Archive for the ‘Indigenous Peoples International Conference on Corn’ Category

Statement from the family of Arthur Manuel on his passing

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Arthur_ManuelOn Wednesday January 11, 2017 at 11:00 PM, Arthur Manuel, our beloved father, grandfather, husband, brother, uncle, warrior, and teacher passed away. Arthur was one of our most determined and outspoken Secwepemc leaders and activists—a pillar in the resistance, known globally for his tireless advocacy for Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination. He passed on into the spirit world surrounded by many generations of his loving family.

Arthur was the son of Marceline Paul of the Ktuanaxa Nation and George Manuel of the Secwepemc Nation. George was a political leader and visionary who served as president of the National Indian Brotherhood and the World Council of Indigenous Peoples.

Arthur was born into the struggle and groomed to be a leader and defender of Indigenous rights and title. Coming up as a young leader in the 1970s, he served as president of the National Native Youth Association, leading the occupation of Indian Affairs. He attended Concordia University (Montreal, Quebec) and Osgoode Hall Law School (Toronto, Ontario).

He returned to his community and was elected Chief of Neskonlith Indian Band, Chair of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council, and Chair of the Assembly of First Nations Delgamuukw Implementation Strategic Committee. He was a long-time co-chair of the North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and former co-chair of the Global caucus. He was active in the Defenders of the Land and Idle No More movement and as a board member of the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples. He was one of the main strategic thinkers of the decolonization movement in Canada. As the spokesman for the Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade, he convinced the World Trade Organization to recognize that Indigenous peoples are subsidizing the BC lumber industry through the non-recognition of Aboriginal title. He was co-author, along with Grand Chief Ronald Derrickson, of the award-winning Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-Up Call, with a foreword by his friend and fellow activist Naomi Klein.

He worked selflessly in defence of Indigenous territorial authority and he fiercely opposed any termination of Indigenous land rights. He rejected provincial and federal authority over unceded Indigenous land, and challenged the extinguishment of Indigenous title through the BC treaty process. He fought climate change, battling the imminent threat of pipelines across Secwepemc territory.

He was a world traveller who connected Indigenous nations across the globe to unite in a common vision and defend their rights. He was gifted a button blanket by the Nuxalk nation and has received countless honours for his work around the world.

Arthur was also a teacher and a mentor to many. He was a source of knowledge for youth and young leaders. Through his fierce love for his people, he shone a light on the path to justice for a new generation of activists.

He’s a residential school survivor, having attended the Kamloops (Kamloops BC), St Eugene’s (Cranbrook BC) and St. Mary’s (Mission BC) residential schools.

Arthur is survived by his life partner, Nicole Schabus, by his sisters Emaline, Martha, Doreen, and Ida, his brothers George, Richard, and Ara, and by his children, Kanahus, Mayuk, Ska7cis and Snutetkwe. He is predeceased by his parents, sister Vera, brother Bobby, beloved son Neskie and his grandchildren Napika Amak and Megenetkwe.

In his most recent article on Canada’s 150th celebration, published only a week before his death, Arthur insisted again that Canada was built entirely on the theft of Indigenous lands.

“Our Indian reserves are only .02% of Canada’s land and yet Indigenous peoples are expected to survive on them. This has led to the systematic impoverishment of Indigenous people and the crippling oppression that indigenous peoples suffer under the current colonial system.

The .02 land based is used to keep us too poor and too weak to fight back. It is used to bribe and co-opt the Indigenous leadership into becoming neocolonial partners to treat the symptom of poverty on Indian reserves without addressing the root cause of the problem, which is the dispossession of all of the Indigenous territory by Canada and the provinces.” – First Nations Strategic Bulletin, August-December 2016 Issue

Wake: Friday, January 13th 5:00 PM and Saturday, January 14th, Adams Lake Indian Band Gymnasium, 6349 Chief Jules Drive, Chase, BC

Funeral Services: Sunday, January 15th 10:00 AM, Adams Lake Indian Band Gymnasium

Media contact: Russell Diabo at 613-296-0110 or rdiabo@rogers.com
Donations to support Arthur’s service can be sent to jacksoncrick7@yahoo.ca
Condolences to the family and photos of Arthur can be sent to erfeltes@gmail.com

Earth Peoples co-founder Arthur Manuel passed away, 66-years-old.

