III Indigenous Women's March opens space for building sisterhood between racial feminist struggles
The importance of environmental preservation, guaranteeing rights, combating gender-based violence and sisterhood between indigenous and black women in the fight for a fairer society. These were the themes that dominated the discussions on the second day of the III Indigenous Women's March in Brasilia.
The thermometers in the federal capital were reading 25°C when dozens of women, with their paintings, seeds and maracas, began to gather in the camp's central tent to take part in the "Women of Water" international plenary session. Women of different ages, ethnicities and countries were at the table, demonstrating the strength of the indigenous movement. Representatives from countries such as Malaysia, Uganda, the United States, Peru, Kenya, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Russia, Indonesia, Guatemala and Finland were present. Indigenous women from every continent of the globe, engaged in transforming society.
Cristiane Julião, of the Pankararu ethnic group, is co-founder of the National Articulation of Indigenous Women Warriors of Ancestry(ANMIGA), an initiative that organizes the March and receives support from ELAS+. She explains that this allusion to water is a way of valuing everything that nature offers humanity through natural resources. At the end of the plenary, she said that, like the current of the waters, indigenous women are traveling through territories all over the planet.
"These are the waters that flow, that are not trapped. They are currents, not currents that trap. These waters have managed to break out of the bubble and are now flowing elsewhere. Each one of these women has flowed and is forming other oceans." Cristiane Julião
Natália Izhenbina is 65 years old and is part of the international delegation attending the March. With the help of an interpreter who translates the ethnic Russian language into English, she says she is very excited about the opportunity to share experiences with Brazilian indigenous women.
"Being together strengthens our voice. People need to hear what we have to say, we have a wealth of knowledge." Natália Izhenbina
Strengthening between them and for them
Joining forces and sharing lessons was the emphasis of the March on the second day. Indigenous women from ANMIGA met with international leaders who are benchmarks in the fight against gender violence to discuss strategies for tackling the problem. At the same time, in the central plenary session, representatives of indigenous feminist movements and black women called for recognition of the sisterhood of struggles.
Organizations such as the National Network of Anti-Prohibitionist Feminists and the Black Coalition for Rights, black movement initiatives also supported by ELAS+ through the Black Women Alliance program, were present. Ingrid Farias, one of the representatives, made a point of highlighting how indigenous and black women hold the same flags.
"We, black women, want to build a sisterhood with indigenous women. We don't want to go it alone because the fight against racism is a fight to guarantee our lives and our rights. We need to make this country have our face, our colors and our identity. We want to remain united, the headdresses of our fellow indigenous women with our turbans and braids." Ingrid Farias
The March closes on Wednesday, September 13. More than 6,000 indigenous women are expected to occupy the streets of the Esplanade of Ministries, one of the main thoroughfares in Brasilia, where all the ministries are concentrated. The indigenous women will then march to the National Congress to demand their rightful places and an end to violence against the indigenous population.