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.
Revision of The Act is now in progress.
A revised Act should include provisions to:
Indigenous communities need to be catered for in the following areas when the act is revised
Understanding the Opt-in mechanism
by Laura George of APA
Important topics that must be considered:
Section 14 of part 111 of The Act deal with the powers of the village council to make rules under the governance section. Sections 5,6, 7, 8 and 9 of The Act are also relevant.
Under Section 14, subsection 1 of The Act, there are seventeen governance areas listed under which a village council had the right to make rules.
A four-point list of penalties for violations to the rules of the village council, under the heading “The first schedule” is explicable.
Aboriginal Polynesian peoples of Samoa, South Pacific, effectively enforce their own village rules today as they related to visitors, tourists etc. Similar penalties etc. might also be applied to researchers, visitors etc. when they visit communities like Malali, Muritaro and Rockstone. Toshaos, village councilors and ordinary villagers in Guyana can be both hospitable to visitors and firm in enforcing the rules of the community at the same time, as is done in Samoa.
Credible governance is a demonstration of how effective an elected body is in control of the area they are mandated to govern, and this must be from a position of strength.
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.
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,
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.
“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
GUYANESE ORGANIZATION OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
“Ta’mekae tewa-beelechay kapon ya muk, tutauching ba kong bak waymatok”
”A celebration of indigenous survival and solidarity.”