In addition to speaking on the floor of the United Nations, Lopez will also hold a press conference before the International Press Corps on Friday, April 20th and co-host a side meeting with international indigenous leaders on Tuesday, April 17th.
Chairman Lopez is attending the United Nations as a delegate of the American Indian Movement (AIM) – West. AIM-West Director Antonio Gonzales said, “The issues of lands, territories and natural resources are inextricably linked to sustainable development and self-determination. While attending the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues AIM-WEST delegates will bring attention to and hold extractive industry projects, who are also the number one threat to climate-change, on our lands, water and territories, by initiating a movement toward a globally binding instrument to hold them accountable.”
The Amah Mutsun working through their Amah Mutusn Land Trust and with many committed partners are calling on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors to acknowledge the difficult truth regarding the history of California Indians. “Please understand, we do not expect apologies,” said Lopez. “What we want is for Santa Clara County to deny the Sargent Ranch/Juristac mining proposal. This proposal will forever alter one of the few remaining sacred lands of our people. The impact of this mine to the Silicon Valley economy will be miniscule, the impact to this sacred land and to our people will be catastrophic.
Photo: Juristac, http://www.protectjuristac.org/photos/
On April 17, Chairman Lopez of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band spoke at the 17th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, calling for the protection of Juristac.
“Today the Amah Mutsun calls on Santa Clara County to deny the mining permit for Juristac,” Lopez stated during his 3 minute speech at the United Nations headquarters in New York. “We will not allow our ancestors to be forgotten, ignored or erased from history.”
Chairman Lopez also called upon all governments to “dismantle the systems of oppression and domination” of indigenous peoples. He also asked that the United Nations “recognize that the extractive industries are the number one threat to climate change…and that there must be a globally binding instrument to hold them accountable.”
In addition to his speech on the floor of the United Nations, the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band in partnership with AIM-West hosted a side meeting with about 50 other representatives of national and international indigenous nations. At this brief conference, the sand and gravel mining proposal for Juristac was discussed, alongside other critical issues including the struggle of the Tohono O’odham nation against the proposed border wall, the campaign to Free Leonard Peltier, and current indigenous organizing in Minnesota to stop Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 pipeline.
Video of Chairman Lopez’s full speech: