The Latin America Regional Consultation for COP21 I attended in Lima Peru from 12-15 October 2015, as the sole representative for the Indigenous Peoples of the Caribbean Islands - via the Caribbean Amerindian Development Organization (CADO) that I co-lead with Taino leader Roberto Mukaro Borrero of Puerto Rico, and Kalinago leader His Excellency former Chief Irvince Auguiste of Dominica...and the United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP) that I am a Regional leader of, and both these organizations are the ONLY two Caribbean Indigenous representative bodies that are official affiliates of the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) based in the USA.
A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO THE IDEA OF A GLOBAL FUND FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLES - as I would personally envision it to be (just my opinion - not the official opinion of the Caucus).
Germany came up with a 12 million Euro injection to this Global fund idea one year ago, good...but not good enough...as unless we are talking SERIOUS numbers like $100 million per region & $700 million Globally (MINIMUM), I don't consider 12 million Euros to be significant enough to be termed 'Global', lets get serious - there are 300 MILLION Indigenous people on Earth; and 12 million Euros can do very little to improve the lives of anything but a tiny fraction of that number....that is why I came up with what I consider to be a better idea for a TRUE 'Global fund'.
This simple idea 'could' theoretically be improved upon and applied to each of the seven indigenous regions officially recognized below by REAL experts in this field at the kinds of higher levels that actually count, not one humble series of suggestions by a grass-roots activist such as myself.
The proposed 'Global Fund' could be managed by 14 (7 of each gender from each global sub-region to ensure Gender Balance) prominent indigenous representatives who have unblemished reputations for integrity, humility and commitment to the advancement of indigenous peoples rights, with an additional 14 non-Indigenous experts (again 7 of each gender - for balance) in fiscal management at the Global level...drawn from the leading Multilateral Development Banks (MDB's) such as the:
- World Bank
- International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
- European Investment Bank(EIB)
- Asian Development Bank (ADB)
- European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
- CAF - Development Bank of Latin America (CAF)
- Inter-American Development Bank Group (IDB, IADB)
- African Development Bank (AFDB)
- Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)
What sub-regions would a 'Global Fund' cover? Perhaps the 7 already recognized regions could be:
#1 - Asia
#2 - Africa
#3 - The Arctic
#4 - The Pacific
# 5 - North America
# 6 - Central & South America & the Caribbean
#7 - Central and Eastern Europe, Russian Federation, Central Asia and Transcaucasia
There are approximately 50,000,000 (Fifty Million) people in Latin America and the Caribbean that officially
belong to the almost 600 indigenous peoples of the continent, many of whom are in Mexico, Peru, Guatemala, Bolivia and Ecuador.
I can't begin to try to inject thoughts about the other 6 regions, so let me just focus on my own, region #6 - Central & South America & the Caribbean. As we already have the two persons (male & female - one from South America & one from Central America) in mind that have the broad support of the vast majority of our leaders of the various major indigenous entities; to sit on the board of a Global Fund as our two sub-regional representatives.
So let us say for arguments sake - 700 Million was allocated ANNUALLY to the Global Indigenous fund from UN member States who recognize (if they are HONEST) that this is a small part of the BILLIONS they WASTE annually in their own national budgets (collectively)...and most of these same states who would now 'donate' to the Global Fund - have themselves become as prosperous as they are today - from their own historical Colonial PILLAGING of the lands and territories of native peoples in the first place....so it is not 'charity' - it is beginning to PAY BACK FOR WHAT YOUR ANCESTORS HAVE STOLEN.
So to be fair to each of the 7 Global Sub regions the money would be further sub-allocated to each of these regions equally - providing 100 million dollars to them individually to 'Regional Funds', such as (in my case) 'The Central & South America & Caribbean Fund', now on the board of this Global Sub Region Fund will ALSO sit the 14 non-indigenous experts, and also prominent indigenous representatives who have unblemished reputations for integrity, humility and commitment to the advancement of indigenous peoples rights, but on this sub-regional fund we should have 2 (again one of each gender for balance) from EVERY Independent Political Nation-State in the sub-region that has indigenous Tribal Nations residing within it's borders.
So the independent political nation state of Antigua & Barbuda in the Caribbean (for example) that has no Indigenous Tribal Nation residing within it's borders - would NOT have any seat or say on the Sub-Regional Fund for Central & South America & the Caribbean....but the independent political nation-state of Dominica WOULD have to send two Kalinagos (one male one female) to sit on the board to represent Dominica (which has only one indigenous tribal nation resident within it's borders).
It should not matter if a country has many indigenous tribal nations or just the minimum requirement of one, as the political nation state will only be eligible for 2 indigenous representatives..and these 2 indigenous representatives should be INDEPENDENTLY selected by the majority vote of the indigenous tribal village or territorial leaders of their countries - NOT 'selected' by the government of the political nation-state.
