Internship position open at SPFII
SPFII release, 12 November 2013

An internship position is now available at the Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Applications should be submitted online at the UN Internship Programme webpage, with a copy sent to The specific job opening is JO # 31737 and the deadline for applications is 26 November 2013. Read the release … Visit the UN Internship Programme webpage …

Training Workshop: Community-based Inventorying of Intangible Cultural Heritage
22-28 November 2013 (Shymkent, Kazakhstan)

This training workshop is aimed at enhancing the national capacities in the field of safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, in particular inventorying under the 2003 UNESCO Convention on intangible cultural heritage, including practical technical skills in inventory-making. Experts from Kazakhstan will be trained in identifying, defining, inventorying and documenting intangible cultural heritage. They are in charge of implementing concrete safeguarding activities and conducting training in the management and appropriate transmission of intangible cultural heritage, while undertaking and/or coordinating related scientific, technical, legal, economic and other studies. The purpose of this session is to raise awareness about the value and diversity of the intangible cultural heritage and ensure community participation and consent in all activities concerning their intangible cultural heritage. Participants will be from governmental and non-governmental organizations, communities and institutions, with preference given to local communities. Further information …

COBRA Project: Future challenges, local solutions

Standing for Community Owned Best practice for sustainable Resource Adaptive management in the Guiana Shield, South America, the COBRA project brings together South American and European civil society organizations with extensive experience in enabling and disseminating grassroots solutions in the Guiana Shield region of Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. It is a multidisciplinary project focused on promoting community-owned solutions for the management of ecosystem services, and for response to emerging challenges related to climate change, biodiversity conservation and forest management, while at the same time maximizing social justice and ecological sustainability. Indigenous groups in South America are participating in the project, using a range of visual methods including participatory video and photography. Visit the project website …

Australia is the place of vanishing languages
Chris Raja, ABC, 19 November 2013

NORTHERN TERRITORY, AUSTRALIA: The definition of cultural heritage can vary. It can be physical – such as that contained in culturally-significant buildings, landscapes and artefacts – or intangible, contained in language, music, movies and customs, festivals, and food. But it’s not just old things, pretty things, or physical things. Cultural heritage involves strong human emotions. The role language, culture and heritage plays in a person’s life and community cannot be underestimated. Culture is the basis of all social identity and development, and cultural heritage is the legacy that each generation receives and passes on. In a sense, it is what makes us human. There are other considerations, such as what happens to a culture that is brought so low that its language is taken from it. Once you take away a nation’s language, you take away its soul. Once language is lost, people are forced to think and see the world differently. They lose their mother tongue.

In 2008, the NT Government announced that school programs were to be taught only in English for the first four hours of every school day. The policy was replaced with a new policy in 2012, which stated that home and local languages “can and should be used where appropriate to support the learning and acquisition of concepts.” The Four Hours In English policy had disastrous consequences. Languages are in threat of dying out. Australia is the place of vanishing languages. The truth is that the West, and in particular the English language, has run over most other languages and cultures like a semitrailer truck. It has been nothing short of devastating.

Recognising, respecting and celebrating languages, diversity and cultural heritage is integral to healthy, harmonious relationships. Cultural heritage is not static. Culture and language changes over time and approaches need to be dynamic and adaptive. Effective cultural heritage management can have wide economic, social and environmental benefits. Read the article …

Traditional owners pass on valuable knowledge
ABC Rural, 19 November 2013

CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA: If you’re an indigenous man or woman, where better to learn how to care for your country than being on it with the guidance of your own traditional owners? That opportunity has just been provided to a group of 12 youngsters who headed out onto country, at Mt Molloy, near the headwaters of the Mitchell River. Under the watchful eye of “Uncle” Graham Brady, the participants of the program have been learning about ethnobotany, weeds, erosion and even how to kill an animal humanely. Read the article …

24th regular session of the Human Rights Council
9-27 September 2013 (Geneva, Switzerland)

