October 9, 1997

October 9 - Thirtieth Anniversary of the assassination of Ernesto Che Guevara, heroic leader in the struggle against oppression.

Many tens of thousands of people from the Patagonia to the Rio Bravo, in Cuba and the Caribbean,

in Nicaragua, and in many other parts of the world are today honoring Che's life work in concerts, masses, seminars, and rallies.

URACCAN UPDATE adds its modest voice in honor of all those who like Che love life and freedom and dedicate their work and time so that knowledge, vision, and freedom be everyone's domain.

Felipe Stuart Courneyeur, Editor


"Sins Walta Ulbanka" (The House Where We Write About Knowledge, in Miskito) is the name of a new publication of the Institute for Traditional Medicine and Community Development. Based in Bilwi, the Institute is affiliated with URACCAN as a semi-autonomous entity.

The introductory editorial is written by Alta Hooker B., President of the Health Commission of the Regional Autonomous Council (RAAN) and Director of the Institute.

The editorial points out that "Despite over a century of discrimination against indigenous medicine and efforts to marginalize traditional practices a large sector of Mayagna and Miskito indigenous peoples still confide in their 'sukias and curanderos' (healers) more so than in the western medicinal system." Such traditions "respond to indigenous peoples' own cosmovision and interpretation of the

phenomenon of health/disease.

"The Institute for Traditional Medicine and Community Development, affiliated to URACCAN, is an initiative aimed to help promote traditional medicinal practices. This work is part of developing a new health model that respects and takes into consideration the particularities of each ethnic group in the Region; and it helps our peoples to reclaim their identity."

Four objectives are pinpointed: 1) cultural recovery and promotion of traditional medicinal practices; 2) promoting community development and environmental clean-up in harmony with the interests and traditions of indigenous peoples and ethnic communities; 3) helping to strengthen ethnic identity on the Caribbean Coast; and 4) strengthening the autonomy process through the institutionalization of a

new model of health delivery in the RAAN.

The Institute carries out research and community education projects and is developing its capacity to publish and disseminate information. Its activities are supported in part by the Austrian Cooperation Service for Development/OED.


POR NUESTRA SALUD -- URACCAN and the Health Commission of Regional Autonomous Council [CRA-Legislature] of the RAAN have published a "Proposal for a Health Model for the Indigenous Peoples and Ethnic Communities of the RAAN". It appears as an attractive booklet, written in popular vernacular and highlighted with images and drawings that focus attention on critical concerns. Titled FOR OUR HEAL

TH, it is available in both Spanish and Miskito.

The Proposal calls for an integral health system based on popular participation, shared responsibility, cultural revitalization, equity in attention, and real access. It is the product of a broad consultation process not only among health professionals but also base community leaders, traditional healers, religious sectors, municipal leaders, et al.

The Development Cooperation Agency of Austria helped to finance this project.


ALAI - The Latin American Information Agency's Spanish-language Bulletin "Servicio Informativo", [Edition 258, Sept 17, 1997] takes a look at Nicaragua's ten-year experience with Caribbean Coast regional autonomy. The review is authored by Mexican indigenous sociologist and anthropologist Hector Diaz-Polanco. Diaz-Polanco is a founding member of Mexico's Asamblea Nacional Indigena por la Autonomia (National Indigenous Assembly for Autonomy). In addition to his own evaluation, the author includes relevant excerpts from the Nicaraguan Constitution and interviews with three Caribbean Coast leaders -- Faran Dometz, president of the Provincial Board of the Moravian Church of Nicaragua and member of the RAAN Autonomous Council; Cesar Paiz, direction of the RAAN government's Secretariat for Natural Resources; and Francisco Campbell, an FSLN Deputy of the Central American Parliament and URACAAN spokesperson.

