US Embassy Launches Website to Document Tribes of Arunachal Pradesh

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New Delhi: The United States Embassy on Tuesday launched a website to celebrate the cultural history of the indigenous tribes of Arunachal Pradesh as part of celebrations of 75 years of bilateral relations between Washington and New Delhi.

The move – with an eye to China’s claims to the region – has geopolitical implications and is seen as overt US support for Indian sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh. Beijing claims the entire northeastern state, which it calls southern Tibet.

The U.S. Mission to India was joined by representatives from the Ministry of Tourism’s Northeast Regional Office and UNESCO’s International Network for Information and Information on Intangible Cultural Heritage in Asia-Pacific (ICHCAP) during of the event, which celebrates “the intangible cultural heritage of the indigenous tribes of Arunachal Pradesh”. The website offers a wide range of resources.

In December 2021, the United States launched a program through the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation to work with tribal members from 39 villages across the state to preserve and document their heritage through a series of short documentaries.

Speaking at the event, U.S. Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Brian Heath said, “As the United States and India celebrate 75 years of diplomatic relations, it is also important to highlight the richness of stories and experiences that come together to make our societies what they are today. . The United States is proud to support the culture of Arunachal Pradesh, ensuring the preservation of its intangible heritage.

ICHCAP Director General Jisung Kim said, “Safeguarding the cultural heritage of communities is an essential and necessary condition for sustainable development. Additionally, documentation and video recording become important as a means of education for future generations along with the development of technology. Through film, we can better remember and preserve the lives and voices of our ancestors.

This event was part of a series of “Azadi Ki Amrit Mahotsav” and US-India 75th anniversary celebrations organized by Contact Base, a Kolkata-based non-profit organization, in partnership with the office Government of India’s Ministry of Tourism North East Region.

The U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation supports projects aimed at preserving a wide range of cultural heritage, including historic buildings, archaeological sites, ethnographic objects, paintings, manuscripts, and Indigenous languages.

Over the past 20 years, the Fund has contributed to the documentation, conservation and restoration of 21 key historical and intangible heritage sites in India – including the restoration of Sunderwala Burj, the Batashewala Mughal Tomb Complex and the Arab Serai Complex Gateway at Humayun’s Tomb in New Delhi.

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