Indigenous Network of Communications & Media: a braiding of learning

I’m here at the Indigenous Continental Network of Communications & Media, Phoenix, Ariz., where discussions are about two other indigenous communications summits and how it is tied to ancestral knowledge.

In Bolivia, the environment is very different.

what’s the involvement of Bolivian government in what we are doing especially since there is Indigenous president, Morales. we have to maintain our integrity as journalists.

in the case of Bolvia, with indigenous president, does not guarantee a respect of indigenous rights. there is case where there was a conflict and Morales imposed the will of the state over Indigenous people. so as Indigenous media/communicators, we should not be under the will of any state. The governments can finance us but we must be independent.

During the Fifth Continental Summit of Indigenous People which is where this Communications Summit born, there were points about financial support. One of petitions was Indigenous Fund that belongs to all countries to support international communicitions. so the international fund is to help this summit occur in Bolivia. it is not easy. there has to be financing. our attitude is that these are resources we are owed. from this point of view, this international fund is to be used to promote Indigenous communications.

all these processes from the different summit came from Indigenous people so this is why we have this summit that consists of the continents.

NAHUACALLI, this place here where are meeting means a braiding. some call university. but what we are doing now is a braiding of learning, communicating. We are here to help. we are committed.

When I spoke at Dine’ College about the mascot issue, some of the professors criticized me and said that I was teaching

we have established alternative universities that promote indigenous thinking that promotes decolonization.

there is concrete proposal while we were in Bolivia and it is to take advantage of our satelite, the Moon. That us who have taken that responsibility will share that with everyone tomorrow. we have define different platforms of communications. Yesterday we started communicating through Facebook. the indigenous people in Canada speak French. Marley is using Twitter.

there are 39 commitments that were established from previous Indigenous Communications & Media summits and six can be used to make alliances with North. what are the commitments? it should be clear what it means to be committed.

Columbia, Nicaragua, Mexico are officially committed. You don’t have to say right now. But I want to hear what everyone thinks.

this is a wide movement of many people and organizations. so this is not coming from one country or nation. commitment is to continue to work. from first summit, there was much strategizing. there is a national indigenous organization of Argentina, Mexico, National Congress of Central America, Central America Integration, etc. We talked about difficulties. These organizations operate from own local centers. the next meeting will be in Bolivia in May where we will evaluate path towards 2016 summit and then there will be a report on 39 commitments, which allowed us to be organic. in general terms that is work of commission.

we are getting to know each other face to face. i recommend we think about what we shared with our words. we have been involved for 20 years. so now we will share how we will be committed.

25 years of dedicated work and it’s been very inspiring. I’m thinking how I would get to Bolivia in 2016 and to make sure that I stay connected which is commitment i’m making. i’ll take that message back to the people i work with and how important this is. i expect some resistance from some people but i know who will support me. and instead of fighting those that oppose, i will educate. the opposition would be lack of information. when i asked to attend, they wanted to know who Tupak is. and these people are “accidental activists”, who are primarily acadamia.

I have questions and I’ll ask as we get more into the discussion. Yesterday’s meeting, hearing stories from relatives from the south was very reassuring and good to hear. and i think as a new writer, i’m going to be honest and say that i’m not sure how i will participate. i will say that the movement, nationally and internationally, is about looking at indigenous as humans and not symbols and relics. i don’t think we would be where we are now if it was not for media. so i think it’s very important that we take control. it made me find out that i write. i’m not a journalist, i’m a writer. this is really great work and of great value and hope it will continue that way. i don’t know how it looks but i know i will find out and it is going in the right direction.

when i got word from Hopi radio station manager about interview with Tupak and it would be on radio for listeners, we got information about this meeting and if we wanted to attend. I decided to come and there was another person. we talked about it and we didn’t know what this meeting would involve. we have general ideas of what is happening in Columbia, Nicaragua and other countries regarding indigenous people. that was the general idea. I’m also involved with Not One, which is about farming on Hopi. So we were introduced to LA group. so they told us what they were experiencing with government. so we are here because we are radio station and we can provide to local folks, who are Hopi. I can do followup radio interview with Tupak with more clarification. we do have listeners around the world. there are basically three representatives from over 200 First Nations so you are asking for support from the north. we will do that by letting people know what is happening here and what will happen in Bolivia. If we get a recording of what is happening here, we will use that to inform listeners. what i have heard from discussions is that it’s one of those things that we don’t know about until you hear from the people involved because that tells us that that is real. As I was watching Tupak use turtle shell as communication and he was talking about singing as communication, Hopis live in two worlds – white man side and Hopi side. The Hopi is more in tune with moon, lunar, spirituality. and that is not taught in schools, only through ceremony. so when you talk about livelihood, and what supports that is land, water, air, farming. That is what we depend on and that is our struggle with government – water rights,land rights. over 200 nations in the north are not together because we are in distinct locations where there are different natural resources. Again we can send the word out. i think the gentleman from Tohono o’odham can also provide information. there was delegation to United Nations in 1960s and they made presentation to United Nations about today’s chaos, destruction.

just having Hopi, Canada, Dine’ and other nations on list gives your people an international platform.

Thank you for coming and sharing your important and valuable work which demonstrates strong commitment to peoples and nations. my specialty, my work is examining old documents and legal decisions and the way colonizers have put together another form of reality that has caused destruction. there is small group of minds that are expert at putting together words that result in that destruction. in 1996, i was in Geneva Switzerland on draft of Declaration of Indigenous Rights and I asked question: Some day when the draft declaration becomes reality or convention, how will it be applied to the people. and this one gentleman who wouldn’t say much, he said to the extent that words have meaning and meaning has reality, the Declaration has meaning, important. that is level on those minds that are working everyday. as i’m listening, i hear “struggle.” so whether coming from south or north or this part of great turtle, pple talk about stuggle. but struggle against what and as the result of what. so there’s a way in which you can create diagram and I diagram has circle with spoke and spoke represents struggle. what do all these stuggles have in common. when look at UN definition of Indigenous is says pple exisitng in place and when second pple ocme in and they establish dominance over original people. so the word itself in that context it means people under dominance. and all these words, thinkers reweave to make tighter and tighter. Max Weber, important sociologist, said men dominating men so there is this international domination against all of us. i bring this us because term in south about beginning of conquest. if we don’t name correctly then we allow ourselves to think that we are dominated, conquered. like word civilization. the forcing of a particular way of life on another. can ID problem but what are the solutions. and the potential for that is in all our original teachings and laws and our creation stories. and so we have great responsibility. we are awaking and we have responsibility to share those teachings for all of life. there are healers that can speak better to that. but i think indian country today will have coverage to get more awareness out there to understand what you are trying to accomplish. i would write a column and it’s only an opinion column and i have a lot of opinions.


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