Information (English / Español / Française)

Who we are:

The Indigenous World Forum on Water and Peace is a coalition of Indigenous leaders, Indigenous organizations, academics and like-minded people globally who wish to protect water for future generations. It is a vision from the Elders, and has the support of 60 organizations globally (at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues). This is a partnership between Indigenous peoples organizations (The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers), universities (UNBC, UVic), and non-government organizations (The Pacific Peoples’ Partnership and the Indigenous Environmental Network)

What we envision:

This project will have two components:

  • A global forum that will gather together traditional Indigenous knowledge keepers, community members working to protect water and people from all nations. The Global Forum responds to the need to develop sustainable water practices and to address conflicts over water, and will meet the Millennium Development Goals to address poverty, disease and child mortality.
  • Post forum community capacity-building – the forum will be a catalyst for a new paradigm, the drop of water that ripples out to local communities to work together for healthy and clean water. Communities’ capacity will be built to find their own solutions to the challenges faced by water.

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Quiénes somos

El Foro Indígena Mundial sobre el Agua y la Paz es una coalición global de líderes y organizaciones indígenas, académicos y voluntarios en general, interesados en proteger el agua para las futuras generaciones. Es una visión desde los mayores, la cual tiene el patrocinio de más de 60 organizaciones internacionales y cuenta con la ayuda del Foro Permanente de Asuntos Indígenas de las Naciones Unidas. Es un equipo permanente, el cual mantiene el diálogo entre organizaciones indígenas locales (The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers), las universidades de British Columbia y de Victoria en Canadá, y las organizaciones no gubernamentales The Pacific Peoples’ Partnership e Indigenous Environmental Network).

Cuáles son los objetivos inmediatos del Foro

  1. Realizar un Foro global que reúna sabedores, activistas, médicos tradicionales indígenas, miembros de las comunidades que estén trabajando por proteger el agua y todo el que quiera reunirse con nosotros. Este Foro responde a la necesidad de desarrollar prácticas sostenibles en torno al agua, señalando los conflictos de las distintas regiones, y de esta manera encontrar soluciones claras para enfrentar la pobreza, la enfermedad y la mortalidad en las edad infantil.
  2. Post-Foro Continuo a partir de las conclusiones y propuestas del Foro Indígena Mundial sobre el Agua y la Paz, socializando este nuevo paradigma en nuestras regiones y comunidades a fin de trabajar juntos por la salud y el agua limpia. Este Post-Foro Continuo buscará soluciones específicas a los retos que propone el agua en cada geografía y situación sociopolítica.

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Qui nous sommes :

Le Forum Autochtone Global sur l’Eau et la Paix est une coalition de leaders autochtones, d’organisations autochtones, d’académiques et de personnes volontaires, tous intéressés par la protection de l’eau pour les générations futures. Il est issu une vision des Anciens qui bénéficie du soutien de plus de 60 organisations internationales (au Forum Permanent sur les Questions Autochtones de l’ONU). C’est un partenariat stable entre des organisations de peuples autochtones, des universités comme celles de Colombie Britannique (UNBC) ou de Victoria (UVic) au Canada, et des organisations non-gouvernementales (The Pacific Peoples’ Partnership et The Indigenous Environmental Network).

Les objectifs immédiats du Forum

Ce projet aura deux composantes :

  • Tenir un forum global qui réunisse des gardiens de savoirs autochtones traditionnels, des militants, des médecins traditionnels et des membres des communautés passionnés par la protection de l’eau, et toute personne désirant se réunir autour du thème de l’eau. Ce Premier Forum Global répond à la nécessité de développer des pratiques durables autour de l’eau et de signaler les conflits dans différentes régions. Il s’inscrit dans les objectifs du Millénaire pour le développement (OMD) qui s’attaquent à la pauvreté, à la maladie et à la mortalité infantile.
  • Construire une communauté post-forum à partir des conclusions et des propositions du Forum Autochtone Global sur l’Eau et la Paix, qui déclenchera un nouveau paradigme, la goutte d’eau qui se répand à partir des communautés locales pour travailler ensemble pour une eau saine et propre. Cette nouvelle communauté poursuivra la recherche de solutions spécifiques aux problèmes d’eau dans chaque région et en fonction du contexte sociopolitique spécifique.
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“As long as the Tree lives, the people live”: the Encounter of the Eagle, the Condor and the Quetzal

Casey Camp

(LEA LA VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL ABAJO)

Today, we would like to close this cycle of posts with poetry and documentaries! In spreading intercultural awareness in the last thirteen weeks, we have been building bridges between the voices and the struggles to defend Water throughout Abya-Yala / Turtle Island. Today is a special day because we would like to share with you the vision behind this project, and the synchronism of last weeks, which has made us think that this is just the beginning. In 1984, the Four Worlds International Institute published The Sacred Tree. Reflections on Native American Spirituality. In the first chapter, we can read the following story:

The ancient ones taught us that the life of the Tree is the life of the people. If the people wander far away from the protective shadow of the Tree, if they forget to seek the nourishment of its fruit, or if they should turn against the Tree and attempt to destroy it, great sorrow will fall upon the people. The people will lose their power. They will cease to dream dreams and see visions. They will begin to quarrel among themselves over worthless trifles. They will become unable to tell the truth and to deal with each other honestly. They will forget how to survive in their own land. Their lives will become filled with anger and gloom. Little by little they will poison themselves and all they touch.

It was foretold that these things would come to pass, but that the Tree would never die. And as long as the Tree lives, the people live. It was also foretold that the day would come when the people would awaken, as if from a long, drugged sleep; that they would begin, timidly at first but then with great urgency, to search again for the sacred Tree. (The Sacred Tree 7)

In the last decades, Indigenous Elders and advocates have been talking about the kinship trails across the Americas—the roots, the trunk and the branches of the Abya-Yala. We believe that all of the protagonists highlighted over the last twelve posts are recovering the vision of the Tree, and that the Indigenous World Forum on Water and Peace is part of the trails and crossroads of the Tree. Global mobilizations such as 2009 Mama Quta Titikaka, and Idle No More are part of the roots and fruits of the Tree. Current ceremonial exchanges among the Mayan Tatas and Amazonian Taytas are part of the roots and fruits of the Tree.

And this is probably the reason why the same text was used recently in documentary The Encounter of the Eagle and the Condor by Clement Guerra. In this astonishing project, the Elder Casey Camp read the story of The Sacred Tree while Nature spoke through the lens.

Watch here The Encounter of the Eagle and the Condor‘s trailer => https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdmsOq5Bpb4

On September 27th, 2015, the night of the full moon eclipse, with the support of Indigenous Rising, Indigenous Environmental Network, Amazon Watch, Pachamama Alliance, and Rainforest Action Network, native women from the seven directions of Abya-Yala / Turtle Island met in New York and signed an Indigenous Women’s Treaty of the Americas. As we can learn from Defenders of Mother Earth–another piece by Guerra–Elder Casey Camp (Ponca Pa’tha’ta, USA), Patricia Gualinga (Sarayaku, Ecuadorian Amazon), Gloria Ushigua Santi (Sapara, Ecuadorian Amazon), Pennie Opal Plant (Yaqui/Choctaw/Cherokee, USA), Crystal Lameman (Beaver Lake Cree, Canada), and Blanca Chancoso (Kichua, Ecuadorian Andes) became family that day in a gesture of solidarity, creating a cross-border allegiance. A couple of months before the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP 2015), the Indigenous Women’s Treaty of the Americas stated their demands to the world —100% renewable energy, the protection of the web of life, and to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

Watch here Defenders of Mother Earth (2015) => https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tccy3DnDA8Q

In tune with these trans-indigenous encounters, our friend Fredy Roncalla from Hawansuyo, sent us four poems by Omar Aramayo, a poet from the Titikaka Lake (Puno, Peru). One of them was entitled “The Water Battle”. And, a day after, Kim Shuck, Cherokee poet and contributor to the Indigenous Message on Water, sent us a poem entitled “War”. Neither of them knew about the synchronism! Immediately, we decided to translate the poems and include them in this sprout/post of the Tree. We hope that you enjoy them as much as we did!

Kim Shuck is a poet and visual artist of Tsalagi and Polish ancestry. Her first solo book, Smuggling Cherokee, won the Diane Decorah award in 2005 and was published by Greenfield Review Press. Her first book of prose, Rabbit Stories, came out in 2013 from Poetic Matrix Press. Kim is a founding member of the de Young Museum’s Native Advisory Board (San Francisco) and curates poetry events all over the Bay Area. She also edits the very irregular online journal Rabbit and Rose => http://kimshuck.com/

WAR

By K. Shuck

And in the water war we will

Paint signs of bravery and

Protection onto the

Salmon the

Trout and wade into the

Streams with them and they will

Paint us back in the

War of clear water we will

Insist that water be local and when it

Can’t be local we will weigh the benefit to the

Real costs of lawns in the

Desert or apricots and almonds we will

Seek to understand other people’s

Prayers and what gets flooded by

Dams or drained by canals and

Will consult the birds about the

Wetlands and they might paint us too and the

Consulting board will offer seats to pines and

Sunflowers who defended the people the

Last time and the wolves and beavers who change the

Streams will also be heard and we

Cannot lose cannot

Lose

Omar Aramayo is an Andean poet, journalist, composer, and scholar. Since the 1960s, Omar has published experimental poetry, weaving music, visual arts and ancient traditions from the Titikaka Lake => http://poesiasdeomararamayo.blogspot.com/

THE BATTLE FOR WATER

By Omar Aramayo

Battle of people

battle of terror

the great battle of horror grabs us with stabs in the back

with kicks with bullets with toxic gases with electric nets

although we just realized it, it started a long time ago

the battle in which the word neighbor is broken eyelash by eyelash

cell by cell

an immense forest seeded with dead bodies from all species

the ocean in which the dead have sat down to have dinner

her servants assure they will bring to her every single living being

the keyboard of life has been broken overnight

a wave of sand rises in the wind

one behind the other

the water has gone with life

the survival of the species in the weight scale of doubt

those who are on the other side spit out in the face of life

the square is missing one of its sides

the circle is missing its equidistant center

intelligence has been used in the wrong way

being human has lost its meaning

its sacred side

has lost itself

the hearts of merchants are empty of god

they lie in their houses in front of their children

they lie in front of their wives

until they take their masks off

and their wives and children get in gear

in the name of wealth, the welfare

the personal finances

the order the power the prestige

someone tries to make us understand that this is in the name of the country

someone pops up in the screen speaking in the name of all

right now it’s necessary to know that we live in a country without tomorrow

the loggers the miners

the makers of big machines of big toxins

the city-factories set up on pirate ships

the bankers the politicians

those who sell everything in this time that everything is being sold

even the life they have sold

they have poisoned the earth

they have thrown ulcers on it

they have thrown dead on the water

the air is now full of monsters

lead flows through the children’s blood

elders die bleeding children are born idiotic

women scratch their sterile woumbs

this is the moment to put a stop

maybe there is still something beyond hope

hope is abandoned in the shores of the sea

like beached whales like birds or fish wrapped in plastic

Body of water mouth of water blue planet

other beings have emerged from the darkness

to kill you in the name of gold

to cut your neck as if you were the sweetest animal

of one stroke

an open pit

give us your word give us your blessing

your transparency where the fish glide

lit by the stars

give us the strength

in this battle of terror

What are you going to do city folk

women from plains and mountain ranges

child from the deserts who was just painted with a moon in the forehead

great lightning eye chief from the mountain

great medicine-men with a vegetal mother

teacher who swims toward the islands

agronomist who has lost the hat of the dreams

what are you going to do at this hour

I want to know I want you to tell us what is your role

you the irascible

and you who are a soul of god

in the great battle for water we are all the same

devil’s lawyer accountant who is cooking the books

you have been caught red-handed

facing bakwards painting a strange graffiti in the walls

lonely serpent eye which whistleling to the sun at noon

how are we going to stop the Dark One

the King Midas covered in gold in the center of a sea of shit

mud sand blowing without mercy

the salt period is coming

traces of the crime are planted everywhere

corpses of the criminals spread as cheap jewelry

hanging dry from their feet in the dust in the wind

the planet has been decimated due to lack of intelligence

of fine love

I want to hear your voice

I want to see your hands your chest

your sane intelligence resonating throughout the skies

so the planets might be touched

and the glaciers be dressed again and the streams be flowing full of health

(Translated by Fredy Roncalla and Juan G. Sánchez M.)

Although both poems paint an upside down world, where pollution and pain make us deaf and blind, both poems also envision a victory, where streams will be heard and glaciers will be dressed again. As Elder Josephine Mandamin asked us in our previous post, the main question remains: “what are you going to do city folk?”

Thank you for your patience and support for the past thirteen weeks. Thank you for sharing and spreading this message.

In humility,

Indigenous Message on Water

***

Mientras El árbol siga viviendo, la gente vivirá”: el encuentro entre el águila, el cóndor y el quetzal

condor and eagle title

Hoy queremos cerrar este ciclo con poesía y documental! Diseminando este mensaje intercultural de las últimas trece semanas, hemos tratado de construir puentes entre voces y luchas que están defendiendo el agua a lo largo y ancho del Abya-Yala y la Isla Tortuga. Hoy es especial porque vamos a compartir con ustedes una de las visiones que está detrás de este proyecto, además de las convergencias de los últimos días, las cuales nos han hecho pensar que esto es solo el comienzo. En 1984, el Instituto Internacional de los Cuatro Mundos publicó El árbol sagrado. Reflexiones sobre la espiritualidad nativo-americana. En el primer capítulo, encontramos la siguiente historia:

Los más antiguos nos enseñaron que la vida de El árbol es la vida de la gente. Si la gente deambula lejos de la sombra protectora de El árbol, si ellos olvidan buscar el alimento de su fruto, o si ellos se alzan en contra de El árbol e intentan destruirlo, gran pena caerá sobre ellos. La gente perderá su poder. Cesará de soñar y de tener visiones. Comenzará a pelear por nimiedadez sin valor. Llegará a ser incapaz de decir la verdad y de relacionarse con honestidad. Olvidará cómo sobrevivir en su propia tierra. Sus vidas llegarán a estar llenas de rabia y melancolía. Poco a poco la gente se envenenará a sí misma y a todo lo que toca.

