Redalyc.International migration and indigenous peoples in Latin

Redalyc.International migration and indigenous peoples in Latin

Revista Latinoamericana de Población ISSN: 2175-8581 [email protected] Asociación Latinoamericana de Población Organismo Internacional Oyarce, ...

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Revista Latinoamericana de Población ISSN: 2175-8581 [email protected] Asociación Latinoamericana de Población Organismo Internacional

Oyarce, Ana María; del Popolo, Fabiana; Martínez Pizarro, Jorge International migration and indigenous peoples in Latin America: the need for a multinational approach in migration policies Revista Latinoamericana de Población, vol. 3, núm. 4-5, enero-diciembre, 2009, pp. 143-163 Asociación Latinoamericana de Población Buenos Aires, Organismo Internacional

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International migration and indigenous peoples in Latin America: the need for a multinational approach in migration policies1 Migración internacional y poblaciones indígenas en América Latina. Hacia un enfoque multinacional de las políticas migratorias Ana María Oyarce / Fabiana del Popolo / Jorge Martínez Pizarro Centro Latinoamericano y Caribeño de Demografía. CELADE División de Población de la CEPAL Abstract

Resumen

Latin America is a multi-ethnic and multicultural region with over 650 indigenous peoples currently recognized by its States. These peoples are highly diverse, but their common denominator is the structural discrimination they suffer in the form of marginalization, exclusion and poverty. In this context, indigenous international migration is becoming more significant, not so much because of its quantitative impacts, but because of the particular traits of indigenous migrants and the policy implications for human rights. Migration is directly linked to land, natural resources, territories and territoriality, which have a dual dimension: as a cultural and ethnic “anchoring” factor; and as a factor in expulsion, owing to impoverishment and growing pressure on indigenous lands and resources. Since this is a multicultural and pluri-ethnic process, new concepts need to be developed in order to: a) distinguish indigenous international migration in the true sense from the indigenous people’s ancestral territorial mobility, and b) incorporate these issues in regional and national agendas about international migration under a human rights perspective.

América Latina es una región multiétnica y multicultural que cuenta con más de 650 pueblos indígenas actualmente reconocidos por sus estados. Estos pueblos son altamente diversos, pero su común denominador es la discriminación estructural que sufren en forma de marginación, exclusión y pobreza. En este contexto, la migración internacional de los indígenas está adquiriendo relevancia, no sólo debido a su impacto cuantitativo, sino a causa de las características particulares de los migrantes indígenas y las implicaciones políticas en materia de derechos humanos. La migración está directamente relacionada con la tierra, los recursos naturales, los territorios y la territorialidad, todos ellos factores con una dimensión dual: como factor cultural y étnico de “anclaje” y como factor de expulsión, debido al empobrecimiento y a la creciente presión sobre las tierras indígenas y sus recursos. Puesto que este es un proceso multicultural y pluriétnico, se necesitan desarrollar nuevos conceptos para: a) distinguir la migración internacional indígena en estricto sentido de la movilidad territorial ancestral de los pueblos indígenas, y b) incorporar estos temas en las agendas regionales y nacionales acerca de migración internacional bajo una enfoque de derechos humanos.

Key words: migration, indigenous migration, migration policy, Latin American.

Palabras clave: migración, migración indígena, política migratoria, America Latina.

Introducción Latin America is a multi-ethnic and multicultural region wit�������������� h over 650 indigenous peoples currently recognized by its States. These peoples are highly 1

This document is based in a chapter included in Social Panorama of Latin America 2006 (ECLAC, 2006).

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diverse, but their common denominator is the structural discrimination they suffer in the form of marginalization, exclusion and poverty. Latin America’s indigenous peoples have gone through four major cycles of crisis, each of which has been driven by global forces that have put pressure on their territories and challenged their capacity for survival: conquest in the sixteenth century, the Bourbon reforms in the late eighteenth century; the expansion of the liberal republics in the second half of the nineteenth century; and the global neo-liberal structural adjustments of the late twentieth century. Each of these cycles and crises generated indigenous resistance until the new political and territorial status quo became established, after which a period of population recovery followed. In this context, indigenous mobility shows various aspects: as a mechanism for the reproduction of discrimination or, eventually, one of empowerment. Its study is related to the challenge for building multicultural democracies, which lies not only in eliminating inequities and adopting a Rights perspective, but also in acknowledging the contributions of the region’s indigenous peoples in terms of identity, world views, roots and humanity. Hence the need to include the problem of indigenous migration in the regional and national agenda, bearing in mind those specifics that might distinguish it from migration by other populations. Moreover, it is necessary to distinguish indigenous international migration in the true sense from the indigenous people’s ancestral territorial mobility. It is estimated there are 671 indigenous peoples in Latin America today, over half of whom are settled in tropical forest areas. The major demographic groups are located in the Andean and Meso-American countries. The common term “indigenous”, however, requires further specification as to the particular situation and status of each people. Although they are traditionally viewed as rural populations, their current status shows a diversity of territorial and demographic situations, ranging from peoples living in voluntary isolation to urban and even transnational settlements. Migration is directly linked to land, natural resources, territories and territoriality, which have a dual dimension: as a cultural and ethnic “anchoring” factor; and as a factor in expulsion, owing to impoverishment and growing pressure on indigenous lands and resources. Indigenous international migration is becoming more significant, beyond its quantitative impacts, due to the particular traits of indigenous migrants and the policy implications for human rights. The information available for 2000 census round shows that international migration among indigenous peoples in Latin America mainly occurs as cross-border migration, clearly reflecting both patterns mentioned above: in some cases, indigenous international migrants settle on rural land belonging to their ethnic group’s ancestral territory which has been fragmented by national borders; in other cases, they head mostly for urban areas. This is indicative of the non-voluntary and collective nature of indigenous migration, which leads migrants to maintain their social and economic links with their año 3, número 4-5

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community of origin and to reproduce sociocultural patterns at their destination, aided by family networks and involvement in organizations that uphold ethnic identity.

