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Article

The Struggle of Indigenous Peoples to Maintain Their Spirituality in Latin America: Freedom of and from Religion(s), and Other Threats

1
Institute for Minority Rights, Eurac Research, 39100 Bolzano-Bozen, Italy
2
Brunel Law School, College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences, Brunel University London, Uxbridge, London UB8 3PH, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Silvio Ferrari, Roberta Medda-Windischer and Kerstin Wonisch
Religions 2021, 12(10), 869; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12100869
Received: 4 August 2021 / Revised: 19 September 2021 / Accepted: 19 September 2021 / Published: 13 October 2021
This article argues that the (Western-oriented) right to religion has been proven inadequate in protecting Indigenous Peoples’ rights. It recognizes that this is partly because of the distinctive characteristics of Indigenous religions, which differ from other dominant religions, but also because of the way in which religion has been used by colonialism with dramatic effects on Indigenous Peoples and their beliefs, spiritualities, and worldviews. The article focuses on Latin America to argue further that in addition to colonialism, the early Constitutions also attacked Indigenous religions. As Indigenous rights are more acknowledged in Latin America, we take this region as an excellent, albeit painful, example of how Indigenous religions have been pushed aside even in the most positive contexts. The article uses the constitutional and legal arrangements in Latin American states, mainly Ecuador and Bolivia, to critically assess the protection that these favorable to Indigenous Peoples legal systems’ guarantee to Indigenous rights despite a persistent implementation gap. Also, this article highlights the weaknesses of the international system in mitigating the manifold threats that Indigenous Peoples have to face on a daily basis in their struggle to maintain and transmit their religions and spirituality, including the assault of other religions and sects into their communities and the so-called neo-extractivism. The article finally draws some concluding remarks and recommendations on how to improve the freedom of and violations from religion(s) of Indigenous Peoples in the context of Latin America as well as international law more broadly. View Full-Text
Keywords: Indigenous Peoples; spirituality; cultural identity; land; traditional customs; Latin America; Ecuador; Bolivia; UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Indigenous Peoples; spirituality; cultural identity; land; traditional customs; Latin America; Ecuador; Bolivia; UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
MDPI and ACS Style

Tomaselli, A.; Xanthaki, A. The Struggle of Indigenous Peoples to Maintain Their Spirituality in Latin America: Freedom of and from Religion(s), and Other Threats. Religions 2021, 12, 869. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12100869

AMA Style

Tomaselli A, Xanthaki A. The Struggle of Indigenous Peoples to Maintain Their Spirituality in Latin America: Freedom of and from Religion(s), and Other Threats. Religions. 2021; 12(10):869. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12100869

Chicago/Turabian Style

Tomaselli, Alexandra, and Alexandra Xanthaki. 2021. "The Struggle of Indigenous Peoples to Maintain Their Spirituality in Latin America: Freedom of and from Religion(s), and Other Threats" Religions 12, no. 10: 869. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12100869

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