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Around the world: Voters in Chile reject a new charter that would have created autonomous Indigenous territories, a new art gallery in New Zealand features Māori artists, and new research finds Indigenous lands in Brazil face the worst threats from deforestation

CHILE: Voters say 'no' to autonomous Indigenous territories

Voters in Chile rejected a new constitution that included a measure that would have established autonomous Indigenous territories in addition to creating Chile as a plurinational state that placed a top priority on the environment and gender parity, The Associated Press reported Sept. 4.

The new constitution had been proposed by President Gabriel Boric in an effort to bring a more progressive era to the South American nation. It would have replaced a charter imposed under the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet more than 40 years ago.

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Voters rejected the plan, however, with fewer than 40 percent supporting the new constitution. Voting was mandatory and heavy turnout left long lines at polling locations.

Boric, who had lobbied hard for the new constitution, said the effort to change the existing charter would not end with the vote. He said leaders would “work with more determination, more dialogue, more respect” to reach a new charter “that unites us as a country,” AP reported.

Most Chileans favor changing the charter but were not satisfied with the proposal, which was the first in the world to be written by a convention split equally between male and female delegates. Critics said it was too long and went too far in some measure, AP reported.

Boric called for the heads of all political parties to meet to determine how next to proceed.

A new art gallery in Whangārei, New Zealand, is providing a platform for Māori artists in Northland to display their artwork, Te Ao Maori News reported Sept. 6.

The gallery, opened by the art collective Kotahi Kreators, has kicked off a new exhibition to celebrate the arrival of Spring. Kotahi Kreators is a group of more than 30 artists from the Northland area.

They say the new exhibition is an example of the thriving art community in the North and a step away from COVID isolation.

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"The theme for the art exhibition is Koanga or Spring and the idea that is coming out of one season into another,” said Leni Murupaenga, creative director of Kotahi Kreators. “The show also represents resurrection and a new beginning as well."

Korotangi Kapa-Kingi, one of the artists from the collective, said the artists were already seeing results just a week after the gallery opened.

"We did have a couple peering through the window this morning, and they were from Germany, and they purchased the first piece,” Kapa-Kingi told Te Ao Maori News. “So I thought, instead of keeping the doors shut, 'nau mai haere mai' ('I bid you welcome').”

BRAZIL: Indigenous territories targeted for deforestation

New research shows that the Apyterewa Indigenous Territory — home to the Parakanã people — continues to be the main target of deforestation imposed among all the Indigenous lands in the Amazon, Mongabay.com reported Sept. 5.

The most-threatened Indigenous area is the Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau territory, in the state of Rondônia, which registered 24 deforestation cells in its surroundings, followed by the Trincheira/Bacajá reserve, in Pará, with 22, according to the report by the Brazilian conservation nonprofit Imazon.

The two areas were also in top positions for the same period last year, Mongabay.com reported.

The research found that other areas facing deforestation pressures include the Environmental Protected Areas, of Triunfo do Xingu and Tapajós, both in the northern state of Pará, and the Chico Mendes Extractive Reserve, in Acre state.

The Environmental Protected Areas make up 46 percent of the entire area known as Legal Amazon, a legally defined region that covers the nine Brazilian states that fall within the Amazon Basin, according to Mongabay.com.

To assess deforestation, Imazon divided satellite-monitored areas into cells of nearly four square miles and tagged the deforestation areas within the grid as “threats” and those nearby as “pressures.”

Imazon reported that the deforestation in Apyterewa in July accounted for half of all deforestation in Indigenous areas in the Amazon. But it noted that Indigenous areas are still best-suited to prevent destruction.

Only 2.5 percent of deforestation in the rainforest occurred within these territories in 2021, showing that “apart from guaranteeing Indigenous peoples their Constitutional rights, demarcating new Indigenous areas is an effective way to combat deforestation,” Imazon reported, according to Mongabay.com.

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Global Indigenous is a weekly news roundup published every Wednesday by ICT (formerly Indian Country Today) with some of the key stories about Indigenous peoples around the world.