An emerging and little-known population issue While all societies and cultures have always experienced migrations, whether as origin or host societies, the new conditions driven by the global economy have intensified migration as never before and given it new meaning and content in the so called “age of migration” (Castles and Miller, 2004). In recent decades there has been a major increase in international migration in the region, mostly towards North America and Europe (Martínez, 2003). The effects of today’s global economic crisis have created a new incentive to study and debate the role of contemporary migration in the world from perspectives as diverse as economics, human rights, culture, aging and climate change. Both before and after the impact of the recession became evident there were many studies and publications on international migration that reference important authors and go beyond the theories traditionally used in migration studies (Papademetriou and Terrazas, 2009; Portes, 2005), yet the subject of the international migration of indigenous peoples has attracted little attention. Only recently has it come strongly to the fore, mainly propelled by indigenous organizations themselves, which have emphasized the need to be aware of, understand and recognize of indigenous migration, not only in regards to its scale, characteristics and quantitative dimensions, but above all in relation to situations of vulnerability and exclusion and their human rights implications (Medina, 2006; Martínez, M., 2006; Espiniella, 2006). The international community has responded to the political challenges posed by migration among indigenous populations for origin and destination countries, and has recommended that systematic research, both quantitative and qualitative, should be conducted into the dynamics, routes and reasons for international migration and its impacts on the life of indigenous peoples. It is thus a prominent topic today for researchers, academics, international bodies and indigenous peoples (Stavenhagen; 2006; Kyle, 2000; Kearney and Besserer 1999, Fox and Rivera-Salgado, 2004; United Nations, 2006; Espiniella, 2006).

Old practices, shared triggers and far-off destinations From an ethno-historical perspective, the territorial mobility of indigenous peoples seems to have been a constant since before the Spanish arrival. At that time, most of the indigenous peoples were located somewhere on a continuum ranging from hunter-gatherer groups to agricultural societies (Aylwin, 2002). To a greater or lesser extent, most groups combined both methods of obtaining food. In the case of agricultural economies, population groups were at enero / diciembre de 2009

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the mercy of periods of abundance and shortage, forcing them to migrate in search of either different foods or new lands and crops. In fact, some authors have suggested that seasonal migrations, particularly of the transhumant type, were (and still are) a way of life, a practice and a “habitus” (Bourdieu, 1998), closely linked to social and biological reproduction. As noted earlier, insufficient means to survive on their own lands, land tenure problems and crises in a rural economy increasingly linked to world markets, together with exclusion and various sorts of conflicts and human rights violations, have all been consistently cited as being the main factors forcing indigenous groups to leave their communities of origin, temporarily or permanently, in search of new openings (United Nations, 2006). Rather than being merely a way of seeking new opportunities in life, mobility therefore emerges as a last resort for both biological and cultural survival. The close links between emigration, ethnic origin and poverty can be, however, reproduced in the place of arrival. As is the case with most migrants, discrimination may be reflected in economic terms, since indigenous people tend to work in the informal labour market and are relegated to the lowest levels; in social terms, since belonging to an indigenous people imposes additional discrimination factors, especially if indigenous migrants are undocumented and are subjected to racist and discriminatory attitudes from the rest of the population; and in political terms, since most migrants are deprived of their rights as full citizens, in both countries of origin and destination (Fox and Rivera-Salgado 2004). Although no single pattern can be identified, migratory movements begin with seasonal and cyclical migrations, in which migrants stay for fairly long periods at their destinations. Some may settle permanently, yet still remain in contact with the community of origin. These cycles-especially in the case of Mexico and in some parts of Ecuador and Guatemala- are characterized by migrations occurring in waves (or stages), mainly towards major cities, then shifting gradually, through family networks, towards neighbouring countries (Velasco, 1998, 2002; Torres, 2005, Castillo, 1993, 1997).1 Now, in an increasingly globalized world, very few indigenous groups avoid migration as a means of economic and social reproduction. Nonetheless, ethnic groups vary in terms of destination and volume of migratory flows, distance covered, duration, patterns and the activities migrants perform in the places towards which they gravitate. This heterogeneity is reproduced in destination communities; the picture then becomes even more complex because, in addition to the status of the indigenous group in its place of origin, the socio-political context in the destination country also comes into play. 1

For example, González Chévez (2001) describes the itinerary used by the Nahua people of Temalec, Mexico, in their migration and reproduction in two locations: Puerto Vallarta in Mexico and Waukegan, Illinois, United States., situation that combines a successful migration in labour terms, because of the cheap and flexible labour the migrants provide, with a structural changes in all areas of community life (economic, religious, social, political and health-related) that have narrowed the possibilities for preservation of cultural identity.

