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As many around the US gather and consider the meaning of Thanksgiving and the plight of Native Americans today, Indigenous Peoples in much of the world continue to struggle with impacts of destructive mining projects — including impacts on rights, water supply, and food security.

Just last week here in Lima, Peru, Indigenous Peoples gathered for the Indigenous Peoples Forum on Mining, Climate Change, and Well-being. Indigenous representatives from the Andes, the Amazon, and Central America discussed the impacts of mining and the climate crisis on their rights, culture, society, and the environment. Many reported on the harm mining has caused to their water quality and availability, and to their food sources.

The Lima Forum also highlighted the importance of respect of Indigenous Peoples rights. The International Labour Organisation Convention 169 and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples require consultation and consent of Indigenous Peoples by mining companies seeking to operate on Indigenous lands. The US is the only country in the world to have not yet signed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Implementation by other countries has lagged as well.

Participants in the Forum also discussed Well-being, or Buen Vivir, as a way of life in harmony with Mother Earth in accordance with traditional Indigenous ways. They see it as an alternative to a consumeristic way of life that promotes mining and exacerbates climate change.

For photos from the Forum, click here.

For more information on the Forum (in Spanish), see the Andean Coordinating Committee of Indigenous Organizations (CAOI).

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