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Indigenous communities around the world face an alarming quartet: state violence, human rights abuses, harmful conservation practices, and extractive industries. All these issues and more will be addressed at the 21st session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, which convenes Monday at U.N. headquarters in New York.

The forum is a rare opportunity for the international Indigenous community to set a high standard for respecting Indigenous land, rights, and culture and create clear recommendations for the U.N. and its member states. Geoffrey Roth, a Standing Rock Sioux descendant and forum member, says that it is an opportunity to advocate for Indigenous issues and people on a global scale, specifically projects that require the consent of communities.

“We can really be an example to the world’s leaders in how to preserve the environment,” Roth said.

The forum also serves as an important platform for young Indigenous leaders. READ MORE. — Joseph Lee and Carina Dominguez, Grist and Indian Country Today


A Passamaquoddy Tribe reservation in Maine has been granted authority to regulate its drinking water, opening the door to greater sovereignty.

Gov. Janet Mills signed a bill into law on Thursday that gives the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point the right to secure clean drinking water by drilling wells on tribe-owned land and working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency instead of state agencies.

The tribe has long been frustrated by poor water quality that sometimes caused brown liquid to flow from faucets at Pleasant Point, also called Sipayik.

"Members of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik, like all people in Maine, deserve access to clean, safe drinking water. This legislation will build on our efforts to ensure that they get it," the Democratic governor said Thursday. READ MORE. — Associated Press

To Bryant Sun, a 17-year-old from the Iñupiat village of Shungnak, plans for a nearby open pit mine and 200-mile access road pose too much of a risk to his family’s traditions of subsistence hunting and fishing.

In this remote Northwest Alaska region, where the only way in and out is on a plane or boat, groceries can be impossibly expensive: $10 for a bottle of salad dressing or a box of cereal.

So Sun’s family, and many others, depend on seasonal harvests of moose, caribou, bears, berries and fish. They have two subsistence cabins — one upriver from town and one downriver.

“Traffic that’ll be going through there, with all that equipment and stuff — they’ll just scare everything off,” Sun said in an interview outside his Shungnak home in July. “That road would affect everything, I’d say.” READ MORE. — Nathaniel Herz, Anchorage Daily News

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On Monday's ICT newscast, we hear from the U.S. Secretary of Education. Plus, we meet the bandleader of the Eastern Medicine Singers and the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues starts today.


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