The web site for SASAL (Student Association for Sociolinguistics and Anthropological Linguistics) has been up an running for a while now. Its newest addition is a form, which you may fill in online in order to join SASAL.
The form is located at: http://www.ncsu.edu/linguistics/sasal/join.html
You are also invited to surf through the rest of the site and click on the "News" link to find out about an informal gathering scheduled for October 16, 1999 during the NWAVE conference in Toronto.
We also wish to remind you that SASAL has a Listserv mailing list. Instructions on how to subscribe are available on the web site.
****************************************** * * * SASAL - Student Association for * * Sociolinguistics and * * Anthropological Linguistics * * * * http://www.ncsu.edu/linguistics/sasal/ * * * ******************************************
I enclose latest news of a substantive threat to the future of the U'wa people, who speak a Chibchan language and live on the Colombian border with Venezuela. This is of legitimate interest to linguists and environmentalists, as well as any concerned with the human cost of economic invasion of traditional communities.
Besides the evident humanitarian threat from the incursion of the oil industry, with attendant political and military hazards, into a largely insecure and unpoliceable part of Colombia, there is a language endangerment aspect.
If the U'wa carry out their threat to commit suicide en masse, that will extinguish their line and their language, the last survival of the central Chibchan family. U'wa is the only surviving language that is closely related to the extinct Chibcha, or Muisca, the language of the dominan civilization round Bogota, conquered by the Spanish in 1536. Chibcha was at first used widely in the colonial administration of "New Granada" (as this part of thre Spanish Empire was called), but died out in the 18th century.
I should be happy to correspond with any list members who seek further background on the human or linguistic background to this urgent issue, since my own research area is in the historical, and present study of this language family and its speakers.
- -------------------------------------------------------------- Nicholas Ostler Presiden Foundation for Endangered Languages Registered Charity 1070616
Batheaston Villa, 172 Bailbrook Lane Bath BA1 7AA England +44-1225-85-2865 fax +44-1225-85-9258 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/Philosophy/CTLL/FEL/
############### U'WA DEFENSE WORKING GROUP ACTION ALERT! ###############
We are seeking an explanation for this progress that goes against life. We are demanding that this kind of progress stop, that oil exploitation in the heart of the Earth is halted, that the deliberate bleeding of the Earth stop...we ask that our brothers and sisters from other races and cultures unite in the struggle that we are undertaking...we believe that this struggle has to become a global crusade to defend life. - Statement of the UÕwa people, August, 1998
COLOMBIAN GOVERNMENT OKS OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM PROJECT TO DRILL ON U'WA LAND! OCTOBER 12TH CELEBRATE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE'S DAY WITH ACTION FOR THE U'WA
Contents : 1. Action Alert - Drilling on U'wa Land Imminen 2. Background information on the UÕwa struggle
#1. On September 21st Colombia's Environment Minister Juan Mayr announced he was granting a permit for Occidental Petroleum to begin exploratory drilling on the U'wa ancestral homelands. The U'wa have denounced the government's decision as cultural and environmental genocide. This permi removes the final legal obstacle to Occidental's plans to drill and pushes the U'wa one step closer to their last resort pledge of committing mass suicide.
For several years now the U'wa have been an inspiring symbol of ecological sanity and indigenous resistance to the oil industry's relentless invasion of the final remote corners of the planet. The U'wa have maintained their stand despite harassment, intimidation, a brutal assault on their spokesperson and the murder of three of their supporters. A worldwide solidarity movement forced Royal Dutch Shell to withdraw from the projec and has stalled the efforts of LA-based Occidental Petroleum to begin drilling. Until now. With approval from the Colombian government drilling on U'wa land is imminent. A global solidarity movement is needed to pressure the Colombian government and Occidental to cancel the project.
In Colombia where a 30 year civil war has claimed the lives of 25,000 people this decade alone, oil and violence spread hand in hand. Oil installations are popular targets for the guerillas and as such bring de facto military occupations along with the inevitable ecological devastation from ongoing bombing. For the U'wa oil is the blood of Mother Earth and therefore to drill is the ultimate desecration of their ancient traditions of living in peaceful balance with the Earth.
The U'wa remain strong in their determination to protect their culture and sacred homelands but they need your help.
HERE ARE WAYS THAT YOU CAN GET INVOLVED :
1)CONTACT OCCIDENTAL AND THE COLOMBIAN GOVERNMENT (See sample letters below)
Dr. Ray R. Irani, President and CEO Occidental Petroleum 10889 Wilshire Blv. LA, CA 90024 fax +1-310.443.6690 ph. +1-310.208.8800 email : +Los_Angeles-Communications@oxy.com
Presidente Andres Pastrana Casa Presidencial Bogota, Colombia fax +571.334.1940 (direct) or 202.387.0176 (c/o Embassy in Washington D.C.) phone (Embassy in D.C.) 202-332-7476 E-mail: email@example.com
Environment Minister Juan Mayr can be reached at : Juan_Mayr_M@hotmail.com <mailto:Juan_Mayr_M@hotmail.com> or firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>
2) ORGANIZE IN YOUR COMMUNITY FOR OCTOBER 12
We need to show Occidental AND the Colombian government that activists around the world will stand with the U'wa to prevent the destruction of their culture and homeland. The best way to do this is to have a strong presence at Colombian consulates and embassies around the world. If you live near a consulate please call them up and ask for a meeting with the consul.
