Journalists for Human Rights’ Indigenous Reporters Program style guide on reporting on Indigenous peoples
Sea-level Rise and Archaeological Site Destruction: An example from the southeastern United States using DINAA (Digital Index of North American Archaeology)
The impact of changing climate on terrestrial and underwater archaeological sites, historic buildings, and cultural landscapes can be examined through quantitatively-based analyses encompassing large data samples and broad geographic and temporal scales. The Digital Index of North American Archaeology (DINAA) is a multi-institutional collaboration that allows researchers online access to linked heritage data from multiple sources and data sets. The effects of sea-level rise and concomitant human population relocation is examined using a sample from nine states encompassing much of the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the southeastern United States. A 1 m rise in sea-level will result in the loss of over >13,000 recorded historic and prehistoric archaeological sites, as well as over 1000 locations currently eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), encompassing archaeological sites, standing structures, and other cultural properties. These numbers increase substantially with each additional 1 m rise in sea level, with >32,000 archaeological sites and >2400 NRHP properties lost should a 5 m rise occur. Many more unrecorded archaeological and historic sites will also be lost as large areas of the landscape are flooded. The displacement of millions of people due to rising seas will cause additional impacts where these populations resettle. Sea level rise will thus result in the loss of much of the record of human habitation of the coastal margin in the Southeast within the next one to two centuries, and the numbers indicate the magnitude of the impact on the archaeological record globally. Construction of large linked data sets is essential to developing procedures for sampling, triage, and mitigation of these impacts. [Emphasis added]
Anderson DG, Bissett TG, Yerka SJ, Wells JJ, Kansa EC, Kansa SW, et al. (2017) Sea-level rise and archaeological site destruction: An example from the southeastern United States using DINAA (Digital Index of North American Archaeology). PLoS ONE 12(11): e0188142. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0188142
For a summary see:
‘Buried in Marshes’: Sea-level Rise Could Destroy Historic Sites on US East Coast
By Oliver Milman | November 29, 2017
Large tracts of America’s east coast heritage are at risk from being wiped out by sea level rise, with the rising oceans set to threaten more than 13,000 archaeological and historic sites, according to new research.
Even a modest increase in sea level will imperil much of the south-eastern US’s heritage by the end of the century, researchers found, with 13,000 sites threatened by a 1m increase.
Thousands more areas will be threatened as the seas continue to climb in the years beyond this, forcing the potential relocation of the White House and Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC and inundation of historic touchstones such as the Kennedy Space Center and St Augustine, Florida, which lays claim to being the oldest city in the US.
“There are going to be a lot of cultural sites lost and the record of humanity’s history will be put at risk,” said David Anderson, a University of Tennessee anthropologist who led the published research.
“Some sites will be destroyed, some buried in marshes. We may be able to relocate some. In some places it will be devastating. We need to properly understand the magnitude of this.”
Threatened areas, including locations on the national register of historic places, include Native American sites that date back more than 10,000 years, as well as early colonial settlements such as Jamestown, Virginia and Charleston, South Carolina. Researchers pinpointed known sites using topographical data and analyzed how they would fare in various sea level rise scenarios.
Florida, which has a southern portion particularly vulnerable to sea level rise, has the most sites in danger from a 1m raising of the oceans, followed by Louisiana and Virginia.
A 1m sea level rise by 2100 could prove optimistic, with several studies showing the increase could be much greater. Scientists have warned that the break up of the Antarctic ice sheet could significantly fuel sea level rise, pushing the global increase to around 6ft by 2100.
The latest US government estimate predicts a worldwide increase of 1ft to 4ft by 2100, although an 8ft rise “cannot be ruled out”.
The eastern seaboard of the US is at particular risk, with water piling up along the coast in greater volumes than the global average. The problem is compounded by areas of the coast, such as in New Jersey and Virginia, gradually subsiding due to long-term geological hangover from a vast ice sheet that once covered much of North America.
Sea level rise is expected to displace millions of people from the US coasts over the next coming decades, with Anderson warning this will create further damage to heritage sites as people move inland.
There is still some uncertainty over the exact timescale involved in the changes – it may take several hundred years for some coastal places to be at risk – leading to hopes that coastlines can be adapted in time in order to protect vital infrastructure and sacred sites. But losses appear inevitable. …
Read the rest of this article at The Guardian:
First Nation says its Ancestral Burial Site was desecrated in February of 2016
CBC News | September 12, 2017
A First Nation in southern B.C. has won its fight to gain access to a private property in order to complete the removal of remains from an ancestral burial site.
