“We are now living outside of the laws of nature where nature is now turning against man and becoming the enemy. Climate change is the consequence of the fact that man is operating outside the laws of life and laws of nature, law of the balance of the world. And doing so will destroy the balance.” --Kogi
As Indigenous people, we recognize the spiritual significance of the Kogi people and their call to honor and protect Mother Earth through our own spiritual and cultural traditions. “From the heart of the earth” are powerful words imbued with deep spiritual understanding in the Kogi language and worldview. The power of these words encompasses all existence, all relations, and when spoken from the “guardians of the heart of the world” they remind us of who we are and our responsibilities as human beings in a deeply profound way.
Deborah Spears Moorehead, an artist from the Seaconke, Pokanoket, Wampanoag, Narragansett, Pequot, Mohawk, and Nipmuc Tribal Nations in New England, has been drawing since she can remember. “The Creator chose me to have the talent to be an artist. I started drawing when I was old enough to pick up a pencil,” she says. There is artistic talent on both sides of her family, and Moorehead says her own pull towards artistic forms of expression follows a familial line.
For many mestizo people of mixed Spanish and Indigenous blood from South America, identification with their native heritage has been difficult to imagine, let alone realize. Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, a renowned sociologist from La Paz, Bolivia, has made this quest for identity her life’s work. For Cusicanqui, the “uneasiness” (her term) that inspired her to recover her Indigenous roots began with the decision to learn her mother’s language, Aymara; it had been her father’s native language, Quechua, that was spoken at home.
The creation of the Universal Periodic Review by the new UN Human Rights Council was an innovative approach to assessing the human rights record of each member state. Following the first review cycle, civilians—namely the core group of NGOs based in Geneva and grassroots human rights defenders—initiated advocacy campaigns to improve the review process for the people most impacted. Now, midway through the second review cycle, these modest procedural improvements are providing opportunities for Indigenous Peoples and other stakeholders to shape the review of states.
“Self-determination and sovereignty are the cornerstones on which companies should base their relations with Indigenous Peoples.”
In 1883, my grandfather, Saste, was a child of seven years. With his parents, he traveled in a group into the Black Hills in South Dakota for a sacred prayer journey to Washun Niye, a site from which Mother Earth breathes. They were following a path that had been a journey for his people for thousands of years. In preparation for the ceremony, the women dried the hide of a pte, or tatanka (buffalo), which was carried to this site for the sacred ceremony.
The 1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage sets out a framework “to ensure that effective and active measures are taken for the protection, conservation and presentation of the cultural and natural heritage.” Increasingly, however, the World Heritage site program, made famous through sites like Pompeii and the Great Wall of China, has come to ignore the sovereignty and rights of the Indigenous Peoples who inhabit and share the areas it was created to protect.