How Some Indigenous Communities are Coping with COVID-19

How Indigenous peoples' Traditional Knowledge is saving lives. The year 2020 will always be remembered as the year of science and adjustment. Not only are we developing a new awareness of the importance of preserving the environment, but we also realized that scientific discovery is fundamental for the well-being of all terrestrial species. Science is necessary and helps save people lives without a doubt. Still, In the modern world, we tend to undervalue traditional knowledge, and putting aside the millennial wisdom that we have intrinsic within us. Traditional knowledge can help science by providing valuable solutions to new challenges At Nomadic Tribe, we want to consider the pandemic as a watershed moment, allowing us to build a better, fairer and sustainable world in which the rights and knowledge of Indigenous Peoples are respected. Therefore, what happens when science and traditional knowledge come together and prove to be successful for the well-being of an entire community? Let's dive into some of the most successful initiatives around the globe to get inspiration from indigenous peoples’ wisdom! "Indigenous peoples are seeking their solutions to this pandemic taking action, and using traditional knowledge and practices such as voluntary isolation, and sealing off their territories, as well as preventive measures – in their languages." [COVID-19 and Indigenous peoples, United Nation Department of Economic and Social Affairs conference.] Igorot and Karen tribes - Traditional self-isolation used to prevent infections. “Indigenous peoples continue to do what they have done for centuries—Adapting to change while maintaining their cultures and traditional ways of life. They are taking action and finding their own unique solutions during this global pandemic. Their resilience in overcoming these challenges serves as an inspiration to us all.” Anne Nuorgam (Chair, Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues) [COVID-19 and Indigenous peoples, United Nation Department of Economic and Social Affairs conference.] Self-isolation does not represent something new to Indigenous Peoples, and these practices are used to face off the last COVID-19 emergency. Igorot peoples of Luzon (Philippines) traditionally practice temporary self-isolation to protect their members in crisis periods or in case of a tragedy to recover the community spiritually and emotionally. Ngilin is the name used for quarantine: during this period, people are not allowed to make unnecessary movements or noises, and no one can enter or leave the community. More: in this period, cooperation and support are rules to be observed by every community member. Pudongs do the warning of Ngilin period, local trees placed at every entrance of the village, used to warn people that the area is off-limit. The Kroh yee (village closure) is a similar practice existing among the Karen people of Thailand It’s a regular part of the ritual included in the sixth month of the lunar calendar: the Kroh yee can differ and be used during severe crises, as seventy years ago during a cholera outbreak. Indonesian Iban Dayak – Pro-active communities. In Indonesia, indigenous people numbered between 50 to 70 million. For the COVID-19 emergency, they have been among the most proactive communities. The Iban Dayak community of Sungai Utik, a Borneo island, live in one of Indonesia's last traditional longhouses characterized by dozens of family apartments and communal spaces. When news of the coronavirus arrived, the 150 longhouse residents immediately closed off access to outsiders and tourists as a way to prevent contagious diseases. This was possible considering that food was not an issue, because there’s still talented hunters and foragers in the community. India - Cooperation as the key to safety “As far as Indigenous peoples are concerned, they have tried their best using local medicines, setting up helping centers that are more dignified in the forest areas. They even conducted schooling and also exams. A lot of creative methods happened, even some of the good practices […] some of the communities have decided to redistribute the lands so that people will not go back to the cities […]” Gam Shimray (Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact) [COVID-19 and Indigenous peoples, United Nation Department of Economic and Social Affairs conference.] In India, which is considered to be in the middle of the next virus’ epicenter, communities are opening dialogue between villages and trying to help one another with fruitful cooperation. Many villages set up centres in the forest to help the ills and to assist the elderly during the pandemic, no matter their ethnic background. Furthermore, students are back to their home villages and are setting up schools for the children. Amazonia – Indigenous coalitions and new approaches to traditional knowledge through Social Media “Our indigenous elders are the guardians of history, traditions, languages and culture, and are particularly vulnerable. They deserve special attention to safeguard and prevent bioculture loss.” Anne Nuorgam (Chair, Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues) [COVID-19 and Indigenous peoples, United Nation Department of Economic and Social Affairs conference.] The Amazon rainforest is desperately trying to protect their populations. Because of the lack of local Government's measures to protect the communities, the ethnocultural characteristics of these populations are at risk, and the indigenous peoples' main goal is to protect their elders. Elders are scared to reach for help in hospitals because of the general idea that health workers give priority care to younger people. Therefore, the Waorani people in Ecuador at the beginning of the pandemic started a legal process against the Ecuadorian Government, which was not taking enough precautions to protect the community of five thousand from the risk of cultural extermination. However, in June, they won the case, and they have been collaborating with indigenous coalitions and universities ever since. A medical brigade administered 150 rapid tests in the area, which was most hit by the virus, tracking symptoms and treating ill people. Furthermore, indigenous organizations and local communities have created interactive videos to explain the virus to people better, translated into five different Amazonian languages, and distributed to villages with access to social media. This initiative was carried out by the organizations without the help of any institution, and it was self-organized. Australia- The Government, protects Indigenous People and traditional Knowledge! From the 11th of August 2020, the Australian State of the Northern Territory will be closed for 18 months. This was announced by Governor Michael Gunner, who added that additional police patrols would be deployed to ensure that the ordinance is observed. Gunner's drastic decision was made to protect the indigenous population who live in remote places and are much more vulnerable: “Territories first. This is what I think is right to do to make sure that some of the most vulnerable people in the world are safe." NOMADIC TRIBE TEAM Cover photo Indigenous family, social distancing.

