The Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities (AIPG) commemorates August 9 as the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The United Nations General Assembly established this global observance in 1994 by adopting Resolution 49/214. The commemorative date marks the first meeting of the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations, which took place in 1982.
The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted on September 13, 2007, is regarded by the United Nations as the “most comprehensive international instrument on the rights of indigenous peoples.” The Declaration enumerates, among other things, the rights of indigenous peoples to all human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as the ability to maintain and strengthen their distinct institutions while fully participating in the political, economic, social, and cultural life of the State. The text available here builds on established international human rights standards and other fundamental freedoms within the context of indigenous issues.
This year’s observance focuses on “The Role of Indigenous Women in the Preservation and Transmission of Traditional Knowledge.” Indigenous women are the foundation of indigenous peoples’ communities and play a crucial role in preserving and transmitting traditional ancestral knowledge, including conservation and preserving the language, culture, and generational histories. Also, many indigenous women have an essential role as carers of natural resources and keepers of scientific knowledge, as well as in defending lands and territories by advocating for indigenous peoples’ collective rights worldwide.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples explained:
Indigenous women reproduce and protect indigenous identity, culture, and societal roles on the lands and territories they have historically used and occupied. Because of their relationship with the land and natural environment and the marginalization they face for being women and indigenous, indigenous women are disproportionally affected by the loss of territory due to climate change, the development of megaprojects, and occupation of their lands. Patriarchal norms in indigenous communities, created by colonization, have increased discrimination. In many cases, this has hindered equal access to land rights and resources, limiting development opportunities and women’s participation in decision-making processes.
On the occasion of the 2022 International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, the Auschwitz Institute stands with indigenous populations around the world to protect and recognize the role of indigenous women as knowledge keepers and reiterates the urgency of protecting indigenous communities to preserve their traditional ancestral knowledge in various fields.
✨We want to hear from you – Share a short video on who is your #InspiringIndigenousWomen! Is she a:
📣Human rights defender?
Tell us who she is &why she inspires you in a short video, Share & tag @UN4Indigenous #WeAreIndigenous pic.twitter.com/9VuHeGIwZ0
— UNPFII (@UN4Indigenous) July 6, 2022
The Auschwitz Institute also continues its partnership with the Lenape Center and honors the rich cultural practices of the Lenape and their deep connection with Lenapehoking — the homeland of the Lenape people. As such, members of AIPG’s New York Office staff acknowledge their status as guests on Manahahtaan — as it is called in the Munsee dialect of Lenape.
To learn more about our partners at the Lenape Center and their work in continuing the Lenape presence, please click here. To read our Living Land Acknowledgement: Lenapehoking, please click here.