When we talk about the dealings between business and human rights for indigenous people, the task of addressing issues and implementing ‘protection mechanism’ seems almost unsurmountable. However, ‘it depends on what perspective and the context of the place from where we are looking at the issues’ says Hans Petter Graver, the Chair of OECD National Contract Point Norway. In the seminar titled “Businesses and human rights of indigenous peoples: challenges and protection mechanisms” organized by The Rainforest Foundation Norway and Forum for Development Cooperation with Indigenous People on 4th of November 2014 in Oslo, Graver gave an interesting presentation on how OECD guidelines have served to protect the rights of indigenous people and what responsibilities OECD guidelines play in Norwegian companies and investment institutions.
“When an indigenous person loses his/her land, s/he is no longer an individual, no longer ‘somebody’. That is how important land is to indigenous people because land is identity”, remarked Rukka Sombolinggi of the Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN), Indoneisa. Addressing the seminar titled “Businesses and human rights of indigenous peoples: challenges and protection mechanisms.” held by The Rainforest Foundation Norway and Forum for Development Cooperation with Indigenous People on 4th of November 2014 in Oslo, Rukka exemplified how land territory and resources provide meaning to the existence of indigenous people.
16.10.2014. Death is an inevitable and ultimate truth. Art writer and critic Chris Townsend describes death as an event that cannot belong to us but rather only to those around us. It is such an impersonal phenomena that can neither be represented nor communicated by us. However, what happens when a community has a practice where dead have an ability to remain as a non-human entity in the human post human space? How do things take turn when dead have a power to communicate their desires through the living ones? How does the practice of ‘possession’ of a living by dead affect the judiciary system and other units of an indigenous community? Claire Scheid, a PhD candidate in the Study of Religions Department at National University of Ireland-University College Cork, in affiliation with Rajiv Gandhi University in India, studied this integrated system of ‘dead possessing the living’ among the indigenous ‘Adi’ community of Far Eastern Himalayan region of India.
One of the sessions during the second day of the On Whose Terms? conference was devoted to the topic “Education and Social Justice”. Jennifer Hays and Velina Ninkova, both from the University of Tromsø, presented their works at the session. The presentations were about the indigenous San people from southern Africa. The community is also known by the name “Bushmen”, who currently live primarily in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Angola, and speak several different languages. In total, the group consists of approximately 100,000 people. In the countries where the San people live they are the most marginalized segment of the population and have the lowest participation rates in national economic, political and education systems.
One of the main goals of the On Whose Terms? conference was to provide a stage for discussions of challenges and solutions researchers are facing when attempting to create an effective collaborative research atmosphere with colleagues from different social and cultural backgrounds. One of the sessions was the keynote plenary about cross-cultural research collaboration, which specifically promised to discuss Negotiating Codes and Dissonant Expectations. During the first part of this session, several researches presented their experiences of collaboration with people with different cultural backgrounds.
On Thursday, October 2nd 2014 as part of the “On Whose Terms?” NFU Conference hosted at Uit The Arctic University of Norway, social anthropologist and filmmaker Professor Lisbet Holtedal delivered her keynote address on the subject of Power, Communication and Development: Epistemological Output of Cross-Cultural Collaboration. In her address, Holtedahl reflected upon the ways in which the academy has historically created societal hierarchies and asymmetries of power – between the academy and society at large, between the global North and the global South, between men and women, and between all over marginalized groups and their privileged counterparts. These imbalances, she explained, persist to this day and the academy must realize both the ways in which it is responsible for these hierarchies and the ways in which it can help to level them. Holtedahl’s message is clear: the academy has a responsibility to those affected by its research, research which cannot exist without the experiences and knowledges of its subjects – without research subjects, there can be no research. “The reality”, Holtedahl says, “is that we need them”.