Ten years after the Gottfriedson case class action lawsuit was filed to claim for compensation over the destruction of language and culture caused by the Canadian Indian Residential School system (IRSS), an agreement was made public in January 2023: Canada’s federal government is prepared to pay a settlement sum of $2.8 billion into a new trust fund which shall enable 325 First Nations to invest into cultural and language revitalization. The agreement is just one step on the journey to building trustful relationships between Canadian Aboriginals and the settler-colonial state, but it is an important one, overdue and urgently needed.
In the last five years, Latin America has entered a new political era with indigenous peoples at the center of these changes. The new governments in the region are promoting revisionist policies regarding past state violence and implementing new policies of indigenous dispossession. However, the observable trend denying indigenous peoples their basic rights, and their participation on issues affecting them, is not only an issue of minority politics, it also draws broader fundamental civil rights and liberties into question.
Desde el 10 de Marzo de 2019, grupos indígenas en el suroccidente Colombiano protestan. La actual radicalización de la Minga, demuestra no solamente la negligencia del gobierno y los temores de seguridad, sino que representa también un síntoma de los reclamos entre los grupos marginalizados: La Minga se convirtió rápidamente en un extenso movimiento con vías bloqueadas, en especial la vía Panamericana, con más de 20.000 personas involucradas y confrontaciones violentas con las fuerzas de seguridad nacional en los bloqueos. Esta movilización social en el medio de un conflicto violento con grupos armados está a punto de escalar violentamente, pero también ofrece una ventana de posibilidad para hacer presión al gobierno frente a nuevas reformas.
Since March 2019, indigenous people in the South-Western part of Colombia mobilize. Systematic neglect by the government and security fears have contributed to widespread grievances among marginalized groups in the country, explaining the radicalization of the Minga in the last weeks: It quickly became a broad movement with road blocks at the crucial Panamericana road with more than 20.000 people involved and violent confrontations with security forces. Given the specific setting with social mobilization in the midst of an ongoing conflict with armed groups, the Minga is on the brink of violent escalation. But it also offers a window of opportunity to pressure the government to further reforms.
The 14th of November 2018, the Chilean police shot the 24-year-old Mapuche activist Camilo Catrillanca in the municipality of Ercilla in the south of Chile. This incident received international media attention, but it is only one chapter in a long-lasting dispute over territory and autonomy between the indigenous Mapuche community and the Chilean state. Mapuche communities in Chile are demanding the restitution of territories, which were taken from their ancestors by the state. In order to defend and recover their land, some Mapuche organizations use arson attacks and land occupations. The Chilean government is responding with special operations units to ’control’ the conflict.