Statement from the Original Peoples’ Caucus

January 2013

Original Peoples of Turtle Island Recommendations to the Peoples Social Forum

We all are working toward the same goals, the protection of the people, the lands, the waters and the animals of mother earth. We must work together with our common goals to build a way forward. The inherent knowledge of Original peoples come from our Mother Earth and the ancestors that came before us and the one that will come after us. This knowledge is intertwined in our spirituality and way of being utilizing Natural law.

Current governments are working to commodify not just the lands, the waters, the animals, but all people. We must break free from these oppressive structures and return to values that respect the knowledge of the Original peoples of Turtle Island.

Resistants’ for us began 520 years ago. Institutionalized colonialism has lead to the cumulative removal of our history and deep understanding of our rights and place in this society. We urge the PSF to build strong relationships with us to restore this balance of understanding.

Original peoples lives have been defined by resistance. We can share how our lived experience can help build a way forward. We must reestablish a respectful relationship based on an understanding of culture, traditions and language.

However, our people and issues cannot be co-opted. Therefore we affirm that:

  • Original peoples of Turtle Islands have been oppressed for centuries and are in a process of re-awakening and you must respect that we must lead ourselves.
  • Original peoples have lived on Turtle Islands since time immemorial and we kept the land clean and free of destruction for centuries before contact. We know this land intimately because we are people of the land and we are the land. We are guardians of the harmonious cycles of the land. If the land dies we die.
  • As people of the land we have to work to restore the Original peoples values based on responsibilities and rights. Therefore it is imperative that our people continue to take a leading role in changing the future.
  • Our rights and responsibility are the foundation for building a better future for all.
  • Therefore, we are in solidarity with those that reject the racist Doctrine of discovery and Terre Nullis and those working with Original peoples must be publicly rejected these oppressive regimes in order to effectively build relations with the Original peoples of Turtle Island.
  • We recognize the need to work in partnership with allies and ally groups, because we understand that our allies are necessary to strengthen not only our power but theirs. Your liberation is tied to ours.
  • As Original Peoples of Turtle Island we are many nations with varying cultures, values, distinct tactics and strategies for moving forward to address over 500 years of oppression and it must be respected and the PSF must actively work towards creating the spaces for not only the inclusion of these peoples, but for our peoples to take an active role in guiding and leading the process. This can be done through recognition of the distinct values and rights of the many nations of Turtle Island.

We propose that the People Social Forum adopt these PRINCIPLES to guide the planning and implementation process of for the Peoples Social Forum:

  • The principles of engagement require that proper protocol is taken at a regional basis to ensure that Original peoples issues are not co-opted. Taking into consideration there is no one protocol because of the many diverse traditions, values and cultures across Turtle Island we must work toward obtaining proper grassroots representation from each territory
  • Regional meetings with Original peoples must occur prior to the PSF in order to ensure that the Original peoples are included in the forum. This can be through educational teach-ins and sharing across the boundaries.
  • A national committee/structure needs to include proper Original peoples within the board or committees to ensure the values of the Original peoples continue to be the leading foundation of the process.
  • If there is a regional process developed in the lead up to the PSF, there must be a process developed that ensures proper inclusion in these meetings.
  • While there are recognized National and Regional Aboriginal organizations, they are not reflected of all Original peoples voices. The voices of grassroots people must be included in this process for example, but not limited to the communities that are comprised within defenders of the land.
  • We recognize the need to work with National and regional committee to develop a strategy to implement the principles necessary for effective relationships to building the social forum.

We are all a part of a natural revolution. We all need to remember our way back. Some of us have completely lost our way and some of us still have a connection to our land.

Recognizing that we do not represent ALL nations of Turtles Island, as many are not in attendance, and therefore this document is a living document that will change over time and with their input.

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