Category Archives: Indigenous Achievers

How NYers Endured Unbearable Summers Before A.C.: Gothamist

During a heat wave in 1934, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported:15,000 persons spent last night on the beach at Coney Island and several thousand more sought relief from the heat in Brooklyn parks and playgrounds. Additional thousands slept on roof tops and fire escapes in the Brownsville, Williamsburg and other crowded sections of Brooklyn. In Manhattan, many slept on the grass in Central Park and on the open piers in the East River.

Source: How NYers Endured Unbearable Summers Before A.C.: Gothamist

Palestinians create seed bank to save their farming heritage in the Holy Land’s hills | World news | The Guardian

In the rocky hills of the Palestinian West Bank, farmers learned long ago how to adapt to extremes of climate that make spring the shortest season. In a part of the world where agriculture was first practised, they found crops that could survive even if watered only by the occasional rain storm. But a form of farming that informed both Palestinian culture and identity – seeping into the language, songs and sayings – has increasingly come under threat from a combination of factors, including manmade climate change, the incursion onto Palestinian land by Israeli settlement, and agricultural companies’ marketing of hybrid varieties to farmers. Now, however, an initiative is being launched to save Palestine’s agricultural plant heritage, with the first seed bank dedicated to preserving traditional varieties used by farmers for generations – before they vanish for ever. The Palestine Heirloom Seed Library – to be formally launched in June – is part of an effort both to educate Palestinians about traditional forms of agriculture in the Holy Land, which are in danger of being forgotten, and about the culture associated with them. The seed library will preserve “heirloom” varieties particularly adapted to the West Bank. Supported by the Qattan Foundation, the project is the brainchild of Vivien Sansour, who studied and worked abroad before returning to the West Bank city of Beit Jala.

Source: Palestinians create seed bank to save their farming heritage in the Holy Land’s hills | World news | The Guardian

Preserving Language Key to Overcoming Native Suicide Epidemic – Intercontinental Cry

“The data reported above indicate that, at least in the case of BC, those bands in which a majority of members reported a conversational knowledge of an Aboriginal language also experienced low to absent youth suicide rates. By contrast, those bands in which less than half of the members reported conversational knowledge suicide rates were six times greater.” It is important to drive this point home. In the First Nation communities where native language retention was above 50 per cent (with at least half of the community retaining or acquiring conversational fluency) suicide rates were virtually null, zero. Yet in the bands where less than half of community members demonstrated conversational fluency in their native tongue, suicide rates spiked upwards of 6 times the rates of surrounding settler communities. It is also worth noting how overall spikes in suicide prevalence found in Indigenous communities around the world indicate a strong correlation with the socio-political marginalization brought on by colonization. In other words, the suicide epidemic – which is at heart a crisis of mental health – is directly related to, if not directly caused by, the loss of culture and identity set in motion by colonialism.

Source: Preserving Language Key to Overcoming Native Suicide Epidemic – Intercontinental Cry

Pope: ′We can speak of an Arab invasion′ of Europe | News | DW.COM | 04.03.2016 And the good that will result…

“How many invasions has Europe experienced in the course of its history? It has always been able to overcome them; moving forward and finding itself better through the exchange between cultures,” the pope said, in an apparent reference to Europe’s Renaissance, which was partially fostered through the preservation of Greek philosophical works by Muslim scholars in Spain and elsewhere in the Arab world. EU member states have struggled to form a comprehensive strategy to handle an influx of asylum seekers and migrants – many from war-torn countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa – that saw more than 1 million people arriving in the 28-nation bloc in 2015. Ex-Soviet satellite states, including Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, have told Brussels that they refuse to take in more asylum seekers under an EU plan to relocate refugees according to a quota system. “Sometimes I wonder where you’ll find a [French Foreign Minister Robert] Schumann or [German Chancellor Konrad] Adenauer, these great founders of the European Union,” the pope said. Countering populism, extremism The pope responded to the rise of far-right populism in Europe, which has given way to such movements as Germany’s “anti-Islamization” PEGIDA as well as anti-immigrant political parties, by stating that ideologies are the “poison of politics.” “When a country closes itself to a healthy notion of politics, it ends up being a prisoner hostage to ideological colonization. Ideologies are the poison of politics. You have the right be right or left. But ideology takes away freedom. “If you want to avoid everyone turning towards extremes, you must nurture friendship and the pursuit of the common good, beyond political affiliations.” Francis also announced that the Vatican is preparing a meeting with officials from al-Azhar University in Cairo, known as the Muslim world’s most prominent institution of Sunni thought.

