Western Shoshone Nation Attends Historic Indigenous Gathering
Continental Indigenous Summit Abya Yala
March 28, 2007
Arriving this morning (Wednesday) in Guatemala City to attend the III Continental Indigenous Summit in Iximche, Western Shoshone National Council member Joe Kennedy established diplomatic precedent for the hemisphere by entering the Maya Territories on his Western Shoshone passport. The continental summit of Nations and Pueblos of the Indigenous Peoples of the continent Abya Yala (the Americas) is now taking place at the sacred ceremonial precinct of Iximche, some 80 kilometers from Guatemala City. The event is being attended by indigenous delegations from Alaska to Argentina with over 2000 participants.
Arriving in Iximche, Mr. Kennedy stated, “I feel good, and I feel honored that the Guatemalan authorities welcomed me into the country recognizing me as a Western Shoshone national. The Indigenous Peoples here are facing the same kind of issues we are facing in the north, and face the same threat by the multi-national corporations such as mining and environmental contamination. These affect the traditional foundation of our nations which is the land, the air, the water and spirituality.”
The III Continental Summit of Indigenous Nations and Pueblos of Abya Yala marks a new phase in the relationship between the nations of Indigenous Peoples and the government states of the Americas. One of the most telling examples of this fact is the presence of the minister of foreign relations for the Bolivian government, Mr. David Choquehuanca who on Monday addressed the inaugural session of the Summit Abya Yala in representation of President Evo Morales of Bolivia. President Morales himself is scheduled to arrive at the Summit Abya Yala on Friday to attend the official closure of the five day gathering.
One of the specific proposals being brought forward to the summit is the delivery to Mr. Morales of an Archive of Treaties between the government states of the continent and the nations of Indigenous Peoples of Abya Yala.
“These treaties must be honored. They are supposed to be the supreme law of the land.” said Mr. Kennedy, referring in particular to the Ruby Valley Treaty of 1863 which is the foundation of several legal victories by the Western Shoshone Nation in the international arena.
The Western Shoshone won a victory on March 10, 2006 in a decision by the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) wherein the US government was urged to “freeze, desist, and stop actions being taken or threatened to be taken against the Western Shoshone peoples of the Western Shoshone Nation.”
The Western Shoshone delegation at the III Continental Indigenous Summit Abya Yala, which includes Western Shoshone members Sandy Dann and Larson Bill is to present before the summit on the implications of the CERD decision in terms of other Nations of Indigenous Peoples of the continent Abya Yala (the Americas).
“The history of racial discrimination in terms of the relationship between our Indigenous Peoples and the government states has roots in the Doctrine of Discovery and the Papal Bull Inter Caetera of 1493”, stated Mr. Kennedy. “It is time that the present governments step up to these historical injustices, and take action to stomp out all forms of racial discrimination.”
The Doctrine of Discovery is one of the items on the agenda of the continental issues to be addressed in Iximche, at the III Continental Indigenous Summit Abya Yala.
Western Shoshone Defense Project http://www.wsdp.org
III Cumbre Continental de Pueblos y Nacionalidades Indígenas de Abya Yala
Please also see:
Five Hundred Years of Injustice:
The Legacy of Fifteenth Century Religious Prejudice
by Steve Newcomb
Two Kinds of Beings:
The Doctrine of Discovery And Its Implications for Yesterday and Today
by Robert Francis
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