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Lewis Cardinal Addresses the Climate Action Assembly

Lewis Cardinal addresses the Climate Action Assembly I at the 2023 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago, USA.

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Lewis Cardinal, and I’m from the Woodland Cree in Northern Alberta, Canada. And I’m very honored today to bring a message to you all and an invitation from the spiritual leaders of the Amazon Basin.

And you might be asking, what is a, what is a Cree from the boreal forests of North America doing up here, inviting you to an event from the Indigenous people of South America? Well, we have a lot in common, as it turns out. And we really want to reach out to everyone and to invite you all to a very important event tomorrow, Wednesday.

The Parliament of the World’s Religions is a founding partner of the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative, IRI, a United Nations environment program, convened alliance that is bringing moral urgency and faith -based leadership to global efforts to halt and reverse tropical deforestation and protect the rights of Indigenous peoples.

The Parliament and IRI are committed to fostering new relationships between religious leaders and Indigenous peoples. And to have religious leaders learn and understand firsthand about the relationship between Indigenous spiritualities, traditions and cultures, and the protection of forests, particularly the Amazon. 

In service of that goal, IRI will facilitate a high -level panel discussion at this Parliament on Indigenous peoples, their spiritualities, and the shared moral responsibility across faiths to protect the Amazon and the rights and cultures of Indigenous peoples and traditional communities. The event is called an Urgent Call to Protect the Amazon, an Interfaith Rainforest Initiative dialogue with Indigenous leaders. And that is going to be here in this hall on Wednesday at 6 p .m. That’s Wednesday, August 16, right here in this hall at 6 p .m.

And there will be a short reception following. The event will feature several of the Amazon’s most prominent Indigenous spiritual leaders and draw links between the sacred wisdom and cosmologies of Indigenous peoples and the long -term protection of the world’s forests. 

Indigenous leaders will gather from the Amazon Rainforest, from Brazil, Colombia, and Ecuador, representatives from the Parliament of World Religions will be here, representatives from the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative, representatives from partner organizations and affiliated campaigns such as Religions for Peace, Indigenous Medicine Conservation Fund, BOA Foundation, Yarenka Tesorenzi Institute. 

And the objectives are to deepen commitment amongst the Parliament of the world’s religions embers to the sacred duty of religious leaders and faith communities to share work hand-in-hand with Indigenous peoples to protect forests, particularly the Amazon, showcase Indigenous spiritualities, cosmologies, traditions, and cultures, and raise awareness amongst religious leaders of the threats Indigenous peoples face protecting their lands, forests, cultures, and spiritual practices. And to bring the voice, vision, and spiritual commitment of Indigenous leaders to the Parliament of the world’s religions as a way of healing and transforming the relationship between organized religions and Indigenous peoples.

And will profile the work of the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative in the Amazon Basin. This event will be moderated moderated by the beautiful and talented Zaya Guarani, an Indigenous model and  activist, and me. So remember, An Urgent Call to Protect the Amazon: An Interfaith Rainforest Initiative Dialogue with Indigenous Leaders.

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