Further information about ALAI can be had at:
Agencia Latinomericana de Informacion
INTERNET: info@alai.ecuanex.net.ec
Address: 12 de Octubre y Patria Oficina 503
Telephone: (593 2) 505074 Fax: (593 2) 505073



Sheer dedication and stamina, high motivation, and not a little sacrifice is their story - 102 new professionals on the Nicaraguan Caribbean Coast who received their Bachelor's Degree in Educational Sciences from URACCAN this July. They earned their degrees as part of URACCAN's PRUEDIS (Distance Education Program). They are URACCAN's first graduates, prepared, as Bilwi Vice-Rector Albert St. Clair said in the award ceremony, "to contribute to the autonomy process...Autonomy will be a reality to the extent that we have men and women with the capacity to lead a sustainable development process for the well-being of Nicaragua's Caribbean Coast regions. PRUEDIS is supported by the Norwegian organization SAIH.


In July this year URACCAN awarded its first Honorary Doctorate Degree (Doctorado Honoris Causa) in Education and Autonomy to well known Costeno leader Ray Hooker.

In reporting the presentation made by URACCAN Rector Dr. Myrna Cunningham, the July 1997 issue of AUTONOMIA lauded Hooker as "a man of much history on the Atlantic Coast of our cherished Nicaragua, a stalwart advocate and defender of Autonomy, and a person who labored through great difficulties to help found URACCAN." Hooker accepted his degree in a special ceremony at URACCAN's Bilwi campus to a

ward Bachelor of Educational Sciences degrees to 102 graduates of URACCAN's University Distance Education Program (PRUEDIS--see above Backdate).

Hooker, a former member of Nicaragua's National Assembly (representing the RAAS, is currently President of FADCANIC (Foundation for Autonomy and Development of the Atlantic Coast Region of Nicaragua), one of the largest NGOs working in the Region.


Rosanne Gasparelli, a graduate of Canada's York University, has taken up her duties as an English teacher at URACCAN's Siuna campus. She will be working with URACCAN teachers who are part of the York-URACCAN Linkage Project offering Masters Degrees to 21 of our teaching staff. Two other teachers from Canada are expected to arrive in the next period to provide English-language training at the Bil

wi and Bluefields campuses.


URACCAN UPDATE has received the following appeal from the Nicaraguan Comunidad de Jovenes Ambientalistas (Ja!) [Community of Youth Environmentalists (Ja)]:


--For the Rainforests and Indigenous Peoples of Nicaragua's North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN).

The central government of Nicaragua has granted logging concessions to SOLCARSA, a subsidiary of the Korean multinational corporation Kum Kyung. SOLCARSA has begun the process to cut into Central America's largest rainforest. Roads are being built and SOLCARSA already forcibly evicted

one indigenous community from their communal land. SOLCARSA will cut their way through many other communities in their attempt to cut the rainforest. In the process they will destroy traditional cultures and steal the rainforest denying the indigenous peoples a future in their

homeland. Please join us to help prevent this disaster.


Take part in the International Day of Action for the Nicaraguan Rainforest.

Organize a protest, rally or vigil at your local Nicaraguan Consulate or Embassy.

Fax, send or hand deliver letters of protest to President Aleman directly or via Nicaraguan Embassies and Consulates on November 10, 1997, during the International Day of Action.

To get involved, contact:

Comunidad de Jovenes Ambientalistas (Ja!), Attn: Elvira Blass
Telefax: (00505-2) 600136-773525
Email: ja@nicarao.apc.org.ni
Apartado C-101, Managua, Nicaragua.

Native Forest Network, Attn.: Orin Langelle, Phil Fitzpatrick
POB 57, Burlington,VT 05402 USA,
Tel: (802) 863-0571, FAX: (802) 863-2532 E-mail: Nicanet@igc.apc.org

Rainforest Action Group, Attn.: Patricia Awerbach,
P.O. Box 134, Newton Square, PA, 19073, USA
Tel: (610) 359-1931, FAX: (610) 325-4421

To write directly to Nicaraguan President Aleman:
FAX: (00-505)-2283144 o 2287911
Mail: President Aleman,
Casa de la Presidencia
Managua, Nicaragua



Post Office Address: URACCAN - del Canal 4, 1/2 cuadra al sur, Edificio El Carmen
Telephones: 505 268 2143 505 268 2144 Fax: 505 268 2145
E-mail: uraccan@ibw.com.ni


Telephones: 505 822 1308 Fax: 505 822 1306
Email: autonomy@ibw.com.ni


Telephone/Fax: 505 282 2317


Via the Managua Office