She is one of the 1000 women proposed fort the Nobel Peace Price 2005.
Linked to our presentation of Network of Wayuu Indigenous Women on January 26., 2006.
She says: “We women, as givers of life, are also responsible for taking care of that life and, for that reason, we need strong organizations of indigenous women.”
Noelí Pocaterra – Venezuela
She works for the Network of Wayuu Indigenous Women, and for the Permanent Commission for Indigenous People in the National Assembly of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
She is an indigenous woman, a Wayuu woman. She is militant, socially and politically, and has committed herself, for over 40 years, to the defense of the human, political and territorial rights of her country’s native people.
The discrimination and exclusion experienced by her people motivated her to fight tirelessly, in a number of different ways, for the inclusion, in 1999, of the indigenous people’s rights in the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
She is an appointed chair of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples and Vice-President of the National Assembly. She has become a key player in policy changes for indigenous people in Venezuala.
Noeli is also a strong advocate for indigenous children’s right and and has been instrumental in bringing about positive changes for children at the national and community level by affecting both policy and programming.
The Institute of childrens rights and development IICRD (has been working with Noeli since 1996. She has participated and advised on several of IICRD’s children’s rights projects.
Noeli Pocaterra is interviewed by Javier Perez, from Mexico, May 2003 (See dialog between nations).
Summary of Statement by NOELI POCATERRA to the Second Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues during the discussion on Culture: NOELI POCATERRA, of the Consejo Nacional Indio de Venezuela, said her culture and language were the spirit and basis of her identity. It was important not to destroy the creations of God and expressions of life. Culture and language were the identity cards of indigenous peoples, giving them the opportunity to have their own life. Their heritage and spiritual values had enabled them to resist the colonialism that still existed today. Indigenous peoples must not give up, but defend their sacred life on earth.
She recommended prolonging the Decade for indigenous people, and urged United Nations agencies, States and indigenous peoples to set up a policy affirming the value of bilingual education. She also stressed that full value should be given to traditional knowledge, which was the key to the future.
The drug related civil war in Colombia between the FARC and the paramilitaries resulted in a series of massacres of ethnic minorities near the Venezuelan border. (Read the article from Gaëlle Sévenier, Denver Post).