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Ifugao Knowledge and Formal Education -Systems of Learning in the Philippines

Even with the advent of international declarations and legal instruments that promote indigenous peoples’ rights, discourses on policies and programs affecting indigenous peoples continue to surface in academia and more proactively in international civil society movements. One of the vital concerns is indigenous peoples’ education that is discussed vis a vis human rights and policies on…

Higher Education on Nicaragua’s Multicultural Atlantic Coast

The University of the Autonomous Regions of the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua (URACCAN) is a pluri-ethnic university located in the Caribbean region of Nicaragua. The university provides higher education to some of the country’s most marginalized peoples, including the indigenous Miskitu, Mayanga, and Rama, and the Afro-Caribbean Creole and Garífuna, all of whom live in the eastern half of the…

Education For Nation-Building

Education in Native communities should uphold the values, interests, and cultures of Native communities and nations. While Native communities have their own methods of transmitting knowledge and understanding, Western society understands contemporary education from the point of view of the formal institutions of primary and secondary schools and college. The best way for Native community members…

Cultural Property as Global Commodities -The Case of Mijikenda Memorial Statues

As is still customary among the Mijikenda peoples of Kenya, back in the early 1980s, Katana,1 an elderly man from the Giriama subgroup, erected two carved memorial posts to commemorate his two recently deceased brothers. Called vigango (kigango when singular), such statues must be carved for deceased family members who belong to the Gohu society, a male fraternal organization. In 1985,…

Crafting Means to Empower Nahua Language and Culture

Challenging yet favorable conditions have prevented the ethnolinguistic group of the Balsas Nahuas in Mexico from fading away, despite the strong pressures during colonial and modern times to assimilate. Isolation, intense commerce, and ritual networking among their communities have produced a propitious context for Nahua cultural and linguistic survival, which is threatened by strong migration…

Building Bridges in the Bush

Pastoral land use has been a part of the East African landscape for over 3,000 years. As recently as 500 years ago the first ancestors of the Maasai, or “the people of the cattle,” moved into Kenya, dependent on livestock for subsistence. This nomadic people sustained their livelihood through mobility, moving in accordance with the availability of natural resources for livestock. Living without…

An Open Intercultural Conflict

The media spotlight has shone brightly on California’s new governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the aftermath of a historical recall election. But another controversy in the state has remained quietly under the national radar screen—a community debate is growing in the city of Davis over a street that was named Sutter Place in the late 1990s despite protests by American Indian groups that…

Women’s Voices Rise from the Chapare

“Noganchi huarmis jina sumaj organizazga canchis imactinchus cay injusticia cajtin.”   Life for women in the Chapare tropical region of Bolivia revolves around the ironic truth cocalera leader Leonida Zurita Vargas expresses in Quechua: “Thanks to the injustice, we as women are organized.”   Covering approximately 6 million acres, the Chapare is home to isolated indigenous…

TalanoaMälie -Innovative Reform Through Social Dialogue in New Zealand

The experiences of the Kakai Tonga Tu’a (Tongan people who have migrated to Aotearoa—New Zealand–from the Kingdom of Tonga) can be interpreted alongside the patterns of the tapestry of the lives of Tangata Whenua (“First People of the land”) in Aotearoa and indigenous colonized peoples elsewhere in the world. Our heritage can be traced to the islands of Niua Fo’ou, Niua Toputapu, Vava’u, Ha’apai…

Rewriting the Books in Ladakh

When they open to page 52 of the Indian government’s “brand new” class seven social science textbook later this year, students in Ladakh, a mountainous region of far northern India, will find a number of curious claims about the land they call home. One is that “Ladakh is a vast sandy desert with bare gravel slopes and rocky mountains. Because of the severe cold, vegetation can not survive.”…

Protecting Traditional Medicinal Knowledge In Zimbabwe

The African Potato (Hypoxis Hemeracallidae) was hot in Zimbabwe in 2000. For years it had appeared in some of the street markets in the capital of Harare alongside other muti, like ginger, as a remedy for stomach aches. Who first began marketing it for its “cure-all” effects cannot be known at this late date because all of the local muti merchants started selling it when they saw its…

Power and Place: Indian Education in America

By Vine Deloria, Jr. & Daniel R. Wildcat Fulcrum Publishing 2001 ISBN 1-55591859-X Vine Deloria, Jr., and Daniel R. Wildcat offer Power and Place: Indian Education in America as a “declaration of American Indian intellectual sovereignty and self-determination.” With such a revolutionary agenda at stake, they dispense with reformist proposals aimed at “sensitizing” educators and…

