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Sub-regional diversity
26 ethnic groups, 47, 000 people
Regional and Historical Context
• Violent History of Amazonia: missionaries; extractive economiesL rubber tapping, mining, oil;
science and western knowledge; education; state bureaucracies

• Imposing knowledge and worldviews.

• Ongoing threats: Threats: extraction; cultural erosion; violence and narco-trafficking; western
education; the social traumas of incorporation

• Colombia: IPs own almost 25% of national territory and 80% of forests
• Colombian Amazonia: more than 50% under the figure of “resguardos”


• NGOs- conservation and indigenous rights; self- determination

• Indigenous eco-politics: alliances with environmental movements and institutions
Indigenous environmental knowledges
and politics
• IPs as key players in conservation efforts:
– unique knowledge of nature and life, cultural
practices that sustain harmony between nature
and society

– Global environmentalism + struggles for

autonomy (ECOPOLITICS)
• Ecopolitics: A process of making political claims by incorporating
ideas from global environmental struggles to their own struggles for
recognition and self-determination
• Indigenous “cultural resources”: environmental knowledges and

• Support and alliances: self-determination, self-government,

conservation, management of territories, relationship with the
state, protection of territories
• context: a national level indigenous process that aims at territorial
autonomy, articulation with the Colombian State and internal
political and organizational adjustment to the recently developed
legal and political framework. how to exercise autonomy?
Multi-sector partnerships for conservation and indigenous governance in

Colombian Amazonia. The case of Selva de Matavén

Eloisa Berman Arévalo

MSc Human Geography and International Development
University of Amsterdam
Selva de Matavén

Source: Etnollano/COAMA 2000, http://www.etnollano.org/

alliances for conservation,
development, autonomy
• Debate: National Park or Indigenous
resguardo? conservation or territorial rights?

• Do alliances threaten autonomy?

• The “Great Resguardo of Selva de Matavén”

• Threats: oil exploration

• own notion of territory in relation to the

• Environmental knowledges and practices

• BEYOND essentialism vs. instrumentalism

• https://vimeo.com/220060199