LANGELLE PHOTOGRAPHY

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On 30 April 2020 I received a message from Red de Acción por los Derechos Ambientales RADA‘s Alejandra Parra that people were evicted from the Mapuche land re-occupation in Liempi Colipi near Curacautin, Chile. The re-occupation started in early November of 2019. Later that month, Alejandra, Anne Petermann and myself from Global Justice Ecology Project, and Biofuelwatch‘s Gary Hughes went to Liempi Colipi. We were traveling as a documentary team in Chile covering the peoples’ uprising.

Mapuches going through the main entrance of their re-occupation in the Fundo Santa Filomena on US Thanksgiving Day, where the shootings by the carabineros occurred earlier. (2019). Photo: Langelle/GJEP

When I heard that people had been evicted from this community, it struck home. The people in the community had been so generous with us.  They made fry bread, and allowed us to take photos and video of one of their ceremonies–a rare privelege. They showed us around the beautiful land they live in, surrounded by volcanoes, and the next day we joined them on the blockade on US Thanksgiving Day.

That morning, 28 November, the Mapuche communities of Liempi Colipi defended their land occupation when Carabineros de Chile (national police) fired rubber coated metal pellets, injuring several people at the blockade. We shot a one minute video of a Mapuche who came back to the re-occupation the same day as he was shot.  You can watch it here: “Thanksgiving Day” Mapuche Indigenous Land Occupation, Chile.

The following feature uses photography and video from the two days we were in the community, and includes an interview with Roberto Cheuquepan, the “Werken” (spokesperson) of the Liempi Colipi community on the recent eviction there along with news from Chile’s INTERFERENCIA.

Carabineros Special Forces move in to Liempi Colipi

– by Orin Langelle, Startegic Communications Director, Global Justice Ecology Project

in a statement sent to us, Werken Roberto Cheuquepan said, “Yesterday [29 April 2020] we, the Liempi Colipi community, were evicted by Carabineros (national police) Special Forces of the municipality of Pailahueque, following an eviction order on behalf of Ms. María Luisa Lyon, current “legal” landowner of the Fundo Santa Filomena that the community is in the process of regaining.”

The current tenant, José Miguel Chaín, has a lease contract for the Fundo and was implicated in the eviction.

View from the Mapuche re-occupation camp Quilape Lopez next to Liempi Colipi. “Our land is far as you can see…” (2019) Photo: Langelle/GJEP

The Werken continued, “Yesterday, when we arrived at the place of the eviction, where a family from Punto Fijo also lives, in a building used in the past by the caretakers of the Fundo, a Special Forces unit was evicting that family.” He added, “In the context of this pandemic that is affecting the whole world, we did not wish to confront the special forces, as that would mean exposing elder people and those with chronic health issues in our now already reduced Community. So there were no clashes or injuries.”

There is “a growing repression toward communities,” said the Werken. “This eviction continues as the Lyon family wants to destroy the houses that currently stand in the Fundo, but demolition could not be done yesterday as the special forces had to retreat and the heavy machinery could not enter the Fundo. But the community is currently threatened with the destruction of the house in which one of our families now lives.”

When asked what could be done in the U.S. regarding the current situation in Mapuche territory, Werken Cheuquepan said, “the most important thing now is to disseminate what is happening in the Mapuche communities in the context of this pandemic, in which the Chilean State is spending money and resources, sending Special Forces and exposing our communities to disease, without knowing if such forces have undergone any medical tests. It would be very important that what is happening in Chile, particularly in the La Araucanía region, where Mapuche communities, more than ever, are struggling to recover their lands and their Mapuche way of life, and to do so we also need to start recovering our territory, the lands that have been usurped by the landowning oligarchy, by colonists, by forestry corporations.”

