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News Release

Indigenous Environmental Network

Black and Indigenous Liberation Day graphic

A broad international movement to combat racism is emerging: The Black & Indigenous Liberation Movement (BILM). With over 100 grassroots anti-racist and anti-colonial organizations in its midst, this solidarity network lays the groundwork for future collaboration between the struggles of both rural and urban black communities, and indigenous resistance movements throughout Abya-Yala territory, from Canada to Brazil.

As an inaugural event, The Black & Indigenous Liberation Movement has declared October 12 as Black and Indigenous Liberation Day in the context of a week of largely virtual activities to raise awareness of the meaning of Día de la Raza, also known as Hispanic Day or Christopher Columbus Day.

Among the hundreds of organizations that make up the Black & Indigenous Liberation Movement, we also find international organizations such as the Indigenous Environmental Network, the Movement for Black Lives, Indigenous Climate Action, Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil, and the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador.

The predominantly cultural and activist event, intended to resonate across multiple cities throughout the American and European continents, seeks to create a critical and constructive debate on the issues surrounding both direct and institutionalized racism experienced by black, indigenous, and other racialized communities around the world. In doing so it aims to provoke a worldwide debate around these issues and bring October 12 into question as an uncritically adopted and widespread day of celebration. 

A diverse agenda of artistic and informative activities will take place in a concerted manner in several major cities in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador, Canada, the United States, and Spain. Due to the ongoing extraordinary circumstances being confronted everywhere due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the agenda will primarily focus on virtual gatherings and performances.

Virtual panels and musical performances, exhibitions, and murals, and many other activities will be carried out with the participation of numerous activists, writers, philosophers, musicians, visual artists, and public figures including Sonia Guajajara, Dryad Aguiar, Leonidas Iza, Deirdre Smith, Jaime Vargas, Patricia Gualinga, and many others. 

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Known in different countries as Columbus Day or Día de la Hispanidad, this celebration is widely considered by anti-colonial activists as the quintessential symbol of the widespread denial of the past tragedies suffered by colonized peoples upon the arrival and invasion of the conquistadors in America. The critical dismantling and deconstruction of this celebration is a necessary step towards remedying the inequalities that communities around the world experience today on the basis of race, color, origin, and identity.

Beyond what this Black & Indigenous Liberation Day intends to symbolize, this international event will above all serve as a starting point in furthering solidarity between peoples and communities that share common ground owing to the intersectionality of their struggles. Indigenous and black communities in both rural and urban environments confront problems such as high unemployment, high levels of incarceration, discrimination, and lack of access to basic resources and essential services such as healthcare and education. Furthermore, these groups endure disproportionate levels of police, institutional and corporate violence. 

The The Black & Indigenous Liberation Movement platform is therefore a resistance and support network that draws people together in the fight against discrimination and sends a clear message to contemporary society that the world must urgently change if social, environmental and institutional justice is to be fully realized.

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About Indigenous Environmental Network

Established in 1990, The Indigenous Environmental Network is an international environmental justice nonprofit that works with tribal grassroots organizations to build the capacity of Indigenous communities. Indigenous Environmental Network’s activities include empowering Indigenous communities and tribal governments to develop mechanisms to protect our sacred sites, land, water, air, natural resources, the health of both our people and all living things, and to build economically sustainable communities.

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