Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Huitziltonal Izkaloteka: SELF DETERMINATION

Huitziltonal Chicome Acatl Xihuitl

December 22-25, 2019

Wind of the Wings of the Kundur Anka

Respect-Inclusion-Complementarity-Self Determination

December 25, 2019

December 25, 2019 - Today at sunrise, the Izkaloteka mark 2,560 days since the Origination Ceremony that took place at S'Moadoag on the Iteohuitziltonal (Winter Solstice) of December 21, 2012.

Much attention had been given that year to the correlations of the fulfillment of the 13 Baktun Long Count of the Maya Calendar which coincided on that same day, but that dawn there were only a few of us who had spent the night at S'Moadoag to greet our Father Sun in prayer, ceremony, with purpose, and vision.

Vision and sight are distinct capabilities of the beings of this world.  Vision and sight are attributes of life in response to the energy and spirit of Father Sun which like photosynthesis for the plant kindom, inform the fundamental infrastructure of our human kindom as well.  Vision and sight provide the common media of collective biometric and psychic inter-connectivity, consciousness, and reality as Nican Tlacah, Human Beings of Mother Earth.

Sight is an appreciation for the imagery of reflected light presented to the mind, vision is the clarity that comes from seeing light and simultaneously being an instrument of light - aztli, a particle and a wave of light simultaneously: Quetzalcoatl: an awakened Human Being.

In accord with ancestral cultural principles of the Izkaloteka, this is what is literally described in our identity as Nican Tlacah Cemanahuac, Children of the Original Nations of Tonantzin, our Sacred Mother Earth.

The fulfillment of the 13 Baktun at dawn on December 21, 2012 closed one long cycle of a set of 13 rounds of 144,000 days which had lasted over 5,128 years and opened a new horizon of vision for our nations of Nican Tlacah Cemanahuac.

We began once again a new beginning and have come now, 2,560 days since then to see from the High Ground of Xiuhtlaltzin, how and when this tradition of planetary liberation may be also known and felt by All Our Relatives of Mother Earth as well.

A path of the path of future generations of our Nations of Indigenous Peoples of Mother Earth is to be regenerated from the foretelling of the Huitziltonal Izkaloteka: Respect - Inclusion - Complementarity - Self Determination.  

We can see now today from the high ground of the Izkaloteka the regeneration of the Izcalli Abya Yala.

Abya Yala 
Continental Indigenous Uprising
2020 Spring-Fall 2020
Huitziltonal Izkaloteka

The historical trajectory of the Continental Indigenous Movement of Self Determination has arrived a defining moment. Over the past generation, the organizing initiatives of the Original Nations of Indigenous Peoples of Abya Yala have collectively gained a measure of recognition within the continental and global geopolitical regimes of the government states and their respective national constituencies.

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted on September 13, 2007, is one such point of reference in the struggle against over five centuries of colonialism and genocide.  Yet, it was the UN General Assembly itself that in 2014 subverted the right of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent by adopting a System Wide Action Plan in order to implement the Declaration as a UN bureaucratic norm instead of an international geopolitical platform to normalize the standards of a binding International Convention on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The right of Self Determination of Indigenous Peoples is being reduced to a process of nationalization under the UN Westphalian system of state sovereignty in violation of the International Human Right of Indigenous Self Determination as “Peoples, Equal to all other peoples…”
Marked from the First Continental Indigenous Encounter of 1990 in Quito, Ecuador the most recent continental convening of Indigenous Nations and Pueblos occurred in 2013 at the Fifth Continental Summit Abya Yala the Cauca Territories of the Nasa Nation in Colombia.

In 2020, in the Spirit of Self Determination and in Defense of the Territorial Integrity of Mother Earth, the Continental Commission Abya Yala calls for not yet another summit, not yet another event. We call for the unfolding and realization of a continental EVENTUALITY, synchronized upon the Uprising and Emergence of the Huitziltonal Izkaloteka (Butterfly Sun) of the Spring-Fall Equinoxes of March and September 2020.
We call for each Original Nation of Indigenous Peoples of Abya Yala to vision, to organize and exercise the Right of Self Determination as Original Nations of Indigenous Peoples acting in Continental Alliance and Confederation in defense of the Territorial Integrity of Mother Earth.
Such actions to be realized and coordinated in accord with the Mandate of the Indigenous Peoples acting in collective responsibility as the Original Nations of Mother Earth, guided by the knowledge and example of the Traditional Teachings and Cultural Instructions of their traditional Territories and the Watersheds of their homelands.
Continental Commission
Abya Yala
Secretariat: TONATIERRA

World Water One

Monday, December 16, 2019

Maya Train in Mexico: Manipulated Consultation

Did you know?

