Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Thu, Aug. 06

Indigenous Peoples Day—an act of decolonization unfolds<br>

Many years have come to pass in the struggle of our indigenous peoples to achieve the recognition that is our inherent right as human beings, a recognition that was the first casualty of colonization.

However thanks to the indigenous peoples organization TONATIERRA that may be soon changing. The proclamation of Indigenous Peoples Day will be made on March 11 at the Nahuacalli, Embassy of the Indigenous Peoples. A new dawn for the indigenous Peoples of the continent is unfolding, the Nican Tlacah Ilhuitl.

The Mayor of the City of Phoenix, Phil Gordon, will be presenting the official proclamation from the city to the assembled representatives of the native nations of the territory and community. It is estimated that there are at least 65, 000 members of tribally enrolled indigenous peoples residing within Phoenix, with tens of thousands more from indigenous nations and communities from the south where tribal enrollment is not the norm.

The significance of Nican Tlacah Ilhuitl - Indigenous Peoples Day is historic. As a celebration and recognition of the spirit of our common humanity, the proclamation serves to recognize our identity as peoples, a precise term of legal definition and collective identity within the present international legal system and the foundation of the right to self-determination globally.

As an act of decolonization, the weeklong series of events, which will coincide with the Proclamation of Nican Tlacah Ilhuitl, an event sponsored in part with Black Mesa Water Coalition and TONATIERRA. The event will serve to strengthen the collective efforts of the indigenous peoples to implement solutions to issues faced in our communities in areas such as human rights, environmental justice, community development, health, culture and education.

Nican Tlacah Ilhuitl refers to the Dawn of Indigenous Peoples Day in the Nahuatl language (the same language family in which Hopi is categorized), the language of the native Mexican peoples who are the descendants of the Azteca. Much like the break of dawn brings first light upon the land, the efforts of groups of indigenous peoples such as TONATIERRA from around the world are uniting in preparation for the day coming soon when all will be able to see the radiant light from the Sun of Justice.

Delegations of the Seven Council Fire Lakota Dakota Nakota, Western Shoshone, Nahuatlacah and Maya among others are expected in attendance. The Nukutham of the Sacred Sites of the Tohono O’Odham Nations from Baboquivari Mountain are serving to receive the visiting delegations into the territory. Other indigenous nations from other areas of the continent and the world, which will be delivering messages of support and affirmation, include the representatives of the Black Mesa Water Coalitio, which has representatives of the Diné, Hopi, Pomo and Lakota nations.

TONATIERRA has sent out an open invitation to members of other indigenous nations to be present and show their support and representation.

The weeklong series of events include a music and spoken word event organized by TONATIERRA, Black Mesa Water Coalition and other indigenous youth groups of the region. This contemporary assertion of cultural identity is being organized under the theme of “An Act of Decolonization” and is being held Saturday, March 13 at the Nahuacalli, Embassy of Indigenous Peoples located at 802 N. Seventh St. in central Phoenix.

The conclusion of the weeklong events will be the concert featuring Quetzal of East LA, Victor E also of East LA, Casper and the 602 from Hopi land, Blackfire from Flagstaff, the Blue Thunder Singers of the Salt River Pima nation and Yaiva, Project X and JayNez of the Diné, Hopi, Mexican and Cheyenne nations.

Indigenous, page 6

Nican Tlacah Ilhuitl - Indigenous Peoples is also the first day of the New Year in the Aztec calendar, a time of destiny and self determination, which and stands as a signal for all indigenous peoples worldwide. Referring to the Xiuhpohualli, the count of years of Izkalotlan, Aztlan which correlates to other counts of calendar systems among the Maya and Nahua Nations, a legation of the Indigenous Peoples Peace Initiative travels now to fulfill an ancestral mandate called the prophecy of the Sixth Sun given on Aug. 13, 1521 in Mexico.

“It is the dawn of the Sun of Justice. The first rays of light from the east have been seen; they have been felt,” said one youth who has made a lifelong commitment to the goals of the initiative. “Now is the time to go forward in a sacred manner. A new world is about to be born.”

For more information contact Tupac Enrique Acosta at or you can call 602-254-5230. If you are interested in TONATIERRA you can visit the website at or

(Northern Arizona writer Somana Yaiva is a regular contributor to the Navajo-Hopi Observer.)

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