In 1994, the General Assembly decided that the International Day of the World's Indigenous People would be observed on 9 August every year during the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People. In 2004, a Second International Decade was proclaimed to further the "strengthening of international cooperation for the solution of problems faced by indigenous people.
As we strive to foster sustainable and equitable development, it is vital we listen to the voices of indigenous peoples. It is imperative that we learn from their knowledge. This year’s theme, ‘Indigenous designs: celebrating stories and cultures, crafting their own future’, highlights the need for preservation and revitalization of indigenous cultures, including their art and intellectual property. It can also be used to showcase indigenous artists and cooperatives or businesses who are taking inspiration from indigenous peoples' customs and the indigenous communities who may have participated or benefited from this.
It is a reminder of the responsibility of individuals as consumers, to understand that there is a story and a personal experience behind every piece of cloth, textile or artwork from an indigenous individual or community.
“Indigenous peoples represent remarkable diversity -- 5,000 distinct groups in some 90 countries. They make up more than 5 per cent of the world’s population, some 370 million people. Together, they are custodians of a valuable and often fast-disappearing cultural heritage. We see their creativity and innovations in the arts, literature and the sciences. These contributions are highlighted by the theme of this year’s observance, ‘Indigenous designs: celebrating stories and cultures, crafting our own future’.” UN Secretary-General in his message for the day.
Other statements: www.un.org/en/events/indigenousday/messages.shtml
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