Statement | International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples

published 9 August 2021 updated 27 August 2021

On the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, Education International reaffirms the human rights of Indigenous Peoples and supports the UN Declaration of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Across the world, Indigenous communities have been devastated by the impact of COVID-19. The deadly pandemic has added another layer of struggle to the marginalisation, exclusion and inequity they are subjected to.

This year’s theme is Leaving No One Behind: Indigenous peoples and the call for a new social contract, and calls for the rights of Indigenous peoples to participate in decision-making regarding the issues that affect their communities. A new social contract must combat the legacy of exclusion and marginalization affecting indigenous peoples — through their meaningful and effective participation and the obtainment of their free, prior and informed consent.

Education unions around the world are working to ensure that indigenous peoples have access to equitable quality indigenous education; to decent work opportunities, income generating activities, and social protection.

Indigenous peoples are severely impacted by climate change and land dispossession, and a new social contract must be enacted to combat decades of violence, marginalization and exclusion. Land, territories, and natural resources constitute the basis of Indigenous Peoples spiritual, social and cultural identity and it’s central to their right to development and self-determination.

Education International’s World Congresses, since its inception, has supported the rights of Indigenous Peoples’ around the world, and calls on EI affiliates to:

  • Promote the rights of Indigenous Peoples;
  • Promote the collective rights of Indigenous Peoples to self-determination in recognition of their cultural identity, including the right to learn and to use their own language;
  • Promote education for Indigenous Peoples which is developed with their full participation, to meet the aspirations and needs of their communities; and
  • Promote the decolonisation of education systems.

In the current challenging context, the Teach for the Planet campaign, launched by Education International in April, offers another opportunity to reflect on the historical contribution of indigenous peoples and nationalities, in their struggle for life and living in peace and harmony with Mother Earth. The campaign works to assure quality climate change education at all levels, and inclusive of Indigenous voices.

Education International calls on educators and unions around the world on Indigenous Peoples’ Day to commit in their teaching to promote peace and respect for all cultures.