Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Global Indigeneity and Sustainability Seminar

November 8, 2016

Filiberto Penados - Engaged Scholarship and Service Learning Director, Center for Engaged Learning Abroad, Belize
Paul Robbins - Director, Nelson Institute of Environmental Sciences, UW-Madison

Filiberto Penado’s topic: “Colonialism, Sustainability and Maya Land Rights: Challenges to the Real Plan” was about Belize’s colonization by the British. Belize is the only English speaking country in South America. Colonization brought about changes to the indigenous communities of Belize.

Filiberto told us a story of a farmer. The farmer had a relationship with the land, providing for his family. The Real Plan was an abundance of food. The farmer grew everything so his children did not have to want. The children grew, went to school, and go to the city to work. When they come back they do not like the food. This hurts the “Real Plan” there is no relationship with the land, the society loses sovereignty, and the importance of land rights to survive decline. Land rights and the importance of land mean survival. Land and the relationship with land is like “constructing a ship to navigate the rough seas of capitalism.”

Filiberto spent Tuesday at the College of Menominee Nation visiting with Sustainability Leaadership Cohort students and passing out information about studying abroad in Belize. I also spent time visiting with him comparing the similarity of native indigenous communities with those in Belize . We talked about our gardens. Our gardens are similar because we grow foods that are consumed by our families. Gardening is important to both of our communities.

Paul Robbins presented about “Producing wildlife: reconciling biodiversity, commodity production and labor rights in India. The Adivasi is the umbrella term for the heterogeneous set of ethnic and tribal groups considered the aboriginal postulation. The Adivasi inhabit the land area next to a region established for animal conservation. Through the laws of the Court of India the Adivasi cannot harvest, collect or graze on this land. The locals respond by not doing these activities if there is threat of officials finding out. In many cases local authorities look the other way. The practices of the Adivasi have not affected the animal population in any adverse way. The Adivasi go about their herding without hurting the animals in the hills. While a goat may be sacrificed to the jaguar the loss is not noticeable. Climate change has been the biggest factor in animal conservation. The droughts of the area are longer and when the monsoon season comes this causes land erosion. Loss of habitat and food sources then occur. 

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