Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Community Development and Anthropology -- it's all about the people Pt2

Yesterday I spoke about my interest in Anthropology and the successes I've had in using it throughout my life. But it has also set me up for successful community development. I have worked with a lot of grassroots organizations and individuals trying to use my background in Anthropology to build sustainable development in organizations by addressing certain issues as they arise.

Community Development is the capacity of people to work collectively in addressing their common interest. This is what it looks like building from the grassroots to political will.

1.Proactive People: Goal: People work together. Action:Creating clubs, groups, organizations that furthers their specific needs and goals. Such as afterschool groups, seniors groups, etc.

2.Leadership: Goal: Building leadership and skills development for community members. Action:Using human capital, community education. Such as group facilitation, project leadership, self-help groups.

3.Community Action: Goal:Being aware of a need and taking action. Community development and community organizing. Action: Communities taking action on the sustainable development goals such as climate or poverty.

4.Strenthening Community Connectedness: Goal: Creating connections between people, building connecctions and developing community identity. Action: Using social capital to create community and neighbourhood activities as well as participating in other community's and neighbourhood's activities.

5.Building Service Networks and Organizationa Infrastructure:Goal: Strong services network, via network building service systems (i.e. referrals), staff skill development, development of the network as a whole. Action: Develop interagency, multi-lateral partnerships; staff peer support projects; and, restructuring roles and responibilities across organizations.

This now becomes the community capacity building part of community development. Building community capacity is engaging community members in identifying challenges and building on the strengths that exist withing their community.

6.Community Building through Community Service Partnerships: Goal: Build community through partnerships: learning, gathering, idenfitying issues and community assets, dreaming to planning, action and outcomes. Action: Create partnerships, value participation, shared power driven by organizations and community equally

7. Economic Development: Goal: Economic capital, economic growth and justice driven by business and/or by people. Action: attend to poliltical needs or political community needs such as a new shopping development needed in the area, or a housing cooperative.

Community building works by building community in individual neighbourhoods -- neighbours learning to rely on each other, working together on concrete tasks that take advantage of new self-awareness of their collective and individual assets and in the process, creating human, family and socal capital that provides a new base for a more promising future and reconnection to the larger community.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Community Development and Anthropology -- it's all about the people Pt1

I built a strong base in my anthropological endeavours. Having interest in 3 areas of Anthropology has been fulfilling.

My first area of interest is my concentration on Socio-Cultural Anthropology. Learning about people, communities, societies and the enculturation and cultural development of people has developed from marginalization and immigrant communities, to exploring equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), human rights and the sustainable development goals agenda for 2030. In Canada, we are experiencing a huge culture-shift through the impetus of #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, the Residential School graves, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls enquiry, and so much more. All of these inputs have stronger voices and still have a fight on their hands for things like basic human rights, safe places, proper housing, job equity, and all the things that have been historically excluded in an ablest, white, male-dominated, heterosexual society that favours urbanism. We call it intersectionality. I have developed and taken many courses relating to intersectionality, equity, diversity, inclusion, gender-based analysis plus, sustainable development and human rights.

As a search and rescue search manager I have been a part of the recovery of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Recovering their bodies gives me great satisfaction. They get their humanity back, they get their identity back, their families can better confront their grief and loss. There is no judgement from any of the responders about who they were but rather a sense of relief that another human has been found and will go through their human rite funerary process.

My second area of interest is Language and Linguisics. I have a larger than normal English language vocabulary which can be frustrating when trying to communicate with people. I incidently use a word that people don't understand and have to stop and explain myself. I'm working towards a regular vocabulary between grade 6 and grade 8 level to match the media's level of broadcast information. It's a challenge.

Not satisfied with all those English words, I dabble in learning other languages. Being a polyglot, means I never have to shut up and always have an opinion. :) I've learned to various fluencies about 15 languages, maybe more. I will stand by English as my go-to mother tongue and German as my second language. Then it gets a bit fuzzy. I'm conversational in Arabic, French, Signing Exact English (SEE2); I have basic Russian, Scottish Gaelic and Spanish; and, a smattering of Cree, Hawaiian, Hungarian, Japanese, Latin, Malay, Mandarin, Polish and Welsh. Whew! That's a lot of communicating and talking!

I have undertaken a research project in Afghanistan that involves deciphering ancient glyphs written on the stones just south of where the giant Buddha's used to be. In chalk, there is modern Persian but in red there are representatives of 3 languages and what looks like a family Tamga (crest). The three languages all were in use about or before the 4th century BC (Before Covid or BCE Before Common Era) and reflect the transience of a nation. The first language is Bactrian. It's what you'd expect in Afghanistan. The second language is Kharosthi, a language that soon merged with the Pamir language in the region. The third language is mind-blowing, but feasible. It's Ogham (ancient Irish). It supports the theory that the Celtic people emerged from the Caucasus Mountains and went east and west across Eurasia. The theory is still backed up by artifacts demonstrating language use in various places, particularly the Tarim Basin mummies found in Western China.

My third area of interest is forensic anthropology/archaeology. I am fortunate to indulge in this interest through ground search and rescue (or recovery), looking for deceased individuals. I have developed extensive knowledge in human osteology and comparitive osteology, looking for deceased people and reading on the subject. I even developed a course: Human Remains Site Management for Search & Rescue, that I have delivered to law enforcement and other search and rescue teams. As I said above in regards to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, I see that they get their humanity back, they get their identity back, their families can better confront their grief and loss.

That is essentially what makes me tick. It's my three areas of research and practice. I don't get paid for my anthropology, but then again it's my vocation, my calling.

Tomorrow, I'll draw the lines between my anthropology and community development.