A fresh, humid breeze was blowing. It was the dawn of the 1st of January of 1994 and fog still covered the mountains of southeast Chiapas, in Mexico. Juan Vázquez Guzmán was only 13 when he saw how thousands of men and women, hooded and armed, emerged from the mist of the Lacandon Jungle. “We declare war our bad government”, they said. No one expected it, although Juan had seen them prepare since he was a baby.
“We are the product of 500 years of battles. We, the deprived, are millions and today we say, enough!”. That is how the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) was born. This guerrilla force from the Mexican state of Chiapas rebelled to reclaim work, land, shelter, food, health, education, independence, freedom, democracy, justice and peace.
As most Tzeltal indigenous young men, Juan Vázquez worked with his father in the cornfields and coffee plantations located at the common lands – in San Sebastián Bachajón, Chiapas. They had strong hands and empty stomachs. They ate whatever the soil and their sweat gave them. “We depend on our land; an ancient legacy from our ancestors and a legacy for the future generations”, ponders Juan. Since he was an adolescent he has walked on the side of the Zapatistas. He is committed to the fight for their rights as Mexicans and as indigenous people, in a region where institutions have been absent and the citizens forgotten. Read More…
Summer Course: 2016 Indigenous Existential Resistance – The Sundance Practice Summer Institute. Due: Apr 9, 2016
Summer Course: 2016 Indigenous Existential Resistance – The Sundance Practice Summer Institute
Indigenous people face a difficult paradox related to the dual challenge of surviving within an individualist, competitive and consumerist society while keeping alive alternative ways of knowing and being. The traditional Sundance ceremony is one practice that affirms a different existential approach to life not defined by modern capitalism. The Department of Educational Studies is offering a course from May 21 to July 11 on the Sundance ceremony. Designed in partnership with elders from the Kainai community, the course combines lectures and seminars at UBC Vancouver and a ten-day visit to the Kainai reserve in Alberta, which includes a four-day observation of a Sundance ceremony.
To enrol, submit an Expression of Interest by April 9.
Summer Institute 2015. Indigenous Existential Resistance: The Sundance Practice
EDUC 490V 96A | EDST 565B 96A
Registration is available for Credit and Non-Credit. See Registration & Fees for details.
The Sundance Practice
This course was designed in partnership with elders from the Kainai Aboriginal community. The original idea for this course stems from a vision, request and invitation from these elders.
Indigenous people face a difficult paradox related to the two challenges of surviving within individualist, competitive and consumerist societies while keeping alive alternative ways of knowing and being within them.
The sundance is one of the practices that affirms a different existential approach to life not defined by modern global capitalism.
The course combines lectures and seminars at UBC in Vancouver and a ten-day visit to the Kainai reserve in Alberta, which includes a four-day observation of a Sundance ceremony.
Participants will need to:
- locate the sundance practice within political and existential Indigenous struggles
- describe the origins of the sundance practice in North America
- compare epistemological and ontological assumptions related to your engagement with this practice
- demonstrate an understanding of indigenous protocols for community and ceremonial engagement
- reflect on the lived experience of these protocols in practice
- discuss the context and implications of this practice for Aboriginal communities in Canada
Decolonizing Bolivia’s History of Indigenous Resistance
Shortly after the October 12th elections last year which granted President Evo Morales a third term in office with over 60 percent of the vote, I visited the government’s Vice Ministry of Decolonization. The Vice Ministry is first of its kind and a center for the administration’s efforts to recover Bolivia from what is seen by much of the country’s indigenous majority as 500 years of colonialism, imperialism and capitalism since the arrival of the Spanish.
The walls of the Vice Ministry’s offices were decorated with portraits of indigenous rebels Túpac Katari and Bartolina Sisa who fought against the colonial Spanish in 1781. I sat down to talk with Elisa Vega Sillo, the current Director of the Depatriarchalization Unit in the Vice Ministry of Decolonization, a former leader in the Bartolina Sisa indigenous campesina women’s movement, and a member of the Kallawaya indigenous nation. In the interview. Elisa spoke about the unique work of the Vice Ministry of Decolonization, the role of historical memory in the country’s radical politics, and the importance of decolonizing Bolivia’s history of indigenous resistance.
Ben Dangl: Could you please describe the type of work you do here in the Vice Ministry of decolonization?
Elisa Vega: We develop public policies against racism, against discrimination toward people with different abilities, the elderly, indigenous people. We also work on issues related to machismo and patriarchy. These are things we discuss and work on with young people, to help them question and raise awareness about these issues, because no one is questioning them… Another part of our work involves the issue of decolonization and the recuperation of our [indigenous] knowledge and skills.
“Between Keewatin and Tsilhqot’in” is an important conference regarding the implications of recent Supreme Court decisions for First Nations and Aboriginal people in Canada.
Space is limited for the November 21st and 22nd conference. For more information and to register go to www.trcm.ca/conference.
This conference is co-hosted by Treaty Commissioner James Wilson and Professor Aimee Craft, Faculty of Law, University of Manitoba.
Carmen Neufeld, President
Planners Plus Inc.
106 – 475 Provencher Boulevard
Winnipeg, Manitoba R2J 4A7