The Odyssey

Rigoberta Menchu Tum Chat Transcript
Rigoberta's Story
The Odyssey

Live Webcast, February 18, 1999!
Rigoberta Menchu

How can indigenous people maintain their culture under so much influence coming from the US and other countries.

I believe that for many years they have denied us our own respective history, they have denied us our participation. They have seen us as colonized people, as victims, as incapable. They have studied us so much. But the last few years the situation has changed a lot. We now we feel the protagonists of our own history and we are protagonists of our memory. We are proactive. And we can create many important contributions in all respects, the fields like science, technology, education.

We have some proposals for a new society in peaceful existence. Our people are not an isolated people. Our people are a very creative people. I believe it's time to allow the indigenous people to follow their own path and not to impose on them a special model. I donít need a special model in order to live, work, struggle and dream. We are a people that dream and I believe that to dream is a capacity of being purposeful. Therefore, Iíd say that the indigenous communities of today are not objects. We are subjects. We are protagonists. They have to accept us as protagonists and we are no longer the victims of always.

Here we are not victims. Our women are working, our young people are struggling for a better life, our communities work for a better well being within their own communities. We do make mistakes. We are communities that live with many mistakes from the past. I think that we are normal people. What I hope is that you and the young people in the future will look upon indigenous people as normal people and not as victims as they have looked upon us in the past.

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