Poverty, low levels of education and illiteracy, limited access to health care, basic sanitation, credit, and employment, limited participation in political life, and domestic and sexual violence are all prevalent problems among indigenous women. Besides, their right to self-determination, self-governance and control of resources and ancestral lands have been violated over centuries.
Still, Indigenous women are ensuring that traditional knowledge is carried over from generation to generation.
Language Activist Letitia Petersen tells us more.
As the backbone of Indigenous communities, Indigenous women have over the years been instrumental in the preservation and transmission of traditional ancestral knowledge. As protectors of natural resources and keepers of scientific knowledge, Indigenous women are integral to the survival of their traditions.
South Africa has been branded as “the Rainbow Nation” because of the diversity of its citizens. The country boasts a very liberal constitution and eleven official languages, which however do not include Indigenous languages. What is becoming more and more apparent lately is the exclusion of the Khoi and San languages especially from school curricula, radio, and television. IYX Radio is a new internet radio station that hopes to change the narrative.
Producer: Shaldon Ferris (Khoisan)
Interviewee: Sharri Cannel (San)
In South Africa on November 1, 2019, a benefit sharing agreement was reached after many years of intense negotiations. This industry wide agreement was the first of its kind, and was launched between the Khoikhoi and San people, and the rooibos industry.
We interview Wilhelmina Van Dyk who coordinated the Khoikhoi language gathering in South Africa. This event put the Khoekhoegowab language in the spotlight and left attendees with basic vocabulary of the language after a few days.
Produced by : Shaldon Ferris
Interviewee: Wilhemina Van Wyk
Music: "Burn your village to the ground", by A Tribe Called Red - used with permission.
"Avantgarde" by Tyso, used with permission
Bartolina Sisa was killed in Bolivia in 1782. International Indigenous Women's Day is held each year on 5th September. Although women fight for their rights and the rights of their people, not enough recognition is given to the efforts of women.
November 25th is International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Cultural Survival remembers Sarah Baartman, a Khoikhoi woman who, under Dutch colonization of her homeland, was taken captive and coerced to participate in public shows and medical examinations which relied on a falsified science of racial difference. We honor her life as a testament to the urgent necessity of having an international day when the world renews its commitment to end violence against women, especially Indigenous women and women of color.