Archives for October 2013

Transform Columbus Day into Indigenous People’s Day

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Today, in the United States, much of Latin American and the Caribbean, people are celebrating the holiday of Columbus Day. In the United States, it’s even recognized as a Federal Holiday. The story of Christopher Columbus is woven into the mythical imagination of Americans at a very young age as the hero who defied his critics and great odds to “discover” America. It’s a narrative that is very central to the American dream and the promise of this county. Yet, despite the centrality of this story to the origin myth of the United States, the average person would be appalled by the true story of Christopher Columbus which is more a story of unfettered greed and brutality than that of a noble explorer. No historian has been more successful and correcting the popular understanding of Columbus than the late historian Howard Zinn. His bestselling book “A People’s History of the United States: 1492-present” uses Columbus’ own writings and first-person accounts to tell a story very different from the one most children learn in grade school. Below is an entry from Columbus’ log as quoted in Zinn’s book.

They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells. They willingly traded everything they owned… . They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features…. They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane… . They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

— Quoted in Zinn, Howard (2005). A People’s History of the United States: 1492-present. Harper Perennial Modern Classics

Columbus made good on his promise to subjugate the people’s of Arawak. According to a first-hand account by the priest Bartolome De Las Casas, also quoted in Zinn 2005, “there were 60,000 people living on this island, including the Indians; so that from 1494 to 1508, over three million people had perished from war, slavery, and the mines. Who in future generations will believe this? I myself writing it as a knowledgeable eyewitness can hardly believe it….”.

As an ally with Indigenous peoples and their organizations, Village Earth is part of the growing movement to transform “Columbus Day” into “Indigenous People’s Day.” You can join us by educating your friends and family about the truth of Christopher Columbus but more importantly, you can help contemporize this day by educating yourself and others about the current and ongoing subjugation of Indigenous Peoples around the globe and by taking an affirmative stand by joining them in their struggle as an ally.

Part of our mission at Village Earth is to help create these kinds of connections. Through our Global Affiliate Program, we serve as bridge for innovative indigenous-led and allied organizations from around the world – connecting them to people with passion, time and resources. Celebrate Indigenous People’s Day by supporting one of these organizations today.

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Fall Online Courses are OPEN for Registration

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TRAINING UPDATES

GeneralPromo_02 2Fall Online Courses are OPEN for Registration

Fall Session II (November 15 – December 20, 2013) courses are open for registration.  Registration ends November 10.  The following courses are offered:

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Watch Village Earth’s video about our training philosophy: http://youtu.be/74GhLaG6rWo
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Spring 2014 courses will open for registration on October 15, 2013. 

Click on the Course Calendar to see future course offerings and plan out your schedule for completion of your Sustainable Community Development Certificate.

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Online Certificate Program in Sustainable Community Development

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Students who complete the “Approaches to Community-Based Development” course along with three other elective courses will receive a certificate in Sustainable Community Development from Colorado State University.  Students may also choose one of seven specializations to receive a specialized certificate.
 
All courses are organized in a seminar format and last five weeks. Each course is $390 USD.  All course materials are provided and can be downloaded from the course website after registration. More information can be obtained by clicking on the desired course (see links above).
 Contact

 Kristina Pearson
 Training Director 
 +1-970-237-3002  ext.503

FOFCOD to Host Gender Based Violence Film Festival

From 9-11h December 2013, Forum for Community Change and Development (FOFCOD) will hold the 1st Juba Gender based violence Human Rights Film Festival to mark the sixteen days of activism against Gender Based violence and mark international Human rights Day. The festival will screen 9 Gender based violence human rights related films and will be followed by often passionate and emotional discussions about women’s rights and how to report violence against women. One of the key functions of the festival will be to foster healthier inter-gender relationships by getting people to reflect on why they conduct themselves the way they do. The festival is a crucial awareness raising endeavour entwined with the message that violence has no place in the modern world and that it is a criminal violation of human rights. The idea is to use film as a teaching tool towards deconstructing masculinity, sexism, violence and homophobia. The festival is to help redefine strength and masculinity by establishing new socio-cultural norms for boys and men that do not rely on violence and discrimination. After each screening a public debate will be held on the topic related to the film screened. The festival is expected to receive about 2000 visitors and a lot of national and international media attention. The Juba gender based violence film festival is aimed at increasing the levels of public responsiveness to the perpetual problem in the country. It’s aimed at affirming that gender based violence is not just a women’s issue and that men and women must operate in partnership in order to eradicate it. The occasion is an opportunity for the public to engage in open discussions about the menace that many often find thorny to talk about. Its time to abandon the conventionally used methods that only give voice to the experts with little attention being given to people with lived experiences and encounters. Its time we listened to the perpetrators of gender based violence so as to determine interventions that work. Its time to share the trauma with the victims and listen to their stories without the prejudice that goes with such events in real life settings.

Gender based violence is a matter that affects large sections of the South Sudan society yet often a taboo topic. It is on the lips of all and sundry yet its remedy remains largely shrouded in mystery as silence, discrimination, victimization, trauma and suffering continue to antagonize its victims. We recognize that there are diverse strategies in place trying to address gender based violence and discrimination. While most interventions usually use exceptional data on the intensity of gender based violence and also explain how victims can seek out remedy through the law, very few interventions cross-examine the assorted fundamental socio economic and even political factors that amplify gender based violence, stigmatization and the discrimination that go with it
In South Sudan, Sexual and Gender Based Violence is a very serious problem. Information available indicates that defilement is amongst the top crimes in over 70% of counties the country. For instance in a report by the Yei County Probation officer & Police Child &Family Protection Office (CFPO) indicate that on average 75 GBV related cases are reported & handled every month. The CFPO indicate that rape & defilement was the second leading crime of GBV nature registering 30 cases per month. In the war-torn South Sudan SGBV is even more common. A study conducted in Yei County in 2012 by Forum for Community change and Development found that rape, attempted rape and forced marriage were common. In IDP camps, return areas, settlements and refugee hosting areas, domestic violence (wife battering) is always quoted as the most common form of gender violence followed by defilement and forced and early marriages. In South Sudan IDPs Camps which has about 15,000 refugees, there were 399 reported cases of domestic violence, 156 cases of defilement, 15 cases of forced marriage 37 cases of early marriage, 37 cases of marital rape and 5 cases of rape reported over a period of one year, between July 2011 and June 2012. There is no single day that passes without some form of GBV reported on radio in South Sudan. Some of the stories are appalling. There are cases where parents, mainly fathers, have been reported to have defiled their own children. High levels of domestic violence are reported in IDPs and Refugee Settlements. There are increasing incidences of women being killed by their partners in gender related violence.

The Juba gender based violence film festival is aimed at increasing the levels of public responsiveness to the perpetual problem in the country. It’s aimed at affirming that gender based violence is not just a women’s issue and that men and women must operate in partnership in order to eradicate it. The occasion is an opportunity for the public to engage in open discussions about the menace that many often find thorny to talk about. Its time to abandon the conventionally used methods that only give voice to the experts with little attention being given to people with lived experiences and encounters. Its time we listened to the perpetrators of gender based violence so as to determine interventions that work. Its time to share the trauma with the victims and listen to their stories without the prejudice that goes with such events in real life settings.

One of the key functions of the festival will be to foster healthier inter-gender relationships by getting people to reflect on why they conduct themselves the way they do. The festival is a crucial awareness raising endeavor entwined with the message that violence has no place in the modern world and that it is a criminal violation of human rights. The idea is to use film as a teaching tool towards deconstructing masculinity, sexism, violence and homophobia. The festival is to help redefine strength and masculinity by establishing new socio-cultural norms for boys and men that do not rely on violence and domination.

