Sunday, April 26, 2009

Global Indigenous Climate Summit Concludes in Alaska

Naniki Reyes Ocasio (Boriken Taino), UN General Assembly President
Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann
, and Hariette Vreedzaam - Joeroeja (Galibi - Suriname)
express their solidarity at the Global Indigenous Peoples' Summit on Climate Change in Anchorage, Alaska.

Anchorage, Alaska (UCTP Taíno News) - The Global Indigenous Peoples' Summit on Climate Change being held in Alaska concluded on Friday. The Summit was held at the Dena-Ina Center in the city of Anchorage over a span of five days; from April 20th-24th 2009. Over 400 Indigenous Peoples representatives from over 80 countries around the world participated - including a very visible Caribbean delegation.

See full story at UCTP Taino News

Friday, April 24, 2009

Indigenous Peoples Invisible at Trinidad Summit

Trinidad and Tobago (UCTP Taino News) – A delegation of 10 Indigenous leaders traveled to Trinidad to attend the Organization of American States (OAS) 5th Summit of the Americas from April 17 to 19, 2009. The delegation’s intention was to further develop critical partnerships with States while presenting the views of millions of Indigenous Peoples from throughout the Americas. These views were encapsulated in a Declaration and Plan of Action developed at an Indigenous Leaders Summit, which took place in Panama City preceding the OAS Summit. While Trinidad’s Prime Minister Patrick Manning publicly declared his desire for the Summit to achieve prosperity for the peoples of the Americas with commitment and mutual respect, the Indigenous leaders experienced discriminatory exclusion.

See full story at UCTP Taino News

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Indigenous people have benefited from new Amerindian Act

Stabroek News (Guyana, South America) - President Bharrat Jagdeo told the delegates at the Guyana Shield Conference dinner that the status of local indigenous people has been boosted due to a number of opportunities made available to them as well as the amended Amerindian Act.

According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release Jagdeo said Amerindians had not been part of mainstream society due to “location because many of them live in the hinterland location far from the coast; so what we have sought to do over the years was try to correct some elements of that disparity, every community has access to a school, they have a health hut, almost in everyone of these community we have health workers who are being paid by the government.”

He also told the guests at the dinner hosted after the Guyana Shield Regional Meeting that Amerindian children can now benefit from secondary level education within many of their communities as dormitories have been built at central locations and their needs funded by the state. Many students have also benefited from hinterland scholarships where they are given the chance to attend schools in the city. Some have also been able to further their studies overseas with about 40 students pursuing studying in several fields such as medicine and engineering both locally and abroad.

The president acknowledged that there remains the need to improve incomes as most indigenous families depend on subsistence farming due to their location. Jagdeo said he hopes this issue can be addressed through the avoided deforestation model that lobbies for compensation for standing forests.

Regarding mining, which has been a topical issue with the visiting delegations and local indigenous communities, Jagdeo said many of the Amerindian communities are titled; giving them veto over small and medium-scale mining. “We are one of the few countries that have actually come forward with sub-surface rights because they mainly had the right to use the land, the forest etc to hunt and fish traditionally … but this act (New Amerindian Act) has now given them a veto power,” he said. He added that if the communities agree to mining on their land a tribute must be paid to them, further; if a large deposit of any mineral is found the community must be consulted and must benefit from it.

As regard land claims, Jagdeo said since 1992 about 13% of land claims have been processed, an improvement from the six to seven per cent that had been previously processed. “We are hoping that it will exceed some 20 percent of the land, that is titled land, that they will have all of these rights come forward on the communities. It a bit difficult now because of its cost, I was told that it costs $250,000 to demarcate sometimes one community,… so funding is an issue now but I think because of the commitment we made we have to find the money to complete the demarcation, that includes land traditional plus requests for new lands, expansion,” he said.

Meanwhile, President of the Association of Amerindians in French Guiana, Charles Jean Auberic said he too is cognisant of the president’s proposal on climate change and indigenous people’s rights and wanted to share his experience and expertise. Also, Leon Wijngaarde, President of the Organisation of Indigenous People in Suriname said Amerindians have not always enjoyed their rights and he hoped that Jagdeo would press the issue with the Surinamese president.

According to GINA, Ecuador, Peru and Columbia were also represented at the meeting which was held from April 13 – 17.

