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Speech by Chief Lorenzo Sanford on the occasion of International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

by: - August 11, 2020
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KALINAGO BARANA AUTE (August 9, 2020) – Mabrika mabrika. Greetings and blessings to all gathered here and all who will hear this message.As we take part in the activities to observe International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples during this Covid 19 pandemic, I bring a message of hope for a brighter future for our brothers and sisters all over the world.

I sincerely believe that the time has come for us to stop thinking of ourselves as merely 3000 indigenous Kalinagos living on Waitu’kubuli, Dominica. Rather, we should consider ourselves as an integral part of the massive family of Indigenous Peoples of the Americas.

We Kalinagos are members of the noble family which was the custodians of all the land of the continent of America and the islands of the Caribbean before the arrival of the White man.

Sioux, Apache, Seminole, Aztec, Maya, Inca, Taino, Arapaso,Aymara, Kalinago, Garifuna and hundreds of other tribes are part of this great family.

When we come to see ourselves as  part of this large diverse family, blessed with  varied traditional and modern knowledge, talent and skills, we will find strength in our numbers and be able to approach issues such as reparation from a much better position.

We the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas possess most valuable experience,knowledge and skills, tried and tested over the centuries before and during colonization, which can bring positive change in these times of fear and uncertainty about the present and future.

Yes, there are many lessons that we can teach the  world to make it a better place for all the people who live on Mother Earth.

And the world needs those lessons now more than ever.

This was clear to the ancestors after witnessing the evil manner in which the Europeans dealt with other nations and the way they plundered the resources provided by Mother Earth for the sustainable living of all her children.

Listen to this prophecy by our cousins the Sioux from more than one hundred years ago: ” There will come a time when the Earth is sick and the animals and plants begin to die. Then the Indians will regain their Spirit and gather the people of all Nations, colors and beliefs to join together in the fight to save the Earth.”

 

The time has come for Indigenous Peoples to unite to fight the good and righteous battles for our rightful place among the family of mankind so that we can help restore the spirit of  a world which has not been good neighbors to us. It is my view that we Kalinagos must do all that is necessary to prepare ourselves to play an important role in the fulfillment of this prophecy.

This is why we must, with urgency, seek to create networks with our indigenous brothers and sisters globally in order to promote a common agenda in the struggle for  recognition,equality,Reparatory Justice, environmental restoration,world peace and all the other issues which confront us and threaten our survival and well-being.

 

Time has taught us to believe, and we must accept, that we are not the victims but the survivors of  colonization and conquest. We have survived the worst and we should have faith in our ability to overcome this pandemic and others which may come in the future.

It would be remiss of me not to send prayers of strength, courage and healing to our indigenous brothers whose Nations have been ravaged by this covid 19 virus. I make special mention of the Navaho Nation in the United States and the tribes of the Amazon in Brazil, who have been hit really hard. They have lost many elders and leaders. Let us keep them in our prayers when we bow before the presence of the Creator.

Yes, we have suffered much but we are still here.

We have endured much hardship but we are still standing.

We have lost so much yet we still have so much to offer.

So, as we strive to acquire modern knowledge and skills to survive and thrive in this era of Information and Communications Technology, we must also safeguard and preserve our culture and heritage, show respect to the elders, love and protect the children, in order to overcome present and future challenges to our advancement as one big family.

We can, we must,and we will, work to leave to the next generation a world in which every Kalinago and indigenous child will fulfill their noble aspirations and live to their fullest potential .

I wish to end by sharing with a quote from Crazy Horse, a Warrior Leader of the Lakota People in the eighteen hundreds. I believe that it is especially relevant at this time for the Indigenous Peoples of the Caribbean and the Americas.

Crazy Horse said, “ Upon suffering beyond suffering the Red Nation shall rise again and it shall be a blessing for a sick world. A world filled with broken promises, selfishness and separations. A world longing for light again. I can see a time of seven generations when all the colors of mankind will gather under the Sacred Tree of Life and the whole Earth will become one circle again.”

My Kalinago brothers and sisters, it most certainly seems like that time for healing the world has arrived. If not, it will soon be upon us and we must be prepared to play our part, as mentioned in the prophetic words  our Sioux cousins and Crazy Horse.

Long live or Kalinago Culture and Heritage!

Long live the Indigenous Peoples of the World!

Happy International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

Thank you for listening and may the Great Spirit of Our Ancestors guide your path and grant you health and peace.