This spring Associate Professor Derrick Hindery, hosted the visit of two prominent indigenous leaders from Bolivia, former Senator Carlos Cuasace Surubi (Chiquitano) and former Congressman Bienvenido Zacu Mborobainchi (Guarayo). Mr. Zacu led a seminal march that paved the way for Bolivia's 2009 Constitution. He subsequently served as General Director in the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs, the General Director for Native Indigenous Territories at the Ministry for Lands, and as a congressman and president of the Indigenous and Peasants Nations' and People's Commission of the lower chamber. Mr. Cuasace also led pivotal marches including one that reformed the Hydrocarbons Law. He is currently the mayor of Concepcion, Bolivia and served as a senator in Bolivia as part of President Evo Morales's Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) Party.
Both men played a central role in defending indigenous rights against encroachment from agroindustry and multinational oil and mining corporations. Professor Hindery has collaborated with them since the late 1990s on struggles related to Enron and Shell's natural gas pipelines and mines. Mr. Waldo Mina Quiroga, Mr. Cuasace's adviser also visited UO. He has supported the Chiquitano indigenous people for over 10 years and has managed municipalities and developed public policies for 20 years.
Professor Hindery, our Bolivian guests, and the Office of International Affairs are in the process of defining several areas of potential collaboration:
- Ongoing research on the impacts of natural resource extraction on indigenous people in Bolivia.
- Supporting an elementary and secondary school (kindergarten through high school) that would be based on indigenous knowledge, be culturally appropriate and include curriculum about indigenous cosmologies, environment, international development (with a comparative focus), indigenous languages and cultural revitalization.
- A study abroad program in Bolivia led by Professor Hindery involving community service-learning projects.
- Community development and conservation projects (land use planning in indigenous territories, environmentally-friendly community forestry, non-timber forest products (e.g. organic almonds, peanuts, tea, copaibo tree, propyls, honey), ecotourism and monitoring of the environmental and social effects of infrastructure projects in the region (mines, pipelines, highways).
- Joint grant writing.
Special thanks to the various units and individuals who sponsored our guests: International Studies, the Office of International Affairs, the Coalition Against Environmental Racism, the College of Arts and Sciences, Native American Studies, the Oregon Humanities Center, the School of Journalism and Communication, the Office of Equity and Inclusion, Geography, Sociology, Philosophy, the Office of Sustainability, PPPM, the Global Scholars Hall, Latin American Studies, the Wayne Morse Center, Brian Klopotek, Ed Wolf, Burke Hendrix, Kirby Brown, Gerardo Sandoval and David Vázquez.