Diversity, Universality and Democracy: A Perspective of an Indigenous Woman. (South-South Movements)
Tauli-Corpuz, Victoria, Women in Action
The "Global Conference on Feminist Leadership" held in South Africa in September 1997 had a speaker on the panel on Democracy who said: "Diversity or difference is often used to rename inequality and division, and it is also very much at the core of the extreme right and racist agenda ..." Diversity was described in this same conference as "... a much used concept with opportunities and pitfalls." Basically, what both were saying was that diversity is a contested territory and it can be good or bad, depending on who uses it and how it is used.
For us, indigenous women, diversity is a concept and practice crucial in our struggle for self-determination, for the defense of our ancestral territories, and for control over our indigenous knowledge and natural resources. This is not to say that we are oblivious to the dangers and pitfalls of integrating diversity in our struggle. In the history of our oppression and exploitation as peoples, however, it was homogenisation, more than diversity, that was used to violate our rights as indigenous peoples.
It is to our credit, our ancestors' and the present generation's that we managed to salvage and even further nurture what ancestral territories and resources, aspects of our indigenous cultures, economic systems, political structures, and even ways of thinking remained after the destruction wrought by the colonisers and post-colonial governments on our environment and our communities. However, the assault on us continues and, in this era of globalisation, has become even more vicious. This globalisation makes use of old and new instruments and methods to further conquer territories to control and appropriate. These territories include not only land, air, and water, but also the minds, knowledge, and even genes of human beings, and …
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Publication information: Article title: Diversity, Universality and Democracy: A Perspective of an Indigenous Woman. (South-South Movements). Contributors: Tauli-Corpuz, Victoria - Author. Magazine title: Women in Action. Publication date: December 2001. Page number: 35+. © 2008 Isis International. COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group.