Dec. 5th – 13th, 2015. 


Canoes 2 Paris Initiative

In recognition of the sacredness of Mother Earth and the spiritual relationship with her life blood, the water, a coalition of Indigenous Peoples of the Americas will be bringing traditional hand-made canoes from their respective homelands to the United Nations climate negotiations at COP21 in Paris, France.


  • Increase the visibility of Indigenous Peoples during the UN climate negotiations and civil society parallel climate events.
  • Influence UN climate negotiations and civil society mobilisation for climate justice for the full recognition of human rights, including the rights of Indigenous Peoples in the framework of the Paris Accord.
  • Influence negotiations, civil society and press on the leave fossil fuels in the ground campaign
  • Increase awareness for mobilisation and action on a shared vision toward a new economy based on living in harmony with Nature that recognizes the creative principles, territorial integrity, and rights of Mother Earth and Father Sky.

Proposed Action:

  • A large flotilla of boats floating down the Seine River in the heart of Paris in the middle of the climate negotiations (Dec 5 – 12), being led by Indigenous peoples in canoes from their homelands. Behind the Indigenous bloc will be a large group of ally kayaktivists from across Europe. 

Proposed top-level messaging:

  • Leave Fossil Fuels in the Ground
  • No False Solutions – Mother Earth, Forests and Air are Not for Sale
  • Recognize the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Rights of Mother Earth
  • Stop the Paris Accord from being a Crime Against Humanity and Mother Earth

Primary Organizations
Indigenous Environmental Network (N. Amer) & Amazon Watch (S. Amer) have mobilized and secured commitments from Indigenous reps/communities. They are the primary liaisons with the canoe makers and host communities.

Frontline communities on board to bring canoes:

  • Sarayaku of Ecuador
  • Anishinaabe/Oceti Sakowin of US Midwest
  • Athabascan Chippewyan Dene
  • Lummi Youth Canoe Family of Northwest Coast 

What is the COP 21?

In 2015, France will be hosting and presiding the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11), otherwise known as “Paris 2015” from November 30th to December 11th. COP21 will be a crucial conference, as it needs to achieve a new international agreement on the climate, applicable to all countries, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or “UNFCCC”, was adopted during the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992. It entered into force on 21 March 1994 and has been ratified by 196 States, which constitute the “Parties” to the Convention – its stakeholders.

This Framework Convention is a universal convention of principle, acknowledging the existence of anthropogenic (human-induced) climate change and giving industrialized countries the major part of responsibility for combating it.
The Conference of the Parties (COP), made up of all “States Parties”, is the Convention’s supreme decision-making body. It meets every year in a global session where decisions are made to meet goals for combating climate change. Decisions can only be made unanimously by the States Parties or by consensus. The COP held in Paris will be the 21st, hence the name “COP21”.

For the official COP21 website click here.