Every year on August 9th, the United Nations celebrates the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, a holiday founded for the purpose of promoting and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples across the globe. There are an estimated 370 million people belonging to indigenous groups, making up about 5% of the world’s total population. Indigenous populations are usually defined as culturally distinct peoples that have deep ancestral roots to a region. Many of the 5,000 remaining indigenous populations living in 90 different countries have been marginalized and threatened by colonizing groups, and are still fighting for their right to ancestral land, and to live freely according to their traditions. In recent decades, indigenous populations have played a crucial role in creating and guiding environmentalist movements.
This year, the holiday’s theme is, “Bridging the Gap: implementing the rights of indigenous peoples.” According to the U.N.’s website, the theme “highlights the importance of implementing the rights of indigenous peoples through policies and programs at both the national and international level.” On Friday, August 8th, the U.N. will host a discussion panel in NYC that will be available for live stream between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m. Promotion for the rights of indigenous peoples will continue next month with the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples on September 22nd and 23rd.
Global Goods Partners cares greatly about the survival and revitalization of indigenous peoples. Many of our partners, including Artesania Sorata, Alma de los Andes, AAA, Omba Arts Trust, Pampa Brava, MWEDO, Aj Quen, Uniqueland, and CREATA, work directly with indigenous women and their communities in order to improve their social and political standings in their respective countries, and in order to revive their pre-colonial cultural heritages through the creation of products that reflect aspects of their traditional beliefs, practices, and aesthetics. Buying fair trade products from these organizations gives them the financial means necessary to build their communities, and subsequently strengthen their cultural, linguistic, and ethnic presence in their homelands.