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A day for indigenous people

October 9, 2012 06:46 PM

October can evoke ambiguous feelings among indigenous peoples across the world. About 200 members of the Penan tribe, in Malaysia, have expanded their blockade to prevent the construction of a 900-megawatt hydro power project in the state of Sarawak, since it would displace seven indigenous communities. Six people were killed and 34 wounded in Totonicapan, Guatemala, during a protest over electricity prices and new rules that would force teachers to leave a poor rural area in order to obtain necessary credentials. Native Brazilians from the Amazonian basin are protesting the construction of the planned Belo Monte hydroelectric dam on the Xingu River in the state of Para. In India, thousands of indigenous peoples from across the country are marching to the capital in New Delhi to claim the right to the land that they have inherited from their forefathers, who are the original inhabitants of the subcontinent.

But the second Monday of October is also observed as Columbus Day in the United States. While most of the world confronts the repression of indigenous people, the United States celebrates an event that began a long period of subjugation of indigenous Americans.

ABOUT THE ANGLE Online commentary and news analysis from the Boston Globe. The Angle is produced by Rob Anderson and Alan Wirzbicki. You can follow Rob on Twitter at @rcand.

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