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Keynote 3: Why Indigenous Leadership Matters, Paul Paradong


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The 2016 ProSPER.Net Leadership Programme was held in Labuan Island and Beaufort, Sabah, Malaysia. The Programme included workshops, plenary sessions, and fieldwork around the topics of local sustainable development challenges in the region. The main goals of the Programme were to identify local leadership opportunities for sustainable development and to link local and national sustainable development projects to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Climate Treaty, and the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction.

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Keynote 3: Why Indigenous Leadership Matters, Paul Paradong

  1. 1. WHY INDIGENOUS LEADERSHIP IS MATTER? Paul Porodong (PhD) Environmental Anthropologist Sociology and Social Anthropology Universiti Malaysia Sabah
  2. 2. 5 1960’s
  3. 3. Read more: Massey et al, 2011. Beware the animals that dance: Conservation as an unintended outcome of cultural practices 2016
  4. 4. Protected Area (PA) management and community • Most Protected Area (PA) networks worldwide have been established and managed by Government Departments in a top-down fashion • ...many ignore the presence local community completely in PA management (Pimbert & Pretty 1997).
  5. 5. Impact of “top down” • As a result, the establishment of PAs has often been accompanied by the displacement or marginalisation of local populations. • In India, the establishment of national parks has displaced roughly 600,000 tribal people (Colchester 2004:146 cited PRIA 1993). • During the last few decades conflicts between PA managers and the local populations that surround them have steadily increased both in rate and magnitude (Pimbert & Pretty 1997; Castro & Nielson 2003).
  6. 6. PA managers failed to integrate community in management plan... • Until quite recently few PA management plans have made any reference to the needs, beliefs, knowledge and institutions of local peoples living in or around them, fewer still have integrated these into the structures of PA management (Pimbert & Pretty 1997).
  7. 7. PA and Community • The caveat that emerges from the history of PA- community interactions is that no PA can survive for long without local support (Wells & McShane 2004).
  8. 8. “Fortress conservation” vs Global trends • Traditional conservation is also challenged by global trends of political decentralisation, greater local empowerment and the rise of an increasingly influential indigenous rights movement, the success of which resulted in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP 2007). • Together these trends are making it increasingly difficult on a global scale to manage PAs through traditional means (Pimbert & Pretty 1997).
  9. 9. Empowerment
  10. 10. Ladder of participation Empowerment Delegation of Power Partnership Consultation Feedback Tokenism Manipulation Education Decoration
  11. 11. • What can we learn from “leadership” of the past – the Indigenous leadership? How to Empower People?
  12. 12. Indigenous knowledge • Familiar with; • Indigenous knowledge – tangible ( i.e medicinal) and non tangible (i.e value system) • It very often that when a particular practice of products labelled “indigenous” , the reception antenna conveniently switch off • Common notions: ‘outdated’; ‘traditional’ ‘primitive’; ‘backward’;
  13. 13. Modern knowledge? • The so called modern knowledge is relatives. 20 year from now, the so called technological edge today is antique of tomorrows. • i.e farming.
  14. 14. Moving forward • One the greatest human nature is ability to learn, get hold of the latest knowledge and moves forward with it. • Problem with this is, we tend to ignore the past and fixed our eyes to the future • Prof. Khoo Kay Kim once said “people tend to dislike history…past is past they said, but can they tell what will happen in the next five minutes?”
  15. 15. Lessons from the past • “Lessons from the past, springboard to the future” George N. Appell (Anthropologist) • What can we learn from “leadership” of the past – the Indigenous leadership?
  16. 16. Leadership-vision, guidance, decider • Leadership is having a vision, sharing that vision and inspiring others to support your vision while creating their own." – Mindy Gibbins-Klein, founder, REAL Thought Leaders • "Leadership is the ability to guide others without force into a direction or decision that leaves them still feeling empowered and accomplished." – Lisa Cash Hanson, CEO, Snuggwugg
  17. 17. Leader – visionary, motivator, provider, recogniser • "Effective leadership is providing the vision and motivation to a team so they work together toward the same goal…” • "Leadership is the art of serving others by equipping them with training, tools and people as well as your time, energy and emotional intelligence so that they can realize their full potential…” • "Leadership is being bold enough to have vision and humble enough to recognize achieving it…”
  18. 18. Leader – the brain, creator, empowerer, decider, knows • "A true leader is secure in creating a framework that encourages others…” • "In my experience, leadership is about three things: To listen, to inspire and to empower…” • "I define leadership as knowing when to be in front to lead and guide a team during the journey, and when to step back…”
  19. 19. Leader - INDIVIDUAL •"My perspective of a leader is an individual who knows the ins and outs about the business…”
  20. 20. A leader - individual centric attributes
  21. 21. Indigenous Leadership • Woyoon/Vozoon (root word: woyo / vozo = follow • “A person we decide to follow” • people - plays active roles
  22. 22. I am your leader!
  23. 23. You are my leader! You are my leader! You are my leader! You are my leader! You are my leader!
  24. 24. Indigenous leadership To decide and choose Follow critically Evaluate continuously Vozoon - Passive People centric Perform to their best Experience-credibility Cannot demand Action do the talking
  25. 25. Empowering local leader • Understanding local leadership is first step to empowerment. • People need necessary environment to play active roles to sustain culture...identify the necessary environment to revive local leadership • Provide this environment. Never take over or replace local power structure without proper consultation.
  26. 26. Terima kasih!!