Moraro hosts Annual General Meeting of Guyanese Organization of Indigenous Peoples (GOIP)With the help of, among others Seaford Fredericks and Ivan Cornelius, Moraro was able to host the AGM of the Guyanese Organization of Indigenous Peoples (GOIP). As a 100% indigenous effort, we were honoured to be asked. Our being able to do this, demonstrates that as indigenous peoples, we can manage without the help of outside bodies, and that co-cooperatively, we have what it takes to organise and support our indigenous interests.
GOIP (Guyanese Organization of Indigenous Peoples) and APA (Amerindian Peoples Association) join in Educating Indigenous Peoples concerning their Rights It is important that ordinary people in the community be familiar with governance issues, as they relate to the 2006 Amerindian Act (referred to as The Act), the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (ADRIP) as well as various climate change issues ranging from the opt-in mechanism to REDD+.
The two most important indigenous organization of Guyana, the APA and GOIP are working together to educate indigenous communities so that they can take their rightful places in today’s world. Issues important to the wellbeing of the indigenous population are being addressed.
The CLIMATE IMPACT EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMME UPPER DEMERARA (CIEPUD) WORKSHOP in region 10, on 26TH & 27TH NOVEMBER, 2016 was hosted by Malali and included villagers from Rockstone and Muritaro. Mary Valenzuela of GOIP was the main facilitator.
The workshop ensured that Region 10’s indigenous population was not left out of any enlightening process that the first peoples of other parts of Guyana have been benefitting from.
GOIP spearheading Sept 10th as day to celebrate The Life of Indigenous Stalwart Stephen Campbell
An indigenous Lokono, Guyanese Stephen Campbell (1897-1966) a devout Roman Catholic, was born on Dec 26th, in Moruca which straddles Pomeroon and North West District, Guyana, South America.
He became a teacher, but his mark on recent Indigenous Guyana history came when, on Sept 10th 1957, he became the first Indigenous Member of Parliament in Guyana’s colonial history. He was elected on the Legislative Council of British Guiana.
“In the year 1957, I entered politics at the request of the Amerindians who felt that they had no one to represent their interest in the central government,” said Mr Campbell. Today, Stephen Campbell is regarded as an important figure because of his work for the rights of indigenous Guyanese.
Mr Campbell petitioned the UK Government, to ensure the land rights of indigenous peoples were recognised. He set up the Amerindian Association so as to ensure indigenous peoples were represented at negotiations for Guyana’s independence. When Guyana gained its independence from the UK, the legal ownership of indigenous lands was part of the condition.
Sadly, this great indigenous visionary passed away just two weeks before Guyana gained its independence from the UK.
Because Mr Campbell is such a pivotal figure in recent indigenous history, the Guyana Organisation of Indigenous People (GOIP) which is one of two bona fide indigenous organisations in Guyana recognises the importance in marking his work. The group is taking its stance and dedicating Sept 10th to Stephen Campbell.
Governance by Toshaos and village councils as they relate to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)
by Ian Melville of GOIP and Indigenous Scientist It is advantageous to be educated on both the UNDRIP and ADRIP i.e. the ADRIP is a simpler document than the UNDRIP. Canada, USA, Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand have been resisting signing the UNDRIP.
The issue of indigenous peoples’ rights to self-determination is one of the most controversial items covered in both documents. To illustrate this, Ian Melville experienced victimizations by successive local authorities since the 1970’s whenever he tried to educate Region 9 concerning first peoples on what these rights were all about. Today, Guyana’s rulers still don’t respect these rights.
Region 10 councilors must pay heed particularly to Section 4, Article XX of the ADRIP which safeguarded the first peoples’ right to association, assembly, organization and expression without interference. Some of Guyana’s indigenous communities have suffered some political interference in this area.
GUYANESE ORGANIZATION OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
2 Charles Street, Charlestown, Georgetown, Guyana
“Ta’mekae tewa-beelechay kapon ya muk, tutauching ba kong bak waymatok”
Patamona for "A celebration of indigenous survival and solidarity."
“Ero patua Otea-seah yang apotoa, Chu-ruh-Sung A-Seah Keah-yow-poa-toa-reah Keh-Meah-Reah-Kong” (mainland Carib for) “Towards restoring our dignity and independent lifestyle”
We Love our land....Words from Wapichan elder
'We depend on our traditional lands to obtain almost everything we need for craft-work and construction. Here we ﬁnd our housing materials, clay to make pots, and weaving ﬁbres. Most of us go to the bush to collect these materials. We do not have to spend money on these things. That is why we love our land.’