(…) Se predijo que estas cosas sucederían, pero que El árbol nunca moriría. Y mientras El árbol siga viviendo, la gente vivirá. También se predijo que llegaría el día en que la gente se despertaría, como de un largo y pesado sueño; que la gente comenzaría, tímidamente al comienzo y después con gran urgencia, a buscar de nuevo El árbol sagrado… (The Sacred Tree 7)

En las últimas décadas, mayores, educadores y activistas indígenas han hablado sobre los senderos de parentesco entre los pueblos ancestrales que habitan las raíces, el tronco y las ramas del Abya-Yala / Isla Tortuga. Nosotros creemos que todos los protagonistas de los últimos doce posts están recobrando la visión de El gran árbol, y el Mensaje Indígena de Agua quisiera ser parte de este despertar. Movilizaciones globales como Mama Quta Titikaka en el 2009, o movimientos trans-indígenas como Idle No More son parte de las raíces y los frutos de El árbol. De igual forma, los intercambios ceremoniales que tatas mayas y taytas amazónicos han establecido en sus peregrinajes por fuera de su territorio ancestral, son parte de las raíces y los frutos de El árbol.

Y esta es probablemente la razón por la cual el mismo texto que citamos arriba fue usado recientemente en el documental The Encounter of the Eagle and the Condor, dirigido por Clement Guerra (2015). En este proyecto, la abuela Casey Camp lee la historia de El árbol sagrado mientras la naturaleza habla através del lente.

Vea aquí el corto de The Encounter of the Eagle and the Condor => https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdmsOq5Bpb4

El 27 de septiembre de 2015, la noche del eclipse lunar, con el apoyo de Indigenous Rising, Indigenous Environmental Network, Amazon Watch, la Alianza Pachamama, y Rainforest Action Network, mujeres indígenas provenientes de las siete direcciones del Abya-Yala / la Isla Tortuga se encontraron en Nueva York y firmaron el Tratado de las Mujeres Indígenas de las Américas. Como se puede ver en Defensoras de la Madre Tierra – otro breve documental de Guerra – las mayores Casey Camp (Ponca Pa’tha’ta, USA), Patricia Gualinga (Sarayaku, Amazonía ecuatoriana), Gloria Ushigua Santi (Sapara, Amazonía ecuatoriana), Pennie Opal Plant (Yaqui/Choctaw/Cherokee, USA), Crystal Lameman (Beaver Lake Cree, Canadá), y Blanca Chancoso (Kichua, Andes ecuatorianos) decidieron crear una alianza más allá de las fronteras de los estados-nación, y convertirse así en familia en un gesto de solidaridad trans-indígena.

Unos meses antes de la Conferencia sobre Cambio Climático en París (COP 2015), el Tratado de las Mujeres Indígenas de las Américas dejó claro sus demandas para el mundo: 100% energía renovable, hay que dejar los combustibles fósiles bajo tierra, y ante todo la protección de la red de la vida.

Vea aquí Defensoras de la Madre Tierra (2015) => https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tccy3DnDA8Q

Sintonizado con estos encuentros trans-indígenas, nuestro amigo Fredy Roncalla de la revista virtual Hawansuyo, nos envió cuatro poemas de Omar Aramayo, escritor del lago Titikaka (Puno, Perú), justo cuando estábamos redactando esta nota final. Uno de los poemas de Aramayo se titulaba “La batalla por el agua”. Y un día después, Kim Shuck, poeta Cherokee y colaboradora del Mensaje Indígena de Agua, nos envió a su vez un poema titulado “Guerra”. Por supuesto, ¡ninguno sabía acerca de estas confluencias! Inmediatamente, decidimos con Fredy traducir los poemas, los cuales compartimos aquí abajo para ustedes. Esperamos que los disfruten tanto como nosotros. ¡Gracias a Kim y a Omar!

Kim es poeta y artista visual de descendencia Tsalagi y Polaca. Su primer libro, Smuggling Cherokee, ganó el premio Diane Decorah en el 2005 y fue publicado por Greenfield Review Press. Su primer libro en prosa, Rabbit Stories fue publicado en el 2013 por Poetic Matrix Press. Kim es miembro fundador del consejo asesor indígena del Museo de Young (San Francisco) y organizadora de eventos de poesía en toda el Área de la Bahía de esta ciudad. Ella también edita la esporádica revista en-línea Rabbit and Rose. http://kimshuck.com/

GUERRA

K. Shuck

Y en la guerra por el agua

Pintaremos signos de valentía y

Protección sobre el

Salmón y la

Trucha y nos meteremos con ellos de

Cabeza en las corrientes y ellos nos

Pintarán de vuelta en la

Guerra por el agua clara nosotros

Insistiremos que el agua sea del lugar y cuando

No lo sea tantearemos el beneficio con el

Costo real de prados en el

Desierto o melocotones y almendras

Buscaremos entender los rezos de

Otros pueblos y qué se inunda por

Represas o se drena por canales y

Preguntaremos a los pájaros acerca de

Los pantanos y puede que ellos tambien nos pinten y el

Consejo de guías ofrecerá curules para los pinos y

Los girasoles que defendieron a las gentes la

Última vez y los lobos y los castores que cambian las

Corrientes también serán escuchados y nosotros

No podremos perder no podremos

Perder

(Traducción Fredy Roncalla y Juan G. Sánchez M.)

Omar Aramayo es poeta, periodista, compositor y académico de los Andes peruanos. Desde los años sesenta, ha creado un estilo singular en el que teje poesía, música, artes visuales y tradiciones ancestrales del lago Titikaka. https://hawansuyo.com/2016/05/13/cinco-poemas-del-agua-omar-aramayo/

LA BATALLA POR EL AGUA

Por Omar Aramayo

La batalla de los pueblos

la batalla del espanto

la gran batalla del horror nos toma a puñaladas por la espalda

a puntapiés a balazos a gases tóxicos a redes electrónicas

hace tiempo que ha comenzado aunque hoy recién nos percatamos

la batalla donde se quiebra la palabra prójimo pestaña a pestaña

célula a célula

un inmenso bosque sembrado de cadáveres de todas las especies

el océano donde la muerte se ha sentado a cenar

sus sirvientes aseguran con entregarle a todo ser viviente

el teclado de la vida se ha roto de la noche a la mañana

una ola de arena se levanta en el viento

una detrás de otra

el agua se ha ido con la vida

la supervivencia de las especies en la balanza de la duda

los que están al otro lado escupen en el rostro de la vida

al cuadrado le falta uno de sus lados

al círculo su centro equidistante

la inteligencia ha sido usada en sentido contrario

el ser humano ha perdido sentido

su lado divino

se ha perdido a sí mismo

los comerciantes tienen los corazones vacíos de Dios

en sus casas frente a sus pequeños hijos mienten

frente a sus mujeres mienten

hasta que se quitan las máscaras

y los hijos y las mujeres entran al engranaje

en nombre de la riqueza el bienestar

las finanzas personales

el prestigio el poder el orden

alguien intenta hacernos creer que es en nombre del país

alguien aparece en la pantalla en nombre de todos

es necesario saber ahora que vivimos en un país sin mañana

los taladores de bosques los mineros

los fabricantes de grandes máquinas de los grandes tóxicos

las factorías ciudades montadas sobre barcos piratas

los banqueros los políticos

los que venden todo en este tiempo en que todo se vende

hasta la vida han vendido

han envenado la tierra

le han echado llagas

le han echado muerte al agua

el aire se ha llenado de monstruos

por la sangre de los niños corre plomo

los niños nacen tarados los viejos mueren desangrados

las mujeres se arañan las entrañas estériles

es el momento de ponerles alto

tal vez queda algo más allá de la esperanza

la esperanza está botada en la ribera de los mares

como ballenas varadas como los peces o las aves forradas de plástico

Cuerpo de agua boca de agua planeta azul

otros seres han salido de la oscuridad

a matarte en nombre del oro

a cortarte el cuello como si fueras el más tierno de los animales

de un solo tajo

a tajo abierto

danos tu palabra danos tu bendición

tu transparencia donde los peces se deslizan

a la luz de los astros

a la luz de ellos mismos

danos tu fuerza

en esta batalla del espanto

Qué vas a hacer hombre de las ciudades

mujer de los llanos y cordilleras

niño de los desiertos recién acabado de pintar con una luna sobre la frente

gran jefe ojo de rayo de monte adentro

gran shamán de la madre vegetal

maestro que braceas hacia las islas

ingeniero agrónomo que has perdido el sombrero del sueño

qué vas a hacer en esta hora

quiero saber quiero que nos digas cuál es tu papel

tú iracundo

y tú que eres un alma de Dios

en la gran batalla por el agua somos lo mismo

abogado del diablo contador que llevas cuentas paralelas

has sido descubierto con las manos en la masa

de espaldas pintando en los muros un grafiti muy extraño

ojo solitario de la serpiente que silbas al sol del mediodía

cómo vamos a detener al Oscuro

al rey Midas cubierto de oro al centro de un mar de materia fecal

fango arena que sopla sin piedad

se aproxima el tiempo de la sal

la huella del crimen está sembrada por todo sitio

los cadáveres de los criminales como joyas sin valor derramados

secos colgados de los pies en el polvo en el viento

el planeta ha sido abatido por falta de inteligencia

de amor fino

quiero escuchar tu voz

quiero ver tus manos tu pecho

tu sana inteligencia retumbar por todos los cielos

que los planetas se conmuevan

y otra vez se vistan los glaciares y las corrientes corran plenos de salud

A pesar de que ambos poemas pintan un mundo al revés, en donde la polución y el dolor nos han vuelto sordos y ciegos, ambos poemas vislumbran también una victoria, en donde las corrientes de agua se escucharán de nuevo y los glaciares se vestirán una vez más. Como la abuela Josephin Mandamin nos preguntaba en una de las entradas anteriores, la pregunta principal sigue intacta: ¿qué vamos a hacer nosotros, hombres, mujeres de la ciudad?

Gracias por su paciencia y apoyo en estas trece semanas. Gracias por compartir y diseminar el mensaje.

En humildad,

Mensaje Indígena de Agua

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“Hacia los caminos de las Aguas”: de Uchumüin a Wüinpumüin

Kamaash

Kamaach (El Pilón de Azúcar). Foto: Juan Guillermo Sánchez M.

(READ THE ENGLISH VERSION BELOW)

Nuestra invitada hoy es Woumain, la Guajira Wayuu entre Colombia y Venezuela, y su lucha por el Agua y el territorio contra la empresa transnacional de carbón El Cerrejón. Para ello, queremos recomendarles el documental Mushaisha, una pesadilla wayuu de Carlos Mario Piedrahita y Juan Sebastián Grisales (Premio Nacional de Periodismo Simón Bolívar 2014), así como varios textos de escritores wayuu.

Actualmente, los canales de televisión en Colombia, así como las redes sociales en el mundo, pasan documentales sobre la hambruna, la sequía en Woumain, y la muerte de niños Wayuu por inanición. Por primera vez, tal vez en siglos, las personas de las grandes ciudades se están preguntando qué es la Guajira Wayuu. Sin embargo, debido a la delicada situación política y social, los medios de comunicación han fijado una imagen de sufrimiento que olvida la riqueza humana de la nación indígena más numerosa de Colombia. Si bien es cierto que el cambio climático no está permitendo que Jepirachi (los vientos del nordeste) traigan a su tío Juya (la lluvia) para que fecunde a Maa (la tierra), también es cierto que la codicia y la fractura socio-cultural es hoy el resultado de décadas de extractivismo y desplazamientos, en donde no solo El Cerrejón es responsable sino el estado colombiano.

La semana pasada, el poeta y lingüista Wayuu Rafael Mercado Epieyu fue entrevistado en el programa radial de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia “Desde la botica”. Allí, a las preguntas ¿Qué es la Guajira para su comunidad? ¿Qué está pasando en la Guajira? Rafa, gran amigo y colaborador del Mensaje Indígena de Agua, respondió con el siguiente relato:

Nuestro territorio, desde nuestra visión wayuu fundamentada en los relatos ancestrales que se encuentran en la memoria de nuestros abuelos, de nuestras abuelas.

La parte que en castellano se conoce como Alta Guajira, donde se encuentra la Serranía La Macuira, nosotros la denominamos Wüinpumüin, que traduce “Hacia los caminos de las Aguas”. Es ahí, en ese esenario geográfico, donde se encuentra el principio, el origen de la vida para nosotros los Wayuu, a partir del camino de las aguas: Wüinpumüin. Y en ese escenario existen unas deidades que guardan esos lugares sagrados, donde por primera vez brotó la vida, desde el mundo de las Aguas, desde el mundo de Juya, nuestro abuelo. Juya es lluvia, Juya es hombre en Wayuu, y por lo tanto es nuestro abuelo, es El lluvia que conoce el secreto de la vida, en sus principios. En esos lugares sagrados, ahí se encuentran nuestros abuelos, como los animales, el lugar de ojos de agua en esta serranía que se llama Macuira. Entonces la Serranía para nosotros es la serranía madre que cuenta el origen de nuestra cultura.