From the site of Chile’s INTERFERENCIA regarding Mary Luisa Lyon’s riches in the forestry sector:

Maria Luisa Lyon has a pine plantation on the farm, shares in CMPC and is married to Manuel Montt Balmaceda, a descendant of the emblematic Montt family, founding rector and member of the Superior Board of Directors of the Fundación Universidad Diego Portales. The marriage has five daughters and eleven grandchildren.

Lyon is listed as a shareholder with less than 1% of the ownership of Empresas CMPC SA This is equivalent to 85 million dollars, since FORBES magazine (Global 2000) in its 2019 publication, reported that the market value of the company corresponds to $ 8.5 billion.

According to a BBC World article, these plantations are fast growing, just like eucalyptus, and although they pose a threat to native species, they exist for an economic reason…satisfying demand for products derived from forests, such as wood and cellulose, although they cause dryness in the soil and groundwater layers.

Mapuche Lonko Juan Huenuhueque of Liempi Colipi raises raises his fist as the imminent threat of the Carabineros Special Forces to try and evict the Mapuche communities from the ancestral land they are re-occupying (2019). Photo: Langelle/GJEP

INTERFERENCIA reported that members of the Mapuche community witnessed a conversation between the Lonko (community leader) of Liempi Colipi, Juan Huenuhueque, and the owner of the estate Maria Luisa Lyon. The Lonko asked Lyon not to send in the Carabineros Special Forces into Mapuche territory anymore.

INTERFERENCIA said that according to witnesses Lyon replied that the Mapuche of Liempi Colipi have “a hatred against working people” and that she considers “what they have done to be evil”. In addition, according to these witnesses, Lyon told the community leader that “we are in a world of civilized people,” and that they must stop doing “wild” things. And Lyon said they would be forgiven…”if they know how to use computers– to update and be people.”

Special thanks to Alejandra Parra, Joám Evans Pim, Anne Petermann, Gary Hughes and Cassandra for their assistance in this post.

Please see the four minute video: Mapuche People Speak Out About Their Occupation of Ancestral Territories in Chile

and

the photo essay: “THANKSGIVING DAY” IN MAPUCHE TERRITORY, CHILE – ANOTHER RACIST ATTACK BY THE STATE

plus

a video made for participants at COP 25 – UN Convention on Climate Change Conference in Madrid, Spain VIDEO: STATEMENT TO COP25 FROM MAPUCHE & OTHERS IN CHILE – NO MARKET-BASED “SOLUTIONS”

 

Photojournalist Orin Langelle takes a break by graffiti celebrating Victor Jara in Santiago, Chile. Langelle has been photographing the frontlines of the peoples rebellion in Chile. The musician Jara, a Chilean hero, was murdered by the regime of dictator Augusto Pinochet. photo: Petermann/GJEP

MORE GLOBAL JUSTICE ECOLOGY PROJECT & BIOFUELWATCH TEAM IN CHILE:

CHILE CLIMATE NEWS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Note: I had the pleasure of attending the The Indigenous Environmental Network Campaign to STOP GE Trees Action Camp in the Qualla Boundary, North Carolina. The following article is being picked up by various media.  Orin Langelle 13 October 2014 – Indigenous Peoples Day

GE Trees: Another Form of Colonization

13 October 2014 – From the Indigenous Environmental Network and the Campaign to STOP GE Trees

Source: The Campaign to STOP GE Trees

Qualla Boundary, North Carolina–In the shadow of Columbus Day and the legacy of colonization in the Americas, the Indigenous Environmental Network [1] and Eastern Band of Cherokee community members organized a gathering of Indigenous Peoples from across the Southeastern US for an historic Indigenous Peoples’ action camp against genetically engineered trees (GE trees). Participants condemned GE trees as a form of colonization of the forest.

