Respectful greetings to all our IITC friends, families and allies,
I am making a year-end appeal for your support from Madrid Spain where the UN Climate Change talks are underway. IITC’s delegation is here to raise the alarm, hand in hand with other Indigenous representatives and our allies from around the world, about the growing climate emergency impacting our homelands, food systems and ways of life. As a member of a new UN body focused on protecting and strengthening Indigenous Peoples’ traditional knowledge, practices and rights, I am also working hard within the UNFCCC system to change climate policies and development practices to protect our planet for future generations.
Other IITC staff, Board members, consultants and affiliates are also working very hard within their Indigenous Nations and at UN Bodies addressing biodiversity, environmental health, food sovereignty and cultural rights to ensure that the voices of Indigenous Peoples are heard and respected in decision-making that affects us all. For example, IITC is working with the UN to create a new international mechanism to ensure that Indigenous Peoples can locate and repatriate their sacred items and ancestral remains held by museums, universities and auction houses. We are part of a team working with the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances to finally hold the United States accountable for the American Indian and Alaska Native children they forcibly removed from their families who never returned home and remain unaccounted for. We are challenging and changing national and international policies that allow pesticides banned by producing countries to be exported, with devastating impacts on the health of Indigenous Peoples. And we are working to end the brutal repression of Indigenous human and land rights defenders, and the many forms of violence, including environmental violence, being carried out against Indigenous women in the US and around the world.
Its been more than 12 years since the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the UN General Assembly and we are seeing progress on many fronts. However, we have so much important work to do to continue this progress and make sure those who continue to suffer human rights violations on the frontlines have access to justice. Through gatherings of Indigenous Peoples held in Indigenous communities each year, IITC continues to build the unity and strength of our voices. IITC also continues to play a vital role in capacity-building for new leadership, including Indigenous women and youth.
To keep on advancing and addressing new challenges and opportunities, IITC needs your help and support more now than ever. We ask that you partner with us by making a year-end tax-deductible donation to IITC. You can mail a check to IITC’s San Francisco Office, 2940 16th St. Suite 305, San Francisco, CA, 94103, or make a secure on-line contribution by using the “Donate” button at http://www.iitc.org/support-our-work/. All contributions, large or small, are greatly appreciated.
Please share this appeal with your friends, family and colleagues who may want to join you in supporting the work of Indigenous Peoples to make a better world. We also invite you to stay informed and engaged in our work by subscribing to “IITC e-news” via our web page, connecting with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and by participating in our events and gatherings throughout the year.
On behalf of the IITC family, I thank you for your support and friendship and wish you the best for the coming year.
Executive Director, International Indian Treaty Council