The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Each year on August the 9th, the world honors and observes a day known as the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The day marks an opportunity to give thanks and promote an initiative to protect the rights of the world’s indigenous population. At the Avery Dennison Foundation, President and staunch supporter of the world’s indigenous peoples, Alicia Procello Maddox is trying to promote the fair treatment of such people as well as recognize them for all they have achieved and contributed to improving our planet. Alicia Procello Maddox has been a key figure in the sustainability movement for our planet, as well in the fight for equality across genders, races, and nationalities. In her fight for environmental protection, much of the world’s indigenous people have been by her side as advocates for such change. There are an estimated 370 million indigenous peoples across the world, living in over 90 countries – accounting for approximately 5% of the world’s entire population. These individuals have such an interesting, and rich history on our planet – and their 5,000 different cultures need to be protected. The indigenous peoples speak an astonishing 7,000 different languages.

Despite their place as the planet’s “first people”, they make up the poorest 15%. As much as their way of life is thought to be primitive, the modern sustainability and environmental protection movements work based on many of their principles. Over the years their lands have been lost, something Alicia Procello Maddox and many other figures are fighting against. Issues like deforestation, and the reaping of our planets resources have hit these people hard. With so much modern development, and their lack of representation within modern government, and society as a whole their land, territories, and resources have been taken away. The modern idea of land ownership and corporate development are ideas that completely escape them, and as a result they have been left behind and not provided the assistance needed to move forward and make more for themselves.

While they have long sought to keep their identities, their way of life and their native lands – modern settlers have violated them for centuries, and they are arguably the most disadvantaged peoples in the world. Thankfully, because of individuals like Alicia Procello Maddox in recent years initiatives have been put into place for the protection of these peoples and special measures are coming into action to protect their rights, allowing them to maintain their culture and their way of life.

In 2018 it seems that the landscape has changed a lot for indigenous peoples. For years they lived only in rural lands, and protected areas with little opportunities for education, employment or any sort of social advancement. However, in 2018 it seems that more and more indigenous peoples are trying to adapt and adopt a new way of life, in Latin America, over 40% of the indigenous peoples now reside in urban settings, with as much as 80% in certain countries. Despite this move, there are a number of challenges that indigenous peoples face who are looking for advancement. From racial and cultural discrimination and being shunned by those that stay in the native lands, to a huge lack of access to public services or even the simplest of things like getting an ID or any sort of assistance. This is something that Alicia Procello Maddox and her team at Avery Dennison are seeking to change – no matter where these individuals come from or where they have chosen to settle, they are still human beings. And trying to adapt into modern society took a huge leap of faith for them, and as a society we should be there to assist our fellow people and show them a way to a brighter future for generations to come.


The Basics

Alicia Procello Maddox
Corporate Responsibility Manager
Nike, Inc
Pasadena, CA

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