Leaders from the Haudenosaunee Confederacy had a private meeting with Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon during the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. The following is a letter presented during the meeting telling the issues of concern that lay at the heart of the Haudenosaunee people.
The Right Honorable Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon,
The Haudenosaunee Confederacy would like to thank you for your work and support of Indigenous Peoples during your time as the Secretary-General. We look forward to your continuing support of Indigenous Peoples and for taking into account our perspectives towards climate change. We are desirous to have a good transition to the next Secretary-General and your support in that direction would be very helpful regarding the issues of Indigenous Peoples and what we perceive is the most important discussion today, global warming.
The Onondaga Nation is the seat of the Haudenosaunee, the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy- our union, based upon peace, equity and the power of union, is over a thousand years old. The confederacy is the basis of the fundamental principles of European colonists developing into the United States. We are just one of many Indigenous Nations around the world and we have all sacrificed to bring us to where we are today. The Haudenosaunee have been a catalyst in this direction following the spirit and will of Indigenous Peoples of the world.
The greatest lesson this United Nations has yet to learn is that we, the human species, are the environment. The sustainable principles of nature remain the guide for survival of the human species. In the dire situation of human survival, the United Nations has a responsibility to drop the issues of politics and rise to the principles of survival for all life on Earth. The voice of Indigenous Peoples must have a place. We continue to be silenced.
We have struggled against the directions and policies of member-states to silence the voices of Indigenous Peoples, including a continued strategy of modifying the principles of discourse and removing mention of Indigenous Peoples from the text of key decisions. For example, Indigenous Peoples were annexed from the final text of the Paris Agreement adopted by the 21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change less than six months ago. Safeguarding the rights of Indigenous Peoples is key to the efforts to address climate change. Indigenous Peoples have always been caretakers of Mother Earth and world leaders continue to have much to learn from us.
When will we listen to the voice of reason that will lead us to the path of survival?
In spite of all of this, we will continue to work with world leaders towards policies that support the regeneration of nature. It is our perspective that member-states’ policies towards nature must fundamentally change in order to ensure the survival of the human species. We remain adamant in the defense of the future and the welfare of the Seven Generations yet to come. We thank you for your past support and we continue to seek your support in defense of Indigenous Peoples.
While we deliberate, the ice is melting.
Tadodaho Sidney Hill