On August 9, we celebrate the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, an opportunity to raise awareness and protect all the rights of Indigenous individuals.
Based on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Indigenous Peoples live and occupy 22 per cent of their global land area. At least 370 - 500 million Indigenous Peoples represent cultural diversity.
There are 70 Indigenous languages being spoken in Canada. Some languages are still growing. Indigenous speakers in Canada, such as Haisla, Halkomelem, Heiltsuk and Michif, have increased by a third (33.3 per cent) or more since 2016.
Despite their rich and diverse cultures, Indigenous Peoples face problems regarding the protection of their rights as distinct people. Many continue to be confronted with marginalization, poverty, homelessness, and other human rights violations. They face systemic issues, including racism and discrimination as well.
Through the resolution and general assembly in December 1994, the United Nations General Assembly decided that August 9 must be dedicated to observing the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples. The general assembly contains recognizing, recalling, and reaffirming their rights.
If you are interested in reading more about the general assembly, read more at:
It marks the day of the first meeting in the year of 1982 of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations. Every summer, UNESCO marks this day as a celebration for many Indigenous Peoples. They share information about the projects and activities relevant to the annual theme.
"Marked every year on August 9, the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples is an opportunity to celebrate these communities and their knowledge," said Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of UNESCO. "That is why UNESCO is committed to the preservation of Indigenous cultures. Today, we celebrate the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, as we do every year, to symbolize our commitment to them, which lies at the heart of our mandate.”
Communities can do many things on this day and for the remaining days of August.
• Read different Indigenous stories. • Listen to podcasts of Indigenous leaders. • Join events. • See how different disasters such as COVID-19 is affecting different communities and search for ways to help. • Support local Indigenous artists and businesses. • Visit the UN's International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples website. • Donate to many Indigenous-led solutions organizations
For more information, visit: https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/12-things-you-can-do-international-day-worlds-indigenous-peoples
"We must empower young people to take their rightful place in our institutions so that together we can meet the challenges of the 21st century," said Azoulay.
With this, we can help Indigenous Peoples to the path of healing and reconciliation.
Visit UNESCO's information website at https://www.unesco.org/en/international-day-worlds-indigenous-peoples
Julia Archelene Magsombol, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Columbia Valley Pioneer