Friday, May 03, 2013

Ecuador and Oil

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Having witnessed the beauty of the Ecuadorian Amazon and its people, I am sickened and dismayed that industrialized countries, including the United States, continue to destroy the lives of indigenous people for the love of money, oil, and continued development. 

People tend to think about the "Indian wars" as something from a bygone age, or something from the "wild west," but people don't realize that the US simply exported its Indian wars to other countries like Ecuador. They've been doing this for the last 500 years: they see resources, they make up their minds to take them, and when "talks" fail with the indigenous people who stand "in the way of progress," they use brute force to get what they want. As the video suggested, this is a human rights issue, no doubt about it. Make no mistake; the Indians of Ecuador may very well face their own Wounded Knee in our lifetime. 

What is interesting to me is that people often say to me, "The atrocities that your people (the Native Americans) suffered is regrettable, but that was a long time ago. What can we do about it now?" 

To them I say, think about every bloody massacre on the American frontier, every treaty violation, every people driven to the brink of extinction, every act of violence in the name of progress - remember these things and know that it happened because of greed. To them I also say, it is still happening. Nothing has changed. Society is no more enlightened now regarding indigenous issues than it was 100 years ago. Indian people are still dying for land; our ways of life are still being trampled so that other people can get rich.  

I'm angry and heartsick. 

A hundred years from now, will people look back and wring their hands with remorse and say, "What happened to the Indians of Ecuador is regrettable, but that was a long time ago. What can we do about it now?" 

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