Encounter II

II Encounter of Indigenous Communities in the High Andes and Amazon

5 thru 9 November 2003 in Andean village of Mosoqllaqta, Peru

Yachay Wasi's Second Encounter of Indigenous Communities in the High Andes and Amazon ended three days before the visit of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to Cuzco and Machu Picchu.

This Encounter, originally scheduled for June 2003, had to be postponed twice because of lack of funding and was finally presented in November with private donations by Yachay Wasi 's officers unaware at the time of this symbolic coincidence.

The Encounter took place in the Andean village of Mosoqllaqta at an altitude of 3,750 meters (12,303 feet). Mosoqllaqta is a neighbor of Acopia, native village of Yachay Wasi president Luis Delgado Hurtado, home of First Encounter in June 2001. Both villages are in the province of Acomayo and in the department of Cuzco at a distance of approximately 110 kms from Cuzco. Mosoqllaqta is near the beautiful Laguna (lake) Asnaqocha as is Acopia located close to the Laguna Acopia.

The 5-days Encounter (5-9 November) hosted several gender base delegations from far away Andean villages and one representative from the Peruvian Amazon. In the months preceding Encounter, organizers Luis Delgado Hurtado, Yachay Wasi, and Dario Espinoza, Centro Sami, had traveled to various communities to invite them and deliver the necessary travel stipend.

International attendance was small with Indigenous representation from Mexico, Bolivia and Argentina. Lodging in Casa Campesina in Cuzco, bus and car transportation to village, food and lodging in village were free to participants.

Eighteen members and friends of Yachay Wasi carried on the preparation, logistics (including the cooking, as this important aspect of the Encounter which was supposed to be delivered courtesy of the Mayor of Mosoqllaqta and a local NGO was cancelled at the last minute) and facilitation of the Working Groups.

Each participant received a folder of information which included xeroxed copies of the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Quechua and Spanish, the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues brochure, World Heritage maps & information, and the Executive Summary of the World Water Development Report. UN documents were contributed by UN DPI in NYC, OHCHR in Geneva, UNESCO World Heritage Centre and UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme in Paris.

On November 6, Luis Delgado Hurtado, who was scheduled to speak on the work of the United Nations, introduced surprise guest Mr. Ole Henrik Magga, Sami from Norway, and Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues who requested to participate in late October. His clear and to the point presentation of the goals of the Permanent Forum, translated in Quechua by Luis and in Spanish by Marco Carpio Sanchez, a member of Yachay Wasi, and his Sami closing song entitled the Western Wind touched everyone there.

Mr. Magga presentation

The themes of the Working Groups: Cultural Identity; Tourism, Environment and Bio-Diversity; Indigenous peoples and Human Rights; Education, Health and Nutrition were presented by various professors of the Universidad Nacional de San Antonio Abad del Cusco. Intellectual Property was presented by a representative of INDECOPI (Instituto Nacional de Defensa de la Competencia y de la Proteccion de la Propriedad Intelectual).

Dr Fortunato Turpo Choquehuanca from Peru, official representative to the Encounter of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, attended the last two days.

Most of the participants returned to Cuzco on Sunday 9 November in the evening. Luis had asked two of the delegations, the Q'eros and the Qashinawa to remain in Cuzco to be able to meet with Secretary-General Kofi Annan. However, it was not meant to be as SG Annan, in the evening of the 12th, never went to the fortress of Saqsaywaman, which is near Cuzco, where he planned to meet with Indigenous leaders amid a crafts and produces fair which had been laid out there. He visited Machu Picchu by car from Aguas Calientes which he reached by helicopter and returned to Cuzco airport for a flight to La Paz, Bolivia. Luis Delgado Hurtado who had obtained an official badge for the events only managed to see him off at the airport.

Regardless, the spiritual connection was made and the words of Secretary-General Kofi Annan at Machu Picchu reflect the signs of the times....