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Dear Earth Peoples.
Arthur Manuel was always working hard.
Tiokasin Ghosthorse brought me to collaborate with Rebecca Sommer, one of my best friends… and this is where I met Arthur. I was very glad to from the start. I was in line with him in the cafeteria at the UN during the indigenous peoples caucus for the Earth Peoples partners event. I got some coffee and was going to sit down at the table he was at. Arthur said with warning…you might not want to sit there. I said oh is this seat taken? He said no its just that you might not want to be associated with me. A lot of people do not like me.
I looked around over my shoulders and said.. jokingly I said….want me to beat them up for you? He laughed a lot. That was the comical and genuine relationship that I had with him from the start. He is someone I am honored to say has changed my life and i can call him my favorite person and a best friend. I am so thrilled that I had the opportunity to know Arthur.
Arthur was my Earth Peoples brother, a child of our mother Earth and I loved him very much. I always looked up to him for saving the world. I remember saying to Arthur that I hope that I can somehow make a difference in the world like he does. I would like to make my life meaningful. He said Elaine, You don’t want to do what i do. He said… I am not complaining but Elaine, you have the creative arts and you can work in that medium and be effective. As you do…. and it seems more fun. That meant a lot to me. I appreciate that with all of my heart. I hope that i can send that message through my art so that I can make him proud and maybe send some laughs too.
He lives forever in our hearts. He lived. I only hope that I can too live a life that makes the ancestors proud  as was well.

Book Arhur ManualHis last writing to me was when he signed his book
Unsettling Canada
for me with the words “May the world be good to you my friend.
-Arthur”

He will be greatly missed!!!

Elaine+Arthur

Docip VIDEO: Bridge to the Future / Un Puente al Futuro / Un pont vers l’avenir / МОСТ В БУДУЩЕЕ

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

Published on youtube May 6, 2014 by DOCIP
VIDEO: Bridge to the Future / Un Puente al Futuro / Un pont vers l’avenir / МОСТ В БУДУЩЕЕ

Indigenous Youth document the achievements of the First Indigenous Peoples’ delegates at the United Nations / La juventud indígena documenta los logros de los primeros delegados de los Pueblos Indígenas en las Naciones Unidas / La jeunesse autochtone documente les succès des premiers délégués des peuples autochtones à l’ONU / Молодежь из числа коренного населения запечатляет достижения первых делегатов от коренных народов в Организации Объединенных Наций

CONSOLIDATED INDIGENOUS PEOPLES ALTERNATIVE REPORT SUBMITTED TO THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE FOR THEIR REVIEW OF THE UNITED STATES

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

From International Indian Treaty Council

CONSOLIDATED INDIGENOUS PEOPLES ALTERNATIVE REPORT SUBMITTED TO THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE FOR THEIR REVIEW OF THE UNITED STATES

September 13th, 2013: Today the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) submitted a Consolidated Indigenous Peoples Alternative (“Shadow”) Report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee for their upcoming review of United States (US) compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). 28 Indigenous Nations, Tribes, Treaty Councils, organizations, Community groups and Traditional Cultural Societies were co-submitters and/or made contributions to the report. Based on specific questions directed to the US by the Committee, the co-submitters addressed the ongoing lack of protection by the US for Indigenous Peoples’ Sacred Areas, religious and cultural practices, and its failure to implement the right to Free Prior and Informed Consent.

The ICCPR is a multilateral legally binding Human Rights Treaty adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on December 16, 1966. The US is one of 167 “State parties” which have ratified the Covenant. All State parties are required to undergo periodic reviews by the Human Rights Committee assessing their compliance with the Covenant, usually every 4 – 6 years. The US will be reviewed by the Committee in Geneva on October 17th and 18th, 2013 during its 109th session.

The Indigenous co-submitters are calling on the Committee to hold the US accountable for its ongoing human rights violations including the desecration of Indigenous Peoples’ sacred places. Petuuche Gilbert, representing the Indigenous World Association and Laguna Acoma Coalition for a Safe Environment, explained that “most Indigenous lands and sacred areas, like Mt. Taylor, have been declared to be ‘public’ land by the United States, so it is up to the federal government to fulfill their human rights commitments and protect these areas held sacred by Indigenous Peoples, including preventing their destruction from activities such as uranium mining.”