So now that you have a better idea of how this could work, you can imagine say perhaps 40 indigenous representatives (20 men & 20 women) from 20 political nation-state countries in the Central & South America & Caribbean Region, sitting with the 14 non-Indigenous fiscal experts from the Global Fund...to decide how to allocate the 100 million dollars in our sub-region.
However, among ourselves (the 40 + 14) there will first be an automatic further sub-allotment of this 100 million lump sum, and it should be sub-allotted based on 'official indigenous percentage of the population based on a sub-regional level', so basically the 100 million dollars should get divided 3 ways automatically once it comes into the Central & South America & the Caribbean Fund - in a manner much like (just for example):
54% to Central America (this will include Belize)
As we all honestly know that Central America has the largest indigenous population in our sub-region.
45% to South America (this will include Guyana & Suriname)
As we all honestly know that South America has the second largest indigenous population in our sub-region.
1% to The Caribbean (this includes the Caribbean islands ONLY - from the Bahamas in the north to Trinidad in the south - and all islands in-between that have resident tribal nations). As we all honestly know that the Caribbean has the smallest indigenous population in our sub-region.
It should NOT be a simple case of automatically apportioning the sub regional funds to every tribal nation in the region, as the funds should be granted on a priority access level (again - decided by a review of cases by the Board in full session), so the tribes in most desperate need in the fiscal year of the fund allocation - would be the ones that it is provided to....and naturally all final decisions will be decided according to majority vote (or consensus) by the entire 40+14 person Board of management to ensure complete transparency and impartiality in the process.
As these will be funds for SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT - not for non-essential expenditures.
At-least, this is my own 'fair distribution' SUGGESTION of any potential funding that COULD potentially materialize after the creation of a Global Fund - and it's inevitable fiscal children - the regional funds.
This should not offend the sensibilities of any fair-minded indigenous or non-indigenous person, sure we can say 'oh there are far more indigenous people by descent in all 3 of these regions that are officially undocumented' but if you include these undocumented others - you will STILL find that Central America will have the most indigenous, South America a close second, and the Caribbean a distant third...so little will be altered in my statistical population based examples.
Furthermore, my personal argument about 'indigenous by descent only' people essentially is this, who gives a damn if millions of additional people are indigenous by majority of their DNA if the vast majority of them do NOT self-identify as belonging to any indigenous Tribal Nation?
Neither have they demonstrated by their own life choices ANY concrete evidence of 'wanting to re-connect to their indigenous selves' in ANY meaningful way such as marrying back into their own tribe or any other tribe and making children among their own people to help build the tribal nation into a stronger & better community - than their indigenous ancestor left it when he/she abandoned the people to live among another......or have they (if they fall under the category of those indigenous cultures who's tribal nations - as cohesive continuously fully functioning social constructs - were virtually destroyed by the European invasion and genocidal occupation it unleashed upon their ancestors as millions of Tainos were).
I recognize and wholeheartedly ACCEPT the genuineness as indigenous peoples of the few thousand Tainos I know who have self-identified with pride in word, thought AND deed....but there are literally MILLIONS of Taino descendants by DNA proof (done by National Geographic for example)....and most of them have not reclaimed their Taino identity in any significant way as yet...and until they do....as they continue to see themselves as something other than Taino (or merely 'part' Taino) ....I can't honestly say I consider them as my indigenous brothers & sisters - as I DO the ones who actually LIVE as shining examples of Taino pride every day of their lives TO THIS DAY.
Among my own Lokono-Arawak people once you turn your back on the tribe by moving away or marrying out - and until you move back or marry back into the tribe - you are 'dead' to the people and not relevant to our continuing existence, so if we never see you return - so be it, our lives will go on as proud Lokono-Arawak people on the face of the Earth WITH or WITHOUT you.
Most of these 'indigenous by descent' folks are in fact ashamed of their indigenous roots and ancestry and are working very hard to disassociate themselves and their children from ANY sense of personal pride of identity or cosmovision of being 'indigenous'....as they put all their efforts into pretending or trying to become as perfect at being imitation Europeans as they can....although they love to TALK about how 'proud' they are to be indigenous LOL.
One excellent but SAD severely blatant example is Peru, where officially 42% of the total population of 30 million is officially recognized as being indigenous...but in truth and in fact 84% of the population is indigenous, you will meet people who look 100% full-blooded indigenous - but they will proudly tell you that they are NOT, and feel quite offended that you thought they were indigenous....they will proudly talk about that ONE white Spaniard ancestor in their family tree 100 or 200 or more years ago, and how they know nothing themselves as city dwellers today of any indigenous language - only Spanish, only practice European religion, and only live a European lifestyle...and will say nothing about ALL the other PURE indigenous people in their own ancestry (because they are ashamed of them due to the brainwashing cultural genocide education system the Spaniards left in place in Peru (and many other Spanish speaking countries). The lingering effects of Colonialism go far deeper than you may want to accept.
A beautiful indigenous girl in Peru who lives in Lima, but ask the average city living indigenous person in Peru like her if they are indigenous and their response and reaction might surprise you.