Y más acá, bajando, donde se encuentra ese paisaje hermoso, donde en todas las tardes y en las mañanas, y en los mediodías de todos los días, es donde se levantan los granos de arena a danzar con el viento que viene del mar, que viene de Palaa, Palaa nuestra abuela, la madre de los vientos. Es ahí, ese escenario, la parte desértica que muestran en los canales, la parte que no hay nada según la televisión colombiana. Para nosotros, ese escenario de danza de vientos con las arenas de la tierra, de nuestra madre tierra, tiene mucho significado, expresa pensamientos primigenios. En las horas de la tarde podemos presenciar y sentir la llegada del viento Rülechi, que viene todas las tardes a caminar del Sur y encontrarse en el cerro que hoy en día se conoce como El Pilón de Azúcar. Este cerro en wayuunaiki se llama Kamaach, el cerro antiguo, el cerro ancestral. Es un escenario en donde se encuentra Rülechi, el viento del Sur, con el viento del Norte, Jepirachi, estos hijos de nuestra abuela Mar, Palaa, se encuentran y dialogan.

Y con estos conceptos que solamente se encuentran en las voces de nuestro abuelos. Pero hoy en día esas voces han sido ignoradas, apagadas, y por eso es que se vende esa imagen de la Guajira desde la visión del blanco. Desde la visión del alijuna [no Wayuu], como no ve cosas que no tiene en su mundo, entonces lo ha denominado como un territorio vacío, sin ningún significado, sino más bien le da ese significado de miseria, de pobreza, pero para nosotros los Wayuu, tiene una riqueza de conocimientos.

Y antes de llegar a la Sierra Nevada [de Santa Marta] está el Río Ranchería. Ahí habitaba la deidad de la fertilidad, nuestra abuela, Perakanawa, pero hoy en día, con los tropiezos y el salvajismo del capitalismo, ha sido destruido su habitat, y nuestra abuela, la deidad de la fertilidad, se ha ido y ha abandonado su lugar. Por eso es que han escuchado seguramente ustedes manifestaciones con el desvío del Río Ranchería [propuesta de El Cerrejón]. Ese Río Rancería era el nido, era habitat de Perakanawa, la deidad, la culebra, la gran abuela, que llegaba y fertilizaba y llenaba de vida a todo ser viviente, desde la hormiga, el árbol más pequeño, el más grande, ahí vivía. Pero ahora con todo el salvajismo del capitalismo ha espantado esa deidad.

Entonces ahí, todo este escenario del departamento [de la Guajira], seguramente si preguntáramos a un hermano Kogui, a un hermano Wiwa, a un hermano Arhuaco, también nos contaría algo parecido….

Escuchar aquí la entrevista completa a Rafael Mercado Epieyu => http://unradio.unal.edu.co/nc/detalle/cat/desde-la-botica.html

En los últimos cuarenta años, El Cerrejón se ha referido a la Guajira como una “tierra subutilazada”, “vacante”, “baldía”, pasando por encima de 3000 años de historias y saberes que los Wayuu han adquirido en Woumain. En Bajo el manto del carbón, Chomsky, Leech y Striffler (2007) han explicado que el proyecto multinacional de extracción del carbón El Cerrejón comenzó en 1975 y, actualmente, tiene un contrato con el gobierno colombiano hasta 2034. Desde el inicio, las comunidades Wayuu de Chancleta, Patilla, Roche, Los Remedios y Tamaquito, así como la comunidad afrodescendiente de Tabaco, fueron desplazadas.

Notiwayuu - train

Foto: Notiwayu / las2orillas => http://www.las2orillas.co/el-cerrejon-el-drama-en-la-guajira/

Remedios Fajardo – reconocida líder Wayuu – ha explicado que los Wayuu no solo han sido desplazados de los lugares de extracción en la Media Guajira como Caracolí y Espinal (Municipio de Barrancas donde viván 350 wayuu) a causa de las acumulaciones de basuras y desperdicios tóxicos; sino también de Puerto Bolívar (a donde llega el tren y de donde es exportado el carbón), conocido por los wayuu como la Media Luna (en donde habitaban 750 wayuu para 1980); y más recientemente del parque eólico Jepirachi (controlado por las Empresas Públicas de Medellín), cuya producción energética solo beneficia al puerto mismo de El Cerrejón. Para Fajardo, además de hurgar las entrañas de los cerros, montañas, bahías y cementerios sagrados, lo más grave es que este proyecto desconoce la concepción wayuu del territorio:

Si ellos salen de sus tierras, el resto de vecinos no les permitirá asentarse en sus territorios, les preguntarán: ¿Por qué entregaron las tierras que juya (la lluvia) les dio? ¿Qué vienen a buscar ahora en nuestras tierras? Según la tradición del pueblo wayuu quien cede sus tierras para quedarse sin ellas, pierde status ante la comunidad, y pierde credibilidad para asumir responsabilidades comunitarias. (Bajo el manto del carbón 22)

Señores Multinacionales, la nación Wayuu no está sola, la Guajira no está baldía, y el Mensaje Indígena de Agua se solidariza con los líderes, escritores, activistas y con las comunidades que están defendiendo en primera línea a Woumain! Es tiempo de dejar tranquilo el carbón en las entrañas de Mma.

Hasta la próxima semana.

***

“Toward the Paths of the Waters”: From Uchumüin To Wüinpumüin

Jepira

Jepira (Cabo de la Vela, Guajira, Colombia). Picture: Juan Guillermo Sánchez M.

Our guest today is Woumain, the Wayuu Guajira between Colombia and Venezuela, and its fight in defending the Ranchería River and the Bruno Creek from the transnational coal mine El Cerrejón. In order to contextualize this long struggle, we would like to share some literary texts by contemporary Wayuu writers.

mapa-ubicacic3b3n-mina-de-cerrejon

Railroad from El Cerrejón Mine to Puerto Bolivar (Bolivar Port). Map: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/02/life-latin-america-largest-open-pit-coal-160201114829811.html 

Currently, Colombian mass media and virtual social networks are reproducing news and documentaries on Woumain’s hunger, drought, and the deaths among Wayuu children because of dehydration and starvation. For the first time in centuries, the people in larger cities of South America, or where the South American diaspora is, are interested in the Wayuu Guajira. However, because of the complex social and political situation of the region, the mass media has portrayed a broken image, which sometimes forgets the human richness of the biggest indigenous nation in Colombia. While it is true that global warming has prevented Jepirachi (the winds from the northeast) from bringing their uncle Juya (the rain) to fecundate Mma (the earth), it is also true that today’s greed and social imbalance are the consequences of decades of mining and displacement, for which not just El Cerrejón is responsible but also the Colombian government.

La-Guajira-Cerrejón

El Cerrejón, the largest open-pit coal mine in the world, owned by BHP Billiton, Anglo American and Xstrata/Glencore.Picture: lachachara.org 

On May 5th, the Wayuu poet and linguist Rafael Mercado Epieyu was interviewed in the National University’s radio program “Desde la botica”. To answer the questions “What does the Guajira mean to your community?” and “What is happening in Guajira?”, Rafael, a great friend and contributor of the Indigenous Message on Water, shared the following story:

Our territory, from the Wayuu vision, is founded in the ancestral stories, which are placed in the memory of our grandfathers and grandmothers. The place which is known in Spanish as Alta [Upper] Guajira, where the Macuira Mountain range is, we call it Wüinpumüin, which translates as “Toward the Paths of the Waters”. It’s there, in that geographical scenario where the beginning is, the origin of life, the Paths of the Waters: Wüinpumüin. So, in that scenario there are some deities who keep those sacred places, where, for the first time, life bloomed—from the Waters’ world, from the Juya’s world, our grandfather. Juya is rain, Juya is man in our language, therefore He is our grandfather, He is who knows the secret of life, in its principles. It is in those sacred places that our grandparents can be found, like the animals, the eyes of water in that mountain range which we call Macuira. So, for us, this mountain range is our Mother who tells the story of our culture.

And you go down where that beautiful landscape is, where every afternoon and every morning, and every noon of everyday, the grains of sand dance with the wind, which comes from the sea, from Palaa, our grandmother, the mother of the winds. It’s there, in that scenario, the desertic part that the TV channels show, where there is nothing, according to Colombian television. For us, that place of dancing, between the earth’s sands and the winds, has a lot of meaning; it expresses original thoughts. In the hours before sunset we can witness and feel the arrival of Rülechi, who comes every afternoon, walking from the South to hit the hill, which is known today as El Pilón de Azúcar. This hill, in wayuunaiki, is called Kamaach, the old hill, the ancestral hill. That’s the scenario where Rülechi, the wind from the South, meets with the wind from the North, Jepirachi, both children of our grandma Sea, Palaa. They both meet with each other and dialogue.

And these concepts are only found in our grandparents’ voices. But, nowadays, those voices have been ignored, muted, and that’s why that image of the broken Guajira has been sold by the white men. Because if he does not see the things that he has in his world, the alijuna [non Wayuu] has named Guajira as an empty land, without meaning, giving it a connotation of misery and poverty. But, for us, the Wayuu, the same land is rich in knowledge.

And before one hits the Sierra Nevada [de Santa Marta], there is the Ranchería River. The fertility deity used to inhabit there, our grandmother, Perakanawa, but nowadays, with capitalistic savagery and setbacks, its habitat has been destroyed, and our grandmother, the fertility deity, has gone and abandoned her place. That’s why you have probably heard protests against El Cerrejón’s proposal to change the course of the Ranchería River. The Ranchería River was the nest, the Perakanawa habitat, the deity, the snake, the great grandma, who used to come to fertilize and fill every single being with life from the ant to the biggest tree. She used to live there. But now, all the capitalistic savagery has frightened that deity.

So this is the scenario of the Guajira province. Probably, if we talk to a Kogui brother, a Wiwa brother, or an Arhuaco brother, they would say something similar…

Listen here the complete interview to Rafael Mercado Epieyu (in Spanish)=> http://unradio.unal.edu.co/nc/detalle/cat/desde-la-botica.html

In the last forty years, El Cerrejón has called the Wayuu Guajira an “under-used land”, “vacant”, “empty”, stepping on 3000 years of history and knowledge which the Wayuu nation has built on Woumain. In Bajo el manto del carbón (The People Behind Colombian Coal), Chomsky, Leech and Striffler (2007) have explained that the multinational project of coal extraction El Cerrejón, started in 1975, has a contract with the Colombian government until 2034. From the beginning, the Wayuu communities of Chancleta, Patilla, Roche, Los Remedios, and Tamaquito, as well the Afro-Colombian community of Tabaco, were displaced.

Remedios Fajardo, renowned Wayuu leader, has also explained that the repercussions of El Cerrejón’s projects extend beyond the extraction points of the middle Guajira, such as Caracoli and Espinal, where 350 Wayuu were displaced due to piles of garbage and toxic waste. Puerto Bolivar, furthermore, the train arrives and the coal is exported to Europe and the US, has seen the displacement of 750 Wayuu people. More recently, Wayuu people have been displaced from the Jepirachi Wind Turbine Project, controlled by the Medellin Public Enterprises (EPM), whose energy only benefits El Cerrejón´s port. According to Fajardo, in addition to digging the hills’, mountains’, bays’ and cemeteries’ guts, it’s clear that those projects don’t understand the Wayuu territory:

If the displaced Wayuu leave their lands, the rest of the community won’t permit them to settle in their lands. They will ask them: Why did you give away the lands that Juya, the rain, gave you? What are you looking for in our land? According to Wayuu nation’s tradition, those who give up the land stay landless, lose status among the community, and lose the trust in assuming community responsibilities. (Bajo el manto del carbón 22)

This situation, of course, divides the community, and it ends up being an advantage for the purposes of the multinationals. Meanwhile, with the virtual advertisement of “social responsibility”, “green energies” and cultural programs, as the EPM celebrates in its website, El Cerrejón distracts the attention from the local issues and violates indigenous rights.

Watch here “The Survival of the Wayuu People” by PBI Colombia (2012) => https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rs6cGKx6Kdo

As a sovereign response, the Woumain’s literary production is pioneering in the history of indigenous literatures from the Abya-Yala. In March, 2011, the Wayuu writer Estercilia Simanca Pushaina published in her blog “Daño emergente, lucro cesante” (“Emerging Damages, Lost Profits”), a short-story about a Wayuu woman who every Monday crosses El Cerrejón’s railroad with her donkey Mushaisa. The narrator says:

…He [the donkey] and I never got accustomed to the train, and I believe that the people on the other side, in the village, never did either—neither the goats nor the children, nobody in this place. Since I have memory, he [the train] was here, crossing the Peninsula from Uchumüin –South- to Wüinpumüin –North-. People say that he arrives to the sea, and that a big ship comes and takes the coal that the train brought, and then the train returns to look for more coal, digging the guts of Mma, the earth, She who keeps the blood of our birth, and the navels of the newborns. My tata says that the cemeteries of a lot of families are where the train passes, but the train didn’t care because he had to pass that way. The bones could simply be carried from one place to other, and a new cemetery could be built, more beautiful and whiter than the other. But, the train couldn’t make another path, NO! He had to pass that way, and that’s it, you know…, that’s it, the train is still passing everyday and Mondays, in the morning… (read the complete story in Spanish here)

As in all of the posts of the last few weeks, Simanca summarizes an old tension in Woumain, a confrontation between two mindsets, two ways of understanding nature and culture: on one side, the “progress locomotive” and the mining paradigm; on the other side, the resistance of native and peasant communities in defending their territories, their cemeteries, sacred places, livestock, plants, and sovereignty.

Please read this wonderful article by Robert Llewelyn, “Across Colombia by train, with García Márquez”, published in Political Newsletter Counterpunch. (December 26-28, 2014) => http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/12/26/across-colombia-by-train-with-garcia-marquez/

A year after “Emerging Damages, Lost Profits”, on March 7th, 2012, the Wayuu poet Miguel Ángel López-Hernández, also known as Vito Apüshana, published an open letter entitled “Señores Multinacionales” (“Mr. Multinational”) in the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo, in which he also refers to this rivalry between the “progress locomotive” and the ancestral knowledge:

We know that our spirituality, which you call romanticism, is the worst enemy of business; that’s why we don’t expect you to agree with us, we just want to make evident the proportion of your thirst for profit, the size of your disasters, and the final disproportion of your responsibilities.

