Statement by National NOW President Christian F. Nunes
On December 23, 1994, the United Nations General Assembly designated August 9 as the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People. It marks the date of the first meeting, in 1982, of the U.N. Working Group on Indigenous Populations.
This year’s theme, Indigenous Youth as Agents of Change for Self-determination, recognizes Indigenous youth’s active role as agents of change working on the front lines of today’s most meaningful decisions. Now’s own commitment to engaging and supporting new generations reflects today’s observance.
We know that Indigenous women are often the primary custodians of ancestral knowledge, passing on vital information on planting, medicines, food, the environment, and traditional ways of life. They are leaders, healers, elders, teachers, and providers—and the guardians of biodiversity, protecting forests, water, and ecosystems.
Indigenous Youth, like all young people in the U.S. and around the world, are deeply concerned about the environment and believe in the grassroots activism that NOW members have always supported.
As the world watches the 2023 Women’s World Cup, Indigenous flags of Australia and New Zealand are on display and First Nations and Maori cultures are strongly represented in ceremonies and on team captains’ armbands.
Here at home, we see how polices that restrict access to asylum disproportionately impact Indigenous migrants, who face displacement from climate change and violence from gangs enforcing the building of industrial projects on ancestral land.
As we observe today’s International Day of Indigenous People, NOW members celebrate the vibrant cultures, languages, traditions, and accomplishments of Indigenous people in the U.S. and around the globe.