Indigenous People

Resources on this page are to raise awareness  and history on the issues that indigenous people have dealt with for centuries and the problems they still struggle with today.  British and European colonial imperialism spread across continents such as South America, India and Africa since the 1500s, native people have suffered  enslavement, oppression and genocide as part of the agenda of the oligarchy elite to claim all sovereign rights to (other peoples land) globally, this is an ongoing issue. Therefore this page is devoted to telling the story of natives living throughout all the American continents in addition to  providing information to give support to indigenous people and organizations.

 

Photograph taken by Carlita Shaw © , Washington Square, San Francisco, March 2006. At an anti-war demonstration we witness several minutes silence  led with a Native American Prayer of remembrance by the American Indian Movement Leaders for all the Native Americans that have died and for all those that have died in war outside North America.

Native American People of North America

The Native Americans are still campaigning for equality today, after over two centuries of repression. The story of the Lakotah Sioux Native Americans  is a prime example of what the western governments will do to disempower peaceful nations of natives in order to thieves and seize control of their land and land resources. The  last great Native Sioux Indian,  ‘Big Foot’, tried to make peace with the white man in 1890 in an attempt to protect  his people. The Sioux people were instead gathered up at Wounded Knee by white american soldiers on 21st December, 1890, there was no battle as such as the history books lay claim. Instead disarmed Sioux Indians, men, women and children were all surrounded by U.S soldiers and slaughtered one by one, shot to pieces in an orchestrated blood bath.

Very little has improved for the Sioux people since then, instead their once beautiful and peaceful land has been transformed into a living. diseased dump over the past 150 years, with the highest crime rates and poorest health statistics equal to that of developing countries outside the USA.

The United States government has continued to violate treaties set between the Sioux and the US authorities.  During the 1970s, The American Indian Movement  (AIM) was born out of continued repression, but in 1973, again more Native Americans  were murdered by the government at Wounded Knee; when the FBI and CIA, had attempted to repress the American Indian Movement by planting corrupt ‘leaders’ to infiltrate the movement. A.I.M were campaigning for fairer treatment and better living conditions for their people. Leonard  Peltier is a well-respected A.I.M  activist and speaker. The FBI framed and imprisoned Leonard Peltier with false accusations that he had murdered two FBI officers  and  to this day there has been no fair trail or review of such claims with lack of  evidence.  Leonard Peltier  has been serving a sentence since 1977. He is a political prisoner who has served a life sentence, who’s only crime is to be a powerful speaker, campaigner for equal rights for the native american people of   The Republic of  Lakotah and to speak out against the corrupt government system.  Natives continue to speak out for their people. In December 2007 Lakotah withdraws from all treaties with the US.

“The Republic of Lakotah will not legitimize this embarrassing process. Instead, we will submit our report directly to the UN Human Rights Council, not to be filtered or sanitized by the State Department. Let us be clear, our report will be scathing. The United States continues, on a daily basis to violate the terms of the 1851 and 1868 Fort Laramie Treaties with the Lakotah. Our report will indicate that the United States never intended to abide by the terms of the treaties, and has violated them consistently from the time of their signing to the present.”- Russell Means –Republic of Lakotah, March 2010

The fight continues for equality and sovereign autonomy for the Native Sioux of the Republic of Lakotah, this  is just one remarkable story of the strength of people who have been violently oppressed. This strength is a song of the Elders that echoes through time across North American land, Central and South America, a song that has blown across the oceans and heard in many other foreign nations, such as with native Australian Aboriginal people, who fell victim to the same  colonial fascist imperialistic treatment.

Now is the time to give the land  and equal rights back to Native People who are the rightful guardians and who know better how to respect and live in harmony with Gaia. Our sustainability advocacy at Evolve to Ecology is a means to help indigenous people reinstate themselves and restore their equal rights and autonomy.

