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+---Topic: The understanding of indigenous peoples started by CPNN Administrator

Posted by: CPNN Administrator on Dec. 31 1999,17:00

This discussion question applies to the following articles:

< The White Tree of Peace >
< World Social Forum in Belem, Brazil >
< Rosalina Tuyuc Velásquez: Trabaja en la construcción de una Guatemala incluyente. >
< Rosalina Tuyuc Velasquez: Constructing an Inclusive Guatemala >
< Kari-Oca II Declaration: Indigenous Peoples at Rio +20 reject the Green Economy and REDD >
< Green Light for Indigenous Intercultural University Amawtay Wasi of Ecuador >
< Wilfredo Camacho: Profesor de Culturas Andinas [Bolivia] >
< Wilfredo Camacho: Professor of Andean Culture [Bolivia] >
< Participantes ao Fórum Pan-africano recomendam valorização da cultura africana >
< Participants in the Pan-African Forum Recommend the Valorization of African Culture >
< Inauguran una escuela por la paz en el mundo maya del altiplano guatemalteco >
< A school for peace inaugurated in the Maya world in the Guatemalan highlands >
< First Native American Woman Becomes Federal Judge >
< Bachelet crea Ministerio de Pueblos Indígenas en Chile >
< President Creates Ministry of Indigenous People in Chile >
< United Nations: Experts call for efforts to save indigenous languages >
< Cherán. 5 years of self-government in an indigenous community in Mexico >
< USA/Ecuador: Film festival to present story of roots, nature >

For more recent articles and discussion, click < here. >

Posted by: Tony Dominski on May 29 2007,17:55

I wish I had been at the Iroquois ceremony and helped to bury weapons underneath the peace tree.

At the root of many idigenous cultures is a genuine and powerful spirituality.  The shamans of high spiritual develoment were man and woman of peace.  They saw and loved the goodness in nature and at the heart of human beings.

Many indigenous people, not under the influence of consumerism and TV, are often calmer than "richer" cultures who are running the rat race of getting and spending.  Also their ethic of sharing is often well developed.

The economically developed cultures could use the example of indigenous people to live more calmly and simply and in greater harmony with nature.  It behooves developed nations to take the best from the past as they race forward into an uncertain future.

Posted by: Christine Chauvin on Sep. 17 2007,13:30

[see below for English version.]

Je pense en effet que dans nos sociétés dites ''développées'' nous avons égaré une partie de notre mémoire originelle, celle où nous avions gravé et dessiné  nos peintures rupestres, parmi les innombrables découvertes de notre apprentissage d'Homme.

Ceci, au profit de valeurs matérielles qui nous ont éloignés de plus en plus de la matrice naturelle de notre environnement.

Nous ne partageons plus les choses simples; notre symbolique préfère le profit.

En lisant le texte sur la Cérémonie Iroquoise de l'Arbre Blanc de la Paix et son commentaire, je me suis souvenue d'un texte magnifique qui bien que vieux de plus de 150 ans ( daté de 1854), a gardé toute son actualité.  Il s'agit de la réponse du Chef Seattle au Gouverneur Isaac Stevens qui offrait d'acheter une large zone du territoire indien, et promettait une réserve pour le peuple indien.

Cette page a été décrite comme une des plus profondes déclarations faites sur l'environnement.

"Comment peut-on vendre ou acheter le ciel, la chaleur de la terre ? Cela nous semble étrange. Si la fraîcheur de l'air et le murmure de l'eau ne nous appartiennent pas, comment peut-on les vendre ?

     Pour mon peuple, il n'y a pas un coin de cette terre qui ne soit sacré.  Une aiguille de pin qui scintille, un rivage sablonneux, une brume légère, tout est saint aux yeux et dans la mémoire de ceux de mon peuple. La sève qui monte dans l'arbre porte en elle la mémoire des Peaux-Rouges. Les morts des Blancs oublient leur pays natal quand ils s'en vont dans les étoiles. Nos morts n'oublient jamais cette terre si belle, puisque c'est la mère du Peau-Rouge.

    Nous faisons partie de la terre et elle fait partie de nous. Les fleurs qui sentent si bon sont nos sœurs, les cerfs, les chevaux, les grands aigles sont nos frères ; les crêtes rocailleuses, l'humidité des Prairies, la chaleur du corps des poneys et l'homme appartiennent à la même famille.

    Ainsi, quand le grand chef blanc de Washington me fait dire qu'il veut acheter notre terre, il nous demande beaucoup.../.."

.../.... suite       < >      en français
et  pour le texte en Anglais (1ère version)   voir

Oui, je pense que comprendre les peuples Indigènes, à travers le monde, ne peut que nous aider à apprendre à cultiver la Paix. Nous ne pouvons pas nier l'importance de notre Histoire. L'Homme et la Nature est une histoire d'Amour ! Ne sommes nous pas au coeur et au centre d'équilibres physiques et spirituels liés à l'Univers ?  Tout est à la fois, infiniment grand et infiniment petit ...  Rien de plus !

English text

I think indeed that in our so-called "developed" countries  we lost part of our original memory, that which we had engraved and drawn as cave paintings, among the innumerable discoveries in our 'apprenticeship' as human beings.

Along with our obsession with profits and material values, this has alienated us more and more from the natural matrix of our environment.

We no longer share simple things; instead we are always looking for profits!

In reading the text on the Iroquois Ceremony of the White Tree of Peace and Tony's comment, I am reminded of a splendid text which although written more than 150 years ago (dating from 1854), it has kept its relevance for today.  It consists of the reply of the Indian Chief Seattle to the American Governor Isaac Stevens who offered to buy a broad zone of the Indian territory, and promised a "reserve" on it for the Indian people.

This text has been described as one of the deepest statements ever made about the environment.

"How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?

Every part of this earth is sacred to my people.
Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. The sap which courses through the trees carries the memories of the red man.
The white man's dead forget the country of their birth when they go to walk among the stars. Our dead never forget this beautiful earth, for it is the mother of the red man.
We are part of the earth and it is part of us.
The perfumed flowers are our sisters; the deer, the horse, the great eagle, these are our brothers.
The rocky crests, the juices in the meadows, the body heat of the pony, and man--all belong to the same family.

So, when the Great Chief in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy land, he asks much of us. .../.." ... continuation
< > in French and for the English text (1st version) to see < >

Yes, I think that to understand the indigenous peoples throughout the world can only help us learn how to cultivate Peace.  We cannot deny the importance of our History.  Man and Nature are a history of Love!  Are we not in the heart of the Universe and in physical and spiritual equilibrium with it? All is at the same time, infinitely large and infinitely small... Nothing more!

Posted by: Moges on Jan. 07 2012,01:23

I am working on peace using edgenous knowldge in Ethiopia. Currently we have resolved 'conflicts' among 1500 indviduals in a small community Is any one interested to see how we do it.

Posted by: CPNN Administrator on Jan. 07 2012,11:19

Yes, Moges, we would like to know more.  CPNN has received a request to find examplers of  indigenous conflict resolution throughout Africa.
Posted by: Moges on Jan. 27 2012,13:42

I would be glad to get connected with interested groups to discuss the issue further.  Some time later I will send some of the documents to be discussed in your website.
Posted by: David Adams on June 26 2012,04:15

The Kari-Oca II Declaration of 2012 is posted here in English.  It is also available in < Portuguese > and < Spanish >.  The Kari-Oca Declaration of 1992 is available < here >.

