Marcelo Saavedra-Vargas

In Memory of Marcelo Saavedra-Vargas

Quechua-Aymara Elder, Husband, Father, Brother, and Son. Marcelo was a radical inspirational Indigenous elder, who fully committed his life to decolonization. It is with great sadness that we write to let you know that our beloved friend, mentor, and brother, Elder Marcelo Saavedra-Vargas, passed away on January 20, 2023.

For Marcelo, the most important goal of any human being’s life (or any other sentient being, for that matter) was to become a good ancestor. In his own words: “We see the destructiveness of the current industrial civilization, and we must be the strong bridge between our ancestors and the generations to come. This is how the Law of Parity is fulfilled, reverberating cosmic teachings from the Creator.”

Marcelo worked as a professor at the University of Ottawa teaching at different departments and different subjects, among them were:  sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, philosophy, epistemology, ontology, geometry, fractals in the Indigenous world, constitutional studies and practicum, paradigm studies, Indigenous cultures and cosmos events.

Marcelo was a lead researcher at one of the first Community-Based Research projects at OPIRG. “Remembering the stories of the land about living and coexisting well” was to explore different perspectives and understandings about the passage of humans through this planet. The modern perception is one of development and progress vis-à-vis the Indigenous vision of “living and coexisting well.” A vision anchored in the land and our ancestors.

In 2012, Marcelo joined forces with his spiritual brother Jacob Wawatie. Their journey was dedicated to finding their Original Instructions, including their Original Constitutions. Marcelo and Jacob continued working together until Jacob’s passing.

Inspired by Jacob’s work, Marcelo brought to life the OPIRG`s Circle of Elders. Marcelo continued the work that Jacob and him started, by bringing together the circle of elders. OPIRG’s Circle of Elders was to guide people in becoming responsible ancestors. Marcelo believed that having Indigenous knowledge keepers aligned OPIRG with the wisdom of the land. According to him, we come from the land and we go back to the land. That is our cosmic cyclical journey!

Marcelo’s contributions to OPIRG over the years are extraordinary. He nourished a community of rainbow warriors as he would call them; those unwilling to simply hope, but were called to take actions and to strengthen our collective humanity and connection to Mother Earth.

The news of your passing most certainly took many of us by surprise. What a mystery this life can be. As we mourn, we are filled with immense gratitude to have had the chance to walk this journey with you. Although it may have felt like you moved into the next life too soon, we know in our hearts that the Great Spirit always had a plan to embrace you once again. Soar high dear brother, and may each sunrise and sunset remind us of your presence, guidance, and courage in this life and the next.