August 9th has been designated by the United Nations as the international day of the world’s indigenous people. On this day people across the world work to raise awareness and protect the rights of Indigenous peoples across the globe.
This year, Nathan Galaviz (Agrarian Commons) traveled to Omaha NE to attend the 2023 Indigenous Peoples Summit, which was organized by members of the Omaha, Maya, Iowa, Winnebago, Ponca, and Cherokee nations.
Agrarian Trust was invited to attend the summit by our partners from the Maya Economic Development Corporation, who have engaged Agrarian Trust’s support in the formation of an Agrarian Commons in Nebraska. The Maya regeneration project has outlined a plan to enact a land-based project on a 310-acre farm outside of Omaha. In addition to healing the land and growing healthy foods, the Project will serve as:
1. A training center for new Maya farmers,
2. A Maya Center for multi-institutional and interdisciplinary collaboration on soil, water,
and human health for community and academic relations and research,
3. Center for cultural exchange and Eco-tourism (local, national, and international) modeling
the Arbor Day Foundation,
4. Center for spiritual and mental health
Agrarian Trust had the honor of participating in the outstanding events of this summit. Which included over a dozen indigenous panelists, speaking over two days on topics such as, “Indigenous food sovereignty, Rights of water, Rematriation Seedkeeping and Indigenous womanhood, the Doctrine of discovery – indigenous tradeways and climate change, and indigenous/non-indigenous allyship.
Meals were prepared with ingredients sourced by native producers, prepared by native chefs Nico Albert Williams (Cherokee Nation), Anthony Warrior (Shawnee, Mvskoke, Sicangu Lakota), and Stacey Laravie (Ponca).
Elder, Wisdom Keeper, Activist, and Humanitarian Mary Lyons (Anishinaabe-Ojibwe) spoke about her work protecting the waters of Turtle Island and led a water ceremony on the Banks of the Missouri River.
Deb Echo-Hawk (Pawnee) executive director of the Pawnee Seeds Preservation, Society shared about her decades of work preserving the traditional seeds of the Pawnee nation, and her efforts to preserve non-hybrid native corn varieties for future generations.
The summit culminated in the historic signing of a long-awaited trade agreement between tribal nations, in effect re-establishing trade agreements that existed prior to the removal and cession of territory. The Omaha, Maya, Iowa, Winnebago, Ponca, Santee Sioux, and other Nations desire to form relationships for Spiritual, Political, Economic, Cultural, and Social development consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and Principles of Native Nations Rebuilding,
The four objectives of the Agreement were:
- The nations will be the founding members of the Indigenous Peoples Council on Agriculture and Trade,
- The Big Elk Economic Development Corporation, The Maya Economic Development Corporation, Iowa Farms, Grey Snow Economic Development Corporation, and Ho-Chunk Inc. will explore how to create the Indigenous Peoples Agrarian Commons,
- Partners will be the Nature Conservancy, GC Resolve, Agrarian Trust, The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development (HPAIED) Native Nations Institute (NNI), Dark Earth [invited partners, not confirmed]
- Establish the Indigenous Peoples Summit as the Institution for the advancement of sovereignty and Earth-based-holistic-sustainable development.
Agrarian Trust is committed to continued participation in the efforts of native nation rebuilding as its principles of self-determination, sovereignty, and cultural match, coincide with the goals of the Agrarian Commons. We look forward to sharing more as the commons project in Nebraska develops.