MIGUEL VARGAS DELGADO PARA DEBATES INDÍGENAS
In 1990, indigenous peoples of the Lowlands led the March for Territory and Dignity with the aim of claiming their rights to land and territory. With the approval of the new Political Constitution of the State in 2009, a legal horizon was opened for the Mojeño Trinitario, Mojeño Ignaciano, Chimán, Yuracaré and Movima peoples of the Southern Amazon to begin their autonomy process. After 12 years of bureaucratic hurdles, the peoples that make up the Multiethnic Indigenous Territory are just a few steps away from the formal constitution of their autonomous government.
BY MÓNICA GUZMÁN AND BRUNO ELÍAS DOMÍNGUEZ FOR DEBATES INDÍGENAS
Indigenous justice recognizes that communities have their own organizational structures and allows them to execute their own norms under the guarantee of the nation-state. In this sense, the law promotes harmonious social coexistence and cooperation between ordinary, Indigenous and agro-environmental justice. Despite the existence of a broad regulatory framework that recognizes the plurality of jurisdictions, there are still many obstacles to the exercise of and respect for Indigenous law. It is necessary that Indigenous peoples strengthen their organizations, know their norms and teach the importance of these norms to the new generations.
Regional Seminar on Indigenous Justice. Photo: María Cerezo
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.