Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and Jennifer Corpuz: The mother and daughter who fight for Indigenous rights

September 22, 2021 Season 1 Episode 10
Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and Jennifer Corpuz: The mother and daughter who fight for Indigenous rights
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Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and Jennifer Corpuz: The mother and daughter who fight for Indigenous rights
Sep 22, 2021 Season 1 Episode 10

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and Jennifer ‘Jing’ Corpuz (Kankana-ey Igorot, Philippines) are policy makers and Indigenous rights advocates as well as mother and daughter. Both women share personal stories about making the shift from student activism to effecting change on a global scale with world leaders, as well as how they honor and continue a family legacy of leadership. They also share ideas for what we all can do to support policy work on behalf of Indigenous peoples and the planet. 

Hosted by Jessica Ramirez; produced by Jenny Asarnow; edited by Tracy Rector.

Seedcast is a production of Nia Tero, a global nonprofit which supports Indigenous land guardianship around the world through policy, partnership, and storytelling initiatives.

Enjoy the Seedcast podcast on the Nia Tero website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and your other favorite podcast platforms.

Keep up with Seedcast on Instagram and use the hashtag #Seedcast.

Show Notes Transcript

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and Jennifer ‘Jing’ Corpuz (Kankana-ey Igorot, Philippines) are policy makers and Indigenous rights advocates as well as mother and daughter. Both women share personal stories about making the shift from student activism to effecting change on a global scale with world leaders, as well as how they honor and continue a family legacy of leadership. They also share ideas for what we all can do to support policy work on behalf of Indigenous peoples and the planet. 

Hosted by Jessica Ramirez; produced by Jenny Asarnow; edited by Tracy Rector.

Seedcast is a production of Nia Tero, a global nonprofit which supports Indigenous land guardianship around the world through policy, partnership, and storytelling initiatives.

Enjoy the Seedcast podcast on the Nia Tero website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and your other favorite podcast platforms.

Keep up with Seedcast on Instagram and use the hashtag #Seedcast.

Jessica Ramirez: [00:00:00] Alright. Hi, Seedcast listeners. This is Jessica Ramirez, coming to you from Coast Salish territory. This is Seedcast.

On today's episode, I had the sincere pleasure of speaking with mother and daughter Victoria Tauli Corpuz  and Jennifer Corpuz. Also known as Vicky and Jing - two women who have fought for sovereignty of Indigenous territories in the Philippines and now advocate for Indigenous rights globally.

[Theme Music By Mia Kami]

Jessica Ramirez: [00:01:11] Vicky is the board chair of Nia Tero. I want to say that Vicky has accomplished so much, but that phrase in itself doesn't really give the depth of meaning of the kind of work that she has done over the years. She is a legitimate trailblazer, a movement builder, and a community organizer. 

Her experience in fighting for human rights dates back to the 1960. As a young person in the Philippines, she was a part of the anti-dictatorship struggle against President Marcos and she fought for the rights of Indigenous peoples. And she still works so hard for Indigenous rights in the Philippines and around the world - even at great personal risk to herself. [00:02:00] 

So with all that said she is a big deal and I can't believe I had the chance to talk with her. And we have Jing. Jing is the Global Policy and Advocacy lead at Nia Tero. Like her mother, Jing is doing really good work. She is supporting Indigenous peoples around the world by advocating for the basic human rights that they have always deserved.

We had her on a previous episode of Seedcast about how traditional land stewardship can save life on earth. This fall, she's attending key global events with other policy makers. She's there with policy recommendations, making sure that whenever world leaders are talking about climate change and biodiversity, that they're also recognizing the solutions which Indigenous peoples hold.

[00:03:00] Before working at Nia Tero, I did work like this. Now it wasn't at the scale at which Vicky and Jim do it - this global scale with a global audience watching. But I did it on a local and regional level, here on Coast Salish territory. Lobbying for game-changing policy for communities who have the most at stake is no small feat. It requires a kind of cultural fluency, and this isn't about being nice or personable, although that does help. It requires a depth of knowledge, curiosity, trust and the ability to find commonality amongst many. 