Source: Stabroek News

Sunday, April 19, 2009

More work needed to address threats to indigenous peoples - conference

Guyana, South America (Stabroek News) - The inaugural Guiana Shield Regional Meeting of Indigenous Leaders ended on Friday last with leaders noting that much needs to be done in relation to matters affecting indigenous peoples.

Guyana’s representatives, meanwhile, expressed concern at President Bharrat Jagdeo’s offer of the rainforest in the fight against climate change, pointing out that little is known about this. Although they were told that their titled lands would be a part of the initiative only if they wished, they said, the lack of information and the issue of their traditional land as opposed to titled land was an issue of grave concern.

The Guiana Shield Regional Meeting was organised by the three national level indigenous organizations of the region-the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) of Guyana, Organisation Van Inheemsen (OIS) of Suriname, and the (FOAG) of French Guiana, in coordination with the Fédération des Organisations Autochtones de Guyana Village Amérindien Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA) and the Amazon Alliance.

It was intended to provide participant organisations with a quick overview of the major threats facing the indigenous peoples and their environment in these countries, including climate change and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), the Initiative for the Integration of Regional Infrastructure in South America (IIRSA) and the impacts of mining. The delegates also met government representatives, non-governmental organizations and multilateral institutions.

Tony James, head of Guyana’s Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) cautioned delegates that the plans and the resolutions made over the past few days did not spell the end of the road. He urged the leaders to carry back the information to their communities and to play meaningful roles in ensuring that members of the communities are informed.

This was echoed by other leaders. “The language barrier should not be an obstacle anymore,” said a representative from French Guiana. “We have our interests and it is the interests of future generations,” he added. Another noted that accessing information in the Guianas is a challenge.

Meanwhile, as it related to climate change efforts in Guyana, it was stated that at a meeting with Jagdeo, he assured the leaders that there would be consultations. However, noting that it was a complex issue, one delegate said that they were being asked to support positions without having the information. “We need more information than anything else.”

Jean La Rose of the APA raised the issue of traditional land as opposed to titled land, with the former not always being a part of the latter. This was a concern, she said.

Source: Stabroek News

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Caribbean Indigenous Leaders Declare Solidarity with Naso Nation

Naniki Reyes Ocasio (Boriken Taino) meets with Naso Nation Grand Chief Valentin Santana and other community members at the 3rd Indigenous Leaders Conference in Panama City.

Panama City, Panama (UCTP Taino News) – During the final session of the 3rd Indigenous Leaders Summit of the Americas on April 15, delegates were unpleasantly surprised to learn about the relocation of the indigenous Naso Nation in Panama. The Naso are currently living without adequate shelter as a result of a police action following their protest of the construction of the Bonyik hydroelectric dam, which is threatening their ancestral homelands.

See full story at UCTP Taino News

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Indigenous Summit Begins in Panama

Caribbean indigenous delegates at the 3rd Indigenous Leaders Summit of the Americas being hosted in Panama. From left to right: Roberto Borrero (Taino), Chief Allan Leow (Lokono), Margaret Williams (Kalinago), Chief Charles Williams (Kalinago), and Roger Guayakan Hernandez (Taino). UCTP Photo.

Panama City, Panama (UCTP Taino News) - The 3rd Indigenous Leaders Summit of the Americas opened today with a blessing from Gilberto Arias, a traditional leader of the Kuna Peoples of Panama. Arias asked the Great Spirit, Baba and Nana, Mother Earth, to assist the delegates who arrived for the meeting from South, Central, and North America as well as the Caribbean.

See full story at UCTP Taino News

Friday, April 10, 2009

Grandfather Cyril Taylor Yabisi Caona Scholarship

Grandfather Cyril O. Taylor

Bohio Atabei Caribbean Indigenous Women’s Circle is proud to announce that this year’s Yabisi Caona educational stipend has additional sponsors. These include the United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP) and its member organizations as well as Taino artist Gina Rixturey Rosario Villalba and Mrs. Marie Taylor (Meherrin), the widow of elder Cyril Taylor (Karib).

This however is not the only change for the Yabisi Caona educational stipend as it has been renamed the “Grandfather Cyril Taylor Yabisi Caona Scholarship” in honor of our beloved Grandfather Cyril Taylor.

