International News

‘We can do it’: Yalitza Aparicio’s Vogue cover hailed by indigenous women

The indigenous Mexican actor Yalitza Aparicio has made history by appearing on the cover of Vogue Mexico, in a first for a country where light-skinned people dominate the media landscape – despite an overwhelmingly mestizo and indigenous population.

Aparicio, who has won acclaim for her debut performance in Alfonso Cuarón’s new film Roma, wears a Gucci dress on the magazine’s December edition, next to the title “In tiu’n ntav’i” – “A star is born” – in the indigenous Mixtec language.

Article source: The Guardian

Roma actor’s Vogue Mexico cover is first for country where light-skinned people dominate media landscape

Roma actor’s Vogue Mexico cover is first for country where light-skinned people dominate media landscape

Trump administration moves closer to opening Alaskan Arctic to drilling

The Trump administration has moved a step closer to opening the Alaskan Arctic to oil and gas drilling as soon as next year.

The interior department’s Bureau of Land Management has published its draft environmental impact study, following Congress voting in 2017 to allow drilling within the Arctic national wildlife refuge.

Leasing the long-protected Arctic area could be most problematic for indigenous populations, many of which rely on subsistence hunting and fishing, according to the government assessment.

Article Source: The Guardian

Native American leaders hold signs against drilling in the Arctic refuge outside the Capitol in Washington DC on 11 December. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Native American leaders hold signs against drilling in the Arctic refuge outside the Capitol in Washington DC on 11 December. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Rights of Indigenous Peoples’ resolution adopted by the 3rd committee

The Third Committee of the UN General Assembly at its 73rd session adopted a new resolution on the “Rights of indigenous peoples”. The resolution reaffirmed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which addresses the individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples.

It reaffirmed also the outcome document of the high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, held in New York on 22 and 23 September 2014, 7 in which Heads of State and Government, ministers and representatives of Member States reiterated the important and continuing role of the United Nations in promoting and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples, recalling the inclusive preparatory process for the high-level plenary meeting, including the comprehensive engagement of the representatives of indigenous peoples, and welcoming and reaffirming the commitments, measures and efforts undertaken by States, the United Nations system, indigenous peoples and other actors in its implementation.

Read the full resolution here: العربية | 中文 | English | Français | Русский | Español

Indigenous Peoples UNPFII.png

Mission statement about Indigenous Peoples in Ecuador

United Nations Special Rapporteur UNSR Victoria Tauli-Corpuz has made a mission statement after visiting Ecuador the last couple of weeks.

“My main concern has been how to recover the path towards plurinationalism. I must conclude that there is no way to make the commitments in the Constitution true without the full recognition and implementation of indigenous peoples' rights in accordance with international human rights law. Protection of rights of nature cannot be achieved without protection of stewards. I am hopeful that definite steps towards this goal can be achieved through the ongoing open dialogue between the Ecuadorian State and indigenous peoples and nationalities.”

Read the full statement here…/stat…/267-end-mission-ecuador

Leerlo en español aquí…/decl…/267-end-mission-ecuador

Vicky Corpuz.jpg

New app aims to connect Indigenous entrepreneurs

A new mobile application #thismymob aimed at connecting and supporting Indigenous entrepreneurs is set to be launched by the University of Technology Sydney in collaboration with the University of Melbourne. Creator Christopher Lawrence told Sky News a remaining 18-month study period will hone the app before young Indigenous people can effectively wield it to establish themselves as coders, programmers and entrepreneurs. The app is expected to officially launch in 2020. Image: YouTube / #thismymob UTS


Screen Shot 2018-10-30 at 6.37.38 AM.png

New global report on the participation of indigenous peoples and local communities in wetland management

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands has a long-standing commitment to promote, recognize and strengthen the active participation of indigenous peoples, and local communities as key stakeholders for conservation and integrated wetland management (Resolution XII.2, para 19). In celebration of the ‘International Day for the World’s Indigenous Peoples’, which takes place on August 9th each year, the Ramsar Convention Secretariat has published an initial report on ‘The relationship of indigenous peoples and local communities with wetlands.’ This publicationprovides a compilation of the Convention’s available data on indigenous peoples and local communities, as requested by the Ramsar Conference of the Parties (Resolution XII.2, para 20).  

The report also presents an overview of the Convention’s current policy framework, and provides examples of approaches from other relevant environmental policy processes, international law and practices that the Contracting Parties could consider in order to strengthen the Convention’s inclusive and participatory approach to wetland conservation and wise use.

