Our society cannot move forward without understanding and appreciating the deep knowledge of our planet’s indigenous peoples and without respecting their political, economic and social realities. As an executive coach having worked with many indigeneous people on the planet, I consider that our evolution can only be possible if we respect the past and take into consideration all the wisdom that indigenous communities can offer. This is the only way we can move forward in-sync with the planet, creating a healthy life in all facets of our socio-economic, and cultural lives.
What are Indigenous Communities?
There is no specific or rigid definition of indigenous peoples, but if we take into consideration what the United Nations says, the indigenous communities are characterized by the following criteria:
- They are descended from the pre-invasion or the pre-colonial inhabitants of their area
- They are economically and politically marginalized as a minority group
- They are closely tied to their land culturally and economically
- And they define themselves as a group following all the above characteristics.
The United Nations approximates that in the world there are 400 million indigenous peoples organized in almost 5.000 distinct tribes. Despite the fact that they represent only 6% of the world’s population, indigenous peoples represent 90% of the world’s cultural diversity, holding at the same time on their lands, 80% of the world’s biodiversity.
So considering these statistics, shouldn’t they be taken into consideration MORE?
How can I contribute to an Indigenous Project?
First of all, there is a misconception widely spread that indigenous peoples lack the capacity to understand the modern world. Too often they are marginalized due to this bias. Therefore, they are blocked from working effectively with corporate partners that can make positive changes in their world. With our experience in strategic planning together with the abilities we possess as business and marketing consultants, our strategy is to contribute to finding solutions to the challenges indigenous communities face is as follows:
- Find ways in providing indigenous peoples with the funding opportunities needed to complete their own development projects. There are plenty of public and private funding sources that can be accessed successfully, where our expertise in business consulting can make the difference;
- Help preserve indigenous cultures and livelihood by engaging the corporate sector in all of this process. Now we know that some of the private sector has already started to expand in the indigenous communities’ world, and instead of helping them, they are threatening their heritage and way of living with their actions. With our executive coaching, facilitation and helping backgrounds, our goal is to engage corporations in protecting indigenous peoples and help them in continuing to retain control over their assets;
- We will facilitate the negotiations between corporations and indigenous communities in order to create a win-win situation for both parties. Like this, corporations will be able to continue their strategic plans while indigenous communities can do the same. This takes into consideration the effects organizations may have on the indigenous culture while allowing communities to protect their environments.
- We will get involved in finding and bringing together indigenous practitioners that can contribute ideas and knowledge in creating a strategy that will respect indigenous communities’ rights and prevent them from being marginalized in the future;
- We will get involved in promoting indigenous communities agricultural and biodiversity practices, hand in hand with modern green practices, as solutions to climate change challenges;
- We will advocate for indigenous communities rights, both from the social and cultural point of view, as well as for their lands rights which are more and more often being disrupted by local authorities or companies;
- Being experienced in training and human resources, we will use all our knowledge to educate and advocate to the public about the importance of keeping the indigenous community information documented, to save and honour the benefits that their “know-how” can bring to our evolution. Stories, artwork, etc. will be saved and treasure, and Indigenous peoples will be able to access their information from a variety of ways, for all generations to come.
We know that acknowledging the importance of indigenous communities will be the legacy that today’s generation leaves to the younger generation. By becoming more active in indigenous projects, we will all benefit from the contribution that they bring to our world. From this context, all the challenges that we are facing today, indigenous peoples can make the difference. More precisely, indigenous peoples finally being recognized as sustainable leaders, by thinking long-term, is why preserving and learning from indigenous communities awareness can be the key to a more sustainable and equitable development of the world.