Jing and Vicky have that. And I'm so lucky to get to work with these two. They fight for what their Indigenous communities deserve and they understand that if [00:04:00] their people are not well, then nobody is well. And it's because of this they do the work.

So Vicky, I'll have you start, if you could please give me your introduction in English and also in your own language. 

Vicky: Okay. [Introduction in Kankana-ey language] Okay. I am Victoria Tauli Corpuz. I am Kankana-ey Igorot. My parents both come from the same village in Payeo in Besao Mountain Provine, which is one of the [00:05:00] provinces of the Cordillera region here in the Philippines.

Jing: I'll do it more simpler - more simply. [Introduction in Kankana-ey language]. I'm Jing, Vicky's daughter.

Jessica: Is this the first time you've done an interview together? I'm curious.

Vicky: Yes. Yes.

Jessica: Oh, how special. Oh, wow. I feel so lucky.

When I spoke with Jing and Vicky, it was 8:00 AM in Seattle on Coast Salish territory and 11:00 PM in the Philippines in Igorot territory.

Vicky: We're used to this now because that's how all our zoom meetings - this is the time for a lot of zoom meetings. In fact, I just finished one. 

Jessica: I'm wondering if you can tell me how did you, you know, wind down and into the evening because it's also been a long day. [00:06:00] 

Jing: Well, I'm a morning person so I was awake since four in the morning. And normally my meetings just, you know, I schedule them for 5:00 AM. Um, yeah. So what did I do before this meeting? I slept.

Jessica: Jing is the oldest of four 

Vicky: And she's the only girl.

Jing: And the most beautiful. Yes, because I'm the only girl.

Jessica: Oh my gosh. Of course. Yes, you are glowing always. 

Jing and Vicky were at home when we spoke. Not only do they work together, but they live together too. Alongside Jing's family. Only a few years ago, Vicky was afraid to be in her country. She was put on a list a suspected terrorist by the President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte. [00:07:00] And it's not the first time she's been targeted or retaliated against for that matter. This time around, she believes it's because of her work, standing up for Indigenous peoples in Mindanao, in the south of the Philippines. She stands up for all Indigenous peoples, rooted in knowing who she is and where she comes from.

Who are your people? And you can define that in whatever way works for you.

Vicky: Well, our people are, we are the kind of Kankana-ey Igorot. This is the name of our people. And Igorot is the generic term for all the different peoples, but Kankana-ey is our specific ethnolinguistic group. We have our own language and our own cultures, of course. But in the Cordillera, there are [00:08:00] I think seven or more people who are generically referred to as Igorot. No? Which means 'People of the  the beach means people of the Mountain.' No. So that's what Igorot means. So that's our people. That's who we are.

Jing: So in contrast, my people are Kankana-ey, the  Igorot, and the Ilocano. Because my father is Ilokano from the lowlands, but, you know, he assimilated into my mother's people.

So I could say that my people are also the Kankana-ey people. I'm from the mountain. I am a mountain girl, I say.

Jessica: Thank you for sharing that. You said that your dad is assimilated and I'm curious how did that happen. And I just think of like the nature of like traditional [00:09:00] patriarchy that usually it's like the women who go into the men's families, things like that. But I'm so curious. How, how did that occur? 

Vicky: Well, uh, we met in the University of the Philippines in Manila and when we married, we - I decided... I mean, ever since I was studying, my ambition is always to come home because I cannot take Manila. Manila is too hot for me, you know, too congested. For us here in Cordillera, we live in the mountains. The air is cool. It's like spring all year round. And so, uh, when we married, I decided that I will come back home. Of course, he didn't like it because he was involved in the labor movement, very much into the center of the labor movement in Manila. But I decided to come home. And then, uh, and then after a year, he followed me because [00:10:00] of course we cannot bear being separated.

So in the end, uh, he came. He's an engineer by profession. So he left his job. He came with me and then, uh, he became involved in also organizing the people in the village. So that's how we ended up here. And then we decided to do live here. It's like, of course there were a lot of attempts for him to convince me to go back to Manila, but I never did.

