‘Education and Social Justice in the Pluriverse’ – EADI ISS Conference, 5 – 8 July 2021

On Tuesday 6 July, our group was excited because we were finally able to organize the panel at EADI ISS Conference that had been postponed for one year due to coronavirus pandemic. The idea of the panel was at first connected to the forthcoming special issue for the journal Globalizations. Therefore, the panel was included in the category of “harvesting”, meaning that the presentations were on researches at their “mature” stage. The discussion was then based on the drafts the participants had sent beforehand. We had two sessions with nine presentations that looked at pluriversal educational alternatives and critical intercultural education from different perspectives and in different regional and cultural contexts.

Paola Minoia (University of Helsinki) began the first session by telling about research that she had been working on together with Riikka Kaukonen-Lindholm and Andrés Tapia: Intercultural education for the living forests – Kawsak Sacha. The work presented the experience of the Kichwa people of Pastaza in Ecuador, and their agency in enforcing their epistemic rights and protection of their lands. The second paper by Amanda Earl (Teachers College, Columbia University, USA): “We Bring a Lot to Life”: Internationalization of Intercultural Higher Education for Sustainable Development, told about the experiences in intercultural universities in Mexico on how the projects to internationalize their curricula supported the fostering a dialogue of knowledges in rural communities with a view to sustainable development. Third, Su-ming Khoo’s (National University of Ireland, Galway) paper titled Aligning ‘Quality’ and ‘Equity’ in Higher Education – the Repair of Decoloniality and the Tasks of Undone Science focused on problematizing the concepts of ‘science’, ‘quality’ and ‘excellence’ as ideals in higher education and with respect to challenges for trying to include epistemic diversity and pluralism. Fourth, Janbee Shaik Mopidevi (Innovate Teaching Research & Advocacy Consulting (ITRAC), UK) in her talk Contesting neo-liberal homogeneity and reclaiming epistemic heterogeneity in Education for Sustainable Development, explored the post-colonial and post- developmental philosophies of Rabindranath Tagore and Jiddu Krishnamurti.

The second session began with a presentation by Johanna Hohenthal (University of Helsinki) on her work together with Tuija Veintie, titled: Fostering Indigenous young people’s socio-environmental consciousness through place-based learning in Ecuadorian Amazonia. Their paper focused on the need and possibilities to engage intercultural bilingual schooling better with young people’s experiential learning and learning with their parents and community. The second paper by Marina Cadaval Narezo (International institute of Social Studies, Netherlands) and her co-authors Georgina Méndez Torres and Angélica Hernández Vásquez, titled Professional Indigenous Women: the use of conventional graduate education to reposition indigenous worldviews, reflected on the experiences of two Indigenous women professors in Intercultural universities in Mexico. Third, Maren Seehawer (Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society) explored epistemological tensions between indigenous ways of knowing and western education system in her presentation titled Integrating indigenous and Western knowledges in South African education. Fourth, Dumisani Zondiwe Moyo (School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow, UK) presented his paper titled Coloniality, Decolonialism and the Question of Malawi’s Agricultural Education System, which explored a grounded application a framework based on Achille Mbembe’s concept of ‘Blackness’ to decolonial scholarship and represented an autoethnographic account on Malawi’s agricultural economics education system. The panel ended with a presentation by Maria Fernanda Arreas Treffner (Linkrural, Brazil / Vietnam) and Cornelia E. Nauen (Mundus maris – Sciences and Arts for Sustainability asbl, Belgium), titled Inclusive Adult Education as an Avenue for Greater Social Justice in Small-Scale Fisheries in Senegal. Their work focused on the Small-Scale Fisheries Academy and reflected on its methodological and theoretical underpinnings.

The diversity of presentations and lively discussions in our panel showed that the topic of pluriversalising and decolonizing education is very timely and there is a lot of important academic research going on in this field. The work continues, and hopefully in the future, we will see even more conceptual and practical development that helps to build dialogues between different ways of knowing in education for more sustainable and just futures.

From discourse to structure: intercultural education from the experience of the Universidad Estatal Amazónica (UEA) – EADI ISS Conference 2021, 5 – 8 July 2021, The Hague

The text is an excerpt from the paper that Ruth Arias (UEA) has presented at the Conference.

In her presentation at the EADI ISS Conference 2021 – Solidarity, Peace and Social Justice, Ruth Arias from the Universidad Estatal Amazonica (UEA) has spoken of the necessity of interculturality as a central axis of the Pluricultural State. However, interculturality is a challenge in Ecuador, and especially in higher education. Indigenous and Afro-descendant students access and complete their studies in alarmingly inequitable conditions (Mato, 2008). Policies to modify monocultural higher education need to address structural problems of the population they are intended to serve (Cuji, 2012). This aspect is not only related to the education sector, but is overall political.

The talk started with a video self-produced by Mariana Canelos (Student of Communication), Indira Vargas (Tourism Engineering graduate), Dixon Andi (Environmental Engineer, Laboratorio de plantas) and edited by Mario Rodríguez Dávila y Diego Lucero Rivas. The three UEA students and graduates, from the kichwa nationality, have presented their point of view on interculturality in higher education.



In her talk, Ruth Arias presented the issue of ethnic self-identification in the enrollment of students at the UEA. This university serves students especially coming from the Amazonian region of Ecuador, but only 14.64% self-identify as indigenous. At the time of accessing the university, students may hide their identity for fear of social prejudice. UEA, through various activities, has supported the creation of supporting groups and critical discussions, to accompany students from diverse origins in their academic pathways and to prevent discrimination. The principles of quality that UEA follows comply with the standards of equity set by the national Secretariat for Higher Education (Senescyt), on the basis of a Plan de Igualdad de la Universidad Estatal Amazonica that considered four target sections: gender, interculturality, disability, and socioeconomic status (Arias and Marín, 2018). However, while the areas of research, public engagement and management have been progressing, the pedagogical curricula are still far from interculturalization and need more efforts.


Sesión de grupo de trabajo: prácticas pedagógicas innovadoras y conceptualizaciones alternativas de desarrollo que surgen de comunidades locales en América Latina

Texto compilado de presentaciones y resúmenes de los autores.

Nuestro grupo de investigación participó en la 6ª Conferencia conjunta de investigación sobre el desarrollo nórdico, celebrada en línea del 21 al 22 de junio, por la Universidad de Jyväskylä, Finlandia. La conferencia se organiza conjuntamente entre la Sociedad Finlandesa de Investigación para el Desarrollo, la Asociación Danesa de Investigadores del Desarrollo en Dinamarca, la Asociación Noruega para la Investigación del Desarrollo y la Red Sueca de Investigación sobre el Desarrollo, atrayendo por lo general, a investigadores del desarrollo y responsables políticos de los países nórdicos y colaboradores de investigación del Sur global. El tema de este año: Desarrollo, aprendizaje y educación: consideraciones posteriores a la pandemia, invitó a los participantes a reflexionar sobre el desarrollo, el aprendizaje y la educación y cómo las crisis globales apremiantes, como el cambio climático y el COVID-19, intensificaron presiones para transformaciones radicales que desafían las conceptualizaciones sobre el “aprendizaje” así como el “desaprender” en el desarrollo.

Como parte de las actividades de nuestro proyecto, contribuimos a este diálogo organizando el grupo de trabajo bilingüe: “Decolonizing development and transforming education – Indigenous and intercultural perspectives”; “Descolonizando el desarrollo y transformando la educación – Perspectivas indígenas e interculturales”. Que invitó presentaciones de ponencias en inglés y español sobre la descolonización del desarrollo y la educación indígena e intercultural en América Latina. El grupo de trabajo se centró en la investigación relacionada con prácticas pedagógicas innovadoras y conceptualizaciones alternativas de desarrollo que emergen de comunidades locales en América Latina y que tienen como objetivo tejer futuros educativos alternativos para pueblos, lenguas y conocimientos históricamente marginados.

En el grupo de trabajo analizamos cómo las desigualdades y vulnerabilidades sociales afectan a los estudiantes indígenas en las comunidades de la Amazonía ecuatoriana y Wixárika en el occidente de México. Las presentaciones revisaron respuestas a los retos que afectan el bienestar y el acceso a oportunidades en la educación de niños y jóvenes indígenas, que desafían los modelos de educación homogeneizadores. Enfocándose en destacar los procesos de construcción de capacidades y los sistemas prácticos de conocimiento, la interculturalidad científica como una alternativa al colonialismo del conocimiento y las experiencias que dan voz las perspectivas de los pueblos indígenas. Y, a través de seis presentaciones, sostuvimos un análisis crítico desde perspectivas múltiples y multidisciplinarias:

Esta presentación se centró en cómo los jóvenes indígenas perciben su entorno de vida y los problemas socioambientales que los afectan. Además, las formas en que las experiencias cotidianas de los jóvenes y sus entornos de aprendizaje formales e informales apoyan su aprendizaje situado, desarrollan su conciencia socioambiental crítica y fortalecen sus lazos territoriales. En torno a materiales de mapeo participativo, obtención de fotografías, observación y entrevistas en tres escuelas de educación secundaria superior EIB de la provincia de Pastaza, los autores intentan descubrir las percepciones y el aprendizaje de los jóvenes sobre los problemas socioambientales en su área de residencia. Llegando al concluir que algunas prácticas útiles para fortalecer los programas de educación bilingüe intercultural (EIB) podrían depender de la sensibilización de los profesores sobre los problemas ambientales locales, y de establecer conexiones más explícitas con los problemas y los conocimiento locales, para así contribuir a pluriversalizar la educación y apoyar los vínculos territoriales de los estudiantes.

La conversación comenzó contrastando cómo en Ecuador –particularmente en Pastaza en la región amazónica, mientras la lucha política de los pueblos indígenas ha dado lugar a importantes logros, la autonomía territorial y la autodeterminación siguen siendo una lucha política en curso. Bajo esta luz, a través del análisis de documentos, Rikka examinó cómo las políticas educativas tienen una inmensa importancia para las luchas emancipadoras de las organizaciones indígenas, que han involucrado a la Educación Intercultural Bilingüe (BIE) como una práctica de inclusión social, reconocimiento ontológico y revitalización del conocimiento eco-cultural. de los pueblos indígenas y en la educación formal. Para luego discutir un estudio de caso conectado, compuesto por entrevistas semiestructuradas recolectadas en Sarayaku durante dos visitas en 2019, sobre el programa Kawsak Sacha (Bosque Viviente) desarrollado por el pueblo Sarayaku y su aplicación a la educación, para finalmente argumentar que lo más fundamental en que la educación contribuye a la gubernamentalidad cultural es la incorporación del conocimiento indígena a los sistemas educativos.

  • Indigenous initiatives of intercultural education in Wixárika communities in Western Mexico. Transformative change enhanced?, por Outi Hakkarainen – CRASH, Coalition for Research and Action for Social Justice and Human Dignity.

Esta presentación introdujo una presentación exploratoria sobre las iniciativas, actividades y experiencias de educación intercultural de los Wixaritari y de las organizaciones de la sociedad civil (OSC) que cooperan con estas comunidades. La presentación trató casos de escuelas públicas y privadas, donde los Wixaritari debatieron sobre sus propios modelos de desarrollo educativo en torno a la recuperación territorial y cultural. Y, a través de datos recolectados de manera intermitente desde 1995, proyectó respuestas a preguntas como: ¿Las luchas e iniciativas por la educación intercultural, la democracia local y el territorio han promovido un cambio que podría ser identificado como transformador en sus comunidades y en la sociedad circundante?, ¿Cómo impacta la cooperación con las OSC en la consecusión de cambios transformadores?.

En su presentación, Ángel habló de la interculturalidad científica como propuesta metodológica para construir la ciencia y la tecnología a partir del conocimiento colectivo de cada cultura. Resaltando que la participación de los sabios y sabias, como fuente primaria de información, y el uso de lenguas propias, son parte central de un desarrollo de conocimiento de propiedad intelectual colectiva. En la presentación también propone a la multilogicidad, como concepto y método de construcción de nuevos conocimientos a partir de las propias estructuras y categorías lógicas de las culturas. Para explicarlo, acota las taxonomías de plantas y salud en los territorios indígenas, donde se las clasifican en macho y hembra, en frío y caliente. Y explica la relación de estas taxonomías para las comunidades indígenas: la salud intercultural concibe que ha enfermedad fría se debe dar planta caliente; a enfermedad caliente se debe dar planta fría. Así, expone cómo la multilogicidad encuentra categorías nuevas desde el corazón cognoscente de cada cultura, generando nuevos conocimientos denominados colectivos.

En su presentación, Ruth examina el ejercicio intercultural al interior de la Universidad Estatal Amazónica (UEA), en Puyo, Ecuador. Una universidad pública que refleja la sociedad y el territorio en el que se asienta: diversidad natural y cultural características de la región amazónica, particularmente de Pastaza, donde viven siete de las quince naciones originarias del país, junto con poblaciones mestizas y afrodescendientes. Mediante un análisis de matrícula y trabajos de titulación, Ruth reflexionó la tipología de UEA como universidad intercultural, sobre eltrabajo educativo decolonial en el conocimiento, y la inclusión del manejo de los recursos renovables nativos de la biodiversidad amazónica. Haciendo anotaciones sobre el impacto de la pandemia en la disminución de oportunidades de acceso a la educación superior, reflejadas en una menor matrícula de estudiantes autoidentificados como indígena en los últimos periodos. Concluye ratificando que la evolución, permanencia y estabilidad intercultural de los estudiantes indígenas, ligadas a superar la discriminación,y mejorar el rendimiento en trabajos y calificaciones, se relaciona directamenete con la disponibilidad de recursos económicos para el mantenimiento de estudiantes, acceso a internet y dispositivos de conexión a clases.

Los expositores hablaron de un proyecto colaborativo de diseño centrado en la experiencia de jóvenes de distintas nacionalidades amazónicas, motivados por visibilizar la situación que atraviesan los estudiantes indígenas en la actualidad. E introdujeron infografías, productos de la reportería periódica de estos jóvenes levantado durante cuatro meses desde territorio, que hablan de la realidad estudiantil propia y de sus pares. A la par, discutieron sobre de las estrategias tomadas desde las organizaciones indígenas para exigir justicia y atención, y sus propuestas para la interculturalidad. Como reflexiones, Nathaly y Efrén hablaron de cómo en la realización de estas herramientas de información, proceso en curso, los jóvenes indígenas reactualizan formas de acción colectiva como fuerza organizativa y autogestión comunitaria. Y de como, trabajando en conjunto: jóvenes y organización indígena buscaban construir herramientas de información que apoyen el trabajo de incidencia desde las comunidades y organizaciones indígenas y ayuden a visibilizar la situación educativa desde las voces de estudiantes indígenas, como sujetos de acción comprometidos en la situación.­


Coordinadoras: Tuija Veintie and Nathaly Pinto.

Working group session: innovating pedagogical practices and alternative conceptualisations of development emerging from local communities in Latin America

 Compiled texts from authors’ presentations and abstracts.

Our research group participated in the 6th joint Nordic Development Research Conference, held online from 21 to 22 of June, by the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. The conference is organized jointly by the Finnish Society for Development Research, the Danish Association of Development Researchers in Denmark, the Norwegian Association For Development Research, and the Swedish Development Research Network., usually attracting development researchers and policy-makers from Nordic countries and research collaborators from the global South. This year’s theme: Development, Learning and Education: Post-pandemic Considerations, invited participants to reflect on development, learning and education and how pressing global crises, as climate change and COVID-19, intensified pressures for radical transformations that challenge conceptualizations of “learning” as well as “unlearning” in development.

As part of our project activities, we contributed to this dialogue organizing the bilingual working group: “Decolonizing development and transforming education – Indigenous and intercultural perspectives”; “Descolonizando el desarrollo y transformando la educación – Perspectivas indígenas e interculturales”. Inviting paper presentations in English and Spanish that discussed decolonizing development and Indigenous and intercultural education in Latin America. The working group focused on research related to innovating pedagogical practices and alternative conceptualisations of development emerging from local communities in Latin America that aim to weave alternative educational futures for historically marginalized peoples, languages, and knowledge.

In the working group we analysed how social inequalities and vulnerabilities affect indigenous students in Ecuadorian Amazonia and Wixárika communities in Western Mexico. The presentations revised responses to challenges that affect wellbeing and access to opportunities in education for Indigenous children and young people, that challenge homogenizing models of education. Focusing on highlighting capacity building processes and practical knowledge systems, scientific interculturality as an alternative to the colonialism of knowledge, and experiences that bring forward Indigenous peoples’ perspectives. And, through six presentations, engaged in critical analysis from multiple, and multidisciplinary perspectives:

This presentation focused on how indigenous young people perceive their living environment and socio-environmental issues affecting it. Also, the ways in which youths’ daily world of experience and formal and informal learning environments support their place-based learning, develop their critical socio-environmental consciousness and strengthen their territorial ties. Around materials of participatory mapping, photo elicitation, observation and interviews in three IBE upper secondary schools of Pastaza Province, the authors try to discover young people’s perceptions and learning about the socio-environmental issues in their living area. Concluding that, some helpful practices for strengthening intercultural bilingual education (IBE) programmes, could rely on raising teachers’ awareness of local environmental issues, and drawing more explicit connections to local issues and knowledge would contribute to pluriversalizing education and support students’ territorial ties.

