Comunidades indígenas por el río Bobonaza en estado de emergencia por inundaciones

Redacción: Tuija Veintie

[Click here for English version]

Las fuertes lluvias aumentaron el caudal de los ríos Bobonaza, Pastaza y Arajuno en la Amazonía ecuatoriana, provocando inundaciones a lo largo de estos ríos. Las comunidades afectadas incluyen a Jatun Molino, Teresa Mama, Chapeton, Montalvo, Wituk, Arajuno y las áreas más severamente afectadas de Sarayaku y Pakayaku.

En Sarayaku el puente principal se ha derrumbado. Foto de Comunicación CONFENIAE

En la comunidad indígena Kichwa de Sarayaku, los caudales de Bobonaza y sus afluentes, Kali-Kali y Sarayakillu, crecieron rápidamente el martes 17 de marzo, causando graves daños a la infraestructura. La comunidad de Sarayaku se encuentra en estado de emergencia e informa que las inundaciones han dañado los hogares, centros educativos, el centro de salud, así como los principales puentes y senderos que conectan diferentes partes de la comunidad. La pista de aterrizaje de avionetas, que conecta a la comunidad con las ciudades y hospitales más cercanos, está destrozada. Además, las inundaciones han dañado tuberías de agua, cultivos y ganado. (Consejo de Gobierno de Sarayaku-Tayjasaruta, 18 de marzo de 2020).

El centro educativo comunitario Wituk sufrió graves daños. Foto de Comunicación CONFENIAE.

La situación en la comunidad Kichwa de Pakayaku, también junto al río Bobonaza, es igualmente alarmante. Según la Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas de la Amazonía Ecuatoriana (CONFENIAE), en Pakayaku, se destruyeron tres puentes, decenas de familias perdieron sus hogares y cultivos, y la infraestructura que proporciona agua a la comunidad sufrió daños. (Comunicación CONFENIAE, 18 de marzo de 2020).
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Flooding emergency in Indigenous communities by the Bobonaza river

Text: Tuija Veintie

[Haz clic aquí para version en Español]

Heavy rains increased discharge in the Bobonaza, Pastaza and Arajuno rivers in the Ecuadorian Amazonia, triggering flooding along the rivers. Affected communities include Jatun Molino, Teresa Mama, Chapeton, Montalvo, Wituk, Arajuno, and the most severely affected areas of Sarayaku and Pakayaku.

In Sarayaku the main bridge has collapsed. Photo from Comunicación CONFENIAE

In the Indigenous Kichwa community of Sarayaku, river flows in the Bobonaza and its tributaries, Kali-Kali and Sarayakillu, rose rapidly on Tuesday, 17th of March, causing serious damage to infrastructure. The community of Sarayaku is in a state of emergency and reports that flooding has damaged people’s homes, schools, the community health center, as well as the main bridges and trails connecting different parts of the community. The airstrip, that connects the community to the nearest towns and hospitals, is shattered. In addition, flooding has damaged fresh water pipelines, crops and livestock. (Consejo de Gobierno de Sarayaku-Tayjasaruta, 18 March 2020).

The community school in Wituk suffered serious damage. Photo from Comunicación CONFENIAE.

Situation in the Kichwa community of Pakayaku, also by the Bobonaza river, is equally alarming. According to the confederation of the Indigenous nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazonia (CONFENIAE), in Pakayaku, three bridges were wiped out, dozens of families lost their homes and crops, and the infrastructure that provides fresh water to the community suffered damage. (Comunicación CONFENIAE, 18 March 2020).
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Podcast: Pluralismo ecocultural, extractivismo y los Kichwa de la Amazonía Ecuatoriana

Katy Machoa & Paola Minoia
Katy Machoa & Paola Minoia.  Foto: Tuija Veintie

Paola Minoia: “Junto con Katy, nos entrevistaron por la serie de Podcast sobre Extractivismo y Alternativas.” La serie forma parte de diferentes iniciativas sobre este tema coordinadas por la unidad de Estudios de Desarrollo de la universidad de Helsinki, entre las cuales se encuentra la próxima Conferencia Exalt 2020Crisis concurrentes y futuros sostenibles: extractivismo global y alternativas” en octubre de 2020.

“En este podcast, hablamos sobre el proyecto, cómo Katy y yo comenzamos nuestra colaboración, y por qué creemos que el conocimiento intercultural está relacionado con diferentes formas de justicia: epistémica, ambiental y territorial. Katy habló de sus experiencias vividas en la Amazonía ecuatoriana y, en particular, de desalojos y destrucción de aldeas en la comunidad de Nankints debido a las nuevas explotaciones mineras.”

