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Indigenous Youth Speaking About Their Rights: Our Stories are Guided by the Energy of the Hearts of our Grandfathers and Grandmothers

Tomas, Maria Antonia Benito; Franca, Rayanne Cristine Maximo

Indigenous youth in Latin America have succeeded in sharing the realities that each one of them lives via their personal experiences. Social,
political, and economic barriers have not restricted them from combining their efforts and organizational processes from the community level to the national, regional and global levels. Youth from communities such as the Aymara, Baré, Charrúa, Embera, Garífunas, Guaraní, Poqomam, Kaqchikel, K’iche, Miskito, Mixteco, Quechua, Xavante and Zapoteco, just to name a few, have been coming together to make themselves heard in one single, collective voice.

Taking into consideration that each Indigenous community has its particularities based on its context and geographical environment, Indigenous youth have their own way of looking at life, of organizing, and of making decisions. When someone uses the term “Indigenous youth,” understand that he or she is referring to a massive diversity of identities. This is why it is essential for to be previously negotiated and endorsed with full and effective participation, in order to address the specific needs of Indigenous youth and for them to benefit in an inclusive and satisfactory manner.

Educational and training processes have played a very important role for Indigenous youth in Latin America, resulting in their voices being heard, as well as their demands and proposals being amplified in numerous spaces of influence and decision-making.

In regards to the current status of Indigenous youth in Latin America, we can identify five primary areas of importance: migration, discrimination, sexual and reproductive health, and the lack of separate statistical data for youth.

Geographic Areas


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Also Published In

Global Indigenous Youth: Through Their Eyes

More About This Work

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University
Published Here
October 28, 2019


This is a chapter from "Global Indigenous Youth: Through Their Eyes". The entire volume is available in Academic Commons at