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Indigenous Knowledge is the Key to Combating Climate Change

Dear Cultural Survival Community,

This past Fall, the 26th Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) took place in Glasgow, Scotland. Five of my Cultural Survival colleagues and I attended the conference and participated in various dialogues and presentations pertaining to the proposed solutions to address climate change mitigation and adaptation, loss, and damages of our ecosystems as well as climate finance. Alongside many other Indigenous leaders present at COP26 and others who took to the streets to protest the climate conference, Cultural Survival’s Indigenous women-led delegation denounced the so-called “nature-based” and scalable solutions as false solutions that continue to displace and criminalize Indigenous Peoples on their own lands and territories while commodifying, extracting, and exploiting our environments. Our delegation centered and uplifted Indigenous Peoples’ rights, solutions, and Traditional Knowledge in tackling climate change, advocating for direct funding to support Indigenous Peoples’ land titling, tenure, stewardship, and self-determination, and amplifying the voices of Indigenous Peoples.

Cultural Survival is dedicating this issue of the Cultural Survival Quarterly to uplifting the voices and work of Indigenous community leaders working to mitigate and combat climate change at local, national, and international levels. They are the ones taking action and creating change with little to no government support. We report on some of the small wins at COP26, such as the adoption of the second three-year work plan of the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform and securing one seat to represent Indigenous Peoples in the Climate Technology Centre and Network Advisory Body. We also highlight new fronts of the struggle for Indigenous rights in the Just Transition with the need to monitor human rights commitments of companies working in the green economy to source transition minerals. The rapid increase of mining for these minerals impacts Indigenous communities through displacement and dispossession. Due to the lack of government action, Indigenous leaders are directly engaging companies in the supply chain to ensure they are aware of the risks posed to Indigenous Peoples. We also report on how centering Indigenous knowledge enables the regeneration of local ecosystems and biodiversity. This crucial, on-the-ground work by Indigenous communities needs to be resourced and funded directly to ensure we have a healthy and sustainable planet for future generations.

We hope you will join us in supporting Indigenous climate solutions. Our 50-year legacy of advocating for Indigenous Peoples’ rights is thanks to you, our community, who help make our work possible. Join us in shifting the narrative and resources to support Indigenous languages, solutions, and leadership to build a better world for us all. For our 50th anniversary, we have an ambitious goal to raise $500,000 by June 1, 2022 for our #CS50 campaign. We are counting on you!

Galina Angarova (Buryat)
Executive Director


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