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July 29, 2011
PNG Court Rules in Favor of Nickel Mine
Posted by: Marlo McKenzie

A court in Papua New Guinea this week cleared the way for the Chinese state-owned China Metallurgical Group Corp. to proceed with a massive nickel-mining project that had been blocked by injunctions over the environmental impact of the company’s plan to dispose of mine tailings in the ocean.

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May 5, 2011
Protests Fail to Stop Bridge at Aboriginal Heritage Site
Posted by: Amberly Polidor

Last month the Tasmanian government gave the final go-ahead to build a highway bridge that could disturb a 40,000-year-old Aboriginal archeological site — the oldest evidence of human habitation in the southern hemisphere.

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March 29, 2011
PNG Villagers Fight in Court to Halt Deep-Sea Tailings Dumping
Posted by: Jennifer Huang

On March 1, a Papua New Guinea judge and lawyers in a mine tailings-disposal case went to see first hand the environments they’ve been discussing for weeks. At issue are a Chinese company’s plans to mine nickel and cobalt and dump the untreated waste into the sea.

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February 11, 2011
Communities in PNG Defend Land in Court
Posted by: Marlo McKenzie

Despite amendments to the Environment Act barring legal challenges to mining and other resource projects, local land owners in Papua New Guinea have filed a lawsuit to stop a plan to dump waste from the Ramu nickel mine directly into the ocean.

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February 8, 2011
Borneo Penan File Suit Against Timber Giant
Posted by: Amberly Polidor

A community of the Penan people, a seminomadic group in the rainforests of Borneo who have been struggling for decades to save their lands and livelihood from timber harvesting and other incursions, have recently brought their fight to a Malaysian court.

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November 10, 2010
Aborigines Celebrate Uluru Hand Back, Still Waiting for Benefits
Posted by: Amberly Polidor

A crowd of 200 Anangu traditional owners, along with tourists and officials, recently gathered at the base of Australia’s iconic sandstone monolith Uluru to commemorate the 25th anniversary of its return to the traditional custodians.

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September 14, 2010
Hawaiian Site Gets UNESCO World Heritage Designation
Posted by: Amberly Polidor

A Hawaiian marine national monument known for both its abundant and unique aquatic species and its significance to Native Hawaiians has become the United States’ first new UNESCO World Heritage site in 15 years and its first to be recognized as a mixed cultural-natural property.

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June 22, 2010
Cultural Survival Launches Campaign to Defend Landowners in Papua New Guinea
Posted by: Marlo McKenzie

“An international outcry is needed. Toxic mine tailings dumped into the Bismarck Sea could undermine the marine food chain at its source, potentially rendering all fish unsafe to eat and destroying the livelihoods of the Indigenous people who depend on the sea. Could thousands of letters from world citizens get the attention of the PNG government?”

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June 7, 2010
PNG Strips Landowner Rights to Challenge Resource Exploitation
Posted by: Amberly Polidor

The government of Papua New Guinea dealt a harsh blow to traditional landowners May 28 when it passed a pair of amendments to the country’s Environment Act barring legal challenges to mining and other resource projects.

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June 1, 2010
SLFP Crew Detained by Police in Papua New Guinea
Posted by: Toby McLeod

Still jet-lagged on Monday, April 12, in Madang, we arrived at the courtroom at 8 a.m. hoping to score an interview with James Wang, chief technical director of the Chinese government-owned mining company Ramu NiCo, a division of MCC, the China Metallurgical Group Corp. Wang, backed by several Australian lawyers, was asking a judge to [...]

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May 31, 2010
More Than a Pretty Picture
Posted by: Jennifer Huang

Note: The SLFP crew went to Papua New Guinea in April, 2010 to film a segment of Losing Sacred Ground. We are posting a few stories from that trip. The woman selling bananas smiles at me, warmly, excited. I snap her picture, then, like so many times before, I spin my camera around so she [...]

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May 17, 2010
New Biodiversity Report is a “Wake-up Call for Humanity”
Posted by: Amberly Polidor

A major new assessment of the current state of biodiversity warns that unless urgent action is taken, the natural systems that support humankind are at risk of collapse.

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February 12, 2010
U.N. Issues First-Ever “State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples” Report
Posted by: Marlo McKenzie

In January, the U.N. released its first-ever report on the “State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples,” which presents a global view of the current situation of indigenous peoples, examining poverty and well-being, culture, education, health, human rights, environment and emerging issues.

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February 5, 2010
Eye on McArthur River
Posted by: Marlo McKenzie

As many of you know, the Losing Sacred Ground film series follows the story of Aboriginal communities seeking to reverse Australia’s rapid environmental degradation and prevent further losses of their revered sites. After a successful court battle to stop Xstrata zinc mine from expanding, the Northern Territory Parliament enacted legislation that overturned the legal decision [...]

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January 21, 2010
Uluru to Remain Open to Climbers
Posted by: Amberly Polidor

Backing away from a definitive move to ban climbing Australia’s iconic Uluru, Northern Territory Environment Minister Peter Garret on Jan. 8 approved a management plan that instead would allow for an eventual ban once certain conditions were met.

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October 29, 2009
Read Our Latest Sacred Site Report Updates
Posted by: Amberly Polidor

In recent months we’ve been hard at work bringing some of our older site reports up to date, and we’re pleased to report that a few of these sacred sites have come a step closer toward preservation

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October 14, 2009
Australia Establishes Two Major Conservation Reserves
Posted by: Marlo McKenzie

Australia has established two globally significant conservation reserves on indigenous lands in the Northern Territory. Spanning nearly 1.4 million hectares on the Arnhem Land Plateau, Warddeken Indigenous protected area adjacent to the Kakadu National Park was declared Sept. 24. A day later, hundreds gathered at Rocky Point on Boucaut Bay about 310 miles east of [...]

