Vision & Celebrate
A foundational moment of any self-strengthening process is when the community recognizes itself as the custodian of its territory of life, and collectively commits to maintaining that role into the future. This commitment may look different for different peoples and communities, but it usually centres on the collective capacities and will to govern and manage the relevant territory.
Self-recognition as a community custodian is stronger when built upon or along with a shared vision of the future for the territory of life. Some communities feel that such a vision is implicit in their spiritual beliefs and way of life, but still find it useful to make it explicit. Others may find it useful to generate, or further develop and articulate such a vision. While agreeing upon a shared vision is far from simple, this goal can be achieved with sensitive facilitation and time to discuss and evaluate options.
The moment of collective self-recognition of your community may culminate in an event where you will affirm the vision of the desired future, commit to your role as custodians and kindle your enthusiasm and sense of unity. This may require a substantial amount of prior organising, developing elements of shared understandings that may take months or years to grow.
In all cases, if and when your community recognizes itself as custodian of the territory of life and commits to continuing in that role… the moment calls for a celebration or other appropriate event!
It can be argued that the collective capacities to govern and manage will contribute to— and strengthen— the collective rights and responsibilities for the conservation (diversity, integrity…) of the territory and for the sustainable self-determination of its custodians. Depending on the context, your community will then decide whether it will seek to have such rights and responsibilities recognized in national legislation and policy, and/or in practice. In other words, do you need and wish to receive respect and appropriate support (including FPIC for interventions) from other communities, the state, and other external actors? If so, you can best seek this from a firm grounding in your own self-recognition and commitment.
Header Photo: © Ashish Kothari