Declaration of the 3rd CNI

INDIGENOUS NATIONAL CONGRESS
DECLARATION
FOR THE CONSTITUTIONAL RECOGNITION
OF OUR COLLECTIVE RIGHTS
The delegates representing the indigenous peoples, meeting for the 3rd Indigenous National Congress, celebrated March 2 through 4 of 2001 in the Pure'pecha community of Nuri'o, Town of Paracho, Michoaca'n, solemnly proclaim the following declaration:
WHEREAS, for 509 years of history we have suffered in our flesh and in our hearts the exploitation and discrimination the comes from the powerful, who, since then have tried to deny our peoples the capacity that we have to determine our own destiny with wisdom and dignity; REAFFIRMING the intelligence and resistance that our peoples have demonstrated with dignity in the face of the multiple attempts at extermination, immobilization and governmental cooptation; OBSERVING that there are still sectors of society that maintain racist attitudes of exclusion toward our peoples, however, also other sectors, more and more numerous each day, that are conscious of the just nature of our proposals and who offer a growing solidarity toward our causes and struggles;
DENOUNCING that the response of the different governments to our legitimate demands has been to maintain the militarization of our regions and the persecution of our organizations, such as the realization of programs, plans and projects to privatize our natural resources, goods and services and, as a consequence, excluding our peoples from making the decisions that affect us;
WE DECLARE:
That we continue living in our towns and honoring the dignified memory of those who gave birth to the world and, with wisdom and love taught us to be the Indians that we are: We who come from the land; we who live on corn; we who dress in the color of hope; the true brothers and sisters that we are. We are the Indians that we are.
That in thier name and with their word, the true word, planted from antiquity in the core of our brown heart, with dignity and respect we say that we are A People. That when we say that we are A People, it is because we bring with our blood, in our flesh and in our skin the entire history, all the hope, all the wisdom, culture, language and identity, the entire root, the leaves, the branches, the flowers and the seeds that our fathers and mothers gave us, that they wanted to plant in our minds and hearts so that never again would they be forgotten or lost. That we are not a collection of individuals dispersed by the world, but rather a living harmony of colors and voices, a constant shout of desires and thoughts that are born, that grow, that lovingly fertilize in one heart and one will, woven of hope. We call this existence and form of harmonic and collective thinking communal.
That we don't resign from being who we are. That we will continue defending our autonomy and defending it. We will also defend everyone who is like us, who want to live differently for their color, their song, thir vision of their own lives and freedom, with dignity. Therefore:
WE DEMAND:
FIRST: The constitutional recognition of our Rights as Indian Peoples, as written in the Constitutional reform legislation elaboraded by the Concord and Peace Commission (COCOPA), that we take on as our own initiative, as being what represents, in its spirit and its letter, the San Andre's Accords signed by the federal government and the EZLN on February 16, 1996, for Indigenous Culture and Rights.
SECOND: The constitutional right to our plain existance as indigenous peoples, so that we are able to enjoy our right to freely establish our political condition, and care for, protect and promote, at the same time, our social and cultural development.
THIRD: The constitutional recognition of our inalienable right to free determination expressed in autonomy within the Mexican State, and exercising thus our capacity to decide our destiny in all forms of daily life, such as economy, politics, the prosecution and administration of justice, territorial matters, culture, education and all the social aspects of identity and conscience with sufficient capacity for openness to relate with other citizens of the country and the world. FOURTH: The constitutional recognition of our ancestral territories and lands that represent the entire habitat in which we produce our material and spiritual existance as peoples, to preserve ourselves whole and maintain the communal stewardship of our lands, for only in that way will it be possible to preserve our social cohesion, our forms of free and collective work to benefit the entire community and to assure the patrimony and future of the next generations.
For us, the Indian peoples, the true peoples, our mother earth is sacred, as are all the beings that inhabit her; the animals, plants, rivers, mountains, caves, valleys, biological resources and the knowledge that our people have of them. They are not merchandise to be bought and sold. That's why we cannot accept the destruction of our territories by imposition of projects and mega-projects that in many indigenous regions of the country the federal and respective state governments are trying to impose. We cannot accept the development plans that the state and federal governments impose if the Indian peoples are not effectively involved. Nor can we accept laws that are being passed in state and federal affairs that affect the indigenous peoples without having the approval of those peoples. We demand a moratorium on all projects that exploit biodiversity (biological resources), mining, water, etcs., and all biological piracy that are conducted in our territories and in our country, until the Indian peoples have discussed at our own pace and our own conditions the relative issues of control of their resources.
FIFTH: The recognition of our indigenous legal system in he construction of a pluralistic judicial system and harmonizes the diverse concepts and practices of regulation of the social order that are found in Mexican society. SIXTH: The demilitarization of all the indigenous regions of the country. SEVENTH: The liberation of all indigenous prisoners in the country that are denied their freedom for having fought for the defense of autonomy and for respect for our individual and collective rights. To achieve these grand objectives, we call upon our indigenous brothers and sisters in the country, to all the peoples, communities and organizations, to the entire national indigenous movement, to unite our hearts and voices into one heart and one voice:
For the constitutional recognition of our collective rights: First, constitutional reform, and next, the reform of laws and institutions. We call upon the organizations that work in indigenous regions that we begin already the reconstitution of our indigenous peoples, revising those practices that, instead of uniting us, divide and disperse us, and elaborating work missions together that will be coherent with the historic times in which we live. We call for the creation of regional and state spaces that truly will strengthen the Indigenous National Congress as a meeting space for everyone.
We call upon all the brothers and sisters of Civil Society that demonstrate support for the recognition of the rights of the Indian peoples, accompanying the march for indigenous dignity, headed by the Zapatista delegation, to travel to Mexico City to dialogue with the Congress of the Union. To your heart and thoughts, brothers all, we enter.

NEVER AGAIN A MEXICO WITHOUT US
FOR THE WHOLE RECONSITUTION OF OUR PEOPLES FOR THE CONSTITUTIONAL RECOGNITION OF OUR COLLECTIVE RIGHTS

Nuri'o, Michoaca'n
March 4, 2001

READ MORE ABOUT IT
Conflict in Chiapas: Understanding the Modern Mayan World
by Worth H. Weller, Ben Weller (Photographer), Julia Weller (Photographer)
$16.95, Paperback, March 1, 2000
Rebellion in Chiapas : An Historical Reader
by John Womack (Editor)
$14.36, Paperback , March 1999
Voices from Exile : Violence and Survival in Modern Maya History
by Victor Montejo
$18.17, Hardcover, October 1999
E-Mail to:jeeni@criscenzo.com
©Copyright 1997-2000 Jeeni Criscenzo