When will the world take indigenous rights as seriously as the rights of other minority groups? Whether it’s been gender equality; the American civil rights movement; the abolishment of Apartheid South Africa; and the recent growing rights of the LGBT community; it seems that the rights of indigenous voices have been neglected or naively dealt with after hundreds of years of colonization. As mass indigenous protests soar across Canada and South America (Brazil in particular) will the global community receive, understand and support the self-determination of indigenous people groups…or will the world continue to spin without a second glance? With the track record of the Western world, it’s hard for me to not be a tad bit pessimistic. Indeed, as an indigenous writer I wonder if anyone will even take this post seriously.
I’m over the patronizing tokenism of the New Zealand government; I’m sick of the human rights violations against my Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sisters and brothers still going on in Australia; the continual human rights breaches of the indigenous nations around the Amazon need to be rectified; the Obama administration needs to at least acknowledge the existence of America’s indigenous population and their dire socio-economic status; and the Canadian government needs to stop trading indigenous rights for unethical methods of creating capital.
I’m not advocating for violent revolution nor am I advocating for world leaders to relinquish their seats of authority to indigenous chiefs or leaders. What I’m promoting is for the global community to meaningfully:
- Listen to the oppressed voices of the indigenous people groups of the world;
- Understand their cultural connection (whakapapa is a great example) with the ecosystem;
- Invite indigenous voices into the global socio-political conversation around economics, GDP, capital, and sustainable energy. Indigenous people groups have been around for thousands of years, I’m pretty sure indigenous knowledge can go a long way in addressing global matters like climate change;
- Receive the untapped (more likely neglected) knowledge of indigenous worldviews and economics;
- Co-operate with the indigenous global population to co-build a world that is better (not worse off) for future generations.
If the Western world continues to neglect the mana (spirit of power and cultural pride) of indigenous people groups, there will be one outcome; the cries for indigenous rights will get louder (not violent but louder as in more momentum).
Indigenous people groups will never give up, never surrender.
“He kākano ahau i ruia mai i Rangiātea” – I am a seed which was sewn in the heavens of Rangiatea