Members of the Lower Similkameen Indian Band were granted the ministerial order to enter the property in Cawston following a meeting with government officials last week.
The First Nation says the move is unprecedented and will ensure that the reburial of the remains is expedited and sanctioned.
A press release put out by the band stated that the burial ground was desecrated on February 29, 2016.
“Under the Liberal government, LSIB was granted temporary access to collect approximately 500 exposed remains but additional collection was required,” stated the release.
Chief Keith Crow says the decision comes after more than a year and a half of waiting and is a step towards meaningful nation-to-nation relations in B.C.
BC Hydro Violated Rules for Protecting Indigenous Sites, Must Re-Evaluate Site C Bridge Construction
By Emma Gilchrist | August 31, 2017
BC Hydro violated its environmental assessment certificate for the Site C dam project, according to a B.C. government report released Thursday.
The inspection report, from the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office, detailed how BC Hydro failed to develop acceptable mitigation measures for an aboriginal sweat lodge and suspected burial site, and cannot legally proceed with a bridge related to Site C highway relocation until it does so.
This means BC Hydro’s controversial highway re-location will need to be assessed again by the Environmental Assessment Office and an alternate route long supported by the First Nations may be considered after all.
“BC Hydro has not developed mitigation for known cultural values in the Bear Flats area, including the sweat lodge (and nearby camp) and the potential burial site…” noted the report, which points out that BC Hydro is well aware of the cultural importance of the area for local First Nations.
BC Hydro has been warned of non-compliance with regards to the 455-metre bridge BC Hydro planned as part of the highway relocation in an area of the valley called Cache Creek-Bear Flats, according to the 54-page report issued following a five-month investigation.
“As BC Hydro has been advised that the [Cultural Resources Management Plan] is not ‘to the satisfaction of’ the EAO and that it must be updated prior to conducting construction activities that may impact known cultural resources, it may be a non-compliance if BC Hydro were to proceed to conduct construction activities that may impact known cultural resources,” the report reads.
West Moberly First Nations Chief Roland Willson welcomed the findings, saying that BC Hydro has been “out of line” with his nation and the Prophet River First Nation. They jointly filed a complaint with the EAO in early April.
“A Crown Corporation should be setting the bar on how other [resource project] proponents have to deal with First Nations,” Willson said.
“They’re supposed to be setting the benchmark on this thing. What they’re doing is lowering the benchmark.”
Willson said the two First Nations repeatedly asked BC Hydro and the former B.C. government to use a short-listed alternate route for the Site C highway relocation and Cache Creek bridge to avoid “desecrating” aboriginal grave sites and to protect the sweat lodge and traditional gathering place at the confluence of Cache Creek and the Peace River.
But BC Hydro contractors clear-cut much of the Cache Creek area in February and March, after expropriating property from third generation Peace Valley farmers Ken and Arlene Boon, leaving the land looking like a “moonscape,” according to Willson.
Willson said he was at a meeting in Vancouver in March with BC Hydro representatives to discuss the issue of the Site C highway relocation when the forest near the sweat lodge and grave site was mulched.
“They were cutting the right of way as we were down there trying to solve the issue,” Willson said. …
‘Unesco-cide’: Does World Heritage Status Do Cities More Harm than Good?
Laignee Barron | August 30, 2017
Many of the 1,052 destinations across the world that have been stamped with United Nations world heritage status struggle to strike the balance between the economic benefits of catering to visitors and preserving the culture that drew the recognition.
The heritage designation began in 1972 to identify and protect places “of outstanding universal value”. However, by raising the international profile of a location, the label also fuels a rush of visitors and opens the door to commercialisation that can dilute the site’s authenticity.
“It is an inevitable destiny: the very reasons why a property is chosen for inscription on the world heritage list are also the reasons why millions of tourists flock to those sites year after year,” wrote Francesco Bandarin, the former world heritage director at Unesco, in a 2002 manual called Managing Tourism at World Heritage Sites.
The phenomenon has even been given a name by Italian writer Marco d’Eramo, who argues that Unesco preserves buildings but allows the communities around them to be destroyed, often by tourism. He calls it “Unesco-cide”.
