The audio above is a short interview excerpt from the film maker and eco-warrior, Sarain Fox as she speaks about indigenous peoples experiences and land and water. This interview took place in 2017 on Radio NZ.
There are approximately 370 million Indigenous people in the world, belonging to 5,000 different groups, in 90 countries worldwide.
There is no rigid definition of what makes a group Indigenous, but the UN identifies a few defining characteristics :
- They maintain, often by necessity, a close tie to their land in both cultural and economic practices.
- They suffer from economic and political marginalization
- They are descended from the pre-invasion and pre-colonial inhabitants of their region.
Sarain Fox, who is of Anishinaabe lineage, has visited several indigenous communities worldwide, including Standing Rock and she found one thing to be consistent.
“Each country or province or state writes in the formula to deal with indigenous people to best serve their need to exploit them.
When it comes to resource extraction the perspective of indigenous people is always overlooked, she says.“We traveled all over North America as well as Brazil and in each community we visited there wasn’t one single one where water didn’t come up as something that people were actively fighting for.
“And for me, the idea that water could be taken from people, could be removed as a way of controlling them was incredibly alarming, incredibly confronting.”
Indigenous people are inherently connected to their land – it holds the bones of their ancestors – and it also holds their stories, Fox says.
“No matter who you are, as a human being your right to life, your right to water and what you believe in should be a human right.
“I think it is very dangerous to see one area of a society as controllable based on how you deal with the resources that they sit on.
“And I think for indigenous people, particularly in North America, we are seeing this consistent, active, continued … attempted genocide [in] the way that big business is dealing with indigenous people within their community.
This excerpt was broadcast as part of a longer programme at 10.06 am on 14th February 2017 on Nine to Noon with Kathryn Ryan.