Friday, April 12, 2013

A Lesson in Democracy and Human Rights for Arizona

Press Release

April 12, 2013
Contact: Tupac Enrique Acosta (602) 466-8367

A Lesson in Democracy and Human Rights for Arizona
Phoenix, AZ – They call themselves the Haudenosaunee - the People of the Longhouse,[1] and are known to have 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.  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.”

The Haudenosaunee still stand today in their traditional territories [upper New York state] as a self governing indigenous confederation of Six Nations, holding council as they have for hundreds of years at the Central Fire in the Onondaga Nation, in lands known to the Indigenous Peoples as the Great Turtle Island.  Next week, a legation of the Haudenosaunee will travel to Arizona to share once more the story of Democracy and Human Rights, and remind the settler societies of the states established across the continent since October 12, 1492 of the traditional indigenous mandate of responsibility to the seven generations yet to come, codes of common conduct and International Law necessary to realize mutual self respect and self determination as Prerogatives of the Peoples of the Natural World.

The US congress memorialized this history and honored the Haudenosaunee in 1988 by adoption of H.Con. Res. 331 which states:

“Whereas the confederation of the original Thirteen Colonies into one republic was influenced by the political system developed by the Iroquois Confederacy as were many of the democratic principles which were incorporated into the Constitution itself;”

The legation from the Haudenosaunee will be attending an international conference at ASU West April 19-20 in Glendale Arizona, whose theme is Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery.[2]  Onondaga Nation Chief Jake Edwards will address the assembly on Friday April 19th in the opening session.  Also attending the conference will be 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] will join with Indigenous Nations of the O’otham [Arizona] and the O’dam of Mexico [Durango] to receive the Continental Confederation of Indigenous Nations 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.

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 will address 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 Indigenous Peoples will not be isolated in the task.  Joining with the delegation of Indigenous Nations of Abya Yala Turtle Island, Cemanahuac [the Americas] will be 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 will be 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.

Over one hundred high school students from the Phoenix Union High School District and surrounding reservations are also expected to attend 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 will highlight the event, which will conclude with a cultural celebration on Saturday evening April 20th at ASU West, 4701 West Thunderbird in Glendale, AZ.

The Conference at ASU West is 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."

Co-conveners of this International conference are TONATIERRA, Maya Vision (Los Angeles), Techantit (Los Angeles), Instituto de Ciencia y Cultura Indigena (ICCI) of Ecuador, and Universidad Amawtay Wasi also of Ecuador.  The event is being hosted by the Social Justice and Human Rights Program at ASU West.A primary objective of the conference at ASU West will be the production of a template in the form of a curriculum that could be implemented in the public schools of Arizona relevant to the purpose of the conference. Such a template could then be replicated and adapted for use in public venues of education in other states, and throughout Indian Country. The International Conference at ASU West is itself in consequence to the call given at Indigenous Peoples Forum on the Doctrine of Discovery realized the Arizona State Capitol House of Representatives on March 23, 2012.  The event will be streamed live via Internet. 
Conference Website:

For more information, contact:

Tupac Enrique Acosta, Coordinator
Cell: (602) 466-8367

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


The link below is a pdf version of the Iroquois Confederacy of Nations hearing before Select Committee on Indian Affairs US Senate. From the 100th Congress on Senate Congressional Resolution 76: "To acknowledge the Contribution of the Iroquois Confederacy of Nations to the Development of the U.S. Constitution and to reaffirm the continuing government-to-government relationship between Indian Tribes and the United States established in the
Constitution. December 2, 1987


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