RESOLUTIONS FROM MEETINGS OF
"Walking with steady steps"
Following is a synthesis of resolutions from recent meetings which have
been organized by and for Indigenous women. We have come
together to share experiences and solidarity, and to strengthen our
First International Encounter of South and
Central American Indian Women
Lima, Peru, March 25-27, 1991
Our goals are:
1. To promote and develop consciousness and awareness among women
of different Indian communities, and to strengthen and complement our
brothers within Indigenous organizations, with the goal of achieving the
well-being of our people; to assert Indigenous women's rights so we can
contribute to strengthening and supporting economic, social, political, and
cultural growth within our communities; to promote the participation of
our families and communities in the struggle for the rights of our people.
2. To promote women's organizing within our communities, so we can
bring and exchange cultural and organizing experiences with Indigenous
and popular organizations in order to strengthen the women's
organizations at the community level; and to establish a system of
communications among Indian organizations so that we can develop a
network of solidarity at the national and international level.
3. To assert our identity as Indian people, by rescuing and protecting our
cultural and ancestral heritage; to promote and struggle for the
implementation of bilingual and inter-cultural education in each country,
so that our cultural identity will be strengthened. This must include
teaching our traditional heritage: crafts, history, music, traditional
medicine, and ways of life; literacy must be taught in our languages,
according to our culture and ways of life.
4. To demand legalization of our lands and to preserve our territories and
to reaffirm our right to self-determination.
Plan of Action
In order to achieve our goals, we plan to promote meetings
among the women of our organizations, discuss viable ways to
work for the solutions to our problems, and to disseminate in our
communities the resolutions of every meeting that we attend. We
will support the participation of community organizers in forums,
conferences, and workshops to promote the development of
critical thinking, so they can share these experiences with their
Teaching materials for bilingual education will be developed,
taking into account the reality of the different Indian peoples, and
training will be provided for Indian women in different professional
areas, such as health, education, mass media, crafts, agriculture, etc. We
will produce and disseminate informational materials to document the
activities of each organization and will establish community libraries so
our people can be informed. We aim to achieve the participation of the
family in the work of strengthening the community organizations.
We will work to protect our traditional territories.
An Analysis of Women's Organizing
Indian women play a fundamental role in the struggle for our cultural
rights and in the decision making processes, but many times our work is
not acknowledged, and we are ignored even by other women in our
organizations. We Indian women feel that we have the capacity to be
chosen for positions of responsibility in the political, economic, social, and
cultural areas of the different countries.
The protagonist role that we used to have in our communities has been
hampered by evidences of the influence of machismo in our ways of
thinking, and we Indigenous women suffer physical and psychological
abuse both within and outside our homes. The laws of our countries do
not recognize the rights of Indian women and children.
Throughout time, from the Spanish Invasion to the present, we Indian
women have demonstrated that we can organize ourselves and develop
our own ways of working for our communities. This is why it is
necessary to have an organization at the regional level that can bring
together the Indian people of Central and South America.
In some Indian organizations, the women do not have
significant participation; we do not have the opportunity to maintain
communications with other organizations, and we feel isolated from
other organizations which might have positive experiences of structural
and practical participation. Meetings of Indian women are very useful,
because we can exchange ideas and experiences from our different
Even if we are forced to migrate to the cities, in some cases we can
take advantage of this situation to work for the rights of our people and
strengthen our cultural identity in a strange environment. We can be
useful to our people whether from within or from outside our
1. We demand the governments of each country acknowledge our
existence as Indigenous people with territorial, social, cultural, and
political rights. We demand respect and acknowledgment for our
cultural expressions: language, dance, music, etc.
We condemn the commercialization of Indigenous women through
activities such as sterilization programs, and our exploitation as cheap
labor by capitalist countries, and the theft and commercialization of our
children and young people. We condemn the pillage and theft of natural
resources that is taking place in our communities. We women are
witness to the sufferings that this brings to our families.
3. At the present time, we view as our priority the need to work at the
grassroots level, to develop, promote, and support the organization of
Indigenous women, and the participation in the decision making process
at the community and organizational level, We ratify the goal of working
at the local and national level to assure that this process will lead to a
truly representative and participative organisation of South and Central American Indian
women. And we ratify our decision to participate in the process that will
lead to the development of an International Council of Indigenous
Women, according to our own initiatives and resolutions.
Contact Alicia Canaviri, CDIMA or Yolanda Hernandez
Source: Aldrete, Wara, Gina Pacaldo, Xihuanel Huerta, and Lucilene Whitesell, eds. Daughters of Abya Yala: Native Women Regaining Control
Summertown: Book Publishing Company, 1992. p.32-37.