Indigenous Rights

Armed Conflict, Gender and the Rights of Nature

Keina Yoshida

March 30, 2023

Snowden Auditorium, W01-0088 Wheatley Hall & Zoom webinar

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The Dead, the Living, and the Sacred: Patsy Mink, Antimilitarism, and Reimagining the Pacific World


Wu, Judy Tzu-Chun. 2019. “The Dead, the Living, and the Sacred: Patsy Mink, Antimilitarism, and Reimagining the Pacific World.” Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism 18 (2): 304–31.

Author: Judy Tzu-Chun Wu


This article focuses on the antinuclear and antimilitarism politics of Patsy Takemoto Mink (1927–2002), the first Japanese American female lawyer in Hawai'i, the first woman of color to become a U.S. congressional representative, and the namesake for Title IX. During the late 1960s and 1970s, Mink challenged the use of the Pacific lands, waters, and peoples as sites of military experimentation, subject to nuclear and chemical testing as well as war games. Mink's political worldview, shaped by her experiences and understanding of the interconnectedness between human and nonhuman life as well as water and land, reflected a Pacific World sensibility. She worked with, but also articulated political priorities that differed from, indigenous peoples of the Pacific. Focusing on these connected yet divergent Pacific imaginaries provides an opportunity to explore the significance of these antimilitarism campaigns for the study of transnational feminisms as well as Asian American and Pacific Islander studies. First, the protests of Mink and Native Hawaiian activists against U.S. militarism in the Pacific represented gendered critiques of U.S. empire, although in different ways. Second, Mink's advocacy via political liberalism provided opportunities for coalition formation yet also constrained the range of her gendered arguments and limited possible solutions beyond the U.S. polity. Third, the coalitional possibilities and incommensurabilities reveal the points of convergence and divergence between Asian American demands for full inclusion and Pacific Islander calls for decolonization and sovereignty. (Abstract from original source)

Keywords: Patsy Takemoto Mink, Cold War militarism, Pacific World, liberalism, settler colonialism

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Environment, Gender, Gender Analysis, Women, Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Political Participation, Rights, Human Rights, Indigenous Rights, Weapons /Arms, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Regions: Oceania Countries: United States of America

Year: 2019

Disposable Waste, Lands and Bodies under Canada’s Gendered Nuclear Colonialism


Runyan, Anne Sisson. 2018. “Disposable Waste, Lands and Bodies under Canada’s Gendered Nuclear Colonialism.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 20 (1): 24–38.

Author: Anne Sisson Runyan


Nuclear colonialism, or the exploitation of Indigenous lands and peoples to sustain the nuclear fuel cycle from uranium mining and refining to nuclear energy and weapons production and the dumping of the resulting nuclear waste, occurs in many parts of the world and has generated considerable protest. This article focuses on a contemporary and ongoing case of nuclear colonialism in Canada: attempts to site two national deep geological repositories (DGRs) for nuclear waste on traditional First Nations land in Southwestern Ontario near the world’s largest operational nuclear power plant. Through histories of the rise of nuclear power and nuclear waste policy-making and their relationship to settler colonialism in Canada, as well as actions taken by the Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) and white settler antinuclear waste movements, the article explores how gender is at work in nuclear colonialism and anti-nuclear waste struggles. Gender is explored here in terms of the patriarchal nuclear imperative, the appropriation of Aboriginal land through undermining Aboriginal women’s status and the problematic relationship between First Nations and white settler women-led movements in resistance to nuclear waste burial from a feminist decolonial perspective.

Keywords: nuclear waste, gendered nuclear colonialism, white settler colonialism, patriarchal nuclear imperative, Canada

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Environment, Feminisms, Gender, Gender Analysis, Indigenous, Rights, Indigenous Rights, Weapons /Arms, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Canada

Year: 2018

Gendered Violence and Neocolonialism: Indigenous Women Confronting Counterinsurgency Violence


Castillo, R. Aída Hernández, and Mariana Mora. 2008. “Gendered Violence and Neocolonialism: Indigenous Women Confronting Counterinsurgency Violence.” Latin American Perspectives 35 (1): 151–54.

