Session on the role of Indigenous women in the preservation and transmission of traditional knowledge

  • Itsekiri NextGen Project: 2022 Session 30 Report
  • Topic: July Indigenous Peoples day
  • Date: Saturday 06/08/2022 
  • Volunteers Present: 4
  • Total Number of Attendees: 57
  • Timings: 9:00am – 1:00pm
  • Venue: Former Caravan 4, Aja-Pessu (Pessu Town), Warri
  • Main Topic/Activity: The role of Indigenous women in the preservation and transmission of traditional knowledge
  • Resource Person: Uwala Tedeye/ Eworitsemogha Wyse


Itsekiri NextGen takes it as a duty to mark United Nations day. This makes our participants conversant with certain happenings around the world. In view of this, we focused the 30th session on Indigenous Peoples day, with ‘The role of Indigenous women in preserving and transmitting traditional knowledge as the theme.

Session Delivery

The 30th session began with a movie titled luck. It tells a story of an 18 years old lady who grew up in a foster home and wasn’t lucky with anything. She never wanted her young orphan friend to suffer the same fate. She was determined to find a lucky coin to present to her friend as a gift which will make her lucky throughout her life. This movie was to catch the attention of the participants and get them focused before the session proper.

Prayer was done by the coordinator and the Itsekiri anthem was sung by all. This was followed by introducing the topic as the participants were asked to tell the meaning of preservation and transmission. A boy defined preservation as keeping a thing from getting spoilt, while a girl defined transmission as passing on something to another person.

Indigenous women are the backbone of indigenous peoples’ communities and play a crucial role in preserving and transmitting traditional ancestral knowledge. They have an integral collective and community role as carers of natural resources and keepers of traditional knowledge. Many indigenous women are also taking the lead in defence of indigenous people’s lands and territories and advocating for indigenous peoples’ collective rights worldwide.

Our focus was on the indigenous people of Pessu community which is an Itsekiri community as Itsekiri women are known for preserving traditions. This is evident in their dressing, language, cooking, setting the table, post-natal care e.t.c.

The session was more like a wake-up call to the participants to pay special attention to traditional knowledge from their grandmothers, mothers, aunties e.t.c.

They were made to know some old traditions preserved and transited by women. This sort of information most time can’t be got from the internet and library. Some of this information are not taught in schools.

  • Food like Banga soup is usually served with ewo (native pot) and made dry. The edge of the soup plate should be neat without soup stains likewise the starch or eba plate. It is not ideal for serving food with a broken plate in Itsekiri. The soup must be on the left-hand side and the eba on the right-hand side.
  • To pour out a drink to an elderly person, the ideal way is to hold the glass in the right hand and the bottle of drink in the left hand. The drink is served to the elder with a slightly bended knee. This is done so as not to pass on the drink to the elder with the left hand.
  • It is seen that young Itsekiri ladies can easily render post-natal care to their children, friends, nieces e.t.c. This is a tradition that an Itsekiri woman doesn’t joke with. The herbs needed to tend to the newborn are made available immediately after there is a newborn. They are also good at massaging babies.
  • Past events are also transmitted to the present generation through songs, folklore and verbally. Mothers while in the kitchen putting the children through with their chores tell stories even as they get busy. Events like the crowning of kings, burial ceremonies, marriage ceremony E.t.c.
  • Itsekiri women are good at making esuru (bead), pot making, and traditional medicine and passing on this traditional knowledge to others.
  • Mothers and grandmothers make sure that their children get to speak the Itsekiri language by communicating with them in the Itsekiri language. This preserves the Itsekiri language.

Chief Mrs. Rita Lori Ogbebor is a dogged and active woman who mentors young Itsekiri on different aspects of the Itsekiri tradition. She is a custodian of Itsekiri traditions, as was seen in post-coronation thanksgiving to umalokun (Umale Okun) in August 2022. She wants all Itsekiri sons and daughters to have the love of Itsekiri at heart.

Chief Ugbogbo Ebebe helped to pass on Itsekiri traditions in songs. From her songs, one could deduce what has happened in the past as well as how some traditions ought to be done.

Julie Coker is also an Itsekiri woman who helps preserve and pass on Itsekiri traditions in her kind of music. As she is a musician.

Other key activities during the session 

Some old Itsekiri songs were sung and interpreted, with the participants singing along afterwards.

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