Jing: And that's my role model. Right there. 

Jessica: Yeah. You're just a very strong, very strong leader. Follow the leader, right?

Can you tell me a little bit of the legacy of your family? [00:11:00] Um, I mean, this leadership doesn't come out of thin air and you must have been witnessing some very powerful people in your life. So can you tell me who those people are? 

Vicky: Well, you see my grandfather was the first presidente, or also the mayor, in our town. No he's not educated. He doesn't know how to read and write, but apparently has great leadership capacities. And according to a lot of our elders, they said that he was the one who protected our communities against the head hunters. Because you know, in the olden days, some of our people are headhunters. When they- we have a tribal war, they come and attack the people.

And my maternal grandfather was the one who was always prepared to defend his own people. So that is is, at least that's the story. And then my parents. You know, my mother and my father who come from the same village, they are somehow [00:12:00] related in a way. They are among the first educated people - educated in terms of having gone to school and they became also the leaders.

My father became an Anglican priest and he is one of the most outspoken ones. And my mother is a nurse.  So I think that's where we got that kind of a legacy. 

Jing: So I didn't have the privilege of knowing my great-grandparents, but my brothers and I, we say that we are very lucky that our parents left us with my grandfather when we were very young. So we were there. We lived with my grandfather for three years. So we got to know him a little bit. He's a person who really practice this culture that we have of Inayan or not being wasteful. So even as little kids, he would, you know, he would tell us, um, eat all your vegetables, eat all your food because the rice is going to cry. 

And he's tell us about how [00:13:00] difficult it is to produce rice. So just those simple things. And then, you know, he had- his sense of community was also very strong. So we had, um, plenty of, um, I don't know if you'd call them guests, but relatives from our hometown living with us and you know, he'd support them, he'd support their schooling.

And, you know, his house was always open to people from our hometown. And so we got to know them. We got to talk to them. I mean, we were very young, three years old too. I think we rejoined our parents when I was seven years old. 

Jessica: And what was the choice? What was going on at that time? 

Vicky: Well, you see, during that time, that was in the late seventies, it was martial law was declared during that period. And both of us, my husband, Jing's dad and I, we were very much involved with anti-directorship struggle. 

So usually we are operating in an underground way because we were [00:14:00] fighting against the dictatorship and we were building the movement. Of course, our names were in the order of battle of the military. So during martial law, we had different identities and we move our houses from one base to another. And we thought security-wise, it's not good for the children to be uprooted every now and then from where we're living. And so it was really the security issue that we would like them to live in a more stable setting and not be subjected to the persecution, you know, and the harassment that we faced.

So, uh, to ensure, you know, a better living condition for them, we thought that we should bring them there, but we, at the same time, we know that it's also good to be there because even when I grew up, that's where we learn how to plant rice and, you know, and do, and it was very good. It helped me a lot to understand what is the culture, the values of our [00:15:00] own people.

And so I thought that will also be a good reason to justify bringing them back home. 

Jessica: Wow. I really love the centerpiece of the cultural understanding and the fighting for the culture at the same time.

Jing: It was great. In the beginning, we were like, well, how come our parents gave us away? But then reflecting, now that we're older, we realize it was a really good idea because we got to know our grandfather, his strengths, his values. And we got to experience, you know, living in a community that has a strong sense of community. So for example, we'd go to the river every day. We were four years old, but we never drowned. Nothing ever happened to us because the community was there to watch and to keep us safe. 

Jessica: Vicky, where did this- I mean, I heard your family's history, lots of people who stood up for your family in very big [00:16:00] ways- using their voice, using their bodies, literally, to stand up and say, defend your family. What was the first step into your activism? 

Vicky: Well, I went to Manila. That's where I went to school. And during that time I became involved with the anti-war protest. You know, the anti-Vietnam war protest? No? So there was a strong student movement. I became part of the student movement. And at that time we were also learning that there were some developments in our region, you know, there's this big mega hydroelectric dam that was going to be built along our rivers. And we were never asked. 