Danny Billie of the Independent Traditional Seminole Nation, based in Florida points out how real forests "mean life to The People, but Ge trees mean death." Photo: PhotoLangelle.org

Danny Billie of the Independent Traditional Seminole Nation, based in Florida points out how real forests “mean life to The People, but Ge trees mean death.” Photo: PhotoLangelle.org

The Indigenous Environmental Network Campaign to STOP GE Trees Action Camp focused on building an information-sharing and mobilization network of tribal representatives and community members to address the unique threats posed by GE trees to Indigenous Peoples, their culture, traditions and lifeways. Steering Committee members of the Campaign to STOP GE Trees [2] were invited to present concerns about the social and ecological dangers of GE trees.

“All trees and the variety of life that depend on forest biodiversity have historically and will in the future continue to be a necessary part of Indigenous culture and survival, which GE trees directly threaten,” stated BJ McManama, an organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network.

The action camp, which took place in the mountains of North Carolina, detailed threats of genetically engineering forms of native trees traditionally used by eastern Indigenous Peoples, specifically the American chestnut.

Cherokee participants expressed fears that American chestnuts, genetically engineered with DNA from unrelated species, would negatively impact their traditional lifeways, saying that GE trees are dead trees with no soul.

Lisa Montelongo, a Cherokee community member, mother of four and grandmother of two speaks of her concerns that Ge trees would impact future generations. Photo: PhotoLangelle.org

Lisa Montelongo, a Cherokee community member, mother of four and grandmother of two speaks of her concerns that Ge trees would impact future generations. Photo: PhotoLangelle.org

“I’m very concerned that GE trees would impact our future generations and their traditional uses of trees. Our basket makers, people that use wood for the natural colors of our clay work–there would be no natural life, no cycle of life in GE tree plantations,” said Lisa Montelongo of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee.

Genetically engineered eucalyptus trees also threaten Indigenous lands in the US South. GE eucalyptus plantations, proposed by GE tree company ArborGen, are planned from South Carolina to Florida to Texas. The future development of millions of acres of non-native and invasive GE eucalyptus trees would threaten Indigenous lands throughout the region with devastating impacts including depletion of water, contamination with toxic herbicides and pesticides and loss of biodiversity.

“This needs to be stopped immediately. This is not how the forest was meant to be used.  The forest gives life to The People, but these GE trees mean death. They are not for The People, they are only to make money for a few rich people,” said Danny Billie of the Independent Traditional Seminole Nation, based in Florida.

100% of participants at the camp oppose the release of GE trees.

Notes:
1] Indigenous Environmental Network is a member of the Steering Committee of the international Campaign to STOP GE Trees.
2] Presenters included representatives of Biofuelwatch, Global Justice Ecology Project, World Rainforest Movement. The Center for Food Safety also presented.

Additional photos not in above article – all by PhotoLangelle.org:

T-shirt of the Cherokee woman responsible for feeding those in attendance at the Indigenous Environmental Network Campaign to STOP GE Trees Action Camp.

T-shirt of the Cherokee woman responsible for feeding those in attendance
at the Indigenous Environmental Network Campaign to STOP GE Trees Action
Camp.

Ruddy Turnstone from the international steering committee of the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees and GE trees campaigner for Global Justice Ecology Project.

Ruddy Turnstone from the international steering committee of the Campaign
to STOP Genetically Engineered Trees and GE trees campaigner for Global
Justice Ecology Project.

Frank Billie of the Seminole Tribe from Florida

Frank Billie of the Seminole Tribe from Florida

Youth (bottom right) sit at one of the breakout tables to discuss ge trees. Young people were in attendance at the action camp to learn about issues that would impact their lives.

Youth (bottom right) sit at one of the breakout tables to discuss ge
trees. Young people were in attendance at the action camp to learn about
issues that would impact their lives.

BJ McManama, an organizer from the Indigenous Environmental Network, explains the goals of the Indigenous Environmental Network Campaign to STOP GE Trees Action Camp to those attending.

BJ McManama, an organizer from the Indigenous Environmental Network,
explains the goals of the Indigenous Environmental Network Campaign to STOP
GE Trees Action Camp to those attending.

 

 

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