Sanctuarizing Forests: report

Event organised by Emilie Gaillard, General Coordinator of the Normandy Chair for Peace (Normandy region, CNRS, University of Caen in Normandy), in collaboration with Nadia Tahir (ERLIS, University of Caen in Normandy) and Vassili Rivron (CERREV, University of Caen in Normandy).

Its objective was to address the following points:

  • the Amazon rainforest as subject of deforestation
  • the world view of indigenous peoples: what link with the forest?
  • what impact on the anthropological approach to the relationship with nature?
  • which legal perspectives are open?

Programme:

Workshop with indigenous leaders from the Alliance of Guardians of Mother Nature

  • Magdalene Setia Kaitei, from the Maasaï people (Kenya), Executive Director of Emayian Integrated Development Organization. 
  • Mindahi Crescencio Bastida Muñoz, Director of the Original Caretakers Program held by the Center for Earth Ethics,  General Coordinator of Otomi-Hñahñu Regional Council (Mexico), guardian of the philosophy and traditions of the Otomi people.
  • Ivanice Pires Tanone, cacique of the indigenous Kariri-Xocó people, one of the rare indigenous women leaders in Brazil.

Screening of the movie « TERRA LIBRE » – Debate with indigenous leaders / Guardians of Mother Nature

« TERRA LIBRE » – A film by Gert-Peter Bruch (125 min. Atmosphere Festival Audience Award). The screening, organized in collaboration with the Lux cinema, was followed by a debate with Gert Peter Bruch and two of the three indigenous leaders: Magdalene Setia K. and Mindahi Bastida. A call to the awakening of consciences, with the guardians of the world living for guides.

In the presence of Gert-Peter Bruch, founder of Planet Amazon. The event was presented by Vassili Rivron (anthropologist, specialist from Brazil, CERREV, University of Caen in Normandy) and Nadia Tahir (Lecturer in Hispanic-American Studies, ERLIS, University of Caen in Normandy).

To initiate the workshop, Mindahi Bastida explained how nowadays sacred lands in central Mexico have been demystified. Lands and territories that indigenous peoples maintain in a collective way to preserve life, are now in danger. From the indigenous perspective, land, water, and air are considered sacred elements and not resources. Therefore, they advocate for the legal recognition of their work protecting the Earth, by asking democratic governments, such as the French Republic, to sign the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention nº169, as a way of international support. In addition, he opens the reflection about how in the middle of this climate crisis, indigenous peoples cannot do this work only by themselves, and how important it is to raise awareness about this global problems that affect us all. He quoted: “What world are we leaving to the future generations? And, what generations are we leaving to the world?”

On the other hand, Magdalene Setia stated that it is high time to think about “us and future generations”, that it is necessary to cop to indigenous knowledge and integrate this with the scientific approaches to come back to nature. She quoted: “We are calling for governments to support the protection of nature, forests, for the adoption of policies that protect the present and future generations”. In Kenya, the Mau Forest, that nourishes rivers, life, and populations, is being destroyed. In words of our indigenous leader, the government now realised that this impacts people directly, and that the Mau Forest must be protected. Nevertheless, it’s still time to seek for collective action and to encourage the youth to participate on this process. Magdalene Setia: “Everyone has to be involved in the restauration of the forest”.

In this context, the Normandy Chair for Peace not only pursues to carry the voice of indigenous peoples at a larger scale, but looks forward to evidence the urgency of taking environmental conservation more seriously at the local, national, and international level.


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