The First Indigenous Women Summit of the Americas drew around 350 attendees to Oaxaca, Mexico, from November 30 Ð December 4. The objectives of the summit included discussing gender perspectives within a multiethnic and multicultural context, illustrating indigenous women’s achievements, and facilitating indigenous women’s roles as key local, national and international stakeholders. Issues such as human and indigenous rights, education, women’s leadership, discrimination, autonomy and globalization were also debated in depth during the summit.
The Mexican Bishops Council sent a document to the Summit criticizing its support of reproductive and sexual rights, arguing that this is in opposition to what the Catholic Church sees as the sanctity of maternity and life within indigenous culture. Delegates from 18 countries, including the United States, Brazil, Columbia and Canada issued an open letter on Dec. 3 to the Bishops Council, stating that “the Church is worried with the ideology of our criticism to globalization, as if globalization does not entail itself an ideology which perpetuates and increases the marginality and exclusion which we have endured for many centuries,” according to the Summit’s website.
Guatemala’s Minister of Culture, Otilia Lux de Coti, responded to this accusation by stating that “we are not promoting violence, but coming forward with proposals which aim at ending historic inequalities that bring suffering to women and men, but today particularly to women,” according to ADITAL“