The City College of New York

The series of lectures, conversations, film showings, exhibitions, and courses brings together faculty, students, and staff at CCNY and the New York City community to examine human rights through multiple lenses.


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Indigenous Communities, International Law, and Transnational Activism

Indigenous Communities, International Law, and Transnational Activism 

Panel Speakers Elides Rivera Navas and Susanna Schaller, moderated by Deborah Edwards-Anderson

April 20, 6:30 to 8:00 pm

CCNY Center for Worker Education, Auditorium

25 Broadway, 7th Floor



Elides Rivera Navas is a Teribe leader and indigenous activist from Terraba, Costa Rica. Elides will talk about how indigenous communities suffer from institutionalized discrimination and how they have invoked international and national law and engaged in transnational human rights organizing to negotiate their rights to land, culture, and citizenship. She specifically will address indigenous activism to protect communities from the construction of hydroelectric dams and that pose real challenges to their survival as peoples. She will elaborate on coalition building through local grassroots organizing, multilayered NGO networking, and university partnerships.

Dr. Susanna Schaller, Assistant Professor of Public Administration at the Division of Interdisciplinary Studies, The City College, will discuss her field research on indigenous rights activism in Costa Rica.  She observed the 1997 community consultation process aimed at creating a national indigenous law in accordance with the International Labour Organization’s Covenant.

Deborah Edwards-Anderson is a program officer and principal academic adviser in the Division of Interdisciplinary Studies. Her graduate research on Dakota language revitalization and commemorations of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 was featured in conjunction with the traveling exhibit “Civil War 150,” a project of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Library of America, and Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in 2014. Her article “From Reconciliation to Resurgence: Dakota Commemorations of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862” will be published in the Middle West Review’s special issue on the Indigenous Midwest.