Across the continent Indigenous and Black peoples found themselves in multiple acts of resistance and decolonization this past October 12 weekend, in unanimous rejection of European conquerors ravaging the continent of Abya Yala since the 15th century. The month of October has become a symbol of resistance against the Spanish, English, and French empires that invaded our territories, promoted nefarious “industries” of slavery and dispossession, and used religion and racism as methods of forced assimilation and genocide.
It’s been 500 years of resistance where “progress” and “development” have replaced the need for empires to assassinate entire peoples, making way for elites that to this day use religion, “morality,” and racism to maintain their economic control. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! The peoples shout louder than ever as they move forward alliances and creative forms of resistance that in the worst pandemic of this century has allowed them to survive, despite governments’ failure to protect them.
Below we provide a small synopsis of a few of the most significant events that have taken place in the past days:
The Bolivian country celebrated #DiaDeLaDecolonizacion and is in full electoral campaign after the Constitutional Court refused to exclude the Movement To Socialism (MAS) party from the presidential elections to be held on October 18. The latest results show candidate Luis “Lucho” Arce leading the polls.
October 9 was the Indigenous Day of Rage Against Colonialism (Indigenous Day of Rage Against Colonialism), a day when various Indigenous Nations–Haudenosaunee, Algonquin, M’ikmaq, Secwepemc and Rotinonhseshá: ka of Kanehsatà: ke–showed combined efforts of resistance for the recovery of lands stolen by oil transnationals in their fight for territorial sovereignty, the right to hunt, and protection of sacred animals such as the elk.
The Mapuche Nation led a March for the Mapuche Resistance towards the Plaza de la Dignidad in Santiago de Chile, despite severe police repression, as reported by Radio Plaza de la Dignidad. Indigenous and social organizations are fighting for the right to draft a new Constitution, rejecting the neoliberal one created under the Pinochet dictatorship that has dominated the lives of Chileans for decades. More than 40 indigenous peoples and social organizations are fighting for their demands to be included in the constitutional reform. On October 25, a referendum is expected to be held to approve the process of the new Constitutional Assembly.
A coalition of social organizations, indigenous and black peoples under the leadership of the Organización Nacional Indígena de Colombia-ONIC (National Indigenous Organization of Colombia) launched today the national festival “Volver al Origen” that feature various films on the right to resistance and sovereignty, as well as of cultural pride. The aim is to present the power of audiovisual media as a means of resistance, making indigenous and black peoples historical significance visible. Film and audiovisual workshops will also be held between November 9 and 27, 2020.
Similarly, the Comisión Nacional de Comunicación de los Pueblos Indígenas- CONDIP (National Commission for Communication of Indigenous Peoples) launched a parallel campaign called #ElTerritorioNosProtege that seeks to value the ancestral knowledge that lives within everyone in indigenous territory. Both are long-term campaigns launched on October 12th.
Finally, the Indigenous Regional Council of Cauca -CRIC launched a massive march or “Minga 2020 for life, territory, democracy and peace” towards Cali to demand that the Colombian state protect people from the ongoing extrajudicial killings against activists that have continued despite the pandemic.
A coalition of several regional and national indigenous organizations prepared several days of public and virtual events to remember and denounce the state repression of the protests against neoliberal measures last October 2019, which left several activists dead and multiple injured. Likewise, it seeks to continue the right to protest under the slogan “The Fight Goes Because It Goes” (La Lucha Va Porque Va) to demand that the government addresses the needs of the pandemic and withdraws neoliberal measures and severe budget cuts.
The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, CONAIE presented a legal claim against the Ecuadorian state for human rights violations during the uprising in October last year.
The International Indigenous Youth Council held a virtual Indigenous People’s Day of Wisdom, Art and Activism. This group started in 2016 during the Standing Rock protests and has members in 7 different regions of the country. Its mission focuses on “organizing youth through education, spiritual practices and civic engagement to create positive change in our communities.”
In South Dakota indigenous leaders launched today the #LandBack campaign to reclaim ancestral territories stolen by the US government, in violation of federal treaties, including Ȟesápa, where the Mt. Rushmore monument is located, which was built on sacred mountains against indigenous wishes and sovereignty. Led by the NDN Collective, the campaign seeks to “empower the indigenous peoples of Tortuga Island with the tools and strategies to carry out LANDBACK work in their own communities”
A collective effort of 100 organizations across the continent to combat racism and celebrate Indigenous People’s Day and transmitted live throughout the day. For more info see: https://www.blackindigenousliberation.com/
In Honduras, black and indigenous peoples continue their common efforts in the fight against extractivism and a government that has been implicated in drug trafficking by various international entities. The Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) launched a call to demand that the testimonies of victims in a corruption case against 16 public officials be included in the development of a hydroelectric plant in Agua Zarca.
The Garífuna community and Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña (OFRANEH) in Triunfo de la Cruz continue their fight to demand that the state deliver the 5 missing leaders alive–Alberth Centeno Tomas, Suami Mejía García, Gerardo Rochez Cálix and Milton Martínez Álvarez, Junior Juárez Mejía–by people in police uniforms on July 18, 2020. Amnesty International recently published an investigation into this violation of human rights. Please visit Sugua Community Radio for local coverage on this issue.