by: Sheila Mae Supiter
“Why am I different? Why am I a laughing stock? Why does it feel like the norms which I grew up doing are taboos for these city kids? JUDGMENT lingers day by day across those hypercritical orbs. So sharp that it digs hole on my back”
It is very disheartening to know, for a fact, that ethnocentrism prevails in the greater society much more than we would dare to admit. It is for this very reason that inferiority complex builds up and spreads like wildfire among various indigenous communities. The ignorant will tell you that these kind of people hold less value and possess unacceptable differences, whilst throwing cultural diversity on the corner before it’s forgotten.
With this much challenge that needed to be overcome by the society, EDUCATION can aid in addressing the principal right and concern of indigenous peoples and advocates of impartiality. The criterion however is that schools tend to focus more on mainstream system and preferences that ignore indigenous values and practices.
Article 15 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states, “Indigenous Peoples have the right to the dignity and diversity of their cultures, traditions, histories and aspirations which shall be appropriately reflected in education and public information”. The government should implement legal programs that would satiate the special needs of IPs especially its children. Sure enough that access to education has been great in the present days, but what remains questionable is the quality of education that is made available to them. Formal education should not only limit to those who have the opportunity to enter an institution but extend to those local indigenous tribes that barely become aware of educational privileges. By means of educating them of their rights, duties, and opportunities in the field of economics, social welfare, and health, a huge amount of inferiority complex can be dwindled. In this manner, not only the indigenous communities would gain benefit but also the common citizens. If schools would design a system that includes intercultural teachings and ethics, students would become enlightened to the utmost importance of every cultures existing and eventually develop respect for the differences. In here, I would like to emphasize how UNITY and DIVERSITY could differ in terms of meaning. Unity involves similarity in order for everybody to belong together. Whereas, diversity is knowing everyone is different, and by embracing those differences, we become united. The world needs a little bit more of the latter.
Indigenous community is a crucial part of a functioning society!