Scambi ecnomici, ecologia e paesi in via di sviluppo(ingl. e fr.)


Ojibwe Wild Rice

“Le dĂ©sir est impĂ©rieux et l’Ăąge d’or toujours un prĂ©cieux mirage. En rĂ©alitĂ©, et toujours, le pouvoir se repose sur notre infantilisme qu’il s’ingĂ©nie Ă  satisfaire.” Daniel de Coppet – “Indigenous peoples are faced with a dual predicament: trying to reach a balance between economic development and protection of an often sacred environment in which resources are found and occasionally working side by side with non-indigenous environmentalist groups, and “recycling” the stereotype of the ecological Native. (
) Adopting global tools and using social networks, the indigenous peoples are fighting back. These fragile and perhaps transitory victories, however, do not disprove the fact that indigenous knowledge, resources and land are under threat.”

Anyone—not only the peoples commonly referred to as “indigenous,” with all the derogatory connotations of “primitiveness” with which this term is often loaded—can be indigenous to some place, the place that they consider essential to their identity. Moments of crisis can crystallize a feeling of indigeneity, revealing it not only to the onlooker but sometimes even to the people animated by it. Recently, such a moment seems to have occurred at Notre-Dame-des Landes, France, where local farmers occupied a parcel where the building of an international airport was planned. These local “indigenous” farmers, defending the land to which they belong as much as it belongs to them, were helped in their struggle by environmentalists of all stripes, arising from the whole nation. Although many differences separated the two groups, they seemed to understand that they could be useful to each other’s causes putting aside their differences while confronted with the globalized logic of what Aldo Leopold called “the economic use” of the land, at the expense of its “social use.” In an increasingly globalized world, it seems that Indigenous peoples living on their ancestral lands find it more and more difficult to protect them, and the resources they hold, from the greed of non-indigenous exploiters. Therefore, indigenous lands and riches are regularly jeopardized. In Brazil, in Mato Grosso, the Guarani are threatened with eviction from their land and are fighting against wealthy sugar cane or soy planters. They have petitioned the Brazilian government, asking to be killed and buried in their land rather than be dispossessed again (Leroy Cerqueira). Similarly, in Ecuador, the Kichwa people of Sarayaku have fought for ten years against an oil project that would destroy their habitat (Amnesty International). Conversely, sometimes, the non-indigenous globalized actors are environmental organizations which find themselves at odds with indigenous exploitations of resources. The situation is not always as clear-cut and Manichean, however, and can even prove to be quite intricate when the Natives themselves conform to, or at least seem to endorse, the clichĂ©s of natural-born ecologists imposed on them by the colonizers. In the terms of Fabienne Bayet, an Australian Aboriginal activist, the perspectives adopted by some non-Aboriginal environmentalists can be seen as “a continuation of paternalism and colonialism,” and of the “noble savage” myth.

