A Spiritual Health Shield: For the Huicholes, and For the World
Previous Election Day of the Living
For those of us who cherish the wellbeing of life on Earth, for those of us who love and long for peace, for those who envision a future that lifts up the peoples of our millenary cultures and all cultures, we celebrate as we enter an era of new possibilities. In the US, we are daring to dream of a future where, as President Elect Joe Biden said, our better angels will prevail.
In a parallel moment in the Andes, in a city named Peace — a city that longs for peace, after a year of racial and political strife — a similar transition is taking place. Making the rounds on the internet is a different kind of acceptance speech, one that is grounded in an Indigenous vision of the world, and whose government was and will once again be based on the principles of a pre-colonial reality. It is worth taking a few moments to reflect on that worldview in the context of national governance. I share with you the acceptance speech of Vice President Elect David Choquehuanca of the Plurinational Republic of Bolivia.
With the permission of our gods, of our older brothers and of our Pachamama, of our ancestors, of our achachilas, with the permission of our Patujú, of our rainbow, of our sacred coca leaf.
With the permission of our peoples, with the permission of everyone present and not present in this chamber.
Today I want to share our thoughts in a few minutes.
It is an obligation to communicate, an obligation to dialogue, it is a principle of living well.
The peoples of millenary cultures, of the culture of life, maintain our origins since the dawn of remote times.
We children have inherited an ancient culture that understands that everything is interrelated, that nothing is divided and that nothing is outside.
‘Let’s go together’
That is why they tell us that we all go together, that no one is left behind, that everyone has everything and no one lacks anything.
And the well-being of all is well-being of oneself, that helping is a reason to grow and be happy, that giving up for the benefit of the other makes us feel strengthened, that uniting and recognizing ourselves in everything is the path of yesterday, today, tomorrow and always, from which we’ve never strayed.
The ayni, the minka, the tumpa, our colka and other codes of ancient cultures are the essence of our life, of our ayllu.
“Ayllu” is not only an organization of society of human beings, ayllu is a system of organization of life of all beings, of everything that exists, of everything that flows in balance on our planet or Mother Earth.
For centuries the civilizing canons of the Abya Yala (Latin America) were unstructured and many of them exterminated. The original thought was systematically subjected to the colonial thought. But they could not turn us off; we are alive, we are from Tiwanaku, we are strong, we are like stone, we are cholke, we are sinchi, we are Rumy, we are Jenecherú, the fire that never went out. We are from Samaipata, we are jaguar, we are Katari, we are Comanches. We are Mayans, we are Guarani, we are Mapuches, Mojeños, we are Aymara, we are Quechuas, we are Jokis, and we are all the peoples of the culture of life who awaken larama, the same, rebellious with wisdom.
‘A transition every 2,000 years’
Today Bolivia and the world live a transition that is repeated every 2,000 years, within the framework of the cyclicality of time. We go from no time to time, beginning the new dawn, a new Pachakuti in our history.
A new sun and a new expression in the language of life where empathy for the other or the collective good replaces selfish individualism.
Where Bolivians all look at each other the same and we know that united we are worth more, we are in times of being Jiwasa again, it is not me, it is us.
Jiwasa is the death of egocentrism. Jiwasa is the death of anthropocentrism and it is the death of theolocentrism.
We are in time to return to being Iyambae; it is a code that our Guaraní brothers have protected, and Iyambae is the same as a person who has no owner. Nobody in this world should feel like owner of anyone or no one.
In 2006 in Bolivia we began the hard work of connecting our individual and collective roots, of returning to being ourselves, of returning to our center, to taypi, to pacha, to the balance from which comes the wisdom of the most important civilizations of our planet.
We are in the process of recovering our knowledge, the codes of the culture of life, the civilizing canons of a society that lived in intimate connection with the cosmos, with the world, with nature and with individual and collective life. to build our suma kamaña, our suma akalle, which is to guarantee the individual good and the collective or community good.
We are in times of recovering our identity, our cultural roots, our sake. We have cultural roots, we have philosophy, history, we have everything. We are people, and we have rights.
One of the unshakable canons of our civilization is the inherited wisdom around the Pacha, guaranteeing balance in all time and space is knowing how to manage all the complementary energies, the cosmic one that comes from Heaven with the Earth that emerges from under the Earth.
These two telluric cosmic forces interact, creating what we call life as a visible (Pachamama) and spiritual (Pachakama) totality.
By understanding life in terms of energy we have the possibility to modify our history, matter and life as the convergence of the chacha-warmi force, when we refer to the complementarity of opposites.
The new time that we are beginning will be sustained by the energy of the ayllu, the community, consensus, horizontality, complementary balances and the common good.
Historically, revolution is understood as a political act to change the social structure, in order to transform the life of the individual. None of the revolutions has managed to modify the conservation of power, to maintain control over the people.
‘Our revolution is the revolution of ideas’
It was not possible to change the nature of power, but power has managed to distort the minds of politicians. Power can corrupt and it is very difficult to modify the strength of power and its institutions, but it is a challenge that we will assume from the wisdom of our own peoples. Our revolution is the revolution of ideas, it is the revolution of balances, because we are convinced that in order to transform society, the Government, the bureaucracy and the laws and the political system we must change as individuals.
Our truth is very simple. The condor takes flight only when its right wing is in perfect balance with its left wing. The task of forming ourselves as balanced individuals was brutally interrupted centuries ago. We have not concluded it and the time of the era of the ayllu, the community, is already with us.
It requires that we be free and balanced individuals to build harmonious relationships with others and with our environment. It is urgent that we be able to maintain balance for ourselves and for the community. We are in the times of the brothers of the Apanaka Pachakuti, brothers of change, where our fight was not only for ourselves, but also for them and not against them. We seek the mandate, we do not seek confrontation, we seek peace. We are not from the culture of war or domination, our struggle is against all kinds of submission and against the single colonial, patriarchal thought, wherever it comes from.
The idea of the encounter between spirit and matter, Heaven and Earth, of Pachamama and Pachakama, allows us to think that a new woman and man will be able to heal humanity, the planet, and the beautiful life that is in it, returning the beauty to our Mother Earth.
We will defend the sacred treasures of our culture from all interference, we will defend our peoples, our natural resources, our freedoms and our rights.
‘We will return to Qhapak Ñan’
We will return to our Qhapak Ñan, the noble path of integration, the path of truth, the path of brotherhood, the path of unity, the path of respect for our authorities, our sisters, the path of respect for fire, the path of respect for the rain, the path of respect for our mountains, the path of respect for our rivers, the path of respect for our Mother Earth, the path of respect for the sovereignty of our peoples.
Brothers, in conclusion, Bolivians must overcome division, hatred, racism, discrimination among compatriots. No more persecution of freedom of expression, no more judicialization of politics. No more abuse of power; power must be to help, power must circulate. Power, as well as the economy, must be redistributed. It must circulate, it must flow, just as blood flows within our body. No more impunity — justice, brothers and sisters.
But justice must be truly independent. Let’s put an end to the intolerance of the humiliation of human rights and of our Mother Earth.
The new time means listening to the message of our peoples that comes from the bottom of their hearts. It means healing wounds, looking at ourselves with respect, recovering the homeland, dreaming together, building brotherhood, harmony, integration, hope, to guarantee peace and happiness of the new generations.
Only then can we achieve buen vivir — living well — and self governance.