I’ve had the most exciting experience being involved with the Indigenous People’s Caucus. I’ve been so far successfully able to navigate Copenhagen and hit up town squares that are hosting events and venues. I tired myself out running back and forth between the Conference of Youth (COY) and the International Indigenous People’s Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC), it is so well-worth the extra mile!
I made connections from what I was hearing and learning at Indigenous Caucus and relaying the messages first hand to international youth and the Will Steger Delegation. So many issues are being faced by so many different types of Indigenous peoples across the world.
A beginning issue is definition of Indigenous People’s. Who are they? Where are they? What are they? What is their importance here?
I have never googled Indigenous before, but the results were awesome and what was surprising were the connections between definition of Indigenous and the United Nations.
I like these simple definitions provided by Wikipedia:
- Originating and living or occurring naturally in an area or environment. See synonyms at native.
- Intrinsic; innate.
Wikipedia is a great source, but check out some youtube firsthand Indigenous perspectives of defining what Indigenous means:
Indigenous People are across the globe- in Kenya,Africa; Bolivia,South America; India and Iran,Asia; the Pacific Islands, and even here in Europe. We are known to the world as Indigenous Peoples, we are known at home in our respective languages and cultures-the Anishinabe of the U.S. and Canada, the Inuit of Alaska, Sami of Scandinavia, Polynesian of Pacific Islands, the Ainu’s of Asia and countless more.
It is crucial that the Indigenous Peoples of the world have a presence at this conference. With the close ties to the land that the respective Indigenous peoples have, the issue of climate change causes and solutions becomes more than an environmental concern, it becomes a human rights and human justice issue as well. When the people, in the small numbers that they are, begin to lose the land, not just in acreage or in underground exploration or development, they begin to lose culture, traditions and livelihoods too.
When the land and water are gone, so are the people.
My mother and I were discussing local headlines about pollution in Gitchi Gumme (Lake Superior), she said to me that it was scary to think that it could be possible that instead of taking my grandchildren to swim there, I would be telling them of the days when I used to, but that we can’t anymore.
It is history that we are taking part of, not what we want to become. It is our responsibility to ensure our existence, here at the UN Conference, and here on this Earth. It is important that we support each other, as Indigenous Peoples of continental regions and as a human race to ensure that we can live on with Mother Earth.