August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Yaqui Jose Matus receives Corazon Indigenous Award

Jose Matus, a lifetime upholding border rights, human rights and Yaqui ceremonies

By Brenda Norrell
Jose Matus receives
Corazon Indigenous Award

PASCUA YAQUI NATION -- Jose Matus, Pascua Yaqui ceremonial leader and human rights activist, was selected by the Pascua Yaqui Nation to receive the Corazon Indigenous Award. 

Matus was one of twelve people in the Tucson area to receive Corazon de Justica Awards, Heart of Justice Awards, on Saturday night. Coalición de Derechos Humanos hosted the 10th Corazón de Justicia Awards. 

Matus, director of Indigenous Alliance without Borders, has spent 40 years traveling to Yaqui communities in Sonora, Mexico, to bring Yaqui ceremonial leaders to southern Arizona for temporary stays to continue the ceremonies. For decades, Matus has battled difficult border crossings to ensure the continuance of Yaqui ceremonies.
In 1995, Matus was part of an Indigenous delegation to Chiapas to support the Zapatistas. The Indigenous delegation of Yaqui, Tohono O’odham, Dakota, and Hopi-Navajo, were human rights shields at a time when the Mexican military was assassinating Zapatistas in the mountain highlands near Oventic.
During his years of service, Matus organized human rights panels to expose the US Border Patrol targeting people of color on the border, and pressed the United Nations to take action to defend Indigenous Peoples living in their territories in what today is known as the US Mexico border.
Jose Matus in Bolivia
Photo Brenda Norrell
Matus traveled to Bolivia in 2010 for the Protection of Mother Earth Conference hosted by President Evo Morales. 

Speaking on the border hysteria and human rights abuses, Matus told Censored News, “The wall itself is a lethal weapon that the US government is using to kill thousands of undocumented crossers.” 
Matus said the border wall is destroying the environment, sacred sites and the connection between relatives in Mexico and the United States.
“Now they are destroying and dividing the Tewa and Kumeyaay ceremonial grounds,” he said of the Tewa in the region of El Paso, Texas, and Kumeyaay, in California and Baja, Mexico.

“We are all terrorists as far as they are concerned. They put us through all these obstacles as we try to cross that border," Matus said. 

Listen to an interview by Censored News with Matus in 2013:

Through the years, Matus has exemplified himself by his courage, determination and perseverance.

On Saturday, Coalición de Derechos Humanos hosted the 10th Corazón de Justicia Awards Dinner. Honored were 12 Tucson activists who have demonstrated their “heart of justice” through their work in the community to make Tucson a more just and equitable place for all of us. The award ceremony included live music by thecumbia/ska band Santa Pachita.
Corazón African-American
Javetta Clemmons
Selected by: Derechos Humanos
Corazón Arts
Pancho Medina
Selected by: Raices Taller
Corazón CommunityEmpowerment
Miquiztli Valenzuela
Selectedby: Coalición de Derechos Humanos
Corazón Environmental
Richard Elias
Selected by: Save the Santa Ritas
Corazón Faith- based
Maryada Vallet
Selectedby: Coalición de Derechos Humanos
Corazón Human Rights
Dalton McClelland
Selectedby: Coalición de Derechos Humanos
Corazón Immigrant Rights
Belem Chagolla
Selectedby: Coalición de Derechos Humanos
Corazón Indigenous
Jose Matus
Selected by: The Pascua Yaqui Tribe
Corazón Labor
Lani “Kira” Johnson
Selected by: WFC 99
Corazón LGBTQ
Karolina Lopez
Selectedby: Mariposa Sin Fronteras
Corazón Women
Dr. María Teresa Velez
Selected by: Las Adelitas
Corazón Youth
Michelle Jahnke Raygada
Selectedby: Coalición de Derechos Humanos

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