According to the 2012 National Census, 41% of the Bolivian population aged 15 or over is of Indigenous origin. Projections from the National Institute of Statistics (INE) in 2017 indicated that this percentage is now likely to have increased to 48%.[i] Of the 36 recognised peoples in the country, the largest groups live in the Andes and are either Quechua-speaking (49.5%) or Aymara-speaking (40.6%); they self-identify as 16 different nationalities. The peoples living in the lowlands are largely Chiquitano (3.6%), Guaraní (2.5%) or Moxeño (1.4%) and these groups, together with the remaining 2.4%, make up the 36 recognised Indigenous Peoples.
BY CATALINA RIVADENEIRA CANEDO FOR DEBATES INDÍGENAS
While awaiting a referendum to approve their statute and initiate the new Indigenous Autonomous Government, the communities need to improve the management of their territory and natural resources. The territory's high biodiversity and the communities' livelihoods are being threatened by illegal logging, poaching and fishing, as well as the construction of a road that is facilitating illegal access to the territory.
Photo: Community of San Antonio del Cuverene. Photo: Fátima Monasterio
According to the 2012 National Census, 41% of Bolivians over the age of 15 are of Indigenous origin although the 2017 projections from the National Statistics Institute (INE) indicate that this may now have increased to 48%. Of the 36 peoples recognised in the country, most Quechua (49.5%) and Aymara (40.6%) speakers live in the Andean region where they self-identify as one of 16 nationalities. The Chiquitano (3.6%), Guaraní (2.5%) and Moxeño (14%) peoples live in the Lowlands where, together with the remaining 2.4%, they make up the other 20 recognised Indigenous Peoples. The Indigenous Peoples have thus far consolidated 23 million hectares of collectively owned land as Native Community Lands (Tierras Comunitarias de Origen/TCO), representing 21% of the country’s total area. Following the approval of Decree No. 727/10, the TCOs changed their official name to Peasant Native Indigenous Territories (Territorio Indígena Originario Campesino/TIOC). Bolivia has ratified the main international human rights conventions and has been a signatory to ILO Convention 169 since 1991, with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in full effect since the approval of Law No. 3760 of 7 November 2007. With the new 2009 Political State Constitution, Bolivia adopted the status of Plurinational State.