Genocidio Silencioso

Feathers, Mother Corn and sacred copal incense, Church of Santo Tomás
Chichicastenango, Guatemala



Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


You know our ancestors were good people, and one day,” he (my father) says, “time is the father of truth, one day you are going to write it, the true history. You are going to allow it that the people of your generation… you are going to re-write all that. You’re going to repossess what has been stolen away, what has been taken away from you”.

(English translation)

Well, this is the way it is. We are in the right and we speak the truth. It seems to me that the truth that we seek was sought long before the usurpers, the intruders came. They have covered our truth, but the truth comes out again, that does not end.

I wanted more than anything to say that within the truth there are four values, four philosophical principles, everything we have, our way of life, without removing spirituality. I very much agree that we should no longer speak of religion, because it is false, it is much better to speak of spirituality because we carry that inside - yes? These four values are, first reciprocity, because we are all a community, in harmony. Reciprocity has been practiced for thousands of years. Then comes solidarity, because we are like a family in it, wherever we may be, be it in a town, in an Aymara Nation, in a Quechua one, in the end we are like one family and this is why we should practice solidarity. Next, honesty must be practiced. To have no stains, not to walk like this, but straight, from this comes honesty. And finally comes responsibility. We, who were born in a native culture, originating from the world, more so when we are born in this culture, they teach us these principles. We then learn upon this. We learn the responsibility that it called “to serve your community” and not “help yourself to your community”, like those who have taught us evil in reality. These principles are worth more, much more, than the Ten Commandments from the Lord’s Law, which they have imposed on us. It is much stronger and this is why we believe that we will continue to move forward.


Because it’s so clear what he (you) said, that I understood every point of it. The reciprocity as we call it, that parallel road, the co-existence, the coexistence principle. It’s a capacity for our Nations to be able to continue to practice our way of life. To continue to do what we have to do as Nations, as peoples. To play our role and for the other Nations to have the reciprocities, so that we respect also the mutual roads, the two roles that we have to follow. One should never try to assimilate. One should never try to integrate. One should never try to have the other becoming him or her. We need reciprocity. We need mutuality. We need to respect those two very roles, because they exist. Because we were here first so we have our way of life, we have our roles. We have our spirituality. Another person arrives; we don’t want him to become me. We don’t want him to become us. We want to say to that person, let’s live in reciprocity, let’s live in mutuality, as co-exist, co-existence principle.

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The other principle, the solidarity, is the very circle, as the circle. We need to have solidarity. We need to have unity. We need to be able, especially today during the very important days in our struggle, we need to have unity. We need to speak with one voice and this is also a principle that we share, also as indigenous people from the North.

Now the honesty, the honesty, this is what we have to recognize as to be the most fundamental teaching that we receive as young children, as young people. There is a proverb that says, if you don’t learn how to be honest on the knees of your mother, you will never be able to be honest. So it comes from your mother, directly from you mother, from within. Probably from the womb of you mother, when you’re inside your mother. That is how important it is to recognize and put that principle of honesty in place, because without that it’s disorder. Without that it’s tragical.

And the last one, the responsibility, we translate the responsibility as to be the self-determination capacity. We are responsible people. We know what we want for ourselves. We know the kind of decisions that our people want to take. So we are responsible and we want to fulfill our responsibility. Our responsibility has been taken away from us by force and imposed by other values. Now we want to repatriate that responsibility that is ours. It’s a sacred right and we call it the inherent right. The inherent because it comes from the Creator. It comes from the Creator; it does not come from Nations, States, Governments. It comes from the Creator, that is why we say inherent right to self determination, and this is what we call to be responsible for ourselves.

So your principles, your four principles, they sound in my ear as to be household. The very four principles that we put in place, that we put ahead and that we use and utilize and need to continue to utilize and again, it is a teaching. I learnt a lot tonight because I find that what we are exchanging together is, is really alike, you know, and this is great to know. I have a beautiful feeling inside of me.

(English translation)

Well, to give hope to those who are on the same path. Now all this thinking and all this conversation must finally unite all the communities, First Nations and Indigenous, it must unite us all with this form of thinking. This is our task, even though it will not be easy, we will achieve it.

Don Antonio, a friend
Thank you and Goodbye

Recorded in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
UN Conference on Environment and Development
The Earth Summit
June, 1992

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