October 2018 Newsletter
Indigenous Rights

Indigenous peoples inhabit 80% of the world’s intact forests and high biodiversity ecosystems. In many cases they are the only defenders of our planet’s last wild places.

With our Indigenous Rights program, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) supports indigenous communities who are on the front lines defending their lands, water, people and culture from mounting pressures. Around the world, the seizure of land for fossil fuel extraction and oil pipelines, and the clearing of forests for the exploitation of resources like timber, minerals and palm oil not only impacts the planet’s ecosystems -- it also ravages countless indigenous and local communities. LDF funds indigenous led programs that teach local leaders how to map and document their territories, defend their indigenous rights, implement renewable energy solutions, develop sustainable livelihoods, and increase the impact of their public advocacy efforts. 

Indigenous Rights Grantee Spotlight

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

LDF honors Amazon Frontlines and Ceibo Alliance with Environmental Activist Award 

LDF was proud to honor its grantees Amazon Frontlines and Ceibo Alliance with the first annual Environmental Activist Award at our 20th Anniversary Celebration last month. Together, Amazon Frontlines and the indigenous-led Ceibo Alliance are pioneering innovative and holistic approaches to indigenous empowerment and rainforest conservation that are safeguarding millions of acres of roadless primary forest in the Upper Amazon from the mounting threats of industrial expansion, deforestation, and species loss.  Read More >

Indigenous Rights News
Photo courtesy of Cesar David / Avaaz.

A message from Amazon leaders to world leaders

Leaders from the major indigenous federations of the Amazon basin are calling for world leaders to protect half of the planet, and to promote dialogue amongst the governments of the Amazon region, to protect the Earth's biggest forest. At a historic summit this month, indigenous leaders from Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela developed a vision to safeguard a large swath of the Amazon by pursuing an indigenous, holistic perspective, which they plan to share with world leaders at the UN Biodiversity Conference this November.  Read more >

Photo by Corey Wilson.

Alaskan Inuit community leads conservation project to help protect Bristol Bay from overdevelopment

With the recently announced Grizzly Plains project, the indigenous people of Igiugig in Alaska's Bristol Bay region aim to preserve the rich biodiversity of their homeland by increasing conservation, cultural education and ecotourism initiatives. The project will secure a swath of land for conservation on the shore of the Kvichak River, part of the world's largest natural salmon fishery. Grizzly bears, wolves, bald eagles, caribou and moose are just some of the other iconic species that share land with the Igiugig.  Read more >

Indigenous Rights Program Book Recommendation

Photo courtesy of Amazon.

Original Instructions: Indigenous Teachings for a Sustainable Future edited by Melissa K. Nelson

Recommended by: Justin Winters, Executive Director, LDF

This book is a wealth of ancient indigenous wisdom and storytelling about living harmoniously with the Earth and with one another. It contains a collection of presentations from the annual Bioneers conference, where contemporary indigenous leaders convene with other environmental leaders to discuss innovative solutions to the natural world's most pressing challenges. 

To see this and other environmentally themed books recommended by the LDF team, visit >

Support LDF in our mission to protect the long-term health and well-being of all Earth’s inhabitants by making a donation today. 

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