By Frank Bajak
All over Latin America, and especially in the Andes, a political awakening is emboldening Indians who have lived mostly as second-class citizens since the Spanish conquest.
Much of it is the result of better education and communication, especially as the Internet allows native leaders in far-flung villages to share ideas and strategies across international boundaries.
But much is born of necessity: Latin American nations are embarking on an unprecedented resource hunt, moving in on land that Indians consider their own—and whose pristine character is key to their survival.
"The Indian movement has arisen because the government doesn't respect our territories, our resources, our Amazon," says Romulo Acachu, president of the Shuar people, flanked by warriors carrying wooden spears and with black warpaint smeared on their faces.
Below: "In this photo taken Aug. 20, 2009, an Aymara woman and her daughter walk near the village of Jesus de Machaca, Bolivia. In February, Bolivia's voters approved a new constitution creating a 'plurinational state.' It grants the Andean country's 36 native peoples the right to self-determination, including collective title to their lands." (AP Photo/Dado Galdieri)