Flying Eagle WomanPermanent Forum, Ingrid's Vision Permanent Forum for Indigenous Peoples



On March 4, 2007, eight years after the brutal events leading to the death of Ingrid Washinawatok and her colleagues, many of us will pause and reflect on the need for justice, and a forum where voices such as Ingrid's can influence national governments and international agencies to take positive action on Indigenous issues.



One of the goals of the United Nations International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples (1995-2004) was the establishment of a Permanent Forum for Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations. In 2002, the United Nations established the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. "The Permanent Forum is an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council with a mandate to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights."

Ingrid did not live long enough to witness this commitment of the international community.

As we travel together through the Second United Nations International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples (2005-2014), and as an ongoing tribute to Ingrid Washinawatok, Dialogue Between Nations is pleased to provide an opportunity for global dialogue on Ingrid's vision of a traditional Indigenous model for the UN Permanent Forum.

Ingrid offers a distinct vision which sets in motion a foundation based in Indigenous approaches to diplomacy. Although the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is a unique body within the UN system, Ingrid's vision opens the door towards creating even greater innovative advances to the style and methodology for procedures established within the UN system.

The former High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson once asked representatives to consider "not what the United Nations can do for Indigenous Peoples, but what Indigenous Peoples can do for the UN." In a time of major revisions within the UN system, this opportunity lies close at hand for those willing to embark on such a challenging path.


Oren Lyons, Haudenosaunee
Oren Lyons

Thomas Banyacya, Hopi
Thomas Banyacya

Marcial Arias, Kuna
Marcial Arias




The Permanent Forum itself could be a model based on Indigenous traditions in the sense that the structure would be complementary to the realities of the 21st century, yet rooted in it's foundation of Indigenous thought.

If I may use a brief example and if my relatives permit me, the Permanent Forum could be modeled after the Haudenosaunee methods of conflict resolution; Hopi methods of Peacemaking; Kuna methods of negotiation, etc.

Not only will this complement the goals of the Decade, but it will arrive Indigenous Peoples totally on an equal basis with the rest of the family of Nations.

The Permanent Forum should be a body at the highest level comprised of members firmly committed to Indigenous life-ways.

Statement by Ingrid Washinawatok
Indigenous Women's Network
UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations
Sub-Commission on the Prevention of
Discrimination and Protection of Minorities XVth Session

Tonya Gonnella Frichner

Tonya Gonnella Frichner
Snipe Clan, Onondaga Nation,
Haudenosaunee, Iroquois Confederacy
President and Founder, American Indian Law Alliance
Member, United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
2008 - 2010

A publication of the
American Indian Law Alliance, May 2002
New York City

Native peoples have an opportunity to provide leadership in breaking down the monopoly of the controlling nations and to push the United Nations towards truly becoming a forum for all peoples of the world, a forum with an identity transcending the boundaries set by lines drawn on maps.

Ingrid Washinawatok
New York City Law Review, Volume 3, Number One


Spirit of martyred activist presides at world meeting
Posted: May 28, 2003
by: Jim Adams
Indian Country Today

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We encourage you to visit Time Immemorial where you will find our 1999 commemoration of Ingrid and links to relevant information, as well as a Global Dialogue on the topic of the Fourth Mind.


Time Immemorial Intro Page
Copyright Natalie Drache 1999