We glory in our proud past:
when the earth was our nurturing mother,
when the night sky formed our common roof,
when the Sun and Moon were our parents,
when all were brothers and sisters,
when our civilizations grew under the sun,
when our chiefs and elders were great leaders,
when justice ruled the Law and its execution.
Then other peoples arrived:
thirsting for blood, for gold, for land and all its wealth,
carrying the cross and the sword, one in each hand,
withput knowing or waiting to learn the ways of our worlds,
they considered us to be lower than animals,
they stole our lands from us and took us from our lands,
they made slaves of the sons of the Sun.
However they have never been able to eliminate us,
nor to erase our memories of what we were,
because we are the culture of the earth and the sky,
we are of ancient descent and we are millions,
and although our whole universe may be ravaged,
our people will live on
for longer than even the kingdom of death.
Now, we come from the four corners of the earth,
we protest before the concert of nations,
that, "we are the Indigenous Peoples, we who
have a consciousness of culture and peoplehood,
on the edge of each country's borders and
marginal to each country's citizenship."
And rising up after centuries of opression,
evoking the greatness of our ancestors,
in the memory of Indigenous martyrs,
and in homage to the counsel of our wise elders:
We vow to control again our destiny and
recover our complete humanity and
pride in being Indigenous People.
(Source: Douglas E. Sanders, "The Formation Of World Council of Indigenous
Peoples," IWGA Document No. 29, 1977. This declaration was agreed upon by
the delegates to the first international conference of Indigenous Peoples
in Port Alberni, British Columbia, in 1975, which led to the World Council
of Indigenous Peoples (WCIP).