Available now: The Voice of the Taino People, Vol. 14, Issue 1, Jan. - March 2011

The Voice of the Taíno People is the Official News Journal of the United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP) and is distributed by the UCTP Office of International Relations and Regional Coordination, Volume 14, Issue 1, Jan. – March 2011, All Rights Reserved ; ISSN 1553-9350. In this issue: OAS Regional Meeting Includes Caribbean ; U.S. Endorses Declaration ; Taino Author releases Children’s Book ; Taino Youth Say No to the Pipeline ; Announcements and Events.

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Opening Statement of the Indigenous Peoples Caucus

Opening Statement of the Indigenous Peoples Caucus
at the XIII Meeting of Negotiations in the Quest for Points of Consensus of the Working Group to Prepare the Draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Washington D.C.
January 18 to the 20, 2011

Mr. Michel Arregui, Legal Affairs Secretary of the OAS, Ambassador Guillermo Cochez, Permanent Representative of Panama to the OAS, and Chairman of the Working Group, Dinah Shelton, rapporteur of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, distinguished representatives of States of the Organization of American States, and my Indigenous brothers and sisters.

My name is Grand Chief Edward John, Hereditary Chief of the Tl'azt'en Nation and representative of the First Nations Summit and the Assembly of First Nations. I am also the new North American Indigenous representative to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

On behalf of Indigenous Peoples in the Americas who are participating in the XIII Session of Negotiations for the Quest of Consensus for the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we look forward to the conclusion of the negotiation of the draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

While we are negotiating this draft American Declaration, violations against collective human rights of our peoples continue in many states. Examples were brought to the Indigenous caucus including from Chile, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay and Argentina. In defending our territorial rights against mega projects and extractive industries our peoples are persecuted, criminalized and in some cases forcibly evicted. In this regard, we denounce the repressive military actions of Chile against the Rapa Nui people, including women and children, who are struggling to defend their lands. We strongly and urgently recommend good faith negotiations to resolve this crisis. We also deplore the violent displacement against the Toba community La Primavera in Argentina and the lack of response to this situation.

For Indigenous women, gender based violence continues to be shaped by discrimination. Also militarization, racism and social exclusion, poverty inducing economic policies contribute to the systemic violence of our collective rights.

These contradict the most basic principles of human rights and democracy which guide the OAS and its member states. We strongly urge the Inter-american Commission on Human Rights and its relevant rapporteurships to act promptly and effectively to investigate and propose solutions to these violations on an urgent basis.

As Indigenous peoples with historic relationships with states in the Americas we participate as Indigenous peoples, governments and nations in our own right, not as civil society. We call for the establishment of effective participation mechanisms for Indigenous peoples in all entities of the Inter-American system, the Summit of the Americas and in particular the summit in Cartagena in 2012.

In a similar vein, we urge the OAS to support the full and equal participation of Indigenous representation in the planning and implementation of the 2014 UN World Conference of Indigenous Peoples including the outcome document.

We respectfully remind all delegates that in this Working Group a commitment has been made to ensure that the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is being used as “the baseline for negotiations and … a minimum standard” for the draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In these negotiations we urge a holistic approach as we know our survival and well being is inextricably linked to the survival and well being of Mother Earth.

We welcome the recent endorsement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the governments of Colombia, Canada and the United States of America. We emphasize that the UN Declaration is now a consensus instrument and we call on all states to engage in its full and effective implementation and ensure no state withdraws from implementation. We also encourage all States who have not done so, to ratify the ILO Convention 169.

The Indigenous Peoples’ caucus reminds states, financial institutions and international corporations of the principle of free, prior and informed consent which must be respected in all situations concerning Indigenous peoples. We call upon states to recognize, respect and implement positions adopted by Indigenous peoples in climate change negotiations. Indigenous peoples have knowledge to contribute to slow down the destruction of Mother Earth.

We thank those governments which contribute to the Specific Fund, making possible our participation in these negotiations. We call upon States to continue contributing with funds for the development of future meetings of negotiation that will allow us to conclude the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. There is a need for funding for the technical team and co-chairs, in addition to the delegates. We note that only two member states contributed to the Specific Fund, and two observer states. Other member states must show commitment by donating to the Specific Fund.

Finally, as Indigenous peoples we reiterate our commitment and call upon the member States of the OAS, as committed to in paragraph 86 of the Declaration of the Port of Spain, to work for a successful conclusion of the negotiations of the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The American Declaration should be finalized before the Summit of the Americas in 2012. In order for this to succeed, we repeat that there is a critical need for all States to contribute more money to the Specific Fund. We respectfully remind states that the General Assembly has renewed the mandate of this Working Group and we need to meet as frequently as the mandate dictates.


