Statements


July 1st 2010, Alamo, California We, Indigenous women from the regions of North America, Latin America, the Arctic, Caribbean and the Pacific, gathered June 30th to July 1st, 2010 at the INTERNATIONAL INDIGENOUS WOMEN’S ENVIRONMENTAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH SYMPOSIUM, in Alamo, California, hosted by the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) and the North-South Indigenous Network Against Pesticides. We recognize and thank the Indigenous Peoples of this land called California for welcoming us to their beautiful land. We are traditional healers, midwives, youth and community organizers, environmental and human rights activists, teachers and traditional and cultural leaders. We are daughters, sisters, mothers, aunties, grandmothers and great grandmothers, youth and elders, members of great Nations who have always stood firm to defend our lands, our Peoples and our cultures. We work in our communities, homes, health centers, tribal and traditional governments and Indigenous organizations, on the local, national and international levels. We recognize and appreciate the important contributions that all of us, and many other Indigenous women around the world, are making to defend our lands, rights and the health of future generations, as well as the generations who have come before us. We have come together at this Symposium to share our information about the negative impacts of mining and drilling, mercury contamination, nuclear and uranium testing, processing and storage, pesticides and Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), military dumping, toxic waste incineration, desecration of sacred sites and places, introduction of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) and foods and harvesting of our genetic materials. We have listened to each other’s stories, and have also seen the tragic effects within our own families, communities and Nations of the environmental, economic, social and cultural impacts of toxic contamination. These imposed, deplorable conditions violate the right to health and reproductive justice of Indigenous Peoples, and affect the lives, health and development of our unborn and young children. They seriously threaten our survival as Peoples, cultures and Nations. They also violate our rights as Indigenous Peoples to subsistence, spiritual and cultural survival, self-determination and free, prior and informed consent (FPIC). As Indigenous Peoples, and as the defenders of our future generations, we have vocalized our opposition to these forms of contamination of our homelands, air and waters for generations in many different regions, but far too often we are ignored. We have also shared our strategies and ideas about how to address these situations in our communities and around the world. We recognize that our fundamental, inherent and inalienable human rights as Indigenous Peoples are being violated, as are our spirits and life giving capacity as Indigenous women. Colonization has eroded the traditional, spiritual and cultural teachings...

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We, the Youth of the Haudenosaunee, on this 20th anniversary of Oka, declare our right to voice our concerns within our Nations, to be heard as equal counterparts, and to make an impact. We owe it to ourselves to continue on the path the Creator has laid before us. Just as they did at Oka, our ancestors sacrificed their lives for us – they survived the government’s assimilation tactics. They believed that we, the next seven generations, are worth fighting for. This blood runs through our veins too. The issues that surfaced 20 years ago across our Haudenosaunee territories are the same we face now and are not easily solved, but our strength will persevere. History shows us this. We find peace in the fact that we are all descendants of Sky Woman. We can remind ourselves of our intentions by taking action. We must remain humble, listen to our instincts and teach each other how to return to the traditional teachings. We must have the courage and patience to learn from our Elders before it is too late. We recognize how substantial all these connections are to hold on to, as well as to teach, live, and breathe. We remember as our Great Law of Peace says that in every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation. This means we have a responsibility to continue on what was fought for at Oka. We remember and acknowledge the integral guidance and direction from our women during this time, and the sacred relationships women have with Mother Earth, as well as to make the decisions in our communities. We do not take this lightly. We remember and acknowledge that our children are closer to the Spirit world. As such, our children not only have an essential role to play in the leadership of our communities, but to ensure there is a future to fight for.  This is how it must always be. It has been 20 years since the Oka crisis at Kanesatà:ke and we are not only here today because of this, but  because of many centuries of warriors who had the courage to speak the truth, and the conviction to act from the heart. We know the manifestation of over 500 years of colonization and genocide has brought us to where we are now, but we will continue to resist every attempt to silence and oppress us.  We declare today in unison that our rights are worth protecting and that we are committed to leading a new generation of youth to carry this on. Drafted by Sarah Konwahahawi Herne and Jessica Yee, endorsed by youth...

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