Ingrid Washinawatok El-Issa

  Ali El-Issa on the death of his wife Ingrid Washinawatok
Permanent Forum, Ingrid's Vision  



The Ingrid Washinawatok El-Issa
Flying Eagle Woman Fund
 for Peace, Justice and Sovereignty



Jose Barreiro

Watching the high clouds in early June, without any particular purpose, in the wake of a high flying jet, I notice two small dots streaking through the sky.

A friend with binoculars verifies my guess. "Bald eagles, big and medium sized. Two of them"

Naturally, the thought is of Ingrid, "O'Peqtaw-Metamoh" - Flying Eagle Woman. And with two eagles in the sky, naturally too, her father Jim comes to mind. I remembered Jim singing on his guitar while Ingrid labored for her son in the next room, how much father and daughter loved each other, high flying eagles both: a pair.

If there is a lesson in the cold-blooded murder of Ingrid Washinawatok and her two companions, Lah'ena'e Gay and Terence Freitas, this past March 4th (1999), in Colombia, it is that a life counts. It is not enough to be told that we should forget; it is not enough to be told that she was simply "one of many" killed in the cauldron of violence, that is present-day Colombia. No, a life counts.

Jose Barreiro

The killing fields of Colombia have produced a river of tears. Yet each cry stands alone in the memory of the one from whom it is issued. Every memory points to a specific killer, a perpetrator.

This time it was the Left - in the form of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). As John Trudell, long time American Indian spokesman and now poet-cantor, said, people who dismiss murders as a "simple mistake" might scrutinize the actual record of repression and violence against Indians.

As a personal friend of the El Issa-Washinwatok family and because of my previous experience in international human rights cases, I was asked by the "committee of families" that coalesced during the crisis to coordinate the rescue efforts out of New York City. That traumatic and ultimately fruitless experience nevertheless resulted in great bonding by the wide and large circle of people who knew and loved Ingrid, Lahe and Terrence, and in our mutual commitment to see the truth emerge.

I take the opportunity to once again offer my profound condolences to the families, and to extend my deepest appreciation to the many people and organizations that tried to help during those heart-rendering yet still hopeful days in early March, when we all thought we might see them alive again.

In the high, high sky, two eagles fly past the clouds and onto a patch of deep blue sky. They streak in two straight lines across the sky. Like skimming over and diving into a tranquil blue lake, the eagle pair enter the blue sky, and disappear.

Excerpted from: First Words
A Life Counts
Native Americas
Akwe:kon's Journal of Indigenous Issues
Summer 1999
Jose Barreiro, Editor


Email us your comments


Karen Snowshoe

Welcome to Dialogue Between Nations. Today we are broadcasting from Musqueum territory. We would like to open the dialogue with a Musqueum prayer.

Oh, grandfather, we are many nations gathered here today Grandfather, we thank you Grandfather, we pray for the words that will be spoken during these discussions We pray for what is in our minds and what is in our hearts, that our work may be clear and pure

We ask for clarity in speech We ask for clarity in our hearing We ask for clarity in our work ahead

Grandfather, we ask that you listen to everyone that will be present We ask that you assist each guest We ask that their minds and hearts be light Thank you grandfather

Oh, Great Spirit, we thank you We thank you for gathering us here today We pray that we continue our work with clear minds and hearts We pray that our discussions run smoothly

Great Spirit, we pray for those spirits around us today We pray they may assist us with our work and with our prayers

Great Spirit, we pray that you will listen to the words spoken here today We ask that the speakers may have clear minds and clear hearts, that their words may come easily

Great Spirit, many languages will be spoken here today We pray that our hearts and minds be patient in trying to understand one another We pray that we may listen carefully with open hearts and open minds We acknowledge our relationship as brothers and sisters in this world We are only humans We thank you Great Spirit

Oh, Mother Earth, we thank you We are gathered here to help one another We pray, Mother Earth, this group will be unified in heart and in mind Mother Earth, we pray that whatever words are spoken here today will be of clear mind and heart

We pray that this clarity will result in ease of work Thank you Mother Earth


Bienvenidos a Dialogo Entre Naciones. Hoy este lanzamiento viene desde el territorio Musquem. Deseamos iniciar el dialogo con un rezo de la Nacion Musquem.

