Media coverage

Each year, CIFOR’s research and scientists are mentioned in over 1,500 news stories by local and international media outlets worldwide. Find the latest here, with over a decade of archives.

The Indigenous Teen Who Confronted Trudeau About Unsafe Water Took On the UN

Peltier first caught media attention when she confronted Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2016. At the winter meeting of the Assembly of First Nations, Peltier was invited to give the Prime Minister a gift. Instead she gave him a message. "I am very unhappy with the choices you've made.” she told him publicly.

By phone, Peltier explained she was frustrated with Trudeau’s failure to provide clean water to First Nation communities and his decision to greenlight controversial pipeline projects. Trudeau responded by promising to do better. “As a youth I’m going to hold him accountable,” Peltier told Vice. “Because he made a promise.”

As the globe faces a growing climate crisis, Indigenous people—and their rights—play a vital role in preventing ecological destruction and climate catastrophe. Indigenous people inhabit 25 percent of the earth’s surface, but protect more than 80 percent of the earth’s biodiversity. According to the Center for International Forestry Research, traditional landholders, including Indigenous and Afro-descendent communities, manage 40 percent of all ecologically intact land on the planet, including 22 percent of the world’s carbon-sinking tropical forests. The U.N.’s top climate change body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), says without rights for Indigenous people, climate change will certainly get worse. But in too many conversations about climate change, tribes like Peltier’s aren’t at the table.

Native American and First Nation activists have long gone to the U.N. to demand Indigenous rights where the U.S. and Canada have fallen short. In 2007, the United Nations passed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP). The sweeping decree "emphasizes the rights of Indigenous peoples to maintain and strengthen their own institutions, cultures and traditions.” Addressing everything from land rights to cultural appropriation, the declaration explicitly stated world leaders should work with indigenous communities on global challenges like climate change. Of all the U.N. member states, only four countries voted against the declaration including the United States and Canada.
Read more on Vice (US)