We at Cemipos stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples and ethnic groups in Myanmar. Groups
CEMiPoS members Leni Charbonneau, Hiroshi Maruyama, Leena Huss, Kamrul Hossain, and Kasia Pastuszak, as well as researchers, artists, and activists from all around the world, have produced a new book Decolonizing Futures: Collaborations for Renewed Discourses on Indigenous Rights in the Post-UNDRIP Era to be published next year. The work is the culmination of years of research and advocacy, and will become an invaluable resource for Indigenous rights allies and policymakers.
The contents of the book and abstract of each chapter are outlined below.
Forward: The Decolonization of Indigenous Ainu Women
by Ryoko Tahara (trans. Mashiyat Zaman)
Introduction: Assembling the Multilocal, Multivocal Language for the Post-UNDRIP Era
by Leni Charbonneau
PART I: Ameliorating Historical Injustices Through Rights-Based Discourse
Negotiating Indigenous Rights: From Transnational Networks to Making Room in International Law
by Kamrul Hossain
Indigenous peoples are distinct in terms of their origin. They have been the native groups of peoples in the territory in which they live. They maintain a separate identity around the language they speak, culture and religion they practice and the ways of lives they traditionally preserve and promote. Given that the state-centric notion of sovereignty is unknown to them, and that these groups of peoples have never maintained any external or internal territorial divides within the vast lands held collectively, these lands have been increasingly grabbed in the name of sovereignty by the dominant groups. Over the centuries, therefore, they have been colonized by the settlers making them gradually marginalized in their own territories.
This historic injustice, as well as the need for recognition as the distinct groups of people, has been first raised in the League of Nations (LoN) during 1920s and 1930s. However, Euro-centric development of international law during this point in history had not paid any attention to indigenous issue, and thereby the issue found no place in LoN agenda. Nevertheless, after the creation of the United Nations (UN), indigenous movements started becoming more formalized as there were emergences of various indigenous organizations in different geographical locations. The 1970s saw a significant development – strong networks of indigenous organizations. These networks were able to successfully bring some of their issues to different fora including within the UN, making their voices internationally heard. Against this background, this paper particularly explores: how the transnational indigenous movements had matured overtime to make a room, and what, for indigenous peoples within the framework of international law.
Indigenous Self-Government in Chile: Perspectives from National Governance
by Quentin Gumucio Castellon
There is a growing demand for autonomy among First Nations in Chile, which is a country with a highly centralised republic, lacking the conceptual means to conceive things such as collective rights and autonomies within the territory. The aim of this paper is to establish certain criteria that could conform a conceptual framework for indigenous autonomies. This framework can be applied to all first nations acknowledged in the country and particularly in relation with the critical Mapuche situation.
Much of the needed material for this study has been collected through interviews and contacts with Mapuche, politicians and various specialists in the issue. There are now oft-repeated calls for urgent dialogue, but the fact is that there are no valid interlocutors among the Mapuche to have a dialogue with to begin with. The possible outcome is thus to formulate a possible basis for the conformation of institutional First Nation governance that will permit a meaningful dialogue between the government and indigenous representatives.
Resistance for Repatriation: The Enduring Legacy of the Colonial Robbery of Ainu Graves
by Hiroshi Maruyama and Leni Charbonneau
This chapter explores the landscape of policies pertinent to the Ainu in the post-UNDRIP era in Japan. It provokes the efficacy of post-UNDRIP policy implementation as practices sustaining the colonial robbery of Ainu graves are allowed to continue. The first section of this paper provides an overview to the activist movements headed by Ainu leaders. By highlighting ongoing legal conflicts between Ainu activists and imperial institutions– with special reference to Hokkaido University– this section points to the contradictions with Japan’s stated obligations to the realization of Ainu rights as an Indigenous population and the institutionalized practices which continue to infringe upon these rights. The second section contextualizes the history and ideological discourse concerning race science which permeated Japan during the peak of its colonization of Hokkaido. The narratives of racial difference underpinning Japanese-Ainu relations from the 19th century to the present have provided the launching pad for the removal of over 1600 Ainu human remains from their original or intended burial sites.
