Ms. Mirna Cunningham was granted the 2012 Woman of Distinction Award by the Commission on the Status of Women on February 28, 2012.
Ms. Cunningham is the current Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) and an indigenous Miskita woman from Nicaragua. Ms. Cunningham became the first female Miskita doctor and following the victory of the Sandinista Revolution, Ms. Cunningham Kain returned to her community as an organizer and leader, later to become the first female Miskita governor of the autonomous region. As governor, she played an integral role in the negotiation of peace agreements that resulted in the approval of the Law of Autonomy of the Indigenous Peoples and Ethnic Communities from the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua (1987) and the establishment of the first autonomous regional governments. She served as Deputy of the Autonomous Region of the North Atlantic Coast (RAAN) in the National Assembly as well as the Autonomous Regional Council of the RAAN.
In the 90’s, Ms. Cunningham Kain became the founding director of the University of the Autonomous Regions of Nicaragua’s Caribbean Coast (URACCAN), one of Latin America’s first institutions of indigenous and intercultural higher education with a focus on gender. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Global Fund for Women, and serves as an advisor to three international indigenous groups: the Alliance of Indigenous Women of Mexico and Central America, the Continental Network of Indigenous Women and the International Indigenous Women’s Forum (FIMI). Ms. Cunningham Kain is also President of the Center for Autonomy and Development of Indigenous Peoples (CADPI).
Tribal Link congratulates Ms. Cunningham on her dedication to indigenous women’s rights and this very special recognition.