Global Indigenous Climate Summit Concludes in Alaska

Naniki Reyes Ocasio (Boriken Taino), UN General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, and Hariette Vreedzaam - Joeroeja (Galibi - Suriname) express their solidarity at the Global Indigenous Peoples' Summit on Climate Change in Alaska.

Anchorage, Alaska (UCTP Taíno News) -
The Global Indigenous Peoples' Summit on Climate Change being held in Alaska concluded on Friday. The Summit was held at the Dena-Ina Center in the city of Anchorage over a span of five days; from April 20th-24th 2009. Over 400 Indigenous Peoples representatives from over 80 countries around the world participated - including a very visible Caribbean delegation.

Many statistics were presented at the Summit such as the fact that there are approximately 400 million Indigenous People on Earth, which translates to 1 out of every 15 human beings on the planet today as being an Indigenous person.

There were 2 guest speakers of particular note, the first was the famous Catholic Priest turned leftist Guerrilla turned President of the United Nations General Assembly - Miguel d'Escoto Brockman; who was enthusiastically applauded when he stated unapologetically "Now is not the time to pull any punches, we must call a spade a spade, the Third World cannot afford to subsidize the First World any more through unjust debt repayments - while developed countries portray themselves as the 'Charitable donors' coming to the financial rescue & relief of the 'pitiable beggars' - which is how they portray the developing countries".

Bolivia's energetic Foreign Minister Mr. David Choquehuanca received a standing ovation after he declared "We Indigenous Peoples are not the ones responsible for this human induced Climate change, but we are the ones suffering from it first and most severely so far, life is at risk, the non-indigenous have to realize and accept the fact that the Earth is our mother, and all living things are her children - and are sustained by her milk; which is called water. Water is precious, it is sacred, and it is the source of life for everything on this planet. The world has to take a Pro-Life stance now, not just for human life but for all life, for man is not separate from the natural world - he is an inseparable part of it!"

Another important fact revealed at the summit was that the average temperature of the world has already increased by one degree Celsius - and this has caused a world-wide depletion of soil fertility, aquifers, ocean fisheries, and bio-diversity in general - not to mention created severe weather phenomena. If the global temperature increases by only one degree more (and more than that is projected) - this will mean the collapse of ecosystems from coral reefs to polar ice caps, at 3-4 degrees Celsius in increase we will witness massive loss of species (and extinction is forever) and food crops.

Rising temperature is already causing an increase in vector borne diseases such as Malaria and West Nile virus.

Medical research has also shown that Indigenous communities that no longer produce the food they require to feed themselves - but instead rely on an imported purchased diet of processed foods and carbonated beverages - now suffer from Diabetes and a host of preventable diseases hitherto unknown in their communities.

The concerns of the Caribbean region were vigorously represented by 9 delegates including Bartolo Teul and Vincent Palacio (Belize), Naniki Reyes Ocasio (Puerto Rico), Chief Charles Williams and Pearl Williams (Dominica), Melford Pompei (St. Vincent and the Grenadines), Damon Corrie (Barbados), and Cyrilene Francis and Hariette Vreedzaam - Joeroeja (Suriname). Damon Corrie of the Eagle Clan Arawaks noted that "9 is a sacred number for the Lokono and other Indigenous People in the region".

The Summit's executive committee was comprised of Patricia Cochran (Arctic) - Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, Andrea Carmen (North America) - Executive Director of the International Indian Treaty Council, Ben Namakin (Pacific) - Program Manager of the Environmental Education & Awareness Program Conservation Society of Pohnpei, Joseph Ole Simel (Africa) - National Coordinator of the Mainyoito Pastoralist Integrated Development Organization of the Massai, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz (Asia) - Chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Executive Director of Tebtebba, and Convener of the Asia Indigenous Women's Network, Tarcila Rivera Zea (Latin America) - Executive Director of the Centro de Culturas Indigenous del Peru), and Cletus Springer (Caribbean) - Director of the Department of Sustainable Development of the Organization of American States.

A Declaration from the Summit will be presented to the United Nations General Assembly by President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann on behalf of the Indigenous Peoples of the World.

The Indigenous Peoples' Global Summit on Climate Change was sponsored by the monetary donations of the Christensen Fund, the Ford Foundation, the Oak Foundation, the Government of Denmark, the John D. and Catherine J. MacArthur Foundation, the Government of Sweden - and 16 other sponsors.

