Native Antioquian tribe members and supporters marched through the center of the city to the mayor’s building where they demanded to be heard. They marched for “their own relevant education, and in defense of mother earth,” because “without territory for our tribes, we have no life, and we have no future,” declared protesters’ signs.
They expressed their concerns for the natural environment, their land, and the degradation of nature caused by the armed war, the drug trade, and material expansion by mining and deforestation.
“Our land is full of violence, and our intention is to say to the illegal armed groups that we are here because we don’t want anymore war or attacks on indigenous groups. We have suffered a series of killings and displacements since the time the Spanish arrived in America and nevertheless we are still fighting,” said Eucalides Manuel Lopez, a leader of the Senu tribe.
Thousands of indigenous people are struggling to survive in towns and cities, estranged from the ancestral lands that have shaped their identities and traditions. With no previous experience living in urban areas, they often fall prey to human trafficking, drugs and prostitution, reported the United Nations.
Colombia’s armed conflict has displaced an estimated three million people, about 41,000 of whom are indigenous, estimated the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR). At least 27 indigenous groups are at risk of disappearing as a result of armed conflict, according to Colombia’s Constitutional Court.