Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Coop to market food of Indigenous Territorial Government of Tuahka (Tuahka, Miskito, and Panamahka people)

Camillo Frank Lopez and some women met our bus out of Rosita.  This is a cooperative which Andalucia helped finance.  The local people had corn, yucca, beans, and meat but needed a place to sell their food, so they built this place.  The growers are distant, so they also needed a place to stay.  They needed an office for the women – Association of Sustainable Development for Women of Rosarita – ADESMIR – Associones Desarroyo Sustainables de las Mujeres Indigenous Rosarita.
In 2011 an assembly of 120 women from 15 communities of Tuahka elected seven women to run this facility – on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays food and crafts are sold here.  There is a little warehouse they can use between market days.  They have a kitchen, built more recently.  They need financial help for maintenance and energy for lights.  They are starting to put on activities here and charging for admittance.  But because of lack of money, they are still scaling back.  Right now everyone is busy harvesting beans.  They women have to bring men and children with them, because they are here for three days at a time.  Apparently the actual selling is done in the central market and this place is used for storage and sorting or organizing.
We are in Tuahka, which is different from other indigenous territories, because it includes three peoples – Tuahka, Miskito, and Panamahka.  Camillo is Panamahka – his hair is straight.  The Miskito have curly hair because they have mixed with African descendents.
Of the seven women who have offices here, three are Tuahka, two are Panamahka and two are Miskitos.  Because of this, it is much more difficult to present themselves to other governments.  There are three different languages.  However, they do have bilingual education.  The Tuahka language is almost extinct.  Spanish and Panamahka are the ones taught in bilingual education.
There are 8 – 9000 Panamahka living in one territory around Bonanza.  Territory #4 of Tuahka, Matumbak, is close to Rosita and has Panamahka people as well.  This is not a big mining area – mostly people pan for gold.  It is a subsistence living.
At the rear of the main building are nine offices, “House of the Nation” representing 76 communities.  Each territorial government has an office here.
The murals on the exterior walls we3re paint3ed by a Tuahkan – there are fruits from palm trees similar to coconuts, corn, rice, pejiaye, weaving straw, curtains, platinos, sugar cane, wate3rmelon, cacao, pineapple, cantaloupe, a white faced capuchin monkey, etc.
Very few traditional houses exist.  Women still sell the cockerel.  The mountain pig, sacunoche is the national flower, and the jaguar is the national animal.
There is a little house where rice was thrashed, but it is no longer used because of the offices that face it.
The elder gave an opening prayer for the meeting and Rebecca gave the opening greeting.
We are multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual, and apolitical.  The territorial governments were set up to unite forces and create paths for a better quality of life for Tuahka, provide spaces to participate and integrate.
Vision – consolidated, transparent, inclusive, equal, founded on rights and obligations, to act with respect, articulate our strengths in coming to solutions to problems, contribute to develop economic growth with equality and ensure participation in municipal and regional levels with social, economic, environmental, and cultural sustainability, with self-governance and democracy.
Camillo – thank you, delegation from Nicanet.  Paulette introduced us.
We are to hear from four people –
1)      Abel Dixon from Senecia, a community leader
2)      Iladio Poela, who lives in Wasakin
3)      Deebalukia Zalaya, from a Mayangna community
4)      An elder from Tuahka sector, who would have brought some craft work
Iladio, from Wasakin, hopes we can help with projects and development.
The treasurer of Wasakin, Roberto Johnny (guy in black baseball cap and grey shirt) talked about land rights and who has the land.  Maybe a conversation with us will help.
Ronalio Fenley (purple shirt and cap) is hoping we were sent by God to help with these terrible problems.
A guy in green shirt – I couldn’t understand his name – Arena Loso – problems have been left behind by abandoned mines – he is pleased that we came to talk with the community leaders.
Maldos Sanuel (black shirt, brown pants, no hat) is Tuahka but lives in Puerto Cabazas – wants human rights for indigenous people.
Cristina Correrra (Victoria Samanana?) Secretary of government of Suma Mayangna represents the territory in demarcation said that as indigenous people we have multiple problems, but land is at the root of all of them.