Indigenous peoples are faced with a dual predicament: trying to reach a balance between economic development and protection of an often sacred environment in which resources are found and occasionally working side by side with non-indigenous environmentalist groups, and “recycling” the stereotype of the ecological Native. Sometimes Indians, non-Indian environmentalists, sea lions and salmon all play antagonistic roles in a conundrum over managing the salmon in the Columbia River and how it should be protected. Should salmon recovery be reached by the supplementation of hatchery salmon, as advocated by some Indians? Or should only wild salmon be used, a course supported by non-Indian environmentalists? As Fisher argues, the process of salmon protection against greedy sea lions as well as salmon recovery “furnishes a lens through which” the sometimes difficult relationship between Indians and environmentalists in the United States can be examined. In another case study, Marie-Claude Strigler focuses on the Anishinaabeg’s wild rice (Manoomin), harvested in the traditional, sacred ways In a globalized economy where, paradoxically, an increasing number of consumers are sensitive to marketing arguments emphasizing sustainable production, Anishinaabe wild rice has to compete with corporations which use Indian imagery but produce their rice far from what the Anishinaabeg consider the indigenous waters of Manoomin. On Anishinaabe land, the very existence of Manoomin is also threatened by the mining industry whose activities, if allowed, would endanger it by deteriorating its natural environment. Faced with this latter kind of competition, the Indians see environmentalist groups as allies. Gonzalo Bustamante continues the exploration of the relations between Indigenous people and environmentalist organizations by focusing on the case of the Mapuche in Chile, in the midst of the economic development of three regions of that country. In this study, Bustamante observes that the territory, particularly what he calls “ethno-territory,” is a complex cultural construct, with symbolic, territorial and environmental dimensions. Thus, what the Natives and the ecological activists construct can be somewhat different, in spite of common objectives. Bustamante’s study illustrate these points of divergence and convergence between the two groups. In her article, Lindsey Claire Smith deconstructs the Indian imagery used by supposedly environment-friendly corporations for marketing strategy purposes. What was one aspect of Strigler’s contribution is here systematically examined, focusing specifically on the Whole Foods chain of supermarkets. Smith not only shows how consumers are manipulated into believing they are doing good when they buy products marketed as “organic, natural, slow, local, non-GM,” but she also examines how none of this benefits the Indigenous people in any way, most of whom do not even have access to these products. Susanne Berthier-Foglar examines the case of Mount Taylor, New Mexico, considered as sacred land by the local tribes of Indians but where uranium was mined for decades, eventually leaving the mountain soiled both literally and symbolically. Berthier-Foglar shows how complicated the clichĂ©d dichotomy between the “Ecological Indian” and the “Nonecological White Man” can become when the tribes themselves have opposing views regarding mining. Some see mining as a welcome economic opportunity in communities devastated by unemployment. In the case of Mount Taylor, things are even more complex because “it is not even clear who is Indigenous” since the local Hispanics claim their indigeneity as vehemently as the Navajo, the Acoma, or the Hopi. In France’s overseas territories where the Indigenous peoples are confronted with another type of dispossession, less tangible but just as significant as land dispossession: their ancestral local knowledge of genetic and medicinal resources has become more and more interesting to biotechnology researchers. Burelli explores the judicial means Indigenous people are using to try to retain control of that knowledge and the actual power and responsibility they have in managing these resources.

Adopting global tools and using social networks, the indigenous peoples are fighting back. After a string of online petitions, the Guarani’s eviction was recently suspended by the Brazilian government and the Kichwa people of Sarayaku brought their case before the inter-American Court and won against the company that was planning to probe their land for oil. These fragile and perhaps transitory victories, however, do not disprove the fact that indigenous knowledge, resources and land are under threat. Summary and translation of an introduction from Laurence Machet, Lionel Larre et Antoine Ventura.


Quiconque, et non seulement les peuples communĂ©ment appelĂ©s « indigĂšnes » (avec toutes les connotations pĂ©joratives et primitivistes dont ce terme est souvent chargĂ©), peut ĂȘtre indigĂšne d’un endroit, d’un lieu que l’on considĂšre essentiel Ă  son identitĂ©. Les moments de crise sont parfois des moments de cristallisation d’un sentiment d’indigĂ©nĂ©itĂ©, rĂ©vĂ©lateurs de ce sentiment aux yeux de l’observateur extĂ©rieur autant que de celui qui se trouve animĂ© par ce sentiment. Un tel moment semble avoir eu lieu rĂ©cemment Ă  Notre-Dame-des-Landes, dans l’ouest de la France, oĂč des paysans locaux ont occupĂ© un terrain oĂč doit s’ériger un nouvel aĂ©roport international. Ces paysans « indigĂšnes », qui dĂ©fendent la terre Ă  laquelle ils appartiennent autant qu’elle est leur, ont reçu, dans leur rĂ©sistance, l’appui de militants Ă©cologistes venus des quatre coins du pays. MalgrĂ© les nombreuses diffĂ©rences qui sĂ©parent les deux groupes d’opposants au projet d’aĂ©roport, ils ont semblĂ© comprendre qu’ils pouvaient faire cause commune pour un temps au moins, alors qu’ils se confrontaient Ă  la logique mondialiste de ce qu’Aldo Leopold avait appelĂ© en son temps « l’usage Ă©conomique » de la terre, au dĂ©triment de « l’usage social ». Dans un monde de plus en plus mondialisĂ©, il semble que les peuples indigĂšnes qui vivent sur leurs terres ancestrales ont de plus en plus de mal Ă  les protĂ©ger, ainsi que les ressources qu’elles contiennent, de l’aviditĂ© des exploitants non-indigĂšnes. Au BrĂ©sil, dans le Mato Grosso, les Guarani sont menacĂ©s d’éviction et se battent contre les planteurs de canne Ă  sucre et de soja. Ils ont prĂ©sentĂ© une pĂ©tition au gouvernement brĂ©silien pour lui demander d’ĂȘtre tuĂ©s et enterrĂ©s sur leur terre plutĂŽt que d’ĂȘtre expropriĂ©s une fois de plus (Leroy Cerqueira). En Équateur, les Kichwa de Sarayaku se battent depuis dix ans contre un projet d’exploitation pĂ©troliĂšre qui dĂ©truirait leur habitat (Amnesty International). Parfois, pourtant, les acteurs mondialistes sont des organisations Ă©cologistes qui peuvent se trouver en porte-Ă -faux par rapport aux exploitations indigĂšnes des ressources naturelles. La situation est rarement aussi manichĂ©enne, cependant, et peut ĂȘtre mĂȘme d’une grande complexitĂ© lorsque les IndigĂšnes eux-mĂȘmes se conforment, ou semblent se rĂ©approprier, les clichĂ©s d’écologistes nĂ©s que leurs imposent les colonisateurs, puisque dans les termes de Fabienne Bayet, une intellectuelle militante aborigĂšne australienne, les perspectives adoptĂ©es par certains environnementalistes non-indigĂšnes sont « un prolongement du paternalisme et du colonialisme » des premiers contacts et des premiĂšres versions du « Noble Sauvage ».