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October 9, 2009
New Viewing Platform at Uluru
Posted by: Marlo McKenzie

Uluru, one the key tourists destinations in Australia, has a new viewing platform which was unveiled early this month by Aboriginal elders hoping to discourage tourists from climbing the sacred rock. Opened at a dawn ceremony, the $21 million viewing platform Talingru Nyakunytjaku, which in the local Aboriginal Pitjantjatjara language means “place to look from [...]

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June 26, 2008
Federal Court allows McArthur River diversion to proceed
Posted by:

On June 13 the Federal Court in Darwin, Australia delivered a blow to the spirits of the Gudanji, Yanyuwa, Garrawa and Mara peoples. As many of you know, we have been following the events surrounding the zinc mine expansion and diversion of the McArthur River in the Northern Territory since last year. Now, in a [...]

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November 5, 2007
Song for the Rainbow Serpent
Posted by: Quinn Costello

Three percent of the world’s zinc lies beneath the serpentine riverbed of northern Australia’s McArthur River — and the zinc will soon be headed to China’s steel mills. For Aboriginal Australians, the entire river is respected as the Dreamtime pathway of the Rainbow Serpent, one of the most important of the ancestor spirits who formed [...]

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November 5, 2007
Song for the Rainbow Serpent
Posted by: Toby McLeod

Three percent of the world’s zinc lies beneath the serpentine riverbed of northern Australia’s McArthur River — and the zinc will soon be headed to China’s steel mills. For Aboriginal Australians, the entire river is respected as the Dreamtime pathway of the Rainbow Serpent, one of the most important of the ancestor spirits who formed [...]

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October 30, 2007
Aerial View of McArthur River Diversion
Posted by: Toby McLeod

We’re preparing our Annual Report and have created an aerial map of the McArthur River Mine diversion. The river follows the Dreamtime pathway of the Rainbow Serpent, but a giant zinc deposit has attracted the attention of mining giant Xstrata, which plans to divert the river through a 5.5 kilometer channel so that they can [...]

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September 14, 2007
Australia
Posted by: admin

In Australia’s Northern territory in 2007, we traveled from the Garma Festival at Grove Peninsula in Arnhem Land to the McArthur River mine 70km southwest of Borroloola, to the state’s capital in Darwin where the Aboriginal people of Boroloola gathered to observe the court proceedings on the legality of the McArthur River mine expansion and [...]

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September 1, 2007
Garma Festival
Posted by: Quinn Costello

Every August, two thousand people visit northern Australia’s Gove Peninsula in Arnhem Land to attend the Garma Festival, an international celebration of the Aboriginal culture that is still strong around Yirkalla. In August, we travelled to Garma to interview indigenous leaders and film the dances that take place at sunset every evening. The evening dance [...]

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August 20, 2007
Lofty’s World: Kabulwarnamyu
Posted by: Toby McLeod

The situation for many of Australia’s Aboriginal people is bleak, after two hundred years of land theft and racist oppression. Visiting the artist Bardayal Nadjamerrek in the small, growing community of Kabulwarnamyu, in the heart of Arnhem Land, was like a breath of fresh air. “Lofty” — as he’s known throughout Australia — and his family [...]

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July 31, 2007
Losing Sacred Ground and SLFP Film Crew Make News in Darwin, Australia
Posted by: Marlo McKenzie

Project Director Christopher McLeod and crew—having just returned from three weeks in the Altai Republic of Russia where they filmed the first segment of our new 12-part series, Losing Sacred Ground—are now in their second week of filming in Australia. Read about their recent adventures in this article published on 7/31/07 in the Northern Territory [...]

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July 28, 2007
Vanderlin Idyll
Posted by: Ashley Tindall

This afternoon we took a break from filming Anton took the men out to fish around the other side of the island. While they were hunting barracuda by boat, Steve’s daughters took me fishing for barracuda by hand. Juanita (15) managed to keep an eye on her little sisters Shanny (9) and Harriet (3) as [...]

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July 27, 2007
Dugong Dreaming
Posted by: Ashley Tindall

Steve Johnston and his son Anton came into King Ash Bay on the McArthur River to take us out to Vanderlin Island, their home and one of the Sir Edward Pellew Islands in the Gulf of Carpinteria. The islands sit at the mouth of the McArthur, and the Johnstons have reported that the oysters, turtles [...]

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July 25, 2007
Helicopter Madness
Posted by: Toby McLeod

When we tried to enter the McArthur River Mine area with Traditional Owner Harry Lanson, we were told we would be arrested if we didn’t leave immediately. When Harry argued that he should be able to visit his sacred sites, mine security forces called in the troops. Here is how close the chopper was to [...]

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July 24, 2007
In the Path of the Rainbow Serpent
Posted by: Toby McLeod

The McArthur River watershed floods during the monsoon, and perhaps the Aboriginal people keep track over tens of thousands of years, relating the severity and length of flooding to the health of the people and their land. When a mining company wants to put an open pit zinc, lead and copper mine in the center [...]

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July 23, 2007
Crocodile Naiveté
Posted by: Toby McLeod

On our first day in Borroloola we were down by the McArthur River waiting for a group of Aboriginal women to arrive for a riverside interview. While we were waiting, I saw a beautiful white egret standing amidst the grass and I went down to the river’s edge to take a photograph. When the women [...]

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