Bastón de la Paz – Canadian tour March 5 -12, 2017:

Colombia’s Indigenous Peoples have suffered disproportionately during the conflict as much of the fighting has taken place in or around their territories. Many of these communities have been repeatedly forced off their lands after years of threats and killings carried out by the security forces, paramilitaries often acting in collusion with state forces and other armed actors. Displacement often takes place in areas with potential for economic exploitation, including mining.

The rights of Indigenous communities and their ability to access and use Colombia’s resource-rich land is central to a lasting peace. Precisely because indigenous People’s make up a disproportionate number of the victims and displaced communities of the conflict, their voices are especially essential for ensuring a just and lasting peace in Colombia.

Luis Fernando Arias of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) will travel to Canada for an educational tour.  He will meet with Labour representatives, civil society organizations, government officials, students and the general public.  A central priority of the tour will be to meet with Indigenous groups in Canada.  Luis will travel to Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal for a seven day tour between March 5th – March 12th 2017.


Tuesday March 7th7pm at University of Toronto, 100 St. George Street, Sidney Smith Hall 2098

Speakers: Luis Fernando Arias and Terrylynn Brant – Turtle clan of the Mohawk Nation of Grand River, Six Nations and traditional Mohawk Seedkeeper.

Food will be served see event info  here

(another event in Toronto on March 11, see below)


Thursday March 9th from 7-10 pm. local a-1824, pavillon Hubert-Aquin, UQAM. Conférence Autochtones, industries extractives et processus de paix en Colombie

Luis Fernando Arias -Conseiller général de l’Organisation nationale des autochtones de

Colombie (ONIC). Mise en contexte de la situation en Colombie par Leila Celis, professeure CRIEC-UQAM
Conférence présentée en espagnol avec service d’interprétariat disponible sur réservation à

Friday March 10th from 12:15 to 1:45,  join MICLA and Midnight Kitchen for a lunch and  learn event at McGill University, Room 102, New Chancellor Day Hall, McGill Faculty of Law. Free vegan lunch will be provided here

Saturday March 11th Toronto event 6:30pm Trinity St. Paul’s United Church and Centre for Faith
Main Floor (Chapel Room) 427 Bloor St. West

“Cultural, Gender and Territorial rights in the context of Colombia’s Peace Accords”

Charo Minas Rojas is an Afro-Colombian human rights defender, member of the Black Communities’ Process in Colombia (PCN), a grassroots nation-wide movement comprised for over 100 local Afro-descendant grassroots organizations and community councils, as well as a representative of the National Afrocolombian Peace Council and the Ethnic Commission for Peace and the Defense of Territorial Rights. She is one of the activists who helped to write the “ethnic chapter” of the Havana Peace Accords.

Sheila Gruner is an activist and professor of community development at Algoma University in Northern Ontario, has been accompanying the work of the Black Communities Process for many years, as well as the Ethnic Commission since its inception and is currently involved in solidarity and alliance building in support of the grassroots indigenous and Afrocolombian territorial movements in peace process and post accord period.

They will speak about the role of the Ethnic Commission in the pre and post peace accord period, as well as the potential role of Canada in monitoring its implementation. Topics to be covered include strategies for increased visibility and protection of Indigenous and Afro-Colombian leaders, communities and territories in the face of heightened violence, and other challenges.

For more info. see Facebook event

Profile: Luis Fernando Arias:

Indigenous leader of the Kankuamo people (Sierra Nevada De Santa Marta) lawyer, and leader of the Colombian indigenous movement., expert in human rights, justice systems and self- government, legislation and special Indigenous jurisdiction, prior consultation, First Nations land rights and peace.

He was the legal counsel and secretary general of the The National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC according to its Spanish acronym) from January 2008 to 12 October 2012.  From 13 October 2012 he has been the Chief Counsel and legal representative of the National Authority of Indigenous Government – ONIC, elected by the VIII ONIC National Congress of Indigenous Peoples; his mission is to perform the functions defined in the General Political Mandate and in the Self-government Act in addition to any others entrusted to him by Assembly of ONIC´s National Authorities.

During his mandate he has led the process to bring unity to the indigenous organisations, associations and peoples affiliated to ONIC and  to other various processes of mobilisation, dialogue and political consultation which have been of great importance for Indigenous peoples and social and popular sectors; these include  the Ethnic, Small Farmer and Popular Agrarian Summit.  Luis Fernando Arias Arias is the ONIC delegate to the Permanent Roundtable for Consultation with Indigenous Peoples and Organisations. During his time as chief counsel he has been involved in consultation about the legal measures agreed to in the Popular Indigenous and Social Minga* in 2013 and in the prior consultation and dialogue regarding the agreements and commitments to Indigenous peoples included in the National Development Plan 2014-2018.

In 2016, as ONIC´s representative, Arias Arias was one of those heading up the Ethnic Commission for Peace and the Defence of Territorial Rights.

During ONIC´s IX National Congress of Indigenous People´s, which took place from 8-14 October 2016, he was ratified as ONIC´s chief counsel and legal representative for the 2016-2020 period.

ONIC Profile: the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC). The ONIC represents 47 Indigenous organizations in Colombia, and advocates for Indigenous peoples, threatened by armed conflict, forced displacement and the imposition of resource extraction projects.

Thanks to the sponsors of this tour: