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Statement of education

Arctic Region - Inuit Youth International-Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues 12-23 May 2003



Mr. Chairman, on behalf of the youth in the Arctic Region, it is an honour to present this statement regarding education.

My name is Aviaja E. Lynge and I belong to the Inuit in Greenland.

Locally, regionally and internationally, we all discuss the issue of the importance of educating indigenous youth as we are the ones who will carry on the fight for greater self-determination.

We do see education as a crucial necessity. However, there are some important issues that we wAUld like to bring to the Permanent Forum Members, as well for our older delegates and observers.

We already know to which degree the western standards in many ways controls our societies, for example, through the economist approach. In this economist approach is also education, which means that we need to have as many indigenous young persons to take educations as possible. However, without the social capital being incorporated in this regard, we know that the road to achieve that goal will be long.

Although it is recognized that the right to education is a fundamental right, there is a missing link to indigenous current situations regarding social and cultural realities.

Specific symptoms to this are a high number of young indigenous persons dropping out of their educations. Young people giving up because of mental health problems, because they do not master the colonial language well enough or because the education systems work so differently from their own culture.

In our fight for decolonisation, it is unacceptable that the youth have to use so many resources on such problems and loose self-esteem because they not necessarily fit into western standards.

Therefore, we would like to recommend following with regard to youth and education:


Greater attention and efforts to diminish youth drop out from educations, by offering culturally specific help to yo&pg people with mental health problems.

To this, we hesitate that its time also to make other efforts that not only deals with preventional work and help for those who already dropped out of their educations or even already tried to commit suicide.

It is time to recognize the need to empower the youth who stands between those two realities too. We cannot afford to wait for them being lost - before we realise that they needed help long time before we recognized it.


That indigenous youth with language problems should be given special attention.

This could happen through ECOSOC reaching UNESCO to convene a conference on language on endangered indigenous languages.

We, the youth, need your encouragement to our concerned issues in our fight against the traits of colonisation:

Thank you for listening.