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Jon Naranjo Spearheads Implementation of Free, Prior, Informed Consent with Indigenous Partners, Conservation Initiatives

DENVER. — Jon Naranjo joins the National Wildlife Federation’s Rocky Mountain Regional Center as the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent Manager to advance the organization’s commitment to communities that have been under-represented, marginalized or excluded from conservation leadership and funding for generations. In his role, Naranjo will advance Tribal sovereignty and self-determination through the application of free, prior, and informed consent while integrating it across the region and the Federation’s teams, staff and affiliates.

“Free, prior and informed consent is a fundamental cornerstone to building authentic, meaningful partnership with Native and Indigenous peoples that advances our lived experience and priorities,” Naranjo said. “I would like to think we are planting seeds figuratively and literally, as Indigenous people share Traditional Ecological Knowledge with one another.”

“As the National Wildlife Federation continues to grow and enhance our Tribal and Indigenous partnerships, Jon’s leadership will help guide us to do this work in a meaningful and just way,” said Butch Blazer, board member for the National Wildlife Federation. “Free, prior and informed consent are principles that should be enacted in everything we do and it starts with on-the-ground efforts and relationship building.”

Throughout this country’s history we have discounted intergenerational knowledge and neglected the ancestral homelands of Indigenous peoples in the name of resource extraction and development,” said Mustafa Santiago Ali, executive vice president for the National Wildlife Federation. “Jon brings first-hand experience that will help the Federation step into our role as true allies and ensure we are practicing free, prior, and informed consent across all facets of our work. We’re fortunate to have his guidance as we set a precedent for how our government and all environmental organizations should facilitate relationships with Tribal and Indigenous partners.”

Environmental organizations have historically held a place of racism and erasure throughout the United States. Indigenous peoples, the original stewards of this land, hold vast amounts of knowledge, history, culture and connection to this country. To be authentic partners means that we let Indigenous voices and leaders pave the way for future conservation initiatives and engage in the process of free, prior, and informed consent.

Free, prior, and informed consent is recognized in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The principles of free, prior, and informed consent are outlined in detail below. 

  • Free:The consent is free, given voluntarily and without coercion, intimidation or manipulation. A process that is self-directed by the community from whom consent is being sought, unencumbered by coercion, expectations or timelines that are externally imposed. 
  • Prior: The consent is sought sufficiently in advance of any authorization or commencement of activities.
  • Informed: The engagement and type of information that should be provided prior to seeking consent and also as part of the ongoing consent process. 
  • Consent: a collective decision made by the right holders and reached through a customary decision-making process of the communities. 

Prior to joining the National Wildlife Federation as the Free, Prior and Informed Consent Manager, Naranjo aided the Federation on Upper Rio Grande riparian connectivity, worked with The Wilderness Society on the American Indian Heritage Act and as a consultant for cultural site initiatives. Naranjo is also an avid farmer, practicing Native American traditional ways of life, self-sustainability and growing a variety of crops for the last 30 years. 



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