An experimental dialogue between The Sàmi and

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An experimental dialogue between The Sàmi and
UMEÅ UNIVERSITET
Institutionen för Kultur och Medier
Department of Culture and Media
Avdelningen: Museologi
An experimental dialogue between
The Sàmi and Pygmy Peoples
MARIUS BILLY
MULD01/Ht 2006
Supervisor: Kerstin Smeds
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“The dialogue which is radically necessary to revolution corresponds to another radical
need: that women and men as beings who cannot be truly human apart from
communication, for they are essentially communicative creatures1.”
— Paulo Freire—
1
Paulo Freire1993, Pedagogy of the oppressed, Penguin Books, p109.
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[ To Jenny D....]
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ABSTRACT
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2
INTRODUCTION
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2.1
2.2
2.3
2.3.1
2.3.2
2.3.3
2.3.4
2.4
2.5
2.6
THE PURPOSE
PROBLEMS AND QUESTIONS
THEORY AND METHODOLOGY
THEORETICAL REASONING
METHODOLOGY
THE WEBSITE, ARCHIVE AND INTERACTIVE BLOG
TECHNOLOGY CONSIDERATIONS
GENERAL BACKGROUND ON SÀMI AND PYGMY PEOPLES
SELECTED POINTS OF FUNDAMENTAL COMMON GROUNDS AND DIFFERENCES
THE PROJECT PARTNERS
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MUSEUMS AS AN ARENA FOR BUILDING IDENTITY
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3.1
3.2
3.3
AS THE SPACE OF REPRESENTATION
AS THE SPACE OF KNOWLEDGE TRANSMISSION
AS THE SPACE OF DIALOGUE AND COMMUNICATION
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FIELD RESEARCH AND EXPERIMENTATION
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4.1
4.2
4.3
DEVELOPING AN INCLUSIVE MUSEUM SERVICE
HOW ARE WE STEPPING WITH THE CROSS-CULTURAL DIALOGUE PROJECT?
MARKS STAKES OF CONSIDERATION IN THE PYGMY AREAS
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SUMMARY
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
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6.1
SPECIAL THANKS TO
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REFERENCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY
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7.1
7.2
7.3
LITERATURE CITED
ARTICLES AND REPORTS
INTERNET
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APPENDIX
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8.1
8.2
8.2.1
THE MULTI-MEDIA CROSS-CULTURAL DIALOGUE, A PROJECT DESCRIPTION
ABOUT THE PYGMY PEOPLES
PYGMY HISTORY
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8.2.2
8.2.3
8.2.4
8.2.5
8.2.6
8.2.7
8.2.8
8.2.9
8.2.10
8.2.11
8.2.12
8.3
8.3.1
8.3.2
8.3.3
8.3.4
8.3.5
8.3.6
8.3.7
8.4
8.5
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PYGMY ETHNICITY
PYGMY LANGUAGES
PYGMY RELIGION
TRADITIONAL WAYS OF LIFE IN THE PYGMIES AREA.
CRAFTS AND CRAFTSMANSHIP
CURRENT ISSUES REGARDING PYGMY PEOPLE
POLITICAL VIOLENCE
LOGGING
LANDLESS FARMERS
NATIONAL PARKS AND WILDLIFE RESERVES
GOVERNMENT POLICIES
ABOUT THE SÀMI PEOPLES
SÁMI HISTORY
THE REINDEER BREEDING
THE SÀMI LANGUAGE
INSTRUCTION/ EDUCATION
MUSIC AND LITERATURE
CRAFTS AND CRAFTSMANSHIP
THE SÀMI AND THE STATE
MAPS AND TABLES
DVD DOCUMENT AS AN ATTEMPT SAMPLE OF THE FILM PROJECT DESIGN
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Abstract
The situations facing indigenous peoples around the world are uniformly almost the same
ones. However, the status of each community and the means of accessing resources and
wealth, as imposed by the processes called globalization, rely very much on the geographical
localization of each group. Is there any ways to minimize these cultural barriers in order to
highlight cultural politics and diplomacy, for Indigenous Peoples to strengthen their
engagement for an international dialogue of co-operation?
The goal of this paper is to establish bridges of co-operation between the Sàmi peoples of the
Arctic north of Europe and the Pygmy peoples of the Equatorial forests of central Africa. Not
only does it engage the two communities of Indigenous Peoples in an international dialogue,
but it develops key steps for consideration regarding what challenges face the Pygmy
peoples from their blocking situation, while applying proposal means for resolving stages
these issues.
The objective of the main project being to provide for disparate Indigenous Peoples in
general and the Pygmies in particular, tools to plan the future of their communities as the
other social actors, engaged in the world development of our generation, including new
avenues to riches and power. These questions are burning stakes for millions of people and
which actually engages authorities involved in decision-making processes with diverse
issues that are central to the legacy of our era.
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Introduction
Indigenous societies around the world face extinction within our generation. We are
potentially witnessing the last episode of modern indigenous disappearance that started over
500 years ago with the global domination and colonization of European empires. Daunting
external pressures, mostly due to aspects of globalization2 , we are ending traditional ways of
life in nature-based societies that are not adequately prepared to engage in modern economic
and political systems.
The Sàmi of northern Sweden are an example of how indigenous communities have
successfully adapted to the current world dynamics and political structures, while
maintaining a sense of cultural identity, self-determination and sustainable existence. In
accordance with the UN-human rights articles, the ILO-convention3 , but also, in line with
Article 2 of the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity4, and the UN Forum
on Forest (UNFF)5, the aim of this project is to facilitate a collaborative dialogue and
exchange of lessons learned, From the museums’perspectives via modern communication
technology, among other mediums between the Sàmi of Sweden and another struggling
indigenous group, the Pygmies of Congo-Brazzaville in Central Africa.
I’ve spent the last eight years working on a vision for helping Indigenous groups, like the
Pygmies of Central Africa who helped my family survive during the civil war in Congo
Brazzaville in 1998, to survive in the midst of rapid environmental, economic and social
changes.
As a Bantu man who grew up in a small African village deep in the interior of the Congo
forests called Ingounima, I have witnessed these changes first hand. As a child in a Swedish
Missionary school, I remember seeing Pygmy hunters, dressed in traditional garb, who
would occasionally come to the village to trade for cassavas. As a young man with a college
education but no real prospects for employment in Brazzaville, I was led back to the forest
regions of my youth in pursuit of my passion for music and a search for the roots of African
music styles, as well as those of Jazz, Rock and the Blues. My life came full circle and I again
encountered Pygmies.
2
Globalization as the process by which the experience of everyday life, marked by the diffusion of commodities
and ideas, can foster a standardization of cultural expressions around the world.
3
The ILO-Convention 149, Art. 8J on Indigenous peoples and the ILO-convention 169, protecting Indigenous
Peoples rights.
Manuela Tomei and Lee Swepston 1996, Indigenous and Tribes Peoples: A Guide to ILO Convention N0. 169,
International Labour Organization, Geneva.
4
[53] In Article 2 of the Universal declaration on cultural diversity, UNESCO notes the importance of states in
adopting inclusive ways of encouraging cultural diversity though policies of cultural pluralism. The TOR
(mentioned by Peter Poole for his report for UNESCO on Cultural Mapping and Indigenous peoples, March
2003), draws attention to articles 2 and 3 of the same universal declaration on cultural diversity mentioned an
action plan on its Item3 as in following:
Art. 3 Cultural diversity as a factor in development cultural diversity widens the range of options open to
everyone; it is one of the roots of development, understood not simply in terms of economic growth, but also as a
means to achieve a more satisfactory intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual existence.
Action plan Item 3 fostering the exchange of knowledge and best practices in regard to cultural pluralismwith
a view to facilitating, in diversified societies, the inclusion and participation of persons and groups from varied
cultural backgrounds.
5
[39] Dorothy Jackson 2004, Implementation of international commitments on Traditional Forest-Related
Knowledge: Indigenous Peoples experiences in Central Africa, Forest Peoples Programme, Fourth meeting,
Report.
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But something had changed. They were no longer year-round nomadic hunters and
gatherers living off the land. They were wearing modern clothing, working the land in
servitude to Bantu landowners, living in abject poverty and standing one step away from
losing their oral history.
Little did I know, as a young man, that my life, and my own survival, would become so
entwined with the fate of the Pygmies I encountered as a child? It is now my life’s work to
see that the Pygmies and other Indigenous groups who are the last remaining thread
connecting us to our ability to live in balance with the natural world. It is imperative that
they survive, not only physically, as a unique ethnic group, but also psychologically and
historically as a unique community and culture of people. Little did I know that a group of
Indigenous people, called the Sàmi in Northern Sweden, as well as Swedes, Pygmies,
Americans, Germans, French, Dutch, Norwegians, Finns and Mexicans would become an
integral part of making this work possible along the way.
In 1998, during the second Civil War in the region near Brazzaville, I was asked by a Pygmy
Elder, named Mbou to “live with his fire.” He meant by this that it was in my charge to
ensure the survival of his knowledge and his community’s historical way. Mbou could
foresee the erosion of life, as he knew it, and his father knew it, and his great, great, great
grandfather known it. He had the wisdom to realize that the Pygmies could no longer
survive without the help from the very outsiders who have encroached on their home in the
forest. As you will note it along this investigation, difficulties were not the least. In my case,
questions related to the lack of financial means and my limits for the English language.
From the glance of my view projected on the Sàmi practical lessons, as for the adaptation of
their lifestyle in the modern societies of Scandinavian countries, the goal of this paper as the
first stage of a large project, represents much more a contribution to the bloking situation of
the Pygmy People, in order to work out on bases of future co-operation, rather than to think
of a dialogue already balanced at first sight. It is in this spirit that I present the following
research not only as a unique contribution to the field of museology, but as a piece of a
broader project to catalyze the voice and self-determination of Indigenous peoples around
the planet, while sharing their message with the modern, digitally-connected world. In all
cases, far or close, a global participation is expected for the situation to be improved. I have
been only a fly which would have caused an elephant.
2.1
The Purpose
Only within the past 20 years that Indigenous peoples around the world have begun to
organize and receive support from bodies like the United Nations. As a result, there is now a
growing understanding in the international community of Indigenous peoples' values,
traditional knowledge, special relationship to the Earth, and the vital importance of their
ongoing contribution in the global society. Indigenous issues are also getting more attention
as a result of the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People (1995-2004) coming
into effect. Unfortunately, some of the Indigenous regions, mostly located in isolated parts of
the World, have not been involved in these developments. The Pygmies in Central Africa are
one of these groups that have all but been left out of the conversation. Museums can play an
important part in helping groups such as the Pygmies to cultivate important aspects of their
cultural self-identification through honouring the past while creating a psychological and
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physical foundation for determining their future and communicating their point of view to
the modern world.
The principal aim of the larger multimedia project will highlight the role of the museum in
preserving and transmitting the history and cultural identity of Indigenous groups, so that
they might have established a cultural foundation to strengthen the self-determination of
their respective communities for the future. The project will also outline the fundamental
common ground between the two groups of people, starting by their musical expression,
from my anticipation view. Findings could eventually constitute the corpus of more future
investigation and analysis. As much as this is a research for the purpose of contributing to
the field of museology with benefits of information technology design, the leading motive of
the project is to ensure the survival and human rights of Indigenous groups that are quickly
disappearing from the planet. The role of the museums, with artifacts chosen by the
Indigenous communities themselves, can play an important role in establishing a reference
point for self-determination in their communities. This is an interactive and multimedia
project that will also provide a fascinating and valuable cross-cultural dialogue between
Indigenous peoples in an unprecedented international and intercultural cooperation— the
connection of the Pygmy, the Sàmi and other indigenous groups, live, via video projection,
satellite, communicating through the common language of music.
The long-term goal of the Cross-Cultural Dialogue Project is:
1. To bolster the solidarity of indigenous people on a grassroots and personal level in
pursuit of supporting their self-determination and subsistence
2. To help indigenous groups recognize commonalities and learn from each other in
order to survive the political, economic and cultural shifts caused by globalization.
3. To help make up for the fading traditions historically passed on by word of mouth
from generation to generation
4. To educate the modern world, using video and the Internet, about the issues facing
indigenous populations and to harness international support for their survival.
5. To teach modern societies about the rich cultures and the ancient practices of naturebased societies, which have enabled them to maintain sustainable relationships with
their natural environment for millennia?
6. To establish a meeting space for the cultural activity of Pygmy People in central
Africa in order to favour cultural exchanges, including an Artist-in-residency
program at Afrique Profonde. This will all at the same time inspirated on museum
challenges and their new bases of design.
7. To increase and found a special credit for cultural exchanges between Pygmy
artists and those of the international artistic scene, in order to develop an
interactive project within the activity of Afrique Profonde and their artist-inresidency program, while widening the activity within all the Pygmy space in
central Africa.
I believe this project will play an important and practical role in strengthening the efforts of
governmental, non-governmental and international organizations such as UNESCO, the
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), UN Office of the High Commissioner
for Human Rights (OHCHR), Cultural Survival, and a host of other organizations that are
already taking steps to ensure the basic human rights, as well as the cultural identities of
indigenous peoples, are protected from unnecessary extinction.
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For, Indigenous peoples, who have lived their lives in a traditional way, cannot completely
leave their natural environment. The smell of leaves, call of birds, and sounds of the natural
environment are familiar to them from birth. Their livelihoods, cultures, gods, and souls are
intertwined with the lands they inhabit. I hope that the oldest ways of humanity will not
disappear in our lifetime, and that through this project, Indigenous groups will have a say in
determining their respective futures.
However, the present thesis is but a departure point for the larger project. Dealing with
Museology approach based on the maintenance of Indigenous self-identification, this paper
highlights the importance of museum design, including their benefits from new technology
as an arena of building identity of the latter. Consideration of essential tools regarding
technological solution is another target value in order to engage a dialogue of survival based
nature peoples with access to new avenues that often excludes Indigenous Peoples to riches
and power within our generations. These delicate and burning issues arise today, while
investigators claim to assess the human rights situation regarding Indigenous Peoples. I will
try out to exposure possibilities of engaging two groups of Indigenous peoples
geographically opposite, including their live hood realities. One that have access to the
Internet and modern information mediums: The Sàmi in northern Scandinavia. The other
Indigenous group is limited access to information, a world apart and in transition between
ancient ways of life and an encroaching tidal wave of globalization: The Pygmy of central
Africa. Both groups of people hold many ancient and important lessons to share with the
global community. Furthermore, the Sàmi have been more successful in maintaining their
historical cultural practices while integrating with modern Swedish society, even if they have
been forced to do that. In contrast, the Pygmies have rapidly been losing their oral traditions
due to pressures from outside of their forest communities that are shifting their lifestyle,
threatening their survival as a community, and destroying thousands of years of valuable
information about man’s relationship to the natural world.
Museums are the physical connecting spaces across cultural boundaries and between the
past and present. They play the important role of transmitting knowledge from generation to
generation, while also being used as a central place to restore about ethnicity and identity
among Indigenous communities, which have been damaged by outsider influence and
discrimination. Among other definitions of museology, we will apply the one by Anna
Gregorová, in these terms:
"Museology is a science studying the specific relation of man to reality, consisting of purposeful and
systematic collecting and conservation of selected inanimate material, mobile and mainly threedimensional objects documenting the development of nature and society, and making a thorough
scientific and cultural-educational use of them6."
After a general introductive background section in this paper, two points stand out with
some urgency from the literature to which I am about to refer. First is the importance of
museums as an arena for identity building for indigenous peoples, but also, their limits of
non-decision making institutions. The second point of this paper deals with my investigation
on the practical field, as an action research-project in the middle of the Sàmi culture;
including its realities and the way in which I have been applying tools for collecting the
evidence. An essential point of stakes marks of consideration in the Pygmy areas, deserves a
particular stage in this investigation; as my next step will concerne the introduction of the
6
[55] Anna GregorovÆ1980, Museological Working Paper (Mu Wo P), p.20, Stockholm.
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Sàmi people and the project to the Pygmy people. An analysis oriented on the process for a
sustainable dialogue between Sàmi and Pygmy, includes a proposal design for a crosscultural dialogue project within survival based-nature in the appendix section. Finally,
observations made in both Sàmi and Pygmy areas will be used as point of an evaluation.
Similar discourses, inspiring almost identical issues, can have great mobilizing power in
extremely different contexts, from history to present-day Africa to Europe also in the
appendix section, attached to this paper. The attached DVD reflects a special inspiration
from this latter design.
Along this paper, museology approach and policy, observed by Tony Bennett, Heidrum Freis
and Eilean Hooper-Greenhill among others, has been supported by work from historian Jacques
Attali, pedagogue Paulo Freire, Literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin, Independent author Etienne
Wenger, Computer Science Professor Donald A. Norman and interactive design expert Nathan
Shedroff to produce the design of this paper. An in-depth survey which has completed my
participation, while applying an ethnographic action research has been helpful, for
informing both the process of documenting and specifying user requirements, and the
design process. Ethnography in this context is basically a matter of learning how to see
things, how to notice what is already there, how to learn from studying IT in use, and reflect
on what our observations might imply concerning design of IT for the future investigation.
Internet use and search has provided a considerable information including backgrounds on
Sàmi peoples, published by the Swedish Institute (S.I.), in November 1995 among other
sources while, attention on Gerard Salomon’s investigation from his study among the
Pygmies people7 , has been one of the main inspirational sources in this paper.
2.2
Problems and questions
The marginalization of the Pygmy peoples that excludes them from the global process of
development participation, all together with the lack of information and representation
space of interaction to perform about identity, need an illustration model of inspiration such
as the one observed from the Sàmi people with the role that museums plays in the hearth of
their communities. So far, the concept of “Indigenous” varies between different countries.
We don’t have any official definition of this term. This has become an issue, which has been
discussed within the International Working Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), as well
as the Commonwealth Association of Museums with the responsibility to develop a
discussion paper about the common usage of the term “indigenous” in different common
wealth countries, some years ago.
However, the term "indigenous", tends to refer to peoples who were present in a given
territory before the arrival of larger, usually European population groups. As we will apply
within this paper, the meaning of the term is clear in some geographical regions, such as
South America (where it refers to Indians as opposed to those of European or African
ancestry), but its usage is problematic in others, such as much of Africa, Asia, and especially
Europe. In our case, following interrogations remains the means of central consideration.
1. Who are “Pygmies?” Is there any way to create a special space of representation and
exchange for Pygmies to help them establish their identity, transmit knowledge from
generation to generation, strengthen their communication both internally and
externally, and connect them with access to information from the outside world?
7
[57] La lutte contre les grandes endemies des populations equatoriales; L exemple du pian chez les PygmØes
du nord-Congo2000; UniversitØParis-VII-Denis Diderot.
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2. What do Pygmies have in common with other indigenous peoples, and what has
enabled the Sàmi peoples for example, to adapt their lives into modern Nordic
societies, while maintaining their sense of cultural identity?
3. How can we help the Pygmies groups while engaging them in the broader, crosscultural dialogue surrounding the survival of Indigenous peoples?
4. Are there other avenues for connecting the Pygmy peoples to the global dialogue and
partnership process, besides developing museums as a meeting space and providing
information access to the world?
2.3
Theory and methodology
2.3.1
Theoretical Reasoning
It is difficult to project the future of a society without a historical context and a cultural
reference point. Indigenous groups, such as the Pygmies, would have got a grassroots spaces
where they can represent themselves, preserve physical artefacts and stories that have
traditionally been handed down from generation to generation, through songs and stories
telling and all activities associated to their oral traditions.
In order to identify the relationships between man and his reality there’s needs of a
systematic collection and transmission of certain inanimate, three-dimensional, material
objects for, that process represents an important aspects for a society. These tools help to give
a special context to the relationship of a society with the nature, and consequently, play a
very capital part in the establishment of relations between the historical and identity context
of a society. Without this base on the identity, the understanding of the reality from selfalienation cannot be solidified of the past consciousness goals, but rather overtaken by the
own present representation of understanding.
At the present times, when funding is becoming increasingly scarce, difficult questions are
being asked about the justification of museums. Museums are actively reorganizing their
spaces and collections, in order to present themselves as environments for self-directed
learning based on experience, often to new audiences8. Unfortunately, Pygmies don’t have
any tool for referring to themselves and the history or their heritage. Their culture is
threatened while; younger Pygmies are not learning the skills and traditions of their parents
because they assume there is no value; when their community is discriminated against by
outsiders.
In order to evaluate the range of the cultural stakes face to the omissions and imbalances
which have marked people’s appropriation of nowadays, Tony Bennett, has developed a
rather broad investigation on the process according to which, the public was expected to
make use of the museum and its new credit which offers to the population a new glance on
the design of the museum; in order to escort an unsophisticated population in a new moral
and civil behavior. While arguing his investigation towards the study of the public and
moral policies, in order to distinguish the modern museum out of the cofferts of curiosities of
the Eightieth century, the author shows us ways in which the immediate history of the
modern museum implies its need to involve the new population of a middle class, in order
8
Eilean Hooper-Greenhill 1992, Museums and the Shaping of Knowledge, Routledge London and New York, p.1
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to provide them with tools of the revalorization of their cultural civilization including social
rules which result from it.
However, the examination of stakes relating to the conditions of understanding significance
and the point of view concerning the gains of historical and cultural mechanisms of selfidentification, remains mostly an important and necessary tool for numbers of communities,
the Pygmy People is an illustration among many others. The contrast then, at these sights
could be able to invite actors with the rebuilding and the exercise work of imagination, able
to draw up reports between them and beyond their borders. Once the basic steps of the
structural determination have been understood, acts of actors will be able to lead Indigenous
peoples in a world transformation process of their cultural self-identification. Anticipation of
my analyses, concerning reality understandings that has enabled the Sàmi peoples in their
integration to the neighboring societies while maintaining a sense of their culture and
identity, have been relevant; besides the inquiry with the task of reviewing their rights.
