Beyond Borders Statement at 5th Annual Indigenous Peoples Day – October 14, 2019

by German Martinez

Good evening everybody,

It is great to see a lot of people present here in this moment. Today, as the saying goes, IT IS A GOOD DAY TO BE INDIGENOUS! As a guest and an Indigenous cis-hetero man from the region known as La Mixteca Oaxaca, Mexico in Tiwa Territories. I am honored to be here among Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

I am from Santa Cruz San Juan Mixtepec, Juxtlahuaca, Oaxaca, Mexico [in Mixtec].

I am delighted to see Natives from across Turtle Island. I am a member of the Beyond Borders Caucus, a caucus of The Red Nation which is a grassroot Native liberation organization based here in Albuquerque, NM.

Today marks the 5th year that Albuquerque has recognized “INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S DAY!” Nationally, more than 100 communities have renamed Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day. On October 12th, marks the 527 anniversary of the European invasion of the western Hemisphere, which began the endless tragedy of the destruction of Indigenous populations in most of the American continent. On this day, it is a day of mourning for the human race. There was no discovery; it was an invasion, death, torment… a genocide without mercy. The only savages came from Europe, dressed in metal armor.

Let this be a reminder that Indigenous grassroot organizers, community, students and teachers made this possible. the red nation and UNM kiva club worked in partnership with other student clubs and community members to make it possible and their organizing was not taken lightly or easily at the University of New Mexico. It did not happen out of the goodness of the politicians at the New Mexico state capitol. Do not forget that change happens because of community mobilization and the power of the people, not because of politicians or brown faces in these places. When the people move, we move.

Today more than ever, Indigenous lives are being threatened by capitalism worldwide. From extraction industries that displace Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people from their homes for profits. It is not an issue from the past. It is happening right here in New Mexico and in every colonized and occupied space. Diné and Pueblo people continue to fight for all of us, for their ancestral homelands against extraction industries that would contaminate the land we live on, the air we breathe and the water we drink.

Is it not ironic how the New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham celebrates Indigenous Peoples Day? On the other side, she is allowing oil industries to expand on Indigenous land without tribal consultation while tribal peoples and communities say, NO TO OIL!

PUBLIC LANDS ARE STOLEN LANDS! It is time we tell the governor that you cannot promote New Mexico colleges and universities to be tuition free at the expense of Native people. You cannot play dirty with marginalized communities. One side is offering opportunities while the other side silently furthering genocide and eradication of Native people. THIS IS UNACEPTABLE! We cannot do both, we must always stand with our Indigenous relatives, comrades, and neighbors.

One of the main reasons I feel so passionately about organizing with the Red Nation is because I have been a seasonal farm worker for more than half of my life. My parents, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles work in the fields under very exploitative conditions. As a migrant, we don’t complain about the work we have to do because we are grateful to be here and have the opportunity to work, but the labor conditions are exploitative and dangerous. Indigenous women in the fields are even more in danger due to patriarchy and toxic masculinity.

Missing and murdered Indigenous women is a movement that knows no borders, because patriarchy knows no borders. We must stand in solidarity with all Indigenous people, women, men, children and especially our queer and trans relatives. I have the privilege of knowing many Indigenous peoples to these territories in the states and I see so many similarities to my Indigenous people in Mexico. From South America to North America, we all want clean water, homes for our families, food on the table and safety to simply exist. Liberation for my people is the liberation for all Indigenous peoples, and we won’t stop till we get it. Like my comrade Hope-Siihasin says, everyone has a place in the movement for Indigenous liberation, SO PLEASE JOIN US! It doesn’t matter if you are Native or not, to ensure that we have a future to pass on to future generations that will come after us.

El pueblo Unido jamás será vencido!