We compare the weight of your shiny names with the effects on the lands you will devastate: Greystar Gold = stone dust of Santurbán; El Cerrejón = Ranchería River’s steam; MPX (Brazil) = hollow of the green Perijá (Guajira); Anglo Gold Ashanti = sterile slopes of La Colosa (Tolima); Muriel Mining Corporation = poisoned waters of the Cara Perro Hill and Ellausakirandarra (Chocó); Brisa Group = wound in the Julkuwa Hill (Dibulla); Endesa (Emgesa) = Magdalena River’s hunger in El Quimbo (Huila)… among many others.

Large-scale mining is the creature that you have created to support the motion of the world, which, because of its infinite growing, will end up devouring itself, and then, the planet will collapse; the terrible creature who we fight and will fight with rogations of belonging, and songs of collective continuity by the rural inhabitants… songs interweaved from the Inuit’s ice in Canada to the Perito Moreno glaciers in the Tierra del Fuego. To this creature, we’ll say “No”, we’ll say “No more!” And our spilled blood, maybe, will be the last frontier. (Read the full letter in Spanish here)

Apüshana goes beyond Guajira, and sends his message against “the creature” in other latitudes of the Abya-Yala / Turtle Island. His argument puts together the local issue with the global need (post-racial?) for the survival of the humanity.

One month after this letter, Vicenta Siosi Pino, Wayuu writer from the Apshana clan, published “Letter from a Wayuu woman to the Colombian President” in the Colombian newspaper El Espectador, a text that traveled the world in defense of the Ranchería River, the only one that crosses Woumain (published also in the Indigenous Message on Water). Through the mass media, Siosi’s letter generated a national and international attention on the devastation it would cause El Cerrejón’s project of change the course of the river.

The same year Siosi wrote his letter, the poet and linguist Rafael Mercado Epieyu dedicated some poems to the El Cerrejón struggle. In “El tren no sabe detenerse” (“The train doesn’t know to stop”), Woumain is permanently deformed, and She cries while her children cough and the stubborn train, “the progress locomotive”, continues its noise and hurry:

¡shalerein! ¡shalerein! ¡shalerein!

That’s how the noise of the train feet sound

¡tününüin! ¡tününüin! ¡tününüin!

That’s how the earth’s whine sounds under its weight

¡ojo´o! ¡ojo´o! ¡ojo´o!

One can hear the Wayuu cough

Because of that black fine dust that the train emits

They breathe it, drink it, and the children’s skin melts

– Goats should not cross here,

the train does not know how to stop –

Those are the words written in their signs.

¡ja ja ja!

If the old Wayuu don’t know how to make those written words speak

Neither do the goats.

The land of the Wayuu is deformed,

now they are disgraceful to her.

They are well with the richness of its Guajira land.

That’s what people say to them.

Lie, we all know it!

Just a few days ago, due to the resistance of the Wayuu nation against the changing of the course of the Ranchería River, and because of the company’s rush to exploit a mineral that is loosing its power in the macro-economy of the global production of energy, El Cerrejón proposed to change the course of the Bruno Creek, tributary of the Ranchería River, but the response of the community was immediate (read the Manifesto in Spanish).

Dear Mr. Multinational, the Wayuu nation is not alone anymore. With this post, the Indigenous Message on Water shows solidarity with the leaders, advocates, writers and the communities who are defending Woumain in the front-lines! It’s time to leave the coal underground, in the Mma’s guts.

Until next week when we’ll close this cycle of thirteen posts!

***

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“For generations to come”: Josephine Mandamin and the Great Lakes

Josephine Dazhkanziibi

Josephine Mandamin, Walter-walker. Dazh-kan-zii-bi (Thames River), London, Ontario. April 6th, 2014

(LEA LA VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL ABAJO)

Today, we would like to pay homage to Josephine Mandamin, Anishinaabe grandmother and water-walker, who has been our inspiration for this blog and the Indigenous Message on Water community. In remembering her teachings, we would like to recommend the documentary Waterlife by Kevin McMahon (2009), and the video interview Sacred Water Walks by The Great Lakes Commons (2015).

Watch here the trailer of Waterlife in where Kevin McMahon features Josephine’s story as an inspirational example for action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWTu_fXgaqM

On April 4th, 2014, we picked Josephine up from Billy Bishop Airport, Toronto’s island airport in Lake Ontario. She was flying in from Thunder Bay. We went with Paula Marcotte, one of the members of the coalition who organized the Water Film Festival: Right or Privilege?. We took the ferry to the Island. It was raining. The seagulls were bobbing on the water.

After months of trying to contact Josephine, we finally got her email and, in less than a week, everything was set for her visit. “Manda” in Anishinaabemovin means wonder, and “min” means seed. Grandmother Josephine carries in her last name one of the Anishinaabe expressions to name corn, the wonder seed. Josephine is from the fish clan and, as a woman, she feels the responsibility to take care and protect Water.

Thus, in 2003, she had the idea to start walking, with her sister, around the Great Lakes. Her intention was to create awareness among the indigenous and non-indigenous communities who surround the Great Lakes, which are at risk because of the chemicals dumped by farms, sewage systems, and the mining industry. Josephine truly believes that Water is our Mother, and that’s the reason why, in the last 13 years, she has walked more than 17.000 kilometers, sharing the message of her ancestors with people of different ages and origins (follow her journeys since 2003 to the present here).

As she says in the video interview Ojibwa Grandmother Recounts Walk Around the Great Lakes (2008), as a result of her walks, new generations will know that there are grandmothers out there who are protecting Water. Josephine has understood that each lake has its own teaching. Lake Superior, for example, is the Mother of the lakes. Lake Michigan keeps the remains of the ancestors, such as rocks/grandfathers, that stand in a circle, and trees that stand in specific ways. Lake Huron is a unifier: it taught Josephine that there should be a man beside a woman during the walk. Lake Ontario is heavier than the rest of the lakes because of its pollution. “And we have to start doing our work!” Josephine repeats.

Watch Ojibwa Grandmother Recounts Walk Around the Great Lakes => https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPega7E8Lhg&index=1&list=PL__TzU4_15OF9Nck8UrVhLyZYw711cbJo

On April 4th, 5th and 6th 2014, Grandmother Josephine Mandamin was our guest-speaker at the Water Film Festival: Right or Privilege? “If it’s for the Water, we have to do it!” she told us. During those three days, before and after the films and talks, she carefully read our anthology. We were really excited by how happy our compilation made her. One afternoon she shared with us the following words, to be included here in our blog:

… to protect Water, we have to connect with Her physically, mentally, and spiritually. In the mornings, before anything else, before even going to the washroom, we have to offer a pinch of Water to Mother, the Earth, pray for it, and then drink a sip. This is my uncle’s teaching: you have to give before you take (…) Many times I have had to cry for the Water. She is a Mother, but she can’t feed her children if she is polluted. You have to be a women to understand what to feed a child means.

Her teachings reminded us immediately of some texts from Indigenous Message on Water such as Mona Polacca’s, Sandy Beardy’s, Vito Apüshana’s, and the paintings by Achu Kantule. Josephine’s insistence of women’s role at this time is also present in the recent video interview by The Great Lake Commons, in which Josephine urges women to lead their communities in the protection of Water:

We have to take care of Mother, the Earth, and that’s what we are doing now, taking care of our Mother, the Earth, especially now in this age when she is really suffering, she is being polluted, she is being prosecuted, she is being sold, you know, all these things are happening to Her, it’s happening to us, women. So, I think about how these days women have to start thinking about bundles. We have to rethink about how important it is. So, we have to really know who we are as women, that we are very powerful women. We can be very instrumental in how things are changing… (video interview Every Step is a Prayer. Sacred Water Walks)

Watch video interview here, Every Step is a Prayer. Sacred Water Walks => https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vV5zD2GrAAg&list=PL__TzU4_15OF9Nck8UrVhLyZYw711cbJo&index=76

We built together the Water Film Festival: Right or Privilege?, thanks to the Indigenous Message on Water and The Council of Canadians, The Latin-American Canadian Solidarity Association, Western University Indigenous Services, and London Museum. Around 300 people participated in the weekend’s events and local organizations such as Wellington Water Watchers shared their own fight to defend the Guelph’s aquifer from the transnational company Nestlé.

Watch here the clasic Bottled life by Ursula Schenell => http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czfSwjx4yYA

Josephine was direct with the audience: “And, after these reflections, what are you going to do?” Following Josephine’s question, there was an important moment of reflection on our own responsibility with Water in our daily lives. As Mike Nagy, director of Wellington Water Watchers, reminded us: it is not enough to reuse, reduce, and recycle. We also need to refuse!

Thank you, Josephine, for your teachings!

Until next week.

***

“Para las generaciones por venir”: Josephin Mandamin y sus caminatas por los Grandes Lagos

Josephine y Juan

Josephine Mandamin, caminante de los Grandes Lagos, y Juan Guillermo Sánchez, co-editor del Mensaje Indígena de Agua, en London, Ontario. Abril 6 de 2014.

Hoy queremos ofrecer un homenaje a Josephine Mandamin, abuela Anishinaabe, caminante del agua, inspiración para mantener nuestro blog y la comunidad del Mensaje Indígena de Agua. Recordando sus enseñanzas, también queremos recomendar el documental Waterlife de Kevin McMahon (2009), y el video de la entrevista Sacred Water Walks realizada por The Great Lakes Commons (2015).

Aquí el corto de Waterlife, en donde Kevin McMahon presenta la historia de Josephine como un ejemplo para la acción => https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWTu_fXgaqM

El 4 de abril de 2014 fuimos a recoger a la abuela Josephine Mandamin al aeropuerto de Toronto, ubicado sobre una de las islas del lago Ontario. Viajaba desde Thunder Bay. Fuimos a recibirla con Paula Marcotte, uno de los miembros de la coalición organizadora del Festival de Cine por el Agua ¿Derecho o privilegio? Tomamos el ferry. La lluvia no cesaba. Las gaviotas estaban bailando sobre el agua.

Después de meses buscando cómo contactar a la abuela Josephine, unos días atrás habíamos conseguido su correo y en menos de una semana todo estaba arreglado para su visita. “Manda”, en lengua Anishinaabemovin significa sorpresa, asombro, maravilla; “min”, semilla. La abuela Josephine lleva en su apellido una de las expresiones Anishinaabe con las que se nombra el maíz, la semilla sagrada. Josephine es del clan del pescado y, como muchas mujeres Anishinaabe, siente que su responsabilidad es cuidar y proteger el agua.

En 2003, tuvo la idea de caminar junto con su hermana alrededor de los Grandes Lagos y ríos del este de Canadá y los Estados Unidos buscando crear conciencia entre las comunidades (indígenas y no indígenas) que circundan estos cuerpos de agua, amenazados hoy por las sustancias químicas de la industria agrícola y la minería irresponsables (ver la memoria de sus caminatas desde el 2003 hasta hoy). Con la convicción de que el Agua es nuestra madre, en los últimos trece años Josephine ha caminado más de 17.000 kilómetros llevando el mensaje de sus ancestros, los primeros días solo con su familia y en los últimos años con cientos de personas de todas las edades y orígenes.

Ver Ojibwa Grandmother Recounts Walk Around the Great Lakes => https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPega7E8Lhg&index=1&list=PL__TzU4_15OF9Nck8UrVhLyZYw711cbJo

¡Gracias, Josephine, por las enseñanzas y las caminatas!

Hasta la próxima semana.

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“Those minerals are medicine to the world”: Amarakaeri, Tuntanain, and Yaigoje-Apaporis

mapa AmazonasAmazonia. Map: http://www.imeditores.com/banocc/amazonia/mapas.htm

{LEA LA VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL ABAJO)

The Amazonia forest spans eight South American countries—Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela—and one foreign possession, French Guyana. Following our post about the Sarayaku’s legal victory in the Ecuadorian Amazon, today we would like to recommend the documentary People From the Amazon and Climate Change (2014), a testimony on indigenous ecoturism projects in two protected areas in the Peruvian Amazon: Amarakaeri Comunal Reserve, and Tuntanain Natural Reserve. Thinking about protected areas, we would like also to reflect on the Yaigoje-Apaporis Park in the Colombian Amazon, and the Makuna teachings about the minerals.

Watch People From the Amazon and Climate Change here => https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIKKlIynklc

One always listens and reads about how the Amazonia is the lungs of the planet, however, in order to visualize its magnitude, we would like to underline some statistics. According to the National Geographic Magazine Climate Issue (November 2015):

There are 713 protected natural areas and 2467 indigenous territories in Amazonia. They cover 51 percent of the region—an expanse larger than India (…) A tenth of the world’s species are thought to live in Amazonia (…) Half the world’s tropical rain forests [Igapó, Várzea, and Terra firme] are found in Amazonia (…) Amazonia is a huge carbon sink. Its soil and vegetation hold roughly a fourth of all the world’s carbon that’s stored on land. But scientists say a tree die-off in the past decade is shrinking the region’s capacity to absorb the planet’s carbon. (NGO Climate Issue)

There is not doubt that there are global consequences from hurting the Amazon forest, but we need to acknowledge that indigenous peoples and local communities are the front-line defenders. Currently, as we learn from the protagonists of People From the Amazon and Climate Change, one of the main concerns of the Harakmbut and Matsigenka nations in the Amarakaeri Comunal Reserve, and the Awajun and Wachipaeri nations in the Tuntanain Natural Reserve, is on food security. Floods in the dry season, foreign fungus on the trees, unusual worms in the meat of hunted mammals, and displacement of species such as turtles and fish, are all symptoms of climate change that they have experienced. For Harakmbut Chief Walter Yuri, fortunately, they have the Amarakaeri Comunal Reserve where they can still get their medicines, meat, fish, and birds—the healthy foods of their diet.

