Declaration of Indigenous Congress in Bolivia

The struggle is unceasing, we will continue our resistance until our time comes!

A Formal Summons to World States by Indigenous First Nations and Peoples

Declaration of the World Encounter
‘For the Historic Victory of the Indigenous Peoples of the World’

Chimoré, Cochabamba, Bolivia,
October 12, 2007

From the heart of South America, on this 12th day of October, 2007, the delegates of the indigenous first nations and peoples of the world, meeting in the World Encounter “For the Historic Victory of the Indigenous Peoples of the World,” to celebrate the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, hereby declare:

That, after 515 years of oppression and domination, here we stand; they have been unable to eliminate us. We have confronted and resisted the policies of ethnocide, genocide, colonization, destruction and plunder. The imposition of such economic systems as capitalism, characterized by interventionism, wars and socio-environmental disasters, a system that continues to threaten our ways of life as peoples.

That as a consequence of the neoliberal policy of domination of nature, the search for easy profits from the concentration of capital in a few hands and the irrational exploitation of natural resources, our Mother Earth is fatally injured, while the indigenous peoples are still being displaced from our territories. The planet is warming up. We are experiencing an unprecedented change in climate with ever-stronger and more frequent socio-environmental disasters, affecting all of us without exception.

That we are trapped in a great energy crisis, with the Age of Petroleum coming to an end, and without having found a clean alternative energy that can substitute for it in the necessary quantities to maintain that Western civilization that has made us totally dependent on hydrocarbons.

That this situation may be a threat that will leave us exposed to the danger that neoliberal and imperialist policies trigger wars for the last drops of the so-called black gold and blue gold, but may also give us the opportunity to make this new millennium a millennium of life, a millennium of balance and complementarity, without having to take advantage of energies that destroy Mother Earth.

That both the natural resources and the lands and territories we inhabit are ours for history, for birth, in law and for ever, and that the power to determine their use is fundamental to our ability to maintain our life, sciences, learning, spirituality, organization, medicines and food sovereignty.

That a new era is beginning, promoted by the original indigenous peoples, and bringing again times of change, times of Pachakuti,[1] in the times of the culmination of the Quinto Sol.[2]

That we welcome the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which is essential for the survival and well-being of the more than 370 million native peoples in some 70 countries of the world. After more than 20 years of struggle, it is responsive to our historical demand for self-determination of the peoples and recognition of ourselves and our collective rights.

The adopted declaration contains a set of principles and norms that recognize and establish in the international regulatory system the fundamental rights of the Indigenous Peoples, those that must be the basis of the new relationship between the Indigenous Peoples, states, societies and cooperation throughout the world. In addition, therefore, to the other existing juridical instruments governing human rights, the declaration is the new regulatory and practical basis for guaranteeing and protecting indigenous rights in various spheres and at various levels.

We call on the member countries of the United Nations and encourage the indigenous peoples to implement and comply with this important instrument of historical significance. We censure those governments that have voted in opposition to the Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples, and condemn their double standards.

That we pledge to support the historic effort being led by our brother Evo Morales, President of the Indigenous Peoples of Abya Yala,[3] in the construction of a new plurinational State. We will be vigilant in the face of any threat, internal or external, to the process in Bolivia and we call on the peoples of the planet to lend their support and solidarity to this process, which ought to serve as an example so that the Peoples, Nations and States of the world continue along this path.

Accordingly, the Indigenous Peoples and Nations of the world demand that the States fulfill the following mandates:

  1. To construct a world based on the Culture of Life, in the identity, philosophy, world view and age-old spirituality of the original indigenous peoples, applying the aboriginal knowledge and skills, strengthening the processes of interchange and brotherhood among the nations and respecting self-determination.
     
  2. To make national and international decisions to save Mother Nature from the disasters that are being brought about by capitalism in its decline, as manifested in global warming and the ecological crisis; reaffirming that the original indigenous culture is the only alternative means of saving our planet earth.
     
  3. To replace the present models of development based on capitalism, commodities, the irrational exploitation of humanity and natural resources, the squandering of energy, and consumerism, with models that establish life, complementarity, reciprocity, respect for cultural diversity and the sustainable use of natural resources as the principal priorities.
     