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Tourism has only recently begun to be more established in Kyrgyzstan, a relatively unknown country that can offer a lot in terms of culture, landscapes and events. Let's find out some of the main attractions and curiosity about Kyrgyz people together! If you are a curious traveller who wants to get off the most touristic sites, we suggest you start looking at flights! Culture and Events Yurts Many Kyrgyz people live a semi-nomadic way of life; they live in small towns and villages during winter while they set up camp in the Jailoos (alpine meadows) in summer. Being hosted in families' Yurts -A traditional yurt or ger is a portable, round tent covered with skins or felt and used as a dwelling by several distinct nomadic groups- is a unique experience to learn from them and participate in their daily life. While Yurt exteriors are usually grey and monotone, the interiors are traditionally flush with colour and warmth. Shyrdaks, hand-stitched felt carpets, typically cover both floor and sidewalls of a yurt. They are used as decoration and insulation (provided by heavy wool). Their colours and designs are full of symbolism and meaning. World Nomad Games World Nomad Games are held in Cholpon Ata every two years and include 16 traditional games and sports. It's the Olympics games for Central Asian nomad culture. Central Asia is the birthplace of the ancient tradition of eagle hunting, and Kyrgyz are masters in this, having passed this tradition from generation to generation. Witnessing the World Nomad Games can reveal much of the Kyrgyz people tradition and culture. Mountain Music Policies of the Soviet state have contributed to the disappearance of many cultural nomad activities of Kyrgyz peoples', but it seems that during the last 20 years and after the independence of the country, traditional music and arts have been making a comeback. One example: the Switzerland-based Aga Khan Foundation supports 70 musicians across Kyrgyzstan who study traditional music with older masters. That style of music is strictly linked to the daily life tradition: the strings of qyl-qiyak, a violin-like instrument, are made from a horse’s tail. Kyrgyz used to ride horses everywhere as part of their nomad life. Kyrgyz Burana Tower Kyrgyzstan Burana Tower, dating to the 10th century, was a lookout for the city of Balasagyn, a big ancient medieval village. Fortunately, it was not destroyed at the arrival of Genghis Khan's Mongols, and it has been preserved to this day. One suggestion: climb the 25-meter-high tower through the interior staircase to finally see the panoramic view from the top. An experience not to be missed! Food and Drink If you like barbecued meats, noodles, flavour and spices, then Kyrgyzstan is the country for you! Tea drinking is a massive part of the culture and an occasion to share time with people too. There are often rituals on how the tea is served, who serve it, but often incomprehensible to outsiders so…follow the flow and enjoy the moment! Tips and Curiosity Forty: Kyrgyz’s Favourite Number “Kyrgyz” probably comes from the Turkic word “forty”, a reference to the 40 ancestral clans, and the country’s flag features a 40-ray sun too. So the number 40 has a special meaning for Kyrgyz people and is often seen as a kind of lucky charm. Land of Ladas Ladas are Russian-made cars that persist in Kyrgyzstan after the USSR disbanded. They are singular and cute, especially in electric yellow. More than this, they represent a part of the country's history. Easy Country to Visit Kyrgyzstan is visa-free for 45 countries for up to 60 days, making it the easiest of the Central Asian countries to visit as a tourist. What about Nature? Mountains and Lakes Mountains cover the country for more than 90% of the surface and peaks can touch even 7,000 meters. A perfect place for hikers, as hiring guides, porters and horses to head into the hills are very affordable. Mountain lakes are about 2000 in Kyrgyzstan: Kyrgyzstan's Issyk Kul Lake is the world’s second-largest lake in high-alpine environments. The surrounding of the lake is a UNESCO "biosphere reserve", and it ranges from desert to alpine tundra, and hosts endangered animals such as snow leopards and Ovis ammon polii (“Marco Polo sheep”). Walnut-Fruit Forest Kyrgyzstan has the world’s largest stands of walnut-fruit forests. You can find them in the western part of the country where it is possible to see walnuts growing alongside apples, pistachios and other crops suited to the dry climate. Thanks, to the Swiss government, attempted to help Kyrgyzstan in reforming its Soviet-designed forestry sector introducing walnut-fruit forests between 1995 to 2010. Three Unesco World Heritage sites The Tien-Shan mountain range, the network of routes that made up the historic Silk Road and the Sulayman Mountain on the outskirts of Osh are the three UNESCO sites of the country. UNESCO mentions it as "a complete example of a sacred mountain anywhere in Central Asia". See and believe! NOMADIC TRIBE TEAM Plan your trip checking out the Kyrgyz in our Tribes section. Cover photo Kyrgyz Hunter Eagle

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During my trip with Nomadic Tribe to live with the Nenets in Siberia I discovered that the clothes made by the tribe protected me more from the cold - around minus 30 degrees C - than the toughest adventure clothing I had brought from home. In the photo wearing the Malitsa, which is a Nenet coat made of around 4 reindeer skins -the fur being closest to the skin on the inside and the blue fabric on the outside-. ​@The Nenet​ #siberia #adventure

During my trip with Nomadic Tribe to live with the Nenets in Siberia I discovered that the clothes made by the tribe protected me more from the cold - around minus 30 degrees C - than the toughest adventure clothing I had brought from home. In the photo wearing the Malitsa, which is a Nenet coat made of around 4 reindeer skins -the fur being closest to the skin on the inside and the blue fabric on the outside-. ​@The Nenet​ #siberia #adventure


Konso Cultural Landscape: Terracing and Moringa

Copyright - Konso Cultural Centre. Find out more checking out the Konso people in our tribes section. A presentation of the cultural landscape inscribed in the world heritage list by Unesco.

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