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Archive of Abya Yala

Memory of the Continental Indigenous Movement






It is called HUEHUETLAPALOHTLI among the lineage of tradition of the Xicanos of Aztlan, speaking of the Ancient Red Road that leads to the place in Mexico called TEOTIHUACAN.  Yet this place is not just a location but very much more.  According to the Tradition, it's a place of perspective where the Universe of the Four Directions is reflected: it is a place where worlds are made.   It was here at the foot of the monumental temples of stone at Teotihuacan that the originations of the Indigenous Peoples of the continent gathered in Summit as Indigenous Nations, Pueblos and Organizations to strengthen each other, to dialogue regarding our common issues, to plan for the future, and to give testimony and spiritual offering to the entire world as survivors of over 508 years of continuous colonization.   

To arrive at the Summit of Teotihuacan, many valleys had to be entered and traversed, many bridges had to be built.  The event had been convened by the Council of Indigenous Organizations and Nations of the Continent (CONIC), yet it was evident throughout the entire four days at TEOTIHUACAN that the continental movement of the Indigenous Pueblos and Nations was not merely an organization but an unfolding process: the path of Tradition and Liberation.

As contemporary incarnations of the principles that guide this process, the Sacred Staffs of the Peace and Dignity Journeys represent the memory and dreams of the many and diverse Indigenous Nations and Pueblos of an entire continent, the territory of the Pueblos and Nations of the Eagle and the Condor.  The Sacred Staffs and the runners who carried them for six months across the entirety of the continent to arrive at Teotihuacan for the CONIC Summit witnessed and recorded in Memory for the future generations the landscape of our territories as they now exist.  Their shared stories are the XINACHTLI (seed) of future legends, but also serve as a realistic, collective, grassroots point of reference: Over five hundred years of colonization of the continent has taken a tremendous toll on our families, communities, Pueblos, Nations and territories. Sadly, we have seen that our people have even learned only too well how the trauma of colonization perpetuates itself: by dehumanizing our relationships to the point of loss of dignity and internal spiritual peace. This dehumanization begins with the colonizer - the colonizer is actually the first victim, for how else could a human being participate in the pogrom of genocide waged against our Peoples and Territories unless part of that individual's humanity had been amputated to fit into the regime of colonial domination that continues to typify the politics of the government states in the hemisphere.

The trauma of colonization requires the effective intervention of the Indigenous Peoples in order to move towards healing and justice.  For this intervention to be strategic and powerful, the only option is to act with strength, the strength that comes when we work not in competition but in complement with each other, the strength that comes from our spiritual values and traditional teachings.  The first challenge along this path is the battle for Hope.

At TEOTIHUACAN the battle was joined, there were casualties; but in the end a new beginning emerged.  Thanks in great part to the strong participation of our indigenous youth who maintained positive attitudes and worked hard to help in whatever way was needed - in spite of it all we survived and participated together in witnessing the glimmer of a new dawn for the Original Nations of the Continent. At TEOTIHUACAN a traditional TREATY OF ALLIANCE between the Lakota Nakota Dakota Alliance of Turtle Island and the Mexica Calpultin of Aztlanahuac was sealed before the Summit of CONIC.

The TREATY OF TEOTIHUACAN is a mutual commitment among the Indigenous Nations, Pueblos and organizations at the continental level, empowered by the Jurisprudence of Indigenous International Law in four aspects:

Spiritual Alliance,
Political Solidarity,
Cultural Complementarity, and
POCHTECAYOTL - Economic and Commercial Agreements of Exchange

A strategic planning meeting for the Pochtecayotl is scheduled for January 2001 in Izkalotlan, Aztlan.  Regional gatherings of the youth participants at Teotihuacan are also being organized.

