The year 2013 marks the 376th anniversary of the historic revolt of the Carib Chief of Kairi (Trinidad) Hyarima, against the then Spanish colonizers in the year 1637. The year 2013 also falls within the second International Decade of the Indigenous Peoples that extends from 2005 to 2014.
Since the arrival of the European colonizers and subsequent peoples from various countries and continents, the cultural heritage of the First Peoples has undergone catastrophic changes. Over the last five hundred years, the First Peoples’ Nations across the Caribbean have met with immeasurable hardships and much of their cultural heritage is on the verge of extinction.
To counter this threat of annihilation, the Santa Rosa First Peoples Community is having its week-long Amerindian Heritage celebrations in the month of October, 2013. The aim is to preserve, share and showcase the cultural values, ways of life and traditions of the First Peoples in Trinidad & Tobago, across the Caribbean and North and South America.
A significant and integral aspect of the Amerindian Heritage Week is a two-day Conference aimed at examining alternative dialogues and courses of action with respect to some of the most critically important issues that societies of First Peoples face today. These include but are not restricted to issues dealing with youth, gender, performative traditions, spirituality, sustainable living, governance and heritage. The cultural heritage of the First Peoples is based on a spiritual world view that all animate and inanimate things on this and all other worlds have a common root and origin. Life is a continuous interplay of matter and spirit and everything has a spiritual dimension, which is the fundamental aspect of the existence of all creatures. The planet Earth or Mother Earth is given to human beings to live and occupy as caretakers with an eternal duty to protect and nurture its sacredness. Human beings are allowed to live and produce on Mother Earth only through sustainable means. The indigenous world view prohibits human beings from engaging in anything which destroys Mother Earth.
The main aims and objectives of the conference are as follows:
(a) To map the cultural continuity of First Peoples communities of the region, including, the participation of youth, gender relationships and the role of elders of the community.
(b) To raise awareness of the indigenous spiritual, medicinal and performative traditions and worldviews.
(c) To regenerate the traditional arts and crafts of the First Peoples for their sustainable living.
(d) To share the knowledge systems of First Peoples communities as these relate to the preservation of the natural resources and life in all of its forms, hews and expressions.
(e) To revitalize the traditional skills associated with First Peoples culture for the larger usage by different communities. and
(f) To explore governance systems, politics and international affairs.
The following panels are proposed:
- Issues on Youth, Gender and Elders of First Peoples’ communities.
- The performative traditions including music, dance, drama and other oral practices.
- Arts and Crafts in traditional and contemporary settings including the creative, literary, plastic and culinary arts.
- Indigenous world views, approaches to spirituality, healing, rituals and festivals.
- Relationship with the natural and human environment for sustainable living.
- Governance and politics in relation to First Peoples: Local, Regional and International.
The Conference is expected to:
(a) Be a catalyst for the spiritual, social, and cultural development and empowerment of First Peoples communities in Trinidad & Tobago, the Caribbean and the Americas.
(b) Provide the appropriate information to First Peoples, regional governments and international organisations dealing with such issues in the region for the purpose of policy, strategic and programme planning,
(c) Enable all the peoples of the region to appreciate and experience the sense of empowerment, and
(d) Assist in the establish of a database and archive, commencing with the conference proceedings
For more information about the International First Peoples Conference, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office at 664-1897.