This Week's Program: Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Indigenous Environmental Network makes a statement at the 13th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development

The Commission on Sustainable Development 13 Negotiations Lack an Ethical Framework for the Cultural Manifestations of Water Water is Life: the recognition, as a guiding principle, that 'water connects and regulates planet earth as the sacred mat of life' by nourishing the land and all living organisms, including human beings. An ethical framework based upon respect for life-giving water and its cultural manifestations is of critical importance for water, sanitation and human settlement policy. Humanity must declare all water sources as sacred sites. Underlying the global water crisis is not just a governance crisis, but also a cultural crisis. Water is a vital resource, having economic, ecological, social and spiritual functions. Relations between peoples and their environment are embedded in culture. Water is life, physical, emotional and spiritual. It should not be considered merely as an economic resource. Sharing water is an ethical imperative and expression of human solidarity. The intimate relationship between water and people should be explicitly taken into account in all decision-making processes. Cultural diversity, developed during the millennia by human societies, constitutes a treasure of sustainable practices and innovative approaches. Indigenous knowledge holders should be full partners with scientists to find solutions for water-related and human settlement issues. Education is necessary to learn about the sacredness of water as the inclusion of Indigenous and traditional laws are needed to 'protect water for the future generations of all plants and animals.' Statement presented by Tom Goldtooth, representative of the Indigenous Environmental Network.

Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide

By Dr. Andrea Smith, Foreword by Winona Laduke Smith highlights the connections between various forms of violence, perpetrated by the state and by society, and documents their impact on Native women. Smith's examination begins with the impact of the abuse endured at boarding schools from the 1880s to the 1980s. She connects these roots of violence to other forms of violence manifested in white appropriation of Native culture, environmental racism, and population control. Importantly, she includes radical and innovative strategies for eliminating gendered violence. Dr. Andrea Smith (Cherokee) is an assistant professor of Native American Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a co-founder of INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, the largest grassroots, multiracial feminist organization in the U.S. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz in History of Consciousness.