Saturday, March 21, 2009

Cumbre Tajin: A Celebration of Indigenous Totonaca People from Mexico

International Indigenous Performance at the 10th Annual Cumbre Tajin Festival, Veracruz, Mexico

Bronitsky and Associates is working with Cumbre Tajin, a celebration of the the Indigenous Totonaca people of the Mexican state of Veracruz. We are tasked with outreach to Indigenous communities around the world. We are proud to announce that we have arranged for Lois Suluk and Maria Illungiayok, two of Canada's leading Inuit throat singers to perform
Cumbre Tajin Indigenous Festival of Identity in Veracruz, Mexico
We have also arranged for White Cockatoo to perform at this year's tenth anniversary celebration of Cumbre Tajin.

White Cockatoo comes from Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory of Australia. The artists are a group of senior Aboriginal men from the Mialili, Guningu, Rembarrnga, and Burrara language groups, who share the same social and family affiliations. Their corroboree (music, song and dance) is a part of one of the earth's oldest unbroken artistic traditions, and their country is the traditional birthplace and home of the Australian Aboriginal musical instrument the Didgeridoo. The men are the exponents of fine 'classical' aboriginal music and dance.
White Cockatoo Indigenous Australian Performing Group
We are especially proud to announce that Ms Katrina Cooper, the Australian ambassador to Mexico, will attend a performance by White Cockatoo at this year's Cumbre Tajin festival.

For more information, please contact

Dr Gordon Bronitsky
Bronitsky and Associates

+1 505 238 3739

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Indigenous Peoples of the Globe: Colonization and Adaptation Call for Papers

Indigenous Peoples of the Globe: Colonization and Adaptation Call for Papers: Great Lakes History Conference

November 13 & 14, 2009

The 34th annual Great Lakes History Conference, sponsored by Grand Valley State University’s History Department, will be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan on November 13 & 14, 2009. The theme is “Indigenous Peoples of the Globe: Colonization and Adaptation”. Along with exchanging ideas and research, we also desire panels on innovative ways of teaching this year’s topic to students at every level. We are pleased to welcome Dr. Amy Lonetree (Ho-Chunk), University of California, Santa Cruz, as a keynote speaker.

At the conference, we welcome individual papers and arranged complete panels, and encourage comparative work across regions and chronological boundaries, as well as innovative presentations, including workshops or moderated discussions. If you are interested in presenting a paper, please send an abstract of approximately 200 words and your curriculum vitae to one of the e-mail addresses below. Please include your address, e-mail, and telephone number. The deadline for proposals is June 30, 2009. Those interested in commenting on a session should send a CV and indicate areas of expertise. Papers must take no longer than 30 minutes in a 2-paper session or 20 minutes in a 3-paper session. Sessions will last 90 minutes.

Conference headquarters will be at Grand Valley State University’s L.V. Eberhard Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Hotel accommodations will be available at the Days Hotel of Grand Rapids which is across from the L.V. Eberhard Center. The conference is within easy walking distance to museums and restaurants. Grand Rapids is served by most major and regional airlines.

Please share this information with your colleagues and students. Address all inquiries and abstracts to:

Dr. Matthew Daley,
Dr. Scott Stabler,

Prof. Scott Stabler
History Department
Grand Valley State University
1 Campus Drive
D-1-160 Mackinac Hall
Allendale, MI 49401

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Native Internships with Stipend at Indian Arts Research Center

FINAL REMINDER: The School for Advanced Research, Indian Arts Research Center (IARC) offers two nine-month internships to Native individuals who are recent college graduates, current graduate students, or junior museum professionals interested in furthering their collections management experience and enhancing their intellectual capacity for contributing to the expanding field and discourse of museum studies. The internships include a $2200 monthly stipend, housing, book allowance, travel to one professional conference, and reimbursable travel to and from SAR. The deadline to apply is March 30, 2009.

Established in 1978, the IARC houses a collection of over 12,000 items of Native art of the Southwest. The goal of IARC is to bridge the divide between art/creativity and research/scholarship by supporting initiatives and projects that illuminate the intersections of the social sciences, humanities, and arts.

