The indigenous peoples of South America have been victims of discrimination, racism and oppression for generations, and the native American cultures are in danger of disappearing forever. In order to survive as a cultural entity, access to territories plays an important part.
The right to territory is essential for indigenous peoples, because the land and nature, where they have lived for generations, is inherent to their religion, culture and identity.
With their own territories, the indigenous peoples can practice their particular cultures and their own traditional forms of organisations and administration to prosper without interference from the state.
Interculturality and self-determination are key words in the conservation of cultures and cross-cuts IBIS’ work in all aspects, always providing the indigenous peoples with the possibilities of creating their own reality based on their values, philosophy, culture, history and cosmovision.
There is still much to be done before the indigenous peoples from South America can achieve their dreams to recuperate their ancestral lands. Some of the main obstacles are the lack of education and decades of poverty and marginalisation.
IBIS supports the indigenous organisations in the preparation of proposals for territorial autonomy, which have detailed plans of how a territory can be managed with respect to cultural traditions and laws, and the regulations and rules of the society that surrounds it.
Parallel to this process, IBIS trains the indigenous leaders in order that they can govern, administrate and monitor new territories.
IBIS also supports the struggle for indigenous territories through training indigenous authorities, in order that they may carry out advocacy on indigenous autonomy, at a national and local level, with greater political influence.
© 2011 IBIS in Bolivia
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