Spiritual Leader and IITC Board member Radley Davis, representing Pit River Nation and Advocates for the Protection of Sacred Sites, affirmed the importance of this submission: “The UN world bodies are vital to Pit River Nation and all other Indigenous Peoples regarding the protections of their sacred places because the US, in its short span of life, has allowed activities that desecrate sacred areas like Medicine Lake which are of the greatest spiritual significance for us. We call upon the UN Human Rights Committee to hold the US accountable for the human rights that they have agreed to uphold.”

The Consolidated Indigenous Peoples’ Alternative Report will be posted in its entirety, along with the US country report, other Alternative Reports and Committee’s Concluding Observations regarding the US on the Human Rights Committee web site: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/.

The Indigenous Peoples’ Report is also available on IITC’s web site, www.treatycouncil.org.

The Legacy of Oñate and the Continuity of Colonialism (North America)

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013
One of Earth Peoples co-founders, Petuuche Gilbert from the Acoma people wrote this article a while ago, “the Legacy of Oñate and the Continuity of Colonialism”

The People of Acoma Still Fight to be Free

by PETUUCHE GILBERT, Acoma Pueblo.
Petuuche Gilbert (Photo © Sara Cintrón Schultz)

Petuuche Gilbert (Photo © Sara Cintrón Schultz)

How does a tribe survive an attempted annihilation? How does a nation of people survive a holocaust? Oñate burned and destroyed the village of Acoma. The place where the colonizer’s church, San Estevan del Rey, stands today is the site of the original village. It must have been a horrible massacre, with our people burned in their houses. It is written that mothers and fathers were killing their own children to prevent capture. How many of our people jumped off the mesa to avoid being killed by Spanish soldiers? It is written then that our people were taken as prisoners of war and marched up to Santo Domingo for punishment. As punishment and as a further act of premeditated terrorism the feet of our men were cut off, the survivors, men, women and children were enslaved. How many died soon afterwards is unknown and forgotten. So, how did Acoma survive? It is again written in Spanish records that ten years later there was another battle at Acoma. In spite of the atrocities committed upon us we endured and we are still a nation of Acoma people.


Spiritual and Physical Strength and Endurance.

Today my people do not remember the massacre and punishment. Very few people know of the battle. My mother talked of how people described the use of canons and how the rock walls were scarred black from explosions. No one knows about how two Acoma warriors hung themselves from a tree on the mesa top rather then submit to Spanish rule. It is written this is occurred and only the tree still remembers. No one at Acoma talks of the enslavement of our people as we were forced to build a huge, massive church. All the materials of sand, rock and wood, were carried on the backs of my people to the mesa top. Who knows how many Acomas died in the construction of their church. Today the people proudly say this is our church. We built it with our blood, sweat and tears. It is true what one of our guides said to tourists. “They made slaves out of us to build this church I guess that is why we are Catholics today”. Such is the power of the crown and the cross. Today the priest holds mass when tribal leaders allow him to do so. The Catholic Church should be so proud they have brainwashed so well that we are devout practitioners. We became Catholics so that we could survive another day. All the while we are still here, believing and practicing our language, culture and religion.
The Legacies of Colonial Institutions

At Acoma and in the homeland of indigenous peoples we carry on our backs the heavy chains of colonial institutions. The impacts of colonialism and terrorism are powerful. All of the remaining indigenous tribes call themselves pueblos and some even use Spanish names to identify themselves. Some resistors, like Acoma, identify themselves in their own names. All of the pueblos are Catholics and all have saints as their protectors. Most of them have feast days in honor of their patron saints. We have never really questioned ourselves why we do this. I know it is the impacts of fear and brainwashing. We became Catholics so that we could continue to live and practice our ways. Such is the power of the people to endure in spite of the brutality of the crown and the cross.

