After reading a couple articles from the website of Tess Thakara, Survival International, an organization working for tribal peoples’ rights worldwide, and environmental issues. I was intrigued by an article about “uncontacted Indians From Peru”, as Peruvian I am aware of several cases of tribal’s population being threatened not only by oil and mining foreign companies but by  their own Peruvian government interested in develop and exploiting their lands to export their natural resources at any cost.

After reading the article about “Uncontacted indians from Peru” I remembered a you tube video when the ex president of Peru Alan Garcia, who was a big suported of transnational companies in Peru,  said about what he referred as ”the pantheistic absurd ideologies of the peruvian indian and tribal people,” obviously because he was only interested in exploiting the business potentialof the  land even if it has religious, environmental or social impact for the people and their villages that originally and historically have settle in this lands for centuries.

Below I try to translate the embarrassing interview, to understand what the ex-president said and realize that first of all the governments of our countries need to have more respect for the ancient culture even though their land are rich in natural resources.

Translation of the interview:

First of all defeat the pantheistic absurd ideologies than believe that walls are gods, the air is god, returning to their primitive religious form, when they say “don’t touch this mountain because is an “APU”* and is full of the millennial soul…and I don’t know what!?  Well if we arrive to that, let’s don’t do anything, no mining, don’t touch this fishes because they are god’s creatures, and are the expression of the god Poseidon. We return to this primitive “animism.” I think we need more education, but this is a long process.

The population from the villages said don’t touch this zone because is a sanctuary and I ask myself, sanctuary of what? If it is an environmental sanctuary very well!, but if it is a sanctuary because they contain the soul of the ancestors, hey! the soul of the ancestors are in paradise not here, and left the people who are alive to consume and use those resources, and create work with new investments in these mountains [making the allusion to accept the mining development in this ancestors areas].

For the international community it is more clear that the threats against Indian and tribal lands need to be taken seriuslly, but for the nationals it seams like this is not clear enough, first of all because every decision is taken from the center, the capital Lima, without any real knowledge of every local situation, and the other problem is that this tribal land does not have ” legal property rights” of their own lands, sometimes because they live as nomads or because their understanding of the land ownership is not individual based but community based.

Peru is characterised by the great Andes mountains. In the Quechua language of
the Andes, “Apu” refers to the spirit of each mountain which is not unlike a
god. In every snow capped peak, to smaller hills, there is an Apu. Each Apu is
different, with individual characteristics and personalities. They have in
common that from them emerge the life giving waters of springs, lakes and
rivers, as well as the forests and creatures that dwell in them. Like gods, the
Apus possess the power of giving and taking life. Andean people look first to
their local Apus and then to Mother Earth when they are undertaking a pilgrimage
or enterprise.