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International migration: type, significance and context Indigenous migrants are not a homogenous group in terms of peoples or cultures or in respect to their places of origin or destination. This diversity should be considered in close association with two phenomena: the growth of international migration and the various efforts towards ethnocultural reconstruction. The pattern and density of those processes —whose contents and particularities of these processes are not yet fully known—leads to complex, multifaceted, and dynamic indigenous diasporas in both origin and destination communities (Fox and Rivera-Salgado, 2004).2 A number of authors, including indigenous organizations themselves, have highlighted the need to devise new concepts in order to understand international migration, starting from the basis that it is a multicultural and multiethnic phenomenon (Fox and Rivera-Salgado, 2004; United Nations, 2006) and making the distinction between migratory processes and mobility within ancestral lands. In this regard, the classification proposed here is illustrated in figure 1. The first aspect to be emphasized is the distinction between international migration and mobility within ancestral lands, because of their significance and consequences for policy and human rights. Furthermore, within each of those types, two subcategories exist: Figure 1 Typology of International Indigenous Migration

International stylized migration Forced mobility

Territorial ancestral mobility

Transnational migration

Saraguros of Ecuador in the United States

Otavalos of Ecuador in Spain

Maya (mam) of Guatemala in Mexico

Aymara of Bolivia and Chile

147

Source: Latin American and Caribbean Demographic Centre (CELADE)-Population Division of ECLAC.

2

The concept of diaspora and other analogous concepts such as transnationalism seek to emphasize the sense of constant change in the formation of communities and in migratory flows, as well as the sense of creation and recreation of migrants’ identity (López Castro, 2003). enero / diciembre de 2009

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Territorial mobility within ethnic boundaries. This concerns ethnic groups living in a territory which has been fragmented by the borders of nation-states. Although crossing international borders, such mobility takes place inside ancestral territories within the ethnic boundaries where indigenous people have exercised and continue to exercise common-law rights. Forced mobility, either across jurisdictional borders or within ethnic boundaries. From a structural viewpoint it has been argued that indigenous migration —in the form of collective migration and survival-related— is not voluntary, but the specific term “forced mobility” has been retained here to denote indigenous peoples crossing jurisdictional borders or moving within ethnic boundaries because of armed conflict, widespread violence, human rights violations or natural or man-made disasters.3 In cases of forced mobility across jurisdictional borders, there are better chances of creating transnational links (Portes, 2005). Transnational indigenous migration. This refers to international migrants who, through social groups, families, networks and collectivities or organizations, have recreated community links beyond national frontiers, thus extending ethnic boundaries. This type of migration has two fundamental traits: (a) constant exchanges between the communities of origin and destination that transcend trade and family relations; and (b) institutionalization of these links through organizations which preserve and rebuild them (Portes, 2005). International stylized migration. This refers to indigenous migrants crossing national borders outside their areas of ancestral mobility, and who are unlikely to maintain institutionalized links with their communities of origin, even when ethnic identity and family connections exist. This �������������������� is the most direct record offered by census information of Latin American countries. To the extent possible, this classification serves as a guide to help interpret the information available, as we show in the next section.

Magnitudes and trends: a regional comparison

148

National population and housing censuses are the only source of data with universal coverage, as indigenous censuses only cover areas previously identified as indigenous territories and tend to survey population samples that are not designed to include all indigenous peoples. As a result, the availability of information on indigenous peoples in national censuses makes them the only source that can be used to estimate the size of such groups and to conduct migration analyses based in census registers of migrants (defined by their country of born). They do provide more detailed and additional information for the public sector and the communities 3

The term “displaced” has not been used, since it refers only to population movements within national borders (although it would be the correct term if the population group moves within ethnocultural boundaries). Also, the term “refugee” has not been used generically, since not all indigenous people forced to leave their original communities are or request the status of refugees.

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themselves. An examination of countries’ census bulletins reveals that increasing numbers of questions are being included to identify indigenous peoples and that the questions have changed over time (Schkolnik and Del Popolo, 2005). Nowadays, the political and cultural revival in indigenous movements and organizations appears to have produced a consensus belief that the most effective way of obtaining this information is to directly ask people to define themselves, which fits in with the fact that indigenous peoples are now subjects of law. Despite the difficulty of such measurement using conventional sources, the 2000 round of censuses is recognized as a source of relevant information on a significant number of countries. This chapter is therefore based on the processing of census microdata available when we wrote this paper at the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the Latin American and Caribbean Demographic Centre (CELADE) - Population Division of ECLAC using Redatam+SP software (System for the Retrieval of Census Data for Small Areas by Microcomputer) for the following countries: Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama and Paraguay. Using the above approach, people’s indigenous identity was ascertained from a question on self-definition. Figure 2 Latin America (10 countries): International lifetime migrants, indigenous and non-indigenous, 2000 Census Round (Percentages) 19,4

20 18 16

Percentage

14 12 10 7,6

8 6

0,6 0,4

1,2 1,3

0,2

0,9

0,2

0,6

0,2 0,5 Honduras

Guatemala

Ecuador

Costa Rica

Chile

Brazil

Bolivia

0

0,1

0,6

0,4

0,5 Paraguay

0,3

Panama

2

3,4

3,2

2,3

Mexico

4

Country indigenous

non-indigenous

Source: Latin American and Caribbean Demographic Centre (CELADE)-Population Division of ECLAC, special processing of census microdatabases

