August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Photos: World Indigenous Peoples Day Tucson

Indigenous Peoples 2010 in Tucson, Arizona
Article and photos by the Indigenous Alliance without Borders/Alianza Indigena sin Fronteras

The International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples on Monday, August 9th, 2010 hosted at the YWCA Frances McClelland Leadership Center in Tucson, Arizona was a profound success. Thank You to each and every one of you for marking this day of celebration for indigenous peoples!
The celebratory gala brought together speakers, panelists, activists/youth activists, and a wonderful crowd of supporters from the southwest region of the United States and northern Mexico. The day is marked by the United Nations resolution 49/214, and subsequent resolution 59/174, to promote the heritages of the world’s indigenous peoples. The focus of the event in Tucson shadowed the U.N. resolution “to further strengthen international cooperation for the solution of problems faced by indigenous people in such areas as culture, education, health, human rights, the environment, and social and economic development.”
The event kicked off with a lovely drum circle performed by the Panther Creek Singers. Jose Matus, Program Director of Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras/Indigenous Alliance Without Borders and Yaqui Ceremonial leader, gave a gracious welcome followed by an opening prayer led by Tupac Enrique of Tonatierra.
Beloved poet and writer, Simon Ortiz of Acoma Pueblo heritage, addressed the audience with an insightful keynote speech. Six different speakers/panelists illuminated the event with their sage perspectives on indigenous rights, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, indigenous women’s rights, Arizona state laws SB1070 and HB2281, and civil rights conflicts occurring at a localized level. This was followed up with a Q & A session where audience members were able to ask speaker/panelist a question.
The following is a list of speakers/panelists:
Shannon Rivers – Akimel O’odham Activist
Wenona Benally – Diné/Navajo Attorney
Professor James Anaya – United Nations Special Rapporteur, University of Arizona Law Professor
Attorney Antonio Bustamente – Civil Rights lawyer
Dr. Roberto Cintli Rodriguez – University of Arizona Chican@ Studies Professor and Indigenous/Chican@ Activist
Leilani Clark – Coalicion dé Derechos Humanos and Youth Indigenous Chican@ Activist

Indigenous Women’s rights conflicts became a focus of conversation amongst the panelists. Following the incredible reporting from international NGO’s such as Amnesty International’s “Stolen Sisters” reporting and the Native Women’s Association of Canada’s “Sisters in Spirit” continuing initiative, it is clear that indigenous women’s rights needs to be brought to the forefront of further discussion.
The highlight of the celebration was the short interlude between speakers. The YWCA Nuestra Voz Youth group enlightened the audience with a beautiful interpretation on the negative impact of racism and stereotyping. Other youth from the southern Arizona community joined the event and regaled their humanistic experience with United States immigration policies. Their undaunted courage and resolve to overcome any obstacle did not go unnoticed. They are, indeed, the future leaders of our global community.
The International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples engagement was sponsored by Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras/Indigenous Alliance Without Borders, Coalicion dé Derechos Humanos, Indigenous Environmental Network, the International Indian Treaty Council, The Seventh Generation Fund, Inc., Tonatierra, the Yoeme Commission on Human Rights, and the YWCA in Tucson.
We give a heartfelt thank you to each speaker for sharing their experience with us. Thank You Simon Ortiz for your beautiful address. We offer sincere gratitude to the YWCA Frances McClelland Leadership Center for allowing us to host this event in their beautiful facility and for the fine performance from their youth group.

Alianza Indigena Sin Fronteras, a non-profit organization based out of Tucson, Arizona, is a grassroots indigenous organization promoting rights for indigenous peoples along the southern United States and Mexico border region. We promote respect for Indigenous peoples’ human, civil, and sovereignty rights; promote self determination, rights of mobility and passage in crossing the United States and Mexico border, and environmental protection of native lands and sacred sites.