International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples


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.



More Summer Style: Fibers and Seeds

We have some great summer jewelry handmade from natural fibers and seeds, including bracelets from Colombia and necklaces from Argentina and Brazil. Use these pieces as eco-friendly and fashionable accessories.

These bracelets are the perfect accessory for day or night and are made from naturally dyed caña flecha fiber.

This ivory-colored necklace is made from Tagua and the circle necklace is patterned with seeds.

These colorful single and double-stranded necklaces are made from the pit of Açai berries.

Made in Argentina, these necklaces are handcrafted from seeds and chaguar, a sustainably harvested plant fiber.

Updates from Colombia

As you probably know, the illegal drug trade is a major problem in Columbia. Colombia is the leading producer of cocaine in the world and it supplies more than 90 percent of the cocaine found in the United States. Crime related to drugs is the second highest cause of death in the country, and although the government of Colombia has tried to put a stop to cocaine production, efforts have been largely ineffective. In addition, growing coca (the plant used to make cocaine) is often the most lucrative means for peasant farmers to earn enough money to feed their families.

Recently, Colombia’s Constitutional Court ruled that people cannot be jailed for possession of cocaine and marijuana in amounts considered for personal use. Under this decision, a personal dose is considered to be up to 20 grams of marijuana and up to one gram of cocaine. Any person caught with less than those amounts cannot be prosecuted or detained.

This ruling is in keeping with the current trend in countries in Latin American and Europe such as Uruguay, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Portugal to no longer treat people who use drugs as criminals who need to be imprisoned. Instead of jail time, people would receive physical or psychological treatment.

Decriminalizing drug possession has been shown to reduce arrests of drug users, decrease opportunities for police corruption at a lower level, and allow police to focus on more serious crimes. Furthermore, individuals and communities are able to respond to addiction as a health matter as opposed to a criminal issue. Based on previous studies, the levels of illicit drug use change little as a result of decriminalization.

Source: “Colombia Decriminalizes Cocaine and Marijuana, As Latin American Momentum for Drug Policy Reform Continues” by Ethan Nadelmann for The Huffington Post

We have 4 artisan partners in Colombia: Uniqueland, Chocofibres, CREATA, and Opitagua. Due to the internal conflict in Colombia, there are very high numbers of refugees and internally displaced peoples. Many indigenous communities are negatively affected by this displacement and are forced to give up their traditional ways of living. Producing handcrafted goods provides a sustainable livelihood for some of these people. Support our partners in Colombia and view their handcrafted products here.