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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Covid-19 Pandemic among Indigenous Kichwa Communities in Ecuadorian Amazonia

Here is the link to a new article by Andres Siren et al: Resilience Against the Covid-19 Pandemic among Indigenous Kichwa Communities in Ecuadorian Amazonia, published by Preprints 2020 (online)

Abstract: There has been a very widespread contagion of covid-19 in Kichwa indigenous communities in Ecuadorian Amazonia, but the peak of contagion has already passed, and total mortality has been remarkably low. The Kichwa people themselves typically attribute this to the widespread use of medicinal plants.

 

Current issues on gender-based violence and discrimination – reports from Ecuador and the world

Text: Tuija Veintie

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25th of November reminds about the worldwide problem of gender-based violence. Women and girls are particularly at risk of experiencing violence in times of social and economic crisis. This year, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has threatened the health and well-being of people around the world, deepening social and economic inequalities, exacerbating poverty. At the same time, violence against women and girls, and particularly domestic violence, has intensified globally, according to the United Nations (UN, 2020).

Also in Ecuador, domestic violence against women and girls has been increasing during the pandemic. Among others, Indigenous women living in the outskirts of big cities and in rural communities run a particular risk of experiencing violence due to their vulnerable socio-economic situation (Sacha Samay, 2020). Moreover, recent reports bring forward many other forms of violence that Indigenous women experience at the same time when they carry a heavy load of unpaid and unacknowledged care work in their families. In a declaration released in commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the women representing the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) highlight the multiple forms of violence that Indigenous and rural women experience:

“as physical and sexual violence that many times ends up in femicide; as economic violence when our work is not valued and we do not have the necessary conditions to make the land produce and to commercialize our products; we live the obstetric violence when the medical system abuses us without understanding on our cosmovision; we live symbolic violence when we are discriminated for being Indigenous, and for living in rural areas; the violence is also present in our territories when invaded by the military forces and when destroyed or contaminated with mining, petroleum, and monoculture farming; we live political violence when we are prevented from holding public positions.” (CONAIE, 2020a. Translation from Spanish by author). Continue reading “Current issues on gender-based violence and discrimination – reports from Ecuador and the world”

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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Un nuevo libro: Prácticas pedagógicas para el fomento de la interculturalidad en el contexto universitario

(English version below)

Un libro editado titulado: Prácticas pedagógicas para el fomento de la interculturalidad en el contexto universitario: la experiencia de la Universidad Estatal Amazónica en convenio con la Universidad de Málaga, fue publicado en julio. El libro fue compilado por Dr. Juan J. Leiva Olivencia de la Universidad de Málaga, España, y Dra. Rosaura Gutiérrez Valerio, de la Universidad Estatal Amazónica.

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