Historically, development projects and investments have excluded indigenous peoples from decision-making processes, and yet the projects have had lasting impacts on their lands, territories, resources, and rights. First Peoples Worldwide is seeking to shift this paradigm by amplifying indigenous peoples’ voice in the decision-making processes in support of indigenous peoples’ right to self-determined development as expressed in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Aligned with this vision, we provide scholarship, support, and training for tribes and indigenous peoples. First Peoples also supports inter-tribal and inter-indigenous business collaborations in an effort to revitalize traditional trade connections that existed prior to the arrival of Europeans in North America.
Corporate Advocacy For Indigenous Peoples
Until recently, Native American tribes and indigenous peoples have almost exclusively focused their fight for social and environmental justice in the courts. However, indigenous peoples are building greater awareness toward the efficacy of corporate advocacy and strategic alliances with concerned shareholders as most appropriate means to ensure the protection of their rights. In 2016, the coming together of investor and Native interests in the Dakota Access Pipeline controversy (DAPL) showcased the possibility of collaborative advocacy between indigenous peoples and socially responsible investors to address the risks on affected indigenous communities and to ensure that investments align with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards. First Peoples harnesses the energy and advocacy generated by the opposition to DAPL to educate and engage stakeholders on the social impacts of development by providing workshops, conducting research, and developing resources and toolkits to develop capacity for both indigenous peoples and investors.
Shareholder Advocacy Workshops
First Peoples empowers indigenous peoples, tribal governments, and civil society partners to effectively engage companies, investors, and banks by providing workshops, trainings, and tools focused on shareholder engagement strategies. To date, First Peoples have conducted over twenty shareholder advocacy workshops in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, and at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Most recently, First Peoples conducted a Shareholder Advocacy Leadership Workshop with Native Hawaiians who are concerned about the impact of a telescope project on one of their sacred sites, Mauna Kea.