Center for World Indigenous Studies
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Indigenous Values

Published: November 24, 2008, Author: JayTaber

Inherent Moral Authority

UN climate change conferences could benefit from indigenous participation, but their traditional knowledge comes with a price, and that price is respect. And respect of indigenous values, while given lip service by modern states, is not an area the UN or its member states want to get into while discussing adaptation to climate change caused by their industrial societies.

Indigenous values come with inherent moral authority that nation-states and state-centric international institutions cannot avoid if confronted by indigenous delegates, so the standard solution is to exclude indigenous representatives from international proceedings. Not a wise choice, but better for public relations.

But indigenous peoples have a lot of experience with exclusionary measures devised by modern states, and, armed with access to unmediated global communication, they are prepared to kick the door in, like it or not. Patronized by UN bromides of brotherhood for two decades now, the indigenous movement is ready to exercise its moral authority in ways yet unseen; the gatekeepers of power won’t know what hit them.

Chief George Manuel Memorial Indigenous Library

The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.

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