May 15, 2017 - Through the Eyes of Janene Yazzie of the Navajo Nation
I first met Janene Yazzie in Guatemala, at the 3rd International Indigenous Peoples Corn Conference in Tecpan, Guatemala, held March 7-9th 2017. On this occasion Janene was in New York attending the 16th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at UN Headquarters, as a student of the Tribal Link Foundation Project Access Training Program; it is taught by world famous and respected Indigenous Rights expert Andrea Carmen of the International Indian Treaty Council/IITC, and co-mentored by Ghazali Ohorella (Alifaru), Tai Pellicier (Taino-Arawak), Victor Anthony Lopez-Carmen (Yaqui & Lakota); and myself – Damon Gerard Corrie (Lokono-Arawak).
Janene in the Youth Caucus at the UN
When I heard her speak in Tecpan about the time in her Navajo Nations not-so-distant history (1866/67) when the Navajo men were contemplating following the callous USA governments orders to ‘move to exile in Florida for a few years” (which would in fact have been a cultural genocide had they done so), however, the Navajo women REFUSED to join them, and they told their men: Ïf you go there you will go alone, we are staying here on our land with our children with-or-without you”…The Navajo men had no choice but to back down from that idea and STAY on their land as the women were determined to….for had the men gone…it would have literally destroyed the Navajo Nation….when Janene described what elders had told her about Navajo children at Fort Sumner on the US Military ‘reservation’ where Navajos were kept as prisoners-of-war… and how these little Navajo children would pick the crumbs out of the dirt that the American soldiers dropped while eating….because ‘the children wanted to live’…it literally brought tears to my eyes …and to Janene’s too, we all heard her voice crack with emotion to retell that sad true story….from that moment on – I knew this was a young lady with her heart in the right place, a future leader we can depend on to set wrong things right.
Janene (far left top barely peeping over) with Sabantho Corrie and Mainaku Borrero and Leonardo DiCaprio, with Organiser Tom Goldtooth next to him.
So it was my great honor, privilege and pleasure to get to know her even better in our 10 days together in New York at the UN. She has a way of speaking that I can onlý describe as ‘being as beautiful as she looks’….time seems to stand still as you listen to her heart speaking directly to your soul, you can feel the truth in what she is saying to you, because it comes not from the head, but from a place more ancient, more deep in the river of time, a truth compounded by the truths of thousands of generations who lived in the love and light of true human beings – who walked softy and humbly with respect on Mother Earth for countless ages of mankind…before the spiritually dead non-indigenous rose to prominence by their ill-will and used technology to lead the world astray from an inherent spirituality – to man-made religions….and forever poison the sea of humanity with their malice for all that love and life dwell within in harmony.
Janene Yazzie also travelled to Washington DC with a bus-load of us for the 29th April 2017 historic Indigenous Peoples led Peoples Climate Change protest march around the White House, it drew a crowd of 200,000 protesters according to CNN (see video clip below), and she was on the front line co-leading the march with fellow indigenous brothers & sisters from around the world..even Hollywood A-list star Leonardo DiCaprio asked to join the Indigenous leading section to show his solidarity.
JANENE YAZZIE SPEAKS AT THE UNITED NATIONS PERMANENT FORUM ON INDIGENOUS ISSUES
INDIGENOUS LED PEOPLES CLIMATE CHANGE MARCH 2017 – WASHINGTON DC
CNN AERIAL VIDEO OF CROWD ESTIMATE OF 200,000
By Damon Corrie