August 9th is the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Read on for current news and updates about Native communities worldwide.
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On this day, we take time to acknowledge the challenges Indigenous peoples across the world continue to face and celebrate the progress being made to live more harmoniously.

Current Issues

The Guna People are known for creating beautiful blouses and dresses known as “mola”, which they trade and sell. Most of their sustenance comes from fish and coconuts, with some wild game and imported foods completing their diet. For centuries they’ve lived successfuly and peacefully on an island in Panama.

Today, their home is under threat due to climate change. Though their government had promised help to relocate their community back in 2010, none of that assistance has materialised and the situation is only worsening.

Each year, they endure severe floods, which damages their homes and compromises their ability to access fresh water. We can only hope the leadership in Panama will hear their cries for help and respond before it’s too late.

The Yanonami People of Brazil are the largest isolated tribe in South America. They first arrived approximately 15,000 years ago and their territory is twice the size of Switzerland.

Since the 1980s, they’ve suffered ongoing losses due to the invasion of their land by gold miners. In 1993, after the miners had been expelled, they returned in violence killing 16 Yanonami including elderly and infant victims. Though two miners were convicted for these crimes, the battles for land continued.

Just six months ago, the new government finally put an end to the perpetual land defense when they removed illegal miners from their communities, however many issues persist. The Yanonami are suffering from malnutrition and infectious diseases, so they are seeking further help from the government.

Progress and Victory

Novo Apoyo is an Indigenous technology firm in Nigeria that has been in business since 2011. They identified that patients waiting to access healthcare in their country often suffered significant, unnecessary delays and began innovating until they created a solution. Their initiative, now available through the company’s platform, will reduce healthcare challenges and help transform the country’s overall system.

The Indian Child Welfare Act was created in the United States in 1978 to keep children within their tribal homes. Challengers to this law in 2023 were targeting provisions that give Native Americans preference when a Native child is eligible for foster care or adoption. In a 7 – 2 vote in The Supreme Court, the Native interests prevailed, ensuring protection for Indigenous children.

Film Premiere

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This ground-breaking, yet-to-be released independent Indigenous-funded Australian documentary has been touring Australia to sold out venues with standing ovations. It’s now heading to London for one special screening with Q+A to follow with the film maker.

Winner of the ‘Change’ Award at Adelaide Film Festival 2022 and the ‘Human Rights Award’ at Montreal Independent Film Festival 2023, Luku Ngärra: The Law of the Land is an unflinching presentation of how the dominant colonial system has forced itself upon the lives of Australia’s First Nations people, creating chaos and devastation to their everyday lives, their culture and their law.

At the centrepiece of the film is the remarkable Rev Dr Djiniyini Gondarra OAM, a highly respected Indigenous elder, educator and spiritual leader who has spent the last 45 years of his life struggling for the political and spiritual freedom of his people.

The film will deeply challenge audiences understanding of the Yolngu First Nation’s world, their culture and their law that has been gravely misrepresented. Presenting an intimate lens into the crisis currently facing remote Indigenous Australian communities today as well as rare footage of law ceremonies that have been in practise for over 60,000 years, worldwide audiences will be compelled to question their own paradigm and the views and structures that come with it. 

Combined with his well-known directness, his humility and wisdom as well as his authority as an initiated law man, Dr Gondarra now in his late 70’s insists that we finally look at the big questions around what law and freedom actually mean, whilst offering an illuminating message for all of humanity. 

Join them for a special night with Australian filmmaker Sinem Saban in attendance for Q+A following the screening.

Purchase tickets here.

The White Feather Foundation is proud to be a supporter of this film.

The Mirning People

August 9th is the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples 1

The Mirning People have been busy recording and sharing Yerkala Mirning stories. This is in conjunction with their Marine Parks project, supported by the Australian government to help with the “protection and conservation of biodiversity and other natural, cultural and heritage values of marine parks in the Australian Marine Park Network.” As the filmed and written content is approved, stories will be added to their website and we will send out the link as soon as it’s ready.

In addition, Uncle Bunna Lawrie recorded Mirning language in the Yerkala dialect for the project at: Following the Elders, we encourage the community to listen, learn and practice the beautiful words.

The Mirning also invite supporters to contribute pictures of drawings and art for the Great Australian Bight Alliance Instagram page to encourage awareness of and protect incredible ocean creatures.

Finally, there will be a next stage to the Native Title court case when the finding comes in. As they juggle to reconcile payments for the trial, we are still raising funds for the Save the Sea Country campaign. Please donate via this link.

Top Photo: “Kogi Tribe/Colombia #4, 2014” by Julian Lennon is available for purchase at Artsy. Want to see more? Posner Fine Art has prepared a viewing room of selected works from this same collection. Enter the room here.

Botttom Photo: The Mirning Ladies, courtesy of The Mirning People.

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