Today is the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, an opportunity to acknowledge the realities of life for Indigenous peoples worldwide. This year's theme is "Indigenous Media, Empowering Indigenous Voices", and according to the United Nations, the theme "will shine a spotlight on Indigenous media - television, radio, film, and social media - and its role in helping to preserve Indigenous peoples' culture, challenge stereotypes, and influence the social and political agenda".
Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, has used the occasion to call for Indigenous peoples in Canada to participate in politics and the economy: "First Nations across Canada continue to press the federal government to work with us to advance the standards articulated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which set out a guide for respecting and implementing Indigenous rights, responsibilities and jurisdiction to achieve self-governance, environmental and economic sustainability and self-sufficiency through mutual respect and partnership".
Atleo was on the program earlier this season to talk about his meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his hopes for improving conditions, in terms of education and infrastructure, for First Nations people in Canada. Check that out below:
And journalist and musician Wab Kinew from the Ojibways of Onigaming First Nations also joined us to break down some of the stereotypes he's tired of seeing in the media:
Meanwhile, the day is prompting comments on the situation of Indigenous peoples worldwide. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), a UN Agency focused on labour standards around the world, decent work opportunities for Indigenous peoples are scarce. Canadian Cree Chief Wilton Littlechild, the Chairperson of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous People, told ILO News, "a lot remains to be done to provide decent work opportunities and promote social justice as improvements in some developed countries often hide very difficult national and regional situations".
The ILO also states that Indigenous peoples constitute approximately five percent of the world's population, but up to 15 percent of those living in extreme poverty. Littechild argues that better implementation of the ILO's Indigenous and Tribal People's Convention, No. 169, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) "can make a real difference in promoting indigenous rights and benefit everyone."
To mark the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, there's a special event planned for later today at UN Headquarters in New York, featuring speakers and videos from Indigenous media organizations. A live webcast starts at 2:30 pm ET, and a panel discussion at 3:30 pm. You can follow the webcast on the UN's Web TV channel here (or watch below), and for regular updates on events or to join the conversation on Twitter, use the hashtag #UNIndigenousDay.
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