Cultural Survival Q
The World on Our Shoulders Cultivating Indigenous Youth Leadership
Vol. 37, Issue 3 â€˘ september 2013 US $7.50/CAN $9
s ep t e mber 2 01 3 V olum e 37 , Issue 3 Board of Directors President & board Chair
Vincent Nmehielle (Ikwerre)
Nicole Friederichs Clerk
Jean Jackson Evelyn Arce (Chibcha) Karmen Ramírez Boscán (Wayúu) Duane Champagne (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa) Laura Graham Steve Heim James Howe Edward John (Tl’azt’en) Cecilia Lenk Pia Maybury-Lewis Les Malezer (Gabi Gabi) Stephen Marks P. Ranganath Nayak Stella Tamang (Tamang) Jeff Wallace Che Philip Wilson (Nga-ti Rangi) FOUNDERS David & Pia Maybury-Lewis Cultural Survival PO Box 381569 Cambridge, MA 02238 t 617.441.5400 f 617.441.5417 www.cs.org 5ª calle 14-35, Zona 3 Apartamento 202 Edificio Las Tapias Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, 09001
Secret Garden (2010) by Papua New Guinean artist Jeffry Feeger (see page 4).
F e at u r e s
14 ON AIR
Kaimana Barcarse Innovative initiatives to spread the word about the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent.
16 Cultivating the Next Generation of Indigenous Leaders
Jocelyn Hung Chien and Caitlin Lupton A spotlight on the youth who make up the UN Global Indigenous Youth Caucus.
19 Staying Segeju
20 Use Your Voice
Ta’Kaiya Blaney Twelve-year-old Ta’Kaiya Blaney from the Sliammon First Nation in British Columbia, Canada speaks and sings of her hopes for the future.
Cultural Survival Quarterly
Copy Editor: Jenn Goodman Designer: NonprofitDesign.com Contributing Arts Editor: Phoebe Farris Managing Editor: Agnes Portalewska Copyright 2013 by Cultural Survival, Inc. Cultural Survival Quarterly (ISSN 0740-3291) is published quarterly by Cultural Survival, Inc. at PO Box 381569, Cambridge, MA 02238. Periodical postage paid at Boston, MA 02205 and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to Cultural Survival, PO Box 381569, Cambridge, MA 02238. Printed on recycled paper in the U.S.A. Please note that the views in this magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Cultural Survival.
Cristina Verán Young activist researchers from an Indigenous East African people fight forced integration campaigns among Swahili coast communities.
22 Fighting for Survival on Easter Island
Marisol Hitorangi Hitorangi Clan of Easter Island, Chile is struggling to recover their ancestral land, which was illegally expropriated by the Chilean State.
24 Running for Maasai Education
Isaya Lukumay and Michele Christle A Maasai runner’s account of the Boston Marathon bombings.
View writers’ guidelines at our website (www.cs.org) or send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Cultural Survival, Writer’s Guidelines, PO Box 381569, Cambridge, MA 02238. Cultural Survival recognizes that Indigenous Peoples have long been exploited by photographers and publications. This publication does not pay photographers for images and makes no money from publishing them. We also make a tremendous effort to identify every Indigenous individual in the images that appear here. From time to time, however, such identification is not possible. We apologize to the subjects of those photos and to any reader offended by the omission.
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Departments 1 Executive Director’s Message 2 In the News 4 Indigenous Arts My Journey of Magic Realism: Jeffry Feeger 6 Climate Change Maria and the Ukok Princess: Climate Change and the Fate of the Altai 8 Women the World Must Hear There Is No Longer Time: Mphatheleni Makaulule 10 Rights in Action Our Right to Communicate: Getting the World to Listen and Take Action 12 board spotlight Eveyn Arce 26 Bazaar Artist Telling Stories Through Cloth: Chia Yang Khang 27 Our Supporters
On the cover Trish (2010). Painting by Papua New Guinean artist Jeffry Feeger. Trish is from Kambot Village, located upon a tributary of the middle ‘Sepik River,’ East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea (see page 4).
28 Take Action Take action with the Maasai of the Rift Valley in Kenya as they assert their right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent in the wake of a World Bank geothermal project.
Executiv e Director’S message
Youth Are Our Future
ach year at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues there is increased participation of young adults. Some are seasoned participants, while others are just beginning to learn and engage the issues and the workings of the Forum. There is no doubt that this future leadership takes their role seriously and are critical participants in the Forum. The establishment of the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus at the UN Permanent Forum reifies the importance and responsibility to grow and support a future leadership who will carry forward the work of implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; who will inherit the future. The wise voice of 12-year-old environmental activist Ta’Kaiya Blaney sums it up when she says, “I’m working to change my community, to create a sustainable future. I always had that dream, but it was along the lines of “when I grow up . . .” like it was a very distant thing. I just realized, age doesn’t matter. It’s one heart, it’s one dream, it’s the one future that we’re all living towards. You know, you have adults, you have elders, and you have chiefs, and very inspiring people who are leading this movement, but they get tired speaking everywhere. If you incorporate youth and children in spreading the message, it’s more than chasing the dream of a sustainable future that coexists in harmony with Indigenous people and their culture and Mother Earth.” Indigenous children enjoy both the individual and collective rights and freedoms of their wider communities. These free
doms are specifically guaranteed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Labour Organization Indigenous and Tribal Peoples’ Convention, and in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Rights are also guaranteed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is underpinned by the principles of equality and non-discrimination (article 2); the best interests of the child (article 3); the right to life, survival and development (article 6); and the right to be heard and to participate (article 12). As youth leaders voice the grave and myriad human rights violations against children, they are developing leadership, strategies, and actions to assert their rights. Hassoumi Abdoulaye, Global Indigenous Youth Caucus member, says, “Our vision is to connect the Indigenous youth across the borders and continents . . . to contribute in the struggle of our rights and to build up our capacity to shoulder the responsibility of carrying on our cultural heritage and advocacy for equality and justice.” As we continue to give voice to youth leadership in this issue of the CSQ, we also bring forward the voices of the Hitorangi Clan of Easter Island, the Altai in Russia, and of women leaders such as Mphatheleni Makaulule, who cautions, “We are the last generation to learn from our elders to protect the Indigenous forests . . . we are the last generation on the edge of the elders who are going. We women need to transfer this knowledge to our girls.”
Donors like you make our work around the world possible. Thanks so much for being part of Cultural Survival. Staff Suzanne Benally (Navajo and Santa Clara Tewa), Executive Director Mark Camp, Deputy Executive Director Kaimana Barcarse (Native Hawaiian), FPIC Radio Series Producer Danielle DeLuca, Program Manager, Global Response Program and Free, Prior and Informed Consent Initiative David Michael Favreau, Bazaar Program Manager Sofia Flynn, Accounting & Office Manager Maria del Rosario “Rosy” Sul Gonzalez (Kachiquel), Free, Prior and Informed Consent Initiative Radio Producer Dana Lobell, Grants Coordinator Jamie Malcolm-Brown, Communications & Information Technology Manager Cesar Gomez Moscut (Pocomam), Content Production & Training Coordinator, Community Radio Program Marcelino Romeo Vasquéz López, Fundraising Coordinator for the Community Radio Project Agnes Portalewska, Communications Manager Angelica Rao, Program Associate, Community Radio Program Alberto “Tino” Recinos (Mam), Citizen Participation Coordinator, Community Radio Program Aurelio Sho (Mopan Maya), FPIC Radio Series Producer Miranda Vitello, Development Associate Ancelmo Xunic (Kachikel), Community Radio Program Manager
INTERNS AND VOLUNTEERS Don Butler, Febna Caven, Jessie Cherofsky, Andrea Delgado, Hannah Ellman, Nicole Huang, Pearl Jurist-Schoen, Curtis Kline, Caitlin Lupton, Daniel Ng, Mary Peters, Alyssa Phelps, Hannah Reeve, Johanna Rincon Fernandez, Colin Rosemont Ava Berinstein, Linguistics Advisor
There are so many ways to Suzanne Benally, Executive Director (Navajo and Santa Clara Tewa)
W h at o u r s u p p o r t e r s a r e s ay i n g a b o u t u s :
“In the name of the Q’anjobal community and our organizations, leaders, and human rights defenders, we deeply appreciate Cultural Survival for their unconditional support and we laud their dedication to Indigenous Peoples in Guatemala towards a more democratic country.” — Alfredo Baltazar Pedro, representative of the Social Movement of Santa Eulalia and the Departmental Assembly of Huehuetenango
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Cultural Survival Quarterly
September 2013 • 1
i n t he new s
Panama’s Guna General Congress recently rejected all REDD+ projects in Guna Yayla.
Indonesian Court Restores Indigenous Peoples’ Rights to Forests May 2013
The Constitutional Court in Jakarta ruled that the customary forests of Indigenous Peoples should not be classified as “State Forest Areas.” The judgment opens the way for the reallocation of forests back to the Indigenous Peoples who have long inhabited them. The ruling impacts some 32,000 villages that previously overlapped with these areas and inhibits the government from ceding community land to businesses.
Brazilian Court Defends Indigenous Rights to Genetic Heritage and Traditional Knowledge May 2013
pyramids, the Nohmul complex. The company’s owner claims that the landowner granted permission to extract stone material. Workers were excavating the 2,300-year-old Maya temple until several officials from the National Institute of History and Culture instructed them to stop.
New Zealand Pays Colonial Compensation to Native Maori May 2013
New Zealand’s government signed an agreement with the Ngati Haua Maori tribe recognizing that the nation acted “unjustly” and offering financial redress to the Indigenous group. About $13 million New Zealand dollars and a number of Crown properties were returned to the Ngati Haua.
The Federal Court of the state of Acre, Brazil filed a civil lawsuit against five companies that were developing soaps using moisturizing oils derived from the murumuru (palm tree), claiming that the use of this tree falls under the intellectual property rights of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge of the Ashaninka people. The allegation states that these companies improperly appropriated and exploited part of the intangible heritage of the Ashaninka.
Mapuche Leaders Bring Lawsuit Against Chilean State
Ancient Maya Pyramid in Belize Destroyed by Road Building Company
First Nations Clan of Alberta Wins Right to Trial Against Energy Industry
A road building company in Belize has been blamed for the near destruction of one of the country’s biggest Maya
Beaver Lake Cree Nation first went to court against the provincial and Canadian governments in 2008 alleging a breach
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Leaders and members of the Indigenous Mapuche Nation, along with pro-Mapuche Chilean Activists, have filed a lawsuit in the Inter-American Court against the Chilean State. Narín Catrimán v. Chile focuses on the violence, unjust imprisonment, and discriminatory procedures in the Chilean judicial system targeted against members of the Mapuche Nation.
of treaty rights due to the cumulative effects and expansion of oil sands and other mining and forestry industries. The Canadian and Alberta governments joined forces to get the lawsuit dismissed, but lost a year ago. The two governments appealed again this year, but the Court of Appeals of Alberta has dismissed the appeals and moved the case one step closer to trail.
San People Gain Court Reprieve From Land Eviction Threats June 2013
San people from Rayane in Botswana live on an area proposed as a “wildlife corridor” and have been threatened with eviction from their lands. Following recent threats and intimidation from local police, a new court ruling states that no government officials can enter the San’s compounds without their consent, that their water borehole cannot be dismantled without warning, and that the San’s lawyers must be notified prior to any further government attempts to resettle them.
Guna Yala Indigenous Province Rejects Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plan June 2013
Following two years of public consul- tation, the Guna General Congress in Panama made an historic decision on June 9 to reject all REDD+ projects in the Guna Yala territory, including a proposed REDD+ pilot project in the region.
