They had promised and they did it.

At the end of a very touching event dedicated to Leonard Peltier that took place on June 24th at the garrison of San Didero, in the Susa Valley (Piedmont Region) from 30 years under siege for a devastating project of High Speed Train, someone from the crowd came out with the idea of naming that place after Leonard Peltier, recognizing the value of his struggle, and the immense significance of the American Indian Movement, whenever they tried to defend their territories, their culture, their mountains , their waters, their rights – and they did it, promise kept!

On September 12, Peltier will turn 78, of which 47 have been already spent in maximum security prisons all over US. It is time for him to be released. Only the long struggle in Susa Valley could fully understand what it means to resist for years and years, in the face of a powerful repression which, with due proportions, acts with the same logics.

In coincidence with the World Day of Indigenous Peoples, August 9th, a significant message arrives from the northwest of Italy, that unites all struggles, near and far – a message that makes us all feel guests and guardians of this earth, of this Pachamama, that really can’t bear our abuses any longer.

I quote from the the Fridays for future website

August 9th was World Indigenous Peoples Day and we honor them, not just that day, but at all times, as the first and last line of defense of our environment. “With every tree that is cut down, a part of us is cut down and dies as well, because it is the sign that the land is dying, and without land there is no air – no air left for all of us who are inhabitants of this world. People can’t no longer breathe.”

Despite making up only 5% of the world’s population, indigenous peoples protect 82% of the world’s biodiversity. “One can be human only if he can also be a plant, and a seed, and a fruit. Anti-human projects are emerging all over the world with growing brutality, because they harbor the desire to extinguish all kind of diversity – the diversity of life, the diversity of culture, the diversity of seeds, the diversity of the territory”.

The latest Global Witness report shows that 212 environmental guardians were killed in 2019, the highest number of guardians killed in one single year. And more than two-thirds of these killings occurred in Latin America, which remains the region most affected by anti-indigenous violence since Global Witness began publishing the data in 2012.

‘We invite all people to fight everywhere together with indigenous peoples as if they were fighting for their own children. Because when we fight together with indigenous peoples, it is not just out of solidarity. It is as if you are fighting for your family, for your children, for your grandchildren, because indigenous peoples also protect your biodiversity.”

Around the world, we must stand by indigenous peoples and amplify their voice at all times!

The quotes are from Célia Xakriabá, indigenous leader.


LifeGate: Global Witness Report

Read the excellent interview with Céelia Xakriaba on The Guardian

Translation from Italian by Daniela Bezzi