On March 4, 2007, eight years after the
brutal events leading to the death of Ingrid Washinawatok and her
colleagues, many of us will pause and reflect on the need for justice, and
a forum where voices such as Ingrid's can influence national governments
and international agencies to take positive action on Indigenous issues.
One of the
goals of the United Nations International Decade of the
World's Indigenous Peoples (1995-2004) was the establishment
of a Permanent Forum for Indigenous Peoples at the United
Nations. In 2002, the United Nations established the United
Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. "The Permanent
Forum is an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council
with a mandate to discuss indigenous issues related to
economic and social development, culture, the environment,
education, health and human rights."
Ingrid did not live long enough to witness this commitment
of the international community.
As we travel together through the Second United Nations
International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples
(2005-2014), and as an ongoing tribute to Ingrid
Washinawatok, Dialogue Between Nations is pleased to provide
an opportunity for global dialogue on Ingrid's vision of a
traditional Indigenous model for the UN Permanent Forum.
Ingrid offers a distinct vision which sets in motion a
foundation based in Indigenous approaches to diplomacy.
Although the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is a
unique body within the UN system, Ingrid's vision opens the
door towards creating even greater innovative advances to
the style and methodology for procedures established within
the UN system.
The former High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson
once asked representatives to consider "not what the United
Nations can do for Indigenous Peoples, but what Indigenous
Peoples can do for the UN." In a time of major revisions
within the UN system, this opportunity lies close at hand
for those willing to embark on such a challenging path.
- Thomas Banyacya
- Marcial Arias
The Permanent Forum itself could
be a model based on Indigenous traditions in the sense that the structure would
be complementary to the realities of the 21st century, yet rooted in it's
foundation of Indigenous thought.
If I may use a brief example and if my relatives permit me, the Permanent Forum
could be modeled after the Haudenosaunee methods of conflict resolution; Hopi
methods of Peacemaking; Kuna methods of negotiation, etc.
Not only will this complement the goals of the Decade, but it will arrive
Indigenous Peoples totally on an equal basis with the rest of the family of
The Permanent Forum should be a body at the highest level comprised of members
firmly committed to Indigenous life-ways.
Statement by Ingrid Washinawatok
Indigenous Women's Network
UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations
Sub-Commission on the Prevention of
Discrimination and Protection of Minorities XVth Session
We encourage you to visit
Time Immemorial where you will find our 1999 commemoration of Ingrid
and links to relevant information, as well as a Global Dialogue on the topic
of the Fourth Mind.
Snipe Clan, Onondaga Nation,
Haudenosaunee, Iroquois Confederacy
President and Founder, American Indian Law Alliance
Member, United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous
2008 - 2010
OUR OWN VOICES
A publication of the
American Indian Law Alliance, May 2002
New York City
Native peoples have an
opportunity to provide leadership in breaking down the
monopoly of the controlling nations and to push the
United Nations towards truly becoming a forum for all
peoples of the world, a forum with an identity
transcending the boundaries set by lines drawn on maps.
New York City Law Review, Volume 3, Number One
UNITED NATIONS PERMANENT FORUM ON INDIGENOUS ISSUES
Official Web Site
Spirit of martyred activist presides at world meeting
Posted: May 28, 2003
by: Jim Adams
Indian Country Today
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INGRID WASHINAWATOK EL-ISSA
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