(Fwd) Re: Indigenous Pacific Northwest Treaty Conference, Kona

Freedom Press (freedom@tao.ca)
Tue, 17 Jun 1997 14:58:01 +0000

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------- Forwarded Message Follows ------- Date: Mon, 16 Jun 1997 22:22:58 -0700 Reply-to: native-l@gnosys.svle.ma.us From: native-l@gnosys.svle.ma.us Subject: Re: Indigenous Pacific Northwest Treaty Conference, Kona, Hawaii To: NATIVE-L@postal.tamu.edu

Original Sender: pdh@u.washington.edu (Preston Hardison) Mailing List: NATIVE-L (native-l@gnosys.svle.ma.us)

Date: June 12, 1997 Contact: Steve Robinson Phone: (360) 438-1181 EXT 317

Pacific Rim Indigenous Peoples Treaty Conference Concludes After Unanimous Adoption Of Treaty Expansion And Vision Statement

Kona, Hawaii - Participants at the Pacific Rim Indigenous Peoples Treaty Conference have unanimously endorsed changes that expand the Pacific Northwest Treaty of 1994 to allow inclusion of all indigenous peoples.

Adopted on King Kamehameha Day June 11th, the now named Treaty of Indigenous Peoples International sets principles, common objectives; and mutual covenants in order to "re-establish political, social and economic relations, and cooperative control of natural resources essential to the cultural, spiritual and religious rights of our (indigenous) peoples."

A Vision Statement was also adopted by conference participants as the first step of expanding the Treaty to involve interested indigenous nations. The three year old Treaty, has already been signed by more than 70 First Nations; Tribes; and Aboriginal Clans from British Columbia, the United States, and Australia, and is intended to bring together indigenous governments in a cooperative effort to protect the natural resources, environment, economies, and sovereignty of native people.

The Vision Statement, which was adopted by consensus states that "The vision and mission of the Treaty of Indigenous Peoples International is to work together to protect the inherent rights of signatory indigenous peoples related to self-determination, cultural and economic well being, and environmental protection."

"This is an historic moment for indigenous nations and peoples across the Pacific Rim which brings us together to save the spiritual connection we have with fisheries and aquatic resources. It is a move forward for the survival of the species in our world?s ecosystem, which we are all part of," stated Fred Fortier Chairman of the British Columbia Aboriginal Fisheries Commission.

Terry Williams, Commissioner for the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, echoed Fortier?s sentiments. "The accomplishments at the Kona Conference were very profound in connecting tribes and indigenous peoples to ensure our unity and brotherhood as native peoples in dealing with the enormous problems facing our natural resources." Williams went on to state that "This agreement in part leads to ensuring the continued utilization of our resources through sustained lifestyle and culture."

Mililani Trask of the Ka Lahui Hawai?i people noted that it is appropriate that the agreement was reached on the birthday of King Kamehameha. "King Kamehameha was a warrior and a unifier of his people. We must have his warrior?s strength to deal with the forces who are raping our oceans and his unifying vision to bring all native peoples together and ensure our ultimate success in the struggle to preserve our ecosystems and our ways of life," she said.

Matiu Rei, of the Ngati Toarangatira people of New Zealand felt that the Kona Conference has been a very rewarding experience for meeting with leaders and the people of Hawai?i on these important issues. According to Rei, "The issues discussed at the conference are common to all of us, particularly with respect to the pervasive and intrusive nature and attitudes of our nation states. I am hopeful that this treaty will initiate dialogue between all indigenous peoples of the Pacific Rim."

In his closing comments to the conference, Chief Simon Lucas of the Hesquit Tribe of the Nuchanuulrh First Nation summed up the feeling of all conference participants when he said: " It?s quite a feat we have accomplished here. Our grandfathers would say that we?ve finally entered into the canoe. Let?s leave here with good feeling, a sense of togetherness, a sense that we will be together more often."

Hannah Kihalani Springer, Hawai?i Island Trustee for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs was also gratified by the work of the conference, which included numerous workshops on the multitude of issues and areas of concern facing all indigenous peoples today. Springer noted: "The opportunity to share our mo?olelo - the history of people and our gods; mo?okuauhau - our genealogies; our concepts of dominion of men - wao kanaka and gods wao akua is profound and our appreciation deep. Mahalo. E mau kakou I Ke ea o Ka honua I Ka pono."

The conference also adopted a workplan for dealing with international issues that will include research, exchange of information and expertise, and a framework for problem solving; and monitoring and evaluation of international efforts like the United Nations Conventions on Biological Diversity and the Law of the Sea.

Next year?s conference is scheduled for May, 1998 at the Tulalip Indian Reservation in Washington State, USA.


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