Kohima: The first of its kind, a Nagaland state level consultative meet with all tribal hohos (bodies) on documentation of traditional attires, motifs, designs, and ornaments was held at Capital Convention Centre in Kohima today.
Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said that, of late there has been misrepresentation and incorrect usage of “our traditional designs” in fashion shows and on clothes being sold on e-commerce websites without any regard for the people who hold these traditional symbols in high regard. Rio also said that this misuse of traditional attires and symbols, known as ‘cultural appropriation’, has to be guarded. He further said that ‘cultural appropriation’ should be taken in all sincerity because the unregulated use of Naga cultural designs and symbols will lead to distortion and misrepresentation.
Rio then clarified that it is not that others should not use “our traditional attires nor should our communities and entrepreneurs be stopped from doing business in our traditional attires, but they have to be appropriately used”. As such, the Chief Minister said that it is important that “we should take steps to ensure that cultural heritage is protected under legal provisions such as Intellectual Property Rights and Geographical Indications. “Only then can we start controlling and regulating the use of our traditional attires, symbols, and ornaments”. He hoped that all present at the programme would co-operate and contribute positively to this work which will ultimately benefit all the Nagas.
Advisor, IT&C, S&T & NRE, Mmhonlumo Kikon said the meeting was significant for the preservation of not only “our culture and identity but the progress of the Naga people in the days to come”. He further said that “unless our rights are enshrined in the various systems that are available in the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), we will be allowing people to take advantage of our heritage.”
The heart of the workshop, Kikon said, was to ensure that “we not only sustain and keep our culture and heritage alive but also benefit in ways in which the new system will enable everyone to prosper, and for this to happen community engagement is the primary approach”.