Kari-Oca 2 Declaration
"Indigenous Peoples Global Conference on Rio+20 and Mother Earth"

We, the Indigenous Peoples of Mother Earth assembled at the site of Kari-Oka I, sacred Kari-Oka Púku, Rio de Janeiro to participate in the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20, thank the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil for welcoming us to their territories. We reaffirm our responsibility to speak for the protection and enhancement of the well-being of Mother Earth, nature and future generations of our Indigenous Peoples and all humanity and life. We recognize the significance of this second convening of Indigenous Peoples of the world and reaffirm the historic 1992 meeting of the Kari-Oca I, where Indigenous Peoples issued The Kari-Oca Declaration and the Indigenous Peoples Earth Charter. The Kari-Oca conference, and the mobilization of Indigenous Peoples around the first UN Earth Summit, marked a big step forward for an international movement for Indigenous Peoples' rights and the important role that Indigenous Peoples play in conservation and sustainable development. We also reaffirm the Manaus Declaration on the convening of Kari-Oca 2 as the international gathering of Indigenous Peoples for Rio+20.

We see the goals of UNCSD Rio+20, the "Green Economy" and its premise that the world can only "save" nature by commodifying its life giving and life sustaining capacities as a continuation of the colonialism that Indigenous Peoples and our Mother Earth have faced and resisted for 520 years. The "Green Economy" promises to eradicate poverty but in fact will only favor and respond to multinational enterprises and capitalism. It is a continuation of a global economy based upon fossil fuels, the destruction of the environment by exploiting nature through extractive industries such as mining, oil exploration and production, intensive mono-culture agriculture, and other capitalist investments. All of these efforts are directed toward profit and the accumulation of capital by the few.

Since Rio 1992, we as Indigenous Peoples see that colonization has become the very basis of the globalization of trade and the dominant capitalist global economy. The exploitation and plunder of the world's ecosystems and biodiversity, as well as the violations of the inherent rights of Indigenous Peoples that depend on them, have intensified. Our rights to self determination, to our own governance and own self-determined development, our inherent rights to our lands, territories and resources are increasingly and alarmingly under attack by the collaboration of governments and transnational corporations. Indigenous activists and leaders defending their territories continue to suffer repression, militarization, including assassination, imprisonment, harassment and vilification as "terrorists." The violation of our collective rights faces the same impunity. Forced relocation or assimilation assault our future generations, cultures, languages, spiritual ways and relationship to the earth, economically and politically.

We, Indigenous Peoples from all regions of the world have defended our Mother Earth from the aggression of unsustainable development and the over exploitation of our natural resources by mining, logging, mega-dams, exploration and extraction of petroleum. Our forests suffer from the production of agro-fuels, bio-mass, plantations and other impositions of false solutions to climate change and unsustainable, damaging development.

The Green Economy is nothing more than capitalism of nature; a perverse attempt by corporations, extractive industries and governments to cash in on Creation by privatizing, commodifying, and selling off the Sacred and all forms of life and the sky, including the air we breathe, the water we drink and all the genes, plants, traditional seeds, trees, animals, fish, biological and cultural diversity, ecosystems and traditional knowledge that make life on Earth possible and enjoyable.

Gross violations of Indigenous Peoples' rights to food sovereignty continue unabated thus resulting to food "insecurity". Our own food production, the plants that we gather, the animals that we hunt, our fields and harvests, the water that we drink and water our fields, the fish that we catch from our rivers and streams, is diminishing at an alarming rate. Unsustainable development projects, such as mono-cultural chemically intensive soya plantations, extractive industries such as mining and other environmentally destructive projects and investments for profit are destroying our biodiversity, poisoning our water, our rivers, streams, and the earth and its ability to maintain life. This is further aggravated by Climate change and hydroelectric dams and other energy production that affect entire ecosystems and their ability to provide for life.

Food sovereignty is one fundamental expression of our collective right to self-determination and sustainable development. Food sovereignty and the right to food must be observed and respected; food must not be a commodity to be used, traded and speculated on for profit. It nourishes our identities, our cultures and languages, and our ability to survive as Indigenous Peoples.

