Friday, July 18, 2008

Opportunity to Learn About Indigenous Native American Rock Art in Lower Pecos River Area

The painted images adorning the walls of hundreds of rockshelters and minor overhangs uniquely define the Lower Pecos River region. The striking and inspiring rock art is celebrated, photographed, illustrated, recorded, and studied by hundreds of enthusiasts across the country and a much smaller number of dedicated researchers. However, it is very hard to come to a full understanding of the indigenous perspective on these images. Where they for hunting rituals? Where they used by shamans? How old are they? Who made them?

Now there is a great opportunity to learn about these amazing images from some of the leading experts in the field. The Pecos Experience: The Art and Archeology of the Lower Pecos is an amazing chance to gain a deeper understanding of the importance and power of understanding and protecting these special images. Offered between October 5 - 10, 2008 by the Studying Human Use of Materials, Land, and Art, this week long educational experience is guaranteed to be enlightening.

Here is more about this opportunity.

There is a concentration of spectacular rock art located in southwest Texas, around the Devils River and the confluence of the Pecos River and the Rio Grande, that has been described by Dr. Jean Clottes in the following manner, " is my considered opinion after having seen rock art on all the continents that the Pecos River rock art is second to none and ranks among the top bodies of rock art anywhere in the world."

Pecos Experience is a week-long program during which participants are taken to a number of these rock art sites. This imagery is not well known and is under appreciated outside of the academic community. Pecos Experience gives a small group of people the opportunity to view this art, much of which is located on private land.

Each days' activities are led by SHUMLA Executive Director Dr. Carolyn Boyd and a visiting rock art researcher. This years' visiting scholar is Dr. Jo McDonald of Canberra, Australia. In past years visiting scholars have included Dr. Jean Clottes, Dr. David S. Whitley, and Dr. James D. Keyser. Other program activities familiarize participants with various aspects of hunter-gatherer lifeways.

For more information check the SHUMLA Web site.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

July 8 - 14, 2008: Five Key Indigenous Peoples Issues

Five Important Indigenous People's Issues for the Weeks of July 8 - July 14, 2008

Australian Aboriginal Storyteller Honored

A local Aboriginal storyteller and comedian has been named the ACT's Indigenous person of the year. Larry Brandy has received the award as part of NAIDOC week celebrations in Canberra. Mr Brandy says story telling is an important way for children to learn about Aboriginal culture.

"I talk about traditional times, before Captain Cook came to Australia," he said.
"How we lived in traditional times and they're fascinated when you put on a kangaroo skin and say that's what they used to wear.

"It's mind boggling. It's wonderful."

This year's NAIDOC celebrations focus on whether Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are being treated fairly. ACT NAIDOC Chairman Maurice Walker says it is question still being asked by local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Read more about this story here....

Indigenous People Ripped Off by Inaccurate Census Data

Indigenous communities have been underfunded and deprived of essential resources for decades because of faulty census data, a technical paper produced by Australian National University (ANU) academics has discovered.

Indigenous communities have been underfunded and deprived of essential resources for decades because of faulty census data, a technical paper produced by Australian National University (ANU) academics has discovered.

Analysing the 2006 census results, John Taylor and Nicholas Biddle of the ANU’s College of Arts and Social Sciences found large discrepancies in population figures in what are called Indigenous Areas.

“The results revealed substantial undercounting of the Indigenous population in certain jurisdictions”, according to their paper published in June called Locations of Indigenous Population Change: What Can We Say? Read more about this story here....

Colombia's Indigenous Cofan Still Fighting For Survival

Although he is only 21, Camilo Yoge has seen his indigenous tribe lose its culture, territory and traditions.

Yoge, a member of the Cofan tribe, has seen farmers, ranchers and oilmen invade his ancestral lands to plant illegal coca crops, raise cattle and search for oil. He has seen many young Cofan take to wearing Western-style clothes, listening to popular music and abandoning their native language for Spanish.

"We're losing out traditional dress, our environment," lamented Yoge, who is studying to become a taita, or shaman. "We are no longer free in our own territory."

To help the Cofan, who number only about 2,600 people between Colombia and Ecuador, preserve their traditions, the Colombian government last month created the Orito Ingi-Ande Medicinal Plants Sanctuary to protect the plants the Cofan depend on for medicinal and spiritual purposes. Officials in Colombia say the reserve is the only national park in the world created for that reason. Read more about this story here....

New Focus On Indigenous Sami Language

Norway's indigenous Sami people are about to be met a bit more often on their own terms. A new government mandate calls for public servants to learn at least a little of the Sami language.

"We are two peoples in one country," notes Egil Olli, president of the Sami parliament. "It will be very positive for everyone if more people showed some interest in the Sami language, and in that way also showed interest in Sami culture and lifestyles.”

Ole Henrik Magga, one of Olli's predecessors who led a UN forum on indigenous peoples, agrees. Knowledge of a language is the most imporant entry point to other peoples and cultures, noted Magga, who also is a professor of the Sami language and has followed its development for years.

Interest in learning what Norwegians call the samisk language is greater than it has been for a long time, reports newspaper Aftenposten. Townships are obliged to offer Sami as a language course if students want it. Norwegians discovering Sami family roots often become keen on trying to learn the language as well. Read more here....

Padma Ratna Stresses Nationalities’ Rights In Nepal

Senior human rights activist and pioneer of the movement for the rights of the indigenous nationalities Padma Ratna Tuladhar Thursday urged the oppressed communities and regions to exert pressure on the Constituent Assembly (CA) to get their rights enshrined in the new constitution.

"All the oppressed, especially the indigenous nationalities, should keep vigil and be active that their rights are ensured in the new constitution," Tuladhar said inaugurating the third national convention of Federation of Nepal Indigenous Nationality Students.

He argued that the new constitution, like in the past, would be introduced as a document of compromise thereby curbing the rights of the indigenous peoples. "The constitution of 1990 was called a document of compromise and rights of the peoples kept limited citing various political powers’ pressure and the situation this time is not much different as there are 25 parties in the CA and the parties could again make another excuse for the imperfection of the constitution." Read more about this story here....

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

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