Indigenous women: keepers of sacred knowledge

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  Indigenous women are distinct knowledge-holders, as well as agents of change and community cohesion at the local level. In this video we hear from women in the North Rupununi, Guyana about their views and concerns on traditional knowledge in their communities. National governments and international organizations need to pay attention to the gender aspects of traditional knowledge. Women play a vital role in the survival and development of Indigenous communities, sustaining traditional knowledge as a dynamic and living body … Read More

Consultations of the Traditional Knowledge National Action Plan for Guyana begin

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After a long delay due to Covid-19, a national consultation process for a draft Traditional Knowledge National Action Plan (TKNAP) for Guyana began on the 12th February 2021. The consultation with Indigenous communities in Guyana is supported by the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs (MoAA).  A first consultation meeting was held with all the Community Development Officers (CDOs) who support the work of the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs. They are field-based and have responsibility for clusters of hinterland communities in the … Read More

Ceramics, food and Indigenous identity

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Why does food taste so good cooked in and eaten off clay vessels? Exactly one year ago, I was in the Rupununi, Guyana working with potters from Fly Hill. The aim was to revalorise the crafting process of Indigenous pottery, with the goal to create an economic livelihood and strengthen Indigenous identity. Six Makushi potters were involved: Combrencent Ernest, Latea Hendricks, accompanied by her three-month year old daughter, Timmy Hendricks, Everisto James, Nicodemus Lawrence and Janet Charles.  During our time … Read More

Guyana’s biodiversity global hotspot – the North Rupununi Wetlands

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  To celebrate the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands – World Wetlands Day 2021 we are highlighting one of the world’s least known but incredibly important wetland biodiversity hotspots, the North Rupununi Wetlands. This incredible wetland complex is found in the southern interior of Guyana, South America and contains more than 450 fish species, which in turn supply a food chain to endangered species such as the black caiman, giant river otter, giant river turtle, and recovering populations of the largest … Read More

Darwin Traditional Knowledge project participates in global biodiversity consultations

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The Second Global Thematic Dialogue for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework was held virtually between the 1-3 December 2020, while the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Consultations on Traditional Knowledge with Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities was conducted on 4 December 2020. The Darwin Traditional knowledge project participated in these dialogues as our main aim is to progress the level of inclusion, protection and respect of traditional knowledge in both policy and … Read More

Building capacity for improved inclusion of traditional knowledge

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The Darwin Project in Guyana – “Integrating traditional knowledge into national policy and practice” this week facilitated a training course specifically aimed at building the capacity of decision-makers in the area of traditional knowledge. All project activities are aligned to support progress towards the achievement of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)’s Aichi target 18. This course addresses the urgent call for increased levels of awareness and efforts to promote the inclusion of traditional knowledge at the national level. The … Read More

Indigenous Heritage 2020: Traditional knowledge directly supports conservation efforts

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  It has been a delight to have shared several videos that have been produced through the on-going Darwin Initiative Traditional Knowledge in Conservation project here in Guyana. As you have seen, these videos showcase a wide array of the traditional knowledge and practices possessed by Guyana’s first peoples – Amerindians. From their unique foods and how they are prepared, to their knowledge of traditional medicines, or from their handicraft making skills to their use of traditional tools that support … Read More

Indigenous Heritage 2020: Elders are the community’s historians

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  Elders are important members of Indigenous communities. They possess decades of knowledge linked to the history of their village and the many cultural and livelihood practices that are passed to the younger generation through demonstrating know-how, storytelling and other cultural activities such as dancing or ceremonial rituals. One wise proverb truthfully states: “When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground”. Community elders – both male and female – have a wealth of knowledge which, especially today, is … Read More

Indigenous Heritage 2020: Traditional tools

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  Traditional tools are an essential aspect of Indigenous life, even to today. From the use of clay for pottery, making of warashees, matapee and mats from various palm tree leaves by weaving or plaiting, or crafting bows and arrows for hunting purposes, we see a wealth of knowledge about the natural resources needed and the skills to craft the products. This knowledge is not well documented, but rather, as most traditional knowledge is, kept alive through the share of … Read More

Indigenous Heritage 2020: Importance of Cassava bread making

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As highlighted in one of last week’s featured videos, cassava is an important crop that is cultivated by the Indigenous peoples of Guyana. Cassava bread and farine are well known foods of Indigenous peoples here. Both are made from the cassava root after being grated and squeezed dry using a matapee. From there, baking produces the cassava ‘bread’, while frying produces the farine. Both end-products are known to last for long periods before being unsuitable for consumption if stored properly. … Read More

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