September 27, 2015 (New York City, NY) Today marked a historic milestone in the movement for environmental justice and indigenous rights. Indigenous women leaders of the North and South Americas signed a first ever treaty agreement declaring solidarity in the movement to protect Mother Earth from extractive industries.
“We give thanks for the guidance and the support that made this day the sacred day that it has become at this historic Treaty between the Indigenous Women of the North and South.”
Casey Camp-Horinek (Ponca) and Pennie Opal Plan (Idle No More Bay Area), who serve as representatives on the Indigenous Environmental Network’s Delegation for the COP 21 United Nations Summit in Paris, met with Kichwa leader, Patricia Gualinga and President of the Association of Sapara Women, Gloria Ushigua, who serve as representatives of the Amazon Watch Delegation.
Statement from Casey Camp-Horinek, of the Ponca Nation regarding the Indigenous Women of the North and South – Defend Mother Earth Treaty Compact 2015:
“We acknowledge this moment on Mother Earth for the 4th Red Moon of this year is eclipsing and offering us this chance to renew and defend the rights of Mother Earth as Indigenous Women. We gathered on this sacred day in ceremony to honor the ancestors who brought us to this point where we could stand strong in unified love of our Mother the Earth, our Father the Sky and the undying duty to protect the air, water, earth and all of our relatives for the future generations. We give thanks for the guidance and the support that made this day the sacred day that it has become at this historic Treaty between the Indigenous Women of the North and South. We invite and implore the prayers and the spreading of the word to rise up and join this movement that has begun in the times before us and moves into this wave of awareness across the face of our Mother.”
Indigenous Women of the Americas – Defenders of Mother Earth Treaty Compact 2015:
For the purpose of perpetuating the friendship which heretofore existed, as also to remove all future cause of dissension, as it respects responsibilities, trade and friendship between Indigenous Women of the Americas. To further re-establish the undersigned’s desire to protect the territories, sovereignty, and peaceful lifeways of each Indigenous Nation within the Natural Laws and Creative Principles of Mother Earth and Father Sky, Traditional Headwomen have agreed to the following articles:
As Indigenous Women of the Americas, we understand the responsibilities toward the sacred system of life given to us by the Creator to protect the territorial integrity of Mother Earth and Indigenous Peoples. These responsibilities include the safety, health and well being of our children and those yet to come, as well as the children of all of our non-human relatives, the seeds of the plants and those unseen. These responsibilities demand that we act to ensure healthy air, water, soil, seeds and a safe climate so that life may continue.
There are those who have forgotten that we live in a natural system with natural laws that govern that system: the Laws of Mother Earth & Father Sky. These laws have been violated to such an extreme degree that the sacred system of life is now threatened and does not have the capacity for life to continue safely in the way in which it has existed for millions of years. We understand that violations of the Laws of Mother Earth are also violations against women – we are inseparable. These violations have led to the untold numbers of missing, murdered, raped and enslaved women.
The violations of these Laws have led to ocean acidification and warming, sea level rise, devastating fires, floods, extreme heat, cyclones, hurricanes, tornadoes, species extinction (because of what our species has done, Mother Earth has lost half of her species since 1960), epidemic rates of cancers and auto-immune diseases, the poisoning & privatization of fresh water in lakes, rivers, streams and aquifers as well as polluted air and soil. Additionally, genetically modified seeds and life forms have been created which threaten to destroy the sacred system of life that has taken millions of years to achieve its present state.
We understand that the system of laws in many governments around the world have been crafted to support an economic and corporate system that is destroying the ability of life to exist in the manner in which it has existed for millennia. The economic system of the world has exploited and abused nature, pushing Mother Earth to her limits, so much that the system has accelerated dangerous and fundamental changes in the climate. Mother Earth is the source of life which needs to be protected, not a resource to be exploited and commodified as a ‘natural capital.’ We are seeing the world expanding the commodification, financialization and privatization of the functions of Mother Earth that places a price on forests, air, soils, biodiversity and nature causing more inequality and destruction of nature and the environment. We cannot put the future of nature and humanity in the hands of financial speculative mechanisms like carbon trading and REDD.
We understand that we do not have the time to change this system in the manner in which these systems are normally changed. We understand that we have run out of time.
In light of these facts, we invite all women of the world to join us, your Indigenous Sisters of the Americas, to put a stop to the destruction. We are drawing the line and saying that the harms stop here and now. No more fossil fuel infrastructure or extraction, no more genetically modified organisms, no more toxins in our water, soil and air, and no more commodifying and privatizing of the earth, air, water, soil and natural systems. Mother Earth and her natural resources cannot sustain the consumption and production needs of this modern industrialized society.
There are times in history when it becomes necessary for the people to rise up to change the intolerable. There is nothing more intolerable than the destruction of thousands of species, including our own.
There have never been more unjust laws than the ones that exist now which are allowing the destruction of the environment that we need to exist. For these reasons we invite our sisters and their allies around the world to join us in teach-ins and nonviolent direct actions at all of the facilities and seats of power that are causing the destruction. We invite you to do this calmly, without malice, and with the love in your hearts for everything you hold dear.
As tribal women, our love is clear, unconditional and strong. Our traditional Indigenous ways of life instruct us that women hold the wisdom necessary to guide the leaders toward understanding the needs of children and the unborn. Through this treaty initiative we are raising our voices to give direction to government leaders and those holding seats of power to adjust the man-made laws in accordance with the natural laws.
We call upon all women, but especially the female elders in every community, to educate themselves on these issues and on nonviolent movements. We call upon you to take the lead and to be on the front lines of all nonviolent direct actions and to share this information with those who are younger on the power of love and nonviolence.
We understand that love is the most powerful weapon we have. Love is not violent, is not harsh. Any violation of the power of love and the power of who we are when we stand in love, no matter what happens, is a violation of Mother Earth, this Treaty Initiative, and a violation toward the women who have signed this Accord.
We call upon our sisters and their allies around the world to gather together on each new moon to pray for the sacred system of life, guidance and wisdom, and, on every solstice and equinox to:
– Become educated concerning the harms to life and the environment
– Pledge to support the rights of Indigenous Peoples
– Inform yourself and join the circles of global resistance demanding a new system that seeks harmony between humans and the rights of Mother Earth
– Pledge to nonviolence and become trained in nonviolent direct action
– Nonviolently rise up with others in your communities and around the world to demand immediate changes in the laws that have created the destruction
– Commit nonviolent acts of civil disobedience where destruction is occurring until it is stopped
– Continue these acts until “business as usual” is halted and life on Mother Earth is safe for generations to come.
We stand together.
Signed on this Day, September 27, 2015, at the East Meadow of Central Park, Traditional Territory of the Lenape of Turtle Island