In fact, Marcos who was the dictator at the time said that you have to sacrifice in favor of the majority. You are just the minority anyway. You know, so that's how I shifted towards, uh, uh, [00:17:00] looking at the Indigenous people's issues and understanding better why we are being treated this way.

Jessica: Vicky learned about the plans for the dam. It was called the Chico Dam. She also learned of the threats of destruction to the forest in Igorot territory. She would go into the villages and talk with the people living on that territory. Then she started organizing Igorot students in Manila. 

Vicky: So that's how we all started the Indigenous People's Movement here in the Philippines basically 

Jessica: Vicky and the Indigenous People's Movement focus much of their energy on resisting the construction of the Chico Dam.

Vicky: So if the dam is going to be built, around 300,000, uh, people will be affected directly, which means their villages will be drowned. Their fields will also be destroyed and their burial grounds will be also [00:18:00] be destroyed. Of course, our culture, which is basically linked with our relationship with our lands and our rivers, uh, it will also be destroyed.

That kind of impact is something that we can accept. And so we protested against them. 

Jessica: Vicky organized the people locally. She helped form several key organizations of other Indigenous peoples. And they fought back in lots of ways. 

Vicky: Many of my friends have joined the armed movement. Our people who used to be warriors. You know, we were, we were warriors. Our people also joined the armed movement. And so there was a lot of conflict happening in the region, but I decided that my, my work should be more in helping organize the people in the communities. 

Jessica: Having decided not to take up arms, Vicky [00:19:00] decided to do equally important work. She became a nurse and offered health trainings to fighters and many other community members. Things got really intense in this fight. After all, it was a fight against their own fascist government. 

Vicky: Several of our leaders were arrested and put into jail. Some of the communities were bombed and the harassment from the military continues.

And, and there was no recourse, you know, we cannot file a case against the government because we were under martial law. So that's when we, we learned that at the United Nations, there's a Human Rights Commission that looks into these issues of Indigenous people. 

And maybe we can reach out to the UN to expose what's happening with our communities, our own people, and the country in general. That's how we get involved. And at that time in 1989, the late 1970s, there was [00:20:00] already a group of Indigenous peoples going to the UN to try to open the UN for Indigenous peoples and establish international standards that can protect our rights.

Jessica: Vicky got involved in that international effort at the UN, building alliances with Indigenous peoples from all over the world who were fighting their own struggles. And this collective international pressure finally succeeded. The Filipino government canceled the Chico Dam project, along with the plan to surrender the Igorot forest.

Vicky got involved in drafting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The declaration essentially says that Indigenous peoples have the right to self-govern. It protects the right to practice their cultures. And above all else, it affirms their rights to live free from discrimination.

This work started in 1982 [00:21:00] and after many drafts and negotiations, the declaration was finally passed in 2007.

Vicky: We did all the work from the ground up. And that is how I get involved with the UN. 

Jessica: So after the declaration past, Vicky kept working with the UN to advocate for Indigenous peoples around the world.

From 2014 until last year, Vicki actually served as a United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous peoples.

Jessica: Jing, I'm wondering- I know you've heard these stories and maybe something is new. Do you have any follow-up questions for your mom in hearing these stories again? 

Jing: Uh, no, I, I really just enjoy listening to [00:22:00] these stories because every time I hear it, um, there's, there are new, additional details that, you know, that I hadn't heard before.

So yeah. It's, it's just always so interesting to listen to the stories. 

Jessica: Yeah, what was going on for you at this time when all of these things are happening?

Jing: Well, we were very young when my mother started getting involved in the global Indigenous movement. And, you know, all we knew was that, oh our mother is gone again and she's traveling again.

But, but looking back what I appreciate that was that, um, you know, she'd come home from her travels and she'd have these little souvenirs. Um, so I think one of her early travels was in Australia, then she'd come home. She had these boomerangs and koalas. And then it was always, oh this boomerang from Aboriginal people in Australia. And, you know, just, just telling us stories about how there are, [00:23:00] um, other people who are invisible and who are native Indigenous to the land. You know, and it made an impact. I mean, not immediately, but, um, as we grew older, we realized that she was planting the seeds of the notion that there are these native people who are still struggling to regain control over their homelands and to, to continue to practice their traditional occupations.