One marker of culture is music. It can be used to integrate peoples’understanding, as well as
a community can be identified through it. It is widely accepted that music plays an integral
part in the lives of all human beings; it offers us entertainment and helps us to mark our rites
of passage; it documents our history and allow us to identify ourselves, describing our
characteristics as individuals, communities and nations, as noted by historian Jacques Attali
in his search to comprehend the power systems and history of occidental societies through
their music:
“Le monde ne se lit pas, il s’
écoute. La musique mime l’
ordre social. Platon disait à peu près: si vous
touchez à la musique, vous touchez à l’
Etat. Jacques Attali reprend le propos grec. Il ne donne pas une
autre théorie ou une nouvelle histoire de la musique, il écrit une théorie, une histoire dont la musique
est le code ou la langue. Cela est très nouveau, d´écrire avec la musique ce qu´on écrivait, jadis ou
naguère, au moyen d´autres langues9...”
The introduction of these dimensions corresponds to the dialogical character of education10.
For to exist humanly is to name the world, to change it. The important thing, from the point
of view of libertarian education, is for the people to come to feel like masters of their
understandings by discussing the thinking and views of the world explicitly or implicitly
manifest in their own suggestions and those of their comrades. Human activity consists of
action and reflection that Paulo Freire qualifies by: the praxis; it is transformation of the
world11 . And as praxis, it requires theory to illuminate it. It cannot be reduced to either
verbalism or activism, but both. Freire cautions however, that the use of this new
understanding must be a continuous dialectical interaction of reflection, action based on the
reflection, and further reflection of that action. This process he terms praxis. He believes that
praxis will ensure that one's behaviour is in accordance with one's theoretical or ideological
position. Praxis cannot become dichotomized. Reflection without action is simple verbalism,
or rhetoric, and action without reflection is activism, or unjustified action12. It is Freire's
9
Attali Jacques 1985, The Political Economy of Music, Manchester University press, Manchester, UK.
Dialogical is a term employed by Russian literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin to indicate that language and
meaning are never fixed in themselves, but only work in situations of dialogue, where meanings and
understandings are contingent on other meanings and understandings.
11
Freire Paulo 1970, The pedagogy of the oppressed, Penguin Books, p. 106.
Paulo is a Brazilian educator who worked for fifteen years developing a pedagogy that teaches illiterate peasants
basic reading and writing skills and at the same time helps them develop a greater awareness of the forces that
shape their lives.
12
Paulo Freire 1970: 106-107.
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conviction that to be human one must consciously relate to both other people and to the
world, and one must experience the world as an objective reality that can be understood and
transformed. If true commitment to people, involving the transformation of reality by which
they are oppressed, requires a theory of transforming action, this theory cannot fail to assign
the people a fundamental role in transformation process, as he point it.
The dialogue of Sàmi and Pygmies which is radically necessary to revolution corresponds to
another radical need: that of women and men as beings who cannot be truly human apart
from communication, for they are essentially communicative creatures13. With interactive
engagement based around principles of experience based design, modifications are to be
expected. However, the role of technology in the hearth of this process is highly expected.
Experience is the place in which knowledge can grow and interaction, the means by which
valuable experiences can be created. Knowledge is an experience as opposed to an object; a
process more than a thing14 . Interactive design is a way of comparing and understanding
how different kinds of experiences can be developed to support the goals and messages of
any communication in such a dialogue between Sámi and Pygmy peoples.
2.3.2
Methodology
The final project will involve roughly six phases. First, we will complete an in-depth survey
of the Sàmi to understand their situation and how they have adapted to coexist with the
modern Swedish society. Next we will introduce the Sàmi to Pygmies, using video, and
documents their responses on video in an interview about what they observed. We will
repeat the process with the group of Pygmies, by showing them video of the Sàmi and
recording their responses. Finally, we will connect the two groups, live via Internet and
satellite, to engage in a dialogue, and have teams document the responses of both groups as
they interact over the video connection.
The resulting footage will be published in a documentary film to be released internationally
in several languages— the first edition of which will be in Swedish, Sàmi, English, French,
Lingala, Spanish and Portuguese— with the aim of eventually distributing the documentary
as an inspirational model for Indigenous groups around the world. Video and accompanying
collateral from the study— such as surveys, photographs, writing, and interviews— will be
archived on an interactive website and blog with an accompanying multimedia archival
database. In combination with the participant-observer methodology used by
anthropologists and ethnographers, the eventual documentation of Indigenous culture
“through their own eyes” will be an important part of understanding their point of view
without being filtered through the lens of an outsider. The project will also initially be
featured in museum exhibits in Sweden, Congo, and the US and eventually around the
world. The last experience will concern about the establishment of the meeting space for the
Pygmy peoples in central Africa.
Furthermore, the evidence of findings along this present thesis paper have been made
possible by applying tools of my participant-observation and interviews sessions including
audio and video reports, Internet and literacy (books and articles reports...).
If the process by which the experience of everyday life, marked by the diffusion of
commodities and ideas, fostered by the standardization of cultural expressions around the
world is the meaning of globalization, then the methods of inclusion and results of the
13
14
Paulo Freire 1970: 106
[43] Nathan Shedroff 2006, seminar on interactivity design, Humlab, Umeå University, Sweden.
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experiment in terms of Indigenous peoples, prevented from experiencing the world as a
place of worship which is capable of transformation could have possibilities of changes on
the reality of their values and world view, as Freire point out.
2.3.3
The Website, Archive and interactive Blog
A blog or Web log is a Web site on which one or more people express themselves regularly
on a subject which interests them. Such an on line newspaper held by one or more people,
the blog can lodge textual articles, but also audio and/or video files. The articles thus
published are possibly supplemented by bonds hypertext15. They appear by opposite
chronological order. In our case, as a multi-media website featuring interactive blog
technology at the front-end and an archival database at the back end, this space will be
oriented towards updating the evolution of the project with available material, including
actual surveys from the Sàmi areas as well as earlier photographs, monographs, audio clips
and video from Afrique Profonde’s previous efforts. Image, audio sound, video, text,
releases archives will be operated with a streaming server. The medium should blend
together a beautiful mixture of color, music and texts, while also linking the interactive blog
to an online web archive.
2.3.4
Technology Considerations
One of the long-term goals of this project is to leverage existing technology to facilitate an
ongoing dialogue among disparate Indigenous groups. This initial project with the Sàmi and
Pygmy will uncover some of the practical, as well as cultural issues, which need to be
addressed in order to use video, satellite television, and the Internet as viable mediums for
meaningful dialogue and education. While obviously useful for the “wired” world to engage
in these projects, the utility for illiterate and nature-based Indigenous groups is not so
obvious, and in the beginning will require facilitation from experts. Having already done
video research with the Pygmies for Afrique Profonde, we have introduced them to the
medium, and have experience in using video as a tool for cross-cultural education.
The vision is to develop a system that will be sustainable for Indigenous groups to not only
communicate and collaborate with each other worldwide, but also to empower them to
direct the self-preservation of their ancient knowledge, cultural identity, and oral traditions.
Human rights organizations such as Witness.org, which distributes video equipment and
trains human rights activists around the world in how to document their own lives and
causes, have demonstrated the power of this approach.
Although addressing museology study and all of the technological challenges in this strategy
are beyond the scope of this primary project, it will serve as an initial investigation, and a
step towards answering the question of the best technological method for connecting
disparate and diverse Indigenous groups and the process of self-archiving their stories as
part of the cultural survival process.
2.4
General background on Sàmi and Pygmy Peoples
Indigenous peoples, who now number some 370 million individuals in 70 countries around
the world, represent about five per cent of the world’s population. The largest concentrations
of indigenous peoples live in India and China. In the arctic and the European countries there
15
Michel Martin 2005, Guide Pratique Blogs, Podcasts and Videoblogs, CampusPress, Paris, France, P.3, 6.
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are over 160 000 Inuit and Sàmi peoples. The Sàmi people have lived in the northern regions
of Scandinavia for 9000 years.16 The present-day Sàmi (Sábme— as they call themselves, and
Sàpmi— where they live) live in areas of Russia, Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Currently,
the Sàmi are a minority in rural areas. They are a majority in some villages in Finland and
Norway. There are thought to be 50,000 to 60,000 Sàmi living in the Artic region of
Scandinavia. 20,000 are estimated to be living in the Sàpmi area of Sweden.
Concerning the Pygmy people, it is clear to mention once that the concept “Pygmy” is just an
“attribution” to this people. The earliest evidence of forest clearance dates back 4,800 years,
most likely due to the presence of hunter-gatherer people manipulating vegetation with fire.
This is the earliest evidence of cultivation in tropical Africa. It was not until approximately
2,000 years ago that Bantu agriculturalists arrived in the region. The extensive knowledge of
wild animals and plants possessed by the Pygmies risks being lost unless their way of life is
restored, or this knowledge is documented.
The Pygmy region is comprised of the following national states: The Central Africa Republic
(CAR), The Republic of Congo (RC), Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, The Democratic
Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, and Burundi.
Currently, the 200, 000 Pygmies that live in the forest of central Africa are descended from an
indigenous people that have lived the region since ancient times. But these forest people
have always been discriminated against— if not exterminated— by neighboring groups who
consider them inferior and untrustworthy17.
More background information about Sàmi and Pygmies is, however available from the
appendix section of this paper.
2.5
Selected points of fundamental common grounds and Differences
Sàmi and Pygmy are among of the last remaining indigenous groups in the world that have
kept some parts of their lifestyle and traditions from the history. The two cultures form part
of traditions qualified of “Cultures around the Fire” with a great and mystery consideration
of the Fire as one of central focus of their earlier culture. Long ago, around the fire, they told
their children and grandchildren stories to teach those practical skills, traditions and
mythology, in which gods of nature governed the world. All the meaning of the Sàmi and
Pygmies’culture is depending of the holistic understanding of life and the world, that
everything must be possible to continue even as this year and the next year. For example, if
something bad has happened, that makes a need for restoring it, there were a want to deal
with and to change the way of using the land so, and the normality could be restored again.
The most important and practical representation is the understanding of how life and hearth
works. For, the world is divided by two: the world of reality in which we perform life as
human beings and the invisible world of the dead. The relation between these two worlds is
very active and always exists. The purpose of their religion is to find different channels
between these two worlds. Historically, Sàmi and Pygmy religions were polytheistic. They
included several gods and each one of them had a very practical purpose that could assist
the Sámi and the Pygmy with good luck for fishing, hunting or with the family and children
or with the reindeer. These gods of course needed sacrifices, and rituals and a proper
behaviour to respond to the wishes of practitioners.
16
17
H kan Rydving 2004, The end of drum-time, Uppsala University.
Mirella Ferrera 2003, Peoples of the World, White Star S.r.l., Vercelli, Italy, p. 94
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Rituals that constitutes symbolic ways and techniques in order to be reconciled with
supernatural powers— with the purpose to gain abundance, fecundity, expect the future and
to calm down irritate spirits, has occupied an important place into the religion of the two
people. There has performed in two different contexts. The private or individual context
mentions that man use is drum for the purpose to get in contact with gods in order of having
the gods to assist him with good fortune in different directions. For that purpose an isolated
place or area up on the mountains or deep within the forest was often located by the
practitioner. The second form of ritual context is the official or a collective one, which needed
a medium of an important person, the shaman or the Noidii in the Sámi context. He/She was
the appointed person by the gods who could make contact between the world of dead and
living persons. He/She could set his soul free and transport it down to the kingdom of the
dead, where he/she could perform different part of his missions. For example, if someone
was very hill, he/she could go down there and save this soul of the hill person and bring it
back with him up to the hearth and put it into the body again. Some other examples in
relation to the common rituals, such as connected to the elephant and the bear hunting,
which are as well as the most dangerous events and which needed the use of rituals before
their departures.
Art expressions within their culture also have a secret story to tell. Images for example that
one can find on the Sámi drums or on the pygmy bodies or even on the Pygmy bark clothes,
represents a very direct and practical signification, symbolizing different gods or some other
specific purpose that the instrument should be used for.
Some of the themes we anticipate will arise from introducing the Sàmi and Pygmy to each
other include cultural aspects such as native dress, oral traditions, and music— they both
have a unique yodelling style that is an important part of their relationship to their
communities and their natural environments. The Sàmi yodelling is called Jojk; the Pygmy
style of yodelling is called Yèyi18. Most Indigenous narrators or musicians do not seek to
combine sounds simply in a manner pleasing the ear as observed with the classical definition
of the music. Their aim is simply to express life in all of its aspects through the medium of
sound. They not only attempt to imitate nature by means of musical instruments, they
reverse the procedure by taking natural sounds and incorporating them into music. An
uninitiated ear may interpret this as a cacophony, but through experience with bringing
Indigenous roots music to modern ears by using modern instruments, such as a double bass
or guitars; modern audiences find an unexpected and fascinating new dimension. Afrique
Profonde has already demonstrated this with audiences in Congo and lately in Sweden
(February-March, 2006) at the Sàmi international winter market (from the Swedish
Jokkmokks marknad), as well as in Stockholm by May, 2006.
Indigenous thought builds a poetic bridge between yodeling and communicating with
nature. It is reasonable to assume from my own experience, in respective yodeling sessions,
which are like “psalms without words19 ”, both Pygmy and Sàmi attest that Yèyi and Jojk might
have the same foundation in sacred beliefs involving the release of a type of presence that
18
the use of this term differs according to the geographical area that the Pygmy belongs to. The lack of a common
and specific language related to the Pygmy peoples introduces other terms to point the latter; contrary to the
Sàmi peoples. Nevertheless the term Yèyi is the one used by the Pygmy Akka.
19
Terms used by Georges Meurant and Robert Farris Thompson 1995, Mbuti Design, Edition Hansj rg Mayer
and photographers, London (UK), p189.
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exists in the natural world. Yèyi is a communication of praises to gods of the forest, while
Jojk is praises to the god of the wind. While the wind god is believed, by the Sámi, to govern
the movements of reindeer, the Pygmy is believed to communicate their thankfulness to the
forest for their existence. The forest teaches generosity and shares the abundance of its flora,
the richness of its fauna. To give thanks, the hunter/gatherers light altars of fire. Or they
leave food sacrifice in the crook of a tree, or a leaf placed upon the forest floor. Foragers also
aim powerful polyphonic singing— involving several singers simultaneously yodeling— in
the direction of the forest. It’s a sacrifice in the form of music aimed to please the spiritual
sources of forest for sustenance.
Although the project will reveal other similarities beyond music, as well as important
differences that will serve as opportunities for learning from one another, music will be the
theme by which we highlight common ground for cross-cultural dialogue. We hope that the
fascinating music exchanged will naturally serve as an ambassador to an international
audience as we launch this long-overdue initiative of honoring the cultures and facilitating
the survival of Indigenous peoples around the world.
The essential points that marks the differences between the two entities of peoples are mostly
based around access and use of mass-media including free of expression that benefit the
Sàmi people with their proximity of democratic and modern societies, contrary to the
Pygmies reality. It is clear to note the contrast between the two groups of people in terms of
social organisation; including the socio-economic, politic and cultural structuration. The
Cultural promotion that the Sàmi People benefit from their respective states, governments
and other institutions bolster their solidarity on a grassroots and personal level in pursuit of
supporting their self-determination and subsistence. Today, people talk of about the Sàmi
parliaments (Sametinget) of Sameradii, which is the authority of cooperation between the
Sàmi people of Sweden, of Finland, of Norway and even of Russia, and other instances
nationally and internationally. Sameradii is member of the World council since 1975. The will
of the States, aiming to encourage and to promote the expression and the rights of the Sàmi
people is such a remarkable initiative. The Swedish government for example that humbles
itself and yields to ask for forgiveness to the Sàmi people for the exactions committed in their
consideration, is a quite remarkable exception to share.
In the other hand, it is difficult to talk about politic in the Pygmy culture up today. Terms of
Political security, is minimised in the Pygmy societies that are characterised by
anthropologists as egalitarian ‘immediate-return’societies20 . The culture of egalitarianism
identified in the majority of the communities Pygmy minimises differences in wealth, power
and status. This phenomena result besides in the isolation of small groups, incompetent to
organize itself to face the power and the influence of outsiders. The result of this fact thus
reduces the community advantages in terms of stakes related to socio-economic
development of these latter. The profitable change towards an eventual development of the
Pygmy community can be made possible by the cohesion of groups in a constant society
including the power of their negotiation, weakened by the autonomy and the fragmentation
of groups. Once this condition is made possible, actors will be able to profit from the material
advantages of their new control. The absence of social classes in the Pygmy society doesn't
permit the emergence political ideas, and the ideas bound to the state, and the police.
Nevertheless, some sporadic chiefs appear from time to time thanks to the outside
20
The social organisation system in which all peoples are equal. Lewis, J 2000.The Batwa Pygmies of the Great
Lakes Region. Minority Rights Group International, p8.
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manipulations21 . The small conflicts are often adjusted, here by the consensus and sometimes
by the process of humour.
Opportunities for the Sàmi People to live their history, their culture through the museums as
the one of Jokkmokk, of Inari and many other institutions, in the heart of their societies are
relevant examples. Book fairs, festivals like that of Kautokeino in Norway, meeting spaces
such as the one observed at the Sàmi international market of Jokkmokk, in northern Sweden
are the examples that allows the Sàmi peoples to recognize commonalities and learn from
each other, in order to survive the political, economic and cultural shifts caused by the
globalization:
The important thing, from the point of view of libertarian education, is for the people to come to feel
like masters of their understandings by discussing the thinking and views of the world explicitly or
implicitly manifest in their own suggestions and those of their comrades22 .
Once this basic step of structural organization have been understood, actors’movements will
be able to lead themselves in world transformation process; that really needed the Pygmy
People, as well as some other struggling group of Indigenous peoples today.
2.6
The Project Partners
HUMlab is a humanities IT environment at Umeå University. The basic idea behind it is to
stimulate innovative cooperation in a dynamic interdisciplinary setting. Here the humanities
and culture on the one hand and modern information and media technology on the other
interface and collaborate, both in real terms and virtually. HUMlab attracts students,
lecturers, researchers, artists, engineers, media people and others. The aim is to bring
together a diverse range of individuals and groups in a creative, stimulating and innovative
milieu and - via new methods, new technology and interdisciplinary projects - do things that
have never been done before23.
In this project, the Humlab space represents both, a source of knowledge and a
workshop/studio for the implementation of certain numbers of relevant technologies faced in
various steps of our model’s experimentation. More information about Humlab can be
reached at http://www.humlab.umu.se/
CESAM is the Centre for Sàmi research at Umeå University. Original “Vaartoe” from Sámi
language is the meaning word mountain with a view of the country for miles. But the word
also symbolizes the way we want to work. The Sàmi research field can become both broader
and more developed if we look beyond the borders and work with both an interdisciplinary
and international perspective.
One of Vaartoes main assignments is to strengthen the research related to Indigenous
peoples in the north. Another important purpose is to become a meeting place for
postgraduate students and researchers from different disciplines with an interest in
Indigenous problems24. More on Cesam, see: http://www.cesam.se.
AFRIQUE PROFONDE is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping Africans preserve
traditional cultures and gain a stronger sense of identity. The mission is to encourage crosscultural dialog, understanding and education through artistic exchange with individuals and
21
[54] Peter Pool 2003, a report for UNESCO on Cultural Mapping on Indigenous Peoples.
Paulo Freire 1970: p.105.
23
[66] From the HUMlab website.
24
[67] From the Cesam website.
22
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groups within Africa and beyond. In essence, Afrique Profonde supports human rights and
educational initiatives while celebrating diverse peoples through the arts.
Because of the difficulty in reaching the Pygmies where they live, there is a lack of global
awareness of their difficult situation. Currently, little effort is being made to preserve their
culture, let alone their human rights, and there is no framework for their integration into
African societies. Afrique Profonde is recognized with a special partnership agreement by
Congolese Ministry for Culture and Arts. More on Afrique Profonde see:
http://www.afriqueprofonde.org.
FUNDO MUNDO is a nonprofit organization in the United States dedicated to supporting
social enterprises around the world that aim to develop sustainable business systems and
self-sufficiency. Fundo Mundo was an initial partner of Afrique Profonde during its initial
artist residency project in 2001. Website coming soon at: http://www.fundomundo.org.
3
3.1
Museums as an Arena for Building Identity
As the space of representation
The reasons related to fundamental rights that pose certain communities of the world,
excluded of their heritage, engage the authorities of decision-making face to diverse issues
caused by the stakes of our era. These extreme factors which for most of the time, question
on history of peoples and their cultural origins including their common identity,
compromise up to our days the harmony of social fabric around the world. One of the
solutions under consideration by the nations about these concerns is the recourse to the
essential role and function of the museums in the centre of our communities. Museums are
no longer built in the image of that nationalistic temple of culture. Change has been extreme
and rapid, for at almost today, anything may turn out to be a museum, and museums can be
found in farm, boats, coal mines warehouses, prisons, castles, or cottages25 . However, the
question of identity that arise around the institutions of decision-making, justify the role of
the museums, taken to witnesses from its important and potential function in the heart of the
communities. The way in which, peoples come “to see themselves” and their “own” world,
to explore the way in which they perceive the world, from their history and to learn about
others, marks the departure point of cultural identification of self- representation. This
departure reflects an enormous tool in which we are able to produce a “we” in order to
distinguish ourselves from a “they” around communities with exclusion. The mechanics of
the birth and development of the museum or its precedents is how the modern state learned
to use the museum, public space as tool with which to exercise power and inculcate its view
of collective identity; which marks a special recognition of an essential role played by the
museums.
