to the web site, contact person and their title, and the organization’s mailing address. All e-mail will be answered in the order it is received. If any additional information is needed, you will be notified in a timely manner. If requests exceed the number of books available, your organization will be placed on a waiting list and you will be contacted when a copy becomes available. For more information please see:

Need a specific format? Please let us know. We can prepare the article to fit your layout and specific file type needs.

Cover Image for Food Security & Sustainability available on request. Please let us know the size, resolution, color mode, and document type needed.

Review copies are available, as well as an unpublished royalty free review.

Reply to this e-mail for more information.

If you run this press release please send a tear sheet of print versions to:

Bio Diverse Press
P.O. Box 754
Hoopa CA

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Certificate Program in Aboriginal Language Revitalization: En'owkin Center and the University of Victoria

A partnership program of the En'owkin Centre and the University of Victoria, Department of Linguistics and Division of Continuing Studies

Join us for Summer 2009 Courses at the En'owkin Centre,
Penticton, BC and at the University of Victoria, Victoria BC

Build your understanding of language revitalization issues and challenges while developing practical strategies that strengthen your capacity to preserve and revitalize threatened languages. This program is designed to honour traditional knowledge and practices, to recognize and accommodate the realities and needs of diverse communities, and to provide a foundation for both language revitalization activities and for further study in linguistics, education, and/or cultural resource management.

Summer Institutes are designed to bring participants together in dynamic, interactive workshop sessions in the warm and welcoming environment of the En'owkin Centre in Penticton, BC and at the beautiful University of Victoria campus. You can take the two institutes in different years or you can do them back-to-back in a single summer. Completing them back-to-back will enable you to finish the program quickly and is likely to qualify you for educational funding within your community.

Summer 2009 Courses at the En'owkin Centre,
Penticton, British Columbia:

Introductory Linguistics for Language Revitalization
(LING 181, 1.5 units)

This course provides an introduction to topics in the study of language and linguistics as a foundation for understanding language revitalization. Topics include the nature of sound systems and how they relate to orthographies, word structures and dictionaries, sentence structures and understanding texts, meaning and vocabulary, linguistic aspects of language acquisition, and historical change. The course will help develop understanding of the languages targeted for revitalization, and will provide exposure to linguistic concepts and reference materials.

Instructor: Dr. Ewa Czaykowska-Higgins has studied Salish languages since 1981. She is Principal Investigator of the SSHRC-funded Community-University Research Alliance grant for language revitalization in Vancouver Island Salish Communities awarded to the University of Victoria in partnership with the Saanich Native Heritage Society, the Hul'q'umi'num' Treaty Group, and the First People's Heritage, Language and Culture Council. Her recent work has focused on ethical issues in linguistic fieldwork, and on best practices in community-based and community-directed research partnerships. Currently, Ewa is an Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Victoria and the Academic Advisor for the Certificate in Aboriginal Language Revitalization.

Dates: May 25–30, 2009

Language Revitalization Principles and Practices
(LING 180, 3.0 units)

Explore the profound cultural dynamics associated with language loss, along with contemporary issues, principles, and best practices in the preservation and revitalization of Aboriginal Languages in Canada and around the world. This course explores the social, political, and psychological dynamics that impact Aboriginal languages, along with the factors influencing language maintenance, loss and revival.

Instructor: Iehnhotonkwas/Bonnie Jane Maracle is from the Wolf Clan of the Kanien'keha:ka and was born, raised, and presently resides on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, which is one of eight communities comprising the Mohawk Nation. She is currently completing her PhD at Trent University with her research area being Language Revitalization, and she also teaches in the Faculty of Education, Queens University.

Dates: June 1–13, 2009

Summer 2009 Courses at the University of Victoria,
Vancouver Island, BC:

Language Learning and Teaching in Situations of Language Loss
(LING 182, 1.5 units)

Analyze principles of language learning and language acquisition in situations of language loss, and examine practical and appropriate ways in which a range of formal and informal approaches to language teaching can be utilized in Aboriginal community settings. Course topics include forms of language acquisition, teaching and learning strategies, how strategies are related to community needs and goals, and the role of community and community members in teaching and learning.

Instructor: Dr. Bernice Touchie has been an instructor and Principal for the Ucluelet First Nation. She has been involved with the coordination of language revitalization programs in British Columbia for the Ditidaht and Ucluelet First Nations and the Ha-Ho-Payak Society in Port Alberni, and has managed multi-tribal language revitalization for Nuu-chah-nuulth Tribal Council. She has researched indigenous languages and social development and has published on the Ditidaht (Nitinaht) language and on language learning for First Nations students.
Dates: August 4–8, 2009

Field Methods for Language Preservation and Revitalization
(LING 183, 3.0 units)

This course introduces planning strategies, protocols, and methods of data collection, analysis, and organization appropriate for field activities associated with language preservation and revitalization. Focus on strategies for community involvement, project planning, protocols, ethical and intellectual property issues, use of technology in language documentation, techniques for language study with elders, interview and data recording methods, documentation and database management, and approaches to sharing information.

