Press Release
October 3, 2001

Indigenous People Lead Path to Sustainable Global Security and Development at Action Summit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Phil Lane Jr., International Coordinator of the Four Worlds International Institute for Human and Community Development, announced today that Four Worlds, the Native Investment and Trade Association (NITA) of Canada, and the Chief and Council of the Carib Territories of the Commonwealth of Dominica, are hosting an international conference to promote sustainable human prosperity and well-being for Indigenous peoples. The "Reunion of the Condor and the Eagle International Indigenous Action Summit will take place February 25-March 2, 2002, in the Commonwealth of Domincia.

"The primary thrust of the Summit is to provide a 'fourth way' for Indigenous peoples, beyond the three choices many now see for survival - giving up their Indigenous identity and becoming part of the marginalized poor, accepting poverty and powerlessness as their destiny, or using violent and non-violent confrontation and resistance," said Lane. "This fourth way consists of modeling collaborative development initiatives designed to move Indigenous populations toward greater levels of well-being, prosperity and dignity, in partnership with their respective governments, non-government organizations and business communities. In light of the tragic events of September 11, developing this fourth way is crucial to the peace and security not only of the Western Hemisphere, but for the entire world."

To this end, the Summit will bring together Indigenous peoples of the Hemisphere with Canadian Aboriginal businesses and community development organizations, as well as with Canadian government agencies that provide programs recognized by Indigenous people as outstanding examples of Indigenous/government partnerships. In all, 200 participants are expected from Canada, Mexico, the United States, the Caribbean and selected countries of Central and South America to explore opportunities for mutual cooperation and support. The Government of Canada delegation will be led by Secretary of State (Africa and Latin America), the Honorable David Kilgour.

The conference, funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), will encompass plenary sessions, topic-sharing circles, special cultural evening receptions, visits to potential business and social development projects, and a closing banquet and cultural gala, as well as a ceremony in honor of the late Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Douglas, who was formally adopted by Ojibways in Canada more than 30 years ago.

For each government and indigenous delegation represented, an initial needs assessment will be conducted to determine a practical course for economic and social development. This will be followed by exploration of concrete opportunities for cooperation in trade, investment, and development between successful Canadian Aboriginal business and social development initiatives and other participating Indigenous peoples across the Hemisphere.

The showcasing of model Canadian government programs for Indigenous development will provide an example for forming parallel initiatives across the Americas between Indigenous peoples and their governments.

"Although many challenging Aboriginal issues still remain to be resolved here in Canada, we believe, from the guidance of our Elders, that challenges are best approached by visualizing and moving into the positive alternative that we wish to create, and building on our strengths, rather than by giving away our energy fighting the negative," said Lane. "We see many positive examples of Canada as a country that is striving to support the development of Indigenous peoples toward greater levels of prosperity and well-being without their having to forfeit their culture or way of life, especially in the international arena."

Programs to be presented at the conference include CIDA's new $10-million Indigenous Peoples Partnership Programme (IPPP), that is focused on the development of Indigenous peoples across the . In addition, Indigenous peoples will be sharing their development solutions with government and business.

A general plan will be developed for creating and maintaining a virtual hub for the inter-indigenous network established at the conference. This "hub" will act as a resource for helping Indigenous peoples, their country governments, and international development agencies to interact and communicate more effectively and for ensuring that technical assistance is available to implement the agreements and plans that come out of the Summit.

Distinguished international guests include Prince Alfred von Liechtenstein, who has dedicated most of his life and career to international peace, the environment, holistic healing, and developing ethical and sustainable business initiatives.

With its emphasis on action, the Summit is the next step in inter-indigenous cooperation and mutual social and economic development that began with the negotiation and signing of three International Trade and Social Development Agreements between the Aboriginal people of Canada and the Indigenous peoples of Mexico, the Caribbean and Ecuador, in 1999, 2000 and 2001, respectively. The governments of Canada and the Commonwealth of Dominica are the first governments of the world to join with Indigenous peoples in signing such agreements.

These "Condor [people of the South] and Eagle" [people of the North] agreements, which now formally encompass more than 8-million Indigenous people in the Western are based on "sixteen principles for a sustainable world" and focus on re-establishing an ancient inter-indigenous trade and development network of the Americas. This Indigenous Action Summit is expected to be the first of a series of such summits to assist Indigenous people across the and around the world and to further expand the Reunion of the Condor and the Eagle.

Four Worlds International Institute for Human and Community Development, founded by Indigenous Elders of North America almost 20 years ago, is a not-for profit organization that has initiated a variety of projects, programs and prototype models to promote sustainable human prosperity and well-being for Indigenous people, in North America and around the world. In 1995 Four Directions International was established as Four Worlds' economic development arm.

For more information please contact Four Worlds International Institute for Human and Community Development.

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