Tuesday, November 29, 2011

EMRIP Fourth Session, NAIPC Intervention Agenda Items 4, 5, 6


Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Forth session
11 -13 July 2010, Geneva

Agenda Items 4) Study on Indigenous Peoples and the Right to Participate in Decision-making; 5) UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and 6) Proposals to be submitted to the Human Rights Council for its Consideration and Approval  


Intervention by the North America Indigenous Peoples Caucus

Speaker: Andrea Carmen, International Indian Treaty Council

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

The members of the North America Regional Caucus at the 4th session of the Expert Mechanism for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples reiterate our strong interest as well as our concerns regarding the proposed World Conference on Indigenous Peoples approved by the 65th session of the UN General Assembly 3rd Committee in November 2010 in resolution AC.3/65/L.22/Rev.1.  We emphasize the profound importance and potential impacts of this Conference based on its stated primary purpose “to share perspectives and best practices on the realization of the rights of Indigenous peoples, including to pursue the objectives of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”.

The planning process for the World Conference, as well as its implementation and outcomes, provide important opportunities to implement and put into practice the UN Declaration including articles 5, 18 and others affirming the right to participation in decision -making.   The process which produced the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was one in which Indigenous Peoples were equal participants in the development and adoption of the text.  This is the model which should also be applied to all stages of the planning and implementation of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. This includes all planning and preparatory sessions, development of the agenda, the implementation of the Conference itself and the development and adoption of its outcome document.

The UN Declaration’s affirmation of Free Prior and Informed Consent, Self Determination and right to participate in decision-making provide a framework for participation that is also affirmed in the final EMRIP study on the right to participation in decision making.  Assigning a lesser or subsidiary role for Indigenous Peoples as compared to States in any phase of this World Conference would constitute a violation of the very rights which it purports to  affirm.   Real participation is not the same thing as mere presence in the room. 

While we fully support the importance of the recognized roles of the expert members of the UNPFII, EMRIP and Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in this regard, we also affirm that participation applies to Indigenous Peoples, Nations and organizations.    

In light of its current thematic study on the rights of Indigenous Peoples we ask the EMRIP members to take note in particular of paragraph 122 of the report of the recently concluded UNPFII 10th session [E/2011/43-E/C.19/2011/14] which reflects the concerns expressed by a large number of Indigenous delegations as well as UNPFII members regarding participation in the World Conference: 


122. In “a spirit of partnership and mutual respect”, the Forum further emphasizes the important standards set out in articles 18 and 19 of the Declaration, which provide the following: “Indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decision- making in matters which would affect their rights, through representatives chosen by themselves in accordance with their own procedures…” and “States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.” Such equal, direct and meaningful participation by indigenous peoples throughout all stages of the World Conference is essential if it is to produce constructive results that will genuinely improve the status, conditions and recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples worldwide.

These same principles and rights must also apply to the planning and implementation of the Rio + 20 Earth Summit Conference which will take place in June, 2012.  Insuring meaningful participation in the Rio + 20 Conference will be especially important in light of the continued concerns voiced by Indigenous Peoples regarding lack of full, formal and effective participation in various Conventions and processes that were created by the first Earth Summit in 1992, including the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.  These 2 major UN World Conferences directly impact the lives and rights of Indigenous Peoples. , the internationally-recognized minimum standards for Indigenous Peoples’ participation affirmed by the Declaration must be applied and upheld in their organization as well as their outcomes.     

In conclusion Mr. Chairman, the North American regional caucus respectfully presents the following recommendations:

1)    That the EMRIP 4th session endorse the proposal paragraph 122 of the report of the 10th session of the UNPFII [E/2011/43-E/C.19/2011/14] and incorporate it into their report to the UN Human Rights Council as the framework for Indigenous Peoples’ participation in these two upcoming World Conferences. 
2)    That these principles and framework for full participation be included as a recommendation in the EMRIP’s final Study of the Right to participate in decision-making to the Human Rights Council.  
3)    That the EMRIP recommend in its report to the 18th session of the UN Human Rights Council that that the principle of full, formal, equal and effective participation by Indigenous Peoples be applied to all future UN World Conferences based on the rights affirmed in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
4)    Finally, we endorse the proposal presented by EMRIP expert member Chief Wilton Littlechild that the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples be included as an agenda item beginning at the 5th session of the EMRIP in 2012 with a focus on ensuring the right to full, formal and effective participation for Indigenous Peoples in all phases and aspects of its organization, implementation and follow-up.    

Thank you.    