O, abuelo, somos varias naciones reunidas aqui

Abuelo, le agradecemos, y rezamos por las palabras que se compartiran durante esta charla. Rezamos para que nuestras mentes, nuestros corazones y nuestro trabajo sean claros y puros. Pedimos claridad en nuestro discurso. Pedimos claridad en la manera que nos escuchamos. Pedimos claridad en el trabajo que se cumplira en el futuro proximo.

Abuelo, pedimos que escuches a todos que estaran presente hoy. Pedimos que ayudes a todos nuestros invitados. Pedimos que sus mentes y sus corazones esten ligeros. Gracias Abuelo.

O, Grande Espiritu, le damos las gracias. Le agradecemos por habernos reunido aqui hoy. Rezamos para que continuemos nuestro trabajo con mente y corazon claro. Rezamos para que nuestra charla vaya bien. Grande Espiritu, rezamos por los espiritus que nos rodean hoy. Rezamos para que nos asisten con nuestro trabajo y con nuestros rezos.

Grande Espiritu, rezamos para que escuches las palabras dichas hoy. Esperamos de que todos los que hablen tengan la mente y el corazon claro y que sus palabras les vengan facilmente. Grande Espiritu, muchos idiomas se hablaran hoy. Rezamos para que nuestro corazon y nuestra mente sean pacientes en tratando de entendernos unos a otros. Rezamos para que escuchemos con cuidado y con mente y corazon abierto. Reconocemos nuestro parentesco como hermanos y hermanas del mundo. Somos humano. Le agradecemos Grande Espiritu.

O, Madre Tierra, le damos las gracias. Nos hemos reunidos aqui para ayudarnos unos a otros. Rezamos Madre Tierra para que este grupo se unifique en mente y corazon. Madre Tierra, rezamos para que las palabras compartidas hoy vengan de mente y corazon claro. Rezamos para que esta claridad sirva facilitar este trabajo. Gracias Madre Tierra.


Lix Lopez

Dear Karen: Thank you for your invitation to participate in this dialogue. I hope we can learn something using this piece of technology. As an Indigenour person, I believe that we need to use this type of technology as a tool to advance the cause of Indigenous Naions. But it should not undermine our Indigenous cultures and spirituality.

Querida Karen: Gracias por tu amable invitacion para participar en este dialogo, espero que podamos aprender algo atravez de esta tecnologia. En tanto que un Indigena, creo que la tecnologia podria ser una herramienta para el avance de la causa de las Naciones Indigenas. Pero esto no debe minar nuestras culturas y nuestra espitualidad. Yo soy un Maya-Mam de lo que hoy es conocido como Guatemala. Me gutaria saber de que Nacion eres tu y que Idima hablan en ese lugar. Favor de contestar este mensaje y espero conocerte algun dia.


Querido Lix, Queremos darte la bienvenida a participar en una charla sobre "Tiempo Inmemorial" y la vision de Ingrid.

Dear Lix,

We would like to welcome you to participate en a discussion on "Time Immemorial" and Ingrid Washinawatoks vision

Karen Snowshoe

Hi Lix and Carolina! Thank you for your valuable comments. I agree that Indigenous Peoples can use technology, in particular, this website for further their rights. Many thanks to the Producer, Natalie Drache, for providing a forum where all Peoples can dialogue in support of advancing education about Indigenous Issues and in support of Indigenous Peoples pursuit of self determination.

In this development stage, we are hoping for feedback from communities on how we can best serve their needs. It's an exciting opportunity to bring the international arena to local communities. Taking guidance from Indigenous Peoples like yourself is key to ensuring that technology does not overide Indigenous culture and spirituality. If anything, this site is here as a piece of technology in support Indigenous culture and spirit.

I'd love to hear more on how specifically, this website may help your home community in Guatemala and work at the Institute for Indigenous Government in Vancouver.

Thank you again for sharing your comments!

