Thinking about development and good living

Text and photograph by Tuija Veintie

Picture of Paola Minoia with Mikko Ylikangas.
Paola Minoia presenting at Development Days 2019. On the left: Mikko Ylikangas, Academy of Finland.

At the end of March our Helsinki based research group members participated in Development Days 2019, the annual conference organized by the Finnish Society for Development Research. This year the conference theme “Repositioning global development: changing actors, geographies and ontologies” invited the conference participants to critically examine and redefine the meanings of development, and discuss alternatives to the dominant discourses on development.

In his keynote lecture Ashish Kothari presented examples of alternatives from around the world, including self-governance initiatives, economic transformations and different educational initiatives that are rooted in local cultures and ecologies. He urged the audience to examine the structural roots of sustainability and inequity, and vision alternative futures from the grassroots up.

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Actividades por el Día Internacional de la Lengua Materna

Texto y foto: Andrés Tapia

En la Amazonía ecuatoriana, como a nivel mundial, el 21 de febrero se conmemora el Día Internacional de la Lengua Materna. En Ecuador, con 14 lenguas ancestrales de las diferentes nacionalidades existentes en su territorio, esta fecha no ha pasado desapercibida. En este año 2019 declarado como el Año Internacional de las Lenguas Indígenas por parte de La Organización de las Naciones Unidas (ONU), las nacionalidades de la Amazonía realizaron dos eventos en el marco de esta fecha de reivindicación de la lengua y los idiomas ancestrales.

Danza Shuar
Danza Shuaren la Parroquia Sevilla Don Bosco

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Discussing intercultural education and the Amawtay Wasi project in Quito with indigenous and State representatives, January 2019

Text by Paola Minoia, photograph by Andrés Tapia

Together with the compañeras Ruth, Mayra and compañero Sachachristo (Andrés), we met in Quito, in January 2019, institutional representatives institutions dealing with the new reform on intercultural bilingual education, and the reopening of the intercultural university Amawtay Wasi.

Paola Minoia and Jaime Vargas, president of CONAIE

The president of CONAIE (Confederacion de Nacionalidades Indigenas del Ecuador), Jaime Vargas, told us about his own experiences with indigenous education, as a professor for seven years in his community; and the dreams of a relaunched intercultural bilingual education accessible, flexible and welcoming to all. His talk underlined the contrast between the need of deeper philosophical and pedagogical discussions on education and the pluriverse, and the realities made of heavy negotiations and bureaucratic lengthy procedures that are involved in the relaunch of the intercultural university Amawtay Wasi. Continue reading “Discussing intercultural education and the Amawtay Wasi project in Quito with indigenous and State representatives, January 2019”

Why is Intercultural Bilingual Education important in Ecuador? A short presentation of our Academy-funded project.

Text by Paola Minoia

This is a note from the presentation at the Develop! kick-off seminar organized by the Academy of Finland in Paasitorni Congress Centre, Helsinki 26.11.2018

Our project addresses the problematic relation between formal education and indigenous rights. Education is a fundamental field for cognitive recognition and rights, and this is why indigenous organizations have positioned the goal of intercultural education high in their agenda. Ecuador is a plurinational state, as stated by the 2008 Constitution, which means that all nationalities and ethnic groups have the right to equal representation in the country. Therefore, the main goal of our Academy-funded project is to support the recognition of Amazonian indigenous ecological and cultural knowledges as part of quality education. Continue reading “Why is Intercultural Bilingual Education important in Ecuador? A short presentation of our Academy-funded project.”

Into the Forest

Text and photos by Riikka Kaukonen

We had already been conducting fieldwork for a bit over one month in the city of Puyo and the communities surrounding it, as we stood in front of a small monoplane on the late morning of 22nd of October. The past months we had concentrated on the experiences of indigenous students of different levels of higher education:

What were the main obstacles they had faced during their education history?

How they saw the relationship between occidental epistemology present in the educative system, and the cosmovision and worldviews of their respective backgrounds?

How could the intercultural and bilingual education programs strengthen the identity and self image of the indigenous nationalities of Pastaza, while engaging with the rich multiplicity and differences that exists between and inside these groups?

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En la selva

Texto y fotos: Riikka Kaukonen

Llevábamos más de un mes realizando el trabajo de campo en la ciudad de Puyo y en las comunidades que lo rodeaban, y de repente estábamos parados frente a un pequeño monoplano  en la mañana del 22 de octubre. Los últimos meses nos habíamos concentrado en las experiencias de estudiantes indígenas de diferentes niveles de educación superior:

¿Cuáles fueron los principales obstáculos que habían enfrentado durante su historia de educación?

¿Cómo vieron la relación entre la epistemología occidental presente en el sistema educativo y la cosmovisión y las cosmovisiones de sus respectivos pueblos y culturas?

¿Cómo podrían los programas de educación intercultural y bilingüe fortalecer la identidad y la autoimagen de las nacionalidades indígenas de Pastaza, al mismo tiempo que se involucran con la gran multiplicidad y diferencias que existen entre estos grupos y dentro de ellos?

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Riikka Kaukonen, doing a master’s thesis within the project

(En español abajo)

My name is Riikka Kaukonen. I am 25 years old master’s degree student of development studies in the University of Helsinki. Born in Lapland, I have been interested in the issues of environment, indigenous knowledges and the fight against extractivist industries since my childhood. In this project I am conducting a study on the significance of place and territory in the context of decolonial education. My fieldwork included a three week journey through the Sapara territory and 2 month long period in the vicinity of Puyo, Pastaza, during which I visited multiple bilingual and intercultural schools. I am writing my master’s degree based on this fieldwork.

