Sunday, December 22, 2013

Twilight of Colombia's Indigenous People?

Award-winning photos of the Nayak indigenous people by Rommel Rojas Rubio. The Nayak, who are mostly traditional hunter-gatherers, face multiple threats to their survival as a people.

The Nukaks, hunter-gatherers who live in the jungles of Guaviare Department, are threatened by colonizing farmers, armed groups and drug crops, which invade their territory. Rommel Rojas Rubio's photographs of Nayak life were among the winners of the Third Award for Photogrqphy about the Cultural Patrimony of the Nation

Prosecutors have documented more than 6,000 indigenous victims of abuse by armed groups, mostly paramilitaries, 
¿Life with no future for the Nayak?
between 1995 and 2006. Abuses include forced displacement, sexual assaults, massacres and forced recruitment of children. The worst single atrocity was probably the 2001 massacre by paramilitary fighters of more than 110 Naya people living near the border between Cauca and Nariño departments. The massacre forced more than 5,000 indigenous people and Afro-Colombians to flee their lands. 

Another recent Colombian government report found that between 2003 and 2012 more than 1,000 indigenous Colombians were murdered by outlaw groups and, since 2007, more than 79,000 were driven off of their lands. In many cases, the violence was intended to steal those lands, according to indigenous rights organizations. 

Anthropologists estimate that, after the Europeans arrived in the Americas, between two-thirds and 90% of the indigenous people were killed by massacres, forced labor and European diseases. Today, that genocide continues. According to yet another government report, of Colombia's 102 indigenous ethnic groups, 32 have populations of fewer than 500 people, 18 have fewer than 200 people and 10 fewer than 100.
A Nayak man and Ave. Septima, in front of the Museo Nacional. 
Other award-winning photos:

'The Forgetting of a Ghost Pier,' by Juan Sebastian Pinilla. Puerto Colombia's old pier, built in 1888, was the longest pier in the Americas and the third-longest in the world. 

'Subsistir' (Tiago el Pescador/Tiago the Fisherman), by Jorge Panchoaga. 

'Ciudad Blanca' - Long exposure night-time photos of the campus of the Universidad Nacional in Bogotá, by Guillermo Santos. 

'Hilar y Esquilar,' by Sandra Suárez Quintero. Shearing a sheep at the Festival de la Lana en Cucunubá.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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