Fact sheets and other campaign materials are available on the RAN website WWW.RAN.ORG <http://www.RAN.ORG>
Please call or email for hard copies, additional information and to coordinate your local actions with other supporters. Contact Patrick Reinsborough at firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> or call us a +1-415-398-4404 or 1-800-989-RAIN
#2. BACKGROUND ON THE U'WA PEOPLE AND THEIR CAMPAIGN
"We will in no way sell our Mother Earth, to do so would be to give up our work of collaborating with the spirits to protect the heart of the world, which sustains and gives life to the rest of the universe, it would be to go against our own origins, and those of all existence." - Statement of the U'wa People, August 1998
The UÕwa of the Colombian cloud forest are in a life-and-death struggle to protect their traditional culture and sacred homeland from an oil projec slated to begin on their land at anytime. The UÕwa are adamantly opposed to the drilling and warn that the project will lead to an increase in violence as seen in other oil regions of Colombia. Despite this, Los Angeles-based Occidental Petroleum and the Colombian government continue to move forward with plans to drill. The UÕwa have made a call for international support; now is the time for us to answer.
The UÕwa's opposition to the oil project is so strong that they have vowed to commit collective suicide if Occidental Petroleum and the Colombian government proceed with the project on their ancestral lands. The UÕwa, a traditional people some 5,000 members strong, explain they prefer a death by their own hand than the slow death to their environment and culture tha oil production will bring. A core tenet of UÕwa culture and spirituality is the belief that the land that has sustained them for centuries is sacred. They strongly believe that to permit oil exploration on these sacred lands would upset the balance of the world. In the words of the UÕwa, Oil is the blood of Mother Earth...to take the oil is, for us, worse than killing your own mother. If you kill the Earth, then no one will live.
The UÕwa peoples struggle exploded into the public arena last March with the tragic murders in Colombia of three indigenous rights activists: Terence Freitas, Ingrid Washinawatok and Laheanee Gay. Terence was one of the founders of the U'wa Defense Working Group and had devoted the last two years of his life to supporting the UÕwa in their campaign to stop Occidentals oil project, reclaim their ancestral homeland and protect their traditional culture. Ingrid and Laheanee were coordinating with the UÕwa to launch an educational project designed to maintain and promote the UÕwas traditional way-of-life.
These murders and the intimidation the U'wa have already persevered are bu a harbinger of the wider physical violence the oil project will bring to their people. Throughout Colombia, oil and violence are linked inextricably. Occidental's Can~o Limo'n pipeline, just north of UÕwa territory, has been attacked by leftist guerillas more than 600 times in its 13 years of existence, spilling some 1.7 million barrels of crude oil into the soil and rivers. The Colombian government has militarized oil production and pipeline zones, often persecuting local populations the government assumes are helping the guerrillas. Oil projects have already taken their toll on many other indigenous peoples of Colombia, including the Yarique, Kofan and Secoya.
The current drilling plans threaten the survival of both the UÕwa and their environment. The UÕwas cloud forest homeland in the Sierra Nevada de Cocuy mountains near the Venezuelan border is one of the most delicate, endangered forest ecosystems on the planet. It is an area rich in plant and animal life unique to the region, and the UÕwa depend on the balance and bounty of the forest for their survival. Where oil companies have operated in other regions of the Amazon basin, cultural decay, toxic pollution, land invasions and massive deforestation have followed.
Occidental first received an exploration license for the 2 billion barrels oil field- the equivalent of three months of U.S. consumption -in 1992. Since then, the UÕwa have voiced their consistent opposition to the oil project. They have taken a variety of actions to halt the project including the filing of lawsuits against the government in Colombia, petitioning the Organization of American States to intervene, appealing directly with Occidentals top executives, and reaching out to company shareholders.
Last April U'wa representatives came to Los Angeles to directly confron Occidental. Along with several hundred supporters the U'wa marched on Oxy's HQ and demanded a meeting with CEO Ray Irani. When they were refused entry activists occupied the street in front of the building and held an inspirational rally on Oxy's front steps. Two days later on April 30th while the U'wa spoke at Occidental's shareholder meeting there were demonstrations at Colombian consulates and embassies around the world.
The U.S has very strong ties with Colombia. Not only does Colombia sell most of its oil to the U.S. market but under the auspices of the "War on Drugs" U.S. military aid to the repressive regime in Colombia continues to grow. This year Colombia received $289 million in aid making them the third largest recipient of U.S. military aid in the world after Israel and Egypt. The U.S already has hundreds of military advisors in Colombia and the Clinton administration is proposing to give Colombia an additional $1.5 billion dollars.
In August the Colombian government expanded the U'wa legal reserve. However the expansion includes only a portion of the U'wa traditional territory and most significantly the new borders were drawn in such a way as to place the site of Occidental's first drill site just outside of the reserve boundaries. The Colombian government can thereby maintain that drilling will not happen on U'wa land.
With drilling imminent and in the face of mounting violence in the region the urgency of the UÕwas struggle has never been so great. The U'wa need all of us to support them in their struggle. Spread the word. Tell their story. Educate. Organize. Contact Occidental and the Colombian government. Demand they cancel the project now!
UÕwa Defense Working Group Members:
Amazon Watch, Action Resource Center, Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund, EarthWays Foundation, International Law Project for Human Environmental & Economic Defense, Project Underground, Rainforest Action Network, Sol Communications
- -------------------------------------------------------------- League of Indigenous Sovereign Nations of the Western Hemisphere mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org LISN Web Site: http://www.lisn.ne To subscribe to the LISN mailing list please send an email to mailto:email@example.com with the content: subscribe league - -------------------------------------------------------------- Disclaimer: This material is distributed in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107. All copyrights belong to original publisher. LISN has no verified the accuracy of the forwarded message. Forwarding this message does not necessarily imply agreement with the positions stated there-in.
MonoConc Pro is a Windows concordance program from Athelstan that enables users to analyse corpora (texts) in order to uncover linguistic patterns of usage. An intuitive interface makes MonoConc Pro very easy to use, ye the program offers a variety of options that make it capable of complex and extensive text searches.
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