Central American Native People

The oppression of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras is a similar story. Guatemala a country rich in natural resources such as minerals, oil, gas and bananas. Jacobo Arbenz  was elected as the country’s  first democratic president. Arbenz started a land reform program in an attempt to give indigenous people of Guatemala back their land rights. This of course riled the North American operated United Fruit Company who owned most of the land in Guatemala, so they worked with the CIA to accuse Jacobo Arbenz  of being a ‘communist,’ although he had no communist connections or members of his party.

“Arbenz  embarked on a massive land reform program. Less than 3 per cent of the land owners held more than 70 per cent of the land. So Arbenz nationalized more than 1 ½ million acres, including land owned by his own family and turned it over to peasants. Much of that land belonged to the United Fruit Company, the giant American firm that was intent on keeping Guatemala, quite literally, a banana republic. United Fruit appealed to its close friends in Washington, including the Dulles brothers, who said that Arbenz was openly playing the Communist game. He had to go.”

This resulted in a war that lasted for 40 years and over 250,000 Indigenous Mayans, men, women and children massacred by US trained and sponsored Guatemalan military. Reagan continued Eisenhowers’ legacy to  slaughter and  he granted some 300 million US dollars to sponsor the massacres. Mayan people were murdered in the most grotesque ways that are comparable, if not surpass the atrocities of what happened in Rwanda. Indigenous Guatemalan rural folk became lifeless dismembered, bodies piled into unmarked mass graves, there were also witnesses  who saw groups of civilian Mayans being taken up into helicopters and dropped whilst still alive into the pacific ocean. The war was not ‘civil’ ,  It was a corporate war to rob the indigenous Mayans of their mineral and oil rich land. So that north american shareholders of  the then ‘United Fruit Company”, ( now called Chiquita Banana company), would remain stakeholders of bloodstained land; to dictate over the indigenous native people of Guatemala, continuing to finance death squads in central and south america.

Click here to read about ASCODIMAYA , a Guatemala indigenous human rights organisation, their fight for peace during the ‘civil war’ and the work that they continue to do today for the indigenous Mayan communities, to campaign  for indigenous equal rights to land, living conditions and education is highly admirable considering how much conflict they have endured.

Visit EntreMundos whom are a umbrella organization based in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, whom bring not-for-profits, indigenous people and volunteers together. They also produce a monthly magazine reporting environmental and humanitarian issues in central and south america.  Their website is full of useful resources.

The current Environmental situation in Guatemala.

Presently Guatemala struggles with an ecological crisis with soil depletion from deforestation, soil erosion is so prevalent that landslides are a common occurrence. There has been little environmental education which is why we have worked on environmental education and awareness in rural areas, to help poor people adjust to the fast pace of development. There is no support from the government to recycle waste products as a public compulsory consensus, people could earn money from recycling waste if a regulatory body was set up for this purpose. Instead domestic waste is tipped in the mountains regularly to ‘save money’ despite the fact there are about 20 recycling operations in Guatemala city.

Lago Atitlan, Solola, Guatemala,  ©

Lago Atitlan is situated in the heart of Guatemala, it is over five thousand feet above sea-level in the Guatemalan highlands, a hundred square mile lake,  surrounded by volcanos, Atitlan considered to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, and one of the largest and deepest (over a thousand feet in depth), in central america. Many indigenous villages and communities around the lake , all speaking different mayan languages. In 2009, as well as the most beautiful, it has now  been  identified as one of the most ecologically threatened lakes in the world.

Since the 1960s when tourism started to increase on the lake, just before the civil war was started, in 1958 Pan-American Airlines introduced black sea bass fish to the lake because they thought it would attract more tourists to sports fish on the lake, instead the sea bass  caused irreversible ecological damage to the lake as they ate up all the local endemic cyclid fishes and caused extinction to the endemic Great Grebe bird species,sea bass would gobble up the grebes eggs and chicks on  the lake.

Since only 15 years after the civil war, the lake has had a rocky road as development and tourism have increased and now the lake has reached its  natural ecological carrying capacity. The mayan communities rely on the lake for their everyday livelihood, the poor wash in the lake and wash their clothes in the lake, they also fish in the lake and rely on the tourist trade that brings in an income for the indigenous communities, they are the first affected by the lake pollution.

