chapter  6
12 Pages

Indigenous Peoples and Mega-Projects

In the last 500 years of occidental cultural domination, the indigenous peoples of Latin America have become the poorest sectors (in socio-economic terms) of the continent, and constitute today a large percentage of the Latin American and Chilean indigent. Despite the incessant efforts of different governments to relieve the situation of poverty and marginality of the indigenous peoples, there remain many obstacles to their autonomous social, economic and political participation.1 In the last 20 years, however, the indigenous peoples have become better organized and capable of expressing their demands in both national and international forums and are today searching for solutions to their poverty and marginality in order to overcome the historic, obstacles to their socio-economic development. At the same time, there is a greater, although limited, awareness at the international level of the need to find new ways to solve the problems of the indigenous people, especially with respect to the recognition of their legitimate ancestral rights to land.2