“Disrupting persistent inequality in the world should start from the grassroot and ancestral values that the Indigenous Peoples and local communities embody. Leadership is about acknowledging oneself as a torchbearer to create more leaders for the future.”

Michelin Sallata is an Indigenous youth climate activist, educator, campaigner, and advocate based in Tana Toraja, Indonesia. She works with Indigenous Peoples and communities to find climate change mitigation solutions and address mental health issues among youth and children, specifically on issues of sexual violence and intergenerational trauma experienced by underrepresented communities.

In 2022, Michelin was appointed the first female chairperson of Barisan Pemuda Adat Nusantara/The Indigenous Youth Front of the Archipelago, and she became the deputy chair of council of Asia Indigenous Youth Platform, representing the Southeast Asia region. She founded POMANARA (Youth Frontliners for Collective Action) in 2023 to promote inclusive youth leadership in Eastern Indonesia and train them as activists in their local communities. She was a guest at The 3rd Asia Pacific Environmental Human Rights Defenders Forum, hosted by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner, in 2023.

Michelin believes that inequality of access leads to inequality in knowledge, economics, and politics. She also thinks that young people, women, and marginalized communities are essential to charting a path forward on the issues that impact them most, and that we must create space for them to participate in political life. Her work recognizes that fair access to sustainable living environments, access to information, and justice and legal protections for Indigenous Peoples and marginalized minorities are at the core of making this a reality.