For Report: Download


Screen Shot 2018-08-07 at 2.59.42 PM.png

Newly Released Video Shows Indigenous Man Thought to be Last of His Amazon Tribe

(SAO PAULO) — No one knows his name. No one knows the name of the people he came from. And he appears to have lived alone in Brazil’s Amazon for 22 years.

Video released for this first time this week by Brazil’s Indian Foundation shows rare images of a so-called uncontacted indigenous man who is believed to be the last surviving member of his tribe. The footage was shot in 2011, though a team that tracks him says it last saw evidence he was alive in May.

By SARAH DILORENZO / AP July 21, 2018


Screen Shot 2018-07-21 at 8.39.00 PM.png

Thai campaigners urge change to forest law after indigenous verdict

BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Campaigners are calling on Thai authorities to amend a law they say violates the rights of indigenous people, after the country’s top court ruled that a group of Karen evicted from a national park had no legal right over the land.

It is the latest case of indigenous people being evicted from land they consider theirs by birthright, with the rush to develop - or protect green space - leading to clashes worldwide over who owns land when deeds are unclear.

Authorities had removed nearly 400 Karen from the Kaeng Krachan National Park, saying they were encroachers. When some returned, officials burned down their shelters.

Six of the Karen people - led by their spiritual leader, who is said to be 106 years old - filed suit in 2012, claiming compensation, and asserting their right to land they say belonged to their ancestors.

A lower court held that authorities had acted within the law, while ordering compensation of 10,000 baht ($302) to each of the plaintiffs. The Karen - a hill tribe people thought to number about 1 million in Thailand - appealed the verdict.

Author: Rina Chandran

See full story here: 

Mysterious and spiritual: Indigenous Peoples day offers opportunity to explore ancient cave

Screen Shot 2018-06-29 at 12.27.44 AM.png


Some of the earliest evidence of human activity in North America can be found in northern B.C.

One of North America's most important and mysterious archeological sites sits a short drive north of Fort St. John, B.C., and the little-known cave may become more familiar on National Indigenous Peoples day Thursday.

T'se'K'wa, formerly known as Charlie Lake Cave, holds some of the oldest evidence of human activity in North America, dating back 12,000 years.

On National Indigenous Peoples Day, the First Nations who now own the land around it are inviting the public to come view the site and hear from elders why it is still an important and sacred space.

See full story:

Source: CBC News

Indigenous Peoples Recover Native Languages in Mexico

May 18 (IPS) - Ángel Santiago is a Mexican teenager who speaks one of the variations of the Zapotec language that exists in the state of Oaxaca, in the southwest of Mexico. Standing next to the presidential candidate who is the favorite for the July elections, he calls for an educational curriculum that "respects our culture and our languages." 

Juan José García Ortiz, a teacher who is also mayor of Guelatao, a small town in this southwestern state, speaks in Zapotec and Spanish about the problems of education in Mexico, and ends with a message: "Never again can there be a Mexico without indigenous peoples."

So does the poet Irma Pineda López, who reads the commitments drafted by the country's best-organised teachers' union, from Oaxaca, the state with the largest indigenous population in Mexico and where 418 of the 570 municipalities have a majority indigenous population and are governed by native customs.

The presidential candidate, leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador, nods. Next to him is Susana Harp, a prominent international singer of traditional Zapotec music, who is a candidate for the Senate for the presidential candidate's party, Morena.

Behind them is Esteban Moctezuma, who López Obrador plans to appoint as minister of education if he wins the Jul. 1 elections.

This scene took place on May 12 in the town where the only indigenous president of Mexico, Benito Juárez (1858–1872), was born. On this occasion, López Obrador presented his proposal to reform education in the country and, remarkably, all the participants spoke first in their native mother tongue and then in Spanish.

See full article here:

Indigenous children from the mountains of Oaxaca, in the southwest of Mexico listen in the town of Guelatao to the education reform proposal of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the presidential frontrunner according to the polls, who announced that, if he wins, he will institute bilingual schools in the indigenous regions. Credit: Danilo Rodríguez / IPS  Article Source: Inter Press Service Author: Daniela Pastrana

Indigenous children from the mountains of Oaxaca, in the southwest of Mexico listen in the town of Guelatao to the education reform proposal of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the presidential frontrunner according to the polls, who announced that, if he wins, he will institute bilingual schools in the indigenous regions. Credit: Danilo Rodríguez / IPS

Article Source: Inter Press Service
Author: Daniela Pastrana

Students build tiny homes to tackle Alberta First Nation's housing crisis

A southern Alberta First Nation is testing out a tiny home pilot project in the hope of both tackling its housing crisis and setting up high school students for careers in the trades.

On Wednesday, Piikani Nation broke ground on the federally-funded pilot program. Over the coming eight weeks, a dozen high school students from ages 15 to 18 will work from the ground up to build a one-bedroom tiny home for a local elder.

