Monday, August 18, 2008

Indigenous Peoples Summit in Ainu Mosir 2008 Survey for Indigenous Guests

1) Why did you decide to take part in the Indigenous Peoples Summit in Ainu Mosir 2008?

We have enjoyed a relationship with Ainu community mainly through The Ainu Art Project, Koji Yuki san, Yugo Ono sensei and with the support of Arai Kazu san and Misa Honde chan since the World Youth Camp 2003. Over those years strong links of like hearted visions, hopes and shared dreams have culminated in the invitation to come and support Indigenous Peoples Summit in Ainu Mosir 2008.

In 2004 a representative of Māori was invited to attend the World Peace and Prayer Day (WPPD) ceremonies held in Hiroshima and at Mt Fuji further consolidating relationships between Māori Japanese, Ainu and Lakota, Dakota, Nakota nations and many other indigenous communities. Meeting Chief Arvol Looking Horse inspired that Māori representative to further support WPPD in support of Misa Honde and other indigenous communities the following year 2005 in South Dakota. It was from this second experience with WPPD that an invitation by Māori to WPPD for 2008 in Aotearoa was put forward and accepted.

This required 3 years of planning, organising and strategic thinking around the logistics of what would be involved in holding WPPD in Aotearoa. That planning and strategic thinking lead to enrolment in the Advancement for Māori Opportunity (AMO) programme through Te Whare Wānanga o Aotearoa and the nurturing of relationships with talented Māori from the four corners of our country. Suffice it to say three strands were woven together over those 3 years between 2005 and 2008 that lead to a direct and empowering impact on holding WPPD in Aotearoa this year 2008 which again was an important stepping stone to the 5 Māori attendees present at the Indigenous Peoples Summit in Hokkaido Ainu Mosir.

Two weeks before the Summit those 3 strands came together in spiritual ceremony via the World Peace and Prayer Day gathering here in Whangaruru Whangarei Aotearoa New Zealand. Members of AMO, Ainu co-organiser Koji Yuki san and supporter Misa Honde chan and the founders of WPPD Chief Arvol Looking Horse and Family participated in that ceremony in unity as a demonstration of their hopes and dreams for peace in our world for all of life. Through that demonstration of unconditional aroha and support for our ceremony that week we reciprocated by travelling to Ainu Mosir to support the Summit. However we were merely a contemporary grouping of Māori condensed out of a far longer and deeper history and herstory of Māori participation in the development of UNdrip over the decades of Indigenous Peoples Rights.

In recognition of that long participation from Māori advice and guidance was sought from Aroha Mead. Aroha is a Senior Lecturer in Maori Business. She is also a Senior Research Fellow with the Centre of Environmental Law at Macquarie University in Sydney. Aroha serves on a number of Advisory committees including, Te Pae Whakawairua (Archives New Zealand), Advisory Group on Maori & Genetic Information (ESR), International Experts Group for the UNU Traditional Knowledge Centre, Indigenous Advisory Panel for Terralingua, and the Steering Group for the High Conservation Value Resource Network.

Aroha co-chairs 'Call of the Earth Llamado de la Tierra', an international initiative on indigenous intellectual property policy hosted at the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies in Yokohama, Japan and she is serving a second term on the Governing Council of the IUCN World Conservation Union. Within the IUCN, Aroha is also Co-Chair of the Theme on Culture & Conservation within the Commission on Economic, Environmental & Social Policy, is a member of the World Commission on Protected Areas and the IUCN/ICMM Working Group on Extractive Industries & Biodiversity. Aroha’s research interests include:

  • Maori and indigenous cultural and intellectual property issues;
  • Indigenous peoples and protected areas (land and marine);
  • Customary Law and the role of tradition in management and conflict resolution;
  • Extractive industries and biodiversity;
  • The Principle of Informed Consent;
  • International standards setting for indigenous rights and development
Suffice it to say her comments and experience helped guide the approach we 2008 representatives would take to this years Summit and also shape our input into the whole. The irony of course is that New Zealand remains 1 of 4 countries not to sign the Declaration of Indigenous Peoples Rights signed by the rest of the world in September 2007.

Despite this situation the values of reciprocity, redistribution, relationships, responsibility and respect espoused in the AMO programme (inspired by the 4 R’s of the AIO, Americans for Indian Opportunity programme) and basic tikanga Māori practiced still in our culture inspired us to be present at this Summit because it was ‘tika’ to do so.