UCTPTN 04.25.2009


Indigenous Peoples Invisible at Trinidad Summit

Trinidad and Tobago (UCTP Taino News) – A delegation of 10 Indigenous leaders traveled to Trinidad to attend the Organization of American States (OAS) 5th Summit of the Americas from April 17 to 19, 2009. The delegation’s intention was to further develop critical partnerships with States while presenting the views of millions of Indigenous Peoples from throughout the Americas. These views were encapsulated in a Declaration and Plan of Action developed at an Indigenous Leaders Summit, which took place in Panama City preceding the OAS Summit. While Trinidad’s Prime Minister Patrick Manning publicly declared his desire for the Summit to achieve prosperity for the peoples of the Americas with commitment and mutual respect, the Indigenous leaders experienced discriminatory exclusion.

Even at the parallel “Civil Society Summit” and other events leading into the 5th Summit, it was not possible for Indigenous Peoples to effectively participate because the government of Trinidad and Tobago would not accommodate the Indigenous Peoples Summit on site. The result of this exclusion was that the Indigenous leaders, representing millions of Indigenous Peoples from across the Americas, were not even considered “delegates” unlike members of civil society, youth, business and private sector delegates. Incredibly, a last minute decision by Trinidad's National Secretariat to increase the number of delegates from civil society from 10 to 40 individuals in the Forum with Ministers was not extended to Indigenous Peoples.

While much of the world was focused on the communications between U.S. President Barack Obama and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the Indigenous Leaders noted that the final 5th States Summit Declaration of Commitment failed to address Indigenous Peoples, despite the theme “Securing our Citizens’ Future by Promoting Human Prosperity, Energy Security and Environmental Sustainability.”

In the development of the Declaration of Commitment by State Governments, there were initially three brief references to Indigenous Peoples in the area of health, education and the draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In the final Declaration of Commitment, only two paragraphs refer to Indigenous Peoples, one which supports “voluntary” corporate social responsibility best practices, involving dialogues between the corporate sector, governments and Indigenous “groups”, and one that commits to the adoption of the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Commenting on the process and the State Summit Declaration, Assembly of First Nations Grand Chief Edward John voiced his disappointment: “We saw the 5th Summit as an opportunity to work in partnership with States of the Americas for the betterment of our people and securing a future where Indigenous Peoples are treated with respect and equality. But if our experience at the 5th Summit is any indication of the States’ intentions, we have a long way to go. Indeed, the 5th Summit represents a step backwards for recognition of Indigenous Peoples. At the 4th State Summit in Mar del Plata, Argentina in 2005, Indigenous Leaders were given the respect we deserve and had an opportunity to speak directly to Heads of States.”

Another member of the Indigenous delegation, Héctor Huertas, a Kuna leader from Panama stated "We have a clear vision of the path to follow and we will continue meeting with the OAS and its Member States in order to ensure that they comply with their international obligations in relation to Indigenous rights and their implementation in these American States. We will be vigilant that the 6th Summit be a space to measure the true fulfillment of the States’ commitment against violence and discrimination towards Indigenous peoples.”

The 5th Summit of the Americas was the first time a Summit of the Americas was held in a Caribbean state.

UCTPTN 04.24.2009

Taino promote well-being in the Bronx

Bronx, NY (UCTP Taino News) – Members of the Bohio Atabei Caribbean Indigenous Women’s Circle organized a mini-health fair for the local community in the Bronx on Saturday, April 18, 2009. The successful fair took place at KHNIA on University Ave and it featured Indigenous Caribbean Health Care Professionals including Lourdes Kalichi’naru and Vanessa Yuyabao’aru as well as holistic lecturer, Bruce Urayoel Carlino who spoke on preventive measures for health and well-being. Free blood pressure screenings and refreshments were offered. Yuyabao’aru (Boricua Taino), director of the Bohio noted that while the event was a seen as a pilot, local community members attending were “very enthusiastic” about the possibility of similar events in the near future.

UCTPTN 04.24.2009


Caribbean Indigenous Peoples Speak Out on Climate Change

Participants in session at Indigenous Peoples Global Summit on Climate Change. (Photo: Johnson Cerda)

Anchorage, Alaska (UCTP Taino News) – Approximately 400 indigenous peoples’ representatives from around the world are meeting in Anchorage, Alaska this week to seek a greater role in global climate negotiations. Among the participants is a delegation of Caribbean Indigenous Peoples who will present a regional report as well as their individual experiences.

The some of the members of the Caribbean delegation include Chief Charles Williams of the Kalinago Carib Nation, Naniki Reyes Ocasio (Boriken) of the United Confederation of Taino People, Damon Corrie of the Eagle Clan Lokono Arawaks (Barbados & Guyana), and Harriet H. Vreedzaam-Joeroeja, a Galibi (Carib) from Suriname representing Stichting Sanomaro-Esa and the Caribbean Organization of Indigenous Peoples (COIP).

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Caribbean is one of the regions most affected by Climate Change along with the Arctic and the Amazon.

A major goal of the Indigenous Peoples Global Summit on Climate Change is to help strengthen the indigenous participation at the December conference of parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in Copenhagen. There, the world's governments will negotiate a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol (which expires in 2012) to reduce carbon emissions and to create an adaptation fund to help poor countries.

The Indigenous Summit will conclude on Friday with a declaration and action plan, which is to be endorsed by Bolivian President Evo Morales Ayma and United Nations General Assembly President, Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann.

UCTPTN 04.23.2009


International Mother Earth Day Adopted at the United Nations

Celebrating the adoption of International Mother Earth Day at United Nations Headquarters, Tonya Gonnella Frichner, Josephine Tarrant, Muriel Borst, and Roberto Borrero. (Photo: Miguel Ibanez, Habitat Pro)

In a resolution adopted Wednesday, the United Nations General Assembly officially designated April 22nd as International Mother Earth Day. The assembly recognized that “Mother Earth” is a common expression for the planet earth in a number of countries and regions, and invited all member states, international and regional organizations and civil society to observe the day annually.

Acting in consensus, the assembly proclaimed that the “Earth and its ecosystems are our home” and stressed that in order to achieve a just balance economically, socially, and environmentally it is necessary to promote “harmony with nature and Earth.”

In a special event celebrating the adoption of International Mother Earth Day, the gathering was called to order with the sounding of the Guamo (conch shell) by Roberto Borrero, a Boriken Taino representing the United Confederation of Taino People. The call to order was followed by a welcome address on behalf of the Onondaga Nation presented by Tonya Gonnella Frichner, the North American Regional Representative to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

In his presentation at the event, United Nations General Assembly President Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann thanked President Evo Morales Ayma of the Plurinational State of Bolivia for initiating International Mother Earth Day and for attending the meeting. He noted that President Morales has “proven himself to be fully committed to the transmission of the great spiritual and moral values of our South and Central American and Caribbean ancestors.”

The 63rd GA president further noted that these “values are greatly need to help our world out of the neo-liberal quagmire of greed and social irresponsibility in which we find ourselves.”

Addressing the gathering, President Evo Morales Ayma who is of indigenous Aymara origin thanked all those who supported the Declaration and noted that western thought has long viewed the Earth as a commodity and not as a “living being that has rights”. President Morales also took the opportunity to request that those gathered support a call for the development of an additional declaration on the “Rights of Mother Earth.”

The event continued with a special performance by the Silver Cloud Singers, an intertribal Native American singing and dancing troupe and an expert panel including Leonardo Boff (Brazil), Tariq Banuri (UNDSA), Juanita Castano (UNEP), Thanh Xuan Nguyen (WEDO), Jan McAlpine (UNFFS), and Maude Barlow (Canada).

The International Mother Earth Day resolution was co-sponsored by 50 states, including several Caribbean countries - Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Saint Lucia.

UCTPTN 04.22.2009


Young Taino Plays Classical Music in Germany

Berlin, Germany (UCTP Taino News)Justin “Seiba” Gandia Ziegelasch, a student of Miami’s Palmer Trinity School performed with the school’s orchestra in a series of concerts in Germany this month. A Taino whose family comes from the island of Boriken (Puerto Rico), 13-year old Justin plays the viola in the orchestra’s string section. While he and his schoolmates toured Leipzig, Dresden and Berlin, the young orchestra members and their chaperons also had an opportunity to visit several museums and historic landmarks.

