Posts Tagged ‘biocultural’

Winona LaDuke on Redemption

Winona LaDuke on Redemption


Posted 26 September 2011, by Sacred Land Film Project, Vimeo,


Winona LaDuke on Redemption from Sacred Land Film Project on Vimeo.


Winona LaDuke (Anishinaabe activist) speaks on the process of apology, redemption and healing; through the story of the Pawnee tribe and their return home to their native land in Nebraska.

This interview bite was conducted as part of our Sacred Land Film Project series, featuring indigenous communities fighting to save their sacred sites.

Learn more at



EcoSikh presents on Sikh Women and Biodiversity at SAFAR Conference, Toronto


EcoSikh presents on Sikh Women and Biodiversity at SAFAR Conference, Toronto


Posted 26 September 2011, by Staff, EcoSikh,



EcoSikh has been invited to make a presentation on Sikh Women and Biodiversity at a key academic conference on Sikhism and Gender at the University of Toronto on October 1, 2011.

The SAFAR: Our Journeys conference will feature over 30 speakers including Sikh feminist scholars, theologians and leaders, including keynote speaker Nikky-Guninder Kaur author of The Birth of the Khalsa: A Feminist Re-Memory of Sikh Identity.

Bandana Kaur of EcoSikh will be presenting a paper on Sikh women and biodiversity conservation in Punjab, the birthplace of the Sikh religion.

In her paper, titled “Women Farmers of Punjab: Forgotten Voices from the Plains”, Bandana will examine the Green Revolution from the perspective of Sikh women living in the Malwa region of Punjab, an area recognized for the challenges posed to the farming community. Her paper examines the historical relationship between women and agricultural biodiversity in Punjab, and contemporary efforts by rural Sikh women to revive agricultural biodiversity today.

“Sikh women engaged in agricultural biodiversity conservation can help inform a new approach to agricultural development in Punjab that recognizes complex and interrelated systems in: the content and diversity of what is produced, the inputs both human and technical used to produce these goods, and the knowledge systems upon which choices are based.”

A special issue of the academic journal Sikh Feminist Review will be devoted to the conference proceedings. This public record of Sikh feminist research will serve as one of the first accessible domains to privilege Sikh feminist scholarship.



Ancestor-worshipping village shaman divines a path around Indonesia’s bureaucracy

Ancestor-worshipping village shaman divines a path around Indonesia’s bureaucracy


Posted 26 September 2011, by Rob Kerby, BeliefNet News (BeliefNet),


A Kaharingan practitioner

In Tumbang Saan, a village of huts built on stilts in Borneo’s vast rainforest, village elder Udatn had a problem.

He’s a spiritual leader in Kaharingan, one of a number of names for the ancestor-worshipping, spirit-divining religion of Borneo’s indigenous forest people, the Dayak.

In Indonesia, bureaucrats cite a law that citizens must choose between the government’s six officially recogized religions: Islam, Roman Catholicism, Christian Protestantism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Hinduism, reports Aubrey Belford for the International Herald Tribune.

So Udatn couldn’t get government funding for local needs unless the bureaucrats had the right entries in their paperwork.

His solution: He has announced that his sect is a branch of Hinduism, reports Belford:

Of all the people in this tiny settlement, he speaks better than any other the esoteric language of the Sangiyang, the spirits and ancestors of the upper world, known simply as “Above.” His is a key role in the rituals of Kaharingan, “In the beginning, when God separated the darkness and the light, there was Kaharingan,” said Mr. Udatn, as he sat smoking a wooden pipe on the floor of his stilt home. (Like many Indonesians Mr. Udatn uses only one name.)

The world’s most populous Muslim-majority country is no Islamic state, but it is a religious one. Every citizen must subscribe to one of six official creeds: Kaharingan, like dozens of other native faiths, does not officially exist. Even in this village, a frontier where land clearing and mining is fast erasing ancient forest, people have long seen their faith under threat from officialdom.

Villagers have seized on a strategy being used by many Dayak: They are re-branding. On paper at least, most of the people of Tumbang Saan are now followers of Hinduism, the dominant religion on the distant island of Bali.

Here is a video of Dayaks using their age-old tapping technique to give a visitor one of their famed tattoos:



Are Indonesian bureaucrats pleased with the solution? After all, notes Belford:

Few here could name a Hindu god or even recognize concepts, like karma, that have taken on popular meanings even in the West. But that is not the point. In a corner of the world once famed for headhunters and impenetrable remoteness, a new religion is being developed to face up to an encroaching modern world and an intrusive Indonesian state. The point, in short, is cultural survival.

“The Hindus have helped us,” said Mr. Udatn. “They’re like our umbrella.”

“What exists in Tumbang Saan is a strange compromise, born of the Indonesian religious system, where government functionaries play a key role in allocating funding and guiding religious doctrine,” writes Belford. “Some see it as a fake faith, invented for appearances; others hail it as a rediscovery of long-lost beliefs.”

So, welcome to Kaharingan Hinduism … or perhaps Hindu Kaharinganism, a ”new” religion birthed by bureaucrats faithful to official rules.


Cree George Poitras: Ottawa Tarsands Action Monday

Cree George Poitras: Ottawa Tarsands Action Monday

OTTAWA TARSANDS ACTION – Why am I attending?


Posted 24 September 2011, by George Poitras, Censored News,


George Poitras is a former Chief, Mikisew Cree First Nation


George Poitras

In the past year and even more so in the past few weeks a lot of debate has focused on the tarsands in northeastern Alberta as “ethical oil.” Advertisements taken out on the Oprah Winfrey Network by, why Oprah Winfrey has endorsed this propaganda by big oil is anyone’s guess?! The advertisement suggests why should America be dependent on Saudi Arabian oil, “a state that doesn’t allow women to drive, doesn’t allow them to leave their homes or work without their male guardian’s permission.” That there is a better alternative, “Ethical oil from Canada’s oil sands.” Apparently meaning a more human alternative.

Names synonymous of this “ethical oil” notion include Alykhan Velshi, Ezra Levant. Proponents who happily began to espouse the controversial two words include Canadian politicians like environment minister Peter Kent and prime minister Stephen Harper as they traverse the globe promoting investment in the tarsands.

The tarsands have been mined, primarily open-pit, for the past 40 years in what is known as the traditional lands of many Treaty 6 and Treaty 8 First Nations. The total tarsands deposit, the size of England, is known to be the second largest oil deposit in the world, second to Saudi Arabia. Only 3% of the total deposit has been mined in the past 40 years and Dr. David Schindler, a world renowned water expert, proved last year that there has been virtually no monitoring of what has also been characterized the largest industrial project in the world. A claim that the local Indigenous peoples have made for decades with proof of deformed fish, observation of poor water quality, receding water levels, impacts to animal health, and more recently in Fort Chipewyan, an increase in rare and aggressive cancers.

Tarsands a humane alternative?

When local physician Dr. John O’Connor raised concerns of disproportionate numbers of unusual cancers in Fort Chipewyan in 2006, the government of Canada, or physicians from the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch lodged complaints against him including a charge of “causing undue alarm” to residents of my community of Fort Chipewyan. Canada’s charges against a family physician has never before been heard of in the history of Canada. For my community of Fort Chipewyan, this unprecedented action by the government of Canada essentially signaled to us that Canada didn’t care what claims Dr. O’Connor was making or that people in Fort Chipewyan might be living in a situation with an epidemic of rare and aggressive cancers. The claims were eventually proven by an Alberta Cancer Board Study in 2009 because of our unrelenting efforts; perhaps we shamed the Canadian and Alberta governments into doing so by successfully making our concerns a part of the international debate of this “dirty oil” campaign and not because the governments felt it was the “ethical” or “humane” thing to do.

Despite this, both the Alberta and Canadian governments continue to this day, to deny there is any concern with cancers in Fort Chipewyan.

The governments of Alberta and Canada have for the past 15 years relied on the Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program (RAMP) to monitor the Athabasca River and the fish health. Every study since then has concluded that there was little to no impacts from tarsands development on the water or the fish health. A position that was proven wrong by Dr. David Schindler. Essentially, the RAMP which is 100% funded by the oil companies and who’s data is proprietary, and the Alberta and Canadian governments have been lying to the downstream impacted communities but also to Albertans and Canadians. They both shamefully admitted this following Schindler’s study just days before Christmas in 2010.

Fishermen in Fort Chipewyan have been saving deformed, tumoured, discoloured, and other problem fish for many years. Many residents in my community have chosen not to eat any fish from the Athabasca River or Lake Athabasca, a sad commentary to impacts on a peoples way of living. In June 1970, a Suncor pipeline break spilled 19,123 barrels of oil, roughly 3 million liters, into the Athabasca River which reached Lake Athabasca. This shut down the fishing industry on Lake Athabasca for two consecutive years. The fishermen held a press conference in October 2010 in Edmonton, Alberta displaying many of the collection of problem fish. This generated further international attention to the tarsands industry and its impacts to water and fish health.

Indigenous leaders in the downstream community of Fort Chipewyan have been chastised by oil company executives when they speak publicly to the press about their concerns of impacts from tarsands. They have gone so far as threatening, that should the Indigenous leaders continue, there would be repercussions to their First Nation-owned company’s contracts within certain oil company sites. Oil company executives regularly question the Indigenous leaders when their own community members speak out publicly on issues and I have seen those members silenced.

Two years ago I attended a protest in Trafalgar Square in London, England. We drew a crowd of about 500 supporters and this protest generated so much publicity internationally by England’s BBC and Canada’s CBC who were present and did live interviews. Three weeks after this action which I dubbed the “bloody oil tour” an executive from a major oil company flew to my community to meet with my Chief & Council and in no uncertain terms stated that they didn’t like that I traveled internationally and generated so much negative publicity on the tarsands industry. They also stated that they knew of all my actions in the past years because they said they had a binder “this thick” to prove it. He further suggested that somehow I should be “silenced” or even “terminated” or there would be repercussions. Two weeks later, the First Nation-owned company contracts worth millions were terminated displacing approximately 65 employees. I chose to leave my employment shortly thereafter.

An ethical, humane future for impacted communities?

In a recent trip to the Amazon and in conversation with a colleague from Nigeria, I told him many of our issues, our concerns, the repercussions we receive for being vocal. He was in complete disbelief. He said in a million years he would not believe all of this would occur in Canada, a developed G8 country. He said Canada is known as a safe country for its citizens. Canada is known as a country that prides itself for protection of human rights within its own borders and beyond.

I also tell my fellow leaders in Fort Chipewyan and to those young, brave members of my community, that the repercussions for speaking publicly is nothing compared to what we will see in the future. That if only 3% of the total deposit has been mined and the environmental impacts are so significant, that there will be many more generations of our people who will take up this challenge and they will face much more backlash than what we are seeing today from what has become a ruthless and aggressive race to exploit the tarsands. That many of our people will continue to see the early demise of their lives from rare and aggressive cancers the same way we watched our youngest victim at the age of 28 succumb to his cancer just months after being diagnosed. That if we see our environment in such a negative state today, do we think that we are capable of handing down to future generations a healthy environment? That if Canada and Alberta today ignore and repeatedly, knowingly infringe on our Constitutionally protected Treaty Rights, will our future generations be able to meaningfully exercise their right to hunt, fish and trap? Will our people in 20 years from now be able to enjoy a traditional diet of fish, moose, ducks, geese, caribou?

While I do not condone any ill-treatment on women in Saudi Arabia, Indigenous peoples in Canada’s tarsands should not be a pawn or be sacrificed to allow certainty for Canada, Alberta and multinational corporations to exploit the tarsands at all costs! From an Indigenous perspective, watching and being victim to the 40 years of unrelenting, unfettered, unmonitored development of the tarsands, there is nothing “ethical” or “humane” about the development of the tarsands!

I will be in Ottawa on Monday, September 26th to oppose the approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline because an approval means an expansion of production of tarsands by a million barrels a day, further exacerbating local Indigenous peoples grave concerns about the development of the tarsands.


Chicomoztoc and Origin Myths of Mesoamerica

Chicomoztoc and Origin Myths of Mesoamerica


Posted 23 September 2011, by , About (New York Times),


Chicomoztoc - Cave of Seven Niches. From the "Historia Tolteca chicimeca", ca. 1550 Photo of the image by Nanahuatzin

Textbooks and general public outreach articles about Mesoamerica often of necessity split Mesoamerica into discrete pieces: Toltec, Aztec, Maya, Olmec. It is plainly easier for us modern types to think of (and write about) these groups as separate entities, separate cultures with distinct cultural ethos.

But in reality, or at least as close to reality as archaeological research can take us, there were many points of interconnectedness. Much of this is visible in evidence of religious beliefs, the systems that people use to make sense of their world. How did we get here, what happens when we die, what is the meaning of life? These are questions that are universal to human societies. Because humans are social beings, when we create our own personal understanding of the way the universe works, we use what we understand of our ancestors’ and our neighbors’ belief systems to create our own.

