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Indigenous Peoples~Indigenous Voices

Basic information on Indigenous Peoples~Indigenous Voices.
Date: September 2006.

Contact person for the U.S.A.:
Erik Felker,
414 East Cedar Avenue, Apt. 11, Burbank, CA 91501

International contact person:
Renato Corsetti, World Esperanto Association,
Via del Castello 1, IT-00036, Palestrina, Italy

Indigenous Peoples~Indigenous Voices supports contact among indigenous peoples of the world for mutual understanding and cooperation. It specifically supports the following articles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:

Article 3:
Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right, they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social, and cultural development.

Article 7:
Indigenous peoples have the collective and individual right not to be subjected to ethnocide and cultural genocide, including prevention of and redress for:

(a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities;

(b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories, or resources;

(c) Any form of population transfer which has the aim of violating or undermining any of their rights;

(d) Any form of assimilation or integration by other cultures or ways of life imposed upon them by legislative, administrative, or other measures;

(e) Any form of propaganda directed against them.

Article 17:

Indigenous peoples have the right to establish their own media in their own languages. They also have the right to equal access to all forms of non-indigenous media.

IP~IV supports contact among indigenous people to solve problems that seem to be common in many indigenous cultures, such as loss of land rights and other rights, the balance between tradition and formal education, group and individual identity, and community-based and individual health problems. IP~IV believes that indigenous cultures can share information productively and find ways to solve problems that honor indigenous culture and also reflect “best practice” in the areas mentioned above.

One of the problems that keep indigenous groups from being able to support and learn from each other is language. It is a frustrating reality that a Navaho in the United States who is fluent in Navaho and English and an indigenous Ainu in Japan who is fluent in Ainu and Japanese speak four languages between them, but have no language in common.

IP~IV believes that part of the answer to this communication problem is Esperanto, the international/intercultural bridge language. Esperanto was designed to be easy to learn and use in comparison to most other languages, yet to be expressive and practical as well. Its vocabulary can easily expand to include words from many languages, and translations into Esperanto already exist for literary and other works from many cultures. It is not Esperanto’s purpose to impose itself; it exists so that it can be freely chosen. Similarly, Indigenous Peoples~Indigenous Voices aims to work in service to indigenous peoples and Esperanto, supporting rather than imposing upon indigenous cultures and their development.

Due to the Internet, including the availability of solar-powered computers, international and intercultural communication in a language that is chosen rather than imposed, is more available than ever. It is also more important than ever before. Free language-learning programs for Esperanto can be found through the Internet in many national and other languages, and printed language-learning books and bilingual dictionaries for the study of Esperanto are available for all major national languages. Esperanto can help indigenous people be in contact with each other, deepen their awareness of themselves, understand and appreciate each other, and support each other’s rights and development.

Further information on Esperanto:

For information on the World Esperanto Association in English:

For information on the Esperanto League for North America:

Here is a sample of written Esperanto. Each letter has only one sound. Maximum use is made of words that have a high level of international recognition.

Esperanto estas logika kaj fleksebla lingvo. Homoj parolas Esperanton tra la tuta mondo, kaj oni uzas Esperanton por internacia komunikado. Se vi lernos paroli Esperanton kaj se vi uzos la lingvon, vi helpos solvi gravan, mondskalan problemon.

Translation: Esperanto is a logical and flexible language. People speak Esperanto around the world, and it is used in international communication. If you learn to speak Esperanto and if you use the language, you will help solve a great, world-wide problem.

Indigenous Peoples~Indigenous Voices is the English-language section of the international organization Projekto Indiĝenaj Popoloj (Indigenous Peoples Project). The Indigenous Peoples Project uses Esperanto as its working language, and uses national, regional, and indigenous languages for contacts with people who do not speak Esperanto.