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4. Appeals and News from Endangered Communities

Campaign for Extension of BBCs Gaelic broadcasts in Scotland

From: "Alasdair MacCaluim"
Date: Tue, 9 Feb 1999

A chairdean,
Comann Ceilteach Oilthigh Dhun Eideann (Edinburgh University's Gaelic and Celtic language society) has been highly concerned by recent press reports suggesting that the BBC have no plans to extend Radio nan Gaidheal to cover the whole of Scotland in the forseeable future. For this reason, we are writing to ask for the help of CLI members in our campaign for the national availability of Radio nan Gaidheal.

We are asking supporters and speakers of Gaelic to send picure-postcards of the town in which they live (or of the closest town for which a postcard is produced) to the Controller of BBC Radio Scotland, asking him when Radio nan Gaidheal will be available throughout Scotland.

This campaign is a simple and a fun one. Simply write your name and address on the postcard and send it to the controller of BBC Radio Scotland with a short message in Gaelic or English asking for a national Gaelic radio service. Something such as "Cuine a bhios Radio nan Gaidheal ri fhaighinn air feadh na dthcha?" or "when will Radio nan Gaidheal be available throughout Scotland?" should suffice. Please make the effort to write whether or not you are able to receive Radio nan Gaidheal in your area.

CLI members outside Scotland can also help by sending postcards of their town and asking in Gaelic or English when they will be able to receive Radio nan Gaidheal, perhaps through satellite or the internet. English and Welsh CLI members might also ask for a resumption of Medium Wave broadcasting of Gaelic radio.

Send your postcards to: Controller, BBC Radio Scotland, Broadcasting House, Queen Margaret Drive, Glasgow. le deagh dhurachd, Alasdair MacCaluim Oifigear nan Iomairtean Comann Ceilteach Oilthigh Dhun Eideann Roinn na Ceiltis/Celtic Dept. 19 Cearnog Sheorais/George Sq. Dun Eideann EH8 9LD

Appeal by Endangered Language Fund

On Tue, 9 Mar 1999 Doug Whalen , President of the ELF, wrote this to the the Endangered Language List. What he says is just as true of the Foundation for Endangered Languages.

Dear ELL,
John O'Meara has rightly pointed out that the Endangered Language Fund is one group that sponsors direct work in endangered languages. We do not currently support any conferences, though there may come a time when we have enough resources that it would seem to be useful. Right now, about 90% of our donations go immediately to language work. This past year (and the web page does not reflect this--my web master is finishing his dissertation and I just resubmitted the grant that is my main source of support), we awarded 10 grants out of 75 applications. Three of the 10 had Principal Investigators who were also native speakers of the language involved. Even within those three, we saw diversity of approaches: one was for the preparation of a children's book in Tohono O'odham, one was for providing more texts for a Blackfoot immersion program, and one was for travel money to allow a Dakota woman to record more far-flung speakers for her weekly radio show. Our goal is to have about half of our project go to linguistic work that is relevant to the language communities, and half to language work that is relevant to linguistics. We are close to achieving this goal.

We need more support, however. The size of our grants (less than $2,000 US) is not enough. We are beginning to approach foundations and corporations for larger donations, but they expect to see support at the grass roots level as well. Relatively few readers of this list have joined the ELF, and I would urge everyone who can afford to join to do so--I realize that $50 is more than many can afford, but we are happy to accept your show of support in any amount. It truly does make a difference. If you would like more information on joining, please visit our web site: or email to elf(at) Note that we accept MasterCard and Visa payments.

Murder Of 3 Activists In Colombia - Unhappy Way To Note New Hemispheric Indigenous Movement

by Jacqueline Keeler Pacific News Service

On March 10 Colombia's FARC announced that a guerrilla commander and three rebels were responsible for the murders of three human rights workers. The following is an updated version the PNS March 10 storyby on the significance of the killings.

The murder of three human rights activists working with Colombia's U'wa tribe provides a glimpse of the growing involvement of Northern indigenous people with their kin to the south.

The death of Ingrid Washinawatok apparently marks a sad milestone -- the first time that a Native North American woman has died doing human rights work among native people in South America.

In an unhappy way, it draws attention to the fact that the growing number of international meetings on the environment and human rights abuses has led to a growing network of indigenous leaders and activists who share skills, resources and information in fighting similar issues.

Washinawatok, 41, Terence Freitas and Lahe'ena'e Gay were kidnapped off a bus heading for the airport on February 25, 200 miles outside of Bogota. They had just spent two weeks on the reservation of the U'wa helping develop an education program using traditional culture, language and religion.

Gay, 39, a Native Hawaiian with the Pacific Cultural Conservancy International in Hawaii, had established a similar educational center in Panama.

