English Page

Indigenous peoples, less protected human beings

Print E-mail
16 October 2020
 A delegation from Maori (New Zealand) performs a ritual song at the United Nations in New York
A delegation from Maori (New Zealand) performs a ritual song at the United Nations in New York

"We are living in the era of prophecy and this consequent time of discomfort, illness, difficulty, testify that humanity continues to mistreat and destroy Mother Earth."
Iroquois Confederation of the Six Nations

The news of the Native protest that is paralyzing Canada caused a sensation. Local tribes hold the state in check by blocking rail traffic in Ontario due to a new pipeline that is expected to pass through their territories.

The Wet'suwet'en community and their supporters have been blocking the railroad tracks for months to stop the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, a 4.6 billion project that is expected to transport natural gas from British Columbia to the Pacific, thus crossing the territory of the First Nations.

The Wet'suwet'en represent 5 percent of the Canadian population and, like many native communities, still live on the fringes of society, with a low level of education and even problems with access to clean water.

The protest of the Canadian natives adds to the many reactions towards the states that do not recognize the natives minimum rights to self-determination and protection, despite the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples approved in 2007.

A similar case had already occurred in 2016 with the great peaceful uprising of the Lakota Sioux of Standing Rock, which gave birth to the largest indigenous rally of the century against the construction of the mega-oil pipeline Dapl (Dakota Access Pipeline). Protest that still continues since the project has not been stopped.

Aboriginal ceremony in Australia
Aboriginal ceremony in Australia

The Canadian natives are among the most active, in fact in 2013 the "Idle No More" protest movement against colonialist policies was born in 2013, and before that, in 2008, the Prime Minister Stephen Harper had to officially apologize to the natives on behalf of the Canadian government for the abuses inflicted on Indigenous peoples.

Heavy abuses that saw the government, religious institutes and military apparatuses actively involved. Thousands of native children torn from their families, abused, forced into slavery, and many of them committed suicide when they grew up. And we are not talking about centuries ago: in some places this situation continued until the 1980s of the last century.

But that's not all: the Nwac (Native Women's Association of Canada) has denounced the disappearance and murders of about 5,000 indigenous women from 1980 to today, a phenomenon that natives see linked to the establishment of the oil and energy industry that has seen a huge influx of non-native male workers within the territories of indigenous communities. The same problem has also emerged in the US: according to a report by the Center for Disease Control, almost eighty percent of indigenous women have experienced violence and sexual abuse by non-native males. Indigenous women would therefore be easy prey for hunting as they are not protected by an inadequate and often conniving judicial system.

Undoubtedly the indigenous peoples are the section of the human race least protected by the laws. And all this has an explanation.

There are societies among mankind that are absolutely invisible. I am referring to the realities of Natural peoples, those cultures that have kept their traditions intact and have not allowed themselves to be contaminated by the great historical religions.

In the planetary community there are two realities in opposition to each other: the majority society and the society of natural peoples.

The first one we know well, because we were born and raised in it, the second is invisible because it is part of those historical pockets that history has tried to erase by any means. Yet in every continent there are indigenous communities, resilient cultures that not only keep their traditions alive, but grow, beyond all expectations. We can talk about Native Americans, Australian Aborigines, Native Africans, but we can also talk about Native Europeans.

Chief Wilton Littlechild, head of the Cree Nation and head of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, with Rosalba Nattero
Chief Wilton Littlechild, head of the Cree Nation and head of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, with Rosalba Nattero

What unites these peoples, who seem to understand each other perfectly beyond the language, beyond their customs and traditions? What is the element that unites them? At the United Nations, the largest UN assemblies in both New York and Geneva are formed by the delegations of the Indigenous Peoples. Assemblies sometimes made up of thousands of delegates, representatives of as many ethnic groups, gathered together to discuss how to keep their identity and traditions alive. Many scholars of the majority society have tried to understand what united them, what fundamental element allowed them to always find common solutions to problems, which, as we can imagine, are many and complex.

When I asked this question to the various Tribal Council Heads, the answer was always the same: “Mother Earth”. Mother Earth. Mother Earth understood as the only true great mother, the only possible reference. Mother Earth, custodian of a great Cosmic Secret.