A third section elaborates these contradictions by pointing to the degenerate interpretation of Ainu rights as demonstrated by the precepts outlined in a recently ratified New Ainu Law. Specifically, we demonstrate that the institutionalized commitments to Ainu rights are in direct conflict with both Ainu political demands and international standards regarding repatriation of human remains. Finally, this paper concludes by considering how repatriation campaigns have been led in other Indigenous polities, specifically in Fennoscandian areas of Sapmi, the lands of the Sámi people. By highlighting some of the successes of these political movements, we suggest that future policy agendas for the repatriation rights of Ainu people may do well to adopt strategies that have paved the way for increased decolonization in other Indigenous regions around the world
Shared Histories a World Apart: Norwegian Sapmi and Indigenous Australia
by Nina Sivertsen
Though literally a world apart, the Sámi in Norway have experienced centuries of internal colonization and harsh assimilation policies similar to that of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia. Having a shared history, it is vital to remember that all Indigenous peoples have a historical path significantly altered by colonization and for everyone to acknowledge that the label Aboriginality has been used to group the different experiences of distinct Indigenous peoples as one.
This chapter will explore Norwegian Sámi and Aboriginal Australian policies through history, and the consequences of these policies today, such as how colonization led to the introduction of certain policies that have had a negative impact on quality of life and health. Historically, Indigenous people have had little power to influence these factors and the public policy decisions that affect their lives and health. In particular women’s health seen in a socio-political context of assimilation and colonization, have an impact on communities, families, children and the future. Every human life is connected to a woman’s story and Aboriginal women’s stories not only tell of the wisdom gained from generations; they also tell of multiple ways that colonizing forces have disrupted the practices and bonds of Indigenous mothering.
Despite gains, Sámi people still struggle for recognition respecting their rights as an Indigenous people under international law. Simultaneously Australia is being held back by its unresolved relationship between the Government and its Indigenous populations. Clearly, these issues should be dealt with by listening to the voices of the Sámi and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, and by considering them with respect and as full and equal partners. This highlights the need for two-eyed seeing, and calls for co-construction of culture revitalization as a road ahead
PART II: The Centrality of Place: Rooting Indigenous Well-Being in Land and Natural Resources
Decolonizing Dispossession: Epistemic Violence and Resource Rights in the Post-UNDRIP Era
by Leni Charbonneau
This chapter seeks to contribute to scholarship grappling with a simple question with complex dimensions: what is the nature of international law, particularly pertaining to Indigenous resource rights? What is it about the environment of this domain which shapes the ways Indigenous livelihoods can be articulated? In essence, I am concerned with the ways in which key terms in Indigenous rights discourse contour the political possibilities available to these individuals and communities.
Overall, my argument centers around the claim that the international law framework regarding resource rights does not accommodate multivariate ways of knowing an environment, and this enraptures both environmental management schemes and use of and engagement with “resources.” In short, this paper argues that the topic of Indigenous resource rights should be regarded as an epistemologicalissue, and that pursuing Indigenous rights in the post-UNDRIP era should emphasize epistemological exchange as a foundation to autonomy.
Extraction on Indigenous Peoples’ Lands and Territories and the Potential of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Other Human Rights Instruments
by June Lorenzo
Indigenous Peoples on nearly every continent have suffered the worst impacts of resource extraction; their lands have been deforested, mined, contaminated and dewatered without recognition of any rights to their territories. Indigenous peoples have been removed from their homelands to make room for resource extraction, and in most cases, compensation has been insufficient and unsustainable. On several continents, Indigenous peoples have suffered the ravages of uranium mining, and consequent environmental disasters. They continue to struggle with poverty and poor health, among other socio-economic indicators, while multinationals, their investors and colonial settler societies benefit.
Given this state of affairs, has the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples made a difference in the last 12 years? What has happened on the ground since 2007? This chapter examines real and potential impacts of the UN Declaration and other international instruments on resource extraction in Indigenous peoples’ territories, with a focus on Indigenous peoples who are affected by projects involving uranium mining and the nuclear fuel cycle. After an examination of underlying colonial policies that affect the land status of Indigenous peoples, I share the story of one Indigenous people’s experience with uranium mining, and discuss the potential for different outcomes using the human rights standards in the UN Declaration to assert rights implicated in extraction projects and projects involving the nuclear fuel cycle.
Dialogue Among Indigenous Youth and Physicians in the Dourado Reservation, Matoa Gross do Sul
by Maria de Lourdes Beldi de Alcantara
The main aim of this study is to offer an analysis of the dialogue which takes place between the physician, with a purely biomedical background, and the indigenous patients– in particular the indigenous youth of the Dourados Reservation. My role as a medical anthropologist is to facilitate dialogue between physicians and nurses with biomedical training and the indigenous youth population who go to the health posts for care. The opacity of the discourse between the biomedicine and the illness (Kleinman, 1988) is the base for misinterpretation occurring on both sides.
