Caribbean Indigenous Peoples at the OAS

Washington DC (UCTP Taino News) - A special guest was introduced this week to the Indigenous Peoples Caucus working on the Organization of American States (OAS) draft Indigenous Rights Declaration, Chief Oren Lyons of the Six Nations Confederacy of North America. Chief Lyons gave an inspirational address to the caucus giving some background information on the three generations of Indigenous activism where he has been at the forefront.

Chief Lyons was made internationally famous in a 1985 National Geographic article featuring the Six Nations Confederacy - where he proudly displayed his Six Nations Passport, a professionally made passport that they created entirely of themselves. This indigenous passport has been accepted by over 25 countries worldwide, much to the chagrin of the United States and Canadian governments.

It is a great inspiration to genuine Indigenous freedom fighters worldwide to see just how far the Six Nations have asserted their 'inherent and undeniable right to self-determination'- to use existing terminology in the United Nations Declaration on the rights of Indigenous peoples.

35 year old Damon Corrie of Barbados who is himself of Guyanese Arawak descent remembered the National Geographic article from 1985 and commented: "I was a boy of 12 when I first read that article and I still have the copy."

Corrie continued "I was inspired by the Six Nations example to revive the Pan-Tribal Confederacy that my great-grandfather started over 150 years ago in Guyana with the Arawak, Akawaio and Makushi tribes, now under my leadership it has grown into the world's only multi-racial pan-tribal confederacy with member tribal Nations in the Americas, Africa, Europe, Asia and the Pacific; and all headquartered in the little Caribbean island of Barbados. We can't afford to produce our own passports yet, but we did produce our own ID cards, and these are being improved and re-issued with security features in the USA with the collaboration of our closes allies."

Mr Corrie also took the opportunity to voluntarily relinquish his position as Caribbean Co-Chair for the Indigenous Caucus at the 11th session of the OAS on the draft American Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples - in favor of his Caribbean compatriot, the respected Taino Elder Naniki Reyes Ocasio of Puerto Rico. Both Corrie and Ocasio are delegates for the United Confederation of Taino People, a respected regional body with representation throughout the Spanish and English speaking islands.

"I had only intended to temporarily fill the seat - which is normally given to our honorable elder brother the Carib Chief of Dominica, until he had arrived; unfortunately he could not attend this session due to pressing tribal matters" Corrie explained.

"As the interaction with the State Ambassadors and representatives will begin in earnest, and since Naniki is bilingual and has more years experience at the OAS than I do; I think it best that she take charge in the Carib Chief's absence. As for myself, it was an honor to have been granted the seat, but I am happy to fill my autodidact in-house journalist role and help get the news of the proceedings out to the wider world. I will also have more flexibility to meet privately with various OAS Ambassadors and lobby the cause for greater Caribbean States involvement in this process."

UCTPTN 12.10.2008

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