Indigenous web round-up

Every month we share indigenous news, stories and media from around the world in our round-up. With a focus on arts, culture & promoting the strength of indigenous knowledge. We also introduce new members who have joined our global collaboration network.

This week, we’re happy to feature:

Treecreds: a support, management, advocacy and promotional agency for avoided deforestation.

Creating awareness about Canada’s (indigenous) history and citizens Historica Canada.

Founded 30 years ago, the Tallberg Foundation aims to provoke different ways of thinking about leaderships and it’s impact on civilizations around the world.

Kumu Hina

One of the greatest journeys of the human experience is the struggle to accept oneself and live authentically. 2014 Hawaiian documentary Kumu Hina lifts the veil on the misunderstood and marginalized experience of gendered individuals whose identity cannot be defined by the broad strokes of contemporary Western categorization. For many Native Hawaiians, authenticity is at the heart of the human experience. Living authentically is one of the highest honors individuals can bestow upon themselves, their families, and their communities. Freeing oneself of gender- categorization is one of many ways of reaching authenticity.

“A mahu is an individual that straddles somewhere in the middle of the male and female binary. It does not define their sexual preference or gender expression because gender roles, gender expressions, and sexual relationships have all been severely influenced by the changing times. It is dynamic. It is like life.”

Kumu Hina follows the journey of Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu (“Hina”), a teacher at a Hawaiian charter school in Honolulu, who is mahu. Kumu Hina explores the role of mahu in Hawaiian society through the lens of a Native Hawaiian who is deeply rooted in the traditions of her ancestors.

Whanganui River

To the Maori people on New Zealands’ north island, the Whanganui River is a living entity and has been so for many decades. After 160 years of fighting for recognition, the 3rd biggest river in the country has now been announced a legal person. “I know the initial inclination of some people will say it’s pretty strange to give a natural resource a legal personality,” said New Zealand’s Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson. “But it’s no stranger than family trusts, or companies or incorporated societies.”

The Whanganui River, New Zealand’s third-longest, will be represented by one member from the Maori tribes, known as iwi, and one from the Crown. The biggest virtue of this change in legislation is that the river can be represented in court proceedings, which makes it a lot easier to defend it’s rights and the importance to the tribal people of New Zealand.

“The river as a whole is absolutely important to the people who are from the river and live on the river,” said MP Adrian Rurawhe, who represents the Maori. “From a Whanganui viewpoint the wellbeing of the river is directly linked to the wellbeing of the people and so it is really important that’s recognised as its own identity.” Members of the Maori community celebrated the news with tears and music in New Zealand’s parliament.

Photojournal- Mike van Kruchten (Part 1)





Kalahari Basters

Deep in Namibia’s Kalahari dessert lives an ethnic group of European decent called Rehoboth Basters. The Basters are the offspring of European settlers and their indigenous Khoisan slaves during the colonial period in the 18th century. During the colonization of South Africa, the Basters became a stigmatized group. The Europeans considered them superior to the black population, but they were still too black to be treated as true Europeans. As a result, the Basters moved northwards into the empty farmlands of central Namibia, where they still live today.

The Basters are a proud and strong ethnic group who respect their history and their elders. They are tradition-minded, and they stick together, especially when it comes to protecting their family and community. In part thanks to these qualities, they have managed to survive apartheid and two world wars.

One hundred and one years after the Rehoboth Basters rose up against the Germans that colonized them, the photo series “Basterland“ takes up the task of providing a multifaceted view of the contemporary life of this ethnic group still living in Namibia today. These images reveal tension-laden contradictions; in particular, the confrontation between global standardization and traditional regional structures that have been upheld over generations and defended against external, antagonistic forces.

View the full reportage here.