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Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine
Mariam has been actively engaged in various local/national/regional/international forums and institutions in order to promote the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples, to elevate Indigenous Peoples voices in particular women as well as strengthening their participation at the international level.
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Portrait Photo Credit: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Descrption: Press Conference on Rights of Indigenous Peoples,Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine (Mali), Chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, addresses a press conference on “The tenth anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: National perspectives””

Background Photo Credit: Souleymane Ag Anara

"I was born in nature, in the middle of the camels, the cows, the goats, the horses, and also a wide variety of plants. I had access to two worlds: the Tuareg tent and the colonial house. I also had access to the traditional teachings of my family members: of my grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and also to the teachings from the national Malian school. I was fed with traditional dishes. I was healed under the tent of my grandmother with plants, substances and parts of animals, with healing practices along with spiritual incantation. My family members were maintaining a fusional relationship with nature. I remember my mother who made a song for this flamboyant, of my sister who has a special name for her goat bahawa, or of my father who recognizes all of the hundred heads of animals to each of whom he gave a specific name. I also remember all the traditional and non-traditional healing technics that my father, veterinary, practiced on animals that he treated in his park. This experience played a huge role in my choices for care, medicines, and nature. "

From the Community

  • “We are so happy to have a woman doctor from our people”
    Message from a Kel Tamasheq women of Kidal, Mali, met during the hospitalization of her daughter
  • “You inspired me a lot to pursue my studies in the medicine program at Harvard”
    Message from a young indigenous of the Yaqui Nation, United-States

Background Photo Credit: Souleymane Ag Anara


Mariam is a Tuareg woman, Welt Tamasheq, from the lacustrine area of Goundam in the Tin Buktu region, which means, in Tamasheq, “de Buktu” (name of a woman) or Timbuktu in English. She was impregnated with the culture of her people and raised within it.
Mariam, during her childhood, was forced into exile because of the Malian conflict in the ’90s, which influenced her choice of carrier and her life path. She chose to study medicine in Algeria to answer to the needs of the women of her people, entering into a field in which only a few girls dare and can engage. During her internships in Algeria, Malia and Switzerland, Mariam was awakened to the significant health inequalities between and within countries. She realized that she was not yet ready to practice medicine in a humanitarian context, such as Mali. Unfortunately, Mariam found herself in exile again, as conflict in her native territory flared up once more. 

Mariam immigrated to Canada as a qualified worker, but paradoxically none of her knowledge and skills acquired before was recognized or valued. Mariam, who grow up surrounded by her activist sisters for the rights of Indigenous peoples, started to invest her time in better understanding their rights and, more importantly, on how better elevating their voices in spaces where decisions affecting them are taken. She became a member of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, which is an organ of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations whose mandate is to advise States, UN organizations, universities and other actors on Indigenous issues related to health, the environment, education, culture, Human rights, economic and social development and other emerging themes, such as Indigenous women. She is honored to had been chair of this forum for two consecutive mandates.

Mariam came away from this experience humbled. It has allowed her not only to hear, listen and meet different Indigenous peoples, including on their territories, but also to develop skills in diplomacy and working with various actors.
Mariam has studied educational sciences at the University of Ottawa and is very interested in educative systems. 

Mariam is one of the Co Principal Investigators of the Ărramăt Project. She feels privileged to have recently become part of a team of researchers focused on a theme that she has always been passionate about: the role and importance of traditional Indigenous knowledges in achieving a state of health and well-being for all, which means Ărramăt in Tamasheq.

She recently joined the University of Ottawa as adjunct professor and associate researcher.  

She is currently a board member of various indigenous institutions in her Region of Sahel, in Canada and in other sociocultural regions of Indigenous Peoples. 

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