Justa is the founder of the Confederation of Indigenous Women of Bolivia, which represents women from 34 indigenous peoples of Bolivia. She is also the Mburubicha Guasu, the highest traditional authority of the Guarani people in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, responsible for maintaining peace in Guarani communities.
A Gwich’in leader from Arctic Village, Alaska, Sarah James is Board Member and Spokesperson for the Gwich’in Steering Committee, an organization formed in response to proposed drilling of oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). In 1988 when the Gwich’in Steering Committee was formed when Sarah was chosen by her people to be chairperson which, made her the public spokesperson for protecting the caribou that were essential to the Gwich’in way of life. She has testified in front of United States Congress, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples, convinced former President Jimmy Carter to push for ANWR to be a national monument, and has been a champion for Indigenous peoples’ rights and the promotion of clean energy. Sarah is the recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize, National Conservation Land Trust award, Ecotrust Award for Indigenous Leadership, the Ceila Hunter Award, and included in Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame.
An Igorot youth leader from the Philippines, Marifel is Director of Youth Programs at the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), an independent federation committed to the promotion and defense of Indigenous peoples’ rights, social justice, and national freedom and democracy. Marifel is also the administrator and organizer for the Asia-Pacific Indigenous Youth Network (APIYN).
Joseph Ole Simel
A Maasai leader from Kenya, Joseph Ole Simel is the Executive Director of the Mainyoito Pastoralist Integrated Development Organization (MPIDO), a national indigenous peoples’ organization for human rights, social and economic development. He is an active member of the United Nations Permanent forum on Indigenous issues, and of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. He is also a board member of the Indigenous Peoples’ Biocultural Climate Change Assessment Initiative -- a joint Land is Life venture.
Sinafasi is an Mbuti leader and Director of Dignité Pymée in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Sinafasi has been instrumental in bringing the plight of the Mbuti people to the attention of the international community. He participates in many international fora, including: the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), UNFCCC and CBD. He is author and co-author of many reports, including: An Environmental Investigation of Deforestation as it Affects the Beni Pygmies in the East of the DRC; A case study of the to land access problem of the Pygmies forcibly evicted from the Kahuzi-Biega National Park; a report on Human Rights Violations perpetuated against the Ituriá Pygmies; and guides for local communities on understanding DRC’s Forest and Mining Codes.
A Xané leader from Brazil, Marcos Terena is President of the Inter-Tribal Committee. In 1977, Marcos founded the first indigenous political movement in Brazil, the Union of Indigenous Nations. In 1992 he organized a landmark event in the struggle for indigenous peoples’ rights, the World Conference of Indigenous Peoples on Territories, Environment and Development. At this historic gathering, Marcos was chosen by over 700 indigenous leaders from around the world to deliver their message to world leaders at the United Nations Earth Summit (UNCED). Marcos is also a founding member of the Inter-Tribal Committee, Land is Life, the International Alliance of Indigenous-Tribal PEoples of the Tropical Forests, the Brazilian Institute for Intellectual Property, the World Indigenous Games Festival, and the Call of the Earth Circle.