There are over 476 million Indigenous Peoples living in 90 countries across the world, accounting for 6.2 percent of the global population. Indigenous Peoples are the holders of a vast diversity of unique cultures, traditions, languages, and knowledge systems. They have a special relationship with their lands and hold diverse concepts of development based on their own worldviews and priorities.
In this radio program, we hear from Nailejileji Tipap, who works as the Gender and Public Relations Coordinator at Pastoralists Indigenous NGOs Forum in Tanzania.
Governments or states make use of geographical boundaries to demarcate territories. Political entities come to agreements on which area belongs to whom. In some cases, borders are agreed upon by two countries, and in other cases it may have been suggested by a third party like an international conference. In many cases, borders are imposed on places, without taking into consideration the people who live in that area. In this program, we speak to Aslak Holmberg from the Saami Council in Finland, who tells us how borders have affected his life, as well as his environment.
Leaders and activists from all over the planet converged in Madrid, Spain to attend COP25, The United Nations Climate Change Conference.
At the forefront of half a million protesters who marched through the Spanish Capital City, were indigenous voices who led the charge in what has become a monumental demonstration to highlight the global challenges that we’re all facing as a result of climate change.
Ta’kaiya Blaney (Tla A'min Nation) from Indigenous Climate Action was there, and we got a chance to speak to her.
Luiz Henrique Eloy Amado is an Indigenous attorney from the Terena Peoples’ village of Ipegue, Brazil. Eloy Terena, as he is commonly known, has first-hand knowledge on the situation of Indigenous Peoples in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest and an extensive experience on defending criminalized Indigenous grass-root leaders and representing Indigenous communities in land rights cases before Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court.
Cultural Survival's Avexnim Cojti (Maya Ki'che) spoke to Janene Yazzie about the participation of Indigenous Peoples at the UN's Climate Action Summit.
Janene Yazzie (Navajo) is Development Program Coordinator for International Indian Treaty Council and the council’s representative as co-convenor of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group of the U.N. High-level Political Forum on the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
Production: Shaldon Ferris (San, South Africa)
Image: Janine Yazzie
This year's theme for conversations at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues was "Indigenous Peoples Collective Rights to Lands and Resources". Victoria Tauli-Corpuz (Igorot Kankanaey, Philippines), UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Issues, says that the theme connects to many important conversations happening now in the world, including the threat that extractive industries pose to resources located on Indigenous-owned territories.
Though collaboration is crucial to finding solutions for climate change, Indigenous People must be able to maintain, protect, and control their cultural heritage, sciences, and technologies. The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples provides a legal framework for intellectual ownership by Indigenous communities of their traditional knowledge. However, many additional cultural barriers to equal-footed climate change collaboration exist, such as the automatic devaluation of Indigenous science by Western science practitioners.
Lakes and forests in the Mt. Talinis area of the Phillipines are under threat from recent expansions of the energy industry. Apolinario Carino is working with the organization PENAGMANNAK, a federation of 17 Indigenous Peoples’ community groups, to pioneer community management strategies of reforestation designed to empower the Indigenous groups to shape the future of their lands. Apolinario hopes to share the knowledge that they have gained from these experiences in order to better combat climate change on a global scale.
Indigenous solidarity has coalesced into a powerful movement thanks to the activism and perseverance of Indigenous leaders from communities around the world. Indigenous leaders that are defending land, language, culture, and the environment face acute persecution, both from governments directly and from extrajudicial actors.
IRR Producer Shaldon Ferris reports on the official statement by Vicky Tauli-Copruz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, concerning the threat of the Dakota Access Pipeline to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.
Indigenous Rights Radio Producer Shaldon Ferris interviews Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, about the Dakota Access Pipeline. Vicky describes the central tensions underlying the current conflict, and details the opportunities for recourse available to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe through both local and international governing bodies.
Interview with Vicky Tauli-Corpuz
Production by Shaldon Ferris
Catherine Murupaenga-Ikenn speaks about her favorite interventions in the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. She believes the interventions regarding climate change have been very important in her community and across the world.
Josh Cooper speaks about climate change and its impact on Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous Peoples are being impacted by climate change, specifically in Oceania, and Josh Cooper is working to create World Climate Justice Day to bring further awareness to the issue.
Cristina Coc, a Q'eqchi Maya woman of southern Belize, shares how Mayan groups in Belize have been fighting for their rights for over 30 years. After many meetings with the State, the Belize national court has acknowledged legal Indigenous rights to their land and affirmed that the government may not use, destruct, or occupy Indigenous land.
Statement from Special Rapporteur Vicky Tauli-Corpuz on the sustainable development goals proposed by the United Nations and how Indigenous Peoples' rights must be respected in order to solve climate issues such as deforestation.
Indigenous leader and Chairperson of the Cordillera Peoples' Alliance of the Philippines gives his perspective on the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. "The bottom line in advancing the recognition of Indigenous Peoples' rights is fighting for these rights right in our own territories and communities."
Indigenous leader and Chairperson of the Cordillera Peoples' Alliance of the Philippines shares expectations of the Climate March and its importance to Indigenous Peoples. "In resolving climate change, Indigenous knowledge, Indigenous Peoples' participation is fundamental."
States should work with indigenous communities to implement climate change initiatives which protect the lands and resources of Indigenous Peoples, through an ecosystem-based approach and enforceable safeguards.