Laos’ Luang Prabang, for example, a world heritage town of around 50,000 people, now expects to attract more than 700,000 tourists by 2018. Researcher Chloe Maurel has written about the adverse affects of the status on the historic Casco Viejo neighbourhood in Panama City, which relegated its poorest inhabitants to the city limits following its Unesco validation – while the central district was flooded with tourists.
National Geographic has collated examples such as Xian, China, site of the famous terracotta warriors, where a poorly situated new museum may have negatively impacted the precious site. Writers Lauri Hafvenstein and Brian Handwerk also pointed to the controversial activity close to the Belize’s Barrier Reef, where developers are closing in and exploiting the region’s world heritage status to sell swamp land to customers over the internet.
For George Town and its clan jetties, the Unesco imprimatur seemingly provided a second wind. Established as the straits base for the British East India Company in 1786, the outpost attracted swells of artisans, sailors and traders in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Fishermen and porters from southern China’s Fujian province carved out an enclave above the reclaimed seafront. Each extended family – or clan – occupied their own jetty, and the makeshift settlements grew as relatives emigrated and added to the stilt homes interconnected by a wooden walkway. …
Read the rest of this article:
In a Rational World, Can Tribal Knowledge Lead Us Into the Future?
Tribal knowledge could be the key to understanding earth and global climate change
By Duane Champagne | August 31, 2017
The goals and values of Indigenous Peoples stress that the world is full of give and take. Life is a great gift. One has a role to play in community and society. Individuals seek to find that role or life purpose and to fulfill one’s given task. Ceremonies are often about seeking personal and tribal understandings and directions. The world is full of meaning and purpose, although people are not gifted with a complete understanding of the future or present. Tribal knowledge is made up of ceremonial interpretations and human experiences. Elders collect knowledge on their long life journeys and pass information onto other generations.
Each nation, and each person, has a purpose or role to play. The way of the world, however, is not known to humans. The universe has direction and purpose, but each nation or person only comprehends and can affect a part of the whole. This view is something like the Big Bang Theory, where the universe is rushing through space in all directions, but we do not know why or what will happen in the end. We as persons and nations are along for the ride. The force and direction of the universe may be what many Indigenous Peoples called the Great Spirit. The powers and forces of the universe are beyond knowledge and power of people, and therefore people and nations should always be humble and forgiving in life.
A cultural theme within contemporary modernism is the increasing rationality of the world. Markets are favored, in part, because markets are efficient, productive, and profitable ways to distribute goods. Science brings greater understanding of the organization and activities within nature. Science dominates over religion and culture. Culture and being are subordinated to the requirements of efficiency. Religion and culture are preferably separated from government and economic decision-making.
In Western tradition, the earth is made up of raw material waiting for transformation into a product useful to humans. A major purpose is the transformation and control of the world for political and economic domination. The earth, full of wild and useless beings, needs to be transformed into objects that serve the goals and purposes of humans and nations. Making heaven on earth is a deep underlying cultural goal in Western nations. Heaven, where all human needs and wants are satisfied, is a central goal and purpose for people and of history. History marks the realization of creating heaven on earth. The achievement of utopia, or heaven on earth, will be reward of progress and rationality at the end of history. Humans at the end of history will be the center of the universe and in control of the earth’s resources. The heavy emphasis on material goals in life lead to a world bereft of enchantment or cultural interpretation.
In recent years, because of the increasing apparentness of global environmental change, people have become aware of the need to understand the earth as a complex, interrelated place where humans and nations play a negative role. However, the mere understanding that humans have been neglecting the world, and need to change their environmental habits, is not enough. Such a position remains entirely within the rationality worldview, and does not give enough attention to holistic, philosophical, and culturally-based understandings.
Rational methods created the current environmental crisis. And perhaps one could generalize to other aspects of the over rationality of the present world in terms of race, ethnic, national, and terrorist conflicts. Fighting rationality with rationality may not produce the culturally and philosophically meaningful solutions that may be required. Here is where the wisdom of the ancients and tribal knowledge about how to live and the purposes and goals of life and nations may usefully enter into any discussion of where do we go from here.
United Nations Panel Calls for Halt of B.C.’s Site C Dam
By The Canadian Press | August 29, 2017
A United Nations panel says the construction of British Columbia’s $8.8-billion Site C dam should be halted until there is a full review of how it would affect Indigenous land.