MapaDeforestation around Communal Reserve Amarakaeri. Map: El Comercio

Nevertheless, as the “development projects” grow in the Amazonia, natural reserves and the people who inhabit the forest are being cornered. Felix López, from the Awajun nation, explains the impact of industrial forestry:

Speaking of climate change, there used to be a lot more timber trees, like tornillo, mahogany and cedar, and they help the crops grow, they fertilize it, but there aren’t any now. The loggers are exterminating the timber trees, and as there aren’t any trees anymore, the sun burns right down on the plant, and so it takes longer to grow, and it lacks fertilizer. (People From the Amazon and Climate Change)

Indeed, there are culprits of climate change. The detailed maps of the Amazon in the climate issue of National Geographic show the area’s richness in minerals such as gold, copper, and iron, as well oil and gas. But they also explain the consequences of deforestation, mega-dams, and mining (including roads and pipelines) in the ecological balance between the rainfall, the Andean spring waters, river flows, flooding season, and life:

Both [oil and gas] are economic mainstays of Ecuador and Peru. Today 107 blocks are producing oil and gas in Amazonia, most of them in the Andes [nearly nine-tenths]; 294 more potential blocks could mean more roads and more deforestation (…) The Amazon is the world’s largest river system. Hydropower supplies more than a third of Ecuador’s and Bolivia’s electricity and about a fourth of Peru’s. But deforestation is reducing rainfall and river flow, which also hinders fish migration between the mouth of the Amazon and the upper watershed. (NGO The Climate Issue)

In the Colombian Amazon, there is currently a paradox: after more than sixty years of civil war, nation-state government is in peace negotiations with the guerrillas, and as a result of this historical event, isolated provinces such as Vaupes, Caqueta, and Amazonia are in the sights of transnational and illegal mining. One example, among many (see the case of La Macarena Serrania), is the project of COSIGO Resources’, a Canadian mining company, in the Natural Park Yaigoje-Apapaporis, the sacred birthplace of the Macuna, Cabiyarí, Tuyuca,Tanimuca, Letuama, Yauna, Barasana, Yujup and Puinave nations.

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National Park Yaigoje-Apaporis. Picture: http://www.territorioindigenaygobernanza.com/col_14.html

The Apaporis area—between the Orinoco Great Plains and the Amazon forest—has been in the sights of colonial enterprises for centuries. The Apaporis forest resisted the thirst for quinine, curare (a natural sedative), and natural rubber during the 19th Century, and the slavery by the Tropical Oil Company in the 20th Century. As the renown journalist Alfredo Molano explains, one of the main reasons for this colonial failure has been the indomitable Apaporis River, the river of mirrors, full of waterfalls that make it impossible to navigate. According to the Makuna tradition, it was formed when the Tree of the Beginning fell and its trunk and branches created the river’s broken hydrography (read Molano’s article).

On October 27th, 2009, the Natural Park Yaigoje-Apaporis—a cultural and natural reserve of 1 060 603 acres—was created as an initiative of the Yaigoge Indigenous Chiefs Association (Aciya) with the support of the Colombian Ministry of Environment. The park is part of the “Gold Belt of Taraira”, which crosses Brazil and Colombia. As Alfredo Molano also explains in 2011, during Alvaro Uribe’s presidency, the Ingeominas, the Colombian institution that regulates mining, accepted 23 more applications to exploit gold in the park. Some of these applications were signed by Andrés Rendle, COSIGO’s vice-president for South America. The application process cost approximately 500 dollars, but when the license was approved, it could be sold for millions. On August 31st, 2015, the Colombian Court ordered to suspend any mining activity in the area. However, there is still uncertainty about what this company is planning to do with these mining titles, which are supported by international trade treaties (read “Indigenous Peoples of Yaigoje Apaporis Victorious as Court Ousts Canadian Mining Company”)

Beyond the legality or non-legality of the mining projects, and beyond Canadian or Colombian responsibility, there is an old confrontation between two different mind-sets, as we have addressed in the last few weeks. One of the main questions to start this conversation is: What does nature mean? Followed by: What does gold, oil or water mean? And, finally: Why are we consuming so much energy, and how can we change our habits? For the miner’s mind-set, nature is just a resource to be exploited. The COSIGO’s vice-president, Andrés Rendle, for example, thinks that the “Colombian noise” about their project is surprising. In his words: “It’s just a flea in the Amazon”. His discourse of clean technology and profit for Colombia is weak, particularly in the context of the statistics above. On the other hand, when the Elder Makuna Gerardo was asked about his point of view about mining, he said that the Makuna knew about those minerals, but didn’t touch them because they were always located in sacred areas:

Those minerals will cure the world. If one exploits them, they will bring consequences for the communities (read the full article)

Furthermore, the place that COSIGO is interested in is called Yuisi. And, according to the Pira River Chiefs, Yuisi “is where the energy that regulates and revitalizes life is concentrated”. Yuisi is the Jaguar Backwater, a sacred place for the Apaporis medicine men, a place not to be touched because it belongs to the underworld spirits. In this mind-set, completely contrary to the position taken by the Canadian mining company, nature has its own owners, people from the underworld and the Water people. Despite the mining companies disregard of this message, the first peoples of these forests clearly know what they are talking about.

In the Avina Foundation’s report about the impact of mining on Amazonia (read in Spanish full document here), we can find several testimonies of Chiefs, Elders, peasant miners, and Shamans from the Caqueta River, who have already suffered terribly from gold mining. Over and over, we can read the same comments: the mining projects bring the collapse of the family, prostitution, alcoholism, selfishness, illness, and death in the river produced by chemicals. After reading these testimonies it seems this collapse has an explanation in the traditional beliefs: gold, emeralds, quartz, and diamonds are the organs of our planet, they are also houses of spirits who know how to tie and control diseases. If someone breaks these shrines, these energies will ask a high price to compensate for the imbalance. There is a reason why these minerals are in specific places and not in others. This is one of the Elders’ comments about the Canadian Company’s project:

If we allow that the Canadian company exploits the gold where we consider there is a sacred place, a lot of problems will come: children’s disease and death, crimes among indigenous and white people, war between the guerilla and the army, prostitution, and in the end nobody will respect each other, nor the culture or the tradition. (Fundación AVINA 27)

Today, we would like to end our post with Leila Salazar-López’s words in Amazon Watch: Building Indigenous Alliances for the Climate:

We need more supporters. If we want to stop climate change, we have to protect the Amazon rain forest. It’s the lungs of the planet. And to do that, we have to support indigenous peoples’ rights” (watch documentary)

Until next week!

***

Esos minerales son para curación del mundo”: Amarakaeri, Tuntanain, y Yaigoje-Apaporis

Colparques Yaigoje Apaporis

Parque Yaigoje-Apaporis. Foto: Colparques 

La selva amazónica se expande a lo largo de ocho países suramericanos – Bolivia, Brasil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Perú, Suriname, y Venezuela – además de una posesión extranjera, la Guyana Francesa. Hoy, continuando con nuestro post sobre la victoria legal de la nación Sarayaku en la Amazonía ecuatoriana, queremos recomendar el documental People From the Amazon and Climate Change (2014), un testimonio sobre ecoturismo indígena en dos áreas protegidas de la Amazonía peruana: la Reserva Comunal Amarakaeri, y la Reserva Natural Tuntanaín. Además, pensando en estas áreas protegidas, queremos reflexionar sobre el Parque Yaigoje-Apaporis en la Amazonía colombiana, y las enseñanzas Makuna sobre los minerales.

Ver People From the Amazon and Climate Change AQUI => https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIKKlIynklc

Siempre escuchamos y leemos que la Amazonía es el pulmón del planeta, sin embargo, para poder visualizar su magnitud, nos gustaría subrayar algunas estadísticas. De acuerdo al número sobre cambio climático de la National Geographic (Noviembre de 2015):

Hay 713 áreas naturales protegidas y 2467 territorios indígenas en la Amazonía. Estos cubren 51% de toda la región –una extension más grande que la de la India (…) Un décimo de las especies del mundo se cree que viven en la Amazonía (…) La mitad de las selvas lluviosas tropicales [Igapó, Várzea, y Terra firme] se encuentran en la Amazonía (…) La Amazonía es un disipador gigante de carbón. Su suelo y vegetación contienen aproximadamente un cuarto de todo el carbón del planeta guardado en la tierra. Pero los científicos dicen que la tala y la mortandad de árboles en la última década está reduciendo la capacidad que tiene de absorver el carbón. (Revista aquí)

Al herir la selva amazónica, no hay duda de que hay consecuencias globales, y ahora mismo necesitamos reconocer que las comunidades indígenas y locales que habitan esa selva son sus defensores de primera línea. Actualmente, como escuchamos de los protagonistas de People From the Amazon and Climate Change, una de las preocupaciones principales de las naciones Harakmbut y Matsigenka en la Reserva Comunal Amarakaeri, y las naciones Awajun y Wachipaeri en la Reserva Natural Tuntanain, es la seguridad alimentaria. Desde su propia experiencia, las inundaciones en el tiempo seco, los hongos no habituales en los árboles, los gusanos en la carne de los mamíferos, el desplazamiento de especies como tortugas y peces, son todas pruebas del cambio climático. Para el líder Harakmbut Walter Yuri, afortunadamente hoy ellos tienen la Reserva Comunal Amarakaeri, donde aun pueden obtener medicinas, carne, pescado, aves, y demás productos de su dieta. ¡Es como un supermercado¡, dice riendo.

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Deforestación alrededor de la Reserva Comunal Amarakaeri. Fuente: El Comercio

Sin embargo, a medida que los “proyectos de desarrollo” crecen en la Amazonía, las reservas naturales y las comunidades que las habitan están siendo arrinconadas. Félix López, de la nación Awajun, explica el impacto de la industria forestal con las siguientes palabras:

Hablando de cambio climático, antes había muchos más árboles altos y perennes, como el tornillo, el mahogany y el cedro, y estos ayudaban a que los cultivos crecieran, ellos fertilizaban, pero ahora no hay ninguno. Las máquinas han exterminado estos árboles, y ya que no hay ninguno, el sol cae directamente sobre las plantas, entonces toma más tiempo para que crezcan, y hay falta de fertilizantes naturales. (People From the Amazon and Climate Change)

En efecto, el cambio climático tiene responsables directos. Los mapas detallados de la National Geographic que mencionábamos arriba, describen la riqueza de la Amazonía en minerales como el oro, el cobre, el hierro, además de los hidrocarburos. Estos mapas ilustran las consecuencias de la deforestación, las mega-represas, y la industria minera (incluidas sus carreteras y ductos) en el balance ecológico entre la lluvia, los manantiales de montaña, las corrientes, las inundaciones y la vida en la selva:

Ambos (gas y petróleo), son los pilares económicos de Ecuador y Perú. Hoy hay 107 sitios explotando gas y petróleo en la Amazonía, la mayoría de ellos en los Andes (casi 9 décimos); otros 294 potenciales sitios de explotación significarían más carreteras y deforestación (…) El Amazonas es el sistema de ríos más largo del mundo. Las hidroeléctricas suplen más de un tercio de la electricidad de Bolivia y Ecuador, y más o menos un cuarto de la de Perú. Pero la deforestación está disminuyendo la caída de agua lluvia y la corriente de los ríos, lo que a su vez impide la migración de los peces entre la boca del río Amazonas y las cuencas.” (Leer revista aquí)

Por su parte, en la Amazonía colombiana, hay una paradoja actual: tras más de sesenta años de Guerra civil, el gobierno nacional está ahora mismo negociando la paz con las guerrillas, y como resultado de este momento histórico, las regiones más apartados de los centros urbanos como el Vaupés, el Caquetá y el Amazonas, están en la mira de la minería transnacional e ilegal (leer aquí “La estrategia del despojo” de Alfredo Molano”).

Semana Yaigoje

Foto: Revista Semana. Audios e imágenes en “Parque Apaporis Mina” http://www.semana.com/especiales/parque-apaporis-mina/

Un ejemplo entre muchos (ver el caso reciente de la Serranía de La Macarena) es el de Cosigo Resources en el Parque Natural Yaigoje-Apaporis, el sagrado lugar de origen de la naciones Macuna, Cabiyarí, Tuyuca,Tanimuca, Letuama, Yauna, Barasana, Yujup y Puinave, entre otras. En la lengua yerar – según explica Alfredo Molano – “apaporis” significa “el centro del universo” y, al mismo tiempo, funciona como el verbo “transformar”. El caudal de su río, quebrado por continuas caídas de agua, ha dificultado por siglos que los colonos ingresen. Eso sin contar que desde los años ochenta ha sido uno de los epicentros del conflicto armado en Colombia. Por todo ello, el Apaporis ha sobrevivido a la sed de la quinina, el curare, el caucho, y la esclavitud de la Troco (Tropical Oil Company). Hoy otra “criatura” acecha el Apaporis: la urgencia de explotar el “cinturón de oro de Taraira” (escuche aquí la charla “Apaporis. Viaje a la última selva” de Alfredo Molano).

Hoy nos gustaría finalizar nuestro post con las palabras de Leila Salazar López en un documental sobre la reunion reciente en París sobre Cambio Climático, Amazon Watch: Building Indigenous Alliances for the Climate (2016):

Necesitamos más colaboradores. Si queremos detener el cambio climático, tenemos que proteger la selva húmeda amazónica. Ella es el pulmones de nuestro planeta. Y para protegerla, necesitamos apoyar a los pueblos indígenas en la defensa de sus derechos. (ver Amazon Watch: Building Indigenous Alliances for the Climate

Hasta la próxima semana!

