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Final Report on Delegation
October 22, 2000
Aloha and Greetings,
The Vatican delegation of indigenous peoples and supporters has completed its trip to Italy. This message will point out a few of the highlights and difficulties of our stay. It's understood that parts of this message should have been presented earlier. An intense schedule and not so easy access to the internet took their toll on us. E kalamai.
Our delegation consisted of nine people, out of the eighteen or so delegates attempting to make the trip. A lack of financial support was the main reason for the reduction of people. Nevertheless, the nine of us were a very spirited group who left a strong impression on those we met along the way. The Italian people were very hospit- able, receptive and supportive of the issue and our efforts. Grazie Italianos!
Interestingly, the delegation assumed no distinct leadership roles (we were all leaders in a sense, which seemed to work to our advan- tage), though Daniela Minerbi of Italy and myself coodinated the effort. A big mahalo to Daniela for everything! Steve Newcomb, director of the Indigenous Law Institute, was at times the primary spokesperson for his legal expertise and long-time research on the issue. Yet, all of the members of the delegation spoke and presented at the numerous panel presentations, press conferences and informal gatherings attended. These events took place in the cities of Torino, Milano and Rome. The delegates were:
Naniki Reyes Ocasio (Taino Elder)
It was the consensus of most of the delegates that our coming to Rome at this moment in history was very significant. We were motivated by spirit, the ancestors had guided us to be here at this time, or we would NOT have been there. It was the agreement among the delegation that this issue is much larger than any one person or group. The struggle for accountability and the resolution of this issue has gone on now for over 500 years. This is to take nothing away from the groups who have motivated the modern campaign to revoke the bull. A special thanks to the Indigenous Law Institute for their ground- breaking work.
Certainly, the "Jubilee" year provided an important time reference in which to converge on Rome, a time to take the Vatican up on their pledges. The October 12 date was also an important time to be there. This symbolic date provides the impetus and energy for creative action, and to educate the public on the real meaning and implications of "discovery" for indigenous peoples. In the end, there was no over- all consensus on the formation of a proposed type of "umbrella" group to organize as a collective body in the future. However, it was the basic consensus of delegates that we would return home to elicit support from our communities and indigenous peoples in general. It was also the consensus of the delegation that we would be back again next year, in greater and greater numbers until this issue is resolved! This was articulated numerous times publically. We have already begun to organize for next year. For anyone interested in joining us, please email me (email@example.com) as soon as possible.
Finally, we would like to thank the following groups and organizations for all their support: Ahupua`a Action Alliance, Associated Students of the University of Hawai`i (ASUH), Graduate Student Organization (University of Hawai`i), Hague Appeal for Peace, Hawai`i Ecumenical Coalition, Indigenous Law Institute, Ka Pakaukau, Matsunaga Institute for Peace, People's Fund, and the Seventh Generation Fund. Mahalo nui loa!
*Our website is up and running. Here's the address:
In peace and solidarity,