The recommendation is contained in a report by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which has completed its periodic review of how Canada complies with the world body’s treaty to end racial discrimination.
The recommendation comes three weeks after British Columbia’s NDP government requested a review of what had been a signature megaproject for former premier Christy Clark.
The government asked the B.C. Utilities Commission to determine the economic viability of the massive hydroelectric dam on the Peace River and issue a final report by Nov. 1.
Site C has become controversial after the previous provincial Liberal government’s clean-energy laws allowed some projects to bypass a review by the regulatory agency. …
Read the rest of this article:
Concentration Camps Expert Says Trump Just Endorsed The Idea Of Them In U.S.
By Sam Levine | August 26, 2017
President Donald Trump’s pardon of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio amounts to an endorsement of the idea of concentration camps, says a journalist who has reported on the global history of the deadly facilities.
Arpaio referred to his own county jail as a ”concentration camp.” For over two decades, he operated “Tent City,” where detainees were kept in brutal conditions, including temperatures soaring well above 100 degrees Farenheit. They were also forced to work on chain gangs and to wear pink undergarments as a form of humiliation. Arpaio was convicted in July of criminal contempt for ignoring a court order prohibiting the detention of people based on mere suspicions about their legal status.
In an email to HuffPost Saturday, Andrea Pitzer, the author of One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps, defined a concentration camp as a “mass civilian detention outside the standard legal process, usually on the basis of race, ethnicity, or political activity.” While Pitzer said Tent City was a prison technically constructed to hold those convicted by law, it bore familiar elements to a concentration camp, including “brutal dehuminization.”
“Once Arpaio began neighborhood sweeps and traffic stops deliberately targeting Latinos, and then detaining them without charges, his whole enterprise tilted further toward being a concentration camp for that set of detainees,” she wrote. “And even for those who had been convicted of crimes, it was a harrowing, often deadly experience.”
Pitzer said Trump pardoning Arpaio legitimized the 85-year-old former sheriff’s operation. …
Read the rest of this article:
Haida Strip Two Hereditary Chiefs of Titles for Supporting Enbridge
By Jeff Lee | August 17, 2016
The extraordinary decision by a Haida clan to strip two of its hereditary chiefs of their titles for secretly supporting the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline is being closely watched by First Nations across Canada.
The rebuke, delivered last week in an elaborate ceremony witnessed by more than 500 people, came as the Haida Nation rejected what they say is a growing trend by companies to enlist the support of hereditary chiefs as a way of claiming broad First Nations support.
“This is an absolutely huge decision and I think it is a wake-up call to the hereditary system of governance and leadership,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.
“I think First Nations across the province and throughout Indian country in general are paying attention to these developments.”
On Aug. 13, members of the clan stripped Carmen Goertzen and Francis Ingram of their titles, effectively removing them as representatives of two houses, the Yahgulaanaas Janaas of Daadens, and the Litjaaw Yaahl Naas. Goertzen, a well-known Haida artist, had held the position for 25 years. Ingram had only been appointed a year ago.
The Haida are made up of 22 house clans, each overseen by hereditary chiefs. An elected council represents the Haida Nation.
The men were part of a group of eight, including two other hereditary chiefs, who signed a letter to the National Energy Board in March supporting Northern Gateway’s request for a time extension to its permit for the bitumen transport pipeline. Earlier this summer, the Federal Court overturned federal approval of Northern Gateway, leaving the company with only one more “faint hope” opportunity.
Goertzen, Ingram and the others, including four men whom the Haida Nation says do not hold any hereditary position, formed a group they called Hereditary Chiefs of North Haida Gwaii LLP.
The head of the clan that Goertzen and Ingram represented said the community never knew the men had signed on to support Enbridge and that their letter made it look like the Haida at large had reversed their long-standing opposition to the project.
“I don’t think anyone in a clan can tell people who they can work for, but when you are a hereditary chief leader you have responsibilities to your clan and you have to consult with them on important issues like this,” said Darin Swanson, the head chief of the Yahgulaanaas Janaas clan. “As hereditary leaders, they didn’t do that. Everything was a big secret up till now. At the end of the day, they are crawling into bed with Enbridge. It is almost up to the point that Enbridge is accepting them as (representing) the consultation on the whole of Haida Gwaii.” …
Read the rest of this article: