Today, as we pause and reflect, Marile, the kids and I commemorate the courage and spirit of adventure of the great explorer Christopher Columbus and we join our fellow Americans in praying for all indigenous peoples of the world.
We also pray for all who minister, care and serve indigenous peoples.
Accordingly, we reflect with you on the deeply inspirational and spiritually meaningful words of Rights of Indigenous People in New York, this Friday, 11 October 2019.Statement On The Rights Of Indigenous Peoples presented before the Seventy-fourth Session of the United Nations General Assembly — Third Committee agenda item 69 (a, b):
May these words move us to act and respect all peoples of God’s great big family …
In her recent report, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples affirms that “several countries have formally recognized the right of indigenous peoples to autonomy or self-government, whether through the inclusion of provisions in constitutions or in ordinary law, or through a formal treaty, agreement or constructive arrangement between the States and indigenous peoples.”
Pope Francis has stated that “it is essential to show special care for indigenous communities and their cultural traditions. They are not merely one minority among others, but should be the principal dialogue partners, especially when large projects affecting their land are proposed.” It is the indigenous peoples that care best for their own patrimonial land and living traditions. In some places, however, indigenous peoples are under tremendous pressures to sell their ancestral land, or, in some cases, they are forced by outside interests to abandon their homes without their “free, prior and informed consent,” as called for in the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).