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Censuses have served to quantify indigenous international migration in each of the 10 countries selected. It should be noted that the numbers may have been underestimated, since it is likely that an unknown portion of these migrants are undocumented.4 Furthermore, in some countries the numbers of indigenous people born elsewhere can be captured only when they belong to groups already present in the destination country. The data in figure 2 shows that indigenous peoples have a lower propensity to emigrate than nonindigenous peoples. The main exceptions are Costa Rica, where indigenous international migrants more than double non-indigenous migrants (with a difference of 11.8 percentage points) and, to a lesser extent, Brazil (0.21 points). As for relative magnitude, international indigenous migrants represent a very small proportion of each country’s indigenous population (less than 1.3 percent). The opposite is true only in Costa Rica, where one fifth of the indigenous population was born in other countries (19.4 percent). The lesser magnitude of international indigenous migration, which has been described in other research, is related to two main phenomena: first, indigenous peoples’ unbreakable ties to their lands, which function as an anchor (although survival needs may force them to migrate elsewhere) and, second, the structural disadvantage facing indigenous peoples who adopt the uncertain and costly strategy of international migration. This is in addition to the risk of finding themselves in an illegal situation and the difficulty of going unnoticed, because of their clothing, behaviour or language (Castillo, 1993, 1997; Castañeda, Mans and Davenport, 2002). Although international indigenous migration is small in magnitude, it must be recalled that indigenous peoples are one of the most vulnerable social groups, in which poverty and ethnic origin, two of the “structural aetiologies of discrimination” (Martínez, J., 2006), are combined. The magnitude of immigration varies greatly from country to country. At least five groups of countries can be distinguished. Bolivia and Costa Rica are host to the greatest numbers of international indigenous migrants, approximately 17,000 and 12,000 respectively. Chile, Guatemala and Mexico each have just over 8,000; Brazil, around 4,500; Ecuador and Panama, a little over 1,000, and Honduras and Paraguay, less than 800 each. International migration, both indigenous and non-indigenous, is seen to be basically intraregional, reflecting the pattern already described for the Latin American migrant population as a whole (Martínez, 2003). Among indigenous people, however, the pattern is more striking. Nine of every 10 indigenous immigrants come from within the region and in Costa Rica the proportion is as high as 99.5 percent (ECLAC, 2006). Honduras and Mexico are unusual in this respect, with a large proportion of immigrants born in the United States (17 percent and 30 percent, respectively). This may reflect second-generation migration, involving the children 4

Although there are no exhaustive studies to quantify this phenomenon, there are some figures. The National Population Council of Mexico (CONAPO) (2001), for example, has estimated that 70 percent of indigenous immigrants to the United States are undocumented.

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of migrants who have moved to the United States since the 1950s in the framework of State programmes to attract labour. In the case of Mexico, migration from the United States is proportionally higher among non-indigenous people. Honduras shows a different pattern, since indigenous and non-indigenous immigrants come from the United States in equal proportion. Two main situations are observed: in Bolivia and Guatemala, about one in five international migrants have an indigenous background; in the other countries, international indigenous migrants make up less than 5 percent of all migrants. If international migrants are confined to Latin Americans, the proportion of indigenous people increases for most countries, which supports the assertion regarding the intraregional bias of migration. The information available, however, does not capture the phenomenon of migration towards the United States, one of the main destinations for Guatemalan, Honduran and Mexican indigenous peoples, among others. Notably, there also appears to be a return migration, apparent in Honduras and Mexico, which record significant indigenous immigration from the United States. Typically, indigenous and non-indigenous international immigrants are mostly men, though Chile and Guatemala are exceptions for both groups, as is Honduras for the non-indigenous group. Since most indigenous migration is from within Latin America, this pattern of male predominance holds good in the region. This is not the case for non-indigenous immigrants of Latin American origin, however, who comprise mainly women in seven countries, reflecting what has been called the “quantitative feminization” of migration in the region (Martínez, 2003). The relative predominance of males among indigenous immigrants can also be seen in two pieces of research into gender differentials in indigenous migration, which is associated mainly with agricultural labour (CONAPO, 2001, Kyle, 2000). The predominance of men tends to support the idea of labour migration. Chile and Honduras, however, receive more female immigrants, as noted above, which may also have to do with better employment opportunities for women, especially in the informal labour market and in domestic service. Aside from quantitative considerations, the gender perspective should be considered in all cases, not only focusing on women as facilitators of migration through family networks, but also realizing that gender relations “organize” migration, determining how it takes place, who migrates, and what roles each family member will play in both host and origin countries (Martínez, 2003). Clearly, more research is still needed on how gender relations affect migratory processes and the ways in which women’s role in indigenous societies favours them or holds them back, as well as the impact of migration on gender empowerment. In structural terms, as a subordinate group, indigenous women are more seriously vulnerable. But more extensive research is needed into the characteristics of each ethnic group and its context. For example, some local studies in Mexico have suggested that contact with new social agents enero / diciembre de 2009

