Welcome to the First Peoples Worldwide Blog. First Peoples is the first and only Indigenous-led organization working to restore Indigenous Peoples’ control and authority over their assets by making grants directly to Indigenous communities, and by engaging directly with corporations and investors to promote Free, Prior, and Informed Consent. Our Mission is to build upon a foundation of Indigenous values to achieve a sustainable future for all. Visit our main site at www.FirstPeoples.org for more information about our grants and how to apply.

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Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 10.34.58 AMFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: Monday, September 26th, 2016

Website: www.firstpeoples.org

Material Risks of Flawed Consultation for the Dakota Access Pipeline

The Investors & Indigenous Peoples Working Group (IIPWG) and First Peoples Worldwide are hosting a follow-up Webinar on the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAP) with representatives of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (SRST) that are opposing the pipeline.
The Dakota Access Pipeline Investor Follow-Up Call is on Wednesday, September 28th, 2016 and is intended for investors interested in learning more about the material risks of companies with poor environmental and social performance.
SRST Chairman David Archambault II will give an update on the protest and on new legal developments that have occurred since the last call on September 9th. Prof. Carla Fredericks, Director of the American Indian Law Program at the University of Colorado Law School, will discuss the legal landscape for Native American consultation, and the implications of the US government’s recent call for “nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects.”
First Peoples Worldwide joins the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (SRST) for a historic gathering of Native American governments to demand accountability from Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline. The pipeline is slated to cross the tribe’s treaty territory and drinking water without Free, Prior, and Informed Consent.

About First Peoples Worldwide
First Peoples Worldwide is an Indigenous-led organization using market-based strategies to advocate for the rights of Indigenous Peoples.



Finding a Balance between Humanity and Nature at The Eco-earth Environment for Peace Initiative in Kenya

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By: Hannah Stack

Indigenous community development is frequently met with hindrances and obstacles – oftentimes imposed by some well-meaning conservationist organizations whose methods of environmental preservation come at a significant cost to indigenous aspirations. While arguably similar beliefs of environmental conservation have long been held by indigenous populations globally, some of these organizations diverge from indigenous ideals by choosing to place a sole focus on environmental conflict resolution, while ignoring important issues of community development.

In order to minimize these costs, the Ugandan-based organization The Eco-earth Environment for Peace Initiative, or TEEP Initiative, seeks to find a common balance between indigenous interests and environmental wellbeing. With support from the Keepers of the Earth grant awarded to the organization by First Peoples Worldwide, the TEEP Initiative continues its mission through its work with the Ethnomedicine Preservation Project.

Based in the Wakiso district of Uganda, TEEP Initiative is an indigenous-led organization seeking to find a peaceful balance between humanity and nature. Through its involvement and work with community partners supportive to its cause, the TEEP Initiative looks to increase the community’s awareness of important environmental issues. Additionally, by employing both traditional and modern approaches to conservation, it aims to work toward heightened ecological restoration.

Working together with First Peoples Worldwide and its Keeper of the Earth Fund grant, the organization continues its support of a specific program: the Ethnomedicine Preservation and Documentation Project, which serves the Baganda Tribe of the Gombe Subcounty. In hopes of ensuring the availability of traditional medicinal practices in generations to come, the project aims to maintain the time-honored indigenous knowledge of ethnopharmacology while placing an added emphasis on the preservation of medicinal plants crucial to the practice. Ultimately, it is intended to educate younger members of the community in the medicinal remedies still practiced by their elders, in this manner ensuring that the pharmaceutical knowledge of the Baganda People does not disappear as traditions are fused with modern ideas. Through this project, the TEEP Initiative looks to respond to the region’s lack of health care while also allowing for the continued cultural development of the community.