Jessica: Do you still have any of these little, these little gifts from your mother, from when you were younger?

Jing: Oh yeah. Definitely. Through all of her travels, she continues to bring lots of trinkets, even for my kids now, for her grandchildren. 

Jessica: That's so sweet. 

Jing: So, um, she didn't, uh, you know, steer us. She didn't- my, my, my mother didn't have a heavy hand. She never said, I want you to follow in my footsteps. So [00:24:00] she never did that. But, you know, with the background and all the stories that she was telling us, and you know, what we saw, um, her doing with her work.

I think that, that, subconsciously had an influence in my decision to enter, you know, the Indigenous movement. 

Vicky: We also brought you to some of the mass actions that are happening in when you were young. You're like, you remember, we brought you to Bangla and when we had this Cordillera People's Alliance assembly and we come, you know...

Jing: You know, honestly, I don't remember though.

Vicky: Oh really?

Yeah, I guess we were too young.  

Vicky: Oh okay. But we also consciously agreed, your dad and I, we all both consciously agree that we are not going to sort of, uh, pressure you into joining what we are [00:25:00] doing, because we believe that, you know, as a young people, you have to make those decisions. And, uh, we saw also the negative impacts of, uh, of our co-activists where they push their and in the end, their children ended up in the, in the opposite direction. 

So our decision was we'll not pressure them. If they decide to, to follow in our footsteps, that's a decision that they will make, not because we are pressuring them. So, so you don't know that, but we have discussed that, uh, together.

And that's, that's why we brought you up that way. 

Jing: See, I told you I learned new things every day. I didn't know about that.

Jessica: Jing did very well in school and decided to study to become a doctor, but then she got involved in what she describes as the most radical student movement in the country. The League of Filipino [00:26:00] Students.

It's an organization that started when Vicky was a young activist during martial law. It's a group focused on mobilizing against imperialism in the Philippines.

Jing: I became so active. We were joining protests, left and right, you know, all of these things that student activists do. You know, I'm casing out places where we can paint our slogans. So, um, yeah, that's how I started. But then I got recruited into, um, a student organization that focused on Indigenous issues.

Jessica: She learned more about discrimination against the Igorot people. She wanted to directly address that discrimination. So she decided not to become a doctor and studied to be a lawyer. 

Vicky: When you entered those movements, like the League of Filipino Students, how did you sort of shift towards indigenous people's issues?

Because usually, I mean, for me, [00:27:00] I started also with the national issues, but I decided that that, uh, that I'd like to really focus on indigenous peoples issues. So how was it with you?

Jing: Well, you know, um, it was just more interesting for me. We visited other parts of the, of the mountains and talk about the issues that, that the Igorot people were facing. You know, we touched on the Chico Dam struggle as part of our history and the ongoing discrimination. And that was just more interesting for me to resonate that better with me.

Jessica: So it was the return to the mountains again, Jing, where you feel most comfortable.

Jing: Exactly. And, uh, love played a factor. Yeah. So at the time, I had a boyfriend who was incidentally, the son of one of their comrades.

My boyfriend was at the time were more with the Indigenous [00:28:00] movement. So maybe love played a role also, but yeah, love of mountains- love of-

Jessica: Love of lovers. the love of mountain.

Jing: Yes, exactly. 

Vicky: I was very pleased. Of course, you know, when she became an activist in the university, we thought that was really great. And eventually when she decided to go into law and engage in this, uh, movement. Uh, uh, we liked it. She has skills that can help, uh, the movement and, uh, you know, she can also understand better, you know, where we are coming from.

Jessica: Jing, how're your kids now. And how are their experiences similar or different to the ones of yours, um, growing up with your mother? You're just as deep in the work and in [00:29:00] a different way, in a different era, different generation of the way that Indigenous rights and movements have been playing out.

