April 19, 2018 – Submitted to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Agenda Item 10 By the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples
I would like to thank the Special Rapporteur, for the opportunity to address Agenda Item 10: Human Rights, to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. I would like to take this moment to acknowledge your safety and wellbeing today. In spirit of the many generations of strong females, our voices will not be extinguished! The Creator positioned each and every one of us in these sacred places to create our sacred spaces.
We, the Bears Ears Prayer Run Alliance, an affiliate of the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples, are a delegation from the Pueblo of Laguna, Acoma, Hopi, Navajo and Ute. We take this time to thank the Indigenous Peoples of this land for welcoming and allowing our visit. I would like to acknowledge the spirits of the Indigenous Peoples that came before us.
My name is Jasmine Felipe, I am Sun Clan, my parents are Monica and Harold Felipe. (Will state name in my native language) My name translates as, East side Water Hole Girl – where the koshare live. I am the youth delegate for the Bears Ears Prayer Run Alliance and the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples. I am a traditional farmer and trapper. I haul wood, hunt and fish. I am a proud cultural participant. I am an advocate for the Violence Against Woman’s Act (VAWA) and a Water Protector.
Mother Earth is me and I am her. I get to be with my mother every day and she nurtures and heals me. I am not better than her or is she greater than me. I speak for the animals and the future generations. The Bears Ears region is the indigenous home of our ancestors. Tribal leaders and President Obama set forth to protect and safeguard the region for future generations. Our indigenous identity is represented in the relationship of the land, language, culture, ceremony and traditional resources. Protection and the boundaries have been reduced by 85% within the southeastern Utah region. This demonstrates clear and unfortunate disrespect for the human beings that we are and the human rights that we deserve.
We would like to invite the return of the Special Rapporteur to join in our next prayer run. To be our guest, learn about and experience the land, to hear the stories around the camp fire, share in meal time and build a relationship to the landscape in the manner our ancestors did when they ran out on our homelands as we have. To understand and then to return to the United Nations Permanent Forum next year to report back on the importance of the preservation of our sacred sites, using Bears Ears, an endangered and targeted sacred site, critical to our identities, cultures, environment and human rights, as a living example.
On December 26, 2017, Three Sister’s for Bears Ears a Prayer Run and Walk was youth organized in response to concerns of the reduction to the boundaries of the Bears Ears National Monument. March 12, 2018, the Bears Ears Prayer Run Alliance engaged in a prayer run into the sacred region of our ancestors. Youth, elders and members of the indigenous peoples, as well as non-indigenous peoples, came out to run and honor the migration of our ancestors. Six nights of camping, where stories of the land and a time of our people were shared around the camp fire. The movements of our elders were carried out in our actions in that moment. We felt their presence and acknowledged their existence.
Thank you for this honorable consideration for our sacred sites of our ancestors and homelands of our elders. To visit and learn, and report back to the world the realities of our homelands, and how they are targeted by corporations and extractive industries, will provide the experience of our ways, culture, customs and the Indigenous needs and threats to our Mother Earth, identities and human rights. Our Mother Earth is not a commodity.
On behalf of those who have gone before us, those who are here today, and those who have yet to come. Thank you.