The consultation being organized presently by the Mexican government to validate the Mayan Train project is being conducted as an after the fact bureaucratic procedure, not a valid process of achieving the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent of the Maya as is required by law.

In fact, the Mayan Train project is already under construction.

This fact makes evident that the project is in violation of constitutional regulations.

The Mayan Train project is not actually being submitted for consent, nor is its eventual implementation being questioned.

It is only opinions that are being collected.

The effective recognition of the right to Self Determination of Indigenous Peoples is absent.

The false consultation is nothing more than a swindle, an attempt to convince the public with a manipulated consultation about the benefits that the Mayan Train may bring.

Since the announcement of the project, agreements have already been signed; awards and bids have been concluded.

To date, 69 contracts have been awarded to private companies and 28 to natural persons.

Mayan Train Commission of the National Union of Teachers of Scientific Research and Teaching of National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) Mexico

¿Sabias Que?

La consulta en curso con la que se quiere validar el proyecto del Tren Maya no es previa.

Pues el proyecto ya se encuentre en curso.

Por lo que no cumple con los ordenamientos constitucionales.

No se somete al consentimiento del proyecto, y tampoco se pone en cuestión su implementación o no.

Solo se piden opiniones.

Falta el derecho a la Libre Determinación de los Pueblos.

Esto no es mas que un engaño, al tratar de convencer a la población con una consulta manipulada sobre los beneficios que traerá el Tren Maya.

Desde su anuncio a la fecha se han firmado convenios y se han celebrado adjudicaciones y licitaciones.

Se han otorgado 69 contratos a empresas privadas y 28 a personas físicas.

Comisión del Tren Maya del
Sindicato Nacional de Profesores de Investigación Científica y Docencia del
Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH) México


TONATIERRA: Communiqué to Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, House Committee on Foreign Affairs

PO Box 24009
Phoenix, AZ 85074

December 12, 2019

Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission
House Committee on Foreign Affairs
5100 O'Neill House Office Building
200 C Street SW
Washington, D.C. 20515

Good greetings.

In our letter to the USMCA Working Group of the US House of Representatives on September 13th of this year, we informed the Working Group members and House Speaker Pelosi that upon review of the public record of debate concerning the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the context of the proposed US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the systemic disregard for the human rights of Indigenous Peoples is blatantly discriminatory, unacceptable and must be addressed before the agreement is put to vote before the House of Representatives.

Specifically, we called for a full public hearing before the appropriate committees and/or Working Group formations of the US Congress for the purpose of informing the US congressional representatives on the right of Indigenous Peoples to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) as stipulated in the UN Declarationon the Rights of Indigenous Peoples regarding projects which impact their collective rights.

The purpose of this communiqué is to urge the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission to conduct a full public hearing on this issue before the vote of approval on the USMCA in the US Congress.

The USMCA has been promoted as a necessary "update" of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In distinction from NAFTA which was adopted in 1994 thirteen years before adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007), the signatories of USMCA must comply with the minimum standards of FPIC or the corporate consortia investing in any development project in violation of FPIC will immediately become financially liable and exposed to the risk of legal challenges and financial penalties that must be presented before their constituencies (states) and shareholders (corporations).

This principle is now well established, having been the subject of the Soft Woods Lumber Dispute (1982) between the US and Canada which acknowledged the proprietary rights of Indigenous Peoples over territories and resources in the international trade tribunals. Recognizing this fact, the World Bank has restructured its procedures, protocols and practices regarding Indigenous Peoples and the right of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent under the Environmental and Social Standard 7 to shield its interests.

Today we hear daily references in the public media to the “Founding Fathers”, invoking the principles of the rights and responsibilities of self-government and American democracy as the impeachment proceedings against President D.Trump advance (or degrade) in the US Congress. 

