Intercontinental Indigenous Delegation

Engaging with the 2015 Parliament of World's Religions

Inaugural Women's Assembly
Parliament of World Religions
Salt Lake City, Utah
Oct. 15-19, 2015

Re: Transboundary Collaboration: Intercontinental Indigenous Peoples delegation to share their urgent messages with the world at the Parliament of the World's Religions and the Pari--COP21

Dear Friends,

We hope you are well.

We are pleased to share the news that an intercontinental delegation of indigenous leaders will be participating in the 2015 Parliament of the World's Religions (PWR), October 15-19 in Salt Lake City. The PWR is expecting 10,000 delegates from 80 countries representing at least 50 faith traditions; the theme of this confluence is “Reclaiming the Heart of Humanity” with special attention to women, youth and Indigenous Peoples. We invite you to join us there! Since we began planning for the Parliament, the world has exploded into chaos with mass migrations of human beings fleeing incessant war and conflict, environmental destruction, religious extremism, economic collapse and the undeniable impacts of climate change; for too long our Indigenous delegates have been on the front lines of these issues. It is now even more urgent than ever that our diverse delegation attend this Parliament and join spiritually rooted peoples from all over the world to share what they know about living with the Natural Laws and the Web of Life which has sustained them for millennia. Only through transboundary collaboration and everyone sharing their combined gifts of knowledge, wisdom, and talent will we accelerate the equitable, systemic transformations required to thrive in harmony with each other and Mother Earth.

From the beginning our Elders guided this PWR process; our journey has taken us far beyond what we initially planned. It has been challenging to pull together this diverse delegation from the watersheds of the Arctic Circle and the Great Lakes, from across the US, deep into Mexico and Guatemala to the top of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Colombia. And now we in the first stages of forming a delegation to take our messages to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris - 30 November-11 December! Just this week, key member of our delegation to the Parliament, Francois Paulette attended a Treaty 6 meeting in Edmonton, AB to discuss plans for COP21 Climate. The Treaty 6 leaders support a COP21 delegation; Francois is communicating with the International Indian Treaty Council to see how this all would be most effective. The Paris delegation will be mixed; it will be led by indigenous women supported by their Native brothers and non-native allies, all in solidarity with them. But first things first: we must finish fundraising for the PWR so that we can all get to Salt Lake to engage with the international participants and discuss how best to proceed on. We are an ever expanding transboundary alliance- Salt Lake, Paris and beyond; together we are catalyzing the shift to a sustainable world. But first we have to get to Salt Lake!

The significance of having Indigenous Peoples delegates at this Parliament and of having strong Indigenous women leading the way cannot be over stated. Aspects of this Parliament that show growth in awareness of the importance of Indigenous wisdom and ceremony as part of the Parliament of the World's Religions over its 122 year history include:

  • Having an Indigenous Women's presence in the Inaugural Women’s Assembly in support of the theme of Reclaiming the Sacred Feminine
  • Inclusion of Indigenous Peoples on panels throughout the program as well as focused Indigenous programming,
  • The possibility of dialogue and sharing the Indigenous message with emerging leaders including a broad range of traditions from around the world,
  • Having programs focusing on the Doctrine of Christian Discovery continue from Melbourne to Salt Lake City, and
  • The clearly articulated intention to carry the messages delivered to the Parliament on to the COP21 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris - 30 November-11 December 2015.d

We want to acknowledge and thank all of the people who contributed to this engagement including: Will Bancroft, Lauren Hartmann, Ilarion Merculieff, Francois Paulette, Milt Markewitz, Galen McKibben, Lisa Powers, Lars Larsson, Lisa Sutton, Eric Noyes, Helen Spector, Don Benson, Lewis Cardinal, Arnold Thomas and Lisa Smith. This has been a truly collaborative venture; we’ve had numerous conference calls and dozens of email conversations requiring hundreds of volunteer hours.

The total bare-bones PWR budget for 25 indigenous delegates plus 6 volunteers is now $34,764 of which we have already received commitments for $18,675 leaving just $16,089 to raise. All of the donations received so far have secured travel for Mama Luis, Jorge, Ana, Armando, Geraldine, Mindahi and JR Fox and Rebekah Jarvey. Francois Paulette is being sponsored by the Gordon Foundation from Canada. We will also be joined in Salt Lake by 14 year old Ta'Kaiya Blaney, a singer, songwriter, actor and Native Children's Survival (NCS) Youth Ambassador and Robby Romero, founder of Native Children's Survival and the founder and leader of the acclaimed Native Rock band Red Thunder.

The next step is to raise the remaining funds to pay the other delegate's expenses. Though the American Indian Institute is our fiscal sponsor, we are sticking to our commitment not to seek dollars that would normally go toward the Institute's program and operating budgets. Because the negotiations with the Parliament took so long we are basically out of fund-raising time. We are asking for your help in identifying potential sources of funds including friends, organizations, congregations, businesses etc.; we welcome introductions to anyone who may support us. Everyone may contribute their tax deductible donation on the Institute's website: To inquire about sponsoring specific delegates or for help with larger donors, please reply to this email or give Lisa Smith a call 406-210-4830. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated; time is very short so please do what you can as soon as you can. Please note that any funds raised beyond what's needed for the Parliament will be applied to the Paris-COP21 travel expenses. And we do hope you can join us in Salt Lake City for this historic confluence!

Thank you,

Lisa R. Smith - 406-210-4830
Milt Markewitz - 503-248-0432
Helen Spector - 503-296-7248
Galen McKibben - 406-459-9418||


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