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Indigenous Issues



Indigenous Philanthropy

In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that Indigenous Peoples often play important roles in finding solutions to global challenges as well as in meeting their own needs. In a world that desperately needs new value systems, their cultures are increasingly looked to as a model for the future. At the same time most Indigenous communities remain marginalized, exploited and subject to hostile policies and attitudes. In this context, we are witnessing a rapid growth in the number and scale of philanthropic partnerships with Indigenous Peoples, often with results exceeding all expectations. Part of the reason for
this success is that increasingly Indigenous Peoples have the kinds of institutions they need to deal with the outside world, including funders, on their own terms. This means they can enter into effective partnerships and control their futures. A basic need and requirement for outside funders is to find and genuinely strengthen these nascent or well established Indigenous institutions.

For donors, Indigenous funding can be both exciting and frustrating. Those who are considering adding Indigenous Peoples’ projects to their portfolios for the first time may need to overcome many internal constraints and cultural biases, fears, as is often the case with any investment in new ventures. Because Indigenous funding has lagged so far behind other sectors of philanthropy, and because Indigenous Peoples rightly want to do things in their own (often more holistic) ways, new projects may not fit easily into existing granting criteria or program models.

As members of IFIP and the existing donors in this field, we are anxious to grow the field, and bring an infusion of new faces and new sources of investment and expertise, along with the professional camaraderie that comes with shared commitment and passion for this important work.

Old hands continually experience the incredible resilience Indigenous Peoples in the face of overwhelming odds and continual attacks on so many fronts. Their diversity and creativity is an essential resource to a rich future of our planet through and beyond our current era of rapid erosion of planetary diversity and integrity. There is exciting work being done of global importance.

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Issues of Interest

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Member Working Groups

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IFIP in Copenhagen


A special Thank You to the Arkay Foundationfor supporting IFIP's"Bringing Indigenous Voices to Copenhagen Initiative" in partnership with Land is Life and Ocean Revolution.  Thanks to their generous and timely support, IFIP was able to send eight Indigenous representatives to Copenhagen, from all areas of the world, including Kenya, Peru, Ecuador, The Philippines, the Arctic, and Russia.

Members of IFIP's Board of Directors were also present at this historic gathering.

Follow the links below to read articles and watch YouTube video clips taken during Indigenous Peoples' Day on December 12 at the Denmark National Museum in Copenhagen. You can also view films, some of which were shown in Copenhagen.


Evelyn writes from the conference:

Dear IFIP Members,

A lot has unfolded during this first week at COP15 and Klimaforum 09. It has been inspirational to see hundreds of Indigenous representatives making their voices heard at sessions, protests, and side events to the COP 15 United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009.

At the center of the climate change talks are discussions of the REDD policy draft (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) involving the trading of carbon credits. A ground-breaking announcement was made at the opening session of Indigenous People's Day. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, an Igorot from the Cordilleras in the Philippines, and Executive Director of Tebtebba, and Chair of the UN Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues opened the day announcing a small victory: the Draft REDD Policy references the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples with the Draft text:

"Policy approaches and positive incentives on issues relating to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries? and notes in the beginning of the second page,  "Respect for the knowledge and rights of indigenous peoples and members of the local communities, noting General Assembly has adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of indigenous peoples and taking into account relevant international obligations, national circumstances and legislation;".

I spoke with Patricia Cochran, former chair of Inuit Circumpolar Union, at FNTG's funders briefing and asked her for thoughts. Even with this historic breakthrough, she said with some frustration, none of the other documents under development have any mention of UNDRIP or Shared Vision. She will be working with others on creating an Indigenous negotiation team to bring talks to a more strategic level.

As I write this, there have been setbacks today with 135 developing countries walking out of COP 15, however we all hope that there will be some concrete and fair outcomes by the end of the week.


COP 15 Articles:

Copenhagen climate talks partly suspended on Monday noon after African-led protests.

Developing countries boycott UN climate talks

Sign the Declaration: One of the central outcomes of Klimaforum09 (the Peoples Climate Change Conference) will be a global climate declaration expressing the hopes, ideas, and visions of citizens groups and social movements from all corners of the planet.Last chance to sign the declaration - the sign-on process ends tonight at 8:00 hr. Copenhagen time (2pmEST)

Indigenous Peoples at Copenhagen climate talks deliver Peace Prize message to Obama at U.S. Embassy

YouTube clips taken on Indigenous Day Dec 12

at The National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen

Victoria Corpuz, Chair of UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

One of the Indigenous Protestors- Approximately 120,000 protestors demonstrated demanding a meaningful agreement to combat climate change and flooded Copenhagen.

Patricia Cochran, former chair of Inuit Circumpolar Union

Katrina Quisumbing King


Films on the Effects of Climate Change on Indigenous Communities

Conversations with the Earth

Life Mosiac Films: 4 short films bringing indigenous peoples? voices to the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP 15) in December 2009.

REDD: A New Animal in the Forest

22 video clips on how Climate Change is affecting Indigenous communities from Ethiopia to the Arctic. This festival is proudly brought to you by the United Nations University, in collaboration with the featured Indigenous storytelling communities, Conversations with the Earth, Red Cross Society, Panos London, Cenesta,, Sacred Land Film Project, the National Museum of Denmark and the Christensen Fund.

Human Impact Report - counting the human cost of climate change. The anatomy of a silent crisis ?Today, millions of people are already suffering because of climate change.? Kofi Annan

Established in 1999, IFIP is an affinity group of the Council on Foundations and the only affinity group based on a native reservation. IFIP was formed to provide a voice for increased, dedicated funding for international Indigenous initiatives, and a venue for communications and resource sharing among international funders of Indigenous peoples. Click here to find out the benefits of joining this growing network of donors.

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Declarations Go here.