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Special Report

At the crossroads of past and future, or to change colour

The discussion of the new "Estatuto de la Autonomía Indígena", official act on the recognition of this antique native population's legal autonomy, is still going on.

During our 3rd mission to Chipaya, as EU Aid volunteers in the "Qnas Soñi (hombres del agua)" project on behalf of GVC, we have been able to witness a very important historical moment for Chipaya population: the creation of the First State Government of Uru-Chipaya.

A photo-reportage created by Michele Pasquale (photos, design), GVC Communications Officer, and Alice Ticli (text), GVC Project Manager.

Instagram: ntwari_mickey

For more information:

Gvc Onlus

CEBEM (Centro Boliviano de Estudios Multidisciplinarios)


Unión Europea en Bolivia / European Union in Bolivia

European Commission - Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid Operations - ECHO

This article will be published on the official project website chipaya.org

On the 28 of March 2017, called by the sound of pututu (Andean wind instrument) by their Hilacatas (the traditional authorities), Chipayas met in the Alcaldia (Town hall) to carry forward the process of moving from being a Municipality to being the Autonomia Indigena Originaria Campesina (AIOC) - Original Peasant Indigenous Autonomy, wanted by the 91.69% of Chipaya with the referendum on January 25, 2009.

Children, women, Municipal Authorities and Traditional Authorities along with Officials from the Ministry of Autonomy and contracted Consultors, have actively participated in the debate and analyzed the new Statute (also approved by referendum with the 77.4% of votes from Chipayas on November 20, 2016), which includes, in addition to the Fundamental bases of the Autonomy, the principles, values, rights, duties and guarantees, so the competences in which Chipaya may legislate, regulate, execute and finance.

The constitution of the First Government of the Native Nation Uru-Chipaya is part of the creation of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, a model based on decentralization of power and the principle of self-determination of indigenous peoples, thus considered different Countries within the State (Bolivia).

To get one's colour back: keeping an eye on the new generations

Customs and traditions will bridge the gap between past and future

It is a process that has begun in 1990, with the indigenous movement of Beni who organized the Marcha por el Territorio y la Dignidad - March for Territory and Dignity, from Trinidad to La Paz asking for recognition of their rights and obtaining three supreme decrees of recognition of indigenous territories.

Since then, two decades have passed before the creation of the State Political Constitution (2009), the promulgation of Law 4021 on the Régimen Electoral Transitorio - Transitional Electoral Regime in 2009 and the Ley Marco de Autonomia y Descentralización (LMAD) - Law on Autonomy and Decentralization in 2010. Since then, two decades have passed before passing from a territorial to political rights recognition and before laying the foundations for a future "indigenous self-government".

The issues discussed during the taller (course) on the 28 of March, specifically concerned the new procedures for the election of the Authorities of the Autonomous Indigenous Government Uru- Chipaya, namely the Deliberative Istancia (Chawkh Speak), the Legislative Organ (Laymis Talk) and the Executive Organ (Lanqsni Paqh But Eph), who will join the traditional Authorities.

The creation of AIOCSs is proving to be a particularly complex and slow process, not only for Chipaya but for the several municipalities that voted for autonomy; long is still the way for this historical revenge of indigenous communities, in a process that sees on one hand an institutional, economic, political, social and cultural development, without losing their own traditions, customs and specific characteristics.

The day passed in a spirit of participation, sharing moments, and interest, not just by the Chipaya, who actively commented and criticized various points of the Statute, but also by televisions and communication medias that recorded the whole debate.

There are still many doubts and question marks related to the process and the effective autonomy that the indigenous peoples will enjoy, as many have been the criticisms so far.

However, big is the hope, especially of the new generations, to be protagonists of this change and to benefit as much as possible from this historical step for the future of their communities.


«Laying the foundations for a future "indigenous self-government.»

«However, big is the hope, especially of the new generations, to be protagonists of this change [...]»

«I’d spend a lifetime waiting for the right time»

Elvis Presley, "It's Now or Never", A Mess of Blues, 1960.

Based on the Italian song "O Sole Mio" by Eduardo di Capua.

A photo-reportage created by Michele Pasquale (photos, design), GVC Communications Officer, and Alice Ticli (text), GVC Project Manager.

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