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in their places of destination can help indigenous women to become more autonomous. This can also happen in some communities of origin, where male emigration has had the unexpected effect of prompting women to move into roles traditionally confined to men (Fox and Rivera Salgado, 2004).A number of authors agree that, since 1990, indigenous international migration has grown in magnitude and has diversified in terms of the peoples who migrate and in terms of their places of origin and destination (García Ortega, 2004; Lewin and Guzmán, 2005; Kyle, 2000; Fox and Rivera-Salgado 2004). Although what is known thus far is fragmented and incomplete, census data support the empirical deduction that the phenomenon is indeed increasing (see table1). This trend is observed in both indigenous and non-indigenous groups, but in the 1990s it was more marked among indigenous peoples in Bolivia, Brazil, Guatemala, and Honduras. In Guatemala, 73.7 percent of indigenous immigrants arrived in 1990-1995; probably a consequence of return migration from Mexico, which was promoted by the Guatemalan State in 1993 (Castillo, 1997). Table 1 Indigenous and non-indigenous international immigrants, by five-year arrival periods (Percentages) Arrival period a/

Country of residence Bolivia Brazil Chile Costa Rica Ecuador Guatemala

152

Honduras Paraguay

Ethnic status

Pre 1980

19801985

19851990

19901995

19952000

Total

Indigenous

13.9

5.4

9.4

23.0

48.3

100

Non-indigenous

21.1

7.8

8.9

21.1

40.9

100

Indigenous

28.6

12.5

17.1

19.0

22.7

100

Non-indigenous

73.1

5.9

5.0

5.2

10.8

100

Indigenous

24.4

6.3

8.3

20.8

40.2

100

Non-indigenous

17.6

6.4

8.9

18.9

48.1

100

9.6

6.3

7.1

21.1

55.9

100

Non-indigenous

10.6

7.6

9.1

20.8

52.0

100

Indigenous

20.7

10.6

9.4

13.6

45.8

100

Non-indigenous

21.7

9.9

9.9

15.1

43.4

100

0.8

0.4

2.4

73.7

22.7

100

12.6

5.0

9.6

38.4

34.5

100

Indigenous

25.1

12.9

8.5

15.6

37.9

100

Non-indigenous

22.9

13.2

10.7

16.8

36.4

100

Indigenous

35.5

16.8

15.0

15.0

17.8

100

Non-indigenous

27.3

17.7

19.7

16.2

19.1

100

Indigenous

Indigenous Non-indigenous

Source: Latin American and Caribbean Demographic Centre (CELADE)-Population Division of ECLAC, special processing of census microdatabases. a/ In order to standardize the data, five-year periods were constructed before the date of each country’s census. For example, in the case of Bolivia the period 1995-2000 strictly speaking corresponds to 19962001

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Mixed patterns: ancient territories, new frontiers and complex identities International migration or mobility within ancestral lands? The subject of migratory movements in frontier zones or “grey areas” is recognized as highly complex. Nonetheless, the specific case of indigenous peoples as ethnocultural units which have been fragmented by national borders is practically absent from the literature on international migration. Such situations, which to a greater or lesser extent date back to the arrival of the conquistadors, were consolidated towards the end of the nineteenth century with the creation of the Latin American nation-States. Interesting enough, even today a number of binational and even trinational ethnic groups and indigenous peoples who have maintained cultural and family links can be identified.5 Nonetheless, it is undeniable that the socio-political characteristics of the countries in which they live have impressed certain traits upon these groups (Castillo, 1993). ILO Convention No. 169 (article 32) provides for special protection for indigenous peoples in border areas and urges governments to “take appropriate measures, including by means of international agreements, to facilitate contacts and co-operation between indigenous and tribal peoples across borders, including activities in the economic, social, cultural, spiritual and environmental fields” (article 32). IDB adds that acceptance of dual nationality or special mechanisms to facilitate contact across borders are also important measures. However, only two countries in the region —the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Ecuador— guarantee this right. (IDB/ ECLAC, 2004). From the viewpoint of sovereign States (and of censuses) international migration occurs only when a physical frontier (or jurisdictional territory) is crossed, not when people move outside an ethnic and territorial unit, which would be considered as mobility within ancestral territory. The distinction between ethnic and national boundaries thus becomes blurred if territory is viewed not only as an administrative and jurisdictional entity, or as a geographical area, but also from the viewpoint of habitat, heritage, biodiversity, and basis for identity (Toledo, 2005). Complicating the picture further, some traditionally nomadic indigenous groups, as is the case of some peoples in the Amazon region, travel through territories in which national borders are meaningless or unknown to them (United Nations, 2006). 5

Guatemalan Mayas have inhabited the area of Mexico’s border from precolonial times, when this territory was shared by a number of indigenous peoples who interacted within a vast Meso-American region. The conquistadors set up a model of political and social domination and made changes to the existing networks of relations and trade. Later, the national borders drawn between Guatemala and Mexico at the end of the nineteenth century disrupted many links but, to this day, ties of family kinship and close friendship form a dynamic that blurs the distinction of borders. These ethnic roots, common history, cultural proximity and bonds of affection facilitated a continuous movement of indigenous migrants into Mexico and facilitated the establishment of refugee camps in this country in the 1980s and 1990s, in a reflection of true social protection and solidarity networks (Castillo 1997). enero / diciembre de 2009

