[i]"In the book Indigenous Peoples: A Global Quest for Justice (1987), published by the Commission for Humanitarian Issues, we find a “working definition” of the term “indigenous peoples”: Indigenous populations are composed of the existing descendents of the peoples who inhabited the present territory of a country wholly or partially at the time when persons of a different culture or ethnic origin arrived there from other parts of the world, overcame them and, by Conquest, settlement or other means reduced them to a non-dominant or colonial situation." This "working definition" of us descendants of the First Peoples consists of meaningless English words which gloss over the near annihilation that colonialists brought and continue to inflict by denying the First Peoples our right to exist. One only has to point to our recognition and acknowledgement that was compelled on the establishment/imagined political communities by the UNDRIP. Before that, and indeed still today, we were/are still arguably in the vanishing race era, as Euro-Americans and Euro-Canadians remain, for the most part, ignorant of how our world views, land tenure systems and stewardship were far more advanced than the empty rhetoric of "hunter-gatherers and nomadic socieities." And that which the latter were NOT before their food supply was purposely targeted for slaughter to open up the west for settlement in the 1800s; but wherein state officials did the same to the Inuit sled dogs in the 1950s, again to bring about starvation to the Inuit and the forced treatising of indigenous lands and territories where the terms and conditions are as written and enforced as the newcomers' history was. If every American schoolboy was compelled to study the extent and influence of the First Peoples' cultural lifeways and ways of life FROM the land, our mother tongues, value and belief systems encompassing the interdependence of all living life, as well as our wholistic education systems - the impact this could have had on forever extinguishing the notion of land ownership and imposed jurisdiction where absolute power corrupted absolutely, their man-made science and their self-made ruling elite might not have succeeded in destroying us and our Mother since the Industrial Age.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - 12:22