The space of representation constituted in the relations between the disciplinary
knowledge’s deployed within the exhibitionary complex thus permitted the construction of a
temporally organized order of things and peoples26 .
25
Eilean Hooper-Greenhill 1992, Museums and the Shaping of Knowledge, Routledge London and New York,
p.1
26
Bennett 1995: 79
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In the book Identities— Time, Difference and Boundaries27, Friese talked about “social and
collective identity” among groups of people that have something in common such as gender,
ethnicity, culture, or origin. Friese mostly appointed here peoples with different identity
than the other people marked with individual identity. Overall, identity is very important
within communities; it is the reflection of ourselves, an image of our projection within the
others in order to release our “we” which differs to their “they”.The museum is now a space
of interactive engagement based around principles of inclusion and experience design28 . It is
no longer simply a repository of historical memory built upon taxonomies of artefacts and
measurements. The interactive museum is the three-dimensional metaphor for the
communal fire, where songs are sung, stories told and Jojk is worshiped. The museum can be
the hearth around which the holders of the traditions can explain the objects of their culture.
This results not in the historical image of the other but rather the self-image in
communication and participation with the interested and sympathetic visitor or guest. It is
clear that this is a source of value creation while avoiding the consignment of minority
Indigenous cultures to besieged isolation in “reserves”, “living museums” or ”the culture of
silence”. Examples such as the one at the Ájttè Sàmi museum at Jokkmokk, Sweden29,
particularly in relation to the annual Sàmi international Winter Market30, the Siida Sàmi
Museum at Inari and the Northern Lapland Nature Centre, in Finland31, are among other
models which offer such an interactive and luminal space that allows for a cross-cultural
dimension within Indigenous peoples already, rather than just spectacle in the museum
context. This approach emphasizes the information over the object. It took me two days,
before reaching the exhibitions of the new museum of the Quai de Branly, during my visit
lately in France (August 2006). The long tail due the success of the initiative does not
facilitate my access from the first day. The new museum design, offers to its public a new
invitation based on the perception, the inclusion and the interaction participation of the
public in contact with artefact, as an amazing dialogue.
Facing the farming interest of the prospects for diffusion of commodities and ideas to foster
about the standardization of expression around the world in our era, Indigenous peoples
need to tell their own stories, with their own ease. Having been experiencing the role that the
museum play in the hearth of the Sàmi people of Jokkmokk, it is clear to note about the role
that the museum plays in gathering together the Sàmi people at the museum space of
Jokkmokk. Although the display techniques within the museum context have been western,
the contents should have been adapted and created in direct collaboration with the
Indigenous peoples themselves. Such kind of initiative would have been certainly the one to
test around the Pygmies peoples, in order to engage them to get to know each other, since
they are unaware of the importance of the interdependent power in the process of the selfdetermination, facing to the stakes that influence their departure. Museums and other
relevant institutions are essential tools to improve the obstacles caused by these remarks. In
the latter case, the museum concept has been changed and adapted to Indigenous needs. Its
role in the transmission of traditional knowledge and ethical and identity issues has been
27
Friese, Heidrum 2002, Making sense of History, Identities Time, Difference and Boundaries, Berghahn
Books, New York, Oxford.
28
From a conversation with Jim Barrett. Jim is a Doctoral candidate of Modern Laguages and HUMlab, the
University of Ume , Ume , April 2006.
29
The Swedish S mi museum at: http://www.ajtte.com/, accessed June 2006.
30
Jokkmokks marknad at: www.jokkmokksmarknad.se, accessed June 2006
31
-The Finnish S mi museum at:http://www.Sámimuseum.fi/english/en_menu.html, accessed, April 2006.
- The northern Lapland Nature Centre at: http://www.samimuseum.fi/english/siida/en_luontokeskus.html,
accessed June 2006.
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highly observed. The extreme and fast reorganization of the museums was completely
adapted to the needs of communities with no distinction, while aiming at disadvantaging the
status of the social class, for the profit of an inclusion dialogue. However, the collaboration
between museums and schools increase educational methodology, transformation of guards
to pedagogues, and the investment in educational departments at the museums or at other
cultural institutions. The Sàmi School facing the Sàmi museum at Jokkmokk is a referential
environment. The culture transmission is effective for students learning their own identity
and culture in their own environment. From an interview to Sofia Jannok, one of the Swedish
Sàmi jojk and performing artist who grew up in a middle of Swedish modern society
testified that she learn to Jojk at the Sàmi school with help of guiding tours and meetings
with the Sàmi Diaspora by the Sàmi museum of Jokkmokk.
The triumph of the evolutionary theory for example that has transformed the situation of the
systematic rape of the crowned sites of the Aboriginal by the Britanique representatives of
Europe and America, including the Australian museum, to be used as a basis material as for
the evolution of the history is an illustration that Tony Bennett underlines. By providing a
normalizing function via the construction of radically different, the exhibition of others
peoples served as a vehicle for “the edification of a national public and the confirmation of
its imperial superiority.32” The sharing of interaction and experience dialogue of the Pygmies
with other Indigenous peoples are of capital importance; because it is by the means of this
process that the conscience of the actors will open other views, able to support a new
departure.
3.2
As the space of Knowledge transmission
The mechanisms of the creation, transformation and transmission of all knowledge are
analogous to those for genetic material. Indeed, there always exist information and
significances related to the process of genetic transmission. How we think, we store, and tell
the fruit of our knowledge and our experiments. The arrangement of these mechanisms is of
characterized importance, in order to establish a taxonomy with which the museum expert
makes use of it, to create about the successful junction that helps the others to understand
and perceive better the significance of the message. For these reasons, the field of application
of the concept “museum” is at our present days tremendously wide and consequently harder
to define. There is a real field of research aiming at creating definitions and classifications,
particularly on the resolution issues concerning Indigenous peoples. The word new “politic”
will apply a broadest sense in this subject. Not only insofar as the museums are concerned
with the political administration, political groups or its own political role, but as well when it
comes to its significance and benefits for Indigenous peoples today, its function as a turningpoint between collection, conservation and retransmission is expected. We may no longer
conceive one museum individually, without considering either more or less related
institutions nor the impacts of new science, or social, politico— economical and technological
transformations. The ambitions of the governments and the political groups of pressure on
one hand, and the compliance with the public need on the other hand, opens a totally new
issue for museums33. How does the way it relates to the public, the society and power as
32
Bennett 1995: 79
Laurent Gervereau, Museums and politics, At the fourth colloquia of the International Association of Museums
for Ancient History; Quebec, 19-20 oct. 1998.
Is there a general need for museums? An introduction by Laurent Gervereau, Chairman of the International
Association of Museums of Ancient History, Paris, France.
33
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defining the role of the museums? Not to speak of other aspects of curiosity, aestheticism or
scientific and historical significance. Museums devoted to civilization, in particular
“museums for ancient history”, escape from the strict definition by outside power, since they
are defined by multiple factors (territories, biographies, periods in time, topics etc.). The
trouble in defining them makes them all the more subject re-evaluation. Problems arise
mostly when these museums are called to exhibit with connotations to current political
debate. Would it be the justification of a museum to save or to transmit the material evidence
of a society of humans gathered at some geographically defined area?
The museum— the physical connecting point across cultural boundaries and between the
past and present— is an official arena for preserving, and transmitting the knowledge of
Indigenous peoples, nature-based societies such as the Sàmi and Pygmy. Collections and
exhibitions as tools are furnishing and interpreting ways, in which we are dealing with the
reality, marks one’s page. Through exhibition, we are also desperately trying to freeze time
and regain our losses. Once, it’s a means of making research, and interpretation of the world,
intelligible and visible— an allegory of the sense of sight, and of the cartographic34 . For,
Museums are actively re-organising their spaces and collections, in order to present
themselves as environments for self-directed learning based on experience, often to new
audiences35.
The creation of the common cultural institutions supporting the history is essential in the
transmission of the identity. The museums of the territory are the museums of the heritage of
identity, which explain at the same time the causes for which, the constitution and the
transmission of the values need a reciprocal and constant exchanges (even in conflict) with
other populations or other territories. All the values which link the individuals between
them, calling upon the history, fall within competence of the museums and their role of
knowledge transmission mostly related to the history. The museum is a referential mark of
knowledge for a community. Societies need museums surely because; we are no more in the
time of the destruction of traces that help us know about ourselves. But do the societies need
museums such as they are were? There is the mutation in progress because, to be a
referential mark, the museum is submitted to ethical liabilities. It cannot be hostage to any
influential groups, nor to become an economic agent as it would be a collector deciding to
gather some pieces to his fantasy. The museum is part of an environment. It has tie reasoning
with the other museums. It calls for the readjustment of the disparities. However, the
museum must answer in relation with its content; its function sees itself even bet in reason
when is taken for instrument by groups of pressure.
In the past two decades issues over the repatriation of human remains and sacred objects,
have led to the drawing of new equations in the relationships between museums and
Indigenous peoples in different parts of the world. Demands for the repatriation and
transmission of cultural material and human remains from museum to their owners or
descendant have occasionally soured diplomatic relations between states, but more often
raised legal and moral issues between states and indigenous people. There are today a
growing number of museums, run by and for indigenous communities, based on repatriated
and transmission collections which had been housed in national or regional institution. An
illustration from which, the return of Chief G’psgolox’s totem pole, to his descendants has
34
[42] Kerstin Smeds 2005, The representation of Loss on Meaning of Exhibition, UMAC (University
Museums And Collections), Maniscripts, Uppsala University, Sept. 25-30.
35
Eilean Hooper-Greenhill 1992, Museums and the Shaping of Knowledge, Routledge, London and New York.
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been a valuable one. Efforts from the Swedish government and its national museum of
ethnography, in transmitting the totem pole back to the Haisla people, marks a step of a new
cooperation. Today many Haisla strive to regain land and water rights, to prevent pollution
and to rejuvenate their culture. Recognizing that the museum had acted in good faith in
receiving the totem pole, they offered to present the Swedes with replica. The nine-metre
totem pole was carved inside the Swedish Museum of Ethnography in 2000 by member of
the Xanaksiyala people— a part of the Haisla people— from the British Columbia as a gift
from Haisla people of Sweden. It replaces Chief G’psgolox’s old totem pole, carved in 1872
and returned by the Museum of Ethnography in 200636.
Museums across the world are currently going through various phases of transformation as
we move towards the turn of the century. Its perspectives based on cultural diversity
through its policy statement is devoted to promote and encourage cross— cultural issues
engaging people in international cooperation37. This process which is an integral part of the
cultural systems of different countries and regions puts museums on a developmental course
that could eradicate past and present inequalities in cultural representation of diverse
peoples. If culture, is understood as the basis of transmission and development, it follows
that sustainable development will only be possible if it is acutely sensitive to, and
profoundly inspired by the history and cultures of all people in the global village38 .
3.3
As the space of Dialogue and communication
One of the best way in which spaces, material things, and individual subjects in our modern
age, articulate with primary themes and structures of knowledge is the medium of dialogue
and communication. The dialogue is the process by which two sides have at last begun to
engage in a constructive communication. The dialogue is also the way in which we can be
able to accumulate knowledge, culture, identity and power. In its widest sense, it is a
carefully organized exposition, by means of invented conversation, of contrasting
philosophical or intellectual attitudes. The central meaning of our life is the dialogue; it
represents a tool to deal with realities of our lives. The dialogue provides considerable
understandings of us and our external partners, regarding real meetings. From there,
appears the dialogical importance of the dialogue as a polyphony as pointed out by Mikhail
Back tin39— in this context, dialogue refers to a language in use than simply conversation
between two peoples.
Indigenous peoples are crucial to the wealth of the planet’s cultural diversity. Today, their
forms of expression now figure as part of a new issue-area that brings to the fore the
interaction between— and complementary nature of— oral and written expressions,
museology and new technologies. Safeguarding that cultural diversity and promoting
intercultural pluralism and dialogue require more participation and communication40.
36
Etnografiska Museet 2006, V rens program, Etnografiska Museet, Sweden.
[44] ICOM 1997, Museums and Cultural Diversity: Policy Statement, Report presented at the 89th session of
the Executive Council of ICOM on December 1997, Report of the Working Group on Cross Cultural Issues of
the International Council of Museums (ICOM).
38
[45] UNESCO 1995, Culture, Report of the World Commission on Culture and Development,UNESCO, Paris,
France.
39
Dialogic, as a term employed by the Russian literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin to indicate that language and
meaning are never fixed in themselves, but only work in situations of dialogue, where meanings and
understandings are contingent on other meanings and understandings.
40
[46] UNESCO 2001, Symposium on identities: Oral, written expressions and new technologies, Paris 15-18
may, 2001.
37
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However, communication is more than merely talking or writing. It is the most important
experience with which we live. It is the key to successful business, understanding, and
interaction41— the means by which valuable experiences can be created. Good
communication is critical to all interaction, whether between two friends, or many strangers.
Successful communication relies on literacy in all forms of communication, including, text,
images, sounds and music, voice diagrams, numbers, and video for both producers and
audience. Being able to communicate clearly means being able to choose which medium is
most appropriate to the message or how to combine media to articulate a message.
The role of museums in developing a more inclusive museum service, based dialogue
represents the key purpose of museums today. Furthermore, we do not actually know what
people get out of museums with their actual view. It is a very mysterious activity that I take
for granted as a normal rational thing the concept of museum. But I want to put in the
broader context of the museum’s role in the centre of this paper. It refers us to terms such as
inspiration, learning and enjoyment, transmission, a communication. Lars Pirak, a Sàmi
cultural mediator between two generations was enjoying helping me to better understand
the exhibition, while offering me with a guiding tour of the museum of Jokkmokk; or
certainly, the way of introducing me to it and its own work as a visual artist. These ways are
more useful for Indigenous people to talk about their own culture.
The most important thing in the process of the educational release is that, people come
around like the way of mastering their thought, characterized by the means of the exchange
of point of view, articulated implicitly or explicitly around the sharing of perceptions and the
suggestions with those of their comrades. From a view of such education marks a starting
point with the conviction that it cannot present its own program, but must search for this
program dialogically with the people, that serve to introduce the pedagogy of the oppressed
peoples in the elaboration of which the oppressed must participate42. Such kinds of
experience leads us to answering the questions such as “What are museums for?” And what
is their contribution for such a cross-cultural dialogue between Sámi and Pygmy people.
My first contact of the Sami culture has operates by the Sàmi Ajttè museum lately in
Jokkmokk. Physical and spiritual contact with the Sámi has been really effective there while
exploring their amazing culture. Knowledge is well understood as the commodity that the
museum offers. Since, there is an opportunity to change one’s perception or knowledge of
the world, through a visit an a referential art, as offered by those whose finding makes
exhibitions possible, in the form of an advertisement, and used to celebrate corporate values.
From the museum, I have met and communicated to the Sàmi artists with whom, I have
started experimenting with the medium language of the Jojk music43 .
Museums are addressing the wide range of issues with cross cultural dimensions that should
endeavour to deal with cultural diversity in general and Indigenous people in particular. In
such a way, museums will enable a possibility for Indigenous peoples, starting with Sàmi
and Pygmy to create a “cross-cultural community project” in order to participate in a global
dialogue. These process could then leads Indigenous peoples to empowerment both with
information to understand practical lessons, that has more been forced Indigenous peoples to
change their way of life, that has elected them adapt their culture and lifestyle to other
societies— a process to operate new methods for dealing with the effects of globalization,
41
[56] Nathan Shedroff 2006, Thoughts and seminar on Interactivity, Humlab, Ume University, Sweden.
Paulo Freire 1993, Pedagogy of the oppressed, Penguin Books, p.105
43
Surveys from the film document attached in the appendix section.
42
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while having a step towards creating a unified voice out of several disparate and
marginalized Indigenous minority groups. These meanings serve to perpetuate the diversity
in the world— a trait that is essential for the biological survival of our species and in line with
equality and human rights for all peoples.
“The world in language is half someone else’s. It becomes ones own only when the speaker
populates it with his own intention, his own accent, when he appropriates the word
adopting it to his own semantic and expressive intention44.However, well before this period
of appropriation, the word does not exist in a mental or impersonal language. It appears
rather through the glance of the others and some other contexts; thus serving to their
intensions, before it could assets those who also want to define its application. From there
one must take the word and make it ones own. New spirit and the promotion of the ideals of
cultural democracy have led to the opening of museums to a number of community centred
initiatives and concerns. Strategic lives have become clear participation, access, dialogue
with visitors and target groups. Through the right kind of education and exchange, avoiding
authoritarian museum— holders of knowledge, based actual experiences on continual shared
investigation, every human being, no matter how impoverished or illiterate, can develop a
new awareness of self which will free them to more than passive objects responding to
uncontrollable change45. Freire leads us in terms such as dialogic— the essence of education
as the practice of freedom, dialogic and dialogue as the search program content of humanworld relationship, “generative themes”, and the program content of education as the
practice of freedom including investigation of “generative themes of research” and its
methodology...
Increased interactivity, that a Pygmy can come and touch the art object of a Sámi and verse;
there is a physical sensual relationship to their respective history and not a simple or distant
two-dimensional relationship.
Exploration of inclusive museology which has the capacity to address different contextual
frameworks of cultural diversity including a multiplicity of interactions and cultural borders
is the most expected option to adapt. These borders include race, ethnicity, colour, gender,
class, age, physical ability, regions, location, language, faith, creed, economic status, sexual
preference and so on and thus help people while creating context of important paradoxes.
It’s very interesting in most of examples given nowadays that the most exception is then you
put something in contrast with something else, whether it could be the hiding sex of a
Pygmy to the noble pattern or design of a Sàmi best dress, whether the singular expression
from a Sámi jojker to the Pygmy counterpoint and polyphonic ones, whether the scooter’s
noise to polyrhythmic beats of bodies from Pygmies; contrasts between its original function
marks the contemporize context needed by the expression of the diversity. The notion of
diversity leads us to contrasts. We are looking for contrasts, because we have quite simply to
get rid of our fear of conflict, because with that fear we will never be able to deal with the
conflict. So the same goes for objects and the same goes for the creating exchange on stage
which reveal to the notion of museum.
Furthermore, culture is the result of man with his nature and sustainability of this interaction
is a logical consequence of considering development and the environment as an integrated
process based upon conceptual transmission and integration46 . Museum is also inter-alias
44
Bakhtin, M. 1981: The Dialogic Imagination: four essays, Austin, University of Texas Press, p. 293-294.
Paulo Freire 1993, Pedagogy of the oppressed, Penguin Books
46
Elizabeth Croll and David Parkin 1992, Bush Base: Forest Farm, Routledge London and New-York, p.8.
45
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recognized with its role on biological diversity. In such a way, culture is sometimes treated
as a means by which humans adapt to their environments— a dialogue between man and
nature. The convention on biological diversity has recognized “Plitvice”, the birthplace and
Croatia, the founding member of museum on nature and culture. Discuss on biodiversity in
relation to sustainable development and achievement of the millennium development goals
involved museums as a reference mark for culture and identity. The convention of
biodiversity, sustainable use of its components and the equitable sharing of benefits arising
from the use of genetic resources refers to museums of the nature. A painting by Tihomir
Loncar, a famous Croatian artist as a donation Croatia, one of the most bio diverse— rich
countries in the world to contribute to the innovative project and offer a painting of nature
by famous Croatian artist, whose work is a contemplative prayer for salvation and protection
of the nature.
However, new perspectives based protocols for collaboration between anthropology;
museology and Indigenous knowledge with benefits of new technology is a challenge
initiative to mention here47. The role of technology in this initiative is central with new media
and the distributed environment of the World Wide Web, making contact and exchange over
distance an achievable goal.
Today, values concerning ethnicity or identity of number of communities including
Indigenous peoples have been made accessible virtually through internet. While being aware
that, the internet provides as well as diverse and uncontrollable information. Facilities and
benefits of internet could be helpful as well as for Indigenous peoples to promote their voice.
Over 200 anthropologists, museologists, technologists and representatives of Indigenous
peoples attended the second International Symposium on “Indigenous Identities: Oral,
Written Expressions and New Technologies”, 30 speakers have focused on the impact of new
technologies (multimedia, the Internet), including research and teaching in anthropology
and the museum world. With goals based new protocols for the expropriation of the tangible
and intangible heritage of Indigenous peoples throughout the world, this initiative aim also
to acknowledgement of Indigenous intellectual property rights. Comments mostly based on
how these initiatives enhance Indigenous expressions of identity, refers to the role of
museums in the reconstruction of the history. Unfortunately, up today, many Indigenous
communities may be unable to do likewise owing to a lack of access to the basic services
needed to participate in multimedia production such as “energy sources, means of
communication”. The case of Pygmy in remote African areas is an example. During the
symposium, attention focused on how such services can be secured was highly pointed. It
was furthermore stressed that while hardware costs can be reduced, another challenge is to
ensure that Indigenous communities benefit from access to inexpensive software: some
shareware can be downloaded from the Web but Indigenous people need to be made aware
of its availability. The contribution of the museum in the promotion of the cultural diversity
in one hand, and of its role of landmark in such an inter-natives dialogue in another, quite
justifies the particular attention that one can qualify museums of birth place, of nutrient
mother...
