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Continental Summit of Indigenous Peoples 

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Territory, Natural Resources, and Indigenous Peoples

This morning we continued our discussions with a second plenary panel Territory, Natural Resources, and Indigenous Peoples. Moderator Rodolfo Pocop began the discussion with the observation that we need a new word for term "resources" because it reflects a mercantilist concept. He suggested using instead "mother earth" because if we don't live in harmony with the earth we will not have life.

The panelists followed up on this concept. We should not talk about land but territory because it is a much broader term that includes everything--land, air, water, petroleum, gas, etc. The mother earth cannot stand the exploitation any more. Following along with these symbolism, we must take care of the earth as our mother so that it can continue to provide a future for its children. This led to calls to drink water and boycott Coca-Cola. Pocop summarized the panel as a call to defend life, and pointed to ideas such as a Coke boycott as a very practical rather than theoretical idea.

This afternoon we're gathered in a series of work groups on a series of themes (land, autonomy, cosmology, women, etc.). Tomorrow morning there is a third panel on "Democracy: Nation-State and Indigenous Governments," but I will miss this because I am going to Guatemala City for a Hemispheric Council meeting of the Americas Social Forum.

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