22 December, 2017

Sharing our achievements in a year of many challenges

To indigenous peoples, the new year symbolizes the renewal of life. At the start of a new cycle, CHIRAPAQ extends its wishes for peace, hope and prosperity for the year 2018.

For more than 30 years, our association has provided support to indigenous leaders and organizations that today are at the forefront of the defense of our territories and the recognition of our rights. As part of the global indigenous movement, we contribute within the United Nations system in the construction of instruments and policies to improve life, not only of indigenous peoples, but of all humanity. As we near the end of another year full of challenges, CHIRAPAQ shares some of the achievements that contributed to raise the voices of indigenous peoples in Peru and on the global stage:

A REFLECTION ON OUR IDENTITIES: For the first time, this year’s National Censuses included a question about ethic identity, which woke up a deep inner conflict among Peruvians, that led us to an introspection about our roots. CHIRAPAQ, an active member of the commission that designed this question, managed to identify the conflicts that it represented in the rural world and promoted the affirmation of the residents of Ayacucho as part of the Quechua people, documenting this process as a reference for the design of future surveys. In Lima, our efforts were aimed at getting the population to identify their indigenous roots in the city, thus broadening the vision of Peruvian society about what being indigenous means.

MORE VOICES FOR DIVERSITY AND AGAINST RACISM: Regrettably, racism and discrimination persist in Peruvian society, and one of its most visceral expressions was the ironclad defense and success of the film La Paisana Jacinta. However, we have witnessed how more voices have come together not only to condemn its exhibition in Peruvian movie theaters, but to broaden the debate on this structural problem. CHIRAPAQ was not alone in this protest, and considers it a success that after more than 20 years of reflection on the subject, from the State, the academy, the press and citizen activism. Nowadays, many more of us are not afraid to speak when our rights are threatened.

EMPOWERING THE YOUTH TO PROTECT THEIR RIGHTS: As heads of the Committee on Children and Youth at the Continental Network of Indigenous Women of the Americas (ECMIA), we guide the training on sexual and reproductive rights of young indigenous leaders of Peru, who, next year, will be tasked with monitoring the implementation of the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development in local health services.

GREATER PARTICIPATION OF ORGANIZATIONS IN THE INTERNATIONAL SCOPE: Following the appointment of Tarcila Rivera Zea, founding member of CHIRAPAQ, as a member of the United Nations Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues, we have promoted actions for greater indigenous participation in this international body. This year, Andean and Amazonian leaders had the opportunity to meet in Lima with the members of the Forum to hear – first hand – about their mandate, and to reach their concerns. In 2018, we wish to achieve a greater and more effective presence of our peoples in the 17th session of the Permanent Forum that will take place in April at the UN headquarters in New York.

FOOD SECURITY ROOTED IN OUR KNOWLEDGES: Associations of indigenous farmers in Vilcashuamán (Ayacucho) and Balsapuerto (Loreto) have recovered their ancestral knowledge to improve the production of native crops in their territories, ensuring the nutrition of their families, while gaining access to local, regional and national markets.

All the achievements shared here would not have been possible without the support of our allies, which impel us to continue this important work. CHIRAPAQ appreciates your commitment, as well as that of our followers, with the cause of indigenous peoples and the construction of a sustainable future for all human beings.

We also renew our commitment to the peoples and organizations to provide more training tools to their leaders, promote their strengthening, the articulation between them and with the indigenous movement, emphasizing the presence and leading role that women and young people must assume. We hope for a prosperous year for all in continuity with this mission.