Hero of the Week: The Late Ghanimat Azhdari — Indigenous Peoples’ Advocate

Photo: The Narwhal

The tragedy of the loss of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 152 last week was compounded by the fact that among those who perished was a remarkable advocate for conserving the cultural heritage of indigenous communities. PhD student Ghanimat Azhdari, who was born into a nomadic tribe in Iran, was studying at Canada’s University of Guelph, where she was working with Indigenous communities in the boreal forest to map cultural sites.

Though she was only 36, her friends mourned her loss because “she had parlayed her knowledge and passion into an internationally recognized career, fighting to have the voice of Indigenous peoples included in the decisions made about their traditional territories.”  They started a tribute page and people from all over the world paid their respects — from Madagascar, Canada, Iran, Ethiopia, the United States, Venezuela, the United Kingdom, Georgia, South Africa, Australia, Kenya, Japan, France, Italy, and Malaysia.  We do too. May she rest in peace and serve as an inspiration to everyone who she touched with her important work.  To read a moving profile of her written for The Narwhal by her friend Jimmy Thompson, click here.

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