UCTPTN 04.21.2009


Indigenous Leaders to Provide Plan of Action to 5 th Summit of the Americas

Panama City, Panama – Indigenous leaders from across the Americas met April 14 - 15, 2009 in Panama City, Panama to take part in the 3rd Indigenous Leaders Summit of the Americas (3rd ILSA). The meeting provided an opportunity for Indigenous leaders to conduct discussions on issues related to the work of the Organization of American States (OAS) and, particularly, the work to be conducted during the 5 th Summit of the Americas to take place in Trinidad and Tobago, April 1719, 2009. The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) cohosted the event with the assistance of the OAS and various Indigenous organizations throughout the Americas.

During the meeting a Declaration and a Plan of Action were developed to promote the aspirations of Indigenous Peoples and to outline actions necessary to accomplish these goals. As noted by NWAC President Beverley Jacobs, “The [3 rd ILSA] Plan of Action provides achievable actions for states to undertake in order to ensure that Indigenous Peoples’ rights are implemented in their respective countries. The goal of ensuring that our human rights are respected and protected can only be achieved if nation states commit to take action.”

The Plan of Action outlines key activities for states to ensure the implementation of Indigenous rights related to six areas to be deliberated during the 5 th Summit of the Americas. A delegation of 10 Indigenous leaders will attend the 5 th Summit of the Americas, including NWAC President Jacobs and, on behalf of the AFN, Grand Chief Edward John. The delegation will meet with OAS State Ministers and will bring forward the 3 rd ILSA Declaration and Plan of Action at a meeting on April 17 th , 2009 leading into the 5 th Summit of the Americas. “The Plan of Action is the key component of our message to the State Ministers of the OAS and it is my hope that these leaders will take our recommendations back to their respective states and promote their implementation,” said Grand Chief Edward John, “Implementation of our human rights is one crucial step toward alleviating the human rights violations that we face.”

The ILSA take place every four years. Other items discussed during the two days included: the full implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, environment and resource management, intellectual property, culture and heritage, and sustainable human development, economic empowerment and trade.

The Native Women’s Association of Canada is an aggregate of 13 native women’s organizations and is the national voice of Aboriginal women in Canada. The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations in Canada.


Caribbean Indigenous Leaders Declare Solidarity with Naso Nation

Naniki Reyes Ocasio (Boriken Taino) meets with Naso Nation Grand Chief Valentin Santana and other community members at the 3rd Indigenous Leaders Conference in Panama City.

Panama City, Panama (UCTP Taino News) – During the final session of the 3rd Indigenous Leaders Summit of the Americas on April 15, delegates were unpleasantly surprised to learn about the relocation of the indigenous Naso Nation in Panama. The Naso are currently living without adequate shelter as a result of a police action following their protest of the construction of the Bonyik hydroelectric dam, which is threatening their ancestral homelands.

Traveling from the night before, several dozen weary Naso including elders, women, and children made an impromptu appearance at the summit where indigenous leaders from across the hemisphere were gathered. The Naso requested time to present their case as the summit delegates were finalizing a declaration and plan of action to be lobbied the next day at the 5th Summit of the Americas in Trinidad. Presentations were made by Naso youth and Naso traditional leader Valentin Santana.

According to reports as recently as 30 March 2009; over 100 heavily-armed Panamanian policemen entered Naso territory and destroyed 30 homes. As a result of this action nearly 200 Naso including 65 children were forcibly evicted from their own community on the San San River in the Bocas del Torro area. Eight children were hospitalized for exposure to tear gas. The Naso Tribal Nation is comprised of approximately 3,500 persons living in 11 tribal villages.

Although new reports claim that the police have now been withdrawn, the eviction order against the Naso has not yet been lifted. According to a recent communiqué from Cultural Survival, the original order was issued by local official Aracelys Sanchez. She has now been replaced by Jorge Gamarra who has promised to lift the order. Cultural Survival (a U.S. based NGO) has been supporting the Naso with an international campaign to bring awareness to this issue.

Kalinago Carib Chief Charles Williams of Dominica was enraged to hear of the injustices the Naso have been enduring over five centuries after the arrival of Columbus to the New World. Chief Williams reminded those gathered that "This is why we are here, to raise our voices in solidarity with all our suffering indigenous brothers and sisters".

