A Night in Solidarity with Latin American grassroots movements

On Saturday the 10th November in Melbourne, we shared inspirational stories of common struggle and resistance to the colonial & neo colonial beast that has ravaged (and continues) to ravage the world. Indigenous brothers from Bolivia and the Mapuche. Humble freedom fighters imbued with a great love & respect for their lands peoples & way of life, actively resisting.

Cristian Quechupan Mapuche Indigenous activist from Chile

“The Lands speaks to us, through nature we communicate and that shapes our lives.”

“Mapuche is part of everything, the land, the air, Mapuche is part of nature”

Fighting to recoup land and ceremonial spaces stripped and dispossessed by corporations and politicians. The Mapuche Peoples are challenging the Chilean governments agenda of the dispossession of the Mapuche peoples lands, of their identity and their right to exist as an Indigenous peoples.

The Chilean state is waging an undeclared war of extermination against the Mapuche. The Mapuche are another example of the criminalisation of Indigenous Struggle worldwide. The Mapuche have found that many of their leaders are being persecuted by anti terrorist laws, in joint media police & state campaigns vilifying the Mapuche peoples and their legitimate historical grievances against the Chilean State.

We can see in Chile and recently in Aotearoa that states have responded to the American ‘war on terror” with their own fabricated threats of ‘terror’, with authoritarian legislation, with states of emergency and attacks on civil liberties.

Often, draconian anti-terrorist legislation can mean virtually any form of political protest or dissent is criminalised. It is also a war against dissent against our capacity to resist injustice and oppression. It serves to terrorize dissent and to promote paranoia. Add centuries old racism against Indigenous peoples, this recent criminalisation fits well into the genocidal continuum that Indigenous peoples have been resisting for the past 515 years.

Cristian Quechupan however reminds us that the Mapuche are strong peoples and have the strength to struggle. The fighting spirit of Mapuche ancestors such as Lau Taro burns strong in the hearts of the Mapuche peoples. “Every day we get stronger”, “our relationship with Mother nature is strong “The political unity of the Mapuche grows stronger every day”.

Rosalio Tinta, Leader from Coalition in Defence of Life and Water-Bolivia Cochabamba

Rosalio brought greetings from our comrades and brothers and sisters in Bolivia.

As part of the co-ordinating committee for the Coalition in Defence of Life and Water, Rosalio has been in the front line in the battle against the globalisation/privatisation of water resources.

Rosalio emphasises that for indigenous people respect for the land is central to their way of life and to their struggle. Rosalio reminded us as well that Indigenous peoples have had these concerns and have been resisting for 515 years sine the Genocide of Columbus. Rosalio is a living example of the long history of Indigenous resistance to colonialism and imperialism in Bolivia. That despite repression, indigenous people have maintained, in the face of great opposition, a connection with the land, which is a powerful source of autonomy and a testament to their survival and strength.

Rosalio believes that the desire for freedom should be an inclusive one, and that we can create new concepts and constructs of freedom that don’t rely on Militarism and the destruction of our planet.

Sina Brown-Davis Polynesian Activist

Sina Brown-Davis then thanked her indigenous brothers for sharing their stories of their people’s struggles and triumphs. We then sought and received the unanimous support for the resolutions written below. The night continued with the powerful and passionate songs from Rebeca Godoy, a people’s struggle musician from Chile.

Rebeca Godoy

“Repression worldwide is intensifying for Indigenous peoples, the greed for the plunder of our resources and destruction of our identity is similar the entire world. Genocide keeps on perfecting itself, so you get a clear picture of what’s in store for us if we don’t assert our right to be and live as Indigenous peoples, determining our own lives from the basis of our lands and culture.”

“The struggle for the power to freely exercise the right of self-determination now takes on a new dimension–indigenous peoples themselves will now come to believe they not only have the right, but they have the duty to freely choose their own social, economic, political and cultural future. When they act of their own volition, those who opposed the Declaration and those who will obstruct its implementation will face increasingly determined nations seeking to be free. The struggle begins.”

We affirm tonight our solidarity & unity as Indigenous Peoples.

We seek to strengthen our political ties and cultural relationships as Indigenous peoples.

We acknowledge our struggles and our victories as survivors of colonisation and genocide.

We give our love and Solidarity to our Indigenous brothers and Sisters Worldwide that fight to defend their ancestral rights for their grand children’s grandchildren.

We condemn governments and corporations that repress and exploit Indigenous homelands and sacred sites. We condemn state repression and the criminalisation of Indigenous struggles.

We give our love and solidarity to Tame Iti & the Tuhoe peoples. We support the Mana Motuhake of Tuhoe, the human right of Tuhoe to determine their lives from the basis of the control of their lands and culture.

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