The lake is subjected to chemical run off from agriculture, and chemicals from washing detergent, raw sewerage pumped into the lake from Panajachel is a huge problem, creating a large nitrate build up  and heavy metal build up which has resulted in severe algal blooms of cyanobacteria and deoxygenation of the lake and therefore death of lake flora and fauna. To find out more, get involved and to support helping the conservation of the lake visit  Save Atitlan.com and  Save Lake Atitlan.org

You can also listen to Greg Beacon who has a radio show dedicated to creating action to  clean up the cyanobacteria and conservation of Lake Atitlan and the repression of indigenous people in central, south and north America.

For more details on Organizations and active support for indigenous campaigns check out the Organizations page on our website.

South American Native People- Exploitation of Ecuador’s Rainforest

An oil disaster the likes of never seen before: For Texaco to save money?-Texaco destroy Ecuador by using methods not environmentally legal the USA, practices including dumping billions of tons of toxic oil waste into the amazon rivers and land surface, instead of pumping it back down underground. These methods are  deemed substandard and toxic to human and environmental health around the world – http://crudeimpact.com

Above video on IKIAM thanks to Nomadic Hands.

Ecuador is where part of the Amazon Rainforest lay and it has been subject to severe exploitation by oil companies such as Chevron in Ecuador  who have destroyed much of the rainforest in Ecuador. There is a battle to bring justice to the people of Ecuador as some 30,000 indigenous people and mestizo (mixed ancestry) settlers, have accused Texaco, a company acquired by Chevron in 2001, of ditching 18 billion gallons of toxic waste water and spilling about 17 million gallons of crude into the rainforest during its operations in Ecuador from 1964 to 1990. These illegal actions contaminated the soil, groundwater, rivers and streams in the area, causing cancer, congenital defects and abortions among the indigenous population, according to the plaintiffs.

Emergildo Criollo travelled to California recently from his  indigenous village in Ecuador to the home of Chevron’s new CEO John Watson demanding that the oil giant Chevron take responsibility for their actions and clean up our rivers and forests – our homes.

Read what Dr Brian O’ Leary says as he speaks for the people of the Amazon, Dr O’Leary has been living in Ecuador with his wife for the past five years:

“Recently over 100 indigenous people occupying a bridge blocking the flow of oil company traffic deep in the Peruvian Amazon were slaughtered by helicopter gunships sent out by the president of Peru.

The indigenous people of northern Amazonian Ecuador and Peru have suffered immeasurable environmental and health catastrophes at the hands of Chevron-Texaco and are pressing a multi-billion dollar lawsuit against the company for the utter devastation left behind in the rainforest.

The native peoples of Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia are up in arms, determined not to allow these attacks on their homeland, and willing to fight to the death. The situation is reminiscent of nineteenth century U.S. seizures of Indian lands, followed by the utter destruction of their cultures.

Meanwhile, the Ecuadorian government’s ambiguous stance toward oil extraction, and the passing of draconian mining and water laws that allow multinational companies to come in and extract these non-renewable resources, have created a strong resistance from indigenous and poor people who are blocking roads and actually declaring war on the government in some quarters. Clearly, short of the total slaughter of the indigenous people, something on the government side has to give.

The moral imperative is clear: the temporary gain coming from a decade or two of extraction cannot possibly justify the destruction of an entire people and of a habitat considered to be irreplaceable. This kind of aggressive extraction is something that many corporate and governmental interests advocate, because their exclusive focus on short-term goals far outweighs their occasional thoughts about long-term sustainability.