Jing: Well, one thing that they didn't have was this opportunity to grow up in the village. But you know, one of the silver linings of this pandemic is that I am home. I'm doing my work here at home and the kids, in a way, they witness it. They know what I do, right? The Indigenous peoples, Indigenous rights.

And there was one time when they were learning in school, in their science subject about igneous rocks, you know, those, the different types of rocks. And they were like, why don't we ask mom, our mother. Because she, she, she knows about indigenous rocks.

Vicky: The other story related to that was when Jing and her brothers were asked, what do your parents do? [00:30:00] You know, they were asked. We don't know they are attending meetings.

Jing: That's exactly what my kids would say now. What does your mother do? She goes, are you really a lawyer? Because you just attend meetings and you just talk and talk.

But you know, I guess subconsciously, I took the same approach as my parents, um, which is, you know, I'm not going to steer them. You know, I'm just going to allow them to choose what kind of life they want to lead. But you know, of course, deep inside, I hope that some of them following my steps eventually.

Jessica: Jing and Vicky both go to a lot of UN conferences. This is where countries negotiate about goals they're setting, [00:31:00] money they're spending, laws they're going to pass. And whenever it relates to the rights of Indigenous people, Vicky and Jing are there.

Vicky: Because our mission is to really ensure that all these international, uh, decision-making areas, we are able to influence and bring the Indigenous rights issues into the center.

Jessica: these meetings happen all over the world. 

Jing: But, you know, when, when people hear about the work that my mom and I do, they're like, oh, you're always going to different countries. And when we come from a country, for example, from France, they would ask, oh, what was it like, what was Marseille like? And we're like, we don't know. 

All we saw was the hotel, the road to the conference center, and the inside of the conference center. And that's- a lot of the time, that's the case, especially when the issues are contentious. 

Jessica: Uh, I would love to get us down to the ground on what it [00:32:00] means for the each of you to attend meetings, as your children say. What's one day like in a global policy convening for you both? You know, take me with you through, um, a typical day. 

Vicky: A day is really, usually a very long day. It involves a lot of, uh, analysis, you know, and who are the best people that I should talk to, who will be able to influence and support the proposal that we are putting on the table.

Usually in receptions, even if we don't like to go, we go. Because that's where the governments sort of let their hair loose and become more friendly because you have to discuss and convince them. 

Jing: When I started, my mother was the chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. And, you know, the day would start so early and what I clearly remember was that I had to go out and buy something for my mother [00:33:00] to eat. 

You know, like a banana, something that was very easy to eat, or sushi. Because when you're deeply involved and you know, you really want to make an impact, want to make a difference. The work never stops. No time to eat.

I had to play the role of, um, you know, um, lunch procurer- someone who buys food for my mother. 

Jessica: These days, a lot of the meetings that Vicky and Jing go to have to do with climate change and biodiversity. Meetings where governments decide how much of the planet they're going to protect or how much emissions they're going to cut.

They just got back from a trip to Marseille, France. The meeting of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the IUCN. It's where world leaders choose how much biodiversity they are going to protect. 

Jing: And it's an important event [00:34:00] because if we continue with business as usual, um, a million or more species are in danger of becoming extinct.

And that would be a disaster because it would throw off the balance of, um, of the ecosystems of the planet. One of the solutions that, we see coming out clearly from recent studies and technical assessments is to allow Indigenous peoples to continue what they've been doing for millennia. 

Jessica: There would be a lot more hope for the planet. If we follow the lead of Indigenous people. After all, so much of the world's biodiversity is in their territory preserved by their traditional knowledge and practices. That's the message Jing and Vicky need world leaders to hear. 

Jing: They can get nowhere with biodiversity protection without there their Indigenous [00:35:00] peoples.

Jessica: Indigenous peoples also want their leadership and their knowledge recognized when it comes to addressing climate change. Can you imagine being a steward of the land, but then not having your solutions being a part of the conversation? And you've been doing this work since time immemorial. That's since the beginning of time.

Next month, Vicky and Jing are planning to travel to Glasgow, Scotland for the United Nations Climate Change Conference. Otherwise known as COP 26. What's on their mind is the report that came out this week. About the extreme moment we are facing in regards to climate change. 