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Greetings from the autumn conferences in the North: key messages on diversifying and decolonizing academic research

Text by Johanna Hohenthal

This autumn the project members participated in several conferences and seminars in the Nordic countries that all somehow addressed the themes of decoloniality, interculturality and diversity in academic research. First, on 15-18 August, the 4th Annual Conference of the World-Ecology Research Network (WERN) was held in Helsinki, Finland. The WERN has an important decolonial commitment focusing on the “critique of Nature/Society dualism as a cosmology and world-historical practice of domination”. In this year’s conference, the keynotes, panels and working groups discussed on topical issues related to expropriation, capitalocene, extractivism, and power relations in academic research. The second event was a two-day seminar “Doing diversity/interculturality/decoloniality in development research” organized by the Finnish development research doctoral network (UniPID DocNet) in Tvärminne, Finland, 27-28 September. The presentations and discussions in the seminar largely centered around the questions on how to decolonize and diversify thinking and practices in the academic teaching and research work. In the following week, 5-6 October, the reflection on these themes continued in the first workshop of the research network Decolonial critique, knowledge production and social change in the Nordic countries (DENOR) in Gothenburg, Sweden. As stated by the leader of the network, Adrián Groglopo, in his welcoming words, the decolonial initiative is especially important in the Nordic context, because the Nordic “race” has for long enjoyed its privileged position on the expense of other nations and even been put on the pedestal as a model that the others should follow. Finally, the 10th conference of the Nordic Latin American Research Network (NOLAN) was organized in Oslo, Norway, 25-26 October. The conference addressed important issues related to human and environmental rights and the state of democracy that have implications especially for the lives of indigenous and other minority groups in Latin America. The conference also had a number of interesting working group sessions on indigenous identity, environmental governance and education.

In this writing, I will briefly return to the key messages from the above meetings that are significant also for our project. See also the related forthcoming text written by Paola Minoia in Convivial Thinking. Continue reading “Greetings from the autumn conferences in the North: key messages on diversifying and decolonizing academic research”

Saludos de las conferencias de otoño en el Norte: mensajes claves para la diversificación y descolonización de la investigación académica

Redacción: Johanna Hohenthal

Durante este otoño, los miembros del proyecto participaron de varias conferencias y seminarios en los países nórdicos donde se abordaron los temas de la decolonialidad, interculturalidad y la diversidad en la investigación académica. En primer lugar, del 15 al 18 de agosto, se celebró en Helsinki, Finlandia, la 4ta Conferencia Anual de la Red Mundial de Investigación en Ecología (World-Ecology Research Network, WERN), la cual tiene un importante compromiso decolonial centrado en la “crítica del dualismo Naturaleza / Sociedad como cosmología y práctica de dominación histórica mundial”. En la conferencia de este año, los discursos, paneles y grupos de trabajo discutieron sobre temas de actualidad relacionados con la expropiación, el capitaloceno, el extractivismo y las relaciones de poder en la investigación académica. El segundo evento fue un seminario de dos días denominado “Haciendo diversidad / interculturalidad / decolonialidad en la investigación del desarrollo” organizado por la red de doctorados de investigación de desarrollo de Finlandia (UniPID DocNet) en Tvärminne, Finlandia, del 27 al 28 de septiembre. Las presentaciones y discusiones en el seminario se centraron en gran medida en torno a las preguntas sobre cómo descolonizar y diversificar el pensamiento y las prácticas en la enseñanza académica y el trabajo de investigación.

La semana siguiente, del 5 al 6 de octubre, la reflexión sobre estos temas continuó con el primer taller de la red de investigación crítica decolonial, producción de conocimiento y cambio social en los países nórdicos (DENOR) en Gotemburgo, Suecia. Como lo expresó el líder de la red, Adrián Groglopo, en sus palabras de bienvenida, la iniciativa decolonial es especialmente importante en el contexto nórdico, porque la “raza” nórdica ha disfrutado de su posición privilegiada a expensas de otras naciones e incluso ha sido puesta en el pedestal como modelo a seguir por las demas naciones.

Finalmente, la 10ª conferencia de la Red Nórdica de Investigación Latinoamericana (NOLAN) se organizó en Oslo, Noruega, del 25 al 26 de octubre. La conferencia abordó temas importantes relacionados con los derechos humanos y ambientales y el estado de la democracia que tienen implicaciones especialmente para la vida de los pueblos indígenas y otros grupos minoritarios en América Latina. La conferencia también tuvo una serie de sesiones interesantes de grupos de trabajo sobre identidad indígena, gobernanza ambiental y educación.

En este escrito, volveré brevemente a los mensajes de las reuniones anteriores que también son importantes para nuestro proyecto. Vea también el próximo texto relacionado escrito por Paola Minoia en Convivial Thinking.
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Educational and pedagogical assembly of the Kichwa nationality of Pastaza, Ecuador – a contribution to the construction of Intercultural Bilingual Education in the Amazon

Text and photo: Andrés Tapia

In the ancestral Kichwa community of Canelos, located in the interior of the Pastaza province, an Educational and Pedagogical Assembly was held in 25-26 September. The assembly was convened by the Council of Kichwa nationality of Pastaza (Pastaza Kikin Kichwa Runakuna PAKIRU) to follow-up the resolutions made in the congress of the Kichwa communities, villages and associations of Pastaza in last August.

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