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In Memoriam: Eva Lippuner

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

She has given infinitely much, and infinitely much will be missed and remain.

"Behind every successful man, there is a strong woman" - an old saying that we could gladly use when we think of Heinz and Eva Lippuner. But the saying falls short.

Eva was not behind her husband Heinz - founder of our association Incomindios in 1974, but also of EDAI (Economic Development for Amerindias) and of the Friends of the North American Native Museum AMERINDIAS - but she was equal beside him, sometimes protecting him, his great support and his conscience, or his reminder that also the day of her husband counts only 24 hours.

Heinz the Germanist, the secondary school teacher, the art historian, the founder of human rights organizations, the breeder of old apple varieties, the uncompromising opponent of nuclear power plants and advocate of the rights of indigenous peoples - he knows an enormous amount, can communicate enormously well, and as the indigenous people say, "he walks the talk", he stands by his convictions. And so does Eva, his beloved wife, but not because she came from a generation that was more inclined to follow her husband without contradiction, but because she was as convinced of his actions as he was; basically, it was always their joint action. Heinz always consulted with Eva, his appointments were coordinated, his problems discussed with her, joys and sorrows shared.

Eva was his wife, best friend, companion, confidant, "Gschpänli", mother of their children, grandmother and great-grandmother. But she was also an independent woman, a teacher, a committed activist for the organic 3rd world store in the village, and above all she had her own circle of people to whom she gave understanding and support. She had a genuine interest for all people who entered her circle, wanted to know what one was about, where one came from and where one wanted to go. Her home in Grüt was always open, for everyone, never new encounters were too much for her; her hospitality never consisted only of a fine meal and the famous homemade Black Forest cake and an overnight stay. Eva's curiosity about people was genuine, sincere, always willing to network and explore how she could give her guests - whether indigenous, from Switzerland or elsewhere - something to take with them on their life's journey, along which they had crossed the Lippuners' home.

The fund in honor of Eva Lippuner closes a circle that began in 1984 when the couple traveled together to Deganawidah Quetzalcoatl University in Davis, California. Founded in 1971 at the time, the only non-tribal indigenous university was of interest to Incomindios. Heinz and Eva Lippuner asked the rector what form of support would make the most sense: a scholarship for a male or female student at the university to go through with their studies, was the answer. So Incomindios established a scholarship for one duration of study at a time - until D-Q University closed in 2005. Eva is certainly pleased that a scholarship for young indigenous people is now being established again in her honor, she always saw education and training as door openers and signposts to a secure future; this is still true today - especially for indigenous people.

by Helena Nyberg


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