Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Indigenous peoples of El Salvador come together

A new article on the website Intercontinental Cry contains an interview with Salvadoran Indigenous leader Shandur Kuátzin Makwilkali.

Shandur is President of the National Federation of Indigenous Peoples of El Salvador, which works to resuscitate the vitality of indigenous cultures in a part of Central America where they have been systematically and brutally suppressed. The challenge is significant: 
"We don't have enough unity, solidarity", he laments, before returning to the positive: "But now we have a federation, present in 14 departments, with 10,000 members." 
The Federation celebrated its first anniversary on 21 January this year. In addition to its remarkable growth, the indigenous movement has established a small University of the Indigenous Peoples of El Salvador, teaching four courses lasting for three and four years. Students can study courses in indigenous medicine, the Nahuat language, indigenous administration, and biculturalism. 
Another development is the Cooperative Association of Savings, Credit, Consumption, Housing and Farming of the Nahuat-Pipil Nation. The Federation, University, and Cooperative make up the three branches of the movement that seek to mobilize, educate, and overcome the economic poverty of the indigenous communities.
The article goes on to provide a short history of indigenous culture in El Salvador, almost wiped out in the last century by massacres and repression.   In addition, the interview highlights the role of the indigenous people in El Salvador's environmental movements, which grows out of their connection to the earth.

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