January 2013

Thematic issue on the voluntary guidelines on the responsible governance of tenure
FAO, Land Tenure Journal issue no. 1 (2012)

This issue of FAO’s Land Tenure Journal focuses on the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security, endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security in May 2012. It brings together four articles that will help to better understand the contents of the Guidelines, their development process, their thematic focus and the strategies for their implementation. Read the issue …


Workshop on Community-based Identification and Inventorying of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Nepal
UNESCO event release, 21 January 2013

PARIS, FRANCE: This is the second among a series of capacity-building workshops focusing on implementation of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Held in Kathmandu, Nepal, from 21-28 January 2013, it will involve the training of 25 Nepalis on planning and carrying out inventories of the intangible cultural heritage in the country. Participants will discuss various approaches and methodologies on inventorying; take part in formulating the format for inventorying; and carry out a short pilot over a two-day field trip. The inventorying will include recording and documentation and thus involve basic training in equipment use and field methodologies. This will be followed by analysis of the materials collected and sessions regarding the best use of the inventoried materials. Read the release …

Storytelling in a digital age: digital storytelling as an emerging narrative method for preserving and promoting indigenous oral wisdom
Ashlee Cunsolo Willox et al, Qualitative Research, 22 October 2012, doi: 10.1177/1468794112446105

This article outlines the methodological process of a transdisciplinary team of indigenous and non-indigenous individuals, who came together in early 2009 to develop a digital narrative method to engage a remote community in northern Labrador in a research project examining the linkages between climate change and physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health and well-being. Aiming to find a method that was locally appropriate and resonant with the narrative wisdom of the community, yet cognizant of the limitations of interview-based narrative research, the team sought to discover an indigenous method that united the digital media with storytelling. Using a case study that illustrates the usage of digital storytelling within an indigenous community, this article shares how digital storytelling can stand as a community-driven methodological strategy that addresses, and moves beyond, the limitations of narrative research and the issues of colonization of research and the Western analytic project. In so doing, this emerging method can preserve and promote indigenous oral wisdom, while engaging community members, developing capacities, and celebrating stories and experiences. Read the abstract …

Lost indigenous language revived in Australia
BBC News, 22 January 2013

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: The Kaurna language once thrived and was spoken by the original inhabitants of Adelaide. But it began to disappear from daily use in South Australia as early as the 1860s. Ivaritji, an elder who was thought to be the last fluent speaker of Kaurna, died in the late 1920s. More than 80 years later, its unique sounds have been brought back to life. To restore this ancient tongue, researchers trawled through historical archives produced by religious groups and colonial officials to bring it back from the dead. “It is about self-identity and cultural identity as well,” explained Vincent “Jack” Buckskin, who runs evening courses for both Aboriginal and non-indigenous students. Read the article …

Peer Review: Reed ’14 Investigates Indigenous Remedies for Type 1 Diabetes
The Cornell Daily Sun, 23 January 2013

NEW YORK, USA: Spenser Reed ’14, a double major in food science and nutritional sciences, joined the search for natural pharmaceuticals this summer at the Cornell Biodiversity Laboratory in the Dominican Republic. In his research, Reed focused on evaluating the bioactive properties, or those that affect human cells, of plants used by indigenous groups to treat type 1 diabetes. After conducting a literature search regarding Dominican medicinal plant use and speaking with indigenous healers in Punta Cana, Reed selected five plants to survey for anti-diabetic properties. One of his choices – the avocado leaf – particularly stood out because it was rumored to be helpful in treating diabetes when brewed in a tea. To determine the bioactivity of his plant selections, Reed conducted a variety of in vitro tests after extracting compounds from the leaves. His trials included an antibiotic test; an allelopathy test that measures the ability of extracted compounds to influence growth and metabolism; and a toxicity test. The avocado leaf performed the best of any of the plants on these preliminary procedures. Read the article …

2013 Senior Indigenous Fellow Position
OHCHR, January 2013

The Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Section (IPMS) of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is seeking an indigenous person to fill the position of “Senior Fellow” for a duration of four months (1 May – 30 August 2013). The fellowship aims at giving the selected indigenous person an in-depth understanding of the international human rights system and mechanisms, especially those dealing with indigenous issues, and also allows him/her to develop an extensive contact network with OHCHR and other UN and NGOs staff in Geneva. The selected candidate will be entitled to a monthly stipend that will cover basic living expenses in Geneva, as well as return ticket and basic health insurance. Interested candidates should submit their applications by fax or by post to the IPMS at the OHCHR in Geneva by 15 February 2013. For queries and clarifications please contact: fellowship(at)ohchr.org. Further information …

EU must act to combat biopiracy, say MEPs
European Parliament news release, 15 January 2013

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: The EU must combat the biopiracy of multinationals that exploit plants with medicinal properties and traditional remedies originating from developing countries but fail to share the profits with indigenous peoples, said MEPs in a resolution adopted by a show of hands. According to the resolution, the practice of patenting and marketing the use of traditional knowledge and genetic resources without authorization can impede the economic progress of developing countries and runs counter to EU development policy goals. To prevent biopiracy, the resolution urges that the grant of a patent be made conditional upon a requirement to disclose the origin of genetic resources and traditional knowledge used in inventions, and provide evidence of consent from authorities in the provider countries, as well as of benefit-sharing. Read the release …

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