“Although other priorities can be identified in this emergency situation, it would not be reasonable and right to lose sight of our brothers and sisters of the Original Peoples, since for many of their communities, this affects them in a particular way and it constitutes further pain and suffering, among many delays and forgetfulnesses”. This is what the Episcopal Commission for Aboriginal Pastoral Care of the Argentine Episcopal Conference writes in its message, sent to Agenzia Fides, in which it recalls the celebration of the Week of Indigenous Peoples, from 19 to 25 April.
The text, signed by Mgr. Juan José Chaparro, Bishop of Bariloche; by Mgr. Luis Scozzina, Bishop of Orano, and by Mgr. Ángel José Macín, Bishop of Reconquista, recalls by way of example, “the situation of our Wichi brothers, in the Chaco Salteño area, where the lack of water (essential to combat Covid-19), constitutes a serious chronic emergency, for which we are all responsible. Despite the attention to so many emergencies, we must not abandon the commitment to resolve this and other scourges”.
The Week of Indigenous Peoples is inspired by the First Pan-American Indigenous Congress, held in Mexico on April 19, 1940. Considering the need to make this reality more visible and to encourage solidarity with these peoples, the decision to extend the celebration for a week was taken. This year it will be held from April 19 to 25 with the motto “We are life in the territory”.
“On the other hand, we are rediscovering the value of the territory linked to life in this period, in which we must remain in our homes – reads the message -. For some, this implies a rediscovery of belonging to a place, to the space we occupy and becomes a positive experience. For others, unfortunately, it becomes a problem due to overcrowding and the lack of basic infrastructure for everyday life”.
Therefore the expression “We are life in the territory” and, above all, the testimony of our indigenous brothers, “questions us on the care of the common home and the space that every person and every community needs to serenely develop their life and own culture”. In this vision, we are all called to take care of “our place in the world”, to respect and take care of “the place of others”.
The national team of Aboriginal pastoral care, ENDEPA, has created a map with the indigenous presence in Argentina, making visible the richness of diversity of over 40 peoples with their cultures, languages and customs.