Independent Project In Continuation
In Argentina, the recognition of indigenous peoples’ collective rights over their ancestral territories is increasingly irreconcilable with the expansion of profitable lands for capital. The age-old battle between the neoliberal agenda and traditional views in regard to the earth is just as relevant, if not more relevant, today than it was at the beginning of civilization. Conflicting relationships with our earth and whether it should be exploited for the advancement of the capitalist economy or treasured in order to preserve the sanctity of our planet are deeply rooted in societal issues today regarding human rights and development issues. Today, most indigenous issues are an effect of developmental and environmental issues, as demonstrated by the 225 conflicts over ancestral land currently happening in Argentina.
Law 26.160, enacted in 2006, is one of many examples of an attempt to identify and reclaim indigenous land as well as prevent the eviction of indigenous peoples from sought-after land. Originally, the law was set to expire in 2017-- assuming the survey of land would be completed. However, the effectiveness of Law 26.160 is debatable and a demand for an extension of the law until 2021 is currently underway. Although the law prohibits the displacement of indigenous communities, judges have continued to order evictions of these communities in recent years. The hope is that the extension of Law 26.160 will keep the situation from worsening, acting as an umbrella with holes, but an umbrella nonetheless for these indigenous communities. Without this law, indigenous people will have little to no means of fighting for their rights to land and big businesses will continue to destroy what’s left of Argentina’s sacred territory.