Interns will devote their time to working on IARC programs, directed research and writing activities, and collections management and registration. In addition to daily duties specific requirements include presenting a research paper at the SAR Colloquium Series; attending a national conference; assisting in the coordination and facilitation of one IARC seminar or symposium; providing tours of the IARC collection; and working on outreach initiatives to Native communities.

Again, the deadline to apply is March 30, 2009. All application materials must be postmarked or time stamped by this date. There are no exceptions. The internship period is September 1, 2009-May 31, 2010.

Visit our website to download the application:

Please post or pass this on to anyone who may be interested.

Elysia Poon
Program Coordinator
School For Advanced Research
Indian Arts Research Center
P.O. Box 2188
Santa Fe, NM 87504-2188
phone: (505) 954-7279
fax: (505) 954-7207

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

March 11-17, 2009: Five Key Indigenous Peoples Issues

Five Key Indigenous Peoples Issues for the Week of March 11 - 17, 2009

Bolivia: Evo Morales Redistributes Land

Bolivia's President Evo Morales has handed over thousands of hectares of land seized from large-scale owners to indigenous farmers.

Mr Morales said the move would encourage people to put country over profit and would end human rights violations against indigenous people.

He had accused the previous owners of abusing workers and misusing the land.

Bolivians voted in a new constitution in January aimed at empowering the country's indigenous majority.

"Today, from here, we are beginning to put an end to the giant landholdings of Bolivia," Mr Morales said at a ceremony in the east of the country.

"Private property will always be respected but we want people who are not interested in equality to change their thinking and focus more on country than currency."

Mr Morales told a gathering of Guarani Indians on Saturday that some people "don't want to end large landownership" but that they should "voluntarily give up their land to people who have none," the Associated Press reported. Read more about the Bolivian land redistribution here....

British Columbia: New Bill To Recognize Aboriginal Rights, Title

The B.C. government is poised to rectify history, and adjust its laws, with a sweeping bill that would recognize first nations' historical presence and their right to make decisions and share revenues from their traditional land.

"I think if we do this together it will represent change on a seismic scale," said Aboriginal Relations Minister Mike de Jong in a passionate speech Thursday to members of the First Nations Summit, meeting in Victoria.

Summit chiefs followed the lead of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and the B.C. Assembly of First Nations and voted in favour of the proposed Recognition and Reconciliation Act, recognizing aboriginal rights and title, which de Jong plans to introduce before the legislature rises at the end of March.

Recognition of rights and title would mean that, during lawsuits, the federal and provincial governments could no longer use arguments that deny the existence of first nations. Read more about the B.C. bill here....

International: Arctic Peoples Must Be Consulted On Adaptation To Warming, Says UN-backed Group

Indigenous Arctic peoples must be consulted on ways to preserve their ways of life and boost employment opportunities as the northern ice retreats due to climate change, a group of experts convened by the United Nations cultural agency has agreed.

“Action formulated to address Arctic issues must begin from an understanding that many of the peoples of the Arctic have self-governing institutions,” according to recommendations issued by participants at the meeting organized by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

“These peoples and their institutions have immense creativity and seek to advance the self-determination, prosperity and aspirations of their communities and their regions,” they added.

According to UNESCO, rapidly changing climate in the Arctic is putting pressure on hundreds of thousands of indigenous people in the circumpolar north.

The agency noted that for decades they have been witnessing a dramatic shift during the Arctic Ocean’s open water season, as sea ice retreats further and further from coasts. Industrial development and shipping are expected to rise in its place. Read more about the UNESCO statement here....

Paraguay: 'Protect Uncontacted Tribe's Land!' Say Local Groups

A desperate plea for the protection of uncontacted Indians’ land in western Paraguay has been issued by nine local organisations after round-table talks sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme.

‘The presence of the uncontacted Totobiegosode (in the forest) is proof that it is, and always has been, their land,’ says a statement from the nine organisations. ‘The invasion of that land by a company and its deforestation and destruction constitutes an aggression against the tribe and the appropriation of their property.

