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Stop Saying Columbus 'Discovered' the Americas—It Erases Indigenous History

Referring to tribal lands as "empty" seeks to justify their theft for commercial and military exploitation.

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These lands were the homes of indigenous peoples. To claim a land was ‘empty’ before the invasion of colonists and ‘discovered’ once they arrived is to rob tribal peoples of their identity, dignity and land rights; it is to deny their very existence.

They are still the homes of indigenous peoples. In the summer of 2013, Peru’s Prime Minister announced that his government has scrapped an official report warning of the dangers a controversial gas project poses to uncontacted tribes, and at least three ministers resigned amidst growing pressure to approve the project. The UN has called for the project’s ‘immediate suspension’. The invasion of their lands continues; their existence and rights overlooked.

Joanna Eede is a writer and author focusing on tribal peoples and the relationship between man and nature. She is also an editorial consultant for Survival International

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