Yes, since these realities base their social expression on respect for Nature and for all its children, human and otherwise. In Nature they see their maximum reference. Not profit, not the accumulation of goods, not the oppression of the strongest over the weakest. Societies based on the concept of "ecospirituality", a term coined by Giancarlo Barbadoro together with the various native leaders with whom he was confronted and with whom he had thus defined the element that could best describe their common experience.

It is easy to imagine that these social systems could constitute a dangerous confrontation for the status quo of the majority society.

The plan to annihilate these cultures starts from afar.

A Powwow of Native Americans in New York
A Powwow of Native Americans in New York

The great colonizations had a specific objective: to take possession of the uncovered lands and wipe out the native peoples, and this by virtue of a Papal Bull of 1400, the "Discovery Doctrine", which authorized the colonists by "divine right" to take possession of all lands and all the inhabitants of those same lands. In practice, the settlers took possession of the lands they discovered (which is incomprehensible to the Natives: how do you own the land? The land does not belong to us, it belongs to Mother Earth!) And subjugated the residents by making them slaves.

Unfortunately, the genocide of Native Americans is history, which began with Christopher Columbus and continued after his death, but had its basis in the treatment reserved for the natives by the Genoese explorer in his expeditions. In addition to making hundreds of slaves, he ordered all those over 14 to seek gold for the Spaniards. To suppress the rebellions, he ordered a brutal repression, which included torture and the public display of pieces of corpses to scare the population. In a letter, he recounted the effectiveness and economic convenience of selling 9 and 10-year-old girls as sex slaves. Many natives committed suicide en masse to escape these disasters.

How can we fail to understand the current treatment reserved for the statues of Columbus in the US, or the Native campaign to abolish Columbus Day?

Unfortunately, this process has taken place all over the world. Sadly famous is the phenomenon of the "Stolen generation", which refers to those Aboriginal children forced away from their families by the Australian federal governments and religious missions with the aim of re-educating them according to the culture of whites. The same thing happened in the USA and Canada.

But what is often overlooked is that the same thing happened in Europe, only that it happened many centuries earlier. The general rehearsals of the colonization were done in Europe, with the massacre of cultures considered "pagan". We speak of the massacre of the Cathars, of the Templars, and we can also speak of the Holy Inquisition that tortured to death hundreds of people, both males and females, who practiced pagan cults. The repressions continued until the last century, with the banning of Celtic languages, from Breton to Occitan, or of the customs and traditions considered "dangerous" such as the typical musical instruments of Celtic music: the bagpipe, the harp. So much so that in Ireland to continue the musical tradition, to which their culture was also linked, the phenomenon of Mouth Music, the only sung music, has spread.

The Author with the Nobel Prize Rigoberta Menchù and Giancarlo Barbadoro at the United Nations  in New York
The Author with the Nobel Prize Rigoberta Menchù and Giancarlo Barbadoro at the United Nations in New York

And we are not talking about millennia ago, but a few decades.

Yet the natives continue their journey, carrying on their traditions and their rites. But now the pandemic has begun.

Native Americans are well aware of epidemics, especially "imported" ones. But today native communities are the weakest link of all American ethnic groups, finding fertile ground in the inefficient system of reserves.

Inadequate health care, the high rate of poverty generate chronic pathologies. In such a situation, the arrival of the coronavirus can be a further problem for the survival of these cultures.

Yet the spirit with which they face this further test is very different from that to which the measures, recommendations and decrees issued by the usual sources of information have accustomed us for months.

The statement of the Iroquois Confederation of the Six Nations expresses it very well:

“We are witnessing the pandemic of the covid 19 virus and its devastating impact throughout the world.

We are living in the era of prophecy and this consequent time of discomfort, illness, difficulty, testify that humanity continues to mistreat and destroy Mother Earth.

We want to encourage everyone to follow traditional teachings and take care of themselves, their family, loved ones and the community.

The Creator gave humans the laws to adhere to this. If we stay close to these natural laws, we will continue to live in peace.

We are witnesses of how humanity has disregarded these natural laws, disconnecting with Mother Earth.

We recommend staying connected with Mother Earth to create positive energies.

We recommend practicing our language and singing our songs to create positive vibes.

Follow the ancient knowledge of the Tradition.

In Peace and Friendship,

The Iroquois Confederation of the Six Nations".


Seguici su:

Seguici su Facebook Seguici su YouTube