Indigenous demand greater role at WSF

The Inter Press Service (IPS) reports that indigenous activists and leaders are concerned about the lack of indigenous voices at the World Social Forum and believe indigenous issues have been marginalized.

"Only a limited number of indigenous people have taken part so far in the World Social Forum, and their debates have not reached the grassroots level, which is a shortcoming, because we owe our activism to our communities," said Ecuadorian indigenous leader Rosa Alvarado, one of the heads of the Coordinating Body for the Indigenous Organisations of the Amazon Basin.

Indigenous activism and social movements have grown exponentially in Latin America over the past two decades. And the recent election of Evo Morales gives hope that indigenous power and influence will continue to grow.

"We now find ourselves at an important crossroads due to Morales’s triumph, and we hope indigenous concerns will find a place among the most important issues considered at the Forum," Mexican activist Alberto Gómez, coordinator of the global organisation Vía Campesina for Canada, Mexico and the United States told IPS. "As indigenous campesinos (small farmers), we have been just another actor in the Forum, but that has to change, and now is the time for that change."