Workshop, field training on cultural resource management held

Workshop, field training on cultural resource management held

ITANAGAR, May 30: As part of the ongoing Indo-US 21st Century Knowledge Initiative Awards, Arunachal Institute of Tribal Studies (AITS), Rajiv Gandhi University, Arunachal Pradesh in collaboration with School of Social Work, University of South Florida (USF), Tampa, USA and Research Institute of World’s Ancient Traditions Cultures and Heritage (RIWATCH), Roing successfully conducted a 9-day international workshop and field training on cultural resource management from May 17 to 25 last.

The workshop was conducted in two phases. The first phase (May 17-19) was held at Dibrugarh University with focus on theoretical aspects of cultural resource management. Prior to lecture sessions, innovative interactive sessions between the scholars from US and AITS, RGU were conducted which helped the participants from USF and AITS, RGU to connect with each other and gain enriching  perspectives from experiences of fellow participants on importance of  education, career choices and study abroad programmes.

The innovative interactive sessions further gave them insights into one’s different cultures with diverse worldviews. The age group of the participants ranged between 18 to 55 years. Some participants happened to be the first female graduate student from their community, some served in the US Navy and some were mother who went back to university after raising teenage children. It helped the scholars to keep an open mind to different situations and cultures.

The series of lectures by the faculty members of AITS, RGU and USF, were conducted on different topics ranging from history of indigenous communities, historicity of Arunachal Pradesh, folklore and indigenous communities, language as a cultural resource and research methods.

The lecture series also included lecture on North East by Dr Joram Begi, Arunachal’s Chief Information Commissioner, field experiences of RIWATCH on working with the Idu Mishmi community and projects on sustainable development. The lecture series concluded with lecture on the Underestimation of Suicide: A Study of the Idu Mishmi Tribe of Arunachal Pradesh by Dr Tarun Mene, AITS (RGU) faculty.

Apart from the lecture series, field visit to other institutes like Shiksha International School, Dibrugarh helped in comparative study of the education system in India and the US. The field visit to Psychiatric Department of the Assam Medical College, Dibrugarh included visit to various wards followed by intensive interaction sessions with the staff of the department.

A very productive exchange was witnessed during the interaction session where questions relating to various issues like treatment on substance abuse, drug addiction, mental health, financial aid to patients, childhood trauma, childhood mental health, role of the state government and NGO’s were taken up and addressed by the doctors and consultations of the department.

The second phase was conducted in Arunachal Pradesh – from May 20 where the team visited the Golden Pagoda at Namsai district on their way to Roing. A meeting was held with the head monk of the Pagoda, who introduced visitors to the teaching of Lord Buddha and his tenants. On 21st the first part of the visit to Roing was held at the RIWATCH campus in Khinjli village with the local community members. A visit to the RIWATCH museum was held where the culture of the Idu Mishmi tribe in particular and other tribes of Arunachal Pradesh were displayed. The four days field training i.e. May 21- 24 was a mix of various activities. Field visits were organised in villages likeAbali, where the team visited traditional Idu Mishmi house and interacted with senior member Bismak Linggi who eloquently explained the structure of the traditional Idu house and various aspects of Idu culture. He also expressed how as a teacher he felt it necessary to also impart traditional knowledge and heritage to his students.

During their stay, the visitors also paid visit to Deopani Tea Plant and factory at Iduli village, the orange orchard of Dr Ishta Pulu at Kebali village, Namghar at Roing, among other activities. Besides holding interaction sessions separately with AMYAA (NGO) and Enjalu Menda Women’s group, the team also had an informal meet with the ex-Governor of Puducherry and incumbent Rajya Sabha Member Mukut Mithi at his private residence.

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