Indigenous women to take the stage today

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The Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) will hold a programme today (9) at Dambana Veddah Village for Indigenous Women to raise their voices about the issues they face and how they perceive the cultural change crisis. In commemoration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, and with the theme ‘The Role of Indigenous Women in the Preservation and Transmission of Traditional Knowledge’, the CEJ will invite Indigenous Women to the stage to raise their voices.

Outreach and Event Officer CEJ said women in indigenous community cultures in Sri Lanka are not outspoken, and when asked about their issues, they do not want to give their opinions.

“As a result, we intend to specifically solicit their feedback on how they feel about the cultural shift. Because indigenous culture is under threat in Sri Lanka since indigenous communities do not receive benefits and are forced to live the lives of other ethnic groups. Money has become a more important requirement than it was in their original culture,” she said.

She noted that because there are mixed ethnic groups, the tradition is now leaning towards the other ethnic groups. She explained that this is why they want to emphasise the importance and recognition of the indigenous community.

They said the CEJ had several discussions with government officials, on bringing the problems and solutions to one stage.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), there are an estimated 476 million indigenous peoples in the world, living across 90 countries. They make up less than five per cent of the world’s population, but account for 15 per cent of the poorest. They speak an overwhelming majority of the world’s estimated 7,000 languages and represent 5,000 different cultures. 

“Indigenous women are the backbone of indigenous peoples’ communities and play a crucial role in the preservation and transmission of traditional ancestral knowledge around the environment, traditional medicines, food systems, preservation of language and cultural heritage,” the WHO said.

BY Thameenah Razeek