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The Practise of (Natural) Law

At the Global Diversity Foundation-hosted workshop on Community Conservation in Practise from May 6-9 in Tofino, Canada, Joe Martin (right) of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation provided an alternative view of law. He described his First Nation’s worldview of the natural laws that underpin our existence and connections with other natural processes and showed how art forms such as totems are the embodiment of these natural laws and First Nation constitutions. Harry Jonas and Holly Shrumm (Natural Justice) attended the workshop alongside representatives of indigenous and local communities and NGOs from Kyrgyzstan, the Altai Republic, Vanuatu, Ethiopia, Kenya, Colombia, Mexico, Australia, Malaysia, Morocco, Guatemala, USA, UK, the Netherlands, and Canada. The workshop also delved into challenges of and opportunities for indigenous and community conserved areas (ICCAs), sacred natural sites, and bio-cultural landscapes in policy and practise. Harry and Holly presented on bio-cultural community protocols as a tool to help communities engage with legal and policy frameworks that affect communities’ ways of life. Participants explored how protocols could help communities ensure the protection of sacred natural sites and a nascent partnership with COMPAS was discussed. Harry and Holly are also involved in the development of the Opitsaht narrative declaration, which will communicate what happened at the workshop. They will continue to meet with fellow participants throughout the International Society of Ethnobiology Congress in Tofino from May 9-14.

10 May 2010

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