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Week 10 - November 11: Introduction to Environmental Knowledges in Africa

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#INDG2015 week 10 2020

  1. 1. INDG 2015: Indigenous Ecological Ways of Knowing November 11, 2020 Dr. Zoe Todd Department of Sociology and Anthropology
  2. 2. Indigenous Knowledges, TEK in Africa § Indigenous peoples in Africa: disrupting frameworks from other regions § ACHPR § IPACC § Traditional Ecological Knowledges in Africa § Knowledges
  3. 3. Recap - Discussion of Brightman, Grotti and Ulturgasheva - Ulturgasheva and Bodenhorn - Sapmi: reindeer herders - Kimmerer: The Honourable Harvest and In the Footsteps of Nanabozho
  4. 4. UN engagement with Indigenous peoples § “Indigenous peoples are inheritors and practitioners of unique cultures and ways of relating to people and the environment. They have retained social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live. Despite their cultural differences, indigenous peoples from around the world share common problems related to the protection of their rights as distinct peoples. § Indigenous peoples have sought recognition of their identities, way of life and their right to traditional lands, territories and natural resources for years, yet throughout history, their rights have always been violated. Indigenous peoples today, are arguably among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of people in the world. The international community now recognizes that special measures are required to protect their rights and maintain their distinct cultures and way of life. Find below a short history of the indigenous struggle in the international stage.” https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/about-us.html
  5. 5. Indigenous peoples in Africa (ACHPR) § “The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR or African Commission) has been debating the human rights situation of indigenous peoples since 1999, as these are some of the most vulnerable groups on the African continent. Since the 29th Ordinary Session of the ACHPR in Libya in 2001, representatives of indigenous communities have attended every session of the ACHPR and have given strong testimony to their desperate situation and the human rights violations to which they are victim. They have informed the ACHPR about the discrimination and contempt they experience, about the dispossession of their land and the destruction of their livelihoods, cultures and identities, about their extreme poverty, about their lack of access to and participation in political decision-making, and about their lack of access to education and health facilities. In sum, the message is a strong request for recognition, respect and human rights protection. It is a request for the right to survive as peoples and to have a say in their own future, based on their own culture, identity, hopes and visions.” (p. 8, ACPHR) source: https://www.achpr.org/public/Document/file/Any/achpr_wgip_report_sum mary_version_eng.pdf
  6. 6. Indigenous peoples in Africa (con’t) § “A closely related misconception is that the term ‘indigenous’ is not applicable in Africa as ‘all Africans are indigenous’. There is no question that all Africans are indigenous to Africa in the sense that they were there before the European colonialists arrived and that they were subject to subordination during colonialism. The ACHPR is in no way questioning the identity of other groups. When some particular marginalized groups use the term ‘indigenous’ to describe their situation, they are using the modern analytical form of the concept (which does not merely focus on aboriginality) in an attempt to draw attention to and alleviate the particular form of discrimination from which they suffer. They do not use the term in order to deny all other Africans their legitimate claim to belong to Africa and identify as such. They are using the present-day broad understanding of the term because it is a term by which they can very adequately analyse the particularities of their sufferings and by which they can seek protection in international human rights law and moral standards.” (ACPHR, p. 12) source: https://www.achpr.org/public/Document/file/Any/achpr_wgip_report_summary _version_eng.pdf
  7. 7. Indigenous peoples in Africa (con’t) § “Another misunderstanding is that talking about indigenous rights will lead to tribalism and ethnic conflict. This is, however, turning the argument upside down. There exists a rich variety of ethnic groups within basically all African states, and multiculturalism is a living reality. Giving recognition to all groups, respecting their differences and allowing them all to flourish in a truly democratic spirit does not lead to conflict, it prevents conflict. What does create conflict is when certain dominant groups force through a sort of “unity” that only reflects the perspectives and interests of certain powerful groups within a given state, and which seeks to prevent weaker marginalized groups from voicing their particular concerns and perspectives. Or, put another way: conflicts do not arise because people demand their rights but because their rights are violated.”
  8. 8. Francis Nkitoria Ole Sakuda (2004) § “Since 1992, the indigenous people of Africa have entered the international arena to fight for their recognition, land, language, and culture. Recent years have not been easy for many indigenous activists, who have faced intimidation, arrests, and even death as they fought for the rights of their communities. The fight took Africa’s indigenous people to Geneva for the U.N. Working Group on Indigenous Populations, to New York for the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and to the African Commission of Human and People’s Rights.” § Source: https://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural-survival- quarterly/hardships-and-successes-being-indigenous-africa
  9. 9. UN Indigenous leadership § Indigenous communities in Africa are advocating at the local, regional, and global level to assert their rights § This includes the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights § Former UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz (2014-2020) conducted a visit to the Republic of Congo in 2019 to address Indigenous peoples’ concerns in the country
  10. 10. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, October 2019 – visit to the Republic of Congo “Discrimination: I concur with the observations of my predecessor, Prof. James Anaya, and of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, on the widespread situation of discrimination, exclusion and marginalization of indigenous peoples from mainstream social, economic and political life in Congolese society. The observation made by my predecessor in 2010 that indigenous peoples are in non-dominant positions in Congolese society, and have suffered and continue to suffer threats to their distinct identities and basic human rights in ways not experienced by the Bantu majority, remains valid. Most of the government officials I met asserted that there is no discrimination against indigenous peoples, and that the challenges they face are not exclusive to them. They said the Bantu similarly suffer from lack of access to basic social services. However, I do not agree that discrimination and exclusion of indigenous peoples do not exist in the Republic of Congo.” https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=25196&LangID=E&fbclid=IwAR1cNdyxHigxcM EP7gr2FscOlFqJ6ExPD3VwNrQMURnz0_-mqu_SJTK0ACo
