Between 27th November and 2nd December, Hamilton will host over 3000 indigenous educators, researchers and students for the 7th World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education.
Hosted by Te Wananga o Aotearoa the conference will open with a speech by Cuban Education Minister, Luis Gomez Gutierrez.
The wananga has links with Cuba which came under scrutiny last year. Then ACT MP, Ken Shirley claimed in Parliament that the wananga had enrolled students and staff in a Cuban literacy and numeracy course to get more money from the Government.
A focus of the conference will be government recognition of indigenous peoples worldwide through international documents such as the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples currently awaiting finalization by states at the United Nations.
Other key speakers include:
LaDonna: Harris. Described in 1972, by her husband US Democratic Senator, Fred Harris as a “militant woman and an activist member of the Comanche Indian Tribe.”
In 1980 she was a vice presidential candidate for the “Citizen’s Party” which was founded in 1979 by “a coalition of left-wing groups” She was a founding member of leftist organisations, Common Cause, National Urban Coalition and National Women’s Political Caucus. During her career, she has served on the boards of National Organization of Women, the National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing, National Institute for Women of Color and Pax World Foundation. She represented the US at UNESCO under Prsident Carter.
Moana Jackson: Founder of the Maori Law Centre, Jackson has worked extensively overseas on international indigenous issues, particularly the drafting of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He was a judge on the International Tribunal of Indigenous Rights in Hawaii in 1993 and again in Canada in 1995.
In 2001 he was a sponsor of the Christchurch based “Arena” an organisation largely consisting of current or former Maoists. Earlier this year he was one of the main speakers at the funeral of Socialist Party of Aotearoa leader, Bill Andersen.
Mick Dodson: Convenor,ANU Institute for Indigenous Australia. Dodson was Australia’s first Aboriginal social justice commissioner with the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. In 1993 he was the Co-Deputy Chair of the Technical Committee for the International Year of the World’s Indigenous People. He is also chairman of the UN Advisory Group for the Voluntary Fund for the Decade of Indigenous Peoples. He serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the UN Indigenous Voluntary Fund. Dodson caused controversy in Australia this September after publicly opposing a scheme whereby Aboriginals living on communal land could own their own private homes. It was revealed his own home in Canberra was worth between $475,000 and $500,000.