Thursday, April 25, 2013

DISMANTLING: The Divine Right of States of the Americas


Press Release

April 25, 2013

Dismantling the Divine Right of States of the Americas

O’otham Nations Traditional Territories [Phoenix, AZ]

After two days of public engagement and discussion last week, an alliance of Confederations of Nations of Indigenous Peoples of Abya Yala [the Americas] is moving forward into a continental and global process of DISMANTLING the Doctrine of Discovery as the intellectual, religious and political justification for the raison d’Etat of the government states of the Americas, and around the world.
Consigna Abya Yala

The Alliance of Abya Yala that participated in the DISMANTLING the Doctrine of Discovery International Conference at ASU West April 19-20, 2013 is pushing forward into the process of bringing to judgment and rectification at the local-regional, continental and global dimensions the continued institutionalization of the fundamental tenets of the "Christian Doctrine of Discovery as organizing principles and schema of domination that drive the policies and political relationships among the states in terms of Indigenous Peoples.  In priority among the issues in need of rectification is the question of “resource” extraction, in terms of land, water, genetic material, and indigenous labor. At the conference the connection was made between how the Doctrine of Discovery and the derivative Monroe Doctrine (aka the Divine Right of States) are implicit in the criminal collusion of government states and capitalist corporations in terms of mining concessions and immigration policies of the states.  Through the premise of the Divine Right of States (aka The Monroe Doctrine), these entities continue to perpetuate the illegal and criminal violation of the fundamental Human Rights of the Nations and Pueblos of Indigenous Peoples of Abya Yala [the Americas] at the expense of the wela, the wellbeing of all life on Earth.

Addressing other issues implicit in the process of DISMANTLING the Doctrine of Discovery, the two day conference last week brought forward in five thematic working groups a template of interrelated themes intended to produce collective corrective strategies for action that would be driven by grassroots constituencies in proactive manner. The themes are: Youth-Regeneration; Education-Cognition; Religion-Spirituality; Law-Harmony; and Environment-Pacha Mama.

The Conference at ASU West was convened in consequence to the Preliminary Study on the Impact of the Doctrine of Discovery commissioned by the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), and the specific recommendation given to the UN Economic and Social council by the UNPFII in 2012:

The Permanent Forum recommends that States include in all education curricula, in particular the school system, a discussion of the doctrine of discovery/dispossession and its contemporary manifestations, including land laws and policies of removal.

The co-conveners of the International conference consist a consortium of Indigenous organizations including TONATIERRA, Maya Vision, Techantit, and Frente Indigena de Organzaciones Binacinales (FIOB).  The Social Justice and Human Rights Program at ASU West hosted the event.

Chief Jake Edwards, Onondaga Nation, of the Haudenosaunee - the People of the Longhouse,[1] addressed the conference on the first day and shared the history of how the Haudenosaunee instructed the Founding Fathers of the original thirteen British colonies in their initial efforts to form the confederation of states that became the US in 1776.
Onondaga Nation Chief Jake Edwards
As representatives of the oldest democracy in the hemisphere, the Haudenosaunee shared with the immigrant European settlers the principles of self-government that as a Traditional Confederacy of Indigenous Nations had been the original foundation of the political tradition of democratic self-government for over a thousand years in the continent known to Europe as “The New World.”

Also attending the conference were delegations of Nations and Pueblos of Indigenous Peoples from the entire hemisphere, from the Lenape of the North [Canada] to the Mapuche Nation of the South [Chile].  Representatives of the Maya of Totonicapan [Guatemala] and the Nahuat Pipil [El Salvador] joined with Indigenous Nations of the O’otham [Arizona] and the O’dam of Mexico [Durango] to receive the Continental Confederation of Indigenous Nations of Abya Yala intent on regenerating the historical and political vision of responsibility and traditional alliance that has sustained the collective cultural identity and nationhood of Indigenous Peoples for millennia. Representatives of the Havasupai Nation presented special gifts of exchange for the relatives from the south.
 Faced with the oncoming wave of climate chaos scenarios that have been exacerbated by the phenomena of global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions from human industrialization, the gathering addressed the root causes of the “racial profiling” of Indigenous Peoples as “Indians” “Savages” “Minorities” and “Immigrants” in the eyes of the settlers from Europe and the subsequent state policies that have deformed and deviated from the traditional indigenous Mandate of Responsibility to the Future Generations since establishment on October 12, 1492 of the Doctrine of Discovery

The delegations of Indigenous Peoples were not working in isolation last week.  They were joined by a diverse spectrum of non-indigenous activists and organizations and academic institutions including the leadership of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations who in their annual conference last summer in Phoenix, adopted a resolution repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery and calling for the full implementation of the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples across the country. Dr. Phil Arnold of Syracuse University was in attendance with the message of the Skä•noñh Center – Great Law of Peace Center at Onondaga Lake in New York.  Skä•noñh, is an Onondaga welcoming greeting meaning Peace and Wellness.

