The current environmental crisis, which the amazon forest destruction is a part of, calls for a re-thinking of our development practices and the symbolic-cultural conditions of organic and human life. The circumstances around the crisis are closely related to indigenous struggles about their right to autonomy and self-determination within their territories. The purpose of this talk is to introduce and discuss the researcher’s reflections about what we can learn from the indigenous communities’ relationship with their territory and the environment.
Based on nine years of ethnographic fieldwork with the indigenous communities of the Amazon, Eliana Herrera Huérfano will share three lessons she learned in order to help us envision and build an intercultural dialogue based on epistemic interculturality. These lessons are: 1) The ancestral perspective of the indigenous peoples is not in the past; it is here in the present. 2) The interconnection among human and non-human beings constitutes the base of their relationship with their territory. 3) A harmonious life inside the jungle is possible with adaptation.
Similar to “Buen vivir” of the indigenous peoples of the Andes, the indigenous peoples from the Amazon also believe in the sense of reciprocity with the territory through respect and responsibility. Finally, drawing from these conclusions, this talk will identify practices, views and knowledge that can help us rethink development in relation to communication and social change.
Eliana Herrera Huérfano is Dean of the School of Communication at UNIMINUTO (Corporación Universitaria Minuto de Dios) in Bogotá, Colombia and a Ph.D. Student of Communication at the University of Seville. She received her Master’s degree in Communication from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. Her research is based on participatory methodologies that involve interaction with indigenous communities, environmental advocates, and other social and community leaders in Colombia. She considers herself a learner of the communication and environmental practices of ancestral and indigenous communities. Currently, she is a visiting scholar at Loughborough University London.