In February, women from 20 different countries met in Chiang Mai, Thailand, to discuss the challenges indigenous women and their communities face in relation to their land rights. The International Workshop on Indigenous Women’s Rights, lands and Resources was collaboratively held by the Asian Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) and Forest Peoples Programme (FPP).
Natalia Sarapura, from Argentina, talks about the spiritual connection between all humans and the environment and states that the defence of land rights can only be sustained by the equality of men and women. (Spanish)
"I think in terms of gender issues for indigenous peoples it is important to think about the cosmic web, which is our existence. Our existence is based on the link that humans have with nature. The men and women fulfil functions in this web. Talking about the defence of natural resources means understanding the link between the environment and the people. Women have traditionally been the guardians of this link via traditional practices and knowledge of traditional medicine. Just like the women’s bodies were taken, creating mestizaje, today the territories of the indigenous peoples are taken to produce cultural genocide of the indigenous peoples. The defence of the territory is sustained by the equality of women and men that are walking this path together. I think only if men and women live in harmony will there be a fight to defend the territories."