PDF at the UN
Every spring since 2002, the UN has hosted the world’s indigenous peoples at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
The UNPFII is a standing body within the UN wherein the myriad concerns, struggles, recommendations and requests of indigenous peoples are heard, hopefully acted upon, and processed for presentation to the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council and other bodies of the UN.
This process grew out of years of work and advocacy by indigenous peoples and their allies, beginning in 1977 with a delegation of several hundred indigenous peoples more or less occupying the UN in Geneva. Ultimately, through untold meetings and conferences and relationship building, indigenous peoples gained entry, through the Permanent Forum, to the halls and systems of the UN.
Peace Development Fund has much skin in that game, having funded over the years many of the advocates and organizations. And folks associated with PDF, both native and non-native, have long been a part of this process.
Board member Ali El Issa, President of the Flying Eagle Woman Fund, and PDF Executive Director Paul Haible, have been involved with this process from the beginning, as organizers, funders and advocates for indigenous peoples. Other staff and board have attended the UNPFII in recent years, including Board President Teresa Juarez and members Lori Goodman and Tina Reynolds.
We have presented side events (workshops) and during the Forum sponsored, with the Flying Eagle Woman Fund, Rigoberta Menchu Tum Foundation and the American Indian Community House in NY, the annual Celebration of the Life of Ingrid Washinawatok at the United Methodist Church Center at the UN.
This work and our activities at the UN are part of our ongoing commitment to indigenous peoples from around the world. We played an ongoing role in the passage, in 2007, of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and we will continue to stand with indigenous peoples in the struggle for the full implementation of the principles enshrined in the Declaration.
Our work with indigenous peoples is a commitment to undo long-standing injustices generated from past history, but it is also a strategy going forward on issues of climate change, international development, fair trade, intellectual property rights and the resolution of the conflict between industrialized, corporate society and indigenous societies, nations and cultures.
"Either stand with the people or with the colonists. It's not really that complicated."
We stand with the people!