Building an Inclusive Future for Indigenous Pueblos de America

29 Feb 2020

Indigenous Terra Madre Pueblos de America closed with a list of goals and objectives to answer to Slow Food’s Call to Action, through projects and strategies aimed to tackle the issues from the local community level to the global food system. 

Throughout the event the delegates listened to each other about the issues affecting their communities, finding similar patterns and connecting the global food production to climate change, biodiversity loss, fights over territories, racism, and discrimination. 

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Dali from Mexico working with the biodiversity group on strategies and ideas. Photo credit Paula Thomas

They worked to develop a plan involving local communities, and their place in the Americas, and the world. Their goals circled around protecting biodiversity in their territories for communities’ survival. For them, biodiversity is more than the ‘farm to table’ slogan; biodiversity ensures they can continue their way of life, have the right over their land to plant culturally appropriate products that support their food sovereignty, and protect their culture and traditions. They are passionate about this subject, putting much of their efforts and ideas toward realizing this goal through tools like the Ark of Taste and Presidia. 

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Claudia from Mexico during group work to develop a plan to communicate the value of local food, creating educational platforms, and respecting traditional knowledge practices. Photo credit Paula Thomas

This led them to ideas to create educational projects and platforms to raise people’s awareness in the different levels of the food chain, from farmers to consumers. Delegates from different areas expressed their concern at the growing ecosystem threats brought by the adoption of monocrops for quick cash, putting food sovereignty in danger.

Education had a great impact overall during the weekend activities, providing delegates with the tools to develop their ideas, how to find funds to realize their goals, and the importance of communicating their message to the community, and beyond, to promote their projects. These are the kind of platforms they would like to implement in their communities to empower producers and create a viable local economy aligned with their goals to protect biodiversity.   

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Group activity aimed to spark creativity, unity, and global understanding. Photo credit Paula Thomas

The next step in the process requires them to step out of their shells to reclaim their right to be heard, a difficult task for some after centuries of marginalization of their communities. To sustain their efforts and influence the public and private sectors they need to arm themselves with the right tools and information, learn about the laws they can use to fight for their land, and their rights. 

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Amaury from Brazil talking about his project to promote his community’s food products. Photo credit Paula Thomas

“Education and political influence should be high in the priority of indigenous youth to protect biodiversity, because you are already diverse and biodiversity is part of you, you have lived biodiversity, so educating yourselves is vital, and pushing for political reform is paramount,” said Reveca Cazenave Tapie from Brazil. 

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Photo credit Paula Thomas

A point that was clear to all was the importance of preserving that diversity, stating that the strategies and projects they develop must be applied based on the needs of each community, fitting within their traditions, rather than cookie-cutter ideas that could further destabilize the systems. Respecting the inter-generational transmission of knowledge systems, and the communities’ wishes, and sovereignty on how to use that ancestral knowledge, internally and externally, to avoid further exploitation as a marketing tool for large companies to sell food products. 

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Photo credit Paula Thomas

After four days of conversations, project development, and friendly discussions, the delegates had formed a tight network based on their shared goals to protect their ancestry and the land that holds it. 

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Photo credit Paula Thomas

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