JULY 19, 1924


In the 1870s, to stop Chilean expansion into the Patagonian Desert, Argentina engaged in the bloody “Conquest of Chaco” military campaign to subjugate the Toba (or Qom)–the region’s indigenous inhabitants.  Argentina established a line of fortresses to ensure control and made the land available for growing cotton. The Toba were confined in compounds and, effectively, enslaved.  In 1924, Argentina imposed a tax of 15% of the cotton crop which resulted in a strike by indigenous workers.  Some members killed animals and damaged the crops.  In June 1924, police killed a shaman and a French settler was killed, likely in retaliation.  In response, a group of 130 police, ranchers, and white citizens, armed with rifles, attacked the indigenous people who only had spears.  Over 200 men, women, and children were massacred.  The wounded were hacked with machetes.  According to the former director of the compound, the killing went on “to eliminate all potential witnesses.”  No one was punished.

Source:  Christopher A. Golias, “Fighting with Wine: Ruin, Resistance and Renewal in a Qom Community in Northern Argentina,” Dissertation 1741, University of Pennsylvania, 1/1/2015.  Retrieved 12/11/2020, Fighting with Wine: Ruin, Resistance and Renewal in a Qom Community of Northern Argentina (upenn.edu)
Photo:  Author unknown, early 1960s.  The Toba Indians plowing with Oxen in Argentina in the early 1960s.  Mennonite Board of Missions. Photographs. Chaco, Argentina, 1963-1965. IV-10-7.2 Box 1 folders 36-38, photo #17. Mennonite Church USA Archives - Goshen. Goshen, Indiana.  Public Domain:  Source: Flickr's The Commons. 

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