Manataka American Indian Council®








NO Dirty Gold!


Summer is the time for weddings and graduations!  Before you buy that engagement or wedding ring, or gift of jewelry for your graduate, consider this:


Over 80% of the gold used in this country is for jewelry. The process of mining causes ecological disaster. Watch this YouTube video produced by Environmental Working Group & read on for more information and alternatives to Dirty Gold:

"Gold mining is one of the dirtiest industries in the world -- it contaminates drinking water, destroys traditional livelihoods, and displaces indigenous communities."

No Dirty Gold Campaign:

"Each year in the United States, mines generate an amount of waste equivalent in weight to nearly nine times the trash produced by all its cities and towns combined.

A single gold ring leaves in its wake at least 20 tons of mine waste."

Ethical Metalsmiths

Alternatives to purchasing new gold include buying heirloom or antique gold jewelry from estate sales or ebay, or buying recycled gold jewelry:

GreenKarat jewelry

"the primary metal in every greenKarat design is recycled, and that every gem is either created or recycled. We provide Green Assay disclosures for every component of every product, and openly share our practices with you, whether they’re good, or short of ideal. These disclosures are your tools for comparing us to other jewelers.

Brilliant Earth

 is an ethical diamond jeweler offering conflict-free diamonds from Canada, fair trade sapphires, and eco-friendly gold and platinum...As part of its mission, Brilliant Earth donates 5% of its profits to the Diamonds for Africa fund to directly benefit local African communities harmed by the diamond industry."

Find more listings of cleaner, greener Jewelry in Co-op America's National Green Pages Directory:



Thanks for Going Green!


The Mother thanks you!


Blessings, Liora


Dirty Gold's

Toll on Indigenous Peoples


Around half of all the gold mined from 1995 to 2015 is likely to come from native lands-the traditional territories of indigenous peoples. Many indigenous peoples live in remote areas that until recently had not been accessible to the mining industry. Government and business interests often do not respect the spiritual and cultural connection indigenous people have to their lands and environment.  And their relative isolation from mainstream society often leaves indigenous communities without basic legal and political safeguards. In many countries, for example, the law does not recognize indigenous peoples clearly as owners of their lands. Even when surface land rights are clearly titled to indigenous groups, governments frequently sell off the subsurface rights to mining corporations.


Some examples of mining-related problems facing indigenous people:


Zortman-Landusky Mines. 
Credit: Mineral Policy Center

In 1895, the Assiniboine and Gros Ventre tribes of Montana were forced by the US government to abandon 16,200 hectares (about 39,700 acres) of what was then Spirit Mountain, a sacred site. The government wanted the land opened to gold prospecting. Today, Spirit Mountain has been replaced by the Zortman-Landusky open pit cyanide-leach gold mine. Although the mine was closed in 1998 when its owner, Pegasus Gold, declared bankruptcy, it continues to pollute what is left of the landscape. Both surface and groundwaters have been extensively contaminated. Water quality problems and poor cleanup of disturbed lands have prompted multiple lawsuits by the tribes against both the state and federal governments.  The first lawsuit in 1994 resulted in a $37 million settlement for violations of the Clean Water Act.


In Bolivia, Canada-based Orvana Minerals began operations in May of 2003 at its Don Mario gold and silver mine, located in the heart of the pristine Chiquitano Forest, home to numerous Chiquitano and Ayoreo indigenous communities.  In June 2003, the regional indigenous federation filed a complaint with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector lending arm of the World Bank and partial financier of the mine, alleging violations of World Bank environmental and social safeguard policies.  An IFC investigation is underway.


The people of Porgera, Papua New Guinea have been dramatically impacted by a large Australian-run gold mine in what used to be an isolated area.  Credit: Jeff Atkinson/Oxfam CAA

Indigenous people have special rights to be consulted about mining projects when governments retain ownership of sub-surface mineral deposits on their lands.  Under the International Labor Organization's Convention No. 169 Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, which has been signed and ratified by 17 countries, governments must allow for a culturally appropriate system of consultation.  ILO Convention No. 169 also requires indigenous communities to participate in the benefits of mining projects.  Seven South American countries are parties to the convention, and indigenous communities in the region have used the convention to defend their rights.


For more information:

Endangered Communities.  A section from Dirty Metals: Mining, Communities, and the Environment. (592KB)

International Labor Organization Convention 169 Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries





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