Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry at National Congress of American Indians
Posted: Thursday, October 14, 2021
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United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry addresses the National Congress of American Indians on October 13, 2021.

Kerry, a former U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, delivered remarks via video to NCAI, which is holding its 78th annual convention virtually due to COVID-19. He discussed how climate change has disproportionately affected tribal nations in the United States and Indigenous peoples throughout the world.

“Recognizing tribal sovereignty and self-determination is important in its own right and we know that it is also key for tribal communities to be best equipped and remain resilient in the face of unprecedented change so that you can make your own decisions on how best to maintain and strengthen your nations and your distinctive spiritual relationship with land,” Kerry said.

During his speech, Kerry said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, who is the first Native person in a presidential cabinet, will help lead the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Climate Change Conference. The event, commonly known as COP26, is taking place in Glasgow, Scotland, from October 31 through November 12, 2021.

“Secretary Haaland’s participation at COP26 will help to ensure that the U.S. delegation represents the full diversity of our country,” Kerry said. “Her participation will help highlight the importance of full engagement, empowerment, and integration of the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples who face the greatest climate change impacts.

“She will also elevate nature-based solution climate change and conservation measures that build ecosystem resilience,” Kerry added.