Calls for Tribunal of Humanity

FYI. Ecuador Summit of Indigenous Organizations and Nations expresses support for Western Shoshone.

Carrie Dann

Ecuador hosts indigenous summit

Posted: August 10, 2004 - 9:18am EST
by: Brenda Norrell / Southwest Staff Reporter / Indian Country Today

QUITO, Ecuador - Indigenous from 64 nations gathered to unite in their struggle against the oppressive policies of globalization and free trade leading to increased hunger and desperation for the world’s indigenous farmers, during the Second Continental Summit of Indigenous Peoples and Nations of Abya Yala (the Americas.)

Tupac Enrique Acosta, coordinator of Tonatierra community-based action organization in Phoenix, Ariz., said the summit in Quito on July 25 supported the rights of the Western Shoshone and called for an extensive investigation of human rights abuses of indigenous peoples.

"The Treaty of Teotihuacan, proclaimed in Mexico at the First Summit of Indigenous Organizations and Nations, was reaffirmed at this Summit of Abya Yala in the territory of the Kitu Kara nation before the Sacred Fire," Enrique said.

"We were successful in getting support for the Western Shoshone Nation at the summit, which is also calling for a Tribunal of Humanity, in the Court of the Indigenous Peoples, on the issue of the Papal Bull of Alexander VI in 1493, the Doctrine of Discovery."

During the summit, indigenous issued a statement opposing the free trade agreement, which Ecuador, Colombia and Peru are negotiating with the United States. In the Quito Declaration presented to the Forum, participants demanded governments free indigenous leaders arrested for seeking autonomy and return cultural artwork that has been taken out of the countries of origin.

They also urged governments to allow the free movement of Indians living in border areas, and to respect indigenous territories.

The summit stated in its declaration that national governments following the lines of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and IADB, are devastating indigenous with the payment of the external debt and are reversing their collective right to the earth. Further, they are modifying legislation to permit the privatization of resources and allowing companies to appropriate indigenous land and resources.

Indigenous gathered at the Miguel del Hierro de las Hermanas Lauritas school, the host location of the Second Continental Summit of Indigenous Peoples and Nations of Abya Yala.

The delegations traveled through the Avenue of America, gathering at the Indo America Plaza where they presented a special act of solidarity for hunger-striking Jubilados (pensioners) of Ecuador. Following this, the massive march continued down Patria Avenue, passing the United States Embassy and finally congregating in the Salesiana University Coliseum where they conducted the ceremony of Sacred Fire.

Spiritual leader Jaime Pilatu’a presided over the ceremony. Tupac Enrique Acosta, a representative of the first summit that took place in Teotihuacan, Mexico in 2000, spoke.

Enrique reminded the summit of the sacred fire lit 14 years ago, during the First Continental Encounter of Indigenous Peoples, a gathering that was also organized by the CONAIE in 1990 in Quito.

Enrique said since then the sacred fire began to journey, leaving spiritual footprints at gatherings of the indigenous peoples of the hemisphere. The sacred fire was presented to the organizers of the second summit responsible for the 2004 gathering.

Another representative of the second summit made a symbolic exchange of ceremonial staffs with the representatives of the Nasa indigenous peoples of Colombia. When receiving the staff, the Nasa representative spoke of the paramilitaries waging war against the indigenous peoples of Colombia.

"Today, we indigenous peoples of Colombia, pay the consequences of this because our territories are being tainted with blood, and then abandoned, leaving many children orphans. This creates an environment of oppression for us as indigenous peoples, because we defend life, our territories, and our way of living," the Nasa representative said.

The day concluded with cultural sharing, including dancing and musical performances, presented by the different groups to welcome the many indigenous peoples of the continent.

In the working group on communications and indigenous peoples at the summit, grandfathers and grandmothers were recognized as ‘the origin of the treasured memories and ancestral knowledge."

"As communication specialists of the indigenous peoples of Abya Yala we intend to maintain and strengthen the mandates and resolutions of the First Continental Indigenous Summit of Teotihuacan 2000, where our voices and the sacred fire were bound together, in a living symbolism that must be present in the decision making process of our communities and nations," the working group said.

In its mandates, the working group vowed to reclaim the power of the "word," as a sacred principle.

While encouraging traditional forms of communication and the transmission of wisdom, the working group encouraged the storytellers. "Those of us who assume responsibility in terms of communication accept the historical responsibility to serve as harvester, transmitter and storyteller of the history of our indigenous peoples of the continent Abya Yala in accompaniment and strengthened by the sacred."

Indigenous participants claimed the right of access and the use of information and communication technology, without risking the integrity of indigenous culture.

Participants were from Uruguay, Brazil, Kechua Aymaras of Bolivia, Mapuches of Chile, Kechuas of Peru, Kichwas of Ecuador, Naza of Colombia, Mexico and Holanda.

Enrique said Maya in Guatemala have accepted to lead the next phase of the movement, and will be hosting the next summit at a time to be announced at a later date.

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