The betterment of relationships and dialogue of museums with the political institution
would more encourage all at once to the resolution of the stakes, bound to the unbalance of
biodiversity and the right of usage of the territories by the natives. These burning questions,
47
[47] UNESCO 2001, International Symposium on Indigenous Identities: Oral, Written Expressionand New
Technologies, Session 1, Part two.The new perspectives based protocols for collaboration between New
technologies, anthropology, museology and Indigenous knowledge, 17-18 May 2001, Paris, France
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bound to the processes of powers and their diplomacy, still are registered points in the
agenda of the new millennium. Their empress adoption, would permit to live the pacific
expression of an inter-indigenous’ dialogue, already committed in an international
cooperation.
In their political function, the museums play a role of platform and catalyst. Being rooted in
the city, the museums justify their responsibility as the institution that feeds public
proceedings and that, sometimes is even to centres of the hostilities. They practice to this
price the promotion of the liberty speech; they thus play their political role.
But, how do we evaluate the Museum in terms of political bodies in the setting of a beneficial
inter-Indigenous’dialogue?
4
Field Research and Experimentation
With the focus of the work inter-indigenous’dialogue starting with Sàmi and Pygmy
peoples, we will include the learning role of cultural institutions, including their activity
with benefits of new technologies in such a cooperation. The museum approach, as an
example of such a cultural institution, will complete my ethnography.
In this section, the Action research-project based on socio cultural learning theory with the
aim to find ways to improve indigenous engagement of the Sàmi and Pygmy peoples is
expected. By studying activities with which selected indigenous groups hold back or resist
effect of globalization, is one of our projection view in this section. As this work has been
initiated by the Institution of Kultur och Medier, the Department of Museology at the Umeå
University, I will deal with those two elements, considering how we can collect evidence of
survival experiences based in practical lessons, and examine how that evidence involves
policies developed by governments. These considerations will help us better understand
what we are doing in relation to our audience and provide evidence of what impact we are
having.
My work in this part will have more influence on the way in which I make use of the word
“Experimentation”. The concept of “experimentation” that refer us to terms such as try out,
investigate— a test done in order to learn something or to discover whether something
works or is true, will be my challenge to evaluate this section. I will investigate my argument
through the research process of what I mean by dialogue between Sàmi and Pygmy, via the
case study project of Afrique Profonde— an Artist-in-residency program that we did in
Congo-Brazzaville. As “a Catalyst of Change”, the evaluation of that work has involved an
initiative applied with principles of the “Ethnographic Action Research”. We focused the study
of our own initiative to learn the way in which practice is considered as a tool of expressing
of experiences of Pygmies peoples. The need for evaluative research, integration, inclusive
and promotion, particularly in learning the role of the cultural exchanges was an important
evaluation. We use a range of research methods but focus primarily on quantitative ones. We
seek to understand peoples’experiences and practical lessons, and we tried to share these
through interviews, focus groups, participative observation, response, involvement in such
experiences and sharing them with other indigenous groups of people through video
projection and other methods of feedback— sending back to the user information about what
action has actually been done, what result has been accomplished. The feedback is a well
known concept in the science of control and information theory.
Currently, on this big evaluation based on my D-paper; “An Experimental Dialogue between the
Sàmi and Pygmy peoples”in this academic year 2006-2007, things hasn’t been simple ones. For
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this complex task, I have surveyed on the role of the Jokkmokks museum, including the
Jokkmokks international market, from the Sàmi understanding. I have a project on peoples’
view of museums as heritage center as well as a sharing space of self-representation and selfdetermination. But this work concerns also the Sàmi observation response for their eventual
dialogue with other indigenous peoples and Pygmy in particular. I used number of tools to
collect evidence such as video cameras, audio recorders such as Mini-Discs (MD),
photography, observations as well as interviews. Music is one of my participative
investigations to facilitate about integration into the culture. With a brief description given of
methods used in connection with series of “quick” ethnographic studies among the Sàmi, in
the methodology section, the issue of social, political and situated contraction of time has
been highlighted. The need for supporting several themes in parallel, along different time
lines has surfaced, and now seems more relevant than ever. The reporting of results from
these studies motivated me trying out alternative methods of documentation and anticipates
analyses. Video recording was used during the field studies, and subsequent interaction
analyses of parts of recordings were also carried out more or less according to our video film
sample attached to this paper. Selected sequences of the materials, both from the Pygmy and
Sàmi has been used to highlight design issues with a title “Common Fire”. An approach was
adopted as findings that have constituted the platform for participation. The use a video
document of 30 minutes as a medium, allows the design to turn up for alternative ideas
about annotating interaction in order to inform design of medium services, as well as the
target audience.
The interactive video is used as an opportunity to fracture and augment the meanings of
dialogue and exchange, through projection and presentation tools of different perspectives
and experiences; for in the display of the experience exchanges, many different opportunities
are made for relationship with people to emerge48. Ooccasion based connectivity and
interactivity, such as those projected through the medium of video one, allow and support
possibilities of change guaranteed by the reflective perception of the ones, in front of the
experiment or the reality lived by the others. The analytical projection of these various
prospects allows thus, the creation, the acceptation but also the refusal in other manners of
perceiving, living and adapting things. The favour of these occasions, will certainly allow to
the Pygmy peoples the advisability of catching up its merits, in order to constitute a
departure for their self-determination.
Music has also been used as a connecting point of Sàmi and Pygmy after anticipation
analyze. The purpose is to experiment the intimate Sàmi Jojk with the sacred Pygmy Yèyi
and apply them as tools of language expression between the two communities— a way to
figure out things in our understanding. I first met Sàmi artists at the Jokkmokks museum in
February-March, 2006. Practicing the Yèyi that I have experienced from the Pygmy music, for
a performance dialogue with Lars Anté Kuhumunen49, a great music performance by the Sàmi
international winter market was born. The audience includes Sàmi and international
outsiders found it relevant. Findings including selected interviews, observation-response to
the from the Sàmi peoples, already expressing messages of their will for a special
cooperation with Pygmies are available as attached in the DVD included to this paper. Since
then, more contacts have been made between Sàmi artists and me. We are gathering more
and more together for performances around Sweden. The latest performance has take place
by the Rinkiby Festival, lately in Stockholm June, 2006. Such experience will be served as one
48
49
Hilean Hooper-Greenhill 1992: 205.
Performer Swedish S mi artist and reindeer, Jokkmokk, Kiruna, 2006.
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of my fundamental basis of inter-indigenous’dialogue that could raise the lamb of
Indigenous common and distinctive cultures around the fire. The mean question for now is
how to make use of the evidence collected? In my point of view, benefit of this investigation
will depend on the future of this project. Sara Eriksén point out, for video recordings during
ethnographic field provides data in a rich and detailed format that preserves the temporal
dimension of whatever phenomenon is being studied. The question here is how to make use
of this temporal dimension in thinking about design of ICT for supporting the mobile user50.
4.1
Developing an inclusive museum service
By wanting to know a little more about the impression with which people express at their
exit of the museum, it is paradoxically important to know also why some other people works
for the museums. Note that the illustration of the museum in its wide context is taken here to
determine its role around this paper. Lars Pirak’
s work as a cultural mediator between two
generations helps us to better understand the exhibition, while offering a guiding tour of the
Jokkmokks museum to us. So the goal of my experimental investigation is to answer the
question, “What are museums for Sàmi peoples?” and how can they contribute for a
dialogue between the Sàmi and Pygmy peoples.
Tony Bennett in a series of essays has looked at how the public was expected to use
museums from the nineteenth to our modern times as well as the way in which museums
were credited with the ability to escort an unsophisticated public into a new comportment
and higher echelon of moral and civilized behavior. From his observation, the museums are
able to provide knowledge of identity and representation building. The use of such an
observation could help to empower indigenous peoples in a sustainable dialogue. Museum
is a space of interactive engagement based around principles of experiential design. They are
no longer the simple used as reflecting of buildings, just conceived for the accumulation of
historical material of memories through generations. Rather, the interactive museum is a
three-dimensional metaphor for the communal fire, where indigenous’songs are sung,
stories told and Jojk is worshipped. The museum can be the hearth around which the holders
of the traditions explain the objects of their culture— as my experience lately with the Sàmi
museum at Jokkmokk, has marked the importance of the museum as an arena for building
identity.
The foreseen benefits of museums that enable Sàmi to create an identity representation allow
them with participation in a global dialogue. Such a process can empower indigenous
peoples to understand practical lessons in order to deal with the effects of globalization,
while taking a step towards a unified voice of disparate and marginalized indigenous
minority groups. Perpetuating such diversity is essential for the biological survival of our
species and is in line with equality and human rights for all peoples.
A clear participation, access, and dialogue or communication with visitors and target groups
are strategic goals. Through the right kind of education and exchange, avoiding
authoritarian museum-holders and instead basing models on the actual experiences of
continual shared investigation, every human being, no matter how impoverished or
illiterate, can contribute for the development of self-awareness which can free them from
50
[48]Yvonne Dittrich and Sara EriksØn 2003, Stuated Innovation: Exploring Co-operation in innovation and
design between researchers and users and providers of ICT, a paper for the Nordic R&D conference on
University and society cooperation, Ronneby, Sweeden.
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being passive objects responding to uncontrollable change. Increasing interactivity, such as a
Pygmy touching the art object of a Sami and vice-versa, offers a practical relationship to their
respective histories. The collaboration between museums and schools, would however
increased an educational methodology, oriented to the transformation of pedagogues, and
the investment in educational departments at the museums or at other cultural institutions
can make this possible.
In the process of creating context for fundamental paradoxes in order to support the
direction of my comprehension, number of interrogations is still to consider. What I found so
very interesting in most of examples given today is the contrast of something with
something else. Whether it was hiding gender from a Pygmy to the noble pattern or design
of a Sàmi formal dress; whether the singular expression from a Sàmi jokers to the Pygmy
counterpoint polyphony; whether the scooter’s noise to polyrhythmic beats of bodies;
contrast between an item’s original function in contemporize context is essential. We are
looking for contrasts, because we must get rid of our fear of conflict. In the Same manner as
the objects interact between them, it goes from there in the same way for the process of
exchange, while wanting to create new courses.
Overall, when the reinterpretation of museum collections is undertaken by indigenous,
holders of knowledge themselves, their profiles become diverse and reflect the whole
population in its call of multicultural beauty. However, the possibilities of dialogue offered
by the museums concerning the relations of the modern cultures and the states, should not
limit these cultural institutions like simple places for the instruction but, rather as of the
instruments of education around which the social routines yield their place to the new
investigations, aiming at supporting the access of new forms of cultures.
4.2
How are we stepping with the cross-cultural dialogue project?
Between Sàmi and Pygmy, there is much cooperation to be done in the common ground,
particularly in light of the “International Forum on Local Cultural Expression and
Communication” organized by UNESCO in November, 2003. However, more initiatives are
required to facilitate collaboration in tackling the challenges they both face. A cultural
exchange project might be a favorable process for both cultures to acknowledge each other
and share best practices for integration and survival. Our first goal is thus to produce
multimedia materials with the purpose to engage Indigenous peoples to better recognize
each other.
One of my target goals is the design of a DVD presentation based on contemporary Pygmy
culture to selected Sàmi groups, with video documented response. This would include
interviews with viewers regarding Sàmi observation, as well as collection of documentary
material and the Northern Lapland Nature Center, featuring the Sàmi culture and heritage at
Jokkmokk and Siida museums. Such a project will open the doors for another DVD
projection of material presenting contemporizes Sàmi culture to selected Pygmy groups. A
final documented conversation between Sàmi and Pygmy will provide a conclusion to our
first activity.
Today, the evaluation of available material including videos and sounds from Afrique
Profonde, through a digitalizing process by the HUMlab and findings from the Sàmi average
a total amount of 35 hours of video, 43 hours of audio sounds and more than 600 pictures,
which will need an archiving process of investigation. The attempt sample on the possible
design of the dialogue based film documentary, between the two communities have been
used as a basic tool for the project promotion, requested by considerable chains of televisions
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in Sweden, as their way to better inform people about the eventual project. The promotional
consequence thanks to the press and the media, has finally allowed me, with a project
presentation to various authorities and Sàmi organizations from Sweden, Norway, Finland
and Russia, during the Sàmi week activities organized each year.
Meanwhile, an IT method of contribution has been appointed following investigation.
Research such as in the area of Human-Computer-Interaction51 , involving research field of
Computer Supported Cooperative Work52 that appeal their focus of mainstream IT design
research, will be an important investigation here. From the individual- interaction in use of
computer, to design of supportive technologies for cooperative and collaborative work,
things have to figure out. Within these latter researches, ethnographic field studies of the use
of IT have become accepted as the approved methods for documenting and specifying user
requirements, and the design process. As with the many mundane, down-to-earth examples
given in Norman’s book53 , The role played by the ethnography here is very capital, because
not only it lights the fundamental context according to which we learn how to see the things,
it also builds us how to note what is already there and to reflect on the implication the
subjects concerned with our observations. In my case, the project demands two websites.
One “active” and one “archive” for the database. The multimedia blog forum, almost ready
to launch, will updating the progress activity of the project; and will lead the project to a live
multi-media blog event between the Sàmi and Pygmy Peoples. The current design lunched at
the HUMlab is available at: http://blog.humlab.umu.se/testblogg/
One of our long term goals in this technology purpose will be to link an online event from
the Jokkmokks’International winter market to selected Pygmy groups. The goal is to make
the Sàmi international market one of a model center for indigenous peoples. The archive
database, meanwhile, will operate as a Media-Room, web casting an online slide show
presentation package and enabling face-to-face meetings. The last dream in this project is to
set up a direct Sàmi/Pygmy interaction via satellite and internet between the two
communities. Using live simultaneous broadcast with large projection installations and two
cameras per location. Each community will feature organized presentations in the form of
greetings, speech, questions, music, dance, songs, jojk, or yèyi. Such communication will
allow Indigenous peoples to celebrate the lamb of their common and distinctive culture
around the fire.
In reflecting on the methods used in the series of studies carried out along this paper, and
attempting to explore this direction of method development further in subsequent studies
and investigations of Mobil medium such as videos already introduced to selected groups of
Pygmies, the idea of developing a light version for annotating mobile communication,
interactivity and ethnography has stayed with me, but is still more of an intuitive idea than
a method.
Our next step, after we have completed the in-depth from the Sàmi, will concern about to
introduce the project and the Sàmi Peoples to selected groups of Pygmy peoples. It’s clear to
observe a positive attitude of interest from the Sàmi side, already engaged to would like to
start their cooperation with the Pygmy Peoples, as they formulated their messages in our
video documents which will then, be projected to selected groups of Pygmies. How are we
51
A program of instructional material presented by means of a computer or computer systems.
A conceptual framework for the augmentation of Man s intellect and toward Hight-Performance
Knowledge Workers in Irene Greif Edition, Computer Supported Cooperative Work: a book of readings (1988),
that give clear expositions of Engelbart s idea on computers and their use.
53
Donald A. Norman 1988, The Design of Everyday Things, The MIT Press, London, England.
52
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going to make this event possible with application of margined realities, still to consider in
the Pygmy field research, including those issues selected as the followed to improve a
parallel experimentation?
4.3
Marks stakes of consideration in the Pygmy areas
Indigenous peoples in Africa facing discrimination and increasingly insecure tenure
relationships will need to be allowed to transform their relationships within themselves,
their neighbors and governments in order to protect their interests. In fact, the Pygmy asserts
himself through his forest, survival knowledge’s based nature such as hunting, gathering
and fishing are supposed to be a way to survive. His domination, dialectic resistance leads
him with marginalization politically, economically, culturally also, even sanitary. These
considerations will need a more strategy to come across our everlasting marginalized
partner. To these abuses governments seem to be blinds and neither intervenes to promote
the individual rights of the Pygmies, nor to recognize their collective rights. The different
regimes that have succeeded from the independence days till now have solved sometimes
infra-national communities problems but not those connected to the existence leaving of the
Pygmies and their survival conditions, most of the time. In all cases, the attempt of the
Pygmy resistance vis-à-vis to the Bantu domination is seen through the camp settlement far
from the Bantu, involving other aspects of social relationship between the two actors.
Consequences can be observed by acts such as cultural rededication through songs, dances,
myths, and religion and divination techniques.
Officially, it is still difficult to determine the policies of the various governments face to the
identification and the recognition of the Pygmy rights related to use of land, as the case of
some other Indigenous peoples around the world. The same forests, already prone of
covetousness between the landowners, the states and international foresters, do not answer
any more to maintain their ecological balance in order to support the Pygmy activity of all
the times. Being thus disorientated today since the cursed fate of his natural framework, the
Pygmy questions himself on which foot to dance; between the jungle forest and the Bantu
village. The situation seems a little more difficult for those of Pygmy groups who can’t focus
their main activity around the forest today, who’s trying to integrate the neighbour society
while, have been loosing their heritage related to the forest culture, and unemployed.
Pygmy peoples’customary rights to land and forest resources are not recognised in written
law or in the customary rights systems of the dominant ‘Bantu’society54. In many cases, the
experience of collaboration between the two communities proves however, that the reason of
most extremely carry it. In our case, the Pygmy is always considered as the one who don’t
have any rights of possessing a part of ground. The Bantu, mostly descendant of an ancient
landowner, controls most of the time the totality of the parks. In some other cases, access and
use rights are mutually recognised by villagers and Pygmy groups, enabling the co-existence
Between the two communities. Nevertheless, Pygmy groups who have retained access to
forest resources are able to supply some or most of their needs for food, shelter, clothing,
medicines, and can trade or barter surpluses with Bantu neighbours; still a proof that the
Pygmies feel happy in forest as their paradise. The cursed fate of the latter prevents their
daily survival. In general, there is no official document attribute the rights of the Pygmies in
relation to their ground or their space. This is one of the important factors that prevent actors
54
[54] Peter Poole 2003, a report for UNESCO on Cultural Mapping on Indigenous peoples.
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with the advisability of maintaining and of developing their culture and their tradition in a
durable manner. The forest for example still remains a Pygmy paradise, where he is king of
natural setting, where he knows how to take care of himself and where he has little contact
with outsiders. Loss of forest lands inevitably leads to social and cultural collapse,
landlessness and severe poverty in all matters— food security, shelter, clothing and
medicines.
However, the Pygmy with his world’s reputation, culturally rich would not have embraced
the fate of his current situation. A culture as rich as it is, shouldn’t have in theory pose any
problem for its promotion and the inclusion of its actors in the world development process;
as practical lessons experienced around the Sàmi peoples. In the majority of our African
countries, the cultural image of a country is synonymous of its reduction around the large
cities. Thus, when one speaks about Congolese artists for example, one refers immediately
with the artists installed in the great agglomerations. The facility of communication with the
external world thus is a guarantee for promotional advantages of these latter. The influence
of the press and the media, including the Internet, observed in the cities do not in some cases
support the cultural maintenance in its typical way by a certain number of these artists,
although engaged in the process of cultural diversity. This phenomenon which ends up with
the marginalization of artistic talents of deep areas because of their limits to communicate
with the exterior is certainly here an invitation to more reflex ion. In the field of the sacral
relations and the pharmacopoeia, the nearly perfect knowledge of the virtues of the forest
and medicinal plants, made until today of the Pygmy, the healer by excellence, always
consulted by Bantu peoples. Considerable types of consultations from which pygmy is the
Master of its art, come from the occult operations intended to know the factors of special
matters such as disease. According to the both communities, disease often finds its origins in
the direct or indirect action of a genius or an evil eye. All these operations take place by the
means of a certain number of rituals developed mostly by the Pygmies. Despite these
services, The Bantu does not arrange any will to accept the Pygmy and its merits in his
society. The services are often thanked without a reward in thus putting the Pygmy in an
uncomfortable situation, refusing to be helpful for an eventual future. One of the proof
characteristic to such kind of situation is that, the number of Pygmies that leave their homes
in the Bantu village, because they are not comfortable after how they are condemned of no
assistance.
The fact in which, Pygmies don’t have any space of meeting, in the purpose to facilitate the
information and project promotional process, make things more difficult in order to gather
them together from their multiple and isolated areas. Until today, a Pygmy from the south of
Congo ignores even the existence of his neighbour Pygmy located in the north of Congo. The
question is more embarrassing when it is about the neighbouring Pygmy situated in such an
adjacent country like Gabon, Cameroon and others. For these reasons, it is already more
difficult to set up a sustainable dialogue within Pygmies themselves, as they do not know of
the existence of other like them. The reality would be that one knows himself before getting
to know his neighbour. Activities such as meetings at a museum, festivals observed to the
Sámi areas or artist-in-residency programs already engaged by Afrique Profonde with its
international network, would sustain better the slope which is about. From my experience
with the program at Afrique Profonde, I have had incredible experiences in which the
mobilization and the solidarity initiative of the Pygmies, in order to welcome their hosts
artists or guest from other parts of the world, in the purpose to participate to a residency
program at Afrique Profonde, especially for their exchange with Pygmy artists.
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If true commitment to the people, involving the transformation of the reality by which they
are oppressed, requires a theory of transforming action, this theory cannot fail to assign the
people a fundamental role in the transformation process55 .
If cultural diversity supports until our days the means by which any cultural expression
could be promoted, it would be thus one of the roots of development for the Pygmy peoples
also, not only in terms of economic growth, but also as a mean of carrying out the intellectual
existence as well as emotive, moral and spiritual. In the UNESCO programmes linking
people to land, there are at least six biosphere reserves around the Pygmy areas. In one of
these, the Dja Faunal Reserve, Baka communities whose ancestral lands are now covered by
the Reserve have been prevented from carrying out any activities within the protected area
by ecoguards working for ECOFAC56. The process of development of a society would not
withdraw it from its relationship to its history or it’s past. Once, a culture cannot be
identified without its past. The fact of dislodging somebody from the memory of his past
cuts off this one from the roots of its umbilical cord. This situation which resides one of the
common stakes running around all Indigenous peoples of the world marks one of the
essential questions for an international politics today. From a double installations exhibition
around Stockholm, an interview to a Sàmi women, Åsa Simma declares “History lives
because I can change my attitude to it through fresh links and constellations57 .”
