A Tiwahe Journey to the United Nations

Please regard this letter as our ask for your monetary contribution. Your help will make possible the LaPointe Tiwahe’s journey to the 2019 United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) event in New York City. Having funds will enable us to secure travel, food and lodging for two-weeks, engage other Indigenous delegates at the Forum, collaborate in a UN side event, and host pre-summit events of our premier project, the Mni Ki Wakan: World Indigenous Peoples Decade of Water Summit. Your donation will enable our participation in the 18th session of the UNPFII from April 22 thru May 3, 2019.

The UNPFII is the central coordinating body for matters relating to the concerns and rights of the world’s more than 370 million Indigenous Peoples, living in over 70 countries worldwide. The mandate of the UNPFII is to discuss Indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health, and human rights. It is an advisory body that reports to UN Economic and Social Council.

The PFII is composed of 16 members. Eight are nominated by governments and elected to office by the Economic and Social Council. The other eight are nominated by the world’s Indigenous organizations, of which one is appointed to a rotating seat, and appointed by the President of the Economic and Social Council. The Indigenous Peoples socio-cultural regions are comprised of seven regions: Africa; Asia; Central and South America and the Caribbean; the Arctic; Central and Eastern Europe, Russian Federation, Central Asia and Transcaucasia; North America; and the Pacific.

Each year, hundreds of Indigenous delegates, as well as representatives of world governments, attend the PFII to address a predesignated theme for the year. Indigenous peoples and youth provide interventions on rights issues and recommendations that culminate in an UNPFII outcome report provided to the Economic and Social Council. Additionally, indigenous peoples convene in informative ‘side-events’ to increase support, partnerships, and awareness on their issues and initiatives.

In May 2016, our delegation formally submitted a “intervention” on the floor of the 15th Session of the UNPFII after first acknowledging PFII members, distinguished dignitaries, and Indigenous relatives present in the assembly room. One of the opening statements was “As such, Indigenous Peoples and Nations must be seen as central to all activities involving water, at all levels, in that they provide the traditional ecological knowledge which is the last remaining frontline for the protection of water.”

At that time, following a referral to Article 32, Sections 2 and 3, of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, our representative issued a global invitation that is significant to our current request for monetary help. “Indigenous led water initiatives, such as the upcoming Mni Ki Wakan: Decade of Water summit to be held in central Minnesota USA in April 2017 must be fully supported as a matter of indigenous water rights implementation. Therefore, we invite the appropriate United Nations representatives and Indigenous Peoples to attend this global indigenous-led water summit.” She concluded “We must create a collective world story where future generations will benefit from Mni Wakan.”  

In years 2017 and 2018, the Mni Ki Wakan: World Indigenous Peoples Decade of Water Summit was subsequently convened and successfully conducted in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. The initial results of the water summit’s implementation are realized. The “collective world story,” which had been announced on the floor of the 2016 UNPFII, has started. The enduring narrative and messages of the Innu, Lakota, Navajo, Maori, Ojibwe, Nakoda, Cree, Chomorro, relatives from Hawai’i, and other participants are emerging.

It is not coincidental that in 2019, the UNPFII’s theme of Indigenous Knowledge: Generation, Transmission and Protection reflects our assertions shared in our intervention, three years ago. It is becoming more evident to the world that Indigenous Peoples “traditional ecological knowledge” is, indeed, “the last remaining frontline for the protection of water.” It is not too late for those of us who organize diverse initiatives to do what we can to recover and restore the health of our planet.

Therefore, one of the key activities your monetary donation will support at the United Nations is our advancement and hosting of pre-summit events of the Mni Ki Wakan: World Indigenous Peoples Decade of Water Summit. Once again, global participants will be invited to the August 13-15, 2019, water summit at Rapid City, South Dakota, USA, in the Black Hills.

Wopila Tanka (Immeasurable Thanks),

From our LaPointe tiwahe
  • Kelly Morgan 
    • $20 
    • 31 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 31 mos
  • Bryana French 
    • $20 
    • 31 mos
  • Rick Hall 
    • $50 
    • 31 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $900 
    • 31 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Wakinyan Lapointe 
Eagan, MN
Nancy Bordeaux 
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