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Why is it essential to strengthen identity as indigenous peoples?

Why is it essential to strengthen identity as indigenous peoples?


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In this way, the organizations articulated in the Unity Pact strengthen their bases of unity in the perspective of facing the aggressions and threats faced by native peoples and affirming a path of advance towards Good Living.

Clarifying the identity of peoples and communities, from a historical perspective and committed to their interests, with a current and modern approach to rights based on national and international legislation, is a key exercise.

The event has been enriched by the participation of a delegation from the Federation of the Achuar Nationality of Peru (FENAP), which is waging a battle for its legal recognition as a nationality and the defense of its integral territory.

Under the advice of the professional and technical team of the International Rights and Society Institute (IIDS), a fairly didactic and participatory methodology is applied, which involves attendees and makes them review history and legislation.

The headquarters of the Selva Maestra Agrarian Federation (FASMA) in the city of Tarapoto, San Martín region, becomes a hectic scene where national and regional delegates dialogue, read, participate and strengthen organic and programmatic ties of unity.

Why reaffirm a political position?

Building, validating and reaffirming a strategic political position vis-à-vis the State and society in general is an essential task for the Pact of Unity in order to define the foundations of its unity and solidly cement its own long-term identity.

The clearer and more solid the general objectives are and there is clarity and unity around them, the stronger will be the articulation that is built between the national organizations of the Unity Pact.

So that the process does not remain at the level of national leaders, delegates from grassroots organizations participate in the decentralized macro-regional meetings, enriching the debate and nurturing the proposals with local experiences and contributions.

The key issue of identity

Identity becomes a key issue because in Peru the indigenous peoples have received various names which have been unilaterally modified by various governments and currently there is a malicious intention to recognize collective rights to only a part of them.

So much so that despite the fact that the indigenous communities changed their name to peasant communities due to a political decision of the government, they are now trying to undermine their collective indigenous rights.

The issue of identity is closely related to the constitutive character of the Peruvian State, which was forged by excluding and marginalizing the participation of native populations, who have not participated in its configuration.

Hence the need to propose the re-founding of the Peruvian State in a process where all peoples participate as constituent subjects of a new type of State: the Plurinational State.

Undoubtedly, this entails the proposal to reconstitute ancestral indigenous territories in a comprehensive way and decolonize the economic, political and cultural model in order to cement a new model based on Good Living.

Contributions of the Oriental Macro panel


Maximino guevara, from the Central Unica Nacional de Rondas Campesinas (CUNARC), highlighted the valuable role that rondas play in the San Martín region, where they contribute to solving pressing security problems without receiving support from the authorities.

He stated that in addition to the problem of violence and citizen insecurity, another big problem is the abandonment of the agrarian sector, and the deforestation attributed to peasants when the real destroyers are transnational companies.

Conservation areas are also not respected and there are numerous health and education problems.

Guevara proposed that the authorities respect the autonomous structure of the rondas and agree on development policies with them.

Jose Chale Romero, from the Peasant Confederation of Peru (CCP), expressed concern that there is a greater link between national organizations and their bases because there are various enemies that corrupt the organizations and promote divisiveness.

He asked to show solidarity with those killed for defending the forest and those prosecuted for the Baguazo. He recalled that he is the only mestizo - not a native - processed in the Baguazo who has been asked for life imprisonment.

He asked that the regional assemblies of the Pact of Unity be convened and other agrarian, peasant and indigenous organizations be invited so that the Pact of Unity is strengthened as a heroic creation to solve the problems of the peoples and can change the Constitution that binds us hands.

Joseph Messiah, president of FASMA, pointed out that the big problem in the macro region is deforestation and stressed that there is no regional agrarian policy that serves 73 percent of the producers who are agricultural.

There is a lack of budget for research and technology transfer, the loan interests are high, he said. He reported that the new regional government is interested in supporting the agrarian issue and a table has been set up.

He proposed forming technical teams with the best professionals, promoting alternative and more profitable crops, applying innovative technology in the productive field and speeding up the formalization of land tenure.

Lucy rooms, representative of Fenmucarinap denounced the problems of citizen insecurity, discrimination in health services due to the fact that, for example, there are posts without drugs or where patients must pay for the ambulance.

He also stressed the indiscriminate felling of forests, the lack of a market for agricultural products, the lack of safe markets for artisans who see their crafts devalued.

He demanded credit for women, support for family farming and that support for those affected by the rust plague be made transparent and the supposedly provided support that has not reached everyone be audited.

Beatriz Caritimari, from Onamiap, agreed that the first problem is deforestation and indiscriminate felling of trees due to the fact that companies take away the wood for almost 50 soles.

Another problem is violence against women that is not at the family level but is culturally rooted. The complaints remain on the phone because the police do not have the resources to mobilize the communities.

A third problem is the lack of titling of the communities, and a fourth the health problem. They fill out a lot of papers but they don't pay attention. Every year the bureaucracy increases. There is also a lack of money to hire teachers.

Aymaras in the jungle

Although it does not have grassroots organizations in the macro-northeast region, Andrés Mauro Cruz Layme, president of the UNCA, to share his experience with the audience.

He pointed out that the Aymara people always move together throughout the territory and he is sure that there must be an Aymara presence in these regions where perhaps they are engaged in commerce or providing services.

But apart from not having a regional base, he explained how UNCA has become a third-level organization. The first level is the communities and partialities and the second level is the multicommunal organizations.

He recalled that the Fujimori government tried to weaken the multi-communes but they still resist. He argued that the main problem facing his people is welfare. “Before you participated for your own interest. Today the conscience has weakened ”he said.

Another problem is the widespread corruption in local governments that spoils organizations and leaders. Also, the loss of identity. “For example, Aymara is no longer spoken as much and less by children. It is a problem for us ”, he expressed.

He spoke of the Aymara Parliament as a way of building Aymara politics and narrated how a curricular project for the region was worked on. One of the axes is the Aymara University proposal and they have advanced in the exchange of experiences with Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia.

Necessary guidance


To close a first block of experience exchange, Ydelso Hernández clarified the alleged existence of various groups of rondas and made a demarcation with land trafficking organizations that use the ronderos' letterhead to cover their misdeeds.

In this regard, he pointed out the importance of being precise and avoiding distortions in the organizational articulation of the ronderos and that they are clear about through CUNARC.

For his part, Antolin Huáscar asked the participants not to depend on national organizations to promote regional events. He recalled the time when there was jealousy among national organizations but those times are over, he said.

Today we are strengthened in the Unity Pact as the only way to influence national policy according to our strategic interests as peoples, communities, peasants and agricultural producers. Clarifying our identities and reaffirming ourselves as indigenous peoples is the basis for strengthening ourselves from the grassroots with a perspective towards the future.

At another point, he referred to the process developed in the organization of the People's Summit against Climate Change and the World March in Defense of Mother Earth, events in which the Unity Pact played an important role alongside other labor sectors. and social.

This is the path indicated by Huáscar, to advance hand in hand with other organizations to face great common objectives, but without losing our identity, standing on our roots, which is the basis that gives us the north where to advance, he concluded.


Video: What does being Indigenous mean? (June 2022).


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