Washinawatok met the leader of the U'wa and heard how they had closed church-run schools which denigrated their culture. Gay and Washinawatok sought to share the culture-respecting curriculum developed by indigenous people in the United States.

The U'wa, a tribe of about 5-7,000 people, made international headlines in 1997 when they threatened mass suicide if Occidental Petroleum, based in Bakersfield, California did not cease exploratory drilling on their reservation. In a similar vein, the Menominee Nation in Wisconsin was "terminated" in 1954 by the U.S. Congress. They regained federal recognition in 1969 and are now embroiled in a fight with Exxon to prevent contamination of their lands and sacred sites.

Colombian and U.S. officials were quick to blame the abduction on the leftist guerrilla Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). In a press release, President Clinton expressed outrage and demanded that "the FARC accept responsibility for these crimes and immediately surrender those who committed them."

However, Washinawatok's family and Apesanahkwat, chairman of the Menominee tribe said they held the U.S. State Department at least partly responsible for her death. The week of her death, the U.S. State Department issued $230 million to the Colombian government for a crackdown on leftist rebels. Colombia is one of the biggest recipients of U.S. foreign aid for the drug war, despite having one of the world's worst human rights records. The money, the Menominee assert, led to military/paramilitary killings of about 70 FARC rebels later that week.

In a statement, the Indigenous Women's Network, of which Washinawatok was co-chair, has demanded a full investigation of the U.S. State Department's role in the deaths.

After first denying any connection with the murders, FARC leaders announced on March 10 that a guerrilla commander and three rebels under his command were responsible and would be "sanctioned." Paul Reyes, a senior commander of FARC, said, "We condemn the abominable assassination of the three Americans," and asked for the forgiveness of indigenous people around the world, the United States, the Colombian government and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

People close to Freitas, 24, an environmental activist who had worked with the U'wa tribe, noted that the FARC knew of his work and had given him clearance.

The U'wa community reacted forcefully to initial news about the killings,with some leaders threatening retaliation against the killers. Evaristo Tegria, an U'wa community member, said of the three, "As indigenous people they knew our situation and supported us."

Washinawatok was director of the New York-based Fund for the Four Directions, which focuses on American Indian issues, and sat on the boards of several groups working to help indigenous people. She was also the first chair of the United Nations Committee for the International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples (1995-2004).

As more and more Native North Americans work with their relatives in Central and South America they must decide how best to use their dual citizenship to further the rights and causes of indigenous peoples.



Many are watching the Menominee Nation for clues as to how indigenous nations in North America will deal with international tragedies, particularly with countries like Colombia that have a record of genocide of their own indigenous peoples.

There is a hope that the great care and kind spirit shown by Washinawatok and the others will carry the day.

There is more information about this, at the Columbia Support Network at:

Jacqueline Keeler, a correspondent for the Pacific News Service, is a member of the Dineh Nation and the Yankton Dakota Sioux and lives in the San Francisco area.

International Public Hearing on the People's Communication Charter, May 1-3, 1999

This was due to take place at the Institute of Social Studies (Kortenaerkade 12, The Hague, The Netherlands), the first time that violations of the Charter had been discussed and judged by an international forum of judges. The main theme of the Hearing is the worldwide problem of disappearing and oppressed languages.

An international panel of independent judges will hear testimonies on violations of the human right to a diversity of languages. Witnesses and experts will bring evidence about the prohibition of languages and the inadequate provisions to sustain minority languages.

People's Communication Charter was initiated by social movements such as the Third World Network (Penang, Malaysia), the Cultural Environment Movement (Philadelphia, USA), and AMARC (Worldwide Association of Community Broadcasters). They concluded in the early 90s that the responsibility for the quality of information provision and communication services could not be left with governments and markets, but required broad civil action. This motivated the writing of the People's Communication Charter. The Charter is very well received by a growing number of NGO's, communication professionals and academics.

In order to put the concerns that the Charter expresses on the public agenda, a series of international public hearings is to address violations of the Charter.

This first Public Hearing focuses on Article 9 of the Charter. "All people have the right to a diversity of languages." This includes the right to express themselves and have access to information in their own language, the right to use their languages in educational institutions funded by the state, and the right to have adequate provision created for the use of minority languages where needed."

The Cases
The Hearing was organized around six exemplary cases of threats to linguistic human rights. Language of the Berbers Language of the Kurds The Creole language Bi-lingual education in California The sign language of deaf people The Hungarian language in Roumania

During the Hearing actual testimonies were to be given by victims of violations. Also expert witnesses were to be heard.

