Following a peaceful protest by indigenous communities in Northern Argentina the Provincial government has agreed to sign an agreement to give the local communities the title deeds to their land.
The Wichi and Chorote Indians of the North Argentine Chaco camped out for 23 days on the site of a bridge built on their land and without their permission. The Indians feared that the bridge was just the beginning of a project to build a dual carriageway across land that they have occupied for hundreds of years. The proposed road crossed the River Pilcomayo and is designed to link North Argentina with Paraguay and Brazil. A frontier town would have replaced an existing Indian village and gone through a site occupied by the Anglican Church.
The protest aimed to attract the attention of the Provincial Governor and remind him of two decrees which were passed in favour of the Indian rights, but which had not been honoured. Bishop Maurice Sinclair and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Salta took the Indian concerns to the Governor. The publicity and support raised by the protest has now forced the Provincial government to promise to give the Indian communities the title deeds and to meet most of the group's claims. The Provincial government has also pledged that a programme to restore the environment would be carried out and that no further steps to urbanise the frontier would be taken without consulting the indigenous community.