“The dilemma here is that fast money can be made from drilling for oil, which is now the number-one export commodity of Ecuador. As the value of gold and other metals goes up, mining interests are increasing as well. The privatization of water and its growing scarcity and impurity are also ominous trends. A moratorium on all these activities is the only way to achieve any kind of parity, consistent with the recent and globally unprecedented parts of the new Ecuadorian constitution providing for the rights of nature and the equality of indigenous nations.” – Dr Brian O’ Leary on the Ecuadorian Initiative

 

 


The Documentary Paintings of Domingo Huamán Peñaloza

The Documentary Paintings of Domingo Huamán Peñaloza

Domingo Huamán Peñaloza award winning South American Documentary Artist of Bolivia, shows his paintings in Lima, Peru. Domingo is a unique documental painter with several Ph.Ds, his work here is documenting the history of the Incan People of South America, their culture and the impact of Capitalism after Colonialism -Pinturas documentales de Peru y Bolivia.

Domingo Huamán Peñaloza award winning South American Documentary Artist of Bolivia, shows his paintings in Lima, Peru. Domingo is a unique documental painter with several Ph.Ds, his work here is documenting the history of the Incan People of South America, their culture and the impact of Capitalism after Colonialism -Pinturas documentales de Peru y Bolivia.

On the taxi ride to the centre of the city of Lima, Peru, we sped past a street that had those beautifully carved ornate colonial balconies, which caught my eye, intrigued so I wanted to stop the taxi and explore that streets. Destiny had the same idea, as at that moment the taxi driver collided with a motorcyclist causing some damage to the motorbike, although no one was hurt, so we had to stop there and get out. When we wandered down this street, I stumbled across one of the most impressive art exhibitions I have ever seen, the paintings moved me profoundly, as it was a documentary history of the enslavement of the Indigenous people in Bolivia and Peru during the Spanish invasion up to present day.

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The artist documented the story in stunning colours and images, as I studied each one carefully and moved along the timeline of his paintings, I was completely blown away when I saw standing at the last canvas was the artist himself. Although I understood I was rudely breaking his creative trance, I boldly interrupted him, with the compelling feeling to understand more about the message behind his intriguing work. He was very humble and generous with his time and was comfortable talking to us about his work. He is the one and only Domingo Huamán Peñaloza, a multi-talented Bolivian born, Peruvian Artist, Doctor of Philosophy, Political Scientist and Professor. The artist studied pedagogy in art at the School of Fine Arts. He has a PhD in philosophy from UNED University in Madrid and a philosophy seminar at La Sorbonne, Paris. He is an established artist who has produced some great work all over the world, one of his best known works is Los Murales de la Humanidad, in Brussels, a wall mural spanning across 1200 metres in the Petit Château castle, at FEDASIL, Refugee Centre of the World in Brussels, Europe.

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Domingo Huamán Peñaloza discussed the theme of his work , he is passionate about the pursuit of justice over the exploitation of indigenous people and the poor, he has dedicated his life to documenting the importance of pre american history- Toltec, Mayan, Aztec and Inca his paintings interpret indigenous spiritual traditions, music and culture.

His paintings tell a story of how indigenous history profoundly changed with the Spanish invasion and with the advancement of North American capitalism in South America. His work depicts the influences on the evolution of humanity and our changing relationship to the environment, the important revolutions in Peru, the conflicts of science, religion, philosophy and art. The oppression of imperialism with the American empire and consequences of exploitation, misery and immigration.

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His work speaks from the Andean and Latin America perspective- the historical revolutions and their definitions of freedom or oppression. Throughout the five most important revolutions in Peru and and how the last painting in the exhibition will ultimately end with an ecological message. The story of predatory capitalism and globalization destroying our Earth, which resonates with my own work’s message. The importance of preserving Indigenous spirituality, connection with Pacha Mama, knowledge and cosmovision which share a fundamental message with deep ecology and the crisis of human consciousness and its destructive impact on our natural environment.

Domingo Huamán Peñaloza’s new documentary painting series can be seen at his art gallery in the middle of Lima based in an Indigenous cultural centre. You can visit his art gallery in Lima at 431 Jirón Ica y Avenida Tacna, Lima, Peru. Domingo Huamán Peñaloza Is able to do a mural series in exchange for travel to your country and room and board. Write to the artist for interviews or commissions, at dominghp@hotmail.com

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Copyright Carlita Shaw 2021

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