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Hopi Message

at the

House of Mica
December 10, 1992

UN Headquarters, New York




AN ADDRESS BY THOMAS BANYACYA,
Hopi Nation
Kykotsmovi, Arizona

Before the United Nations General Assembly



The presentation by Mr Thomas Banyacya, the final speaker, was preceded by three shouts by Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper of the Six Nations, and first speaker of the day. The shouts were a spiritual announcement to the Great Spirit of the people assembled and the intention to give a message of spiritual importance.

Thomas then sprinkled corn meal next to the podium of the General Assembly and made a brief remark in Hopi that translates as follows:

Hopi Spiritual leaders had an ancient prophecy that some day world leaders would gather in a Great House of Mica with rules and regulations to solve the world problems without war. I am amazed to see the prophecy has come true and you are here today! But only a handful of United Nations Delegates are present to hear the Motee Sinom (Hopi for First People) from around the world who spoke here today.





My name is Banyacya of the Wolf, Fox and Coyote Clan and I am a member of the Hopi sovereign nation. Hopi in our language means a peaceful, kind, gentle, truthful people. The traditional Hopi follows the spiritual path that was given to us by Massau'u the Great Spirit. We made a sacred covenant to follow his life plan at all times, which includes the responsibility of taking care of this land and life for his divine purpose. We have never made treaties with any foreign nation, including the United States, but for many centuries we have honored this sacred agreement. Our goals are not to gain political control, monetary wealth nor military power, but rather to pray and to promote the welfare of all living beings and to preserve the world in a natural way. We still have our ancient sacred stone tablets and spiritual religious societies which are the foundations of the Hopi way of life. Our history says our white brother should have retained those same sacred objects and spiritual foundations.




In 1948, all traditional Hopi spiritual leaders met and spoke of things I felt strongly were of great importance to all people. They selected four interpreters to carry their message of which I am the only one still living today. At the time, I was given a sacred prayer feather by the spiritual leaders. I made a commitment to carry the Hopi message of peace and deliver warnings from prophesies known since the time the previous world was destroyed by flood and our ancestors came to this land.





My mission was to open the doors of this Great House of Mica to native peoples. The Elders said to knock four times and this commitment was fulfilled when I delivered a letter and the sacred prayer feather I had been given to John Washburn in the Secretary General's office in October, 1991. I am bringing part of the Hopi message to you here today. We have only ten minutes to speak and time is late so I am making my statement short.





At the meeting in 1948, Hopi leaders 80, 90 and even 100 years old explained that the creator made the first world in perfect balance where humans spoke one language, but humans turned away from moral and spiritual principles. They misused their spiritual powers for selfish purposes. They did not follow nature's rules. Eventually the world was destroyed by sinking of land and separation of land by what you would call major earthquakes. Many died and only a small handful survived.





Then this handful of peaceful people came into the second world. They repeated their mistakes and the world was destroyed by freezing which you call the great Ice Age.





The few survivors entered the third world. That world lasted a long time and as in previous worlds, the people spoke one language. The people invented many machines and conveniences of high technology, some of which have not yet been seen in this age. They even had spiritual powers that they used for good. They gradually turned away from natural laws and pursued only material things and finally only gambled while they ridiculed spiritual principles. No one stopped them from this course and the world was destroyed by the great flood that many nations still recall in their ancient history or in their religions.





The Elders said again only small groups escaped and came to this fourth world where we now live. Our world is in terrible shape again even though the Great Spirit gave us different languages and sent us to four corners of the world and told us to take care the the Earth and all that is in it.





This Hopi ceremonial rattle represents Mother Earth. The line running around it is a time line and indicates that we are in the final days of the prophecy. What have you, as individuals, as nations and as the world body been doing to to take care of this Earth? In the Earth today, humans poison their own food, water and air with pollution. Many of us, including children, are left to starve. Many wars are still being fought. Greed and concern for material things is a common disease.





In this western hemisphere, our homeland, many original native people are landless, homeless, starving and have no medical help.





The Hopi knew humans would develop many powerful technologies that would be abused. In this century, we have seen the First World War and the Second World War in which the predicted gourd of ashes, which you call the atomic bomb, fell from the sky with great destruction. Many thousands of people were destroyed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.





For many years there has been great fear and danger of World War Three. The Hopi believe the Persian Gulf War was the beginning of World War Three but it was stopped and the worst weapons of destruction were not used. This is now a time to weigh the choices for our future. We do have a choice. If you, the nations of this Earth, create another great war, the Hopi believe we humans will burn ourselves to death with ashes. That's why the spiritual Elders stress strongly that the United Nations fully open the door for native spiritual leaders as soon as possible.