"We're giving these kids an experience as a team, empowerment, pride and a sense of community," said Jay Noel, the program manager and business development community partner with Your Choice Homes.

Read the full story here:

Screen Shot 2018-05-22 at 8.43.48 AM.png

'When you do wrong, you apologize': Indigenous leaders disappointed with Pope Francis

Residential school survivor saddened Pope won't come to Canada to issue apology

A residential school survivor says he's disgusted Pope Francis has decided not to apologize for the Catholic Church's role in the schools.

"They haven't changed their position from day one. And they never will. The only thing (the Church) could say is sorry he got caught, that's all," said Ted Quewezance, who was abused while attending St. Phillip's residential school near Kamsack.

The Pope's decision was announced this week in an open letter "to the Indigenous peoples of Canada" by Bishop Lionel Gendron, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The call for an apology on Canadian soil was one of the 94 calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made the request during a visit last year to the Vatican.

"The Holy Father is aware of the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which he takes seriously," stated the letter. "As far as Call to Action #58 is concerned, after carefully considering the request and extensive dialogue with the Bishops of Canada, he felt that he could not personally respond."

According to the letter, the Pope encouraged bishops to continue working with Indigenous elders and others and to "collaborate on concrete projects" toward reconciliation.

Apology should have been simple: survivor

Quewezance, one of the first survivors to speak openly about the abuses he faced, said the apology should have been a simple matter.

"They know they did wrong. When you do wrong, you apologize," he said.

Former Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Felix Thomas, Regina Archdiocese Archbishop Don Bolen and others have been working for months to bring the Pope to Wanuskewin Heritage Park near Saskatoon for the apology.

Both said Wednesday they were disappointed.

"Most First Nations people that went to residential schools should be disappointed. It was a dark time in history. We were confident he would come here," said Thomas, who now sits on the Wanuskewin board.

Current STC Chief Mark Arcand said residential schools damaged the students irreparably, but that the legacy continues. He said the high rates of illness, incarceration and other maladies in Indigenous people can be traced in part to residential schools.

Pope apologized for wrongs in Ireland, Peru

Arcand noted the Pope has apologized to victims of abuse and colonization in Peru and Ireland.

"Why are First Nations people not allowed to get the same thing. We're looking for the same respect," Arcand said.

"We hope you reconsider. The door is open. You're always welcome to Treaty Six territory."

In 1991, Canadian Catholic Bishops issued an apology, saying, "We are sorry and deeply regret the pain, suffering and alienation that so many experienced" at the residential schools. The TRC call to action had called for the pope to make a public apology on Canadian soil.

Bolen said he and others in the Catholic Church will continue to reach out to the Indigenous community and make amends for the damage caused.

Reconciliation still church's top priority: Bishop

"We're not shying away from that here. I would say that our work with Indigenous people is our number one pastoral priority in the church here," Bolen said.

Saskatoon Diocese Bishop Mark Hagemoen agreed.

"I too regret that Pope Francis is not coming at this time," Hagemoen said in a written statement.

"Our Indigenous communities are highlighting the need for concrete actions and positive relationships to accompany the many words and expressions of commitment."

The Catholic Church ran more of Canada's residential schools than any other church. More than 150,000 students attended the schools, which first opened in the 1870s, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Saskatchewan had more students and more schools per capita than any other province.

Author: Jason Warick

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Philippines seeks 'terrorist' tag for 600 alleged communist guerrillas

MANILA (Reuters) - A U.N. special rapporteur, a former Philippine lawmaker and four former Catholic priests are among more than 600 alleged communist guerrillas the Philippines wants declared “terrorists”, according to a government petition filed in court.

The justice ministry last month said it wanted a Manila court to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), “terrorist” bodies, but made no mention of individuals it would also target.

The petition, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, suggests President Rodrigo Duterte is following through on his threats to destroy a movement he now regards as duplicitous.

Since taking office in July 2016, Duterte freed some communist leaders and put leftists in his cabinet, to show his commitment to finding a permanent solution to a five-decade conflict.

But he abandoned the process in November, after what he called repeated attacks by the NPA during talks.

The petition said the rebels were “using acts of terror” to sow fear and panic to overthrow the government.

Duterte has been regularly venting his fury at the Maoists and considers them as much of a security threat as the domestic Islamist militant groups that have pledged allegiance to Islamic State.

By declaring groups and individuals terrorists, the government would be able to monitor them more closely, track finances and curb access to resources, among other measures.

But Carlos Conde, Philippines researcher with the New York-based Human Rights Watch, said the petition was “a virtual hit list”.

