The Indian Awakening In Latin America Essay

, Research Paper

The Indian Awakening in Latin America

This book describes difficulties of the Indians who inhabit the

following countries: Bolivia, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Panama, and

Brazil. This book is a compilation of the various struggles of indians living in

these countries of Latin America. For over four centuries, these people have

been taken advantage of by the Europeans who invaded their lands. Many of the

customs and traditions of the Indians in Latin America have struggled for

survival throughout the centuries from the problems that the whites have caused.

Latin American Indians have struggled through hardships created by the whites

that include a loss of lands, slavery, discrimination, a complete rearrangement

of their beliefs and cultures, ethnocide, and genocide.

The Latin American Indians have struggled for centuries since the

invasions of their lands to reclaim their lands, and way of life. The lands for

them is not simply dirt for them to cultivate. The various Indian cultures have

lived with their lands in harmony for thousands of years. The land to them is

their sense of identity in which they respectfully care for and live with in

harmony. The land which they once owned was meticulously cared for and the

lessons which they learned of respect for nature was passed down to their

children for generations. Much of the land they once owned was stolen from them

when the Europeans invaded.

Another aspect which was described in this book was religion and the

effects it had on the natives of Latin America. The Catholic church was forced

upon many of the Indians when the European, mainly Spanish, ideologies were

forced upon the Indians. The church claimed to want to help them to enrich thier

lives and help their communities. The new church soon forced the natives to work

for many days without any pay. The impression of the church was forcfully

imposed on them in many ways. The Europeans believed that the Indians were not

equall to them. The believed the Indians did not know any better, and the

religion they followed wasn’t the true one. If the Indians didn’t want to

worship the Catholic religion, harm was given to them oftentimes. Religion has

always been an important life to the Indians of Latin America. It has been an

integral part of their life for thousands of years. Although disputs about

religion has been going on since the beginning of time, the pressure which the

Spanish settlers imposed on them was one which was integrated with dominance.

The dominance which was imposed on the Indians of Latin Americans when the

Spanish settlers arrived, stripped the Indians rights to have the freedom to

choose their own religion.

The new schools and the ideologies were also forced upon the Indians

when the Spanish invadeed their lands. These new schools did not teach the

continued traditions that are important to the cultures and the values important

to the Indians. The new schools do not teach them how to continue to live in

harmony with the lands that they have lived with for centuries. The history that

is taught in the classrooms is of Euro-centered origin. The history that is

important to the Indians is not taught in the new schools. The history that is

the true history of Latin America is either ignored or changed and devalued by

only being taught as a small part of history. This Euro-centered attitude of

education has degraded the quality of the Indians way of life in many ways. As

time passed the values and history of the native people have been slowly fading

over time as the history of their people is not adequately taught or is not

represented correctly. The details of the rich history of these indians are not

taught to them. The information has caused many Indians to loose touch with

there true culture. Furthermore, this has aided to help devide the Indians, even

within their own country. This has been another major struggle the people of

Latin America face. Of the people that are trying to ban together to stop the

discrimination, and total dominance over them, people from different tribes are

trying to combine their efforts in all areas such as government. This is a

difficult task to accomplish. Their struggle is not as strong as it could be if

the Indian people of Latin America continue to be devided.

What is important to the native Latin American people has been pushed

aside by the European settlers. This motivation has been driven by greed. Many

of the Indians are very skeptical now when the white man says that they want to

assist the people. Over many years of abuse the Indians are now banning together

and trying to stop these types of problems from getting worse. What has the

assistance of the white man led to in Latin America in the past? They have

learned and suffered through all of the problems that the Europeans have brought.

The church was forced upon them in order to help them. The new schools were

forced upon them in order to help them. The new type of government was forced on

them in order to help them. All this aid was supposed to be for their benefit,

but in reality the truth of the European motivation was mainly greed. The greed

for land was the largest motivation of the Europeans. The resources of the land

and the natural wealth of the areas of Latin America were the primary things

which the settlers wanted to own. The vastness of the lands which are untouched

and some of which are still in their unaltered state is what the white man wants

to take away. The raping of these Indians has been occuring for centuries and it

still continues today.

This book is a sobering account of the experiences of the Indians of

Latin America who have been induring the problems created by the white man for

thousands of years. To many people, including myself, this book is an

enlightening to the immense difficulties imposed on the Indians by the white man.

The facts of this book and the details of the struggles of the Indians caused my

heart fall out of my body. The estimations for the numbers of Indians that lived

in North and South America ranged from 50,000,000 to 100,000,000 before the

first white man came to the shores, and before Clombus arrived in 1492. After

the arrival of Colombus, Cortes in Mexico, Pizarro an Peru, and Cabral in Brazil,

the populations of North and South America dwindled to approximately 4,000,000

in 1650. Of the original population, 92-96% had been wiped out by many diseases

which the Europeans brought such as smallpox and many other deadly diseases. The

number had since increased back to between 20 and 30 million, still only a

fraction of the origional popuation. The book states that sometimes the Indians

wish that they were a forgotton race because then, maybe their supression and

hardships they endure would be lessoned by being included in the vast wealth

that their countries have. Only a small fraction of the population of their

countries receive this money because of the corruption which is now in place.

The Indians of Latin America now want to rightfully reclaim what is

theirs. They want to end the political rule by the whites that has lasted for

centuries. They want people of the world to learn and to understand the

situation and sufferings they have endured so it will not continue there or

anywhere else in the world. They want to be treated fairly. Many of the indians

produce most of the goods of their country but only receive a fraction of the

income. For example, the per capita income of the Indians of Bolivia is a mere

US $50. The total per capita income for all of Bolivia is US $120. This is a

prime example of some of the suppression and huge problems which exist in all of

the Latin American countries. The political system is unjust. The power of the

countries has been taken from the wrightful owners and used against them. It is

difficult to put onto paper the magnitude of these types of problems which have

occured and continue to occure in Latin America.

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