More Than Words -Mohawk Language and Cultural Revitalization in New York

For many centuries, the Kanienkehaka (also known as the Mohawk) spoke of a prophesy which said that one day they would return to the home of their ancestors in the Mohawk Valley. Mohawk territory encompassed what is now described as eastern to central New York and stretched from the Catskill Mountains north to southeastern Canada. That dream came true in 1993, when Tom Porter left the Akwesasne…

Internally Displaced People: A Global Survey

By Global IDP Project, Norwegian Refugee CouncilEarthscan Publications 2002 ISBN 1-85383-952-3 One of the great humanitarian challenges is responding to the needs of internally displaced peoples (IDPs). Worldwide, internally displaced people outnumber refugees two to one. AsInternally Displaced People: A Global Survey details in five regional profiles covering 48 countries, more than 25…

Maya Literacy Project Taking its Lessons to Mexican Universities -Sna Jtz’ibajom (The House of the Writer)

Since 1987 the literacy program of Sna Jtz’ibajom (The House of the Writer), a Cultural Survival Special Project, has awarded close to 7,000 diplomas to men, women, and children who have learned to read and write in Tzotzil or Tzeltal.This school system operates largely in teachers’ homes, where the teachers give two three-hour-long weekend classes. The six-month course is provided in the two…

Language Training in Oklahoma & Florida

With only the elderly still speaking or remembering their Native languages, the majority of Native American communities in North America have greatly intensified their efforts to revitalize their heritage languages. Yet just as Native communities differ in language, culture, and social institutions, so do their chosen methods of language maintenance and revitalization. Some communities target…

Kasiisi Primary School Opens in Uganda -Kasiisi/Kanyawara School Building Project

In the Kabarole district of Uganda, the prospect of education has not always been a reality for the children of rural subsistence farmers. Prior to 1997, the Batoro people’s Kasiisi primary school was crowded, dirty, and flea-infested. Children were not prepared, nor could their families afford, to continue further schooling, and teachers lacked the resources to acquire necessary training.The…

The South Caucasus: Nationalism, Conflict, and Minorities

By Anna Matveeva 2002 Minority Rights Group 2002 ISBN 1-85383-952-3 Aiming to “[shed] light on a region which is under-reported and little understood,” Anna Matveeva offers a coherent and insightful look at the current political status of the South Caucasus and what its effect on “small-numbered” peoples has been since the 1991 independence of the former Soviet republics. Specifically, in The…

Slovakia Sterilization Practices Criticized

The history of ethnic discrimination against the Roma minority in Europe has taken many forms. Some, like the Nazi efforts to exterminate large segments of the Roma population during the Holocaust, have been brutal, calculated, and quite direct. Other manifestations of racial prejudice, from the segregation of Roma communities in sub-standard urban ghettos in Italy and Greece to the British…

Roma Displaced by Athens 2004 Olympics Preparation

In six months the Summer Olympics will return to Athens, Greece, the birthplace of the ancient games on Mount Olympus and home to the first modern games in 1896. The Olympics have changed dramatically since the last time they were in that city. They have become a big business, attracting sponsorship from major multinational corporations, and their extensive financial investment is always…

Culture, Chaos & Complexity -Catalysts for Change in Indigenous Education

Education in one form or another has been an essential ingredient contributing to the cultural and physical survival of the indigenous peoples of Alaska for millennia in an oftentimes harsh and inscrutable arctic environment. The accumulated knowledge systems, worldviews, and ways of knowing derived from first-hand engagement with that environment were integrated into the fabric of the indigenous…

Indigenous Distance Education

Indigenous education has been misconstrued, misinterpreted, and miserably unsuccessful for many years in Canada. Western notions of education and of “educating the savage” were implemented with presumed supremacy while indigenous notions of community involvement and preservation of oral histories were considered by Western educators to be deficient. As a result, indigenous education has been…

Indigenous Education and the Prospects for Cultural Survival

All too often, the world’s 350 million indigenous peoples have been forcibly expelled from their ancestral lands to make way for ill-conceived development schemes, colonization programs, and military occupation. Dispossessed of their lands—and hence their economic livelihoods—many indigenous peoples have been forced to migrate to cities and towns in search of work. Historically offered the least…

Settling Unrecognized Bedouin Villages in Israel

In February 2003 the New England Tikkun Community voted unanimously to adopt the unrecognized Bedouin village of Wadi Na’am as a sister community. Four thousand Bedouin live in the village in the shadow of a toxic waste dump. Many suffer from asthma, eye infection, high rates of miscarriages and other health problems.   Among the 140,000 Bedouin living in the Negev region of Israel, half of the…

Aborigines Make New Beginnings in Outback Schools

The Universal Declaration on Human Rights identifies twin goals for the education process: the full development of the human personality and the strengthening of respect for human rights. The two go hand in hand. In this the final year of the U.N. Decade for Human Rights Education (1995-2004)—a decade dedicated to empowering people to stand up for their rights and to respect the rights of others—…