Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

Study highlights indigenous response to natural disaster

February 14, 2014

When a tsunami struck American Samoa in 2009, indigenous institutions on the islands provided effective disaster relief that could help federal emergency managers in similar communities nationwide, according to a study from the University of Colorado Denver and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

The study found that following the tsunami, residents of the remote U.S. territory in the South Pacific relied on Fa'aSamoa or The Samoan Way, an umbrella term incorporating a variety of traditional institutions governing the lives of its citizens.

"We found that communities like this have strong traditions that may not fit into the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) model but they are still highly effective," said study author Andrew Rumbach, PhD, assistant professor of planning and design at CU Denver's College of Architecture and Planning. "We think these same kinds of traditions could play important roles in disaster preparation, response and recover in American Indian communities, Alaskan villages, and among other indigenous people."

The study was published Thursday in the journal Ecology and Society and available at http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/issues/article.php/6189

The 2009 tsunami resulted from three undersea earthquakes that sent a wall of water crashing into American Samoa, killing 34, injuring hundreds more and causing tens of millions of dollars in damage.

Immediately after, the leaders or matai began organizing the young men or aumaga to begin rescuing tsunami victims and clearing debris from roads and critical infrastructure, said Rumbach.

"The aumaga were crucially important for emergency response because with such widespread devastation across the island, they were the de facto first responders," he said. "Based in each village they are capable of responding to events locally and without having to be dispatched from larger population centers."

The association of village women, aualuma, provided first aid, food and water to the victims.

Another traditional institution, the pulenu'u or village mayors, helped mitigate the destruction by sounding alarms in each community to warn of the impending tsunami. That action is credited with saving Amanave, a community of 300 that was able to evacuate before water destroyed virtually the entire village.

All the while, extended families known as aigas offered shelter, food and other aid to vulnerable individuals.

"Supporting indigenous institutions through disaster management policies and programs leverages existing networks with high levels of social capital, while simultaneously strengthening those institutions and making them relevant to contemporary challenges," the study said. "It's a `win-win' scenario."

Rumbach said FEMA's recent turn toward more community-based disaster management efforts offers the chance to create more flexible response plans for diverse conditions, needs and priorities.

"In times of crisis these institutions played role of first responder all without specific training," said Rumbach. "That response could be improved by being trained in CPR, evacuation of the elderly and other skills. But we could incorporate these kinds of traditional responses into FEMA."

The lessons learned from American Samoa could be used in other island territories or traditional communities in the U.S.

"We often come in after disasters and set up whole new systems but in these places we could use institutions already in place," Rumbach said. "Traditional communities have a lot of capacity.

###

The College of Architecture and Planning is among the largest colleges of architecture and related design and planning disciplines in the U.S. Located on the University of Colorado Denver's downtown campus and the University of Colorado-Boulder, CAP brings together faculty, students and practitioners who share common pursuits in communities of interest including: emerging practices in design, sustainable urbanism, the creation of healthy environments and the preservation of cultural heritage. CAP is one of 13 schools and colleges at CU Denver which offers more than 128 degrees.

University of Colorado Denver


Related Indigenous Institutions Current Events and Indigenous Institutions News Articles


Size of herd determines status and access to resources in Kenya
Less livestock wealth, means less chance of access to arable land, grain production and friends. Kenyan and Dutch researchers Adano Roba and Karen Witsenburg have discovered that this is the hard truth faced by poor households in North Kenya. They therefore argue that poverty alleviation measures should also focus on guaranteeing better prices for livestock and a broader approach to developing drylands.
More Indigenous Institutions Current Events and Indigenous Institutions News Articles

Indigenous African Institutions

Indigenous African Institutions
by George B. N. Ayittey (Author)


George Ayittey's "Indigenous African Institutions" presents a detailed and convincing picture of pre-colonial and post-colonial Africa - its cultures, traditions, and indigenous institutions, including participatory democracy. Contrasting traditional African society with both colonial rule and the currently prevalent one-man military dictatorship, Ayittey concludes that while colonialism was pernicious and brutal, it did not totally destroy native African institutions and in some ways even contributed to their survival and regeneration. The modern dictatorships under African "elites", he argues, are equally pernicious and brutal, and perhaps even more bent on the wholesale destruction of African institutions, squandering human resources and diverting foreign aid funds to their own Swiss...

Cultures in Contact: The Impact of European Contacts on Native American Cultural Institutions, A.D. 1000 (Anthropological Society of Washington Serie)

Cultures in Contact: The Impact of European Contacts on Native American Cultural Institutions, A.D. 1000 (Anthropological Society of Washington Serie)
by William W. Fitzhugh (Editor)


Book by

Uncommon Schools: The Global Rise of Postsecondary Institutions for Indigenous Peoples

Uncommon Schools: The Global Rise of Postsecondary Institutions for Indigenous Peoples
by Wade Cole (Author)


Postsecondary institutions for indigenous peoples emerged in the late 1960s, just as other special purpose colleges based on gender or race began to close. What accounts for the emergence of these distinctive institutions? Though indigenous students are among the least populous, the poorest, and the most educationally disadvantaged in the world, they differ from most other racial, ethnic, cultural, and linguistic minorities by virtue of their exceptional claims to sovereignty under international and domestic law.

