Progress Marches Over Indigenous People

Mexican Congress Votes To Hear Rebel's Demands
Zapatista rebel leader subcommander Marcos listens March 22, 2001 while Commander Esther reads a statement to supporters in front of the Mexican Congress in Mexico City. (Photo by Susana Gonzalez/Newsmakers/Getty Images)

Since European explorers first set foot on foreign lands native peoples have been subject to violence, torture, rape, and murder.

by Derrick Broze

March 26, 2013

From the Native Americans to Africans forced to be slaves, examples of colonial conquering are everywhere.

On March 20th leaders from ten Canadian and US indigenous groups held a press conference in Ottawa, Ontario to voice their opposition to a number of pipelines running across the country.

These pipelines, including the Keystone XL pipeline, will cut across land that is sacred to these tribes. 

Martin Louie of the Nadleh Whut’en First Nation in British Columbia commented on the situation, “They’ve been stealing from us for the last 200 years ? now they’re going to destroy our land? We’re not going to let that happen.”

A bit further south in Mexico we meet the Zapatistas. The Zapatistas are a movement of indigenous rebels throughout southern Mexico who first appeared in 1994, capturing six towns in Chiapas.

They have spent the last two decades building community, focusing on autonomy, agriculture, and indigenous rights.

In December 2012 40,000 people marched with the Zapatistas after they released a statement declaring the movement alive and well. Some believe the group has the support of between 100,000 to 200,000 Mexican citizens.

Subcomandate Marcos, the unofficial spokesman for the group, continued the groups call for “land, liberty, work and peace”.

The supporters of the Zapatistas reside in one of the poorest regions of the country. With government corruption rampant and not many opportunities available, the Zapatistas message resonates with much of the downtrodden. Community alternatives seem to be offering a better alternative to wage slave farming.

To the east, Haitian farmers struggle for independence. Last week hundreds of farmers met in the  city of Hinche to call for food sovereignty. They are demanding more space to plant their crops.

They are seeking land reforms  to give plots to all workers to feed their families and supply local markets. Protesters were also calling for banning chemical fertilizers and genetically modified crops in an effort to improve yield and reduce poverty.

In Ecuador the battle between “progress” and indigenous cultural history rages on. The government of Ecuador has targerted  the Shuar country of the Cordillera del Condor for drilling for gold.

As reported by Salon, a 57-year-old Shuar chief named Domingo Ankuash claims, ? The strategy is to unite the Shuar like the fingers of a fist. The forest has always given us everything we need, and we are planning to defend it, as our ancestors would, with the strength of the spear. To get the gold, they will have to kill every one of us first.?

Despite any technological advancements and supposed civilization we still see brutish behavior being applied to native cultures. All one need do is search the internet for a quick history lesson on the many travesties that have taken place across the world. If the knowledge of these crimes is so prevalent what is it that allows them to continue?

Some would say these circumstances are a by product of an advanced society and a free market. A closer look reveals corporatism, the stealthily guides the destruction of any people that dare challenge progress.

With the amount of disconnects in our world is it any surprise we have turned our back on our ancestry? Many people have turned away from everything, including growing their own food and even thinking for themselves.

We have lost our connection to nature, and as a result our own nature. By forgetting that we are connected to this planet, and living in charge of our own lives we have handed over our power to external forces.

Perhaps these “savage” cultures with vast knowledge of plant medicine and natural ways were onto something after all. If indigenous peoples can live on their own accord, learn to grow their own food, treat their own pains and live as a community for thousands of years, what does it say about our civilization with all it’s war, debt, and destruction?

If we choose to learn from our collective ancestry we can move forward. With our current technology and medical understanding we can form a synthesis between the past and the present.

By reconnecting to our world and ourselves we can learn where we come from, and where we hope to go. With a new found understanding of our place in the universe we can put an end to the tragedies that have plagued indigenous peoples for so long.





Derrick Broze is a founding member of The Houston Free Thinkers.

He writes for a popular independent news website.

He can be heard on Orion Talk Radio, Local Live Houston and the upcoming Unbound Radio.

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