VIII Continental Congress of Indigenous Women of the Americas

More than 250 women representatives of indigenous organizations from across the Americas met in Mexico City to discuss the current political and social situation of the Americas that affects indigenous women, children and youth. Within the framework of the fight against violence against women and feminicide, the participants met from February 26 to 29 to discuss the construction of self-determination and autonomy, territorial rights, peace and justice, intergenerational dialogue, the right to communication and technologies, food sovereignty, and the right to a life free of violence.

As a result of the dialogue between sisters and analysis of local contexts, the participants of the VIII Congress published a “Political Declaration of Indigenous Women against Violence” where they emphasize the various forms of violence, real, symbolic, territorial, and cultural that hover over the life and security of indigenous women. They advocate the design of public policies with budgets allocated by national states that recognize the efforts of indigenous women in their fight against violence. They highlight the need for countries to establish a process of historical, individual and collective reparations that restore and promote healing by providing compensation to victims, with their active participation.

Foto: #ECMIA,

The Continental Congress of Indigenous Women was established in 1995 to make the struggle of indigenous women visible within the framework of the Beijing World Conference on Women. Led by the Continental Network of Indigenous Women [ Enlace Continental de Mujeres Indígenas] (ECMIA), this articulation of indigenous and mixed women’s organizations have managed to develop extensive coordination activities that impact indigenous women of 23 countries in the region.

An important part of its effort includes holding conferences that undertake training processes and an “intergenerational balance sheet” (through seminars, workshops and support for the construction of alliances), to strengthen the leadership capacities and participation of ECMIA Youth in the incidence of public policies. In their own statement, the young women declared:

We are the historical continuation of the dreams and struggles of our ancestors and we assume the commitment to continue on this path together and transmit it to our future generations. We are diverse indigenous youth: rural, migrant, of sexual diversity, workers, students, defenders, and leaders. We reject all forms of discrimination and violence against women, children, adolescents and indigenous youth. We stand in solidarity with historically oppressed groups … We have had to dialogue and interact with the Western colonial system, however, we feel that our voices are absent in the decision-making spaces that affect our lives and that of our peoples.

This international women’s force of change is making demands from states and international organizations to commit and make visible gender violence through the documentation of impacts of violence resulting from patriarchy, extractivism, racism, and discrimination. They also demand unrestricted respect for sexual, reproductive, cultural, and traditional rights.

Foto: #ECMIA,

The film festival “Our Life in Images. Violence and Indigenous Women” was also held during the VIII Congress, which presented cinematographic materials of the Embera, Guaraní, Innu, Maya, Mixteco, Navajo, First Nations (Canada) indigenous peoples ), Quechua and Waranka, directed by female filmmakers and which was also presented in Lima in August 2019.