International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Celebrating the INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE WORLD’S INDIGENOUS PEOPLES under the theme: “The role of indigenous women in the preservation and transmission of traditional knowledge.” A worship service was held at the College today led by its Principal Rev Professor Dr Upolu Luma Vaai to celebrate women’s contribution to Pasifika communities. Indigenous women play vital roles in maintaining the wellbeing of their communities- with hands that provide sustenance, birth generations, bridging and mending broken tribal relationships. Sharing stories from her Fijian indigenous iTaukei context, Pacific academic Professor Unaisi Nabobo Baba said the last rites performed before the burial of any person, whether commoner or chief, reveres the position of woman. The dead is not buried until the maternal family of the deceased has arrived to pay their respects. In some tribes, the maternal family can claim any yau or items of value from the hosting tribe. Other tribes gift their daughters’ several acres of tribal land they and their generations can use. This gift is especially the case where the daughter is married off into a clan with lesser means. Professor Nabobo-Baba spoke at the worship celebration marking International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2022 held at the Islander Missionaries Memorial Chapel of PTC this morning. The particular focus was on Indigenous Women Preserving and Transmitting Knowledge. Women of PTC played various roles offering prayers, thanksgiving, confessions and bible reading in their different Pacific indigenous languages. They also provided cultural gifts to the college like baskets and mats or highlighted traditional crafts made with knowledge and skills passed down from mother to daughter. The Pacific Theological College celebrates the critical role women play in preserving indigenous knowledge that protects the vitality of ecological ecosystems of life.