21 Jun 2009

Indigenous womens' manifesto

The indigenous are a vanguard for serious ecological politics on the planet we live, each victory they win is a victory for the rest of humanity and the rest of nature.

Here is the indigenous womens manifesto

Latin America: Manifesto of the First Continental Summit of Indigenous Women
Puno, Peru -- May 27-28, 2009 -- We, indigenous women gathered in the sacred lands of Lake Titicaca, after two days of discussions and deliberation raise our voices in these times when Abya Yala’s[1] womb is once more with childbirth pains, to give birth to the new Pachakutik [2] for a better life on our planet. We, indigenous women, have had a direct input into the historical process of transformation of our peoples through our proposals and actions in the various struggles taking place and engendered from the indigenous movements.

We are the carriers, conduits of our cultural and genetic make-up; we gestate and brood life; together with men, we are the axis of the family unit and society. We join our wombs to our mother earth’s womb to give birth to new times in this Latin American continent where in many countries millions of people, impoverished by the neoliberal system, raise their voices to say ENOUGH to oppression, exploitation and the looting of our wealth. We therefore join in the liberation struggles taking place throughout our continent.

We gather here at this summit, with our hearts, minds, hands and wombs, for the purpose of seeking alternatives to eliminate injustice, discrimination, machismo and violence against women, and to return to our ways of mutual respect and a life of harmony with the planet. Whereas women are part of nature and the macrocosm, we are called to defend and take care of our mother earth, because from her comes our ancient history and culture, that make us what we are: indigenous peoples under the protection and spiritual guidance of our parents and grandparents who gave life to all the human beings that now inhabit this wonderful planet, even though a few oligarchs and imperialists seek to plague it with death in their quest for their god called greed. Therefore, before the memory of our martyrs, heroes, leaders, we present to our extended families (Ayllus), communities, peoples and nations of the world the conclusions of our rebellious hearts.

Resolutions and agreements:
Build a continental agenda that reflects the defence of collective rights and the human rights of indigenous women and which follows up the mandates of the First Continental Summit of Indigenous Women.

Form the Continental Coordinator of Abya Yala Indigenous Women to defend our mother earth; strengthen our organisations; promote policy and training proposals; and create spaces for sharing experiences in various fields: economic, political, social, and cultural amongst others. Furthermore, this will be the representative and referential body for Abya Yala women before national and international entities.
We urge on international entities the reform of international instruments, related to indigenous peoples, so as to incorporate the rights of women and submit alternative reports on progress and compliance.

We are in solidarity with and support the struggles of peoples of Amazonian Peru and demand the government of Peru immediately repeal all laws and decrees which violate the territorial rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon. At the same time, we demand the government of Peru repeal the state of emergency in the departments where it has been decreed.

We express full solidarity and support for the government of President Evo Morales.
We support the Minga [4] resistance undertaken by the indigenous peoples of Colombia and condemn acts of genocide and extermination against the indigenous movement in Colombia and other countries.

We strongly reject the persecution of social protest and government repression of demonstrations and actions in defence of land rights and the life of indigenous peoples.

We demand from national governments a real and wholistic agrarian reform that safeguards land to preserve food sovereignty.

We demand that governments create institutions and policies for the care and protection of migrants, taking into account their cultural diversity.

We demand that the state declares our lands and territories inviolable, inalienable and unable to be expropriated, requiring respective titles.

We support the founding of the Climate Justice Court so as to demand developed countries and transnationals repair and not damage the biodiversity of the Pachamama [5].

We reject biofuels because they impoverish the land and place at risk food sovereignty and the life of natural ecosystems.

We demand decriminalisation of the cultivation of the sacred coca leaf.

We demand an end to genocide and ethnocide, which especially affects our indigenous peoples, carried out by the army, paramilitaries and others, which injure, intimidate and violate the rights of people in every country. We, the women of the First Continental Summit of Indigenous Women, do not want to see more widows, more orphans. We struggle for peace, for life and for world dignity.

We struggle to end violence committed by: the army, multinationals, trans-nationals and some NGOs; that engender division in our communities, particularly among women. This brings about all kinds of violence: physical, psychological, sexual, political, financial, institutional, and symbolic among others.

We struggle for the freedom of men and women who are imprisoned in army and public jails for their fight in defence of Mother Earth and territories, and in defence of the collective rights of indigenous peoples – as it is the case of Leonard Peltier who has been condemned to life in prison in the US.

We demand the immediate withdrawal of the foreign multinational companies in our territories which are exploiting our mother earth and damaging the environment.

We, the women of Abya Yala, demand that the government of Alan Garcia stops granting political asylum to individuals who have violated human rights, as in the case of the ex-ministers of Bolivia’s Gonzalo Sanchez de Losada.

The First Continental Summit of Indigenous Women has decided that the Second Continental Summit will take place in Bolivia together with the Fifth Continental Summit of Indigenous Peoples and Nations.

To follow up the implementation of the UN declaration of the rights of the indigenous peoples, in various countries, in particular on themes related to indigenous women.

To promote a continental mobilisation in defence of Mother Earth, to be held on October 12.
“I have walked everywhere, but never negotiated with the blood of my people” -- Transito Amaguana

First Continental Summit of Indigenous Women Host Team, Puno, Peru, May 27-28, 2009.
1. "Abya Yala" means "Continent of Life" in the language of the Kuna peoples of Panama and Colombia. http://abyayala.nativeweb.org
2. Pachakutik is a Quechua word which signifies change, rebirth, transformation, and the coming of a new era.
3. Ayllu is a word in both the Quechua and Aymara languages referring to a network of families in a given area.
4. "La Minga" means a gathering of all the peoples, and indigenous leadership only call for it when something very important needs to be addressed. (http://dallaspeacecenter.org/node/3881).
5. Pachamama means Mother Earth, a goddess revered by indigenous peoples of the Andes.
[Published in Llapa Runaq Hatariynin, 34-Inti Raymi 2009. Translation by Marlene Obeid and Tim Anderson, Sydney, June 15, 2009.]

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