The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, established by the United Nations on 9 August 1982, is an occasion to reflect on the special situation of the world’s indigenous peoples and the need to take measures to protect and promote their rights.
The Holy Father’s words
“How precious is the sense of familiarity and community that is so genuine among indigenous peoples, and how important it is to cultivate well the bond between the young and the old, and to cherish a healthy and harmonious relationship with all of creation! ‘, writes Pope Francis in a tweet on the day of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, a celebration established by the United Nations on 9 August 1982, the date of the inaugural session of the Working Group on Indigenous Peoples, and which this year is dedicated to reflecting on ‘The role of indigenous women in the preservation and transmission of traditional knowledge’.
Sowing hope in indigenous generations
The Holy Father’s tweet for this day is taken from his speech during his meeting with a delegation of indigenous people at the Archbishopric of Quebec on 29 July, as part of his 37th apostolic journey to Canada. On that occasion, Pope Francis recalled that his ‘penitential pilgrimage’, that long journey of healing and reconciliation with indigenous peoples, was accompanied by a phrase that is ‘walking together’. “I came to Canada as a friend to meet you, to see, listen, learn, appreciate how the indigenous peoples of this country live.
Women as custodians of life
“First of all in St Anne, whose tenderness and protection I was able to feel, venerating her together with a people of God who recognise and honour grandmothers. I refer to St Catherine Tekakwitha. We venerate her for her holy life, but could we not think that her holiness of life, characterised by an exemplary dedication to prayer and work, as well as the ability to endure many trials with patience and gentleness, was also made possible by certain noble and virtuous traits inherited from her community and the indigenous environment in which she grew up?