October 12th marks El día de la raza in Latin America. This holiday, known as Columbus Day in the United States, The Day of the Great Encounter in Spain and The Day of Indigenous Resistance in Native American communities, is a complicated commemoration. As a class we discussed the different connotations of each name and analyzed what each title chose to emphasize or minimize. We also discussed how some of the same battles over land and natural resources that happened during colonial times are continuing to happen in the Latin American world and beyond.
Above, the leader of the Achuar people makes an appeal to stop Talisman Energy from drilling in the Amazon River basin. I was so impressed with my students’ ability to confront these difficult issues in a respectful and nuanced way.