Se puede acceder al podcast a través de este enlace. Hay tres versiones: una versión integral que incluye presentaciones en español de Katy y traducciones de Paola, una en español y una en inglés solamente.

“Espero que disfrutes de esta conversacion, y cuéntanos lo que opinas!”

 

Podcast on Eco-cultural pluralism, Extractivism, and the Kichwa people of Ecuadorian Amazonia

Katy Machoa & Paola Minoia
Katy Machoa & Paola Minoia.Photo: Tuija Veintie

Paola Minoia: “Together with Katy,
I have been interviewed by the Podcast series on Extractivism and Alternatives.” The series is part of different initiatives coordinated within the unit of Development Study of the university of Helsinki, among which the forthcoming Exalt Conference 2020 on “Concurrent crises and sustainable futures: global extractivism and alternatives” in October 2020.

“In this podcast, we talked about the project, how Katy and I met and started our collaboration, and why we think that intercultural knowledge is related to different forms of justice: from epistemic to environmental and territorial. Katy spoke of her lived experiences in the Ecuadorian Amazon and, in particular, of evictions and destruction of villages in the Nankints community due to new mining exploitations.”

The podcast is accessible through this link. There are three versions: one integral version including presentations in Spanish by Katy and translations by Paola, one in Spanish, and one in English only.

“I hope you enjoy this conversation, and please let us know what you think!”

Discussing intercultural education, politics and activism

In January, members of our research group were actively participating in discussions about intercultural education, politics and activism in two public events organized at the University of Helsinki.

At the Night of Science, the annual block party for science and research, Tuija Veintie and Johanna Hohenthal gave a public talk on intercultural education and the “good life” in the Ecuadorian Amazonia. The talk provided an overview of the intercultural bilingual education in Ecuador and politics of good life (Buen vivir). The former Ecuadorian government promoted the politics of good life, including plurinationality, interculturality and quality education, but at the

Tuija Veintie and Johanna Hohenthal at the Night of Science on 16 January 2020. (Photo: Eija Ranta)

same time the education policy reforms led to a decrease in Indigenous self-determination with regard to their educational system, as well as to diminishing number of schools and educational institutes providing instruction in Indigenous languages and respecting Indigenous knowledges and perspectives.

 

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Overview of the year 2019 and glimpse to the upcoming project activities

During the year 2019, fieldwork and data collection were the main activities of the project. The project team met during three periods of fieldwork in Ecuador. In January, Paola Minoia and Andrés Tapia interviewed and discussed with key actors, including professionals and experts in education, ancestral knowledges, decoloniality and interculturality, as well as with Indigenous leaders and representatives of NGOs, in Quito and Pastaza. In March-June and September-October, Tuija Veintie, Johanna Hohenthal, Andrés Tapia, Katy Machoa, Tito Madrid and students of the UEA visited the IBE upper secondary schools in Pastaza and interviewed directors, teachers, students and parents. Three schools were selected for more comprehensive field study: UEIB “Camilo Huatatoca” in Santa Clara, UEIB “Sarayaku” and UEIB “Kumay”. In these schools, we conducted a higher number of in-depth interviews with teachers and students, questionnaire surveys, classroom observation, as well as participatory mapping and photography with the students.

Upper secondary school students produced over 20 maps and hundreds of photographs illustrating their school journeys and culturally meaningful places in the Indigenous communities. Sometimes the drawing was a bit challenging. For example, during the thunderstorm in Kumay water dripped to the tables from the roof and there was very little light in the classroom even though it was morning (photo on the right). (Photos: Johanna Hohenthal 2019)

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Call for Papers: Education and social justice in the pluriverse

We cordially invite contributions to our panel at  EADI ISS Conference 2020: Solidarity, Peace and Social Justice held in the Hague, Netherlands, 29 June – 2 July 2020.

Panel abstract:

The comprehensive development project manifested in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) proposes through the SDG4 an overall engagement on “quality education for all”. It endeavors to support social justice by promoting equal access to education for the most deprived groups. However, the SDG4 does not acknowledge the existing epistemic diversity around the world and the need to support alternative ways to learn and produce knowledge. Neither does it contain any reference to the UN declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples of 2007. Thus, Indigenous perspectives, knowledges and alternative forms of education remain marginalized. To promote global social and epistemic justice, education should include equal representation of diverse epistemologies, knowledges and educational practices. Without comprehensive understanding of epistemic pluralism, interculturality and hegemonies of power within the society, well-meaning educational programs may end up reproducing models of neoliberal multiculturalism and ideas of primitive otherness, and fail to promote equal relations among existing cultures. Instead, a radical project on intercultural education should reflect the principles of relationality between lands, beings and knowledges (Walsh 2018) linked to the distinctive territorial and ecological realities and sustaining transformation projects to reverse structural injustices.

