Tuesday, August 5, 2008

July 29 - August 4, 2008: Five Key Indigenous Peoples Issues

Five Important Indigenous People's Issues for the Weeks of July 29 - August 4, 2008

Division In The House: Indigenous Peoples In Fiji

Shabbat Shalom! I was at an Indigenous Tourism Resources Owners workshop yesterday morning in Suva.

The presentations by representatives of government departments and the Native (or indigenous but not 'Fijian') Land Trust Board, had to be cut short because we spent too long in the 'devotion' conducted by my tauvu, the fiery motivator who kept the nationalistic fervour burning in Parliament in 2000.

Sadly I came away with the feeling we were still concentrating on 'keeping' our land and resources and ensuring that 'cunning and crafty investors' do not get us agreeing cheaply to their proposals for the use of our land, qoliqoli and intellectual properties. Last week I again advocated the 'releasing' of these indigenous assets for capital.

One internationally acclaimed writer (I have mentioned him a few times in some earlier articles), Hernando De Soto, calculated that in the developing nations, the newly independent states and Eastern Europe, based on $US3973 per hectare of croplands and $US138 per hectare of uncultivated land, there are $US9.34 trillion tied up in 'dead capital', that is all the illegally occupied, built on, traditionally protected or used land that cannot be used to raise capital.
That is $US9,340,000,000,000 if we use the US and French 'trillion' or FUS9,340,000,000,000,000,000 if we use the British and German 'trillion'.
Whichever count we use, it is a lot of capital to be left 'dead.' Read most about indigenous Fijians here....

Aboriginal People’s Television Network In Canada

Jean LaRose is finding out it's hard to please everyone.

As the chief executive officer of the Aboriginal People's Television Network, LaRose heads Canada's fourth national broadcaster, which broadcasts in English, French and 14 aboriginal languages.

Those 14 languages share 28 per cent of APTN's airtime, and that has the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation grumbling that Inuktitut is getting short shrift.

But LaRose said Inuktitut isn't the only aboriginal language that needs promotion.
"The goal we're trying to do here is to promote as many languages as we can, help conserve them, and help people realize the richness of all of the languages but in a way that also allows them to understand what's being said," LaRose said, pointing out that 50 per cent of Canada's Inuit don't speak Inuktitut. Those people should also have the benefit of understanding Inuit programming, he said.

But in Nunavut, where more than 80 per cent of the population speaks Inuktitut, that doesn't sit well. Inuit programming on APTN's southern feeds, mostly produced by IBC, has dropped from the 30 hours per week to three, says Okalik Egeesiak, IBC's chairperson.

APTN's northern feed carries more Inuktitut programming. Read more about Canadian Aboriginal television here....

The Amerindian Act Is In Need Of Amendment

It is understood that a Plain English Course to the Amerindian Act is in the making. It is also understood that the Community Development Officers (CDOs) will be going out into indigenous villages and communities to help indigenous peoples to understand the Amerindian Act better. However, it must again be pointed out that the act as it stands is in very serious and urgent need of further amendment. Therefore, it is very encouraging to know that the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) recognizes this also. This is true in particular with regard to Articles 15, 16, and 19 of the concluding observations of the committee; these concluding observations are followed by a number of recommendations.

CERD has the following to say:

“(15) The committee notes with deep concern, that under the Amerindian Act (2006) decisions taken by village councils of indigenous communities concerning, inter alia, scientific research and large scale mining on their lands, as well as taxation are subject to gazetting by the competent minister, and that indigenous communities without any land titles (‘untitled communities’) are not entitled to a village council. (Art. 5 (C)

“(16) The Committee is deeply concerned about the lack of legal recognition of the rights of ownership and possession of indigenous communities over the lands which they traditionally occupy and about the state party’s practice of granting land titles excluding bodies of water and sub-soil resources to indigenous communities on the basis of numerical and other criteria not necessarily in accordance with the traditions of indigenous communities concerned, thereby depriving untitled and ineligible communities of rights to lands they traditionally occupied. (Art. 5 (C) (v)…

Read more about the Amerindian Amendment here....

COLOMBIA: Indigenous Groups In Danger Of Disappearing

The Permanent People’s Tribunal warned in its final statement on Colombia of "the imminent danger of physical and cultural extinction faced by 28 indigenous groups," adding that 18 of the communities have less than 100 members, "and are suspended between life and death."

The 28 groups in question are the Nukak, Shiripu, Wipibi, Amorúa, Guayabero, Taiwano, Macaguaje, Pisamira, Muinane, Judpa, Yauna, Bara, Ocaina, Dujos, Piaroa, Carabayo, Nonuya, Matapí, Cacua, Kawiyarí, Tutuyo, Tariano, Yagua, Carapaná, Chiricoa, Achagua, Carijona and Masiguare, who live in different parts of this civil war-torn country.

"Their disappearance from the face of the earth would constitute, in the 21st century, not only a disgrace for the Colombian state and for humanity as a whole, but genocide and a crime against humanity because of action or failure to act by the institutions of the state in order to help these peoples who are on the verge of disappearing," says the ermanent People’s Tribunal (PPT) statement, issued last week.

Of Colombia’s 43 million people, 1.4 million are indigenous, according to the latest census, from 2005, which counted 87 different native groups, although Colombia's National Indigenous Organisation (ONIC) identifies 102 distinct communities. The difference is accounted for by the fact that the census grouped linguistic families as a single ethnic group. Read more about Columbia's Indigenous Peoples here....

Uganda: Inadequacies Of Western Education System

I have so far established that education and religion, have subjugated us, deprived us of being innovative, insistent, just, creative, progressive, transformational, liberated and above all, accountable to our own kind and continent.

In this piece, I now turn to examine the inadequacies of the education system from varying angles. I will present the prevailing traditional pedagogy as a debilitating methodology in our education system and will argue that it is this pedagogy which is a recipe for our gloom.

In the pursuit of my objectives, I hope my readers will accept my early denunciation of colonial education system and religion as the matrix upon which persistent oppression and exploitation of the black man thrives.

I intend to achieve one particular good, which is, evoking epistemological skepticism by heightening the possibility of greater engagement in the efforts to transform our daunting concrete, objective realities. Such stark realities that confront us daily in our societies manifest as exploitation, injustice, oppression and the violence of the oppressors. These are the factors that the education process prepares us for.

The forceful introduction of education as a colonial policy was to hasten the process of acculturation of indigenous people who were determined as sub-humans, uncivilised and different from the Victorian standards prevalent in Europe at the time.

From the onset, missionaries were lead persons in spreading these Eurocentric ethnocentrisms in the form of Western education and religion - one reinforced the other. This process was primarily to enhance the process of exploitation of the indigenous people. Read more about Uganda's Educational System here....

Last weeks Five Key Indigenous People's Issues can be found here.

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