Dear Community,

Happy Earth Day to you! Today we are celebrating women and gender diverse leaders around the globe who are fighting to protect communities and the climate while implementing just solutions in response to the climate crisis.

Today and everyday, we commit to working together diligently with our diverse networks and partners to bring support, action, and global attention to the struggles and solutions of frontline women. We thank our community for all you do— together we will continue to rise and collectively build a future founded on care, love, and respect for each other and Mother Earth.

As a source of knowledge sharing and inspiration, WECAN is releasing a new video this Earth Day, as well as sharing powerful event recordings from the last week where we had the honor to participate in and advocate at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City. Please continue on in this newsletter for more information!

Earth Day Video Release

Women Leaders for Climate Justice

This Earth Day we are releasing a new WECAN video highlighting the advocacy of global women leaders fighting to stop extraction and deforestation in their territories while advocating for Indigenous and human rights and the advancement of critical community-led climate solutions! Please see below to watch the full video!

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WECAN Advocacy & Events at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues - Event Recordings

As part of our Earth month activities, WECAN is sharing recordings from our recent advocacy and events at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Next week we will be posting a full analysis and our recommendations and calls to action for governments and financial institutions regarding respecting Indigenous rights and self-determination.

Indigenous Women Upholding Indigenous Rights and Knowledge, and Leading Climate Solutions

During this formal side event at the UNPFII we hosted two panels in which global Indigenous women leaders discussed the impacts of fossil fuels, deforestation, and the climate crisis in their communities and how they are implementing solutions, practicing traditional knowledge systems, upholding Indigenous rights, and advancing policies and practices of care and climate justice.


Panel ONE Speakers included:

  • Xiye Bastida (Otomi-Toltec) | Co-founder and Board, Re-earth Initiative, Turtle Island/USA
  • Yasso Kanti Bhattachan (Thakali) | Founding Member and the Vice Chair of the National Indigenous Women’s Forum (NIWF), Nepal
  • Ruth Łchav’aya K’isen Miller (Curyung Tribe of Dena’ina Athabaskan) | Indigenous Climate Activist, Turtle Island/USA
  • Claire Charlo (Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes) | Indigenous Feminisms Organizer, Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), Turtle Island/USA
  • Panel moderation and comments by Osprey Orielle Lake, WECAN Executive Director

Panel TWO Speakers included:

  • Josefina Tunki (Shuar) | First Woman President of the Shuar Arutam Organization (PSHA), Ecuador
  • President Whitney Gravelle (Bay Mills Indian Community)| President and Executive Council Bay Mills Indian Community, Chair of the Department of Interior’s Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee and Commissioner on the Michigan Advisory Council on Environmental Justice, Turtle Island/USA
  • Majo Andrade Cerda (Kichwa) | Young leader of the Kichwa People of Napo, Land is Life’s Latin America Program Assistant, Ecuador
  • Michelle Woodhouse (Métis Nation, manitou sakhahigan, Lac Ste. Anne) | Water Program Manager, Environmental Defence, Toronto, Turtle Island/Canada
  • Panel moderation and comments by Osprey Orielle Lake, WECAN Executive Director

Uplifting Women Human Rights Defenders

and Advancing the Escazu Agreement


Latin America is one of the deadliest regions for environmental land defenders. In 2021, Global Witness reported that 200 land and environmental defenders were killed for their activism – with over two-thirds of killings taking place in Latin America. Combined with entrenched colonial and patriarchal policies, individuals threatened are oftentimes Indigenous peoples and women environmental and human rights defenders (WEHRDs) fighting for the protection of their communities and territories.

During this virtual event, women environmental and human rights defenders, policy makers, and feminist advocates highlighted the challenges women in all of their diversity face in securing human and Indigenous rights, gaining access to information, public participation, access to justice and protecting land, territories and communities in the context of implications and opportunities women have as part of the Escazú Agreement.

We were very grateful to partner with several organizations throughout Latin America for this formal side event of the Escazú COP2, taking place separately but concurrently with the UNPFII. In both instances, we are committed to ensuring the voices of Indigenous women leaders are at the forefront of these important international forums and discussions.

Since 2018, WECAN has been advocating for the ratification and implementation of the Escazú Agreement. Learn more about our advocacy efforts here.

Indigenous Women from North America Defending Biodiversity, Human Rights, and our Global Climate


During this virtual event held in parallel to the UNPFII, Indigenous women leaders addressed a variety of topics, highlighting how Indigenous women are leading efforts to uphold Indigenous rights and sovereignty, including the right of Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) with the aim of advocating to global governments and financial institutions that respecting Indigenous knowledge, ways of life, and FPIC, and the right to say “no” to continued extraction, is paramount to addressing the global climate and environmental crises. Speakers also presented solutions grounded in Indigenous knowledge and expertise for protecting and defending communities and Mother Earth.

Speakers included:

  • Eriel Tchekwie Deranger (Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation) | Executive Director of Indigenous Climate Action, Canada
  • Tara Houska (Couchiching First Nation) | Tribal Attorney and Founder of Giniw Collective, Line 3 pipeline Resistance Leader, Turtle Island, USA
  • Dr. Crystal A Cavalier, Ed.D, MPA (Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation) | Co-Founder, 7 Directions of Service, Turtle Island, USA
  • Monique Verdin (Houma Nation) | WECAN Food Sovereignty Program Coordinator in the Gulf South, Director of Land Memory Bank & Seed Exchange, Turtle Island, USA
  • Jannan J. Cornstalk (Citizen of Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians) | Director Water is Life Festival, Turtle Island, USA
  • Moderation and Comments by Osprey Orielle Lake, WECAN Executive Director

Banner Action to Stop Line 5

This week at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues WECAN organized with Indigenous leaders and allies to call for the end of the Line 5 pipeline project. Please join us in sharing and signing this letter to the Canadian government urging them to cease invoking Article Six of the 1977 Transit Pipelines Treaty, and shut down Line 5, currently operating 20 years past its due date! We must protect the Great Lakes!

Learn more and sign the letter by April 24:

Canada has formally invoked Article Six of the 1977 Transit Pipelines Treaty twice to keep the 70 year old Line 5 operating. First on October 4, 2021 in response to Michigan Governor Whitmer’s order to shut the pipeline down after a ship’s anchor strike causing significant risk to the Straits of Mackinac. They did so a second time on August 29, 2022 when the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa discovered serious erosion beneath the pipeline leaving it unsupported, and at significant risk of failure with the next severe weather event.

Please join us in calling for the Canadian government to stop impeding the efforts to uphold the inherent rights of the Indigenous Nations of the Great Lakes while honoring all of the treaties with Indigenous Nations north and south of the border that predate and supersede the 1977 pipeline treaty.

Since 2022, WECAN has been very honored to facilitate the Indigenous Women’s Treaty Alliance, a group of Indigenous women leaders from the Great Lakes region, to resist the advancement of the Line 5 pipeline. Please learn more and stay connected here:

Virtual - Live from Earth

Saturday April 22

Register and learn more here!

On Earth Day please join us during Live from Earth, a worldwide online gathering highlighting innovators helping to solve global environmental challenges.

We are honored that Osprey Orielle Lake, WECAN Executive Director will be presenting alongside global leaders including Vandana Shiva, Fawn Sharp, Pat McCabe, Atossa Soltani, Justin Winters, Leila Salazar-Lopez, and more.

Please consider supporting WECAN as we continue to uplift the leadership and solutions of women and feminists worldwide fighting for climate justice and the defense of the planet for current and future generations.
For the Earth and All Generations,

Women's Earth and Climate Action Network
(WECAN) International Team
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