Cultural Survival Quarterly Magazine

Features

The cost of doing “business as usual” with Indigenous Peoples has a new spin in a recent report published by First Peoples Worldwide. The Indigenous Rights Risk Report: How Violating Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Increases Industry Risks finds that US extractive companies expose shareholders to tangible risks by neglecting the rights of the nation’s Indigenous Peoples.
Successful negotiation between Indigenous Peoples and profit-driven corporations requires copious diligence and time. The Saami reindeer herders of Finland campaigned exhaustively for eight years to achieve protection of their homeland’s ancient pine forests. The eventual preservation of 80 percent of demarcated herding lands in 2010 remains a landmark accomplishment and precedent-setting example for Indigenous communities seeking corporate recognition of their established rights.
In 1990, the UN Global Consultation on the Right to Development declared that “the most destructive and prevalent abuses of Indigenous rights are the direct consequences of development strategies that fail to respect their fundamental right of selfdetermination.” Twenty-five years later, notwithstanding historic progress in the recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ rights in the international arena (most notably the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples), this statement still defines the reality for the majority of Indigenous Peoples.
Corporations are increasingly recognizing the link between good business and respecting human rights. This is reflected in the more than 12,000 corporate participants and other stakeholders from over 145 countries in the UN Global Compact, the largest voluntary corporate responsibility initiative in the world. The Global Compact is a strategic policy initiative spearheaded at the United Nations for businesses committed to aligning their operations and strategies with 10 universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption.
First Nations Development Institute is a policy, research, grant making, and lending institution founded on the need to promote Indigenous models of development and to mobilize the capacity of Native Americans to control their own economic assets. The Institute’s current president, Michael Roberts (Tlingit), grew up in Ketchikan, Alaska, where he says he was privileged to be surrounded by ambitious, hard-working role models.
In Taiwan, “Oppose Meiliwan” has been the battle cry of a wide-ranging coalition of eco-activists, Indigenous rights groups, and everyday citizens for more than a decade. Meiliwan, which means “beautiful bay,” comes from the Chinese name for the Miramar Resort Village, a five-star beachside property development at the tiny seaside hamlet of Shanyuan. In 2004, Taitung County awarded a 50-year contract to Miramar Hotel Co. for the project. Ever since, it has been a cause célèbre for tourism boosters and their opponents.

The Sound of Rights in Maa

Cultural Survival’s Indigenous Rights Radio program brings stories of Indigenous Peoples’ rights to listeners around the globe. From short public service announcements to investigative, documentarystyle podcasts, Cultural Survival’s Indigenous radio producers share content with Indigenous community radio stations to help communities become informed and organized to protect their rights.