Yaqui and Navajo: Theft of Indian water rights is a crime against humanity

Yaqui and Navajo: Theft of Indian water rights is a crime against humanity 

Article and photos by Brenda Norrell

French translation by Christine Prat

http://www.chrisp.lautre.net/wpblog/?p=1155 

VICAM PUEBLO, Sonora, Mexico -- Yoeme (Yaqui) traditional leaders completed the final document at the International Forum for the Defense of Water, on Wednesday. The two day gathering, Nov. 20-21, hosted by the Traditional Authority of Vicam Pueblo, brought together Indigenous Peoples in solidarity with the Zapatistas to protect Indian water rights.

Yoeme are now facing the theft of their water by the Mexican government. Yoeme are battling the Independence Aqueduct which would carry water from the Rio Yaqui to Hermosillo.

Just as in the United States, Mexico's cities and dirty corporate polluters are wasting water and running out of water.

The cities, states and the governments of the US and Mexico have designed theft plans for Indian water rights. Currently, Yoeme in the state of Sonora, south of Arizona, and Navajos in Arizona, are resisting the theft plans of the governments of Mexico and the US.

In the Yoeme villages, like on Black Mesa in Arizona, most Indian people live without running water, while corporate developers and industries waste water and pollute the water. While Indigenous Peoples live without running water, they live with the pollution and destruction, including coal fired power plants on Navajoland, and chemical and agricultural poisons on Yaqui land.

Navajos are fighting the theft scheme of Dine’ water rights to the Little Colorado River. The scheme is designed to benefit the dirty coal fired power plant Navajo Generating Station, which provides electricity to Arizona's thirsty cities. Recently a leaked e-mail exposed Interior Sec. Ken Salazar’s plan, with Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, to push a water rights settlement through a lame duck Congress. Navajos have already said “no” to the so-called water rights settlement.

Yoeme and Navajos are now both fighting water rights theft schemes. Yoeme and Navajo are upholding the standard that the right to water is a human right, and the theft of water is a crime against humanity.

Indigenous gathered here spoke on the defense of water and the sacredness of water, for which their futures depend. O’odham Ofelia Rivas sang a sacred water song. The O’odham ceremonial community of Quitovac in northern Sonora is threatened by gold mining, which would poison their water.

During the final session of the water gathering on Vicam Pueblo on Wednesday afternoon, supporters were honored by the traditional Yaqui leaders and thanked for making their long journeys here.

Yaqui said in a written invitation to the gathering, "Before the sacking of its territory and the latent extermination, the Yaqui Tribe again will listen to the voices from the heart of their territory to continue the defense of water, which is not an independent struggle, but a struggle of each and every one of the Indigenous Peoples who are seeking to defend and uphold their territory, autonomy, peace, justice and dignity. It is also the struggle of Mexican society for democracy and freedom."

Also see: Video conclusion and summary of water forum

http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/11/video-yaqui-foro-internacional-del-agua.html

More photos of forum by Brenda Norrell

http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/11/yaqui-vicam-pueblo-international.html

Brenda Norrell

brendanorrell@gmail.com

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Territorio Yaqui, Pueblo de Vícam
 

20 y 21 de noviembre de 2012
Las Autoridades Tradicionales de la Tribu Yaqui, convocamos a los miembros del congreso nacional indigena (CNI), pueblos, tribus, naciones y organizaciones indígenas de méxico y el mundo, a la Sociedad Civil -nacional e internacional- así como también a los jóvenes, a las mujeres, a los productores rurales, a los académicos e investigadores y a todo el pueblo de México, a participar en los trabajos, deliberaciones y discusiones de este Segundo Encuentro Internacional en Defensa del Agua.
 

Los trabajos de este Segundo Encuentro, se realizan después de que por más de dos años, la Tribu Yaqui, en alianza con los campesinos, productores rurales del Valle del Yaqui y la Sociedad Civil del Sur de Sonora, hemos sostenido, con todos los instrumentos que la ley y la Constitución nos proporciona -así como con movilizaciones y acciones de resistencia- una valiente defensa de las aguas de la Cuenca del Río Yaqui.

El gobierno de Guillermo Padrés y de Felipe Calderón, pretenden desviar las aguas de esta cuenca, con la construcción ilegal de un acueducto a la Ciudad de Hermosillo, para alimentar grandes negocios especulativos y corruptos que fomenten una mayor concentración de la riqueza, además de propinarle un golpe existencial a la Tribu Yaqui y una lesión estructural a la producción nacional de alimentos.

La Tribu Yaqui, como la mayoría de los pueblos indígenas y los más de cincuenta millones de pobres que habitamos el territorio nacional, estamos en las fronteras del exterminio y la muerte por hambre, como resultado de las políticas económicas que ahora quieren privatizar el agua y convertirla en mercancía de intereses financieros que desprecian el desarrollo y el derecho a la libre determinación de los pueblos.

En este Segundo Encuentro, analizaremos el drama asociado a esta realidad, y discutiremos las acciones a seguir para revertir estas políticas que nos despojan del futuro. Procuraremos trazar la estrategia de alianzas, nacionales e internacionales, que nos pongan en condiciones de liberar una lucha exitosa, con dignidad y acorde a nuestras expectativas de vida comunal dentro y fuera de nuestros pueblos. 
 

About Brenda Norrell

Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 32 years. She is publisher of Censored News, focusing on Indigenous Peoples, human rights and the US border. Censored News was created after Norrell was censored, then terminated, by Indian Country Today after serving as a longtime staff reporter. Now censored by the mainstream media, she previously was a staff reporter at numerous American Indian newspapers and a stringer for AP, USA Today and others. She lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, and then traveled with the Zapatistas. She covered the climate summits in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Cancun, Mexico, in 2010.

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About Brenda Norrell

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http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com/

Biography

Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 32 years. She is publisher of Censored News, focusing on Indigenous Peoples, human rights and the US border. Censored News was created after Norrell was censored, then terminated, by Indian Country Today after serving as a longtime staff reporter. Now censored by the mainstream media, she previously was a staff reporter at numerous American Indian newspapers and a stringer for AP, USA Today and others. She lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, and then traveled with the Zapatistas. She covered the climate summits in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Cancun, Mexico, in 2010.