Following Chief Williams, the President of the United Confederation of Taino People, Roberto Borrero (Taino) expressed the solidarity of Taino and Arawak Peoples to the Naso. He also proposed that a donation from the summit delegates be presented to the Naso. Borrero further suggested that the summit delegates give up one of the light meals prepared for them and provide it instead to the Naso contingent.

Borrero concluded his remarks with a proposal that the situation of the Naso be included in the final documents of the session. His proposals were unanimously accepted by those gathered in the plenary.

Chairing the emotional session was Hector Huertas, a representative of the indigenous Kuna Council of Panama. Huertas assured those gathered that he would follow-up on the situation and inform the wider community as to any developments in this case.

Damon Corrie and Roger Hernandez contributed to this article.
(Photos: R. Hernandez)

UCTPTN 04.16.2009


Indigenous Peoples Discuss Draft American Declaration

Panama City, Panama (UCTP Taino News) - At the 3rd Indigenous Leaders Summit of the Americas delegates received an update on the status of the draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The morning panel included June Lorenzo (Laguana), Azelene Inacio (Kaingang), and Luis Toro of the Organization of American States. The panel was moderated by Grand Chief Ed John of the Assembly of First Nations.

Luis Toro noted that the OAS officially adopted the recommendation presented by the Indigenous Peoples Caucus to advance the negotiations. As a point of consideration, Toro highlighted that considering the low number of actual meetings the negotiations can be seen as progressing. He also informed the group that "while there is funding to hold at least two more negotiation meetings this year , there is no word on next year's budget."

"Indigenous Peoples want to establish a mechanism to implement the rights of Indigenous Peoples within the system of the OAS" stated Azelene Inacio (Kaingang), an indigenous representative from Brazil.

Inacio also noted that Indigenous Peoples participation in the negotiations is dependent on State sponsored funding. "While States say they support the full participation of Indigenous Peoples in this process, the funding mechanism is still voluntary."

In light of the recent adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples panelists addressed the need for an American Declaration as well as the importance of the OAS document to not fall below the established UN standard.

"We have a large amount of Indigenous Peoples in the Americas who care for a large land mass extending throughout the region" stated June Lorenzo.

"The Americas are ahead of other regions in the world with regard to preparing a regional declaration on Indigenous Peoples" continued Lorenzo. "We have a regional judicial system - the Inter-American Court on Human Rights - which has actually heard cases concerning Indigenous Peoples".

"There are articles in the draft American Declaration that are not found in the UN Declaration such as an article on Indigenous Peoples in voluntary isolation."

UCTPTN 04.15.2009


Indigenous Summit Begins in Panama

Caribbean indigenous delegates at the 3rd Indigenous Leaders Summit of the Americas being hosted in Panama. From left to right: Roberto Borrero (Taino), Chief Allan Leow (Lokono), Margaret Williams (Kalinago), Chief Charles Williams (Kalinago), and Roger Guayakan Hernandez (Taino). UCTP Photo.

Panama City, Panama (UCTP Taino News) - The 3rd Indigenous Leaders Summit of the Americas opened today with a blessing from Gilberto Arias, a traditional leader of the Kuna Peoples of Panama. Arias asked the Great Spirit, Baba and Nana, Mother Earth, to assist the delegates who arrived for the meeting from South, Central, and North America as well as the Caribbean.

The morning session included remarks from Mr. Betanio Chiquidama representing the Kuna Council; Ms. Beverly Jacobs on behalf of the co-chairs; His excellency Jose Miguel Insulza, Secratary General of the Organization of America States; and Her Excellency, Patricia Langan-Torell, Ambassador of Canada to the Republic of Panama.

After the opening, co-chair Beverly Jacobs of the Native Women’s Association of Canada introduced the planning committee and technical team, including Chief Ed John (Tl’azt’en) of the Assembly of First Nations; Celeste Mckay (Metis/Canada); Albert DeTerville (Saint Lucia); Roberto Borrero (Boriken Taino/Puerto Rico); Damon Corrie (Lokono/Barbados); Carlos Chex (Mayan/Guatemala); Hector Huertas (Kuna/Panama); Azalene Kaingang (Kaingang/Brazil); Jaime Arias (Kankuamo/Columbia); Chief Wilton Littlechild (Cree/Canada); Ellen Gabriel (Mohawk/Canada); Violet Ford (Inuit/Canada); June Lorenzo (Laguna Pueblo/U.S.A.); Ben Powless (Mohawk/Canada); Lea MacKenzie (Canada); and Irene Lindsey (Canada).

