Event Report

Voices from the Ground with Indigenous Peoples Rights International

Indigenous communities play a vital role in safeguarding wildlife and hold valuable knowledge systems related to wildlife utilization and conservation. The Alliance, through ’Indigenous Peoples Rights International (IPRI) organized a virtual learning series on local realities of indigenous peoples as part of the Alliance communication format ‘Voices from the Ground’.

The first session on February 7 featured presentations from indigenous representatives in India, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and West Papua, highlighting their cultural practices, challenges, and efforts to protect wildlife. Aravind Turram and Bharath Turram from the Koya tribe in India emphasized the importance of hunting in their culture and the threats posed by infrastructure development. Thierry Birindwa Mwenge from the Bambuti Babuluko group (DRC) discussed sustainable hunting practices and the need for recognition and involvement of indigenous peoples in resource management. Maria Baru from the indigenous Miyah community in West Papua addressed illegal wildlife trade and conservation initiatives, including raising awareness and promoting eco-tourism.  

The second session on April 4 focused on the realities and challenges of indigenous groups from Latin America and the Artic. Braulina Baniwa, an indigenous activist and social anthropologist from Brazil, spoke about the need for Indigenous women to organize and defend their territories and rights. Vittus Qujaukitsoq, representing Greenland, shared how the Inuit people have adapted to the Arctic environment and utilized their traditional knowledge to survive. He discussed the role of the Fishermen’s and Hunter’s Association in Greenland in managing fishing and hunting activities, as well as their involvement in international cooperation and organizations related to wildlife conservation. Victor Manuel Vacacela from the Kichwa people in the Ecuadorian Amazon, presented the research and studies conducted by the ‘Instituto Quichua de Biotecnologia’ on traditional knowledge and sustainable resource use. He explained the Kichwa people’s holistic approach to the ecosystem and their seasonal methods of hunting, fishing, and agriculture and emphasized the importance of women in maintaining the relationship with the Earth and their role in ensuring food production and security. 

The panelists highlighted the challenges indigenous communities face in protecting their territories and conserving species. They called for increased cooperation, both at regional and international levels, to develop common strategies and address destructive practices. The presentations underscored the significance of indigenous peoples’ rights, the preservation of ecosystems, and the need for government support and enforcement of regulations. The open forum provided an opportunity for participants to exchange insights and experiences, emphasizing the close relationship between indigenous communities and wildlife.  

Overall, the sessions provided valuable insights into the experiences and efforts of Indigenous peoples in safeguarding wildlife and their traditional knowledge and practices for the benefit of present and future generations. In addition, the series aimed to raise awareness, promote collaboration, and ensure the protection of both wildlife and indigenous peoples’ livelihoods and culture, as well as the importance of their respecting and promoting their collective and individual human rights. 

For more information about the event series with IPRI and to read the detailed documentations, visit our members area.