LA PAZ – Representatives from Bolivia’s 36 indigenous groups celebrated Decolonization Day on Friday at the central government’s offices in downtown La Paz.
The representatives handed symbols of their people to President Evo Morales to commemorate the official day, established by his government in 2011.
The representatives handed paintings, ponchos and fabrics to the president during an event in which they displayed their art, traditional symbols, languages and customs.
Aymaras, the indigenous group to which the president belongs, Quechuas, Guaranies, Lecos, Mojeños, Urus, Tacanas, Mores and others took part in the celebration.
Invited guests from Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Nicaragua, Brazil and Ecuador also attended the event.
Morales, his country’s first indigenous president, said that the symbols represent the “identity” of the country’s indigenous people.
“Thanks to the struggle of the Bolivian people, we have begun to decolonize ourselves,” the president said.
Morales said that this day celebrates “the strong resistance by indigenous movements against the European invasion.”
The president has repeatedly said that the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the New World in 1492 marked the start of an invasion that did considerable harm to indigenous peoples and cultures throughout the continent.