Campaign Updates Guatemala: We Are All Barillas—Stop a Dam on Our Sacred River! Activist Released from Prison; Judge Cites Indigenous Rights to Consultation After more than two months in prison on charges of terrorism, Rubén Herrera, community leader and activist against the Hydro Santa Cruz dam in Barillas, Huehuetenango, was released on May 30 due to a lack of evidence against him. The presiding judge in Herrera’s case noted the importance of respecting international human rights and the right to consultation. Setting a major precedent, he emphasized the importance of respecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples. He also sustained that ILO Convention 169, which establishes the right to consultation before development projects, is valid as law in Guatemala and that the State of Guatemala’s failure to comply has caused the social conflict in Santa Cruz Barillas.
Cameroon: Stop Palm Oil Plantations from Destroying Africa’s Ancient Rainforests and Local Livelihoods Internal Documents Expose Herakles’s Corruption The release of a series of internal company documents has revealed that Herakles apparently knew it was operating in Cameroon without all of the required permits and proper authorization; Herakles Farms gave projected earnings to its investors for the sale of timber after previously stating that the timber would be given to the Cameroon government; and bribery may have been used in the attempt to gain con-
Cultural Survival's Global Response program launches international advocacy campaigns with Indigenous communities whose right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent is being violated by agribusiness and extractive industries.
sent and other approvals for the project. In late April, Herakles was ordered to suspend work on its plantation for two months. Upon reinstatement, the company was ordered by the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife to reduce the size of its plantation from 73,000 hectares to 20,000. The ministry established that 600 hectares of Herakles’s plantation falls outside of the proposed concession limit and overlaps with the neighboring traditional lands of Badun and New Konye, which were never consulted about the project. Belize: Our Life, Our Lands—Respect Maya Land Rights Government Non-compliance with Court Orders Brings Maya Back to Court Mayan activists in Belize are once again turning to the courts, seeking to hold the government in contempt of orders issued by the Supreme Court in the Maya Land Rights cases of 2007 and 2010. The Belize government blatantly violated the Court’s previous injunction to stop concession on Maya territories, issuing permits to US Capital Energy and allowing the company to proceed with oil development activities on Maya lands. The legal validity of Maya customary land rights was upheld twice by the Supreme Court, and prior to that by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in 2004.
Canada: Save Teztan Biny (Fish Lake)—Again! First Nations Chiefs United in Opposition to Gold Mine The Federal Review Panel for the proposed “New Prosperity” GoldCopper Mine in Tsilhqot’in territory in British Columbia has announced that the public hearing to receive commen-
tary on the project plans will be held in Williams Lake, B.C. for 30 days beginning July 22. First Nations chiefs of British Columbia have expressed their unity and determination to halt the plans for the mine in their sacred space. “The Tsilhqot’in Nation has demonstrated extreme patience. We have said we are not opposed to economic development, but that this is the wrong project in the wrong place and it cannot be approved,” said Chief Roger William of Xeni Gwet’in. “We will express our deep concerns of the threat to Teztan Biny and the contamination of our lakes and streams.” Mexico: Stop Mining, Protect Sacred Sites Injunction Filed to Halt Illegal Exploration Drilling in Wirikuta Against a backdrop of heightened tensions in the region and other worrisome developments, Wixarika leaders have filed an injunction to stop the illegal exploratory drilling for gold and silver on their ancestral sacred lands of Wirikuta. Since March 1, the Wixarika Regional Council for the Defense of Wirikuta has been petitioning the Mexican government to intervene to stop the drilling that is taking place in the region without the required permits. The council has received no response to date, prompting them to file the injunction in federal court.
Learn more and take action on Global Response campaigns at www.cs.org/ take-action. Sign up for our e-newsletter and read more news at www.cs.org/news. Cultural Cultural Survival Survival Quarterly Quarterly
September September 2013 2013 •• 3 3
i ndi geno u s a r t s
My Journey of Magic Realism Jeffry Feeger Jeffry Feeger is an internationally renowned Papua New Guinean visual/performance artist, philanthropist, and social advocate. Recently he co-starred in Feather, a production debuting at the 2013 New York Musical Theatre festival. His community work aims to affect social change in Papua New Guinea by utilizing creative arts to highlight issues of social and political concern.
like to say I “came out” of this world on June 13, 1983. I was born in a small rural town called Kerema, near my mother’s village Tapala, in the Gulf Province of Papua New Guinea. My father is from Nieder Sachsen, Germany and grew up in Australia from an early age. He arrived in Malalua Station (PNG) in the mid-1970s, where he and my mother married. The first 10 years of my childhood were spent in East New Britain Province. I remember my father, a science teacher at Kokopo High School, bringing home piles of scrap paper from work so I could draw. This early
experimentation nurtured a keen interest in art. In high school, however, I found my true calling and could envision the possibility of a successful career as an artist. I studied Visual Art at the University of Papua New Guinea in 2002, leaving after the first year as I felt dissatisfied. I made a living teaching part-time classes on the technical aspect of drawing and by selling my paintings. I discovered that any person with a passion, through inJeffry Feeger cessant curiosity, gains knowledge. Many hours were spent searching for art books at secondhand markets, reading and squeezing every bit of information I could from them. In later years as the Internet became more readily available to me, I learned more. I continue to grow in this way. Magic Realism
In 2005 I moved to Bougainville, the home of my partner, where we remained for three years. We lost our firstborn son soon after his birth and I learnt quickly of the genuine hardships of living in remote Papua New Guinea. I recall carrying his body home, laying him down and drawing a portrait of him. The whole occurrence left a profound mark on my life and forged an indelible connection to my art. Often at the busy Buka Market, I would get the chance to sketch people from all over Bougainville. Stories spread of my sketching ability. Soon I was being described as a “magic man.” It was amusing for me at first, but I let it become part of me. I was creating a face out of nothing, and from this perspective I saw and discovered a more spiritual side to my work. That’s when I first began describing what I was doing as Magic Realism. In a sense my sketches could be categorized as realism, but in the world where this realism was created, it was seen as magical. The term “magic realism” in literature does not include overtly fantastic or magical content, but rather looks at the mundane, the everyday, through a mysterious lens. Using this view of magic realism, I could easily relate it to the realm in which my work seemed to suspend. Pivotal Moment in Career
Meri Simbu (2011) 4 • www. cs. org
It was 2008 when I returned to Port Moresby to re-establish my art career. That year I spent most of my time in my studio reading, learning, creating ideas, and painting. My family went from a very communal lifestyle to one of greater solitude and individualism. I thought this was perfect for me as an artist. However, I slipped into a depression. In March 2009, a sense of salvation came in the form of the Tautai Artist Residency which I was awarded. I travelled to Auckland, New Zealand; this was the first international recognition of my work. I painted Bougainville images, the “Buka Market” Series of Portraits. This solo exhibition was highly
commended and a sellout show. I knew then that through my art, I could walk and talk in two different worlds. The 2013 New York Musical Theatre Festival
After initial international exposure in New Zealand, I was offered many opportunities to travel and exhibit. I worked as lead curator for Papua New Guinea’s showcase at the 2010 World Exposition in Shanghai. It was there that I discovered a new way of expressing and sharing my art, including painting live in collaboration with music or musical performers. I found an art form that fulfilled my need to paint, yet retained the communal feeling I had become accustomed to in Bougainville. Returning to PNG, I began filming my painting process and sharing it online. A year later my manager sent one of my movies to a friend, Jeremy Culver, a producer/writer based in the USA. We traveled to Los Angeles and workshopped ideas for a possible musical theatre production featuring my live performance art. The show, now titled “Feather,” debuted in the 2013 New York Musical Theatre festival. Performing in such a professional production has been a valuable experience. The “magic realism” was able to transcend the Pacific Island of Buka to the bright city lights of New York, and still evoke the same sense of astonishment. Social Advocacy and Philanthropy
In Port Moresby my work notably directed towards social awareness. Most days I was confronted with the suffering of an ever-increasing list of the marginalized people in PNG. Through the inadequacy of education, people are being ostracized and left without a voice. This issue has become accelerated with the onset of a somewhat-frightening natural resource boom; illiterate landowners are at risk of being taken advantage of by their own government and multinational corporations. In August 2011, the exhibition Aroaro—A story of a people, opened at Art Street Gallery in Port Moresby,
featuring the work of Ratoos Hoaopa Gary and myself. I painted portraits of the Aroaro people, long ignored and marginalized through lack of basic services and education. This group is but one of the silent witnesses to the effects of environmental degradation from the rampant logging in the area. My close involvement with the subjects of my portraits led me into social advocacy and philanthropic work. Now I give a percentage from the sale of a painting to the subject, as opposed to simply paying a model fee. When possible, this is done while hosting a little ceremony, what we call a Kaikai, or feast. The PHAR Project
The PHAR (Paga Hill Art Resistance) Project was inspired by the brutal forced eviction and demolition of homes of the Paga Hill Community in Port Moresby that occurred on May 12, 2012, to make way for a contentious commercial development. It began with colleague Ratoos Haoapa Gary, a Paga Hill resident, and myself. As prominent contemporary artists we wanted to raise awareness through the use of art to highlight the human rights tragedies. Photographer Philippe Schneider joined us, followed by many talented, creative people both locally and internationally. After several months of working with the Paga Hill community, we staged an art exhibition and theatre performance. The theatre performance was a highlight. It embodied and retold the stories of the actors themselves, whom all had been afflicted by the demolition. It was a unique validation for the abuse and losses they experienced. Through the actors’ newfound expression in art, they could find a voice to protest and resist. One viewer described the performance as a “living, breathing documentary.” With very real and pressing issues playing out in the courts and the media, between the developers and the residents of Paga Hill, it was a great artistic challenge. Our message of resistance was unsullied by the compromises required of corporate or political support. We maintained an independent voice full of artistic passion and integrity.
Left: My Future (2011). A bright young boy wants to go to school, but his local school closed down because teachers left. His father had died recently, and his mother could not afford to send him to another school. Middle: Transition (2009). Right: My Village (2011). Cultural Survival Quarterly
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c l i mat e ch a n g e
MARIA AND THE UKOK PRINCESS: Gleb Raygorodetsky
aria Amanchina, an Altai kam, or a shaman, kneels at the edge of a kurgan (burial mound) on the Ukok plateau at the southern tip of Russia’s Golden Mountains of Altai World Heritage site bordering China, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan. Maria lights her pipe, and, closing her eyes, bows in silent prayer. As if trying to chase a headache away, she pinches the bridge of her nose with her fingers. Perhaps the fate of Ukok is the source of her pain. All that is left of the ancient burial tomb is a circle of boulders strewn around a pile of rocks at its center—a giant stone target scarred into the flesh of the Ukok plateau. The Ukok plateau is indeed a target for many today: development companies planning a major industrial corridor to China, researchers looking at the impacts of warming climate on the permafrost that still keeps the contents of many kurgans well preserved, Russian Jeep enthusiasts crisscrossing the fragile wetlands in their mud-splattered 4x4s, and local people struggling to protect the legacy of their ancestors in this sacred land. Twenty-four centuries ago, on a warm summer day, a noblewoman of the nomadic Pazyryk tribe was buried in a large ancient kurgan on the Ukok plateau. Mummified with
herbs, bark, and marten fur, she was placed in an oversized sarcophagus hewn from a single larch log. Six sacrificial horses, richly saddled and harnessed, were laid to rest on the northern side of the burial chamber, ready to carry her to the realm of her ancestors. In the summer of 1993, the noblewoman was unearthed by a team of Russian researchers from the Novosibirsk Academy of Sciences. The find was hailed as one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the century, providing insights into Pazyryk life previously unknown to modern science. Yet, the nature of the noblewoman’s status in Pazyryk society and her relationship with the modern-day Altai people has eluded the researchers. Was she a ruler or a holy woman? A revered bard or a healer? Local Altai people know her as Ukok Princess Kadyn, and, unlike the scientists, have no doubt about her role in the past, present, and future of Altai. Like many powerful Altai kams before her, she was buried on the sacred mountain plateau of Ukok to ensure the peace and well being of her people. Since the princess was unearthed, the local people have seen many signs that her continued absence is upsetting the balance in the region—from the nightmares reported by the archaeologists during the excavation, to the near-crash of the helicopter as the sarcophagus was being airlifted from Ukok, to subsequent powerful earthquakes, one of which leveled an entire Altai village. Altai people believe that to restore the order of things, Princess Kadyn must be returned to her rightful place on the Ukok Plateau. Amanchina has vowed to bring the princess back home. She explains that the relationship among the people of the Altai, the sacred Ukok plateau, and ancestors buried in the kurgans is direct, ever-present, and vital. “One summer, when I was in my teens, I was looking after our grazing sheep and dozed off,” Amanchina recalls. “I dreamed of a white-bearded man clad in white telling me that it was time for him to leave. Altai and its people, but he promised to return in 20 years. He said that he would send my sheep back home as a proof of his promise. When I awoke, I saw a white rider galloping away in the distance. When I returned back home, the sheep were waiting for me there. My father later explained to me that I had met the Spirit of Altai, our protector, whose home is Belukha Mountain.”