Another powerful institution intended to dispossess indigenous peoples of their homeland is the merced or mercedes. In English it is the Spanish land grant. On the Oñate statute being built in El Paso the conqueror conquistador is seen proudly waving La Toma in his hand. In April, 1598, Conquistador, Juan de Oñate, crossed the Rio Grande, near present day El Paso, Texas. He declared and claimed, “All lands, people, and resources north of the Rio Grande, possessions of the Royal Spanish Crown.” La Toma was the imperialistic method proclaimed by the conquerors to take indigenous land and intended to subject the indigenous people to a foreign rule. Essentially this action set the basis for pre-emptive war. If indigenous people did not submit to the rulers then just war could be declare upon them. The famous square league, about 17,000 acres, was recognized as the land set-aside by the Spanish for the indigenous tribes. The rest was, of course, was kept by the conquerors. The people of today have never understood how the conquerors could give out land that was not theirs in the first place. It was not free land for the taking. This continuation of imperialism was declared to be manifest destiny by the United States and the theft of land and subjection of people continued. Upon the implementation of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, in 1848, the United States felt, as is duty to respect the land rights of indigenous peoples. Articles 8 and 9 talk of the indigenous people. In the treaty it stipulated that if pueblo Indian people did not want to be citizens of the United States they could just leave. I guess we could have just left our homelands and moved to Mexico. I think this imposition of citizenship has never really being understood by the ancient inhabitants of this land. In this way we were made political prisoners and we remain so to this day.

The third pervasive institution affecting us here as indigenous people is the form of Spanish civil government. Most of the pueblo governments have leaders named as governors and their attendant staff named after Spanish names. When the Spanish arrived they saw community leaders led us and they made us choose our own leaders. Today in the selection of our own tribal leaders we call this tradition. Too, it is a profound influence that the Pueblo Indian Governors carry the Spanish canes as the recognition of their authority to rule. Why? I once asked one of the former pueblo governors why do they carry the Spanish canes if we threw off Spanish implements during the Pueblo Indian Revolt. His reply was that we had already imbued them spiritually and, thus, they became sacred. This is maintained even today.

The Indigenous Peoples Of Today

The conquerors should be so proud of themselves. We are profoundly brainwashed that we behave as conquered people. This is the legacy of Oñate and the conquerors. Colonialism remains alive and well. We have Spanish forms of civil governments and we select our own leaders to rule ourselves. We rely on the land grant system to have our land rights respected. We are devout Catholics. We are proud American citizens and we proudly put our hands on our chests as we say the Pledge of Allegiance. We are proud to be called Native Americans. How tragic and what a travesty this is. As indigenous peoples we never ask ourselves why. Why do we have blind patriotism to a nation that stole our land, committed genocide and instituted creative law intended to keep us as political prisoners.

Today we, the indigenous people, fight for our human right to be free, sovereign and self-determining people. To become this is the challenge is upon all of us here. The United States of America is the most ardent enemy of indigenous people. This nation refuses to respect and recognize us as PEOPLES because peoples in international law have the right to self-determination. During the Decade of the Worlds Indigenous Peoples we aggressively pursued for the right of self-determination to be enshrined in the draft United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This did not happen as the decade ended in 2004. Prior to this indigenous people at the last World Conference on Racism, indigenous people accused the world’s nation-states of being racist by refusing to recognize indigenous people to be as peoples. This struggle for self-determination continues at the Organization of American States as they work to adopt an Inter-American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In it we are not considered to be indigenous peoples with the full right of self-determination.

So, what is our future today? There are difficult questions to ask of ourselves, as the conquerors and the conquered. Do we accept the legacies of the conquerors and remain treated as the conquered? I think not. In order for me to be here speaking today, someone, somewhere in the past, stood up and died for me to be here. Now it is my turn and our responsibility to carry on that struggle to be free as indigenous people. It is no easy task and the challenge is before us all. Especially now that we, as warriors fighting against the domination of the United States, are considered as terrorist. Well, we as indigenous peoples have been fighting terrorism for over 500 years and we will continue on. So, did God bless Oñate and does God bless America? Does God bless conquerors, murderers and thieves? Does God bless a nation built upon the twin pillars of discovery and conquest? The conquerors think God does and that is what is wrong with people. Thus, we are still at war with the conquerors. It must change. We must learn to live in peace and respect.

What Form of Justice is Due Indigenous People

Apologies are easy to proclaim and they are easily forgotten. One such proclamation is in the works in Congress. In 2004 it is was called the HISTORIC RESOLUTION OF APOLOGY TO NATIVE PEOPLES INTRODUCED IN U.S. CONGRESS and it is now referred to as the NATIVE AMERICAN APOLOGY RESOLUTION. Both are quite meaningless. Some church groups have already apologized and it is now forgotten who did. Do indigenous peoples want all of America back? I think not. Indigenous people are realistic and they know this is impossible. The foreigners are here today and we must now survive together. Albeit, we want to keep our homelands in our possession without the fear of loss through the laws and policies of the conquerors. Are we seeking some form of reparation for genocide and theft of land? Perhaps. Some indigenous people are demanding it and dollars are appropriated by congress to rid itself of the Indian problem. It is done and can be done in order to alleviate the fears and embarrassment of genocide and land theft. Pay the Indians off and forget them. Let them be American citizens like everybody else. Life goes on. A more appropriate form of reparation is allowing our human right to be as peoples. As peoples to peoples we can be both sovereign and self-determining. We must respect and understand all this. That is our challenge today for us all.

