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Indigenous Voices: Resisting Oil Extraction in Colombian Cloud Forests
September 26, 2017 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
When: 6pm for women 7pm open to everyone
You are invited to spend an evening with Aura Tegría Cristancho, U’wa indigenous woman lawyer, who is an integral force in the protections of indigenous rights and forests in Colombia.
The U’wa consider themselves the guardians of their sacred ancestral homeland. In accordance with their natural laws, for centuries they have successfully defended their territory high in the Andean cloud forests. The U’wa have resisted conquistadors, missionaries, colonists, and, more recently, the oil industry, guerrillas, the military and paramilitary groups active in the region. A testament to the strength of their traditional leaders, the U’wa have survived these aggressions with their language, culture and a large area of their ancestral territories still intact.
Aura Tegría Cristancho is a young indigenous lawyer from Colombia’s U’wa Nation. Since late 2013, she has served as the legal advisor to the U’wa Association of Traditional Authorities and Councils (ASOU’WA). During her tenure, Aura has been central to a number of important advances made by the U’wa people in the defense of their ancestral territory, like their successful shutdown of a natural gas exploration platform, called Magallanes, which was constructed within their ancestral territory in early 2014. Through nonviolent protest, international advocacy, media campaigns, and direct negotiations with the government, the U’wa were able to stop the project in its tracks and by early 2015 the platform had been dismantled. Throughout this process, Aura served as a liaison with Colombian and international allies, and a spokesperson before international media outlets and the government. Aura has served as an international ambassador for the U’wa, participating in the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in 2014 and 2016 and traveling to Washington, DC to meet with human rights lawyers at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which formally admitted the U’wa case in late 2015 in large part due to Aura’s diligent work. Aura is a leading voice in the growing movement for indigenous-led conservation and the protection of sacred natural areas, including Mt. Zizuma, the Uwa’s sacred mountain threatened by tourism.
Doors will be opening at 6pm to WOMEN of the community only. This is an opportunity for our women to connect with, be empowered by and listen to the wisdom of Aura on perseverance through these times, as women warriors.
At 7pm doors will then open to the general public to hear Aura speak from a panel to share their work and accomplishments, and also to let us be inspired to see ways that both men and women can empower each other, as we are all needed to create a strong front in the many ways we resist. Questions for our guest will be open after the panel.
For any indigenous women attending there will be an opportunity for treaty signing of the Indigenous Women of the Americas Defending Mother Earth Treaty. For more information on the treaty and what it means to be a treaty signer please visit www.IndigenousWomenRising.
We also appreciate any volunteers who would be willing and able to help us clean up the tables and put away chairs after this event! We’re very excited to share this delegation with the Bay Area community and look forward to seeing you on September 26!!
Co-Sponsored by Idle No More SF Bay, Intertribal Friendship House and Amazon Watch. Photo by Amazon Watch.
A few articles for reading!