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|Today, 9th August 2022, marks United Nations International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. This annual observance pays homage to the date of the inaugural session of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations in 1982. The A Partnership For National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) joins with all Guyanese in extending to our Indigenous brothers and sisters in Guyana and worldwide the highest of respect and the greatest of admiration.|
This year’s theme, “The Role of Indigenous Women in the Preservation and Transmission of Traditional Knowledge” calls on us to suitably acknowledge the central role of Indigenous women in preserving Indigenous families, communities, culture, and identity. More specifically, the theme also calls on us to acknowledge their vital role as holders and disseminators of traditional knowledge.
According to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE
“refers to knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous peoples around the world which is developed through experience gained over the centuries, adapted to the local culture and environment and passed on orally from generation to generation. It tends to be collectively owned and takes the form of stories, songs, proverbs, cultural values, beliefs, rituals, laws and community rules, local language, art and agricultural practices, including the development of plant and animal species. It is sometimes referred to as oral tradition because it is transmitted orally but it is also expressed through song, dance, paintings, sculptures or carvings. Traditional knowledge is mainly practical knowledge and covers areas such as agriculture, fishing, health, horticulture, forestry and environmental management.”
Indigenous women, despite their often disadvantaged and vulnerable conditions, are the guardians of this wealth of experience and knowledge. Their leading role in raising and educating children and young people, and in maintaining community relations has helped to preserve traditional knowledge through the generations.
The APNU+AFC remains committed to the full realization of Indigenous rights as embodied in international conventions and in the Guyana constitution. In the specific context of this year’s theme of “The Role of Indigenous Women in the Preservation and Transmission of Traditional Knowledge”, we will work to ensure, among other objectives:
1. that women participate fully and effectively in community decision-making, such as in the use and management of land resources, and in community governance.
2. that the right of the Indigenous Peoples to maintain, control, protect and develop their language, collective intellectual property over their traditional knowledge, cultural heritage, and cultural expressions is fully respected.
3. that traditional knowledge is incorporated into government development plans aimed at eradicating poverty, lifting living standards, and enhancing communities.
4. that training and research programmes on indigenous traditional knowledge are promoted and sustained.
5. that the review of the Amerindian Act be placed foremost on Guyana’s legislative agenda and ensure that the government restarts consultations in this regard.
We can only guarantee these and other outcomes as a government.
We again salute our Indigenous brothers and sisters!