Action is needed to prevent the cultural obliteration of the indigenous peoples
Stabroek News
September 8, 2001

Dear Editor,

Having worked as a teacher among the Amerindians, I am pleased to see that the indigenous peoples of Guyana are being encouraged to display and strengthen their culture during Amerindian Heritage Month. I am glad that Etauchingpang exists as it helps us to learn about and from the Amerindians.

For too long Amerindians have been looked down upon and have been marginalised. They have been without economic and political power, and their language and culture have been fast fading.

I am particularly alarmed by the road which is linking Brazil to Guyana, especially in regard to the Amerindians. Has there been an Environmental Impact Assessment done on the construction of the road? Who would benefit from the road development? What impact would it have on the rainforest of Guyana? How would it affect the culture and survival of the indigenous peoples?

I am also wary of the burgeoning mining developments in the hinterland areas. In many of these undertakings, the land is being raped (mainly by the increasing number of Brazilians) and the victims that suffer most are the Amerindians since these people depend on the land for hunting, fishing and farming.

The Guyana government must be lauded for encouraging the celebration of Amerindian culture but urgent action must be taken before we witness the linguistic and cultural obliteration of our indigenous peoples.

Yours faithfully,

Devanand Bhagwan