Merris Sinile (blue shirt) treasurer of ?
Desse Ortega, Secretary of ?
Women in yellow
Herardo Guiterez
Guy in striped shirt and brown hat – We need help.
Guy in orange shirt Mr. Orgego Moniz
Camillo Frank Lopez – First Vocal
Many had other obligations and could not come today because they thought this meeting would be tomorrow.  What is our objective?
Charley – our history is the same as yours, as indigenous people, just different places.  Your conditions and problems are similar but different than those in the U.S.  For years I have worked with Moskitia on the Atlantic Coast.  Today I chair AfGJ with Nicanet as a working group within it.  Nicanet has a very long history and roots in Nicaragua.  Kathy has 40 – 50 years of experience here.  We are here to gather facts regarding demarcation, not to promote our own agenda.  We can give others these facts.  If you have a question to deliver or what you want usto do, tell us – we are not here to interfere with your conflicts and processes, and not to cause conflicts.  If we can get people together, that may help.  I am honored to be here, and thank you.
Other speaker – the main issue is the saneamiento – the delegation can help by giving analysis and feedback.
We must talk about indigenous people and the environment at the same time, like we are one.  The Tuahka are not inside the BOSAWAS but we need to see that we are a wall to protect the BOSAWAS.  In there are more than 200 species of animals, 200 species of plants, and 200,000 species of insects (?).  Thirteen percent of known tropical species live there.
Principal problems:
Agricultural frontier is advancing
None of the national or regional governments take into account indigenous land regarding their policies – this adds to the dynamic of people coming in – they can procure goods cheaply this way.  He showed us a picture from the buffer zone – deforestation in Tuahka territory.
* Big cattle herds are not their tradition, at least not as large as the campesinos have, but these cattle are invading the indigenous lands.  The cattle destroy the soil – they have a huge environmental impact.  Sometimes this forces indigenous people to move into the cities.
The campesinos are planting huge areas with grass and selling the cattle to the Pacific side of Nicaragua.
The change in the use of the soil is ruining it.  Sometimes they trade with indigenous peoples – land for cattle, for instance.
* Illegal logging There are over 2000 loggers taking precious woods, some illegal, but some the state gives them permission.  $10 – 20 Million USD / year is taken.  The Nicaragua Central Bank estimates $118 million, or 2.5% of the Gross National Product.  Annually, 70,000 ha is clearcut, 42,000 ha are in reserved areas.
* Mixed marriages are the 3rd threat, indigenous with Mestizos.  This contributes to changing the culture and divides the land further.
Saneamiento Territory Objectives:
1)      Count how many Mestizos have come in, who are they
2)      Devine a plan, a process, and include both sides in discussion (?)
3)      Build capacity and train people to accomplish the plan
We need resources to implement the plan now that the Nicaragua government has accomplished the first four of the five stages.  In the meantime, the agricultural frontier has greatly advanced since the completion of stage four.
The colonizers are coming in from all over Nicaragua, into all of our indigenous territories.  And they are not just moving in, but there have been deaths  Two youth in Wasakin were killed.  Recently there was an encounter with guns in Matumbak.  We go to the government, but in order to stop the violence we must clear all of the settlers.  The government says they don’t have the budget for that, but we don’t either.
Cristina is part of the CDT (Demarcation and Titling) in Bilwi, and above her they say they have no budget to move out the settlers.  We have tried as a Territorial Government to stop the advance of the colonizers.  We produce documents showing that more than 500 families have come onto our territory but we know it’s more than 2000 or 3000 people just in Tuahka.  We want to do the saneamiento ourselves but we don’t have the funds.  On 22 January we presented our plan.  The main focus is mother earth.  We always dreamed that an international organization would help us.  She summarized the five stages and said that the first four are finished for 22 territories in the RAAN and RAAS, 12 are in RAAN, one of which is Tuahka.  We have our community title.  We must resolve conflicts with the invading colonizers. 
The Constitution of 1987 stated that those who got land before 1987 could expand their lands as their population grows.  There was discussion of the Harris-? Treaty and talked about indigenous communities that don’t have a treaty title who have lived there for generations, ad should be able to stay and be part of an expanded title.  She read from Law 445. 