Vicky: So there really has to be, uh, decisions made in terms of how to increase the efforts to sequester carbon from the atmosphere, but also for [00:36:00] people to be able to adapt to these devastating impacts. 

That's part of the decision that has to be made as well. What kinds of support do people need to be able to survive these kinds of potential disasters? 

Jessica: Oh, wow. Well, none of these things are small and I just want to say thank you so much both, you know, to the both of you for the work that you do.

And I see the cultural fluency in which you navigate these spaces and the impact that that has at the end of a really good work day at one of these events. How are you feeling? What is going on in your body or in your mind, and maybe it's 11:00 PM and maybe it's 4:00 AM. But I'm just so curious. How, What's going on for you when [00:37:00] you know that the work has been done for that day? 

Vicky: Well, I think that if we are able to achieve something, I mean, at least meet some of the goals that we have then there is a feeling of fulfillment. A feeling that well, at least, uh, you know, uh, these decision makers are listening and they are willing to include, uh, some of our concerns into the decisions, you know, but you still feel that there's still a lot that needs to be done in terms of implementation, you know, because it's one thing to get the decisions agreed upon, but the other big thing is how we are implementing it at the national down to the local level. 

And that's where usually the big gap comes in. And that's why the advocacy work is really, it will never end. And, uh, you know, you start from the local level, you go up to the global level and then you go back again to the national level, into the communities to see whether [00:38:00] such decisions are changing their lives for the better. 

So I think the feeling is that this is never ending work, but it's something that really also gives meaning and make people passionate about what they are doing. 

Jessica: Thanks for sharing that. I just have one more question for our listeners. What is something that you want them to do that can support your work? 

Jing: Well, a lot of peace decisions that take place at the global level are made by countries, right? It's the countries that have a vote and to a certain extent, they are influenced by what their citizens back home think and say. 

So if the listeners could, um, find a way to openly support Indigenous peoples, the right [00:39:00] to self-determination, to governance, and to territory of Indigenous peoples.

And if the governments, the countries, see that there is some critical mass of support for Indigenous peoples back home, then it would make it easier for them at the global level to support Indigenous peoples. That's something that the listeners could do to support Indigenous peoples and, you know, further down the line, the health of the planet.

Jessica: Thank you so much, Jing, Vicky. Thank you so much for your time. Clearly you both have such an invaluable contribution to our world and Jing, you have such a love and admiration and respect for your mom. You say you're just the lunch procurer, but you're obviously so much more. And I just want to thank you both for the time and energy that you bring to this [00:40:00] space. Um, I really hope that we can see each other sometime in the future, in person. Um, Jing, it's been so long since I seen you. I just wanted to give you a big hug.

Jing: Virtual hug for now.

Jessica: Yeah. Hugs to you both. Yeah. 

That was so fun. The strength of these two women who are drawing inspiration from each other and from their people, you could really hear this in the way that they spoke to each other. I don't think I've laughed that much in a really long time. And that dynamic was really beautiful to have. What it means to be aligned with your own kin, it's just, there's no words for it. [00:41:00] 

Well, that's our show for today. Thanks for listening. 

Nia Tero is a Seattle-based foundation, we're both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples with a mission to secure Indigenous guardianship for all vital ecosystems. That means we provide support to Indigenous peoples globally who are protecting their homelands from colonization and destruction.

Their practices are one of our best guides for making earth livable for humans and other species for generations to come. To learn more about Seedcast and about our work at Nia Tero, please visit our website, [00:42:00] and follow Nia Tero on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Have thoughts to share with us? Or you liked what you heard? Email us at We would love to hear from our listeners. 

This episode was produced by Jenny Asarnow and edited and edited by Tracy Rector. Our producer is Felipe Contreras. Consulting producer is Julie Keck. Fact checker, Romin Lee Johnson. Theme song by Mia Kami. Production support by Rachel Lam. I'm your host, Jessica Ramirez.

And we look forward to sharing more stories with you all very soon.

[Theme Music By Mia Kami]