Hola Lix y Carolina,

Gracias por sus comentarios valiosos. Estoy de acuerdo de que los Pueblos Indigenas podrian usar esta tecnologia, en particular este sitio, para avanzar los derechos de los Pueblos Indigenas. Le doy las gracias a la productora, Natalie Drache, como proveora de este foro donde todos los Pueblos pueden dialogar, apoyando y avanzando la educacion sobre asuntos Indigenas, asi como apoyando el movimiento hacia la auto-determinacion para los Pueblos Indigenas

En esta etapa de desarrollo, buscamos comentarios de otras comunidades sobre como mejor podemos servir sus necesidades. Es una oportunidad emocionante para traer el elemento internacional a las comunidades locales. Tomando consejo de individuos Indigenas como tu es clave para asegurar de que la tecnologia no supere la cultura Indigena ni la espiritualidad. Este sitio existe como componente tecnologico defendiendo la cultura Indigena y la espiritualidad.

Me encantaria saber mas como, especificamente, este sitio podria ayudar tu comunidad en Guatemala y tu trabhajo en el Insittuto para el Gobierno Indigena en Vancouver.

Gracias una vez mas por haber compartido tus comentarios.

Judy Michaud

Karen, Your prayer is very meaningful to me. I hope the spirit of this site and the memory of people like Ingrid Washinawatok will help to create the kind of discussions that are so badly needed to bring healing and peace to members of all nations living here on our Mother Earth.

Karen, tu rezo me es muy significante. Espero que el espiritu de este sitio y que la memoria de gente como Ingrid Washinawatok ayuden a crear el tipo de dehbate que es tan necesario para curar y traer paz para todas las naciones viviendo en la Madre Tierra

Karen Snowshoe

Thanks Judy, for visiting the site. One of the main goals of this site is the promotion of dialogue around issues that affect us all. Ingrid's death highlights the issue of violence, among others. I agree that healing and peace are badly needed at this time, not only in the Americas but around the world. Ingrid herself worked towards promoting diaglogue.

In her speech to the United Nations working Group on Indigenous Populations (now Peoples?, she shares a concept called the "Fourth Mind," which she learned from the Dine People in the southern U.S.. While she describes the concept of "Fourth Mind" in relation to decision making, I'm thinking that it is also relevant to dialogue and understanding. I know that sometimes it's hard enough to get people, leaders or nations talking. Imagine if we did so while using this concept of "fourth mind." Imagine if we practised rising above self interest. I wonder if this would make a difference in our discussions or dialogues?

Gracias Judy por haber visitado el sitio. Uno de los principales objetivos de este sitio es para promover dialogo sobre asuntos que nos afectan a todos. La muerte de Ingrid destaca el tema de la violencia, entre otros temas. Estoy de acuerod que el curamiento y paz se necesitan urgentemente, no solamente en las Americas, pero en todo el mundo. Ingrid trabajo pormoviendo dialogo. En su discurso en el Taller de las Nacioens Undias Sobre los Pueblos Indigenas, Ingrid comparte el concepto llamado la "cuarta mente" que ella aprendio del Pueblo Dine del Sur de los Estados Unidos. Mientras drescibe el concepto de la "cuarta mente" ligado a la toma de decisiones, estoy pensando que tambien es relevante al dialogo y a la comprehension. Se que a veces es dificil hacer que la gente, los lideres o naciones se hablen. Imaginense si lo hicieramos usando el concepto de la "cuarta mente". Imaginense si practicaramos superar el interes propio. Me pregunto si cambiaria nuestros debates o dialogos.

Natalie Drache

Dear Karen and present and future guests,

I am delighted to hear from all of you on this very sensitive topic.

I thank you for your prayer, for directing us all to think and write with clarity.

Concerning the Fourth Mind, I think that there is an inherent contradiction between a leader's goals, which are to serve the interests of a constituency, and the goals of the Fourth Mind, which advocate rising above self-interest, since the leader's job is to reflect and support community interests. The leader has to walk away from negotiations, having met the interest of his or her people. Compromise is one aspect of the negotiating. Rising above self-interest is not normally the stance taken by those in leadership roles. What do you think?

