At the 7th IPA Assembly, we reaffirmed our commitment to respond to the cry of the poor by embracing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a human rights framework, addressing the issues of Indigenous and Tribal People.
Read more about our work to honour the rights of indigenous and tribal people in our detailed case study pack here.
The IPA held an online Prayer Service for the World Day of Indigenous People on Wednesday 9 August. We prayed together:
“You, Creator God, know the needs of the Indigenous peoples of our world far better than we do. We are aware of the ongoing injustices and adversities, including racism, which our Indigenous sisters and brothers experience. Help us to use our gifts, our knowledge, our skills, our positions in society, and our strength in Christ, as a community of faith, to support our indigenous sisters and brothers.”
” Lord, today we lift up our prayers to you in solidarity with the children and the youth of our indigenous and tribal brothers and sisters. We dare to dream that their futures will be blessed, that they will be able to lead full and fruitful lives, that they will have a wide variety of good experiences over the course of their lives and grow up to do things that will amaze us and amaze them.”
“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. For them, land is not a commodity but rather a gift from God and from their ancestors who rest there, a sacred space with which they need to interact if they are to maintain their identity and values. When they remain on their land, they themselves care for it best. Nevertheless, in various parts of the world, pressure is being put on them to abandon their homelands to make room for agricultural or mining projects which are undertaken without regard for the degradation of nature and culture.” – Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ (LS #146)
In July 2022, Pope Francis apologised to Canadian Indigenous People.
“With shame and unambiguously, I humbly beg forgiveness for the evil committed by so many Christians against the Indigenous peoples,” Pope Francis said.
Read the full report written for the IPA by Lancia Rodrigues PBVM, ‘Attuning to God calling for a Just Future’.
The IPA Virtual Prayer Service for World Indigenous People Day 2022 is available to watch in full on YouTube.
To engage with schools and communities to provide access to education and ongoing effective lifelong learning to Indigenous and Tribal people that acknowledges and honours them and their cultural traditions.
SDG 4, TARGET 4.5: “Eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations.”
SLOVAKIA – EDUCATING INDIGENOUS ROMA: In Spišské Podhradie, Slovakia, Presentation Sisters working among Roma people, saw how they were segregated in outlying local villages and towns, without education or work opportunities, while the local people were hard working and trying to make ends meet. So inevitably a lot of prejudice and division arose among both groups. The Sisters discerned that a Pre-School would be the bed-rock of future educational achievement. In 2004, they opened the Nano Nagle Care and Learning Centre to serve as a base for Roma education – catering for children from 3–7 years, most of whom could not speak the Slovak language as they have their own Roma language. They are helped to master the basic skills needed for entrance to public school and learn the Slovak language. The Sisters aim to provide quality educational programmes and services that promote new understandings and awareness of issues of human rights.
PHILIPPINES: In 1997, Sr Evelyn Flanagan started the Badjao ministry project in the Philippines. The Badjao were peace-loving sea nomads but they were very much discriminated against. The young Badjao children were not able to adjust to the culture of public school and were dropping out. Sr Evelyn set about opening a Presentation Preparatory Pre-School exclusively for them. This was officially opened in 2008. Here the children are helped to master skills needed for public school, e.g. learning the dialect of the majority and ensuring they attain the skills of basic literacy and numeracy for public elementary school.
To engage with organisations and partners to promote and participate in activities that honour the voices of Indigenous and Tribal people.
Presentation sisters in Thailand work with three groups, Lahu and Akha tribal people and with Thai Yai who are Shawn migrant workers. The Sisters focus specifically on sustaining and improving the quality of life for women and children through holistic healthcare, education, pastoral care, teaching of religion to school going children in the villages, interfaith dialogue with Buddhist neighbours and works of peace and justice.
They have always worked in partnership e.g. from 1999 to 2019, in collaboration with the PIME Italian Missionary priests. Currently, they are collaborating with the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Betharam. They also strengthen their networking and collaboration with the Health, Women and Ethnic Commission of the Chiang Mai Diocese, with District police who are invited to give awareness on anti-drug day for the children at the Mission Centre and work with other religious congregations e.g. with Good Shepherd Sisters, on human trafficking awareness and capacity building.
We support them as the key decision makers and experts in matters that affect them.
SOUTH INDIA: Presentation Sisters in Church Park, Chennai in South India, working with the Irullar tribal community in 22 villages since 2002, have formed a partnership with the Rotary Club to enable ongoing skills-training and employment opportunities to the men and women of the tribe.
THAILAND: Presentation sisters in Thailand work with three groups, Lahu and Akha tribal people and with Thai Yai who are Shawn migrant workers. The Sisters focus specifically on sustaining and improving the quality of life for women and children through holistic healthcare, education, pastoral care, teaching of religion to school going children in the villages, interfaith dialogue with Buddhist neighbours and works of peace and justice. They have always worked in partnership e.g. from 1999 to 2019, in collaboration with the PIME Italian Missionary priests. Currently, they are collaborating with the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Betharam. They also strengthen their networking and collaboration with the Health, Women and Ethnic Commission of the Chiang Mai Diocese, with District police who are invited to give awareness on anti-drug day for the children at the Mission Centre and work with other religious congregations e.g. with Good Shepherd Sisters, on human trafficking awareness and capacity building.
NORTH DAKOTA: There is a long history of Presentation involvement with the indigenous Community in Fargo and throughout the upper Midwest in the USA. In the mid-1950s, the Sisters began mission work on reservations in North Dakota, Montana and South Dakota. Since the 1980s the Sisters’ Peace and Justice Office in Fargo has been addressing a range of social justice issues for Indigenous People. These included working for the provision of better health care, networking to establish a social detox centre, supporting a protest movement against the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline which threatened Indian reservations. A collaborative annual event called ‘Rejuvenation’ where local justice and peace groups collaborate and share concerns. Indigenous issues have been included in these concerns. In 2018, when a young pregnant indigenous woman was brutally murdered after her baby was cut from her womb, the Fargo Social Justice Collaborative collaborated with the Indigenous Community to develop a Murdered and Missing indigenous Women’s Task Force that continues to this day. In 2021, the local Indigenous Association contacted an Interfaith Group and the Presentation Social Justice SCJ to ask Where are the Churches? and invited them to begin working with them on the newly emerging issue of the tragic Boarding School experience. Eighteen Presentation People participated in listening sessions with Native American people who shared stories about the impact on them as individuals, as family and as tribes. An informal Remembrance and Healing group has now begun organising events to increase awareness of this untold story and work towards healing and reconciliation.
To advocate for Indigenous and Tribal people to be effectively represented at local and global civic levels.
INDIA: Presentation Sisters in India train adult men and women in leadership and communication skills, which enable them to advocate for their rights and get their basic needs met. Children’s Parliaments are very active. Here groups of children are trained to voice their concerns and needs to village decision-makers. Awareness training is provided for men, women and children on the SDGs and various government schemes. They are trained in leadership and communication skills, so that they are able to approach the Government for schemes and services, at first supported and accompanied by a Sister.
We are active in the United Nations on issues relating to Indigenous and Tribal people. Their traditional ecological knowledge contributes significantly to low-carbon sustainable development, biodiversity conservation, managing biodiversity and maintaining genetic diversity.