Authors: R. Castillo, Aída Hernández, Mariana Mora


The first months of the Calderón administration in Mexico have been characterized by the militarization of indigenous regions throughout the country and the continued criminalization of social movements?the perpetration of state violence and repression in the name of "social peace." The April 26 reforms of the Federal Penal Code designed to "punish terrorism," which impose severe sentences on those who threaten the peace and tranquility of the population "by any violent method," have been denounced as yet another strategy for criminalizing social movements. The Fox administration's "neoliberal multiculturalism," which appropriated and trivialized indigenous peoples' demands (see Hernández, Paz, and Sierra, 2005), has been replaced by neoconservative policies and actions that treat organized indigenous peoples as delinquents. The rhetoric of cultural recognition has similarly been exchanged for a developmental discourse against poverty. In this new content, indigenous women are suffering the consequences of militarization in a special way. A climate of insecurity and intimidation has emerged in regions known historically for the presence of indigenous and peasant organizations.

Topics: Conflict, Indigenous, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Rights, Indigenous Rights, Sexual Violence, Rape, Terrorism Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Mexico

Year: 2008

Standing up for Forest: A Case Study on Baiga Women’s Mobilization in Community Governed Forests in Central India


Tyagi, Niharika, and Smriti Das. 2020. “Standing up for Forest: A Case Study on Baiga Women’s Mobilization in Community Governed Forests in Central India.” Ecological Economics 178 (November).

Authors: Niharika Tyagi, Smriti Das


The forest history in India is fraught with struggles between the forest dwelling communities and the state. While the state usurped power over forests, excluding the communities and privileging commercial interests; the alienation of communities from their own land and homes resulted in mobilization across different sites. The movement for protection of forest commons assumed significance through the decade of 1970s that saw the famous Chipko movement in Uttarakhand and other forms of resistance across the country. The demand upon the forests that had intensified with subsistence, commercial and urbanization pressures, further enhanced with pressures of globalization. The consequent environmental degradation and dispossession of the communities of their resources resulted in varieties of environmentalism. In the arena of environmental conflict, Central India has been a hotbed of contest with forcible evictions, increasing base of extractive industries and steady militarization. The tribal communities in Central India faced serious threat from a monolithic state as it prioritized ‘national development’ goals over social equity and environmental justice. Rooted in this inequity was widespread discontent and social mobilization across the forested landscape. The local mobilization in Baiga Chak area of Central India clearly marked recognition of their socio-cultural embeddedness in their natural setting, particularly forest. What was unique in this movement was the uprising of Baiga women to assert their rights over the forest contrary to their traditionally defined role. It gradually led to collectivization of demand for recognition of Baiga communities’ historical relationship and claims over forest resource. Using the framework of Feminist Political Ecology, this paper examines Baiga women’s movement against Forest Department’s unlawful practices in Baiga Chak region of Central India. Using a case-based approach, the paper addresses the following questions: What factors led to the feminized grassroots environmental movement? How have women’s bargaining power and gender relations evolved at the local level consequently? What effect does women’s resistance have on community governed forest systems? In response to state usurpation that threatened the livelihood and household well-being, Baiga women collectively struggled to regain control over local forest resources. The analysis of this gendered environmental movement establishes an intersection between local structural, economic and ecological concerns and signals possibility of several gendered social movements in contested resource geographies.

Keywords: women's movements, feminist political ecology, gender roles and relations, forest commons

Topics: Environment, Extractive Industries, Feminisms, Feminist Political Ecology, Gender, Gender Roles, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Indigenous, Land Grabbing, Livelihoods, Rights, Indigenous Rights, Land Rights Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2020

Indigenous Women’s Struggles to Oppose State-Sponsored Deforestation in Chhattisgarh, India


Nandi, Sulakshana, and Samir Garg. 2017. “Indigenous Women’s Struggles to Oppose State-Sponsored Deforestation in Chhattisgarh, India.” Gender & Development 25 (3): 387–403. 

Authors: Sulakshana Nandi, Samir Garg


In Chhattisgarh state, nearly half the land area is covered with forests that are essential to the livelihoods and culture of the indigenous communities there. Tree felling has escalated in the past decades, with natural forests replaced by teak plantations. The article narrates the struggles of AAS, an organisation of indigenous women, for restoration of land and forest rights to the indigenous communities. It shows the importance of people’s organisations and their struggles for natural resource justice. Women have challenged the state, using a range of strategies.

