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June 24, 2011

Indian Country in the News: June 17-24, 2011

This week's news highlights include the discovery of an uncontacted tribe in the Amazon, a victory in Chilean court for indigenous and environmental groups seeking to block a dam project in Patagonia, the rise of a Quechua actress in Peru, and an update on the largest settlement ever approved against the U.S. government -- the $3.4 billion lawsuit brought by Elouise Cobell of Montana, who claimed that for more than a century, federal officials systematically stole or squandered billions in royalties intended for American Indians in exchange for oil, gas, grazing and other leases:

  • Brazilian government identifies uncontacted indigenous tribe in the Amazon - "The Brazilian government confirmed this week the existence of an uncontacted tribe in a southwestern area of the Amazon rain forest. The government agency uses airplanes to avoid disrupting isolated groups. Brazil has a policy of not contacting such tribes but working to prevent the invasion of their land to preserve their autonomy. Funai estimates 68 isolated populations  live in the Amazon."

  • NYTimes: Chilean Court Blocks Plan for Patagonia Dam Project - "A Chilean appeals court on Monday suspended a plan to build five dams and hydroelectric plants in the country’s Patagonia region. The court ruling came in response to actions filed by environmental groups and legislators arguing that the government commission that approved the $3.2 billion dam project last month had not taken into account a technical review. The ruling temporarily halts the government’s approval process for the project, which set off large protests around the country in recent weeks."

  • NPR: Rise Of Indigenous Actress Marks Change In Peru - "In 2009, when the Peruvian film The Milk of Sorrow won top honors at the Berlin Film Festival, lead actress Magaly Solier did something surprising — she chose to accept the award by singing a song in Quechua, a common indigenous language of Peru. Indigenous people make up more than half of Peru's population and about half of Peruvians live in poverty, yet it has long been run by a small elite. But that's beginning to change as Solier and others with indigenous roots move into the cultural and political spotlight."
  • AP: Judge Approves $3.4 Billion in Indian Royalties Settlement -"A federal judge on Monday approved a $3.4 billion settlement over  Elouise Cobell of Browning, Mont., claimed in the 15-year-old suit that for more than a century, federal officials systematically stole or squandered billions in royalties intended for American Indians in exchange for oil, gas, grazing and other leases.The settlement does not make up for the losses tribes suffered for more than a century, but hundreds of thousands of Indians will receive at least $1,000 each from the government. Many will receive substantially more money."

 

In 2009, when the Peruvian film The Milk of Sorrow won top honors at the Berlin Film Festival, lead actress Magaly Solier did something surprising — she chose to accept the award by singing a song in Quechua, a common indigenous language of Peru. Indigenous people make up more than half of Peru's population and about half of Peruvians live in poverty, yet it has long been run by a small elite. But that's beginning to change as Solier and others with indigenous roots move into the cultural and political spotlight.

NPR: Rise Of Indigenous Actress Marks Change In Peru

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