Guess which country the Radio New Internationalist team is talking about today? Its indigenous people - still struggling for rights to their land and resources - often live in shanty communities overrepresented by the unemployed, drug addicted, and alcoholic. Fringe-dwellers, they die much earlier than non-indigenous people, and suffer a range of chronic health problems. Many non-indigenous people say that these folk need to be integrated into mainstream society, but the standard of education and other basic services that they are offered still remains low. It could be Australia. Or it could be Canada. Perhaps it’s the United States, or Africa, or Latin America?
In fact it’s the standard text for a long list of indigenous peoples all over the world. Together with today’s co-host - Jonathan Mazower from the international NGO Survival - today’s guests share the problems and possible solutions that their people face as a result of a continuing stream of attempts to steal their land and culture.
- Canadian Innu leader Marcel Ashini describes how - just like a tree - strengthening ones roots can make indigenous people grow stronger.
- Carteret Islanders Ursula Rakova and Bernard Tunim relate how rising tides caused by climate change are now claiming their crops and their Pacific homes.
- Debra Harry, who spearheads the Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonialism based in Nevada, talks about how global genetic testing that’s currently being undertaken can threaten the culture and knowledge systems of indigenous peoples around the world (in conversation with Daniel Diesendorf from Victoria University in Australia).