Toward the World Conference Against Racism and the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

on June 17 thru 21, 2001 in the district of Acopia, Department of Cuzco, Peru.

Encounter was conducted in Quechua with Spanish and English translations.

near Acopia lake

From Program:

"Dicho evento tiene por finalidad que Communidades Alto-Andinas del Cusco, converjan en un encuentro que tambien es un reencuentro, donde puedan conjuncionar costumbres, tradiciones y rescatar lo que nuestros antepasados no llegaron."

This event was planned in cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

From a letter by Mr. Bacre W. Ndiaye, Director, NY Office OHCHR addressed to Yachay Wasi president Luis Delgado Hurtado in Cuzco:

“…This event will be an occasion to discuss issues of concern to indigenous peoples and to raise awareness of the work accomplished by the United Nations in that regard. The outcome of the discussions will also be constructive in view of the forthcoming establishment of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.”

A representative from OHCHR NY office addressed the event. Yachay Wasi had also invited officers from UN DPI, WIPO and UNESCO to participate, but letters of encouragement were received instead.

This Encounter was to gather, for the first time in the Andean village of Acopia, representatives from Tawantinsuyu, the ancient Inka Empire, in order to inform them of the work of the United Nations on behalf of Indigenous Peoples and to have them consult on issues of interest to them.

Communities represented included Q’eros, Ollantaytambo, Q’iqu Grande, Chechacupe, Pitumarka, Santo Domingo and other villages in the vicinity of Acopia, and of course, Cuzco and Acopia.


These balanced gender delegations from these faraway villages included the "varayoc" (leader) of the village and holder of the official stamp which accompanies their signatures, making this a valuable and true first Encounter.

International visitors were Inga Hansen, Inuit journalist from Greenland; Indigenous representatives from Taiwan: Jason Pan, Journalist, Rev. Namoh Ising and Tzu-Ming Liu; Rachel Groux, representing the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and Marie-Danielle Samuel, Yachay Wasi, both from NYC.

Some of the meetings took place in the City Hall of Acopia with its Mayor in attendance.

Every details of Encounter were well prepared by Luis and his associates: badges, posters, packages of information with notebooks and pens given to all 60 attendees.

Informative material had been contributed by UN OHCHR on the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples and the upcoming World Conference Against Racism (which was also the subject of material contributed by UN DPI). WIPO had given recent info on its first Meeting on Traditional Knowledge and UNESCO WHC had also contributed literature.

Themes of discussion were: Cultural Identity, Intellectual Property, Environment and Bio-Diversity, Indigenous peoples and Human rights, Education, Health and Nutrition, Work of the United Nations. working group

Significantly, as MOST issues were NEW to the official Indigenous delegations, they were not prepared to select a candidate for Permanent Forum. So no action was taken on this.

Various resulting documents were the reports of the Working Groups, a message to UNESCO World Heritage re. status of Machu Picchu which was faxed to Mr. Herman van Hooff, official in charge of Peru at UNESCO WHC, who acknowledged receipt by phone.

A room in the house of Luis’ family in Acopia was dedicated as a "biblioteca", library, during Encounter - featuring a computer (adapted to Spanish language) donated by Eliane Lacroix-Hopson, Yachay Wasi, and a bookcase partially filled with donated books. Internet capabilities are not possible in Acopia for the time being. This dedication was the symbolic first step toward the Cultural Center which will be established there in coming years.

A memorable comment from Tzu-Ming Liu, environmentalist from Taiwan, was: "One of the assets of this Encounter was that it took place in a village where participants experienced the actual living conditions of the peoples. It did not take place in a city where Indigenous representatives are brought in, as it is usually the case."

Sadly, the additional altitude in Acopia badly affected some of the international visitors who had to return to Cuzco prematurely and be under a doctor care.

On a secondary note, our trip to Machu Picchu and attendance of Inti Raymi revealed the horrors of class segregation resulting from excessive commercial tourism.

near Acopia