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Today is International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination     

 "Racism has been a banner to justify the enterprises of expansion, conquest, colonization and domination and has walked hand in hand with intolerance, injustice and violence." -- Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Guatemalan Indigenous Leader and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Since 1966, the United Nations has recognized March 22 as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Today, many Indigenous Peoples face constant human rights violations. They are marginalized, denied control over their own development that is based on their own values, disregarded when it comes to the exploitation of their natural resources, and often lack equal access to basic social services.   

7 Things You Can Do Today to Combat Discrimination Against Indigenous Peoples: 

1. Take Action: Send a message to the Guatemalan congress in support of Indigenous language radio and freedom of speech. 
In Guatemala, since 2005, Cultural Survival has supported a network of more than 80 volunteer-run community radio stations. Unlike Indigenous-controlled radio stations in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and US, who receive federal support, community radio in Guatemala is still illegal under national telecommunications laws, though rights to Indigenous-language media are guaranteed in the constitution and in international human rights instruments like the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous people in Guatemala are struggling to get the discriminatory telecommunications law changed and community radio legalized. 

Now, a new bill in the Guatemalan congress,  Bill 4479, proposes a reform in the criminal code that would sanction the imprisonment of individual actors and representatives of unlicensed stations, effectively criminalizing community radio with a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.  
take action now 
2. Read, honor, and cite the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 
Article 2 that states:
    "Indigenous peoples and individuals are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals and have the right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their rights, in particular that based on their Indigenous origin or identity."
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3. Read "Time to Say Goodbye to Racist Stereotypes in American Sports" 
Generic and specific Native American names such as the "Braves", "Indians", "Seminoles", and "Chiefs" are given by the dominant culture to many high school, college and professional sports teams in the United States. Its time to put an end to racist sport mascots. Start with your town or school.  

4. Watch the untold truth about residential schools in Canada.
We Were Children documentary.   


6. Be Social! Please share this message by forwarding and posting on Facebook and Twitter.    

 Share what you have learned with your networks and sensitize them to racial discrimination happening against Indigenous Peoples. Forward this message, tweet it, post it on facebook. 


7. Make a gift today to support the work of Cultural Survival.  

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The world's Indigenous population is estimated at 370 million people living in more than 70 countries and made up of more than 5,000 distinct peoples. Although representing 5% of the world's population, Indigenous people account for 15% of the world's poor.   

Indigenous people face huge disparities in terms of access to quality education and health care. In Guatemala 53 percent of Indigenous youth aged 15-19 have not completed primary education, as compared to 32 percent of non-Indigenous youth. Indigenous peoples also suffer from discrimination in terms of employment and income. According to the ILO, Indigenous workers in Latin America make on average about half of what non-Indigenous workers earn.


In the international arena, the landmark adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in September 2007 by the UN General Assembly, and the establishment of other human rights mechanisms that represent Indigenous interests, show that there is progress in the fight to address the results of historic and present discrimination. At the national level a small number of truth commissions have been established that have worked to redress certain discriminatory policies against Indigenous people. However much remains to be done. Please take action today!

As always, we welcome your comments. Please send your feedback and suggestions to agnes@cs.org.


Cultural Survival is a global leader in the fight to protect Indigenous lands, languages, and cultures around the world. In partnership with Indigenous Peoples, we advocate for Indigenous communities whose rights, cultures, and dignity are under threat. For more information go to www.cs.org


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