The indigenous community of Loma de Bácum in Northeastern Mexico is standing against a pipeline that the transnational company IEnova is attempting to build through their territory without the community’s consent. Despite a legal document issued by the local authority that mandates that the company stop any building activity within Loma de Bácum, construction continues. A GDF collaborator, who is opposing this construction, was recently kidnapped along with her husband. While she has been released, her husband remains disappeared.
To support our collaborators, put the spotlight on this struggle, and amplify the present momentum for indigenous sovereignty in Turtle Island, we will bring Standing Rock water protectors to the Yaqui community of Loma de Bácum in Sonora, Mexico. We ask for your help to realise this plan.
Covering Canada, the United States, Mesoamerica and the Caribbean Islands, the extended region of North America spans a great diversity of ecoregions – from the Arctic to the tropical forests of Central America, through different types of deciduous, evergreen and temperate rain forests; deserts; plains and variegated coastlines and marine ecosystems. Many of these ecosystems have evolved in close connection with the region’s diverse indigenous cultures. There are currently approximately 450 indigenous languages spoken throughout the region (some of which are critically endangered, however); Mexico in particular is a language ‘hotspot’, with over 200 languages spoken. In addition to this linguistic and cultural diversity, the region experiences rich biological diversity: four of the planet’s biodiversity hotspots are in North America, one of which constitutes the entire region of Mesoamerica.
This unique biocultural diversity suffered an initial massive impact following the arrival of European colonists in the 15th and 16th centuries, which continued as the colonists settled vast portions of the continent and exploited natural resources on an unprecedented scale. The rapid expansion of free-market capitalism in the 20th and 21st centuries has constituted another, although perhaps more subtle, major threat to biocultural diversity in this region. Indeed, the colonisation of North America is ongoing, as governments and settler populations continue to systematically dispossess indigenous peoples from their land and livelihoods. That many indigenous cultures, including languages and ethnobiological knowledge systems, have been maintained and continue to evolve in the face of continued oppression is a testament to their resilience and the power of their communities.
Since 2013, GDF has worked with indigenous collaborators in North America to foster networking, mutual learning and exchange between emerging community leaders through North American Community Environmental Leadership Exchanges (NACELE). These peer-to-peer learning opportunities convene dynamic indigenous leaders from all over North America to discuss ongoing and share strategies to protect and restore lands, waters and traditional foodways, and through these, culture and sovereignty.
Community Environmental Leadership Exchanges convene environmental professionals and practitioners. These community-led exchanges foster peer-to-peer exchange of innovative methodologies, examples, strategies and tactics to address specific issues, strengthen sovereignty and share knowledge. They aim to enhance wellbeing at community and landscape scales, seeding durable networks for mutual support. In October 2013, the first North American Community Environmental Leadership Exchange launched these exchanges with a two-part event on the theme From Conflict to Collaboration in Indigenous Territories: Tribal Strategies for Resistance and Restoration.