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 John Reid
Clockwise: Michael Painter, Tracy Rector, Courtesy of Reciprocity Project, Daniel Lin
Ângela Kaxuyana (Treasurer-Coordinator of the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon) speaks at the 21st Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Photo by Michael Painter.


Updates from the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
By John Reid

The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is an annual two-week forum for Indigenous peoples to share and broadcast their challenges and victories that otherwise unfold out of sight, in the most remote corners of the planet—from the deepest forests to the most isolated atolls. Since its emergence, Nia Tero has made it possible for our partners to get to New York and take the microphone at this event.

This year, at the 21st meeting of the Forum from April 25 to May 6, our guests included Beto Marubo, Ângela Kaxuyana, and Fábio Ribeiro, all from the Brazilian Amazon. Beto represents the Union of Indigenous Peoples of the Javari Valley (UNIVAJA); Ângela is Treasurer-Coordinator of the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon; and Fábio is Executive Secretary of the Observatory for the Human Rights of Isolated and Recently Contacted Indigenous Peoples. The three gave speeches at the Forum about the assault on Amazonian peoples driven by the current government, highlighting the life-or-death risks posed to isolated tribes from new incursions encouraged by Brazil’s president and congress.

The whole world has a chance to learn when people like Beto, Ângela, and Fábio stand up and describe these problems—and their solutions—in their own words, unmediated by news channels. They are central actors in the survival drama of the Amazon, which is the most consequential terrestrial ecosystem on Earth for the health of our atmosphere and biological diversity, and also home to at least 350 distinct languages that encode generations of knowledge of how to live with nature.

Watch Speeches by Our Partners
Photo from "Tefui," an original composition by the creatives in Rako and written by the talented Mark Philip, commonly known in Rako as Maka.


By Rako Pasefika and Anne Quidez

Rako Pasefika proudly presents "Tefui," a song of celebration of our beloved Rotuman identity, a garland of true beauty representing what it means to be Rotuman. 

The tefui is used in various Rotuman kato'aga [ceremonies] and this song speaks of its importance with families and communities gathering to celebrate the occasion – from a mamasa [ceremony when you first arrive in a place], a hot'äk hof [ceremony for the head stone after one year of a person passing], a wedding or a birthday, to island celebrations like Rotuma day or a grand tautoga [traditional dance]. 

Rako Pasefika is an arts collective based in Fiji that began 10 years ago. Rako Pasefika initially began as a Rotuman youth group which came together to create, share, and develop their artistic practices. A few years later, they were set up as a social enterprise. Rako Pasefika is a passionate, spiritual, hardworking, artistic family whose aim is to create sustainable livelihoods for their artists while revitalizing and keeping their culture vibrant and relevant.

Rako Pasefika is a Nia Tero Storytelling collaborator and Regional partner.

Watch Tefui
Valérie Courtois. Photo by Felipe Contreras.


Valérie Courtois and Sacred Kinship in the Boreal

In the Arctic Circle, Innu peoples’ relationship with caribou “is so sacred that we could become them, and they could become one of us,” says Valérie Courtois. She is a member of the Innu community of Mashteuiatsh, a forester by trade, and the Director of the Indigenous Leadership Initiative (ILI), an organization dedicated to strengthening Indigenous nationhood and leadership.

Valérie has spent her life bridging traditional Indigenous knowledge and Western science. She shares stories about what it’s like to live in the Boreal, home to hundreds of species of lichen and nesting ground to billions of birds. The special relationship between caribou and people in these lands goes back thousands of years and holds lessons about caring for Mother Earth and each other.

Learn more and connect with ILI on their websiteTwitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Listen to Seedcast now at the link below, or tune in and subscribe on Apple PodcastSpotify, Buzzsprout, or your other favorite podcast platforms!

Listen to Seedcast


Facing a climate crisis, the Reciprocity Project embraces Indigenous value systems that have bolstered communities since time immemorial. This short film series and multimedia platform invites learning from time-honored and current Indigenous ways of being. Join us at upcoming film screenings and festivals.
TECHNODIGENOUS: Safeguarding Ancestral Territories
The 3rd annual Technodigenous was held from May 17-19, 2022. Subscribe to the Technodigenous newsletter to stay up-to-date on future events. Learn more at 
The Wayfinders Circle was launched as a network dedicated to unleashing the transformative potential of Indigenous lifeways, inspiring all people to reimagine development, land guardianship, and the way they relate to each other and to Mother Earth. Learn more at
Narrative sovereignty is a form of land guardianship, and Nia Tero supports this work through its storytelling initiatives, including this monthly column for the South Seattle Emerald. Read the latest articles.

Photo by Felipe Contreras.

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