August 9th is being celebrated as the International Day of the World's Indigenous People.
There are about 300 million indigenous men, women and children worldwide. They define the term diversity. More than 5,000 different groups of indigenous people live in more than 70 countries. For a millennia they have lived a rich life, in peace, and in harmony with nature. Exemplifying true sustainable living. Ironically, today they find themselves catalogued as extremely poor.
Couple of months ago, I visited the beautiful island of Kauai. I remember the boat ride along the Wailua river. The tour guide was native Hawaiian. He asked us if we had a chance to taste traditional Hawaiian soul food. It is usually made of taro and requires slow and patient cooking. I wanted to taste it, but couldn't find a place that served it. Every one was silent. The tour guide smiled and said, "We ourselves haven't eaten it in a long time. McDonalds is much easier"
That pretty much summarizes the plight of indigenous people today. All the diversity and rich culture is getting systemically lost under Walmartization, McDonaldization and other homogenizing trends of globalization.
One of the great things about free market economy is the use of law to do unlawful things. The atrocities against Native America is a classic example. Jennifer of whatbox has been writing an emotional series on Native America. Atrocities committed against them in the name of gold, oil,coal, gas and religion, their lives, their hardships, their struggle. It has been eye opening.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands in India is yet another tragic story. Indian government's atrociously stupid policy of assimilation has reduced a 10,000 strong aborginal population (a century ago) to a mere 900.
It will take more than a day of celebration to stop and undo the injustice. It is a start nevertheless. UN's theme for today is "The Cause of Indigenous People is Ours".
There is a growing realization that the cause of Indigenous People is linked to our common global future and health. They offer the best example of sustainable development. Let us respect that, let us understand that, let us imbibe that.
Link: UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Quote of the day
"The Cause of Indigenous People is Ours"