Opinion | World

Winona LaDuke: Hugo Chavez committed to indigenous people





Activist Winona LaDuke pays tribute to the late Hugo Chavez, the former president of Venezuela:
I was a great admirer of Hugo Chavez, thankful for his generosity, his courage, his leadership, and his commitment to Indigenous peoples.

My first memory of Venezuela, being an American educated child, was dim. But, I do remember pictures of Native people in the Venezuelan jungle being gunned down, and hanging like deer from trees- the result of gold prospecting in their territories. The year was 1977. That is a stark image- one where humans are treated like game animals, and I have never forgotten it.

So, when the first Indigenous president (Hugo Chavez’ mother was a Wayuu Indian woman) came to lead Venezuela, I, like many other Native people celebrated our ascension to power and recognition. For the first time, we had some basic dignity, and subsequently a vote and inclusion in the constitution and a host of cabinet positions.

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Winona LaDuke: A Song for Hugo Chavez (Indian Country Today 3/10)