Indigenous Peoples Stand Up to Save Native Corn

Sunday, March 31st, 2013
Seeds (Photo © Earth Peoples)

Seeds (Photo © Earth Peoples)

From time immemorial, indigenous communities in the Western Hemisphere have depended on corn not only as a source of nutrition, but as the center of their cultural traditions and spirituality. This past September, the Yaqui Peoples of Sonora Mexico hosted the inaugural “Indigenous Peoples International Conference on Corn” in the Zapoteca Nation of Oaxaca Mexico. The conference, attended by 48 Indigenous Nations across from North, Central and South America, was created to encourage unity among indigenous communities, restore traditional economies, and ensure the survival of all native varieties of corn.

The Indigenous Corn Peoples are a part of long-standing cultural tradition tied to the natural world. The core principle of the Yaqui Peoples, “is the sacredness, mystery and life-sustaining power of the natural world and living things.” They are deeply connected to their environment and express this through traditional ceremonies, songs, and dances. They consider their relationship with plants and animals as inter-dependent and interwoven. It’s for this reason that corn, the fundamental means of nutrition and healing, is so respected and cherished. In indigenous communities, the people are directly related to all steps of the corn production process. Before the planting of the corn, there are ceremonies to express appreciation for the earth that allows the corn to be planted and for the water to allows it to grow. When it is time to harvest the corn there is a ceremony celebrating corn as the source of life and creation. The harvesting of corn isn’t simply to acquire food, but celebrates the all-encompassing lifestyle of devotion to the earth. One member of the Yaqui reiterates: “Our struggles to protect corn as a source of our lives cannot be separated from our struggles to defend our rights to land, water, traditional knowledge and self-determination.”

Environmental degradation is a global issue, but for the Yaqui community, it comes with devastating consequences. The booming agri-business has not only pushed many Indigenous communities off of their land, but also heavily promoted the use of chemical pesticides and genetically modified (GMO) corn. The Mexican government has been a source of conflict, creating programs that cut off access to land and clean water, and mandating the use of this GMO corn for small farmers. The introduction of these corn variations has dramatically decreased the diversity and resiliency of traditional seed varieties. The new strains of corn require much higher levels of agro-chemicals and water, which the Sonora desert ecosystem cannot provide. These negative effects aren’t only environmental. In 1997 Dr. Elizabeth Guillette conducted a study that detected high levels of pesticides in mothers’ milk and found severe learning and development disabilities in Yaqui children living in these high pesticide areas. The Yaqui people started the Corn Conference as a way to gain support of Indigenous Corn Peoples from the area and to stop the environmental, cultural, and health degradation.

The Indigenous Peoples International Conference on Corn created an atmosphere where all Indigenous Corn Peoples could unite around a single mission to protect their sovereignty and identity. They called “for a new focus on sustainable and respectful use of corn as a basis for our traditional and collective economic, social and cultural development”. The Indigenous Corn Peoples committed to halt the use of pesticides and GMO corn in their territories. They also resolved for all communities to focus on restoring and strengthening local markets and economies by protecting their food and seed sovereignty. The conference attendees decided that the way to do this is by reestablishing Indigenous seed banks and trade relationships so that the seeds with the most resistance and adaptability to climate change can be used, replicated, and shared among communities. They believe that the renewal of an indigenous trading system in the Americas will be the most beneficial way to share knowledge across communities and ultimately, bring change.

Although the conference was only one step in the movement for Indigenous rights, the Yaqui ultimately achieved their greatest goal: to organize fellow Indigenous communities and Peoples to defend Mother Earth and her lands, water, forests and corn against the threat climate change and unsustainable industrial food practices. By embracing their heritage as Indigenous Peoples to protect mother earth, they are also protecting the culture, spirituality, health, and traditions that have been passed on to them for centuries from being lost forever.