(M06) Plenary: Hunter-gatherer rights present and future
Wednesday 25th July, 9 – 11:30 AM. Room: SK4
Convenor: Jerome Lewis, University College London
This session invites hunter-gatherer representatives and researchers to present ethnography of the current situation facing hunter-gatherers and/or former hunter-gatherers as they are impacted by the forces of the state and modernity—from conservation initiatives that exclude them from their land, to governmental industrial or commercial developments that impact on their lives and livelihoods. Both positive and negative stories are welcome.
9 – 9:12 AM. Introduction
James Woodburn, London School of Economics (retired)
An introductory review of contemporary changes in hunter-gatherer lives and the need to circumvent changes imposed on them by the majority populations of the states in which they live.
Long abstract: Jerome Lewis, the lead convenor of this plenary session, has invited me to join him as a secondary convenor for this session. The plan is that I would start the session with a short review of the drastic changes in the lives of hunter-gatherers that are occurring at present and which are the focus of so many of the sessions of our confereence. I would stress the need for good evidence provided by both indigenous members of the societies that we study and by really detailed and reliable field research by anthropologists and others. We all need to understand the current situation much more clearly than we do at present so that future changes in the lives of hunter-gatherers are chosen by them and are not simply imposed on them by the majority populations of the states in which they live. Some examples of both positive and negative changes will be presented based on my recent visits to the Hadza in Northern Tanzania and on my experience of constantly monitoring change in their society since I first went to carry out fieldwork among them in 1957.
9:13 – 9:30 AM. Khwe San in Bwabwata - past and present
Alfred Chadau, Khwe San community, Namibia
The young ones are also not coming to sit at the fire anymore. They do not believe us, elders, as we cannot walk out to the bush to show them that our knowledge is true. We have to find a way again to teach our young ones.
Long abstract: When I was a child, we had a men fire and a women fire. The boys sit together with the elders, who shared with them how to go out to the bush, the different animal tracks and also hunting. The girls at the same time learned about veldfood from the elder women. On the next day, the young ones went out to the bush with the elders and practised the knowledge, and believed what the elders were sharing. That time was good. That time we were free. Today, we cannot walk out from our villages anymore. People are not giving us the time to teach the young ones and practice in the bush. The young ones are also not coming to the fire anymore. They are drinking in the shebeens, which is owned by outsiders, and do not believe us elders anymore, as we cannot walk out the next day to the bush to show them that our knowledge is true. We have to find a way again to teach our young ones.
9:31 – 9:47 AM. Khwe residents of Bwabwata National Park: contemporary challenges, benefits, modern integration and development
Dennis Munyingwa, Khwe San community, Namibia
The presentation is aimed at sharing the current challenges facing the Khwe San as well as benefits of being dwellers in a National Park.
Long abstract: As former hunter-gatherers, the Khwe have been residents of the Caprivi Strip in northeastern Namibia for many decades before its proclamation as a National Park. The Bwabwata National Park is home to varieties of plant and animal species. Hunting is strictly restricted in the area, however, the Khwe dwellers still practice gathering of wild fruits in the park. The presentation is aimed at sharing the current challenges facing the Khwe residents as well as benefits of being park dwellers. It will further talk about government intervention in uplifting the livelihoods of the Khwe and their integration in formal education, economic growth and sustainable development. The last aspect will be endangerment of culture due to modern integration and the presenter’s point of view on the future of the Khwe about formal education and culture.
9:48 – 10:05 AM. Ilagan-Divilacan Road: a path to resource access and environmental de-struction
Randy Gener Cabaldo, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, Philippines.
Randy Gener Cabaldo, an Agta leader from Maconacon, Isabela (Northeastern Luzon, Philippines) and employee of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples discusses the benefits and disadvantages of the newly constructed Ilagan-Divilacan Road.
Long abstract: Randy Gener Cabaldo, an Agta leader from Maconacon, Isabela (North-eastern Luzon, Philippines) and employee of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples discusses the benefits and disadvantages of the newly constructed Ilagan-Divilacan Road. This 82 kilometer road passes through the protected Sierra Madre mountain range to connect the coastal towns of Isabela (such as Divilacan, Maconacon, Palanan) to the inland capital city of Ilagan. Before this road was built, the only way to travel to the coastal towns was by plane or boat—unreliable if the weather changes. The US$45.7M road would provide an accessible route for transportation, goods and services for the far-flung coastal towns, but also allow entry for migration and tourism which some inhabitants are skeptical about. Agta settlements have been relocated to open up areas for tourism development, and there have been instances of illegal logging and electric fishing in the protected area by migrant indigenous groups. Gener believes the land surrounding the roads could be used for other purposes that would aid in the livelihood of the inhabitants such as agricultural farming. This discussion would expound on the nuances of development in protected areas, from the perspective of indigenous peoples of the area.
10:06 – 10:23 AM. Past, present and future of hunter-gatherers’ community rights: a case from Satun Province, Thailand
Sangsom Hantale, Ban Koh Adang School, Thailand; Narumon Arunotai, Chulalongkorn University
This presentation describes changes around Adang-Rawi-Lipe Islands, the marginalization of the Urak Lawoi and the present attempts to resolve these problems by the community, academics, civil society and some government agencies.
Long abstract: In the past, marine hunting and gathering lives around the Andaman Sea were open for all Chao Lay without limitation on land and resource use. The case of Urak Lawoi on Lipe and Adang Islands reflects how outsiders were integrated and became a part of Urak Lawoi community. But later, outsiders brought their own ways of thinking and social values which gradually undermined community rights, like leaders who had close interaction with state and market agencies, National Park Authority who overlooked the significant contribution of hunter-gatherers due to their mandate on natural resource conservation. As a result, the Urak Lawoi became the “unwanted” and none pays attention to cultural rights. Nowadays, rapid growth of tourism businesses and facilities has negative impact on Urak Lawoi’s livelihoods and land security. Their homes were removed and rebuilt inland away from the shore and many struggle in land disputes. Lipe Island has been a very success case for “paradise destination” while the original inhabitants became outcast. This presentation describes changes around Adang-Rawi-Lipe Islands, the marginalization of the Urak Lawoi and the present at-tempts to resolve these problems by the community, academics, civil society and some government agencies.
10:24 – 10:41 AM. Indigenous absence in the Draft Constitution: the Wanniyala-Aetto (“Veddahs”) rainforest people of Sri Lanka
Wiveca Stegeborn, University of Tromsoe
The indigenous Wanniyala-Aetto of Sri Lanka are not formally recognized in Sri Lanka. In present Draft Constitution, many immigrant groups are mentioned but not the native people. This is their struggle to become citizens.
Long abstract: Several amendments have been added to the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka since its initiation in 1978. A new Constitution is on its way. The island, once known as Ceylon, covers approximately 65,630 kilometers of land at the south-eastern tip of India. Of its 22.5 million people a fragment of the 0.5 percent of “Others” are indigenous to the country, although they do not formally exist from the standpoint of Sri Lanka. The hunter-gatherers of the rainforest are archaeologically traced to a time long before the first refugee-ships fled persecution from their kingdom in the Bay of Bengal 2500 years ago. The Bengal colonizers described their ar-rival as sanctioned by the Buddha who, according to the scriptures, converted the indigenous “demons” to his teaching or they would burn to death. The Wanniyala-Aetto or Forest Dwellers, as they call themselves, are depicted in epic narrations, and in foreign and local documentation. But, they have not been formally recognized by the rulers or governments of Sri Lanka. It is now time to acknowledge that they exist in the Constitution. This article is about the struggle of indigenous people to become acknowledged and full citizens of their native land.
10:42 – 10:59 AM. Aboriginal land management in north-central Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia
Dominic Nicholls, Mimal Land Management; Otto Campion, Arafura Swamp Rangers Aboriginal Corporation; Robert Redford, Mimal Land Management
An introduction to Aboriginal land management practices in north-central Arnhem Land, NT, Australia. CEO Dominic Nicholls and senior rangers Otto campion (Arafura Swamp Rangers) and Robert Redford (Mimal Land Management) will discuss issues and opportunities involved in providing land management services in this remote part of northern Australia
Long abstract: Over the past few decades, an Aboriginal land management movement has developed across traditional lands across northern Australia. The early innovators in this space have developed considerable experience with the application of non-Aboriginal (i.e. so-called “western” science) land management techniques and protocols with their own knowledge of land management developed over many thousands of years of occupation. In this presentation, Aboriginal land managers will present examples of what land management services they provide and where, and how, they provide them across vast areas of diverse land and water. Particular attention will be paid to the bene-fits provided to staff and local communities through the provision of landscape and hab-itat management services, employment opportunities for men, women and youth and locally-mediated control over the choice and delivery of land management services. Short videos of their work will be shown.
10:59 – 11:16 AM. TBA
Ezra Uda, Sarawak Administrative Officer (SAO), Residen Office, Miri; Matu Tugang, Long Jek community of Belaga, Sarawak
11:16 – 11:30 AM. Discussion