En el estado de Chhattisgarh, casi la mitad del territorio se encuentra cubierta por bosques que resultan esenciales para proporcionar los medios de vida de las comunidades indígenas que ahí habitan y además se encuentran estrechamente ligados a su cultura. En las últimas décadas, ha repuntado la tala de árboles; ello ha dado lugar a la transformación de los bosques naturales en plantaciones de teca. El presente artículo narra las luchas de AAS, una organización de mujeres indígenas que busca restaurar el derecho a la tierra y los bosques de las comunidades indígenas. Además, da cuenta de la importancia que reviste la organización popular y sus luchas para obtener justicia en cuestiones vinculadas a los recursos naturales. Mediante varias estrategias, las mujeres han desafiado al Estado.

Dans l’État de Chhattisgarh, presque la moitié de la superficie terrestre est couverte de forêts qui sont essentielles pour les moyens de subsistance et la culture des communautés autochtones qui s’y trouvent. L’abattage d’arbres s’est intensifié au cours des quelques dernières décennies, et les forêts naturelles ont été remplacées par des plantations de teck. Cet article relate les luttes menées par AAS, une organisation de femmes autochtones, pour rétablir les droits fonciers et forestiers des communautés autochtones. Il montre l’importance des organisations de la population et des luttes qu’elles mènent pour obtenir la justice en matière de ressources naturelles. Les femmes ont remis l’État en cause en utilisant une variété de stratégies.

Keywords: deforestation, community health workers, social determinants of health, forest rights, indigenous rights

Topics: Environment, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Health, Indigenous, Livelihoods, Rights, Indigenous Rights Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2017

Impact Assessment and Responsible Business Guidance Tools in the Extractive Sector: Implications for Human Rights, Gender and Stakeholder Engagement


Simons, Penelope, Naiomi Metallic, Meinhard Doelle, Bayo Majekolagbe, and Sara Seck. 2020. “Impact Assessment and Responsible Business Guidance Tools in the Extractive Sector: Implications for Human Rights, Gender and Stakeholder Engagement.” Draft Final Report for the SSHRC Knowledge Synthesis Grant: Informing Best Practices in Environmental and Impact Assessments, Responsible Business Conduct and Impact Assessment Law, Marine and Environmental Institute, Schulrich School of Law, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada.

Authors: Penelope Simons, Naiomi Metallic, Meinhard Doelle, Bayo Majekolagbe, Sara Seck


This report aims to identify RBC tools referenced in the literature as relevant and/or promoted to Canadian extractive companies operating within and outside Canada. While not appraising or pronouncing on the quality of RBC tools, we consider the different actors that promote these diverse tools and whether there is a coherent framework for the efficient and effective application of current and future tools. We focus on RBC tools on human rights, stakeholder engagement, the rights of Indigenous peoples, and the rights of women and girls. Further, we review the position of scholars on the relationship between RBC and IA.

Topics: Extractive Industries, Gender, Girls, Women, Indigenous, Rights, Human Rights, Indigenous Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Canada

Year: 2020

Neo-Extractivism, the Bolivian State, and Indigenous Peasant Women’s Struggles for Water in the Altiplano


Rodriguez Fernandez, Gisela V. 2020. “Neo-Extractivism, the Bolivian State, and Indigenous Peasant Women’s Struggles for Water in the Altiplano.” Human Geography 13 (1): 27–39. 