Querida Karen e invitados presentes y futuros. Me alegro oir de todos ustedes sobre este tema tan sensible. Agradesco el rezo, dirigiendonos a todos a reflexionar y escribir con claridad.

Sobre la "cuarta mente", creo que existe una contradiccion inherente entre los objetivos de un lider (que existen para servir los intereses del distrito electoral) y los objetivos de la "cuarta mente" (que defiende superar el interes propio), ya que es la responsabilidad de un lider reflejar y apoyar los intereses de la comunidad. El lider tiene que salir de negociaciones hayando cumplido con los intereses de su gente. El compromiso es un aspecto de las negociaciones. Superando el interes propio no es la posicion normalmente tomada por esos cumpliendo el papel de lider. Que opinan?

Karen Snowshoe

Natalie, you've raised some very good points. When a leader negotiates, I assume he or she does so with their own agenda (personal and/or consituent interest)and with the will for some give or take. I also expect that each person who comes to the table will have outlined a minimum of what they will settle for. Now, this is where it gets interesting! In our current discussion, how are we defining "leader" and how are we defining "negotiating" and how are we defining "self interest?" We could potentially have a lengthy discussion on each so how about starting with the term "negotiating" and how it may or may not be compatible with the concept of the "Forth Mind/Voice."

What we know to be negotiating (the western concept) is quite different from decision making models traditionally (and currently)used by many Indigenous Peoples. While the two may seem contradictory, I think it is important for everyone to be exposed to the concept of the "Fourth Voice/Mind." If it meant that even for a few moments, people in discussions really focused on listening and trying to understand what others are saying, I think that would be a positive thing. What that means of course, is more time. How many people really pay attention to what the other person is saying and maybe even repeat back to the speaker what they think they've just heard? Only then would the speaker really know that the listener has heard (understood) what they said. This takes time and energy (it's work) but the profits are great. You have greater understanding, less chance of miscommunication, meaning some very basic human needs are being met-to be heard and understood. I think it's easier to work together under these conditions. There is less frustration at not feeling that one has been heard and more goodwill to work together. To me, this is a start at rising above self-interst. It is extending oneself for the sake of others. When people are then open, there may be the will to look at somehow satisfying everyone's basic positions/interests/needs, whatever you'd like to call it.

Whether we can ultimately rise above self-interest and attain the Forth Mind/Voice will depend on people's will and intentions. What type of leaders are we talking about and whose interests are they serving? I think those answers will determine what type of decision making model will or can be used. I would like to give an example but I'm having a difficult time keeping the flow of this comment, I can only see five words at a time and have to keep scrolling back and forth, up and down.

I invite comments!...

Natalie, tocast puntos muy importantes. Cuando un lider negoca, yo asumo que lo hace con su propia agenda(personal y/o con un inters constituyente) y con la finalidad de obtener algo a cambio de otra cosa.Tambien se espera que cada persona que participa en la mesa de negociaciones tenga ya definido el minimo que esperan por acceder.Ahora es aqu que se pone interesante! En nuestra discusin de ahora, ?como definimos "lider" y como definimos "negociar" y como definimos "inters personal"?,Podriamos potencialmente tener una discusin muy larga acerca de cada uno, as que porque no comenzamos con el trmino "negociar" y como podra ser o no ser compatible con el concepto de "la cuarta voz" y "la cuarta mente".

Lo que entendemos como negociar (el concepto occidental) es muy diferente de los modelos tradicionales de toma de decisiones y actualmente tilizados por Pueblos Indigenas. Mientras que ambas pudieran parecer contradictorias, yo creo que es importante que todos puedan estar expuestos al concepto de "la cuarta voz" y "la cuarta mente". Si esto significa que aun que fuera por unos momentos, la gente involucrada en debates o discusiones se enfocara realmente en escuchar y tratar de entender lo que otros estan diciendo, eso sera algo muy positivo. Y para esto se requiere mas tiempo claro,. Cuanta gente pone realmente atencion a lo que la otra persona esta diciendo y quizas an poder repetir a esa persona lo que creen haber oido?. Solo de esa manera quien habl puede saber realmente que quien lo escucha ha entendido lo que ha dicho. Esto requiere tiempo y energia (es trabajo) pero el resultado es grandioso. Tiene uno mejor comprensin, menos posibilidades de malentendidos, lo cual quiere decir que algunas necesidades basicas humanas se pueden encontrar, escuchar, y entender. Pienso que es ms fcil trabajar juntos bajo estas condiciones. Hay menos frustracin al sentir que uno ha sido escuchado y mejor voluntad para trabajar juntos.Para mi este es un principio para elevarse encima del interes personal. Esto es extenderse uno por la salvedad de otros. Cuando la gente est ya abierta, puede haber entonces la voluntad para ver como satisfacer la posicin, intereses y necesidades de todos, o como quira que usted le quiera llamar.

