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.
See full story at UCTP Taino News
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.
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.
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.
Amerindian Peoples Association