Friday, August 8, 2008

U.N. celebrates International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples

Dear Friends,
August 9th is the 14th International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, and we hope you will join us in celebrating a particularly momentous year in indigenous rights. Among the milestones this year, the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in a near-unanimous vote, and the governments of Australia and Canada formally apologized for their egregious forced-assimilation policies. The event is being celebrated at the United Nations today with presentations by a range of UN dignitaries from UNESCO and the UN Development Programme, as well as chair the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (and Cultural Survival board member) Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Ban's statement, released before the event, acknowledges indigenous peoples' "marginalization, their extreme poverty, the expropriation of their traditional lands and other grave human rights abuses" and also makes special mention of the disappearance of indigenous languages (you can read the text of all the day's presentations here: One of the people being honored at this year's UN event is Marcos Xukuru, chief of the Xukuru people of Pernambuco, Brazil, who has been waging a desperate campaign for his people's land rights. His father was assassinated for a similar effort, and Marcos himself recently survived an assassination attempt that killed two of his colleagues. The chief has asked us for help, and we are donating a portion of the proceeds from this weekend's Cultural Survival Bazaar to his defense fund and coordinating a meeting between Chief Marcos and the Wampanoag Nation, which has some parallels with the Xukuru. Watch for more on the Xukuru in our upcoming enewsletter.
In the meantime, we hope you will help support the Xukuru by coming to the Provincetown bazaar this weekend. We also hope you will continue to support our ongoing work. As the Xukuru's situation makes clear, even though this was a banner year for indigenous rights, there is far more to do, and we can't do it without you.
Our work is possible because of people like you. Please join Cultural Survival and take part in our efforts to ensure that the world's indigenous peoples' rights to their lands, languages, and cultures are respected, protected, and fulfilled. Together we are making a difference! Sincerely,

Ellen L. Lutz Executive Director
Cultral Survival

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