“And everything we do, we are responsible”: Hudbay Minerals

IMG_0294

Santa Rita Mountains, Arizona. Picture: Mona Polacca

LEA LA VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL ABAJO

Eight weeks ago, we started a cycle of posts on the struggles and alternatives to defend the Water of the Abya-Yala and the Turtle Island. Today, inspired by the documentary Flin Flon Flim Flam (2015) by John Dougherty (InvestigateMedia), we would like to share a personal account of Grandmother Mona Polacca, co-secretariat of the Indigenous World Forum on Water and Peace, and take a moment to reflect upon the intentions of our blog in the Information Era.

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Gradmother Mona Polacca

THE STORY

Mona Polacca is a Havasupai/Hopi/Tewa Elder from Arizona (see http://www.grandmotherscouncil.org/who-we-are/grandmother-mona-polacca). When we were writing this post, we asked for her guidance and she sent us this powerful story. Thank you, Mona!

…I was on a drive through southern Arizona. I was commenting to my friend, Austin Nunez (the Chairman of the Wa:K Community AKA San Xavier District of the Tohono O’odham Nation) how I was feeling the spirit and heart of the land as we were driving through the desert. I had mentioned that I needed to take pictures because I had never been to this area before yet, felt de-javu, that I had been there in my dream. I also had the thought that, “maybe this will be the only time I will see this place like this!

I thought he didn’t hear me since he kept driving and I was trying to take pictures while we were moving, you know how that goes! Anyway, he suddenly pulled off the road at a viewpoint looking down across the valley and mountains. He then told me about the Rosemont Mine, and that this landscape I was admiring would soon be the largest open-pit copper mine in the western hemisphere. I was saddened. I asked him, “What are you doing about it?”. He responded, “We are opposed to it, and we are fighting to stop it”.

A few days later, I drove there on my way to the Apache Springs Horse Ranch, which is located near the proposed Rosemont site and the Cienega Springs mentioned in the film. That’s when I noticed this amazing mountain range, Santa Rita Mountains in the distance, there was an area that had snowcaps, so “beautiful” I thought, “must take a picture”. I tried, while I was driving – a big “no no”, especially when driving on a narrow winding road!! I decided to wait until I could turn off the road and stop, and decided that if the mountains were no longer in view, I could accept that, after all I had the memory stored where I will always have it with me. So, when I came to the road I had to take to the horse ranch, as I drove to the ranch there before me was the mountains, the part that had the snowcaps! I was over-whelmed by what I saw! I cried and said, “You are a guardian spirit woman mountain, they cannot destroy you”! I continued my drive to the ranch, which turned out to be sitting below this special part of the mountain. I asked the owners of the ranch, “Do you know that that mountain is very sacred?” they said, “Yes, and we are doing everything we can to take care of the space she has given us to use”. I was happy to know that, I thought, these would be supporters and/or defenders of the Santa Rita Mountains from the Hudbay mining proposal.

While at the ranch, I made a wonderful relationship of unconditional love and acceptance with a horse named Cochise. I made a promise to him and all the other horses that I would make prayers for protection of their home. And so it is – I am making prayers in that way…

FLIN FLON FLIM FLAM

At the convergence of damage and hope, Flin Flon Flim Flam weaves together interviews and facts about four different mining projects orchestrated by the Canadian-based Transnational Company Hudbay Minerals: Mine 777, and Reed Mine in the Grass River Provincial Park (Flin Flon, Manitoba, Canada), El Estor, Lote 8, and Vigil’s Mine in Maya Q’ech’i territory (Guatemala), Constancia Mine in Uchucarco (Chumbivilcus Province, Perú), and the Rosemont Project in the sacred Santa Rita Mountains (Arizona, US).

WATCH Flin Flon Flim Flam => https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7aacPtEI8s&feature=youtu.be 

The facts and statements collected in the movie are both disturbing and encouraging, thus our post today would like to acknowledge the resourcefulness and bravery of its protagonists. Despite the fact that Flin Flon’s aquifer and soil are full of metal concentrations—a consequence of the 85 years of irresponsible operations by Hudbay Minerals—Mathias Colomb Cree Nation and Chief Arten Dumas are fighting back! Although the Peruvian nation-state police are violently repressing the Uchucarco community protests, Quechua advocates are denouncing the damage of heavy traffic on the road, copper dust in the air, and the failure of the company in fulfilling job quotas. In Toronto, Hudbay Minerals is being sued by Angelica Choc, German Chub, and eleven women from the Q’eqch’i nation. By holding a Canadian company accountable for the acts of an overseas subsidiary, this lawsuit is endeavouring to set a precedent for future incidences (read article in the New York Times).

Finally, despite the 1872 General Mining Law, which encourages companies such as Hudbay Minerals to continue destroying the land in Arizona and the rest of the USA, a coalition between the City of Tucson, the Pima County, the Yaqui Nation, the Tohono O’odham Nation, and several Congressional representatives, are together protecting the Santa Rita Mountains, the heart of the Cienaga Springs, a habitat of twelve endangered species such as the wild jaguar and the ocelotl (read http://www.rosemontminetruth.com).

We have borrowed the title of our post, “And everything we do, we are responsible”, from the Hudbay Minerals’ President and CEO David Garofalo, whose words in the documentary are incongruous with the actions of his company. By contrasting Garofalo’s speech with Hudbay Minerals’ actions, Flin Flon Flim Flam reminds us of the power of resistance in subverting discourses.

Flin Flon Flim Flam is both asking for action and reflection: action to stop these four projects (especially Rosemont, which has not yet started); and reflection on the words and the actions of its protagonists, including our own, as contemporaries. Beyond the tired categories of Third and First World, the documentary shows how the mining industry is affecting indigenous and local communities regardless of the location—in Canada, USA, Peru or Guatemala. Corruption, impunity, and lack of regulation are present in all of these scenarios. As a response, the documentary underlines how decisive intercultural initiatives can be. Ray Carroll, Pima County’s AZ Supervisor, explains his county’s major concern:

Why sell tomorrow to pay for today, is the opinion of most of the people that I represent.

We want to believe that our blog is a way of action, and sharing information in Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media with our friends and family are ways of action, too! Despite the amount of violence and damage caused by mining projects and reproduced by the mass media and news, in acknowledging indigenous and local organization who are defending Water, we are part of a global stream of consciousness concerned with Water for future generations.

Thus, we hope you share with us your comments, and spread these posts among your friends and family. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to publish news related to water in your community.

