Dominica’s indigenous people, the Kalinagos, are using the observation of International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples to highlight some of the issues affecting them and their community.
International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is observed every year on August 9 as mandated by the United Nations General Assembly.
Public Relations Officer for the Kalinago Council, Irvince Auguiste, said several activities are planned to observe the day, to include discussions on issues affecting the Kalinago people.
“This is going to give us an opportunity to look at ourselves and examine the issues that are important to us,” he told DOminica News Online. “It should give us an awareness of our conditions and the way to move forward.”
He said one of the pressing issues facing the Kalinago people is the lack of access to credit facilities. He used the opportunity to call on policymakers to create an institution where Kalinagos can have access to such facility. “We have little or no access to credit and we cannot depend on handouts,” he stated.
Auguiste said a number of Kalinagos are graduating from institutions of higher learning and they will be able to contribute to community development if they have access to credit facilities.
He pointed to efforts by the community to establish a radio station for the past 17 years which according to him, have been unsuccessful.
The theme for World Indigenous Day this year is “Indigenous Media, Empowering Indigenous Voices”.
The activities will take place from the August 9 to the 12 in the Kalinago Territory and are as follows:
August 9 – a discussion on the theme for the year. “Indigenous Media, Empowering Indigenous Voices”.
August 10 – a panel discussion on the topic ‘The impact of the UN declarations on Indigenous People.’
August 11 – a show at the Old Boxing Plant site dubbed ‘Kalinago Got Talent.’
August 12 – an invitation to Kalinago People, their relatives and friends who reside out of the Territory to spend the day in the Kalinago Territory. Special arrangements are in place for craft bargains and visits to the Kalinago Barana Aute and the day will end at the Karina village with free cultural performances.
Auguiste said World Indigenous Day will be observed annually in the Territory from this year onwards.
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