Veber, Hanne, ed. Historias para nuestro futuro: yotantsi ashi otsipaniki : narraciones autobiográficas de líderes Asháninkas y Ashéninkas. Copenhague: Grupo Internacional de Trabajo sobre Asuntos Indígenas, 2009.
Veber has put together a fascinating collection of oral histories that cover the lives and struggles of seven Asháninka organizers from the Selva Central. Inspired by Wolf’s dictum, this volume seeks to enrich the growing body of literature about Selva Central history by introducing indigenous personal histories in juxtaposition against the documentary evidence marshaled by the usual suspects in asháninka historiography: Barclay, Santos Granero, Fernández, Hvalkof, Varese, etc.
The seven informants whose accounts comprise this volume were or are all leaders of regional indigenous organizations. Miguel Camaiteri, from Oventeni in the Gran Pajonal, served as secretary of defense for his community in their struggle to gain recognition as a Comunidad Nativa. He later worked with the Central de Comunidades Nativas de la Selva Central and became a crucial agent on the defense of bilingual rights and language education in the Gran Pajonal. He was also one of the leaders responsible for organizing the rondas campesinas that fought Sendero Luminoso and the MRTA through the late 1980s and early 1990s. (10) When Miguel was elected regidor of the town of Atalaya, his brother, Pascual, a leader in his own right, took over the chairmanship of the Organización de los Ashéninkas del Gran Pajonal (OAGP).(12) As the regional president of CECONCEC in Chanchamayo and Perené, Miqueas Mishari was a crucial ally of the Camaiteris and was himself responsible for expanding the organization through the Selva Central. (12) Bernardo Silva Loayza, another activist working in Atalaya, served as a militant in (OIRA) and now works as president of the Empresa Comunal Indígena de Atalaya “La Minga”, while Vicente Ñaco, Adolfo Gutiérrez and Agusto Capurro were all members of other regional organizations.
Horna, Hernan “South America’s Marginal Highway.” Journal of Developing Areas, Vol. 10 No. 4 (1976): pp. 409-424.
This piece comes across as an apologist ode to Belaúnde, peppered with statistics—the same ones Denevan uses, drawn from Stokes—and resting on a toothpick foundation forged from press accounts—Peruvian Times, Time, The New York Times and Semana en el Perú. There are, however, some redeeming qualities. For instance, Horna, while absolving Belaúnde of any guilt in his administration’s 1968 lackluster performance, focuses not just on the APRA-UNO opposition, but also in the American backlash to Belaúnde’s modest protectionism. Also, Horna gives a cursory account of the ways in which the Velasco administration carried the Marginal mantle into the context of the 1970s Amazonian oil boom. Interestingly, here Horna seems to continue embracing the view that road colonization will assuage the social strife caused by demographic pressure placed on land, while at the same time recognizing that roads were mostly built because of their value on the international stage: securing boundaries and resources, integrating markets (Andean Pact 1971, LAFTA), etc. This unique local-transnational symbiosis seems to result in part from the exorbitant costs of jungle road construction—$200,000 / mile in 1967 (416)—and the dependence that generates on international lenders.
Two other valuable aspects of this piece are the brief mention of Colombian, Ecuadorian and Bolivian participation in the continental dimensions of La Marginal’s construction. Also, this article is littered with anecdotal delicacies: like Belaúnde’s 1963 birthday gift of 25,000 tools (415); The pomp and circumstance where the Bolivian and Peruvian sections of the road were joined (414); Velasco’s effort to connect La Marginal to the Trans-Amazonian (418); and the quixotic hope of continental completion by 1995 (420).
Hvalkof, Soren. “Outrage in Rubber and Oil: Extractivism, Indigenous Peoples, and Justice in the Upper Amazon.” In Charles Zerner, ed. People, Plants, and Justice: The Politics of Nature Conservation. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000. pp. 83-117
Perhaps one of the more conventional works of this volume, “Outrage in Rubber and Oil,” suggests a continuity of injustice that straddles the temporal boundaries of successive export booms in the Upper Amazon. I say conventional because in the end it posits collective land title as the “key to control” (106), a crucial mechanism by which indigenous peoples can transcend debt bondage. In this sense he reiterates the conclusions of most who deal with the region (Varese, Chirif, García, Gray, etc.) without acknowledging the myriad nuanced ways that tenure can give rise to other sets of problems (see Sawyer chapter 1, García and Chirif, or the critique Benavides and Chirif make of the De Soto brand of tenure). Morover, Ribot’s piece in this same volume shows how property rights do not necessarily translate into justice.
Hvalkof opens with a vignette of Siona Indians of Puerto Bolívar (Ecuador) resisting the arrival of Chinese oil company. He explains how the Siona political awakening was nourished in two major ways: their struggle with the administrators of the Faunistic Reserve of Cuyabeno brought them together in a collective effort to delineate their territory and marked yet another crucial moment in their struggle against extractive activities, as immediately after signing a treaty with INEFAN in 1995 INEFAN turned around and granted an oil concession on newly legalized Siona land. Hvalkof uses this story and a conversation with locals to demonstrate the continuity of experience that Cuyabeno area Indigenous have had with extractive activities since the seventeenth century.