Until next week!

~~~

“De todo lo que hacemos, nosotros somos los responsables”: Hudbay Minerals

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Las montañas de Santa Rita a lo lejos. Foto: Mona Polacca

Ocho semanas atrás comenzamos este ciclo de notas sobre problemáticas y alternativas para defender el agua en la Isla Tortuga (Norteamérica) y el Abya-Yala (América toda, la tierra en plena madurez Tule-Guna). Hoy, inspirados en el documental Flin Flon Flim Flam (2015) dirigido por John Dougherty (InvestigateMedia), queremos compartirles una historia personal de la abuela Mona Polacca, co-secretaria del Foro Indígena Mundial Sobre el Agua y la Paz, y hacer una pausa para visualizar la intención de este blog en la Era de la Información.

LA HISTORIA

Mona Polacca es guía espiritual de las naciones Havasupai/Hopi/Tewa de Arizona (ver http://www.grandmotherscouncil.org/who-we-are/grandmother-mona-polacca). Cuando estábamos escribiendo esta entrada, le pedimos su consejo, y ella nos envió la historia que copiamos a continuación. ¡Gracias, Mona!

… Yo estaba viajando por el sur de Arizona. Le estaba comentando a mi amigo Austin Nuñez, el presidente de la comunidad Wa:K AKA del Distrito de San Xavier de la Nación Tohono O’odham, cómo estaba sintiendo el corazón y el espíritu de esa tierra mientras atravesábamos el desierto. Yo había dicho que necesitaba tomar fotos porque nunca había estado en esta área antes, sentía como dejavu, como si yo hubiera estado allí en mi sueño. También tenía el pensamiento: “¡Tal vez esta será la única vez que vea este lugar así!”

Pensé que no me había escuchado porque él continuó manejando y yo estaba tratando de tomar fotos mientras nos movíamos, ¡tú sabes cómo es eso! En fin, de pronto él se salió de la carretera y paró en un mirador desde donde se veían las montañas y el valle. Entonces me habló sobre la Mina Rosemont, y que ese paisaje que yo estaba admirando pronto sería la mina de cobre a cielo abierto más grande en el hemisferio occidental. Yo me puse triste. Le pregunté: “¿Qué están haciendo ustedes?”. Él me respondió: “Estamos en contra, y estamos luchando para detenerlo.”

Unos días después, pasé por allí de camino al rancho de caballos Apache Springs, el cual está ubicado cerca del sitio propuesto para la mina, y también de Cienaga Springs, el cual mencionan en la película [Flin Flon Flim Flam, ver abajo]. Ahí fue cuando caí en cuenta de esta maravillosa cadena montañosa, las montañas de Santa Rita en la distancia, había una área con casquetes de nieve, “¡qué hermoso!”, pensé, “tengo que tomar una foto”. Traté mientras estaba manejando, pero “no, no”, sobre todo en una angosta y ventosa carretera. Decidí esperar hasta que pudiera parar, y si las montañas no estaban entonces en el panorama, tendría que aceptarlo, pues después de todo tenía la memoria guardada y siempre las tendría conmigo. Entonces cuando llegué a la carretera que tenía que tomar, mientras manejaba hacia el rancho de caballos, ahí estaban ante mí las montañas, ¡la parte que tenía los casquetes de hielo! ¡Yo estaba abrumada por lo que veía! Lloré y dije: “Tú eres guardián, mujer espíritu de la Montaña, ¡ellos no pueden destruirte!” Continué manejando hacia el rancho, el que terminó ubicado justo debajo de esa parte especial de la montaña. Les pregunté a los dueños del rancho: “¿Ustedes saben que esta montaña es sagrada?”. Ellos dijeron: “Sí, y estamos haciendo todo lo que podemos para cuidar el espacio que ella nos ha permitido usar”. Yo estaba feliz de saberlo, y pensé, “ellos deben ser defensores de las montañas de Santa Rita contra el proyecto minero de Hudbay”.

Cuando estaba en el rancho, hice una relación maravillosa de amor incondicional y aceptación con un caballo llamado Cochise. Le hice una promesa a él y a todos los otros caballos, que yo haría oraciones para proteger su casa. Y así es, estoy haciendo oraciones hacia esa dirección…

FLIN FLON FLIM FLAM

En la convergencia entre el daño y la esperanza, Flin Flon Flim Flam teje entrevistas y hechos relacionados con cuatro proyectos mineros orquestados por la compañía transnacional con base en Canadá Hudbay Minerals: la mina 777 y la mina Reed en el Parque Estatal Grass River (Flin Flon, Manitoba, Canada), las minas de El Estor, Lote 8 y Vigil en territorio Maya Q’ech’i (Guatemala), la de mina de Constancia en Uchucarco (Provincia de Chumbivilcus, Perú), y el proyecto Rosemont en las montañas sagradas de Santa Rita (Arizona, US).

VER Flin Flon Flim Flam (español, inglés, quechua y q’eqch’i) => https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7aacPtEI8s&feature=youtu.be 

 

Hoy hemos prestado el título de nuestro post, “De todo lo que hacemos, nosotros somos los responsables”, del presidente y director ejecutivo de Hudbay Minerals, David Garofalo, cuyas palabras en el documental son incongruentes con las acciones de su compañía. Al contrastar el discurso de Garofalo con las acciones de Hudbay Minerals,  Flin Flon Flim Flam nos recuerda la fuerza de subvertir los discursos.

Este documental nos invita al mismo tiempo a actuar y a reflexionar: actuar en contra de estos cuatro proyectos (especialmente el de la mina Rosemont, la cual no ha comenzado aun), y a reflexionar sobre las palabras y los actos de sus protagonistas, incluidos nosotros mismos como contemporáneos de estas problemáticas. Más allá de las desgastadas categorías de Primer y Tercer mundo, el documental demuestra cómo la industria extractiva está afectando comunidades campesinas, indígenas y locales igual en Canadá que en Estados Unidos, Perú o Guatemala. Corrupción, impunidad, y falta de regulación están presentes en todos estos escenarios. Como respuesta, el documental subraya lo decisivas que pueden llegar a ser las iniciativas interculturales. Ray Carroll, Supervisor del condado de Pima, explica la mayor preocupación de su condado:

Para qué vender el mañana para pagar el hoy, esa es la opinión de la mayoría de la gente que yo represento.

Nosotros creemos que este blog es una forma de acción, y compartir en Facebook, Twitter o cualquier otra red social, con nuestros amigos y nuestra familia ¡son formas de acción! Apesar de la cantidad de violencia y daño causados por los proyectos mineros, al reconocer las organizaciones locales e indígenas que defienden el agua, estamos siendo parte de una corriente global de conciencia, dispuesta a proteger el agua para las futuras generaciones.

Estaremos esperando sus comentarios. ¡Pasen la voz entre amigos y familia!

No duden en contactarnos si quisieran publicar alguna noticia/alternativa/iniciativa relacionada con el agua de su comunidad.

¡Hasta la próxima semana!

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Gentle like the cricket’s song: Iximulew

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Daniel Caño, Q’anjob’al poet

LEA LA VERSION EN ESPAÑOL ABAJO

Today, Q’anjob’al poet Daniel Caño has shared with us some verses about the rivers of his hometown of Jolom Konob, Santa Eulalia, in the Cuchumatanes mountains, Iximulew, the corn (ixim) land (ulew), Guatemala. Let’s think about them for a moment!

The rivers of my town

come down from the mountains

and they drag themselves among the valleys

in the shape of a serpent.

In the winter they get angry

an they take with them everything they find

in their flowing.

In the summer, instead,

their song is gentle

like the cricket’s.

Artists, spiritual guides, and advocates like Daniel have protected these rivers from transnational companies since 2012. Mayan Q’anjob’al art, ceremony, and pacific mobilization have spoken loudly against the Hidralia Energy and its Guatemalan subsidiary, Hidro Santa Cruz, who are trying to privatize the Cuchumatanes’ water in order to create the Santa Cruz Barrillas Dam. As a result of this ongoing conflict, several Q’anjob’al and Mam community leaders have “disappeared” since 2012, and others have been detained as political prisoners by the non-indigenous local authorities. For further information,  please listen to the Q’anjob’al radio station Jolom Konob, and/or read more about it in renowned publications such as Cultural Survival.

Dam and mining projects have a painful history in Iximulew. Thus, today, in acknowledgment of Angélica Choc’s and German Chub’s legal battles in both Canadian and Guatemalan courts against Hudbay Minerals, we would like to recommend the award-winning film Heart of Sky. Heart of Earth / Ukux Kaj. Ukux Ulew, directed by Frauke Sanding and Eric Black.

WATCH trailer here => http://www.heart-of-sky.com/en/trailer 

Heart of Sky. Heart of Earth / Ukux Kaj. Ukux Ulew is a poetical approach to Mayan spirituality. While it is a film about Mayan beliefs in the 21st century, it is also an invitation to think about the sacred K’iche’ words of the Mayan creation, transcribed to the Latin alphabet in the 16th Century by anonymous Elders in the Popol Vuh. In the sea turtles’ effort to lay their eggs under the volcanic sand in the Pacific cost of Iximulew (first scene), we also see the effort of the Gods in the first creation, the silent void, and the strength of the protagonists in confronting their unbalanced reality. These are some of the teachings, shared by the protagonists, which resonate after the film ends:

Chepita, Maya Tzotzil, reflects upon memory:

We are the children of corn. It’s our body and blood. In our ancient scripture, the Popol Vuh, corn represents the cycle of life. It represents birth, growth, development, maturity, and death. Everything is connected. Nothing is excluded. The corn cycle is complete. The cycle of men and women is complete. That is what we believe. That’s our life.

Chan K’in, Maya Lacandon, explains the significance of trees as he walks into the forest:

I live with the trees. They are my life. The trees protect me, and provide me with wind and rain. They keep me alive and well. This is a Ceiba tree, the holy tree of the Maya, of us, because we believe these trees hold the Gods. Here, in its roots, are the underworlds. In the branches is the God Hachakyum, the true God. These trees also hold up the stars: when a Ceiba tree falls in the forest, a star falls from the sky.

Flori, Maya Mam, shares a teaching about Chepita’s fire ceremony:

We ask for her to have good vision, good eyes to observe the fire, and good ears to hear what the fire is telling you (…) When the clouds come down to earth, the fog, we say it’s our ancestors who are coming down, to kiss the earth, to greet the earth. Afterwards, they leave again. We say they are our ancestors because they have white hair. And this looks like the fog, see? It is your assignment to always make sure there is earth where the ancestors can come down.

Felipe, Maya Kaqchiqel, explains as tata, spiritual guide:

In all ancient Mayan cities, ceremonies are performed. Our ancestors left their energy here. The objective of our ceremonies is to balance people’s energy, and to make contact with all beings in nature, trees, animals, all the elements, the ancestors, the energy of the mountains, the volcanoes and hills; all this is present in a ceremony.

Heart of Sky. Heart of Earth / Ukux Kaj. Ukux Ulew is a collective testimony of resilience in a nation-state like Guatemala where dictatorships, paramilitarism, and guerrillas have been responsible for– as in many Latin American nations – massacres, displacement, and rapes of indigenous peoples and peasants’. In order to close the circle of pain, the message from the young protagonists, smooth as the waters of the Cuchumatanes’ rivers in the summer, is of reconciliation. Fortunately, parallel to the political and intellectual resistance, ancestral expressions and spirituality are currently blooming with certainty.

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Su canto es suave como el de los grillos: Iximulew

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Uno de los río de Jolom Kolob. Fotografía del poeta Q’anjob’al Daniel Caño

Hoy, el poeta Q’anjob’al Daniel Caño ha compartido con nosotros unos versos sobre los ríos de su pueblo Jolom Konob, Santa Eulalia, en la Sierra de los Cuchumatanes, Iximulew, la tierra de maíz, Guatemala:

Los ríos de mi aldea

descienden de las montañas

y se arrastran por los valles

en forma de serpiente.

En el invierno se ponen furiosos

y se llevan todo lo que encuentran

a su paso.

Pero en el verano

su canto es suave

como el de los grillos.

Desde 2012, artistas, guías espirituales, y activistas como Daniel han protegido estos ríos de compañías transnacionales. El arte, la mobilización pacífica y la espiritualidad Q’anjob’al se han opuesto con firmeza a los proyectos de la empresa española Hidralia Energía, y su subsidiaria guatemalteca Hidro Santa Cruz, quienes quieren privatizar el agua para crear la represa Santa Cruz Barrillas. Como consecuencia de este continuo desacuerdo, en los últimos cuatro años líderes Q’anjob’al y Mam han sido desaparecidos, y otros han sido detenidos por las autoridades locales no indígenas, como se puede leer y escuchar en los informes de la radio comunal Jolom Konob, y en reconocidas publicaciones como Cultural Survival.

Ya que las represas y los proyectos extractivos de minería tienen una historia dolorosa en Iximulew (ver el comunicado de la próxima Marcha por el Agua), hoy, recordando las batallas legales en Canadá y en Guatemala de Angélica Choc y German Chub contra Hudbay Minerals, queremos invitarlos a que vean la cinta premiada Corazón del cielo. Corazón de la tierra / Ukux Kaj. Ukux Ulew (2012), dirigida por Frauke Sanding y Eric Black.

VER corto aquí => http://www.heart-of-sky.com/en/trailer 

Corazón del cielo. Corazón de la tierra / Ukux Kaj. Ukux Ulew es un acercamiento poético a la espiritualidad maya. Una película acerca de las creencias de los Mayas del siglo XXI y, al mismo tiempo, una invitación para que nos adentremos en las palabras k’iche’ de la creación maya, transcritas al alfabeto latino por abuelos anónimos en el siglo XVI en lo que hoy conocemos como Popol Vuh. En el esfuerzo de las tortugas marinas dejando sus huevos bajo la arena volcánica de la costa de pacífica de Iximulew (primera escena), vemos también el esfuerzo de los dioses en la creación, ese vacío silente, y la entereza de los protagonistas del documental ante los desequilibrios de su propia realidad.

Estas son algunas de las palabras de los protagonistas, las cuales quedan zumbando como el colibrí. Chepita, Maya Tzotzil, reflexionando sobre la memoria:

Somos los hijos del maíz, las hijas del maíz. Creemos que es nuestro cuerpo, nuestra sangre. En nuestro libro antiguo, el Popol Vuh, nos representa el ciclo de la vida, nos representa el nacimiento, el crecimiento, el desarrollo, la madurez y la muerte. Todo tiene conexión con todo. Y nada está afuera. Y así es el ciclo del maíz, es completo. El ciclo del hombre y de la mujer es completo. Y así es, así lo creemos. Así es nuestra vida.

Mientras camina entre la selva, Chan K’in, Maya lacandón, explica:

Yo vivo con los árboles. Es mi planta y es mi vida. Los árboles me están protegiendo. Me dan vientos, lluvias. Por eso estoy viviendo y estoy sano. Este es un árbol ceiba. Es árbol sagrado de los mayas, de nosotros. Porque aquí creemos que son árboles que están agarrados de los dioses. Aquí en las raíces están los inframundos. En las ramas estaban los dioses que se llamaban Hachakyum, dios verdadero. Cuando cae ceiba en la selva, cae una estrella en el cielo.

Flori, Maya Mam, comparte sobre la ceremonia que realiza con Chepita durante el documental:

Se pide para tener buena vista, buenos ojos para mirar el fuego. Se pide para tener buenos oídos, para que puedas escuchar lo que te está diciendo el fuego (…) Cuando bajan las nubes a la tierra, en la neblina, siempre decimos que son los abuelos los que bajan a besar la tierra, a saludar a la tierra. Y después se van. Y decimos que son los abuelos porque son blancos, son de pelo blanco. Y esto parece una neblina, ¿ves? [señalando el fuego]. Ese es como el encargo hacia ti también, que pidas siempre que hayan esas nubes, que haya tierra donde ellos puedan bajar.

El tata Felipe, Maya Kaqchiqel, explica como guía espiritual de su comunidad:

En todas las ciudades antiguas se hacen ceremonias. Aquí, nuestros antepasados dejaron su energía. Es el objetivo de la ceremonia. Es equilibrar la energía de las personas. Y también hacer contacto con todos los seres que existen en la naturaleza, los árboles, los animales. Todos los elementos, los antepasados, las energías de las montañas, de los volcanes, de los cerros. Todo eso se manifiesta dentro de una ceremonia.

Corazón del cielo. Corazón de la tierra / Ukux Kaj. Ukux Ulew es un testimonio colectivo de resiliencia en una nación-estado como Guatemala en donde los dictadores, los paramilitares y las guerrillas, – como en tantas otras naciones de Latinoamérica – han sido responsables de las masacres, los desplazamientos y las violaciones de las comunidades indígenas y de los campesinos. Para cerrar el ciclo del dolor, el mensaje de los jóvenes protagonistas, suave como los ríos en el verano de los Cuchumatanes, es de reconciliación. Por fortuna, paralelo a la soberanía política e intelectual, hoy el arte y la espiritualidad ancestrales están floreciendo con certeza.

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Not for sale, just to protect: Wallmapu’s water!

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LEA LA VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL ABAJO

This week, we bring poetry, documentaries, and mobilizations from the Wallmapu, the ancestral Mapuche land both east and west of the Andes.

MOBILIZATION 

The words written by Maria Teresa Panchillo, María Huenuñir, Lorenzo Ayllapán, Jaime Luis Huenún, Graciela Huinao, and Rayen Kvyeh are part of the cultural expressions that are currently defending the Wallmapu’s water. Their verses and stories are part of our anthology Indigenous Message on Water.

Carátula libro

READ here = https://waterandpeace.wordpress.com/from-the-elders/

Because of their words, we know of the long battle of the Mapuche nation against the monoculture forestry, the hydroelectric dams, and the Chilean state’s terrorism in this region. Therefore, in solidarity with the Mapuche struggle, and in celebration of EARTH DAY on April 22nd, we would like to invite you to support the IV Transnational Mobilization in Defending Water and Territory, April 23th and 24th, 2016 in Temuko (Wallmapu/Chile). Here is the call for action:

Our group has chosen the Araucania Region to propel a new decentralized agenda. We want to support the cultural expressions that defend the territory against the Chilean state’s violent project of extracting the ancestral territory of the Wallmapu; specifically, the forestry/mining/energy/water industries, which violate the Mapuche’s Human Rights… (Read the full document in Spanish=> http://aguaenmarcha.cl/wp/encuentro-plurinacional/)