  4. To implement national policies governing food sovereignty as a principal basis of national sovereignty, in which the community guarantees respect for its own culture as appropriate spaces and modes of production, distribution and consumption consistent with the nature of healthy pollutant-free foods for the entire population, eliminating hunger, because food is a right to life.
  5. To repudiate schemes and projects for the generation of energy such as biofuel, which destroy and deny food to the peoples. Likewise, we condemn the use of transgenic seeds because it replaces our ancient seeding process and makes us dependent on agro-industry.
  6. To recognize and re-evaluate the role of the original indigenous woman as the vanguard of the emancipatory struggles of our peoples in accordance with the principles of duality, equality and equity of relationships between men and women.
  7. To adopt the culture of peace and life as a guide for resolving the world’s problems and conflicts, renouncing the arms race, and to initiate disarmament in order to guarantee the preservation of life on this planet.
     
  8. To adopt the just legal transformations that are necessary for the construction of systems and means of communication and information based on our world view, spirituality and communal philosophy, in the wisdom of our ancestors. To guarantee recognition of the indigenous peoples’ right to communication and information.
     
  9. To guarantee respect for and the right to life, health and bilingual intercultural education, incorporating policies of benefit to the indigenous first nations and peoples.
     
  10. To declare water to be a human right, a vital element and social property of humanity and not a source of profit. Likewise, to encourage the use of alternative energies that do not threaten the life of the planet, thereby guaranteeing access to all basic services.
     
  11. To solve cases of migration between countries in a mutually responsible way, adopting policies of free circulation of persons in order to guarantee a world without borders in which there is no discrimination, marginalization and exclusion.
     
  12. To decolonize the United Nations, and move its headquarters to a territory that dignifies and expresses the just aspirations of the peoples, nations and states of the world.
     
  13. Not to criminalize the struggles of the indigenous peoples, or demonize or accuse us of terrorism when we reclaim our rights and advance our ideas on how to save life and humanity.
     
  14. To release immediately the indigenous leaders imprisoned in various parts of the world, and in the first place Leonard Peltier in the United States.

The struggle is unceasing, we will continue our resistance until our time comes. We proclaim the 12th of October the “day of commencement of our struggles to save Mother Nature”. From our families, homes, communities, peoples, whether in government or without, we ourselves are determining and directing our destinies, we ourselves are assuming the will and responsibility to live well that has been bequeathed to us by our ancestors, to expand, from the simplest and least complicated to the greatest and most complex, to construct horizontally and mutually, each and every one, the culture of patience, the culture of dialogue and fundamentally the culture of life.

By the dead, the heroes and martyrs that lend meaning to our lives through their utopias and longings, we strengthen our identity, our organizational processes and our struggles to build the unity of the peoples of the world and to restore the balance, saving life, humanity and the planet earth.

We confirm our support for the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to brother Evo Morales for his ongoing and unconditional dedication to the good of humanity, the peoples, the planet and world peace.

Footnotes

[1] “Pachakuti is a Quechua word with multiple meanings. Literally meaning turning or returning (kuti) of the earth (pacha), it is translated alternatively as ‘new beginning,’ ‘reawakening,’ ‘revolution,’ or ‘renovation.’ … It has replaced Tupaj Katari as the key symbol of indigenous resistance in the Andes, as demonstrated by its use in indigenous political parties’ names in Ecuador (Movimiento Unido Pluricultural Pachakutik) and Peru (Partido Inka Pachacúteq), as well as Felipe Quispe’s Movimiento Indígena Pachakutik. Pachakuti is also the name of a prominent 15th-century Inca leader who ruled during a time of territorial expansion (personal communication, José Antonio Lucero, 4 Dec. 2002).” – Donna Lee Van Cott, “From Exclusion to Inclusion: Bolivia’s 2002 Elections”, J. Lat. Amer. Stud. 35, 751–775, p. 764n.

[2] Literally, the Fifth Sun. See http://www.mexconnect.com/mex_/mysfifthsun.html.

[3] “Continent of Life”. See http://abyayala.nativeweb.org/about.html.

Translated from America Latina en Movimiento for Bolivia Rising by Richard Fidler. Footnotes added by the translator.