Mother Earth is the source of life which needs to be protected, not a resource to be exploited and commodified as a ‘natural capital.' We have our place and our responsibilities within Creation's sacred order. We feel the sustaining joy as things occur in harmony with the Earth and with all life that it creates and sustains. We feel the pain of disharmony when we witness the dishonor of the natural order of Creation and the continued economic colonization and degradation of Mother Earth and all life upon her. Until Indigenous Peoples rights are observed and respected, sustainable development and the eradication of poverty will not be achieved.
The Solution

This inseparable relationship between humans and the Earth, inherent to Indigenous, Peoples must be respected for the sake of our future generations and all of humanity. We urge all humanity to join with us in transforming the social structures, institutions and power relations that underpin our deprivation, oppression and exploitation. Imperialist globalization exploits all that sustains life and damages the Earth. We need to fundamentally reorient production and consumption based on human needs rather than for the boundless accumulation of profit for a few. Society must take collective control of productive resources to meet the needs of sustainable social development and avoid overproduction, over consumption and over exploitation of people and nature which are inevitable under the prevailing monopoly capitalist system. We must focus on sustainable communities based on indigenous knowledge, not on capitalist development.

We demand that the United Nations, governments and corporations abandon false solutions to climate change, like large hydroelectric dams, genetically modified organisms including GMO trees, plantations, agro-fuels, "clean" coal, nuclear power, natural gas, hydraulic fracturing, nanotechnology, synthetic biology, bio-energy, biomass, biochar, geo-engineering, carbon markets, Clean Development Mechanism and REDD+ that endanger the future and life as we know it. Instead of helping to reduce global warming, they poison and destroy the environment and let the climate crisis spiral exponentially, which may render the planet almost uninhabitable.

We cannot allow false solutions to destroy the Earth's balance, assassinate the seasons, unleash severe weather havoc, privatize life and threaten the very survival of humanity. The Green Economy is a crime against humanity and the Earth. In order to achieve sustainable development, states must recognize the traditional systems of resource management of the Indigenous Peoples that have existed for the millennia, sustaining us even in the face of colonialism. Assuring Indigenous Peoples' active participation in decision making processes affecting them, and their right of Free Prior and Informed Consent is fundamental. States should likewise provide support for Indigenous Peoples appropriate to their sustainability and self determined priorities without restrictions and constricting guidelines.

Indigenous youth and women's active participation must also be given importance as they are among the most affected by the negative impacts brought by the commodification of nature. As inheritors of Mother Earth, the youth play a vital role in continuing defending what is left of their natural resources that were valiantly fought for by their ancestors. Their actions and decisions amidst the commercialization of their resources and culture will determine the future of their younger brothers and sisters and the generations to come.

We will continue to struggle against the construction of hydroelectric dams and all other forms of energy production that affect our waters, our fish, our biodiversity and ecosystems that contribute to our food sovereignty. We will work to preserve our territories from the poison of monoculture plantations, extractive industries and other environmentally destructive projects and continue our ways of life, preserving our cultures and identities. We will work to preserve our traditional plants and seeds, and maintain the balance between our needs and the needs of our Mother Earth and her life sustaining capacity. We will demonstrate to the world that it can and must be done. In all matters we will gather and organize the solidarity of all Indigenous Peoples from all parts of the world, and all other sources of solidarity with non-indigenous of good will to join our struggle for food sovereignty and food security. We reject the privatization and corporate control of resources such as our traditional seeds and food. Finally, we demand the states to uphold our rights to the control of our traditional management systems and by providing concrete support such as appropriate technologies for us to develop our food sovereignty.

We reject the false promises of sustainable development and solutions to climate change that only serve the dominant economic order. We reject REDD, REDD+ and other market-based solutions that focus on our forests, to continue the violation of our inherent rights to self determination and right to our lands, territories, waters, and natural resources, and the Earth's right to create and sustain life. There is no such thing as "sustainable mining." There is no such thing as "ethical oil."

