Authors: Julianne Hazlewood*, University of California - Santa Cruz
Topics: Indigenous Peoples, Human Rights, South America
Keywords: Afro-descendant, Indigenous, Rights of Nature, Decolonizing Methods, Ecuador
Session Type: Paper
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Astor Ballroom II, Astor, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded
In 2010, members of the Awá Community of Guadualito and the Afro-descendant community of La Chiquita community—together with the diverse flora, fauna, and incarnate beings who also populate their ancestral territories—collectively filed a civil suit for damages and harm against surrounding oil palm companies, which are poisoning their rivers and destructively transforming their lives. Located literally and figuratively in the margins of Ecuador—a ‘”profoundly aquatic’ periphery of the periphery” (Oslender, 2016)—the Pacific Coast Chocó Rainforest communities filed the world’s first constitutional-level Rights of Nature lawsuit accepted for trial. Remarkably, their intercultural struggles for Earth’s jurisprudence has been unfolding with little visibility thus far. This paper tells the story of an emergent intercultural team strategically committed to socio-environmental justice. We are executing a film school/video project to assist them in accessing vital resources, like clean water, as they continue their lawsuit, unlikely to have an immanent resolution. Absolutely a collaborative effort, we have pieced together a bridge-building methodology in which the Selva Producciones Team, from the Sarayaku Kichwa Community of the Amazon has committed to training the Guadualito and La Chiquita youth to employ audiovisual tools and produce a documentary video as a further strategy in defending their ancestral territories. In collective resistance and solidarity, we have taken ‘decolonizing methodologies’ into our own hands, as the Chocó youth for the first time take back and operate the camera to zoom in on and share with the world their own stories of “life visions otherwise” (Walsh, 2015).