Instructor: Dr. Strang Burton has been employed with the Stó:lo– Nation language program for over 10 years. He worked with Stó:lo– elders and other staff to help produce two textbooks on the Halq'emeylem language, one digital dictionary, a number of interactive CD-ROMs and courses in the language.
Dates: August 10–22, 2009

Fee: $1,116.20 (includes $916.20 tuition and $200 program and materials fee)

Participation Options

These classes are open to anyone interested in preserving aboriginal languages. You may register in all or a portion of the courses this summer to begin studies in the Certificate program, or take courses on an individual basis for credit or non-credit.F

or more information on the courses and for fees and accommodation information, please visit our website or contact:

Anissa Paulsen
Certificate Program in Aboriginal Language Revitalization
Division of Continuing Studies, University of Victoria
Tel: 250-721-6119
Fax: 250-721-8774

Comments from past participants:

"The program has made a huge difference in my life! I feel the strength that comes with knowledge and I can now go home … to promote revitalization in my community."

"It has re-energized my thought and spirit …"

"Not only have most of the staff graduated or are about to graduate but some of the adult immersion programs here have also benefitted by taking the courses. We have three adult immersion programs running. This program has brought our staff together in our overall vision for our school immersion JK-12 program and has helped us in the development of new curriculum. We are also working closely with other communities and sharing our resources. While we did do this before the course work it has taken on a new importance in our revitalization efforts. Collectively, we are all in this campaign of Revitalizing languages and the CALR program is an excellent start for any Aboriginal language community."

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April 22-28, 2009: Five Key Indigenous Peoples Issues

Five Key Indigenous Peoples Issues for the Week of April 22-28, 2009

Brazil: Amazon Indians Rebel Against Dams

Brazil's Enawene Nawe Indians are demanding a halt to the construction of a series of dams along the Juruena River in the Amazon which they say could deprive them of the river resources which they depend on for their survival. Glenn Switkes reports.

Brazil's Enawene Nawe Indians have finally said 'enough is enough' to destructive development projects, and have demanded that dam construction on the Juruena River in the western Amazon come to a halt.

On October 11 last year, about 120 Indians burned the Telegrafica Dam work site in Sapezal, Mato Grosso. The project is part of the Brazilian government's Growth Acceleration Plan, and is being built by a consortium that purchased the project from the Maggi Energy company. This company is linked to soy king Blairo Maggi, now governor of Mato Grosso state. Eight of the 11 projects being planned for the Jurena have received a go-ahead from Mato Grosso environmental authorities.

No prior consultation took place with indigenous peoples who depend on the fish and other resources of the Juruena basin for their survival. The indigenous people became incensed when they learned at a meeting with indigenous protection officials that more than 80 prospective dam sites on the Juruena are being evaluated, including sites close to the Enawene Nawe reserve. Read more about the Enawene Nawe Indians here....

India: University To Be Set Up In Rangamati

A public university will be set up in Rangamati to facilitate higher education for indigenous people living in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region, said Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid at a seminar yesterday.

The university campus will be built in a way that will resemble the distinctive nature of hill tracks, he said, adding that the students from the indigenous groups will feel like home at the university.

The education minister said this at a seminar marking the Global Action Week on Education. Research and Development Collective (RDC) organised the seminar in association with Oxfam at the National Press Club in the city.

Speakers at the seminar talked about different problems of students from ethnic groups in getting admission in universities. Their problems in primary and secondary level of education were also discussed at the seminar.

"Students from indigenous communities who get admission in universities get chance in low profile subjects which have little use in their practical lives”, said Rabindranath Saren, general secretary of Jatiya Adivasi Parishad. Read more about the Chittagong Hill Tracts university here.... For other universities offering indigenous peoples programs, visit here.

Laos: Resettlement Of 158 Hmong Lao Refugees In Thailand Leaves Thousands More In Despair

At a press conference last week, Thai Foreign Minsiter Kasit Piromya Kasi made the announcement that 158 Hmong Lao refugees will finally be allowed to resettle in other countries.

This followed a meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The refugees being allowed to resettle have spent more than two years in over-crowded prison cells in Thailand’s Immigration Detention Center (IDD) at Nong Khai, despite international intervention, the outrage of human rights groups, and offers from Australia,Canada, New Zealand and the United States to resettle them.

The refugees have United Nations documentation confirming that they are indeed political refugees – something the 5,000 other refugees, currently residing in camps in Thailand, do not have.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has been unable to provide such documentation because Thailand never ratified the UN Refugee Convention and has not allowed the UN agency to interview them to document their refugee status.

