Native Women Plan for Bolivia Climate Living Defense Conference Oct. 2015

 

Tohono O'odham and Dineh (Navajo) Women Plan to Continue Work Started at Cochabamba Mother Earth Conference Five Years Ago

By Brenda Norrell

Photo Michelle Cook and Ofelia Rivas by Brenda Norrell 2015

TUCSON -- Tohono O'odham Ofelia Rivas and Dineh (Navajo) Michelle Cook hope to return to Cochabamba, Bolivia, in October and continue the work that they began five years ago when President Evo Morales hosted the World Peoples Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth. Bolivia is hosting the World Peoples Conference on Climate Change and Defense of Life, October 10--12, 2015, and the women who facilitated the Indigenous Working Group at the 2010 Conference in Cochabamba hope to be there.

Ofelia Rivas, O’odham human rights defender living on the border in her homeland, on the Tohono O'odham Nation, is founder of O'odham Voice against the Wall. Ofelia co-chaired the Indigenous Working Group in Cochambama in 2010. "Everyone had a voice," Ofelia said, remembering the gathering in Cochabamba.

Michelle Cook, Dineh (Navajo) flew into Cochabamba from New Zealand in 2010 and assisted Ofelia with the work of the Indigenous Working Group in Cochabamba. Since then, Michelle received her masters degree as a Fulbright scholar in New Zealand, in Maori and Pacific Development, and completed law school at the University of New Mexico. Michelle is currently in the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

The upcoming conference in Bolivia focuses on climate, in preparation for the United Nations COP 21 in Paris, and on the concept of living well.

The O'odham way of being, Him'dag, and the Dineh (Navajo) way of being, Hozho, are knowledge of living and being, which these women can share at the Climate and Living Well Conference in Bolivia in two weeks.

Ofelia Rivas has been held at gun point by the US Border Patrol agents, while exposing the abuses by US Border Patrol agents. While fighting the ongoing US militarization of her homelands, Ofelia exposed the unearthing of O'odham ancestors graves during the construction of the US border wall on the so-called Arizona border. She also led a successful fight against a toxic dump on O'odham ceremonial land in Sonora, Mexico.

Ofelia said, "The O’odham way of life is based on the land that has held the remains of our ancestors since the creation of this world. The O’odham did not migrate from anywhere according to our oral history. Our creation tellings record our history and teach the O’odham principles of life. The survival of O’odham today is based in our him’dag."

Michelle, while on a peacemaker delegation to Iran at the age of 23, said, "As Navajo people we are taught to take care of the earth, and in return she will take care of us, this is an ancient practice of ecological sustainability. If we violate the rules of nature, as well as the teachings of the Holy People they can discipline us, therefore we are taught to do whatever we can to maintain hozho. This is what the elders have said. The holy people, also taught us how to live, and not to consume too much of any resource, this teaching extends to oil consumption. Wars should not be fought for oil. Oil is like the blood of the mother earth."

The Indigenous Working Group in Cochabamba in 2010 concluded with a statement that begins, "Mother Earth is a living being in the universe that concentrates energy and life, while giving shelter and life to all without asking anything in return, she is the past, present and future; this is our relationship with Mother Earth. We have lived in coexistence with her for thousands of years, with our wisdom and cosmic spirituality linked to nature. However, the economic models promoted and forced by industrialized countries that promote exploitation and wealth accumulation have radically transformed our relationship with Mother Earth. We must assert that climate change is one of the consequences of this irrational logic of life that we must change." (See full statement below.)

The upcoming conference in Cochabamba will focus on climate, the threat of capitalism and the concept of living well:

The paths of Living Well as an alternative to capitalism. Living Well in harmony with Nature is in essence the only possible universal way of life. Universal Declaration of Rights of Mother Earth to resist capitalism. Just like human beings are recognized in their rights, all beings must be respected in their rights under the Universal Declaration of Rights of Mother Earth, as an instrument to resist capitalism.

Read more at: http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2015/09/oodham-and-dineh-women-seek-sponsors-to.html

For information on becoming a travel sponsor to Cochabamba for these women, please write Censored News, Brenda Norrell, publisher, brendanorrell@gmail.com

 

For permission to repost this article: brendanorrell@gmail.com

About Brenda Norrell

Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 34 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 34 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.