Nature itself does not speak with a voice that we can easily understand. Neither can the animals and birds we are threatening with extinction talk to us. Who in this world can speak for nature and the spiritual energy that creates and flows through all life? In every continent are human beings who are like you but who have not separated themselves from the land and from nature. It is through their voice that Nature can speak to us. You have heard those voices and many messages from the four corners of the world today. I have studied comparative religion and I think in your own nations and cultures you have knowledge of the consequences of living out of balance with nature and spirit. The native peoples of the world have seen and spoken to you about the destruction of their lives and homelands, the ruination of nature and the desecration of their sacred sites. It is time the United Nations used its rules to investigate these occurrences and stop them now.





The Four Corners area of the Hopi is bordered by four sacred mountains. The spiritual center within is a sacred site our prophecies say will have special purpose in the future for mankind to survive and now should be left in its natural state. All nations must protect this spiritual center.





The Hopi and all original native people hold the land in balance by prayer, fasting and performing ceremonies. Our spiritual Elders still hold the land in the Western Hemisphere in balance for all living beings, including humans. No one should be relocated from their sacred homelands in this Western Hemisphere or anywhere in the world. Acts of forced relocation, such as Public Law 93-531 in the United States, must be repealed.





The United Nations stands on our native homeland. The United Nations talks about human rights, equality and justice and yet the native people have never had a real opportunity to speak to this assembly since its establishment until today. It should be the mission of your nations and this assembly to use your power and rules to examine and work to cure the damage people have done to this Earth and to each other. Hopi Elders know that was your mission and they wait to see whether you will act on it now.





Nature, the First People and the spirit of our ancestors are giving you loud warnings. Today, December 10, 1992, you see increasing floods, more damaging hurricanes, hail storms, climate changes and earthquakes as our prophesies said would come. Even animals and birds are warning us with strange change in their behavior such as the beaching of whales. Why do animals act like they know about the earth's problems and most humans act like they know nothing? If we humans do not wake up to the warnings, the great purification will come to destroy this world just as the previous worlds were destroyed.





(Thomas and Oren Lyons held up a picture of a large rock drawing in Hopiland)





This rock drawing shows part of the Hopi prophecy. There are two paths. The first with technology but separate from natural and spiritual law leads to these jagged lines representing chaos. The lower path is one that remains in harmony with natural law. Here we see a line that represents a choice like a bridge joining the paths. If we return to spiritual harmony and live from our hearts, we can experience a paradise in this world. If we continue only on this upper path, we will come to destruction.





Its up to all of us, as children of Mother Earth, to clean up this mess before it's too late.





The Elders request that during this International Year for the Worlds Indigenous Peoples, the United Nations keep that door open for spiritual leaders from the four corners of the world to come to speak to you for more than a few minutes as soon as possible. The Elders also request that eight investigative teams visit the native areas of the world to observe and tell the truth about what is being done and stop these nations from moving in this self- destructive direction.





If any of you leaders want to learn more about the spiritual vision and power of the Elders, I invite you to come out to Hopiland and sit down with our real spiritual leaders in their sacred Kivas where they will reveal the ancient secrets of survival and balance.





I hope that all members of this assembly that know the spiritual way will not just talk about it, but in order to have real peace and harmony, will follow what it says across the United Nations wall: "They will beat their swords into plowshares and study war no more." Lets, together, do that now!



  Epilogue



The night before the presentations of the native people from around the world to the General Assembly, there was a total eclipse of the moon over New York City and the sky was clear. The evening after the presentation by Mr Banyacya and the other native spokespersons, heavy rain and strong wind began. The weathermen had been calling for a snowstorm but what came the following day were the worst floods in New York's memory. Major highways were washed away by the sea and the United Nations itself experienced flooding of its lower subfloors, forcing a shutdown of its heating and air conditioning and all personnel were dismissed at three o'clock.



    In the ground floor meeting room, where on December 11, native peoples were meeting representatives of various UN agencies, Thomas Banyacya spontaneously called on all the participants, including UN officials, to form a great circle. All the Elders were in the center and Thomas called in some non-native people as well. Each silently said a prayer. The forming of the circle of unity of all people from the four corners of the Earth was more than just a symbolic act. One participant said she had never felt herself to be in such a safe place. Later, several people present noted that no further storm damage occurred in Manhattan and that the storm itself abated that afternoon.
************* 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples NOW!



United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Adopted by the UN General Assembly on September 13, 2007
Online Petition:

Message to President Barack Obama and the US Congress
What kind of land that calls itself free, can deny the
Spirit of Humanity?


From coast to coast, from sea to sea: We are those who complete the history!   From time immemorial, from stars yet to be born: We stand and turn, We return and stand among you to say:   What kind of land that calls itself free, can deny the Spirit of Humanity?

We are those who fulfill the destiny!


