How many people knew that August 9th was the International Day for the World’s Indigenous Peoples? And how many people are aware that at this moment we are almost at the end of the International Decade for the World’s Indigenous People? Do not confuse it with the National Aboriginal Day that is celebrated in Canada on June 21st! In 1990, the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed 1993 the Year of Worlds Indigenous People. In 1993, the assembly proclaimed the International Decade of the Worlds Indigenous People, starting officially on December 10th, 1994. The goal of the Decade is to strengthen international cooperation for solving problems faced by indigenous people in such areas as human rights, the environment, development, education and health. Its theme is “Indigenous people: Partnership in action.” The date of August 9th was chosen by the Indigenous Peoples themselves, because it commemorates the first UN meeting of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations, held in 1982.

Do not be surprised that it is not widely known or celebrated. Apparently the only ones in Canada who made any mention of it was the federal government in Ottawa. They organized a day of activitites in keeping with this years theme, the transmission of traditional knowledge using new technology. From 11 am to 8:30 pm., there were a range of activities such as booths relating to the theme of the transfer of traditional knowledge to youth using new technologies and other means, topics such as Aboriginal language preservation, traditional skills training, high-tech skills training in the spread of traditional knowledge and the use of non-traditional fora to preserve and present traditional knowledge were covered, as well as an hour of storytelling by an elder. ln 1994, the General Assembly decided that the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People shall be observed on August 9 every year during the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous people. Which means that next year will be the final year of this celebration as the decade comes to an end.