Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Border and Indigenous Peoples

By Michelle Cook

Since time immemorial Indigenous peoples have lived and thrived in the lands now referred to as the United States border. Indigenous peoples throughout these regions maintain their rich cultures, languages, and customs. However these strong cultures and peoples are facing a great challenge, they are facing the border.

These lands have now become a war zone and a place that harbors injustice, racism, and darkness. These lands and the communities bear witness to the construction of walls of borders that divide tribal nations, communities, and families. These lands and peoples now bear witness to the preventable and needless deaths of immigrants. Many of whom are Indigenous Peoples themselves searching for a better and more secure life.

This border creates hardship for Indigenous peoples who are unable to cross the border for ceremonial purposes. These ceremonies are integral to their sacred religion, cultural survival, and dignity. The bodies of indigenous peoples and immigrants testify to the need for urgent and immediate action to stop the violence and bring peace to the people most impacted by the border. The Border Summit of the Americas hears the call and is responding to this need.

The Indigenous Border Summit of the Americas emerges from the urgent need to educate and advocate for the human rights of indigenous peoples living on the border. This summit seeks to raise awareness on local, state, national and international arenas about the realities of living on both sides of the U.S Mexico border.

This summit aims to empower and create solidarity with border communities, to hear their testimonies and stories, and most importantly to create solutions that will address and remedy the human rights violations they collectively experience.

The Border Summit of the Americas aims to create peace and harmony, to shed light on the realities of living on the border, and work towards a future that will include needs and voices of the original peoples, the indigenous peoples.

"This land was Mexican once, was Indian always and is. And will be again"
Gloria Anzaldua