As they prepare to travel to the sacred Ukok Plateau, Maria Amanchina (wearing a headscarf) guides her guests—clockwise: Liz Hosken, director of the UK-based Gaia Foundation; Niall Campbell, a traditional healer from Botswana; and Chagat Almashev, director of the Foundation for Sustainable Development of Altai—through a purification ceremony over wafts of smoke from a sacred juniper fire.
Shaman Maria Amanchina stands over the tomb of the Ukok Princess Kadyn. 6 • www www.. cs. org
Climate Change and the Fate of the Altai The Spirit of Altai returned to Belukha as promised and sought Amanchina out. In her dreams, he warned her about a coming earthquake—the Altai’s response to the violation of the Ukok princess’s kurgan. He gave her detailed instructions on how to conduct rituals over the next three years to save the lives of local people during the earthquake. Amanchina followed his instructions judiciously, and while the 2003 earthquake destroyed many buildings throughout the southern part of Altai, no humans perished. The Spirit of Altai and the Ukok Princess Kadyn are strongly linked with each other, playing important roles in maintaining the wellbeing of the Altai and its people. The Ukok plateau has traditionally been a sacred resting place for powerful Altai shamans and healers. Disturbing such a sacred place disrupts the ebb and flow of life in Altai and the universe. Without the princess on Ukok Plateau, Altai people are struggling to maintain balance in their lives, whether they have to overcome daily strife, deal with climate change, or fight against development. This is why Amanchina has been working tirelessly for the past six years to convince Russian authorities to return the princess to Ukok. But even if Amanchina prevails in bringing Princess Kaydn back, can there really be any hope for her of ever coming home? The permafrost that has preserved the remains of Altai’s ancestors in burial kurgans for thousands of years is disappearing because of a steady rise in air and ground temperatures in the region. Climate change is literally melting away the cultural heritage of Altai people, a rich and irreplaceable part of the global heritage. The permafrost has been relatively stable in Altai for the last 18,000 years, but in the last century, the average ground temperature in Altai has increased by nearly an entire degree Celsius. At the lower edge of the permafrost extent, exactly where many of the Altai kurgans are located, even this slight warming is enough to push permafrost dangerously close to the melting point. As air temperatures continue to rise, perhaps by an increase of as much as three to six degrees Celsius by 2080, permafrost will disappear completely in many areas of the Altai Mountains. Concerned
about the future of the kurgans, UNESCO and the Belgian University of Ghent, along with their Russian partners, have been developing conservation plans including elaborate schemes to shade each individual tomb from direct sunlight to stabilize its temperature. Such good intentions, however, appear misplaced to Amanchina. For Altai people, kurgans are not randomly scattered burial mounds filled with precious objects, but intricate structures created by their ancestors to enhance and propagate the energies of a particular sacred landscape like the Ukok plateau. Once such a sacred site is disturbed, whether through archaeological work or development, it can no longer perform its function until it is restored and revived. As the climate changes, the future for the Altai tombs that Amanchina and her people seek is not about keeping ancient artifacts encased in permafrost. They want to restore and sustain the role of the ancestral burial kurgans and other sacred sites in protecting Altai and its people from various challenges. The capacity of Amanchina and her people to face the challenges of climate change and development depends on the Ukok Princess Kadyn returning to her Ukok home. —Gleb Raygorodetsky is a United Nations University Traditional Knowledge Initiative Research Fellow. This article is part of Conversations with the Earth: Indigenous Voices on Climate Change Initiative. To learn more, visit: facebook.com/ConversationsEarth, @ConversEarth
When in her twenties Amanchina became quite ill, a local healer told her that she had to heal herself by answering the call of the Spirit of Altai. And so she set off on a journey to become a shaman, relying on the guidance of her dreams, visions and intuition. Over the next 20 years, little by little she became the powerful healer she is today.
Learn more about the current threats to the Altai by getting involved in our Pipeline Threatens Sacred Highlands Campaign. goo.gl/7ZnE1 All images courtesy of Gleb Raygorodetsky
Cultural Survival Quarterly
September 2013 • 7
women th e wo r ld m u st hear
There Is No
Mphatheleni Makaulule on the agency— “The women, we are leaders. From the family, from the clan, from the community, and from the country, we are the custodians of knowledge; we are the custodians of life. We are the custodians who practice this Indigenous way. I don’t believe there is [a] woman who is not a leader: at home you are a leader. As a mother, a mother is a leader. And if you become an elder woman you are a leader at home. It’s all about leadership.” — Mphatheleni “Mphathe” Makaulule
Mphatheleni “Mphathe” Makaulule Photo courtesy of UNFF Secretariat
ndigenous women leaders gathered together for two weeks in New York to take part in a Global Leadership School for Makaulule with Indigenous Women and to participate in community women the UN Permanent Forum on Indigegathering biodiversity nous Issues. They traveled from regions of knowledge. Latin America, North America, Asia, Africa, the Arctic, and the Pacific to take part in this leadership school run by the International Photo courtesy of UNFF Secretariat Indigenous Women’s Forum (FIMI) from May 13–25. Lecwomen and local communities: in 1999, Makaulule built the tures and discussions on topics ranging from technologies Luvhola Cultural Village with the help of community memof activism to advocacy and negotiation techniques created bers, and in 2007 she founded the Mupo Foundation. The a collective environment for these Indigenous women to foundation works to foster food security, protect sacred grow and establish networks with other leaders worldwide. natural lands, and revive cultural diversity, all while focusing The general objective of the leadership school is to on the advocacy and transmission of traditional Indigenous strengthen capacities of Indigenous women leaders, particuknowledge systems to women and the younger generations. larly in the use of international instruments on human rights, Mariana Lopez from FIMI commented on the inspiring legaIndigenous Peoples’ rights, and Indigenous women’s rights, cy that Makaulele and others are creating: “We are celebrating as well as advocacy strategies to promote and sustain social Indigenous women who have implemented creative ways change. The training sessions were conducted in three phases, to address pressing social issues, demonstrating courage, beginning on a virtual platform from January to April, followed creativity and vision. Indigenous women desire to no longer by a two-week intensive class concurrent with the forum in be viewed as vulnerable victims. They must be recognized as May, and concluding with a monitoring process (again having huge capacity as catalysts of socio-cultural change,” through a virtual platform) to support the implementation Lopez said. of advocacy plans at the local, national, and regional level. Makaulele explains that the word Mupo “describes the Mphatheleni Makaulule, representing the Venda people origin of creation, the creation of the whole Universe. When of the Limpopo province of South Africa, was among the we look at nature, we see Mupo. When we look at the sky, we leaders present. Toward the end of the session she was awardsee Mupo. Mupo means all that is not man-made. Mupo gives ed a Global Leadership Award for her collective work with everybody a space: men have their own space, children have 8 • www. cs. org
Longer Time and urgency—of women’s leadership their own space, women have their own space. Our role as women is to accompany all—from family, clan, community —to go back to that order. That is where we come to the name Makhadzi. Makhadzi is the name for VhaVenda women elders, but it literally means ‘the space of a woman’s role.’” Makaulele and the Mupo Foundation have campaigns operating on many diverse fronts; Indigenous language revitalization efforts, eco-cultural mapmaking, protection of sacred territories, local seed cultivation and knowledge, and water advocacy amidst threats from mining industries make up the holistic approach. Currently, the Mupo Foundation is igniting a campaign against the Australian mining company CoAL of Africa, which plans to open a mine in the region. For Makaulele, “The future is in the past. This future is not about the human children; it’s about the future children of all communities, from the insects up to the big animals.” With issues such as climate change and food security on her mind, Makaulele endorses the necessity of Indigenous knowledge systems and hopes to see them as part of the dialogue in every agenda. Reflecting on what she learned during her time at the FIMI leadership school, Makaulele emphasized the role of leadership at home. “In our Indigenous knowledge system, everyone is a leader. We are leaders for the future generation. We are the leaders of the ancestral knowledge. We are the leaders of our ancestors to transfer this knowledge. And we are all leaders to protect mother earth. We cannot live without leadership. The knowledge which I have learned from here is a courage, is a motivation. In our work we do our work on the base of a dialogue. I’m going to sit, not getting tired, to involve our leaders, who are the chiefs, to involve our elders to do dialogue. I’m going to share this knowledge in the form of a dialogue. It is from the dialogue that the younger generation also become the leaders.” “I am very proud to be Indigenous,” Makaulele says. “It’s a big motivation because for me, my life is my Indigenous way. We [the Venda people] are the children of the Indigenous lens. Our life is Indigenous knowledge practice. I would like to say to all the women who are here, to carry this message outside to the women outside. We are the last generation to learn from our elders to protect the Indigenous forests, and this is the main root of our hope for the future. There is no longer time: we are the last generation on the edge of the elders who are going. We are going to become elders, and we women need to transfer this knowledge to our girls.” Directly addressing the girls in her culture, Makaulele says, “[You] need to create and take opportunity from your mothers and your elders to learn this knowledge, to get [it] into your veins like ourselves.”
Makaulule with Mirna Cunningham, recipients of FIMI’s 2013 Global Leadership Award. Makaulule receiving FIMI’s 2013 Global Leadership Award.
Photos by Danielle DeLuca
For more information on Makaulele and Mupo, visit: mupofoundation.org. For more information on FIMI, visit: fimi-iiwf.org.
Cultural Survival Quarterly
September 2013 • 9
r i ght s i n a ct io n
Our Right to Communicate: Getting
Left: Cultural Survival Community Radio Program Manager Anselmo Xunic visiting Democracy Now! offices in New York. Above: Xunic during an interview with Tiokasin Ghosthorse of First Voices Radio on WBAI NY.
