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Indigenous Terra Madre concludes with much fanfare

People enjoy rice beer during the ITM at Mawphlang on Saturday. (ST)
People enjoy rice beer during the ITM at Mawphlang on Saturday. (ST)
Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju speaks to media persons during the ITM at Mawphlang on Saturday. (ST)
Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju speaks to media persons during the ITM at Mawphlang on Saturday. (ST)

SHILLONG: The Indigenous Terra Madre, 2015 or the International Mei Ramew – a five-day international conference on slow food and agro-biodiversity – drew to a close at the picturesque Mawphlang Sacred Groves near here with grand cultural performances by regional and international artistes of indigenous origin, even as the Chief Minister Mukul Sangma called for a repeat of such international event in the State every three years.
The Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju also joined in for the closing day of ITM along with a host of national and international dignitaries, all of whom got a taste of delectable cuisines at food stalls, besides being given a guided tour of the Sacred Groves.
The day’s events ended with a sound & light show on the Sacred Groves.
Earlier, the Chief Minister along with Deputy Chief Minister Rowell Lyngdoh, Social Welfare Minister, Deborah Marak, GAD Minister, H.D.R. Lyngdoh, Urban Affairs Minister, Ampareen Lyngdoh and Lyngdoh of Hima Mawphlang, N. K. Lyngdoh lit the Dongmusas or the torches to mark the occasion.
Briefly addressing the mammoth gathering on the occasion, the Chief Minister expressed his joy to have played host to the many indigenous communities from the world over and thanked the NESFAS team and the partners for enabling the State to host this great event.
“Let us take this opportunity further to connect with the other indigenous people of the world and see how we can leverage upon the gift of God, that is the beauty of nature around us and our exclusive way of life,” he said.
“This event helped us to open our eyes to the potentialities around us, it has also shown our ability to be the best hosts,” he said and emphasized that a way forward has to be conceptualized so that it does not end here and set a benchmark for the future.
As such he proposed to have a gathering of all indigenous communities from North East in the State next year; a gathering of all indigenous communities from all over the country and Asian nations and then to meet again as indigenous people of the world in the year 2018, which was received by the audience with huge round of applause.
A special ITM-2015 Award of appreciation was also given to the Christensen Fund for supporting and funding the event. Receiving the award from NESFAS president, Phrang Roy, Alan Christensen of the Fund said that after coming here he never regretted his decision.
He told the audience a story of how a humming bird and a drop of water could stop a forest fire. “Our forests are burning and each one of us can be humming birds and drops of water; we need to come together to save our forests,” he said.
The highlights of the cultural performances were Mongolian Throat Singers, Pung Cholom and Dhol Cholom dance from Manipur and showcase of indigenous dresses, while the ITM theme song was performed again to mark the close of the event with participation of the singers from the delegation as well as the audience.

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