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Mon Apr 16, 2018, 11:52 PM

We are still here: The fight to be recognized as Indigenous in Uruguay


A nascent campaign is slowly forcing a public reckoning with Uruguay’s history and self-image, while simultaneously raising broader questions about what, exactly, makes a people

STEPHANIE NOLEN
MONTEVIDEO
INCLUDES CORRECTION
PUBLISHED APRIL 12, 2018
UPDATED 9 HOURS AGO

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/resizer/DgQW5dVov2QX5IS_-Z8j5F1CFnM=/1200x0/filters:quality(80)/arc-anglerfish-tgam-prod-tgam.s3.amazonaws.com/public/BNDKDQALC5HORF5XQPC5HRJ5PU.JPG

Felipe Lobato, 28, shown on the outskirts of Montevideo, is part of a campaign of people who want the
government to recognize them as Indigenous and as victims of cultural genocide.

MATILDE CAMPODONICO/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

When Felipe Lobato was growing up, people sometimes called him negrito (darky)and asked him if he was Peruvian, or some other kind of exotic foreigner. He was in his teens when he began to learn the history of Indigenous people who lived, not just in the Andes or other far-off corners of South America, but in Uruguay. Four years ago, as he was trying to put words on his own identity, Mr. Lobato stumbled across Facebook photos posted by people who looked like him and who said they were Charrua – members of Uruguay’s First Nation.

The hitch, for Mr. Lobato, was that the Charrua are extinct. So say the history books, the government, anthropologists and indeed Uruguay’s whole national creation story.

Intrigued, Mr. Lobato, a 28-year-old sound engineer and DJ who lives in the capital, sought out the people in the pictures and learned that there is a significant challenge to that creation story – living, breathing Charrua who are undeterred by the anthropologists and the textbooks who say they were wiped out nearly 200 years ago.

“We lived on this territory before the Uruguayan state started to administer it – and they tried to erase our whole existence – but some of us are saying, we are still here,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be over because some anthropologists claim it is. We’re used to that, by now.”

More:
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-in-uruguay-indigenous-people-are-fighting-to-prove-they-exist/

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