Indigenous resistance: my fight for land and life in Colombia
Publisher: The Ecologist
Date Written: 12/10/2017
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX21434
On World Day of Indigenous Resistance, Wayúu woman ANGELICA ORITZ shares her experience as a human rights defender, living and fighting for the future of her community in the shadow of the largest opencast mine in Colombia.
My name is Angelica Ortiz. I am a Wayuu woman from the Ipuana clan of the Lomomato indigenous reserve in La Guajira, Colombia. I am a human rights defender and part of the Wayuu Women's Force Movement. I am also a mother.
October 12th is a significant date for me and for the Wayuu people. It is the day they say they discovered America, but we were already here when the Spanish arrived. If they did discover our lands and our cultures, then they also found out the ways to force us into submission. Today is about remembering those cultures and peoples whose resistance wasn't enough, those who've been erased.
In Colombia, the Spanish inquisition set up a system whereby indigenous communities had to pay the crown a royalty for being allowed to work the land. Through that system, they placed barriers on the original people of the land, rounded them up and told them "you can't cross these borders", and in the process, created the reserves that we live on today.