*******
NAHUACALLI
Embassy of Indigenous Peoples
SEND A
Message to President Obama and the US Congress
Online Petition
****

Background:
Hopi Message at the House of Mica
*********
 
November 5, 2009

The Honorable Barack Obama
The President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500-0004

Dear Mr. President,

Greetings. Upon this historical event, we wish to thank you for your commitment and dedication to bring forth meaningful change for our Peoples.  On behalf of the Timbisha Shoshone of the Western Shoshone Nation and the many other Nations and Pueblos of Indigenous Peoples of North America, we call upon the government of the United States of America (USA) to act in due haste to adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which was adopted by the UN General Assembly Resolution #61/295 at its 107th plenary on September 13, 2007.

We are confident that through your leadership and peacemaking goals as exemplified in your membership on the UN Human Rights Council, you will adopt this historic human rights instrument.  We ask for this action immediately.

Mr. President, we write this in recognition of what we believe is your sincere commitment to uphold and strengthen the relationships with the US government and American Indian Nations.  In keeping with your invitation to meet leaders of the Nations and Pueblos of Indigenous Peoples of North America which brings us to Washington DC, we offer our greetings to you and extend our hands in the spirit of a renewed and re-visioned expression of this relationship.  A critical part of this relationship is recognizing that the time has come to break the chains from centuries of racism, colonization and ongoing oppression across North America. This can begin to be accomplished by the US adopting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

We have entered a new age – a time of reflection and correcting the wrongs of previous eras.  Let us set forth on a positive pathway together.  As you know, thousands of Indigenous Peoples here in the US, and indeed throughout the world, stood up with trust and faith in your message of equity and justice for all, during your campaign.  As Indigenous Peoples are equal to all other Peoples, it is time that the relationship of our Nations and Pueblos with the US must be redefined.  This is more than a matter of honor.  It is a matter of doing what is right and it is critical to our continuing and ever evolving relationship with the US federal government.

Mr. President, we believe in your commitment for real and systemic change that can imprint upon our future generations and lead the world in a good and honorable way.  This can be accomplished by finally and for the first time ever, fully recognizing the rights of the Indigenous Nations.??

Although an apology for the oppression of US policies that brutalized our homelands and have devastated our peoples, cultures and ecosystems, is well in order and in fact long overdue, it is not enough. Adopting the UNDRIP is a meaningful and responsible step toward long-term reconciliation that can resonate across the globe with Indigenous Peoples of the World.

The implementation of the UNDRIP institutes a new systemic standard that calls for complementary readjustment among entities of the government states and the Nations of the Indigenous Peoples, normalizing peaceful relations and creating partnerships based on mutual respect and cooperation.??

Hopefully, this letter prompts the United States’ immediate attention to and adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  We know this will produce a positive and constructive diplomatic venue to advance the recognition, respect, and protection of the Human Rights and Self-Determination of Indigenous Peoples, both within the domestic and international arenas.

Sincerely,

Joe Kennedy
Chairman, Timbisha Shoshone of the Western Shoshone Nation


###


On October 12, 2007 at the Arizona State Capitol in the chambers of the House of Representatives, a group of Native American Veterans conducted a signing ceremony during which they affirmed the United Nations Declaration on the the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, acting in Self Determination and defiance of the policy of the US State Department and the Bush Administration.  Here is a copy of the the Signature Page from that historic event. The Native American veterans stated that if the United States of America didn't have the guts to sign the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, they would do it for them, and if the US didn't like it then let them just try to stop the ceremony.  Now over two years later, the Native American Veterans still await the response from the Obama administration to their call for recogniution, respect, and justice.
*******

SIGNATURE


After more than three decades of struggle at the international levels of UN diplomacy and centuries of outright genocide and forced assimilation programs, the Indigenous Peoples of the world are now finally acknowledged as full members of global society with inherent rights of Self Determination under international law.  The passage of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the UN General Assembly on September 13, 2007 addresses both individual and collective rights, cultural rights and identity, rights to education, health, employment, language and Treaty Rights.

A new day is upon us, the Indigenous Peoples Day - Nican Tlacah Ilhuitl.


Each one of us, as members of the great and humble family of the Indigenous Nations and Pueblos of this continent Abya Yala, have a story to tell in the long battle to achieve recognition, respect and protection for the rights of our Indigenous Peoples.  Many of the stories are told with sadness and even pain, as we recall the sufferings and trauma that our peoples and the land itself have endured as the result of centuries of colonization.  In this sense we are all veterans of the wars of colonization.  The battle is still long from over; centuries of trauma will take generations to fully heal, yet we have arrived at the dawn of the day which was foretold by our traditions and prophecies.

