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World Indigenous Peoples Day


"Resistance, Rebellion and Regeneration. Fight all borders. They are not the way of our people. We are one family and will never be divided."

-Jose Matus, Executive Director, Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras

This annual event was held at the Global Justice Center in Tucson. It was sponsored by the Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras (Indigenous Alliance Without Borders). Several groups had information tables there including Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras, H.O.N.O.R. Collective, U of A Indigenous Students Club, and The Brown Berets.

Along with being a Celebration, there were serious issues being addressed — including Murdered and Missing Women, Border and Police Violence, Racial Issues, mass shootings etc.

Definition of indigenous: The people who have never left their home.

Speakers and Presenters:

  • Patricia Gonzales
    • Executive Director of Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras (Responding to issues that affect Indigenous People along the border)
    • indigenousalliance.org
    • U of A professor
    • Kickapoo Tribe
    • Mexican/American/American Indian Studies
  • Ron Austin
    • So/AZ Independent Justice Media (has over 80 videos of local activist events on his facebook page)
    • Soon to have a show on KNKR where he will interview activists
  • Ofelia Zepata
    • Poet
    • Professor at U of A
    • Tohono O'Odham
    • Native American Language Development Institute
    • Linguistics — American Indian Studies
  • Mona
    • UN Council of the Grandmothers
    • Hopi/Tewa and Havasupai

Mona gave a very good summary of all the interactions between indigenous people and the UN.

  • 1977
    • Elders went to Geneva to claim rights for indigenous peoples
  • 1982
    • First UN World Indigenous Peoples Day
    • Thomas Banyaca and Grandfather David Monogue (Hopi) Oren Lyons and Shenadoah went to Geneva.
  • 1993
    • Cry of the Earth Conference
    • Declaration on Rights of Indigenous People
    • Basic Call to Survival and Call of Consciousness
  • 2017
    • Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People finally ratified by UN

The speakers were followed by an honoring drum circle (by the Tohono O'Odham StarPoint Drum Group) to bless a local activist who was attacked in El Paso last May because some men overheard him talking in a restaurant and did not like what he said. He was severely beaten.

The intense drumming and dancing were highlights and circuitry opening for us. I cannot remember ever seeing such fine dress & dances by 3 Native men, all competition dancers.

The Global Justice Center blends into the tapestry in South Tucson as a hub for the community. Those attending were comfortable in a secure environment, and the exits were pointed out and security outside was strong.

Patricia Gonzalez, the Director of the Global Justice Center spoke about the “Know Your Rights” booklet for Indigenous border crossing. The website: indigenousalliance.com which points to their activism and RESIST movement. The booklet gives history of the land and border crossing information for the Indigenous peoples. Immigration and border issues are a continual challenge.

Also, on that website are many progressive activists and a wealth of info. about Native issues and the Tohono O’odham lands on which Tucson is located, and to:

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Our Indigenous knowledge derives comes from interconnected unity with all of life. This land and territories are alive and our relatives, the plant nation and the star peoples are watching. There is a greater witness to all of this.

Quote from: Indigenous Alliance Without Borders Land Acknowledgement 2019