Friday, May 28, 2010

indigenous truth in argentina

A fantastic article by Marie Trigona 

Argentina's bicentennial celebration - what about the indigenous people? And how does the plight of indigenous people over there, relate to our fight for rights, over here.
"As bicentennial events commenced, indigenous groups led a caravan to the nation’s capital to demand recognition of their sovereign culture and plurality, in one of the largest indigenous demonstrations in Argentina’s history. During the march thousands commemorated the nation’s non-colonial history.
Santiago de la Casa, a Pilagá community member traveled from the province of Formosa to push for a law to recognize indigenous cultures, languages and territory. “We can’t be happy and celebrate the nation’s past 200 years as indigenous people. The indigenous people already existed here. The other, the Europeans who came here 200 years ago can celebrate. They can be happy because they have benefited from the waters, rivers, air, earth apt to produce. We are sad because we don’t have a specific law for the aboriginal people.”
The Pilagá community has faced environmental devastation and water pollution due to the construction of public water works project which has flooded indigenous ancestral lands. Amnesty International published a report on the “systematic violation of human rights.” The Pilagá community numbering around 6,000 inhabits the bordering lands of the La Estrella wetlands. The indigenous have faced constant repression from security forces and threats, in addition to the degradation of living standards due to the pollution of the wetlands. The Pilagá face food shortages and risk losing their traditional ways of life, such as hunting and fishing which they have depended on for centuries."
These issues are global. The systemic, deliberate destruction of indigenous communities and peoples has and is happening all over this world and it is an absolute disgrace.
"More than 30 indigenous nations have survived the mass immigration of Europeans to Argentina. However, the nation’s early leaders led campaigns such as the “conquest of the desert,” to wipe out indigenous communities in the Patagonia south to make room for white inhabitants. General Julio Argentino Roca led this campaign in which “30 million hectares were stolen from the indigenous and distributed among the nation’s most wealthy under what is called the campaign of the desert,” said Anarchist Historian Osvaldo Bayer."
The article includes much historic information about the fate of indigenous people in Argentina - please go and read.

And what does it say about here? Maori are not alone in being denied their rights - the right to freedom and independence and truth. The right to live on ancestral land, the right to protect ancestral waterways, mountains, and other sacred places. The right to be equal.

Is putting stolen land into national parks any better than giving it to genocidial generals?

Hat tip Upside Down World


Anonymous said...

There was an article in a previous edition of Mana magazine (issue 92?)about one of the Maori owned fishing companies, I think it was Sealords, expanding into Argentina and acquiring quota in order to do so. I can't recall the exact details and I've passed the mag on to the whanau so can't easily check but I recall that at the time I was surprised that indigenous Argentinians didn't seem to have any of the quota and I was dismayed that the Maori owners didn't seem to have even considered that there was a bit of an ethical issue there. Is it alright for them to have quota in another countries fisheries when the indigenous people don't appear to have any? Would that be acceptable to them if the shoe was on the other foot, as it has been? Maori fought long and hard to get Maori fishing quota. I would like to think we would be supportive of the rights of other indigenous groups and not just rushing in when we see an opportunity to make money for ourselves.

Marty Mars said...

Very good points anon - this step where the oppressed become the oppressors is very interesting. I'd like to see indigenous peoples working together to protect and support each other not be divided against each other