September 25, 2006

How missionaries destroyed Native life

Neo-conservative’s roots were planted first by RockefellerAccording to Victor Halterman of SIL, this was often accomplished by seducing tribesmen with trinkets like knives, axes, and mirrors, "the kind of things the Indians can't resist." And then the missionaries "explain that from now on if they want to possess them they must work for money." The missionaries would then move them to reservations (as in Ecuador, where many indigenous people died in the transition), or get them work on the giant new cattle farms (many of which were owned by Rockefeller's International Basic Economy Corporation) that had begun to supplant the rainforest. In the end, the natives wound up virtually indentured to American corporations, but "settle[d] down at it when they realize[d] there's no going back."

This strategy was successfully deployed throughout the Amazon Basin in countries such as Ecuador, Guatemala, Bolivia, and Peru. And the consequent devastation to the Amazon rainforest, "the lungs of the planet," and the people who inhabited it were incalculable. As a result, SIL was eventually denounced and kicked out of a number of countries, including Mexico and Brazil, and was banned from entry into Venezuela. At a Yucatan indigenous people's conference 1980, SIL was officially denounced for using a scientific name to conceal its religious agenda and capitalist worldview that was hostile to indigenous traditions. But by that point it was already too late to do anything more than denounce.
For more on the subject, see Globalization:  Exporting the American Way.

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