The Quoddy Tides

Eastport, Maine

2008 May 9

Bridges speaks for indigenous rights at United Nations forum

by Marie Jones Holmes

Participating in the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues held at the United Nations in New York City from April 21 to May 2 was David Moses Bridges, Passamaquoddy tribal member of Nulankeyutomonen Nkihtahkomikumon, We Take Care of Our Land. Bridges is also a partner in Save Passamaquoddy Bay and a delegate of the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN). The theme for the seventh session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues was "climate change, bio-cultural diversity and livelihoods, the stewardship role of indigenous peoples and new challenges."

Bridges noted that climate changes pose threats and dangers to the survival of indigenous communities worldwide, even though indigenous people are vital to and active in the many ecosystems that inhabit their lands.

Bridges stressed the importance of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People by the General Assembly on September 13 of last year. Bridges said, "The declaration sends out a clear message to the entire international community, reaffirming the human rights of the world's indigenous people. The resolution now means that indigenous people do not have to answer to a state that controls them. They can now go to an international forum." Bridges remarked that this resolution protects their right to self government.

Bridges highlighted the issues of human rights and ecological integrity. "People are suffering human rights issues in Nicaragua and in Africa, and the energy companies continue to do business as usual. With the fossil energy companies, it is all about money." Bridges said, "I want to make people aware of our fears of liquefied natural gas [LNG]. It is not a pretty game. It might sound like jobs, but many indigenous people are suffering at the hands of the energy companies."


© 2008 The Quoddy Tides
Eastport, Maine
Article republished on Save Passamaquoddy Bay website with permission.