Author: Gisela V. Rodriguez Fernandez


Al perseguir el progreso y el crecimiento económico, el estado boliviano liderado por el presidente Evo Morales reprodujo la división colonial del trabajo a través de un modelo de desarrollo conocido como neo-extractivismo. Las tensiones arraigadas entre las comunidades indígenas y el estado surgieron debido al fuerte vínculo económico de este último con el sector extractivista. Si bien la economía política del neo-extractivismose ha estudiado considerablemente, la forma en que tales tensiones afectan las relaciones sociopolíticas en las intersecciones de clase, raza y género no se ha explorado y ni teorizado mucho. Para abordar esta brecha de investigación, este estudio cualitativo planteó las siguientes preguntas de investigación: ¿Cómo crea el neo-extractivismo formas inequitativas de género de acumulación por desposesión? ¿Y qué formas de resistencia surgen para desafiar el impacto del neo-extractivismo entre las comunidades indígenas? Al analizar los procesos de reproducción social en Oruro, Bolivia, este estudio muestra que el neo-extractivismo conduce al despojo de tierras indígenas y formas de vida indígenas principalmente a través de la contaminación del agua. Debido a que las mujeres campesinas indígenas son productoras de subsistencia y reproductoras sociales cuyas actividades se centran en el agua, el despojo del agua tiene un efecto más grave y de género en ellas. Sin embargo, las mujeres indígenas y sus comunidades no están ociosas. Han surgido resistencias contra el neo-extractivismo. Paralelamente, las responsabilidades cotidianas de la reproducción social en el contexto de la agricultura de subsistencia, que están integradas en los epistemas andinos de reciprocidad, han permitido a las mujeres campesinas indígenas construir redes de solidaridad que mantienen vivo el tejido social dentro y entre las comunidades. Estas redes de solidaridad proporcionan importantes recursos sociopolíticos que son sitios de resistencias cotidianas que representan una amenaza continua y una alternativa a los mandatos capitalistas, coloniales y patriarcales.
In pursuing progress and economic growth, the Bolivian state led by President Evo Morales replicated the colonial division of labor through a development model known as neo-extractivism. Rooted tensions between indigenous communities and the state emerged due to the latter’s zealous economic bond with the extractivist sector. While the political economy of neo-extractivism has been considerably studied, how such tensions affect socio-political relations at the intersections of class, race, and gender remains underexplored and undertheorized. To address this research gap, this qualitative study posed the following research questions: How does neo-extractivism create gendered forms of accumulation by dispossession? And what forms of resistance emerge to challenge the impact of neo-extractivism among indigenous communities? By analyzing processes of social reproduction in Oruro, Bolivia, this study shows that neo-extractivism leads to the dispossession of indigenous lands and indigenous ways of life mainly through the contamination of water. Because indigenous peasant women are subsistence producers and social reproducers whose activities are water centric, the dispossession of water has a direr and gendered effect on them. Indigenous women and their communities, however, are not idle. Resistances against neo-extractivism have emerged. In parallel, the daily responsibilities of social reproduction within the context of subsistence agriculture, which are embedded in Andean epistemes of reciprocity, have allowed indigenous peasant women to build solidarity networks that keep the social fabric within and between communities alive. These solidarity networks provide important socio-political resources that are sites of everyday resistances that represent an ongoing threat and an alternative to capitalist, colonial, and patriarchal mandates.

Keywords: extractivism, Bolivia, indigenous, women, resistance, extractivismo, mujeres indígenas, resistencia

Topics: Development, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Indigenous, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation, Rights, Indigenous Rights, Land Rights Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Bolivia

Year: 2020

Conservation as Enclosure: An Ecofeminist Perspective on Sustainable Development and Biopiracy in Costa Rica


Isla, Ana. 2005. “Conservation as Enclosure: An Ecofeminist Perspective on Sustainable Development and Biopiracy in Costa Rica.” Capitalism Nature Socialism 16 (3): 49–61.

Author: Ana Isla


"This paper argues that the rhetoric of sustainable development reinforces the power and reach of global capitalism. Using the language of conservation, industry, large environmental NGOs, and local government elites are sacrificing the survival of forest peoples to capital accumulation. Enclosures of common lands for the purpose of bioprospecting liquidate the customary claims of forest ownership. As a result, conservation as enclosure suppresses the human rights of local communities and the rights of nature. In this process, campesinos and indigenous people are impoverished as their local environments move from abundance to scarcity in a commodified world, and they themselves become displaced, marginalized, even criminalized, and unwaged in a waged global world. Women lose their autonomy in gender and development programs that claim to promote equality by including them in the international market. They are pushed into capitalized biotech micro-enterprises, become indebted, overextend their work time, and substitute family food production for the cultivation of medicinal plants—all for less than a minimum wage. By these predatory programs, a vulnerable local nature and vulnerable local women are tied into the world economy, not for conservation or emancipation, but to be exploited for capital accumulation" (Isla 2005, 13-4).

Topics: Development, Environment, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Indigenous, Rights, Human Rights, Indigenous Rights Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: Costa Rica

Year: 2005


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