This conversation started by contrasting how in Ecuador –particularly in Pastaza in the Amazonian region, indigenous peoples’ political struggle has led to significant achievements, while territorial autonomy and self-determination remain as ongoing political fight. In this light, though document analysis Rikka examined how education policies have an immense importance for the emancipatory struggles of indigenous organizations, which have involved Bilingual Intercultural Education (BIE) as a practice of social inclusion, ontological recognition, and revitalization of eco-cultural knowledge of indigenous people and in formal education. To later discuss a connected case study, composed of semi-structured interviews collected in Sarayaku during two visits in 2019,  on the Kawsak Sacha (Living Forest) programme developed by the Sarayaku people and its application to education, to finally argue that the most fundamental manner that education contributes to cultural governmentality is the incorporation of indigenous knowledge into the education systems.  

  • Indigenous initiatives of intercultural education in Wixárika communities in Western Mexico. Transformative change enhanced?, by Outi Hakkarainen – CRASH, Coalition for Research and Action for Social Justice and Human Dignity.

This presentation introduced an exploratory presentation on the initiatives, activities, and experiences of intercultural education of the Wixaritari and of civil society organisations (CSOs) cooperating with these communities. The presentation discussed private and public schools cases, where the Wixaritari debated on their own educational development models around territorial and cultural recuperation. And, through data collected intermittently since 1995, projected responding to questions like: Have struggles and initiatives for intercultural education, local democracy, and territory promoted change which could be identified as transformative in their communities and in the surrounding society?, How cooperation with CSOs impact the achievement of transformative change?. 

In his presentation, Ángel spoke of scientific interculturality as a methodological proposal to build science and technology based on the collective knowledge of each culture. He emphasized that the participation of elder men and women, as a primary source of information, and the use of people’s own languages, are a central part of the development of collective intellectual property knowledge. In the presentation he also proposes multilogicity, as a concept and method of construction of new knowledge from the logical structures and categories of cultures. To explain it, he mentions plants and health taxonomies in indigenous territories, where those are classified as male and female, hot and cold. And he explains the relationship of these taxonomies for indigenous communities: In intercultural health a cold disease must be cured with a hot plant; A hot disease must be cured with a cold plant. Thus, Ángel exposes how multilogicity finds new categories from the knowing heart of each culture, generating new knowledge denominated collective. 

In this presentation, Ruth examines the  intercultural exercise within the Universidad Estatal Amazonica (Amazon State University; UEA, in Spanish) in Puyo, Ecuador. A public university that reflects the society and the territory in which its situated: natural and cultural diversity characteristic of the Amazon region, particularly Pastaza, where seven of the fifteen original nations of the country coexist, along with mestizo and Afro-descendant populations. Through an analysis of enrollment and degree works, Ruth reflected on the typology of UEA as an intercultural university, on decolonial educational work in knowledge, and the inclusion of the management of native renewable resources of Amazonian biodiversity. Making notes on the impact of the pandemic on the decrease in opportunities for access to higher education, reflected in a lower enrollment of students self-identified as indigenous in recent periods. The presentation, conclude by ratifying that the evolution, permanence and intercultural stability of indigenous students, linked to overcoming discrimination, and improving performance in jobs and grades, is directly related to the availability of financial resources for student maintenance, internet access and devices connection to classes.

The speakers talked about a collaborative design project focused on the experience of young people of different Amazonian nationalities, motivated by making visible the situation that indigenous students are going through today. And introduced products of the periodic reporting of these young people raised for four months from the territory, which speak of their own student reality and that of their peers. At the same time, they discussed the strategies adopted by indigenous organizations to demand justice and attention, and their proposals for interculturality. As reflections, Nathaly and Efrén spoke about how, in the realization of these information tools, an ongoing process, indigenous youth re-actualize forms of collective action as organizational strength and community self-management. And how, by working together: youth and indigenous organizations sought to build information tools that support advocacy work from indigenous communities and organizations and help to make the educational situation visible from the voices of indigenous students, as subjects of action committed to the situation.


Coordinators: Tuija Veintie and Nathaly Pinto.