This session is organised by members of EADI Working Group on “Post- and Decolonial Perspectives on Development and welcomes papers that discuss pluriversal educational alternatives in diverse contexts. We particularly welcome contributions from young scholars and participants from the Global South and/or with Indigenous background. Abstracts of 500-600 words including key literature, theoretical and methodological approaches and keywords should be submitted by 15 December. Authors of accepted abstracts should send draft papers by March 2020. Full papers are circulated within the presenters and organizers before the conference. After the conference, the organizers invite the authors to submit their revised manuscript for possible publication in an upcoming special issue in an international journal.

Looking forward to receiving your abstracts! Please follow the instructions here.

Organizers: Paola Minoia, Johanna Hohenthal and Tuija Veintie, Development Studies, University of Helsinki

In solidarity with the Ecuadorian people

(Español abajo)

We express our solidarity to all people of Ecuador that are currently suffering for the heavy situation initiated with the package of IMF policies rolled out by Lenin Moreno’s administration. Too many social groups from the low and medium classes will suffer from these policies with further poverty increase, and we understand why they cannot accept them. Unfortunately, the government has not shown any willingness to retract the package and undemocratically, has refused the dialogue with the parties. Instead, the government has responded with the state of exception, after which, the protesters have been met with violent repression and curfew measures. Military forces have entered “peace zones”, targeting especially indigenous protestors. The people of Quito has responded with a night-time cacerolazo (banging pots and pans on the street) as a form of peaceful resistance. The fact that some infiltrated groups have entered in the demonstration to deny its legitimation, cannot be an excuse to devalue this general strike. People ask for social justice. They need more services, no further deprivation and violence!

We want to show they are not alone. Let’s join their calls for support! Continue reading “In solidarity with the Ecuadorian people”

“Paquetazo” in Ecuador – schools closed for demonstrations

Text: Tuija Veintie

On Tuesday, 8 October, all schools in Ecuador suspend their classes to guarantee the safety of their students, announced the Ministry of Education of Ecuador. In Pastaza province the classroom doors in schools and at the Amazon State University (UEA) have stayed closed for several days, from Thursday 3 October. Going to classes would be difficult, and possibly dangerous, because transportation in Puyo and around the province is paralysed by roadblocks and demonstrations. The demonstrations started last week after President Lenin Moreno had announced the paquetazo, a package of economic measures to reduce the fiscal deficit of the country.

Santa Clara, Monday 7 October. Photo. CONFENIAE

The paquetazo includes tax and labor reform as well as elimination of fuel subsidies. As an immediate effect of these reforms, the fuel price rose with 100% overnight. Ecuadorian transport unions declared a national strike starting on Thursday, 3 October. The strike ended all bus, truck and taxi transportation in the country. Moreover, the bus, truck and taxi drivers blocked the roads in the main cities of the country stopping all motor traffic. The transport unions ended their strike on Friday 4 October in the evening, but civil society organisations, including the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), Confederation of the Ecuadorian Amazonian Indigenous Nationalities (CONFENIAE), and the United Workers Front (FUT) continue demonstrations against paquetazo.

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Resistance of Kichwa people of Santa Clara against Piatúa hydroelectric power plant

Text and photographs: Tuija Veintie

River Piatúa in Santa Clara, Pastaza still flows free.

Piatúa is a secret river. It has power that no other river has. If I am feeling bad, tired or stressed, I go to the Piatúa river and in the river I start feeling good again. The river cures me” says an upper secondary school student in Santa Clara, Ecuador. Our research group is currently conducting research activities in this region and our interviews with and photographs taken by upper secondary school students show the special role that river Piatúa carries for the students as a sacred river and an important place for recreation and social gatherings. For the students, their families and the small-scale farming the river is a necessary source of water. In addition, the river Piatúa brings income to the local people through tourism as the clean water and landscapes attract tourists interested in nature, recreation and water sports.

Clouds have been gathering over future of the crystal-clear waters of river Piatúa. The Piatúa hydroelectric power plant project, run by Genefran S.A., is located in Santa Clara, between the provinces of Napo and Pastaza. Local Kichwa organisation, PONAKICS (Pueblo originario Kichwa de Santa Clara), claims that the power plant project threatens the environment, livelihoods and culture of the Indigenous communities in the Santa Clara area. Furthermore, the power plant project violated the rights of the Santa Clara Kichwa people as the construction work initiated without prior consultation.

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