“Our Voices Are Never Heard”: Towards the Realization of Indigenous Rights and a Healthy Life for the South Sami in Dearna
by Sagka Stångberg, Marie Persson Njajta, Leena Huss and Hiroshi Maruyama
The life of the South Sami people in Tärna, Sweden, has been threatened by the State colonial policies and actions towards them such as racial biology-based ideologies, influx of forcibly relocated reindeer herders from the north, water regulations for hydropower generation, confiscation of land, etc. Moreover, the South Sami, who make a livelihood by combining fishing, hunting, reindeer herding, and small-scale farming, are still denied their rights to reindeer herding, land and traditional livelihoods as Indigenous peoples. Although they have suffered from trauma and ill health caused by those colonial policies and actions, these realities facing the South Sami do not attract people’s attention.
In the meantime, it arouses a hope that they are striving to revitalize their language and culture. Linguistic and cultural revitalization is by many Indigenous communities seen as a way to empowerment and healing after a history of colonization. That revitalization is, however, by no means an easy task for the South Sami in Tärna owing to the fact that colonization is not simply something that happened in the past. In fact, there is a constant shrinking space for the local South Sami culture to flourish and now an emergent mining project is feared to threaten local Sami people’s livelihoods and health in Tärna. Due to the State colonial action the South Sami in the area have been obstructed to belong to the so-called Sameby. Thereby, they lack enjoyment of obtaining their right to free, prior and informed consent or any influence on decisions affecting them. In this paper, we will make a wide range of their struggles visible, and link justice, culture and health in order to get a deeper understanding of the possibilities of reversing the negative trends, and open new paths to a healthier future for the South Sami in Tärna.
PART III: Disrupting Bodies: Indigenous Women as Colonial Commodities
Nomadic Stories: Performative Projects of Amareya Theater as Processual Tools in the Struggle for Recovery of Identity and Empowerment of Indigenous Women
by Katarzyna Pastuszak
In this article I outline and analyse the transcultural performative project entitled Nomadic Woman - a performance/para-document circulating around the true life story of Louise Fontain (Greenland/Norway). Fontain, who is an Inuit, was deported as a child to a foster family in Denmark within a Danish government educational/colonisation programme carried out in 1960s/1970s. Louise Fontain, like hundreds other Inuit people, lost her roots, mother tongue, identity, contact with the family. In 2012 the first version of the performance was premiered in Gdansk (Poland) with participation of Louise Fontain as central figure using a number of private daily-life objects (traditional Inuit women knives ulo) to cut the fish while storytelling. These objects, have become an example of vibrant matter and powerful marker of Fontain's identity that travel together with the performance to different locations including her hometown Sisimiut (Greenland) and thus symbolically cut through layers of silence surrounding Danish colonisation of Greenland.
In 2017 Nomadic Womanwas presented in Pirka Kotan Ainu Cultural Centre in Sapporo. For this purpose we incorporated into the creative process two guest performers - indigenous Ainu women (Tsugumi Matsudaira and Utae Ehara). This helped enrich the matrix of the performance, revealing hidden stories of loss and retrieval of ethnic and personal identity. In this paper I will outline how the creative work on the performance Nomadic Woman fuelled the process of “corporeal decolonisation” and realisation of “nomadic identity” (with ref. to the concept of fluid subjectivity theorised by Rosi Braidotti) of the chosen representatives of Inuit and Ainu ethnic minorities. I will highlight how this process was made possible through creating a complex relationship between objects, individual stories, places/landscapes, corporealities and identities that form the living texture of the Nomadic Woman. In the last part of my article I link my findings related to Nomadic Woman with the notion of symmetrical archeology and place it against Graham Harman's Object-Oriented Ontology in order to propose that certain types of live performance can trespass the impossibly immediate encounters.
Nookimisak-Nangdowenjgewad: An Indigenous Grandmothers’ Initiative in Response to Human Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation of Young Aboriginal Women
by Janice Cindy Gaudet, Sheila Smith, Isabelle Meawasige
Nookimisak-Nangdowenjgewad, Grandmothers Taking Care is an Indigenous Grandmothers’ initiative that emerged out of Project Northern Outreach as part of PACT-Ottawa’s (Persons Against the Crime of Trafficking in Humans) human trafficking awareness initiatives. This initiative involved a circle of twelve Anishinaabek Grandmothers who formed an action alliance designed to examine the nature of trafficking in their communities, and to prevent human trafficking through community action and support.
