With equitable and sustainable lifestyles valued by caring people all over the world, we have a responsibility to nurture and maintain them. Modernity is at our door and there is a need to find ways to sustain a healthy planet. We all have an obligation to watch how we use our natural resources.
The basic sustainable lifestyle of traditional indigenous peoples has been around for a very long time and is proven, which is why this lifestyle is very relevant in today's world. It is one reason why many of our natural places that we rely so much on are still alive. And also the reason why indigenous peoples must have the right to own and control traditional lands.
One aspect of indigenous peoples' traditional lifestyle is it's inter-connectivity with the natural environment. Everything is related; Learning, Sustainable Industry, Spirit, Leadership, Environmental Preservation, Rainforest Medicine, etc, etc.
There is the bio-centric way of living where the environment is utilised with concern for the future. Manufactured items are bio-degradable; not overly processed nor extensively packaged. Even in the diet, taste buds have been developed because of the special tastes of natural foods which in turn push people to preserve the places that provide such unique foods.
Indigenous people tend to appreciate small manageable communities where people know each other and look into the welfare of each other. Many traditional communities are non-money dependent.
In comparison with a money based economy, the traditional indigenous way of life, has some similarities with more recently promoted sustainable aspects of money-based economies.
Traditional communities battle to maintain a bio-centric lifestyle. They have contributed so much to the world, yet the world is not educated about these contributions - contributions that many times are ignored and taken for granted.
Indigenous Intelligence has contributed to the areas of world food plants and medicinal plants. These have been found and shared with the world. Because of still practising traditions, more are still found and can still be shared.
Who has the Record for Looking after Traditional Lands?
It is not without doubt that our elders knew how to live with the environment in order to enjoy healthy lives. Despite missionaries determination to push their religion onto her community, my grandmother had an idea of life from an almost pure Lokono perspective.
I feel qualified to speak seeing that, like my grandmother, I have experienced a traditional sustainable lifestyle. Maybe, I should consider myself both fortunate and unfortunate to experience life in a so called 'developed' country.
Some indigenous people are being encouraged to join mainstream society. It would be simplistic for us with indigenous intelligence to believe that western ethics just desire for us to benefit from modernity. It is wise to look around for more reasons. One that comes to mind is that when we accept the norms as everyone else, we become governed by laws that are alien to us and we stand the risk of losing the rights to our traditional lands.
With recent increase in demand for world resources, it is easy to understand why lands that were under the control of indigenous peoples are being wrestled from them, especially through laws that native peoples find alien.
For me, it was a sad day, when a court in Guyana made a ruling in favour of a miner against a whole indigenous village. This totally ignored the indigenous people who occupied and cared for the land.
Then, I remembered one of my relatives saying to me that if gold was found in the place from where I got my water, the land would no longer be mine. He told me this when I visited my ancestral homeland the last time,.
Confronting land rights issues is a nightmare for traditional people.
How many indigenous people in the Roraima area of North Eastern, South America ever heard of the 1750 Treaty of Madrid where the lands in the watershed of the Orinoco belonged to Spain and those whose waters flowed into the Amazon belonged to Portugal. This totally ignored the indigenous people who occupied and cared for the land.
According to European history, in June 7th 1494, just two years after Christopher Colombus arrived in Taino/ Lokono country, the Treaty of Tordesillas divided the world between Spain and Portugal, giving Portugal claim to eastern portion of the yet undiscovered continent of South America. This totally ignored the indigenous people who occupied and cared for the land.
As we fight to retain control over our lands, we would confront the ingrain rules and regulations that have slowly taken over through the centuries and have made the battles seem insurmountable. These should reinforce our need for stronger communities and leadership. Maybe it is our centuries of understanding the environment that makes us wish to get the message out there - the environment always gets the last say.
I do believe that the erratic change in our climate is trying to tell us something.
Maybe, those who only want land for the benefit of exploitation would finally discovered what our fellow Cree indigenous people saw when they prophesied .
When all the trees have been cut down,
when all the animals have been hunted,
when all the waters are polluted,
when all the air is unsafe to breathe,
only then will you discover you cannot eat money
What Idle No More, Canada and Isseneru Village, Guyana have in Common
Similar History One fact that we have to understand is that when the colonists elite established themselves in indigenous territories, this was for mostly three main purposes; wealth, power and economic gain. In order to profit economically, the land and people had to be exploited and in most cases were abused and are still being abused for the purpose of money and profit.
