Press Release
Note No. 5880

Note to Correspondents



Each year, the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (9 August) is observed at United Nations Headquarters with a ceremony and a cultural presentation.  This year’s observance will take place at 1:15 p.m. on Monday, 9 August, in the General Assembly Lobby (46th Street and First Avenue).

The observance will be opened with a traditional welcome and prayer.  Two young contributors to the video installation “Women’s Wishes for the Earth”, Malaika Queano and Amira Roca, both of the Maranao people of the Philippines, will chant a “Sacred Song for the Earth”, of the Tiboli people of the Philippines.  The installation, currently in the lobby, is part of the exhibit “In Celebration of Indigenous Peoples” mounted for the third session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues that took place this May.  The Kahurangi Maori Dance Theatre will perform traditional songs and dances that portray the history and fabric of Maori life, such as their warrior culture and martial arts techniques.

Participants will hear messages from United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan; the Chairman of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Ole Henrik Magga; the Chairperson of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations, Miguel Alfonso Martinez; and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples, Rodolfo Stavenhagen.  The ceremony will conclude with a closing blessing.

The annual observance of the International Day on 9 August commemorates the first meeting of the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations in Geneva in 1982. This year’s event also marks the closing year of the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People (1995-2004), proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly to raise awareness about the situation of indigenous people.

The master of ceremonies will be Roberto Mucaro Borrero (Taíno, Puerto Rico), the Chairperson of the NGO Committee on the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People.

The commemoration is organized by the Secretariat of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the United Nations Department of Public Information, and the NGO Committee on the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

Additional programmes for the International Day will take place on 8 August at the AmericanMuseum of Natural History.  For information on these programmes, which are free with suggested museum admission, contact the Museum at (212) 769-5758, or visit www.amnh.org/programs/special/global/index.html?src=p_sp.

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