An example of one of these interconnected bits is the origin myth of Chicomoztec, the mythical Aztec and Toltec “Cave of Seven Niches”. Chicomoztec is an origin myth that argues that people came out of the earth, a myth common to many groups in Central and North America.

Or get into the nitty gritty with’s

Photo of the image by Nanahuatzin


IKPF accuses State Govt on Sadar Hills


IKPF accuses State Govt on Sadar Hills


Posted23 September 2011, by Staff (The Sangai Express), E-PAO,



Imphal, September 21 2011: Indigenous Kuki People’s Forum (IKPF) has accused the State Government of playing divide and rule policy with the issue of Sadar Hills.

Saying that the hill is the body and the valley the heart of Manipur, IKPF said that the geopolitics should give a healing touch with true integrity upholding the sentiments of the tribals and the valley people.

It also urged the valley people to focus on long term politics and vision.

The Central Government had agreed to grant Statehood provided that the hills and the valley united together during the then Chief Minister Moirang Koireng, it added.

IKPF added that a former political leader had claimed Statehood only for the valley area excluding the hill areas, which as a resultant fall out, Manipur was granted only Territorial Council status.

The then Chief Minister, RK Joychandra passed a Bill on MLR & LR Act, 1960 .

In spite of passing the Bill within the whole State of Manipur, the Act was only applicable and passed only in and around the valley area excluding the hill areas, it added .

In 1971, the Parliament passed the Act to confer full fledged districthood of the 6 (six) hill ADCs.

In the larger interest of the people of Sadar Hills, the districthood demand has nearly completed 40 long years, IKPF added.

IKPF further observed that the issue should not be propagated and speculated on ethnic lines.

It should be noted that the present Sadar Hills consists of Kuki, Naga, Vaiphei, Nepali people staying together within the same district boundary since time immemorial.

State Government and social organizations and civilians must not try to instigate communal crisis.

The SPF Government is however seemingly directly or indirectly trying to separate the ethnic groups and applying the formula of divide and rule in the State.

IKPF opined that all Naga villages which are in favour of being carved out from the present Sadar Hills areas may be attached to Naga dominated districts while all the Kuki villages which are in Senapati, Tamenglong, Ukhrul, Imphal East and Imphal West districts must be reorganized and attached to the nearest Kuki dominated district.

IKPF added, that the above settlement for the Kukis should be first addressed before any reorganization of district boundaries.

* This news is as published by respected news daily at Imphal, whose name is duly marked as ‘Source’. E-Pao! is not responsible for it’s sanctity & originality.
RELATED NEWS :Sadar Hills’ Demand for a full-fledged revenue district :: August 2011

Problems in Manipur’s Sadar Hills: Interview with General Secretary of Kuki International Forum


Problems in Manipur’s Sadar Hills: Interview with General Secretary of Kuki International Forum

Nehginpao Kipgen (left) and map of Manipur, India 08 September 2011


Posted 08 September 2011, by Van Biak Thang, Chinland Guardian,



08 September 2011 – [CG Note: The ongoing situation in Sadar Hills District, Manipur, India has attracted attention of not only the ethnic peoples in Northeast India but also the Chins from Burma.

The Chinland Guardian has conducted an interview with Nehginpao Kipgen, a researcher on the rise of political conflicts in modern Burma (1947-2004) and general secretary of the U.S.-based Kuki International Forum (

He has written numerous analytical articles on the politics of Burma and Asia for many leading international newspapers in Asia, Africa, and the United States of America.]

Chinland Guardian: We have read a lot about problems arising in Sadar Hills District in Manipur, India. Tell us briefly about it.

Nehginpao Kipgen: It is a demand for the implementation of the Sadar Hills Autonomous District Council into a full-fledged district. It is an exercise of democratic rights by the people of Sadar Hills. On the eve of Manipur attaining statehood status in 1972, the Indian parliament passed the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council Act, 1971. According to the Act, all the hill areas were to be divided into six autonomous districts, with the ultimate goal of a full-fledged district each. The six autonomous districts were:

1. Manipur South (Churachandpur)
2. Manipur North (Senapati)
3. Manipur East (Ukhrul)
4. Manipur West (Tamenglong)
5. Sardar Hills (Kangpokpi)
6. Tengnoupal (Chandel)

Of the six autonomous districts, only Sadar Hills is left to be accorded a full-fledged district status. Autonomous district council is a sub-administrative unit of a full-fledged district that has to seek the approval of the district administration on all matters concerning executive, legislative, judicial and financial matters.