Onto today, indigenous peoples have to deal with the colonist, capitalist and cabalist mentality of using resources mainly for the purpose of economic gain. For traditional indigenous people, where the land is seen as supplying everything required for daily living, this colonist value of exploitation is uncalled for in many cases.
The notion of leaving some for tomorrow is a proven custom among indigenous peoples, so there is a grave concerned among us concerning what will be left for the children of tomorrow. The colonist mindset of 'the fittest and most powerful will always survive' is not part of the traditional indigenous way of thinking.
What indigenous people are trying to educate us all about is the fact that if we work together and use our resources sensibly, we have the ability to raise a world with hope for everyone and not only for those who have a vast amount of wealth and money.
In Guyana, South America the high court, with background in old colonial laws has recently awarded ruling in favour of miners who wish to exploit the land over the Isseneru indigenous Village who wish to preserve the land.
At the moment in Canada, North America, native peoples have the Idle No More movement that is encouraging the government to respect their traditional use of their land with benefits for everyone.
As people who wish to look after the welfare of all children we need to, like indigenous peoples, guard the environment so that all of our children can benefit and not only the children of the rich and powerful.
Rainforests at Risk - Unsustainable Logging in Guyana
When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe,
only then will you discover you cannot eat money ~ Cree Prophecy ~
Scandalous, unsustainable logging in our rainforests only put money in the pockets of a few. And, the majority, including rainforest life bear the consequences. Often it is indigenous peoples whose forefathers have preserved the forest for centuries who suffer most.
In Guyana, we have recently seen the heartbreaking news of indiscriminate, immoral, unsustainable logging, or in this case the raping of our forests. Have a look HERE. When we see the wide expanse of barren land where glorious trees once stood, our hearts bleed. And to add insult to injury, we have to look at the burnt remains of valuable timber made from trees that once protected the land and supported precious life.
It is sickening to see our forests gone forever. This is equal to desecration. These are traditional lands that the ancestors looked after for centuries. We must condemn such corrupt practices that dishonour the ancestors.
People who think that our forests are there only for their rich pickings need to think again.
We regard forests as the sustenance of our people. And, for that matter the sustenance of the world. How we see the forest, is nicely put by former Toshao Tony James HERE. Even though he refers to indigenous peoples, what he says is applicable to all Guyanese and peoples of the world.
At this time, it is important to educate concerning how we preserve and sustainable use our forests. HERE is how we clear land, when we wish to use it. And HERE is how, at this time of onslaught we are devising ways to continue to preserve our forests.
We are here to stand up for the rainforest. We are Indigenous Rainforest Keepers.
MR. COLIN KLAUTKY a.k.a. “The Apatoa”
Colin is the eldest son of Claude Klautky. He is a school-teacher by profession, hence his other designated name of “Sir”. However, he doesn’t feel he’s yet reached the status of “Apatoa Sterumeshi” (which means “great teacher” in Carib), a name conferred on him.
In 1990, he was one of five co-founders of the Guyanese Organization of Indigenous Peoples (GOIP), a leading advocacy group in Guyana, and has since been elected to various positions, such as Secretary and PRO. In March 2014, he was elected Chief of this 3,000-member Association at the Dogg Point Carib village (near Agatash, Essequibo River) in Guyana.
He was also elected Guyana’s Executive member on the Trinidad-based Caribbean Organization of Indigenous Peoples (COIP) in October, 2013.
Colin works as a facilitator at Guyana’s Office of Climate Change and has a small banana farm. He is involved in tennis, swimming and distance running, and is a member of both the Piranha swim club and Roraima tennis club in Guyana. He completed two 18-mile “Malta” marathons in Guyana in 1985 and 1986, as well as one indigenous “Earth Day” marathon in Trinidad in 2004.
He successfully led one of two indigenous Guyanese delegations (the other from Siparuta, Region 6) to the Surinam CARIFESTA in August, 2013. He is well travelled both in and out of Guyana, (to 15 countries on 39 airlines total), attending conferences, seminars, cultural exchanges etc. for both GOIP and COIP over the past 2 decades.
Colin is a member of the prestigious Klautky family. To read more about this interesting family click on Klautky family.
Read more ...
Guyanese Organization of Indigenous Peoples (GOIP) against system of Justice for Indigenous peoples
Ideally, the Guyanese Organization of Indigenous Peoples (GOIP) would’ve liked to join the current Mashramani activities, but as an Organization we cannot, for many reasons. One such is the ongoing decades-old spate of injustices being committed against young indigenous women primarily, and indigenous peoples generally, for which no cause for any kind of celebration exists.
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
“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”
Native Law verses European Law
Listening to Natural Law
from his anthologyOriginal