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Translated by Marvin Najarro
A few weeks ago in the United States as in most Latin American countries the Columbus Day was commemorated with activities in schools and a holiday. In the United States, November is the month of Native Peoples since 1990. As the paper puts up with everything, it is said its purpose is to commemorate the contributions of Americans descendants of Indigenous Peoples.
The federal government has recognized 566 tribes and 326 indigenous reservations. Now, why do they have them living in reservations? Is it not perhaps another form of slavery and imprisonment?
For us Latin Americans the closest is the genocide indigenous peoples suffered when Spanish thieves, traffickers and murderers invaded the continent. We were told about the patriarchal history of La Malinche but not that of Juana Azurduy and Bartolina Sisa. The Malinche was vindicated by Laura Esquivel in his novel Malinche. But patriarchy has been more powerful and we continue singing La maldición de la Malinche by Gavino Palomares. Will she someday be vindicated by true history which is never the official?
On this side of the border which was also imposed upon us to divide Latin America from European invaders, there are also indigenous peoples who they haven’t been able to exterminate no matter how hard they try. They all have been presented to us through Hollywood style western movies as: violent, with bows and arrows attacking whites carriages that pass through mountains and rivers. The martyrs: green and blue eyes, strong and blond hair Caucasian men. Tall and slender women, fair skinned and with indigenous maidservants. Of refined manners and taste. There are the TVs movies of John Wayne, the Gran Chaparral and Bonanza, which many of us grew up with, because the disinformation role of television is vital.
That same television is hiding what happens to the US indigenous peoples. The oppression they are experiencing is brutal similar to that experienced in the inner cities by the African descendants and the undocumented Latino community. However what Latinos are going through is ignored by the media, in the case of afros and indigenous peoples they have the support of alternative media and it is thanks to them that we have learned what is happening in North Dakota, where they intend to build an oil pipeline.
It is the same oil for which Mexico is in its actual state of affairs, and for the coup in Brazil, and the insistence on toppling Maduro in Venezuela. The same oil for which Gadhafi was killed and with it the Arab Revolution. The same oil for which they invaded Iraq and are bombing Syria. The same capitalism that has crippled Africa with the Blood Diamonds, and that continues invading underdeveloped countries for the water of its rivers and the natural resources that the earth keeps in her womb. The same capitalism that maintains its blockade against Cuba. The same one applying the renewed version of the Plan Condor in Latin America. Aha, the same one that has millions living under poverty in the US, and thousands of outcasts in prison. The same one executing social cleansing in Latin and Afro neighborhoods. The same one that kills blacks and Latinos in the streets like rabid dogs.
In the United States, the natives who oppose and defend the water of their rivers have been repressed in the purest Hollywood style western movies. The Government has already spent $10 million in repressing peaceful demonstrations since they began, Amy Goodman was the journalist sent before the fire squad, they used her as a shield to silence the natives but failed, although they imposed on her invented and nonexistent charges.
They have been tear-gassed, tied like dogs and put into kennels -literally- like the ones used on the border with Mexico to catch undocumented immigrants. They have been beaten and accused of breaking the order, many are in jail accused of things they never did.
The question, where are the millions of US citizens defending them and joining the demonstrations and condemnation? Water is life, drinkable, not so oil, no one can bathe using oil, cook their food, wash their clothes, attend hospital emergencies, and water the plants. A rain of oil does not grow trees, vegetables.
The indigenous people’s protests provided the idea for the many Anglos who in their Halloween night parties dressed themselves up as natives. And others in turn dressed up as the natives who are protesting defending their rivers. A total lack of respect. In November, Thanksgiving Day is also celebrated, a poorly told story, which says that the natives fed the pilgrims who came to America as a sign of hospitality and welcome.
The truth lies somewhere else, but it’s been hidden, children in schools are never told about it, it is ignored by the media, it is not recounted in Broadway plays or in Hollywood movies, it is not talk about in poetry that wins literary events, it is not told by writers who have received medals of honor at the White House. It is not exposed by murals in the great museums. No, it is hidden and is only told by those with Historical Memory -unfortunately very few in this country of large numbers of people manipulated by consumerism.
However, despite capitalist oppression, the Native Peoples of the United States, as well as the Native Peoples of the world, continue to be alert, fighting, defending themselves from the brutal attack of an empire that believes that by destroying the environment will survive when the water runs out, eating dollars and drinking oil. There is so much to learn from indigenous peoples. If there was any doubt, this is how the US government acts against indigenous peoples within its own territory, imagine what it can do in its foreign adventurism. I mean, if we have any doubt…
And one more thing, let us imagine what the Border Patrol can do with undocumented immigrants on the border between Mexico and the United States. Is there any doubt why undocumented immigrants don’t report what they experience during the journey to reach US territory? To have an idea, it would be good if you watch the movie Machete. And as icing on the cake, repressing them is how the United States celebrates Indigenous Peoples’ Heritage Month. Amazing…
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Ilka Oliva Corado @ilkaolivacorado firstname.lastname@example.org