“The Eco-earth Environment for Peace Initiative – TEEP”



“The Eco-earth Environment for Peace Initiative – TEEP”



“The EthnoMedicine Preservation Project”




Combating Poverty with Craft: The Mission of Oxlajuj B’atz’

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By: Hannah Stack

In areas of extensive impoverishment, the quality of life is often adversely affected as a result of lacking financial means and a shortage of education. As neither increased finances nor widespread education can easily exist without the other, escaping poverty and establishing a higher standard of living are significantly easier said than done. For Oxlajuj B’atz’, a Guatemalan-based group supported by First Peoples Worldwide, this idea is familiar. The organization, which works with Mayan women to combat the mal effects of poverty, is well aware of the hardships of destitution, but, through the allowance of increased practical knowledge and financial options, hopes to alleviate the conditions felt by the Mayan women.

The name Oxlajuj B’atz’, meaning “Thirteen Threads” in English, is a reference to the profound sacredness of the number thirteen in traditional Mayan culture. While the program itself may not be sacred, it is empowering and enlightening to many of its participants. With an emphasis on self-sufficiency and personal development and a mission that highlights harmony, democracy, and sustainability, Oxlajuj B’atz’ has empowered many Mayan women to embrace self-development through the learning of new skills and the refinement of old ones. With these skills and the cooperation of other non-governmental organizations, the women are able to market their handiwork and connect with potential buyers.

The Oxlajuj B’atz’ model is unique in its focus on four principal skill areas:

  • health and well-being,
  • artisan and product development,
  • democracy and team-building, and
  • small business development.

With these skills in mind, the organization conducts workshops with emphases as diverse as family planning and natural dyeing techniques. By considering the individual needs of each village it serves and structuring the workshops to complement these needs, the program is able to best aid each village toward personal, family, and community development.

With its Keeper of the Earth Fund grant, Oxlajuj B’atz’ will look to focus on its health and well-being sector by conducting programs that highlight the traditional medicinal knowledge of the Mayan People. Community-based in nature, these programs will provide lessons on medicine preparation and will allow for the further implementation of herb gardens into the villages. In this manner, the program participants will foster their practical knowledge while increasing their region’s available health care.


“IWDN Member Beth Davis Interviews Guatemalan Women’s Rights Activist on Women’s Empowerment.” International Womens Democracy Network RSS. International Women’s Democracy Network, 23 Jan. 2013. Web. 10 June 2015. <http://www.iwdn.learningpartnership.org/2013/01/iwdn-member-beth-davis-interviews-guatemalan-womens-rights-activist-on-womens-empowerment/>.

“Oxlajuj B’atz’, A Maya Weavers Resource Project.” Maya Educational Foundation. Web. 10 June 2015. <http://mayaedufound.org/Oxlajuj-B’atz’.php>.

“Oxlajuj B’atz’ Maya Women’s Center: Empowering Women, Inspiring Change.” The International Ecotourism Society. 20 June 2012. Web. 10 June 2015. <http://www.ecotourism.org/news/13-threads-maya-womens-center-empowering-women-inspiring-change>.

“Oxlajuj B’atz’- Trece Hilos.” Oxlajuj B’atz’ Web. 10 June 2015. <http://www.oxlajujbatz.org.gt/>.


Stand in Solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

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First Peoples Worldwide joins Cultural Survival to stand in solidarity and action with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the growing number of environmental protectors gathered in North Dakota to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) currently underway.

Sacred Stone Camp. Joe Brusky/ Flickr.

Sacred Stone Camp. Joe Brusky/ Flickr.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and supporters around the world are awaiting a federal judge’s decision today on a temporary restraining order filed earlier this week to stop the destruction of the tribe’s sacred sites. Every day the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) continues to build its access road, getting closer to the Missouri River. Thousands of people from all walks of life are gathered at the DAPL work site, conducting prayer and non-violent direct action to stop further damage and environmental degradation.

Last Saturday, as the protectors faced off against massive bulldozers threatening tribal sacred burial sites, privately hired mercenary security guards attacked protectors with dogs and pepper spray as they resisted the pipeline’s construction. Six people, including a pregnant woman and a small child, were bitten by the security dogs. At least 30 people were reportedly pepper-sprayed.

Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault II in a statement said, “The pipeline threatens our sacred lands and the health of 17 million people who rely upon the Missouri River for water…There is a lot at stake with the court decision [today]… We call upon all water protectors to greet any decision with peace and order. Even if the outcome of the court’s ruling is not in our favor, we will continue to explore every lawful option and fight against the construction of the pipeline…Any act of violence hurts our cause and is not welcome here…We invite all supporters to join us in prayer that, ultimately, the right decision-the moral decision-is made to protect our people, our sacred places, our land and our resources.”


Things We Can Do
Donate to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe – Dakota Access Pipeline Donation Fund
Make a donation to the Official Standing Rock Sioux Tribe DAPL Donation Fund through PayPal. Donations will be used for legal, sanitary and emergency purposes!
3.  SHARE – everything you see and read on social media or in the press or expressions of your own feelings, share them with everyone and anyone you know.  This is a peaceful camp and our strongest defense is the awareness of the public.

Tell them that they have a responsibility and an oath to uphold the law and protect peaceful Water Protectors, against aggressive mercenaries with weaponry.  The SHERIFF’S PHONE NUMBER:  701-667-3330


The Dallas company, Energy Transfer, is building this pipeline. These are the people paying the private security forces to attack Water Protectors.

Engergy Transfer
Vicki Granado, Public Relations
Office: 214-599-8785
Lee Hanse
Executive Vice President
Energy Transfer Partners, L.P.
800 E Sonterra Blvd #400
San Antonio, Texas 78258
Telephone: (210) 403-6455
Glenn Emery
Vice President
Energy Transfer Partners, L.P.
800 E Sonterra Blvd #400
San Antonio, Texas 78258
Telephone: (210) 403-6762
Michael (Cliff) Waters

Lead Analyst
Energy Transfer Partners, L.P.
1300 Main St.
Houston, Texas 77002
Telephone: (713) 989-2404

If you are from other regions you can also call local numbers about the potential dangers.
Pipeline Emergency Numbers
ETC Liquids 1-888-844-8134
Fayetteville Express Pipeline 1-888-844-8030
Florida Gas 1-800-238-5066
Houston Pipeline 1-800-392-1965
Lone Star NGL 1-877-839-7473
Panhandle Eastern, Sea Robin, Trunkline 1-800-225-3913
Regency Emergency Reporting – Primary 1-877-404-2730
Regency Emergency Reporting – Secondary 1-210-404-2730
San Antonio Gas Control, SEPTS, ET Fuel, Oasis 1-800-375-5702
Tiger 1-888-844-3735
Transwestern 1-866-999-8975
West Virginia 1-800-375-5702
Put Pressure on President Obama to get involved!
THE WHITE HOUSE: (202) 456-1111
Call or Email Denis McDonough, Chief of Staff to the President and Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of Army Corp of Engineers. Tell them to rescind the permits granted to Dakota Access:
Denis McDonough, Chief of Staff to the President
(202) 456-3182
Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of Army Corp of Engineers
You can sign the petition to the White House to Stop DAPL
Source: Cultural Survival 


Servicios para el Desarrollo Humano Sustentable

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By: Katie Redmiles| First Peoples Worldwide Communications Correspondent

In the face of severe water and soil contamination, Servicios para el Desarrollo Humano Sustentable (SDHS) created a project called Farmer-to-Farmer aimed at saving Tseltal farmer’s lands and community from the agricultural turmoil destroying the earth around them. The project combines agro ecological practices being taught and carried out through many Indigenous territories, as well as, integrating spiritual traditions and teachings into the process.

In areas across Mexico, especially in the region of Chiapas, the dominant agricultural practices use chemicals and industrial fertilizers to produce the mass demand for food for outside places. These chemicals and practices have caused sinister repercussions by destroying the soil and earth on which they farm, contaminating the water that is used by those who live in the area, creating a dependency on imported processed food leading to malnutrition, and allegedly cancers in children as a result of the poisoned drinking water. This haunting reality caused the SDHS to take action in an attempt to save the earth and people they love. The project was designed and implemented to bring the Indigenous communities together through organic traditional practices of nurturing and sustainably farming the land’s resources.

