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This article, written by Olli Tammilehto, has been published in Indigenous peoples and oil. In the other versions of the same publication it has been published in Finnish and Russian. You can republish it in English or in any other language but you should first inform the author.

A civilised world or a bloodsucker of the earth?


Civilised Europeans relate positively to indigenous peoples. For sure that is true. These represent the richness of cultures, don't they? Isn't is clear that millions have to be spent for their protection just in the same way as for preservation of churches and rare animal species? There are units in the EU concerned with the protection of indigenous peoples. In the new Finnish policy document on human rights a separate mention is made on indigenous peoples, too. But in spite of the European civilisation's global care, indigenous peoples are disappearing from the face of the earth all the time. The rate of disappearance is relatively faster than that of plant and animal species: several dozens of languages die every year – most of them those spoken by indigenous peoples. An essential part of the culture of a people disappears along with the last persons who use the language. After this, one can hardly speak of the existence of the people.

Perhaps an improvement has to be made on the directives of indigenous peoples and one must invest in their protection another million. Or does even that help? Maybe there is something so brutal in our civilised life that small improvements do not help. A reference to this was made in many speeches during the indigenous peoples and oil events. The lifeblood of our civilisation is oil, and what is left of it is often found underneath the land of the remaining indigenous peoples. These systems of thinking and living are much older than euro-culture, and many of them have known oil but understood that the use of this "blood of the earth" is dangerous. The raw material for atomic energy that engineers thought would be a substitute for oil is also often found on the land of indigenous peoples: uranium, or "the deadly stone" as it was called by primal Americans.

It could be that we have to choose between preserving indigenous peoples and preserving our present social system. But if that is the case, then indigenous peoples have no hope, have they? The civilised world is not about to give away the present welfare-producing industrial system. It certainly will not give away so long as it can imagine that it has progressed from a barbarian to a civilised world and is living in a continuously growing welfare. But when doubts gain ascendancy then there will be room for the forces of change. Who would like to live in a society that makes it members bloodsuckers, genocidal killers and rapists? And that, on top of it all, produces material wealth for a small elite, but denies possibilities for a good life to almost all living now and take away possibilities for any life from those who are meant to live in the future.

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