Indigenous participation and leadership are essential components of URl’s history. In the last year, URI members and leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean region published a book encapsulating the wisdom of Indigenous Cosmovision.
This project was started by Sofía Painiqueo, indigenous from the Mapuche people in Chile, and Raul Mamani, indigenous from Kolla people in Argentina. Both are former trustees from the URI Latin America and Caribbean region. These conversations were a way of celebrating the 20th anniversary of URI and connecting the community through conversations of hope in times of fear and uncertainty. The conversations echoed the voices of people who had been shut down and unheard for so long.
“The history of native peoples has always been written from western versions. There are some versions that come close and some that are not even close and treat us badly. There are people who have been correcting these versions. It is a custom of non-indigenous people to include a bibliography when they make a book. When it comes to the subjects or the cultures of the native peoples, however, the source of information is never mentioned, and that is bad because it contaminates and impoverishes the indigenous peoples’ own knowledge.
It is important that we indigenous people write our own history and write about our own cosmovision, just like Francisco is doing as a young indigenous person who is always looking for a way to be full of knowledge. I celebrate that he is making a trustworthy book that represents the history, the reality, the thought, and knowledge of the culture to come.“
Sofía Painiqueo, former URI Global Council Trustee
From June 2020 to June 2021, a series of 10 recorded Zoom conversations concentrating on different aspects of the indigenous cosmovision was led by different indigenous members of the region. The richness of these conversations sparked in URI Regional Coordinator, Enoé Texier, the absolute necessity of having these conversations transcribed and transformed into a book so these words and this wisdom could be spread throughout the world.
“The title of each of chapter is suggestive and invites us to get to know a particular aspect of the lives and the differentiated societies of Indigenous peoples These narratives help foster nourishing dialogue and a way to experience the richness of cultural diversity.” Enoé Texier, URI Regional Coordinator
The program was executed by a tireless team effort among CC members, regional staff, trustees, and volunteers. The online publication was released in October 2022 in Rio de Janeiro. Written in both English and Spanish, this bilingual edition seeks to make the indigenous worldview – a cosmovision rooted in Indigenous ancestry – known and enjoyed by everyone everywhere to give these voices visibility and to give opportunities for all people to learn different ways of co-existing with nature and all living beings.
“All of this work is related to our 20-year experience with URI, where different religious leaders commit themselves to work for peace, the environment, and all suffering human beings today. This book celebration has been important for us because, in some way, we wanted to show URI who we, indigenous people, are, what we think, and our vision of the world and life.”
Raúl Mamani, former URI Trustee
The care of indigenous people about nature as a mother and the wisdom they extract from nature invite people to co-create a more balanced and just world; and, to create a golden rule from their cosmovision, which reinforces commitment to URI’s Purpose and Principles.
“URI gives me the opportunity to meet with my brothers, which is an incredible thing. I live in a country where we have 305 different ethnic groups with 180 languages, and I did not know the indigenous world until I came to URI. Every time I listen to an indigenous brother, I am happy, and many times, I even cry because I see so much wisdom
and because I feel so small in front of all the brothers.”
Salette Aquino, 2020-2024 URI Global Council Trustee
Currently, there is a team working on a business strategy to have the book sold in virtual and printed versions to make this message available worldwide and raise funds to support projects that address indigenous and environmental issues.
Please click below for a copy of the Cosmovision: Ancestral Legacy in Spanish or in English.