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Event Announcement

Mni Ki Wakan

Indigenous peoples and youth are convening the 3rd Mni Ki Wakan (Water is Sacred): World Indigenous Peoples Decade of Water, August 13th–15th, in the Black Hills, South Dakota known to the Oceti Sakowin as He Sapa, The Heart of Everything that Is. Mni Ki Wakan is held in partnership with Indigenous peoples, youth, and allies working to develop collective innovations and transformations dedicated to amplifying Indigenous voices on water. Participants will envision a world of clean and healthy water for all life and future generations leading with the guiding mandate of Mni Ki Wakan: Water is Sacred.

Mni Ki Wakan centers the guiding language of its global Indigenous community and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This collective movement enables the participation of all stakeholders from multiple levels across sectors and Indigenous communities ensuring a strategic comprehensive water movement that engages diverse water areas.

On July 18, 2019, Mni Ki Wakan Co-Conveners attended the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, calling for a global Indigenous water study; an Indigenous water decade; urging the UN to help stop the Keystone XL pipeline:

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“Woope Wakan Ki Naunkicizinpi Ca Oyate Ki Mni Ki Wakan Yuhapi Kte Lo

Hau Mitakuyapi, greetings madam chair, members of EMRIP, dignitaries, and Indigenous peoples.

In 2017, Indigenous peoples and youth launched the Mni Ki Wakan: World Indigenous Peoples Decade of Water to build strategic partnerships and collective innovation dedicated to the future of water. Mni Ki Wakan means Water is Sacred, it is not only our theme but our guiding mandate that carries us into the 3rd Indigenous water decade on August 13-15, 2019, Black Hills, South Dakota, United States. My relatives, our global Indigenous community of Mni Ki Wakan believes that water is not what divides us, but it is what connects us all….

Today, my delegation is here before you to call on the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to initiate a global study on Indigenous peoples and water that is capable of elevating their water initiatives to unprecedented levels in decision-making, that may one day hold extractive industries accountable to the principle of Free, Informed, and Prior Consent, treaties, and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Therefore, my delegation recommends EMRIP, UN Water, UNESCO, and the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues develop Indigenous coordinating water bodies and declare an Indigenous water decade that would maximize partnerships and coordination between Indigenous peoples, global actors, and initiatives. 

In closing, we call for a world where all water is recognized for its legal personhood and sacredness....”

Prior to this, teams coordinated innovations from the 2nd Mni Ki Wakan at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (EMRIP) 18th Session providing the aforementioned rights recommendations, building a global Indigenous community. Their work was prompted by Indigenous peoples and youth who called for the presence of Mni Ki Wakan at EMRIP and the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues during the 2nd Indigenous Water Decade held in Minnesota, 2018.

Indigenous peoples, youth, allies, and global actors are cordially invited to the 3rd Mni Ki Wakan occuring on August 13-15, 2019, at the Ramkota Best Western Inn Conference & Events Center, (2111 N. LaCrosse St., Rapid City, South Dakota, 57701.

Mni Ki Wakan is co-hosted by Rapid City Community Conversations, Black Hills Clean Water Alliance, regional and international partners, and endorsed by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. | | 612-442-5399