Indigenous people comprise just 5% of the world’s population, but they steward some 80% of the world’s biodiversity. That’s not an accident. Though diverse in language, ethnicity and cultures, many indigenous groups have developed ways to live sustainably on their ancestral lands and waters over centuries or even millennia. Their worldviews often put the protection of vital resources – nature’s supermarket – above the profit motive, stemming from long-held cultural practices.
This has put many indigenous communities into direct, if unwanted, conflict with the forces of global capitalism. The results are devastating:
Indigenous communities are being displaced from their lands at alarming rates, and environmental defenders – many of them indigenous – face rising levels of violence.
Our Work to Supporting Indigenous Peoples
Indigenous people’s rights are central to our work. At a time when biodiversity is in free fall and climate change-induced extinctions loom, restoring indigenous land and water rights is our best hope for restoring balance.
We work with indigenous groups in Latin America, Southern Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia, amplifying their voices and supporting their movements. We promote the right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) and indigenous rights over their lands, territories and cultural autonomy. We support and promote consultation protocols as a means through which indigenous communities can uphold their rights. And we strengthen indigenous communities’ capacity to recognize and advocate for their rights, working alongside indigenous-led organizations and movements to elevate and disseminate their narratives.
- Amazon’s Belo Monte dam cuts Xingu River flow 85%; a crime, Indigenous say (Mongabay, 2021)
- Whose Water? A Comparative Analysis of National Laws and Regulations Recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ and Local Communities’ Rights to Freshwater (2020)
- Serious Damage Tribal Peoples and Large Dams (Survival International, 2010)
- PRESS RELEASE | Coalition Submits Amicus Brief Calling for Enforcement of the Rights of the Piatúa River and Indigenous Rights in EcuadorContacts: Constanza Prieto Figelist (email@example.com, 202-621-3877) Monti Aguirre (firstname.lastname@example.org, 707-591-1220) QUITO, ECUADOR—On November 26, a coalition of civil society organizations and law professors submitted an amicus brief to Ecuador’s Constitutional…
- Joint Statement | Klamath River Dam Removal Back on TrackBy: Darryl Knudsen, Executive Director & Bruce Shoemaker, Klamath project Liason The struggle of the diverse and broad coalition of tribes and others who value the fundamental importance of a…
- PRESS RELEASE | Amazon Communities Protest to Maintain the Xingu River AliveBy: Movimento Xingu Vivo para Sempre Original post in Portuguese. This Monday morning (11/09), over 150 representatives of fishermen, riverbank communities, family farmers and the indigenous Curuaya and Xipaya peoples occupied a section of…
- Peace on the SalweenNestled beside Asia’s last free-flowing river, the Salween Peace Park in Myanmar’s Karen State (officially called Kayin State) is protecting the rights of Indigenous Karen people to self-determination, cultural survival…