Posted to the Ethnos Project by on July 15th, 2012

A UNESCO publication about the 2001 Symposium bearing the same name…


This report summarizes the key issues raised, experiences shared and conclusions reached by participants during the course of four days of speeches and debate. Consensus was facilitated by parallel meetings of the informal Indigenous Caucus working group, whose inputs were crucial to the concerted efforts of indigenous and non-indigenous experts to produce recommendations and guidelines for action geared to promoting the cultural development of indigenous communities.

Excerpt from the Introduction

The Symposium on “Indigenous Identities: Oral, written expressions and new technologies” took place at UNESCO (Paris) from 15 to 18 May 2001 within the framework of the Organization’s International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People (1995-2004). It brought together 64 indigenous and non-indigenous speakers—academics, experts, authors and publishers—from 18 countries worldwide. Some twenty indigenous communities from all five continents were represented. More than 200 people a day attended the various meetings and debates.

The first part of the Symposium (15-16 May 2001) focused on the safeguarding, transmission and mutation of indigenous cultures. The second (17-18 May) dealt with the potential benefits of new technologies, such as bringing those often-isolated cultures into contact with others around the world. All available papers will be published online, in their original languages. During the course of the proceedings, a number of participants announced their intention to work together on joint projects to produce CD-ROMs, publish books, gather data on traditional heritage, develop bilingual learning programmes and so on.

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