With a First Peoples Worldwide grant, the project was able to take a group of 20 Tseltal producers from a Pinabetal ranch and train them on technical knowledge and skills to safely use bio pesticides that are conducive to healthy soil and plant nutrition. During 10 workshops the project taught them how to manage and handle organic fertilizer and foliar. The workshops disseminated information about the harmful effects and technical process of the agrochemical practices and the benefits of reverting to traditional practices in order to remediate the disastrous effects of agrochemicals.

One of the more spiritual aspects of the project is the incorporation of the Maya Altar, with all of the participating producers from Mayan origin. Before each job is performed during the project they are to offer each other one’s hand and say a prayer asking permission from Mother Earth, the sun, the moon, and the water. The altar is made by placing all the products from the locality together and asking for permission to continue the work. By revitalizing the Maya Altar, the project strengthens the community’s ancestral knowledge and sense of belonging to one another and to Mother Earth. The methodology used to handle the natural resources, called Farmer-to-Farmer, also maintains ancestral respect and uses Indigenous knowledge to rescue the earth.

Servicios para el Desarrollo Humano Sustentable’s Farmer-to-Farmer project is a powerful testament to the positive change on the earth and in the community that occurs when reinstating Indigenous agricultural practices.


Servicios pare el Desarrollo Humano Sustentable’s Keepers of the Earth Fund grant application (translated).

SDHS due diligence questions/response documents (translated).



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Photo by Vance Blackfox.

Photo by Vance Blackfox

BISMARCK, ND—First Peoples Worldwide joins the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (SRST) for a historic gathering of Native American governments to demand accountability from Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline. The pipeline is slated to cross the tribe’s treaty territory and drinking water without Free, Prior, and Informed Consent.

Thousands of people from across the United States have joined the SRST to protest Energy Transfer Partners’ building of the proposed 1,200-mile Dakota Access Pipeline. The SRST has filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to stop construction. They say they were not properly consulted before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers fast-tracked construction approval. A decision in that case is expected by Sep 9. Energy Transfer Partners also has pending lawsuits related to water contamination in four states.

A Shareholder Advocacy Leadership Training (SALT) workshop will be held today, Thursday, Sep 8th, 9am–4pm at the Bismarck Civic Center, 315 S 5th St, Bismarck, ND, 58504. The training will empower the SRST and other tribes to connect with investors in companies on their land, and demand that the market capture all environmental and social costs of the pipeline. The training is held in partnership with the Tribal Leaders Summit hosted by United Tribes Technical College. It is also open to non-Native landowners along the Dakota Access Pipeline’s proposed route.

This training is particularly necessary as protesters were attacked with dogs, and ancient burial sites and places of prayer were destroyed by Energy Transfer Partners last weekend. On Sep 1, the SRST filed court documents identifying the area as home to significant cultural artifacts and sacred sites. According to Tribal Chairman David Archambault II, “this demolition is devastating. These grounds are the resting places of our ancestors. The ancient cairns and stone prayer rings there cannot be replaced. In one day, our sacred land has been turned into hollow ground.”

First Peoples Worldwide is an Indigenous-led organization using market-based strategies to advocate for the rights of Indigenous Peoples.



Contact: Nick Pelosi, First Peoples Worldwide




First Nations Push for Consultation

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The Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation is suing the Yukon government for failing to consult them about mineral exploration on their traditional territory. The lawsuit seeks to build on a 2012 legal victory, in which the court recognized the Ross River Dena Council’s right to be consulted about mineral exploration on their traditional territory, even for “low impact” activities such as tree clearing and trail building.

The key difference is that the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation has a final agreement (also known as a modern day treaty) regarding their land claims, whereas the Ross River Dena Council does not. While the 2012 case determined that First Nations without agreements must be consulted about mineral exploration on their traditional territory, this one seeks to expand the requirement to the traditional territory of First Nations with agreements, even if such territory is not part of their recognized land claims.