According to Thailand’s Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya Kasit, those 5,000 Hmong asylum seekers, who are currently living in Petchabun’s Ban Huay Nam Khao refugee camp, do not qualify because they are “economic” refugees. Read more about the Hmong refugees here....

Peru: Indigenous Peoples Block Amazon Tributary To Resist Oil Operations

A large number of Kichua and Arabela indigenous people have for two weeks blockaded one of the Amazon's main tributaries, the Río Napo, in response to the violation of their rights by oil companies and Peru's government. The protesters have blocked the Napo with canoes and a cable to stop oil company vessels getting upriver at Santa Clotilde, Napo district, Maynas province, Loreto region. According to Survival International, two boats, including one from the Anglo-French company Perenco, have managed to break through the blockade. Three shots were allegedly fired at the Indians who chased after them.

The blockade of the Napo is just one of many protests currently taking place across the Peruvian Amazon. Coordinated by Peru's Amazon indigenous organisation, AIDESEP, the protests are in response to government policies that threaten communal land rights. AIDESEP is demanding more democratic consultation with indigenous peoples over local development, and the creation of new reserves for uncontacted tribes. Perenco is working in a part of the Amazon inhabited by two of the world's last uncontacted indigenous peoples. The company does not acknowledge the tribes exist.

The government has responded by sending police and soldiers to areas where protests are taking place. AIDESEP has criticized these measures, calling them "intimidation" and saying that the protests are peaceful. Read more about the blockade in Peru here....

Bolivia: Water People Of Andes Face Extinction

Its members belong to what is thought to be the oldest surviving culture in the Andes, a tribe that has survived for 4,000 years on the barren plains of the Bolivian interior. But the Uru Chipaya, who outlasted the Inca empire and survived the Spanish conquest, are warning that they now face extinction through climate change.

The tribal chief, 62-year-old Felix Quispe, 62, says the river that has sustained them for millennia is drying up. His people cannot cope with the dramatic reduction in the Lauca, which has dwindled in recent decades amid erratic rainfall that has turned crops to dust and livestock to skin and bones.

"Over here used to be all water," he said, gesturing across an arid plain. "There were ducks, crabs, reeds growing in the water. I remember that. What are we going to do? We are water people."

The Uru Chipaya, who according to mythological origin are "water beings" rather than human beings, could soon be forced to abandon their settlements and go to the cities of Bolivia and Chile, said Quispe. "There is no pasture for animals, no rainfall. Nothing. Drought." Read more about the Uru Chipaya here....

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

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Award For Creative And Effective Nonprofits Announced by MacArthur Foundation: Three Recipients Deal With Indigenous Issues


Continuing its tradition of encouraging creativity and building effective institutions to help address some of the world’s most challenging problems, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced today that eight organizations in five countries will receive the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.

Though these nonprofit organizations have diverse missions – from defending equality in the Nigerian legal system to transforming low-income Chicago neighborhoods to advocating for conservation of natural resources in the Caribbean – they have much in common. All are highly creative and effective organizations that have made a remarkable impact in their fields, driving significant change on a modest budget. Each organization will receive up to $650,000, a significant sum considering their annual budgets range from just $200,000 to $4.5 million. Groups will use their awards for a range of purposes, including development of training and research facilities, technology upgrades, and the purchase of new office space.

Several of this years recipients have worked with - or on - issues effecting indigenous peoples.

Caribbean Natural Resource Institute
– Port of Spain, Trinidad
For over 30 years, the Caribbean Natural Resource Institute has championed participation in the cause of biodiversity conservation, built alliances among the region’s diverse island nations and organizations, and sensitively harmonized the needs of people and the health of their coastal environment. It has protected watersheds, ensured a role for civil society in managing threatened natural resources, designed innovative training programs and provided clear-sighted analysis in community-based tourism, sustainable fisheries and forestry. It is currently playing a leading role in helping governments and civil society in the Caribbean deal effectively with the extraordinary challenges of the climate crisis and economic turmoil through efforts to resolve conflicts between environmental and development goals.

Mahila SEWA Trust – Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
Mahila SEWA Trust works for the welfare of members of the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA), a trade union of poor, self-employed women workers that organizes women in India for employment and social security, including income, food and health security. Recently, SEWA launched a pilot community-based health program that operates in 106 villages of Ahmedabad district of Gujarat. A cadre of over 400 community health workers educates women on health insurance, diagnoses risks during pregnancy, ensures safe home delivery, and provides health education for pregnant women and new mothers.

