Solidarity -- Indian Nation to Indian Nation
Solidarity -- Indian Nation to Indian Nation

     In the wake of the Chiapas uprising, Indian
organizations throughout North America are demonstrating
unprecedented solidarity with indigenous struggles in Meso
and South America.
     In early April, an Indian Peace Caravan of humanitarian
aid and medical supplies organized by Northern California
Pomo Indians and their elders began making its trek south to
Chiapas. Demonstrations, public forums, fundraising and
material support activities have taken place in different
parts of the U.S. and Canada.
     "We know that Indian people there [in Chiapas] are
starving and are without adequate food or medical care. That
is why we're going to deliver aid Indian nation to Indian
nation," declared caravan organizer Priscilla Hunter of the
Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians. Delma Eyle, a Coyote
Valley Pomo elder leading the caravan, said, "The Mayan
people of Chiapas and my people here in the U.S. are in the
same struggle for defining our sovereignty rights. Their
future as all as ours depends on our two peoples' strength
that can ensure a future for our children."
     During February and March, the Indigenous Peoples
Alliance (IPA) and the Coordinating Commission of Indigenous
Organizations and Nations of the Continent (CONIC) (which
includes over 30 Native American organizations in the U.S.)
brought Mayan representatives from Chiapas and Quichua
representatives from the Amazon regions in Ecuador to speak
across the U.S. Members of COLPUMALI (Coordinating Body of
Mayan Peoples in Struggle for their Liberation) and OPIP
(Organization of Indigenous Peoples of Paztaza) presented
first-hand testimony of the critical situation facing
indigenous peoples in regions which are facing unchecked
development, exploitation of natural resources and gross
human rights violations. U.S. indigenous organizers have
been involved with both groups since 1990 when the first
Continental Indigenous Encounter was held in Quito, Ecuador
in response to the Quincentennial.
     The COLPUMALI and OPIP representatives spoke in New
York, Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Phoenix,
Albuquerque, Dallas, Austin and Oklahoma City. They were
hosted by groups that included the American Indian Community
House, the International Indian Treaty Council, the National
Congress of American Indians, the South and Meso American
Indian Information Center, Tonatierra, Tonantzin Land
Institute, the Indigenous Women's Network and the Coalition
for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
     COLPUMALI is an association of 14 Mayan organizations
throughout southern Mexico; since 1988 it has advocated for
indigenous peoples' rights and developed projects to help
small farmers, coffee growers, health providers and women's
human rights groups. COLPUMALI is also a member of the
national Independent Front of Indigenous Peoples (FIPI)
which brings together indigenous groups as members of CONIC.
OPIP gained recognition in 1992 when it led a march of
thousands of Amazonian Indians into Quito to demand title to
their homelands. The Ecuadorian government acceded and
granted the Quichua Nation an unprecedented communal land
title to over one million hectares.
     For more information about indigenous peoples'
solidarity with Chiapas, contact:
     Indian Peace Caravan to Chiapas, PO Box 73, Redwood
Valley, CA 95470; 707-485-0219 or 485-8723. Tax-deductible
donations to support the Indian Peace Caravan can be made to
"Rural Institute-IPCC."
     International Indian Treaty Council, 123 Townsend
Street #575, San Francisco, CA 94107; 415-512-1501.
     Tonantzin Land Institute, PO Box 40182, Albuquerque, NM
87196; 505-766-9930.
     Seventh Generation Fund, PO Box 2550, McKinleyville, CA
95521; 707-839-1178.
     Indigenous Peoples' Alliance, PO Box 24009, Phoenix, AZ
85074; 602-254-5230. --Arnoldo Garcˇa