Sources: Yukon News


Supporting Sustainable Jobs

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In July 2016, MMG awarded a three year contract to Waanyi ReGen, a joint venture between the Waanyi Prescribed Body Corporate (the business arm of the Waanyi Native Title Holders) and ReGen (a reclamation firm), for care and maintenance at the Century Mine. The mine, which has had approximately 1,000 Indigenous employees throughout its life cycle, will wind down production this year, and the contract will ensure continued jobs in areas such as land and water management, and erosion prevention. According to the MMG CEO, “our objective has always been to create a lasting positive legacy and this commitment endures during this next phase in Century’s life. The award of the contract to the Waanyi ReGen further reinforces our support for the Waanyi People.”

Indigenous Peoples can make especially good partners during the care and management phase of mines. Because of their ties to land, they are likely to remain in the project area for a long time and have a vested interest in ensuring the reclamation process is done properly.

Sources: MMG


Self-Sufficiency through Banking: the Latest Initiative of the Indigenous Lafkenche Community of Llaguepulli

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By: Hannah Stack  | First Peoples Worldwide Communications Correspondent

For the Indigenous Lafkenche Community of Llaguepulli (Mapuche-Lafkenche) residing in the

Budi Lake region of Southern Chile, poverty and environmentally degrading endeavors have

endangered an already marginalized society. With a high rate of outward migration among

women and youth standing as an additional factor, the preservation of the Mapuche-Lafkenche

culture has been greatly threatened over the years.

In order to overcome these lifestyle-hindering factors and safeguard the Mapuche-Lafkenche

culture, community members of recent generations have undertaken initiatives aimed at

promoting Indigenous self-sufficiency within the Budi Lake region. Through the establishment

of a Mapuche-run school, the continued development of an Indigenous ecotourism sector, and

the incorporation of other community-oriented programs, the Mapuche-Lafkenche People have

already come a long way in their endeavors towards self-sustainment. However, while the

continued success of their ecotourism network has enabled significant economic growth in the

region, community leaders of recent years have acknowledged the growing need for the

development of a new financial structure, one that enables greater economic independence by

accommodating and promoting the Mapuche culture.

Following months of research and planning, Indigenous leaders, through collaboration with

MAPLE Microdevelopment, were able to establish a First Lafkenche-Mapuche Financial

Institution, an alternative banking establishment centered on traditional Mapuche values. While

the institution is primarily financial in nature, the emphasis it places on community participation

enables it to also be culturally and socially significant. Furthermore, through the utilization of

modern technology and tools – under the community’s own terms, not those of the outside world

– the bank is able to remain worldly while promoting a contemporary sense of cultural resilience.

With several other specially tailored features, such as an allowance for non-monetary deposits

like livestock and seeds, the institution has aided community in efforts toward financial


With the help of a Keepers of the Earth Fund from First Peoples Worldwide, the First

Lafkenche-Mapuche Financial Institution has been able to appoint two new female managers to

the project’s team. As Mapuche women play a strong role in both the community as a whole and

the region’s economic division – a highly female-oriented textile sector has facilitated increased

economic development – the hiring of these new managers enables a greater reflection of

community values within the organization.


MAPLE Microdevelopment: Chile

&lt; http://www.maplemicrodevelopment.org/maple-chile/&gt;


Reforestation Law Raises Concerns

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In July 2016, India passed a reforestation law that simultaneously violates Indigenous Peoples rights and ignores the critical role of Indigenous Peoples in conservation. The law gives state governments authority to earmark land for development and assign compensation for it, language that is expected to pave the way for more forced relocation of Indigenous Peoples in the country. India is one of the focal points of Survival International’s campaign to stop conservation evictions.

Additionally, the law gives state governments nearly $900 million per year for reforestation efforts, even though studies have repeatedly shown that Indigenous Peoples can protect forests more effectively and efficiently than centralized bureaucracies. A 2008 study by the Rights and Resources Initiative found that Indigenous-led conservation costs $3.50 per hectare, whereas Western conservation costs $3,500 per hectare.

Sources: Voice of America