This chapter will share the story of how this project emerged out of a colonial framework and was inspired by Grandmothers’ organizational ways. We share how our visiting methodology fostered this initiative in an effort to empower Anishinaabe Kweok (Aboriginal Youth) through cultural knowledge, traditional governance, and community engagement. Our experiences taught us how to shift away from colonial processes as a way to honor the wisdom and ways of our Grandmothers.
Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Prostitution Reform in Aotearoa New Zealand: An Overview
by Fern Eyles and Jade Kake
The lead up to, and passing of, the 2003 prostitution law reform in New Zealand has received considerable controversy. Most criticism has focused on the composition and features of the industry, with little consideration given to the configuration of the working group informing the law review. Under Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the Crown has a duty to consult with Māori regarding issues that impact them. Whilst the composition of the working group was largely predictable, the authors contend that the exclusion of representatives for tangata whenua (Indigenous) and wāhine (women) interests (and, arguably, the inclusion and weighting of others), and failure to appropriately consult tangata whenua in the development and review of legislation is a breach of Article Two. The Waitangi Tribunal was established in 1975 to investigate Crown breaches, by act or omission, of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. It is currently conducting an inquiry into Crown acts and omissions that have systematically disadvantaged Māori women. This research has been conducted, in part, in the preparation of evidence for the Wai 2717 claim, as part of the wider mana wāhine thematic inquiry. The Tribunal is able to make non-binding recommendations, which, if adopted, could see significant policy and legislative reform, and funding made available for Māori-led responses, such as exiting and other support services.
Research questions include - did the Crown meet its obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi in the development and review of the Prostitution Reform Act 2003? Furthermore, how were the interests of Māori -- in particular, Māori women -- considered in determining the configuration of the Prostitution Law Review Committee? Research methods include the review of existing literature, and analysis of parliamentary records and media reporting. Possible outcomes include recommendations for Treaty compliant legislative reform, which could include reconfiguration of the Prostitution Law Review Committee and a full review of the Act.
PART IV: Towards Our Own Language: Linguistic and Cultural Revitalization
Craft and Nonviolent Resistance: Nonviolent Resistance in the Iku Mochila Women’s Craft
by Stefania Castelblanco Perez
The objective of this article is to identify nonviolent resistance manifestations through craft objects made by Iku indigenous women, in particular the knitted bag called mochila. The Iku mochila as a craft will be presented here as a process, practice and as an object. This craft object has in addition to its utilitarian functions, also social, ecological and political ones and it can be understood as a method of nonviolent resistance capable of confronting structural violence, territorial and environmental conflicts and different forms of colonial domination.
This article proposes a diverse epistemological approach since it is not only supported by knowledge that comes exclusively from one discipline such as design, political science or history but, instead, is nurtured by all of them. This study is also nurtured by indigenous women’s knowledge acquired through the observation and analysis of both their political processes and their material culture.
Furthermore, it is structured in four sections, as follows: first, a brief approach to the theory of design objects and their implicit meanings; second, a reflection on the nonviolent Gandhian philosophy, the concept of nonviolent resistance and craft; third, an analysis of the manifestations of nonviolent resistance in the Iku mochila and in its knitting practice in terms of materiality and meaning, and finally, a reflection on the mochilas as objects capable to communicate nonviolent resistance and other messages of a political and ecological nature.
Education and birthright: Lessons from small Indigenous schools in the Americas
by Elizabeth Sumida Huaman
Over the past several decades, Indigenous educators have made considerable strides in addressing schooling as a colonial legacy while offering alternative approaches that re envision schooling as spaces and processes for protecting and revitalizing Indigenous cultural practices, languages, and epistemologies (Battiste 2002; Bishop 2012; Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua 2013; Kawagley 2006; Smith 2000). This chapter thus takes an Indigenous-centered stance that acknowledges the persistence of coloniality vis-à-vis formal schooling and increasing global neoliberal demands while highlighting small Indigenous schools in three distinct nation states and geographies. Located in Cusco (Peru), Minnesota (United States), and southwestern Ontario (Canada), these schools exemplify innovative community-based educational design aiming to achieve balance between local Indigenous worldviews and dominant Western standards of educational achievement.
Drawing from long-term collaborative and participatory ethnographic fieldwork, the chapter describes the sociopolitical, cultural, and ecological landscape of each school, including analysis of school details, from infrastructure to curricula, yet focuses specifically on two interrelated elements that underscore the purpose of each school—environmental/natural resource and Indigenous language resurgences. As a framework, the notion of resurgence (Corntassel 2012) shifts discourse from state-centered ideologies of resource protections and rights to Indigenous-minded conceptualizations and practices. Through the lens of Indigenous education and comparative Indigenous education research methodologies, such renewed discourses and shared educational practices can inform educators, researchers, policymakers, and Indigenous communities and schools elsewhere and ultimately enrich our collective understanding of the multitude of Indigenous endeavors towards self-determination in this UNDRIP era.
