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Many benefits to having ‘indigenous’ status

Dear Sir,

After posting my letter on July 21 titled “The status of an indigenous person”, an important and recurrent question emerged from a blogger and some readers.

That question was, what difference would it make and of what benefit would it be to attain the status of indigenous for the first pre-1800 community of Bermuda?

First, I must say I have attended United Nation regional meetings where the indigenous people had their representation.

You would not be surprised to see that many of the representatives and attendees would look like me or you.

That is to say they were not a stereotype wearing native dress and were obviously persons who had assimilated but notwithstanding proud of their indigenous heritage.

Some of the principle benefits are:

• Recognition by the UN as an indigenous people allows certain protections

• They are funded by UN member nations and these funds go towards preservation of what they define as their culture. Which includes history and sites of importance

• They will never be diluted as each offspring of every generation is entitled to the status

• The Bermudian indigenous person will have a common identity; black, white and every hue will be defined as a particular race, ie, indigenous Bermudian

• A place of representation in the UN among the indigenous people of the world

• Access to development funds earmarked for indigenous persons

• Being engaged with the indigenous global community, and, in particular, the Americas, provides a network of opportunity specifically set up for the indigenous community

• Possible cross-border considerations similar to those obtained for the Americas.

Obtaining the status is not a given; it is something we would have to apply to obtain.

Based on the generality of the UN guidelines, there is an angle of approach which would suit our case, particularly because we are the first people to habitat on this Island and we have our own unique accent and I am told that, due to inbreeding, have a specific gene identity which is more definable than, for example, to be Japanese rather than Chinese.