Since the 1990s the concept of interculturalidad [interculturality] has taken hold in Latin American politics. In Ecuador, it has been a tenant of indigenous movements and NGOs in the struggle to recognize cultural diversity and eliminate socioeconomic inequalities. The current government, under President Rafael Correa, has adopted interculturalidad as a paradigm shift against the state’s neoliberal past.
It is believed that this unnamed tribe was forced out of their land by illegal loggers and miners near the border of Peru and Brazil. Being forced out of their homes and hungry they were forced to make contact. Upon arrival at the Ashinanka village, they signaled that they were hungry and were given plantains. The next day they came back, not because they needed more food, but because one of the members had come down with cold or flu like symptoms.
October 13th is nationally recognized as Columbus day, marking the day Christopher Columbus discovered the new world in 1492. This encounter, as students learn as early as elementary school, changed the course of American and Latin American history. This year, many cities across the US have protested this holiday demanding that instead of lauding Columbus, we use this day to recognize the indigenous people whose land Columbus allegedly invaded.
In the spring semester of 2013, the University of Pittsburgh held an interdisciplinary conference entitled “Feminism and the Ruses of Coloniality” at which the Bolivian feminist Julieta Paredes gave a speech entitled “Communal Feminism is Revolutionary Feminism”. This year, Paredes attended the University’s First Symposium of Bolivianists, where she spoke again. Her talk was entitled “Depatriarchalization, a Categorical Proposal of Communal Feminism.”
Amidst all the political chaos happening in Brazil, it’s easy to forget that outside of the bustling metropolis’ lies a completely different side of Brazil. Brazil is home to one of the largest uncontacted indigenous populations in the world, whose sole protector against invasion and subsequent modernization is the organization known as FUNAI, the National Indian Foundation. While the Amazon region of Brazil remains largely untouched, both the national government and large and small corporations have been trying to make their way into the region, mostly using force.