Jan 06, 2009

Buffalo River Dene Nation: Climate Change Crisis

Active ImageNative Americans “must be seen as expert group” in top level talks.



Below is an article published by the Native Times.

Chief Bill Erasmus of the Dene Nation in northern Canada brought a stark warning about the climate crisis: The once abundant herds of caribou are dwindling, rivers are running lower and the ice is too thin to hunt on.

Erasmus raised his concerns in recent days on the sidelines of a U.N. climate conference, seeking to ensure that North America’s indigenous peoples are not left out in the cold when it comes to any global warming negotiations.

Erasmus, the 54-year-old elected leader of 30,000 Native Americans in Canada, and representatives of other indigenous peoples met with the U.N.’s top climate official, Yvo de Boer, and have lobbied national delegations to recognize them as an “expert group” that can participate in the talks like other nongovernment organizations.

“We bring our traditional knowledge to the table that other people don’t have,” he said.

Nearly 11,000 national and environmental delegates from 190 countries are negotiating a treaty to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which regulates emissions of carbon dioxide that scientists blame for global warming. The protocol expires in 2012.

The alliance of Native peoples include groups from the forests of Borneo to the depths of the Amazon.

De Boer said he advised the alliance to draw up a proposal and muster support among the national delegations to have their group approved by the countries involved in the talks.