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Wilderness Foundation Global recently announced the 12th World Wilderness Congress, an event that brings Indigenous leadership, artists, scientists, land managers, and government officials together from around the world.

The event will be held from August 25th to the 31st this year in He Sapa (the Black Hills), located on the sacred lands of the Lakota Nation. This was based on an invitation issued by Phil Two Eagle, the Executive Director of the Sicangu Lakota Treaty Council, who expressed a desire to bring the world to the Lakota homelands.

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“At the invitation of the Sicangu Lakota Treaty Council, we have an all too rare opportunity to reassess wilderness through Indigenous meanings and relationships,” said Amy Lewis, Chief
Executive Officer of the WILD Foundation said in a press release. “Despite progress at the international level, which makes wilderness a more inclusive framework, with a few exceptions, we still have not formally and collectively revisited this concept with the broad input of Indigenous leaders from around the world. WILD12 is our opportunity as a global community to do so with the intent of producing concrete declarations that inform national and international policy.”

Program officials said they expect over 2,000 delegates to attend. Topics of discussion will include rewilding, especially when involving the reintroduction of bison, biodiversity credits and conservation finance, and the conservation of Antarctica. This will be the first time in more than ten years that the World Wilderness Congress convened due to interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since 1976, the World Congress has become the longest-running international public environmental forum to which all sectors of society are invited.

​​Past World Wilderness Congress have featured keynote speakers that have included the former President of Mexico, Felipe Calderón; the current President of South Africa, Cyril
Ramaphosa; former Prime Minister of Norway, Gro Harlem Brundtland; former United States Secretary of Treasury, James Baker; Chief Herb Norwegian of the Dehcho People; Chief Tashka Yawanawa of the Yawanawa People; Jane Goodall and Sylvia Earle, among others.

No membership is required to become a delegate and anyone can attend and participate in the deliberative processes.

“I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to the Sacred Black Hills in our Lakota language we call it He Sapa the center of the Lakota universe where the creation stories tell us the Lakota came out of the Wind Cave and began our Journey here on Turtle Island North America, we hope to teach the world about the sacredness of creating a relationship with Unci
Maka (Mother Earth) so that all our children will see the next seven generations,” remarked Phil Two Eagle, Executive Director, Sicangu Lakota Treaty Council, in a press release.

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