We reject the assertion of intellectual property rights over the genetic resources and traditional knowledge of Indigenous peoples which results in the alienation and commodification of Sacred essential to our lives and cultures. We reject industrial modes of food production that promote the use of chemical substances, genetically engineered seeds and organisms. Therefore, we affirm our right to possess, control, protect and pass on the indigenous seeds, medicinal plants and traditional knowledge originating from our lands and territories for the benefit of our future generations.
The Future We Want

In the absence of a true implementation of sustainable development, the world is now in a multiple ecological, economic and climatic crisis; including biodiversity loss, desertification, deglaciation, food, water, energy shortage, a worsening global economic recession, social instability and crisis of values. In this sense, we recognize that much remains to be done by international agreements to respond adequately to the rights and needs of Indigenous Peoples. The actual contributions and potentials of our peoples must be recognized by a true sustainable development for our communities that allows each one of us to Live Well.

As peoples, we reaffirm our rights to self-determination and to own, control and manage our traditional lands and territories, waters and other resources. Our lands and territories are at the core of our existence – we are the land and the land is us; we have a distinct spiritual and material relationship with our lands and territories and they are inextricably linked to our survival and to the preservation and further development of our knowledge systems and cultures, conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem management.

We will exercise the right to determine and establish priorities and strategies for our self-development and for the use of our lands, territories and other resources. We demand that free, prior and informed consent must be the determinant and legally binding principle of approving or rejecting any plan, project or activity affecting our lands, territories and other resources. Without the right of Free Prior and Informed Consent, the colonialist model of the domination of the Earth and its resources will continue with the same impunity.

We will continue to unite as Indigenous Peoples and build a strong solidarity and partnership among ourselves, local communities and non-indigenous genuine advocates of our issues. This solidarity will advance the global campaign for Indigenous Peoples rights to land, life and resources and in the achievement of our self-determination and liberation. We will continue to challenge and resist colonialist and capitalist development models that promote the domination of nature, incessant economic growth, limitless profit-seeking resource extraction, unsustainable consumption and production and the unregulated commodities and financial markets. Humans are an integral part of the natural world and all human rights, including Indigenous Peoples' rights, which must be respected and observed by development.

We invite all of civil society to protect and promote our rights and worldviews and respect natural law, our spiritualities and cultures and our values of reciprocity, harmony with nature, solidarity, and collectivity. Caring and sharing, among other values, are crucial in bringing about a more just, equitable and sustainable world. In this context, we call for the inclusion of cultureas the fourth pillar of sustainable development.

The legal recognition and protection of the rights of Indigenous Peoples to land, territories, resources and traditional knowledge should be a prerequisite for development and planning for any and all types of adaptation and mitigation to climate change, environmental conservation (including the creation of "protected areas"), the sustainable use of biodiversity and measures to combat desertification. In all instances there must be free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples.

We continue to pursue the commitments made at Earth Summit as reflected in this political declaration. We call on the UN to begin their implementation, and to ensure the full, formal and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples in all processes and activities of the Rio+20 Conference and beyond, in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).

We continue to inhabit and maintain the last remaining sustainable ecosystems and biodiversity hotspots in the world. We can contribute substantially to sustainable development but we believe that a holistic ecosystem framework for sustainable development should be promoted. This includes the integration of the human-rights based approach, ecosystem approach and culturally sensitive and knowledge-based approaches.

We declare our solidarity and support for the demands and aspirations of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil found in the Annex to this Declaration.

We Walk in the Footsteps of our Ancestors.

Accepted by Acclamation, Kari-Oka Village, at Sacred Kari-Oka Púku, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 17 June 2012.

Posted by: David Adams on July 14 2014,18:41

Two articles in recent years in CPNN point to the renewed recognition of the importance of indigenous knowledge and traditions to help save us from the ecological disaster of the global industrialized economy.

In the article preparing for the upcoming People's Summit in Rio (See < CPNN April 12, 2012 >), Fabiola Ortiz emphasizes the importance of involving indigenous peoples in the decision-making about development projects.

The indigenous peoples of the Amazon made this argument very dramatically and eloquently in person at the World Social Forum in Belem, Brazil, as described the < CPNN article of  February 6, 2009 >.


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