Besides of those considerations, we deplore the absence of such institution in charge for the
reflection of the questions and issues on the Pygmies people in political systems adopted by
the concerned governments, as well as at the African Union processes.
5
Summary
One of the process to secure the renewal of a trustful identity, able to engage the Pygmy
peoples with a self-determination, as in some cases observed around the Sàmi peoples, is the
dialogue of exchange and communication, expressed in a frankness relationship with
outsiders and the reality of practical lessons to adapt around their daily survival. The matters
of their relationship within themselves, their neighbours and governments in order to
protect their interests against the pressures bearing upon them and their societies, are
fundamental bases for their dialogue with some other Indigenous peoples, already engaged
in an international cooperation. The pride of a culture starts with the awakening of its actors.
Once the latter has required as the master to confront it with other cultures, the subscription
of its adhering will appear without the implication of any other forces. Bo Anders Arvidsson,
one of my informant during the field investigation around the Sàmi peoples is actually a
particular illustration among other. Bo is Swedish from its origins; and he has decided to
change its identity while officially subscribed to become a Sàmi, because of its aspiration for
the Sàmi culture. Today, the man of forty age, married to a Sàmi women is father of two
children living in Jokkmokk. Similar illustrations are still dubious in the case of the Pygmy
peoples, for reasons related inter alias to their exclusion and the definition of their identity.
However, some examples occurred starting from a completely particular case. In fact, at the
village of Kabo, 80 km from Ouesso, as located in the north of Congo-Brazzaville, a French
man named Mr. Courtois with whom I collaborated many times, but actually died some years
ago, decided to live the rest of his life with Pygmies. He was divorced by his French wife and
was rejected by his children as a result. In the end, he married a Pygmy women, who he
55
Paulo Freire 1993, Pedagogy of the oppressed, Penguin Books, p.107.
[54] Peter Poole 2003, Cultural Mapping on Indigenous People, report for UNESCO.
57
Esther Shalev-Gerz 2002, Tv installationer, Historika Museet, Stockholm, Sweden.
56
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remains married all the rest of his life. From that case, Bantu saw this marriage which gave
them with more of an openness to the idea that inter-marriage with Pygmies was acceptable.
Pygmies are mostly excluded because of outsider’s pride, fear, ignorance or the desire to feel
superior. In a small way of our experience up to the globalization era, we still have to
acknowledge how to consider the “Pygmy people” as a legitimate entity with their own
identity, ethnicity, culture and history that is valued as the means of the global community.
At that point, it is thus clear to notice here that exclusion and discrimination are often the
result of the product generated by a "bad definition" on the identity of membership of others.
The latter perception on others is one of the target factors, which prevents most of
discriminated peoples from access to new avenues, to riches and power. In contrast, within
Indigenous communities themselves, it is already difficult to know exactly who is being
included and who is being excluded. The acceptance of a sàmi for example who wanted to
establish himself within another group of Sàmi is often denied or considered "under
reserves" and mostly, the latter is excepted from access to power and riches, including use of
lands. It is obvious that the situation is far from being simple, but I am certain that new
avenues could also work out. By engaging Indigenous peoples with the responsibility of
certain conflicts resolution or peace building for sustainable development initially by
themselves, new changes can be established for the situation to be improved. Therefore,
institutions of decision-making within Indigenous themselves, such as the Sàmi Parliaments
already present in the Scandinavian countries have something to share with other native
people of the world. However, these organes require more independence in the process of
decision-making, rather than being simple observers in the autonomy, which is the essential
key word of their cultural self-determination.
So far, the situation is even more alarming concerning the Pygmies, because of a lack of
information and mobilization. One of the factors which return the Pygmies very vulnerable
is the cultural attitude, posted by his neighbour Bantu of all times. The attributes of sub man,
without rights, slave without lands, stupid, dirty and well of other expressions which one
treats on the person of the Pygmy, can not yet facilitates his consideration as a social actor,
within the Bantu society in which he is still imposed to integrate. Under these conditions
already, even its survival is random, from the lack of basic duties. Once, the activity of
hunting and gathering cannot any more be enough for the survival of the Pygmies, with all
handling which the forests know around the region. However, the practices of these
activities of survival are not recognized like a valid means for the life, in contrast to farming
and pastoralist. This prejudice leads to severe discrimination and violence against Pygmy
people within our generations and they have great difficulty in getting redress through
official channels and the courts58.
In Congo-Brazzaville, for example, acts of discrimination appear from the very first picture
of Bantu representation of Pygmies. Pygmies are though called by different names. In the
Pool region, they are called Babi (dirty, ugly ones); in the Kouilou, Niari, Bouenza regions,
they are Babongo (big headed ones; with the kibongo, as a disease characterized by the sores
on the head); in the Plateau region, they are Atswa (bad smelling ones); in the Cuvette,
Likouala and Sangha regions, they are Babenga (the hunters). With such negative stereotypes
and perceptions, the Pygmy still does not feel accepted by other African societies, much less
the global society. The psychological pressure, as well as the disappearance of hunting lands
cause a number of Pygmies to leave their homes in the villages because they are not
comfortable with the way of life, and as result, Pygmies still will need special spaces of
58
[54] Peter Poole 2003, Cultural Mapping on Indigenous peoples, report for UNESCO.
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representation to building up the real sense of their cultural identity and a venue for selfrepresentation. The museum can serve as this space. Museums are addressing a wide range
of issues with cross-cultural dimensions that should endeavour to deal with cultural
diversity in general and with Indigenous peoples with their particular and important issues.
In thus providing a normalizing function via the reconstruction of radically different “other”,
the exhibition of other peoples served as a vehicle for “the edification of a national public
and the confirmation of its imperial superiority” as pointed out by Bennett59 . In such a way,
museums could certainly enable Pygmy peoples, to create their participation in the global
dialogue. Such a process, which can lead to empowerment through information and
understanding of the practical lessons that have forced other Indigenous Peoples to change
their way of life to dominant societies. The adaptation of their culture and lifestyle including
different methods for dealing with the effects of globalization is still to be expected in our
case. This latter could allow a step towards creating a unified voice out of several disparate
and marginalized Indigenous minority groups, which will serve to perpetuate the diversity
in the world— a trait that is essential for the biological survival of our species and in line with
equality and human rights for all peoples.
Another suggestion would represent an invitation to document the historical relationship of
Pygmy with the use of lands and spaces, by community mapping or otherwise, for the
purpose of negotiating protected lands for indigenous peoples by the national and regional
governments. Unfortunately, community mapping has not been so widespread in Africa as
in America or South and Southeast Asia, however, there is some precedent. The San in
South Africa have successfully mapped and recovered parts of their traditional territory,
both outside and inside Kgalagadi Tran frontier Park and San. In Namibia there is an
attempt of the same process to recover parts of Etosha National Park. Also in Namibia, a
certain amount of mapping has gone towards the establishment of community
conservancies. Ogiek communities are attempting to map their customary lands in the Mau
Forest, Kenya, before it is fragmented beyond recovery.
The case of central Africa seems still a whole invitation on the initiative. The only way in
which this situation could work out remains an invitation of negotiation between the states,
the Pygmies and the Bantu neighbours. In Cameroon, the Baka communities have been
involved in community based mapping through work with the Centre for Environment and
Development in Yaoundé, in a project with the communities along the southern boundary of
the Dja Reserve. This project led to the production of a series of maps based upon the
communities’own information, but the final maps were produced in the US, and were not
available in Cameroon until over a year after the fieldwork had finished60 .
In my opinion and beyond all the situation we are facing from the stakes connected to
Indigenous peoples today, it is clear to stress that the base related to consequences of the
issues often lies in the closer definition of the local than a struggle over excluding others, in
other terms, an engagement towards a fight of exclusion of the others.This question invites
us to a more investigation; even if Indigenous peoples could have the capacity to manage
their lands expected, how thus would be made the distribution? who is included and who
will be excluded?
59
60
Bennett 1995: 79
[54] Peter Poole 2003, Cultural Mapping on Indigenous Peoples, a report for UNESCO.
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"... the fight is not so much over the terms of territorial encompassment or closure, but rather over
maintening a sense of open-endedness61."
In additive, it is clear to consider that, all around the globe, indigenous societies face
daunting external pressures, and emerging issues such as integration, poverty, human rights
and cultural survival. From a demonstration of fundamental common grounds with some
other indigenous peoples, Pygmies could be able to transform their identity and challenge
the determination of their fruitful future. Museums with their location in the centre of the
Sàmi communities have played an effective role for the Sàmi to maintain the sense of their
culture, their identity. In these contexts knowledge is understood as a commodity that
museums offer. There is here an opportunity to change one’s perception or knowledge of the
world through a visit to an art reference as offered by those whose funding makes
exhibitions possible, in the form of an advertisement, and used to celebrate corporate values.
Even though the contribution of the museum could be helpful for engaging Pygmy peoples
in the broader, cross-cultural dialogue surrounding the survival of Indigenous peoples, it is
clear to note the limits of museums in the fact that they are not often used as decisionmaking. The reinforcement of relationships between the museums and political bodies has to
be considered for the situation to be improved. In this respect, the involvement of
Indigenous groups in determining their own artifacts is crucial to avoid manipulative
framing of history that is convenient to governments or majority populations.
Governments understood very early on the importance of the role that the museum could
play concerning the resolution of number of political issues. Thus, since its origin, the public
museum acts like a mediator between arts, history, science and the citizen. It participates in
the development of critical mind among visitors, and contributes to the construction of the
democracy by revealing historical framework from which future decisions are constructed.
The museum can be therefore at that point, used like a “political instrument”. When there
are a people regrouping, there will be politic. Thus, a dialogue between the groups of
peoples induces into politic. The politic is important in the society; but, it is not the way by
which a museum must make its choices. The relationship between the politics and the
museums can be dealt with in another manner.
The consideration of the nature at the heart of the cultures and values of traditional societies
is an important fact. Territorial spaces and lands use for Indigenous foundation and source
of relationships with the universe are relevant for the radical process of Indigenous
engagement for a global development.
In general, the establishment of programs through strategic partnerships to raise global
awareness about the role and needs of Indigenous peoples in the preservation of their
heritage deserves a whole hearted support of museums with their access to new technology
and resources. Use of videos projection, in my case, could be highly effective for creating a
reinforcing feedback loop— the ability to reach both transmitter-receiver and receivertransmitter. Having already done videos research with the Pygmies for Afrique Profonde,
we have introduced them to the medium, and have experience in using videos as a tool for
cross-cultural education.
61
[40] Simone AM. 2001, On the worlding of African cities. Afr. Stud. Rev. 44(2): p. 25; as quoted by Bambi
Ceeuppen and Peter Geschiere 2005 on Autochtony: Local or Global? New Modes in the Struggle over
Citizenship and Belonging in Africa and Europe, Catholic University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
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Although we, as outsiders, could stimulate the dialogue for change and help to mitigate the
working and politics of the outside world but, the real change happen by Indigenous Peoples
themselves. The reinterpretation of museum collections would not have be done only by
academics, but rather by involving the holders of knowledge themselves, in order to lead
their profiles to become diverse and reflect the whole population, avoiding thus biased
samples selected by an outsider. Museums, if used carefully with these goals in mind, could
be able to play an important role in preserving historical ways of life and aiding indigenous
groups in determining their futures while, creating a more robust, inclusive, diverse and
interesting sense of global democracy where all voices are heard.
Finally, the lack of free expression based Indigenous identity in certain countries, marks an
ethical discrimination of the latter, with the result of their exclusion from equal access to
health, education, communication, employment, wages, justice, riches, power, representation
and participation in the dialogue of co-operation. In certain cases, Pygmies communities are
regarded as "citizens" of the Bantu neighbour’s villages, but actually, they do not have the
independent representation in the cultural, administrative and legal subjects. The forest
lands and resources on which their socio-cultural and economic survival is coming under the
authority competency and national conservation, includes the extension activity of the
farming population. These issues are increasing continual pressures on Indigenous peoples
and their traditional spaces-related knowledge. How thus to guarantee their future if the
required identity and the discourses autonomy are not favoured?
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Acknowledgements
This Paper would have never seen the day without the stimulus complaints and queries from
humanistic people of whom, I greet the memory forever. I would also like to formulate my
greatest acknowledge to all peoples with hospitality, generosity and availability, including
those interviewed for the purpose of this project; as they made my work possible, as an
experience of life.
6.1
Special Thanks to
Professors: Kerstin Smeds, Patrik Svensson, Peter Sköld, Wilhelm Östberg and Lennart
Lundmark, for have been guiding me through this work. Professor Bo Nilsson and
Administrator Robert Mullins, for granted me the chance to present this work. Amazing
Manager Justin Case Perkins and friends, PhD candidates Jim Barrett and Stephanie
Hendricks, for have been helping as key consultant persons of the entire project. Filmmakers
Birger Nilsson and Andrew Redman, such amazing Artists. Pillars Magnus Olofsson and Jon
Svensson from the HUMlab staff, for their generosity, always ready to assist. The HUMlab as
an inspirational space for creators. Krister Transby for his assisatance. Johan and Elisabeth
Dahlérus-Dahlin, Yvonne Johansson and Lars Isaksson, for their support and the smile of all
times. The Immanual Church with its International service, including Chris Peterson, Jodi
and Doug Fondell, for their supports. Stephanie Prisell Von Ohain for her wonderful layout
talent. Finally, let my family in the Republic of Congo-Brazzaville, my daughter Sandra
Albright, while waiting for the responsibility of a father, always lost for the humane cause
and all those who, far or close, have been supporting this project, finds here the expression of
my recognition.
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in the Struggle over Citizenship and Belonging in Africa and Europe, Catholic University of
Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
http://arjournals.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.anthro.34.081804.120354?prevS
earch=authorsfield%3A%28Bambi+Ceuppens+and+Peter+Geschiere%29+AND+articletitlefiel
d%3A%28Autochtony%3A+Local+or+Global%3F+New+Modes+in+the+Struggle+over+Citize
nship+and+Belonging+in+Africa+and+Europe%29 [accessed, 2006.08.16]
-[41] Madden Christopher 2004, Making cross-country comparison of cultural statistic:
Problems and Solutions, Australia Council for Arts, working paper Nr. 2, IFACCA, Sydney,
http://www.ozco.gov.au/research centre/centre ressources/ . [Accessed, 2006.04.18, 21:24]
-[42] Kerstin Smeds 2005, The representation of Loss— on Meaning of Exhibition, UMAC
(University Museums And Collections), Maniscripts, Uppsala University, Sept. 25-30.
http://publicus.culture.huberlin.de/umac/2005/Abstracts_UMAC2005.pdf#search=%22communicating%20university%
20museums%3A%20awareness%20and%20actionuniversity%20museums%20today%2Bkerstin%20smeds%22 [accessed, 2006.07.13]
-[43] Shedroff Nathan 2006, Thoughts and seminar on Interactivity, Humlab, Umeå University,
Sweden. http://www.nathan.com/thoughts/index.html#articles [accessed 2006.06.18]
-[44] ICOM 1997, Museums and Cultural Diversity: Policy Statement, Presented at the 89th session
of the Executive Council of ICOM on December 1997, Report of the Working Group on Cross
Cultural Issues of the International Council of Museums (ICOM). www.abmutvikling.no/multikulturellkompetanse/abm_resources.html, [accessed, 2006.04.18]
http://www.stanford.edu/dept/SUL/waiscool/SITES/cool/icom/diversity.html
[accessed,2006.02.22 18:41:19 GMT]
-[45] Culture 1995, pointed out by the Report of the World Commission on Culture and
Development, published by UNESCO. http://www.unesco.org/culture/policies/wccd/
[accessed, 2006.03.09]
-[46] UNESCO 2001 symposium on “identities: Oral, written expressions and new technologies,
Paris 15-18 may, 2001.
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http://portal.unesco.org/culture/en/file_download.php/493a01800613c38ae5ea62a5a817bee5S
ymposiumReporten.pdf [accessed, 2006.03.14]
-[47] UNESCO 2001, International Symposium on ”Indigenous Identities:Oral, Written
expression and New Technologies; Session 1,Part two. The new perspectives based protocols for
collaboration between New technologies, anthropology, museology and Indigenous knowledge, 17-18
May 2001, Paris, France.
http://portal.unesco.org/culture/en/file_download.php/493a01800613c38ae5ea62a5a817bee5S
ymposiumReporten.pdf [accessed, 2006.03.14]
http://209.85.129.104/search?q=cache:gAp9sEZDEEAJ:icom.museophile.sbu.ac.uk/diversity.h
tml+can+museology+contribute+development+indigenous+people+dialogue&hl=sv&gl=se&c
t=clnk&cd=2 [accessed, 2006.03.14]
-[48] Yvonne Dittrich and Sara Eriksén 2003, Stuated Innovation: Exploring Co-operation in
innovation and design between researchers and users and providers of ICT, a paper for the
Nordic R&D conference on University and society cooperation, Ronneby, Sweeden.
http://www.bth.se/exr/hss03.nsf/(WebFiles)/91CDABADA4C2C508C1256D240063A5E7/$FIL
E/Eriksen%20Sara.pdf [accessed, 2006.08.21]
-[49] Regering 2006, Pressmeddelande 9, December, 2005 http://www.regeringen.se
[accessed, 2006.08.13.]
-[50] Sametinget 2006, arbetsuppgifter och sametingslagen, http://www.sametinget.se,
[accessed, 2006.05.08]
-[51] Swedish Institute 1995, Le Peuple Sami en Suède, The Swedish Institute.
http://www.perso.wanadoo.fr/aetius/scandi/Lapons.htm, [accessed, 2006.02.04.]
-[52] Alain Dray 2001, Article on the Dialects, Centre culturel Suèdois, Paris, France.
http://perso.orange.fr/aetius/scandi/rennes.htm [accessed, 2006.03.07]
-[53] UNESCO 2001, Universal declaration on cultural diversity,
http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001271/127160m.pdf [accessed, 2006.05.22]
-[54] Peter Pool 2003, a report for UNESCO on Cultural Mapping on Indigenous Peoples.
http://portal.unesco.org/culture/en/file_download.php/2f04f4d4fcba283b39b5da634087fa53cu
ltural_mapping_1.pdf [accessed, 2006.08.23]
http://portal.unesco.org/culture/en/file_download.php/5911d5c9add34a0b70275b59460b7e62
Cultural+mapping+2.doc [accessed, 2006.08.23]
-[55] Anna Gregorová 1980, Museological Working Paper (Mu Wo P), p.20, Stockholm.
http://72.14.221.104/search?q=cache:zQnBfdDwTJgJ:www.muuseum.ee/en/erialane_areng/m
useoloogiaalane_ki/p_van_mensch_towar/mensch04/+Anna+Gregorov%C3%A1+1980,+Muse
ological+Working+Paper%2BStockholm.&hl=sv&gl=se&ct=clnk&cd=2 [accessed, 2006.08.11]
http://www.umu.se/kultmed/utbildning/artiklar/museologins_mening.pdf#search=%22Anna
%20Gregorov%C3%A1%201980%2C%20Museological%20Working%20Paper%2BStockholm.
%20%22 [accessed, 2006.07.13]
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-[56] Nathan Shedroff 2006, seminar on interactivity design, Humlab, Umeå University, Sweden
http://www.nathan.com/resources/ [accessed, 2006.06.27]
-[57] La lutte contre les grandes endemies des populations equatoriales; L´exemple du pian chez les
Pygmées du nord-Congo 2000; Université Paris-VII-Denis Diderot. http://fig-stdie.education.fr/actes/actes_2000/salomone/article.htm [accessed, 2006.03.07]
-[58] Ulrika Vallgårda 2005, Samiska gör till styrande språk (Stringberg på Samiska), Artikle,
SvD-27 December 2005, Sweden.
-[59] Lennart Lundmark 2006, Ursprungsfolkens marker, Essä, DN-3 maj 2006, Sweden.
-[60] Lisbeth Lindeborg 2006, Öppet mot himlen och Moder Jord, Artikle, SvD-2 maj 2006,
Sweden.
-[61] Lina Kalmteg 2006, Hennes Bok jojkar gl mda Samer, Artikle, SvD-26 Augusti 2006,
Sweden.
7.3
Internet
-[62] CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) 1998, The International Decade of
the World's Indigenous People, Indian and Nothern Affairs Canada, Canada.
http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/pr/info/info123_e.html [accessed, 2006.02.18]
-[63] CIDA 2006, Indigenous Peoples Partnership Program, Canadian International
Development Agency, Quebec, Canada. http://www.acdicida.gc.ca/cidaweb/acdicida.nsf/En/JUD-327123948-NQF [accessed, 2006.05.05]
-[64] UNESCO 2003, International Forum on Local Cultural Expression and Communication,
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 2003.11.03 http://portal.unesco.org/ci/en/ev.phpURL_ID=13369&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html [accessed, 2006.02.18]
-[65] Traditional Knowledge Recording Project 2006, site developed by ilk, powered by
Joomla and supported by Balkanu, Australia.
http://www.tkrp.com.au/tkrp/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1 [accessed,
2006.10.03]
-[66] http://www.humlab.umu.se/ [accessed, 2006.10.02]
-[67] http://www.cesam.se. [accessed, 2006.10.02]
-[68] http://www.afriqueprofonde.org. [accessed, 2006.10.02]
-[69] http://www.fundomundo.org [accessed, 2006.10.02]
-[70] Survival France, http://www.survivalfrance.org [accessed, 2006.02.03]
-[71] The Swedish Sàmi museum at: http://www.ajtte.com/, [accessed, 2006.0613]
-[72] Jokkmokks marknad at: www.jokkmokksmarknad.se, [accessed, 2006.06.13]
-[73] Finnish Sàmi museum at:http://www.Sámimuseum.fi/english/en_menu.html, [accessed,
2006.04.07]
-[74] The northern Lapland Nature Centre at:
http://www.samimuseum.fi/english/siida/en_luontokeskus.html, [accessed, 2006.06.08.]
