2019 United Nations by Mni Ki Wakan

Hau Mitakuyapi, greetings madam chair, dignitaries, indigenous peoples, youth, and elders. Mni Ki Wakan, Mni Ki Wiconi, Mni Ki Pejuta: Water is Sacred, Water is Life, Water is Medicine. Each year, Indigenous Co-Conveners and Global Water

Ambassadors convene the Mni Ki Wakan: World Indigenous Peoples Decade of Water Summit. During the second Mni Ki Wakan, Indigenous relatives from the world community called for unprecedented solidarity in response to their concern over escalating water contamination, depletion of fresh water, and the corporate takeover of their sacred water ways that threatens traditional knowledge and our very right to existence.

For many indigenous peoples, traditional knowledge is the first line of defense for water protection, preservation, and restoration; the survival of traditional knowledge and future generations depend on water. As indigenous water rights face alarming threats, indigenous peoples are increasingly identifying water management, self-determination, and governance that can withstand the great tides of change to come.  Water is a cultural identity shaper of the national character of many indigenous peoples.

During the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues 17th Session, Thorne LaPointe, called for a comprehensive study on issues indigenous peoples face concerning water. A study that can refine sustainable development goal 6, relevant UN Water programs and partnerships; a study that can elevate indigenous voices and traditional knowledge throughout the United Nations from the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Previously, Mni Ki Wakan recommended the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues establish a global indigenous water body capable of increasing coordination for water restoration, protection, and innovation of indigenous peoples in the United Nations, and the world.

In closing madam chair, we invite the global indigenous community, relevant UN agencies, and non-governmental organizations to the 3rd Mni Ki Wakan: World Indigenous Peoples Decade of Water Summit, August 13-15, Black Hills, South Dakota, USA, known to the Lakota people as the Heart of Everything that is. Today, we announce the formation of a global indigenous water body that is capable of the resilience, unity, and creativity of water. To come together for the future of our sacred water ways and children, and we ask each and every one of our relatives in the United Nations today to join us. Water is not only one of our most pressing issues, but one of our greatest opportunities for global transformation. We must end water pollution or water pollution will put an end us.

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