Around the world, Indigenous peoples often live in contested border areas on the front lines of violent conflict, insurgency and organized crime. And with limited employment opportunities, Indigenous peoples are disproportionately recruited into armed groups. Meanwhile, illicit traffickers and criminals target their lands for natural resources, ranging from violence from extractive industries operating illegally to the poaching of protected species and land theft. Yet despite these many risks and obstacles, Indigenous communities have consistently drawn on their traditions, culture and religious practices to resolve violence and build local peace. While often highly successful, these efforts are underappreciated by the peacebuilding community or ignored entirely in formal peace processes.

To bridge this gap, USIP brought together 50 Indigenous leaders from around the world to foster broader understanding of the unique capacities and approaches that allow Indigenous leaders to resist violence and build peace. This historic event helped develop recommendations to advance the inclusion of Indigenous people in peace processes and established a global network of Indigenous peacebuilders who can work to mitigate and resolve violent conflict across borders.

Continue the conversation on social media using the hashtag #IndigenousPeacebuilding.


Lise Grande 
President and CEO, U.S. Institute of Peace 

Secretary Debra Haaland, keynote address
Secretary of the Interior, U.S. Department of the Interior

Palwasha Kakar 
Interim Director, Religion and Inclusive Societies, U.S. Institute of Peace 

Wakerahkáhtste Louise McDonald Herne
Bear Clan Mother, Mohawk Nation Council 

Binalakshmi Nepram 
Senior Advisor, Religion and Inclusive Societies Program, U.S. Institute of Peace

Michael A. Orona 
Senior Advisor for Global Strategy and International Indigenous Issues, U.S Department of State

Chief Wilton Littlechild 
Grand Chief, Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations

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