It is timely then to juxtapose the issues of “wrongdoing” and violations of “Oaths of Honor” by the representatives of the US government when reviewing the history of international relations beginning with the original thirteen British colonies and the long “Trail of Broken Treaties” with the Original Nations of Indigenous Peoples whose history on the continent precedes the founding of the USA.  A fair and impartial evaluation of this history, which must include the fast tracking of the Dakota Access Pipeline by President D.Trump in 2017, would conclude that what is in contention is not any honest effort by the US to honor its word, or live up to the rule of law and justice for Indigenous Peoples, but instead a continuous exercise in wrongdoing where what is really in debate is “How much can I get away with?”  In a word, impunity.

Indeed, the perpetuation of this historic pattern of systemic “wrongdoing” committed by the agencies of the states vis-a-vi violations of the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples is the fundamental purpose why the UNDRIP was developed as a necessary instrument of contemporary international human rights law after decades of negotiations among all parties.

The historic pattern of systemic “wrongdoing” committed by the agencies of the states in violation of the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples is evident once again by the failure of the USMCA Working Group to address the core issue of unethical and illegal discrimination against Indigenous Peoples in the processes of  negotiation and collusion by the three USMCA governments.

There can be no approval of USMCA without recognition, respect, and effective mechanisms for the equal protection of the internationally recognized Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the trade zone encompassing the three countries, specifically the right of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC).  Consultation is not consent.

Without the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples, as Peoples equal to all other peoples, there can be no legitimate approval of the USMCA.

Tupac Enrique Acosta

Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC)

All Peoples have the right to self-determination. It is a fundamental principle in international law, embodied in the Charter of the United Nations and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The standard, Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), as well as Indigenous Peoples’ rights to lands, territories and natural resources are embedded within the universal right to self- determination. The normative framework for FPIC consists of a series of international legal instruments including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the International Labour Organization Convention 169 (ILO 169), and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), among many others.

FPIC is a specific right that pertains to Indigenous Peoples and is recognized in the UNDRIP. It allows them to give or withhold consent to a project that may affect them or their territories. Once they have given their consent, they can withdraw it at any stage. Furthermore, FPIC enables them to negotiate the conditions under which the project will be designed, implemented, monitored and evaluated.

Consultation is not consent.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Tina Ngata, Māori: USMCA and the "Exceptions Clause" NO CONSENT, NO JUSTICE

Kia Ora,

My name is Tina Ngata, I am a Ngāti Porou woman from the east coast of Te Ika a Maui, Aotearoa. I work primarily in the field of education on Indigenous Rights, the Treaty of Waitangi, and Indigenous environmental studies.

I am writing these points as a response to the recently developed Exceptions and General Provision Article 32.5 in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement USMCA, which states:
“Provided that such measures are not used as a means of arbitrary or unjustified discrimination against persons of the other Parties or as a disguised restriction on trade in goods, services, and investment, nothing in this Agreement shall preclude a Party from adopting or maintaining a measure it deems necessary to fulfill its legal obligations to indigenous peoples.”

This is very similar to the exceptions allowed for in trade agreements between New Zealand government and other nations. Many of our finest Māori scholars, lawyers, and rights advocates have spoken out against the rampant negotiation of free trade agreements, and discussed the implications for us as Māori. Although the TPPA has more recently morphed into the CPTPP, many of our concerns remain.

Overarching our concerns is the singular truth that, as sovereign people and Treaty partners, we expect to be present and directly negotiated with in relation to International trade relationships, as well as any agreements that have scope to influence laws upon our lands, waters, and people. Consultation is not good enough, nor are state government provisions such as the exception clause.

We are Treaty partners and as such we expect direct negotiation from the outset on such issues. Both the TPPA and the CPTPP have failed on that front. Free trade agreements have been criticized upon many fronts for their direct and indirect impacts. The provisions that respond to these concerns rarely eliminate, or even significantly reduce, risk. One example of this are the provisions for the environment in the CPTPP – which largely deals with issues such as overfishing and wildlife trafficking but does not address the increased biosecurity risks of free trade agreements which are increasingly highlighted by environmentalists as a major biodiversity risk in Aotearoa.
This, naturally, compounds the challenges for Māori who are under-resourced and overwhelmed with the challenges of maintaining our ancestral legacy for future generations.
Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions are an anathema for any group pursuing Indigenous rights. That settler-colonial governments willingly sign into arrangements that would see an international tribunal establish culpability for infringing upon the rights of investors is a direct insult to the ongoing struggle for these same rights to be accorded to the peoples upon whose land these governments have established themselves.