And how long is this day? How long shall it last?  This day - the Nican Tlacah Ilhuitl - began with the first rays of the original light of creation, when Life Giver made known the message and meaning of life itself, among all of our relations of the natural world. We, as Indigenous Peoples of the entire world continue to carry the meaning of this message in our hearts and endeavor to pass this sacred tradition on to our future generations.

May our signatures here be a sign, of our continued commitment to encounter one another and all of our brothers and sisters of the Family of Humanity along the good road of Self Respect and Self Determination.

How long is this day? As long as the Light….



Signature:_______________________________________________________________


Nation(s) of Indigenous Peoples_____________________________________________


Date: October 12, 2007
Arizona State Capitol
Land of the Braves

********************
United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Preliminary Study on the Doctrine of Discovery

Adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples NOW!



United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Adopted by the UN General Assembly on September 13, 2007
Online Petition:

Message to President Barack Obama and the US Congress
What kind of land that calls itself free, can deny the
Spirit of Humanity?


From coast to coast, from sea to sea: We are those who complete the history!   From time immemorial, from stars yet to be born: We stand and turn, We return and stand among you to say:   What kind of land that calls itself free, can deny the Spirit of Humanity?

We are those who fulfill the destiny!


*******
NAHUACALLI
Embassy of Indigenous Peoples
SEND A
Message to President Obama and the US Congress
Online Petition
****

Background:
Hopi Message at the House of Mica
*********
 
November 5, 2009

The Honorable Barack Obama
The President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500-0004

Dear Mr. President,

Greetings. Upon this historical event, we wish to thank you for your commitment and dedication to bring forth meaningful change for our Peoples.  On behalf of the Timbisha Shoshone of the Western Shoshone Nation and the many other Nations and Pueblos of Indigenous Peoples of North America, we call upon the government of the United States of America (USA) to act in due haste to adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which was adopted by the UN General Assembly Resolution #61/295 at its 107th plenary on September 13, 2007.

We are confident that through your leadership and peacemaking goals as exemplified in your membership on the UN Human Rights Council, you will adopt this historic human rights instrument.  We ask for this action immediately.

Mr. President, we write this in recognition of what we believe is your sincere commitment to uphold and strengthen the relationships with the US government and American Indian Nations.  In keeping with your invitation to meet leaders of the Nations and Pueblos of Indigenous Peoples of North America which brings us to Washington DC, we offer our greetings to you and extend our hands in the spirit of a renewed and re-visioned expression of this relationship.  A critical part of this relationship is recognizing that the time has come to break the chains from centuries of racism, colonization and ongoing oppression across North America. This can begin to be accomplished by the US adopting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

We have entered a new age – a time of reflection and correcting the wrongs of previous eras.  Let us set forth on a positive pathway together.  As you know, thousands of Indigenous Peoples here in the US, and indeed throughout the world, stood up with trust and faith in your message of equity and justice for all, during your campaign.  As Indigenous Peoples are equal to all other Peoples, it is time that the relationship of our Nations and Pueblos with the US must be redefined.  This is more than a matter of honor.  It is a matter of doing what is right and it is critical to our continuing and ever evolving relationship with the US federal government.

Mr. President, we believe in your commitment for real and systemic change that can imprint upon our future generations and lead the world in a good and honorable way.  This can be accomplished by finally and for the first time ever, fully recognizing the rights of the Indigenous Nations.

Although an apology for the oppression of US policies that brutalized our homelands and have devastated our peoples, cultures and ecosystems, is well in order and in fact long overdue, it is not enough. Adopting the UNDRIP is a meaningful and responsible step toward long-term reconciliation that can resonate across the globe with Indigenous Peoples of the World.

The implementation of the UNDRIP institutes a new systemic standard that calls for complementary readjustment among entities of the government states and the Nations of the Indigenous Peoples, normalizing peaceful relations and creating partnerships based on mutual respect and cooperation.

Hopefully, this letter prompts the United States’ immediate attention to and adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  We know this will produce a positive and constructive diplomatic venue to advance the recognition, respect, and protection of the Human Rights and Self-Determination of Indigenous Peoples, both within the domestic and international arenas.

Sincerely,

Joe Kennedy
Chairman, Timbisha Shoshone of the Western Shoshone Nation


###


On October 12, 2007 at the Arizona State Capitol in the chambers of the House of Representatives, a group of Native American Veterans conducted a signing ceremony during which they affirmed the United Nations Declaration on the the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, acting in Self Determination and defiance of the policy of the US State Department and the Bush Administration.  Here is a copy of the the Signature Page from that historic event. The Native American veterans stated that if the United States of America didn't have the guts to sign the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, they would do it for them, and if the US didn't like it then let them just try to stop the ceremony.  Now over two years later, the Native American Veterans still await the response from the Obama administration to their call for recogniution, respect, and justice.
*******

SIGNATURE


After more than three decades of struggle at the international levels of UN diplomacy and centuries of outright genocide and forced assimilation programs, the Indigenous Peoples of the world are now finally acknowledged as full members of global society with inherent rights of Self Determination under international law.  The passage of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the UN General Assembly on September 13, 2007 addresses both individual and collective rights, cultural rights and identity, rights to education, health, employment, language and Treaty Rights.