Until his passing last year, Grandfather Cyril was a respected elder representative of the UCTP. He was co-founder of a Washington D.C. cultural organization called Biaraku, a staunch defender of our indigenous rights as Caribbean Indigenous peoples and a strong advocate of the Bohio Atabei Caribbean Indigenous Women’s Circle. As such Grandfather Cyril’s widow Mrs. Marie Taylor has honored us with her total support in this endeavor. Words alone cannot express our gratitude to her.

The UCTP will manage the scholarship fund that will be focused toward giving Caribbean Indigenous students’ some financial assistance with the purchase of school text books or supplies.

The “Grandfather Cyril Taylor Yabisi Caona Scholarship” scholarships are open to Caribbean Indigenous students between the ages of 17 to 25 entering or returning to college and/or technical school in the 2009-2010 year.

All applicants for this educational stipend must submit a 1000 (minimum) word essay describing what they have done to help their communities and how they see themselves doing this within the context of their future educational goals. Students should demonstrate pride in and respect for their ancestral culture and be active in their community.

Three students will be selected from among the submitted applications.

Selections will be based on essay content, school and community references. Each recipient will receive a sum no less then or greater then $250 dollars (U.S.) towards the purchase of his/her school curriculum books and or supplies.

After some consultation, the sponsors have decided to award these stipends using a selection process conducive to the ideals of Caribbean First Nations. Therefore applicants should be only individuals within the specified age category, and who are registered members of Caribbean Indigenous communities, organizations, groups recognized by the Caribbean Organization of Indigenous Peoples (COIP) and the United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP).

If you are of Caribbean Indigenous decent but do not meet the above criteria, to submit an application you must contact UCTP Grandfather Cyril Taylor Yabisi Caona Scholarship Board first for any possible consideration.

In our efforts to protect, promote, and honor our culture, the UCTP and the Bohio of Atabei have sought ways to motivate the community into collective and collaborative efforts and as such these stipends are viewed as way to carry out our missions. The stipends will be presented at a community luncheon to be held in November 2009 during Native American History Month. Venue details to be announced.

All submissions for the 2009 Grandfather Cyril Taylor Yabisi Caona must be entered and postmarked no later than Monday, September 30, 2009. All documents must be neatly typed, double spaced, dated and signed and should include the following:

1.) Name and contact information.

2.) Brief Bio

3.) Essay

4.) Letter of reference from either or current school

5.) Letter from current community council /chief/community leadership.

For those sending submissions via email, a signed original hard copy
must follow via post. All forms via Email must be in PDF format.

Email correspondence to oirrc@uctp.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Hard copies are to be mailed to:
P.O Box 4515,
New York, NY 10163

For additional information, contact bohiatbei@aol.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 646-309-3722 or 212-604-4186.

No submissions will be accepted postmarked after deadline date.

Donations to Grandfather Cyril Taylor Scholarship Fund can be sent to United Confederation of Taino People UCTP. Address listed above.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Walter Roth museum gets Amerindian language dictionaries

Guyana (Stabroek News) - Dictionaries and other materials about several Amerindian languages were on Thursday presented to the Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology.

Director of Regional Health Services Dr Narine Singh presented the materials to museum Administrator Jenny Wishart in the presence of culture minister Dr Frank Anthony, the Government Information Agency (GINA) said in a press release. The project was funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and was started three years ago by the Health Sector Development Unit (HSDU). It had been initiated during Dr Anthony’s tenure at the HSDU.

The books are titled Short Dictionary of the Warao Language, Twenty-eight lessons in Loko (Arawak), Arawak English Dictionary, Short Dictionary of the Warao Language of Guyana, and Scholars Dictionary and Grammar of the Wapishana language.

According to GINA Wishart explained that the books are not for sale but will be distributed to the Amerindian communities and will serve as motivation for them to continue speaking and developing their languages.

She said copies will be sent to St Cuthbert’s Mission, Region Four and Kumaka where efforts are already underway to educate the population about the Arawak language.

Explaining the origins of the project, Dr Anthony said it started with a US$600,000 grant from the IDB which supported his idea of developing culturally appropriate initiatives in Amerindian communities during an “access to health care” programme. He said although the materials will be helpful to Amerindian communities they will also be beneficial to other groups in society who also need to learn about the language of the indigenous peoples.

