III. UNDRIP, Ministry, and the construction of Peace and Dialogue (UN Indigenous People)
Robert Omondi, Apiyo, cmf
Dip. Sciences of Human Development
B.A. in Philosophy; B.A Social Ministry,
Coordinator JPIC St. Charles Lwanga Ind. Del.
Coordinator Claretians at UNEP
Claretian Independent Del. of St. Charles Lwanga: East Africa
UNDRIP, Indigenous Youth Ministry, and Peace
The demographical bracket that the state and the church define as a homogenous group of youths also constitutes what the indigenous group in Northern Kenya would call Moraans. These are highly mobile and youthful indigenous warriors traditionally prepared to provide defensive and offensive security in a highly volatile zone characterized by a long-established tradition of armed cattle raiding. Youth ministry in this area must take cognizant of the fact that there is a significant population of youths who belong to the Moraans category. There is, therefore, a strong link between youth ministry and peace ministry in these areas.
As regards the provision of education as a public good, the state-designed sedentary formal education and curriculums fail to factor in the distinct reality of the highly mobile and active indigenous warrior-youths (Moraans). This is a vital and sensitive constituency that is traditionally set apart to provide physical security within Indigenous peoples’ living ecosystem. To the extent that the Indigenous people’s economy is predominantly livestock-based, the pastoralist’s ecosystem will systemically produce Moraans for physical security in a highly volatile zone characterized by well-armed cattle raiders.
Within the church, the moraan-warriors, by age, belong to the youth category. They would therefore be a target group for youth ministry. Yet, given their high mobility and warrior-life formation the church has not found a distinctively innovative way of evangelizing or accompanying them. The different entities of Justice and Peace offices in the Church are yet to find a way of reaching out and into their unique universe as core actors on the subject of peace and security. While the church is not bound by UNDRIP as a framework, she has an obligation to study the reality of the Indigenous people’s living ecosystem with new lenses. These lenses must help her to re-design an evangelization approach that would be responsive to their unique ecosystem. This would also imply re-reading recent social doctrines like Laudato Si not just like a ‘green’ document but with an integrally humanizing hermeneutical key which includes addressing the body of the church that constitutes the indigenous people.
UNDRIP Framework and Congregational Best Practices
The Claretian’s presence among the Turkana indigenous people in Ngaremara Mission in the Catholic Vicariate of Isiolo is coming to a decade. We are yet to establish a distinct ministerial approach strategically designed for a responsive apostolate among the conflict-prone Pastoralists people. It is obvious that adapting the UNDRIP framework in a non-signatory state would be challenging. There are, however, models from whom we could learn to enrich our ministry to the Indigenous People in a way that would be closer to the UNDRIP framework. One particular Continental conference we can learn from is Claretians in the Americas (MICLA).
Toward building a Peaceful Pastoralist’s Ecosystem through Development and Research Operations [Centro– Ppedro]
The UNDRIP framework can also be used as a guide in the congregation by initiating a ministry to serve the specific and distinct causes of the indigenous people. On this subject, the congregation is blessed with a rich ministerial heritage for serving the cause of the Indigenous People in the person of the Late Bishop Pedro Casaldàliga cmf. Dom Pedro understood the ‘Indigenous World’ as a unique and distinct pastoral field. He also understood the need for the simultaneous application of the Human Right Based Approach (HRBA) as well as the Distinction-Based Approach (DBA).
He clearly stated that his first Evangelization Priority was to be at the service of the indigenous people. He as well spoke of an Indigenous Pastoral Ministry, which is designed for recovering the identity of all indigenous peoples; their full rights; their territories; their cultures, and within their cultures, their particular languages (language is half of a people’s culture; as long as a people maintains its own language it remains “that” people). He further held that the land question must be at the center of Indigenous people’s Pastoral Ministry. This, he observed, can only be done effectively after the formation of indigenous people’s leaders through educating them on their rights. Finally, he pointed out the importance of forming a coalition of Missionaries for Indigenous people to form prophetic solidarity on behalf of the indigenous people.
Our Mission among the Pastoralists Communities in Isiolo Mission-Kenya also needs some level of reconfiguration. Inspired by the spirit of Dom Pedro and the standards of UNDRIP, it needs to re-organize itself towards serving las Casas for the Indigenous people. For this reason, lower-level reflections have started for a peace initiative called Centro– Ppedro. ‘Pedro’ here refers to the inspiration from the person of Late Bishop Pedro Casaldàliga cmf towards the establishment of a ministerial peace approach for building a Peaceful Pastoralist’s Ecosystem through Development and Research Operations [PpEDRO]
Robert Omondi, Apiyo, cmf