During his work with Adivasis for the last two-and-a-half decades, mainly in Gujarat, well-known linguist and activist Ganesh Devy found it necessary to form a network of the indigenous peoples from all continents in order to increase the effectiveness of their voice.
Held between 2008 and 2012, the five International Conferences of the Indigenous helped him in bringing on a common platform indigenous leaders, activists and scholars from more than 20 countries.
The conferences led to a five volume series ‘Key Concepts in Indigenous Studies’, edited by Prof Devy, which are about to appear under the imprint of Routledge. They seek to offer space for a continued dialogue for all of the indigenous activists and scholars involved.
The Indigenous Collective — International (ICI), a result of these interactions, conversations and work together, has issued the following statement in support of the protest against race and caste discrimination and the killing of George Floyd:
We are an informal international collective of Indigenous persons, friends of the indigenous, activists and scholars deeply engaged in the culture, life and rights of the indigenous peoples.
We wish to express our complete solidarity with the individuals, groups and organisations voicing protest against racism in many countries.
We know that discrimination on the basis of race, gender, caste, religion and language is being promoted by the regimes, political parties and various non-state groups by unleashing, through intimidation and threats, hatred, scorn and contempt for our fellow humans.
We want the world to know that the indigenous peoples of the world
oppose discrimination in every form and contempt in any society.
We want the world to know that the indigenous people have always thought of all humans as the children of the Mother Earth, equal in their entitlement and equal in their obligations.
We appeal to all world leaders, peace-loving thinkers, activists and organisations to come together at this crucial moment in our history and do everything that they can to deter the divisive forces, to prevent nations form being pushed into terminally destructive nuclear wars and to restore peace, amity and social harmony and to prevent and eradicate slavery of every kind.
We like to remind all nations and all peoples, black or white, poor or rich, old or young, women or men that we all belong to the earth, that the earth does not belong to us. Let us never forget that in that belonging we have been, are and shall ever remain equal and free.