Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Message of the Second Encounter of Indigenous Women Theologians of Abya Yala

We are pleased to bring you the English translation of the message issued at the 2nd Encounter of the Comunidad de Teólogas Indigenas Abya Yala. This small group of women indigenous theologians emerged as a separate organization from the broader group of indigenous theologians in 2010. For those who are mystified by the term "Abya Yala", it is a word from the Kuna people of Panama meaning literally "land in its full maturity" or "land of vital blood". It is used to refer to the continent that we know as "America" to get away from the colonial associations of the latter term. This message is available in its original Spanish on Amerindia. -- RG

We, the women of the Aymara, Quechua, Miskitu, Kaingang, Kichwa, Puruhá and Quitucara peoples, together with sisters who stand in solidarity with our process, gathered at the Second Encounter of Indigenous Women Theologians of Abya Yala on the theme "Feeling, Narrating, Making and Celebrating Right Living, the Sumaq Kawsay, the Suma Q'Amaña, the Worthy Life," on October 12-14, 2013 in Cumbayá, Ecuador,

Welcomed by the Cotopaxi, Pichincha and Kayampi mountains that radiate their energy to us and strengthen us in our journey, prior to the 7th Continental Encounter on Indigenous Theology, and standing in solidarity with the march of the Amazonian women who are resisting the government of Ecuador's proposal to exploit the oil in one of the most biologically diverse ecological reserves of the world, known as the Yasuni ITT (Ishpingo, Tambococha, Tiputini),

Affirm our word:

In the joy of the encounter and of journeying together as women, we can not limit ourselves to what we have learned and what we have been taught in the Church and society. We are women who are linked to the earth as a symbol of ancestry, struggle, and life. We walk together looking towards the horizon that leads us to other encounters.

As part of our ancestral history, we name our feelings: hope, resistance, dignity, pride, joy, and solidarity. On the other hand, we also still feel controlled and questioned by the dominant powers, and other times we feel blame that generally comes to us from the church and social areas, which generates indignation and rage against the system that sets limits on us and which we are confronting without fear or prejudice.

Around the tree, we have reconnected with the God of life, creating new links and strengthening our communal relationships to look for our deep roots in order to sustain ourselves in our identity, in our struggle for rights, land, health care, education, food sovereignty, among other things.

We affirm that the stories and myths are part of the cultural biographies of our ancient peoples. They keep us alert, listening attentively, and serve as guidance. There we find the meaning of the link with nature, harmony in diversity, the focus on the community and not on individuality that reflect Right Living and challenge us to understand life in a different way.

We assume that Right Living arises from the communal experience, from the world vision and spirituality of our peoples who see the universe as a pariverso [Translator's note: "Pariverso" is a term from Andean wisdom meaning a paired masculine universe and feminine universe], a great community where life energy and forces converge in a balanced way, having as principles harmony, equity, reciprocity, and complementarity, related to the political, economic, productive, and socio-cultural dimensions and to spirituality, and these are not empty, clientelistic, political words.

We note, in turn, that a hegemonic way of doing theology has provided a base for gender, inter-generational, and cultural discrimination, and has promoted the lack of appreciation for our theological labor as indigenous women. So we ask:

What marks or determines us in our experience as indigenous women theologians? What image of God was transmitted to us?

From the ancient wisdom and spiritualities, we have found other ways to communicate, to express and articulate our theological thinking that reflect other forms of feeling and experiencing the presence of the divine in our lives, in our peoples, and in the cosmos. So we will continue to promote opportunities to continue dialoguing and retrieving myths and narratives that speak of the invigorating Christian and indigenous traditions.

From this Encounter of Indigenous Women Theologians, we are challenged to break away from dualistic spirituality and rationalist theology, experiencing the process of decolonization of our being and connecting with our fertile subjectivity as sources of fresh water. It is from this interiority that we will be able to affect and disrupt the realities of injustice, exclusion, discrimination, and all those problems that threaten the Worthy Life.

We are committed to the plural and intercultural indigenous theology that links faith and life, motivating us to join the actions, struggles, dreams, and hopes of other emerging subjects.

Finally, we conclude with a call to theologians to deconstruct andro-anthropocentric theology that is uprooted from the earth and harmonious relationships with other beings, and to build theologies imbued with Right Living that generates links with the Earth because we are part of her and we are Earth.

Pujilí, Ecuador, October 15, 2013


Yahoo Groups: Comunidad de Teólogas Indigenas Abya Yala (must subscribe to access contents)

Mensaje del Primer Encuentro de la Comunidad de Teólogas Indígenas de Abya Yala

Bulletins of the Comunidad de Teologas Indigenas de Abya Yala (COTAY)-- in Spanish

New Voices in the Church: Sofía Chipana Quispe (2012)

Challenges and tasks of theology in the Andean region from the perspective of indigenous theology, by Sofía Chipana Quispe (2012)

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