Global rise of indigenous people

March 10, 2007

On March 8 at the Brisbane Activist Centre, 30 people attended a forum to discuss the Aboriginal movement in Australia and indigenous struggles in Bolivia and Venezuela. Sam Watson, Aboriginal rights activist and Socialist Alliance member, spoke about recent developments over the Palm Island killing of Mulrunji and how the case has galvanised the whole of Aboriginal Australia. He said it has renewed activism within the community and made Aboriginal people aware of the broader support for their struggle.

Coral Winter, who recently returned from a year in Venezuela, showed slides of indigenous people involved in the revolutionary transformation that is happening in that country. She spoke of the new pride indigenous people have and how their rights are enshrined in the constitution, including rights to collective ownership of land, cultural rights and political representation.

Fred Frentes, national coordinator of the socialist youth organisation Resistance, spoke of the rise of indigenous people in Bolivia, which he said reached a high point with the election of Evo Morales as the nation's first indigenous president. Fuentes outlined the history of indigenous oppression and struggle, and the flashpoint around attempts to privatise water, which included charging people for rainwater.

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