Promoting traditional occupations in indigenous populations of Meghalaya, India

Kurbah, Sairabell ; Rao, PSS

Abstract

Indigenous people have the right to own, use, develop and control the lands, territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership or other traditional occupation. A study was conducted in Meghalaya state on 2 traditional occupations, blacksmithy and manufacturing of bows and arrows. A representative sample of 15 families in blacksmithy and 10 families involved in the manufacture of bows and arrows were chosen. Observational and interview surveys were done by the first author through personal visits. The analysis of data shows many positive factors for promoting traditional occupations that are worth preserving such as creativity, traditional knowledge, uniqueness, identity, self-worth and contribution to the economic and social factors of the community. The agricultural implements are still traditional and perhaps can be improved to provide better mechanical advantage and higher incomes. Traditional occupations continue to play a major role in the social and economic lives of the people and must be encouraged to develop further to enhance rural economy and also capture the unique identity of the people. Educational institutions, NGOs, concerned government ministries and private organisations through social responsibilities schemes can help preserving and promoting this unique but rich and wonderful knowledge of the indigenous people.

Keyword(s)

India; Indigenous populations; Meghalaya; Occupations; Traditional

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