Tonya Gonnella Frichner , Onondaga indigenous peoples leader of the United States, passed away at the age of 67 years old after a hard battle with cancer.
Educator , activist and lawyer . Tonya Gonnella – Frichner was the founder and president of the American Indian Law Alliance in New York (AILA). She also served as a member of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues of the United Nations. Ms. Gonnella-Frichner was also legal and diplomatic adviser for indigenous delegations participating in all areas of the United Nations.
“We in the ECMIA , Continental Network of Indigenous Women of the Americas, recognize her as a mentor and ally in our fight for the rights of our indigenous peoples around the world,” said Tarcila Rivera Zea, leader of Peru and continental coordinator of this network.
We highlight her contribution to the historical drafting, negotiation and adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and her research on the impact of the “Doctrines of Discovery” and violation of the human rights of indigenous peoples.
In 2004, our sister visited Peru. She was one of the more than 200 indigenous women leaders who gathered in our country during the IV Continental Meeting of Indigenous Women of the Americas. Her message of peace and hope that was shared during this meeting still resonates today in the minds and hearts of those who knew her.
Source: Indian Country Today, UNPFII. Photo: ONU/Devra Berkowitz.