‘The Paraguayan state, in accordance with the national constitution and international norms. . . must meet its obligation to return the Totobiegosode’s land to them in one piece, not in fragments,’ the statement says.

The Totobiegosode’s land is being destroyed by two Brazilian companies wanting to graze cattle for beef: Yaguarete Pora and River Plate. The number of uncontacted Totobiegosode is unknown, but some of them have relatives who have already been contacted. Read more about the Totobiegosode's struggle here....

Australia: Australia to Become Signatory to the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples

According to 2009 Australian of the Year, Professor Mick Dodson, the Rudd Government would reverse the position of the previous Howard administration to sign the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

After the Formal Apology to the Stolen Generations, the Federal Government has committed to establish and implement policies to reduce the gap between non-indigenous Australians and indigenous Australians.

In September 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Declaration has been negotiated through more than 20 years between nation states and indigenous peoples. 143 nations voted in favour of the Declaration and only 4 negative votes were cast (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States).

When the Declaration was adopted, Les Malezer, Chair of the International Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus, welcomed the adoption of the Declaration in a statement to General Assembly:

“The Declaration does not represent solely the viewpoint of the United Nations, nor does it represent solely the view of the indigenous peoples. It is a declaration which combines our views and interests which sets the framework for the future. It is a tool for peace and justice, based upon mutual recognition and respect.”

The Federal Government is set to endorse the Declaration at the next meeting of the United Nations Permanent Forum in May. The Federal Government issued a statement that it supported the Declaration’s underlying principles and at this stage was “consulting with indigenous organisations, State and Territory governments, and other key stakeholders on an appropriate public statement to reflect this.” Read more about Australia's signing here....

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

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New Movie Highlights Dongria Kondh Tribes Struggle Against Vedanta Resources

Survival International’s new short film, ‘Mine’, tells the story of the remote Dongria Kondh tribe’s struggle to protect the mountain they worship as a God.

London-based mining company Vedanta Resources plans a vast open-cast bauxite mine in India’s Niyamgiri hills, and the Dongria Kondh know that means the destruction of their forests, their way of life, and their mountain God.

The film is narrated by Indian-born actress Joanna Lumley and features music by Skin.

The following quotes were issued by Vedanta Resources in defence of their decision to construct a mine on the Dongria Kondh’s sacred mountain.

‘The process of bauxite mining in Niyamgiri has been studied in depth by expert agencies and conclusions are that during and post mining, there is in fact an improvement in the overall forest cover and water table.’ Vedanta Resources letter to Survival, 2008

‘We firmly believe that, as enlightened and privileged human beings, we should not try to keep the tribal and other backward people in a primitive, uncared-and-unprovided-for socio-economic environment. We have a strong obligation to provide them with education, health care and sustainable livelihood opportunities so that they move forward with the rest of the world in an all inclusive growth path.’ Vedanta Resources letter to Survival, 2008
Dongria Indigenous People of India
‘There is no question of any placement of any person or persons. The Dongria Kondh tribe does not reside in this area.’ Vedanta Resources letter to Survival, 2008

‘We are used to the Indian government here. But the Vedanta government has come and devastated so many people. They won’t let us live in peace. They want to take these rocks from the mountain. But if they take away these rocks, how will we survive? Because of these the rain comes. The winter comes, the wind blows, the mountain brings all the water. If they take away these rocks, we’ll all die. We’ll lose our soul. Niyamgiri is our soul.’ Sikaka Lodu, Dongria Kondh man, November 2008

‘You should go to Lanjigarh and find out how the refinery came to be there. Life is so hard there. Now that people there have realised what is happening they are speaking out against it. Initially they welcomed the company but now they realise their mistake because they live like dogs. Now they realise they’ve lost their land and their homes forever. Vedanta has stolen everything from them. Go to Lanjigarh and see it for yourself.’ Sikaka Lodu, Dongria Kondh man, November 2008

‘Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters, did you hear everything? We need people from outside to stand with us. Then we have to fight. Then we can survive. We can save our land. And we can be in charge of our territory.’ Pidikaka Bari, Dongria Kondh man, November 2008

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Monday, March 16, 2009

$8 Million in Funding From Aboriginals Benefits Account Going to Northern Territory

Australian Government Approves $8 Million to Upgrade Northern Territory Art Centers

Twenty-four art centres in the Northern Territory will share almost $8 million in funding from the Aboriginals Benefits Account (ABA) to expand workshops for artists and upgrade gallery space.

