Saturday, March 22, 2014
Mayangna Sauni As Territorial Government
We looked at a map of the Mayangna Sauni As territory. As means one, and there are four Mayangna Sauni territories. The alligators and iguana are out now and used for food by the indigenous but we don’t sell them. There are areas specified for eco-tourism, but that has not yet been developed. There are areas where people are panning for gold in the BOSAWAS, but not mines.
We’re one of seven territories in the BOSAWAS. We have had community titles since 2006 covering 100,632 Mz with a 197 km border and 18 communities, mostly along the Rios Waspu, Pis Pis, Wahu, and Kaka. Forty percent of this land is outside the BOSAWAS nucleus, in the buffer zone. The rest is in the BOSAWAS. Different areas have been designated for artisan mining (small scale), conservation, frequent hunting, infrequent hunting, agriculture, development, forestry, and sustainable development.
He pointed to the map and showed the land use in 2006 vs the planned land use.
We border both Mayangna and Moskito areas.
In 2007, Hurricane Felix hit this area and wiped out a huge area of forest and killed all of the animals. Our boundary markers also came down. After that was the great invasion. Within the framework of conservation of BOSAWAS, we proposed to place Mayangna families in the area to facilitate renewal of the affected land, and that’s why it’s designated as a development zone. After Felix, we can use this area for development and put other economic activities there.
Norman Devis is the presenter. The Eastern part of Mayangna Sauni As territory includes the San Luci high hills, Rio WaWa, and the headwaters of Rio WaWa that we crossed coming from Puerto Cabezas.
After 2007 the invasion started and in 2010 they began to enter in several places. I’m in charge of protection. From 2011 – 12 more people came in closer. In 2013 seven leaders of the land grab were captured and two are in jail. After that, in 2014, we captured Aragon (yesterday). Two of the leaders will be sentenced tomorrow. Sixteen more have been captured. The National Police and the Army capture them. For the last two years the Army has been effective, not so much so the National Police. Because the police chief of Bonanza is a land invader, the police won’t help us patrol. These things within the police and Eco-Battalion affect us. We want a new police chief, someone new. Herman Mora is the name of the police chief.
To defend our land, we need the resources to pay lawyers.
The colonizers have invaded the whole yellow area (on the map, it is where Hurricane Felix hit). 40% of our land has been invaded. We need boats, motors, money to send people on patrol. Going with just ten of the Army doesn’t do much.
On Tuesday, we went 1 ¾ hours in and saw property markers where colonizers are selling the land. We’re very concerned. They come by mule. That whole area is being destroyed. One colonizer logged 50 Manzanas just in the past month in the nucleus of the reserve. More than three men were mining gold in that area.
Ten days ago, we saw them making boundary lines to sell property. The miners, OUR people, asked in this office what to do about this invasion.
With MARENA, he Army, local park rangers, and the Mayor, we arranged to go in on March 18. We saw that they made boundary markers. They had gone in two km, and have marked the area with names of supposed new owners. Further in, eleven families have penetrated. We got very tired, with no food. Finally we had lunch at 5:30 pm. We saw six Mz more had been logged. Seven minutes in from the mining area, colonizers had made more penetration roads and trails.
We were few, without logistical resources, we came back from there and wondered where they came in from. We followed a trail and found a house and family where 10 Mz had been logged and three horses and a house. Oscar Hargon gave that land to them, the family said, so we have a lot of competition. A representative of the Army provided security. Information about their threats to the environment and the BOSAWAS, which MARENA had compiled, was provided to them. With their help, we burned that house and explained that this is private indigenous property, 14 km into Mayangna Sauni As territory. We told them to take everything out of the house, load the animals, and leave. We went on to see the other places.
We went one hour up the Pis Pis, 12 km in, and found the house we were looking for – a property with 15 Mz logged. We burned that house, too. Question – what was the role of the army? Answer – protection. WE burned the houses. The invaders accused the army of abusing them, so WE must be the ones to burn the houses. We find animal skins – tapir and other endangered animals. We took pictures and have it on video. We need to act quickly in all of this. We are planning an invasion ourselves of this area to take all of those people out of there – if we don’t do it today, tomorrow is too late.
