Women in Indigenous families are the foundation – Minister

…as Amerindian Heritage Month is launched
…Mainstay/Whyaka revealed as 2022 Heritage Village

On the heels of International Day of World’s Indigenous Peoples 2022 which was observed on Tuesday, Amerindian Affairs Minister Pauline Sukhai launched the programme of activities for the upcoming Amerindian Heritage Month.
Themed “The Role of Indigenous Women in the Preservation & Transmission of Traditional Knowledge”, International Day of World’s Indigenous Peoples 2022 was observed on Tuesday.

Amerindian Affairs Minister Pauline Sukhai speaking at the launch of Heritage Month 2022

On August 9 each year, this worldwide celebration is observed, as this date coincides with the first meeting, in 1982, of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations.
“…as we are celebrating World’s Indigenous Day, and in collaboration with the NTC (National Toshaos Council), and also, the launching, at the same time, our Heritage Month programme, we would like to say to you that September month will bring a whole package of what the Amerindian traditional knowledge is about, what Indigenous culture is about, and what our traditions and customs [are] like. We would be able to introduce, to this country again, our unique dances, our music, our food, and of course, our treasure of the way we work, the way we live as one,” Sukhai said during an address on Tuesday at the Umana Yana.
Sukhai also spoke extensively on the contribution of Amerindian women to Guyana and the Guyanese culture; their valuable contributions to not only their families but to their villages and their country.
“I want to also say greetings to all the Indigenous women and to make sure that I sounded it very clear that we recognise you, that we love you, and we know that you have not only contributed to your families, but to your village and your country.”
The Minister said that women are equal to their male counterparts in all aspects, and they have a prominent position in this country.

Equal counterparts
“Women are equal to their counterparts in all aspects and it doesn’t matter where we walk, whether we walk ahead, at the side, or behind, we know that we have a very prominent position in this country and in our families. It is the women in the Indigenous families that are the foundation of the family, not reducing the male’s role to nothing, but when the male leaves the family to go to look for economic activities and jobs to earn income, it is the women who take the place of the farmer, the chef, the housekeeper, and of course, the nanny. They also hold jobs. So, women have played a keen role in where our families are, where our children are today,” she said.

$3 billion for improved livelihood
The National Assembly, on Monday, approved the sum of $3 billion to further improve the lives and livelihood of the Indigenous peoples in hinterland and remote communities.
The supplementary fund was a commitment made to Amerindian leaders by President Dr Irfaan Ali during the recent National Toshaos Conference (NTC).
Also on Monday, the ABCE Ambassadors and High Commissioners in Guyana – Sarah-Ann Lynch; Fernando Ponz Canto; Mark Berman, and Jane Miller in a joint message said that protecting the rights and preserving the culture of Guyana’s Indigenous peoples is critical. They applauded the recently concluded National Toshaos Council (NTC), adding that it is essential that the voices of Indigenous people are prominent to enhance their participation in decision-making processes.
“We, therefore, reiterate our support for Guyana’s Indigenous peoples’ rights and aspirations, and their full participation and decision-making as we work together in partnership to enhance their socio-economic development, empowerment, improved governance, and, importantly, the preservation and transmission of their traditional knowledge for today and future generations,” the statement said.
The Amerindian Heritage Month celebrations will kick off with a cultural extravaganza on September 1 at the Guyana National Stadium.
This will be followed by the exhibition at the national exhibition site, Sophia, Georgetown.
The Amerindian Heritage Pageant is set for September 17 at the National Cultural Centre and the much-anticipated national heritage celebration will be held on September 10 at the Mainstay/Whayaka settlement in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam). (G2)