There is too much interference by the district administration. For example, the deputy commissioner of a full-fledged district can modify or change the budget passed by an autonomous district council administration. All taxes collected by the council are sent to the district administration.

The basic requirements for autonomy and self-government are lacking in autonomous district councils. On the other hand, a full-fledged district is an administrative unit headed by a deputy commissioner, a district magistrate, and a superintendent of police. The Sadar Hills district headquarters will come under the Kuki-majority urban town in Kangpokpi. In addition, Sadar Hills will enjoy all the benefits and privileges of a full-fledged district.

Chinland Guardian: Do you think this is also part of disputes and misunderstanding among tribal or ethnic groups dwelling in the area?

Nehginpao Kipgen: Unfortunately, politics in Manipur is largely driven along ethnic lines. The three major groups of people are the Meiteis, the Kukis, and the Nagas. They are of the same Mongoloid race, speaking Tibeto-Burman languages. The unbiased solution would be the implementation of the district in accordance with Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council Act, 1971. You cannot demarcate a district boundary based on ethnicity in a state like Manipur. For instance, you can find all the three major ethnic groups in all districts of the state. If Sadar Hills district boundary were to be drawn along ethnic line, it can engender a chain of other demands in existing districts.

Chinland Guardian: Chin people expressed their concerns over the hunger strike in India, where more than 40 Kuki women also got involved. What happens now?

Nehginpao Kipgen: The hunger strike continues. Some are hospitalized; some others are arrested and incarcerated because of refusing medical aid. Both Manipur and Indian governments should take serious note of the gravity of this non-violent form of agitation. Mahatma Gandhi, who is regarded as father of the nation and highly revered around the world, successfully led independence movement against the British with his non-violent political weapon. The government has the responsibility to protect the lives of its citizens.

Human rights organizations such as National Human Rights Commission of India and National Commission for Minorities should assess the condition of the hunger strikers and extend any possible help. Human rights campaigners around the world should speak up for these voiceless peaceful hunger strikers. The international community must ensure that the lives of peaceful hunger strikers in India are not jeopardized for a legitimate political demand, and their fundamental rights should be protected. In this regard, pressure must be put on both the state and central governments to take urgent steps.

Leading international human rights organizations, such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International should use their influence to help the peaceful hunger strikers. In this regard, I have personally spoken to a number of officials.

Chinland Guardian: How have the local and Indian authorities responded and what could be the best solutions to this problem?

Nehginpao Kipgen: As mentioned earlier, the unbiased solution would be the implementation of the demand in accordance with Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council Act, 1971. You cannot demarcate a district boundary based on ethnicity in a state like Manipur. The central government has advised the state government to expedite the process, but lacks concrete step. If the state government is unable to handle on its own, the central government needs to step in to resolve the problem at the earliest possible.

Chinland Guardian: Historically, it is said that Chin-Kuki-Mizo is a group of peoples with the same root being divided into different countries during the colonial times. How can the historical relationship be survived and strengthened in modern days?

Nehginpao Kipgen: We share the same root, and belong to one family. We need to focus on how and where we can work together. We should encourage on socio-cultural exchanges. Our unity can be strengthened by organizing international seminars and conferences, especially for the younger generation. In this regard, our leaders and academics should take the initiatives. We should focus on inclusive activities, and stay away from exclusive and detrimental activities. Every individual should use his or her talent and resources to promote peace and fraternity among us.

Chinland Guardian: Tell us more about a brief history of Kuki people and the Kuki International Forum.

Nehginpao Kipgen: Because of the British colonial administration, the Kuki people have been forced to live across international boundaries, notably in India, Burma, and Bangladesh. Many have also now lived around the world. The Kuki International Forum (KIF) was founded to serve as a common platform for the Kuki people across the globe. The main goals are:
(i) To safeguard and promote the cultural heritages of the Kukis around the world.
(ii) To uphold peaceful co-existence and mutual understanding with other nations.
(iii) To educate and preserve the KUKIS’ national identity.
(iv) To represent the issues of the KUKIS.
Further information on the KIF and the Kuki people, you can visit

Chinland Guardian: Many thanks for your time and answers.
Nehginpao Kipgen: It’s my pleasure as well. Thank you!



