Thanks to the Tribal Link Foundation of the USA (founded and led by the visionary and dedicated Indigenous Rights advocate Ms. Pamela Kraft) – I had one Golden opportunity to write the project proposal up while I was at the United Nations headquarters for the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) in New York cirty from April 13-23rd 2010 and submit it, everyone who heard the concept (both Indigenous & non-Indigenous) saw the potential in this idea and as a result several Indigenous communities all around the world are now using this project proposal model and adapting it to suit their own communities needs.
Unfortunately, as one would expect – there ARE ignorant and jealous people within CARICOM (the crab in the barrel syndrome) who will not want to give me credit for helping to do anything to advance the cause of Indigenous Peoples regionaly (much less globally – as is the case in fact), and they might even try to fool people that I must be getting money out of it, but the UN and International Funding Agencies are not hap-hazard entities run by fools, if these projects get approved for funding the donors will have no contact with me – they will only be in touch with the leadership of the beneficiary communities directly, so it is impossible for me to benefit financially from any grants I help indigenous communities to obtain.
It is only because of the Pan-Tribal Confederacy of Indigenous Tribal Nations (an entity I finance myself that refuses any external funding in order to remain ‘vociferously neutral and independent of any political intimidation‘)’ that I founded and still lead – and which I might add is the ONLY worldwide multi-racial Indigenous Confederacy in existence – that I have become one of the better known Indigenous rights activists and campaigners from the Caribbean region recognised by the OAS (since 2000) and the UN (since 2008).
I can’t deny that my reputation and claim to fame is due to my willingness to openly confront and expose ANY government worldwide that is guilty of violating the rights of indigenous peoples in the strongest possible terms that I deem necessary or appropriate – and this has made me stand out from the crowd of Indigenous NGO’s (both regionaly and Internationaly) who are wont to entertain poltical entaglements and generally suffer from the ‘fear of state retribution or donor aid withdrawal complex’.
Brief excerpt of the INDIGENOUS CULTURAL CENTRE PROJECT PROPOSAL idea:
PROJECT TITLE AND BRIEF SUMMARY
Indigenous Cultural Centre – a nexus for the preservation and promotion of the Indigenous Identity and culture through the creation of a large traditional building serving multiple and diverse functions – all of which are integral and inseparable components of what makes each Indigenous people unique.
BACKGROUND AND ANALYSIS OF THE PROBLEM TO BE ADDRESSED
We, the ………………Indigenous people DO seek development with identity and culture – to borrow the current theme of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), we know that we can accept and incorporate the best that the modern world has to offer – whilst still preserving and promoting our unique indigenous identity and culture.
However, our people have no present day central traditional gathering place as we did before assimilationalist policies were imposed on us – which was – and will again be – best suited to cater to all the needs touched on above; hence the inevitable slide towards cultural extinction we so desperately seek to reverse.
PROPOSED PROJECT OBJECTIVES, BENEFICIARY POPULATION, AND IMPLEMENTATION PLAN
The documenting and teaching of our ancient language, the documenting and teaching of our herbal medicine, our traditional woodcarving art, our basketry, our palm-leaf straw carpets, our agave straw hammock weaving, our traditional seed, bead and bone jewelery, our cotton weaving, traditional hunting weapons, traditional fishing tools, clay pottery, the documenting and teaching of our oral history and folklore to present and future generations, teach how to manufacture and play traditional musical implements and the various dances that accompany them, teach of our traditional spirituality to the youth in our community, teach and hold events for our traditional stick and ball games, hold traditional marriage ceremonies, even have an area contained within that will serve as a tribal museum for the documenting and public exhibiting of artifacts discovered on our territory that were created by our ancestors – but the multi-purpose beauty of the Cultural
center does not stop there!
With the use of modern renewable energy sources such as solar power – we envision a specific area in the cultural center to be dedicated to a public library of audio CD and DVD documentaries as well as books – created for/by and about indigenous peoples worldwide, including the all important materials produced by the United Nations concerning Indigenous Peoples; and everything in the center to be freely accessed by everyone (both local and visitor alike).
This is not the sum total of what can be provided by the Cultural Center, it is merely to demonstrate the awesome potential of this one seemingly humble building; a facility that should and MUST function as a nexus that preserves and promotes our unique indigenous identity – and simultaneously acts as a bridge between both the traditional and modern technological worlds.
In our locally specific example this facility will instill a re-newed sense of awareness and pride in our people and educate them about fellow indigenous brothers and sisters around the world, and of their United Nations recognized rights as indigenous human beings in the world today.
In our case the …………………………………..will be the direct and initial beneficiaries, but any person visiting from any part of the world – who has a genuine non-exploitative interest in our culture will be welcomed to visit and learn from us, and hopefully be in a position to reciprocate and share their knowledge with us in return; as we too are interested in learning how others who may face similar situations are coping with their own home-grown solutions.
In the final analysis the MOST beautiful aspect of this entire project – is the fact that it can be adopted and adapted to suit the locally specific needs and requirements of indigenous communities all over the world!
Damon Gerard Corrie
Pan-Tribal Confederacy of Indigenous Tribal Nations
Attending the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) ninth session, April 19-29; New York City, USA.