Anselmo Xunic (CS Staff)
n Guatemala, community radio is at risk. Community radio stations are frequently the targets of police raids at the orders of the government and commercial media magnates. Despite promises made in the Guatemalan Constitution and the Peace Accords, the telecommunications law does not allow licenses for nonprofit community radio. Only mainstream commercial radio and government-run radio are legally permitted, leaving community radio in legal limbo. Now, a new bill has been submitted in Congress that would reform the criminal code to sanction the imprisonment of individual representatives of radio stations that do not have legal authority to broadcast for up to 10 years. The passage of this law is a threat to the dozens of community radio stations across Guatemala and could force them off the air for good. The goal of my trip to the United States in May as Cultural Survival’s Community Radio Program Manager was to bring international attention to this critical issue. My journey commenced with a meeting with Cultural Survival’s board of directors and donors. My next stop: the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City. I received word that I could meet with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, the following Monday at the very last minute on Friday afternoon. It would just be a 20-minute meeting, but it was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up. Scrambling to make plans, we booked a ticket on the earliest high speed Amtrak train out of Boston to New York. Sunday afternoon we heard the news about an accident on the Amtrak line; two trains collided in Connecticut, halting all service between Boston and New York “indefinitely.” It was 4 p.m. on Sunday, and I needed to be at this meeting in just 18 hours. After a flurry of Google searches and phone calls, Cultural Survival booked me on the last bus out of Boston and into the only hostel still accepting reservations, 10 • ww w. cs. org
the Hosteling International in Harlem—which, out of 630 beds, had just one left. I arrived in New York City (for the first time in my life) at 3 a.m. in the center of Chinatown without the ability to speak a word of English, save “taxi.” I had a note that said, “I need to get to my hostel, at this address. I do not speak English.” I made it, somehow, with just minutes to spare, on time for the meeting at 10 a.m. The purpose of this meeting was to inform the Special Rapporteur of the 15-year fight for the right to freedom of expression for Indigenous groups in Guatemala. We emphasized the importance of the right to freedom of expression through community radio for marginalized Indigenous communities, and we explained the details of a bill that we have been attempting to pass in congress for years: Bill 4087, which would decriminalize community radio. After hearing our story, Anaya requested a summary of the bill and promised that he would look into methods to apply international pressure on congress through the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In a subsequent meeting with Leo Castiho from the Office of the UN High Commission for Human Rights, I began in my usual way. I explained the history of the community radio movement in Guatemala, its successes and challenges. I spoke in detail about the process of building support among government institutions and congressmen, and the support that Cultural Survival has sought from UN officials. At the end, the two officials were practically speechless. “You’ve already done so much, I’m having a hard time thinking of what else to suggest to you,” Castiho said. The conversation wrapped with the conclusion that we’re doing everything possible within the framework of the United Nations. “Keep up the good work; you’re doing everything right,” they encouraged us. Iona Thomas, head of Press and Public Affairs at the UK Mission to the UN, reinforced the importance of the freedom
the world to listen and take action
Left: Anselmo Xunic interviewing UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya. Above: Xunic with fellow UNPFII delegates: Cultural Survival Executive Director Suzanne Benally (middle) and Maria Hernandez (Q’anjobal) of Santa Cruz Barillas, Huehuetenango.
to have one’s own community radio and community voice. She shared with us the story of the fight for community radio in the US and the fact that last year a law protecting community radio was enacted. She offered her support and that of her colleagues, especially those in the UK Embassy in Guatemala. One of those colleagues, Natalia Caruso of the German embassy, said that we would be able to speak with the German Human Rights Department within the German Parliament about this violation of human rights. She also arranged a meeting with the European Union in Guatemala and proposed to write a document about these issues to share with various colleagues. I was also lucky to meet with the Permanent Forum representatives, Alvaro Pop, Denis from Nicaragua, and Arturo Requesens from the Secretariat. Pop maintained that the issues of community radio be given priority during the Permanent Forum. Toward the close of the Forum I participated in a panel discussion, Freedom of Expression, The Case of Community Radio in Guatemala, where I denounced the persecution and criminalization of Indigenous community radio directors, operators, and volunteers. Among the attendees were Guatemalan congressmen Carlos Mejía, Flavio José Yojcom García, and Gregorio Luciano Nolasco Marcelino. Marcelino is also a representative of DEMI, a government institute that defends the rights of Indigenous women, CODISRA, the Commission against Discrimination and Racism of Indigenous People of Guatemala, and the Guatemalan embassy in the US. The next day I was a panelist for Our Voices on the Air regarding the role of community radio in the recovery of Indigenous language, alongside Cesar Daniel Moscut Gomez, Cultural Survival’s Mark Camp, and Kaimana Barcarse, a representative of a community radio in Hawai’i. I focused on the work of Radio Ixchel, the community radio station that I co-founded in Sumpango Sacatepéquez, Guatemala approximately 10 years ago. This station has been a great support for the
community, especially for the recovery of Kaqchikel, the Mayan language of the community. While in New York I also had the chance to be interviewed on several radio stations. Following an interview with Clara Ibarra, coordinator of Spanish programming for Democracy Now!, Ibarra proposed that we share community radio contacts in Guatemala so that Democracy Now! may send news from abroad that the stations will be able to share. The last stop on my international visit was San Jose, Costa Rica, where I represented Sobrevivencia Cultural at the first workshop of civil society organizations working toward the participation and integration of particularly marginalized, vulnerable, and excluded groups in Central America (PASIRCA). I presented about our newest community radio project, which will be completed in collaboration with Tumul K’in Center of Learning/Radio Ak’Kutan of Belize and is an exchange between Radio Ak’utan, Radio Ixchel, Juventud, Sembrador, San Pedro y La Voz de Atitlan from Guatemala, and Radio Sensunat from El Salvador. Ours was selected from over 200 proposals by 100 organizations around Central America, and was the first project to be funded. In February we will be organizing a youth forum with youth from radio stations in Belize, Guatemala, and El Salvador. The foundation of any democracy is an informed citizenry. In Guatemala, community radio is the best tool to provide rural, Indigenous Guatemalans with the news and information that we need in our languages. Join us in exercising our right to freedom of expression. To learn more about the community radio movement in Guatemala and to take action, visit: goo.gl/MkFtKc
Cultural Survival Quarterly
September 2013 • 11
boar d s p o t lig h t
Cultural Survival Board member Evelyn Arce (right) with Christiana Louwa of Kenya during IFIP conference.
Standing Shoulder to Shoulder with Indigenous Peoples on the Frontlines
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Colin Rosemont Our series spotlighting the work of our Board members continues with newly elected board member Evelyn Arce. Arce is of Chibcha descent (Colombian-American) and has been leading International Funders for Indigenous Peoples (IFIP) since 2002, spearheading efforts to educate the philanthropic community about critical Indigenous issues and increasing funding partnerships with Indigenous communities worldwide. She has a Master’s degree from Cornell with a concentration in Agriculture and Adult Education. Arce has continued to bring diverse people and organizations together in re-envisioning the role of philanthropy in empowering local communities to make changes in a global world.
rce is passionate about her role in bringing a voice to marginalized peoples— people too often cast into the dark shadows of neo-colonial histories. “My grandmother and mother are both very strong forces in my life,” she says. “They were mestizas who lived in our ancestral village of Cucunubá, located in central Colombia, north of Bogota. My grandmother taught me the old ways by example. She would nurture sick birds back to health, do cleansing rituals with coconuts to ‘clear all the bad spirits,’ and work with medicinal plants. My grandmother was a single mom and my mother was a single mom, so they taught us how to be very independent and self-sufficient. “Both my mother and grandmother gave me my strong work ethic. My grandmother was a seamstress and worked long hours for very little pay. My mother came to the United States when she was 30 years old to escape the violence in Colombia and give her children a better life. She worked three jobs to support her seven children. I am number six, so one of the youngest. Even though they both have passed on, every day I ask them for guidance and strength. “I have always known that Indigenous Peoples had wisdom and yet were not being truly heard. I understand how critical it is for each of us to leave this world better than
we [entered] it for our children and their children’s children. I am passionate about IFIP because I see how effectively it works by leveraging what I like to call ‘Relationship Philanthropy.’” Prior to becoming executive director of IFIP, Arce taught high school science and horticulture, participated in the Donella Meadows Fellowship Leadership Program, and was a communications consultant for the Iewirokwas Native American Midwifery Program. IFIP’s mission is clear: “To convene Indigenous Peoples, donors and foundations to advance partnerships that can improve the lives of Indigenous Peoples globally and address the challenges of our times.” Arce says the unique role of the affinity group of funders at IFIP is to bring Indigenous peoples and funders together to truly understand each other. “During our research for our publication, A Grantmakers Guide: Strengthening International Indigenous Philanthropy, we heard so many times that funders are reluctant to work with the unknown—and Indigenous communities in the most remote parts of the world can seem the most “unknowable.” “Over the years,” she says, “we have learned that often it is simply enough to have funders and Indigenous leaders in the same room, speaking to each other. Of course there are cultural differences, particularly in how trust is established: Indigenous Peoples might call it ‘reciprocity;’ funders call it ‘accountability.’ So there is capacity building to be done on both sides, which is where IFIP comes in.” IFIP is aligned with the idea espoused by the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC), which advocates that Indigenous philanthropy is “the way forward.” Arce explains: “IPCC took a radical stance for a scientific community: they recognized the millennia of practice of Indigenous Peoples as empirical evidence of climate change observation and human adaptation. In terms of climate change science, Indigenous Peoples, who often live so symbiotically with the environment, have watched the climate change firsthand. They know how rapidly things are changing on the ground. Arctic peoples see the changes in migration patterns, in the loss of permafrost, in drastically shifting seasons. Amazonian peoples see the disappearance of species in a matter of years.” She continues, “Climate change directly affects the way Indigenous Peoples live; it affects whether or not they can eat; it affects their daily survival. In the industrialized world of air conditioners and frozen food, climate change is still more of a concept—one that is, apparently, still up for debate. Since we are an organization that serves as a bridge between the Indigenous and philanthropic communities, IFIP is a repository of all the stories of climate change and the work to prevent, mitigate, and adapt to it. We stand in an ideal position to give the world the best practices on how to support the peoples who are experts at surviving. Extinction looms clearly ahead for many traditional peoples; whether we in the industrialized world choose to see it on our horizon, it is a possibility for all of humanity. For IFIP, one of our most important roles is to bring Indigenous leaders into the rooms where climate change policy is actually decided.” Arce recognizes that IFIP walks a fine line as an intermediary between prospective donors new to Indigenous issues and explicit advocacy for specific community-based projects. However, she says, “It is not our role to serve as judge and jury of Indigenous communities, to decide who should be recom-
Evelyn Arce with her children, Emelina and Marcos.
mended and who should be left to fend for themselves. From our members, we have culled the experience and best practices of how to start working with Indigenous communities. “In A Grantmakers Guide, we compiled case histories of those donor pioneers who are forging what we consider to be a new paradigm of giving based on the ‘4 R’s:’ Respect, Responsibility, Reciprocity and Relationship. For many donors, this would imply a drastic cultural change in the way they do business. We want to encourage that cultural change, and we do that on every level, from international conferences to webinars with other funder groups, to publications, to regional meetings with funders to seminars at funder events.” It is important to acknowledge the processes involved in facilitating partnerships between donors and Indigenous communities within the context of the larger struggle for recognition under the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Declaration creates a dialectic between Indigenous Peoples’ assertion of their rights to selfgovernance and the nation-state’s powerful hold on legitimating such claims. Arce believes that “like all international mechanisms, [the Declaration] isn’t perfect. But when you think about the struggle just to bring it into existence and how it will fortify legal battles in countries around the globe, you can appreciate its position on a long continuum of Indigenous struggle for self determination and autonomy.” As to her thoughts on becoming one of Cultural Survival’s newest board members, Arce says, “I am so happy to be joining the Cultural Survival community. I don’t take my membership in this community lightly—I want to share to the fullest extent my experience and passion. And I look forward to what this community can share with me. If there is anything I have learned, there is nothing more powerful than solidarity. My hope is that working together, we can build on the momentum that Indigenous Peoples themselves have created, to stand shoulder to shoulder with those on the frontlines of the most important struggles of our time.”
