Dialogue Between Nations


14 May 2007

The sixth session was opened with an invocation
from Tracy L. Shenandoah,
Chief of the Onondaga Nation, Eel Clan.
Acknowledging Red Willow as the leader of medicines,
he said the creator had planted medicines, including berries,
for people to use. He also gave thanks to the birds,
especially the eagle, and to the "three sisters" of all foods:
corn, beans and squash.

"We will keep it that way in our minds"

Tracy L. Shenandoah

Chief of the Onondaga Nation, Eel Clan

UN Webcast Archives
14 May 07

Special Event
Opening of the Sixth session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII).

Webcast: Archived Video - English: 1 hours and 55 minutes

Webcast: Archived Video - Original Language: 1 hours and 55 minutes

Press Release
Department of Public Information
News and Media Division



Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Sixth Session
1st & 2nd Meetings (AM & PM)


Two-Week Session Opens at Headquarters with Speakers Stressing
Importance of General Assembly Adoption of Declaration on Indigenous Rights

With delicate ecosystems that support millions of native peoples being wiped out at astonishing rates, representatives of indigenous groups from all over the world gathered today in New York to begin two weeks of discussions with top United Nations officials, Government representatives and members of civil society on the struggle of indigenous peoples to defend their rights to access and use the land and natural resources in their territories.

“Without access to and respect for the rights over their lands, territories and natural resources, indigenous peoples’ distinct cultures -- and the possibility of determining their on development -- become eroded,” said Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Chairperson of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, as she opened the Forum’s sixth session, which will run through 25 May and will consider solutions to end the senseless exploitation of traditional lands and natural resources, a key issue at the heart of indigenous people’s efforts to gain recognition of their rights.




General Assembly President
Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa of Bahrain

“Indigenous peoples continue to face marginalization, extreme poverty and other human rights violations, and are often dragged into conflicts that threaten their survival,”


“The doors of the United Nations will always be open to indigenous peoples and their presence would continue to enrich the Organization.”


José Antonio Ocampo
Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs,
and the Coordinator of the Second Decade
of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Yet, all too often, indigenous peoples have been forcibly displaced from their traditional territories for economic, military or other interests, without any compensation or other means to sustain themselves.

“Whether indigenous peoples will continue to survive and pursue self-determined development, building their societies according to their world views and concepts of well-being, it is not just a matter of their own self-interest or only a moral imperative of dominant parts of society.”

“None of us can ignore, for example, the loss of traditional knowledge. Nor can we close our eyes to the fact that the map of the world’s richest biospheres coincided with the map of the areas with the largest linguistic diversity.”

“The principles of equity still manifests inadequately in Government policies.”

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz
Chairperson of the Permanent Forum
on Indigenous Issues

“Without access to and respect for the rights over their lands, territories and natural resources, Indigenous Peoples’ distinct cultures -- and the possibility of determining their own development -- become eroded.”

Erica-Irene A. Daes

Elected member of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations and Special Rapporteur on Indigenous People’s Land Rights

Summary of Statement:

She said one of the most acute and complex situations facing the world’s indigenous peoples was the refusal by certain Governments to promote and protect their rights to land and natural resources. To understand the profound relationship of indigenous peoples to their lands and natural resources, cultural differences between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples should be recognized.

The doctrines of dispossession that had emerged in developing modern international law, particularly the concepts of “terra nullius” and “discovery”, had well-known adverse effects on indigenous peoples, she continued. Other problems included the State’s failure to acknowledge indigenous rights to territories lands and resources; to demarcate indigenous lands; to enforce or implement laws protecting indigenous lands; and the State’s expropriation of indigenous lands for national interest without the prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples. Also, the principle of permanent sovereignty over natural resources and the scope of indigenous peoples’ right to own, develop and manage their territories, lands and resources, should be reviewed, she added.

The special theme chosen by the Forum this year -- lands, territories and resources -- was fundamental for indigenous peoples. It had long been recognized in the United Nations that indigenous peoples had a profound spiritual and material relationship with the land, on which they often depended both for their physical and cultural survival. Indigenous sacred sites, foundations of indigenous traditional knowledge, indigenous religions, languages and ways of life were all tied to land.


Scroll down to the bottom of the page.

Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, President of the General Assembly of the United Nations
Statement at the Opening of the Sixth Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

José Antonio Ocampo, Under-Secretary General of Economic and Social Affairs
Statement to the Sixth Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Victoria Tauli Corpuz, Chairperson, United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Address to the Opening of the Sixth Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Dalius âekuolis, President of ECOSOC
Statement to the Opening Ceremony of the sixth session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues


UN Webcast Archives
14 May 07
Press Conference

Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Ms. Ida Nicolaisen and Mr. Hassan Id Balkassm, members of the Permanent Forum, brief on the opening of the forum.

Webcast: Archived Video - English: 39 minutes


Victoria Tauli-Corpuz

Ida Nicolaisen

Hassan Id Balkassm


Lands, territories and natural resources had been chosen as the focus of the sixth annual session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, so as to address fundamental violations of indigenous peoples’ rights under laws put into effect by colonizers, the Chairperson of the Forum, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz of the Philippines, told correspondents this afternoon at a Headquarters press conference to mark the opening of the two-week session.

Joining Ms. Tauli-Corpuz were Ida Nicolaisen of Denmark, a Forum member with a background of work in central Borneo and South-East Asia, and Hassan Id Balkassm of Morocco, a Forum member with expertise in North African indigenous issues.

The Forum, established by the Economic and Social Council in July 2000, provides advice, raises awareness and disseminates information on indigenous issues. The Forum’s 16 independent experts function in their personal capacity and are appointed by the Council, eight upon nomination by Governments and eight by indigenous organizations in their regions.

Ensuring indigenous rights over lands and natural resources was a prerequisite to the very survival of indigenous peoples and their cultures, Ms.Tauli-Corpuz stressed. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples set out the basis for negotiating international protection of those rights, which were now being dramatically impacted by the phenomenon of global climate change. In addition, the effects of oil exploration, timber use and expansion of plantations for sugar and palm-oil production were all causing displacements of indigenous populations. It was crucial to find solutions to negative effects of industrialization by relying on the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples, she said.



Intro 2007 | Distinct Cultures Erode | Collective Survival | Recognition of Indigenous Rights | Anti-Poverty Goals
Extinction | Asia | Data Collection | Implementation | Climate Change | Free, Prior and Informed Consent

Kari-Oca Revisited

Nations to Nations Legend

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