Historic Meeting of Indigenous Peoples of Argentina

Historic Meeting of Indigenous Peoples of Argentina

Support our journalism. Become a Patron!
John Ahni Schertow
July 5, 2007
 

On June 24 and 25, Indigenous Peoples from around Argentina gathered for an historic event — the First National Meeting of Indigenous Nations and Peoples of Argentina. During the meeting, intensive discussions were held about land, identity, and other matters. And at the end, a consensus was reached: “We are uniting and joining forces, like small rivers which flow together to form a giant, revolutionary river.”

From Upside Down World “We have never been down on our knees, for over 500 years we have been on our feet fighting and yet today we have reached a new phase. What we are seeing this weekend is truly an insurrection,” says Samiyje community representative Fidelina Diaz from the North Western Province of Salta. “The Government policies over the past few years have pushed us to the very limit – this weekend we have joined forces to say “ENOUGH.”

“This unification of the indigenous peoples and nations in Argentina has been brought about by a rapid deterioration in their situation in the past few years,” explains Margarita Penailillo, a Mapuche leader and one of the organizers of the meeting, “Under the administration of the current President Kirchner, land is being sold throughout the country on a massive scale to multi national companies representing in particular petroleum, open caste mining and genetically modified soy industries. To make way for these companies, indigenous peoples are being violently evicted from land which belonged to their ancestors.” {…}

Representatives from the North and the Centre of the country described their resistance to massive deforestation – in one province an area 26 times the size of the city of Buenos Aires had been cut down in the space of four years to make way for soy plantations controlled by multinational companies specialising in genetically modified seeds. Martines Lopez of the Union Campesina of the Chaco region told of how these companies were forcing indigenous and other small scale farmers from their land by carrying out fertilisation from the air, spraying chemicals which made it impossible for the community to stay for health reasons. He also explained how the companies placed their own private security guards on the land who were prepared to shoot at any so-called intruder. {…}

“Slowly the Government has been killing us with its policies. The only thing we have left is our life, the two legs we are standing on, they have taken everything else away from us,” says Margarita, ” As a result we are now prepared to loose our lives in this new struggle so that our children will have opportunities and the possibility of a dignified life.” (Read the full article)

We're fighting for our lives

Indigenous Peoples are putting their bodies on the line and it's our responsibility to make sure you know why. That takes time, expertise and resources - and we're up against a constant tide of misinformation and distorted coverage. By supporting IC you're empowering the kind of journalism we need, at the moment we need it most.

independent uncompromising indigenous
Except where otherwise noted, articles on this website are licensed under a Creative Commons License
IC is a publication of the Center for World Indigenous Studies (cwis.org), a 501C(3) based in the United States