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Closer analysis and the use of bordering countries as a category reveal one of the most prominent traits of indigenous immigration: its typically crossborder nature. In Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama and Paraguay, nine of every 10 indigenous immigrants come from a neighbouring country. This is not the case for non-indigenous immigrants, except for Costa Rica, Mexico and Paraguay (see figure 3). If the sample is restricted to Latin America, practically all indigenous immigrants in any given country were born in a neighbouring country. These conclusions raise the challenge of distinguishing whether a given situation is genuinely international migration between neighbouring countries or simply territorial mobility within ethnic boundaries, as mentioned earlier. To what extent can these two types of behaviour be represented using the information available? Figure 3 Indigenous and non-indigenous international immigrants born in bordering or other countries, by country of residence and indigenous status, 2000 Census Round Inmigrants born in any other country in the world

154

Bolivia

Brazil

Chile

Costa Rica

Ecuador

Guatemala

Honduras

Mexico

Panama

Non–indigenous

Paraguay

Indigenous

Non–indigenous

Panama

Indigenous

Non–indigenous

Mexico

Indigenous

Non–indigenous

Honduras

Indigenous

Non–indigenous

Guatemala

Indigenous

Non–indigenous

Ecuador

Indigenous

Non–indigenous

Costa Rica

Indigenous

Non–indigenous

Chile

Indigenous

Indigenous

Brazil

Non–indigenous

100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

Non–indigenous

Bolivia

Indigenous

100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

Paraguay

Inmigrants born in Latin America and the Caribbean Born in bordering countries

Born in another country

Source: Latin American and Caribbean Demographic Centre (CELADE)-Population Division of ECLAC, special processing of census microdatabases. a/ Includes immigrants from the United States.

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A first approximation can be achieved by studying migrants’ destinations. Indigenous immigrants have been observed to settle in rural areas more than non-indigenous immigrants, who tend to settle mostly in urban areas (see figure 4). The exception is Bolivia, where the structure of population groups dates back to precolonial times; the Bolivian altiplano (high plateau) is one of the crossroads of the Andean culture. Comparatively speaking, indigenous peoples’ settlement patterns show greater variation: in four countries (Guatemala, Mexico, Panama and Paraguay) indigenous immigrants settle mainly in rural areas, with the figures ranging from 74 to 93 percent; in three others (Costa Rica, Ecuador and Honduras) they still tend to choose rural areas, although in lower proportions between 51 percent and 62 percent. In the three countries where the indigenous population lives mostly in urban areas (Bolivia, Brazil and Chile), most indigenous migrants also settle in such areas. Mobility towards rural areas provides initial evidence of a type of migration linked to ancestral territories, and it will now be attempted to illustrate this by examining the situation of indigenous peoples fragmented by national borders. Figure 4 Distribution in the host country of indigenous and non-indigenous international immigrants born in Latin America and the Caribbean, by urban or rural residence, 2000 Census Round 32

19

7 93

5 95

28

61

39

51

28

93

81

73

62

28

74

19

83

12

93

72

61

56

49 39

38 26

17

Chile Urban

Costa Rica

Ecuador

Guatemala

Honduras

Mexico

Non–indigenous

Indigenous

Non–indigenous

Indigenous

Non–indigenous

Indigenous

Non–indigenous

Indigenous

Non–indigenous

Indigenous

Non–indigenous

Indigenous

Non–indigenous

Indigenous

Non–indigenous

Non–indigenous

Indigenous

Brazil

Panama

Indigenous

7

7

Bolivia

44

88

81

76

72

72

68

24

Non–indigenous

27

Indigenous

100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

Paraguay

Rural

Source: Latin American and Caribbean Demographic Centre (CELADE)-Population Division of ECLAC, special processing of census microdatabases. a/ Includes the United States, which is a neighbouring country

Among the countries for which data disaggregated by ethnic group were available (because the question was included in the census questionnaire), the countries selected were those having the greatest numbers of indigenous immigrants from groups inhabiting lands that are now, in terms of State boundaries, split between neighbouring countries. The total number of indigeenero / diciembre de 2009

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nous immigrants included in table 2 represents more than 85 percent of each country’s international indigenous migration, except for Guatemala, where the Mam and Q’anjob’al make up 59 percent. With the exception of the Garífuna, almost all the migrants in each group had been born in a neighbouring country. These results are conclusive as regards the need to guarantee special protection for indigenous peoples living in border areas and —where appropriate— to the need to recognize their ancestral territorial mobility as being qualitatively different from international migration. Chile offers a striking example through its Quechua residents, of whom one in three were born in a neighbouring country. Table 2 International indigenous immigrants, by indigenous group, 2000 Census Round International indigenous immigrants, by indigenous group Country of residence

Bolivia c/

Chile Guatemala Honduras

Panama

Paraguay 156

Indigenous group

Total immigrants

Percentage of the whole group a/

Percentage born in bi- or trinational territories b/

Quechua Aymara Guaraní Chiquitano Quechua Aymara Mapuche Mam Q'anjob'al Garífuna Misquito Chortí Emberá Wounaan Ngöbe Kuna Avaguaraní Western Guaraní Mbya Paitavytera

3 148 1 817 574 442 2075 4190 1910 2333 2455 326 147 244 583 226 129 107 186

0.2 0.1 0.8 0.4 33.6 8.6 0.3 0.4 1.5 0.7 0.3 0.7 2.6 3.3 0.1 0.2 1.3

92.6 92.7 90.8 83.4 94.9 98.9 81.4 98.5 99.3 9.5 97.9 92.4 99.1 98.1 52.7 43.9 98.4

50

2.1

86.0

78 55

0.5 0.4

91.0 96.4

Source: Latin American and Caribbean Demographic Centre (CELADE)-Population Division of ECLAC, special processing of census microdatabases. a/ Total international indigenous immigrants belonging to a particular group in relation to that group’s total population in the country of residence. b/ For each group, the countries where ancestral lands are located were identified. For example, for the Quechua people in Bolivia the figure corresponds to the total number of Quechua people born in Argentina, Chile and Peru in relation to all Quechuas born outside Bolivia but residing in that country. c/ Refers to those aged 15 years and over, since identification of ethnic group was confined to that universe in the census.