-[75] The HUMlab Blog on the 2004 Sàmi international winter market 2004.
http://blog.humlab.umu.se/jokkmokk2004/ [accessed, 2006.10.11]
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6.4 Interviews and material description
Medium
reference
Heading
Dv-Band Nr. 1
Interview
Dv-Band Nr. 2
Dv-Band Nr. 3
Dv-Band Nr. 4
Dv-Band Nr. 5
Dv-Band Nr. 6
Dv-Band Nr. 7
Dv-Band Nr. 8
Dv-Band Nr. 9
2006-11-23
Year
Personage/Title
Ole Henrik Magga, former Chairman of
the UN-Forum for Indigenous Peoples.
Peter Sköld, Historian Professor and
Interview
2006 Executive Director of the Centre for Sàmi
Research, Umeå University.
Lars Pirak, Emeritus Professor, The
febInterview
University of Umeå, Mediator of the
06
Sàmi culture, visual Artist, Jokkmokk.
feb- Henrik Michael, Supervisor at the Sàmi
Interview
06
School
Lars Pirak, Emeritus Professor, The
febInterview (2)
University of Umeå, Mediator of the
06
Sàmi culture, visual Artist.
Ingrid Inga, Member of the Sàmi
febInterview
Parliement, in charge of Sàmi questions,
06
The Commune of Jokkmokk.
feb- Bo Anders Arvidsson, Swedish Citizen,
Interview
06
interested by the Sàmi Culture.
Interview,
feb- Lars Pirak, at the Sàmi Museum (Àjttè),
meeting
06
Jokkmokk
Sàmi
student’s
feb- Performance and interviews of some
performance,
06
students, just after their performance
The Sàmi
school.
Anneli Nilsson, Sàmi journalist, Desk
aprInterview
Officer, the Centre for Sàmi Research,
06
Umeå University.
Lars Anté Kuhmunen, Sàmi perfomance
Interview,
feb- Artist as a Jojk Narrator. Meeting with
Meeting
06
other Sàmi musicians: Daniel Ek, Lennart
Ek, Tor-Henrik Duljo.
Guiden Tour
feb- Lars Pirak, Johan Maräk and Lars Gulton
Àjttè
06
Blind, Sàmi jojk singers and narrators.
Museum.
Special event at the Sàmi international
Performance,
winter market, presented by: Lars Anté
The
Kuhmunen, Sofia Jannok, Marius Billy,
Jokkmokk
feband other musicians performing on the
Folkethus
06
same stage, for experimentation dialogue
(theTown
of the Sàmi jojk and the Pygmy yèyi,
hall).
interpreted by Marius Billy.
2006
Duration
63mn
31mn
63mn
42mn
21mn
37mn
26mn
18mn
45mn
33mn
35mn
28mn
63mn
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Dv- Band Nr.
10
Dv-Band Nr.
11
Dv-Band Nr.
12
Dv-Band Nr.
13, 14
Marius Billy 660404-9079
A speech at
the Sàmi
week
Interview
and guided
tour of the
Sàmi Duodji,
Àjttè
museum of
Jokkmokk
Extracts of
video
material on
the Pygmy
culture and
music. By
Marius Billy,
Afrique
Profonde.
Extracts of
video
material on
the Pygmy
music of
Yèyi and
Iboyi, by
Marius Billy
Dv-Band Nr.
15
Meeting the
Sàmi
diaspora.
Dv-Band Nr.
16
Film design,
an
illustration.
Dv-Band Nr.
17
Video Press
Book on the
project.
Hard Disc
Regering
material
The Sàmi week 2006, organized by the
Centre for Sàmi Research, Umeå
mar- University. It has involved key persons
06
from Sàmi organisations, institutions
including Parliement from Sweden,
Norway, Finland and Russia.
feb06
63mn
Finna-Margith Påve, Reindeer,
Craftswomen and Pedagogue in charge
of the Sàmi students guided tour at the
48mn
Àjttè Museum of Jokkmokk; she is expert
on the Duodji (Handicraft in the Sàmi
culture).
Pygmy narrators and percussionists
selected by Marius Billy, here
demonstrating numbers of traditional
1997- instruments, during their first music tour
63mn
2001 around the main cities of the Republic of
Congo-Brazzaville. Organisation: Afrique
Profonde and the French Cultural Centre,
Congo, April 1998.
Material includes music workshop with
1998
Marius Billy and Pygmy narrators and
and
63mn
percussionists. From Sala-mbama Village
2000
to Ouesso...
From my way to the Jokkmokk
international winter market up to the
feb63mn
meeting with Sàmi key persons: Lars06
Pirak, Johan Maräk and Lars Gulton
Blind.
The film project design, as an illustration.
maj- Extracts of the sample has been the
30mn
06
subject of a promotion on number of TVchannels, in Sweden.
The band contains some of my response
2006 to number of TV-channels in Sweden,
42mn
during the year activity 2006.
Contains more than twenty hours video
1997about Pygmy activity from Afrique
2001
Profonde. By Marius Billy.
Note: All video material listed in this table document is available on audio version, including
those from the Afrique Profonde reportage project.
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Appendix
The Multi-media Cross-Cultural Dialogue, a project description
Phase I: The Connection of the Sàmi Peoples from Sweden with the Pygmy Peoples from the
Republic of Congo-Brazzaville
A Project Proposal and Invitation for Partnership
By Marius Billy, the University of Umeå
Kultur och Medier/Museologi.
I. Introduction— Why is this project important?
II. Project Mission
III. The Connecting Point: Music
IV. Project Methodology
V. Technology Considerations
VI. Partners
I. Introduction
Indigenous societies around the world face extinction within our generation. Although
genocide is an ugly word, we are witnessing within our generation the last episode of
modern Indigenous genocide that started over 500 years ago with the global domination and
colonization of European empires. Daunting external pressures, mostly due to globalization,
are ending traditional ways of life in nature-based societies that are not adequately prepared
to engage in modern economic and political systems.
The Sàmi of northern Sweden are a working example of how Indigenous communities have
successfully adapted to the current world dynamics and political structure, while
maintaining a sense of cultural identity, self-determination and sustainable existence. In line
with Article 2 of the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity62 , the aim of this
initial project is to facilitate a collaborative dialogue and exchange of lessons learned, via
modern communication technology, between the Sàmi of Sweden and another struggling
Indigenous people, the Pygmies of Congo-Brazzaville.
II. Project Mission
The long-term goal of the Cross-Cultural Dialogue Project is:
8. To bolster the solidarity of Indigenous people on a grassroots and personal level in
pursuit of supporting their self-determination and subsistence
62
In Article 2 of the Universal declaration on cultural diversity, UNESCO notes the importance of states in
adopting inclusive ways of encouraging cultural diversity though policies of cultural pluralism. The TOR
(mentioned by Peter Poole for his report for UNESCO on Cultural Mapping and Indigenous peoples, March
2003), draws attention to articles 2 and 3 of the same universal declaration on cultural diversity mentioned an
action plan on its Item3 as in following:
Art. 3 Cultural diversity as a factor in development cultural diversity widens the range of options open to
everyone; it is one of the roots of development, understood not simply in terms of economic growth, but also as a
means to achieve a more satisfactory intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual existence.
Action plan Item 3 Fostering the exchange of knowledge and best practices in regard to cultural pluralism
with a view to facilitating, in diversified societies, the inclusion and participation of persons and groups from
varied cultural backgrounds.
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9. To help Indigenous groups recognize commonalities and learn from each other in
order to survive the political, economic and cultural shifts caused by globalization.
10. To help make up for the fading traditions historically passed on by word of mouth
from generation to generation
11. To educate the modern world, using video and the internet, about the issues facing
Indigenous populations and to harness international support for their survival.
12. To teach modern societies about the rich cultures and the ancient practices of naturebased societies, which have enabled them to maintain sustainable relationships with
their natural environment for millennia?
13. To establish a meeting space for the cultural activity of Pygmy People in central
Africa in order to favour cultural exchanges, including an Artist-in-residency
program at Afrique Profonde. This will all at the same time inspirated on museum
challenges and their new bases of design.
14. To increase and found a special credit for cultural exchanges between Pygmy
artists and those of the international artistic scene, in order to develop an
interactive project within the activity of Afrique Profonde and their artist-inresidency program, while widening the activity within all the Pygmy space in
central Africa.
We believe this project will play an important and practical role in strengthening the efforts
of governmental, non-governmental and international organizations such as UNESCO, the
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), UN Office of the High Commissioner
for Human Rights (OHCHR), Cultural Survival, and a host of other organizations that are
already taking steps to ensure the basic human rights, as well as cultural identities of
Indigenous peoples, are protected from unnecessary extinction.
We believe that Indigenous people, who have lived their lives in a traditional way, cannot
completely leave their natural environment. The smells of leaves, calls of birds, and sounds
of the natural environment are familiar to them from birth. Their livelihoods, cultures, gods,
and souls are intertwined with the lands they inhabit. We hope that the oldest ways of
human will not disappear in our lifetime, and that through this project, Indigenous groups
will have a say in determining their respective futures.
III. The Connecting Point: Music
Some of the themes we anticipate will arise from introducing the Sàmi and Pygmy to each
other include cultural aspects such as native dress, oral traditions, and music— they both
have a unique yodelling style that is an important part of their relationship to their
communities and their natural environments. The Sàmi yodelling is called Jojk; the Pygmy
style of yodelling is called Yèyi.
Because of the language barrier, we’re expecting that the commonalities in their musical
expression will be a strong connecting point, and serve as an avenue for communication and
understanding during this experimental dialogue. We anticipate the unique music
documented through this project will also be a natural connecting point for the international
public, as this footage is published to the rest of the world audience.
It is widely accepted that music plays an integral part in the lives of all human beings; it
offers us entertainment and helps us to mark our rites of passage; it documents our history
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and allow us to identify ourselves, describing our characteristics as individuals, communities
and nations, as noted by historian Jacques Attali in his search to comprehend the power
systems and history of occidental societies through their music:
“Le monde ne se lit pas, il s´écoute. La musique mime l´ordre social. Platon
disait à peu près: si vous touchez à la musique, vous touchez à l´Etat. Jacques
Attali reprend le propos grec. Il ne donne pas une autre théorie ou une
nouvelle histoire de la musique, il écrit une théorie, une histoire dont la
musique est le code ou la langue. Cela est très nouveau, d´écrire avec la
musique ce qu´on écrivait, jadis ou naguère, au moyen d´autres langues...”—
Jacques Attali63
However, most Indigenous musicians do not seek to combine sounds simply in a manner
pleasing the ear. Their aim is simply to express life in all of its aspects through the medium
of sound. They not only attempt to imitate nature by means of musical instruments, they
reverse the procedure by taking natural sounds and incorporating them into music. An
uninitiated ear may interpret this as a cacophony, but through experience with bringing
Indigenous roots music to modern ears by using modern instruments, such as a double bass
or guitars, modern audiences find an unexpected and fascinating new dimension. Afrique
Profonde has already demonstrated this with audiences in Congo and lately in Sweden
(February-March, 2006) at the Sàmi international winter market (Jokkmokks marknad).
Indigenous thought builds a poetic bridge between yodeling and communicating with
nature. It is reasonable to assume from my own experience, in respective yodeling sessions,
which are like “psalms without words”, both Pygmy and Sàmi attest that Yèyi and Jojk might
have the same foundation in sacred beliefs involving the release of a type of presence that
exists in the natural world. Yèyi is a communication of praises to gods of the forest, while
Jojk is praises to the god of the wind.
While the wind god is believed, by the Sàmi, to govern the movements of reindeer, the
Pygmy is believed to communicate their thankfulness to the forest for their existence. The
forest teaches generosity and shares the abundance of its flora, the richness of its fauna. To
give thanks, the hunter/gatherers light altars of fire. Or they leave food sacrifice in the crook
of a tree, or a leaf placed upon the forest floor. Foragers also aim powerful polyphonic
singing— involving several singers simultaneously yodeling— in the direction of the forest.
It’s a sacrifice in the form of music aimed to please the spiritual sources of forest for
sustenance.
Although the project will reveal other similarities beyond music, as well as important
differences that will serve as opportunities for learning from one another, music will be the
theme by which we highlight common ground for cross-cultural dialogue. We hope that the
fascinating music exchanged will naturally serve as an ambassador to an international
audience as we launch this long-overdue initiative of honoring the cultures and facilitating
the survival of Indigenous peoples around the world.
IV. Project Methodology
63
Attali Jacques 1985, The Political Economy of Music, Manchester University press, Manchester, UK.
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The project will involve roughly six phases. First, we will complete an in-depth survey of the
Sámi to understand their culture and how they have adapted to coexist with the modern
Swedish society. Next we will introduce the Sàmi to Pygmies, using video, and document
their responses on video to an interview about what they observed. We will repeat the
process with the group of Pygmies, by showing them video of the Sàmi and recording their
responses. Finally, we will connect the two groups, live via internet and satellite, to engage
in a dialogue, and have teams document the responses of both groups as they interact over
the video connection.
The resulting footage will be published in a documentary film to be released internationally
in several languages— the first edition of which will be in Swedish, Sàmi, English, French,
Lingala, Spanish and Portuguese— with the aim of eventually distributing the documentary
as an inspirational model for Indigenous groups around the world. Video and accompanying
collateral from the study— such as surveys, photographs, writing, and interviews— will be
published on an interactive website and blog with an accompanying multi-media archival
database. The project will also initially be featured in museum exhibits in Sweden, Congo,
and the US and eventually around the world.
Museums— the physical connecting point across cultural boundaries and between the past
and present— will be used as an official arena for preserving the knowledge of Indigenous,
nature-based societies such as the Sámi and Pygmy.
The Website, Archive and Interactive Blog
As a multi-media website featuring interactive blog technology on the front-end and an
archival database on the back end, this space will be oriented towards updating the
evolution of the project with available material, including surveys as well as earlier
photographs, monographs, audio clips and videos from Afrique Profonde’s previous efforts.
Image, audio sound, video, text, releases archives will be operated with a streaming server.
The medium should blend together a beautiful mixture of color, music and words, while also
linking the interactive blog to an online web archive.
V. Technology Considerations
One of the long-term goals of this project is to leverage existing technology to facilitate an
ongoing dialogue among disparate Indigenous groups. This initial project with the Sàmi and
Yèyi will uncover some of the practical, as well as cultural issues that will need to be
addressed in order to use video, satellite television, and the internet as viable mediums for
meaningful dialogue and education. While obviously useful for the “wired” world to engage
in these projects, the utility for illiterate and nature-based Indigenous groups is not so
obvious, and in the beginning will require facilitation from experts. Having already done
video research with the Pygmies for Afrique Profonde, we have introduced them to the
medium, and have experience in using video as a tool for cross-cultural education.
The vision is to develop a system that will be sustainable for Indigenous groups to not only
communicate and collaborate with each other worldwide, but also to empower them to
direct the self-preservation of their ancient knowledge, cultural identity, and oral traditions.
Human rights organizations such as Witness.org, which distributes video equipment and
trains human rights activists around the world in how to document their own lives and
causes, have demonstrated the power of this approach. In combination with the participant-
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observer methodology used by anthropologists and ethnographers, the eventual
documentation of Indigenous culture “through their own eyes” will be an important part of
understanding their point of view without being filtered through the lens of an outsider.
Although addressing museology study and all of the technological challenges in this strategy
are beyond the scope of this primary project, it will serve as an initial investigation, and a
step towards answering the question of the best technological method for connecting
disparate and diverse Indigenous groups and the process of self-archiving their stories as
part of the cultural survival process.
VI. Project Partners
HUMlab is a humanities IT environment at Umeå University. The basic idea behind it is to
stimulate innovative cooperation in a dynamic interdisciplinary setting. Here the humanities
and culture on the one hand and modern information and media technology on the other
interface and collaborate, both in real terms and virtually. HUMlab attracts students,
lecturers, researchers, artists, engineers, media people and others. The aim is to bring
together a diverse range of individuals and groups in a creative, stimulating and innovative
milieu and - via new methods, new technology and interdisciplinary projects - do things that
have never been done before.
In this project, the Humlab space represents both, a source of knowledge and a
workshop/studio for the implementation of certain numbers of relevant technologies faced in
various steps of our model’s experimentation. More information about Humlab can be
reached at http://www.humlab.umu.se/
Cesam is the Centre for Sámi research at Umeå University. Original “Vaartoe” from Sàmi
language is the meaning word mountain with a view of the country for miles. But the word
also symbolizes the way we want to work. The Sàmi research field can become both broader
and more developed if we look beyond the borders and work with both an interdisciplinary
and international perspective.
One of Vaartoes main assignments is to strengthen the research related to Indigenous
peoples in the north. Another important purpose is to become a meeting place for
postgraduate students and researchers from different disciplines with an interest in
Indigenous problems. More about Cesam at http://www.cesam.se.
Afrique Profonde is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping Africans preserve
traditional cultures and gain a stronger sense of identity. The mission is to encourage crosscultural dialog, understanding and education through artistic exchange with individuals and
groups within Africa and beyond. In essence, Afrique Profonde supports human rights and
educational initiatives while celebrating diverse peoples through the arts.
The organization was conceived just after I’d been involved with the Pygmies from the
Republic of Congo-Brazzaville. A Pygmy elder named Mbu asked me to save the dying
Pygmy culture, just before he passed on. The culture is threatened because younger Pygmies
are not learning the skills and traditions of their parents’culture due to many external
pressures such as deforestation and destruction of their hunting grounds. Pygmies end up
working in farms owned by Bantu people, and often end up enslaved to the landowners.
Because of the difficulty in reaching the Pygmies where they live, there is a lack of global
awareness of their difficult situation. Currently, little effort is being made to preserve their
culture, let alone their human rights, and there is no framework for their integration into
African societies. Afrique Profonde is recognized with a special partnership agreement by
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Congolese Ministry for Culture and Arts. More about Afrique Profonde at
http://www.afriqueprofonde.org.
Fundo Mundo is a nonprofit organization in the United States dedicated to supporting social
enterprises around the world that aim to develop sustainable business systems and selfsufficiency. Fundo Mundo was an initial partner of Afrique Profonde during its initial artist
residency project in 2001. Website coming soon at http://www.fundomundo.org.
Funding
Technological Equipment: Fundraising will be needed to secure technology equipment such as
computers, satellite phones, video cameras, connectivity for internet, and website
development. Some of the tools we intend to use include Skype, Dialogue archives or archived
material accessible from interaction space(blog), Satellite resolutions such as Smart Labrador,
Video conferencing, Aggregator mode/Direct to user model, and satellite phones and solar
batteries for internet connection in the remote areas of Congo.
Transportation: For travel to Northern Sweden, as well as to Congo, money will be needed
to transport the crews and equipment for completion of the project.
We will pursue funding from public and private sectors at both national and international
levels. Relevant institutions such as museums involved with Indigenous heritage
preservation, political bodies engaged with Indigenous issues and land use, NGOs involved
with human rights and international development, and other potential resources are
appropriate sources of funding for this ambitious project.
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About the Pygmy Peoples
8.2.1
Pygmy History
The Pygmies are classified as part of the Paleo African group (derived from the Greek word
palaios that means ancient). They are one of the most ancient groups in Africa. The Pygmy
people constitute with the Khoïsans (Hottentots and Bushmen64 ), the most ancient groups in
Africa. Let me note that the Pygmy concept comes from the Greek word pugmaios which
translates to dwarf. This word was used to name the dwarf people who the ancients believed
to have lived near the Nile sources. In Egypt the pygmy was called akka and that name is
even registered on a pyramid, which has a representation effigy of a kneeling dwarf. These
people whom one refers here, are those of the Pygmies who would have certainly emigrated
from the area of the countries qualified of “the edge of the world”, corresponding to the region
of the great lakes, in the hearth of the African continent.
From the antiquity, Homer and Herodotus described fabulous dwarfs of a very small height.
Aristotle in his history of animals placed them towards the Nile springs. Pline and Strabon also
spoke of them. At Pompeii, Pygmies were represented on mosaics by artists. For his account,
L. Homburger point out that the Pygm y people have been known in Egypt for millenniums.
Pepi II Neferkare, last king of the 6th dynasty (c. 2325–c. 2150 BC), had Pygmy present in his
court. He rejoiced when a general sent for the account of the Nubian expedition to the “pays
du bois” (from a French country of the trees), came back from his mission with a dwarf, well
recognized as the Dancer of god. Pygmies were as well as depicted on Egyptian pottery some
4,000 years ago. Once, skeleton of a dwarf has been found in a tomb of the first dynasty65.
Many authors such as Cornevin66 have confirmed that the Pygmy is the first inhabitant of the
African forests in the south of Sahara from the Atlantic to the Great Lakes. W. Schmidt,
quoted by Demesse who used ethnographical arguments presents the Pygmies as an ancient
people in Africa whom he considers as a non evolved primitive race of people67; while,
having traveled to the North and the South of Africa, Albert, I. B. Kake says that the Pygmies
were always pushed to the west into the forest 68. It is clear to note the confirmation in which,
Pygmies has occupied the Central African region long before the Bantu. Cloarec Heiss situates
them in Central Africa in different counties with their respective names as follows: in the
Central African Republic (CAR) they are known as Aka; in Gabon and the Republic of Congo
as the Babenga, the Babongo Babi and the Batswa; in Cameroon as Baka and as the Bakola; in
Equatorial Guinea as the Benguiel; in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as the
Bambuti; in Burundi and Rwanda as the Batswa69 .