The Panel of Judges
Ariel Dorfman, author, and professor at Duke University, USA
Barbara Losier, AMARC, Canada
Justice John Manyarara, ex-Supreme Court, Zimbabwe
Tove Skutnabb, University of Roskilde, Vice President of Terralingua
Paul de Waart, emeritus professor Vrije Universiteit, The Netherlands

People's Communication Charter, Amsterdam,
or contact:
Dominique van der Elst, University of Amsterdam, Dept. of Communication +31 20 5253505 fax +31 20 525 2845

UN Mapuche leader, detained in Santiago, Chile

Bristol, 10 May 1999
Pedro Cayuqueo was arrested yesterday by the international police, on his arrival at Santiago's airport. He was returning from Geneva where he had taken part in the 55th Annual Session of the Commission of Human Rights of the United Nations.

Mr Cayuqueo went to Geneva as the Secretary of the Co-ordination of Arauco-Malleco Communities in Conflict. The context of his detention is the repressive official policy of the Chilean government towards Mapuche people. He suffered the penalty of those who dare to speak the truth. His aim was to make the international community aware of the daily violation of the rights of the Mapuche nation.

In his report to the Commission, Mr Cayuqueo gave a detailed account of violations especially in the provinces of Arauco and Malleco. Here, the Indigenous communities of Cuyinco, Pascual Cona, Rucananco, Pichiloncoyan and Temulemu had been suffering systematic attacks on their basic human rights as defined by the UN. Violation of the right to personal integrity of body, mind and spirit. There are many arbitrary detentions and cases of harassment. The police detain people illegally, and torture them in police stations.
Violation of the right to legal procedures. People are not treated according to the law or presumed innocent.
Violation of children's rights. Children have been detained, handcuffed, insulted and beaten by the police.
Violation of the right to liberty of conscience and religious belief. The Machi who is the supreme religious authority among Mapuche people has been detained, insulted and beaten. Violation of legal principles. At the time of arrest or searching of homes no appropriate legal documentation is produced.
Violation of the right to private property. People are stopped from using and enjoying the fruits of their own land.
Violation of the right to privacy and dignity. The police regularly photograph people and film their community activities without their consent.
Violation of the right to move freely in their own land. Armed police prevent Mapuche people from freely using public roads and rights of way through land in dispute.
Violation of the right to reply or correct public statements. The media publishes incorrect or damaging information about Mapuche leaders, insinuating their connection with subversive left-wing groups.

On 6 May 99 13 Mapuche leaders were detained. Among these were several Lonkos (chiefs) and Jose Lincoqueo, a lawyer. The government thereby prevents Mapuche people from exercising their right to defend themselves legally.

Pedro Cayuqueo's report includes details of what the forestry companies have done in usurping Mapuche land, the serious damage to the environment - altering the eco-system, polluting the soil, rivers, sea and air. He refers to Arauco S.A., Mininco S.A., Volterra Ltd., Shell, Mitsubishi and Amindus amongst others. They use chemicals such as sulphate of soda, chlorine, caustic soda, chlorate and gasoline, which contaminate the beaches around Concepcion and its bay area, the Bio-Bio River, and the Gulf of Arauco. They have destroyed native forests, caused the extinction of some species of tree and medicinal plants, poisoned people and caused congenital illnesses with their use of pesticides. They have chosen to replant forested areas with unsuitable species such as eucalyptus, which lowers the water table and leaves communities without water.

It is becoming commonplace for traditional leaders to be arrested, such as the Lonkos and the Machi,who give spiritual leadership. The government refuses to use legal and political means to negotiate a settlement. They fail to respect traditional leaders as representatives of Mapuche people. The government arbitrarily and insultingly selects people to speak for the Mapuches. Chilean procedures have been discredited, and security services are no longer seen as impartial, since they have demonstrated a high degree of racism towards Mapuche people.

This degrading and inhuman treatment can no longer be tolerated. The Mapuche people have been impoverished by the seizure of their land, condoned by the government. The government responds to legitimate demands by intensifying the repression against them.

The government and state of Chile offer Mapuches no security over their land, development, culture and environment. Worse still it denies the right to live in peace with dignity in ancestral lands.

In view of all this, Mapuche International Link see the only way forward as being the re-constitution of Wallmapu and the creation of a provisional government. If the conflict imposed on Mapuche people continues to escalate, it will be necessary to appeal to the UN to demilitarise the Mapuche Nation's territory and form a protectorate controlled by the UN. The objective will be to prevent the conflict developing further, which could lead to unforseen and irreversible consequences.
Mapuche International Link, 6 Lodge Street,
Bristol BS1 5 LR, , England.
Tel/Fax: +44-117-9279391