Nearly one hundred high school students from the Phoenix Union High School District and surrounding reservations also attended the conference at ASU West, as well as local leadership of both urban and reservation Native American communities.

A special installation by Zuni Pueblo artist, Edward Wemytewa highlighted the event, which concluded with a cultural celebration on Saturday evening April 20th.
DOMINUS by Edward Wemytewa, Zuni Pueblo
The conference was streamed live via Internet, and the video archive will continue to be available on the conference website.  A report is being prepared and conference materials and resources will also be continuously edited and posted on the website as the DISMANTLING the Doctrine of Discovery process goes forward.  Next steps include a call for mass mobilization of CALM (Conscious Acts of Liberation and Meaning) and PUBLIC DECOLONIZATION next month 5 de Mayo, 2013 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Aucan Huilcaman, Mapuche Nation [Chile]

The word mantel comes from the Latin “mantellum” which can be translated as a “cloak”.  The Doctrine of Discovery, as an instrument of European-American colonization and domination, continues to serve as the “Cloaking Device” which drives the continued normalization of colonialism in violation of the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the fundamental human dignity of all humanity.  In order to dismantle this intellectual pathogen, the first steps require clarity and courage, determination and perseverance.  Centuries of historical trauma will take generations to heal, but as Mother Earth bleeds and climate chaos is the event horizon that surrounds us all, we cannot put off to another generation the need to engage and commit to the necessary corrective actions required for collective decolonization.  This conference is dedicated to that purpose.

MIXCOACHIMALLI by Tupak Huehuecoyotl

Youth – Regeneration 
Youth attending the conference will be engaged in a series of activities that break down the meaning and purpose underlying the doctrine of discovery. They will be asked to reflect and share the ways in which they have been impacted by colonization in the classroom and as part of the broader community. Participating youth will develop a set of tools to help them engage their peers in discussion and build awareness around the doctrine of discovery and create their own strategies for dismantling it.

Religion – Spirituality:

This series of workshops will invite participants to share their own experiences and reflect upon how colonization and the doctrine of discovery have impacted our religious and spiritual beliefs. This track revolves around the understanding that religion has played a key role in the creation and implementation of the doctrine of discovery. The discussions will move through the history and engage with the present devastating long-term impacts to Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples alike. Participants will be encouraged to envision a future that rejects the principles of colonization and create strategies that can be implemented within their own communities. 

Law: Harmony 
This working group track will be directed by the conference conveners: Maya Vision, Techantit and TONATIERRA.  The sessions will be segmented into presentation from the three areas of the continent: South, Central and North.   Each region will address the impact of the Doctrine of Discovery upon their Indigenous Nations and territories, and how they have responded in exercise of the inherent Right of Self Determination as Indigenous Peoples, Equal to all other Peoples.  The impact of extractive mining, the criminalization of resistance, and the issue of International Borders of the colonizing states including domestic and international immigration policies of the government state are priority themes for this working group. 

Environment: Pacha Mama 
The success of any indoctrination process require a disassociation from reality.  The reality is that we are all children of Mother Earth, and Mother Earth is also a child of the cosmos, and the Cosmos is a Matter of Mystery.  Water and Land related, become watersheds and the Ocean which in reality there is only one ocean on this planet.  Air and Fire related become the atmosphere and energy systems at the planetary level, the drivers of climate.  This working group will address these inter-related natural systems from the perspective of the Indigenous Peoples on the front lines in defense of the Rights of Mother Earth, from the local-regional to the continental and global frames of reference.

Voices of Abya Yala:

We have always been here, since time immemorial.  The dust of our ancestors travel with the wind into the sky and there collect the spirit of the water that becomes the rain, and we return time and again to fulfill our responsibilities and regenerate our nations of Mother Earth.  Yet even she, our Sacred Mother Earth was not always a Mother.  At one time, for a long, long time she was a maiden, and even before that she was simply a dream of creation.  Yet now, however, she has been mother to life on Earth for a long, long time.  She is no longer a young mother. She is now Abya Yala.  She is the Mother Earth who, under the shawl of the Rain of Time, is showing the first grey hairs of becoming a grandmother.

What shall we do to take care of her? How can we take care of her if we do not know who we are, in good relations as Nations of the Indigenous Peoples of Abya Yala.

[1] The Haudenosaunee are most often, and mistakenly, referred to as the “Iroquois” or “Six Nations Iroquois”.


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