Women of the Don – Novocherkassk, Russia
Women of the Don is a leading regional human rights organization in Russia with special expertise in combating police abuse. The organization also works on issues ranging from promoting women’s rights to providing humanitarian aid in the conflict regions of the North Caucasus. It builds dialogue with local authorities and an atmosphere of trust between authorities and civil society organizations in the Rostov region.

“These organizations may be small but their impact is tremendous,” said MacArthur President Jonathan Fanton. “From protecting human rights to improving urban neighborhoods to conserving biodiversity, they are blazing new paths and finding fresh solutions to some of our most difficult challenges. The MacArthur Foundation has a long history of supporting organizations around the world like these that demonstrate the creativity, drive, and vision to make the world more just and peaceful.”

In making these Awards, the Foundation does not seek or accept nominations. To qualify, organizations must demonstrate exceptional creativity and effectiveness; have reached a critical or strategic point in their development; have budgets of less than $5 million per year; show strong leadership and stable financial management; have previously received MacArthur support; and engage in work central to one of MacArthur’s core programs.

On June 11, awardees will be honored at a ceremony at MacArthur’s headquarters in Chicago. Additional information about this year’s winners is available at

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Monday, April 27, 2009

The Spatial Significance of Native American Stories and Ideology: Call for Papers

We are now accepting submissions for a collection of stories, essays, and poems for a proposed book on comparative American spatial concepts, partially titled “Stories the Land Holds.” The editors are looking for texts variously addressing “stories in the land.” What are the stories the land tells? Vine Deloria has warned us of problems that result from a perspective that is not fundamentally spatial, and such has been the case for current problems that range from ecological disaster to fanatical environmentalism and bundled mortgages. We believe that these complex and problematic American events can be understood more fully from a Native American perspective. However, cultural amnesia after 1776 has obscured how fundamental Native American ideology is to who we are as Americans, and how vital this philosophy can be for redirecting the disastrous turn of events in American history by recovering and listening to the stories.

Are there truly American “stories” that have been lost or forgotten in colonial efforts to redefine the continent as a “New” or empty world and reshape these lands of Turtle Island with stories and perspectives from other places? Take, for example, the Diné who at one time performed 500 ceremonies but today only a handful of ceremonies remain. Beneath the current political and ideological structures that cover the surface of America, there is the land itself, and in the land the stories embedded there by Native voices that speak to us about who we are in relation to the natural surroundings that hold us. The natural sciences developed by Native Americans over the millennia across America included their reciprocal relationship with natural environments. This is a spatial and local view where both land and individual are visible.

A working structure of our book includes stories of the creation and stories of the encounter, from Emperor Charles’ and Spanish demands in the 1500s for vast acquisitions of land and rent from the Indians to a Susquahannough’s trading of stories in the 1600s with a Swedish Minister from “New Sweden” in Pennsylvania, and lastly to a view of the land as exorbitantly priced real estate with family homes no longer being local possessions but parts of the vast acquisitions of bundled mortgages by unknown international groups.

Please query by email first, or send abstracts, or completed manuscripts of up to 6,000 words to any of the editors: Anna Lee Walters at -- Catherine Rainwater at -- Cristine Soliz at or

Abstracts or manuscripts should be accompanied by a short biographical paragraph. Several presses have expressed interest, however no contracts can be made until the texts are selected. We will begin reviewing immediately and plan to complete our selections by July 31.

Cristine Soliz
Colorado State University-Pueblo
Department of English, Psychology Building
719-549-2346 (office)
928-707-2972 (home)
Email: or

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Field School Opportunity in Andeas of South America: Learn Indigenous Quechua


New Program dates:

July 1st through July 21st

August 2nd through August 22nd
Andean Field School in South America
The Center for Social Well Being is now in its 8th year offering our 3 week training program with courses in ethnographic field methods and languages (Spanish and Quechua) in the Peruvian Andes. Students will be housed at the center’s rural base, an adobe lodge on an ecological ranch in the Cordillera Blanca mountain range of the Callejón de Huaylas, 7 hours northeast of Lima. Coursework provides in-depth orientation to theory and practice in anthropological investigation that emphasizes methods in Participatory Action Research and Andean Ethnography centered on themes of Health, Ecology, Biodiversity and Community Organization. Students will have the opportunity to actively engage in ongoing investigations in local agricultural communities to develop effective field research techniques, and to acquire language skills. In addition, the program provides excursions to museums, archaeological sites, glacial lakes and hotsprings; optional recreational activities include hiking, mountain biking, rafting, kayaking, rock climbing and trekking.

Total cost is $2,700 US dollars. This includes all in-country travel, food and accommodations at the rural center, and course materials. The program is under the direction of Applied Medical Anthropologist, Patricia J. Hammer, Ph.D., and Ecologist, Flor Barreto Tosi.

For an application contact:

Or click on:

Further information available at

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