When I was teaching, I came across a published by the Mohawk (Kanienkehaka) Nation and entitled Akwesasne Notes. The struggle to maintain the Mohawk language and the efforts of elders and educators to keep the language alive and learned by the next generation both interested and excited me as a teacher.
The struggle goes on for the Mohawk Nation and other indigenous peoples around the world and should be supported not only through the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People , but of course, every day.
The International Day of the World’s Indigenous People (9 August) was first proclaimed by the General Assembly in December 1994, to be celebrated every year during the first International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People (1995 – 2004).
In 2004, the Assembly proclaimed a Second International Decade, from 2005 – 2015, with the theme of “A Decade for Action and Dignity.”
From Cultural Survival:
Things You Can Do Today to Combat Discrimination Against Indigenous Peoples:
- Stop Land Grabbing in Ethiopia. Write a letter or send an email. The Ethiopian government is forcing the Indigenous Peoples of the southwest off their ancestral lands and leasing these lands to foreign companies. Bulldozers are destroying the forests, farms, and grazing lands that have sustained Anuak, Mezenger, Nuer, Opo, and Komo peoples for centuries. While the foreign companies are planting food crops and agrofuels like oil palm, mainly for export, soldiers are forcing thousands of Indigenous people into state-created villages, simultaneously robbing them of their livelihoods and their cultural identity.
Read, honor, and cite the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, especially Article 2 that states:
“Indigenous peoples and individuals are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals and have the right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their rights, in particular that based on their Indigenous origin or identity.”
- Learn about Native American language revitalization efforts in the US. VisitOurMotherTounges.org. Despite decades of oppressive boarding schools and discriminatory educational policies, Native community members are working tirelessly to keep their languages and cultures alive and to transmit them to future generations. Share by sending an audio postcard.
- Watch and learn about the community radio movement in Guatemala. Indigenous people in Guatemala are struggling to get a discriminatory telecommunications law changed and community radio legalized. A network of over 200 tiny community radio stations across the country broadcasts in one or more of the country’s 23 Indigenous languages. The stations provide news, educational programming, health information, and traditional music, all reinforcing pride in Mayan heritage.