August 23, 2012
We’re extending our celebration of International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples for the whole month of August—and reintroducing some of the indigenous leaders among the Goldman Prize winners. Men and women, young and old, the diverse group of winners represent indigenous communities from all corners of the world. What unites them is an unwavering commitment to defend their people’s environmental and human rights.
- Matthew Coon Come (1994, Canada): Grand Chief of the Ground Council of the Crees who led the fight against the massive James Bay hydroelectric development project in Quebec.
- Luis Macas (1994, Ecuador): Quichua leader who led negotiations with the Ecuador government for an unprecedented 3-million acre land transfer back to indigenous control
- Ken Saro-Wiwa (1995, Nigeria): Ogoni activist who led a peaceful movement for the environmental and human rights of the Ogoni people. He was executed by the Nigerian government in 1995.
- Berito Kuwaru’wa (1998, Colombia): Waged a nonviolent campaign against drilling in the traditional homelands of his U’wa people—who consider oil to be the “blood of Mother Earth.”
- Samuel Nguiffo (1999, Cameroon): Native attorney who empowered forest-dwelling peoples to legally manage their traditional lands.
- Ka Hsaw Wa (1999, Burma): Member of Burmese ethnic minority Karen, he risked his life to document criminal and human rights abuses related to the construction of the Yadana petroleum pipeline.
- Eileen Kampakuta Brown and Eileen Wani Wingfield (2003, Australia): Aboriginal elders who led a movement to stop a nuclear waste dump site in their desert homeland.
- Julio Cusurichi Palacios (2007, Peru): Shipibo indigenous leader who spearheaded a campaign to create a territorial reserve for isolated peoples in the Peruvian Amazon.
- Wanze Eduards (2009, Suriname): Traditional Samaraka leader who, along with Hugo Jabini, organized the Maroon community against logging on their traditional lands.
- Caroline Cannon (2012, United States): Inupiat leader who led the native village of Point Hope to oppose offshore oil and gas development in Arctic waters.
- Ikal Angelei (2012, Kenya): Young Turkana woman who brought together Lake Turkana’s indigenous communities to oppose the massive Gibe 3 Dam.