World’s Indigenous Peoples Day observed

KOHIMA, AUG 9 (NPN) | Publish Date: 8/9/2019 11:21:50 AM IST

International day of World’s Indigenous Peoples was celebrated at Makhrai Rabu, Tahamzam, Senapati on August 9 organised by the Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights(NPMHR) under the theme “indigenous language”. 

NPMHR Secretary general Neingulo Krome in his keynote address gave a  brief history  of indigenous people stating that August 9 marks the date of the inaugural session of the first working group on indigenous population at the United Nations in 1982.

 When the United Nations was founded on October 24, 1945 at San Francisco in California of the United States of America, in the back-drop of World War II, its primary concerns were to prevent another such conflict with commitments to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations and promote social progress, better living standards and human rights.

 Indigenous peoples, who are known as the first peoples or original settlers of a region and more recently called the custodians and defenders of mother earth were not part of the United Nations systems. However, with this beginning in 1982, the United Nations general assembly in 1990 declared the year 1993 as the international year of the world’s indigenous peoples, where Nagas also celebrated and participated extensively through a yearlong commemoration with various activities which culminated in a grand celebration of “Naga Week” from December 1 to 5, 1993, under the theme - “Indigenous Peoples - A new partnership” at Kohima, where Nagas from all over Naga areas, regardless of geographical boundaries came and participated.

In the succeeding year, on  December 23,1994, the United Nations General Assembly decided through its Resolution 49/ 214, that the international day of the World’s indigenous peoples shall be observed on the  August 9 every year to promote and protect the rights of indigenous peoples. This occasion also recognizes the achievements and contributions that indigenous peoples make to improve world issues particularly on environment protection. 

Today, indigenous peoples all over the world are recognized as holders of unique languages, knowledge systems and beliefs and possess invaluable knowledge of practices for the sustainable management of natural resources . They have a special relation to and use of their traditional land. Their ancestral land has a fundamental importance for their collective physical and cultural survival as peoples. Indigenous people has their whole diverse concepts of development, based on their traditional values, vision, needs and priority.  

He also mentioned that when it comes to political participation, indigenous peoples are  often identified with other neglected segments of societies. i.e. lack of political representation and participation,  economic marginalization and poverty, lack of access to social services and discrimination. Despite the cultural differences, the diverse indigenous peoples share common problems also related to the protection of their rights. They strive for recognition of their identities, their ways of life and their right to traditional lands, territories and natural resources.

He ended his speech quoting “according to the UN the most fruitful approach is to identify, rather than define indigenous peoples. When enquired about RIIN,  Krome stated that there is no need for government to bring this issues and disturb the people now and since it is under review process, the government should reconsider it and should not take it as a matter of prestige but listen to voice of  the majority of the people.   

Memai Council President SP Peter Khrasi stated that Nagas were together once and they are still together. He pointed out  that his village is indeed one of the oldest but lacking in many ways and should be given more effort to become better. He stated that people must develop language as today’s generation do not prefer to speak their native language, therefore the importance of preserving ones language should also be discussed and taught.  He appealed to start cultural dialogues  and create a dialogue research center. He said  is  possible to develop a common language of our own which will be acceptable to all  adding that though it may take time, but it should start.

NPMHR executive council member Elias T.Lotha speaking on the theme ‘Indigenous  Language’ focussed on the current situation of indigenous languages around the world with the aim to revitalize, preserve, and promote indigenous languages. He said that through language people can communicate and preserved their tradition, custom and unity that will enable them to grow. Medium of Language is used to construct our future of human right for sustainable development, he added.

Elias also stated time has come to preserved and strengthened indigenous languages as language play an important roles to communicate with one another.

Traditional blessing was given by the senior pastor MBC Makhel Ch.Pfokrehrii  followed by traditional tune by Makhrai Rabu villagers and folk fusion by Mom’s in touch. 

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