Marcos Announces Continental Indigenous Encounter for October 2007
“Let’s invite the indigenous people of Canada and the United States... and let’s invite the indigenous people of South America and Central America”
By Kristin Bricker
The Other Journalism with the Other Campaign in Baja California
October 18, 2006
When the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle was released in the summer of 2005, it soon led to the Zapatistas’ national plan for the Other Campaign: Marcos would travel Mexico, listening to the people’s struggles in every state and carrying the stories of these struggles to the rest of the country. The next phase, in 2007, will bring two comandantes of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN in its Spanish initials) to live and organize in each state. The Sixth Declaration also announced their humble intention to expand the Other Campaign to the rest of the world, though it did not clarify how. On October 17, in the Baja California community of San Jose de la Zorra, Delegate Zero revealed the Zapatistas’ next step in the international struggle: the Continental Indigenous Encuentro (encounter).
The Indigenous National Congress (CNI), the EZLN, and the Kumiai indigenous people instructed Subcomandante Marcos to announce the encuentro, set for October 12, 2007 in northwestern Mexico. Marcos said:
Let’s invite the indigenous people of Canada and the United States… and let’s invite the indigenous people of South America and Central America, and let’s come from all parts of the continent to this indigenous zone in the Northwest to say that we are here, and let’s tell our story. And it doesn’t matter if they pay attention to us or not, because we’re going to pay attention to each other.
Photo: D.R. 2006 Murielle Coppin
October 12, celebrated by some as “Columbus Day,” is the chosen date so that indigenous people from all over América “will come here to say that after 515 years, they neither conquered nor discovered us. We still continue to exist here.”
The specific location for the Encuentro has not yet been announced. Several sites are being considered, and the decision will ultimately rest on the ability to accommodate so many people.
Baja California is a significant location to announce the encuentro because many people don’t realize that indigenous communities exist here, even though there are several: Kumiai, Cucapas, Triquis, and Mixtecos, to name a few. According to Marcos, the current state government does not recognize the indigenous groups in Baja California, “even though they were here before it and those who brought it here even existed.” Ironically, because groups like the Triquis and Mixtecos (both originally from Oaxaca) have crossed state borders imposed on them by imperial invaders, the government considers them “immigrants.”
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