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8 Ariz. J. Envtl. L. & Pol'y 1 (2017-2018)

handle is hein.journals/arijel8 and id is 1 raw text is: 

      How Non-Violent Resistance Effects Positive Change Toward
 Protecting   Indigenous Rights and Environmental Integrity in Guatemala

                                   Amanda  Rutherford


       This note discusses the changing legal landscape in Guatemala and the positive impact of
non-violent community resistance on protecting the environmental, social, cultural, political, and
economic interests of indigenous groups. Examples of Maya resistance against the Kappas and
Cassiday & Associates El Tambor gold mine and the Goldcorp Marlin Gold mine show that
community  resistance movements can play a role in effecting meaningful change. These
indigenous movements have shown  that resilient and peaceful protests by communities are
having an effect on the behavior of transnational mining corporations that are polluting the
environment and committing human rights abuses. The indigenous peoples of Guatemala, most
of whom  are Maya, have experienced decades of violence and oppression. However, recent
Court rulings in favor of indigenous communities in cases against these two mines are hopeful
signs that Guatemala is building a strong judiciary that is able enforce the existing laws that
should protect indigenous peoples' rights and the environmental integrity of the country.
Communities  are peacefully resisting violence and oppression, and fighting for their rights to
protect and control their communal lands. Slowly but surely these movements are drawing
international attention and pushing the government to meaningfully address corruption and


       Over half of the population of Guatemala is indigenous Maya. The Maya comprise 21

distinct linguistic groups and thousands of communities throughout Guatemala.' The Maya

identity is rooted in a strong connection to the earth as mother, maize as a sacred symbol, and the

idea that humans are one part of a beautifully connected system.2 Living in harmony with the

' Jan Arno Hessbruegge and Carlos Fredy Ochoa Garcia, Mayan Law in Post-Conflict Guatemala,
2 Id. at 10.


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