To learn more about IFIP, go to www.internationalfunders.org
Cultural Survival Quarterly
September 2013 • 13
Spreading the Word About the Right to
Free, Prior and Informed Consent Kaimana Barcarse (CS Staff)
ative peoples representing Indigenous nations worldwide adorned with a plethora of colors, textures, and designs to proudly indicate their various cultures set the scene for the twelfth session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. From May 20–31, the halls of the UN headquarters in New York were abuzz with the steady flow of indiscernible-yet-familiar tones of the native tongues of the participants. The Permanent Forum is an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council with a mandate to address Indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, environment, education, health, and human rights. Many indeed have gathered and united to work and fight for the betterment of all Indigenous Peoples. By working towards a common goal, we become a large body of Indigenous power, rather than fragmented groups of tribes working in isolation. The majority of the Forum topics centered around the UNDRIP, the acronym and catchphrase for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was adopted by the General Assembly on September 13, 2007. Of particular importance is the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) as indicated in Articles 10, 11, 19, and 28. The principles of FPIC seek to ensure that a given community has the right to grant or withhold consent for proposed projects that might affect their lands, resources, and territories. Capturing interviews and feedback on the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent was the focus of the international and multilingual team of radio producers, writers, and Indigenous advocates sent by Cultural Survival to cover the Cultural Survival Staff members at 2013 UNPFII panel on FPIC: Cesar Gomez, Anselmo Xunic, Mark Camp, and Kaimana Barcarse.
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event. The main goal was to gather content for an innovative new radio series to spread the word about the right of Indigenous Peoples to FPIC in order to inform Indigenous listeners about their rights under international law. As Mark Camp, Cultural Survival’s deputy executive director, explains, “It is important to spread the word among Indigenous communities about the international instruments available for mobilization in struggles for their sovereignty and self-determination. Cultural Survival’s radio programs concentrate on the principles of FPIC in order to make that knowledge free and accessible to Indigenous communities worldwide.” Camp acknowledges that “while questions remain concerning the determinations made as to who might be affected by a particular development project, what it means to gain recognition as an Indigenous community, and to what member(s) within a community will serve as interlocutors to state and corporate interests, it is important to begin the dissemination of information and grant access to international rights for people calling on governments to respect, protect, and fulfill their obligations under international law.” The Declaration is a powerful document. But as Catherine Davis, a Forum participant from Aotearoa, points out, “[The Declaration] is of great value to us, but you have to use it or lose it. It’s great on paper, but if you are not going to activate any of the articles in the Declaration, then it is really not worth the paper it is written on.” The majority of our interviews confirmed our earlier research, which suggested that a large number—possibly a majority—of Indigenous people are as yet unaware of the existence of the rights afforded them under international law, along with the implications that these rights hold for them and the future wellbeing of their peoples. It is with this in mind that Cultural Survival is producing and distributing this series of radio programs on the
UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to inform Indigenous listeners about their rights. Working with communities to develop their own guidelines based on their unique experiences and cultural perspectives, this new radio series aims to build capacity, reinforce self-determination, and assist communities to organize to defend their rights. We interviewed Natives from various areas of the world, and some common themes emerged—themes that we intend to address through this innovative new radio programming. These include the need to spread the word on the Declaration with an emphasis on Free, Prior and Informed Consent. The document and its provision on FPIC is not widely known; of the small minority that have heard about it, an even smaller number actually understands the power it holds within its pages, and an even smaller number utilizes this document for the benefit of their people. Another recurring theme was the need for Indigenous nations to stand together and aid each other in pressuring governments and corporations to respect and honor the articles of the Declaration. Perhaps the most profound theme encountered was the resonating conviction that the youth need to be involved in this process, for the youth of today will become the elders of tomorrow. A large number of interviewees, both young and old, talked about the involvement of youth as the key to the long term implementation of their rights—and some fine examples of youth taking a stand were on display. One such young person is 12-yearold singer, songwriter, actress, and Native activist, Ta’Kaiya Blaney (see page 20). Blaney is an advocate for her people of the Sliammon Nation in northern Vancouver, and has been using her voice on their behalf since she was 8. When asked why she started at such a young age, she replied with a wisdom belying her youth: “I don’t have time to grow up . . . there won’t be a tomorrow if we don’t change today.” From the interviews conducted in English and Spanish, we were able to produce radio programming ranging from short Public Service Announcements to more substantial and informative 10-minute programs. Some of these programs were premiered to a listener audience in May as part of the Permanent Forum in New York. One listener, an Indigenous woman from West Papua, congratulated Cultural Survival on creating the series and spoke about the importance of bringing the concept of FPIC into the terms of her own people. “This is something that is part of our culture, something we have always known. You can’t just walk into someone else’s garden and build something,” she said. To bring home the idea of Free, Prior and Informed Consent on the local level, Cultural Survival seeks to form partnerships to translate these programs into as many Indigenous languages as possible, with plans already underway to record in Navajo, Hopi, Hawai’ian, and at least six Mayan languages in Guatemala. The initial 20 programs are already available for download in English and Spanish at www.cs.org/consent. Great strides have been made in determining Indigenous rights, but so much more needs to be done. Together we can spread the word about the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, and the power of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent.
Top: Kaimana Barcarse interviewing UNPFII delegate for FPIC radio content. Middle: Focus group providing Cultural Survival feedback on FPIC radio programs. Bottom: Cesar Gomez interviewing UNPFII delegate about FPIC.
Help spread the word about FPIC! Download radio spots: consent.cs.org. Help translate these programs into Native languages, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cultural Survival Quarterly
September 2013 • 15
Cultivating the Next Generation of Indigenous Leaders
UN Global Indigenous Youth Caucus “Coming to the UN was a major achievement for the Mbororo Youths. It is a venue where we can raise our voices and be listened to without any prejudice.” Hassoumi Abdoulaye (Mbororo) from Cameroon
Jocelyn Hung Chien and Caitlin Lupton
he United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples just got kid-friendly. On May 22, Indigenous youth from around the world filled the UNICEF House for the launch of the new, adolescent-friendly version of the Declaration. The event, which took place during the twelfth session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, was jointly organized by UNICEF, the secretariat of the Permanent Forum, Global Indigenous Youth Caucus, Plan International, and FIMI (Foro Internacional de Mujeres Indigenas/International Indigenous Women’s Forum). It made clear that Indigenous youth are the future leaders and have a great stake in implementing the Declaration. While the empowerment and participation of Indigenous youth have been of great importance in Indigenous rights discourse for many years, the new version of the declaration is visually accessible and uses language that younger people can understand. Caucus member Hassoumi Abdoulaye (Mbororo) from Cameroon underscored the importance of the new document. “Implementing the Declaration needs the total [involvement] of youths. Their role can be the best way to reach major stakeholders for the Declaration’s implementation, such as the government, the Indigenous local communities, and the national and international partners. Youth ensure a role of linkage between stakeholders and the Indigenous community. They are seen as defenders of the violations of the Declaration thanks to their sharp critical analysis,” he said.
“We are premised on inclusiveness, communal decision making, and respect of all peoples,” said Jocelyn Hung Chien from Taiwan. Hung Chien is co-chair of the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus, which is comprised of numerous Indigenous youth from various socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. The Permanent Forum is an important occasion for members 16 • ww w. cs. org
Jocelyn Hung Chien (middle) and other members of the UN Global Indigenous Youth Caucus at 2013 UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
to voice their concerns and collaborate on issues concerning Indigenous youth. Young Indigenous participants have gathered together since the first Permanent Forum, but the youth caucus wasn’t formally inaugurated until 2006. Since then, it has convened daily during the annual sessions of the Forum to discuss the various issues and concerns of Indigenous youth worldwide. Caucus members also attend other international meetings, like the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Geneva, Switzerland. These discussions have led to the collective development and presentation of several statements to the Forum. In 2008, the Forum secretariat recognized the the group as a working caucus. However, the continued recruitment, involvement, and training of youth from various Indigenous communities worldwide is critical for the Forum to continue to function in a proper and sustainable manner for generations to come. The full and effective participation of Indigenous youth at international meetings will provide proper representation of the different stakeholders and will strengthen cultural exchange of Indigenous youth in the world, which will eventually be reflected in legislation and public policy, making effective and responsible citizenship a reality. “We are a group of Indigenous Youth from across the globe gathering to discuss issues, draft statements and recommendations submitted to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. This space allows us to create a unified voice and keep discussions moving forward throughout the years,” says Hung Chien. To prepare for the Forum, the youth caucus drafts collective statements to be endorsed and discussed by other youth from
All photos courtesy of UN Global Indigenous Youth Caucus and Powless Photography
around the world. Members meet the day before the Forum to discuss topics and assign speakers on behalf of the caucus, and to elect co-chairs. When youth members address the Forum, other members of the caucus stand directly behind the speaker in solidarity. “It is hard not to notice that during the forum, when the Indigenous Youth Caucus speaks, our members will stand behind us in full solidarity and support,” says Hung Chien. Members are encouraged to develop several statements for the Forum based on their own communities. There are two co-chairs of the caucus, selected as volunteers, who coordinate with others caucuses to gather and pass on information. Abdoulaye explains, “The work of the youth caucus is mainly based on raising awareness campaigns, capacity building programs, lobbying, and networking with national and international partners. This work covers human rights advocacy, environment, climate change issues, cultural events, organizational, and institutional strengthening.” Speaking about his own community, Abdoulaye says, “Mbororo youths are getting more and better educated. It appears clearly that they are the future of Mbororo leaders. [Their] actions signify them as role models as they tackle challenges. Compared to their elders and parents, they are acquiring important tools in terms of capacity building programs, analytical skills, and are mastering the new information and communication technologies.” Dalí Ángel (Zapotec) from Mexico added, “For us it is important to participate in these spaces and encourage other young people to participate. Now it is necessary that we make visible in these spaces our realities, problems, and necessities that we have as Indigenous youth and that we start from the experiential. We must be able to influence these spaces in order to provide our recommendations to resolve our issues; recommendations arising from a collective organizational process starting at the local level.” Participation in the Caucus requires commitment and responsibility; the experience of Julius Ceasar M. Daguitan, (Igorot) from the Philippines, illustrates this. He explained, “In April, our organization, Asia Pacific Indigenous Youth Network, hosted Weaving Perspectives: Converging the Indigenous Youth’s Initiative in advancing Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, the Asia Pacific Preparatory meeting for the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. In that conference we
UN Global Indigenous Youth Caucus members working on a joint statement at the 2013 UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
came up with a very good declaration regarding the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples and other concerns of the Indigenous youth. From the meeting our organization decided to let me attend the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to share the results of the conference and also for me to observe and learn from international mechanisms.” Hopes for the future of our work
After the Permanent Forum concludes, the work continues. Ideas are brought back to communities to be initiated and further discussed. Said Abdoulaye: “Our vision is to connect the Indigenous youth across the borders and continents, to share our views and experiences, to contribute in the struggle of our rights and to build up our capacity to shoulder the responsibility of carrying on our cultural heritage and advocacy for equality and justice.” He continued, “The strengths of the Indigenous youth caucus are their capacity to be objective, the clear conscience, motivations, and aspirations they are sharing with common values and traditions,” but pointed out that the lack of financial support and opacity of governmental policies regarding the concerns of Indigenous remain formidable obstacles. “As Indigenous youth, [our] hopes are enormous,” Abdoulaye says. “The adoption of the Declaration and the involvement of Indigenous youth on the global level are the key tools to involve more Indigenous [youth] in relevant issues that affect [our] communities. On the national level, the celebration of the National Indigenous Day, since 2008, is an occasion where Indigenous youth are celebrating and discussing with the government and international organizations the situation of Indigenous Peoples in Cameroon. The creation of the National Civic Service and the Youth National Commission in Cameroon also permits the implication of Indigenous youth in the public mechanism. Finally, the growing number of Indigenous students is a key note of hope,” says Abdoulaye.