Cualquier cosa que podamos elevar sobre el interes propio y as llegar a "la cuarta voz/mente" depender de los deseos e intenciones de la gente. De que tipo de lideres estamos hablando y los intereses de quien estan cubriendo? Creo que esas respuestas determinarn que tipo de modelo de toma de decisiones debern o podrn usar. Me gustara darles un ejemplo pero estoy teniendo cierta dificultad en seguir el curso de este comentario, solo puedo ver 5 palabras a la vez y necesito regresar con el cursor una y otra vez, para arriba y para abajo.

Estoy abierta a oir sus comentarios.

Aanta Heikka Forsgren

Thanks for the invitation to post here.

First one must state that it is very impressive with these translations between Spanish and English in this forum! This gives an opportunity to reach out to a part of the native nations which we usually arn't able to communicate with.

In a previous post Mr / Mrs? Lix Lopes expressed consern that there might be a risk that Internet communication could "undermine our Indigenous cultures and spirituality" i might have misunderstood that remark. Yet at least to my own little sub-tribe, or native group, such contacts trough the Internet have been nothing but benificial, both on the discussions on ideas such as selfdetermination as well as ideas on native identity. Even though, and that is the most common, that the technology have been used for such a basic task as to spreading the word that we exist! As for the Dine idea of Fourth Voice, or the Fourth Mind, one must say that it is one interesting one indeed.

Might become one other such example where the Internet could bring new ideas between native peoples, which later on could be applied in your own local native community -as for us-, or the reservation etc.

The ideas of selfdetermination and languagenests are others, certainly the first idea originated simultaneously amongst several native nations. But this Internet as well as other means of technical aided communication have boosted and strengthened both the idea as well as the process to get there -a recent example is Nunavut that now have gotten their own native parliament and early on have been used as an example for other native nations. The other example being the languagenests, a consept developed by the Maori on Aotearoa/New Zealand, which the Skolt tribe of Finland have applied locally to protect their own native language.

We of the Sami nation in Sweden got our native parliament in 1993, the last in the Nordic countries to create one such. (Denmark created "Hjemmestyret" on Greenland first, Norway secondly and Finland was the third.) Yet the creation of the Sami parliament in Sweden didn't create an instant solution for the Sami nation. In fact, as of this writing our native parliament is a lame duck which are unable to reach a decision even in the smallest and/or least significant issue.

In my view the problem is that the parliament have been created along the lines of any "western" or "white" political forum with political partys and organizations. This in conflict with the traditional Sami decisionmaking was quite different, with decisions by consensus (or acclamation) which in fact supercedes democracy since everyone have to agree! It isn't strange that the political process soon reached a point where the parliamentary proceedings did break down.

With those ongoing native-parliamentary conflicts in mind i for one would be the first person indeed who advocate native decisionmaking. So if and when any other native nation/people creates their own native parliament i would strongly suggest that the decisionmaking is done in a native way such as the Fourth Mind, Fourth Voice and or by Consensus whichever is choosen will of cource be decided by each native group, tribe or nation.

And finally, but certainly not the least important i'd like to reach out with my heartfelt sympathy in this time of sorrow for the family and native nation of Ingrid Washinawatok El Issa.

Nonoh Laevisjidh (Bye for now friends/relatives)
Aanta Heikka Forsgren

Empezare con decirles que es muy impresionante que tengan traducciones entre Espaol e Ingls en este foro!

