Piaroa Tributary State

The Huottuja-De-aruhua or Piaroa tributary state is a a pre-modern Indigenous state engaged in a hegemonic subordinate relationship as an enclave nation (fourth-world country) to more powerful states in which our people and territories belong. Watch this page for updates!

Indigenous Right to Autonomy

It should be clear that all the laws favor our civil declaration of independence as an Indigenous tribe and to possess control of our ancestral territories, we have been under our autonomous control for more than 5,000 years, why should it change now? Contemporary international environmental and human rights laws have recently empowered our people as a collective Indigenous culture; we have the right to form governments, the right to redress our colonial past, the right to self-determination, the right to associate with others, and most importantly the right to our ancestral lands. Moreover the same laws have granted us inalienable and inextricable rights to our proprietary control over our cultural and intellectual property, the natural biodiversity within our territory, and our ethnobotanical heritage.

We also have learned of new International laws, diplomatic protocols that protect our autonomy as a collective international tribute state which call for access and benefit sharing agreements for natural biodiversity and genetic resources from our territory; while other new laws require the free, prior and informed consent of our people before commercially or non-commercially using our cultural and intellectual property. Such laws are good because they make biopiracy, deforestation, illegal mining and unlawful occupancy International crimes against the environment and Indigenous peoples; but also they create new economic opportunities for us as a collective entity in control of of specific territory and our self-determination.

The conventions say that we are sovereign, we can make our own laws, that our traditions, customs and cultural ways will forever be protected. However, taking advantage of these rights is something that "we as a people" must pursue on our own as a sovereign entity, no one will do it for us; the closest we can get to anyone helping us is by engaging professionals who care, which is the basis for the formation of our foundation. Previously (50 years ago) Indigenous Amerindians were considered less than dignified citizens in our respective countries; today we are in charge of a territory the size of Belgium.

The United Nations also wants to underpin us as subjects of the state, despite the rights that the state has not made good on or fully available to us, then the annexations of the biospheres and ecosystems reducing our influence, restricting our conduct, preventing access to ancestral territory and damaging our destiny as a people. The purpose of the United Nations is to serve its member nation-states, not the subjects therein - they do not recognize Indigenous peoples as sovereign states, but they do recognize them as important cultural assets with civil and human rights, this makes programs like the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, FAO Food Sovereignty and the GEF/UNEP Biodiversity agendas important, despite the state's involvement.

The largest light shaded area indicates our demarcated and undemarcated territorial claim to our ancestral territory since at least 1522. The tan square and rectangular shaped shaded areas are national monuments or national parks in our territory. The light green shaded area, also in our territory, is a national watershed and forest reserve area, managed by the Ministry of Natural Resources.

Claiming our Rights is to Assert the Law

We have been misled by state politicians with the enchantment of uniting our tribe with others to just call us all, "Indigenous" without distinction, set-us aside and stalemate us as subjective secondaries that lack economic resources and political influence. The organic and constitutional laws are useless if the country and people that they serving do not have adequate financial resources to support program development or lawful establishments.

Our key to success will be our ability to govern ourselves as we discover our rights as an Indigenous culture in the world today. Nearly 50% of our territory has already been declared or proclaimed by the Venezuelan nation-state to be national monuments, national parks or state forests without consulting us, using data that we collected; 20% of our territory's western side has been eroded away by hegemony and non-indigenous settlement. (See the map above!) In Colombia the situation was worse, our territory had been reduced to spots on the map, but they did give us clear title to our territories which has allowed us to establish private economic relationships involving carbon credits, biodiversity conservation, artisan crafts and cacao production, these relationships have led to health care, education, and made our communities an ecotourist destination among others in Colombia.

Now with the help of Indigenous Nations in North America and the Indigenous Unity Foundation we are beginning to formalize and realize our legal standing as a Collective Indigenous Tribe in law. The government is being formed as a noocracy, which a form of government where decision making is done by wise people often based on the advice of engaged actors and the models of other nations.

It may take years before we can fully manifest our nation as a cultural and ecological protection area, and then there are questions as to how far we need to develop our government in order to accomplish what needs to be done to protect our home.

Indigenous Jurisdiction
Special Indigenous Jurisdiction in Venezuela, in Their Own Right (2021)

Status as a Tributary State

A tributary state is a term for a pre-modern state in a particular type of subordinate relationship to a more powerful state which involved the sending of a regular token of submission, or tribute, to the superior power. We qualify as a tributary state based on the legal obligation the rest of the world has to contribute to our foundation for the ecosystem services generated by our Indigenous enclave territory from our vast forest reserves that we actively manage and protect.

Tributes can also be paid by purchasing added-value original and hand-made artwork or food products, as well as paying more for authentic and certified products that we invented, manufactured or have originated.

A "Tribute" is a contribution which is sometimes raised by the sovereign from his subjects, to sustain the expenses of the state. It is also a sum of money paid by one nation to another under some pretended right or a payment in appreciation of the right. Tributes are used to demonstrate voluntary reciprocity and civility under international law as a form of payment in lex mercatoria. If from an entity that is weaker or lesser the tribute might best be seen as the payment of protection money. If from an individual belonging to the tribute state or paying homage to it, the tribute is viewed as a token of appreciation or as a tax.

It might also be perceived that our nation is a tributary state because all of the communities are connected to a tributary of the Orinoco River. The tributaries of the Orinoco are a great part of Piaroa life and prosperity.

Our Future as a Sovereign Indigenous Nation

Ideally our children will be educated, health care will be available for those who need it, and the Indigenous peoples of the Guiana Shield will live and work in the forest taking care of the trees and the wildlife.

The foundation was developed to provide choices to lead our introduction as a nation and an international corporation so we can generate revenue for the ecosystem services that our people provide who live and work in the sensitive high-quality tropical forests. Managing the rights to the production of the ecosystem services our forests provide to the world is the entire basis for our existence.

Proper management of our ecosystem services regionally will be the entire basis for our own continued existence, it is one that needs to be manifested sooner than later. Once the foundation can find a market for the ecosystem services currently being produced it can focus on marketing other products like artwork, medicinal plants, food items and services like ecotourism.

Currently we are technically still an "anarchy" or a "free association of producers", a relationship among individuals where there is no state, social class, hierarchy, or private ownership of means of production. Private property does not exist, individuals are not deprived of access to means of production, thus enabling them to freely associate without social constraint to produce and reproduce their own conditions of existence and fulfill their individual and creative needs and desires.

Status as a Fourth-World Nation

The Fourth World is an extension of the three-world model, used variably to refer to

  1. Sub-populations socially excluded from global society, such as those living without Internet services;

  2. Hunter-gatherer, nomadic, pastoral, and some subsistence farming peoples living beyond the modern industrial norm.

  3. Sub-populations existing in a First World country, but with the living standards of those of a Third World.

We have a good-start here, implicitly the Huottuja-De'aruhua people have the right to call themselves a nation because we were born here, and we are native to the territory. (native, natal, nation).

It is not so much we are not ready to step-up and assert all of our rights as Indigenous peoples or because we need our own government, it is that we do not know what all of our rights are, it is that we are so disconnected across a vast territory where less than half of the people hold great interest, and perhaps it is because we are not a competitive society, but instead a civilized anarchy of many small communities each with a leader and social norms. Fortunately all the members of the tribe respect the tribal council of elders, however the tribal council does not understand the world, this is changing now! and we are looking forward to what we may be able to do soon.