Indigenous Kahuʻāina Guardians of Sacred Lands delivered a statement at the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress stating their support of Motion 26 which recognizes the value of sacred natural sites and affirms that these places should be permanent “No-Go areas”, particularly in regards to damaging extractive industries like mining and oil. Their statement recognizes Mother Earth as a holistic living being, and acknowledges that as Indigenous people it is their duty to protect the sacred places of Mother Earth, which are responsible for her health and well-being (1). Their statement also emphasizes reciprocity and mutual respect with Nature.
Their statement emphasizes the sacred essence of Mother Earth, and the interconnectedness of all its constituent parts. Human being are explained to be a constituent part, alongside “landscapes, waters, airflows, and the richness of flora and fauna” (1). They explain that water is Life and water is sacred; all mountains of the world are interconnected and that mountains ensure the existence of life and the future; oceans are the source of life on Mother Earth; and that Living Forests or “Kawsak Sacha” are sacred spaces “where all beings of the forest live, from the smallest to the largest and the most supreme beings.” (1). They state that “Traditional Indigenous cultures, which are based on holistic knowledge and relational understanding of the world, recognize the special role of sacred sites, sacred nomadic migration routes, pilgrimage routes, sacred waters, sacred forests, sacred plants and animal, sacred mountains, and sacred ocean as nodal points, responsible for the harmonious and healthy functioning of Mother Earth.” (1).
Proponents of this statement are described as “indigenous guardians of the sacred lands, oceans, waters and air of our Mother Earth, from the shores of Kanaloa Kahoʻolawe to the peak of Mauna A Wākea in Hawaiʻi; Baram River in Borneo; Papua New Guinea; Mongolia; the Altai Republic of Russia; Kyrgyzstan; Republic of Buryatia (Russia); Benin; Kenya; Uʻwa Nation (Colombia); Kichwa People of Sarayaku (Ecuador); and the Winnemem Wintu Tribe (U.S.)” (1).
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) passed Motion 26 during the World Conservation Congress in Hawai’i in September 2016