On October 12, Latin America celebrates the Day of Indigenous Resistance. Across the region, the date was re-signified, having been originally attributed to the celebration of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas – or the “Day of Hispanity”. Even today, the date is celebrated in this way in Europe, as a “discovery” of the new world which, for native peoples, would mean centuries of exploitation and extermination.
Currently, there are approximately 826 indigenous peoples in the Latin American region. There are more than 45 million people, which represents about 10% of the continent’s population. In recent years, the attacks against the original populations have been accentuated with legislative setbacks, coups d’état and extractive advances.
In Argentina, the date was signed as “Day of Respect for Cultural Diversity”. Indigenous and anti-racist movements, including PLO Resistir y Luchar, Coluna Antiracista and Resumen Latinoamericano, have prepared a scrawl to the statue of former military president Julio Argentino Roca, in the center of the federal capital, in Buenos Aires.
Roca led the so-called “Desert Campaign”, which promoted the genocide of indigenous Mapuche peoples in Patagonia between 1876 and 1879. The act follows the demonumentalization movement promoted by progressive movements, which have fought against the homage to colonizers and genocides in several countries .
In turn, the Indigenous Women’s Movement for Good Life called for the first multi-national strike in defense of the Mapuche people, who have suffered violent evictions in Patagonia. The movement calls these crimes “terricide”.
:: Police besiege Mapuches recovering ancestral lands in Argentine Patagonia ::
“They are expelling us from our lands. Extractive companies steal our water in all multinational territories”, they say, in the call, which calls for the opening of radios, marches, concentrations and festivals for the date.
In the document, the demands for the enactment of the community property law stand out; a political, democratic and human device to prevent evictions and repressive operations against indigenous peoples; the non-criminalization of the struggle of indigenous peoples; and the approval of the law for the territorial defense of indigenous women against gender-based violence suffered in communities.
The Indigenous Women’s Movement will make a live at 8pm on their Instagram account: @mmujeresindigenas.
In defense of Whipala
Another significant event takes place in Bolivia with the so-called “Grande Wiphalazo”, in reference to the flag of colored squares that symbolize the Andean indigenous nations. Thousands of Bolivians gathered in different parts of the country to raise the flag, a symbol recognized by the country’s Constitution.
Wiphalazo not only claims the date as a celebration of cultural identity and indigenous resistance and in opposition to the Spanish conquest, but they reinforce the popular movement against the attacks of the right-wing sector linked to the 2019 coup, which has sought to destabilize the government of President Luis Arce (BUT).
On Monday (11), right-wing groups called a general strike in opposition to the Law Against the Legitimation of Illicit Income, which had its treatment postponed.
Yesterday, the government assessed it as normal activity in the territory and classified it as a journey of institutional and political strike led by civic committees that reject the bill.
Acts for the Day of Indigenous Resistance this October 12 take place in nine Bolivian departments, in which Arce personally participates in Santa Cruz, La Paz and Cochabamba.
“We are not bicentennials, we are millenarians”
In Guatemala, October 12th is celebrated as the Day of Dignity, Indigenous, Black and Popular Resistance. A march departed from the Obelisk towards the Chamber of Industry, in Guatemala City, with a concentration since 8:00 am.
“This October 12th, we celebrate 529 years of indigenous, black and popular resistance, because since the beginning of the European invasion, we have not stopped fighting the violent impositions with which they intend to submit and silence us”, said a member of the Social and Popular Assembly Guatemala at a press conference held in Ixil territory, to call for the march.
*With information from teleSur and Latin American Resumen
Edition: Anelize Moreira