After the introductions, an overview of the previous summits and the 3rd summit work plan was presented by Hector Huertas (Kuna) and Grand Chief Ed John.

The purpose of the 3rd Indigenous Summit is to provide an international forum for discussion of indigenous leaders on a range of policy issues related to the work of the Organization of American States and the themes to be addressed during the 5th Summit of the Americas.

The theme of the 3rd Indigenous Leaders Summit is “Implementing the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas for Present and Future Generations”.

UCTPTN 04.14.2009


Indigenous Peoples Global Summit on Climate Change

Anchorage, Alaska (UCTP Taíno News) - The Inuit Circumpolar Council is hosting a Global Summit on Climate Change that will bring together indigenous delegates and observers from April 20-24, 2009 in Anchorage, Alaska.

The purpose of the summit is to enable Indigenous peoples from all regions of the globe to exchange their knowledge and experience in adapting to the impacts of climate change, and to develop key messages and recommendations to be articulated to the world at the Conference of Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Denmark in December 2009.

Among those represented at the meeting will be a delegation of Caribbean Indigenous Peoples from Watikubuli (Dominica), Barbados, Suriname, and Borikén (Puerto Rico). Each delegate will prepare a report based on experiences in relation to climate change from their local area and these reports will form the basis of a larger regional presentation.

UCTPTN 04.11.2009


Dominican ecologists vow to protect the mountains

SANTO DOMINGO. – Despite that Dominican Republic’s major rivers are born in the Cordillera Central (Central Mountain Range), and the Caribbean’s most extensive hydrographic system is in such a state of sustained deterioration, the public policies envision and citizens perceive it as something alien and distant.

For that reason, the environmental group Pro Cordillera Voluntary Society plans to collaborate with a campaign to rescue and to protect the Central Mountain Range.

In a statement, Pro Cordillera announced the start of the media campaign to make the citizens aware and to stir their feelings of identity and ownership of the mountains where the Yaque North and South, Yuna, Artibonito, Nizao, San Juan, Haina, Ocoa, Camú, among others rivers are born.

The Cordillera is the source of so many rivers, the Taino Indians dubbed it "Mother of the Waters."

Source: Dominican Today


Puerto Rican unemployed urged to pick coffee beans

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico is turning to the newly surging ranks of the unemployed for help with an old problem - a shortage of coffee pickers.

Agriculture Secretary Javier Rivera Aquino says he's spoken with the labor secretary about recruiting unemployed workers for the coffee industry.

Rivera says in Tuesday's edition of newspaper El Nuevo Dia that letters will go out to the jobless encouraging them to take jobs on coffee plantations.

Puerto Rico's unemployment rate is above 14 percent higher than any U.S. state.

The island has long struggled to harvest coffee because few locals want the difficult and low-paying job of picking beans. In the past, farmers have sometimes even turned to prisoners to do the work.

Source: Associated Press


Grandfather Cyril Taylor Yabisi Caona Scholarship

Grandfather Cyril O. Taylor

Bohio Atabei Caribbean Indigenous Women’s Circle is proud to announce that this year’s Yabisi Caona educational stipend has additional sponsors. These include the United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP) and its member organizations as well as Taino artist Gina Rixturey Rosario Villalba and Mrs. Marie Taylor (Meherrin), the widow of elder Cyril Taylor (Karib).

This however is not the only change for the Yabisi Caona educational stipend as it has been renamed the “Grandfather Cyril Taylor Yabisi Caona Scholarship” in honor of our beloved Grandfather Cyril Taylor.

Until his passing last year, Grandfather Cyril was a respected elder representative of the UCTP. He was co-founder of a Washington D.C. cultural organization called Biaraku, a staunch defender of our indigenous rights as Caribbean Indigenous peoples and a strong advocate of the Bohio Atabei Caribbean Indigenous Women’s Circle. As such Grandfather Cyril’s widow Mrs. Marie Taylor has honored us with her total support in this endeavor. Words alone cannot express our gratitude to her.