Con respecto al comentario hecho anteriormente por el seor Lix Lopez, l expreso su preocupacin por el riesgo que tal vez exista con el impacto de las comunicaciones por Internet sobre nuestras comunidades... que tal vez el impacto amenazara nuestra cultura y espiritualidad. Tal vez he mal interpretado el comentario, pero para mi propia pequea sub-tribu, o grupo nativo, estas comunicaciones han sido muy beneficiosas - no solamente con respecto a discusiones sobre conceptos tales como la autodeterminacin, pero tambin en el intercambio de ideas sobre la identidad nativa. !As como, y es el caso ms comn, en la tarea bsica de hacer saber que existimos!

Con respecto al concepto Dine sobre la cuarta voz, o la cuarta mente, tendr que decirles que es muy interesante. Tal vez ser otro ejemplo donde el Internet podr facilitar el intercambio de ideas entre los pueblos indgenas, cuyas ideas podrn luego ser aplicadas en sus propias comunidades locales nativas, como la nuestra, o en reservaciones, etc.

Con respecto a los conceptos sobre la autodeterminacin, los idiomas y otros... debates sobre la autodeterminacin empezaron simultaneamente en varios pueblos nativos, pero el Internet y otros medios de comunicaciones apoyados por la tecnologa, han fortalecido estos conceptos anteriormente mencionados, asi como el proceso por el cual buscamos alcanzar nuestros objetivos en este campo. Un ejemplo reciente es el de Nunavut, donde la comunidad ahora tiene su propio parlamento nativo y que han servido como ejemplo para otras naciones nativas. Con respecto al concepto de "nidos linguisticos", un concepto desarrollado por los Maoris de Aoatearoa/Nueva Zelandia, la tribu Skolt de Finlandia lo ha implementado a nivel local, con fin de proteger nuestro propio idioma nativo (Dinamarca creo "Hjemmestyret" en Groenlandia primero, luego Noriega y Finlandia). Pero la creacin del Parlamento Sami en Suecia no ha sido la solucin instantanea para la nacin Sami. Es mas, desde su existencia, el parlamento ha sido insolvente ya que es incapaz de llegar a decisiones concretas hasta en los asuntos mas insignificantes.

A mi parecer, el problema es que el parlamento ha sido modelado segn los sistemas polticos, partidos y organizaciones occidentales. Esto existe en contradiccin con el sistema de toma de decisiones Sami, el cual es bastante diferente, con sus decisiones alcanzadas por consenso (o aclamacin) !Lo que en hecho suplanta la democracia ya que todos tienen que estar de acuerdo! No es ninguna sorpresa que el proceso poltico luego llego a tal punto que los procedimientos se deshicieron. Con constantes conflictos dentro del parlamento nativo en mente, yo ser la primera en apoyar un sistema de toma de decisiones nativo.

Entonces si, y cuando, otros pueblos indgenas crearn sus propios parlamentos nativos, les sugero que las tomas de decisiones se hagan a la manera nativa, tal como la cuarta mente, la cuarta voz o por consenso... cualquiera sea el mtodo que sea elegido por el pueblo indgena.

Me gustara tambin aprovechar esta oportunidad para expresar mis mas sinceros psames para la familia y la nacin de Ingrid Washinawatok El Issa.

Adios por ahora amigos y relaciones, Aanta Heikka Forsgren

Hermanos y Hermanas,

Mi fraternal saludo amerindio para todos vosotros, quien les escribe es un indio del Pueblo-Nacion Quechua de la Amrica del Sur, quien es muy orgulloso de nuestros venerables ancestros.

Hermanos, nosotros como descendientes de los pueblos indigenas del continente americano, en realidad formamos un solo Pueblo, es decir un Pueblo-Continente, el mismo que tiene multiples formas tradicionales particulares.

Espero estar en contacto con vosotros.

Kausachum Pachakutik

Por la necesaria Restauracin del TAWANTINSUYU.

Vuestro Hermano Waman Intisonqo



Time Immemorial Intro Page
Copyright Natalie Drache 1999