Update from Knife Chief Buffalo Nation

MILA YATAN PIKA PTE OYATE OKOLAKICIYE

 (KNIFE CHIEF BUFFALO NATION ORGANIZATION)

Project Report

October 2013

This report covers June 2013 through September 2013.  Mila Yatan Pika Pte Oyate Okolakiciye (Knife Chief Buffalo Nation Organization) continues to provide a pasture/home for members of the Pte Oyate (Buffalo Nation) and the community continues to reap the benefits in terms of spiritual and physical nourishment from them.  Below is a summary of our activities for this period.

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Two Wakanyeja (sacred beings – children) at the Children’s Camp 2013

            June 2013 – we implemented a partnership with the Students Shoulder to Shoulder organization which is described as an “international school of global citizenship”, 13 students and 2 chaperones came and assisted Knife Chief Buffalo Nation Organization with scraping tipi poles that are used for the ceremonies including the Sundance ceremony and the children/youth camps.  Did you know the Lakota word for “tipi pole” is “tushu”?  Did you know that each pole represents a Lakota value, e.g., the first pole at the door of the tipi represents “Waunsila”, the Lakota term for “compassion”.  This value is a reminder to have compassion for all who enter your home, feed them, clothe them if needed and be kind to them.

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Students Shoulder to Shoulder participants in Tipi Pole Scraping Project

 

Tony and Lew showed the students how to scrape the Tipi Poles

The students also assisted with the fencing project for the buffalo pasture.  They were exposed to cultural speakers and activities throughout the week.  This international organization sends teams of youth to various communities around the globe to assist with community development and as a cultural exchange.  Their assistance to the Knife Chief Buffalo Nation community was greatly appreciated and their respectfulness was also appreciated.

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Mila Yatan Pika Ti Okiju Wakan Ceremonial Grounds Sunset First Day

June 2013 – Knife Chief Buffalo Nation Organization helped with sponsoring the annual Mila Yatan Pika Tiokiju Wakan Wi Wayang Wacipi, a very important ceremony where people make offerings and sacrifice for the future generations.  Above is photo of the tipis at the ceremony (the youth from the Students Shoulder to Shoulder camp contributed to us being able to use the poles for the tipis you see in the photo).

August 31- September 2, 2013:  A children’s healing camp was held on these dates on the grounds of the Tasunke Wakan Okolakiciye (Medicine Horse Society) in Porcupine, SD.  Approximately 30 children participated with their adult relatives and guardians.  Many of them received a Lakota spirit name, Lakota traditional healing, Lakota equine assisted activities, a swimming trip and a huge birthday party for all of them.  The children’s ages ranged from 2 years to 12 years of age.  When asked what they liked the most about the camp, they drew pictures or related that they liked sleeping in the tipis, the Inipi (purification lodge ceremony) and the swimming.  We were blessed with many volunteer relatives that assisted with setting up the tipis, chaperoning the children, providing activities, cooking/food preparation, taking down the tipis and assisting with the traditional healing ceremonies.  We say a special Wopila (a big thank you) to the Tunkasila (grandfathers) and Uncis (grandmothers) of the spirit world for blessing this camp and the children and to their Interpreters Ohitiya Najin (Stands Brave – Roy Dennis Stone), Hmuya Mani (Walks with a Roaring – Richard Two Dogs) and Wicahpi Koyag Mani (Wears the Star Walking – Richard Moves Camp) and to all the volunteers and donors to the camp.  Without all of your help, this camp would not have been possible.

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Wakanyeja Woapiye Wicoti (Children’s Healing Camp) 2013

 

Children and Mentors at Healing Camp with the sacred Horse Relatives, Porcupine, SD 2013

Future Events and Plans

We plan on assisting with a Koskalaka Wicayuwita Pi (Young Men’s Gathering) camp in which boys and young men, ages 11-18, will gather to learn Lakota traditional teachings about becoming or being a man from their older male relatives and mentors.  Some of the activities include Lakota values teachings, honoring relationships, greeting the Morning Star, Lakota traditional healing and receiving a Lakota spirit name if they don’t have one and would like one.  This camp will be held on October 31-November 2, 2013.

