Encuentro: Land and Freedom
Exchange among community-based organizations in Santa Ana, California, and in the Menominee Nation, Wisconsin
In November 2018, community-based organizations in Santa Ana, California, and in the Menominee Nation, Wisconsin, co-created an encuentro, or community exchange. UCI Community Resilience Projects supported and participated in the encuentro. The communities mobilized to create a second encuentro in fall 2019.
Excerpt from the organizers about the encuentro: “Inspired and learning from encuentros organized by indigenous communities including the Zapatista encuentros and others, we brought together community members from the Menominee and Santa Ana community doing work around land, art and culture, economic development, health and healing for and by people of color.
Community-based organizations including the Santa Ana Building Healthy Communities, el Centro Cultural de Mexico, CRECE, and Radio Santa Ana have been collectively pushing strategies around the rights to land, economic justice, and public health while learning and sharing different ways of going about this struggle. Some of these projects include community gardens, micro-farms, cultural centers, community land trusts, cooperatives and struggles for land acquisition. The Menominee community similarly has a legacy of community organizing around land, indigenous rights, health, and livability. This includes the current work of the Menīkānaehkem Community Rebuilders which includes acquiring a farm of 80 acres, growing their own food, and plans of acquiring a bison farm. They harvest to feed their community and are conscious of spirituality.
The goals of this encuentro included strengthening relationships of trust among communities of color where we can learn and build from one another in an organic way. We strengthened the relationships within and between our communities in doing this work. This exchange was meant to deepen place-based models while also thinking about what it takes to move from extraction models to regeneration and interdependence.
This exchange took place both in Madison and the Menominee Nation from November 12-18, 2018. This context also brought local communities of color into the conversation including young Chicanx and Latinx activists, artists, and organizations forming part of the movement for Black Lives. The encuentro has been documented through radio and other forms of media, in addition to bringing together the different artists from each of the community. Faculty, students, and staff from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the University of California, Irvine, also participated in and supported the encuentro.” We will post updates about the fall 2019 encuentro soon.
Read student blog posts about the 2018 encuentro here, here, and here.
To learn more about the fall 2019 or future encuentros, contact us.