Invitation to the Forum Conference October 5-6, 2006:
”Words or action? Transition from Indigenous Activism to Political Power.
Challenges from South America”
We hereby invite you or your organization to this year’s conference hosted by the Forum for Development Cooperation with Indigenous Peoples. The conference takes place at the University of Tromsø on October 5th – 6th 2006. The title of the Forum conference 2006 is ”Words or action? Transition from Indigenous Activism to Political Power. Challenges from South America”.
This year’s conference takes as point of departure some of the political changes in South and Central America, and will critically examine how Indigenous Peoples and their Organisations manage in the transition from activism to the implementation of new regimes that nominally give more attention to Indigenous Issues. Speakers from Bolivia and Brazil will provide empirical illustrations.
Among our keynote speakers is Carlos Romero, Director of the Centre for Social and Juridical Studies (CEJIS), an NGO that has played a leading role in the formulation of territorial demands in the Bolivian lowlands and in its problematic legal process. It also provides legal support for the Landless Movement (MAS). Although CEJIS’ name is usually associated with this movement, they have also been critical of Evo Morales’ government dynamics. Another speaker from Bolivia is Teresa Canavari, former Vice Minister in the Government. Canaviri will in her speech focus especially on the situation of indigenous women in Bolivia.
From Brazil we will have an introduction from a representative from the Association of the Xingu Indigenous Land (ATIX) who will focus on how Indigenous Rights and protection of the culture is closely connected with the protection of the Rainforest and biodiversity in the Xingu Indigenous Park in the Amazons. Created in 1961, this park represents one of the richest linguistic mosaics in the Americas, and was once regarded as the symbol of the official indigenous policy, but is now threatened by timber companies and farmers from the surrounding areas. A speaker from Instituto Socioambiental (ISA) will address the influence of the left wing movement in Brazil on the situation for Indigenous Rights. ISA was established in 1994 by a group of people with professional background and experiences in the struggle for social and environmental rights, and has long experience in working with issues of the material and non-material heritage. ISA has links to the Ecumenical Documentation and Information Center’s Brazilian Indigenous Peoples Program, and the Indigenous Rights Nucleus (NDI) of Brasília. (http://www.socioambiental.org/e/inst/index.shtm)
The Forum conference will also address current issues globally, such as the situation following the new Human Rights Council’s approval of the text of a declaration on indigenous peoples’ rights, and will monitor the implementation of the Finnmark Act and other issues under the headline “Forum update”. News and updates in the program will be published at our homepages: http://www.sami.uit.no/forum/.
“Forum for Development Cooperation with Indigenous Peoples” was established in 2000, and is a meeting place for researchers, development workers, administrators and activists working with indigenous peoples’ issues, and where they can share experiences from their work with different development projects related to indigenous peoples. The Forum has a Board located with the Centre for Sámi Studies at the University of Tromsø, with external representation from other research institutions, Indigenous advocacy NGOs and the Sámi Council. The Forum provides a focus on national and transnational strategies concerning indigenous peoples, and how this influences the capacity and ability of indigenous peoples to shape and control their own development.
This year’s conference has the Rainforest Foundation Norway (http://www.rainforest.no) as a collaborating partner, and we have also received input from The Norwegian Students and Academics International Assistance Fund (SAIH) (http://www.saih.no/). The conference languages will be English, Spanish and Portuguese.
Please register for this year’s Forum conference by using the registration form on our web pages: http://www.sami.uit.no/forum/. The number of participants is limited to 200. The registration deadline is set to September25th 2006.
Leader of the advisory board
Forum for Development Cooperation with Indigenous Peoples
Terje G. Lilleeng
Senior Executive Officer