A new day is upon us, the Indigenous Peoples Day - Nican Tlacah Ilhuitl.


Each one of us, as members of the great and humble family of the Indigenous Nations and Pueblos of this continent Abya Yala, have a story to tell in the long battle to achieve recognition, respect and protection for the rights of our Indigenous Peoples.  Many of the stories are told with sadness and even pain, as we recall the sufferings and trauma that our peoples and the land itself have endured as the result of centuries of colonization.  In this sense we are all veterans of the wars of colonization.  The battle is still long from over; centuries of trauma will take generations to fully heal, yet we have arrived at the dawn of the day which was foretold by our traditions and prophecies.

And how long is this day? How long shall it last?  This day - the Nican Tlacah Ilhuitl - began with the first rays of the original light of creation, when Life Giver made known the message and meaning of life itself, among all of our relations of the natural world. We, as Indigenous Peoples of the entire world continue to carry the meaning of this message in our hearts and endeavor to pass this sacred tradition on to our future generations.

May our signatures here be a sign, of our continued commitment to encounter one another and all of our brothers and sisters of the Family of Humanity along the good road of Self Respect and Self Determination.

How long is this day? As long as the Light….



Signature:_______________________________________________________________


Nation(s) of Indigenous Peoples_____________________________________________


Date: October 12, 2007
Arizona State Capitol
Land of the Braves

********************
United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Preliminary Study on the Doctrine of Discovery

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mandate of Umunukunu: Message from the Elder Brothers


POSITION STATEMENT OF THE PUEBLO ARHUACO REGARDING THE CARE AND USE OF THE WATERS OF THE SIERRA NEVADA DE SANTA MARTA, COLOMBIA
Presented to the 7th Inter-American Dialogue on Water Management
Medellin, Colombia
November 13-19, 2011

In Nabusímake, on February 13, 2010, at the General Assembly of the Pueblo Arhuaco, with our authorities and Mamos and fully gathered, decide to endorse and adopt as a position statement the text of the document titled "MANDATE OF SÉYNIMIN KA'DUKWU (GWI'GAKA) CONCERNING THE CARE AND USE OF THE WATERS OF THE SIERRA NEVADA OF SANTA MARTA " presented by the Mamos of the Eastern Zone of the Reservation, for the care and use of the waters of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, whose contents is as follows:


In Kunkurwa of Gwi'gaka (Séynimin), one of the four main centers of learning and spirituality of Arhuaco territory, the Mamos of the Eastern Zone, accompanied by the authorities of each region and in analysis of the situation presented in our ancestral territory of the Sierra Nevada, in relation to the care and use of waters, the following positions which originate from the Kaku Jina, who are the elders of our spiritual world that defend the Arhuaco and the natural laws that govern the territory.


This position is the Mandate that our authorities must enforce and Younger Brother must respect, for they apply to our territory and therefore should be recognized by law enforcement institutions from local to regional and national levels, especially those that are part of the state and thus realize the obligation to recognize and protect the culture of all ethnicities in all manifestations, by virtue of constitutional mandate.

THE WATERS OF THE SIERRA NEVADA ARE AN INTEGRAL PART OF OUR TERRITORIES AND CANNOT BE TREATED SEPARATELY WITH ISOLATED PROPERTY LAWS. 

The waters are the lifeblood of Mother Earth.  Water functions to avoid heating, cooling the earth and its environment, balancing the actions of the fire element.  Water is a Life Force that emanates from our Mother, from our spiritual origin.  Is the Mother that gives instructions on how to care for and make use of water, so that it is not depleted and may have always have the conditions to live.
But the Younger Brother now has invented laws for the management of the waters, and is trying to enforce them also in our territory.  We understand your concerns and share these, but this is not the way to protect the waters, at least in our territory.  Applying these standards would be one more act of aggression against our environment and an insult to the Spiritual Mother, which could lead to an increased scarcity of water and the occurrence of cyclones and hurricanes.

Although the adverse situation under which we have lived due to the Younger Brother's actions, has not allowed us to fully comply with the mandate of the Spiritual Mother, we have been persisted and the effect can be seen in the normal flow of water and rainfall patterns in our territory, not so in the territory of the younger brother, where the river waters flood and rainfall are in short supply. 

This is due to the mismanagement of the natural environment and especially waters, which interrupt the cycle of currents flowing from the Sierra Nevada and dying on the journey before reaching the sea, where they must complete their function of balance, of cooling and re-nutrition.  Thus, the seawater tends to warm and the ice pack of the Sierra Nevada tends to disappear.  For the same reason of the effect of heat, earthquakes and hurricanes ensue, and we have the disappearance of many species.  More damaging still is the construction of dams or reservoirs, something we cannot permit, at least within not within our ancestral territories.  No dams or reservoirs that disrupt the normal flow of water should be built, as this would force the renunciation of our reason for being on the planet and we would become complicit in the rapid deterioration and violation of the natural conditions for the life of all species. Today, many animal and plant species of both land and water are disappearing.

The construction project of the dam of in Los Bezotes is a threat to the life of all beings Guatapurí river basin in the territory of the Sierra Nevada and the surrounding plains.  If it should materialize, the negative effects would appear slowly and later would be irreversible.

The Indigenous Peoples of the Sierra Nevada and all those who love nature and life must unite to stop the Bezotes Reservoir project which is an assault on the natural world.  The Mamos Arhuaco offer their support and spiritual protection for the protection of the gifts of nature given by the Creator.

Help us comply with this mandate of the spiritual fathers (Kaku Jina) for the good of all peoples, the future generations and all life on the planet.
For the record: Signed in Gwi'gaka (Séynimin) Sierra Nevada, the first day of November 2009. (Original signed by Mamos and authorities of the Eastern Zone).

The position here taken against water management plans, in terms of the construction of reservoirs and dams and the arguments set forth in the above text are given with the full support of the other Mamos and authorities of the Arhuaco territory, having found that the foundations of our traditional knowledge outlined here, apply not only regarding the concerns of the Guatapurí River basin, but this position serves as valid for the entire ancestral territory of the Pueblo Arhuaco, and therefore we officialize this text as General Position Statement of the Arhuaco to serve as guideline in analogous situations in any location of our ancestral territory.

For the record, signed in Nabusímake, Resguardo Arhuaco on the thirteenth day of February, two thousand ten.


EXTRACT:
Inter American Commission of Human Rights
2010 Report
COLOMBIA
p.288

160.  The indigenous peoples of Colombia have complained before various international instances that among the risk factors that currently threaten their physical and cultural existence are the infrastructural and economic exploitation projects that are being planned and implemented within their territories, without due respect for their individual and collective rights, and in certain cases accompanied by violence by armed groups.


161.  As the Constitutional Court has explained, the development of infrastructure megaprojects or large-scale exploitation of the natural resources has been linked, in various cases, to the violence committed against the indigenous communities by armed groups participating in the conflict.   In this sense, the Court has described the development of economic activities on indigenous territories as one of the socio-economic and territorial processes connected with the armed conflict that have a disproportionate impact on the indigenous population; and explained in this respect that in various cases, the armed actors interested in the development of economic exploitation or infrastructural megaprojects on indigenous lands have employed violence strategically against the indigenous peoples, in order to silence their opposition and seize their lands.   In August 2010, the United Nations System in Colombia requested the State "to adopt special precautionary measures to protect the integrity and right to life of the indigenous leaders participating in consultations on economic projects and defending the indigenous territory in consultation processes held in municipalities identified by the Ombudsman’s Early Warning System (SAT) as facing an elevated risk of violence."   The State informed the IACHR that regarding previous consultations on projects with communities in municipalities with early warning systems, "the previous consultation group of the Ministry of the Interior and Justice has identified the projects with a view to fulfilling the role of guarantor of the fundamental right of prior consultation and through the same channel coordinate the inter-institutional guarantee and protection of the rights to life, liberty, security, and integrity of the ethnic groups that inhabit those areas.”

162.  As concerns the infrastructure projects, it is known that Colombia plans to construct or has started the construction work on a number of large-scale ventures, such as hydroelectric dams, ports or irrigation zones.  In addition, it has become involved in infrastructural integration processes in Latin America, such as the Integration Initiative of the South American Regional Infrastructure (IIRSA).*  Multiple far-reaching infrastructure projects will be built on indigenous territories, or will impact on them directly; such is the case, for example, of the Los Bezotes Dam, the Río Ranchería Reservoir and the Brisa Multipurpose Port, which will profoundly affect the lands of the indigenous Arhuaco, Kogui, Wiwa and Kankuamo peoples of the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta, and the Wayúu, of la Guajira.

163.  The exploration initiatives and mineral  and hydrocarbon  mining operations adopted by the National Government have also caused great concern among the indigenous peoples, since they will affect many ancestral lands.  Among the foreseeable effects of these projects are profound ecological degradation, damage to or destruction of sacred sites, the influx of non-indigenous actors onto the territories, and the impact on the social organization structures of the respective peoples .

