As a follow-up and outcome to the Village Earth Regional Organizational workshop in January 2007, a group of Shipibo leaders have decided to hold the first ever ‘Indigenous Tribunal’ as they call it. This Tribunal will be a gathering of leaders from all 120 Shipibo communities throughout the region. They are also inviting local NGOs and leaders from other regional indigenous groups such as the Ashaninka. This is an event of historic importance because the Shipibo have not had a regional meeting of this magnitude for over 30 years, and even then never did it have the possibility for such far-reaching impacts as the Indigenous Tribunal being organized at present.
The organizers of this event have asked Village Earth to be a co-facilitator – to continue with a regional visioning process with the participation of all delegates present at the Tribunal. This will be the largest strategic planning that the Village Earth team has done to-date and could possibly have the most far-reaching impacts as well. 480 leaders are estimated to attend this event representing around 40,000 indigenous peoples throughout the Ucayali region. All parties involved hope that this will be the key event in mobilizing and organizing the region to begin the process of a truly community-based, sustainable form of alternative “development” – to empower the region toward active self-determination.
- To bring together leaders, authorities, students, technicians, and indigenous professionals of the region to search together the true development of the indigenous population with a united organization with strategic allies both national and international
- To inform and motivate the jefes (chiefs) of the communities about the importance of cultural revival and the care of our lands
- To achieve the participation and commitment of the jefes and leaders of the indigenous communities to form a work group for environmental conservation and sustainable development
- To strengthen the communication channel between indigenous and foreign organizations for the development of our communities.
Art and cultural performances will also play a big part in the three-day Tribunal with cultural and artistic presentations planned each evening and also for the opening and closing ceremonies.
Above: This group of orphaned children will be performing traditional Shipibo song and dance at the June event.
The organizing committee of the Tribunal is building off of the transnational legal framework that is currently so popular in the discourse about indigenous rights. For example:
- International Labour Organization Convention 169
- Declaration of the First International Decade of Indigenous Peoples
- Declaration of the Second International Decade of Indigenous Peoples
- Proposal of Regimen of the Protection of Collective Knowledge of Indigenous Peoples of INDECOPÍ
- Law N° 22175 of Native Communities
- Declaration of Río de Janeiro in 1992
- Summit of the Americas, Miami; 1994
- Declaration for the Summit of Sustainable Development in Santa Cruz de la Sierra 1996
- Summit of Santiago 1997
- Agenda 21 (Cap. 25 and 26)National Strategy for the participation in Sustainable Development (OFA)
The organizing committee writes, “In the last 50 years, the Amazonian cultures have been suffering from an aggressive Western acculturation. The [Peruvian] government underwent a neoliberal political shift without considering the consequences upon the indigenous peoples. Many indigenous peoples were forced to leave their cultures as they migrated to the big cities in search of a better opportunity.” The objective of the Tribunal is so “that the communities be the protagonists of their own development, and the local, national, and foreign authorities take care of and support us in our own program of development.”
Five themed expositions will be presented during the Tribunal:
- The Role of the Jefes
- Indigenous Reality
- The Political Situation
- National Political and Economic Reality
- United Communities
At the end of the event, there will be an election of leaders to form the new grassroots regional organization of indigenous peoples.
This is such an important event for the future of indigenous self-determination throughout the Peruvian Amazon. Please help us to support the Shipibo by making a financial contribution today. The estimated budget for the Tribunal is approximately $9000 USD in order to provide food and transportation for even the most remote community leaders to be able to attend. As well, the organizing committee is undertaking an extensive media campaign and hopes to print posters, invitations to regional leaders, and hold press conferences.
Please help us support the future generations of Shipibo leaders and the ecological integrity of the Amazon Basin.
If you interested in supporting the Shipibo’s efforts at organizing the region, you can contribute directly through Pay Pal on the website. Or you can send a check or money order to: