The International Day for the World’s Indigenous People was first proclaimed in 1994 by the United Nations.
In 2007, the General Assembly adopted the Declaration On The Rights Of Indigenous People. At first, Australia, New Zealand, United States, and Canada all voted against the declaration but they have all reversed their positions since.
The International Day for the World’s Indigenous People is important because in our increasingly globalized, technology-driven world indigenous people are often forgotten. This year’s theme is “Indigenous media, empowering indigenous voices.” The day aims to encourage more and more indigenous people around the world to promote and spread their culture, language, and values through traditional and new media forms… The knowledge and views of indigenous people often differ from mainstream analyses. The UN, along with NGOs, wants to highlight the vital importance of these differences. Mainstream thought has already learned a lot from the thought of indigenous people regarding issues such as environmental protection, for example.
Since 2000, UNESCO has been funding media projects for indigenous people worldwide, projects such as training and the purchasing of radio equipment. UNESCO writes that, “Community radio initiatives provide an outreach mechanism for increased access to education, self-expression and communication particularly among rural and hard to reach grassroots populations. “
Watch this clip about a small radio project in Todos Santos, Guatemala.
Happy International Day for World’s Indigenous People!