We continue to observe the spiritual calendar, the next sacred site visit is on October 15, 2013 to Pte Ta Tiopa (Doorway of the Buffalo) near Buffalo Gap, SD in the sacred Black Hills. This is the time when the buffalo return to the sacred Black Hills and when we (humans) know to make spiritual offerings.  The spiritual calendar was taught to us (Lakota people) by the Pte Oyate (buffalo nation) and to whom we continue to honor and care for.

We also plan to sponsor a Historical Trauma and Healing conference on October 11-12, 2013 (see www.knifebuffalonation.org for conference information).  Our fencing project will continue as the weather permits.  We continue to work toward maintaining the pasture for our relatives the buffalo and honoring the relationship we have with them.

CONTACT INFORMATION

For more information, contact us at:

Email:  [email protected]

Telephone:  605-441-2914 or 605-407-0091

Website:  www.knifechiefbuffalonation.org

or www.villageearth.org look for Knife Chief Buffalo Nation Organization under Global Affiliates

Closing/Question

We extend a heartfelt appreciation to the people who have supported our efforts whether financially, physically or spiritually.  Your support is truly appreciated and we especially appreciate the Tunkasila (spiritual entities) for their continued support and guidance.  We also acknowledge the Pte Oyate (Buffalo Nation) for what they inspire in us and their teachings – protection of the young, conservation of the land and the strength and fortitude to endure whatever comes.  Lila Wopila Tanka!! (We thank you all very much). We ask you the general public, our friends and relatives, what you think we should do to expand our work so that others can learn from the teachings of the buffalo nation?  We are very interested in hearing from you!

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Knife Chief Buffalo Pasture, February 2013

 

70 Indigenous Women walk from the Amazon to the Andes to protest mining and oil.

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For five days, 70 indigenous women from Ecuador’s Amazon will walk from the rainforest town of Puyo to the capital Quito. Their journey will begin on October 12th. The women will walk through Shell, Rio Negro, Ambato, Banos, Latacugna, arriving in Quito on October 17th. These determined women, from the Zapara, Waorani, Shwar, Achuar, and Kichua nations, will walk 240 kilometers, from the Amazon lowlands to 9,350 feet high in the Andes.

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These women will walk to Quito to protest against oil, mining and other destructive projects currently under development on their territory, to demand that their human rights be respected, including the right to free, prior and informed consent . Extractive industry projects affect the rainforest, on which the livelihoods of these women depends. They find themselves unable to feed their family by cultivating contaminated land or by having their land taken away. Most projects ignore indigenous women’s rights to participation and their voice is not heard. Extractive activities divide communities and weaken their social structure making them more vulnerable, while destroying the environment on which communities depend for survival.They will demand from the government to respect their rights, their territories and to consider the “life plans” (Planes de Vida) that their communities have developed in a collaborative way.

On October 10 and 11, Shwar, Huaorani, Zapara, Achuar, Kichwa women will participate in Puyo in a general meeting “Mujeres en Vigila por la Vida” (Women Protecting Life), followed by the walk to Quito.

What these women need is logistical support for the walk: money for food and lodging along the 5 day walk. These women have the ideas, the courage and their fight, however they lack resources.

Let’s help these women get to Quito and enable them to make their voice heard. Let’s be with them every kilometer along the way, let’s feed them and let’s get them a place to sleep, this way we will enable them to defend their territory, rights and future.

Follow the Women’s Walk on Maloca’s website: http://malocacommunities.org/

– See more at: http://www.crowdrise.com/WomenMarchtoQuito/fundraiser/consortiumforsustain#sthash.e0bjwcxi.dpuf