  11. 11. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz § https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue= 14&v=xgBqgSkWV5o&feature=emb_logo
  12. 12. Indigenous Ecological Knowledges: global conservation context § https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agQDKkueT-c
  13. 13. This week’s readings -- IPACC
  14. 14. https://web.archive.org/web/20170128133321/http://ipacc.org.za/en/africa%E2%80%99s-indigenous-people.html
  15. 15. IPACC 2016 § “Though the term ‘indigenous’ is sometimes confusing in the African context, it remains relevant for recognising peoples who rely on natural resources, sustain their knowledge system and live primarily not of agricultural farming production.”p.4 https://www.ipacc.org.za/images/reports/cli mate_and_environment/climate/conflict_sen sitive_adaptation2014/LimaReportFinal.pdf
  16. 16. § “The term originated in Georgia with a remark by Mbuto Milando, first secretary of the Tanzanian High Commission, in conversation with George Manuel, Chief of the National Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembly of First Nations). Milando stated that "When Native peoples come into their own, on the basis of their own cultures and traditions, that will be the Fourth World."[2][3]” § https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_World 4th world and Indigeneity
  17. 17. Manuel and Milando 4th world con’t Valerie Alia, The New Media Nation, 2012, p. 13-14
  18. 18. § “Knowledge arises from the combination of usage, experience, observation and with that the elaboration of systems of thought, taxonomies, and methods of intergenerational transmission of knowledge. Africa’s complex historical climatic fluctuations have required most African peoples to develop sophisticated systems of understanding cycles of nature, predictive systems related to climate and rainfall, observation and theory building on animal behaviour and detailed taxonomies and systems of knowledge about the properties of plants as medicines, food, poisons or other purposeful applications. Much of Africa’s intellectual resources, built on centuries of engagement with nature and biodiversity remain undocumented, locked within the specialised terminology of thousands of local languages. It is this resource which may make the difference between life and death, stability or migrations, sustainability or catastrophes.” - IPACC 2016, p. 9 Indigenous Traditional Knowledge - IPACC
  19. 19. Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim § https://www.ted.com/talks/hindou_oumarou_ibrahim_indigenous_knowledge_meets_ science_to_solve_climate_change?language=en “climate change is impacting our environment by changing our social life”
  20. 20. Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim § “Indigenous peoples’ knowledge is crucial for our planet; it’s crucial for all the peoples. Science knowledge was discovered 200 years ago; technology 100 years ago. But Indigenous peoples’ knowledge, it’s thousands of years ago. So why we cannot put all these together; combine those three knowledges and give the better resilience to the peoples who are getting the impact of climate change?”
  21. 21. Readings, continued: Keguro Macharia: § “I have been thinking about belatedness, what it means to be marked as absent or delayed or not yet ready or undeveloped or illiterate or primitive. Or as child or woman or black or blackened. Or African. I have been thinking about what this belatedness means for politics and thinking, for theory and coalition, for gene- alogies of knowledge and pedagogical practice, for co-imagining freedom and co- building a different world. In this issue of GLQ, dedicated to “interdisciplinary discussion,” “new research,” and theoretical innovation, I wonder what it means to have a special issue dedicated to Africa almost thirty years after the journal was first published in 1993. What kind of belatedness is at work, and how do I write with and into it?” (Macharia, 2020, p. 561)
  22. 22. § “I wonder if reading strategies—against the grain, along the grain, in the mar- gins, through white space, in gaps and silences, counterintuitively—counter the overall negating force and effects of such archives.” (Macharia 2020, p. 563)
  23. 23. Yaw Agyeman Boafo,Osamu Saito,Sadahisa Kato,Chiho Kamiyama,Kazuhiko Takeuchi &Miri Nakahara § “the use of traditional protected areas as a form of TEK appears to be highly valued by the majority of survey participants. Demand-led research aimed at examining TEK’s role in the face of changing socioeconomic and environmental conditions can contribute to the formulation and implementation of policy-relevant strategies.” https://www-tandfonline-com.proxy.library.carleton.ca/doi/full/10.1080/21513732.2015.1124454
  24. 24. Yaw Agyeman Boafo,Osamu Saito,Sadahisa Kato,Chiho Kamiyama,Kazuhiko Takeuchi &Miri Nakahara § “Furthermore, policymakers should mainstream TEK into formal educational curricula right from the primary level. This might help promote knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of TEK associated with the sustainable management of ecosystem services at an early age. In the context of Northern Ghana, where youthful populations migrate to the urban south even before completing their basic education, this could be an important step toward bridging the current wide gap in awareness between younger and elderly populations that this study found. It is recommended that informal education stakeholders such as parents and traditional authorities be actively engaged in the transmission of TEK knowledge in formal school systems. These stakeholders can contribute by offering practical sessions to students in their local context. Finally, the study recommends that policymakers enact ecosystem management policies and conservation strategies that pay attention to the links between local communities and nature.” § https://www-tandfonline- com.proxy.library.carleton.ca/doi/full/10.1080/21513732.2015.1124454
  25. 25. “How Africa can use its traditional knowledge to make progress | Chika Ezeanya-Esiobu “ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28sa2z GgmwE
  26. 26. Africa is the forward that the world needs to face | Pius Adesanmi | TEDxEuston https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofrxl7zDh_Q
  27. 27. Weekly reflection question: How can the global Indigenous rights movement be more accountable to Indigenous peoples’ rights and knowledges in Africa?

Week 10 - November 11: Introduction to Environmental Knowledges in Africa

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