At the Summit of Teotihuacan, the obsidian stone point of the arrowhead appeared in our hands, the direction of flight for the Arrow of Destiny was given by the Elders, and with the strength of our Youth the Bow of Nations was drawn.  The battle for Hope was won, but along the way we came to realize the extent of the challenges ahead, both internal and external to our families, communities, Nations, Pueblos, and indigenous organizations.  This is good.  We must know where we are at in order to get to where we must be.  We must be honest within ourselves and with each other, to better construct a collective strategy for communication and organization that will strengthen the process of REGENERATION of our Indigenous Peoples, and in the process prepare the way for the regeneration of humanity and TONANTZIN, our Mother Earth, as well.

The Themes of the Five Working Groups of the CONIC Summit at Teotihuacan were as follows:

1) National and International Legislation
A)  United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples and UN Working Group  
on Indigenous Populations.
B)  United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
C)  Declaration of the Organization of American States of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
D) Convention on Biological Diversity Article 8(j).
E)  Intellectual Property Rights
F) Indigenous Fund of the Americas
G) San Andres Accords - Chiapas, Mexico.


2) Autonomy- Lands and Territories - Sovereignty
A) Sovereignty and Self Determination

3) Unification and Structure of the Indigenous Movement of the Continent
A) Effective Mechanisms of Coordination and Communication
B)  Evaluation of CONIC and creation of a continental structure of  coordination.

4) Identity, Spirituality, and Indigenous Resistance
A)  Our Youth - Guides of the Future
B)  Our Elders and our Women - Sources and transmitters of our spirituality.

5) Regional Conflicts
A)  Chiapas, Mexico
B) Colombia
C)  Bolivia
D) Paraguay
E)  Ecuador
F)  Black Hills and Big Mountain, North America

The five Working Groups collectively elaborated, after two days of dialogue and discussion, written documents of position which were delivered to the closing plenary session of the CONIC Summit on Saturday October 28, 2000. These documents will be made available as we translate them, and can be accessed at the CONIC page of the TONATIERRA website:

Many thanks once again- Tlazocamati- to all of you who made the prayer possible, you who accompanied the Journey to TEOTIHUACAN and back.  

Here follows the Declaration of Teotihuacan:


Consejo de Organizaciones y Naciones Indígenas del Continente
Council of Indigenous Organizations and Nations of the Continent
Octubre 25-28, 2000
Teotihuacan, Mexico

The Continental Indigenous Summit, meeting at the foot of the ceremonial center of Teotihuacan Mexico, upon completion of the second millennium of the Gregorian Calendar and 508 years of European invasion - the delegates representing the diverse Original Peoples of the Continent,


The Indigenous Peoples of the Continent Abya Yala, Itzachitlan [the Americas] hereby reaffirm our principles of Community Spirituality and the inalienable right to Self Determination as Original Peoples of the Continent.

In this present era of economic globalization driven by the great capital interests of transnational corporations and the so called industrialized nations, which threatens our very existence daily, the Indigenous Peoples of the states where we live in the continent, have organized and gathered strength in coordination and solidarity to protect the sacred rights of our Nations and Pueblos for the future generations.


Although there have been some advances in the material arena regarding the rights of Indigenous Peoples at the level of International Accords, the so-called Latin American States and the states of the Anglo-America bloc of  North America continue to negate our fundamental rights and liberties;

In spite of the fact that Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization, now some eleven years since adoption, recognizes various rights of Indigenous Peoples, the majority of the government states have not ratified the Convention, and those who have at the same time continue to implement strategies to weaken Convention 169 in terms of content and spirit;  

After 16 years of constant struggle and effort by indigenous representatives at the international level, ratification of the Declaration regarding the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of the United Nations has continued to be blocked by the colonizing government states of the United Nations;

Although the Organization of American States (OAS) has elaborated a project regarding the American Declaration Regarding the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the content of the Declaration does not include recognition of the rights and fundamental liberties of the Indigenous Peoples.  This is a direct consequence of the fact that the proposed declaration is an instrument elaborated from the point of view of the government states, without full participation of the Indigenous Peoples themselves;

