Issue

Indigenous Communities

Three hundred and seventy million Indigenous people from more than 5,000 Indigenous communities speak more than 4,000 languages and are spread across over 90 countries. Representing just 5 percent of the world’s population, Indigenous communities protect about 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity. Because of widespread discrimination, Indigenous people make up 15 percent of the world’s extreme poor and are disproportionately affected by land theft, malnutrition, and internal displacement compared to other communities. 

The challenges facing Indigenous communities come from centuries-long systems of oppression. Today, Indigenous people are being accused of terrorism and treason for undertaking peaceful efforts to maintain their cultural identity or traditional lands. Journalism can shed light on discriminatory practices and conflicts underpinning these challenges and many more, from root causes to examples of resilience. Quality journalism can elevate voices from Indigenous communities and should dispel stereotypes. Part of this misrepresentation is the result of a lack of Indigenous voices and stories in traditional media. A survey of members of the News Leaders Association showed that less than 0.05 percent of journalists in leading media outlets are Native American and a Nieman report found that Indigenous people represented only 0.6 percent of people portrayed in stories by the 20 most-trafficked internet news sites.  The Pulitzer Center is uniquely positioned to bring these often under-reported or misreported issues and under-represented perspectives to new audiences. 

These stories include High Country News years-long investigation into Indigenous land theft to benefit America’s public universities, “Nowhere to Turn,” a project uncovering the inequitable treatment of Alaska Native sexual assault survivors published by both The Associated Press and National Native News, and “Panama at the Crossroads,” an interactive multimedia project by Sol Lauría and Guido Bilbao uplifting the decades-long fight for land protection by the Gnäbe and Buglé people.   

 

Indigenous Communities

Mercury: Chasing the Quicksilver

Five hundred years after Spanish conquistadors arrived, gold is still a driving economic force in South America's Guiana Shield. But the industry depends on another element, one with deadly side effects for miners and rainforests: mercury.

Double Exposure

For centuries, the Quilombola people, descendants of escaped African slaves, have survived against insurmountable odds in the Amazon rainforest. Now industrial pollution and a pandemic are threatening their existence.

The Toxic Metal in the Shadow of the Gold Industry

Two commodities that are frequently taken over illegally are gold and mercury, and in the Guiana Shield region, one does not go without the other. Mercury has grave impacts on human health and the environment, but efforts so far to curtail its use in the gold industry have only pushed supply chains underground. 

Land Grab-Ohio

Being a “Land Grant” university is a source of pride at Ohio State University—but why? Eye on Ohio looks into the Native American lands that helped fuel one of Ohio's largest economic engines.

The Road Mine Scandal in Hutan Harapan

The construction of a mining road in Hutan Harapan is a conspiracy between Peter Sondakh, owner Rajawali Group and the government. Road construction causes deforestation.

Siona: Amazon’s Defenders Under Threat

Adiela, a Siona Indigenous leader, follows the spiritual guidance of her elders and clears landmines from her ancestral territory in the Colombian Amazon, in hope that her people may some day return.

Meet the Journalist: Guido Bilbao

Panama is facing a serious environmental threat. Investigations have revealed a serious threat to Panama's natural resources that impacts the country's environment and people.

Related Events