U’wa Tribal Leader to Attend Occidental’s Annual Meeting Press Conference and Native Prayer Circle outside the Shareholder Meeting

AMAZON WATCH --- Action Resource Center --- Project Underground

For more information, contact:

Ada Recinos at +1.510.473.7542 or ada@amazonwatch.org

Santa Monica, CA - An U’wa tribal leader has traveled to Los Angeles from the rainforest of Colombia in order to attend the annual shareholder meeting of the Occidental Petroleum Corporation. The U’wa, a traditional community of 5,000 Indigenous people who live in the Colombian cloudforest, have vowed to walk off of a 1,400 foot cliff in mass suicide if Occidental Petroleum drills on their sacred ancestral homelands.

Last week, Berito Kuwaru’wa (Roberto Cobaria) was awarded the Goldman Award, known as the Environmental Nobel Prize. Friday’s visit to Los Angeles comes on the heels of the protest at Occidental Petroleum’s headquarters where seven people were arrested on April 22. Kuwar U’wa will be attending the shareholder meeting by proxy of the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters, who hold shares in the company.

For more information, including photos, U’wa statements, and the text of the full page NY Times ad of April 14, visit website: www.amazonwatch.org.

Date: Friday, May 1, 1998

Time: U’wa Press Conference 9:30 am, Native Peoples’ prayer circle 10:00 am
Occidental’s Shareholder Meeting 10:30 – 12:30

Where: Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, 1855 Main St., Santa Monica, California

What: Press conference featuring:

Berito Kuwaru’wa (Roberto Cobaria), President of U’wa Grand Council, and the elected spokesperson for the U’wa people.

Edgar Mendez, representative from the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia

Floyd Westerman, Native American Actor (Dances with Wolves)

Sister June Wilkerson, Sinsinawa Dominican Congregation, an Occidental Petroleum Shareholder

Steve Kretzmann, Project Underground (Berkeley) to release new information from recent trip to U’wa territory

Professor Robert Benson, International Law Project for Human Economic and Environmental Defense (HEED)

Native American prayer circle featuring:

Representatives from a dozen Native American tribes from throughout California who will be holding a prayer circle with traditional chanting, drumming and music while the U’wa leader goes inside and attempts to address Occidental shareholders and the board of directors.

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