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Although jurisdictional borders are being crossed, these results raise the question of whether, the mobility is taking place within ethnocultural areas and should therefore be considered indigenous territorial mobility. This is not necessarily the case, since it depends on whether or not migrants settle in areas that correspond to ancestral territories with shared sociocultural links. As for destinations, although the rural preference of indigenous immigrants is significant, it is not sufficient evidence by itself. In certain groups, the places of residence of indigenous immigrants seem to reflect both patterns, migration and mobility, even within a single ethnic group. In the case of the Quechua people living in Chile, 89 percent of those born in Bolivia settle in the country’s First and Second Regions (Tarapacá and Antofagasta), which are part of the Quechua ancestral territories. Quechua people born in Peru, on the other hand, tend to gravitate (73 percent) to the Metropolitan Region. As for Aymara immigrants born in Bolivia and Peru and residing in Chile, 90 percent live in the First and Second Regions, mostly the former. Lastly, of Argentine-born Mapuches, 52 percent settle in Araucanía, los Lagos and the Bio Bio region, which are within Mapuche territory, whereas 15 percent reside in the Metropolitan Region. Despite this variety, there is also a discernable current of international migration in the proper sense, towards capitals or major cities, with Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Costa Rica being the most representative examples. The magnitude of this migration is less significant, however, in comparison with settlement patterns among non-indigenous migrants. In the aforementioned countries, no more than 30 percent of indigenous international immigrants reside in the urban areas of the major administrative divisions corresponding to the country’s largest city: 13 percent in Panama province; 16 percent in Santa Cruz; 20 percent in the Metropolitan Region of Santiago; 24 percent in San José and 30 percent in São Paulo. In the remaining countries the numbers are below 5 percent. Urban indigenous migrants generally follow the territorial distribution pattern described above, since they tend to live in towns located close to their ancestral territories. This reinforces the idea of family migration, mostly through networks of relatives (Aravena, 2000). The case of Costa Rica, which has the highest proportion of international indigenous migrants, is a good example of the diversity in this regard, as well as of the need to draw a distinction between the different types of migrants according to their indigenous groups and to their circumstances.6 Of all international indigenous migrants in the country, 39 percent live in urban areas and 61 percent in rural areas (see figure 4). A high proportion of those in urban areas live in San José (62 percent); although it is not known which ethnic groups they belong to, the majority were born in the neighbouring country of Nicaragua (77 percent). As for rural settlement, there is some evidence of ancestral territorial mobility. Of the international indigenous migrants living in rural areas, 55 percent are in Puntarenas and Limón (which cover most of the 6

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indigenous territories), most of whom were born in the neighbouring country of Panama. Furthermore, of the international indigenous migrants arriving in Puntarenas, 30 percent reside in indigenous territories as such. The idea of international migration which is qualitatively different from ancestral mobility is reflected indirectly in the use of indigenous languages. A number of studies have shown that this declines inexorably from one generation to the next, at least in terms of magnitude, mostly because of discrimination, social stigma, and the lack of functionality of those languages in new urban environments (Albarracín, Alderetes and Pappalardo, 2001). Census data show that in Guatemala and Mexico, international indigenous immigrants settling in rural areas retain their languages practically to the same extent as non-migrants (about 80 percent); in urban areas, however, only 25 percent of migrants speak their indigenous languages, against 70 percent of non-migrant indigenous people. In Bolivia and Ecuador, international indigenous migrants retain their original languages to an even lesser extent, whether in urban or rural areas, although the downtrend is stronger in urban areas. These findings do not, however, necessarily mean that language loss is a consequence of migration. The process may have begun before migration; indeed, migration may be “selective”, inasmuch as those who speak only the official language are more likely to migrate. This assertion seems to apply more to the case of true international migration; in the case of cross-border mobility, the continued use of indigenous languages may be an important factor rather than a mere consequence. The figures for Guatemala and Mexico support this idea. Castillo (1997) notes that in the case of the Mayan people of Yucatán (mainly the Mam group) it was precisely the existence of a shared language and sociocultural background that encouraged migration from Guatemala to Mexico. Furthermore, the importance of indigenous language as a means of recreating cultural identity in a new living environment has been recognized and is one of the pillars on which transnational indigenous communities are built.7

Indigenous international migration: voluntary or forced?

