2016 United Nations Intervention by Mni Ki Wakan

May 19th, 2016

Intervention provided by Ta Canku Luta Wi and daughter, Tiana LaPointe, Wambli Wakan Wi

Greetings Chairman, distinguished dignitaries, and indigenous relatives,

Water connects us all. Without clean water, there is no life. Mni wakan, Water is Sacred. Mni pejuta, water as a first medicine. Many indigenous nations believe and know they were born from water. Yet, indigenous peoples remain the few who remember these original and sacred instructions regarding our intimate relationship with water. We do not separate the creator from creation.

We are facing a world-wide water crises unlike anything we have ever seen before. Water is being consumed at an alarming rate, used unsustainably, and is contaminated more and more with each passing day.

Indigenous peoples, communities, and Nations retain the wisdom and traditional ecological knowledge that is most urgently needed to restore a more sustainable future of water.

Article 32 of the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Section 2, provides that, “States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources.”

Section 3 says that “States shall provide effective mechanisms for just and fair redress for any such activities, and appropriate measures shall be taken to mitigate adverse environmental, economic, social, cultural or spiritual impact.”

As such, indigenous peoples and Nations must to be seen as central to all activities involving water, at all levels, in that they provide the traditional ecological knowledge which is the last remaining frontline for the protection of water.

Indigenous led water initiatives, such as the upcoming Mni Wakan: Decade of Water summit to be held in central Minnesota USA in 2017 must be fully supported as a matter of indigenous water rights implementation. Therefore, we invite the appropriate United Nations’ representatives, and indigenous peoples to attend this global indigenous-led water summit.

In conclusion, Indigenous peoples throughout the world are fighting to protect sacred water, these water defenders must have their communities’ and Nations’ water rights protected, implemented, and respected. We do not just want to be another after-thought. We must create a collective world story where future generations will benefit from Mni Wakan.

Finally, chairman, to close we celebrate the life of our friend Berta Caceres of Honduras who died protecting the sacred rivers and her peoples; water is life.

Thank you, Chairman, Dignitaries, Indigenous relatives, and representatives.

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