Interview by Van Biak Thang



Pagan Cultural Diversity … because I am a Goddess too.

Pagan Cultural Diversity … because I am a Goddess too.


Posted22 September 2011, by Crystal Blanton, Daughters of Eve,


I recently read a post in The Wild Hunt about the AFA (Asatru Folk Assembly) members that were “outed” by a reporter at the National Policy Institute National Conference. While there is plenty of information currently on the internet giving details about this particular incident, I don’t think there is anyone speaking directly about how these types of occurrences translate to those of us minorities reading the comments of others inside of our community. If you want the particulars, I say read the Wild Hunt blog for direction on where to find them. That is not my focus….

I was directed to this particular post yesterday. In reading through this post I initially had to take a moment to center myself and then think again about what this means to me. It means a lot and nothing at all, simultaneously.

I have no judgment about the Asatru path and do not think that a few people of any organization can represent the whole of the organization. My judgments started to appear when I began reading the post of people who were responding to the information that The Wild Hunt provided. I read comments that ranged from comparing the AFA to native Americans, references about Blacks having the “high crime rates” and even references to superior race. One comment in particular referenced the deconstruction of the white race and “doing it for our little black, brown and yellow brothers and sisters!”.

I think it is important for any story to outline the back story before proceeding and that is my intention here. Regardless of whether or not the AFA has a leaning towards white pride tactics or not, the harm done to the Pagan community and our minority Pagans is clear with these statements.

Let’s be really clear; I am a Black Woman who is a Wiccan High Priestess. I am no ones “little black, brown or yellow sister”. Regardless of your thoughts on race, have some respect or at least pretend to. We walk a spiritual walk on this land and take for granted the very power that we have and the power that we borrow from others. How often people forget that we are all traced back to East Africa where the Mitochondrial Eve originated. Migration and genetic mutations helped to create races of people that we can now use to separate from one another.

I do not understand how we arrived at the concept that European Heritage meant Caucasion or White instead of those who are from a particular geographic area. Technically I have European Ancestry inside of me that connects to the “nettlers” in Europe… and thus my maiden name. I probably have numerous ancestors that are “whiter” than those who are pushing a white separatist agenda; that would probably be pretty upsetting to reveal. Can I not worship my family traditions with those of my ancestry, even with my Black face? Are we playing the “who was here first” game of spirituality? How could we possibly decipher who’s connections to a piece of land are more valid than the others?

My heritage cannot be defined by the labels that people would like to put on me. The walk of a Black person is far more complex than any set of characteristics or a geographic area. I know that I have been a Priestess all my life, through space and time, all the way back to the originator of all women. I know that my Black face is a reflection of hers and it is unsettling to see people disrespect that so freely, without a real understanding of how they are also disrespecting themselves and their own lineage. In Luisah Teish’s poem Multicolored Mama it says “I will not wear your narrow racial jackets, As the blood of many Nations runs sweetly through my veins”.

You don’t have to call me a Nigger to be a racist. You don’t have to be exclusive to practice prejudice. You can make statement that promote a tone of non-acceptance, elude to privileges or superiority, hide behind statements of “pride” and it is still racism. It is painful, hurtful and causes harm to all of those around. You can devalue other races and act as if it is not racist, but it is. You can act as if racism is not prevalent in society today or that it is not a factor, but it is.

It is exhausting hearing statements that refer to the “unfairness” of Blacks and Hispanics celebrating their pride, as if this is not addressing the social and societal disparity that exists. One of the comments on the blog so elegantly stated, “Every day is European heritage day. In fact, tons of people are proud of being varying types of European all the time, taking great pride in it without any fear. A huge part of our cultural knowledge and educational curriculum is Europe-centric by default, even if it’s increasingly in the past.”

As the Pagan community continues to have an influx of people practicing the ways of the Gods, we will continue to see more diversity in the faces around the circle. Everyone has the right to be prideful and I actually encourage that but let’s not pretend that it is the same thing. Pride does not separate you from others and is not intended to rate importance. Pride is a true understanding of those parts of yourself that you acknowledge, value, honor and respect. Pride allows you to show that same respect to other people regardless of the texture of their hair or the hue of their skin. Pride equals self love and in turn, the ability to extend love to others. Hate is just hate and is not directly related.