To learn more about the UN Global Indigenous Youth Caucus, visit: goo.gl/V24IAV
Cultural Survival Quarterly
September 2013 • 17
The Faces Behind the UN Global Indigenous Youth Caucus
Hassoumi Abdoulaye (Mbororo), Age 26, Cameroon Hassoumi Abdoulaye, Deputy Secretary General for the Mbororo Youth Association of Cameroon, first got involved with the UN Indigenous Youth Caucus during the Indigenous Preparatory Conference in Alta, Norway last June. He understands the importance of the youth caucus: “[The UN] is a venue where their voice can be raised and listened to without any prejudice.” Indigenous youth in Cameroon face grave human rights violations; forced labor, early marriages, a high illiteracy rate, child prostitution, non-recognition, land grabbing, and extinction of culture among them. Mbororo youth in Cameroon have been active through organizations like the Mbororo Youth Association and the Mbororo Social and Cultural Development Association, as well as networking with other Indigenous youth to address the issues affecting their community. Abdoulaye appreciates the importance of youth involvement in the implementation of the Declaration, believing that youth “ensure a role of linkage between stakeholders and the Indigenous community. They are seen as defenders of the violations of the Declaration,” he says. Compared to their elders and parents, Mbororo youth are uniquely primed for capacity building programs and are mastering new information and com- munication technologies. Still, Abdoulaye is inspired by the Mbororo elders who “sacrificed their time and lives for the emancipation of our community.” He adds, “the backbone of Mbororo development is the youth. That’s why we are encouraging all of them to be educated and to be involved.” 18 • ww w. cs. org
Julius Ceasar M. Daguitan (Igorot), Age 25, Cordillera, Philippines
Dalí Ángel (Zapotec), Age 26, San Juan Jaltepec in Oaxaca, Mexico
Julius Ceasar M. Daguitan came to the UN Indigenous Youth Caucus through his organization, the Asia Pacific Indigenous Youth Network (APIYN). The APIYN promotes and defends the rights of Indigenous youth by providing systems of information, exchange, and networking. Back home in the Cordillera region of the Philippines, Daguitan counters negative ideas about the Igorots through his work with Dap-ayan ti Kultura iti Kordilyera, an alliance of individuals and organizations working to safeguard the rich heritage of the Cordillera. With the alliance, Daguitan educates youth about various issues in the region such as inaccessible education, environmental degradation, militarization, and human rights violations— and critically, what they can do to solve these problems. One of the most pressing problems for Indigenous youth in the Cordillera continues to be a lack of accessible, quality education. Most schools are located in town centers, and youth may have to walk long distances to reach their school. Schools are also very expensive, and there is no guarantee that graduates will be able to find employment. Daguitan is inspired by his work with Indigenous youth, both “by those who have gone before me...[and] by those who are with me and still continuing the fight for a peaceful community based on justice.” He recognizes that the full realization of the Declaration is a long way off, but he is confident that “with the active and full participation of youth, we can make it into a reality.”
Dalí Ángel first participated in the Permanent Forum in 2011. She describes her work with the youth in her community: “Young Indigenous promoters are in charge of sharing what they have learned with the rest of the community. It is important to listen to each other and to build knowledge together.” Ángel believes it is necessary for Indigenous youth to begin from their place of experience and make their problems and needs visible: “We must be able to influence these spaces in order to provide our recommendations to resolve our issues, recommendations arising from a collective organizational process starting at the local level,” she says. Ángel is also a member of an Indigenous youth collective in the region of Istmo, Tehuantepec, Oaxaca. To create solidarity with other youth collectives, she and her group formed part of the Network of Youth Organizations of Istmo of Tehuantepec. Since 2007 she has been part of the organization Indigenous Women for CIARENA, where she works with communities in the Mixe and Chinantla region of Oaxaca. Describing her role in the Alliance of Indigenous Women of Central America and Mexico, she says, “I have the responsibility to articulate the organizational processes that we conduct to Indigenous youth from local and national regions, and how it can affect other areas, such as the United Nations system.”
Photo by Zachary Obinna
Young Activist Researchers from an Indigenous East African People Fight Forced Integration Campaigns among Swahili Coast Communities Cristina Verán
ccording to the UNESCO Red Book for Endangered Languages, Kisegeju, the tongue of East Africa’s coastal Indigenous Segeju people, has been classified as endangered or highly threatened. There is little concrete documentation about its status in terms of the number of speakers, their age ranges, and level of fluency, however. For the past eight years, Segeju scholar Yunus Rafiq, currently a PhD candidate in anthropology at Brown University, has been working alongside members of his clan, the Waboma of Mnyanjani, Chongoleani, and Mwambani in the Tanga region of Tanzania, to document crucial information about the customs and traditions of the Wasegeju residing there. Not formally trained in language documentation, Rafiq chose to work with his elders to collect some of the most extensive oral histories, kinship charts, and poetic corpus available from the Wasegeju of these areas. He recorded the material and returned the recordings to the respective communities to aid in preserving this knowledge. Rafiq’s mission began in 2010, when during a visit to neighboring Kenya (where his people also call home), he says, “I was informed about a campaign against Segeju, to forcibly absorb them into a larger tribe called the Digo, which belongs to a federation of nine coastal tribes called Mijikenda.” Rafiq journeyed to one the villages impacted to meet with village elders to learn about their efforts to thwart the assimilation, as well as to introduce his own work among their mutual kin in Kenya. It was there that he encountered Athumani Kibada, one of the lead organizers of an effort to reach out to government entities such as the Museums of Kenya and give voice to the concerns of Segeju, who were united against the forced dissolution and absorption of their community. Since their initial connection, Rafiq and Kibada have worked together on a community-based project to record and document the Kisegeju language and traditions throughout the region. Kibada, who is also a co-founder of Segeju Survival, explains
that while his people do have “kinship and joking ties” with the Wadigo, the real problem presented by the campaign is its implication “to deny our unique identity as Wasegeju.” In a country like Kenya, where ethnic blocks and tribes directly influence and sway election politics, any official negation or denial of one’s own identification as a member of a collective grouping—or being observed and presumed thus— has grave political consequences. For now, Rafiq and Kibada are working with Kibada’s community to document its traditions while developing a website to share and preserve this research. This is understood as a crucial factor in their cultural survival, as Segeju youth increasingly flock to cities like Mombasa for employment and what they dream will bring them to a better life. However, this mass urban relocation frequently severs their community connection, along with the transmission of important social and cultural knowledge and language. On his last visit there, Rafiq observed that many of the remaining community members could only speak words or fragmented phrases in Kisegeju. Some elders, he was told, are placing their hopes in their fellow Segeju in neighboring Tanzania to help with the revitalization of the Kisegeju language. Meanwhile, Kibada and members of his Kenya-based community are reaching out to another Indigenous community, the Ogiek, that has suffered a similar fate. They hope to learn how the Ogiek succeeded in restoring their language in the face of its dominance by Kimaasai (the language of the Maasai people). Rafiq quotes an old Segeju proverb that illustrates the depth and foundation of his people’s struggle for their continuing existence: Msegeju ana ngombe na mimi na ngombe zangu namwambia tuchanganye hataki nami nakwenda zangu. “A Segeju has cows, I ask him to mix our herds, he declines. I part, heading my own way.”
Segeju schoolchildren in Kidumuni Village, Msambeweni, Kenya.
—Cristina Verán is an international Indigenous Peoples’ issues specialist, research consultant, strategic planner, community liaison, and multi-media producer. Cultural Survival Quarterly
September 2013 • 19
Us e Y o u r V o i c e
Ta’Kaiya Blaney Speaks—and Sings—Her Hope for the Future Ta’Kaiya Blaney Photo by Zack Embree
Ta’Kaiya Blaney, age 12, from Sliammon First Nation, British Columbia, Canada, has been an environmental activist since she was 8 years old. Her singing, songwriting, and acting reflect her concern for the future of the planet, especially the preservation of marine and coastal wildlife. In addition to her environmental activism, she advocates for Indigenous Peoples’ rights internationally. Her song “Shallow Waters” was a semifinalist in the 2010 David Suzuki Songwriting Contest. Kaimana Barcarse (Native Hawaiian), Free, Prior and Informed Consent Initiative Radio Series Producer, spoke with Blaney at this year’s UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
hen I was eight years old I saw an article in the newspaper about the Northern Gateway Pipeline, which is a pipeline from Bruderheim, Alberta to Kitimat, British Columbia. It crosses over 45 different First Nations territories, putting at risk 45 different cultures, 45 different languages. Yes, 45 different languages and these diverse cultures are being put at risk because of money, because of greed. But even before that I was very involved in the environment—not in activism, but in taking walks and listening to the birds and sitting down and just absorbing the beauty of life and nature. Sliammon was very lush and very beautiful in the parts where it wasn’t destroyed, but at the same time I was noticing the parts that were destroyed. Our old village was called Tishosum, meaning Place of the Spawning Herring. We were forced out of our own territory and there are no more her20 • ww w. cs. org
ring there anymore; I was aware of that even at a very young age. That doubt and that worry—could this be the future of Sliammon? All of it just came flooding back when I saw that article, and from there I just decided to write a song. I’m a singer/songwriter and I decided to write a song about a future where this oil spill from the Northern Gateway Pipeline and from the supertankers…reminding people that this oil spill is very possible. A lot of people in British Columbia can’t imagine BC without that beautiful, lush quality because it’s so in front of you, it’s so real; it’s such a big part of our lives. But you know it is a possibility if this does happen. So from the age of eight I’ve been involved in opposing this project. I wrote a song called “Shallow Waters,” and from there I came here.
Sliammon Nation, a Nationless People In Canada we have a proclamation called the World Proclamation of 1763. It states that we are entitled to jurisdiction over our land and over any corporation that wants to be doing anything that would possibly pollute our land. We have that right unless a treaty has been signed. That is why most of BC is unseated UNCDB territory, meaning that there have been no treaties signed over that land. But my nation, the Sliammon Nation, has recently been going through the treaty process of selling our land to the government. We’re not only signing our lands, we’re signing away our Indigenous rights. There has already been a provincial signing, and the federal signing is coming up. With the provincial signing, we are a
nationless people. The Sliammon Nation is not a nation anymore. All of this really concerns me. It makes me think, what will be given to my generation by the time that the children who are not born yet are my age? What will be left for them? What will be given back instead of taken from Mother Earth? That’s the question for the Sliammon Nation. My ultimate goal is stopping the Sliammon Treaty, and the first step that I’m making is bringing awareness—because there is no knowledge about the corruption and the fraud that has been happening in our community outside of the borders of our territory. I’m very involved in the opposition to the Northern Gateway Pipeline, and there is quite a lot of media covering this—but there is not a lot of media covering the injustices happening within Sliammon. I really want to bring a spotlight to the corruption and to the Sliammon Nation.
