Indigenous people all over the world are currently facing genocide at the hands of governments and corporations who are seizing their land by force for financial gain.
As we reported last week, the annual report from international NGO Global Witness showed that at least 164 activists were killed under suspicious circumstances while engaging in activism for indigenous rights and environmental protections.
While the indigenous people of the world may have different cultures and speak different languages, the struggles that they face are nearly identical. All over the world, sprawling development has continued to push indigenous people onto smaller and smaller plots of land, oftentimes by force. The current situation in the Amazon rainforest was recently described by The Atlantic as a “land battle,” for the last remaining pieces of native territory.
A very similar struggle is taking place in Australia, where large plots of land that were once legally guaranteed to indigenous people have been seized by the government to be handed over to a corporation called Adani that wants to open up a coal mine.
The site is located in Queensland and spans over 1,385 hectares. The Queensland government was previously required to get any mining operations approved by the local indigenous tribes. In this case, nearly half of the tribes were against the mining project, and had successfully stalled the deal for the past several years. To bypass this requirement, the Queensland government made a surprise ruling to strip the natives of their power to decide on such matters.
The order went into effect immediately, and there was no announcement to warn the natives that they would be considered trespassers on their own property.
Adrian Burragubba, leader of the W&J Council, a group representing the Wangan and Jagalingou tribes, says that police have threatened to arrest indigenous people for trespassing on their own land.
“We have been made trespassers on our own country. Our ceremonial grounds, in place for a time of mourning for our lands as Adani begins its destructive processes, are now controlled by billionaire miner Adani,” Burragubba said.
“We will never consent to these decisions and will maintain our defense of country. We will be on our homelands to care for our lands and waters, hold ceremonies and uphold the ancient, abiding law of the land,” he added.
Aside from the concerns for the environment and the area’s native population, this could be a financial blunder for the Australian government as well.
According to a report from The Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, Adani’s coal proposed coal mine would not even be financially viable for the company if not for the $4.4 billion dollars in subsidies that the Australian government will be granting to the project.
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“If these subsidies were not being provided, Adani’s Carmichael thermal coalmine would be unbankable and unviable,” the IEEFA report said, according to the Guardian.
Protesters assembled in Brisbane to oppose the recent measure this week.
— Nine News Australia (@9NewsAUS) August 28, 2019
Some protesters have chained themselves to the gates of the company’s headquarters.
Anti-Adani protestors have shifted their focus from the company itself, locking themselves to the gates of a North Queensland business contracted to work on the Carmichael project. Report at 6pm #9News pic.twitter.com/ytGMzG8p8l
— 9 News Central Qld (@9NewsCentralQld) August 27, 2019
In a statement responding to the controversy, Adani said that they plan on working with the indigenous population so their sacred land is protected, but it is obvious that any type of mining operation would make the ecosystem uninhabitable for miles, especially by the standards of people who live off the land.
IMAGE CREDIT: Flickr