el agua no se vende se defiende

SEEDING POVERTY

The pine and eucalyptus cellulose industry is, after copper,  the most lucrative export of the Chilean economy. The forestry industry’s fund (Fondo Maderero) is a privileged budget of the State, supported by Law 701 (signed by the dictator Pinochet in 1974), which favors private companies such as ARAUCO, and CMBC.

In addition to the historical tensions, and the state’s complicity in these decisions, there is currently a paradox in monoculture forestry in the Wallmapu/Chile: the Chilean State talks about a cellulose forest, while the Mapuche movement talks about the native forest. After forty years of monoculture forestry, there are currently 2.5 million pine and eucalyptus hectares in the south-central region of the Wallmapu. As explained by the documentary Plantar pobreza: el negocio forestal en Chile, the main problem with the non-native tree monoculture is that since the tress are all the same age, they modify the native soil’s hydric balance, drying the aquifer that guarantees the communities’ wells and food sovereignty. Also, the pine’s turpentine, added to the dry soil, is producing spontaneous forest fires.

In order to contextualize the IV Transnational Mobilization, we would like to recommend the news report  “The Mapuche of Chile – Struggle for Territorial Rights and Justice”, produced by Deutsche Welle:

WATCH HERE = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41pnfq27Oak 

SEEDING POETRY

On March 17th, 2014, during the book launch for the Indigenous Message on Water in London (Ontario, Canada), Rayen Kvyeh participated via Skype from Temuko. She kindly shared an historical background of the Mapuche struggle in the Araucania (south-central region of the Wallmapu). She told us about the Quillín treaty, signed in 1641, in which the Spanish crown recognized the Independent Mapuche Nation, south of the Bíobío River. She also reminded us that the Chilean State ignored this treaty, and between 1830 and 1881, occupied the Mapuche territory, burning the rukas (houses) and crops, and stealing the cattle. Today, despite the fact that the Chilean state is criminalizing the pacific protest, and is using the anti-terrorism law against the Mapuche advocates, Rayen Kvyeh and the Mapuche writers, journalists, filmmakers, Elders, send us hope with their strength.

WATCH here the Mapuche political prisoners’ lawyer  reflect on the 2015 Inter-American Court decision in favour  of the Wallmapu => https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1mjMgOSE3Y

From the Bíobío River to Temuko, we would like to leave you today with the Kvyeh’s poem, “Fíu fíu – Bío bío”, part of the Indigenous Message on Water:

The rivers flow like blood upon the earth

Hauling along the dreams of my Elders

the food of our freedom.

That’s why, Bío Bío,

they imprision you behind a dam.

FUXALEUFU

You, who carries the breath of araucaria trees.

You, who tells

LAFKENMAPU stories

and transmits the snow message

in the weeping winter

and Water for my siblings.

That’s why, Bío-Bío,

they want you, Majestic River.

Foreign men

do not see our history’s heartbeat

in your Waters.

They want to halt your song

and silence our ancestral native voices.

Condors of the sun kiss your Waters.

My ancestors are rising up!                  (Indigenous Message… 128)

If you like this post, please share it, and walk with us on April 23th, wherever you are, with the IV Transnational Mobilization in Defending Water and Territory.

Until next week!

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¡EL AGUA NO SE VENDE, EL AGUA SE DEFIENDE!: WALLMAPU

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Poeta Rayen Kvyeh. FOTO: Consejo Nacional de la Cultura y las Artes

Esta semana traemos poesía, documental y marcha pacífica desde el Wallmapu, la nación Mapuche al este y al oeste de los Andes.

¡MARCHA!

Dentro de las diversas expresiones que defienden el agua en el Wallmapu, está la poesía de Maria Teresa Panchillo, María Huenuñir, Lorenzo Ayllapán, Jaime Luis Huenún, Graciela Huinao, y Rayen Kvyeh, quienes hicieron parte de nuestra antología Mensaje Indígena de Agua

Libro Piedra

Descargar aquí antología=> https://waterandpeace.wordpress.com/from-the-elders/ 

Por ellos, conocemos las luchas de la nación Mapuche contra los monocultivos forestales, las represas hidroeléctricas, y el terrorismo de estado. Este es el mensaje de María Teresa Panchillo, María Huenuñir y Lorenzo Ayllapan, cuando visitaron Montreal (Hochelaga) en septiembre de 2012 => https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S28nCznrFUg

Con este encuentro en la memoria, y celebrando el DIA DE LA TIERRA, hoy queremos invitarlos a que acompañen el próximo 23 y 24 de abril en Temuko (Wallmapu/Chile) la IV Marcha del Movimiento Plurinacional por la Defensa de las Aguas y los Territorios. Aquí el comunicado:

El movimiento ha definido la Región de la Araucanía para reimpulsar su nueva agenda de trabajo como acto de descentralización, como también, para respaldar las diversas expresiones que defienden los territorios ante la violenta ofensiva estatal-empresarial por establecer nuevas formas de invasión y saqueo a los territorios ancestrales de Wallmapu, particularmente, las relacionadas con la industria forestal, energética, acuícola, agroindustrial e incluso minera, transgrediendo derechos humanos de una amplia población… (Leer el comunicado completo aquí =>http://aguaenmarcha.cl/wp/encuentro-plurinacional/)

Por favor pasen la voz, compartan este post, y el 23 de abril caminen con la Marcha Plurinacional donde quiera que estén.

¡Hasta la próxima semana!

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Hacer memoria es otra forma de conseguir la justicia: Sabino Vive

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Lucía Martínez Romero, esposa del Cacique Sabino. FOTO: Miguel Moya

ENGLISH VERSION BELOW

El 9 de febrero de 2013, un mes antes de que fuera asesinado por sicarios en el Municipio de Machiques, el cacique Yukpa Sabino Romero Izarra dice ante las cámaras de Sabino vive. Las últimas fronteras:

…La Sierra Perijá es esto, pues, donde nosotros estamos arrinconados hace muchos años. Desde 1980 estamos pidiendo la demarcación de territorios de los pueblos indígenas, de nosotros, los Yukpa y los Barí y los Wayuu. El problema del territorio no se ha resuelto.

Estas palabras quedaron registradas en el documental que hoy les recomendamos: Sabino vive. Las últimas fronteras, dirigido por Carlos Azparúa con el Apoyo del Centro Nacional Autónomo de Cinematografía de Venezuela.

VER AQUÍ => https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E91H73AdSU4 

 

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MEMORY IS ANOTHER WAY OF PURSUING JUSTICE: SABINO VIVE!

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Yukpa Chief Sabino Romero Izarra. Picture: aporrea tvi

On February 9th, 2013, a month before being murdered by sicarios (hired assassins) in the Machiques County, the Yukpa chief Sabino Romero Izarra opened Sabino vive. Las últimas fronteras with the following words:

The Perija Mountains are these, you know, where we have been cornered for years. Since 1980, we have been asking for the demarcation of the indigenous territories, our territory, the Yukpa, Barí and Wayuu. The problem of the land hasn’t been solved.

These words are part of the documentary that we would like to recommend today:  Sabino vive. Las últimas fronteras, directed by Carlos Azparúa wih the support of the Centro Nacional Autónomo de Cinematografía.

WATCH HERE => https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E91H73AdSU4 

(Documentary is In spanish only)

Featuring an important archive of news, interviews with politicians, ranchers, activists and indigenous advocates, Sabino vive. Las últimas fronteras documents the tensions that have existed for more than eighty years between the landowner families and the indigenous nations in the valleys around the Yasa river and the Negro river, Zulia Province-Venezuela. In this long battle against impunity, which involves Capuchin Missionaries, the Venezuelan state, and the Narco-Paramilitarism along the Colombo-Venezuelan borderland, Chief Sabino and Elder Adolfo Maikishi’s voices remind us that in order to defend the territory one needs to know it first. This is how Sabino explains it:

Here are the Yukpa, working, not ordering anyone [around], but working themselves. This pineapple here is my own sowing, mine. Nobody here is going to be the boss of someone [else]. My children are planting because of their own will. The name of this land is not Tizina, but Kuna Tizina. The ranchers call this Kusare; and Kusare is not Kusare, but Pamocha. Brazil [Venezuela] is not Brazil, but Chirai. All these lands have their own names. My father himself told me that all these lands were named by the ancestors.

In If this is your land, what are your stories? (2004), Edward Chamberlin states that stories and oral tradition give meaning to the places we inhabit. From his point of view, only those who own this type of knowledge can claim to belong to a specific land. Criticizing Matthew Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy, Chamberlin holds that while indigenous nations preserve their origin stories, settlers built their own “stories of belonging”, such as nation-states’ constitutions (Chamberlin 25). In deed, as in the case of Chief Sabino and his wife Lucía Martínez de Romero, the Yukpa, Barí and Wayuu Elders are those who know the Perija’s cosmography, and understand the organic relationship between hills, rivers, tunnels and prairies.

In the YouTube description of Sabino vive. Las últimas fronteras offered by Sociedad Homo Et Natura, we can read:

In Friday’s hearing on August 14, 2015, the hired assassin and Machiques ranchers’ bodyguard Angel Antonio Romero Bracho, alias El Manguera, was convicted to 30 years in prison in the Itinerant Court 17 of Greater Caracas, for the assassination of Yukpa Chief Romero Izarra Sabino on March 3, 2013, and for hurting his wife Lucia Martinez Romero and his young son Briceño Martinez Romero.

After the sentencin of the actual assassin, the question that remains is this: when will the intellectual assassins be judged? Not only in Chief Sabino’s case, but also in the case of Lenca activist Berta Cáceres, and all the indigenous and peasant advocates who have risked their lives to protect their territories. As early as 1584, the Muisca Chief Turmequé denounced in his famous letter to the Spanish King (the original text is in old Spanish):

They [the Spanish] have used the biggest cruelty and inhumanity that you can imagine against the miserable Indians, thus instead of protecting and preserving them in their land and planting, they [the Spanish] have divided the best crops and lands they had, and have kept them for themselves as farms and ranches (Read the original here)

Between Chief Turmeque’s concern and Chief Sabino’s concern more than four hundred years have passed. Nevertheless, expressions such as “divided land”, “defense of the territory”, “exploitation of the land”, “territories in dispute” are still part of the daily vocabulary in courts, scholarly papers, and mass media, whether in Bogota, Caracas or Ottawa. How can we transcend the unsolved problems of the colonial period, and the nation-states’ project toward a shared future with the First Nations?  Sabino vive. Las últimas fronteras reminds us that memory is another way of pursuing justice.

“The future is a realm we have inhabited for thousands of years”: Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Little BearDr. Leroy Little Bear

(LEA LA VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL ABAJO)

For the last three weeks we have been sharing videos and teachings related to water issues in Indigenous territories. The message of the Elders from Nunjwákala/Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the resistance of the Mikmak community in Elsipogtog against transnational mining, and the victory of the Sarayaku nation in the Amazon over the Ecuadorian state are all examples of when two mind-sets clash. They all show the need of an intercultural dialogue, a point of convergence between Indigenous knowledge and Western science.

Today, celebrating the equinox, we would like to invite you to think about this convergence, based on the talk by Dr. Leroy Little Bear, a Blackfoot Elder and scholar who, in January 2015, with the support of The Banff Centre, proposed some contrasts and similarities between quantum physics and Indigenous knowledge:

Watch => https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJSJ28eEUjI

With humor and humility, Dr. Little Bear reminds us that science is all about the unknown, and not about formulas, math or the application of the known (technology). For him, the “constant flux” of quantum physics is currently dialoguing with the ancestral thought about the constant flow among all beings. In addition to matter and particles, the Blackfoot epistemology also talks about energy waves, which, in other words, could be called spirit. From this point of view, everything is alive/animated/related; therefore, it is not possible to study it in isolation as Western science sometimes does. In Dr. Little Bear’s words, quantum physics have started to realize the need for a holistic approach in which matter, motion and constant transformation are the foundation of renewal.

In tune with Elder Little Bear’s talk, Tsalagi/Ojibwe scholar Valerie Goodness has proposed Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) to refer to the first nations’ techniques and ancestral knowledge. TEK offers, for example, alternative methods for irrigation, soil conservation, ecosystems and natural water reservoirs, astronomy, and use of medicinal plants. For Goodness, Western scientists are now accepting the fact that Indigenous peoples have an understanding of uncertainty and intuition that allows them to detect changes in ecosystems quicker. (READ: “Idle No More: Decolonizing Water, Food and Natural Resources With TEK”) As in the Blackfoot epistemology, Goodness recalls that in Haudenosaunee thinking all species and beings are interconnected, and it is from this “way of being in the world” (ethos) that it is possible to achieve sustainability:

All things are connected. Mother Earth, the Waters, Fish, Grasses, Medicine Plants, Food Plants, Animals, Trees, Birds, Four Winds, Grandfather Thunder, Elder Brother the Sun, Grandmother Moon, Stars, the protectors, Handsome Lake and the Creator are all connected and thanked. (Goodness, Web)

Based on these reflections, to look ahead, therefore, we must recover the past; perhaps reimagine the time beyond a straight line. The clarity of this certainty vibrates in the words of thinkers such as Little Bear and Goodness. These are voices that connect ancient cosmologies with a future of welfare for the generations to come. In the words of Hawaiian writer Bryan Kamaoli Kuwada:

Yet remembering the past does not mean that we are wallowing in it. Paying attention to our history does not mean we are ostriching our heads in the sand, refusing to believe that the modern world is all around us. We native peoples carry our histories, memories, and stories in our skin, in our bones, in our health, in our children, in the movement of our hands, in our interactions with modernity, in the way we hold ourselves on the land and sea (…) Standing on our mountain of connections, our foundation of history and stories and love, we can see both where the path behind us has come from and where the path ahead leads. This connection assures us that when we move forward, we can never be lost because we always know how to get back home. The future is a realm we have inhabited for thousands of years. (“We live in the future. Come join us.”. READ: Kekaupu Hehiale. Abril 3 de 2014).

There is, therefore, an arduous way to go if we want to establish a dialogue between mindsets. It is not a one way journey, but a number of trails which we could take simultaneously to find convergences.

***

Anishinabeg Wheel

Anishinabee/Ojibwe Medicine Wheel

“EL FUTURO ES UN REINO QUE HEMOS HABITADO DESDE HACE MILES DE AÑOS”: CONOCIMIENTO TRADICIONAL ECOLÓGICO

En las últimas tres semanas hemos estado compartiendo enseñanzas y videos relacionados con el agua en territorios indígenas. El mensaje de los hermanos mayores desde Nunjwákala/Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, la resistencia de la comunidad Mikmak en Elsipogtog contra la minería transnacional, y la victoria de la nación Sarayaku en la Amazonía sobre el estado ecuatoriano, son todos ejemplos en donde dos modos de pensar chocan. Todos ellos muestran la necesidad de un diálogo intercultural, un punto de convergencia entre el conocimiento indígena y la ciencia occidental.

Hoy, celebrando el equinoccio, queremos invitarlos a pensar en este puente a partir de la charla del Dr. Leroy Little Bear, sabedor Blackfoot y académico, quien en enero de 2015, con el apoyo de The Banff Centre, propuso algunas diferencias y similitudes entre la física cuántica y el conocimiento indígena.

VER AQUÍ => https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJSJ28eEUjI

Con humor y humildad, el mayor Little Bear nos recuerda cómo el objetivo de la ciencia es ahondar en lo desconocido y no quedarse en fórmulas o aplicaciones de lo conocido (tecnología). Para él, la idea de “flujo constante” de la física cuántica está dialogando hoy con el pensamiento ancestral y su idea del flujo constante entre todos los seres de la existencia. Además de materia y de partículas, la epistemología Blackfoot habla también de ondas de energía, que en otras palabras podrían llamarse espíritu. Desde esta perspectiva, todo está vivo y todo se relaciona, razón por la cual no es posible estudiar de forma aislada “la naturaleza” como a veces pretende la ciencia occidental. En palabras de Dr. Little Bear, afortunadamente la física cuántica ha comenzado a darse cuenta de la necesidad de un enfoque holístico en donde la materia, el movimiento y la constante transformación sean la base de la renovación de la naturaleza.

Hay, pues, un arduo camino por recorrer si queremos establecer un diálogo entre epistemologìas por el bien de las futuras generaciones. No es un camino unívoco, sino una serie de senderos que debemos andar simultáneamente para encontrar las convergencias.

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