ClimateCovid P1.4: Indigenous resistance and responses to COVID-19 in the Amazon Basin



Panel 1.4: Indigenous Resistance and Responses to COVID-19


Welcome to the panel about Indigenous Resistance and Responses to COVID-19 in the Amazon Basin! This panel brings together videos created by, or in collaboration with, Indigenous leaders and organizations in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Its purpose is therefore to bring to the fore the perspective of Indigenous peoples who have been confronting the double threats of extractivism and COVID-19 firsthand. The pandemic has hit the Amazon very hard, with particularly challenging conditions due to weak health care systems and the long distances that communities need to travel to reach emergency services. This only adds up to the continuous (and even enhanced) exploitation of Indigenous territories. But these presentations also show us the different responses that are emerging across the Amazon basin. These are not only connected to Indigenous autonomy and self-determination, but also epitomize the continuation and strengthening of Indigenous cultures.

Below you will find some links to learn more about these initiatives. You can also leave us a comment in the Q&A if you would like to carry on with the conversation!

Oswando Nenquimo, Alianza Ceibo

“Napurak Resilience and Ancestral Gastronomy”

Alianza Minga

Video by: Mi Kyung Creative

“Indigenous Khasi Traditional Medicines, Biodiversity, and Climate Crisis”

Jane E. Warjri (Indigenous Khasi, Independent Scholar, Meghalaya, Northeast India), ann-elise lewallen (UC Santa Barbara, EALCS & Environmental Studies), Anagha Uppal (UC Santa Barbara, Geography), and Erica Goto (UC Santa Barbara, Geography)

First Chapter of Docuseries: “Breath of Life in Times of Pandemic: Contagion and Spread”

Sacha Samay

Collective Research and Production: Lisset Coba Mejía, Ivette Vallejo Real, Marisol Rodríguez Pérez, Natalia Valdivieso Kastner, Celeste Torres Soya, Nathaly Saritama Fernández, Luz Elena Pinzón Sanabria and Renata Mantilla Vásconez.

Women Defenders of the Jungle

Association of Ecuadorian Anthropologists

FLACSO Ecuador

Cine Disidente

Sponsor: Rosa Luxemburg Foundation

This panel was organized by Sylvia Cifuentes, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Global Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her recent work has explored the connections between Indigenous Politics and COVID-19 in the Amazon Basin.

Q & A

If you would like to comment in the Q&A, register here

Note that questions and comments can be intended for individual speakers, the entire panel, or anyone who has posted to the Q&A. Respond directly to a particular question/comment by way of the little “reply” below it. The vertical threadlike lines are there to make it easier to see which part of the discussion (i.e. “thread”) you are taking up. 


6 replies
  1. Kayla Vandervort says:

    Hi Everyone!

    This is Kayla Vandervort from Alianza Minga, Edison Gualinga – President of NASHIE, and Francisco Timias- Territory Director, here from the video “Napurak Resilience and Ancestral Gastronomy”. We are happy to answer any questions that anyone might have!

    Maketai – “Thank you”

  2. Katie Murray, UC Santa Barbara says:

    I wanted to thank Oswando Nenquimo for presenting at this conference. Your perspective really spoke to me as a native person. Hearing the way you spoke about the elders in your community was very refreshing and affirming and I will be sure to share this talk with my family and my elders.

  3. Katie Murray, UC Santa Barbara says:

    This is a comment re: the second video “Napurak Resilience and Ancestral Gastronomy” for Edison Gualinga. I wanted to thank you for sharing about the journey that your people make to find salt. My mother has mentioned that our tribe had a pilgrimage that they would make to the ocean to find salt. It sounds a little similar. I also wanted to thank you for speaking about the permacultural practices that your community does. I have been trained in permaculture here in the U.S. and though I know that much of the United States was cultivated as a permaculture forrest precontact with Europeans it is almost never mentioned. The permacultural practices I learned were never credited to any specific group but I have often wondered if they were indigenous knowledge given how widely permaculture was practiced here.

    • Kayla Vandervort says:

      Thank you for sharing Katie! The Shiwiar are working directly with an international permaculture networked called “Red de Guardianes de Semillas”, which is now working with us to certify communitiy members in permaculture topics which include soil, water, seeds, garden management, and edible forests.

      Next month in November we are entering the community Juyuintza to begin this course with the community members, where they will learn these topics by theory and practice. The course will allow Shiwiar community members to also integrate their knowledge of ancestral practices in relation to the topics mentioned above, which will further enrich the permaculture initiave in the Shiwiar communities. In theory permaculture is part of a revival of ancestral farming techniques, and part innovation to adapt to today’s challenges.

      Katie, we would love to hear a little bit more about your background and your experience with Permaculture!

  4. Luz Elena Pinzon says:

    SACHA SAMAY is a research endeavor carried out in minka, in other words, collectively. It aims at sustaining a dialogue amongst diverse women during the pandemic. This project brings together women from a variety of backgrounds: indigenous women from the Ecuadorian Amazon, and mestizo women from Ecuador, Chile, and Colombia. We are rebel female researchers from different careers related to social sciences. Our approaches have allowed us to bring to the foreground inventive and creative ways in which indigenous women deal with life, medicine and health during times of emergency, when extractivism has exacerbated violence through the destruction of their territories.

    Collective research and production: Lisset Coba Mejía, Ivette Vallejo Real, Marisol Rodríguez Pérez, Natalia Valdivieso Kastner, Celeste Torres Soya, Nathaly Saritama Fernández, Luz Elena Pinzón Sanabria, and Renata Mantilla Vásconez.

    Women Defenders of the Jungle
    Association of Ecuadorian Female Anthropologists
    FLACSO Ecuador
    Cine Disidente

    Sponsor: Rosa Luxemburg Foundation

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