A section of gathering attending the coordination meet of all the tribal bodies of Kohima unit held at the conference hall of Department of Science & Technology, Kohima on August 17. (Photo Courtesy: NSTC)

Kohima, August 17 (MExN): Realizing the need to create awareness on how to protect the rich traditional heritage, the Nagaland Science & Technology Council (NSTC) today conducted one day coordination meet on protection of indigenous and traditional knowledge, textiles & handicrafts.

The meeting, held at the Conference Hall of Department of Science & Technology, Kohima, was attended by 60 representatives from Kohima unit of different tribal bodies.

Through this meet, the NSTC disseminated the information on know how to secure the traditional rights while drawing attention on those rights, informed the Council in a press release.

Vitono Gugu Haralu, social activist and director Path Finders facilitated the programme and introduced the purpose and importance of capacitating and empowering the community leaders through such forums.

Stating that the objective is to educate the mass in preserving, protecting and promoting the heritage before losing out on what the people still have by exercising their indigenous rights, she stressed that men, women and youth are the equal custodian of traditional heritage.

Dr. Zavei Hiese, Chief Scientist Officer focused on the role of the department and encouraged the community leaders based in Kohima to avail the resources available and equip themselves to empower their people in the district levels.

Work together by taking equal ownership to safeguard what is rightfully theirs, he added.

Dr. Nesatalu Hiese, Scientist D talked on the importance and significance of Geographical Indication (GI) and how relevant it is in the tribal context in Nagaland.

She highlighted that under the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) regime, and GI Act of India 1999, there is provision to protect our rich traditional heritage and attires and it is important to protect from piracy and misuse and also to accrue benefits from this traditional heritage.

“It is therefore very important that the various tribal groups are made aware of this and then move for filing of GI, patent etc. This has become more important because there has been an alarming increase in the recent years on the use of Naga traditional designs by national and international designers without due acknowledgement or royalty to the concern tribes,” she said.

A short experience was shared by Vechisalu Nukhu, ex-president Chakhesang Women Welfare Society on GI filing on Chakhesang shawls which was granted in 2017.

She also encouraged the gathering to pursue to start documenting and file for the same on the traditional attires on priority basis.

This coordination meet also discussed and deliberated on the upcoming state level workshop to be held in October with various stakeholders and build a bridge between the apex tribal organizations and the department.

A coordination committee has been constituted, endorsed by Kohima Unit to communicate and work smoothly, the release added.