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CARIBBEAN INDIGENOUS DELEGATION MAKES HISTORY AT THE OAS

Group at OAS One hundred and forty Indigenous leaders and representatives from every continental member state of the Organization of American States and from four of the OAS Caribbean member nations (Barbados, St. Vincent, Dominica and St. Lucia) formed the Working Group on the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (of the Americas); held in Washington DC from April 25th to 30th 2004.

Attending from Barbados was Damon Gerard Corrie, President of the Barbados based Pan-Tribal Confederacy of Indigenous Tribal Nations - representing over five-hundred thousand Indigenous People worldwide (it is also the only multi-racial global indigenous Confederacy in existence); an entity that was created by Mr. Corrie after he attended the United Nations sponsored SIDS (Small Islands Developing States) Conference held in Barbados in 1996. Oswald Robinson - a well known leader in the Teachers Union of St. Vincent, represented that countrys' Garifuna People of whom he is also the national leader.

Group at OAS Dominica's Carib Chief Garnett Joseph represented his 5,000 member tribal nation, and Indigenous Anthropologist Dr. Albert Deterville from St. Lucia who founded the Aldet Centre Caribbean Antilles Indigenous People's Caucus - lead the delegation.

The OAS had also invited representatives from Guyana and Trinidad - who failed to attend, the issues of Guyana's Indigenous People's were nevertheless raised by Mr. Corrie who is himself of Guyanase Arawak descent and who is actively involved with several Village Chiefs in that country who have ratified articles of alliance with the Pan-Tribal Confederacy.

Group at OAS According to Mr. Corrie "The most ardent supporters of the Indigenous Rights we as a collective hemispheric working group proposed to the OAS state representatives were Venezuela, Chile and Argentina. The United States, Canada and Brazil were the main opponents of our proposals and progress was hampered by their endless semantic arguments and seemingly apparrent lack of a pre-approved mandate from their political superiors."

Mr.Corrie also noted that whilst seats were officially allocated to every OAS member state - not a single Caribbean State Representative was present; in contrast every North, Central and South American State Representative was in attendance.

Of the seven seats officially allocated for indigenous delegation heads - one was reserved for the Caribbean Antilles Caucas, and this was the first time in the history of the Organization of American States that Caribbean Indigenous Peoples have been accorded such formal recognition by that austere body. The session was formerly closed by the famous Mayan Nobel Laureate Rigoberta Menchu from Guatemala.

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