This article narrates the history of the Salesian mission of Puerto Casadoin the Paraguayan Chaco, from its foundation in the 1920s to the end of thecentury, by following the life story of René Ramírez, a Maskoy representativeand one of the most relevant Paraguayan indigenous leaders of the lastdecades. In particular, it focuses on how Ramírez emerged as a leader, howhe successively negotiated his political power within the mission, and howhe finally decided to break his alliance with the church in order to be ableto forge a space of political autonomy on the same level as non-indigenouspeople. Through this specific case study, the article also shows how theSecond Vatican Council (1962-65) and the Barbados Symposium of 1971implied a fundamental change of direction for the Catholic missionaries inParaguay in their way of relating to indigenous communities, leading toimportant struggles and alliances at a local level.Keywords: Salesian missions; Chaco; indigenous territories; BarbadosDeclaration; Maskoy
Copyright © 2012-2013 Estudios Interdisciplinarios de América Latina y el Caribe.
Editores: R. Rein, G. Leibner, O. Preuss
Instituto Sverdlin de Historia y Cultura de América Latina, Escuela de Historia
Universidad de Tel Aviv, Ramat Aviv,
P.O.B. 39040 (69978), Israel.
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