Then she talked about complimentary lands – We have many families in Tuahka – we may need to include more spaces into Tuahka because we have used these lands for generations.  When they did the diagnostic study, they did not include areas traditionally used by our people.  When the government decided to do the saneamiento, they didn’t exactly specify how. 
We need to prepare our own study and make a map – what is vacant, that people are moving into, which should be part of OUR land title.  I as a leader in my family and community say the government must do as the Law 445 says and give us our land – that is their obligation.  (She spoke passionately for a long time, which was not all translated).  The goal is the saneamiento and there are no funds – we are losing our forest and sacred areas.  We could get money from our natural resources.  We need a massive saneamiento.  In the meantime we continue to lose territory – we need our land and the complimentary land.  We need a study and to submit it. 
Some communities have advanced towards the saneamiento – so some parts of Matumbak, Sauni As, etc have studied what colonizers have moved in – there was a University grant that funded the study.  Our leaders are looking for solutions – National government listens, but RAAN and the regional governments don’t.
We moved to the outside area for lunch.
Can you link us with funding to study how to carry out the saneamiento?  We have other needs as well – we indigenous have always been marginalized by nation states. 
Health care – we would like to meet the needs of our communities.  Wasakin has a health center with a nurse but no medicine.  In Fruta de Pan Community there is a small hospital with nine beds, one nurse, and no medicine.  It serves five communities of both indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.  In Bartaß┐ća is one health center, but no nurse and no medicine.  Maybe you can contact others who can help with our health care here.
The National government of Unity and Reconciliation has plans for pensions for seniors, but we don’t have that for indigenous here.  Our Tuahka community would like to establish a sister city or organization who could help us.
Education – In Rosita municipality in 16 indigenous communities is a bilingual intercultural education program.  It has been abandoned, but with the support of NGOs we’ve been able to work.  Unemployment makes it hard for the children to even have a backpack and other things needed to improve education.  We need to link to an organization to fund indigenous for bilingual intercultural education.
Guy in purple – Wasakin has more than 47,000 ha and more than 520 families have come in spite of three legal documents:  Harrison-Altimont, the Treaty of 1905, and the 1987 Agricultural Reform Title, and Law 445.  Having these documents, how does this happen?  Can you take our concerns to another level?  Wasakin has 2500 inhabitants and are confronting the problems of no nurse, no doctor, and no medicine.  But that population needs health care – we want to explain to an international public.
Education – we have a primary school in Wasakin but high school we have only on Saturday.  We as parents nheed our children to get a good, formal regular school day, not just a weekend class.  We don’t have textbooks.  That’s a serious problem.  We want to get this information to the central government or another organization who could help us.
The Mestizos are in a different situation – they have good classes, in Spanish.  We need you to get this information out about our case.
Guy in stiped shirt – I am from Kukalaya and we have land problems, particularly a Brazilian company.  We are free and have rights to our land.  The prosecutor is coming here to learn.  Mapinixa – Daniel Petricio?  Lumber Company built a 28 km road, destroying forest – they have the OK of SERENA – they are moving people out and burning their crops – this is a place that would be Tuahka complimentary land.  It is similar to the Okasa situation that was resolved in Matagalpa.  They are going to Bilwi tomorrow – they would have gone today, except that we came.
Susan – when was the health ministry last here?  A: We sent to them with this problem.  We have a nurse, but she cannot work without a salary.  We have notice that health care has advanced in other parts of Nicaragua.
Kathy -  What should we do with this information?  Visit ministries in Managua?  A: Health and education ministries, yes.  There is supposedly a guy in the health ministry in the hospital in the city (did he mean Bilwi?) but he hasn’t been paid for well over a year.  Tell Managua – we have trained professionals and they need a salary.
Charley – we could do this by email to connect people as well.  A: We can send you formal letters for the ministries.  They are all prepared. 
Can we get together with you in Managua?  Sunday morning we are going to Managua.  Monday we hope to visit the ministries.  (It turned out that they didn’t travel to Managua until Monday or later, so we did not see them).
We are in touch with the President of the Republic and we have proof on this camera of the invaders.  We’re taking it to Managua.

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