Moments like this are revealing in many ways. They show why minority Pagans are less apt to come to the forefront and join community, why there is so much fear and why venues like Daughters of Eve are so damn important. We show a balance, a face of Paganism that looks different and yet looks exactly the same… all at the same time.

I hate reading hate, especially internally within the Pagan community, but I know that this reality is something that we must face in order to heal and open the doors to understanding.

Multicolored Momma
Originally printed in Jambalaya by Luisha Teish

My sweet coffee skin
Hold secrets in its shade,
Whispers silent warning
To a black and white world

Do not box me in
In your narrow racial jackets,
Too tight to move in,
Too thin to wear.

My brown pores bleed
With the sweat of many nations,
Generations of colors
Ooze down my arm.

My Bantu behind
Plays the drums of dancing griots,
Telling stories with my sway
Singing songs with each step.

My high Choctaw cheekbones
Love the Mississippi Delta.
Remembers Running Cloud’s daughter
And the Red Man gone.

My breast angle ‘round
Like the dark gypsy wenches.
Crescent moons touch my belly
Silver slithers on my throat.

My almond eyes sparkle
To the sound of Eastern jingles
Glass chimes dress my eyelids
Tinkling bells kiss my brow.

My dirty red hair
Speaks of crazy Cajun cousins,
Talks of faire Creole ladies
And their dark Spanish men.

My Tibetan thighs open
And the Red Sea splits.
My soft lips part
Between Dahomey and Brazil.

My sweet coffee skin
Holds secrets in its shade,
Whispers silent warnings
To a black and white world.

I will not wear
Your narrow racial jackets
As the blood of many nations
Runs sweetly thru my veins.


Abokobi women farmers hold traditional food exhibition


Abokobi women farmers hold traditional food exhibition


Posted 20 September 2011, by Staff, Ghana News Agency (GNA),



Abokobi (GAR), Sept. 20, GNA – Women farmers in Abokobi in the Ga East District of the Greater Accra Region on Tuesday organised a traditional food exhibition in an effort to drum home the need to patronise local foods and promote women in farming.

The exhibition was organised by Rural Women Farmers Association in collaboration with Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organisational Development (CIKOD), an NGO.

It was on the theme: “Women! We are the Solution for Food Security in Ghana”.

Foods on display included yekeyeke, abolo, mpotompoto, kpoikpoi, tugbani, banku with okro stew, fufu with variety of soups, akyeke and bankye akakro.

The exhibition was organised as part of the three-year Pan-African campaign targeted at five West African countries, Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Guinea and Ghana, to build a first mass rural women farmers movement managed by rural women farmers.

The campaign is aimed at educating women on the importance of traditional foods and their nutritional values.

Addressing the women, Madam Fatima Addy, Southern Sector Coordinator of RUWAG, noted that the association was formed to serve as a platform for rural women farmers to share knowledge and experiences on traditional farming practices.

“We seek to educate our members on the need to adopt safe and sound farming practices devoid of chemicals which are harmful to the human body.”

She explained that the association also served as a platform to educate members on the values of indigenous seeds and food recipes that had high nutritional value but getting extinct due to neglect.

Mr Bernard Guri, Executive Director of CIKOD, said the campaign was to promote good practice and knowledge that had been known and handed down for generations in Africa.

He said those good practices and knowledge had sustained food sovereignty on the continent, to influence decision makers and promote better governance and value family agricultural production.

Mr Guri noted that the campaign would also build the organisational and individual capacities of selected rural women associations and their leaders, build awareness and empower rural women to engage in decision making processes in on-going local, regional and global campaigns.

The women would organise, mobilise and sustain an Africa-wide action oriented network for information sharing and advocacy.

“The impact of this campaign will be to ensure that the Rural Women Association have the skills to improve, promote and share their traditional agricultural knowledge and ensure that this rich knowledge is not lost and indeed promoted as an alternative to the Green Revolution Methods,” he added.

Mr Wilberforce Laate, Deputy Executive Director of CIKOD, expressed dissatisfaction about the deplorable manner in which vegetables and other crops were cultivated.

He bemoaned instances where vegetables were forced to become ripe and ready for the market before their time by the use of chemicals which were injurious to human health.

Mr Laate expressed his dissatisfaction about the use of genetically modified crops as seeds of such crops could not be replanted after harvest due to the application of chemicals.

He urged farmers to use manure for their crops instead of fertilizer because it was cheaper and devoid of chemicals.