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|Indigenous Responses to Plan Colombia: Testimonies from Indigenous Arhuaco Leade|
|Date||Tuesday June 07|
|Time||1:00 PM - 3:00 PM|
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2017 Mission St. Suite 303
San Francisco, CA 94110
Rogelio Mejía is director of the Indigenous Gonawindua Tayrona Organization and "Cabildo" (“Chief”) of the Arhuaco indigenous people. The organization represents 10,000 indigenous people form the Kogi, Wiwa and Arhuaco groups from the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range on the north Coast of Colombia. These indigenous peoples are amongst the most "traditional" in Colombia, and contribute to the protection of the Sierra with its rich ecology, declared as "Patrimonio Mundial del Biosfero". They are becoming a strong force for negotiation of their rights with the government and are developing strategies to survive in Colombia's armed conflict.
Rogelio will talk about US fumigations of coca crops and Plan Colombia in their territories. He will address the increasing effects of armed conflict in sacred territory, indigenous cultural practices and human rights violations. Illegal armed forces are vying for territorial and political control over the Sierra. Assassinations of Shamans and leaders, forced recruitment of Indigenous youth are having an extreme impact over the Sierra Nevada and its millenary indigenous cultures. Mejia will explain indigenous strategies for territorial and cultural preservation, and how interested people can support their efforts.
Mr. Mejia will also show a video, produced by young indigenous filmmakers, about spiritual practices, reforestation, and the effects of armed conflict over the Arhuacos. Rogelio Mejia is one of the most active leaders in Colombia and has organized numerous territorial, health and environmental projects that benefit several peoples.