International Day of Indigenous Peoples

By Katie Beckmann Mahon, Communications Manager


This week’s “Embracing Faith” article will focus on Embracing Faith through Advocacy.

Embracing Faith Through Advocacy

“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic,

love one another, be compassionate, and be humble.”

-1 Peter 3:8


Yesterday, August 9th, marked International Day of Indigenous Peoples, an annual observance by the United Nations that hopes to “demand indigenous people’s inclusion, participation, and approval in the constitution of a system with social and economic benefits for all.” (1)


This year, the theme of International Day of Indigenous Peoples is “Leaving no one behind: Indigenous peoples and the call for a new social contract.” (1)


Presently, over 476 million indigenous peoples live in 90 countries worldwide (accounting for 6.2% of the global population.) Out of that number, more than 86% of indigenous peoples globally work in the informal economy, and 47% of them in employment have no education. It should also be noted that indigenous peoples are nearly three times as likely to be living in extreme poverty. (1)


Due to these statistics, the United Nations has come to believe thatthe building and redesigning of a new social contract as an expression of cooperation for social interest and common good for humanity and nature, is needed.” (1)


Furthermore, In many countries, where indigenous peoples were driven from their lands, their cultures and languages denigrated and their people marginalized from political and economic activities, they were never included in the social contract, to begin with. The social contract was made among the dominant populations.” (1)


In light of the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations is shifting its efforts to foster a “new social contract based on genuine participation and partnership that fosters equal opportunities and respects the rights, dignity, and freedoms of all. Indigenous peoples’ right to participate in decision-making is a key component in achieving reconciliation between indigenous peoples and States.” (1)