Source: Pope: ′We can speak of an Arab invasion′ of Europe | News | DW.COM | 04.03.2016

Aboriginal minister Bess Price denied request to speak Indigenous language in NT Parliament – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

The failed request from Local Government Minister Bess Nungarrayi Price came after the central Australian MP was warned over disorderly conduct after she interjected in a parliamentary debate in Warlpiri, prompting NT Speaker Kezia Purick to declare that “the language of the assembly is English”. “Should a member use a language other than English without the leave of the assembly it will be ruled disorderly and the member will be required to withdraw the words,” Ms Purick said in Parliament last December after receiving complaints from Labor MPs about Minister Price’s Warlpiri interjection. Late last week — in part prompted by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaking an Aboriginal language in Parliament during his Closing the Gap address — Minister Price wrote to the Speaker challenging the Parliament’s interpretation of its standing orders. “I seek clarification as to where in the standing orders it states the official language of the chamber can be English only,” Minister Price said in a letter obtained by the ABC. “I am very concerned that our Parliament may be seen as not providing mutual respect and parity to our Aboriginal members and our constituents. I feel that I cannot effectively represent my electorate without using my first language, Warlpiri.”

Source: Aboriginal minister Bess Price denied request to speak Indigenous language in NT Parliament – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Indigenous Otomí-Ñätho Communities in Mexico Exercise Their Autonomy to Defend Their Lands

Meanwhile, members of the National Human Rights Commission, who were invited by the comuneros (a Mexican term for members of an agrarian community) to document the assembly, left without warning.This did not stop the indigenous community members from exercising their rights in line with convention 169 of the International Labour Organization, the Mexican Constitution and agrarian legislation.During the assembly, by a show of hands, they unanimously choose the “candidates of the people”.The Ñätho, however, say that they were forced to confront a new assembly convened by the Agrarian Ombudsman without legal grounds on 18 January 2016.The Ñätho worried that the local government and the pro-government Institutional Revolutionary Party would impose another parallel authority instead of the authority which the people already had elected.They therefore decided to make efforts to reinforce their vote.“We are getting organised and visiting all the comuneros so we can win again”, said Abundio Rivera, one of the local leaders.In a statement released on 12 January, the comuneros criticised the town’s former authorities, who had links to the Institutional Revolutionary Party, for handing out 2,000 Mexican pesos to each person to persuade them not to support the chosen “candidates of the people”.

Source: Indigenous Otomí-Ñätho Communities in Mexico Exercise Their Autonomy to Defend Their Lands

‘Nothing changed’: Martu elders fight against removal of Aboriginal children – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

There are now about 15,000 Aboriginal children in care, compared to about 2,400 in 1997.In WA, the number increased by 9 per cent in the last year, making Aboriginal children 15 times more likely to be in care than their non-Aboriginal counterparts.Heather Samson alluded to the film Rabbit-Proof Fence when trying to illustrate her despair.The movie told the true story of three girls taken from the Jigalong area to the Moore River Native settlement, north of Perth, in the 1930s.”Nothing changed,” Ms Samson said.”This Stolen Generation never ended.”They think it is changed, but nothing. I don’t believe it.”

Source: ‘Nothing changed’: Martu elders fight against removal of Aboriginal children – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)