64
any member of a people of southern Africa whom the first European explorers found in areas of the hinterland
and who now live either in European settlements or on official reserves in South Africa.
65
Homburger L.: Les langues Africaines et les peuples qui les parlent, Payot, Paris 1941.
66
Cornevin R et M, Histoire de l´Afrique, Payot, Paris, 1964, carte p30 et 61.
67
Demesse Lucien: la recherche des premiers ges, les Babingas, Pierre Amiot, Paris 1957, p.18
68
Maquet Emile, I.B. Kake, J. Suret: Histoire de l·Afrique Centrale, PrØsence africaine, Paris 1971.
69
Cloarec Heiss: L Aka langue bantoue des PygmØes de Mongouba, Selaf, Paris 1978.
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The definition of the concept “Pygmy” is still problematic. However search from a retrieved
version of its academic online, 2006, the Britannica Encyclopedia, referring to the
Anthropological definition of the term Pygmy, point out the later as a member of any human
group whose adult males grow to less than 59 inches (150 cm) in average height. A member
of a slightly taller group is termed pygmoid. The best-known Pygmy groups and those to
whom the term is most commonly applied are the Pygmies of tropical Africa; elsewhere in
Africa some of the San (Bushmen) of the Kalahari are of Pygmy size. There are also Pygmy
groups, commonly known as Negritos, in Asia. Their relationship to the African groups is
unknown. Virtually all Pygmy peoples are hunters and gatherers, practicing neither
agriculture nor cattle rising. Most maintain close symbiotic relations with other groups in
their region; consequently most have lost their indigenous languages and adopted that of
their neighbours. They adopt the forest as homeland, while coming into contact with other
outsiders from their respective forests. The First contact with Bantu people might have taken
place around the Ituri rainforest in the DRC. Because of their small stature, the Pygmies were
not exploited for labor during colonization. The colonial forces needed labourers who were
big and strong. However, the colonials were only interested in the Pygmies because of
curiosity and as informants to tell them where escaped Bantu were hiding. The use of
Pygmies as informants was certainly one of the geneses of dislike and distrust that exists to
this day between the Bantu and the Pygmies. Other reasons, related to the exclusion of the
Pygmy from the trade of slaves remain among other, the inhospitable and inextricable zones
of equatorial forest where they live. Acclimatized to the forest, the Pygmies were silent,
almost invisible and were able to avoid being captured.
Consequences of the Sahara expansion, since 2500 B.C, has been the origin cause that has
lead the black Saharan migration, pushing the Pygmies more southward from the Equatorial
forest to the Congolese basin. These latter brought with them the late Stone Age
civilization70 .
At the beginning of our era, the extension of the Sahara brought the Bantu to conquer new
territories71. These migrations have caused many deep changes in Central and Austral Africa.
From the Benoué region (in the south of present day Nigeria and the Cameroon), the great
majority of these peoples went towards the East through savannas up to the interlock
plateau, while the western trend walked southward all along the Atlantic coast. Other
groups went through the forest on the riversides of the Congo and the Oubangui. These
population cultivated yams and palm oil tree, according to the Neolithic techniques. They
had then been supposed to have discovered that the fields they tilled by deforesting and
putting fire into the forest were helpful to their crops and that, the humidity of the soil
favored good crop harvestings than in their own territories. These farmers and breeders had
with them the metallurgy and pottery knowledge they introduced into the forest area. This
J.E.C. Sutton, Histoire générale de l´Afrique, Jeune Afrique/Stock/UNESCO, tome I, 1980 p500.
For Africa, in the south of the Sahara, the classification used for the various times of prehistory is: Early Stone
Age(-3millions with -100 000ans), Middle Stone Age(-100 000 to -15 000) and Late Stone Age(-15 000 at the
age of iron: -2000 to +200 or 500ans according to areas' for memory, the Age of iron goes up to -1000 in Grêce
and -500 in Western Europe.
71
The 1000 to 1500 African languages were classified by Grennberg, in the General History of Africa (p321338), in four families: Nigéro-Kordofanienne (which belong to the Bantoues languages), Nilo-Saharan, AfroAsian and Khoisan.
70
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gave birth to what Maquet72 calls the civilization from the clearings.
The meeting with the Pygmy people as result the included confrontations and clashes. But
both societies had to live together, in the same ecological surroundings. However, their
relationships were economical and technical exchanges, whereas they kept their differences
in the social organization, the family alliances and religion.
Since the sixth century, the Bantu people had completely emerged into the Pygmies’world.
The Pygmy society had to develop into that locked universe, deeply in the forest. The first
European who met the piccaninny was the traveler Battel, in the 17th century; and then, later
in the 19th century, German Hatmann, had the first photograph of the Pygmy from the Loango
areas (The republic of Congo). In 1868, another German explorer, Schweinfurth, came into
contact with the Akka from the Luélé and set a relationship between them and the Pygmy
from Illaide. Savorgnan de Brazza and Stanley also had some occasions to meet Pygmies. We
owe the very first ethnological works on the Pygmies from Quartrefages and Hamy. In 1929,
Father Schebesta has studied the Mbuti Pygmies from Democratic Republic of Congo. Since,
American Collin Turnbull, completed the investigation, with an anthropological and cultural
study on the same group in 1954. French scholars Vallois, Althabe, Hartweg, Ballif, and Rouget
have studied Pygmies under many forms: anthropological, physical, ethnological, and
musicological. During the same period French authorities from AEF73 sent an expedition to
inspect on the relationship between the Pygmies their Bantu neighbours, in the north of the
Republic of Congo. From the study, historical data has proved that the first inhabitants in the
region must have been Pygmies. A fact that has goes up at the first millennium, before our
era has demonstrated that the Bantu-speaking population from the north entered the region
with iron metallurgy and agriculture knowledge. The Téké kingdom in the center of the
Republic of Congo and many other Kongo kingdoms on shores and in the Mayombe forest and
mountains were also inhabited by pygmies. Yet the isolated forest marginalizes and certainly
protects its inhabitants. The forest thus is considered as the mother feeder and the father
protector for the Pygmies. It is the centre of their religious practices. Nowadays some groups
of Pygmies share villages with farmers. In these purpose, Demesse and Bahuchet are devoting
their searches to the Akka groups from the northern part of the Republic of Congo and those
from the Republic of Central Africa.
before making an attempt description of the Pygmy community, let us pay an homage to
these dwarfs from the spirits homeland as said Pepy II, in this terms: “Hail to the dancer of
God, to the one who rejoice the heart and raises the sigh of King Neferkara, may he live
eternally.”
8.2.2
Pygmy Ethnicity
Ethnicity is the feeling of adherence to a community and distinguishes differences from other
peoples. The psycho - emotional process of projecting identification play a key role in the
maintenance of the social identity. This represents the determination relationship of peoples
Maquet J, “Les civilisations de l´arc et des clairières”, dans Les civilisations noires, Marabout, Paris, 1981.
This author classifies the savings in substance according to the mode of material production. Currently certain
authors whose P. Bonte, Mr. Izard, prefer speech of cultural regional poles and to stress the artistic top-places
and their radiation. They describe black Africa thus as the statuary whichis primarily forest Africa, whose
richest poles are the surface of Benin (5th front century. J.C. in XVIème of our era), the kingdom of Kongo,
Hangs, Tshokwe, Kuba, Luba (Xème in XVIème century).
72
73
Afrique Equatoriale Francaise.
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from the same ancestor or the same collective fraternity, that Edgar Morin qualifies by the
social identity of “psychic - socio - centrifuge crystallisation74. To distinguish themselves
from Bantu, the Pygmies use the terms of Ba benga (hunter) or of Piguimé that they are
besides unaware of the significance. The Pygmies are also characterized by traits of
independence and humour.
8.2.3
Pygmy Languages
The Pygmy language is comprised of the Bantu, Oubanguian, and Sudanese languages.
However, the Pygmy groups don't speak the same languages today with their Bantu
neighbours. Because of the Diaspora of the lineage, that the Pygmy languages cover
considerable areas.
8.2.4
Pygmy Religion
The Pygmy religion belongs to the animist religion group. The Zèngi ancestor is the mediator
between God and man. The Pygmies practice the cult of the ancestors and the classic rituals
of the animism. The most important ritual, the big ritual of fertility, is practiced annually,
during the gathering of the camps. During this ritual, Zèngi appears under the shape of a
mask. The only specific rituals of the Pygmy religion are those related to complete the
initiation such as the ritual of access to the marriage which is led by the mother and, the
ritual of consecration of the marriage which is led by the wife. The worship power between
the elders, master of hunting and the gods, constitute a characteristic of this religion also.
The Pygmy cosmogony for the Akkas reveals that in the beginning of time, God has created
the world, the sky and then the Earth on which, he puts the forest with all the animals. He
created then the first couple, Tollé and his sister Ngolobanzo, and then the younger brother,
Tonzanga. These primordial twins generated the human beings.
Baka neighbours’cosmogony is however more complex but, constructed on the same model:
Komba, the creative God created all things, all beings and the primordial twin couple. At the
same time, God's eldest sister gave birth to three children. Waïto, the civilizing hero, married
the two sisters and also gave birth to the primordial twin couple. Waïto is at the same time
husband, brother and son of his own mother. All characters form a hermaphrodite entity that
gave birth to the Pygmies and to the Bantu. Waïto also stole fire at Komba's, to give it to the
humanity. He also stole him all goods (games, women, sexuality...). To take vengeance,
Komba sent death. Komba remains in the sky, but he sends his Jèngi spirit brings knowledge
to the men of the world by the initiation. Jèngi protects the men, presides at their life, their
death and to their rebirth as spirit in the forest.
8.2.5
Traditional ways of Life in the Pygmies Area.
The Pygmies are hunters and semi - nomads of the equatorial forest, living in camps of about
thirty people. The forest and their technical capacities subject Pygmy groups to the
constraints of scattering, cooperation and fluidity between individuals and group of people
in their search of food. The interdiction for the hunter to consume the game that he killed is a
factor of solidarity in the camp. Several strips share rights of use on a same territory and,
during the yearly gatherings, establish matrimonial alliances. The exchange of meat against
metallurgy and the pottery constitute the basis of the relation with the Bantu world. The
family is of preliminary type. The exogamy is about the masculine and feminine lineage. The
Akka lineages are dispersed on the whole north of the Republic of Congo. The eldest 74
Morin E., Sociologie, Fayard, 1974, p.136.
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younger system is the basis of the authority in the family. However, the marriage requires
the mutual consent. The young Pygmy is obliged, to get his wife, on the one hand, to prove
his capacities to hunt and, on the other hand, to do a marriage service at his in-laws.
The authority in the society is dispersed between the elders of the camp, the gathering of the
camps and the lineage, and specialists, master of hunting and divines. The decisions must,
otherwise, respect the will of the group. The research of the consensus predominates on the
constraint. It is necessary to note that the Pygmy customs are compatible with the intangible
rights of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Gregariousness is necessary in the Pygmy community, because of the low level of the
productive forces that cannot allow them to confront nature individually. In this respect
Jacques Maquet explains that once, Cephu, a hunter from Iturie forest who used to build his
hut away from the others and was not participating fully in the community’s life, came late
to a hunting party just after the nets were set. They caught a little antelope. And he had no
right to a share of it. He complained later to capture no more game because women
deliberately were disorienting the game far from his nets75. Thus, this people still use the
primitive community ways of production. In most of the cases it proves that there is no
private property. Co-existence of several families is still a common practice in the society.
The practice of communal sharing is also observed with clothes and other purposes. The
same pants wore by Matouo are used by Kiemi and Ngouyi. When a member of community
buys a bike or a radio set, it becomes a common property76 . Today, due to the Bantu
influence, these ways are vanishing.
8.2.6
Crafts and Craftsmanship
In the Pygmy community, art is of capital importance. It is often expressed in the form of
body decorations. Scarification zigzagging on the shoulder, cut of teeth in a shape points or
the tasks of brunette, red or black colour, printed in various manners, reflect this man of the
prehistory. The faces and the skins, which represent true tables of painting, decorated with
an infinite precision, marks the work of talented artists formulated through complex
geometrical models, sometimes. Since 3500 BC the Pygmies have been famed for their rich
and extraordinary art forms of music and dancing. The Pygmy artists do not however benefit
from their rights of promotion, like are well others. Backcloth drawings and paintings made
by the Mbuti women for example, were practically unknown everywhere else. This art,
originally made as loincloths for dance ceremonies, is an abstract composition and a
sophisticated one. Artistic qualities are observed here, incarnating the improvisation and the
syncopation of the artist that are associated with African visual and musical sensitivity. The
expression and the single reflexion of these Mbuti women are made possible today with all
its illustrations, thanks to the work of Georges Meurant and Robert Farris Thompson77.
In the same way, music in particular and dance makes as well the reputation of artists of the
Pygmy communities78. Every ceremony is marked by ample polyphonies where each gives
free course to its improvisations79. For his account concerning the same subject, Molins says:
Maquet Jacques; Les civilisations noires; Gérard et Co; Vervier, p.78-79.
Interview 1997, Salambama village, the Republic of Congo.
77
Georges Meurant and Robert Farris Thompson 1995, Mbuti Design, Edition Hansjörg Mayer and
photographers, Germany, p.180.
78
The first research of ethnomusicology among Pygmies was carried out by Gilbert Rouget during the OgoouØ
Congo Mission in 1946. Mullet writes "This kind of tyrolienne... is the fundamental feature of the music of
Babingas". In 1956, in the note of another edition, it will specify: This manner of singing, comparable to the
jodel is characteristic of the vocal technique of the African populations of small size, Pygmies of the equatorial
75
76
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“...The women left the huts to crouch down with their children in the middle of the glade. Myung, one
of the three unmarried girls, begins a song; the group comes closer in the same impetus. The rhythm
imposes itself. Amy makes resound her drum, the popo-ubu80 . The dance prevails over the song. There
is a circle. Four boys and as many girls cope themselves and sketch some steps there. Pemba detaches
himself and mimes a sneaky face in the middle of the circle, facing Myung. He has made his choice. To
the following tour, the beautiful Wallire invites Koko. The bodies never touch themselves. The songs
are different. There seems to be sonority, more primitive, nearly guttural. The men formed a choir in
unison to imitate the animals.
Now, they simulate their favourite preys, the antelope bongo, the hare, the chimp, in turns, the
animals that they hunted and those that they would have liked to kill... the elephant, the gorilla... A
complex polyphony is developed through the collective songs. The soloist, Kaïse, and the choirs of the
men to the low voices resound in the jungle. The sharper tones of the women go and come like the
waves and the surf. Men and women follow each other, converse, and superimpose themselves.
Musical rounds where the voices enter by turns fit in cannon. They imitate themselves and vie to
finish in improvisation without losing the rhythm ever. Warbling sentence continuation where words
are made only with senseless vowels and syllables. This is perhaps the real language of the Pygmies,
the Ki-mbuti that no Bantu can understand81 . But for the éfés, these onomatopoeias without structures
have a sense. Each invents its own words82 ...”
8.2.7
Current issues regarding Pygmy people
Today, the 200 000 Pygmies that currently live in the forest of central Africa are descended
from an indigenous people that lived in the same region in ancient times. The relationships
of these hunter-gatherers with their neighbors allowed them to obtain agricultural products,
metal tools, alcohol and tobacco83. The forest represents the incarnation of the Pygmy
ancestor. Pygmy thus owes the address of its praises at the benefits of the forest, because that
later is not only the uterus of the Pygmy community— according to his view— but also a
source of protection and guarantee of food. The forest indeed, provides all which the Pygmy
needs for his survival. From the construction of the arched huts to the conditions of hunting,
by honey collect, the forest provides abundance to its people. The forest activity is a
collective matter, during which, women and children take part sometimes like beaters of
drum, for ceremonies of purification preceding the hunting ritual for example during which,
of the men are subjected to an important test. The gods and the ancestors are solicited to
clarify the success of this ritual around fire. Exceptional songs accompanied by the drums of
the body and other instruments, marks the address of actors praises towards the forest. All
forest and Bochimans of Kalahari. In forest, the emitted song in this way, carries very far; it is not impossible
that it derives from the cry of hunting. See, "Music Pygmy High - Sangha".Mission OugoouØ-Congo 1946,
Microgroove BAM LD 325(17 cm, 33 turns), Paris, 1956.
79
Arom Simha, Anthology of the music Pygmy Aka (Central African Empire), Paris, ACORA (528.526-528),
1978, 1 box (3 discs 33t/30cm. bilingual Comments and photographs).
80
Ground Cythare, the popo-obu is a hole dug in the ground and covered with a wet bark which makes case of
resonance. Above it, two parallel cords of liana vibrate thanks to the tension of two sticks planted at their ends.
Most of the time, they are the children who strike these cords with small wood badines. They are generally three
and face: two ensure the rate/rhythm, while the third cheek in solo. The popo-obu can be used only one night. Its
sonorities accompany the polyphonies and the dances.
81
The Mbuti language.
82
Molins P., op.cit.
83
Mirella Ferrera 2003, Peoples of the World, White Star S.r.l., Italy, p. 95.
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Pygmies spend part of the year in farming villages. They work in villager’s plantations and
provide them with forest produce such as meat and honey in return for food, alcohol, and
sometimes-meager cash payments. Relations between hunter-gatherers and farmers range
from free exchange to virtual serfdom today. Farmers have an ambivalent attitude towards
the hunter-gatherers: seeing them on the one hand as slaves and barely human and on the
other as having occult wisdom and powers: they are widely consulted as magicians and
healers. Today, the independence and culture of all the Pygmy people is in danger, above all
because of the threat to the forest. Main issues are mostly articulated around subjects
according to:
8.2.8
Political Violence
Often, Pygmy people are caught up in violence not of their own making. The Batwa of
Rwanda and Burundi are suffering appallingly in the ethnic conflicts and genocide. It
remains to be seen how those of the Democratic Republic of Congo have been affected by
some case of cannibalism. Different wars around the regions today lead armed rebels into
the Pygmies’“mother” rainforest.
8.2.9
Logging
Deforestation is reducing the Pygmies capacity for hunting and gathering. The programs
instituted to protect them are counteractive, as they oblige the Pygmies to abandon the areas
transformed into reserves or national parks and adopt a settled farming lifestyle favored by
the authorities. With West Africa’s forests all but finished, exploitation has moved into the
vast Central African region. Most logging firms are European, but now companies from
Malaysia are also moving in. Logging degrades the forest, depriving people of plants on
which they rely. It also opens up new roads that let in commercial hunters who kill off the
animals. And this, sooner or later, could silence forever the ancient melodious voices of these
amazing forest people84.
8.2.10 Landless farmers
Farmers move into the forest, often in the wake of logging developments. Generally they are
driven by poverty and dispossession, like those made landless in the Kivu region of the
Democratic Republic of Congo who moved into the Ituri forest. They take up land
(eventually causing deforestation) and bring a more commercial way of life. The Pygmies are
increasingly drawn into the new world of immigrants, at first as hunters selling their meat,
but before long reduced to working as laborers.
8.2.11 National Parks and wildlife reserves
In that purpose, generally all Indigenous inhabitants have been removed from within park
boundaries.
8.2.12 Government policies
The nation states in which the Pygmies live have actually ratified international human rights
conventions in order to protect Indigenous culture, lands and livelihoods, but relevant
measures have not yet been incorporated into national low. All the Pygmy peoples have
suffered intense pressure, first from colonial governments and then from the independent
African states, to abandon their forest life and become farmers. This is supposed to
“integrate” them into the life of the nation. But as hunter-gatherers they are already part of
84
Mirella Ferrera 2003, Peoples of the World, White star S.r.l., p.95.
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the economic life of the nation via their economic and exchange relationships. Governments
and others need to be convinced that there is room for them to continues their role of “forest
specialist” if they wish to do so. There is also a role for training in farming and other
occupations, for those who wish to combine them with hunting and gathering so that they
can continue to live independently. Today, the Pygmies are increasingly drawn into the
mainstream of national life, though generally at the lowest level, as underpaid laborers.
However, they are also becoming increasingly conscious of this exploitation. To date there
has been almost no political organization among them; but the Batwa of Rwanda, who set up
their own association in the early 1990s, and the small self-help organization CODEBABIK85
established among the Bagyeli of Cameroon in 1996, may point the way to the future.
8.3
About the Sàmi peoples
8.3.1
Sámi History
The Sàmi peoples have lived in present-day Finland for two thousand years. They also
inhabited the coastal regions of the Botnie Gulf and the Atlantic Ocean, particularly from the
center of Norway to the north, up to the White Sea in the actual Russia. The Sàmi oldest
vestiges have been discovered in northern Norway from about 10,000 years old. More recent
human settlements have been discovered around all the Sápmi86. Sàmi organized themselves
into groups called Siiddat (Siida, in singular). A Siiddat could have been sedentary or
nomadic group. The Sàmi whose livelihoods were dependent on fishing were not as
nomadic as those who hunted and bred reindeer. Some Sàmi communities were completely
nomadic, because they followed the movements of their reindeer. Today, it is rare to note of
any nomadic Sàmi peoples within the Siiddat groups. The Siida chief, who was often the
oldest man or woman, was in charge of daily life. He/she decided where and when to move,
and who was going to fish in an appointed lac. The Siiddat groups also held communal
meetings, in which the elders discussed problems that affected the community. They lived
mainly by hunting and fishing. They used reindeer, moose and beaver to barter with East
neighbors. In the summer, there was an abundance of salmon in the Atlantic tributaries and
the Gulf of Botnia. Trade played an important role as the Sàmi did not have utensils or tools.
