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Sovereign Chief's Address to the United Nations

(Kindley delivered by Mrs. Carmen Colon Delgado at the request of his Excellency Sovereign Chief Damon Gerard Corrie)

This speech was given at the United Nations building in New York on August 9th, 2000; at the 'International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples Conference'.

Honourable representatives of the Sovereign states of the world, delegates, ladies & gentlemen.

I hope my humble words will impress on you the fact that we Native Americans are not marginal curiosities on the periphery of Western Civilization - ultimately without progeny, as many of you were mis-educated to believe, but rather - we have living cultures, defining and defending places in a contemporary world.

Many thousands of years ago, at the dawn of time, we Native Americans were already here in these stolen continents; our hemisphere-wide pre-columbian population has been estimated at 100 million. Many of our kindred tribal nations have become extinct due to the avarice, oppression and illness unleashed by this savage beast called 'Western Civilization' - who's principal deity is the Almighty dollar.

In Amazonia alone we numbered 10 million a mere 508 years ago, today we are less than five-hundred thousand - and your civilization is still stealing our precious minerals, wood, and the little we have left of our ancestral homelands.

Our great mother the Earth weeps, and we weep with her. When we go to our sacred rivers - we discover that they are now polluted by your 'civilization'. Many of us cannot hunt in the forests because your 'civilization' has cut it down, and it no longer exists. When we try to communicate with our ancestral spirits they no longer answer us because your 'civilization' has desecrated their burial sites.

In the last 40 years in the Caribbean, in the former colonies of the British Empire, a cry went up for freedom by the African and East Indian populations who were the third & fourth ethnic populations (respectively) to inhabit our Hemisphere. They obtained their freedom from Britain, and we who suffered far longer and greater under foreign domination supported their cause - and shared their joy of liberation.

But our African and East Indian countrymen forgot who the original landlords were - and they assumed neo-colonial mentalities towards us, in some cases we native Americans have suffered worse under these Neo-Colonial regimes than we ever did under the British. Our territories were greatly reduced, our legal rights greatly diminished; and our peoples have experienced increased prejudice and discrimination at the hands of our African and East Indian countrymen.

All we ever wanted was our right to be free, equal and different - but even now, 508 years after the villain Columbus set our world in reverse - we native Americans remain the ONLY ethnic group of humanity that has NOT YET tasted true freedom, our hemisphere has not been de-colonized - unlike the rest of the world, we have in fact been re-colonized by other Old World ethnic groups or by the still ruling descendants of the original European colonials, our territories - what little is left of them, have been either illegally annexed or otherwise forcibly incorporated into the many imitation Europe's that have been created in our lands and on our backs.

Are we not human beings? Do we not have an equal right to be seated alongside all of you at this great gathering of sovereign peoples? Do you not see the injustice of denying us the political freedom that all of you continue to enjoy ?

We Native Americans will never comprehend your anxiety to dominate not only nature and the forces of the universe, but other human beings as well. All of your stolen wealth, power and weapons have not made you happy, just selfish, covetous and unhealthy.

Your 'civilization' has given rise to a humanity devoid of true human beings, your most highly educated sons and daughters know nothing of the true meaning and purpose of this life; and your advanced technology leads you ever further away from the path of righteousness.

We hope and pray that you will someday realize that we Native Americans must also be allowed to participate as equals in the great cycle of life - and be allowed our rightful place in this great gathering of humanity called the United Nations, for we are all children of the same Great Holy Spirit, and we are here to live in peace as brothers and sisters - not as 'occupiers' and 'subjects'.

Damon Gerard Corrie
Sovereign Chief
Pan-Tribal Confederacy of Amerindian Tribal Nations


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