After two intense weeks in Glasgow, Scotland, Indigenous leaders attending the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference are finally returning home. As the dust settles, many of them have begun to process the agreements reached by the nearly 200 nations. Indigenous communities went to COP with a clear set of demands. But they leave with a few symbolically significant, yet vague commitments.

“The final text left me sad, angry, empowered, and scared,” Eriel Deranger, executive director of Indigenous Climate Action, said in a press release.

That mixed bag of emotions seems to be a common denominator for Indigenous leaders attending the conference. “We always arrive with big expectations and ambitions,” Gustavo Sánchez, president of the Red Mexicana de Organizaciones Campesinas Forestales, an organization that represents local and Indigenous communities from Mexico, told Grist. “So [the meeting] always ends up owing us.”

Indigenous people arrived in Glasgow as a united front, demanding the inclusion of Indigenous and sovereignty rights in every single climate action decision being made at the conference. They wanted to ensure any climate agreements affecting them or their lands would only take place after a process of prior and informed consent, as well as a clear path to present grievances in case their rights were violated by a project. They wanted to secure mechanisms so that funding would flow directly to them, and a recognition of both the material and cultural losses that climate change is already driving. For the first time in COP history, they found themselves in direct and constant contact with the inner decision-making circle. But COVID-related travel restrictions and funding gaps kept many key leaders at home. And while they managed to get explicit mentions in the final text and articles of their rights, the value of their traditional knowledge, and the need to include Indigenous groups in climate solutions, there’s uncertainty on how nations will bring those words into reality.

Read the full article about Indigenous leaders by María Paula Rubiano A. at Grist.