At the Salta Airport, the scene is striking. After making migrations, two policemen choose “randomly” people to give them more exhaustive control. They ask for their DNI, they take them to a small room to ask them more questions, they thoroughly check their handbags. All the elect have traits of native peoples. The “criollos” pass by.
Omar Gutiérrez, a young wichi who is about to travel to Buenos Aires to fulfill the dream of becoming the first lawyer in his community, Misión Chaqueña, falls into the flip-flop. He obeys respectfully, with his eyes on the floor, accustomed to these episodes. “We are discriminated against because of the physiognomy, the color of the skin, the public force is abused and generates anger, and that anger made me more eager to study,” says Omar.
This is not the first time it happens and, surely, it will not be the last. In his community, he often saw the police stop “brothers” of theirs without them being able to understand what was happening. The language and the cultural gap are the main barriers to overcome. “We do not have a judicial interpreter and that is why we can not defend ourselves,” adds Omar. That's why he's studying law, to cover that pothole.
The case of Omar is a sign that prejudices limit not only their opportunities to have decent housing, to study or work, but also those of the 955,032 people of indigenous origin who now live in the country (2.4% of the Argentine population), according to data from the 2010 census.
This is the spirit of
Invisible Networks, a project of LA NACION that seeks to expose the prejudices that the most vulnerable young people have to face. And show that when someone gives you these opportunities, they do the impossible to get ahead.
There are many prejudices that weigh on the original peoples: that they are slow, that they are ignorant, that they are vague and that they do not want to be integrated into the rest of the country. “The majority says that we are incapable, I believe that every human being has the same abilities, that everything is learned, that we have to be included, not excluded,” says Omar convinced.
Of 3.6% of the complaints received by the
National Institute against Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism (Inadi) in 2018 for discrimination by ethnicity, 25% correspond to indigenous peoples. The delegations that gather the greatest number of complaints from indigenous peoples are Chaco, Jujuy and Neuquén.
“The prejudice that most strikes me is that the indigenous peoples speak in the past, as if they did not exist anymore, and that is the most brutal way to make a collective invisible,” says Aníbal Gutiérrez, director of Promotion and Development of Practices against the Discrimination of the Inadi and who is in charge of the area of indigenous peoples.
Jimena Psathakis, president of the
National Institute of Indigenous Affairs (INAI), shares this diagnosis: prejudices persist largely due to ignorance of what these people are, what their culture is and how they live. “There are even those who still think that the indigenous people are only part of our past and are only found in the history manuals.” They do not know that there are currently at least 34 towns and more than 1,600 communities in the country. they work and participate in life in society as each of us, and those who need to be guaranteed the same opportunities as everyone else, “says Psathakis.
Precisely the Inadi is the agency in charge of carrying out activities of promotion and visibility about its history, its culture, its language and what the native peoples mean for the construction of the national identity. “Many times discrimination arises from ignorance, when one begins to visualize something that is not visible, many times those barriers are demolished, there is an armed discourse about the Argentines getting off the boats, which is still true. There was already someone here, “Gutiérrez adds.
In Misión Chaqueña, Salta, the situation of families is critical. There is no work, they lack drinking water, gas, offers of tertiary and university education are almost nil and are isolated every time it rains because the road is mud.
“There are discriminations of all kinds, but I think the most worrisome are those that limit access to essential basic rights, such as access to health, education, drinking water or the DNI. very much, but obviously we have a lot of work still ahead, “says Psathakis.
Balbino Díaz, cacique of Mision Chaqueña, says that in her community women survive making handicrafts and men go through them with carpentry. They want to work but they do not have resources and public policies do not reach. “We have gone to Salta to manage that there is no work here, we can only do handicrafts, because now there is no wood, the community wants to have access to some plan to train, make bricks or vegetable gardens, but we have not had an answer. to the Wichi communities. “
The opinions that exist about native peoples are the same that are repeated in general towards other vulnerable groups. “They argue that they are lazy, that they do not want to work, that they got used to social help and then they will not want to do anything, and that is not true, and always the main request they make when we get closer is to have inputs that will help them. they allow to produce, to commercialize, to have possibilities of development “, explains Carolina Aulicino, Official of Social Policies of Unicef.
Gutiérrez also reinforces the need to work on the stereotype that states that they use as an excuse their belonging to a town to avoid joining the work life or the educational system. “We do not have to forget that they have a different vision of life, a link with the different nature, and that we have to respect it.
In relation to the myth that says they are slow, Aulicino uses to counter the results of a work carried out by Unicef in rural high schools mediated by technology: “When children can finish school in their own community, they learn a lot and then they want to continue training. “
To stop being invisible, the first step for members of indigenous peoples is to have a DNI. That is why during 2019, the INAI accompanied the Renaper in the delivery of more than 1000 DNI to members of these communities and in managing procedures of another 500, approximately.
In this same line of trying to add them to the benefits offered by the State, from Anses, Unicef and the provincial governments have been developing a program in these rural areas to increase the number of beneficiaries of the AUH. It consists of territorial operations to ensure that children belonging to the most vulnerable indigenous communities in the country can now have access to this benefit. In 2017 they added more than 4,060 girls and during 2018, there were 6,237 new arrivals in Salta, Tucumán and Chaco.
“The bet is that the new generations are more prepared for the construction of a more peaceful society, if we are able to make visible the importance of being a diverse, plural and open society, we will be doing our bit to transform it into a more peaceful society, they are the ones who have to grow up with a more open head “, concludes Gutiérrez.
Prejudices and difficulties that young people of indigenous peoples go through