Mayan Leaders of Mexico Welcome Indigenous Delegates to UNFCCC in Traditional Sunrise Ceremony
By Jason Pan
Special Report for Indigenous Peoples Media Network
Cancun, Mexico (Special to Huntingtonnews.net) – The indigenous peoples activities and parallel events for UNFCCC got started this past weekend with a traditional Sunrise Ceremony by Mayan community leaders of Mexico on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2010.
Conducting the traditional ritual in the Mayan language (with translation in Spanish and English), the ceremony involved indigenous delegates and NGO representatives from around Mexico, joined by people from many countries around the world, who are here in Cancun to participate at the UN Climate Change summit meeting.
The traditional ritual seek for blessing and spiritual guidance from Mother Earth and “Sukum Keem“, the name for the Sun God in Mayan language. Organized by indigenous peoples groups and Klimafourm 10, the ceremony took place in a forest park campsite just outside of Cancun.
“We welcome the indigenous peoples from all corners of the world. This UN meeting is taking place in our Maya homeland. The World must hear our voice and our concerns at this meeting on Climate Change. We want to protect our land, our forest, the air and the water”, said Gabriel Mazon, a Mayan leader from the Tulum community of the Yucatan Peninsula, representing the local indigenous CCDS CDI organization.
Mazon chanted Mayan prayers and blessed each of the participants with the burning of herb medicine, as they held hands together in forming a great circle to surround the sacred fire burning in the center.
Other Mayan spokespersons made reference to the ancient Mayan calendar, the long historic perspectives of his people and the cyclic nature of Time which brings about great changes, and the birth, destruction and re-birth of the world.
Also conducting the ceremony was Het’sua, a Mayan community leader from the Olmec state of Mexico. He said, “The Mayan people are the knowledge-keeper of Time. We have recorded the movement of the sun, the moon, and the stars. We understand the cyclic movement of the Universe, and our Earth is part of this Great Cycle.”
Het’sua also told the participants that he can feel the strong positive energy of the Universe resonating at the event, because the local Mayans are receiving indigenous brothers and sisters from throughout Mexico, while a number of indigenous delegates have come a long way from Latin America, North America, Asia, and other parts of the world to gather for the alternative Peoples Climate Summit activities.
It is appropriate for the indigenous Mayan communities to host the event, as the UNFCCC is taking place in Cancun of the Yucatan Peninsula, which belongs to the traditional homeland of the Mayan people.
Representing the indigenous peoples of South America were the Aymara elders of Bolivia, Mr. Gabino Apata Mamani and his wife. They brought declaration and issue of concern on Climate Change from the Aymara people, and also the message of encouragement and support from Bolivian president Evo Morales.
Tom Goldtooth and his Indigenous Environmental Network represented the North American indigenous peoples at this event. Following the Mayan ritual, Goldtooth also took part in the ceremony by performing his Dakota people’s tradition of offering of peace pipes and special prayer.
According to the indigenous delegates at the event, they are attending UNFCCC and also partaking in the parallel activities outside of the official venues, in order to make their presence felt at this UN Climate Change Summit Meet.
There are also organizing a number of side events, workshops, and press conferences to present their recommendations and advisory to negotiations inside the UNFCCC, as the indigenous communities are among the most severely affected by impacts of climate change, cutting down of the forest, and the effects of global warming.
Photo – Mayan community leader Mr. Het’sua (left, standing) and other Mayan indigenous peoples of Mexico. joined by Aymara elders from Boliva (center, two persons in colorful poncho sitting) at the Sunrise Ceremony in Cancun, Mexico