Celebrating ‘International Day of the World’s Indigenous People’
Posted on August 9, 2012, Thursday
MIRI: Malaysia’s indigenous people celebrate ‘International Day of the World’s Indigenous People’ yesterday.
Indigenous people, the original people of a country, are also known as the ‘First People’ and sometimes ‘Fourth World’.
Many issues concerning their rights, identity and livelihood remain unresolved in countries worldwide.
There are more than 300 million indigenous people from the world’s population of 7 billion. They live in 70 countries in all five continents from the Arctic to the Amazon, from the Sahara to Australia with 150 million of them in Asia, including Malaysia.
This year’s celebration of the national-level International Day of the World’s Indigenous People is centred in Taman Tunku community hall in Miri.
The three-day celebration from Aug 9 to 11 is organised by the Indigenous People Network of Malaysia (JOAS), comprising more than 50 community-based organisations and non-governmental organisations whose work focus on issues affecting indigenous communities in Malaysia.
JOAS president Thomas Jalong Apoi said the main objective of the annual celebration was to showcase and promote
the unique cultures, traditions and identity of indigenous communities in Malaysia. This year’s theme is ‘Indigenous Media, Empowering Indigenous Voices’.
“This is most appropriate because the development of today’s media has opened channels for indigenous communities to voice out the challenges they’re facing, their positions on certain issues, and offer constructive recommendations,” the statement said.
“The media can also be a tool for us to promote best practices that may contribute to a more sustainable model of development,” Thomas said in a statement emailed to the media yesterday.
There will be a workshop on ‘Media and the Indigenous People’ on Aug 10, discussing relevant topics involving indigenous communities’ experiences and challenges relating to the media.
Some 200 participants from Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia will be at the celebration that features lots of exciting programmes including traditional performances from indigenous communities in Malaysia, an exhibition and traditional sports.
There will also be a dialogue session with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) on Aug 11 and the Indigenous Youth Jamboree.