The member churches of the National Council of Churches in India celebrated Tribal and Adivasi Sunday across India on the 9th of August (on the United Nations Indigenous Peoples’ Day) with the theme, “Tribals and Adivasis: Custodians of God- given Land and its Eco- systems”.
This celebration was a meaningful and timely one because the question of the rights of Tribals and Adivasis to their land is becoming more and more a pertinent and disturbing one in the present Indian scenario. The ancestral land of the indigenous people of India is being forcefully grabbed by the affluent as well as by the State under the ‘development’ rhetoric. On the other side, the rest of the world, which is experiencing the devastating effects of consumerism and ecological pollution, is gradually starting to realize that the closely- knit bond between nature and Tribals/Adivasis has to be imbibed to responsibly address the ecological concerns the world faces.
Tribal-Adivasi Sunday celebration in Nagaland
The Executive Secretary of the Commission on Tribals and Adivasis attended the celebrations which were held at the Lotha Baptist Church in Dimapur in Nagaland along with the Rev Dr Solomon Rongpi, the General Secretary of the Council of Baptist Churches in North East India (CBCNEI). The special songs and sermon on the basis of the Tribal and Adivasi Sunday theme made the celebration a very meaningful one.
Celebration in CNI Cathedral, and North East Christian Fellowship, Nagpur
Under the theme, Tribals and Adivasis: Custodians of God-given land and its ecosystem, Tribal and Adivasi Sunday was observed on the 9th of August in the All Saints Cathedral and in North East Christian Fellowship, Nagpur. In All Saints Cathedral, Ms. Esther (NCCI) from the Ao Naga Tribe delivered the sermon. She emphasised the close relationship of Tribals and Adivasis with the rest of creation in which their history, story and culture are entwined together. Forcing these indigenous people to leave their land in the name of development means loss of their identity, culture, history and story. She challenged the congregation through the teachings of Jesus Christ that we as followers of Christ are not to be passive when violation of human rights and injustices are being meted out to Tribals and Adivasis. Ms. Ao also challenged the congregation in North East Christian Fellowship, which consists mainly of indigenous people, not to take their status as Indigenous people for granted.
Reports from various member churches of the National Council of Churches in India on the celebration of the Tribal and Adivasi Sunday are coming in. We will share them with you in due course of time.
Rev. Sunil Raj Philip,
Executive Secretary- in- charge, Commission on Tribals & Adivasis,
National Council of Churches in India