Rethinking Amejo Through Language Policy Analysis in the Ryukyu Islands: International and Indigenous Perspectives
by Madoka Hammine
“When I see a beautiful woman, I start speaking Japanese”
- Policy as a Problem and a Possible Solution to Language Endangerment in Japan
Indigenous language endangerment is a sign of inequality between two (or more) languages in contact. Language planning can work to promote the use of Indigenous languages and hence, multilingualism, or it can work to constrain it. This paper draws from long-term linguistic ethnographic research on one of the Indigenous Ryukyuan languages. I highlight one variety Miyara Yaeyaman spoken in the village of Miyara on Ishigaki Island. Along with other Ryukyuan languages, it has been endangered and minoritized due to the suppression/assimilation policies following the dominant monolingual ideology in Japan.
The aim of this research is to investigate existing theories of newspeakerness and language attitudes in sociolinguistic situation in Miyara village on Ishigaki Island and to attempt to examine prevailing ideologies. By using ethnographic data of Yaeyaman knowledge holders, I show that there is a lack of compatibility in language attitudes and beliefs between new speakers and traditional speakers of Miyaran. This incompatibility in language attitudes and beliefs is partly due to the monolingual policies existing in the system of education in Japan. Through educational policy completely based on dominant values, Miyara community members are made to believe that our language is not sophisticated. Hence, traditional speakers tend to “speak Japanese to a beautiful, sophisticated, educated woman.” As a conclusion, I present how language education policy based on monolingual ideology in Japan – so far, a major cause of the problem of language endangerment – can become part of a possible solution to language endangerment.
Creating Modern Sámi Identity in Contemporary Literature
by Satu Gröndahl
Today, there are several Sámi authors who live in urban environments and who thematize the relationship between young Sámis who have grown up in cities and the traditional Sámi community and identity. Several scholars of Sámi origin have also underlined that Sámi culture has changed greatly in recent decades and Sámi identity has developed in new directions.
In my paper, I will examine how Sámi identity is described in the novels of Annica Wennström (born 1966) and Ann-Helén Laestadius (born 1971). Both authors deal with female protagonists, who live in cities outside the traditional areas of Sápmi, without regular, or any, contacts with the Sámi community, but who as young adults become deeply interested in their family history. The narrators are relating a history of denial in which everything that had to do with “Sáminess” should be silenced and forgotten; but also about young protagonists who try to reconstruct their individual identity in a modern and globalized world.
My theoretical framework is sociology of literature and social psychology. The relationship between modernity and the individual “self” has been analysed, for instance, by Anthony Giddens in Modernity and Self-Identity. Self and Society in the Late Modern age (1991). Giddens suggests that globalization has been linked with extensive consequences for the personal life on an individual level, and the “self” has become a “reflexive project” that each individual must construct and preserve.
Significance of Greenlanders' Choice of Language: A Vase With Flowers Cut in Foreign Places
by Arnaq Grove
Greenland has a small population originally scattered sparsely in small settlements of hunters and gatherers. Over nearly 300 years joined to Denmark it has been under way to a modern society, so today Greenland relies on external expertise of other languages. Still the far most have the inuit language Greenlandic as native language, but now it has been broadened in many directions, often used incorrectly, so at the expense of becoming more difficult for Greenlanders of different backgrounds to understand each other. This article will describe the requirements on higher education to support the Greenlandic language, especially on the university's translation program, and some of the endeavors and how they were employed.
At the university, a language policy shall lay down guidelines for the use of different languages in the various contexts, and also require it to be able to communicate its activities of local relevance in Greenlandic. The translation program must make future translators in Greenland aware of their very important role in shaping the Greenlandic language development, because they will often be the first to express new concepts in Greenlandic, when they appear in texts to be translated. It implies educating the translator to be creative, critical and good at justifying and discussing the choice of the translation.
Featuring Artistic Works By:
Antonie Frank Grahamsdaughter (First Nations Canada and Sweden)
Britta Marakatt-Labba (Sapmi)
Elisabeth Heilman Blind (Greenland, Sapmi)
Julie Eden Hardenberg (Greenland)
Lena Stenberg (Sapmi)
Louise Fontain (Navaraq) (Greenland, Sapmi)
Shizue Ukaji (Ainu Mosir)
Tomas Colbengtson (Sapmi)
Torgeir Vassvik (Sapmi)