The tribunal operates within the United Nations Centre for International Trade Related Arbitration Law (UNCITRAL) or at the International Court for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) at the World Bank. The arbitration of this process has been heavily criticized for corporate bias, lack of transparency and conflicts of interest.
In general, exception clauses are intended to allay concerns around what these agreements might mean for Indigenous Peoples. Of course each Indigenous nation will have their own set of concerns that require distinct responses to that assumption – however the following can be noted in relation to the exception clause, as applied by the New Zealand government. 
1.     This clause was not developed alongside Māori. It was first included in the 2000 New Zealand trade agreement with Singapore. Māori have never offered our express consent for this clause as a measure of protection for our rights in a free trade agreement. From 2000 we have always held the position that it is not strong enough to protect our rights within a free trade agreement.
2.     It should be noted that the exclusion is only triggered if it does not “disguise restriction on trade in goods”. This part of the clause is very important, it is called the “chapeau” and it will influence the entire interpretation of the rest of the clause. This very important term is a significant loophole that could be exploited by any corporation to oppose an exclusion. Most Indigenous rights abuses relate to trade. If trade is prioritised over Indigenous rights in a trade agreement, then the exclusion clause is, effectively, toothless.
3.     With regard to “adopting or maintaining a measure it deems necessary to fulfill its legal obligation to Indigenous Peoples”. It is reasonable to assume that in this case it will be the Governments interpretation of its legal obligations to Indigenous Peoples, which rarely, if ever, aligns with Indigenous Peoples interpretation of State obligations.
4.     In spite of the current exclusion clause in the agreement, Māori are, however, still protesting and objecting to the agreement and have taken the NZ government to the Waitangi Tribunal for the following issues regarding the clause:
a)     At a conceptual level, we object to foreign investors having enforceable rights that we, as the Indigenous People of Aotearoa, still do not have over our own territories, resources, and intellectual property.

b)      It is impossible to predict how an ISDS tribunal may interpret the chapeau outlined in point 2 above.

c)     The exception clause is triggered when a government takes an action that will be in specific interest of Māori (for example, if government gave special grants to Māori owned businesses, and a foreign investor objected, then the government could call upon the exception clause). HOWEVER it does not cover areas that are not in specific relation to Māori, but will impact on Māori, incidentally (for instance, mining, fishing, public health). So even with this exception, there is nothing to stop a foreign investor challenging a government action in relation to, for instance, mining - even though we know that this has disproportionate impacts for Māori.

5.     The Tribunal found that although the exception clause was “likely” to offer “reasonable” protection for Māori – it did not accept the Crown’s claim that ‘nothing in the TPPA will prevent the Crown from meeting its Treaty obligations to Māori’. It therefore recommended continued discussions to improve protection.

6.     The Tribunal was not convinced that the exception protects Crown actions from a dispute by a foreign investor, for example on water or mining. This would have disproportionate impacts upon Māori that would therefore not be subject to the exception clause.

Ngā mihi, nā

Tina Ngata
Ngāti Porou


Before the question is asked regarding the mechanisms to enforce legal obligations for Indigenous Peoples whose rights under International Law are impacted by USCMCA, rights that are inherent and inalienable in equality to all other peoples, beyond the qualifying constraints of section 35 of the Canadian Constitution, the US Constitution, or the Mexican Constitution -  it  is critically important to face the fact that the government of Justin Trudeau has already established a limiting framework of preconditions to constrict the debate and define the context of legal responsibilities:|
“The Government of Canada recognizes that meaningful engagement with Indigenous peoples AIMS TO SECURE their free, prior, and informed consent when Canada proposes to take actions which impact them and their rights, including their lands, territories and resources."
Canada 10 “principles” on government’s relationship with Indigenous peoples (July 14, 2017)

These are the same guys who took AIM at William 'Wolverine' Jones Ignace during the Ts'Peten/Gustafsen LakeStandoff in 1995. They fired 77,000 rounds of ammunition into the camp, yet Wolverine walked out of the Ts'Peten/ Gustafsen Lake Standoff on September 17, 1995 in full command of all of his physical and spiritual powers as an unbroken warrior of the Ts’Peten and all Original Nations of Indigenous Peoples of the Great Turtle Island Abya Yala.

calling for a
Public Hearing on the
Right of Indigenous Peoples to
Free, Prior, and Informed Consent
before the USMCA is submitted for vote of approval to the US Congress.