Category Archives: Announcements

Outhouses and Insights

I wrote a reflection here in May, 2007 about a circumstance facing the Indigenous People of Telpaneca, and how they had been forced to fight the same battle against the municipal and state government with regard to illegal squatters on their land.  One of the actions that had been taken in those days was the construction of several green outhouses on the farm properties, so that the municipal government could claim that the squatters had “improved” the farms and thus had a right to remain.  It seemed a ludicrous argument then and is even moreso now.Nica August 2009 071

The Indigenous have continued to press their claims and rights through every legal means required of them, despite still more of the odious outhouses popping up on the lands as seen here.  (I took this photo from nearly the same spot as in my May 07 entry.)  Their most recent stop was before the Nicaragua Supreme Court just last Friday, as the President of the Indigenous, Jose Benito Basilio, presented a deposition on behalf of his people.  The court will consider the arguments of both sides before rendering its decision within the next months.

This is an important case, not just for Tepaneca, not just for Indigenous people, not even just for Nicaragua.  It’s a case of basic land rights which, if it fails at the Supreme Court level, will almost certainly be taken to the Inter-American Court of Justice for a hearing there.  At its root is the question of how to come to terms with the fundamental conflict between Indigenous patrimony and nationalistic authority.  When Indigenous people exert their ownership of land through titles acquired long before nation-states existed, whose claims to ownership shall prevail? 

The question is one which neither the Niacraguan nor other Inter-American Court governments may wish to defer to an outside court, because the ramifications are far-reaching.  But the Indigenous of Telpaneca have courageously and persistently fought for their lands despite artificial obstacles raised at every turn.   They have not swerved or hesitated in their quest for justice.  They have mobilized their members (1500 in a rally in Telpaneca just 2 weeks ago, without the support of any other Indigenous groups).  Their case is sound and backed by the evidence.  They give meaning to the Margaret Mead observation: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

We will watch the proceedings with great interest and hope….

 

New Website!

*Check out the entire website!  After an all-too-long delay, we’ve refreshed and updated our look and content, so browse freely!  We’ve also established a schedule for regular updates so that all of the initiatives undertaken by WPF can be seen in a timely fashion.

Available Opportunities

Winds of Peace Foundation (WPF) continues to make available the opportunity for partners to learn basic techniques of business literacy and ownership characteristics to enhance their own entrepreneurial endeavors.

Open Book Management and Employee Ownership Transformation are well-demonstrated techniques for enterprise development that can be a big help to people who are trying to learn how to stay afloat.

Nicaragua Field Visit

*Mark and Steve will be visiting with current and prospective partners again during the first week of August, prior to the Fall funding cycle.  Specifically, they’ll be interested in connecting with some of the Indigenous communities and women’s groups with whom WPF works.  The effects of the current economic crisis is of particular concern.

One Couple’s Gift

One Couple's GiftOne Couple’s Gift, by Steve Swanson, is the chronicle of Harold and Louise Nielsen’s awakening to the needs of the world’s poor and how they sought to make a difference.

The book covers their lives in creating Foldcraft Co. and their subsequent commitment to using their own resources for the benefit of others.  You can get the book at Amazon.com.

In May of 2009, the Kenyon Leader newspaper published a story on the book in an article titled ‘One Couple’s Gift’ is giving.