Holistic Conceptions of Health in Indigenous Wisdom and Law

A side event of the Normandy Chair of Peace within the framework of the 22nd session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Holistic Conceptions of Health in Indigenous Wisdom and Law

On 25th april 2023 13h15-14h30 in New York (UTC -4) (19h15-20h30 in France / Paris)

Hybrid event

Place, CR 4 – UN Headquarters

With simultaneous interpretations in english, french and spanish.

Please take your earphones

  • Joe Baker : Member Delaware Tribe of Indians, Executive director and Co-founder of Lenape Center
  • Hadrien Coumans, Adopted member of the White Turkey-Fugate family (Lenape), Co-director and Co-founder of Lenape Center
  • Machi Jorge Quilaqueo, Kalfu Rayen Machi, Machi of the Mapuche People, co-founder of Centro Cultura Mapuche Pelonxaru
  • Nicholas Robinson, Executive governor of the International Council of Environmental Law (ICEL)
  • Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine, Co-principal investigator of the project ⴰⵔⵔⴰⵎⴰⵜ Ărramăt.
  • Brenda Parlee, Professor and Co-principal investigator of the projectfunded project ⴰⵔⵔⴰⵎⴰⵜ Ărramăt
  • Maria Violet Medina Quiscue, Nasa, Indigenous leader, psychologist, Indigenous Authorities en Bataka, Semilla Wayunkwa

A site event organized by Leslie Cloud, scientific director of the indigenous peoples’s line of the Normandy Chair of Peace, and Emilie Gaillard scientific co-director of the Normandy Chair of Peace.

Contact : leslie.cloud@yahoo.fr, emilie.gaillard@sciencespo-rennes.fr


  • Opening words: Leslie Cloud, scientific director of the indigenous peoples’s line of Normandy Chair for Peace.
  • Opening ceremony: Joe Baker from Lenape Center
  • Joe Baker (Co-founder and Executive director) and Hadrien Coumans (Co-founder and Co-director), Lenape Center Lenapehoking: its indigenous laws and contemporary Land (territory). Acknowledgment in a time of Earth Crisis.
  • Machi Jorge Quilaqueo, Kalfu Rayen Machi, peuple mapuche, Centro cultura mapuche Pelonxaru Salud, Medicina y pensamiento Mapunche, Derechos y Deberes Invisibles del Ad Mapun y Parlamentos. Nor Felen, Lawen Mapu ka kume rakizuam mapunche, AdMapun ka kuifi Adkunuzugu.
  • Nicholas Robinson, Executive Governor of International Council of Environmental Law (ICEL) Finding Common Ground between UN Legal Principles and Indigenous Customary Law
  • Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine and Brenda Parlee, co-principals investigators, ⴰⵔⵔⴰⵎⴰⵜ Ărramăt: Biodiversity Conservation and Indigenous Health and Well-being. Ărramăt ⴰⵔⵔⴰⵎⴰⵜ. , an Indigenous approach to health and well-being
  • Maria Violet Media Quiscue, Indigenous Authorities in Bakata-AIB, Semilla Warunkwa, La salud de los pueblos indígenas víctimas del conflicto armado en contexto urbano


The Summit of Future, scheduled on September 2024 foresee the adoption of an action-oriented Pact for the Future showcasing global solidarity for current and future generations. In its report of 28th july 2022 on « Harmony with Nature », the secretary-general highlighted the need to create a new narrative for a regenerative world in which human rights go hand in hand with the rights of Nature, and sustainable development is reframed to ensure planetary health and the well-being of future generations. Those calls for the recognition of the rights of the current and future generations resonate with the continuous fights of indigenous peoples through a transgenerational approach, for the defense of their right of self-determination and in particular, their right to individual and collective life, their right to cultural identity and the preservation of their territories, land, natural resources and the spiritual entities. In addition, indigenous peoples warn of the endangerment of planet Earth as a whole and its future habitability. However, the commitment of indigenous peoples for the preservation of the interests of all Humanity, depends on the actions of this same Humanity. Today, more than yesterday, according to a multi-scalar, multidimensional and interconnected dynamic, the reality and effectiveness of the fight of indigenous peoples to preserve the rights of future generations depend on decisions taken within the framework of global, regional, national and local governance, often without their participation. The decisions taken without the indigenous peoples, threaten and alter both the ecosystems where they evolve and their cultural identity.

