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Indigenous people from the Parque das Tribos community mourn the death of Chief Messias of the Kokama tribe from Covid-19, in Manaus, Brazil, on May 14, 2020. MICHAEL DANTAS / AFP / Getty Images

By John Letzing

This past Wednesday, when some previously hard-hit countries were able to register daily COVID-19 infections in the single digits, the Navajo Nation – a 71,000 square-kilometer (27,000-square-mile) expanse of the western US – reported 54 new cases of what's referred to locally as "Dikos Ntsaaígíí-19."

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Some reservations are reporting infection rates many times higher than those observed in the general U.S. population. grandriver / Getty Images

By Lindsey Schneider, Joshua Sbicca and Stephanie Malin

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is novel, but pandemic threats to indigenous peoples are anything but new. Diseases like measles, smallpox and the Spanish flu have decimated Native American communities ever since the arrival of the first European colonizers.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Samantha Hepburn

In the expansion of its iron ore mine in Western Pilbara, Rio Tinto blasted the Juukan Gorge 1 and 2 — Aboriginal rock shelters dating back 46,000 years. These sites had deep historical and cultural significance.

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The Ebo Forest in Cameroon, Africa, is a biodiversity hotspot, home to an amazing range of wildlife, including forest elephants, gorillas, drills, chimpanzees, grey parrots and the goliath frog. San Diego Zoo Global

By Lamfu Fabrice Yengong and Sylvie Djacbou Deugoue

Biodiversity loss is a global crisis. In May last year, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) warned that over 1,000,000 species are threatened with extinction worldwide. On May 22, the International Day of Biodiversity, it is important to recall the silent victims of our country's obsession for industrial growth at the expense of our forests.

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View of a windmill farm in the Tehuantepec Isthmus region, Mexico, on July 27, 2017. PATRICIA CASTELLANOS / AFP / Getty Images

By Sam Edwards

The Isthmus of Tehuantepec in southern Mexico is one of the windiest places on earth. Hemmed in by two mountain ranges, the flat strip of land between the Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico is a natural wind tunnel. A single gust can flip over cars. It's the perfect place for turbines.

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Arison Jardim / The Ashaninka of the Amônia River Association

By Naira Hofmeister, Translated by Matt Rinaldi

  • An unprecedented court settlement guaranteed reparations to the Ashaninka people of the state of Acre, in the Brazilian Amazon, whose lands were deforested in the 1980s to supply the European furniture industry. The logging company penalized was owned by the family of the current governor of Acre, Gladson Cameli.
  • The conflict was resolved through mediation from the Prosecutor General of the Republic, Augusto Aras, after the case had circulated in the courts with no resolution for 20 years.
  • The indigenous people only agreed with the negotiation because it included an official apology and a recognition of their "enormous importance as guardians" of the Amazon.
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Aerial view of the Esperanca IV informal gold mining camp, near the Menkragnoti indigenous territory, in Altamira, Para state, Brazil, in the Amazon basin, on August 28, 2019. Joao LAET / AFP / Getty Images

By Peter Yeung

From the skies above Creporizao, a remote town in the south of the Brazilian Amazon, the surrounding area looks like a vast blanket of dark green rainforest. But along the dirt roads and rivers that run through it like arteries are telling patches of muddy brown: illegal gold mines.

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A schoolchildren crossing sign is seen in front of burned trees in Mallacoota, Australia on Jan. 15, 2020. Luis Ascui / Getty Images

By Bhiamie Williamson, Francis Markham and Jessica Weir

The catastrophic bushfire season is officially over, but governments, agencies and communities have failed to recognize the specific and disproportionate impact the fires have had on Aboriginal peoples.

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The Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp in North Dakota on the day it was slated to be raided, Feb. 22, 2017. Michael Nigro / Pacific Press / LightRocket via Getty Images

Nearly four years after massive protests drew worldwide attention to the struggle of indigenous peoples to protect their land from fossil fuel projects, a federal judge has ordered a full environmental review of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

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Paula Kahumbu attends the TDI Awards during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival at Spring Studios on April 25, 2017 in New York City. Rob Kim / Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

Women have long been at the forefront of the effort to protect the earth and its creatures. Some of them, like Greta Thunberg and Jane Goodall, are household names.

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Salt River Project-Navajo Generating Station in the red desert of Page, Arizona seen above before it shut down in November 2019.

Members of the Navajo and Hopi tribes are struggling to adjust to a new way of life following the closure of the coal-powered Navajo Generating Station late last year, as leaders look for new sources of revenue and energy.

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