In their June 2012 Cultural Risk Alerts for Corporate Leaders
, First Peoples Worldwide highlights a UN report that says media campaigns against individual corporate miscreants is counterproductive to affecting systemic change, suggesting instead that indigenous peoples should work within the system, relying on the UN and its agencies like the World Bank to protect their interests. If one was to take FPW's pronouncements
at face value, corporations like Shell Oil, Exxon Mobil, BP, Conoco Philips and Suncor have seen the light, and with UN guidance are leading the way to a bright new future.
First Peoples Worldwide
, an NGO funded by foundations, corporations and multilaterals,
uses all the heartwarming neoliberal nomenclature well. So well, I
suspect, that many innocent indigenous peoples are led to believe it is
the answer to their prayers. But, as with all things that seem too good
to be true, the first thing to check on is where they get their money. Sweet talk is one thing; who they actually work for is another.
FPW's IRS form 990 does not name the source of its half million
dollars in annual revenue, but it's a safe bet it's dirty money. I
don't know if their employee Nick Pelosi is related to the former US
Speaker of the House, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (he's not one of her
children), but it wouldn't surprise me. His article
about Indians harnessing the economic potential of oil field and refinery development fits well with the Corporate Social Responsibility
theme neoliberals love so well.
Looking at the FPW blog, the buzz about Corporate Social Responsibility touted on the home page is reinforced by this post
on FPW promoting World Bank and UN co-optation of indigenous peoples
through their fraudulent gatherings aimed at undermining the indigenous
movement. Something Intercontinental Cry
magazine has covered
A cursory review of the First Peoples Worldwide website reveals one of
their Board of Directors to be Gloria Steinem, renowned feminist
publisher and CIA operative
, currently working to promote humanitarian warfare
by the US and NATO, allegedly to "liberate women" in Arab Spring countries. As a
recipient of Soros Open Society and Ford Foundation funding (no friends
of indigenous peoples), Steinem's organizations
help legitimize foreign coups by the US State Department.
The reason I chose to expose FPW is that they are serving to
undermine key concepts vital to indigenous sovereignty, thus furthering
the neoliberal model of development Clinton, Gates and Ford support
through UN initiatives like the Millenium Development Goals
by another name. By engaging in the war of ideas on the side of the
financial industry, FPW becomes fair game for criticism--especially when
they sell their soul to the forces of privatization.
Promoting capitalism and assimilating indigenous peoples into the
capitalist system in the process might be in tune with FPW's funders and
institutions like the World Bank, but privatization of indigenous
communal property rights is integral to destroying their cultural
continuity. And as reported at Mother Earth Journal
, the capitalist model of development
comes with a social, environmental and cultural cost. As the late Chief
George Manuel once remarked, "Assimilation is annihilation."