Florida AIM Declaration of Lake Worth

17th Florida AIM State Conference
Declaration of Lake Worth

We, the human beings gathered here in Lake Worth, FL this Labor Day weekend of two thousand and two (2002) convened to commit to labor for a future with social, economic and political justice along with recognition of Indigenous peoples inherent and inalienable right to sovereignty and self-determination.

We are the descendants of the peoples and Nations who have inhabited this vast continent of Abya Yala, Great Turtle Island or Western Hemisphere since time immemorial. We are the heirs of the original civilizations of this land, which reached the highest levels of knowledge and community doing so with respect and in harmony with the cosmos, Mother Earth and all of creation.

With us were the descendants of slaves who were brought here in chains brought here from the great lands of Africa, where another Indigenous peoples had a matrix of civilizations and human culture. With us were human beings from all walks, and all cultures coming together from the four colors of man to labor together for a future with social, economic and political justice for all. With particular concern towards the Indigenous peoples, nations and communities who have suffered since the invasion of these lands more than five centuries ago.

We, who met in Lake Worth, come from the complex mix of the saps of cultures of the peoples of this world.

We are unified by a past of many roots and varied nutrients made brothers and sisters by a history marked by invasion and conquest, by plunder and forced labor. Unified by the repression of our relatives and the constant repression of our struggles for justice. We are unified those leading us to today. Unified by the uncompromising ones, those who never accepted defeat, or subjugation.

We gathered this Labor Day weekend in the lands of the Seminole Nation, 510 years after the invasion; massacres, oppression, theft and mercilessness began in this hemisphere. Five centuries since the irrational extraction of our resources, exploitation of our labor power, forced attempts to change our spiritual and philosophical beliefs; efforts to eradicate our languages, cultures, philosophies and spiritualities, and efforts to force a historical amnesia on us and those around us, began. Five hundred ten years after Indigenous peoples were condemned not to be, not to count, not to be visible and not to exist, cannon fodder for the colonial settler states army’s for an independence that brought Native peoples neither freedom, independence, nor justice. Yet today, after all of this Indigenous peoples remain. Speaking the many varied languages, praying in the ways of the ancestors. Refusing to go away quietly, a proud resounding testament to the vibrance and strength of Indigenous peoples, Indigenous thought and humanity.

We see the common struggle facing Indigenous peoples from the colonial Settler State of Guatemala, where hundreds of thousands of Maya people have been murdered with impunity to the lands of the Lakota Nation where hate crime murders remain uninvestigated. We recognize the ethnic cleansing of Native peoples by the colonial settler states knows no colonial settler boundary.

We recognize that Native peoples from Canada to Chile have always resisted, defending and rejecting submission refusing to give birth to enslaved children without giving up.

We recognize that the new crusaders of neoliberal civilization speak to us of democracy and development. We are resolute that we will stand with the traditional governments of the Indigenous Nations of this hemisphere in demanding these respective Nations are the sole and autonomous entities that should decide questions of development within their ancestral lands.

Indigenous peoples remain, standing proudly from the Cree to the Mapuche from the Maya to Tlinget from the Lakota to the Suma, from the Hmong to the Sammi. Indigenous peoples remain asserting a human world view in the face of a world in which plunder and the exploitation of other peoples resources and work, and profit is the religion of an unending chain of consumption divides the peoples of the world.

We know that in the America’s the only right Indigenous peoples have today is the right to remain silent. It is the one right we will reject outright. We know that today from Canada to Chile Native people have not even the right to rest in peace, as the cemeteries of Indigenous peoples are desecrated for everything from science and development to just for the fun of it for some sick ghouls. We know that the survival of Native peoples is a testament to those who have gone before. From the hero’s such as Geronimo, Osceola, Quannah Parker, Teshunka Witko, Tatanka Iotanka, Pizi to those from north and south who have continued the resistance in recent times with demonstrations, marches, vigils, land takeovers and recoveries.

Today, the American Indian Movement of Florida, (Florida AIM) proudly extends its membership to those of the exiled Maya community in Florida. We recognize that these Maya are not strangers from a foreign land, but relatives who have undergone the same struggle that those Indigenous Nations from the colonial settler states of North America have, and these brothers and sisters have fled here so they may live. Florida AIM stands resolutely in defense of their struggle to live and the common struggle to have all Indigenous Nations inherent and inalienable right to self-determination and sovereignty recognized by the recent colonial settler states imposed upon the lands of the Western Hemisphere.

Florida AIM hereby reaffirms its commitment to the historic Twenty Points Declaration of the American Indian Movement in 1972, the Continuing Declaration of Independence issued by the First International Indian Treaty Conference in 1974, the calls for justice of Native people made by the I, II, and III Encuentro Continental de Resistencia Indigena and all others who demand immediate justice, treaty rights, sovereignty and self-determination for Indigenous peoples.

There can be no peace or justice until the Indigenous cemeteries are places where the ancestors can rest in eternal peace. There can be no peace or justice until there is justice for those Indigenous peoples murdered in hate crimes or in crimes of the state. There can be no peace or justice until the sacred lands of Indigenous peoples are returned to the care taking of the respective Indigenous Nation. There can be no peace or justice until the autonomy, self-determination and sovereignty of each and every Indigenous Nation on the planet from the colonial Settler State holding the nations and their resources hostage is recognized. There can be no peace and no justice until the human rights and human dignity of all is not only recognized in words and rhetoric but in action and deed.

It has been said the only right Native people have is the right to remain silent. We reject this. Florida AIM vows and commits itself to making a noise in this world. We vow and commit ourselves to continuing to stand and work stridently for the rights of Indigenous peoples under the guiding principles of the American Indian Movement. We welcome our Maya relatives living in exile in Florida and stand with them as well. We will not and can not remain silent. We raise our voices in memory of the hero’s and martyrs not only of AIM, but also of all whom have come before in this hemisphere to stand and refuse to tolerate injustice. We will continue until justice, treaty rights, sovereignty and self-determination are a reality for all of the Indigenous peoples of what is now called the Western Hemisphere.

American Indian Movement of Florida
17th Anniversary State Conference
Lake Worth Friends Meeting House
Lake Worth, FL September 1, 2002

2002-09-10 21:08:00

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