Indigenous Peoples

Agroecology Learning Exchange Lets Farmers Share Recipes for Success, and Fertilizer

Carlos Henríquez can talk about fertilizer for hours. He knows what mix of ingredients will help certain crops grow better, the right “recipe” for creating well-balanced compost and fertilizers, the best ways to keep moisture in the soil even in dry spells.

Defending Indigenous Territories and Waters in Honduras

Whether it’s life imitating art or the other way around, the assault so dramatically captured in the Hollywood blockbuster film Avatar (2009) is not pure fiction. The reality is that countries and corporations that are hell-bent on extracting every last resource from the earth continue their relentless assaults on indigenous people, their land and waters, their cultures and ways of life,  Whether it’s Afro-Brazilians on the Sao Francisco river in Brazil, Dongria Kondhs on Niyamgiri mountain in India, or Lencas in Honduras’ Rio Blanco territory, they all are facing not only the threat of displacement and devastation but violence, intimidation and even, in some instances, assassination.

Celebrating the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, with the Meaning of Living Well

In 1994, the United Nations designated August 9 as the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. Today, we at Grassroots International celebrate the lives, leadership and struggles of Indigenous Peoples around the world, including our partners who courageously defend their rights to land, territory, water, and food sovereignty, as well as the rights of Mother Earth. 

The Mystique of Las Misticas

Ingredients: 183 member organizations. 88 countries. 5 continents. 500 representatives of 200-plus million women and men. Numerous allies from movements of  women, indigenous peoples, fishers, pastoralists, environmental/climate justice activists and more. One global peasant movement. All with fearless commitment to social, economic and gender justice.

Black Mesa Water Coalition resists coal, forges vision for climate justice

On this Earth Day, I’m inspired to share a story of the Black Mesa Water Coalition (BMWC). One of Grassroots International’s US allies, BMWC organizes in indigenous communities, going up against powerful corporate interests in the fossil fuel industry, and engaging in movement building toward a vision for a transition to an economically and ecologically just society. 

In the Crosshairs

Cicero Guedes, a former sugar cane cutter turned land rights activist, worked in Campo dos Goytacazes, a settlement in Brazil. There he organized with the Landless Workers Movement (MST) to help families achieve what he had received: legal claim to land as part of Brazil’s agrarian reform movement.

For his tireless work, Cicero was murdered, shot more than a dozen times while he rode his bicycle to the fields. His assassination seemed intended to send a message to other would-be land rights activists: organize and you will pay the ultimate price.

The True Costs of Industrialized Food

The real costs of the industrial food system on people’s lives and the planet are as extensive as they are hidden.  The article below by long-time Grassroots International friends, Beverley Bell and Tory Field of Other Worlds, offers a thought-provoking summary of those costs—all of which challenge small farmers in the Global South on a daily basis.

 -------------------------------------------------

The True Costs of Industrialized Food

Mayan and Garifuna Indigenous in Belize Demand Respect for Their Ancestral Land

Roughly the size of New Jersey, Belize is one of the smallest countries in Central America. The country is also in the epicenter of the Mayan territory. More than half of Belize’s population of 300,000 are Mayan indigenous and Afro-descendants, known as Garifunas.

Holding Their Ground

 “The Conquistadors came and they subjugated us and they killed us, but they couldn’t make us disappear because we always had corn. Through corn, we survived and we kept our feet in our territories. With corn at the center of our homes we kept our languages, kept writing our histories. We continued as villages, as families, as workers, as fighters, as a community with our own government, because we had and because we have corn.  Now, with the invasion of genetically modified corn they are trying to throw a mortal blow at our existence, the blow that they have not been able to throw in 500 years.” 
--The Organizations and Communities of the Network in Defense of Maize (Translated from Spanish from the article El maíz, corazón de la esperanza de los pueblos—Corn, heart or the hope of the village—by Veronica Villa of the Red MaizNetwork in Defense of Corn)

Honduran Peasants Resist Land Grabbing, Occupy Farms

Last month, Honduras passed legislation to allow the construction of charter cities in the ancestral land of Afro-descendant Garifunas and peasant communities.