5 Indigenous women climate activists you should know about
As custodians of natural resources and archivists of scientific and traditional knowledge, Indigenous women play an essential role in preserving forests and natural ecosystems. Indigenous women are indispensable to achieving climate justice, taking the lead to defend Indigenous Peoples’ lands and territories and advocating for Indigenous peoples’ collective rights worldwide. Following this year’s International Day of World’s Indigenous Peoples’ central theme, “The role of indigenous women in the preservation and transmission of traditional knowledge”, we bring you five Indigenous women climate activists you should know about:
Indigenous Peoples and other forest-dependent communities are often disproportionately impacted by climate injustices and are often left out of the political decision-making process, even though they are rights and knowledge holders. Lola’s work in political advocacy for the Q'eqchí peoples carries extreme significance, for young Indigenous women in particular. By educating others on the rights and knowledge of her own community, Lola has been paving the way for young Indigenous climate activists to advocate for the respect and recognition they deserve.
Earlier this year, in an event on carbon finance for the forest sector organized by the Forest Declaration Platform on the occasion of the 21st session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Hindou said, “as Indigenous peoples we know how to protect our forests. We know how to manage funding. You just have to respect the way we do it. We want to be partners, not recipients or beneficiaries.” Hindou continues to advocate for the critical importance of shifting climate finance directly to Indigenous communities.
Grace, a Kankaney-Igorot Indigenous woman from the Philippines, is the deputy coordinator for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Program of the Tebtebba-Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education. She also coordinates the Indigenous Peoples’ Partnership on Climate Change, Forests and Sustainable Development, called the Elatia Partnership, with nineteen country Indigenous Peoples Organizations in fourteen countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Grace joined policy advocacy work for Indigenous Peoples under Tebtebba at the global and regional levels, in relation to climate change, biodiversity, sustainable development, and human rights, especially Indigenous Peoples’ rights. She has also served as an Indigenous People’s representative to the UN-REDD Programme Policy Board, and currently a member of the Facilitative Working Group of the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform (FWG-LCIPP) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).