L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

20 June 2006 Blog Home : June 2006 : Permalink

Indigenous Invaders

Right Speak reports on how the new improved UN Human Rights Council has started out by identifying "indigenous peoples" who are to be subject to a vital bill defending their rights:

Meanhile the new UN Rights Council has the urgent task of sending to the Genral Assembly a 'vital' bill guaranteeing the rights of 'indigenous peoples'.

To most people, 'indigenous' has the simple meaning of people who were the original inhabitants of a land. Thus in Africa the Bushmen, Pygmies, Baka, Berbers and other groups are rightly nominated in the UN list of indigenes.

But then there are countries like Kenya:

Despite being the oldest group of humans yet researched by New Zealand's Massey University DNA project Kenya's Turkana people are not, according to the United Nations, 'indigenous'. Having some 35,000 years of history won't quite qualify one for favoured treatment by the UN's new Human Rights Council.

So who gets the indigenous rights in Kenya?

The obvious answer is read lots of coffee-table books. There have been more big glossy books written about Kenya's Maasai people (arrived in Kenya around 1450 AD via Chad and Sudan)than any other East African tribe. No surprise then that the only people in Kenya who are 'indigenous', in the UN's report, are the Maasai. All the rest are talking turkey........sorry, talking Turkana.

How the Kenya Government will vote when the Human Rights Council bill reaches the General Assembly, nobody knows. Hopefully it will be not to declare 90% of their own Kenyans 'foreigners'. Stand by for waves of professional Maasai activists clad in beads and shukas claiming back the whole country they once ruthlessly conquered from the 'pre-indigenous' people who were inconveniently in Kenya before them. That's material enough for 56 more books, 3 mini-series and "Maasai-The Movie".

By that argument C Columbus, F Pisaro and various other conquistadores only missed out on being counted as indigenoous inhabitants of South and Central America b about 50 years. Damn. I think that makes the Mongols the indigenous inhabitants of practically everywhere from Baghdad to Beijing via Moscow and it lets the Turks in as indigenous inhabitants of Istanbul even though they occupied a city that must have been built by magic because some of its buildings are still standing despite no one having been there before (oh and please don't ask how come there appears to have been a viable empire run from that location 1000 years earlier).

In other news that makes William the Conqueror an indigenous inhabitant of the British Isles (arrival 1066 AD) and means that the Spanish are not the indigenous inhabitants of (southern) Spain which was occupied by Moors until 1492, although they presumably do count as the indigenous inmhabitants of the northern parts. Fortunately for New Zealand though, the Maori manage to scrape in as indigenes by about a century.

I despise l'Escroc and Vile Pin