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Author: sgupta

As part of the Q(C)ollaysuyu Collaborative, CEED staff traveled with fellow Indigenous activists and educators to the Plurinational State of Bolivia to participate in the 3rd International Seminar Workshop on the Construction of a Plurinational State with Indigenous representatives from the Bolivia, Colombia, Guatemala, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Mexico, Argentina and Venezuela. The focus of the Seminar was to create an Indigenous charter for realizing the philosophical framework Vivir Bien (“Living Well”). CEED’s Director of Research Programs, Dr. Cecilia Martinez, spoke on a panel addressing justice in“sustainable” development and climate policy in the context of Vivir Bien. Legal Analyst Liza (Guerra) O’Reilly presented on the issues of environmental human rights. CEED and Q(C)ollaysuyu partners Dream of Wild Health, Phillips Indian Educators, and Bdote Learning Center also participated in workshop discussions on how to address the root causes of environmental destruction and the violation of Indigenous rights. Our delegation included CEED representatives Shalini Gupta, Dr. Cecilia Martinez and Liza O’Reilly along with Dr. Roxanne Gould, Indigenous educator and co-founder of Bdote Learning Center; Dr. Priscilla Day, University of Minnesota Duluth; Dr. Donald Day, President of Leech Lake Tribal College; Miigis Gonzalez, Board member, Dream of Wild Health; Jim Rock, Indigenous Educator and co-founder of Bdote Learning Center; Dr. Elise Marubbio, Augsburg College, and Elder Nayoka Blackbird.Our delegation was invited to meet with the Bolivian Minister of Ceremony, Fernando Huanacuni Mamani, where we exchanged ideas on Vivir Bien and how the Cochabamba Peoples Agreement on Climate Change can lead to international action in climate change and food sovereignty. We met with Indigenous groups, including CONAMAQ and the Bartolina Cisas, culminating our exchange with a two-day dialogue and tour with former Minister of Health, Dr. Nila Heredia Miranda. A highlight of our trip was a hosted visit to the rural community of Patacamaya with Dr. Miranda, where we were welcomed by the community in a traditional ceremony and given a tour of a rural hospital that is part of an innovative national health policy of integrating Western medicine and Indigenous traditional healing. Traditional healers and medical personnel are working to advance public health in their region, in an effort to decolonize health and environmental institutions.

We were privileged to meet with many Indigenous groups and to hear their ideas about climate change and global sustainability. Our Bolivian exchange better helps us to build a climate justice agenda in our region. You can read the Twin Cities Peoples Agreement on Climate Change and the call for action that grassroots community members from the Twin Cities developed through a series of community dialogues in 2012.

A very special heartfelt thank you to Sonia Davila and Soledad Gutierrez for their extraordinary work in hosting and providing guidance to our Collaborative. We also extend our sincere gratitude to Ivan Sanjines and CEFREC for including us in the 3rd International Seminar Workshop on the Construction of a Plurinational State and for their financial support. See photos of Sonia, Soledad, Ivan and the Q(C)ollaysuyu Collaborative Bolivian Exchange.

We are excited to announce that Liza (Guerra) O’Reilly, Esq. has joined CEED as our Legal Analyst. Liza is an attorney and a member of the Minnesota American Indian Bar Association (MAIBA) and brings extensive experience in human rights issues. She is a member of the United Confederation of Taino People, the Indigenous people of Boriken (Puerto Rico). Liza’s past positions include being a Judicial Law Clerk for the Honorable Kathleen A. Mottl with the Minnesota State Judicial branch, and an investigator at the Minnesota Department of Human Rights on complaints of discrimination. She received her J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota in 2003.Liza has served as a delegate to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues for the North American Preparatory region, and the Indigenous Peoples Global Summit on Climate Change in Alaska in 2009. She also recently served as a committee member and panel moderator for the 2013 Indian Law Conference co-sponsored by the MAIBA and Minnesota Continuing Legal Education. Liza is a long-time activist in her South Minneapolis community on issues affecting indigenous and Latino people. She is a traditional dancer with the Kapulli Yaocenoxtli dance circle, and is an advisory member to the Zenteotl Project. As a Legal Analyst, Liza will contribute to broadening CEED’s engagement of research, policy and strategic initiatives addressing equity and justice in climate change, environmental justice and energy policy. Please join us in welcoming Liza to CEED.

CEED is the proud recipient of the 2013 Allies for Justice Award from the Headwaters Foundation for Justice for our work on environmental and energy justice. CEED formally received the award at the Headwaters Foundation for Justice’s 15th annual celebration at the Nicollet Island Pavilion in Minneapolis. Our honor was memorialized in a beautiful thematic pictorial created by artist Ricardo Levins Morales.Headwaters’ Executive Director, Trista Harris, celebrated CEED by stating that “this year’s honorees exemplify the importance of connecting with the community in bringing about social change” and that Headwaters was “proud to be associated with organizations and individuals like these that are dedicated to promoting environmental equity in our state.” CEED extends its gratitude to the Headwaters Foundation for Justice for honoring and supporting CEED’s work. We recognize our ability to advance environmental justice would not be possible without our community allies who have stood with us, and we thank them as we collectively move environmental justice forward. See the Headwaters video about CEED.Photo: CEED Board, staff and volunteers at the Headwaters celebration were: (standing left to right) Pratibha Gupta, Shalini Gupta, Lolita Spotted Thunder-Granados, Deb Feeny; (sitting left to right) Hui Wilcox, Shannon Gibney, Pramila Vasudevan, Jim Kleinschmit, Anand Gupta Kleinschmit.