Indigenous People in the Cities

So there is quite a strange “phenomenon” in Asunción that has been exacerbated in recent years by the continued destruction of the Atlantic Forest. That is to say, indigenous people who no longer have the land of their ancestors in the forest, (both the Atlantic Forest and the Chaco region,) are forced to move to the cities to look for ways to make money.

You may notice how I have said “ways to make money” as opposed to look for work. This might be a cultural trait of the indigenous, or it might be pure necessity, but the streets and plazas in Asunción are filled with indigenous people washing windshields, selling gum or other foods, watching over parked cars, or just generally begging for money. Women and young children carry babies car to car at traffic lights asking for help. Girls and women of all ages walk the streets at night, and some in the day, selling their bodies for a quick buck.

While not the sole cause, deforestation has definitely contributed to the lack of available land to live off of and the inability to survive in the countryside for these indigenous. Some came to the capital city to protest the loss of their land, while others saw no other option to feed their families but to leave and try their luck in the city.

It is really quite sad when at every traffic light you see young children dancing in front of cars or doing cartwheels, offering to sell you a couple pieces of fruit, or washing your windshield to gain some coins for their family, if that’s where the money truly goes. It’s hard to even call them indigenous when they have turned so far from the direction of their ancestors’ lives to try and survive in this modern and impoverished world.

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One response to “Indigenous People in the Cities

  1. Pingback: Notable Blogs: 9/28/10 « Dreaming the World

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