164.  One of the areas of greatest concern for the indigenous peoples of the country has been the prior consultation procedures.  Even though Colombia has a relatively sophisticated regulatory framework in this area , according to the ONIC, "consultation has been turned into a constant political and cultural struggle for some peoples, and the main cause of conflict and divisions within the organizations."  Indigenous peoples have often reiterated and made public their complaints that the Government merely views prior consultations as formal procedures to be exhausted in order to push through investment and development projects or mining concessions within ancestral lands, without giving substantive consideration to the positions of the peoples and communities affected, even when the latter demonstrate their opposition to the project under consultation.  In addition, Colombian indigenous peoples have complained that during the prior consultation processes, the concessionaries or the companies hoping to obtain a concession exert themselves in order to gain the goodwill of community members by offering small handouts or material inducements, therefore taking advantage of their basic needs and the neglect by the State.

165.  In 2010, the Constitutional Court decided to suspend operations on the Mandé Norte mining project that would have affected an area of great spiritual significance for the Embera people, affecting more than eleven communities of the Río Murindó and Uradá Jiguamiandó reserves, since there had been no prior consultation processes in accordance with the State of Colombia's international and constitutional obligations.   The IACHR was informed that the Government contested the validity of this decision before the full Court, and a decision on this appeal is pending .  The IACHR recalls that under the Inter-American Human Rights instruments, investment or development plans or projects or concessions for mining natural resources on indigenous land that (i) are large-scale and (ii) might cause a profound impact on the living conditions of the communities or peoples affected, not only require prior consultation in good faith, in an informed and culturally adequate way, but also require the consent of the respective indigenous peoples.

166.  In terms of the right to land, continued and worsening territorial disputes have also been reported between indigenous peoples and communities and settlers or other non-indigenous individuals interested in seizing their ancestral lands.  The State has failed to respond actively and to protect the indigenous peoples from acts of violence aimed at driving them off their lands.  Thus, for example, there was a complaint about a skirmish occurring between various settlers and indigenous people on October 9, 2010, on the Yukpa people's Iroka Reserve, in the Serranía del Perijá, Cesar Department.  As a consequence of this, the Yukpa leader, Isaías Montes, was killed with a machete and the indigenous Omar Franco and Juan García, among others, were seriously injured.   The IACHR emphasizes that indigenous peoples have the right to be protected by the State from attack by third parties, especially when these attacks occur in the context of conflicts for ancestral lands.   In cases such as this, the State authorities have the duty to (i) prevent these conflicts from occurring, (ii) protect the indigenous communities from violent attack, and (iii) effectively investigate and punish the perpetrators.

167.  The protection of the right to property over land under Article 21 of the American Convention, has particular importance for indigenous peoples, since the guarantee of the right to territorial property is a fundamental platform for the development of the indigenous communities' culture, spiritual life, integrity and economic survival.   It constitutes a prerequisite for the rights to live in conditions of dignity, to food, to water, to health,  to honor and dignity, and to free movement and residence.


For the IACHR "the protection of the right to property of indigenous peoples over their ancestral lands is a matter of special importance, since its effective enjoyment involves not only protecting an economic entity but the protection of the human rights of a collective who bases its economic, social and cultural development in relation to its land."

The Inter-American Court, in turn, has underlined the fact that territorial rights of indigenous peoples are related to "the collective right to survival as an organized people, controlling their environment as a necessary condition for their cultural growth, for their own development and for realizing their life goals."   The IACHR calls upon the State of Colombia to redouble its efforts to protect the effective enjoyment of indigenous peoples of their right to land, as a first step to ensure their fundamental rights in the context of the internal armed conflict.

 *  Criticism of the South American Regional Infrastructure Project
(IIRSA)
According to Conservation International scientist Tim Killeen, who conducted a study on the IIRSA, the current plans could lead to the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and have profound and far-reaching consequences.

The study shows that cutting and burning of the forests could seriously imperil the multibillion-dollar agriculture industry of the Rio Plata basin, as well as destroy the ecosystems that are home to indigenous people. According to the study, the IIRSA would also wipe out some of Earth’s richest storehouses of terrestrial and freshwater life and would negatively affect climate change by releasing into the atmosphere the huge quantities of carbon dioxide stored in the biomass of the tropical forest—estimated at about twenty times the world’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions.

According to Killeen, the IIRSA does not have to be destructive: "A visionary initiative such as IIRSA should be visionary in all of its dimensions, and should incorporate measures to ensure that the region’s renewable natural resources are conserved and its traditional communities strengthened."



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