“We thought that this would help us to keep the languages alive and to get people to understand more about these languages. A number of children come to the Walter Roth Museum on Saturdays and we would use the occasion to teach them about Amerindian languages but if that can continue in various schools across the country we can help to keep the tradition alive,” he said.

Although the project was expected to be completed last year to coincide with the United Nation’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO’s) declaration of 2008 as the International Year of Languages, Anthony is nevertheless appreciative of the work done thus far.

Anthony said his ministry will be hosting a special lecture in June about the lost tribes of Guyana.

Source: Stabroek News

Sunday, April 5, 2009

We need to know more about forest issues as they relate to indigenous peoples

Dear Editor,

In an article appearing in the Caribbean Net News about financial aid for combating tropical deforestation, the President was reported to be unhappy about the way payment will be done. All about money. What about the Indigenous peoples who have tremendously contributed to the preservation of the forest where they live? There has been no mention about how these people will benefit and how this will affect their lives.

In the meanwhile concessions to loggers and miners continue to be dished out lavishly on ancestral lands occupied and used by Indigenous peoples for thousands of years, and these very activities contribute to deforestation and permanent damage to the environment as well as people. Most times if not all, there is only talk about preserving and conserving and protecting the environment, and the people component of the environment is always forgotten or down-played. When will we ever be allowed to participate meaningfully in activities which will affect our very lives and the future generation of our peoples, through our own representatives and institutions?

Where are the government’s international obligations which speak about the meaningful participation of Indigenous peoples and which they have ratified?

We need to know much, much more about this selling of forest or what is being done to the forest and other issues affecting other Guyanese.

Yours faithfully,
Tony James
Amerindian Peoples Association

Published in Stabroek News

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Caribbean fishing industry concerned about dwindling stocks

GEORGETOWN, Guyana: A Guyanese fisherman has expressed concern at the dwindling of the catch in his country.

Jainaraine Pamashwar, representative of the Upper Corentyne Fishers’ Association, Berbice, Guyana, speaking during a Panel Discussion on Thursday April 2, 2009 at the Headquarters of the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown expressed the concern that fishers from his area had been seeing “smaller catches every year”. He lamented that what the fishermen considered to be “fishing season” could no longer be identified, and that the fishes were “getting smaller.”

Pamashwar said that the fishers needed a “management structure” to guide them on how they could regulate their fishing and diversify their enterprise. The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) staged the Panel Discussion under the theme, `Caribbean Fisheries: Sinking or Swimming in Uncertain Water’, and heard fisheries stakeholders relate fishers’ lack of awareness of regional developments in the sector as well as lack of information related to the over-exploitation of particular fishing grounds.

The CRFM is developing a comprehensive strategy to communicate more effectively with stakeholders in the Fisheries Sector to obtain information and feedback which would guide the CRFM in its work in promoting the sustainable use of fisheries and aquaculture resources in and among Member States. The Panel Discussion was part of the CRFM’s communication strategy and was the second in a series which began in Barbados in October 2008.

Deputy Executive Director of the CRFM, Milton Haughton told fisheries stakeholders who participated, that Ministers responsible for Fisheries had adopted a proposal by the Caribbean Regional Fisherfolk Network to be recognised as the regional representative body for the fisherfolk in the Region, in policy decisions taken at the state and regional levels.

All CARICOM Member States and three of its five Associate Members – Anguilla, British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands - are involved in the CRFM.

While there were mechanisms in place among CRFM states to consult with Fisheries stakeholders on policy decisions affecting their sector, the decision marks the first time such a formal mechanism would be in place for fishers to have a seat at the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, which is the main advisory body of the CRFM. The Ministers responsible for Fisheries formalised this level of consultation with the Fisherfolk at the First Meeting of the Ministerial Council of the CRFM, held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines January last.

Haughton noted that Regional Fisheries management was a challenging enterprise which became even more complex with the remoteness of some fishing communities, with the myriad concerns fishers had, and with the lack of organisation of the Fisherfolk in some Member States.

The CRFM had responded to these challenges, he said, and it had obtained funding for a project to build capacity in existing fisherfolk organisations and to coordinate this kind of structure in places where they did not exist.

He noted that in the past, consultation with the fisherfolk had not been sustained, but the CRFM recognised that the need was “more urgent today”. Therefore, it was making concerted efforts to be “grounded on the reality of what the ordinary man – fishermen, vendos, consumer - face.”

Source: Caribbean Net News