Mairin Iwanka Raya: Indigenous Women stand against Violence

Mairin Iwanka Raya —New Beginnings—for Indigenous women of the world to stand up against violence. In Mis- kito, we believe in the spirit of the Liwa Mairin, who controls the forces of nature. She sits at the center of the river, caring for it and allowing us to be renewed by its water.

In that same spirit of renewal and beginning, the International Indigenous Women’s Forum (FIMI / IIWF) puts for- ward an analytical report that serves as a contribution to the evolving work on violence against Indigenous women.

We highlight two principal components throughout the report: 1) the spiritual dimension of violence against women, and the need to center the discussion on violence on the “whole” of the person. We understand that each of us is lo- cated within the collectivity and, in that process, we contextualize violence and take a closer look at its particularities; and 2) the need for an intercultural approach to dealing with violence against women if, indeed, we aim to build more peaceful societies.

Mairin Iwanka Raya is a link from our history of struggles to the generations of women leaders located all over the world. It is our hope that this report will inspire reflection, dialogue, intercultural understanding, and research among Indigenous Peoples and human rights practitioners and activists.

This report aims to incorporate a diverse array of Indigenous women’s experiences dealing with violence from different generations, regions, and communities around the world. It echoes, in many respects, the findings of decades of work by Indigenous women activists to combat violence against women.

FIMI has attempted to follow the principle of the Seventh Generation, in which all decision-making is guided by a consideration of the impact of one’s actions on the welfare of the seventh generation to come. In doing so, FIMI pays respect to our elders, whose wisdom continues to inform and guide our determination to advocate for women’s and Indigenous Peoples’ rights at local, national, regional, and international levels.