The IAMAW (Machinists’ Union) held its’ first human rights conference in Orlando, FL from Sept 1 – 5, and council-fire was presented to the 350 delegates from across the US and Canada. The attendees were overwhelmingly supportive of building an international organization that focuses on the issues of indigenous people’s issues.
Kevin Cummings (Lumbee), Frank Saptel (Canadial Labour Congress – Workers of Color committee), and Monica Silbas (Yacqui) introduced the group to council-fire and were greeted with enthusiasm and applause. “We are prepared to do this out of love and concern for the people who were here first. This land had people on it long before 1492, and it’s about time the first people were included in the prosperity and opportunity that exists” said Cummings.
The group asked questions, gave testimonials about their concerns and activities with native people, and committed to carry the conversation back to their respective communities. It was a good experience, and may be the launching pad that council-fire needs.
The spirits smiled on the gathering, and the future looks good.