Monday, November 18, 2013

Statemement by Nikki Tulley, Dineh - Navajo Nation

Abya Yala Youth Summit
Cauca [Colombia]
Nikki Tulley, Dineh - Navajo Nation

The tribe I come from has 300,000 members.  This is a large number.  Where we are located is in three states:  Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.  But I am only one representative of one tribe of approximately five hundred tribes located in the United States.  So what I want to share with you today as youth is that what I have been taught is that I am a part of the seventh generation.   

This seventh generation was prophesied from our ancestors long ago. Why is this important?  Because the seventh generation has been stated that we are the future young leaders that will come to help our people.  So I came here to Colombia as a representative of my father who could not be here.  This is a great privilege for me because it taught me that I am taking all the teachings of my ancestors, my parents, grandparents and aunts, and uncles.  And all these teachings of my family are standing here before you this day although they themselves could not be here. 

So what are we doing as youth where I come from?  One thing is that we are revitalizing our culture and language.  Because if we do not know where we come from we cannot know where we are going.  One main thing we have been working on is working with our elders.  I recently have earned my Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Science with hopes that somehow I can help my Indigenous Nation and others as well.  I desire to help because as Indigenous people the environment is important for us.  Each day our lives and our territories are being exploited.  For this reason I choose to study Environmental Science.  A number of youth from my tribe are taking the path of standing up for our Mother Earth. 

When we protect Mother Earth as Indigenous people we are able to protect the place our teachings come from.  When we protect our homeland we protect the future generations yet to come.  In this way we are able to protect our way of life.  Speaking of maintaining our lives there is something I would like to share with you.  One main reason why we traveled here to Colombia for the V Cumbre was to share with you the Abya Yala Declaration:  Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery.   

To discuss the destructive, deadly and genocidal effects of the Doctrine of Discovery.  And in this way we as Indigenous people around the world, Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery to help maintain our lives as they have been before with our ancestors and how we desire them to be now and in generations to come. 

So we have come here from the North of Abya Yala [USA, Canada] to ask the relatives in Central and South Abya Yala [Central and South America] to affirm our determination to form an Indigenous Peoples’ Tribunal.  And to move forward with stronger support from all of Abya Yala to Dismantle the Doctrine of Discovery. 

This is what I wanted to share with you today.  It has been an honor for me to talk to you all and see this beautiful site of youth and realize that I and the Indigenous youth to the North of Abya Yala are not alone and that we have Indigenous relatives here in the South but also know that there are Indigenous youth throughout the world.  Maybe our Indigenous populations in the world are smaller when compared to others but we are strong.  And with this strength we can move forward with great hope and prepare a strong future for generations yet to some.    

1 comment:

  1. This is truly great to see; a friend just posted it online & i've added ur blog /bookmarked via blogger. My friend is a Native Indian out west & we discuss these & related issues all the time re: rights, social justice, etc. Your topic reminded me of some work I'd done--as an artist, I created an image a few years ago in which i utilized a similar terminology as in ur blog post above--so I was reading your points on the sad historical-use of "Doctrine of Discovery" and it reminded me of the all-too-similar/ terrible use of the "Manifest Destiny" games as excuses to plunder nature & people. It was that term, Manifest Destiny,
    that i used in my artwork-- as a symbol of the ways that these pseudo-legal & gimmicky, over-hyped-tricks have historically been put in play by greedBarons for selfish, unethical & often bigoted well as the dangerous momentum when these games became solidified as large policies for expansion by giant investors or CONquistadors or Gov't insiders.
    --Keep up the great work, Rob M.