Twenty-five years too late, Peruvian tribe buries massacre victims
Girls stand amidst coffins during burial ceremonies for victims of a 1984 massacre in Putis, Peru. According to Peru's government-appointed truth commission, Peru's military massacred 123 people in the village of Putis in 1984, during the conflict against Shining Path guerrillas. (AP photo)
The inhabitants of the indigenous village of Putis, in Peru, finally buried their dead yesterday, a quarter-century after their relatives were slaughtered by the Peruvian military during its fight with the Maoist Shining Path. A “truth commission” determined the military killed the people – after tricking several into digging their own mass graves – because it suspected them of collaborating with the group, according to this
Associated Press report on National Public Radio. Family members walked 30 miles carrying 92 coffins. Mayor Gerardo Fernandez, who lost 15 relatives in the massacre, tells the AP that “we have two feelings. On the one hand, we are in pain for the dead. But on the other, we’re happy that we can finally bury them.” No one has been charged in the killings at Putis, a village in Ayacucho state. Ayacucho means “the Corner of the Dead” in the Quechua language.
Troubling report from Colombia on killings of indigenous Awa people
The week brought this Amnesty International report on the third mass killing – this time involving 12 people, four of them children – of the Awa Inigenous Peoples in less than a year. “How many more have to die before the government acts to protect these communities?” asks Susan Lee, Amnesty’s Americas Programme Director.
A British take on Indian Country
A reporter from the Guardian in London is taking Route 66 across the United States and calls this particular installment on Indian Country, which has a good video, “The Grapes of Wrath Revisted.” Rita Watson Claude, who is Navajo, tells reporter Chris McGreal that “the culture’s not there no more … they’re going towards the white people way.” She talks at length about how her children don’t speak Navajo, and then blames herself for not teaching it to her children – underscoring to the importance of language as a way of maintaining culture.
In the United States, empty apology by Senate subcommittee
Albert Bender, a Cherokee activist, opines in this Nashville Tennessean piece that “more than symbolism is needed as the American Indian nations largely still languish in the hideous misery created by this government.” He particularly mentions the long-running Indian trust fund case that involve government mismanagement of billions of dollars meant for Indian people.
Tribe shares mobile clinic with uninsured neighbors
Last year, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Dakota Community sent its mobile medical clinic into the Red Lake Band of Chippewa reservation to provide badly needed medical care. This year, according to this Shakopee Valley (Minn.) News story, the tribe is sending the van out again, not just to other reservations but to the community at large. Tribal Wellness Administrator Joanna Bryant says that it’s the Dakota people’s culture to help others, and the Scott County effort fits that mission.
From Scotland via the Susquehannocks to the Flathead Reservation – stick with us here
The Char-Koosta News on Montana’s Flathead Indian Reservation has this delightful story about a gift to Dr. Joe McDonald, the longtime and soon-to-retire president of Salish Kootenai College. It involves Chief Dancing Thunder, grand sachem of Florida’s Susquehannock tribe, and his trip to Scotland, where he heard about the Scottish McDonalds’ ties to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes … well, you’d better just read the story. And, enjoy.
Tags: Awa, buffalo post, Cherokee, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Flathead Indian Reservation, Native American news, Navajo, Red Lake Band of Chippewa, Shakopee Mdewakanton Dakota, Shining Path, Susquehannock