EXPULSION OF INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES DEPLORED
The World Archaeological Congress expresses its concern over the situation of Lagunita Salada, Gorro Frigio and Cerro Bayo (Chubut Province, Argentinean Patagonia) where Mapuche-Tehuelche communities are being expelled from their territories on the basis of a contested archaeological report which states that these people are "foreign" to these lands.
"The expulsion of these peoples contravenes international human rights laws and standards," said Professor Claire Smith, President of the World Archaeological Congress. "This undermines Indigenous cultural integrity, and directly contradicts articles of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in respect to issues of free, prior informed consent, collective property rights and other rights of indigenous peoples (including cultural integrity)."
The World Archaeological Congress will be expressing its concern to the Argentinean Supreme court that has the final decision in its hand, following successive negative rulings in previous court instances of the Chubut province.
"Archaeology should be used to support the interests of Indigenous peoples in all situations, but especially when they are in contest with powerful groups such as transnational extractive companies, large landowners or tourist projects," said Professor Smith.
The World Archaeological Congress deplores the use of archaeology as a handmaiden to territorial dispossession processes.
"The situation with the Atacameno, Coya and Aymara communities of the Andes is an example of how archaeological work can be used to justify destruction of the tangible and intangible heritage of Indigenous peoples," said Professor Smith.
“This is not acceptable. All nations have a responsibility to abide by the provisions of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
The press release is based on resolutions from the "Indigenous peoples" workshop on territories and cultural heritage: meeting and shared experiences" that was held at the Sixth World Archaeological Congress, in Dublin, Ireland, 29th June—4th July, followed by meetings of the WAC Council and Executive.
Click here to download a pdf of this article
Further Information: Professor Claire Smith
Mobile: 0872 698 353 (Ireland)
The World Archaeological Congress (WAC) is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organization and is the only elected international body of practising archaeologists. WAC holds an international congress every four years to promote the exchange of the results of archaeological research; professional training and public education for disadvantaged nations, groups and communities; the empowerment and betterment of Indigenous groups and First Nations peoples; and the conservation of archaeological sites.
The Sixth World Archaeological Congress (WAC-6) was held from 29th June—4th July at the University College Dublin. This was the first World Archaeological Congress to be held in Ireland. It was attended by over 1,800 archaeologists, native peoples and international scholars from 74 nations. Motions from the Plenary session of the Congress were considered by subsequent meetings of the World Archaeological Congress Council and Executive.
The Congress Patron for WAC-6 was President Mary McAleese. Previous Congress Patrons include Harriet Mayor Fulbright, Prince Charles and Nelson Mandela.