The Sàmi have an animist worldview and an oral tradition. In their relationships with god
and other supernatural powers they were helped by the Shaman, whom they called the
Noaidi. (noaiddit in plural). A Noaidi was both, a healer and a sorcerer who proclaimed
himself to be an extraordinarily talented individual, who could operate some contacts with
god and predict the future. His instrument of work was the frame drum. But, the head of
each family were also able to use the frame drum. Soon, more people will be discovering the
richness of the Sápmi: Fur animals, water with many fish, timber, minerals especially silver
and tin. Very soon they set commercial contacts with the East namely the present territory of
Russia. The exchanges with the people, who dwelt the present Norway and Sweden, and the
regions situated towards north south, have started at the beginning of our era. The
Norwegian coast, which is devoid of ice year-round, constituted the fine commercial way.
The rivers in northern Sweden and Finland were also good trade routes.
85
86
[70] Mentioned by Survival France, 2003.
Regions where the S mi people live.
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In Sàmi legend, there are many accounts on armed brigands seeking to monopolize treasures
which they supposed to be at Sàmi. Generally, such travellers as the Sàmi peoples were
exposed to such eventual situations; the Sàmi got some advantages from their barter goods,
such as tools made of metal or clothes which themselves could not make. Gradually, many
national states started to assert the exclusive right to that kind of trade. Later on, they
claimed the territories visited by merchants and looters. The Sàmi were obliged to pay,
simultaneously, taxes to many states. These issues were unfortunately at the origin of the
wars, between many Nordic states from the seventeenth to eighteenth centuries.
Another way the national states used to command respect for their sovereignty over the
Sàmi territories was the Christianisation of the population. When the witch prosecutions
were in vogue in Europe, the Sàmi were evangelised. The noaiddit, their spiritual leaders
and the unifying force of their society were persecuted. This was constrained to abjure their
religion and give their frame drums to the missionaries that wandered the Sàmi territories.
The missionaries coming to the Sàmi were accompanied by the beginnings of colonisation of
the area inhabited by the Sàmi. The Swedish State encouraged the peasants to go to be
established in North. Those who were established within the sàmi land were exonerated
from taxes and even, during a certain time, military service. The missionary presence and the
timid colonisation did not deeply modify the Sàmi ways of life. However, the great changes
intervene during the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the twentieth
century, when Sweden developed economically and was thus its need of the natural
resources from the sápmi: ore, white charcoal and forests produces.
Despite the harsh living conditions in northern Scandinavia, the present Sàmi people’s
ancestors succeeded to create a living culture, adapted to the environment and the
ecosystems of the Sápmi. The Sàmi keep, largely untouched, the ideal of life in nature with
the respect of all its balances.
8.3.2
The Reindeer Breeding
Nobody can tell exactly for how many times the Sámi breed the reindeer. In 100 A.D., one
historian roman speaks of fenny, a hunting people in the north. It could have been the Sàmi.
In 500 A.D. some Chinese writings speak of people who use reindeer as means of
transportation and for dairy products. At the end of the 9th century, Ottar, a Norwegian
speaks of the reindeer as Sàmi wealth. The reindeers were used as pet and as bait to the
savage reindeers. All this shows that the Sàmi people live with their reindeers for more than
a thousand years. And progressively different kinds of reindeer breeding developed. In the
more southern regions of the sapmi, breeding devalued to more intensive forms. The family
groups moved with reindeers between the winter grazing in the forest and the summer
pasture on high mountains. However, the Sàmi living the forested regions developed a kind
of sedentary breeding of the rei ndeer. The beats were grazing peacefully in the wide limited
areas. This kind of breeding was often combined with hunting and fishing. Today, it is
practiced in the hinterland of the Swedish Norrbotten and Västrebotten provinces with about
3000 reindeer remained. Today the type of more extensive stock of breeding is the most
frequent. One lets the herd move on relatively vast extents, but nevertheless limited and
often supervised with their borders. At regular interval of times, the shepherd gathers herds
in order to control them. The extensive breeding of the reindeer often implies that herds are
divided into groups of few beasts in order to face the six months of winter during which they
have to watch closely the beasts and move them from a pasture to another. Families move
between winter and summer pasture but often have one or two habitations near the pasture
were they are fixed.
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In Sweden, the reindeer breeding is organised in a form of Sàmi breeders’ community. They
number a total of 43. Their members practice reindeer breeding in geographic limited
perimeter. Community is at the same time an administrative and economical unit where in
members decides, in conformity with the law on reindeer breeding, (Rennäringslagen) which
way breeding is going to be practiced. In Sweden, the reindeer breeding is governed under
the 1971 law, the objective of which is to favoured the rationalisation of breeding and
reinforce the statute of the breeders communities. That law defines the rights of the Sàmi
breeders on the lands and water as well as their obligations in regards to the general society.
Only the Sàmi members of a community of breeders are authorized to practice reindeer
breeding and benefit also from others particular rights on hunting and fishing.
8.3.3
The Sàmi Language
The language is part of Finno-Ugrian linguistic group. It includes three main dialects: the
south Sàmi, the north Sàmi and the east Sàmi: oriental, central and southern. The speech
boundaries are alike with the immemorial habitat of the Sàmi. The differences between these
main dialects are important enough to speak of different languages87. All the Sàmi dialects
have very rich vocabulary to speak about environment. To describe soils, water and the
snow, they have a great variety of that allows a precision with great faithfulness. Concerning
the reindeer and its breeding, the vocabulary is so rich and varied. There exist, for instance, a
great choice of words describing the aspect of the reindeer. Its fur, its antlers, its sex and its
age can be described in so detailed terms that in a herd of thousand beasts, one animal
corresponds to the given description. The most important of the dialects is the central Sámi.
The Eastern and southern dialects are spoken in the region where the Sàmi often are in
minorities. That is why the use of these languages declined during the 20th century. In these
regions the Sàmi have largely adopted the dialect of the largest population. We think that
they are 70% of the Sámi speaking their language. But the conscience of the importance of the
language, and the central cultural role it represents, not only among the Sámi but also among
the administrations and politicians, shows the importance to deepen the its teaching for the
Sámi children. Nowadays, the role of the Sámiting, the newly set institution, is to reinforce
and develop the Sámi language.
8.3.4
Instruction/ Education
As the Sàmi society in the past was composed of scattered groups and more or less nomadic,
it was neither possible, nor necessary to create schools to educate children. Instruction was
done in the families at home within the siida group. To learn how to hunt, to fish and other
handwork and the reindeer breeding they applied the experience from the ancients.
But with the missionary coming, at the beginning of the 17th century, they experienced the
first steps in the Sámi children schooling in permanent schools. This often was against the
parents and children will. In 1632, a school was built in the community; the school of Lapone
of Locksley. It intended not only to teach the Sàmi children how to write and read Swedish,
but also and mostly to train some of the Sàmi to become Pastors (preachers) in order to
evangelise the others. During the 18th and 19th centuries were built schools in other
locations in the Sápmi. But, as the Sàmi people were in the great majority nomadic,
missionaries were obliged to adapt moving schools. The Sàmi children school was until the
20th century under the responsibility of the church. They usually used the Sámi language.
Little by little, they modified the school instruction objectives. In 1913, special school was
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[52] Alain Dray 2001, Article on the Dialects, Centre culturel SuŁdois, Paris, France.
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created for nomadic people with instruction given mainly in Swedish. Its aim was to help
Sámi children have a minimum training allowing them to cope with the Swedish society
realities in their future, with an idea of not imposing upon them the Swedish civilisation.
This was the decision makers’particular point of view during the years 1910 to 1920.
Today, Sàmi children have to choose between going to public school or Sàmi state schools,
where they can take courses in the mother tongue. There is a special Sàmi school commission
in charge of supervising instruction in the Sàmi schools. The objective of the Sàmi schooling
is to give them the same education as the young Swedish children have in their community
schools to Sàmi children in one hand, and in another hand to assure them schooling which
took into account their cultural and linguistic identity. A Sàmi pre-school network is being
built in Sweden. However, until now, the Sàmi childhood care system exists only for the time
being in a small number of towns due lack of qualified people. Nevertheless, the situation
has known betterment thanks to the special training for pre-school teachers at the Luleå
tertiary school, mostly based on inferior, intermediate level, with Sàmi as mother tongue.
Since 1950, there is a popular special tertiary school at Jokkmokk that offers training to Sámi
adults and others. Concerning education, there is, since 1974, a PhD program in Sàmi
language at Umeå University as well as at Oslo and Tromsö (in Norway), at Helsinki and
Oulu Universities (Finland). At Guovdageaidnu (kautokeino), in Norway there is, since 1989,
a tertiary Sàmi school (Sàmiid Allaskuvla) where are trained, among the others, Sàmi
teachers. Students are both from Finland and Sweden and courses are given in the Sàmi
language. There also is in Guovdageaidnu the Sàmi Nordic Institute (Sàmi Instituhtta). From
1973, a centre for studies and research has been lunched in the same institute. More about the
institute at: www.nsi.no. Today, other institution such as the Centre for Sàmi research at the
University of Umeå (Sweden) is another meeting place, related to Indigenous issues; while,
looking beyond the borders and work with an interdisciplinary and international
perspectives.
8.3.5
Music and Literature
The tradition of the oral narrative arts has always played a central role in the Sàmi society.
The Sàmi music is linked to the same tradition. The Jojk that is the expression of the Sàmi
song arts, mixing poetry and song. It is at the same time a technique and a way to evocate
events and the human or to describe nature. These traditions are still alive. In the past, the
jojk was associated, mostly by the missionaries, to paganism and to sin, that is why it was
constantly banished, particularly in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is, until today forbidden to
Sàmi children in Guovdageaidnu, to sing the Jojk during the course time. In the mid 20th
century the jojk arts were about to disappear. Since the 60s and 70s, the jojk and the Sàmi
cultural values have known a renaissance thanks to, mostly, the young Sàmi determined to
defend their cultural patrimony, and interested in the threatened aspects of their civilisation
and encouraging other Sàmi to struggle for keeping them.
Since a recent past the Sàmi peoples are interested in writing their own realities. In 1910
Johan Turi published Muittalus Sàmiid birra, a story about the Sàmi life. He is the first Sàmi
writer to describe the history of his people, namely the reindeer breeder’s daily life at the
turn of the century. In his book he also deals with the Sàmi legend and popular beliefs. Now,
Johan Turi has many competitors. An important enough Sàmi literature has been published
during the last 30 years. Among the modern writers we have Paulus Utsi, EriknilssonMonkok, Per Idivuoma and Annok Sarri-Nordra.
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Crafts and Craftsmanship
The Sàmi crafts and craftsmanship notion is linked. The daily used tools of the past are still
used nowadays to some extent, and have not only a practical function, but also that they
manifest an aesthetic attraction. Despite the fact that the Noaidi frame drum was an
instrument, it reflected under artistic forms of the human world and that of gods. The Kolt, a
Sàmi traditional over tunic is both warm and functional. It is a fine and embellished with
lightening colour clothes. The forms and the aspects of usable items; knifes, bowls and
harness are as much as important as their good functioning. The raw materials used are the
reindeer horns, woods and leather (hide). Sàmi artists in their great majority are kin to that
tradition and reflect it in their craftsmanship, graphic arts, and plastic arts. The Sàmi tertiary
and popular school of Jokkmokk proposes a special training in Sàmi handworks to its pupils.
The duodje, the Sàmi artistic craftsmanship, plays also an important economical role. From
now on, the duodje is commercialised under a special label that guaranty its quality and its
authenticity.
8.3.7
The Sàmi and the State
The Swedish state policy towards the Sàmi peoples has been deeply modified during the
20th century. At its beginning the public authorities’ policy was to keep the Sàmi in their
primitive condition as people. We still find the vestige of these inclinations in some laws and
through practical attitudes of some state administrations and organisations. One of the
problems is for instance the fact that the reindeer breeding modernisation is not favoured
because of tourism and protection of nature. The Sàmi rights to their own culture and
language have only drawn attention at the end of the 60s and during the 70s when many
immigrant groups started asking the public authorities to make an effort towards the
protection of their cultural specificities. The 1971 adopted bill on the reindeer breeding
authorized, to some extent, the Sàmi to work out their problems. But as the previous laws,
this latter defines only the reindeer breeders’ rights. Only these Sàmi have special rights on
soils, and water of the sápmi. This also forces a popular conception of what it is to be a Sàmi.
These rights have never been recognised to fishermen and other Sàmi in the state legislation.
During these 30 last years, the Sàmi reindeer breeders have been prevented from vast areas
of pasture following varied types of industrial exploitation. They are especially the modern
forestry techniques, with cuts of empty spaces followed of tilling, that make things difficult
for the Sàmi to nourish their reindeers during the winter. The breeders tried through
different means, and addressed many institutions, in order to better the protection of regions
they consider as being theirs, but until today they always lost this battle in the courts to keep
their territories. In an engaged action to the courts in began in 1966 (the Alpages proceeding)
the judgement was only pronounced in 1981, the Sàmi people have tried hard to get, through
the Swedish jurisdictions, the acknowledgement of their rights on the Alpages in the
southern sapmi. In its deliberations the judgment has it that the Sámi got the rights to
possess the alpages but the Swedish state through the proprietorship rights took them back.
Nevertheless the Sàmi still have the right to use them as immemorial users. However, in
1993, parliament adopted the modifications on the law stating hunters to hunt only small
game in the alpages of the Jamtland province and in the west of the cultivated soil boundary
in the provinces of Norrbotten and Västerbotten. At the end of the law on reindeer breeding,
these territories are areas of permanently reserved pasture for reindeer breeding. The rights
to control the Sàmi possessed before on the attribution of the authorizations to hunting and
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the determination of the hunting period have been transferred to local authorities for a test
period.
In 1983 a commission was created to study the Sàmi situation. In its main report, published
in 1989, it proposes, among others, that the Swedish constitution acknowledges the specific
Sàmi statute as ethnic minorities, and autochthon population. Apart from that it proposes to
adopt a law with the objective of promoting social and cultural life of Sàmi people, and
creating a Sàmi parliament elected by people in order to defend the Sàmi interests in the
different concerned institutions. The commission also proposed some modifications to the
law on the breeding of the reindeers aiming to reinforce the legal statute of the Sàmi in
everything related to the breeding. The only result from the report of the commission of the
Sàmi questions was the creation, on its proposition, of an assembly elected by the
population. The proposition of a special law aiming to reinforce the statute of the Sàmi
language has been rejected, as well as other propositions destined to reinforce the rights of
the Sàmi on the soils and waters. The governmental authorities sent back all these questions
in the Sameting “the Sàmi parliament” that, as national authority, will have henceforth to
treat the Sàmi issues as well as the scheduling and research linked with. On the legal plan,
the position of the Sàmi has been weakened, in particular for what is about the property of
the rights of hunting and fishing and the question of the processes about who is responsible
for the management of these resources. The breakthrough of the Sàmi popular movement in
the contemporary Sweden coincided with the rise in power of the popular movements in the
beginning of the 20th century. It owes its ideas and its inspiration in the free Churches, to the
societies of temperance and to the working movement. But it is only after World War II that
was located its flight as organization.
In 1950, a permanent organ was founded was founded. The union of the Sàmi people of
Sweden (Svenska Samernas Riksförbund, SSR), that regroups the Sàmi communities and the
associations of Sweden was born. Sameätnam, is another organization founded in 1945 that
assign itself for objective to promote the culture and the Sàmi duodje (handicraft). Sàminuorra
is another important organ related to the youth Sàmi union of Sweden, constituted in 1963,
and dedicates itself essentially at youth. Under the motto “The Sàmi, One people”, the Sàmi
central organizations of Sweden are members of the Sàmiráddi (Sàmi Nordic Council) that is
since 1956 an organ of cooperation between the Sàmi of Sweden, Norway and Finland.
Henceforth, the Sàmi of Russia is also members of the Council. In 1975, the Sàmiráddi
became member of the world Council of the Indigenous people (WCIP) that works especially
for the international right and for the defence of the right to life, to the culture and to the
development, of the Indigenous populations.
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Maps and Tables
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Table 1: Indigenous peoples of Africa
Region
Northern Africa
Western Africa/Sahel
Central Africa
Eastern Africa
Southern Africa
Indigenous Peoples
Imazighe (Berbers), Teda-Daza,
Touareg
Bassari , Bororo, Nemadi, Ogoni,
Teda-Daza, Touareg, Wodaabe
* Ba’
Aka , Babongo, Bacwa, Bagyeli,
Baka, Bakola, Baluma, Bambenjelle,
Bambuti, Bangombe, Basua, Batua,
Batwa, Benet, Bofi, Bororo, Efé, Ik,
Kirdi, Mbororo, Medzan, Mefa,
Mikaya, Pokot
Boni, Borana , Dahalo, ‘Dorobo’,
Elmolo, Hadzabe, Maasai, Ogiek,
Oromo, Pokot, Rendille, Samburu,
Sengwer, Teda-Daza, Turkana,
Tsamako, Tsemai, Waata, Waargee,
Yaaku
||Anikwe, ||Gana, Griqua, |Gui (or
G|wi, Hai||om, Himba, ‡Hoã,
Ju|’hoansi, ‡Khomani, Khwe, !Kung),
, Nama, Naro, Tshua, !Xóõ, !Xun
Countries
Algeria, Egypt, Libya,
Morocco, Tunisia
Burkina Faso, Chad,
Mali, Mauretania,
Nigeria, Niger, Senegal
Burundi, Cameroon,
Central African
Republic, Republic of
Congo, Democratic
Republic of Congo,
Gabon, Rwanda, Uganda
Ethiopia, Kenya,
Somalia,
Sudan,Tanzania
Angola, Botswana,
Namibia, South Africa,
Zambia, Zimbabwe
* Central African forest hunter-gatherers (‘
Pygmy’peoples) are shown in italics.
Sources: [39] Crawhall 2004 ; Dutton (n.d.); Luling and Kenrick (n.d.); African Commission on
Human and Peoples’Rights 2003. Cited by Dorothy Jackson 2004 (Forest Peoples Programme),
from her report on a global evaluation undertaken by the International Alliance of
Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the tropical Forests, to access the progress made by
governments.
Table 2: Constitutional provisions promoting protection of indigenous peoples and
recognition of their rights
Burundi
Transitional
Constitution
2000
‘Deliberate promotion of disadvantaged groups, particularly
the Twa, to correct the existing imbalances in all sectors.’
The Government must provide special assistance for the
protection, rehabilitation and advancement of vulnerable
groups.
Three places are reserved for Batwa in the senate.
Cameroon
Constitution
1996
‘The State shall ensure the protection of minorities and shall
preserve the rights of indigenous populations in accordance
with the law.’
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CAR
Constitution
1995
The state guarantees ‘the security of persons and goods,
protection of the weakest, notably vulnerable people,
minorities, and the full exercise of liberties and fundamental
rights.’
Congo
Constitution
2000
‘The right to culture and to respect for the cultural identity
of each citizen is guaranteed.’
DRC
Transitional
Constitution
2003
All ethnic groups and nationalities living in DRC since
independence have equal rights and protection under the
law.
Gabon
Constitution
2000
Rwanda
Constitution
2003
The state shall provide special measures for the survivors of
genocide, the disabled, the indigent, the elderly and other
vulnerable groups.
Seats for eight representatives of ‘historically marginalized
communities’[deemed to include the indigenous Batwa] are
reserved in the Senate.
Uganda
Constitution
1995
‘Minorities have a right to participate in decision-making
and have their views taken into account in the making of
national plans and programmes.’
‘The State shall ensure gender balance and fair
representation of marginalised groups on all constitutional
and other bodies.’
‘Every effort shall be made to integrate all the peoples of
Uganda while at the same time recognising the existence of
their ethnic, religious, ideological, political and cultural
diversity.’
Every person has the right to practise and promote their
culture in community with others.
‘The State shall take affirmative action in favour of groups
marginalised on the basis of gender, age, disability or any
other reason created by history, tradition or custom.’
No provisions
Sources: [39] Dorothy Jackson 2004, Traditional Forest-Related Knowledge, UNFF (UN Forum
on Forest), Fourth meeting, report, pp 21.
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DVD document as an attempt sample of the film project design
Specification: Documentary Film
Title: The Common Fire
Duration: 30 minutes
Language: (To specify)
Copyrights ©2006, Marius Billy&Birger Nilsson.
The film of “Common Fire” is designed to bring up together two communities of Indigenous
Peoples. It highlights their yodel practice of jojk and yèyi as a poetic bridge based survival
values in interaction with the nature dress, while emphasizing the creation of a characterized
expression of psalms without words. From the central experience of sharing practical lessons
that has maintained their lifestyles, knowledge and wisdom, the traditional experience based
natural ressources, provides new bases of educational exchanges, expected for Indigenous
cultural self-identification within our era.
The objectif is to provide Indigenous Peoples with tools to plan the future of their
communities and improve their engagement for an international dialogue of co-operation.
The use of participative video, including the method of feed back, brings together potential
partners to develop proposal means for a sustainable partnership between the Sàmi People
of nothern Europe and the Pygmy People of central Africa. Alive memories and younger
generations, each one in its turn, testify their aspiration; the time to address a new message
to friends of fight, located in the other end of the world.
Marius Billy.
*******
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