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Minga Indigena takes message from indigenous peoples to Cop26 summit

DELEGATES who have travelled to Glasgow for this week’s Cop26 climate summit delivered demands from global indigenous communities to world leaders today. 

In a letter to be handed to the authorities in the city, Minga Indigena representatives from Alaska to Patagonia set out nine core demands for those attending Cop26.

Minga Indigena, a grouping of collectives, organisations and communities from diverse Indigenous Nations throughout the American continent — the Abya Ayala — have said the conference should listen to their advice on humanity and living alongside nature, not exploiting it. 

The group has attended every Cop summit since 1992, and have invited everyone to join the cause for climate, biological and cultural diversity.

Calfin Lafkenche, the co-ordinator of Minga Indigena and a Mapuche delegate from the coast of the Araucania region in southern Chile, said: “We came here with an open heart to contribute to this process of searching for solutions to the climate crisis.

“Modern colonialism discriminates against collective and communal processes like Minga Indigena. The climate crisis is not just environmental, it is also social and racial.”

Minga Indigena’s demands include the global recognition and declaration that Mother Earth is a living being and subject of legal rights. 

The group also want to see commitments given on the autonomy and self-determination of indigenous peoples, a rejection of the commodification of nature, and future recognition for the Minga as a valid voice within future climate talks. 

Nashieeli Valencia, a Zapoteca indigenous rights defender from Mexico, said: “Indigenous people’s voices demand to be heard! We insist on respect for the autonomy and self-determination of all indigenous people. 

“The climate crisis has a horrible impact on women’s lives: we are the guardians and protectors of life.”

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