“There’s a long history in the Philippines of the state security forces and pro-government militias assassinating people labeled as NPA members or supporters,” he said in a statement.


The government petition included Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, appointed in 2014 as U.N. special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, who was listed as a senior member of the Maoist rebel group.

Tauli-Corpuz denounced the government, calling the complaint “baseless, malicious and irresponsible”.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein defended the independence, impartiality and expertise of special rapporteurs in the face of smear and hate campaigns, some involving incitement to violence.

“Instead of attacking the messenger, states and other stakeholders should engage and address the human rights concerns raised by mandate-holders,” he said in Geneva.

Two other U.N. special rapporteurs, Michel Forst and Catalina Devandas Aguilar, expressed “grave concern” about Tauli-Corpuz being on the list, and said she was being punished by Duterte for speaking against some of his policies.

Also on the list were four former Catholic priests and former congressman Satur Ocampo, who told Reuters he would challenge any “terrorist” label.

The petition included 18 top leaders of the CPP, including founder Jose Maria Sison and peace negotiator Luis Jalandoni, both based in the Netherlands for three decades.

There was no basis for the charge of terrorism, said Sison, who was a mentor of Duterte when he was at university, although the two are now bitter rivals.

“Duterte is engaged in a wild anti-communist witchhunt under the guise of anti-terrorism,” he said. “Duterte is truly the No. 1 terrorist in the Philippines.”

Duterte’s spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.

More than 40,000 people have been killed in the Maoist rebellion. Negotiations to end the revolt have been on and off since being brokered by Norway in 1986.

Author: Manuel Mogato

Additional reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in GENEVA; Editing by Martin Petty, Robert Birsel

Indigenous Peoples welcome adoption of Green Climate Fund’s Indigenous Peoples Policy



Songdo, South Korea – Indigenous peoples welcome the adoption today of the GCF Indigenous Peoples Policy by the Green Climate Fund Board.

“As faithful stewards of nature often in the frontline of negative impacts of climate change and unsafeguarded climate change response actions, indigenous peoples have seen a ray of hope and a potentially promising future in the context of climate change and mitigation actions,” stated Kimaren Ole Riamit, a Maasai and member of the Indigenous Peoples Advocacy Team on the GCF.*

Part of a package of three human rights-based policies, the Indigenous Peoples (IP) Policy represents a high-level rights-based benchmark for the Fund’s operation and for climate finance at large. The other equally important policies still up for adoption are those on gender and environmental and social implications of Fund’s operations.

For Eileen Mairena-Cunningham, an indigenous Miskitu from Nicaragua, “This adoption is a great step forward towards the recognition of our rights. It gives us clear and strong voice to say: We are here and now and our rights have to be respected!.”

“This is a sign of willingness of the GCF to recognize, respect and promote the rights of indigenous peoples in climate actions,” added Tunga Bhadra Rai, an indigenous Rai from Nepal.

As the outcome of a detailed and participatory process of elaboration and consultation with indigenous organizations, civil society and other stakeholders, the policy recognizes Indigenous Peoples’ rights to land, territories and natural resources, their crucial and active contribution to climate change mitigation and adaptation, and the importance of the knowledge of Indigenous Peoples and their livelihood systems.

It will also significantly contribute to enable effectiveness and support the transformative character of Fund’s initiative in adaptation and mitigation while delivering benefits to indigenous communities.

The relevance of international standards such as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and principles such as Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) are also acknowledged.

Once implemented it will offer an effective toolbox to improve the capacity of countries-recipient of GCF funds as well as Accredited Entities to fully and effectively engage Indigenous Peoples at all levels of climate policies and programs and prevent possible negative impacts of their activities on indigenous peoples’ rights.

Indigenous peoples’ organizations will therefore continue to engage with the Fund in the further steps of elaboration and adoption of operational guidelines, of the envisaged guidance on FPIC and new Environmental and Social Safeguards.

“The opportunity that the IP Policy opens to Indigenous Peoples is enormous. We still have a lot of work to do but we learned that with dedication and hard work, nothing is impossible,” said Helen Biangalen-Magata of Tebtebba. (Tebtebba and International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs on behalf of the IP Advocacy Team).

* The Indigenous Peoples Advocacy Team has been consistently participating in GCF processes to highlight indigenous peoples’ issues and concerns and has led efforts to adopt the IP Policy. It is composed of Indigenous peoples’ organizations and advocates: Centro para la Autonomía y Desarollo de los Pueblos Indígenas, Nicaragua; Indigenous Livelihoods Enhancement Partners, Kenya; Indigenous Peoples Foundation for Education and Environment, Thailand; International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, Denmark; Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities; and Tebtebba.