April 13 – Lima, Peru. Indigenous leaders from throughout the Americas met from April 11 to 12th in Lima, Peru for the Fifth (5th) Indigenous Leaders Summit of the Americas (ILSA) and established a new organization to represent their interests: the American Council of Indigenous Peoples (ACIP). In Spanish, the Consejo Americano de Pueblos Indigenas (CAPI).
The newly established body will be headquartered in Ottawa, Canada and will have an Executive Council composed of eight members, two (2) each from North, Central and South America and the Caribbean. The eight members will chose a President, Vice-President and Secretary from amongst the Council members. The Organizing Committee composed of Hugo Tacuri of Peru, Amadeo Martinez of El Salvador along with Clem Chartier and Perry Bellegarde of Canada will carry on as members of the Executive Council. Brooklyn Rivera of Nicaragua who has also worked with the Committee has joined the Executive Council. There is agreement that a representative of the Amazonian Indigenous people will be added to the Executive Council, as will two representatives who will be appointed by the Caribbean region.
It was also agreed that the Executive Council will serve until a General Assembly can be convened in 2020 at which time elections for the ACIP leadership will take place. It was also agreed that the Executive Council would consult broadly on a constitution for ACIP and will provide a draft for further discussion and adoption at the 2020 General Assembly.
In addition to dealing with the creation of a new representative body, the Summit also discussed the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (ADRIP) adopted by the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) in June 2016, as well as the Plan of Action for implementing the ADRIP adopted by the OAS General Assembly in June 2017. The consensus of the Summit participants was that while the adoption of ADRIP and the Plan of Action are welcomed, they will only serve Indigenous peoples if they are implemented, and one of the tasks of the newly established body is to advocate for their implementation.
Another important topic of discussion was international trade between Indigenous peoples throughout the Americas, and the Summit received with interest the initiatives of the Manitoba Metis Federation and the lead role it is playing in advocating and implementing international trade relationships with Indigenous communities from Latin America.
In concluding remarks the participants expressed their happiness in the successful conclusion of the Summit, and in particular the creation of the new Americas-wide Indigenous peoples’ organization. The participants also expressed their gratitude to the Métis Nation and the Assembly of First Nations in their work on the committee to make this a reality as well as providing financial support for the Summit itself. Thanks was also given to the Métis Legal Research and Education Foundation which also assisted in this effort, as well an making a financial contribution.
l-r: Marie-Josée Gingras (Permanent Mission of Canada to the Organization of American States), Clara Morin Dal Col (MNBC President), Marlene Poitras (Regional Chief- Alberta, AFN), Gwyneth Kutz (Canadian Ambassador to Peru), Clément Chartier (MNC President), Jennifer Loten (Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Canada to the OAS), Cassidy Caron (Minister for Métis Youth and Provincial Métis Youth Chair, MNBC)