October 28, 2019
By Teresita Orozco
In Wangki Awala Kupia, Waspam municipality, in the north Caribbean coastal region of Nicaragua, the Eleventh Meeting of Wanki Indigenous Women took place, bringing together more than one thousand Miskita women for four days on October 19-22, 2019.
Fourteen work spaces were created, each with 60 to 70 participants. The women reflected and contributed ideas on the issues raised including: healing and spirituality for the survivors of violence; Wangki Indigenous women as human rights promoters and defenders; economic empowerment of Wangki women; Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and Indigenous women; and intercultural communication. The workshop on intercultural communication for women was facilitated by Cultural Survival.
Indigenous Miskita promoter and communicator, Vilma Washington, highlights, “We dialogue with our authorities of the regional government of the North Caribbean Coast and our Indigenous municipal mayor's office. We talked with officials and officials of the institutions, about the programs they carry out in our communities, presenting our proposals and joint responsibility commitments for their implementation.”
The fruit of the articulated efforts of Miskito Indigenous Women has made the Wangki Women's fora possible. For 11 consecutive years, they have brought together hundreds of women from the communities of the Coco River, from other regions of the country, and even have included some international participation. The women meet to raise their considerations on existing policies, the work of civil society organizations, and for cooperation, as well as the identification of concrete actions for the problems they face, among which the most pressing is gender violence.
“We travel from our communities, adding to the fabric of peace and autonomy, convened by the organization of indigenous women Wangki Tangni to the Eleventh Forum of Indigenous Women of Wangki. We come from the eight Indigenous territories (Kipla Sait, Li Lamni, Li Auhbra, Amasau, Wangki Awala Kupia, Wangki Twi Tasba Raya, Wangki Maya Yahbra Tah), we, women, men, youth, midwives, promoters, wihtas (Miskito judges), Indigenous leaders of the 115 communities of the Waspam municipality, ” states Indigenous Mayor Rose Cunningham who, from her work with Indigenous women in her territory, saw this initiative born and strengthened.
Dr. Myrna Cunningham, stresses that “violence and non-resolution in our communities in the cases of rape and murder, is still a challenge. Women continue to be attacked and killed. We reiterate the need for the presence of the National Police, the National Army and the strengthening of the judicial system in many of our communities to complement the security measures that we ourselves promote. The dialogue with the local, municipal, and national authorities with the wihtas and leaders, Indigenous promoters will continue to bear fruit to promote the rights of women and children, and strengthen Indigenous governance, in a context of legal pluralism, autonomy and peace."