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Indigenous Resurgence in “a world backwards”: Mining, Raw Economy & Raw Law in the Context of Colombia’s Armed Conflict

Thursday, November 14, 2019
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM
Jeffery Hall
Room: Room 128
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This talk traces the evolution and practice of a decade of activist research supporting Indigenous and Afro-Descendant peoples in the context of Colombia’s internal armed conflict. Emphasizing the importance of building relations & engaging in critical self-reflection, I describe an unlikely alliance between Indigenous & Afro-Descendant peoples towards territorial defense in the face of both legal and outlawed armed actors interested in extracting the gold riches from their ancestral territories. I discuss both autonomous and ‘inter-ethnic’ strategies for survival and self-determination, and hone-in on the experience of the Embera Chamí Indigenous People of the Resguardo Indígena Cañamomo Lomaprieta (Caldas) to examine the contested sovereignties & legalities of diverse actors vying to access & regulate the Embera Chami’s ancestral gold. Grounding my analysis in long-term, fine-grained ethnography of key moments in exercising Indigenous law, governance—and ultimately, resurgence—I tease out implications for the theory and practice of legal pluralities; and for collaborative ethnography and research. Specifically, I argue the need for a sharper theoretical lens that makes visible & takes as a starting point the violent realities that shape day-to-day life for Indigenous peoples in Colombia, without losing analytical purchase on their extraordinary efforts towards Indigenous resurgence in this lethal context.

Viviane Weitzner, SSHRC Postdoctoral Researcher, McGill University

Barbra Lalonde
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