These indigenous youth leaders from around the world say that everyone has some form of indigenous roots, and if those roots are disconnected, one must communicate with indigenous persons directly in order to begin to understand them. Indigenous people around the world share many common struggles but continue to fight for their rights.
Native Seneca woman Agnes Williams notices the consequences of climate change and contamination in her community. Changes in temperature have caused the plant-growing season to be shorter, and a nuclear waste plant has leaked into creeks near her reservation. Seneca people and indigenous communities near Williams have been protesting and working to clean up the area.
Jinumu, an Indigenous woman from Taiwan, uses the World Conference of Indigenous Women as an opportunity to learn more about the rights of women since indigenous rights and women’s rights are not topics that are often discussed in her home country.
Maylei Blackwell - Cherokee and Thai from California, USA
Maylei Blackwell works with Indigenous migrants from Mexico who live in the Los Angeles area. Blackwell states that being fixated on geographic boundaries only inhibits one from seeing immigrants as our Indigenous brothers and sisters.
Lisa Paloma Abregu Arroyo, a Quechua woman, came to the World Conference of Indigenous Women looking to connect with indigenous representatives from around the world who are working on cultural conservation and defending indigenous rights. For Arroyo and her community, these efforts are both important and encouraging.
When Indigenous women like Raffaella Bulyaar of the Maasai people are able to attend global conferences, they are able to bring useful information back to their people in order to further discuss and learn ways to grow as a community and defend their human rights.
Andrea Landry, Anishinabek from the traditional territory of the Ashinaabe people, voices the importance of straying away from relying on the federal government to save indigenous communities and instead suggests working as a community toward changes within that community for more productive results. Landry believes confronting and talking about important issues as a community can lead to positive change.