JOLLANG, 9 Aug: The Arunachal Pradesh Catholic Association (APCA) in collaboration with the Arunachal Citizen’s Rights (ACR) and Don Bosco College (DBC) celebrated the International Day of World’s Indigenous Peoples at the DBC here on Monday.
Addressing the participants, ACR director Bamang Tago spoke on the importance of the day, with special reference to Arunachal, while Human Rights Alert director Babloo Loitongbam highlighted “the need for implementation of the United Nation’s Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples, particularly in reference to Article 11 Sub-clause (2) of the principle of free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples in the developmental activities carried out in their land, territory and resources.”
Dr Wanglit Monghan appealed to the tribal leaders present at the function to “take steps to bring about literature such as dictionary, grammar and textbooks in the local dialects and languages.”
Itanagar bishop Rev John Thomas said that, while one should accept changes, one also needs to “preserve the core values of the tribal culture and strengthen the local entrepreneurship for stable economic base.”
Archbishop emeritus of Guwahati (Assam), Thomas Menaparampil urged the tribal leaders to not lose their identity, “either through outside invasion or through internal erosion by losing core indigenous values like equality, fraternity, collective spirit, etc.”
Arunachal Indigenous Tribes Forum president Bengia Tolum spoke about his personal experience of belonging to the Nishi indigenous culture, and expressed appreciation for his father, who inculcated in him the love for tribal values.
“When Christianity came to Arunachal Pradesh, certain tribal values were not appreciated,” he said, adding, however, that he was not against any religion and appreciated those who support preservation of the culture and identity of the indigenous people.
APCA president Taw Tebin also spoke.
The programme featured a colourful presentation of various indigenous dances.