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May 21, 2009 Weblog:

UN Forum on Indigenous Issues, tar sands & favourite tool

12. ever wondered....JPG

Greetings from the 8th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (New York City, May 18-29)...

I write from the inner (ie you need an event or staff pass to get here) cafe & main networking area. And I'm smoking. Inside. Because it's international territory. Actually, there are prominent no smoking signs all over the place. A large sign reads "The United Nations General Assembly has decided to implement a complete ban on smoking at United Nations Headquarters indoor premises." And yet, dozens of people - including UN staff - are smoking away, all day. Could there be an incredibly amusing parallel between the lack of implementation of the indoor smoking ban and the role of the UN in the world?

Along with a growing multitude of people, many of the 2000+ indigenous delegates are increasingly critical of the corporatization of the United Nations and its affiliate bodies. Although we all enjoyed the free wine and music.

It has been amazing to run into people from last year's Longest Walk 2, the Protecting Mother Earth conference, and to meet new people(s) attending the forum. The conversations range from Canadian Assembly of First Nations representatives traveling to Latin America to promote mining in indigenous communities to the ongoing State of Emergency in Porgera, Papua New Guinea, to the Mapuche flag, to journalism in Africa, and everything in between... There are dozens of parallel and alternative events occurring both on and offsite.

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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