MADRE, in collaboration with the Indigenous Environmental Network, organized a delegation of Indigenous women climate defenders to meet with grassroots organizers in North Dakota.
This delegation was an opportunity for Indigenous women leaders fighting back against extractive industries to learn from one another. For this initiative, we gathered partners from Colombia, Guatemala, Israel, Kenya, Nepal and Nicaragua.
Extractive industries - like oil and gas mega-projects - have a long history of violence and exploitation of local communities. They inflict damage and environmental destruction on the lands they take up.
Among those most at risk are Indigenous communities. They face the health impacts of these industries, including increases in respiratory diseases, miscarriages and birth defects. They are often displaced and forced to give up their homes. And when they speak out, they face harassment and retaliation.
"Opportunities like this are necessary in the work of Indigenous Women to foster the building of lasting relationships as we help each other face urgent issues in our communities and come together to tackle them at the local to the international level."
Kandi White, Indigenous Environmental Network Native Energy & Climate Campaign Director
Following the delegation, Lucy Mulenkei of the Indigenous Information Network (IIN) and Eriel Deranger of Indigenous Climate Action (ICA) spoke on their experience at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
Lucy Mulenkei (Kenya)
Lucy is the Executive Director of the Indigenous Information Network (IIN) in Kenya. A Maasai from Kenya, she has been working both as a chairperson and coordinator of the African Indigenous Women Organization in the East African Region for the past several years.
Yasso Kanti Bhattachan (Nepal)
Yasso belongs to the Thakali Indigenous community. She is a founding member and advisor of the National Indigenous Women's Federation (NIWF), Nepal, and one of the leading Indigenous women activists and scholars of Nepal.
Remedios Uriana (Colombia)
Remedios is an Indigenous leader who has worked extensively on behalf of the rights of children and Indigenous women of the Wayúu People. She is currently part of the Gender Group of the Colombian Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Coexistence and Non-Repetition.
Ana Ceto Chavez (Guatemala)
Ana, an Indigenous leader from the Ixil region of El Quiche, is the coordinator of MUIXIL, an organization that promotes and defends the human rights of Indigenous women and their communities. The first Indigenous woman in her community to receive a law degree, she is a strong advocate of restitution and recognition from the Guatemalan government for the genocide of Indigenous Peoples.
Sana Ibn Bari (Israel)
Sana is a Bedouin activist and advocate for women’s rights. An attorney by training, she is responsible for overseeing the rights of the Naqab-Negev Arab Bedouin in the Arab Minority Rights Unit at the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. Sana has participated in several delegations to the UN, representing the Naqab Arab Bedouin community.
Rose Cunningham (Nicaragua)
Rose, a Miskito leader and expert in popular education, international labor law, and the rights of migrants, refugees, and displaced persons, is the founder of the organization, Wangki Tangni. She served as an officer of the Organization of American States for 10 years and has been instrumental in raising awareness about violence against Indigenous Women at the UN.