Texto: Riikka Kaukonen Lindholm

[Click here for English version]

A finales de mayo y principios de junio, las integrantes del grupo de investigación participaron en la II Convención Científica Internacional organizado online por la Universidad Estatal Amazónica (UEA). Con el discurso inaugural del rector David Sancho, la convención brindó una plataforma para conversaciones científicas en torno a tres temas diferentes: Plurinacionalidad, Saberes Ancestrales y Gestión del Conocimiento; Turismo Urbano, Patrimonio y Desarrollo Territorial; Gestión Ambiental y Conservación de la Biodiversidad, que representan áreas de estudio importantes para la UEA, que trabaja para desarrollar la investigación y la educación superior en la región Amazonía de Ecuador. Nuestro grupo de investigación contribuido en la parte del programa del congreso sobre el tema Plurinacionalidad, Conocimiento Ancestral y Gestión del Conocimiento coordinada por el rector Oliver Meric. Continue reading “II CONVENCIÓN CIENTÍFICA INTERNACIONAL UEA 2021”

Conference in Ecuador: II International Scientific Convention UEA 2021

Text: Riikka Kaukonen Lindholm

[Haz clic aquí para version en español]

In the turn of May and June, the research group members took part in the II International Scientific Convention by the Amazonian State University (Universidad Estatal Amazónica, UEA) organized online. With opening speech given by the rector David Sancho, the conference provided a platform for scientific conversations around three different topics: Plurinationality, Ancestral Knowledge and Knowledge Management; Urban Tourism, Heritage and Territorial Development; Environmental Management and Conservation of Biodiversity, that represent important areas of study for the UEA that develops research and higher education in the Amazon region of Ecuador. Our research group contributed to the part of the conference programme focused around the topic of Plurinationality, Ancestral Knowledge and Knowledge Management coordinated by the rector Oliver Meric.

Continue reading “Conference in Ecuador: II International Scientific Convention UEA 2021”

Encuentro en espacio virtual para debatir las desigualdades educativas y las fortalezas en lo colectivo

Crisis global, desigualdades y centralidad de la vida es el tema del congreso de Latin American Studies Association (LASA) que se desarrolla en modalidad virtual desde el 26 hasta el 29 de mayo, del 2021. El congreso da bienvenida a contribuciones desde diferentes disciplinas y áreas de investigación y desea posibilitar puentes entre disciplinas y campos de conocimiento. La crisis sanitaria global del COVID-19 es uno de los temas que aparece frecuentemente en los paneles. Desde nuestro proyecto participamos en este dialogo con un panel titulado “El aumento de las desigualdades educativas en la Amazonía en la intersección de las emergencias socioeconómicas, ambientales y de salud”.

El brote de COVID-19 y la consiguiente rápida transición de la instrucción en el aula a la modalidad de educación virtual complica aún más las desigualdades ya existentes en el acceso y la permanencia en la educación. Además, la emergencia sanitaria actual coincide con graves emergencias ambientales en la Amazonía, como deforestación, extracción minera, inundaciones y derrames de petróleo, que afectan a las comunidades indígenas amazónicas. La intersección de emergencias socioeconómicas, ambientales y de salud ponen en peligro los derechos humanos fundamentales, incluido el derecho a la vida, la libertad, la seguridad, la libertad de movimiento y la educación, con un impacto significativo en el bienestar de los estudiantes. Continue reading “Encuentro en espacio virtual para debatir las desigualdades educativas y las fortalezas en lo colectivo”

Participatory mapping of the youth’s living environments in Amazonia

Maps are useful media for illustrating and analysing the spatiality of many social and environmental phenomena. Since the 1980s, researchers have increasingly recognized the value of ordinary people’s local knowledge and perceptions for research and spatial planning (Chambers 2006). Indigenous and other minoritized groups have also started to create their own maps to communicate their place-based knowledge and relations, and to resist the “official” images of the places mediated by the maps produced by external state authorities or scientists (Peluso 1995, Wood 2010, kollektiv orangotango+ 2018). In Ecuador, for example, the community maps recently played an important role in the fight of the Waorani over their right to their territory and in winning a legal court case (Scacca & Nenquimo 2021).

In 2019, before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, our project also carried out participatory mapping in intercultural bilingual upper secondary schools in Pastaza province. Three schools were selected for the study: Camilo Huatatoca in Santa Clara (majority of the students kichwas and mestizos), Kumay in the shuar territory and Sarayaku in the kichwa community. We were particularly interested in how the students perceive their living environment and their journeys between home and school. The students were asked to mark on the maps the places they like, do not like, places they think should be improved somehow and the places they find culturally important. In addition, they were asked to point out places where they had encountered some environmental problems. The students were also interviewed about their mappings.

Extract from the map drawn by the students in Kumay. The Río Titinkiem crosses the road near the community of Kawa. Stars indicate the places that the students like (e.g., Río Titinkiem because of swimming and fishing, the road). Red dots are environmental problems (e.g., logging and littering) and the brown ones culturally important places (e.g., Río Titinkiem and a cemetery). The points marked with green stickers need improvement (e.g., a bus stop “parada”) according to the students.

Continue reading “Participatory mapping of the youth’s living environments in Amazonia”

Educación y luchas territoriales indígenas: Un estudio sobre las experiencias de la nacionalidad Sapara con el sistema educativo en la Amazonía ecuatoriana

Texto y fotos: Riikka Kaukonen Lindholm

[Click here for English version]

Riikka Kaukonen Lindholm escribió su tesis de maestría sobre las luchas territoriales y educativas experimentadas por el pueblo Sapara como parte del proyecto de investigación Goal 4+: Including Eco-cultural Pluralism in Quality Education in Ecuadorian Amazonia. Ahora ella es una investigadora de doctorado en estudios de desarrollo global en la Universidad de Helsinki. Su investigación de doctorado trata sobre el conocimiento ecocultural indígena y las alternativas al extractivismo en la Amazonía ecuatoriana. Esta publicación de blog presenta el tema y los argumentos centrales de su tesis de maestría.

 La tesis se enfoca en la educación de los pueblos indígenas, especialmente ¿cómo la educación se puede facilitar la autodeterminación territorial y la emancipación política? Los movimientos indígenas en todo el mundo y en Ecuador se han centrado en crear una educación respetuosa y relevante a la culturas y conocimientos indígenas. La tesis explora la interconexión de la educación y la política territorial indígena, como han estado juntas en la vanguardia del movimiento indígena en Ecuador, y han vinculado la lucha epistemológica por el reconocimiento de los conocimientos indígenas con los problemas ambientales prevalentes en el país dependiente del extractivismo. Dado que los pueblos indígenas a menudo habitan regiones ambientalmente vulnerables, la tesis examina ¿cómo para los grupos indígenas de la Amazonía ecuatoriana la relación entre educación y territorio puede aspirar a ser mutuamente beneficiosa, fomentando tanto la preservación de las diversas culturas como el medio ambiente en los paisajes bioculturales?

Riikka Kaukonen Lindholm: El rio Conambo, Llanchamacocha
El rio Conambo, Llanchamacocha

Continue reading “Educación y luchas territoriales indígenas: Un estudio sobre las experiencias de la nacionalidad Sapara con el sistema educativo en la Amazonía ecuatoriana”

Master’s thesis: Education and Indigenous Territorial Struggles : A study on the Sapara people’s experiences with the education system in the Ecuadorian Amazon

Text and photos: Riikka Kaukonen Lindholm

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Riikka Kaukonen Lindholm wrote her master’s thesis about the territorial and educational struggles experienced by the Sapara people as the part of the research project Goal 4+: Including Eco-cultural Pluralism in Quality Education in Ecuadorian Amazonia. She  is a doctoral researcher in global development studies in the University of Helsinki. Her PhD research deals with indigenous ecocultural knowledge and alternatives to extractivism in the Ecuadorian Amazon. This blog post introduces the topic and central arguments of the master’s thesis.

The focus of the thesis is on the education of indigenous peoples, especially on how education can facilitate territorial self-determination and political emancipation for them. Indigenous movements world-wide and in Ecuador have focused on creating education respectful of and relevant to indigenous cultural background and knowledge. The thesis explores further the interconnectedness of education and indigenous territorial politics, as they have been together in the forefront of the indigenous movement in Ecuador, and they link the epistemological struggle of recognising Indigenous knowledges to environmental issues prevalent in the country dependent on extractivism. As indigenous peoples often inhabit environmentally vulnerable regions, the thesis examines how for the indigenous groups of Ecuadorian Amazon the relationship between education and territory can aim to be mutually beneficial, encouraging both preservation of the diverse cultures and environment in the biocultural landscapes.

The Conambo river, Llanchamacocha

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