Wapichan elder, Baitoon, 2005 (Guyana, South America)
“AMERINDIAN” COULD EVENTUALLY BE REPLACED IN GUYANA’s LAWS
Amending the 2006 Amerindian Act
A list of suggestions for amending the 2006 Amerindian Act were amongst several issues that came up at the 17th General Assembly of the Guyanese Organization of Indigenous Peoples (GOIP) held at Wakapoa Village, Region 2, on 31st July, 2016. Misnomers such as grant of land title and Amerindian in the Act could be replaced with return and 1st Guyanese respectively. The Gathering also condemned the practice of a Cabinet Minister exercising powers to dismiss an entire elected village council, amongst other shortcomings in the present Act. Additional laws, backed up by effective law-enforcement, it was felt, are also needed in Guyana’s Constitution to make life tougher for human traffickers, of which indigenous females are prime victims.
Seismic shift in the GOIP’s leadership
A mild seismic shift in the GOIP’s leadership also took place at Wakapoa, when Mary Valen-zuela of the Warau Nation replaced Colin Klautky as Chief. Others elected to the new female-dominated Executive include Esther Robinson (Secretary), Phyl Osorio (Treasurer), Colin Klautky (PRO), together with Natasha David, Lyn Roberts RN, Ann Payne, Claudette Fleming, Brian Chu, former Region 7 Councillor Victor Lawless and former Wakapoa Toshao Seaford Fredericks, as Committee Members.
Indigenous communities bemoaned the gap between promises and deliveries
The Wakapoa and other lower Pomeroon indigenous communities bemoaned the gap between promises and deliveries made by past and present Guyana regimes in the quality of Education and Health care systems afforded to villagers. However, the community’s conceptualization of a forest preservation/eco-tourism venture at the Moraro area of Wakapoa was widely discussed, with the prospect of much-needed employment for villagers being envisaged.
Walter Roth Museum
Plans to relocate the Walter Roth Museum were also given the “thumbs down”, since this could negatively affect many precious ancient pre-Columbus artefacts stored at its present location.
Land rights, a green economy, self-empowerment and basic human dignity
The GOIP vowed to continue its advocacy for land rights, a green economy, self-empowerment and basic human dignity for Guyana’s first peoples, some of which has achieved measured successes since the Association’s resuscitation almost three decades ago.
GOIP Executive Committee,
18th August, 2016
GOIP CONTINUED SUPPORT FOR THE OCETI SAKOWIN OF THE GREAT SIOUX NATION...4/12/2016 "SOLIDARITY IS HEREBY EXTENDED FROM THE GUYANESE ORGANIZATION OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES (GOIP) TO THE OCETI SAKOWIN OF THE GREAT SIOUX NATION ON THE JUST DEMANDS THAT THERE BE NO DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE.
GUYANA'S NINE FIRST NATIONS HAVE ALSO BEEN SUFFERING SIMILAR INJUSTICES FROM POWERFUL EXTRACTIVE GOLD AND TIMBER ENTERPRISES IN RECENT DECADES.
THOUGH NO GOIP PERSON WAS ABLE TO ATTEND THE 15TH NOVEMBER RALLIES AT STANDING ROCK, THE GOIP CONTINUE TO BE THERE IN SPIRIT.
THE HARPY EAGLE AND THE BALD EAGLE ARE NOW FLYING TOGETHER. OIL AND WATER DON'T MIX.
INDIGENOUS LIVES MATTER.
CHIEF MARY VALENZUELA,
Guyanese Organization of Indigenous Peoples (GOIP) against system of Justice for Indigenous peoples
The GOIP feels the grotesque sentence of 19-year old Rupununi baby-sitter Fatima Martin to five years’ incarceration for allegedly inappropriately hitting an infant in her care is the latest in a string of such iniquities. If reports that the baby was hit the way she was are true, it must be condemned. But in a land where the judicial system is in a total mess, its extremely difficult to oppose the description of Guyana being a “Banana Republic with Kangaroo courts”, as a strong opinion both in and out the country suggests.
This is verified by the fact that for many years not one rich murderous drugs criminal has been brought before Guyana’s courts. It seems only in other jurisdictions will these vermins be sentenced to wear “pumpkin-suits” behind bars, regardless of their wealth and high connections. This promotes the belief that Guyana is a safe haven for such criminals. Is it because Miss Martin is a poor Wapishan female who doesn’t have the high connections her well –endowed employers apparently have that warrants such a Draconian sentence? Is this a case where we’re all equal, but some more equal than others?
The GOIP again chides the deafening silence of state-funded constitutional bodies set up to help the many Fatima Martins suffering from oppressive abuses such as these. Or are such groups merely political puppets? On the other hand, the GOIP salutes those lawyers and others in the advocacy movement for sincerely being there for this powerless teenager. The GOIP is prepared to partake in any civil action that may lead to this case being eventually thrown out of court.
GOIP Executive Committee, 25th February, 2014