Question – where do the evicted people go? Rosita or Bonanza to be prosecuted – if they are found closer to Rosita, it is less likely that they will be prosecuted. They enter from all around us.
The biggest problem is east of Rio Naspuk. They day before we went up there, eleven families went into the north part of that zone. We need radios to communicate with each other. We do have cell signals in our mining areas. We want resources – for guns, fast boats, a headquarters, and GPS. We want to get these invaders off of the land and block the roads and trails they have built, and burn down the houses. We have a budget. Always when we have visitors, we ask for help. None has come yet.
Charley introduced AfGJ and the Abanaki and talked about the similarity of issues, presented a letter from the Abanaki chief.
Adoncio Lopez is the secretary of the Mayangna Sauni As and showed a powerpoint presentation.
Norman worked with Nature Conservancy until 1999 and GTZ from Germany, teaching them his experience with and knowledge of the BOSAWAS Reserve. I am a volunteer for Mayangna Sauni As territory – I don’t get a salary.
The Pis Pis River goes north towards Bonanza and the Waspuk goes toward the border and Rio Coco. We want to establish that area for a biological control station, for government institutions in the Territory of Mayangna Sauni As. Here is a picture – we went over that hill and there was no place to even rest. We want a structure there with solar power, potable water, and a communications center for talking with the Eco-Battalion in Bonanza and the BOSAWAS communities, and to the border with Honduras. From there we could protect a large area where colonizers are coming in. Please help us find funds.
He showed slides of Rio PisPis, a dugout canoe they used, and an iguana; There’s a place about 12 hours upriver where there is a house used for eco-tourism – it needs to be rebuilt – the place is downriver on the PisPis and upriver on the Waspuk.
We landed at the junction of the two rivers. People are digging a small gold mine on hills named France and Japan. They are communicating with the Eco-Battalion in Bonanza. This is the observation area we want to establish.
From here you can see the boundary lines that the invaders dug very recently. We followed one – they mark on the trees with machetes. One of the miners came to be a witness. MARENA came. We went to where the colonizers were. They shot twice at us. We found markers in paint, “A” and “P”. We couldn’t follow all of the trails. We started at 6 am and by 2 pm we had found lots of families (11) that we didn’t know were there, all Mestizos. We followed the road and kept following until 4 pm – there were so many trails in many directions – we didn’t know which ones they had taken.
We found 6 ha recently logged on two tall hills. We circled around to try to capture them but they had left. We went further and saw a lot more deforestation.
If we don’t get in there NOW, they will chop down these huge tropical rainforest trees. They have built structures and planted beans. On our journey, we ate rice and caught fish, using leaves for plates.
As we were returning, we found this horse and a house with a lady inside. She went to her sons at the river. Last year an indigenous miner, Ileas Charlie was killed with a .22 rifle where the house was. At that time, they were just cutting down trees and planted cattle grass – they used the skins of several tapirs to make ropes. (Picture of a woman and three children of the house) The husband was supposedly gone.
I ordered her to take all of her things from the house and we burned the house in front of the family. The army was witness – that we told them to take their belongings back to where they came from, even your saddle and horses. We said that we would treat them humanely.
We found wild foul to eat and miners gave us plantains. Now we’re back at the river.
We manage our agricultural zones and don’t clear much land. We plant bananas and plantains to protect the land from erosion.
Yesterday at 7 am we took off for another place in the mountains, to investigate a logging complaint from the community to the police. Without gas money to take the army and motor boat, we did two missions. We went into the mountains with the guy and his son who filed the complaint. We found a trail to an area where 50 Mz had been logged with a chainsaw – they had planted tobacco and corn, and had a house. By 10 am we burned the house and the crops.
They don’t even use the logs – they just burn them. They divide the cleared land for different families or sell it off – that’s their business plan, to ready the land for a cattle ranch, and they get more money if it’s cleared.
These are the first operations of 2014. We hope to clear them out in 2014.
On February 1, the operation was to capture Tomas Lopez Lopez and his son, Walter Lopez Parillo. They planted beans, bananas and corn along a tributary of the Pis Pis River. Together with our legal advisor (a Mestizo from Bonanza), another police chief (not the corrupt one from Bonanza) and I captured him. A year ago this was virgin forest. He had a 40 ft x 40 ft house and another small house. He took down big trees with a chain saw and then just burned the logs. Maybe he got some boards from some logs. We found a chain saw and brought it out. He had cut ?Nancytong? wood.
