Indigenous Activism and Inclusion at COP26


COP26 witnessed activism of Indigenous groups from around the world. However, Indigenous peoples were not included among all governmental delegations from Canada and other countries, and questions regarding fairness and justice toward Indigenous peoples, including women and youth, have been raised.

The Minga Indigena is “a grouping of collectives, organisations and communities from diverse Indigenous Nations throughout the American continent.” Minga Indigena confronts the “divide and conquer” mentality of colonialism and, at COP26, brought to the fore the environmental, social, and racial implications of the climate crisis.

Indigenous youth activists from around the world played a strong role in various fora at COP26. However, it was reported that Ruth Miller, a youth Dena’ina Athabascan and Climate Justice Director for Native Movement, a grassroots organization, was denied the platform to share their concerns and ideas with COP26 President Sharma; Miller was ultimately squeezed out “due to lack of time.” Sarah Hanson from Biigtigong Nishnaabeg  attended COP26 as youth intern for Indigenous Climate Action and offered reflections upon the community-based efforts of the Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus. Furthermore, Kahnawà:ke sent their first youth delegation to COP26 and shared insights into climate change including those from the Kahnawake Collective Impact.

Indigenous advocacy at COP 26 was crucial to create a forum for disenfranchised voices and to ensure that Indigenous-led climate solutions were presented; however, there is concern whether Indigenous voices will be heeded by signatories of the COP26 decision, beyond acts of recognition and acknowledgement in the Glasgow Climate Pact.


By Leela Viswanathan


(Photo Credit: Scott Umstattd, Unsplash)