The Indigenous Task Force and the Climate Action Task Force of the Parliament of the World’s Religions co-organized a program during the sixteenth session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, “Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change: A Panel and Discussion.” The event was held on April 26 at Episcopal Church headquarters in New York City, and co-sponsored by the Parliament, the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary, the Interfaith Center of New York, and the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples. The four expert speakers, from four global regions and different Indigenous traditions, were:
• Chase Iron Eyes (Standing Rock Sioux) Lakota People’s Law Project
• Mindahi Crescencio Bastida Muñoz (Otomi) Otomi-Hñahñu Regional Council, Mexico
• Tāwera Tahuri (Māori: Ngā Ariki Kaipūtahi) Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples
• Naomi Lanoi (Masaai) Human Rights Advocate
They made complementary but equally passionate statements on the ways in which climate change, pollution and damage to the natural world are connected to ethics, worldviews and spiritual practices. Lewis Cardinal (Cree), Chair of the Indigenous Task Force of the Parliament, served as Moderator. You can see the film of the speakers’ presentation here. The event was attended by a very diverse group of almost fifty people, including Indigenous Elders and activists, UN staff, religious representatives and members of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). They participated in a vigorous, deeply engaged open discussion following the speakers and shared a strong spirit of fellowship and concern for the issues. We ended in a circle with a sung prayer of gratitude. As planned, the program created content and formed relationships that will contribute to the development of the Climate Forum at the 2018 Parliament event in Toronto as well as activities leading up to it.
Photo Credit: Kevin Childress
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