Youth Taking the Reins Blaney at Salmon Warriors Rally in BC. It’s so important for youth to be involved in this movement because it’s our own Photo courtesy of takaiyablaney.com future that corporations, that the governOn Starting a Revolution ment, are putting at risk. They’re putting at risk our water, When they say it takes a community to raise a child, it also the land, and the future of Indigenous people. I went to Tunza, takes an environment to raise a child. A majority of today’s a UN youth conference on the environment, and it was there youth are not being exposed to the environment, so basically that I saw so many children from all over the world that were there is a generation that’s being raised that’s disconnected involved in social justice issues and environmental issues. from the environment. Once you’re disconnected, you lose To see hundreds of kids there, it was amazing. Someone a sense of caring. How are you supposed to care for somecame up to me and said, “Oh, kids, they’re not going to do thing that is so alien, that you do not know? I’m starting an anything,” and I said, “Hey, I’m a kid, and you’re wrong!” organization called Earth Revolution, which is a youth moveWe really are doing something. We’re finding our voice, ment named after my song. It’s focused on empowering and now more than ever. inspiring youth and supporting them in their chase for their future. The chorus of the song goes, “We’re Generation Now, It’s so important for youth to be Children of the future, Earth’s Revolution / Creation’s crying out, I feel her pain, I can’t walk away / I’ll do my part to fix involved in this movement because it’s what’s broken, and give back what we’ve taken, to hope for the dawn of a new day / I’m calling each and every person, our own future that corporations, that join me in Earth Revolution.” So the movement is really the government, are putting at risk. about my generation, this generation, and empowering and inspiring and supporting youth. The creator gave human beings a voice; there’s a reason I’m working to change my community, to create a susthat we have the power to communicate. It’s because we’re tainable future. I always had that dream, but it was along the supposed to speak out for those who have no voice. To speak lines of “when I grow up...” like it was a very distant thing. out for those voices who go unheard. So use that voice—as But when I saw that article in the newspaper about the pipelong as you have that voice, you have to use it. Everyone has line, I just realized, age doesn’t matter. It’s one heart, it’s one been given a gift. Share it. That’s what I tell people, and it dream, it’s the one future that we’re all living towards. You is what people need to do. know, you have adults, you have elders, and you have chiefs,
and very inspiring people who are leading this movement, but they get tired speaking everywhere. If you incorporate youth and children in spreading the message, it’s more than chasing the dream of a sustainable future that coexists in harmony with Indigenous people and their culture and Mother Earth.
Watch Ta’Kaiya Blaney’s ”Shallow Waters” video here: goo.gl/M8VkPp
Cultural Survival Quarterly
September 2013 • 21
Marisol Hitorangi, Matriarch of Clan Hito
Fighting for Survival on Easter Island Marisol Hitorangi
am Marisol Hitorangi, spokeswoman of the Hitorangi Clan of Easter Island, Chile. As a Polynesian clan we are struggling to recover our ancestral land, which was illegally expropriated by the Chilean State. We have been tortured for decades, as individuals and as a culture. This is how this story begins. In 1888, after over a century of being preyed upon by various western empires, Easter Island was annexed to Chile under an Annexation Treaty, giving Chile sovereignty over the Rapa Nui people and territory in exchange for committing to respect the Natives’ territorial property. But in a short time the inhabitants were banished from their ancestral lands and imprisoned in a ghetto called Hanga Roa so the island could be rented to an English sheep farming company, Williamson Balfour. During this time the Chilean Navy assumed administration of the Island. For the next 70 years, under an agreement between Navy captains and company administrators, my people were tortured. They were forbidden to freely circulate, grow crops,
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or keep animals, and were forced to work, threatened with leprosy injection if they did not follow orders. In the ghetto there was no drinking water and no food, so people survived by eating rats. The only silver lining for the prisoners was that in 1926, the ground within this ghetto was officially inscribed under the names of the imprisoned clans by the Chilean Treasury. Ironically, in 1933 the whole Island was inscribed into the Ministry of National Assets, formally becoming part of the Chilean territory. In 1953, the contract with the Company ended and Easter Island was left in the hands of the Navy, which did not change a thing. In the 1960s the torture of the Rapa Nui became internationally known and the State was forced to take reparation measures, first by allowing the Rapa Nui to freely circulate, and secondly through the enactment of the “Easter Act,” which forbade the state from having any ownership over the registered land of the clans within the ghetto. Despite this, the State built urban infrastructure including a school and a bank on top of the terrains of the clans within Hanga Roa, contravening the law. In 2010 almost all Rapa Nui clans
began reoccupying their territories, pressing the State to resolve our lack of land ownership. My clan was one of the organizers. The repression became even worse. Let me tell you about it. MY CLAN’S STORY
Our case starts in 1970 when my now-deceased grandmother, Veronica Atamu, exchanged seven hectares of our land to the State corporation CORFO for 20 years in return for a solid house. The state entity registered the land under its ownership and promptly built and sold a tourist lodge to a Chilean businessman, who later sold it to a German family. Eventually the five star Hanga Roa Hotel was built there. These actions not only violated the Easter Treaty, but also a decree which forbids any foreigner from holding property on the Island. What’s more, considering that my grandmother was illiterate, the document that CORFO made her sign has no value from the standpoint of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which was also ratified by Chile. More than 40 years have passed, and despite filing multiple complaints, still the land has not been returned to us. Hence, my Aunt Magdalena and I, as leaders of the Hitorangi Clan, have guided our entire family’s occupation of the Hanga Roa Hotel. With the help of various human rights entities, we have been able to let the world know what my family and many Rapa Nui clans are going through. Not surprisingly, the Chilean State’s reaction was to militarize the island, criminalize us for land usurpation, prosecute us, and psychologically and physically mistreat us. Furthermore, the Chilean Minister of Internal Affairs, together with the hotel owners, decided to give the land and the hotel to a foundation within a period of 30 years. Why did they not consider us in this resolution? Who is going to be in charge of this foundation? Now we are waiting for the next trial. As a family we’ve decided not to sign any documents and are willing to face jail if necessary. As for a majority of the clans, a will for independency is growing fast. An Indigenous rights law firm from Washington DC, the Indian Law Resource Center, has come to teach us about our rights. Because of this, we are studying the possibility of bringing our case to the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights. Despite death lurking, we still have the power to live and to strive because we are conscious of the eternal bond with our land. The land to us is our Kainga, the womb of a mother that needs to be nourished so that it can remain fertile to support us. That is why my grandmother and mother buried their placentas and the bones of their ancestors in the same spot—now under the five star hotel. We communicate to our deceased on a daily basis and receive mana from them. Mana is the force of intuition that keeps our ancestral culture alive. Being able to get our land back is to stay in contact with our ancestors. If we as Rapa Nui people allow this illegal land theft to continue, we’ll be allowing the total loss of our heritage.
March in favor of Clan Hito case.
“NUA RAPA NUI”—THE DOCUMENTARY FILM
Throughout our struggle we’ve been involved with the filmmaker Isabel Burr Raty. She has helped us record our struggle in order to make the documentary film Nua Rapa Nui, which means “Rapa Nui grandmother.” This film is the search for justice of my people, the Rapa Nui, which we know also reflects a sad universal reality for most Indigenous people in the world. We want to let everybody know about our revolutionary struggle, including the ancestral and historical point of view, so people worldwide can understand the factors that force us to risk our lives for this cause. By telling our story we hope to get the international help that we need to keep our Polynesian culture alive.
You can learn more about the project at www.nuarapanui.com, and on Facebook at goo.gl/fmI1e9.
Cultural Survival Quarterly
September 2013 • 23
Isaya Lukumay greets an elder from the Datoga community during an information gathering visit. Photo by Aric Gutnick.
At mile 25, Lukumay running the homestretch of the Boston Marathon, April 15, 2013. Photo courtesy of TWO.
Running for Maasai Isaya Lukumay and Michele Christle
On April 16, 2013, Isaya Lukumay (Maasai), president and founder of The Warriors Organization (TWO), was one of the thousands of runners participating in the Boston Marathon. A corporate sponsor pledged funds necessary to build a tworoom schoolhouse in his home village of Eluai, Tanzania, but since then has failed to deliver on the promise. Several weeks after the marathon, Lukumay spoke with TWO board member Michele Christle about the tragic events.
he night before the marathon I was very excited. We eat a lot of food in Maasailand, but not as much as I ate that night. I had a big pasta dinner with roasted spaghetti and a Tanzanian sauce with tomato and onions. The next morning I woke up early. I felt powerful and confident. My wife dropped me off. I talked with the faster runners. I was talking to Lelisa Desisa Benti, the guy who won. I asked him about his experience running marathons. “It’s my work,” he said, “It’s what I get paid for. I have to win. If I don’t, I don’t make money.” The gun went off and the race began. I was in the third wave of runners. It was great to see everybody running together. [After] I had already run a half marathon, I felt miserable. I didn’t stop though, because I knew if I stopped I might not keep going. I was telling myself, You have to be strong, finish, make your goal. I thought of my siblings and knew I couldn’t stop. When I was in back in Tanzania in January, I saw my younger sisters trying to get to school. They don’t know how to read or write, we don’t have a real teacher there. 24 • ww w. cs. org
The teachers they bring to the schools on Maasailand are from the city. They don’t speak Maa, only Swahili. They are teaching five year olds who can’t even speak Swahili. In Tanzania, every year of school counts. If you fail the exam at the end of primary school, you are never allowed another opportunity to pass into secondary school. These kids have never seen a book or a conventional classroom. They can’t understand the teacher. After three years of school, they can only say “jambo” and “safari.” Thinking about how many would benefit from the money we were raising motivated me. I had a picture in my head of the children in Eluai, happy, studying, empowered. This was a big opportunity for me to support these kids. I wasn’t thinking about running, I was thinking about opportunity. I finished Heartbreak Hill and around Copley Square, I was three miles from the finish line. I said to one guy who was slowing down, “Keep going, don’t stop. You’re almost there!” I kept going and I crossed the finish line. I couldn’t stop thinking about how great it was, just seeing what I had done and how it would affect my community back in Tanzania. I walked around for about 15 minutes, trying to get my stuff and find my wife. I was about 100 feet from the finish line when I saw these two big clouds of smoke and heard a big sound. It looked like something had collapsed. Five seconds later, there was another boom. I thought, holy crap, what am I seeing? I thought it was the trains underground, that the land was collapsing. The whole area was becoming a mess. Everything was mixed up. My wife was supposed to be at the finish line, in the family area. She’s there waiting for me, I’m thinking. I’m freaking out. The place is full of people. Is this real or am I going crazy? I have seen bombs explode on TV,
Lukumay learns about craftsmanship from Datoga jewelry makers. Photo by Aric Gutnick.
Education but not in real life. I was shocked. I couldn’t think. For five minutes, I couldn’t move. Everything was black with smoke. I was so scared that something had happened to my wife. Finally, out of the crowd, she came running to me, crying. I was trying not to go crazy. It took us 45 minutes to get out of there. It was a hell of a day. It was a good day until the bomb. After that, everything changed. Everything. Later, I was sitting on the sofa, watching the coverage. I saw the guy I had told to keep going when we were still three miles from the finish line. When the explosions went off, he fell two feet from the finish line. I’m looking at him, thinking, I talked to him! I was shocked, shaking. He must have stopped and walked. My mind was exhausted from trying to calm down. It took a long time be able to think about this on a personal level. And now what I’m thinking about is the impact these events have had on my community. When something bad happens, you just have to start moving again. You don’t look back. When you face challenges like this, you need to keep moving. If I didn’t have something to believe in, I wouldn’t have moved for a long time. When I found out that my corporate sponsor didn’t follow through on their promises, it was very disappointing. People here don’t know much about the situation in Tanzania. It takes a long time to fully understand when you haven’t been there yourself. If you eat with us, if you see the brown water we have to drink, you know us and this helps people to follow through with funds. If people know what’s really going on, they take it seriously. At first I wanted to go back to Tanzania, but I didn’t because I don’t believe in quitting. I believe in confidence.
Lukumay walks calmly toward the start area on the morning of the marathon. Photo courtesy of TWO.
