Alkuperäiskansamääritelmästä ja sen soveltamisesta

(Julkaistu Lapin Kansan Alakerta-palstalla 9.8.2009)

ILO:n heimo- ja alkuperäiskansasopimuksen ensimmäisen artiklan mukaan alkuperäiskansalla tarkoitetaan itsenäisissä maissa asuvia kansoja, jotka polveutuvat  tiettyä aluetta ennen kolonisaatiota tai valtion perustamista asuttaneesta väestöstä ja jotka ovat säilyttäneet ainakin osan omista sosiaalisista, taloudellisista, poliittisista ja kulttuurisista instituutioistaan. Erona esimerkiksi heimokansoihin, alkuperäiskansaksi luetaan ryhmät, jotka aktiivisesti haluavat ja pyrkivät jatkamaan heidän omien kulttuuristen ja sosiaalisten identiteettien ja instituutioiden olemassaoloa.

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Where were the Native Americans?

Last night at the First Nations House drumming circle it suddenly struck me (perhaps because the shape of the candle on the middle of floor reminded me of the Washington monument)  – why weren’t there a group of Native American drummers at Obama’s inauguration earlier this week? Considering all that talk about reconciliation, wouldn’t have it been appropriate (and necessary) to have some kind of a public recognition of the Native Americans on whose lands and territories ‘the great country of America’ was (alas, often forcibly) established?

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Flight, revenge, Gaza

I had given up reading Sherman Alexie already many years ago – I can’t remember which book of his I was reading thinking I’ve already read it, so repetitive his stories had become book after book. After Joseph Boyden won the 15th annual Giller Prize for his novel Through Black Spruce in November, I realized I need to catch up with and update myself with Native literature. I turned to my wonderful colleague Lee Maracle and asked if she has a copy (I figured trying to get it through the public library after him winning the prize would be hopeless). Based on Boyden’s previous writings, she however wasn’t too thrilled but told me to read Sherman Alexie instead. I mention to her I got tired of him a long time ago but she told me to read Alexie’s latest novel, Flight (2007), is a total turnaround from anything he’s written before and a must-read.

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Earth day: 10 commandments to save the Earth

It is good to know there is one president of a state in this world who is up to speed when it comes to measures urgently needed to prevent the further crises affecting the world’s ecosystems, communities, food and other forms of security and the well-being of the planet in general. Speaking at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples yesterday, Bolivian president Evo Morales proposed 10 commandments to save the planet, life and humanity:

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