Moving on…with Indigenous Peoples

In case you missed it, today is “International Day of Indigenous Peoples”, and as is usual, the UN has declared that the world commemorate the occasion every year on Aug 9. And, if nothing else, it should make you think a little outside of the box – here, our little Guyana box – about Indigenous Peoples the world over. And that’s the point, isn’t it?? You have to THINK about Indigenous Peoples – even though they were the First Peoples everywhere – because they aren’t dominant enough ANYWHERE to have them on your mind unprompted.
Sadly, in the consciousness of most folks, they’re like the forest, in which most of them live – just there. But think about it: the world was theirs, until the rest of us moved in!! So, today, you have 500 million of them pushed to the periphery of whichever place you think about, and 7.5 billion of us dominating them.
But hold it!! Didn’t the rest of us come from somewhere?? Weren’t we “indigenous” there?? Aren’t we assured that all of us came out of Africa?? And as such, we’re all indigenous to Africa, aren’t we?? But that’s not how the powers-that-be classify us, do they?? From where your Eyewitness sits -behind his keyboard – it looks like “Indigenous” refers to those who remained in the forests or whatever parts of the world no one else wants to live!! So, by definition, being “indigenous” simply means “underdeveloped” – by all that “development” means today.
And that’s something else, ain’t it?? Did you realise that, even in Europe, there’s an “Indigenous” group?? That’s right – the Laplanders or Sami people, who’ve been pushed to the very top of that curved peninsula of Europe that includes Norway, Sweden, Denmark and parts of Russia. There are less than 80,000 of them left, but – believe it or not – they have the same gripes that the Aboriginals of Australia have against those descendants of British convicts who took over the continent.
Over in India, Indigenous Peoples were in the news a couple of weeks ago, when one of their 100 million was elected President. They’re still the poorest of the poor, and are as scorned as, say, the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas, or Africa, or anywhere else are!! In Africa, we’ve heard about the Pygmies, haven’t we?? And in Canada the Inuits? Or the Incas of Peru or the Aztecs of Mexico?
Shouldn’t we begin to think of them every day of the year?? And maybe we’ll earn the moral right to complain about the injustices perpetrated on “us”??

…with that Deep Water Harbour
That Deep Water Harbour in the mouth of the Berbice River’s gotta be rivalling that Highway from Linden-to- Lethem in terms of how long we’ve been waiting for them to become reality. But, at long last, the bids are out for the Linden-to-Mabura leg of the Highway – with financing and contractors and everything else in place. So, what’s it with the Berbice Harbour??
CGX had stepped up to the crease as part of the development of their oil concessions off the Berbice coast. They’d be killing two birds with one stone – using it as a shore base and also for shipping rice etc. – and charging fees for the service. But it appears that after going as far as clearing the land and building a road, etc…the project just can’t get off the ground. (Forgive the pun!!)
Well, Pres Ali has made the right decision, to signal other interested parties to get their ducks in a row if CGX continues stumbling. You see, dear reader, the Berbice Harbour’s not just for shipping our stuff, but to earn revenue by giving Brazil an outlet to the Atlantic!!
It’s not only “drill, baby drill!!” but “diversify, baby…diversify!!”

…from ethnic conflict??
Well, today Kenya goes to the polls. As your Eyewitness has been keeping you posted, all kinds of arrangements – including power-sharing – have been tried since that country became independent. But the ethnic challenge remains.
Quo vadis??