Indigenous peoples in many parts of the world have always faced discrimination, exclusion and even threats to their survival as peoples. The WCC has been their committed and consistent partner. It has stood in solidarity with them in their struggles for land, identity, language, survival of indigenous cultures and self-determination.
As communities everywhere go through rapid and complex changes in today's globalized world, these issues have assumed new dimensions necessitating new strategies and new responses. It is in this spirit that the Indigenous Peoples Consultancy, based in Geneva since December 2008, continues the WCC activities in solidarity with indigenous people.
The 9th Assembly of the World Council of Churches in 2006 reaffirmed its commitment to accompany the indigenous peoples in their struggles for justice and rights. It also called on the churches to ensure inclusion and participation of the indigenous peoples at all levels.
The WCC, therefore, has decided to focus on initiating and nurturing local and regional networks, building capacities of regional and local-level leadership, supporting grassroots' movements for justice, development, land, identity and self-determination, enabling the participation and contribution of the indigenous peoples in the life and ministries of the ecumenical movement and churches at various levels, and supporting the participation of indigenous peoples in international meetings relevant to their struggle.
Besides the networking, two main areas are the priority for the Indigenous Peoples Consultancy in partnership with the regional networks:
- Advocacy, especially within the framework of the United Nations through the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York and the Expert Mechanism on Indigenous Issues in Geneva.
- Theological conversation between indigenous theologians in their diversity, contributing to the WCC's ongoing theological reflection and strengthening the church life in the indigenous churches.
Indigenous peoples invite all Christians to dream up "a new earth and new heaven" as it is promised in the Bible and as it is the marginalized peoples' common vision that another world is possible.