Skip to main content

Deusdedit Ruhangariyo
Special to ICT

Around the world: Brazil, Indonesia and Congo push for a rainforest protection fund, reparations for Australia’s ‘stolen generations’ hits a snag, a group of weavers is recreating a 200-year-old Māori sail, and a film about Noongar elders wins an award in New York.

COP 27: Brazil, Indonesia, Congo call for rainforest protection

Members from the world’s three forest titans – Brazil, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo – signed a cooperation agreement in Jakarta calling for more funding to assist in protecting half of the world’s rainforests, Mongabay.com reported on Nov. 18.

The United Nations COP27 climate summit in Egypt ended with an agreement on the fund but no agreement on reducing emissions. 

According to data by the Global Forest Watch, the statement by the three forest nations followed the loss of about 5.7 million acres of primary forest in the three countries in 2021, largely because of the high deforestation rate in Brazil, which is responsible for almost half of the global deforestation last year, Mongabay.com reported.

SUPPORT INDIGENOUS JOURNALISM. CONTRIBUTE TODAY.

But things have changed in Brazil. President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who pledged to protect the rainforest, defeated incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, and came out strong at the United Nations COP 27 meeting in Egypt, calling on rich countries to pay into their 2009 promise of $100 billion for helping less-developed countries face climate change and reverse deforestation.

The declaration marked the beginning of a strategic alliance — dubbed the OPEC of Rainforests — to lobby wealthy countries. An Amazon bloc is expected to follow, according to Colombian minister Susana Muhammad, Mongabay.com reported.

AUSTRALIA: Petition for ‘Stolen Generations’ redress tabled

A petition calling for compensation in Western Australia for the “Stolen Generations” of Indigenous peoples was tabled by a member of Parliament, who called for further investigation, National Indigenous Times reported on Nov. 18.

Brad Pettitt, member of Australia’s Parliament representing the Greens area, tabled the petition calling for state redress.

“This morning I was very honored to present a petition with over 1,300 signatures actually calling for government to look at what other states and territories have done around compensation for Stolen Generations,” Pettitt said, according to National Indigenous Times.

“We’re a rich state,” he said, referring to Western Australia, “and can afford to do it. So what I’m really hoping is it does put it back on the government’s agenda … Now’s an opportunity for us to look at what the best practice is and get on and finish some of the important work in the reconciliation process.”

The Stolen Generations refer to the thousands of children of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent who were forcibly removed from their families by federal and state governments and church missions in Australia from about 1905 to 1967, though some mixed-race children were still being taken into the 1970s, officials said.

Tony Hansen, co-chair of Bringing Them Home WA and a Stolen Generations survivor, said many of the survivors have already died without any redress. Queensland and Western Australia are the only two Australian jurisdictions without a compensation scheme in place.

“Sadly many of our people have died sitting in aged care facilities,” he said. “The time is now for us as a state to compensate the Stolen Generation people and acknowledge the past histories of the atrocities that took place.”

Western Australia Aboriginal Affairs Minister Tony Buti said the government is committed to reviewing the petition, particularly regarding a redress scheme.

Scroll to Continue

Read More

“The forced removal of Aboriginal children from their families, their country, and their culture is one of the most shameful chapters in Australian history, which has resulted in trauma and pain,” he said, according to National Indigenous Times.

NEW ZEALAND: Weavers recreate 200-year-old Māori sail

A collective of weavers in New Zealand’s Northland is recreating a modern version of a flax sail used by Māori centuries ago, Te Ao Māori News reported on Nov. 9.

The weavers are reproducing the complex weaving from a sail known as Te Rā that has been housed in a British museum for more than 200 years. One of the weavers, Ruth Port, traveled to England to inspect the sail four years ago but could find no details on how it was made.

"It is thought Captain Cook may have collected her because the British Museum received the sail from the British Admiralty,” she said. “But they have no idea when there's no record.”

She said the team found techniques that are rarely used today.

"Not only the hono being a takitahi one, which is over-one, under-one, and most hono you see today are takirua on whāriki and they're called maurua, which means using the under-two, over-two methods,” she said. “But also then we've got this beautiful pūareare zigzagging that goes right through the hono itself."

AUSTRALIA: Noongar elders film wins award in New York

A story of a group of Noongar elders has won the Best Short Film award at the Bronx Social Justice Matters International Film Festival in New York City, National Indigenous Television reported on Nov. 18.

The film, “Ngaluk Waangkiny: Us Talking,” follows a group of elders from Whadjuk Noongar boodja in their fight for respect, recognition and acknowledgement from the City of Perth in Australia, National Indigenous Television reported.

The short film also touches on incarceration, failing health care systems, and the demonization of immigrants.

“The elders told their stories, which were at times traumatic, because they wanted to share Australia’s hidden histories with the world,” said the film’s executive producer, Michelle White, according to National Indigenous Television.

“It’s not just truth-telling. It’s about listening, learning and owning our destructive past, so we can all move forward.”

The short film was co-written and directed by award-winning filmmaker Poppy van Oorde-Grainger and Noongar artist Ian Moopa Wilkes.

My final thoughts

My final thoughts are with the COP 27 climate meeting in Eqypt, and I challenge all the parties and stakeholders to take Indigenous input seriously. Indigenous people are the defenders of Mother Earth – they are the protectors – but they are not being given enough space at the table. The sooner this is realized by all the parties the better it will be for achieving the goals that all previous COP meetings have theorized about.

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.

New ICT logo

Our stories are worth telling. Our stories are worth sharing. Our stories are worth your support. Contribute $5 or $10 today to help ICT carry out its critical mission. Sign up for ICT’s free newsletter.