Ancestral Rain Forests and the Mountain of Gold: Indigenous Peoples and Mining in New Guinea

Synopsis

"The ancestral rain forests for the Wopkaimin people have long been a sacred geography, a place that has allowed them to act out the obligations of the male cult system and social relations of production based on kinship. Today the people and their place are suffering disastrous consequences from the sudden imposition of one of the world's largest mining projects, which has brought about severe social and ecological disruptions. Based on fieldwork spanning more than a decade, David Hyndman's book traces the extra-ordinary socioecological transformation of a traditional society confronting modern technological risk. Across the island of New Guinea, the clash between the simple reproduction and subsistence production system of indigenous peoples and the expanded production and private accumulation system of mining has resulted in environmental degradation. Mining extracts a surplus to link the State with the international market, and therefore the State has not been an objective arbiter of conflicting claims. Faced with a debt crisis, the State has favored mining investors, condoning the plunder of the island's natural resources for gold and copper. The hegemony of this dominant ideology of private accumulation has cast indigenous peoples in the role of subversives. Indigenous landowners have had to struggle for social justice and equity, at times even taking up arms against mining projects to protect their culture and their ancestral homeland." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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