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Friday, August 9, 2013


Explore history and culture of millions of Indigenous Peoples all over the world.
Edited excerpt by Carolyn Bennett 
Still seeking justice
Protesting past atrocities

Guatemala 2013
‘I was a survivor, alone in the world, and had to convince the world to look at the atrocities committed in my homeland’, says INDIGENOUS WOMAN, ACTIVIST, NOBEL LAUREATE RIGOBERTA MENCHÚ TUM, born in Guatemala in 1959. She has devoted her life to the struggle for the rights and well-being of indigenous peoples.
Still seeking justice
Protesting past atrocities

Guatemala 2013
Under the Guatemalan government controlled by people of Spanish descent, colonizers the land, Menchú, of her Mayan background, suffered extreme hardships. Her family was very poor and worked as seasonal laborers on plantations; they had no citizenship rights

Members of her family were leaders in their community and in the 1960s actively involved in this struggle with ‘Indians’ of Guatemala for economic and social justice. At the height (1980) of this Guatemalan civil war, Rigoberta Menchú’s father and brother died in a fire at the Spanish embassy where they had been protesting abuses to their people. 

No longer safe in Guatemala, Menchú escaped to Mexico. While living there she dictated the story of her life to a trusted translator who later helped her publish Book I: Rigoberta Menchu. She gained the world’s attention, her story brought global news attention to the plight of indigenous people in Guatemala; and ever since that time, she has worked for the dignity of all indigenous peoples. 

The year she received the Nobel Peace Prize she also served as Good Will Ambassador for the International Year of the World’s Indigenous People and helped to establish of a United Nations Working Group to address injustices against indigenous people throughout the world.

International Day of the World’s Indigenous People was created to raise awareness about the rights and concerns of more than 300 million Indigenous People worldwide. Every day, international and local events affect the lives of Indigenous Peoples.  

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms the inherent dignity, equality, and inalienable rights of all members of the human family. The rights of all members of indigenous populations are included in this declaration but Indigenous Peoples also have rights as distinct cultural groups or nations. 

Still seeking justice
Protesting past atrocities

Guatemala 2013
Sources and notes

The word INDIGENOUS has many meanings. In every region of the world, many different cultural groups live together and interact, but not all of these groups are considered indigenous or inherent to their particular geographic area. In fact, it is only in the face of a collective or shared sense of identity that the term “Indigenous Peoples” has been internationally recognized.

UN Cyberschoolbus

UN Cyberschoolbus - Home  comments and suggestions:cyberschoolbus@un.orgCopyright © 1996- 2013 United Nations


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