Jerry Mander :
"No communities of peoples on this Earth have been more negatively impacted by the current global economic system than the world's remaining 350 million indigenous peoples. And no peoples are so strenuously and, lately, successfully resisting these invasions & inroads.
It is the first purpose of this book to describe the nature, breadth & ferocity of the assaults upon native societies that are ongoing today, and the global institutions and corporations that drive them, while desperately seeking access to their own lifeblood - the planet's fast disappearing resource supply.
But it is also our purpose to convey the impressive energy, scale, and clarity of purpose of a global indigenous resistance. It is growing increasingly broad, powerful, well organised and effective in both domestic and international contexts. Indigenous peoples are demanding respect, recognition and codification of the 'prior rights' to live where they have always lived, in the manner they choose, and with control over all decisions about their ancestral lands, and what is on them and in them.
Here is the basic problem : Economic globalisation, and the corporations and bureaucracies that are its driving forces, literally cannot survive without an ever-increasing supply of oil, natural gas, forests, minerals of all kinds, fish, freshwater, and arable lands, among other crucial needs. They also require supportive infrastructures - new roads, pipelines, dams, electricity grids, airports, seaports, etc. - to take the resources from the often pristine places where they are found and carry them across vast terrains and oceans to market.
In fact, the ultimate success of global corporations, and the entire economic model they sponsor and promote, is built upon a highly rickety platform requiring never-ending exponential economic growth, itself dependent upon never-ending resource supply to feed the growth. In the long run, of course, such never-ending growth is impossible on a finite planet. By now we already see a clear, sharp decline in availability of the most basic resources - leading to fierce contention over the remainder, even wars, as in Iraq over oil, and elsewhere on a smaller scale, over water.
Corporate growth and expansion are the primary bases of most short-term corporate profits. They also determine rates of investment and loans, shareholder value, and executive salaries. These factors, which are all intrinsic to the economic model, mandate that the global system continue to feed its ever more needy exploration for the last resources in nature, wherever they may be, to feed into the voracious maw.
Alas, a large percentage of these last resources are found today on lands where native peoples thrive, as they have for millennia. And so we have the roots of serious conflict: invasions, double-dealings and forced removals, cultural & political assaults, and very often, extreme violence, as we will see in these pages. You could call these resource wars. But more precisely they are world-view wars; paradigm wars, actually, deeply based in opposite understandings of how human beings should live on the earth. This book is dedicated to amplifying that main point."
"My own final comments are directed less to indigenous peoples than to communities of scholars, activists, and journalists who have thus far focused primarily on such issues as the environment, human rights, social justice, and democracy, and to suggest to them that indigenous struggles embody all of these issues. In more ways than one, indigenous issues are the frontier issues of our time. They deal with geographic frontier struggles where the larger, destructive globalisation process attempts to suck up the last living domains on the planet - its life forms, its basic resources, its peoples - in the empty cause of short-term wealth accumulation. And it is also a frontier struggle in conceptual terms: What are the values that can sustain us for the future? What are the worldviews that can keep the earth alive? How are we to live on behalf of coming generations of human beings and the larger community of beings and creatures?
It is increasingly clear to me that indigenous peoples of the earth have the answers to many these questions, if we would listen. Our job is to work to dismantle the institutions that now lead the world in the opposite direction, and to join forces in all efforts to replace those institutions with a hierarchy of values and standards that serve the earth and the communities who simply want to live their lives in peace and stability, in a traditional manner, on their own ancestral lands with control of their livelihoods and resources.
So, my personal plea is that all communities of activists should recognise that their own particular issues will only be benefited if they include the indigenous struggles as part of their own and permit the interests of indigenous peoples to share the front burners of their causes."