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Acknowledgements at the IRI Dialogue with Indigenous Leaders

Emcees Lewis Cardinal and Zaya Guarani share a message of thanks and acknowledgments of sponsors of the assembly “An Urgent Call to Protect the Amazon: An Interfaith Rainforest Initiative Dialogue with Indigenous Leaders” at the 2023 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago, USA.

Lewis Cardinal – With many thanks for the powerful and important statements of our respondents, and having heard the indigenous leaders share their perspectives, we can hear clear calls to support the protection of the Amazon as a top moral and ethical priority for all of humanity, and particularly the Religions of the world. 

We have heard, among others, the following key messages and related priorities: 

  • The Amazon is a vital ecosystem that provides clean water, air, oxygen at continental scales. It is a majestic and infinitely generous ecosystem, a real gift to humanity. 
  • The Amazon is in serious danger of reaching a tipping point due to deforestation, which would have global consequences on water and food security, as well as exacerbate climate change in ways that humanity cannot afford. This deforestation is mainly caused by commercial activities, many of them illegal, like cattle ranching and cattle feed crops, mining and logging, as well as infrastructure – which is intrinsically related to global unsustainable consumption and production patterns as well as an unfair and misdirected economic system.
  • The indigenous peoples of the Amazon have lived in the forest for thousands of years and have developed distinct cultures, traditional knowledge and spirituality that allow for the safeguarding of the rainforests. They are essential guardians and stakeholders in global efforts to stop deforestation, and 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity is located within indigenous lands. 
  • We have heard that each of us hold responsibility to educate and mobilize ourselves and our communities, as well as support the adoption and enforcement of public policies that support the protection of rainforests, indigenous rights and sustainable development.
  • We have heard clearly from the UN, the Brazilian government, as well as indigenous leaders from the Amazon basin, that you, the religious leaders of the world, along with your communities, are an essential partner and ally to protect this vital ecosystem and work hand-in-hand to do so.

Zaya Guarani – We also learned about the work of the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative, a United Nations program that is mobilizing religious leaders and faith communities in the Amazon and beyond to work hand-in-hand with indigenous peoples, and many sectors to protect the rainforests and indigenous peoples rights.

We learned that just last week, IRI issued a powerful call to action to the governments of the Amazonian countries, which offers a strong platform for the religions of the world to build on. 

After our prayer together, we invite you to listen to this Call to Action, which can be endorsed by us, here, together, in recognition and support of this vital mission to safeguard the Amazon.

We have also heard about an extremely dangerous law being passed in Congress in Brazil right now, for which we, the indigenous peoples, are really afraid it will take away the rights to our land for which we have fought for so many decades. The petition against this law, known as PL2903, can be signed on and I ask that you please sign and share this petition with your communities, and friends and family. We will put up a QR code here that you can scan with your phone too.

Lewis Cardinal – As we move to our closing prayer and Call to Action, let me extend our deepest gratitude to all the speakers and participants, here with us and watching from all over the world. 

We are particularly grateful to the partners and organizations that have made this work and event possible, starting with the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative of the UN Environment Program. 

For the Parliament of the World’s Religions, it is an honor to be a founding partner and active supporter of the work, along with organizations such as Religions for Peace, the World Council of Churches, Greenfaith and the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology. 

We also want to thank the Indigenous Medicine Conservation Fund (or IMC Fund) for their active collaboration and support in making this event a reality.

As well as extend our deepest gratitude to Little Tree House and the Boa Foundation for their generous support. 

Zaya Guarani – Above all we want to thank the indigenous peoples who have generously shared their time and words with us, and for their vital work to protect their communities and the Amazon rainforest. 

Thank you Chief Raoni, and the Raoni Institute.

Thanks to Sonia Guajajara, the Minister of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil

Thank you Benki Piyãko and the Yorenka Tasorentsi Institute. 

Thank you Patricia Gualinga, and the Amazon Women Collective

Thank you Miguel Evanjuanoy and Alicia Mojomboy, and the Union of Indigenous Yagé Doctors of the Colombian Amazon.

Thank you Daiara Tukano, and all the work you and your community do

Thank you Mapu Huni Kuin, and Hawa Karu Yushibu Center

Thank you Mona Pollaca, and the Center for Earth Ethics.

And thank you to all the Indigenous peoples in the world, who are fighting to keep the forests alive, the waters clean and the air pure for our children and families.

We are profoundly grateful for your leadership! 

Lewis Cardinal – Dear participants, we kindly invite you to a reception after the event, but first, we will invite you to join us in prayer and hear our Call to Action to protect the Amazon, live from the Parliament of the World’s Religions.

Zaya Guarani – For our prayer, we would like to invite all the indigenous leaders present to join us on stage, as well as the speakers and respondents of this event. Daiara will offer to guide us in prayer, and we invite everyone to pray with us to share our love, light, and peace to the Amazon rainforest, its peoples and all the living beings in it.

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