Indigenous islanders whose homes are sinking underwater march on COP26

Indigenous climate protesters

Indigenous people whose island homes are sinking underwater due to climate change have marched on the COP26 venue in Glasgow aiming to “heal the legacy of colonialism”.

Indigenous power

Groups from Panama, Amazonia, Patagonia, Alaska, and the wider USA were joined by activists as they progressed through the streets to the sound of drums and wood pipes. They marched from Glasgow Green along the Clyde to the COP26 campus, where they were initially denied access.

A small number of the indigenous people were shortly afterwards allowed into the conference where they planned on meeting with the president of COP26, Alok Sharma.

Agar Iklenia Tejada, 31, came to Glasgow from Panama and is a member of the Guna people, who live largely on islands off the coast. She started crying when speaking about the plight of her home.

Agar Tejada with the
Agar Iklenia Tejada with the ‘mola’ (Jane Barlow/PA)

She said:
Three of our islands are already underwater. We are moving from the islands to the mountains or the coasts already.

Read on...

She added:

One of the islands is the one that I was born in and grew up in, so it’s very emotional to even talk about it.

She said her grandmothers are refusing to leave the partially submerged island and that the loss of her home makes her angry. She said:

However, we are going to keep fighting to conserve and preserve our traditions, our origin and who we are

She said that people are polluting, mining for gold, and cutting down trees, and added:

All of these thing affect the everyday life that we have on the islands

Agar brought the largest ever “mola” – a traditional hand sown cloth applique unique to the Guna people – to Glasgow with the help of the NGO Geoversity Foundation. She and her fellow indigenous people carried it through Glasgow’s streets to the venue for the global gathering.

Machi Jorge Kilakeo, of the Mapuche Nation in Chile, said they had come to COP26 with their “hearts open”. He added:

We are here to heal the legacy of colonialism and invisibility and violence

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us