Photograph Credit: Prensa Libre.com
The General Assembly of the United Nations decided in 2004 that the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People would be observed on August 9, every year during the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People (1).
"Today is a day to recognize and celebrate the contributions of the Indigenous People throughout the world," stated Dr. Aldo A. Aguirre, Honorary Vice Consul of Guatemala in Las Vegas, Nevada. "Guatemala is one of the most culturally rich and diverse countries in Latin America. With over 20 different languages and unique traditional clothing that displays their user's specific local identity, Guatemala boasts one of the largest and most traditional Indigenous populations. According to the 2002 Census, 42 percent of Guatemalans are of Mayan ancestry and live in greater numbers in the western highlands, particularly in the departments of Baja Verapaz, Quiche, Totonicapan, Huehuetenando, Quetzaltenango, and San Marcos (2). The southeastern region of Guatemala includes groups such as the Ch' orti', the northern lowland Petén region includes the Itza population. The great majority of Mayans are young, with strong community structures and very deeply rooted traditions and customs. The Indigenous people of Guatemala contribute greatly to the local economy and have formed large communities outside of the country, contributing as well with monthly remittances which have been and will continue to be a fundamental pillar of economic support for hundreds of thousands of urban and rural families. I am deeply honored to celebrate the International Day of Indigenous People and encourage all to observe this Day with respect and gratitude," concluded Honorary Vice Consul Aguirre.
(1) By its resolution 59/174 of 20 December 2004, in which the Assembly proclaimed the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People (2005-2014), it also decided to continue observing the International Day of Indigenous People every year during the Second Decade, in New York, Geneva and other offices of the United Nations. The Assembly asked the Secretary-General to support observance of the Day from within existing resources, and to encourage Governments to observe the Day at the national level. Source: http://www.un.org/events/indigenous/2007/.