In this respect, in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the recognition of the right of indigenous peoples to self-determination, there is an urgent need to adopt a transcultural approach of the right(s) of current and future generations, respectful of the rights of the indigenous peoples and of their owns legal systems. Indigenous legal systems, based on a detailed knowledge of the law of the cosmos and the Laws of Nature, unable the exercise, the preservation and the transmission of indigenous ancestral knowledge for a “well living”, in harmony with nature and the different entities that inhabit the Earth.

In this perspective, the event Holistic Conceptions of Health in Indigenous Wisdom and Law proposes to dialogue with indigenous legal systems in order to highlight their foundations, their potentials and the obstacles encountered in their implementation, in order to optimize the human, planetary and territorial health system and the action against climate change..


Joe BAKER (Delaware Tribe of Indians), is a direct line descendent of notable Lenape leaders, including Simon Whiteturkey, Captain Anderson Sarcoxie (Treaty of Greenville 1795), Captain White Eyes (Treaty of Fort Pitt 1778), Netawatwees or King Newcomer (Treaty of Conestoga 1763), Tamanend, King Tammany (1625-1701), Chief Nutimus (signed the confirmation deed, Walking Purchase 1737). Baker is co-founder, executive director of Lenape Center in Manhattan, and an artist, educator, curator, and activist who has been working in the field of Native Arts for the past 30 years. Baker is an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s School of Social Work in New York, and was recently Visiting Professor of Museum Studies at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He serves as a board member for The Endangered Language Fund, CUNY, and is on the Advisory Committee for the National Public Art Consortium, New York. Baker is also a cultural advisor for the new CBS series, “Ghosts.” Baker has guided, in his capacity as executive director for Lenape Center, partnerships with the Metropolitan Museum of Art (his work is currently on exhibit there), Brooklyn Museum of Art, American Ballet Theater, Moulin Rouge on Broadway, The Whitney Museum of Art, and others. He served as a consultant for BKSK Architects for the renovation of the international award-winning Tammany Hall in New York, and is cultural consultant for Inwood Scared Sites for the development and conceptual design of a project in the Inwood community, Manhattan. In partnership with Farm Hub in the Hudson River Valley, Baker and Lenape Center are championing the return of ancestral seeds in the homeland through a seed rematriation project. This seed saving project, now in its second year, has done much to contribute to the cultural foodways of the Lenape diaspora. In partnership with the Brooklyn Public Library, Baker is the curator of the first ever Lenape exhibition of cultural arts in the city of New York, opening January 2021. Baker graduated from the University of Tulsa with a BFA degree in Design and an MFA in painting and drawing, and completed postgraduate study, Harvard University, Graduate School of Education, MDP Program.

Hadrien COUMANS, adopted member of the WhiteTurkey-Fugate family (Lenape). He is a co-founder & co-director of Lenape Center. A founding director and a leader in the creation and development of exhibits, performances, lectures, symposia, workshops, public art, publications. Hadrien is an advisor and advocate for collective and individual well-being centered in genocide healing and prevention.

Machi Jorge QUILAQUEO, Machi del pueblo Mapuche, Machi ngillatufe Jorge Quilaqueo is an expert in Mapuche medicinal and curative herbs. He is also a preserver of native Mapuche plants and species, a traditional herbalist and, of course, an intermediary between the material world and the spiritual world. He has worked as a cultural adviser at the University of La Frontera; He is a member of the South American Indian Council (CISA) for the defense of nature, which was born in 1980, 15 years ago and integrated by the Mapuche. In 2021 he participated in the COP 26 Glasgow Forum, Scotland

Nicholas ROBINSON: Nicholas A. Robinson is the Executive Governor of the International Council of Environmental Law (ICEL), the oldest environmental law organization founded in India in 1969. ICEL is accredited to ECOSOC. He is the University Professor for the Environment at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University (New York). Former chair of the Law Commission of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), he teamed up with the Kau of Hawaii to win a decision of the IUCN World Conservation Congress in 2021 at Marseille in which both States and NGOs voted to have IUCN renounce the doctrine of discovery.

