Peoples from the North-East are also part of us

Fr. Walter Fernandes S.J. was beaming at the closing ceremony of SAPI. He had brought a contingent of enthusiastic people from the 7 North Eastern states to the Forum with great difficulty. We were all aware of the sensitive relations between some of the indigenous people from these states and the rest of India. There were many misunderstandings during the first days, though it was really no one?s fault, as Walter himself acknowledged at a meeting of coordinators. In one of the short speeches at the closing ceremony, the Naga representative read a political demand stating conditions for freedom. He was heard with attention, he was given a space. The first linkage foundation, however tenuous, had been established, and could be developed in future interactions among indigenous peoples, Adivasis and tribals. Yes, these are small but meaningful steps. [HL40133]