International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples (August 9) is a time to raise awareness and recognize the achievements and contributions of Indigenous people around the world. Today, I’m reminded of the relationship Indigenous people have with the land, animals, and earth’s scarce resources.
As the original stewards of the land, First peoples’ relationship with its inhabitants is typically one of respect, responsibility and interdependence. Animals, in many Indigenous cultures, are imbued with great spiritual significance and lauded with high praise, earning significant worth beyond the value of their bodies or labor.
Our current factory farming model is so far removed from these traditional relationships. Instead of taking only what is needed, we produce as much as we can, and waste as much as we want. Instead of putting animals on a pedestal, we lock them away in windowless sheds, fatten them up, and slaughter them at the most convenient and profitable time.
As we look towards another United Nations-backed event, the UN Food Systems Summit scheduled for New York in September, we should consider that the solution to tackling the planet’s food systems challenges has been right in front of us this entire time. In transforming the way we produce and consume food to a more sustainable and environment-friendly system, there are few better role models than the original stewards of the land.
Today is a day to remind us to protect and promote the rights of Indigenous Peoples all year long, as they have protected and promoted the interests of the earth and all of its inhabitants for millenia.
Here are a few ideas from the Compassion in World Farming team for how you can acknowledge the vital achievements and contributions that Indigenous Peoples make to the world today:
- Listen to the latest episode of the Indigenous Rights Radio Program and Podcast—an interview with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
- Purchase a gift that supports Indigenous folks making traditional art and handicrafts from the Cultural Survival Bazaar
- Take part in the UN’s virtual 2021 commemoration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples—Monday, 9 August from 9 am to 11 am (EST). Register here.
Compassion in World Farming USA