Mr. Polaz from MORENA and a technical advisor are helping (?)
The house of the Indigenous Territorial Government was occupied by colonizers and a domestic turkey. The GTI / BICO sign is ours – but it was the invaders’ place of operations. The colonizers even left their hammock behind. This particular trip was not into the nucleus of the BOSAWAS.
This week is the first time we actually burned houses. In the past we just knocked them down.
We found a 3rd house, very new. We burned it too, and turned it over to Mother Earth.
All those who come here know that this land belongs to Mayangna, but they are land grabbers. Three years ago we told these people that this is Mayangna Sauni As territory, and we have the title. They knowingly sell it anyway. While we fight te legal routes, we must also be in the territory.
We found two horses and several of these land traffickers are cattle thieves and drug traffickers, too. They organize groups of armed men to steal cattle. We do our work with great care because we don’t have a means of self defense.
One guy “bought” 100 Mz for only 18,000 Cd. From the land sale money, he buys lawyers to defend himself, so we must also pay lawyers to defend our rights. We see the big land grabber only ½ hour outside of our territory. He came from La Cruste Rio Grande in the RAAS to invade us. We found a receipt that he paid taxes on the chain saw, which we will use as evidence against him. We are looking for the guy who has grey hair, to bring him in to face charges. We had captured him but the jail said they couldn’t keep him until a formal complaint was filed, which we have now done.
We need radios, T-shirts, caps, etc. to form consciousness in Nicaragua on this issue. We want to show you the film.
Alonzio – our President is in the BOSAWAS giving talks about defending Mother Earth because this task is so immense. The advance of the agricultural frontier is constant. Norman coordinates conservation and defense of Mayangna Sauni As and acts with the Eco-Battalion, Police, army, and the Territorial Government. It’s a great demand every day, every month.
They are organizing groups to come and invade our territory. Last year the National Government issued a decree to remove the colonizers. There’s an institutional commission, a prosecutor general, the army, police, and departments of Agriculture and Forestry, and the Territorial Government.
Some organizations and foreign journalists have gone in and interviewed elders regarding the problems in the BOSAWAS and done presentations like this, especially to seek funding.
This visit you make is important because you can get our message out and funding for our park headquarters and ranger out there.
Thanks to Charley and his 30-year struggle and the letter of solidarity. We hope we can work together in the future to preserve BOSAWAS. We work night and day to save our resources. This is part of the green lung of the earth. For 500 years our ancestors have been fighting to preserve our resources. Thank Ortega.
All 23 territories have land problems.
Question regarding health and education. Even on a national level, health care is a problem, but it is worse here. Many women die in childbirth, an indicator that our health care is bad. Even in Bonanza we can’t get medicine. Given transportation problems, it is hard to get care. There are a lot of deaths in our territory. I did a study. Less than 5% of us are more than 60 years old! And now there are even fewer than when I did the study. Some women come to Bonanza to have children in the hospital – but they are sterilized without their permission, especially if they have a Cesarean birth. Jazelle said that they can be sued for that. We would like to have doctors in Musawas who specialize in caring for women and children. We would like for them not to have to come into the city for medical care, because of costs of transportation, food, and housing for the family in that situation.
Now we must worry about our children because the mining companies are moving in. There are 16 concessions on our borders.
We are supposed to get some money from UNESDO and carbon producing countries to preserve this territory. However, we don’t know how these funds are being used. The government gives a concession and gets some money down. We want them to give concessions only with our informed consent.
Decree 15 from 2013 on Mother Earth is a success of the struggle of the Mayangna people. We made a lot of effort to get the word out to media, which got government attention. After that, the Eco-Battalion really began to function. There is still a lot to be done with a minimum Eco-Battalion to preserve the BOSAWAS.
We believe the leader watching the BOSAWAS communication should be a Mayangna. We are the ones who feel the impact of the destruction. Culturally, the forest is life (for us).
Thank you for your visit and listening.
Alonzio gave Kathy an email address.
End note – On May 6 a girl died of leukemia.