…of First Peoples
With the month of September nigh upon us, we’ve been reminded that this is “Amerindian Heritage Month” – or “Indigenous Heritage Month”, or “First Peoples’ Heritage Month”. Take your pick – but remember there’s a lot in a name! “Amerindian” is now passé, since in this dawning of the Age of Aquarius, that’s like a “slave” name bestowed by their oppressors, who were arrogant enough to declare they “discovered” them!
They, in THAT scheme of things, weren’t humans whose consciousness led to self-discovery, but were akin to mountains and rivers that had to be “discovered” by Europeans to be hailed into existence!! “Indigenous” became the preferred moniker with decolonisation and all of that. It reminded one and all they were here “from time immemorial”. But since some have been crass enough to take that expression literally and then question it, of recent, representatives have demanded of the ERC that they be called “First Peoples”.
This, of course, is a pointed reminder that everyone else in the land is “second” or lower in some order that’s obviously meant to suggest a natural ranking!! Looks like it’s a response to those who’re claiming a greater right to the national patrimony. But the First Peoples are reminding all and sundry that they ought to get first dibs at whatever’s being doled out. Including, presumably, the oil revenues that are already being divvied up by coast landers!
Now, because of the history of exclusion and exploitation that’s now being rejected by the First Peoples, your Eyewitness was intrigued by them opening up their Heritage Month with a “prayer service” led by a group from the “Hallelujah Religion”. This, we are informed, is the only surviving “Indigenous Religion”. But from the name, it’s obviously a syncretic form of worship that includes Christian elements.
This is a step forward, since at least it suggests that not only are the First Peoples choosing their own name, but also their own spiritual practice.
Another important aspect of the First Peoples’ Heritage in the coming month that must be emphasised is the legacy of Stephen Campbell in securing their land rights. There are many who’re jumping up and down like fowl cocks making all sorts of ridiculous statements that Amerindian land rights were a form of reparation. It’s not!! In the 1960s, Campbell, as the first “First Peoples” MP, worked tirelessly to develop a First Peoples’ democratic consensus on their claim to their land on which they had lived, and he presented this directly to the British Government.
As a condition for Independence, Annex C of the Independence Agreement spells out the nature of those rights.
This September, all Guyanese should put that in their pipe and smoke it!!
…and TT oil
It’s the end of a looong era!! Imagine, the Trinidad oil company Petrotrin’s closing down and has put 1700 workers into the streets. If nothing else, this should remind some of the hard heads (not hard hats!) in OUR Government that sugar isn’t the only industry that can become obsolete. While former TT PM Eric Williams used to boast that “oil can’t spoil”, Trinis have now found out it can run out! And this is worse!!
Oil was being pumped since early in the 20th century, and made TT the most prosperous colony during colonial times. But after Independence, Williams doled out all the jobs in the industry and all the ancillary support companies to his PNM supporters!! He didn’t save for a rainy day, nor did he invest in diversifying the economy – especially agriculture. So that now the (oil) well is dry, some of the Trinis ‘ah halla and some ah bawl”!!
Your Eyewitness hopes Granger takes notice. He’s already shut down sugar.
But he’d better hold the line on the “handout” culture!!
So when will Cabinet be holding that promised meeting on Broomes’s shameful bullyism of those security guards??
She recently pontificated about “safety of miners”. What about safety of security guards??