Playing traditional bamboo flute

1 September 2022, Karlsruhe, Germany: Workshop leader Mary Chang plays the konkin, a traditional bamboo flute, during a workshop about indigenous women during the World Council of Churches' 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany. The assembly takes place August 31 to September 8 under the theme "Christ's Love Moves the World to Reconciliation and Unity."


“The Naga women in India play a great role in the peace and unity process. Even with this contribution, they are not considered as part of the generational link,” say Dr Mary Chang, principal of Orissa Christian Theological College in India. “They are strictly prohibited from attending or coming near community rituals and celebrations because their presence is considered a bad omen and a taboo. The customary law does not recognize them. Even in cases concerning them, they are represented by the father, brother or any other male in the family,”

Chang observed that the Naga women are often likened to a leaf, which can be tossed anywhere by the wind to show how indigenous culture upholds silence when it comes to women. 

Dr Anapama Hial of Christian Jensen College added that  “the Adivasi women have a lot of knowledge on nature. Their faith is in nature and they use this for traditional medicine.” She noted, “they till the land to feed their families though they are never recognized as farmers. They suffer from impacts of industrial development. Their land and natural resources have been taken away”

Reacting to the stories, workshop participants acknowledged that more stories need to be shared to enable a more inclusive community.

“Efforts have been made globally to entrench indigenous peoples’ rights in international instruments such as the 1982 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which was adopted by the UN assembly in 2007 and the indigenous women resolution by the 49th Commission on Status of Women,” said Chang. “However, indigenous women voices, values, experiences and knowledge have not been given enough spaces and expressions.”

Livestream of the WCC 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany

Photos of the WCC 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany

WCC 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany