Less than a week after the joint Arawak/Carib ceremonial & symbolic April 12th reclamation of Culpepper island that he orchestrated - Damon Gerard Corrie, the sometimes controversial Amerindian Rights activist and Barbados born descendant of Guyana's last Hereditary Arawak Chief - and Founder/President of the Pan-Tribal Confederacy; left Barbados on March 17th to attend the 7th session of the Organization of American States (OAS) working on creating a draft declaration for the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas; which was held in the capital city of Brasilia, Brazil.
Opening ceremony at OAS in Brasilia opening ceremony

Corrie was one of 40 Indigenous Rights delegates from throughout the Americas recommended to the OAS to work together with the official OAS member states representatives to create a comprehensive set of human rights 'minimum standards' for the Americas that conform to United Nations declarations on the rights of Indigenous peoples worldwide. "This is the foundation on which we will build, minimum standards just means 'we will not settle for any less at the present time, but as a member of the working group I am not permitted to divulge any specifics on what we have achieved so far - I can, however, tell you that we are making real progress with the enthusiastic support of the governments of Brazil, Venezuela & Bolivia". Corrie added.
Meeting with the president of Brazil at the presidential palace in Brasilia damon reading closing

On Wednesday March 22nd the entire Indigenous Caucus was invited to attend a ceremony by President Lula Da Silva of Brazil - at the Presidential Palace in Brasilia, most delegates attended and were availed the opportunity to say a few words to the President, shake his hand - and receive his warm embrace - which took everyone by suprise. Of the three Caribbean Indigenous Rights Delegates present (from Barbados, St. Vincent & St. Lucia) only Mr. Corrie accepted President Lula's Invitation. Afterwards Corrie remarked to a Brazilian reporter "It is amusing that I can meet with the President of Brazil - the most powerful country in South America, and yet I cannot meet the Prime Minister of my own country Barbados."

Rex Lee Jim of the 250,000 member Navajo Tribal Nation (USA) read an address to his Excellency President Lula Da Silva of Brazil on behalf of the Indigenous Caucus.

The only CARICOM member state of the OAS to attend the seventh meeting was Suriname, "Once again the CARICOM states showed little genuine interest in Indigenous affairs!" Corrie charged. The State Representative of Suriname also made known the fact that the constitution of Suriname allows International Human Rights Laws to take precedence over the Suriname Constitution . In contrast many CARICOM member countries constitutions do not even officially recognise any presence of Indigenous people nor grant them any land title whatsoever, other CARICOM state constitutions that do - illegally subvert International Human rights laws under the guise of their 'national constitutions'.

Damon reading closing statement at OAS damon reading closing

Mr. Corrie was asked to read the 2 page closing statement on behalf of the Indigenous Caucus of the Americas - which he accepted & undertook on Saturday March 25th 2006. Corrie also said the vast majority of Indigenous representatives (himself included) were allowed the opportunity to attend the session through the tireless efforts of Mr. Jorge Sanin of the OAS; who worked hard to obtain sponsorships for those who could not afford to attend on their own. He also added "The government of Brazil was the greatest supporter & a wonderful host to the Indigenous representatives from virtually every country in the Americas, and in conjuction with FUNAI and Mrs. Azelene Kaingang - collectively deserve all the praise and credit for a generally sucessful seventh meeeting of negotiations in the quest for points of consensus".

Corrie stated that the 8th session will be at the OAS headquarters in Washington DC, USA, in July 2006. Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has offerred to host a sesion in 2007 as has President Evo Morales of Bolivia (who in Mr. Corrie's own words "Is the first Amerindian head of State in the Americas in almost five centuries of European colonial and Neo-colonial occupation"), and we know they likewise will want to meet with all of us Indigenous Rights delegates - so we are looking forward to that on a personal level as well.

Mr. Corrie is the founder & President of the Barbados based Pan-Tribal Confederacy of Indigenous Tribal Nations - which is the only multi-racial worldwide indigenous organization in existence, with a membership of almost half a million in 4 continents.



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