Approximately 370 million indigenous people exist in the world today, composed of some 5,000 distinct peoples living in more than 70 countries.
Where indigenous people maintain control over their ancestral lands and territories is where we can still find intact ecosystems, clean water and the vast majority of the world’s biodiversity. Where indigenous peoples rights are respected is where they are still free to speak their languages and maintain their sacred traditions. That they are allowed to continue safeguarding their ways of life is necessary not only for their continued existence as distinct peoples, but also for global peace, health and security.
Grassroots indigenous communities are on the frontline fighting for our resources, livelihoods, animals, and plants – for the kind of world we want. Whether in West Papua or in Rwanda, indigenous leaders defend their lands and territories not just for the future of their people but also for the future generations worldwide; what happens to grandchildren in the forest is deeply linked to what happens to grandchildren in urban centers.
As indigenous peoples continue to be marginalized at the local, regional, and international levels, the world is in the process of losing the vast majority of its cultural, linguistic, religious and biological diversity. Immense bodies of ecological, pharmacological and spiritual knowledge are disappearing at an alarming rate.
We can continue in this direction or we can begin creating a world where indigenous peoples:
- are able to practice self-determination;
- have their human, economic, social, cultural, political and territorial rights both recognized and respected;
- can live according to their own economic, social and political institutions, maintain and develop their cultures, and pursue their own models of development;
- are free to speak their languages, maintain their sacred traditions and continue the work of caring for their ancestral lands and territories;
- assume their rightful role as partners with the international community in creating a more equitable, just and sustainable world.
Indigenous peoples make up roughly 5% of the global population, speak 60% of the world’s languages, live within 25% of the world’s forests, and protect 80% of the world’s biodiversity.
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Women's League of Burma (WLB) urgently needs resources to hire personnel to support the WLB Peace Program. This person would help with fundraising, strategy, and help draft briefing letters to both inform WLB's network. Land is Life has been working with WLB since early 2014 as they work to advance the status of women towards a peaceful and just society in Burma by supporting grassroots organizations both inside and outside of Burma.
PROJECT BUDGET: $12,000 USD
Botswana Khwedom Council (BKC) desperately needs financial support to pay staff salaries, rent and utilities. BKC advocates and lobbies for the rights of indigenous San people of Botswana. In their work they stand against the relocation of San from ancestral lands and believe that any development towards San communities must include their culture and have proper consent from every person. Land is Life has been working with BKC since 2012.
PROJECT BUDGET: $64,000 USD
Mainyoito Pastoralists Integrated Development Organization (MPIDO) is seeking support for a preparatory meeting for World Conference on Indigenous Peoples that will help elevate voices from Africa. MPIDO's Executive Director is both a founding member and Steering Committee member of Land is Life. LiL has worked with MPIDO for 18 years.