The Australian Government has approved the funding which will also open up access for artists to art markets and strengthen links to the tourist industry.

Two associations of art centres - the Association of Northern Kimberley Arnhem Aboriginal Artists (ANKAAA) and Desart (the Association of Central Australian Artists) - will be funded.

Of ANKAAA's 34 art centres operating in the remote north, 18 will receive over $5.7 million for infrastructure projects.

They are located in areas such as the Tiwi Islands, Arnhem Land and Katherine.

Of Desart's 41 art centres servicing remote communities in Central Australia, 11 will receive over $2.2 million to improve infrastructure. They are located in areas such as Yuendemu, Haasts Bluff and Tennant Creek.

Elcho Island Art and Craft will receive funding to upgrade its verandah area to provide much-needed space for artists to work in and for training, and as a performance and meeting space.

The art centres selected for funding not only met ABA funding requirements but demonstrated potential to provide economic benefits to Indigenous artists and their communities.

The ABA provides mining royalty equivalent monies to be used for the benefit of Indigenous people living in the Northern Territory.

"Art centres are a vital link between Indigenous people and their economic and cultural wellbeing," Ms Macklin said.

"They not only sell the works of their many established artists, but they also develop emerging artists, support cultural practices, provide employment and skills development and offer economic independence to artists.

"People living in remote communities face unique and often very difficult challenges, and by supporting these art centres, we are helping them to support themselves."

This arts infrastructure funding builds on the significant rise of the Indigenous arts industry over the past few decades and addresses one of the recommendations of the Senate report - Indigenous Art - Securing the future.

The Indigenous art market is now estimated to be worth up to $500 million a year.

"Many of our highly successful Indigenous artists live in remote areas," Mr Garrett said.

"In fact, in very remote areas producing art is one of the few opportunities Indigenous people have to earn income in the mainstream economy.

"Creating art is also central to retaining and passing on cultural knowledge and pride to the next generation."

Mr Snowdon said whether you are visiting Melville Island, Ramingining, Yuendumu or Haasts Bluff, the art centres feature as a hub of community life, and are a place where men and women can nurture, explore and express their culture.

"The centres allow artists to develop their skills, help promote and market their work, and ensure they are properly paid."

The Australian Government welcomes this opportunity to support Indigenous people in the Northern Territory build a viable industry with economic and cultural benefits for all Australians.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

An Example from New Zealand: Defining Indigenous Maori Identity in the Law

Identity has always been a contentious issue. People constantly seek to affirm their identity within various peer, social, and cultural groups. Likewise, larger social and ethnic groups often have to reaffirm their identity and sovereignty within state, national, and international structures. One group of people that often find themselves on the defensive in terms of reaffirming their identity, and the inherent rights associated with that identity, are indigenous peoples.

In a recent example from New Zealand involving the Maori indigenous peoples, researcher Ilana Gershon documents how identity and its definition can be manipulated, deconstructed, and reconstructed again. This example provides an excellent window onto one of the continuing struggles of indigenous peoples, and it highlights a struggle that is not unique to New Zealand/Aotearoa.

From 2003 to 2006, the New Zealand parliament explored the hazards of making Maori indigenous identity an explicit basis for legislation in debates between the ruling Labour Party and its allies and the opposing National Party and its allies. As Gershon discusses in Being Explicit About Culture: Maori, Neoliberalism, and the New Zealand Parliament, bringing cultural identity into the legislative process can have negative repercussions.

Read more about defining indigenous Maori identity in the law here.

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