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“Everything About Us, With Us”: The Second World Conference of Indigenous Women Begins August 12

By Sarah Hume (CS Intern)

“Now more than ever, we need to meet, reconnect and inspire each other,” says a statement on the World Conference of Indigenous Women website. Gathering over 200 women for the first conference in 2013, the second upcoming conference aims to continue collaboration amongst Indigenous Women’s organizations around the world. While the first World Conference of Indigenous Women took place in Lima, Peru, the August 2021 conference is being held virtually for the safety of participants and observers. Indigenous women and advocacy organizations are invited to share experiences and propose solutions to the unique challenges Indigenous women face, including violence and reproductive health. Participants are also invited to discuss education initiatives, climate justice, the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for advocacy, and economic empowerment. 

The conference is co-organized by the International Indigenous Women’s Forum (FIMI), Alliance of Indigenous Women of Central America and Mexico, Sami Nisson Forum, Asian Indigenous Women’s Network, African Indigenous Women Organization, The Continental Network of Indigenous Women, and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Alliance. The conference recognizes the diversity of Indigenous Peoples and aims to facilitate a global network that links Indigenous women from seven socio-cultural regions (Asia, Africa, the Pacific, the Arctic, and the Americas).

Due to current challenges, the conference agenda further covers responses to the COVID-19 crisis in Indigenous communities and focuses on the different ways in which Indigenous women worldwide are recovering and protecting Indigenous lands and resources. As former UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli Corpuz (Igorot) of the Philippines— a participant in the 2013 conference— said, “Our message to governments, to the UN, and to corporations, is that they should work with us and not against us, because we have answers to the environmental, social, economic, and cultural crises that the world faces today.”


The Second World Conference of Indigenous Women will be held in a virtual format every Thursday in August, with two sessions per day to facilitate the participation of all regions. It will begin on August 12, 2021, and will end on September 2, 2021, with the adoption of the Global Political Declaration, which is the outcome document from the conference. The first session will begin at 8:00 am and last until 12:00 pm (PERU). The second session will begin at 9:00 pm and last until 1:00 am (PERU). The last meeting on September 2 will start at 7:00 am and end at 10:00 am (PERU). 

Cultural Survival had the honor of being part of the official media team for the First World Conference of Indigenous Women in 2013 in Lima, Peru. There, participants demanded greater prominence of Indigenous women at every level of decision making and called upon governments to dedicate funding to attend to the specific needs of Indigenous women. Notable agenda items included food sovereignty, addressing megaprojects— such as hydroelectric dams— that destroy environments and Indigenous lands, and ending violence against Indigenous women. 

Participants of the first conference in 2013 spoke about the importance of gathering as Indigenous women to discuss initiatives and strategies. Raffaella Bulyaar from Marsabit, Kenya, who is the Woman Empowerment Program Officer at Kivulini Trust, spoke about how she was the first from her community to attend the World Conference on Indigenous Women. “I came here to learn so I can go and share with my people,” she said, “and so that we can try to fight for our rights which are in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

Andrea Landry (Anishinaabe) from the Pays Plat First Nation in Canada, who was part of the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus for UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, spoke with Cultural Survival at the first conference about violence against Indigenous women. “Traditionally,” she said, “we had clan mothers and systems that prioritized women in our communities. Today this violence is tied to low socio-economic status, high incarceration rates, and related to how women in cities are living in between two worlds.”

Landry personally experienced a violent relationship for four years. She shared her experience at the First World Conference of Indigenous Women with the hope that her story may be inspiring to other Indigenous women. “In order to get out of that,” Landry said, “I turned back to ceremony. That’s what really made me re-focus and re-evaluate my life.”

Conference participants will again make history during the Second World Conference of Indigenous Women. The space, now virtual for 2021, will foster discussion, shared experiences, and engagement in international decision making. The important tenet of “Everything about us, with us,” continues to be advocated for and ensured by Indigenous women worldwide. 

The conference is designed as a space for the discussion and connection of Indigenous women. Those who wish to participate and do not belong to Indigenous Peoples can participate as observers. To register as a participant, please visit the registration page here. To register as an observer, visit the registration page here. See the full agenda here. 

This year, at the conference, Cultural Survival is organizing two sessions on August 12: ICTs as an Intercultural Tool for Advocacy, Networking, and Visibility (10:50 AM- 11:50 AM Peru time) and Education and Training (11:50 PM to 12:10 AM Peru time).