Light has always been a great reference for me at all the most critical moments of my life, including the moments of greatest suffering… —Rigoberta Menchú Tum
Tomorrow is the 20th celebration of the United Nation’s International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. This year’s observance will highlight the importance of implementing the rights of indigenous peoples.
Over the years, the Fetzer Institute has partnered with organizations and individuals on projects that endeavor to preserve and honor indigenous arts, culture, community, and personal empowerment. Some of the projects include:
- "A Pilgrimage of Love and Forgiveness,” by artist Roy Boney who documented his experience at our Global Gathering in Assisi, Italy in this graphic novella;
- the Owe’newh Bupingeh Rehabilitation Project (partner: Social Economic Environmental Design-SEED) near Santa Fe, New Mexico, where cultural leaders were consulted and traditional methods used as part of the restoration process of homes in the New Mexico Pueblo of Ohkay Owingeh;
- the Pitagoras Project (partner: Social Economic Environmental Design) used a participatory process in the renovation of Escuela Pitagoras, a school and green space in Lima, Peru;
- the film Winter in the Blood, based on the novel by Blackfeet author James Welch, is being used as a cornerstone for a series of digital media and storytelling workshops (partners: filmmakers Alex and Andrew Smith) for Native American youth in Montana to discuss issues faced by their culture and the role of forgiveness in moving forward.
There are an estimated 370 million indigenous people in 90 countries around the world who constitute 15 per cent of the world’s poor and about one third of the world’s 900 million extremely poor rural people.
On this day—and beyond—we celebrate indigenous cultures and people around the world, our partners, and all of those participating in and touched by their work.
We leave you with the words and spirit of Nobel Laureate, Rigoberta Menchú Tum who, in this video, shares with us a glimpse of “Being Mayan.”
Image is from Roy Boney's "A Pilgrimage of Love and Forgiveness."