At its 24th session, the Human Rights Council adopted two resolutions of relevance to indigenous peoples. In A/HRC/24/L.21, it decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples for a period of three years on the same terms as provided in its resolution 15/14. In A/HRC/24/L.22, among other issue, the Human Rights Council requests the Expert Mechanism to continue its study on access to justice in the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples, with a focus on restorative justice and indigenous juridical systems, particularly as they relate to achieving peace and reconciliation, including an examination of access to justice related to indigenous women, children and youth and persons with disabilities; prepare a study on promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples in natural disaster risk reduction, prevention and preparedness initiatives, including consultation and cooperation with the indigenous peoples concerned in elaboration of national plans for natural disaster risk reduction; and continue to undertake the questionnaire survey to seek the views of States and indigenous peoples on best practices regarding possible appropriate measures and implementation strategies in order to attain the goals of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Council also recommended that the four themes identified in the outcome document of the Global Indigenous Preparatory Conference for the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples held in June 2013, in Alta, Norway, be taken into account when considering the specific themes for the round tables and interactive panel for the World Conference. Visit the session’s website … Read the meeting’s resolutions and decisions …

Sustainable Food: A Recipe for Food Security and Environmental Protection?
Science Communication Unit, University of the West of England, Bristol, Report produced for the European Commission DG Environment, November 2013

In view of current global food security and nutrition challenges, and research demonstrating the negative effect our current food production has on the environment, this report argues that the adoption of sustainable food systems, which can ensure ‘nutritional security’ without sacrificing the long-term health of the ecosystems, cultures and communities providing our food, may provide an answer. Download the report [pdf] …

The Seeds We Planted: Portraits of a Native Hawaiian Charter School
Noelani Goodyear-Ka’ōpua, University of Minnesota Press, 2013 | ISBN 978-0-8166-8048-1

In 1999, Noelani Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua was among a group of young educators and parents who founded Hālau Kū Māna, a secondary school that remains one of the only Hawaiian culture-based charter schools in urban Honolulu. This book tells the story of Hālau Kū Māna against the backdrop of the Hawaiian struggle for self-determination and the US charter school movement, revealing a critical tension: the successes of a school celebrating indigenous culture are measured by the standards of settler colonialism. The author examines how does an indigenous people use schooling to maintain and transform a common sense of purpose and interconnection of nationhood in the face of forces of imperialism and colonialism; and what roles race, gender, and place play in these processes. Her book, with its richly descriptive portrait of indigenous education in one community, offers practical answers steeped in the remarkable history of Hawaiian popular learning and literacy. Ultimately, it shows that indigenous education can foster collective renewal and continuity. Further information …

Implementing Declaration on Indigenous Rights Will Be Difficult or Impossible Without Greater Awareness of Human Rights Values, Third Committee Told
UN release, 21 October 2013

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK: Addressing UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) Third Committee discussions of social, humanitarian and cultural issues on 21 October 2013, James Anaya, Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, presented his final report and briefed Member States on activities undertaken during his time of service. He said he gave particular emphasis to building constructive dialogue between indigenous peoples and others, particularly on human rights issues and extractive industries operating in or near indigenous peoples’ territories. He expressed concern that UNDRIP is often seen as being non-binding and aspirational in nature, saying that “States should aspire to implement it.” UN representatives and several delegates stressed that greater awareness of human rights should underpin a renewed push for implementation. A message from Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Coordinator of the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, called for greater attention to the situation of indigenous women, who face “triple discrimination” on the basis of their indigenous identity, gender and economic status.

Among the report’s recommendations, it is stated that there is an urgent need for greater awareness about the human rights values and concerns represented by UNDRIP and about the standards that are articulated in the Declaration to address those concerns; and that greater efforts must be put in place to achieve such broad awareness among governmental and other influential actors, the international system, and the general public. Read the release … Download the UN Special Rapporteur’s report (A/68/317)[pdf] …

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