Social and cultural colonization is still very real in the Amazon. Indigenous people are being forced to adapt to a “modern” way of life through oil exploitation, road building, assimilation programs and urbanization that discriminate against indigenous peoples and cultures. In many indigenous villages, native languages are being lost and replaced with Spanish. With the extinction of the language, essential elements of the culture go as well.
The current western education imposed by the government does not take into consideration the historical, cultural and geographical aspects of life of indigenous people in the communities. Instead, it teaches a western colonial way of seeing the world. While children and youth in the communities need to attend school, learn and to be able to defend their lives, territories, cultures and their families, they are also being forced into a colonial educational system with a western or white superior mentality, depreciating ancestral knowledge and native language that has been passed down for thousands of years. Instead of being a tool for indigenous people to protect their sacred lands and culture, to contribute positively to the communities, education becomes the destruction of an entire way of living.
These threats lead to a loss of cultural languages and land sovereignty, communities and environment are destroyed, and many young people migrate to live in cities where they face discrimination and poverty and are often drawn into prostitution and crime. To prohibit this, it is important to empower and strengthen our communities.