|Some of the Caribbean Indigenous representatives at the United Nations Permanent Forum in 2013. From left Damon Corrie (Lokono), R. Mukaro Borrero (Taino), Tai AnaYuisa Pelli (Taino), Hatuey Corrie (Lokono)|
Annual United Nations Indigenous Peoples Forum begins
United Nations (UCTP Taino News) - Over 2000 representatives of Indigenous Peoples have registered and are expected to attend the 12th session of United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. The Forum opened on 20 May and will close on May 2012. Some of the themes to be discussed include culture, education and health, as well as youth, Indigenous Peoples of Africa and international financial institutions. The session opened with a welcome blessing by Todadaho Sid Hill, a traditional Chief of the Onondaga Nation, part of the Six Nations or Iroquois Confederacy.
A message from the Secretary General Ban Ki Moon was delivered by Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs. The message stressed that “We must have a better understanding of the views and values of indigenous peoples by engaging them in decision-making and providing a platform for issues affecting their lives and livelihoods.”
The Forum also elected a new chairperson, Paul Kanyinke Sena, who will facilitate the two-week session. A Maasai from Kenya, Sena stated in his opening address that Indigenous concepts of health and healing includes not only access without discrimination to social and health services, but also includes connections with family, land and language, as well as access to traditional plants, animals and minerals.
Other opening remarks were presented by the Vice-President of the UN General Assembly, Abulkalam Abdul Momen and the President of the UN Economic, Social and Economic Council (ECOSOC), Néstor Osorio.
Among the diverse participants of this year’s session representatives of Caribbean Indigenous Peoples such as the Lokono Arawak, Carib, and Taino are in attendance. The United Confederation of Taino People, for example, has accredited a number of delegates from throughout the Caribbean region including Borikén (Puerto Rico), Barbados, and Guyana.
Along with the various discussions and debates taking place during the week, a number of side-events on related-issues will take place in and around United Nations Headquarters.