Dimapur, August 10: The Nagas celebrated the International Day of World’s Indigenous Peoples on August 9 at Makhrai Rabu (Makhel Village), Tahamzan. The programme was organized b the Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) in collaboration with Memai Council and Makhri Rabu Village Council.
Neingulo Krome, Secretary General NPMHR highlighted the journey of Indigenous Peoples and their struggles around the world since the Inaugural Session on the first Working Group on Indigenous Populations at the United Nations in 1982. The movements for rights of Indigenous Peoples progressed from strength to strength and in 1990 the United Nations declared 1993 as the International Year of World’s Indigenous Peoples (IYWIP). The Nagas participated extensively in the yearlong commemoration of IYWIP through various activities which culminated in the grand celebration of Naga Week from December 1-5, 1993 at Kohima with the theme ‘Indigenous Peoples- A New Partnership’. The celebration was participated by Nagas from all Naga areas irrespective of geographical boundaries. In the succeeding year, the United Nations through its resolution 49/214 declared that 9th August shall be observed every year as the International Day of World’s Indigenous Peoples every year to promote and protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Peter Khrasi, President Memai Council in his greetings appreciated the NPMHR for bringing the celebration to the ancestral home of the Nagas. He highlighted on the need for extensive and systematic research and study on Naga culture and language. He also informed the gathering that Memai Council support from the government will do the best ensure that Naga heritage is protected, preserved and promoted.
Chinyga Luithui, former Convernor NPMHR South in his address stated language is not only a mediu of communication but also the carrier of our culture, history and identity. Language is also an instrument for domination with the power to determine how “how we should be thinking and what others want us to think”.
On the urgency of preserving and protecting Naga languages, Luithui pointed that two Naga mother languages are seriously endangered. Tarao language has 8000-1000 native speakers and Uipo (Khoibu) have 3000-5000 native speakers.
Elias T. Lotha, Executive Council member NPMHR in theme exposition began his address praising the creator for creating the Nagas the way we are with colorful cultures and traditions. “I regret that I cannot communicate with my brothers and sisters in a language of our own, understood by all and I hope that one day, we will be able to do so”, he added.
The language that I used today to convey this message is one that is imposed upon us and not in a language of our choosing. Language is instrumental in constructing the future of groups and communities and therefore it becomes extremely important for us Nagas to consciously guard and preserve our language. At this crucial juncture of Naga history it becomes all the more important as language is important for good governance, reconciliation, peace-building and sustainable development.
The programme was chaired by Eno Kenneth Mao, Executive Council member NPMHR. The welcome note was delivered by Chairman, Makhrai Rabu Village Council. Traditional tunes were presented by Makhrai Rabu village women group and folk fusion by Mom’s Intouch group. The programme concluded with Indigenous Feast at the village. (Page News Service)