Mariam WALLET ABOUBAKRINE: She is a Tuareg from Timbuktu in Mali. She received traditional Tuareg education and has a multidisciplinary background in medical, humanitarian and education sciences. For more than 20 years as member of Tin Hinan, a nomadic women association in Sahel, she advocates for Indigenous Peoples rights. As former chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples, she built strong connections with Indigenous Peoples, member states, United Nations, academics and other partners. Mariam is one of the six co-principal investigators of the Arramat Project, a Co-chair of a UNESCO chair Collaboration for Indigenous-Led Biodiversity Conservation, Health and Well-being and an Adjunct Professor at la Faculté de droit civil de l’Université d’Ottawa where she teaches “Les ordres juridiques autochtones et le droit international”.

Brenda PARLEE: Dr. Brenda Parlee is an ally/settler scholar located in Treaty #7 Territory of Alberta and the homeland of the Métis (Alberta, Canada). She is a Professor and UNESCO Co-Chair in Collaboration for Indigenous-Led Research in Biodiversity Conservation, Health and Well-being at the University of Alberta (Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences). She is the Nominated PI of the NFRF funded project: ⴰⵔⵔⴰⵎⴰⵜ Ărramăt: Biodiversity Conservation and Indigenous Health and Well-being (2022-2027) and PI of Tracking Change: Local & Traditional Knowledge in Watershed Governance (SSHRC-PG) (2011-2019). She was a coordinating lead author of the IPBES Assessment on Sustainable Use of Wild Species. Parlee held the position of Canada Research Chair in Social Responses to Ecological change between 2007-2017 at the University of Alberta. Parlee grew up in north-eastern Ontario and joined the University of Alberta in in 2004. She completed her BA at the University of Guelph, an M.E.S at the University of Waterloo and received her PhD from the University of Manitoba in Natural Resources and Environmental Management (NREM). Over the last 25 years, she has led and engaged in numerous research programs, embracing collaborative and community-based research methodologies with the aim of elevating local and Indigenous Knowledge systems and finding ways to improve the sustainability of people and nature both in Canada and globally.

Maria Violet MEDIA QUISCUE. She is a Nasa indigenous leader, human rights defender of Indigenous Peoples and communities victims of the armed conflict in Colombia, writer, technical support of the Indigenous Authorities Process in Bakata-AIB. Psychologist. She is part of Semilla Warunkwa, an Indigenous Peoples organization from the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta, Colombia in consultative status within the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

Leslie CLOUD, She is a researcher specialized in indigenous peoples’s rights and asylum law and a member of the JUSTIP (Justice and Indigenous People’s Rights) network. She lived for eleven years in a Mapuche community in Chile. Her research focuses on the modes of recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples, indigenous conceptions of Law, fundamental rights and justice, indigenous self-determination legal systems, as well as on the intercultural interpretation of human rights in justice, mainly in the Chilean context. She is currently conducting a study with the Francophone Institute on Justice and Democraty (IFJD) on the violence suffered by the Ba’aka people during the 2013-2014 crisis in the Central African Republic with a view to integrating the indigenous populations of the Central African Republic into the reconstruction and transitional justice process. She also teaches the law of indigenous peoples in the master degree GENFUT, future generations and legal transitions at Sciences-Po in Caen and in the University Diploma in Humanitarian and International Aid at Pau-Pays de l’Adour University. She is co-author with Irène Bellier and Laurent Lacroix of the book Les droits des peuples autochtones. Des Nations unies aux sociétés locales, Paris, Le Harmattan, 2017.

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