Indigenous Women of the Americas Protecting Mother Earth:
Struggles and Climate Solutions
I recently had the opportunity to participate in a powerful panel at the UN hosted and presented by Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International, Amazon Watch and the Indigenous Environmental Network. I had been at a similar event prior to Paris COP21 with many of these amazing women and they got the impression I might be handy with technology, so they invited me to come along and help with some of the tech. Once I understood what my responsibilities would be and felt confident I had a reasonably good shot at being able to handle it, I happily confirmed.
Climate Mama (aka Harriet Shugarman) and I trekked into the city (NY) together and as always, I’m inspired by her boundless energy for helping make great things happen. And once again, I was stunned by the passion and power in the room that day.
Pictured left to right: Aura Tegria Cristancho (U’wa, Colombia), Leo Cerda (Kichwa, Ecuador), Gloria Ushigua (Sápara, Ecuador), Casey Camp Horinek (Ponca, USA), Crystal Lameman (Beaver Lake Cree, Canada), Osprey Orielle Lake (WECAN Executive Director) introducing the panel of speakers. Not pictured: Alicia Cahuilla (Huaorani, Ecuador) and Kandi Mossett (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, USA) and me in the corner manning the Skype and slide shows behind Osprey at the podium – Photo by Joan Beard
Please listen to this podcast of my report from that event, and then keep reading…
The following is an excerpt from a post by Emily Arasim & Osprey Orielle Lake
Indigenous women around the world are impacted first and worst by the effects of environmental destruction and a rapidly changing climate, their disproportionate vulnerability the result of a brutal intersection of colonialism, racism and sexism whose effects continue largely unabated. However despite all odds and against great challenges, it is these very same Indigenous women who are rising up, challenging the status quo and taking action to build the vital solutions so desperately needed in order to chart an equitable and sustainable course for humanity.
On May 12, 2016, an outstanding group of Indigenous women leaders from South and North America (Turtle Island) united to share their concerns, struggles and plans for change at ‘Indigenous Women of the Americas Protecting Mother Earth: Struggles and Climate Solutions’, an afternoon event presented by the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International and our allies at Amazon Watch and the Indigenous Environmental Network.
‘Indigenous Women of the Americas Protecting Mother Earth: Struggles and Climate Solutions’ was held in New York City in parallel to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, with the expressed purpose of bringing public visibility to the diverse stories, solutions and demands of frontline women climate leaders.
While the sentiment and experiences shared by each speaker was unique and firmly rooted in their own homeland and place – there were two overriding themes that flowed from the women’s words: (1) respect for and implementation of Indigenous rights and knowledge is a prerequisite for climate justice and effective sustainability solutions and (2) in protecting the rights, health, lives and lands of Indigenous peoples, we ultimately safeguard the future not only of Indigenous nations (which is reason enough), but of the Earth and all it’s people. We are all unequivocally interdependent within the systems of life.
Throughout the presentations, the women also illuminated important points around the meaning of being an aware, respectful and diligent Indigenous ally, and shared a vision for the thriving future that we might still have if we learn to truly honor and uphold Indigenous rights at a global scale.
Photo: Gloria Ushigua (Sápara Nation, Ecuador) and Casey Camp Horinek (Ponca Nation, Oklahoma, USA) joined in a moment of solidarity and love. These two outstanding Indigenous women leaders are uniting across continents to protect and defend the Earth and their communities from oil extraction – Photo by Joan Beard
Please continue reading more of this excellent article on WECAN International’s blog…
Here’s the latest episode of The Green Divas Radio Show for more on green and healthy living…