II Cumbre Continental de Pueblos y Nacionalidades Indígenas de Abya Yala (Américas)

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II CONTINENTAL SUMMIT Of Indigenous Peoples and Nations ABYA YALA
PRESS RELEASE July 22, 2004
Kito Kara Territory Quito, Ecuador

The Ceremony of Sacred Fire

Hundreds of Indigenous representatives from all over the Americas gathered today at the school Miguel del Hierro de las Hermanas Lauritas, the host location of the Second Continental Summit of Indigenous Peoples and Nations of Abya Yala (the Americas) where they began a march through the city of Quito, Ecuador. The delegations traversed the Avenue of América, gathering at the Indo América Plaza where they presented a special act of solidarity for hunger striking Jubilados (pensioners) of Ecuador. Following this, the massive march continued down Patria Avenue, passing the United States Embassy and finally congregating in the Salesiana University Coliseum where they conducted the ceremony of Sacred Fire.

Spiritual leader Jaime Pilatuña presided over the ceremony invocating Nature's spirits, saying:

"Father-Mother Creator, I give you thanks for each of my brothers and sisters that have made the effort to come to this place to discuss their concerns and plans of action. Thanks for everything, and thanks to the coordinators of this event, my relatives Humberto Cholango, Sebastian Manchineri, Blanca Chancoso, and Blas Chimbo."

A representative of the First Summit that took place in Teotihuacan, México in 2000 Tupac Enrique Acosta was then invited to speak. He reminded us of the sacred fire that was lit fourteen years ago, during First Continental Encounter of Indigenous Peoples, a gathering that was also organized by the CONAIE in 1990 here in Quito. Since then, the sacred fire began to journey, leaving spiritual footprints at gatherings of the Indigenous Peoples of the hemisphere, and the following words of invocation:

"..the Fire Creator made himself present again, for as his strength and ours unite, we ask our fire creator advice on how to organize this second Summit, we ask for guidance and direction as to how this Summit, already in course, ought to be. For this purpose, with your permission we now present the Sacred Fire of the Continent to be incorporated and incarnated in this gathering.”

With this message, the sacred fire was presented to the organizers of the Second Summit responsible for the 2004 gathering.

Another representative of the Second Summit made a symbolic exchange of ceremonial staffs with the representatives of the Nasa Indigenous peoples of Colombia. When receiving the staff, the Nasa representatives stated,

“From the deepness of our Indigenous Peoples’ spirits, we feel the hope and the unity of Indigenous Peoples, which will allow us, in Colombia, to walk through the dark path that Colombia’s government has imposed upon us through its strategy of para-militarism,subjugating Colombia’s people to its interests. Today, we Indigenous Peoples of Colombia, pay the consequences of this because our territories are being tainted with blood, and then abandoned, leaving many children orphans. This creates an environment of oppression for us as Indigenous Peoples, because we defend life, our territories, and our way of living."

To conclude, he made a call of unity among all peoples of Abya Yala.

During the welcoming ceremony, the president of Ecuarunari, Humberto Cholando declared,

"We have to unite because in the name of peace they are killing our people, in the name of development they are polluting our territories, and in the name of world peace they are making war with all of our people. We as Indigenous Peoples want to live in absolute peace."

Continuing with his own greeting, Sebastián Manchineri emphasized his hopes that this ceremony will be,

"long-lasting, truthful, like the sun's rays that illuminate, so we can walk; like the moon that accompanies us at night, so we can dream and continue our path, so that this Summit will not be just another conference. Let this be a source of strength for our truth, our reality, so that the Sun spirit, Wind spirit, and the Spirits of Nature may guide our path to be free and to live in Peace."

Blanca Chancoso affirmed these sentiments saying,

"We also want to place here the hope of building another world; we will not simply agree with what multinational corporations tell us. We have resisted so we can offer a better life to our children. For us to live now in the present, we call for cooperative work to build a new América with life, with hope and sovereignty. We do not want graves, we do not want 'patrones' appropriating our lands."

The day concluded with cultural sharing including dancing and musical performances, presented by the different Indigenous groups to welcome the many Indigenous Peoples of the continent.

Julio Matovelle No 1 28, entre Vargas y Pasaje San Luis
Edificio El Conquistador 1er piso
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