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American Indian Movement of Colorado

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Wednesday, October 13, 2004

More on Indigenous Resistance Day and the toppled statue

Yesterday was the 3rd annual celebration of the National Day of Indigenous Resistance in Venezuela.

Venezuela celebrated its National Day of Indigenous Resistance on this day in October that marks the arrival of Christopher Columbus on the continent in 1492.

President Hugo Chavez presented a floral arrangement at the National Pantheon in honor of Chief Guaicaipuro, a 16th Century indigenous leader who managed to unite the distinct indigenous people of the Caracas valley in resistance to Spanish colonialism.

Chavez greeted dozens of indigenous people who traveled from as far away as the Venezuelan Amazon to mark this day in the country’s capital named after Guaicaipuro’s people, the Caracas.

Zoila Yanez, 21, a member of the Warao people of the state of Delta Amacuro, said that this Day of Indigenous Resistance is important to native communities in Venezuela because it dispels the idea that Columbus discovered this continent. “When Christopher Columbus landed on this continent we were here. We were here defending our land, our customs, our art, and our culture. They wanted to eliminate our culture but they could not. We are still here and we are still resisting,” Yanez said.

Indigenous events took place throughout the day at the Teresa Carreño opera house, once reserved for the wealthy elite of the city and which today housed Venezuelan indigenous ceremonies and an audience of native people from across the country during today’s national holiday. full article

Meanwhile, another group decided to celebrate the day by pulling down a bronze statue of christopher columbus from it's marble base. They then drug the statue through the streets and spray painted slogans on the base where the columbus statue had previously been erected.

The statue was located in downtown Caracas atop a 30 foot high pedestal. Protestors used thick yellow climbing ropes to bring down the 100 year old statue of Columbus and dragged the remains through downtown Caracas and towards the Teresa Carreño theatre, where hundreds of indigenous people presented their cultural songs and dance to each other and other supporters commemorating October 12. The protestors intended to ask indigenous people to bring Columbus to trial after 512 years.

According to the opposition newspaper "El Universal," protestors hung the Columbus statue head down from a tree near the Teresa Carreño opera house and shouted, "Justice for the people, justice for the people!" Caracas police and the National Guard recovered the statue of the fallen Columbus and arrested 5 people. full article

Below are 3 photos. The first is of the statue being pulled down. The second is of the statue being drug through the streets and the last is of the graffiti covered statue base.

Indigenous Resistance Day-fun for the whole family.


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