Monday, August 11, 2008

Indigenous Peoples' Day

Keystone celebrated the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People on 9 August 2008. A special day-long programme was organised at the CSI Higher Secondary School grounds in Kotagiri. Over 600 people, elders, men, women and children, attended the programme. There were dance performances by the attending Toda, Kota, Irula and Kurumba community members. An exhibition on indigenous peoples was put up. Ms Selvi delivered the welcome speech and was the mistress of ceremonies. Mr Leo Roberts explained the significance of Indigenous Peoples' Day. Among the special guests were Mr Raju, the President of the Nilgiri Adivasi Welfare Association (NAWA), the President of the Kotagiri Panchayat, and the Tamil Nadu Minister for Khadi & Village Industries. As part of Keystone's programme of documenting indigenous knowledge, a book on Irula medicine was released on the occasion. A sumptuous lunch was enjoyed by all.

Read the message from Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO,on the occasion of the International Day of the World's Indigenous People, 9 August 2008, here.

Hear an interview with John Tarawe, Chairman, e-Bario Knowledge Fair, on E-inclusion for indigenous people here.

See a slide-show of pictures from the Keystone programme.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Bee Museum

Keystone's Bee Museum in Ooty was inaugurated on 7 October 2006 by Ms Meena Gupta, Secretary, Ministry of Tribal affairs, Govt of India.

Befittingly, just before the inauguration, a honeycomb of Apis dorsata, the giant rock bees, appeared at the museum entrance.

The Bee Museum aims to impart nature education to school students as well as citizens from all walks of life. The museum would create awareness on conservation and livelihood based on eco-development approaches. It is the first of its kind, in terms of focusing on traditional knowledge and practices of indigenous communities.

The Bee Museum aims to be a vibrant space, with innovative workshops, live demonstration units of bees, specimens and traditional as well as modern tools used in beekeeping and honey gathering. The Bee Museum network brings together indigenous honey hunters and school students.

In the long run, this conservation inititiave will help in the sustainable harvest of honey as well as the conservation of the honey bee species. It is hoped that the sowing of the seed of conservation in the minds of people involved in honey harvesting as well as of the young generation will surely bring about a significant change in the near future.

The response so far has been extremely encouraging.