The UCTP will manage the scholarship fund that will be focused toward giving Caribbean Indigenous students’ some financial assistance with the purchase of school text books or supplies.

The “Grandfather Cyril Taylor Yabisi Caona Scholarship” scholarships are open to Caribbean Indigenous students age 17 and older entering or returning to college and/or technical school in the 2009-2010 year.

All applicants for this educational stipend must submit a 1000 (minimum) word essay describing what they have done to help their communities and how they see themselves doing this within the context of their future educational goals. Students should demonstrate pride in and respect for their ancestral culture and be active in their community.

Three students will be selected from among the submitted applications.

Selections will be based on essay content, school and community references. Each recipient will receive a sum no less then or greater then $250 dollars (U.S.) towards the purchase of his/her school curriculum books and or supplies.

After some consultation, the sponsors have decided to award these stipends using a selection process conducive to the ideals of Caribbean First Nations. Therefore applicants should be only individuals within the specified age category, and who are registered members of Caribbean Indigenous communities, organizations, groups recognized by the Caribbean Organization of Indigenous Peoples (COIP) and the United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP).

If you are of Caribbean Indigenous decent but do not meet the above criteria, to submit an application you must contact UCTP Grandfather Cyril Taylor Yabisi Caona Scholarship Board first for any possible consideration.

In our efforts to protect, promote, and honor our culture, the UCTP and the Bohio of Atabei have sought ways to motivate the community into collective and collaborative efforts and as such these stipends are viewed as way to carry out our missions. The stipends will be presented at a community luncheon to be held in November 2009 during Native American History Month. Venue details to be announced.

All submissions for the 2009 Grandfather Cyril Taylor Yabisi Caona must be entered and postmarked no later than Monday, September 30, 2009. All documents must be neatly typed, double spaced, dated and signed and should include the following:

1.) Name and contact information.

2.) Brief Bio

3.) Essay

4.) Letter of reference from either or current school

5.) Letter from current community council /chief/community leadership.

For those sending submissions via email, a signed original hard copy
must follow via post. All forms via Email must be in PDF format.

Email correspondence to oirrc@uctp.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Hard copies are to be mailed to:
P.O Box 4515,
New York, NY 10163

For additional information, contact bohiatbei@aol.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 646-309-3722 or 212-604-4186.

No submissions will be accepted postmarked after deadline date.

Donations to Grandfather Cyril Taylor Scholarship Fund can be sent to United Confederation of Taino People UCTP. Address listed above.

Source: http://www.uctp.org

Australia adopts UN Indigenous declaration

Australia (UCTP Taino News) – In an historic moment in Australia’s relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the government officially adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at a ceremony this morning at its Parliament House. This action reverses the decision of the previous Government who voted against the Declaration in 2007.

The Declaration was adopted at the United Nations by all but four countries - Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States. It contains 46 articles outlining Indigenous people's rights in international law, but it is not legally binding and cannot override domestic law.

Noting the importance of meeting the standards set out in the Declaration, Australian Aboriginal leader Professor Mick Dodson said "The value of human rights is not in their existence, it's in their implementation."

The new Australian decision could have an impact on at least one of the other countries still not supporting the Declaration.

On March 31, New Zealand’s Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, John Key stated that his government will look at the way the Australian Government interprets the Declaration and “see whether its interpretation is applicable in New Zealand.”

A petition calling on the New Zealand government to support the UN Declaration is now being promoted by Peace Movement Aotearoa.

No comments have been issued as yet from the governments of Canada and the United States with regard to Australia’s new position on the Declaration.

UCTPTN 04.03.2009


Puerto Rico lacks adequate place to house pre-Columbian artifacts

PONCE, Puerto Rico — The chief of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture says the U.S. island does not have an adequate place to house indigenous artifacts.

Institute director Carmen Teresa Ruiz says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wants to return dozens of ancient ceramic pieces, tools and bones to Puerto Rico but the U.S. territory is not prepared to receive them.

She said Sunday it is "a real problem" since local archaeologists and students do not have the chance to study the pre-Columbian pieces.

In 2007, the Army Corps uncovered a cache of artifacts outside the city of Ponce.

At the time, Puerto Rican archaeologists blasted the federal agency for shipping the indigenous artifacts to the U.S. for analysis.