Amerindians are entitled to some interior lands
Stabroek News
November 5, 2001

Dear Editor,

I refer to Shacka Mandela's letter (2.ll.200l) captioned "Give interior lands to Guyanese". This supports the common misconception that 'interior lands belong to all Guyanese'.

By definition under international law the lands on which indigenous peoples live (the village and the area surrounding the village), hunt, fish, farm, gather firewood, palm leaves, fruit, nuts, medicines, religious places, fell trees for building canoes or homes etc. - are indigenous territories and areas with exclusive ownership rights by the indigenous peoples.

The majority of these interior lands the landless non-indigenous Guyanese speak about belong to Guyanese Amerindians - not 'all' Guyanese, so forget about stealing what is left of our country and try to remember that all of your ancestors arrived in Guyana virtually 'yesterday' and found us Amerindians living here (for several thousand years prior).

The same way Africans consider 4th & 5th generation Europeans in South Africa and Zaire to not have the same rights to Africa as Africans - we Amerindians do not consider you coastlanders as having equal rights to the Americas' as we Amerindians.

In both cases international human rights laws support our arguments.

What you would not like for yourselves do not do to others, if you want to settle in the interior that's fine - but do your research and make certain the land you desire is not an Amerindian territory - and you do this by asking Amerindian communities in the vicinity, not by relying on the assurances of politicians.

Yours faithfully,

Damon Gerard Corrie