Together with Indigenous Communities- The Meeting of the Americas

20 December 2022

“Indigenous Peoples have much to contribute to the world, they have ancestral knowledge, community governance models, reciprocity practices, tools that can contribute to changing the relationship between human beings and Mother Nature.” Rosalia Guiterrez, Global Trustee Latin America and the Caribbean

Watch the video recording of the global community call focusing on Indigenous Communities.

Indigenous voices have always been an essential part of URI. Since its inception, URI has benefited from the knowledge and wisdom of many indigenous people who were essential contributors to URI's design, values, and impact.

The global community call brought together indigenous communities from URI regions and was called, the meeting of the Americas.

Rosalia  Gutierrez shared a context of the meeting of the Americas and it reads;

The arrival of Christopher Columbus in America, on October 12, 1492, the process of civilization that led to the formation of States, gave rise to a paradigm shift, the birth of racism, oppression, inequalities, and the vulnerability of Indigenous Peoples, a situation that has not changed to this day.

The date of October 12, called the Discovery of America, 530 years later, should be a day of reflection that reflects interculturality, and coexistence between cultures and religions.

This a historical reflection that leads us to rethink how we build Dialogue together, and coexistence with diversity that motivates us to work for Peace and Mother Earth.

The community call was an opportunity for participants to share reflections and encouragement with one another. 

“Whatever language you have, whatever tools you have, use them to heal yourself first and then others.”  Susana Sandoval

“My heart feels the violation and the violence and the dismissal of indigenous communities and the call for the real and true meaning of inclusion and togetherness as we create a new way of being and create a new world together.” Sarah Oliver.

During the call, the land acknowledgment that highlights the past, present, and hope for the future of indigenous communities was shared with participants. It reads;

To speak to the core values of the United religious initiative, we would like to honor and acknowledge the original stewards of the lands on which each of us is on at this very moment. We know all the lands in these regions are the ancestral territories of the indigenous peoples.

We recognize the many who were forcibly moved from their homelands to less hospitable areas in each of their own countries and acknowledge the sacrifices of the indigenous peoples that once lived in these spaces.

All the residents today are present beneficiaries of the land maintained for thousands of years by its previous owners. It is imperative that contemporary people learn to be stewards of the land again we can begin this process by respecting the indigenous peoples and their knowledge.

If we listen, they will continue to teach us about stewardship of the earth respectfulness toward each other, and resilience.

Alice from the Northeast Atlantic region shared a beautiful poem about the beauty of mother earth and the need to protect the planet.

Global community calls such as these continue to bring together a united community and a platform to share voices from URI members worldwide.