August 7, 2007

I Leave For Caracas, Venezuela

Dustin Rivers is going to Venezuela

Some of you may know, or this is the first that you've heard of it. So I'll start at the beginning.

Last Monday, the 30th of July, my friend called me in the afternoon. He tells me a friend of his from the Venezuela We Are With You Coalition in Toronto was in contact with organizers of an international conference in Venezuela taking place this week. His friend in Toronto asked him if he could go, but unfortunately he could not attend. He then said I was the first person he could think of and asked me if I would be interested in going. I spontaneously and righteously said yes.

Here is the details.

The Venezulan government is paying for the airfare, accommodations and food for the trip. It was short notice, but the organizers wanted Indigenous activists from Canada to attend. There are 17 delegates from Canada attending. Some of these delegates are Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk) from Ontario, Quebec and New York.

Here is my travel for the flight down there. I leave from Vancouver to Toronto at 11:50 tonight.. I arrive in Toronto Wednesday morning. I leave from Toronto at 2:30PM their time. I leave Toronto at 2:30PM for Trinidad and Tobago, a stop over, then head to Caracas, Venezuela. Caracas is where the conference is taking place.

Now a bit on the conference. This is the “First International Congress of Anti-imperialist Indigenous Peoples” taking place in Carcas, Venezuela. The conference starts Wednesday, August 8th, till Friday August 10th. I’ll be missing the first day, but be there for Thursday and Friday. Attached is the invitations and conference itinerary from the Ministry of Popular Power for the Indigenous Peoples.

Here is an excerpt from the invitation:

“The aim of this congress is to discuss and establish the basis for a broad international movement of indigenous people that rejects the outrages, encroachments, and injustices of North American imperialism against our peoples around the world. It aims also to provide a creative framework to build the ideology of a new indigenous-American socialism. In this way, it aims to contribute to building 21st Century socialism and establishing, once and for all, wellbeing in this continent, which was, is, and will be the cradle of our brave ancestors, ourselves, and future generations. “

Part of the bargain is, I don’t know when I’ll be returning. My stay will be a max of 2 weeks at the most, so you don’t have to think I’m going to run off to South America and never come back.

I am bringing with me about 500 Redwire Magazines. My laptop. My camera. And lots of books to read on the trip down there. I’ll also be bringing some temlh for protection. I don’t have any regalia, as I am still making it. (For those who don’t know, temlh is red ochre my people use for paint and protection.) I haven’t packed or anything yet, this is the first thing I’m doing (writing to you all).

I have to say something about this trip.

This is an amazing opportunity. Sometimes the ancestors and spirits move things in a way for people. It’s like watching the wind blow on the trees. Sometimes it’s a storm, and sometimes it’s a beautiful magic that brings the strength of the land. In our lives, the spirituality is that wind, and we are cedar tree’s standing in the forest. I hope to learn from people resisting the exploitive and conquering regimes and creating change Indigenously in their own communities. This is an opportunity of a lifetime and I am very excited and scared to go, but I pray for guidance and projection from our ancestors and I hope you can all do the same for me. I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to this and what an opportunity it will be to build connection and share stories with Indigenous people on the other side of the world.

I hope to post more soon,

Chen kwen men tumiyap. En kayach'tn ta nuyap. Txw ek.

Dustin Rivers
Sḵwxwú7mesh-ulh territory



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