Indigenous Peoples Meet in Washington DC to Discuss Rights Declaration

Some of the Caribbean Indigenous delegation meeting at the Organization of American States in Washington, DC. From left to right - Dr. George Norton, Liselote Naniki Reyes Ocasio, Cleis Tavarez Maria, Eveline Moesijem Monstanto, Damon Corrie, and Zoila Maria Ellis.

Washington, DC (UCTP Taino News) –
The 13th Meeting of Negotiations in the Quest for Points of Consensus on the OAS draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples began today in Washington, DC. The Meeting of Negotiations will take place at the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS) from January 18 to 20, 2011.

Among the Indigenous Peoples representatives present at the negotiations are a delegation of Caribbean Indigenous Peoples including Liselote Naniki Reyes Ocasio (Borikén/ Puerto Rico), Damon Gerard Corrie (Barbados), Dr. George Aubrey Norton (Guyana), Clenis Tavárez María (Kiskeia/Dom. Rep.), Zoila Maria Ellis (St. Vincent and the Grenadines), and Eveline Moesijem Monsanto (Suriname).

Some points of discussion expected to be covered at this session include: Rights of association and assembly, Indigenous law and jurisdiction, contributions of the indigenous legal and organizational systems, treaties, and Indigenous spirituality.

UCTPTN 01.18.2011


Taino Planning Ceremonial Run in Kiskeia

Indigenous Taino run for Peace and Dignity in Boriken last year.
(Photo: Amy Ponce)

Kiskeia (UCTP Taino News) - After a successful two-week ceremonial run last summer in Borikén, organizers are hoping the momentum will continue in Kiskeia ( Dominican Republic ) later this year. The run in Borikén was organized, in part, to raise awareness about sacred sites and indigenous Taino culture. A similar focus would be the basis of the proposed spiritual run on the neighboring island.

“The Borikén 2010 run was connected to the Peace and Dignity Journeys. These are continental runs organized in response to an ancient prophecy that calls for the relationships of Indigenous Peoples of the Americas to be strengthened for the sake of our future generations.” said Vanessa Inarunikia Pastrana.

Pastrana was a visionary behind the Caribbean run. During these runs, sacred staffs representing Indigenous Peoples and their prayers from throughout the Americas are carried ceremoniously by the participating runners.

“These runs are fulfilling the prophecy of the eagle and the condor – the coming together of our Peoples” she continued. “Now the guaraguao, the Caribbean hawk is a part of this sacred circle.”

The Borikén 2010 Run marked the first time the sacred ceremonial staffs carried during the continental runs were presented in the Caribbean.

Pastrana has already met with several Kiskeia Taino community members in the United States such as Roman Guaraguarix Perez to provide some orientation on the process. She shared logistical information as well as stressed the spiritual nature of the run. Perez has agreed to lead the effort for the Kiskeia run and is now in contact with potential local organizers.

“As Borikua Taino we are here to support our guaitiao (relatives) from Kiskeia.” said Pastrana. “The organization of this ceremonial run however should be led by the local community.”

UCTPTN 01.17.2011


Rights Groups File Emergancy Petition to Stop Imminent Deportations to Haiti

Washington, D.C. (UCTP Taino News) - Today six civil and human rights groups filed an emergency petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to halt the roundups, detention, and imminent deportations of hundreds of Haitian nationals by the United States government. The precautionary measures petition argues that deporting people at this moment to Haiti will result in serious human rights violations, including deprivations of the rights to life, family, and due process, and freedom from cruel or unusual punishment.

One year later, Haiti is still reeling from the devastating January 2010 earthquake and is burdened with a massive cholera epidemic, political unrest, and rampant street violence. Deportations from the U.S. to Haiti have been stayed on humanitarian grounds since the January 12, 2010.

Advocates and community members were shocked when, on December 9, 2010, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unexpectedly announced that it was lifting the ban on deportations to Haiti and that it would resume deportations in January 2011, the one-year anniversary of the earthquake.

Romy Lerner, Supervising Attorney at the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center said,”We are deeply concerned that this policy is tearing apart the Haitian community. Our petition alleges that the United States has violated the human rights of the Haitians who are at risk of imminent deportations by separating them from their families without considering their ties to the United States or the welfare of their U.S. citizen children. In Miami, the community is terrified of what is about to happen.”

The petition was submitted by University of Miami School of Law Human Rights and Immigration Clinics, the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Alternative Chance, and the Loyola Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice.

A letter supporting the petition to the IACHR was also submitted with 285 signatures from organizations and individuals around the country. The International Indian Treaty Council and the United Confederation of Taino People are among the signatories on the letter, which was also sent to the U.S. State Department.

The petitioning organizations and supporters are urging calls to elected officials and the media today to urge that the US government reverse course, and stop its plan to commence deportations of Haitians this month.

UCTPTN 01.12.2011