158

One last aspect which has been high on the agenda for international organizations and experts is the extent to which indigenous migration is voluntary (United Nations, 2006; Espiniella, 2006). It has been suggested that, being collective and determined by structural social factors, it is at the least not comparable with freely chosen individual migration. In the case of indigenous groups migration is evidently a last resort for survival, which some authors have gone so far as to term an “exodus” (González Chévez, 2001). This is a 7

The Otavalo Quichua of Ecuador has established transnational communities virtually throughout the world. They have used numerous means and strategies to reproduce, recreate and reinvent their ethnocultural identity, giving new meaning to their identity in the way they travel, emigrate and sell their crafts throughout the world. Indeed, these activities have formed the key to their integration in a globalized market economy and to the shaping of transnational cultures (Maldonado, 2005).

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subject that calls for more comprehensive analysis and whose implications links directly to the human and to the collective rights of indigenous peoples. Unfortunately, population censuses are not the best tool for analysing such phenomena, which have to date been described in local research conducted by indigenous organizations and international human rights bodies. Two examples set forth some of the situations of forced mobility which have affected the indigenous peoples: Guatemala and Colombia. In the first half of the 1980s, some 45,000 Guatemalan peasant farmers, many of them indigenous, arrived in Mexico seeking refuge from the lifethreatening persecution they suffered in their homeland. They took refuge in camps along the border and, though their exact numbers are not known, with the help of local populations, they were able to spread out and settle in localities of different sizes. A further 50,000 refugees are reckoned to have dispersed throughout the region (American Watch Commitment). Since the 1990s, 12 of the 84 indigenous groups in Colombia have been directly affected by the military conflict between the army, guerrillas, drugtraffickers and mining companies. As a last resort, some groups have moved across national borders; in the year 2000, a group of 200 indigenous Wounaan moved into Panama. Despite the danger, they returned to Colombia a few months later. Between 2001 and 2002, 10 percent of the indigenous population of the Department of Putumayo (estimated at more than 24,000) were displaced, some of them forced across the border into Ecuador. In both cases of forced displacement —the Guatemalan Maya peoples and the Colombian indigenous groups— land and natural resources are at the heart of the conflict. In Guatemala, the army launched a persecution against groups of Maya in order to seize their lands, displacing entire communities who settled as refugees in Mexico and, in some cases, the United States (Castillo, 1993). In the Colombian case, indigenous peoples were “cornered” in their own territory and moved into Panama and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela only when their lives were at risk. So compelling is the struggle for the land and control over resources (many of which are now undergoing exploration and contract awards), that as soon as armed conflict abates, indigenous communities will return to their original communities, thus forfeiting refugee status in other countries (National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC), 2006). Research in this area is still scant. This is one of the major challenges in achieving a better understanding of international indigenous migration and improving the design of appropriate policies. Forced mobility, as a violation of human rights and a violent displacement, has direct consequences on the survival of indigenous communities and peoples and should therefore be brought to the public attention without delay.

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Conclusions: the challenges of indigenous migration

160

Latin America has seen renewed interest in indigenous issues as a matter of public policy since the beginning of the twenty-first century, and this has also been reflected in census studies and measurements, especially in the field of international migration. At the same time, the challenges of migration recognition and governance impose several requirements. Accordingly, demand for information is a recurring issue for governments, indigenous organizations, and international agencies; not only as a basic technical tool for the design, implementation, and assessment of public policies, but also for its undeniable political utility. In this connection, the production of demographic knowledge from a rights-based perspective constitutes a first step in achieving the statistical visibility required for the construction of a multi-ethnic citizenship in Latin America. Information on who, how many, and where indigenous people are, or their destination, is a basic input for policies and programmes, which need to be contextualized in territorial terms and be relevant in terms of content. In addition, population dynamics and migration form one of the bases for the sociocultural reproduction of indigenous peoples. As a result of the emergence of indigenous movements as political actors and of the new human rights standards, almost all of the Latin American countries included questions on ethnic identity for the first time in the 2000 round of censuses. This offered the opportunity to make progress in building knowledge of indigenous population dynamics, migration, and their implications for public and multinational policies and strategies. Simultaneously, in the region, there has been a frenzy of activity around the study and debate of the consequences of international migration. Numerous multilateral political initiatives have built an agenda on the subject, be it at the level of Latin American sub-regions, or at the Iberoamerican and American scales. International migration has gradually been associated with development processes and with the adoption of the Human Rights perspective. Advances in this line are promising since reductionist opinions on the consequences of migration have been questioned and formal principles for migration governance have been put forth. Nevertheless, reality shows there is still a long way to go before countries and migrants themselves benefit from these initiatives: besides the rigidities and asymmetries brought about by an agenda shared with developed countries, in our opinion, there is also the absence of an ethnic perspective in the studies and in the political discussion regarding international migration. There are new studies and publications on international migration, yet the subject of international migration by indigenous peoples has attracted little attention. Only recently has it come strongly to the fore, propelled mainly by indigenous organizations themselves, which have emphasized the need to be aware of, understand, and take account of indigenous migration, not only in regards to its scale, characteristics, and quantitative dimensions, but above año 3, número 4-5

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all in relation to situations of vulnerability and exclusion and human rights implications. Moreover, the international community has recently responded to the political challenges posed by migration among indigenous populations for origin and destination countries, and has recommended that systematic research, both quantitative and qualitative, should be conducted into the dynamics, routes and reasons for international migration and its impacts on the life of indigenous peoples. It is thus a prominent topic today for researchers, academics, international bodies, and indigenous peoples.

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