Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Currents. Discussion »
NEW YORK Today is International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples.
Mayan elders Virginia Ajxup (l to r), Juan Sapil and Oren Lyons of the Onondaga Nation
deliver ceremonial prayers at the opening of the UN.
To celebrate the observance, the United Nations will shine a spotlight on indigenous media television, radio, film, and social media and their role in helping to preserve indigenous peoples' cultures, challenge stereotypes, and influence the social and political agenda.
There an estimated 370 million indigenous people in some 70 countries around the world. Practicing unique traditions, they retain social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live. Spread across the world from the Arctic to the Amazon, indigenous peoples reflect the world's cultural diversity and are the custodians of its bio-diversity.
An event at UN Headquarters in New York on the theme of "Indigenous media, empowering indigenous voices," will feature remarks by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Mr. Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs; Grand Chief Edward John, Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and others. This will be followed by a panel discussion with representatives of indigenous media organizations from across the world and video clips produced by indigenous peoples.
The panel, moderated by Amy Stretten, Chickahominy, will include Kenneth Deer, Mohawk, founder of the newspaper 'The Eastern Door'; Nils Johan Heatta, chairman of the World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network; J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Native Hawaiian, professor at Wesleyan University and radio producer; and Angel Tibán Guala, Director of the television of Movimiento Indígena Campesino de Cotopaxi (TV MICC) from Ecuador.
“From community radio and television to feature films and documentaries, from video art and newspapers to the internet and social media, indigenous peoples are using these powerful tools to challenge mainstream narratives, bring human rights violations to international attention and forge global solidarity,”
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message for the day.
“They are also developing their own media to reflect indigenous values and fight against myths and misconceptions.”
photo credit UN Devra Berkowitz;
posted August 9, 2012 10:57 am edt