Indigenous People’s Day: Celebrating the Resilience and Resistance of First Nations Across the World

Oct 11, 2019

FNX's Isel Cuapio interviews Pedro Alberto Rodriguez.
Credit FNX

With Indigenous Peoples Day coming up this Monday, KVCR’s sister station FNX spoke with Indigenous leaders from El Salvador about an upcoming event celebrating 527 years of Indigenous resistance and resilience.

It was on January 22, 1932, where more than 35,000 indigenous people of El Salvador died at the hands of Salvadoran soldiers for protesting the oppressive policies and government of president Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez.

Today in El Salvador, the indigenous group Nahuat-Pipil still feel the effects of a massacre that happened almost 87 years ago.

Pedro Alberto Rodriguez, a Nahuat Pipil elder tells us his great grandparents were killed in the 1932 massacre. Rodriguez: “In 1928, Pedro Rodriguez Luez ran for mayor but wasn't allowed to run because he was indigenous. In 1932, they tried to exterminate him and others, and that's when my grandfather, great grandfather and great uncle were killed.” In January of this year, Rodriguez sued the government of El Salvador for the genocide of his relatives. Formany years, he has mobilized a movement in his community with the help of other community leaders likeMargot Perez de Cortez. She is one of the national women leaders of the Nahuat Pipil communities in ElSalvador who has helped pass legislation for indigenous women’s rights. Together, they have fostered a culture of resistance and resilience in their community. Margot invites all in the resistance to celebrate Indigenous People's Day this Saturday. Margot: “On October 12, we will be in resistance, not celebrating Columbus Day. Why resistance? Because are we resisting from ways of life that have been imposed upon us. And in resilience. Why in resilience? Because they killed our ancestors, took our land, but we are still here and we are thriving.” Join Margot and Pedro this Saturday in Gabrielino and Tongva territories at the Downtown UCLA Labor Center from 4 to 9 pm. There will be Maya dancers, Cahuilla Mountain Bird singers, Indigenous arts, crafts, and food.