Uncommon Schools explores the emergence of postsecondary institutions for indigenous peoples worldwide, with a focus on developments in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Providing the opportunity to examine larger social, political, and legal...

Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples

Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples
by Linda Tuhiwai Smith (Author)


To the colonized, the term 'research' is conflated with European colonialism; the ways in which academic research has been implicated in the throes of imperialism remains a painful memory. This essential volume explores intersections of imperialism and research - specifically, the ways in which imperialism is embedded in disciplines of knowledge and tradition as 'regimes of truth.' Concepts such as 'discovery' and 'claiming' are discussed and an argument presented that the decolonization of research methods will help to reclaim control over indigenous ways of knowing and being.

Now in its eagerly awaited second edition, this bestselling book has been substantially revised, with new case-studies and examples and important additions on new indigenous literature, the role of research...

Indigenous Knowledge and Learning in Asia/Pacific and Africa: Perspectives on Development, Education, and Culture

Indigenous Knowledge and Learning in Asia/Pacific and Africa: Perspectives on Development, Education, and Culture
by D. Kapoor (Editor), E. Shizha (Editor)


This collection makes a unique contribution towards the amplification of indigenous knowledge and learning by adopting an inter/trans-disciplinary approach to the subject that considers a variety of spaces of engagement around knowledge in Asia and Africa.

In the Beginning Was the Spirit: Science, Religion and Indigenous Spirituality

In the Beginning Was the Spirit: Science, Religion and Indigenous Spirituality
by Diarmuid O'Murchu (Author)


An astonishing synthesis of humankind's understanding of the Great Spirit that energizes, sustains, and runs through all creation.

Poets knew it. Mystics knew it. Indigenous people knew it. Now Diarmuid O'Murchu unearths what religion has often forgotten or ignored -- the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in the breath of all things.
Using insights from science and spirituality O Murchu recaptures the enduring fascination of an ancient belief. He gives us a contemporary and unforgettable understanding of the Source of everything.
In the Beginning Was the Spirit is the crowning achievement of an author whose seminal works have influenced the way we understand God, religion and the world.

An Apache Life-Way: The Economic, Social, and Religious Institutions of the Chiricahua Indians

An Apache Life-Way: The Economic, Social, and Religious Institutions of the Chiricahua Indians
by Morris E. Opler (Author), Charles R. Kraut (Introduction)


Originally published in 1941, An Apache Life-Way remains one of the most important and innovative studies of southwestern Native Americans, drawing upon a rich and invaluable body of data gathered by the ethnographer Morris Edward Opler during the 1930s. Blending the analysis of individual Apache lives with the analysis of their culture, this landmark study tells of the ceremonies, religious beliefs, social life, and economy of the Chiricahua Apache. Opler traces, in fascinating detail, how a person “becomes an Apache,” beginning with conception, moving through puberty rites, marriage, and the various religious, domestic, and military duties and experiences of adulthood, and concluding with the rites and beliefs surrounding death.

Indigenous Churches

Indigenous Churches
by Bob C. Green (Author)


The book "Indigenous Churches" by Dr. Bob Green is written from the perspective of a missionary church planter. Having planted churches in the USA and Latin America, Dr. Green writes from 48 years of experience. He seeks to provide the church planter with answers to questions concerning "How To start and Establish an Autonomous (Indigenous) Church." There is information that deals with the primary considerations of "who, where, what and what not." This book contains details concerning the Biblical principles and the pattern for church planting followed by the Apostles. Church planters should be sent from a local church to a local church. Churches should be planting churches. There are sample documents such as Statements of Faith, Constitutions and By-laws. The writer has made every...

Africa's Management in the 1990s and Beyond: Reconciling Indigenous and Transplanted Institutions (Directions in Development)

Africa's Management in the 1990s and Beyond: Reconciling Indigenous and Transplanted Institutions (Directions in Development)
by Mamadou Dia (Author)


Authors: Mamadou Dia Publisher: World Bank Keywords: indigenous, transpla, reconciling, 1990s, management, africa Pages: 293 Published: 1996-05 Language: English ISBN-10: 082133431X ISBN-13: 9780821334317 Binding: Paperback List Price: 22.00 USD

Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action (Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions)

Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action (Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions)
by Elinor Ostrom (Author)


Congratulations to Elinor Ostrom, Co-Winner of The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2009! The governance of natural resources used by many individuals in common is an issue of increasing concern to policy analysts. Both state control and privatization of resources have been advocated, but neither the state nor the market have been uniformly successful in solving common pool resource problems. After critiquing the foundations of policy analysis as applied to natural resources, Elinor Ostrom here provides a unique body of empirical data to explore conditions under which common pool resource problems have been satisfactorily or unsatisfactorily solved. Dr. Ostrom first describes three models most frequently used as the foundation for recommending...

© 2016 BrightSurf.com