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 

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