Turner, Terrence, “Indigenous Rights, Environmental Protection and the struggle over forest resources in the Amazon: the case of the Brazilian Kayapo.” in Conway, Jill K, et al, eds. Earth, Air, Fire, Water: Humanistic Studies of the Environment. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1999.
This piece looks at the Kayapo of the Xingú Valley and the way their role in environmental protection and exploitation has ben misconstrued by romantics and “glass-case” conservationists. Turner discuses two cases: the Altamira mobilization of Feb., 1989, and the relation of some Kayapo with gold miners and loggers. In each case he examines Kayapo ontology as a way of discrediting Northern appropriations of their struggle.
In the case of the Altamira mobilization against a massive hydro project on the Xingu, Turner argues that the type of conservation being advocated correlates to Kayapo conceptions of the utility of forest resources and not to the Northern conceptions of them as “primitive ecologists.” By showing how the event was ordered around the ritual of the New Corn Ceremony (converging upon a village setting, felling a forest tree as a communal bench, reenactment of the maize tree myth) and explaining the participation of women as an embodiment of the concerns highlighted by the event (loss of Kayapo culture through environmental degradation) Turner suggests the entire event was “a dramatization of the environmental values of Kayapo culture in the service of a Kayapo version of environmental activism.” (158) When examining how this may have been misconstrued he points to the way the event’s Portuguese and English communications with the press and civil society representatives in attendance were “couched in the rhetoric of international First World environmentalism and international Fourth World ethnic nationalism.” (153).
Orlove, Benjamin S. “Putting Race in Its Place: Order in Colonial and Postcolonial Peruvian Geography.” Social Research 60, no. 2 (Summer93 1993): 301-336.
Orlove discusses the shift in notions of ordered space that occurred between the colonial and republican periods in Peru. Dividing his study temporally between the production of colonial and republican geographies, he looks at settlements, mountains and Indians as objects of geographic study and asks how their ordering was conditioned by disciplinary, administrative and hegemonic impulses.
To form what he calls the colonial geography produced between 1574 and 1790, Orlove looks at the relaciones geográficas, the descripciones and the itinerarios produced by colonial officials. He highlights the prominence of the Greek variables of hot/cold and wet/dry as they were used to designate parts of the viceroyalty and shows how this facilitated a correlation between geography and medicine. (305) Through this correlation we see that space was marked more by climate than topography—although it was a factor—and that climate was read as determining health (think “Buenos Aires”).
Dean, Warren. With Broadax and Firebrand the Destruction of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.
Pertaining to the raubwirtschaft—or plunder economy —genre described by McNeill (24), Dean’s With Broadax and Firebrand takes nature as a static baseline rather than a dynamic producer of the historical event. Dean’s theorization of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest as a “palimpsest of super-imposed forms and relationships” (18) in many ways paints the forest as a kind of revolving door for outside exploitation. By anchoring his reader in the Atlantic forest, Dean leverages vignettes of brazilwood extraction, gold mining, coffee cultivation and ranching to tell the story of the forest’s transformation. While he distinguishes his from the other major work of the Latin American raubwirtschaft variety—Galeano’s Las venas abiertas de América Latina—by showing the view from the forest, the events Dean identifies as significant fall squarely within the purview of human actors.
Lucero, Jose Antonio and Maria Elena Garcia. “Un País Sin Indígenas: Rethinking Indigenous Politics in Peru.” In Nancy Postero and Leon Zamosc, eds. The Struggle for Indigenous Rights in Latin America. Portland: Sussex Academic Press, 2004.
Beginning with Millones' observation about the World Bank's inability to find indigenous people to fund in Peru, García and Lucero work to debunk the myth that Peru is a country without indigenous mobliization. Many of the points elaborated in Making Indigenous Citizens were first presented in this piece, although the central focus here is on the myth of Peruvian exceptionalism and less space is given to the interlacing of indigeneity and citizenship. Additionally this article specifically challenges Richard Chase Smith’s tripartite typology of indigenous movements (peasant labour unions, urban indianist—or radical pan-indian—movements, and ethnic federations (164)) to lay the groundwork for García’s ethnographic work on the less structural forms of mobilization that we see in bilingual intercultural education.
Often the ideas developed here are repeated almost verbatim in Making Indigenous Citizens, especially in chapters one and two. That said, there are two distinctions that make this piece a useful supplement to the book that followed it: it places more emphasis on the mobilization taking place in the Amazon and the urban indianist movements of the 1970s, and it approaches COPPIP as a more unified body, with no mention of the 2002 rift that is detailed in the book.