With the fruit of a Declaration for the strengthening and defense of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the 4th International Encounter of the Children Mother Earth was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A. on December 6, 2016, with the presence of leaders from the main indigenous nations of United States, Central America, the Caribbean and Easter Island.
The emblematic Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque was the venue for the 4th International Encounter, a museum and cultural center created so that the indigenous peoples themselves, tell their stories and preserve their ancestral traditions.
Important personalities from the political, cultural, university and business environment were present, supporting this activity, and accompanying the indigenous leaders and Dr. William Soto Santiago, who expressed in his opening remarks:
“The indigenous nations in North America and the whole world face a constant struggle to defend their rights, keep their traditions alive and strengthen their cultural identity. The inheritance of the unyielding spirit of great indigenous leaders of the past, such as Seated Bull and Geronimo, have always been reflected in the struggles of indigenous peoples in recent years in different parts of the world.”
This 4th International Encounter paid special attention to the struggle that the Sioux Nation, settled in Standing Rock, North Dakota, is fighting against the construction of an oil pipeline that would be crossing the Missouri River and its sacred lands.
That is why Dr. Soto said that the world’s indigenous peoples must now be more united than ever in the defense of their rights, contained in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Representative Idalia Lechuga of the State of New Mexico participated in the installation ceremony; Amadeo Martinez, Senior Advisor of the Central American Indigenous Council; Tai Pelli, a member of the United Confederation of the Taino People; and Dr. Eliseo Torres, Vice President of the University of New Mexico.
Later, the representatives of several indigenous nations of the United States, the Tainos of Puerto Rico, and the Island of Rapa Nui, or as it is known in the world “Easter Island;” and representatives from different environmental organizations and Activists of the Global Embassy of Activists for Peace, joined forces to participate in an open forum and build a joint Declaration on the situation that the Sioux Nation is living, among other indigenous struggles, especially of America, and which is expected to be socialized before different multilateral organizations and by the media.
The public reading of the Declaration was made by Mr. Leon Reval, member of the Apache Jicarilla Tribal Council, on behalf of the indigenous peoples of the United States present here, from Puerto Rico, and Rapa Nui of Chile, the Abya Yala Indigenous Forum, the Indigenous Council of Central America and the Global Embassy of Activists for Peace.
DECLARATION OF THE 4th INTERNATIONAL ENCOUNTER OF THE CHILDREN OF THE MOTHER EARTH
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO.
We, representatives of indigenous peoples of the United States, Puerto Rico, and Rapa Nui of Chile, Abya Yala Indigenous Forum, Indigenous Council of Central America, Global Embassy of Activists for Peace, in the framework of the 4th International Encounter of the Children of Mother Earth, gathered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on December 6, 2016.
- We stand in solidarity with the Sioux Nation, for the struggle to defend their territories and the unity of the indigenous peoples of the United States, as well as the support of other environmental and social organizations, resulting in the United States Army Corps of Engineers temporarily suspending the license for the construction of the North Dakota pipeline.
We urge the relevant agencies to bring justice to cases of Human Rights violations and reparations for the damages caused to the Sioux indigenous people. The struggle of the Sioux People is just one example of what many indigenous peoples around the world are going through. It is necessary to implement the objectives of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which addresses indigenous peoples, such as clean water and clean land, and clean and renewable energy.
- We support the request for the creation of the Inter-American Environmental Charter, and we urge the extension of the participation of indigenous peoples, including elders, women, youths and people with disabilities, in the formulation and execution of public policies, educational and cultural programs, and in the justice system, among others, to protect Mother Earth and restore its harmony and balance.
- To recapture from the governments and States the principle of prior, free and informed consent of indigenous peoples in all processes that seek to develop projects that undermine the cultural identity of indigenous peoples, respecting the Declaration of the United Nations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other instruments of the legal framework on the rights of indigenous peoples.
6. Strengthen the twinning between the Global Embassy of Activists for Peace and the Great Abya Yala in the processes and defense of Mother Earth.
Finally, the leaders of the indigenous peoples present offered Dr. William Soto a written Declaration and commissioned him to be the person to socialize this document before all possible instances.