Friday, November 8, 2013

Indigenous peoples - Death in the Amazon

  MINUTES before its planned release on September 25th a judge in Ecuador blocked the distribution of “A Tragedy Hidden Away”, a book detailing a massacre of 20-odd members of one indigenous Amazonian tribe, the Taromenane, by another, the Waorani. The authors, Miguel Ángel Cabodevilla, a Capuchin missionary, and Milagros Aguirre, a journalist, promptly distributed it via the internet. Faced with a public outcry over the censorship, the judge reversed her decision two days later.

  That was the latest twist in the tragic tale of tribal warfare. An uncontacted, or “hidden”, tribe, the Taromenane are protected under Ecuador’s 2008 constitution. Article 57 protects the hidden peoples from “ethnocide” and blocks their territories from incursion to guarantee their rights and survival. Not, it seems, against the Waorani (who as a “recently contacted” tribe do not enjoy similar protection)...

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