Boston Marathon Bombings Echo Around the World I was running to accomplish something, thinking that there would be money raised. All of the time I was training for the marathon, and when I was running it, I had dreams of what this would mean for my community. To have survived that day and not to have anything to give the children in my village is difficult. I wouldn’t have run the marathon if I had known that I was risking my life and that no money was raised. My mom used to tell me a story about a strong warrior. He and his fellow warriors were in conflict with another tribe over cattle. He took 105 warriors with him to take back their cattle. They didn’t expect any trouble but the other tribe attacked them. They were all fighting and they lost 50 people. The warrior was going crazy because all they were supposed to care about was the cattle and everyone had gotten consumed with fighting. Then he got shot too, and fell down. All the warriors huddled around him. “We came here for the cows, we did not come here to fight. We have the cows. Now we just need to get back home together,” he said. And they went back with the cows. I always think about that story. I ran the marathon to raise money for the school in my village. I didn’t know that the bomb was going to happen or that we would not get the funding. But I know that great warriors never give up; they move on past whatever bad things come to them. I will keep fighting.
For more information about The Warriors Organization, visit: www.facebook.com/ TheWarriorsOrganization or www.warriors organization.org.
Cultural Survival Quarterly
September 2013 • 25
B az aar A r tist : T elling S tories T hrough C loth
Chia Yang Khang Photo by Kent Yoshimura
riginally from northern Laos, Chia Yang Khang, a Hmông artisan, lived in Thai refugee camps until she came to the United States when the Vietnam War ended. “The year I came to Thailand was 1976,” she says, “and I stayed there for three years. We came to this country in 1980.” Before departing from Laos, however, she learned Hmông embroidery techniques of reverse appliqué and batik that she continues to put into practice today. Khang has since developed these techniques to create a variety of beautiful pieces she now sells here in the United States. Hmông people are recognized for a traditional practice, Paj ntau, also known as flower cloth. The practice consists of the creation of bold geometric designs, often realized in bright contrasting colors and applied to skirts for important ceremonial occasions. Khang enjoys playing with this contrast and potential variation of patterns: “I like to do everything I know [that] I remember, that I see, [in] many different designs and many different colors,” she says. Originally said to be from Northern China, Hmông peoples migrated to the mountainous regions of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Burma, and Vietnam at the turn of the 19th century as a result of discrimination faced in China. When the Communist party took over these regions, the Hmông, who were supporters of the United States, were in danger of retribution. Many left their homes and settled in refugee camps in Thailand until other opportunities for resettlement came about. In these camps they became dependent on relief agencies for subsistence. To contribute to their income, many Hmông people began selling handicrafts to improve their standard of living. “When I came to this country,” Khang says, “I wanted to sell… I wanted to get money [so] I tried different things.” In reference to the amount of revenue she receives from her work, she says that it is “not a lot…but better than nothing!” Before living in the camps, Hmông people only made handcrafted goods in their limited free time and for special occasions; life in the camps provided an opportunity to develop their craft. Although many of the traditional techniques were maintained, many were adapted for the Western market. Khang emphasizes this adaptation, stating that her craft changed a lot when she came to the United States because she began to make embroidery for the purpose of earning a living. Instead of solely producing flower cloths for skirts, Hmông started using the designs in products such as purses, quilts, and bed spreads. Pictorial embroideries called Paj Ntaub Tib Neeg began telling stories of the Hmông people. Khang has shared her beautiful textile work at Cultural Survival Bazaars for more than 20 years. She recalls, “First, I think I came to sell in Cambridge, and I really liked it. So I keep coming back!” Khang has continued to create and sell her work not only for income, but also as a means of participating in a practice dediThe 2012 CS Bazaar cated to sustaining Hmông culture. When asked whether she series raised over would be at Cultural Survival’s upcoming bazaars, her response $477,348 for Indigenous artisans and their communities. was a resounding “Yes! I’m going anywhere you go!” Find a Bazaar near you! Visit: bazaar.culturalsurvival.org
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our s upp o r t e r s
Meet our Summer Interns Thank you to all of our wonderful Summer interns who make the wheels spin at Cultural Survival and are an essential part of our work. (L-R) Colin Rosemont, Daniel Ng , Andrea Delgado, Hannah Reeve, Nicole Huang, Caitlin Lupton, Alyssa Phelps. Missing in photo Hannah Ellman and Johanna Rincon.
In Memoriam Philip D. Young (1936–2013)
n great sadness, Cultural Survival mourns the loss of a longtime Indigenous rights advocate and supporter, Philip D. Young. Since 1992, Phil had been a generous donor and advisor to Cultural Survival. He died June 30, 2013 in Cottage Grove, Oregon. He served in the Army in the Panama Canal Zone. Phil was Professor Emeritus in Anthropology at the University of Oregon, Chair of the Department of Anthropology (1985–1989) and Director of International Studies (1992–1995). He was a noted cultural anthropologist, a Latin Americanist specializing in socioeconomic change, adaptation among small farmers, and language and culture relationships. His bond with Ngäbe friends and family always drew him back to Panama. He leaves a legacy in his scholarship, his students and colleagues and the many people he touched throughout the world. Cultural Survival is deeply appreciative to the Young Family for their generosity during and after Phil’s life.
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w o N n o i t c A e k Ta
Campaign Alert Kenya
“The Maasai of Olkaria are not against the development of geothermal projects in the region but we are without proper compensation. We also understand our rights and we cannot accept to be violated in the name of power production.” – Narasha Community Organization
Demand the World Bank Compensate the Maasai “ I owned land and had built my own homestead, but the company came and put their machinery right where I built my home. I had to hear about this from neighbors who told me, ‘your homestead has been destroyed.’ ”
or the Maasai people of the Rift Valley in Kenya, being evicted from their homeland has become all too common. Over the years, the government of Kenya has dispossessed over 4,000 families in the Naivasha region. Without alternative land to settle on or compensation for the losses they incurred during forced evictions, these families’ fates are uncertain. In the 1980s, the Maasai were evicted from their land to facilitate the creation of the Hells Gate National Park. Discoveries of massive potential for geothermal energy within the park made their land and homes an international point of interest for both local and international power-generating companies. Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS), which “owns” and manages Hell’s Gate Park, leased part of the land to the state-owned Kenya Electricity Generating Company, KenGen, to undertake extractive processes for the generation of geothermal energy. Now the Massai, who are sandwiched between Mt. Longonot, Hells Gate Park, and Lake Naivasha, are being forced out again. The Olkaria geothermal plant, funded by the World Bank and supported by the UN Environmental Program, is in its fourth phase of the development. With each new phase, the Maasai have been evicted from their homes—without their Free, Prior and Informed Consent.
– Ben Koissaba, Maasai PhD student who left the area on political asylum in 2004
Call on the World Bank, the UN Environmental Program, and other collaborators to implement their 28policies • ww w. cs. org through adequate compensation determined in consultation with the Maasai people.
Just Benefit Sharing? What is Fair?
o date the Maasai have received no compensation for the devastating loss of their land, livelihoods, and cultural heritage. The current plan is to pay them a meager 30,000,000 Ksh (US $370,000) from a possible fund of 270,000,000 Ksh (US $3.4 million). The Maasai seek compensation for past evictions, and assurance against potential future evictions, by provision of alternative land. The impending evictions would displace over 3,500 families, removing them from the communities’ two churches and Maasai cultural center, and would take over 1,000 children out of school in Narasha and Olomayiana. In a showdown between corporate interests and the community, they are refusing to comply with the impending eviction until such terms are agreed upon. The World Bank reports that it has invested $409 million in geothermal development since 2007; in 2013 it announced plans to raise another $500 million for geothermal projects in the Rift Valley and other parts of the world. None of this budget has been allocated to fairly compensate the Maasai community, whose land has been usurped to make room for the projects. The evictions violate international human rights law, including the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, ILO Convention 169, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The Maasai have resorted to the courts to stop further evictions, arguing that the government of Kenya is in violation of international law by forcibly and continually removing them from their ancestral lands around Mt. Longonot in the Naivasha Administrative Districts and the Narok North Administrative Districts within the Rift Valley Province, without proper prior consultation or adequate compensation. The area is important to the Maasai both for its history and their dependency on the land for their livelihoods and culture. Mt. Longonot is central to the Maasai religious and traditional practices, and further dispossession will separate the community from historical prayer sites, places of ritual, and other cultural ceremonies. These sites were used regularly for local ceremonies, and annually for cultural festivities involving Maasai from the whole region. Furthermore, geothermal resources in Olkaria have been exploited with no regard for the health or environment of the local communities. Despite being touted as a green energy, KenGen’s Environmental and Social Impact Assessment shows that geothermal power plants release certain pollutants into the environment including noise pollution, hydrogen sulphide gas, and trace metals like boron, arsenic, and mercury. Toxic wastes from the power station in Naivasha have been emitted into the air and disposed in local waterways in violation of applicable international environmental standards. Despite these hazards, KenGen failed to conduct adequate consultation with the local community, which first expressed its dismay at the assessment in 2009. The Maasai have never been able to raise money to conduct an independent study on the harmful effects of the plant, but have noted increase of gastronomic and skin diseases, stillbirths in cattle, premature death of livestock, and increased rate of premature delivery in pregnant women. The company’s environmental impact assessment notes potential health risks associated with the plant and recommends safe distances in the Narok district. However, since there was no effective consultation with community members, people were never informed of these health risks. The Maasai of Olkaria, in compliance with the national development agenda, are not opposed to the development of geothermal projects in the region. But they are against the manner in which the government is sanctioning evictions without due process of Free, Prior, Informed Consent and adequate compensation. In 2011 the World Bank adopted policies that require lenders to secure the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous communities prior to launching development activities expected to generate adverse impacts on their lands and natural resources. In 2013, the UN Environmental Program followed suit by launching its policy on Free, Prior, Informed Consent. Cultural Survival congratulates these institutions on taking this first step; however, these policies must be put to use in order to rectify the historical injustice being done to the Maasai.
Make Your Voice Heard! In your letter, urge the Kenyan government, KenGen company, and the World Bank to: • Ensure that the land rights of the pastoralist Maasai community in Olkaria be recognized. • Ensure that the Maasai of Olkaria are fully and adequately compensated for the losses of their land as well as for the wrongful eviction. • Uphold the standard of Free, Prior and Informed Consent as stipulated in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by carrying out a proper environmental and social impact assessment on the Olkaria geothermal projects in close consultation with the Maasai. • Ensure that any future development programs benefit the Maasai of Olkaria by implementing the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent. Send your letters to: President Uhuru Kenyatta State House Nairobi, Kenya Email: email@example.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ myuhurukenyatta Twitter: @UKenyatta The World Bank Kenya Upperhill Road, Hill Park Building P.O.Box 30577, Nairobi, Kenya Phone: (254-2) 2603300 Fax: (254-2) 2603300 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com KenGen Stima Plaza, Phase III Kolobot Road, Parklands P. O. Box 47936, 00100 GPO, Nairobi, Kenya Phone: + 254-20-3666000 Fax: +254-20-2248848 Email: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ KengenKenya Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @KenGen Meseret Teklemariam Zemedkun United Nations Environment Programme Regional Office for Africa P.O.Box 30552 , Nairobi, Kenya Email: Meseret.email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org www.cs.org/take-action/kenya
Campaign Alert Kenya
Cultural Survival Quarterly
September 2013 • 29
Your Support in Action
Cultural Survivalâ€™s Global Response program launches international advocacy campaigns with Indigenous communities whose right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent is being violated by agribusiness and extractive industries. Stand with the Maasai of Kenya as they demand that the World Bank compensate them for being pushed off their lands by a geothermal project (see page 28).
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