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Indigenous movements in the Americas


Indigenous movements in the Americas

Indigenous people under the nation-state have experienced exclusion and dispossession. With the rise in globalization, the conditions indigenous populations live under have worsened. At times, national governments are negotiating natural resources without taking into account whether or not these resources exist on indigenous lands. In this sense for many indigenous populations, the effects of globalization mirror the effects of the conquest in the mid 16th century. With the excesses of globalization greatly impacting indigenous populations, one finds that in recent decades there has been an emergence of indigenous movements in various countries on the North and South American continent. If one were to take a look at these movements they would find that they share many similarities. Many of these movements seek specific rights for the indigenous populations they represent. These rights include the right to self-determination and the right to preserve their culture and heritage. However, that is not to say that these groups do not differ. One of the main differences among these groups is not their objectives but the way in which they organize themselves to meet their objectives. There has been a movement in Latin America to unite indigenous populations that are separated only by the borders of the countries that they live in. These movements seek to have their message heard not just on a national level but on a transhemispheric level. The following are examples of groups that have made the move to organize in order to be heard on a transnational level. These movements do not call for indigenous rights to be contained within a certain country, but rather to have indigenous rights become a universal right to be acknowledged by all countries with indigenous populations.


  • Transnational Organizations in the Americas 1
    • Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin (COICA) 1.1
    • Indian Council of South America (CISA) 1.2
    • International Maya League 1.3
  • Indigenous Organizations According to Country 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4

Transnational Organizations in the Americas

Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin (COICA)

This organization coordinates the following nine national Amazonian indigenous organizations:

Indian Council of South America (CISA)

The Indian Council of South America was founded in 1980. It is a non-governmental organization that works in consultation with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. This council also seeks to maintain relations with international agencies such as UNESCO, FAO, and WHO. One of CISA’s objectives is to promote respect for the right to life, justice, development, peace, and autonomy of the indigenous peoples and Nations. CISA also coordinates an exchange of knowledge, experiences and projects between indigenous peoples and nations in respect to development that will improve their welfare.

International Maya League

One of the most important goals for the Maya League is to return to the Mayan balance that was interrupted with the Spanish conquest of 1524. This group, similar to COICA works to preserve and inform people about the culture of the Mayan people. This group has reached out to other states like Costa Rica and some of the states in the United States in order to carry out activities in the areas of teaching, research, and services. One of the defining factors about this group is that it does not have any formal leadership roles appointed to any one person. Rather, the Mayan League sticks to its ancestral beliefs that all can participate in decision making activity. Some of the problems that the Maya League seeks to combat are racism, repression, marginalization, and poverty. Currently, there is a large population of Maya living in Guatemala.

Mexico has the most adapted Modern Maya peoples today, they are from Mayan Yucatec branch, most of them totally integrated into the Mexican economy, from peasants, retail, handcraft or "Maquiladora" factory workers to Doctors, Engineers and Politicians.

Indigenous Organizations According to Country


  • Indigenous Association of the Republic of Argentina (AIRA)
  • National Organization of Indigenous Peoples of Argentina (ONPIA)


  • Belize Indigenous Training Institute
  • Caribbean Organization of Indigenous Peoples (COIP)



  • Coordination of the Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB)
  • Coordinating Council of Indigenous Peoples and Organizations of Brazil (CAPOIB)
  • Indianist Missionary Council (CIMI)
  • Indigenous Council of Roraima
  • Pro-Yanomami Commission (CCPY)
  • Union of Indigenous Nations of Acre and South of the Amazon (UNI-AC)



  • Council of All the Mapuche Lands (CTLTM)
  • Nehuen-Mapu Mapuche Association
  • Nankuchew Indigenous Association of Nag-Che Territory
  • Development and Communications Organization, Xeg-Xeg Mapuche


  • National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC)
  • Movement of Indigenous Authorities of Colombia (AICO)
  • Organization of Indigenous Peoples of the Colombian Amazon (OPIAC)
  • Authorities of Traditional U’wa Indigenous of Boyaca
  • Council of Embera Katio Alto Sinu
  • Regional Indigenous Counsel of Cauca (CRIC)
  • Indigenous Organization of Antioquia

Costa Rica

  • National Indigenous Table of Costa Rica
  • Regional Aboriginal Association of Dikes (ARADIKES)
  • Bribri Cabagra Indigenous Association


El Salvador

  • Coordinating Association of Indigenous Communities of El Salvador
  • National Salvadoran Indigenous Association
  • National Indigenous Coordinating Council of El Salvador


  • Coordination of Organizations of the Maya People of Guatemala Saqb’ichill (COPMAGUA)
  • National Coordination of Widows of Guatemala (CONAVIGUA)
  • National Indigenous and Campesino Coordination (CONIC)
  • Maya Defenders
  • Rigoberta Menchu Tum Foundation


  • Federation of Amerindian Organizations of Guyana (FOAG)
  • Amerindian Peoples’ Association of Guyana (APA)


  • Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH)
  • Confederation of Autochthonous Peoples of Honduras (CONPAH)


  • National Pluralistic Indigenous Assembly for Autonomy
  • National Indigenous Congress (CNI)
  • National Coordination of Indigenous Women
  • National Confederation of Coffee Grower Organizations (CNOC)
  • Organization of Traditional Indigenous Doctors and Midwives of Chiapas (COMPITCH)
  • Guerreran Counsel 500 Years of Indigenous Resistance
  • Tepeyac Human Rights Center of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec
  • Union of Indigenous Communities in the Northern Zone of the Isthmus (UCIZONI)
  • Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN)
  • Popular Indigenous Council of Oaxaca "Ricardo Flores Magón"


  • Communitarian Miskito Nation
  • Association of Indigenous Women on the Atlantic Coast (AMICA)
  • Indigenous Movement of Jinotega (MIJ)


  • National Coordination of Indigenous Peoples of Panama (COONAPIP)
  • General Congress of Kuna Culture (CGCK)
  • Institute for the Integral Development of Kuna Yala (IDIKY)
  • Movement of Kuna Youth (of the General Kuna Congress)
  • Ngobe-Bugle General Congress


  • Coordination of Indigenous Peoples of the Cuenca of Pilcomayo River
  • Native League for Autonomy, Justice, and Ethics


  • Permanent Coordination of Indigenous Peoples of Peru (COPPIP)
  • Interethnic Association of Development of the Peruvian Jungle (AIDESPEP)
  • Native Federation of Madre de Dios River and Streams (FENAMAD)

Puerto Rico

  • ( El Moviniento Indio Taino de Boriken (Puerto Rico)
  • United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP)
  • ( Jatibonicu Taino Tribal Nation of Boriken (Puerto Rico)
  • Turabo Aymaco Taino Tribe of Puerto Rico
  • Consejo General de Tainos Boricanos
  • Concilio Taíno Guatu-Ma-cu A Borikén


  • Organization of the Indigenous of Suriname


  • National Indian Council Venezuela (CONIVE)
  • Regional Organization of Indigenous Amazonian Peoples (ORPIA)

United States

See also


  • COICA homepage
  • Juan Houghton and Beverly Bell, "Latin American Indigenous Movements in the Context of Globalization" Americas Program (Silver City, NM: Interhemispheric Resource Center, October 11, 2004).
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