Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Economic and Social Council

Twelfth session

10:00 to 13:00 – the Trusteeship Chambers

By Wayne Dean Doyle

A culturally exquisite showcase of tradition and commitment to the indigenous peoples kicked off this vibrant discussion at the UN HQ today with focus on the study of indigenous universities, the indigenous knowledge systems, and history of contemporary social circumstances of indigenous peoples are embedded in the curriculum of education systems.

 A representative of the Indigenous people offered a tribute to the victims of the recent hurricane in Oklahoma with a minute’s silence. Meanwhile the individual offers an indigenous prayer.

 Ms. Cunningham Kain, an Indigenous Miskita woman from the community of Waspam, located on the banks of the Wangki River in Nicaragua. Spoke of the current education system and the need for the recent evaluation which was discussed during the last session. Some findings have been published and a meeting in Nicaragua in 2012.

A higher education forum for indigenous peoples was held in Mexico last year in relation to the collective aspirations of the indigenous peoples has now been published and  the need for their human rights to be acknowledged, the process of marginalisation can no longer be facilitated. Many of the conventional methods of education systems tend to overlook indigenous people and their culture. The need to protect the needs and intellectual knowledge of indigenous people, specific ref3erence of article 31 of the WIPO declaration

Brief discussion of the following points:

  • There need to   be a cultural accessibility
  • Sometimes exclusion or complete marginalisation occurs by the contemporary education system.
  • Indigenous knowledge is incorporated only when it is based in the curriculum
  • Generally no incorporation of those with indigenous knowledge
  • Lack of didactic material

ALVARO ESTEBAN POP, Forum member from Guatemala, stated that the current trend and insight being provided is a serious concern in relation to Indigenous children in Latin America – Armed conflict in the region compelled many indigenous people to emigrate their homes. Extreme poverty and inequality is pushing the indigenous peoples into rural areas which lack educational resources, this in turn leads to family breakdown.

Furthermore, boys and girls migrating to the united states in search of a better life and to support their families with a better income is having negative effects on the social capital of family life. Essentially the economic and social rights are being violated, leaving many young indigenous people turning to Increase violence and drug trafficking.

Major challenges

  • Statistics – lack of statistical knowledge in all aspects of indigenous life
  • Broaden the state’s budget to improve the lives of indigenous people
  • Continuity is needed to develop and maintain a tangible system

Panel discussion on Agenda item B

Chief Edward John – Health, Education and Culture discussed early childhood education and its importance in order to give these individuals the best possible opportunity to achieve their life goals. There are many significant barriers which limit success and education after decades of pressure to conform to the “norm”. Education frameworks must be at the core of all reforms implemented in regards to the indigenous people   and the struggle to maintain their culture.

Further Points made:

  • Need concrete commitment s and positive difference
  • Bilingual and cultural educations
  • Universal primary education – post 2015 sustainable development goals- recognition of indigenous people
  • curricula Lilikala kame Eleihiwa of the indigenous Hawaiian knowledge discusses Quality of education. Ms.Eleihiwaa sang call from ancestral knowledge.

Some of the positive trends within her institute are the following:

  • Greatly increased the amount of indigenous people assisted
  • Higher education so we can access the world of the west
  • Declaration of the rights of indigenous peoples
  • Before we were taken over!!  much reference to the influence of the west and the lack of respect for the land or the culture

Mark Walton – UNICEF

  • Equal access, secure the rights of all girls and boys around the world and this includes education
  • Provisions in the CRC- should be compulsory and free to all – it should be but it’s not all around the world
  • Respect the Childs identity, culture and educational traditions
  • Education is the great driver of sustainable development- the one asset that can never be taken from you
  • A ten percent increase in your earnings ever year for every year you stay in school
  • “Various spill over effects”
  • The MGD’s Goal two – primary education for all
  • 61 million children who should be in school today but aren’t
  • Girls are still disadvantaged in many parts of the world
  • Ethnic minorities and indigenous countries
  • This alone is contained within eight countries

The meeting concludes with open discussion from member states.

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