The Constitutional Process Offers New Hopes for the Cultural Survival of Indigenous Peoples Indigenous Summit of Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana Concludes Friday in Caracas

Consejo Nacional Indio de Venezuela ( Conselho Indígena de Roraima (Brasíl) ( Federación de Indígenas del Estado Bolívar (Venezuela) ( Amerindian Peoples Association (Guyana)

For more information, contact:

Ada Recinos at +1.510.473.7542 or ada@amazonwatch.org


The Arawak, Patamuna, Macushi, Pemon, Kariña, Muré, Wapishana, Ye'kwana, Eñe'pa y Pumé Indigenous Peoples, from Guyana, Brasil and Venezuela, concluded their second International Seminar today, begun in Ciudad Bolivar on July 20 of this year. Various themes were discussed in this meeting, such as: the Environment and Experiences of Self-demarcation, Biodiversity and Indigenous Knowledge, Mining and Energy, Projects of Self-sustainability, the Convention on Climate Change, Alliance and Union among Indigenous Peoples and NGO's, Evaluation of the first Seminar and Constitutional Processes.

Representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Relations, the Ministry of the Environment, and the Ministry of Energy and Mines, and the Directorate of Culture of the State of Bolivar participated in this event.

The invasion and depredation of indigenous territories by mining exploitation and infrastructure projects is a common problem for these native peoples, who have remained divided among these three countries.

This second Seminar believes that the openings to participation of Indigenous Peoples in the constitutional processes which are being given in America, particularly at this time in Venezuela and Guyana, represent a recognition of the existence of these peoples and a hope for their physical and cultural existence in the new millenium; it must be emphasized that we indigenous people are clear that participation and recognition in the new constitutions is not enough, true implementation of these rights by our governments is necessary, for this a strengthening of the indigenous movement is necessary, at the local, national, and international level, with the aim of seeking dialogue with our respective governments.

The Seminar expresses its recognition of the President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and of President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, for the space they have offered to Indigenous Peoples in the constitutional processes.

We Indigenous Peoples demand to be informed and consulted before the undertaking of any development project, and demand respect for our rights to say NO.

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