Although the International Convention Regarding Biodiversity recognizes certain Indigenous Rights in Article 8, in practice the international corporate interests with the consent of the government states, have intensified the policy of theft and expropriation of natural resources and the Biodiversity that is found within the Indigenous Territories, causing ecological destruction and erosion of the collective rights of our Nations and Pueblos;

Whereas the idea of a Permanent Forum for Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations depended on the support of legitimate representation of the Indigenous Peoples, nevertheless in the process the mandate for the Permanent Forum has excluded the concept of Indigenous Peoples.  The result is in complete denial of the aspirations of the Indigenous Peoples;

Whereas the financial policies imposed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the InterAmerican Bank for Development have been complicit with the government states in establishing economic policy that accommodates the excessive consumerism of the countries in the Northern Hemisphere:  This has increased the levels of dependence, oppression and poverty of the Indigenous Peoples and other popular sectors of society;

Whereas in spite of the installation of so-called democracies in the continent, the colonizing government states continue to perpetuate the violation of our Human Rights, the denial of the right to a life with Dignity, the denial of liberty itself, and the right to define our own destiny as different Nations and Pueblos as is recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

Whereas the Peace Accords in Guatemala and those of San Andres in Chiapas, Mexico have only been promises of justice for the Indigenous Pueblos, while the repression against indigenous leaders continues in Honduras, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, and Guatemala: The Plan for Columbia supported by the United States, will bring even more repression, militarization and suffering for the Indigenous Peoples and non-indigenous as well in Columbia;


The Indigenous Delegates united at this Continental Indigenous Summit REAFFIRM:

1.) We Indigenous Peoples shall continue to be guided by the ancestral spiritual values of our cultures, by our languages and history, and for this reason we shall continue to be the Indigenous Peoples of the continent with rights undiminished and inalienable to the Peoples of the World.

2.) As Indigenous Peoples we have developed our cultures in specific territories, where we have established spiritual relationships and linguistic ties that construct our ancestral millennial identity.  Our territories and the web of biodiversity contained therein form the foundation of our inalienable and undiminished inheritance of rights and obligations.  Nevertheless, we have been dispossessed from our territories in the process of the formation of Nation States.

3.) As Indigenous Peoples we reaffirm the Principle and Right to Self Determination, considering that this constitutes the basic foundation for all of the other rights which we may process.


1.) We direct the Government States of the World to support and adopt the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of the United Nations, within the span of the UN Decade of Indigenous Peoples of the World, being that this is a commitment made by the government states to the International Community.

2.) We call upon the governments that conform the Organization of American States (OAS) to reactivate the dialogue regarding the Project for the American Declaration of the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples, and that the UN Working Group convene a special session regarding the same.  Simultaneously, the Indigenous Committee should be empowered to serve as linkage with the interested parties by guaranteeing the most ample participation possible of the Indigenous Peoples in the process.

3.) We direct the government states who have not signed the Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization to ratify the convention as a signal of their political will to recognize and protect the rights of the Indigenous Peoples.

4.) We demand that the Government States recognize the Indigenous Peoples and our Rights, within their political constitutions, guaranteeing participation and protection for lands and territories, and assuring the right to determine our own destiny.


The assembled delegates at the Continental Indigenous Summit - Teotihuacan hereby declare our commitment to continue to work towards strengthening our unity and coordination across the continent, expressing continuity of effort by agreeing to convene in SUMMIT once again in Ecuador in the year 2002, said SUMMIT to be hosted by the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE).

This Continental Indigenous Summit - Teotihuacan 2000 makes a call to All Our Relations to strengthen our continental organizational processes of communication so that we may together construct a better future for the generations to come.



Signed by Indigenous Delegations representing 36 Indigenous Organizations from throughout the Continent.

Council of Indigenous Organizations and Nations of the Continent
Center for Communications and Coordination - North

P.O. 24009   Phoenix, AZ    85074
Tel: (602) 254-5230
Contact:  Tupac Enrique Acosta
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