Les peuples concernĂ©s manient une Ă©pĂ©e Ă  double tranchant, lorsqu’ils essaient d’atteindre un difficile Ă©quilibre entre dĂ©veloppement Ă©conomique et protection d’un environnement souvent sacralisĂ© mais contenant des ressources prĂ©cieuses, tout en travaillant parfois aux cĂŽtĂ©s d’écologistes non-indigĂšnes et en « recyclant » le stĂ©rĂ©otype de l’IndigĂšne Ă©colo. Parfois les Indiens, les Ă©cologistes non-indiens, les otaries et les saumons jouent tous des rĂŽles antagonistes dans un casse-tĂȘte dont les enjeux sont la survie du saumon dans la riviĂšre Columbia et les moyens de le protĂ©ger. Le saumon rĂ©introduit peut-il provenir d’aleviniĂšres, comme le concĂšdent certains Indiens, ou seul le saumon sauvage est-il envisageable, comme le veulent les Ă©cologistes non-indigĂšnes ?  Selon Fisher, le cas de la protection du saumon contre les otaries gloutonnes fournit une loupe Ă  travers laquelle peuvent ĂȘtre examinĂ©es les relations parfois tendues entre les Indiens et les Ă©cologistes aux États-Unis. Ou bien le riz sauvage des Anishinaabeg (ou Chippewa, ou Ojibway) du Minnesota, que ces derniers cultivent selon des pratiques traditionnelles et sacrĂ©es. Dans une Ă©conomie mondiale oĂč, paradoxalement, un nombre croissant de consommateurs sont sensibles aux arguments marketing mettant en valeur une production « bio », le riz sauvage anishinaabe subit la concurrence du riz sauvage industriel commercialisĂ© Ă  grand renfort d’imagerie amĂ©rindienne mais pourtant produit loin des eaux naturelles et sacrĂ©es de ce que les Anishinaabeg appellent Manoowin. Selon eux, l’existence mĂȘme de Manoowin sur ses propres terres est Ă©galement menacĂ©e par l’industrie miniĂšre (cuivre, fer) qui pourrait dĂ©truire son environnement naturel (par la contamination de l’eau). Face Ă  cette derniĂšre concurrence, les Indiens voient des groupes Ă©cologistes se battre Ă  leurs cĂŽtĂ©s. Gonzalo Bustamante poursuit cette exploration des rapports entre peuples indigĂšnes et organisations Ă©cologistes en s’intĂ©ressant aux Mapuche du Chili Ă  travers trois cas de conflits d’intĂ©rĂȘts entre communautĂ©s autochtones et pouvoir Ă©conomique et politique, concernant des projets de dĂ©veloppement industriel. Dans cette Ă©tude, Bustamante part de l’idĂ©e que le territoire est un ethno-territoire, c’est-Ă -dire une construction culturelle complexe (alliant plusieurs dimensions, symbolique, territoriale et environnementale). À ce titre, ce que construisent les IndigĂšnes et les militants environnementalistes peut parfois diverger, malgrĂ© l’existence d’objectifs communs, et ce sont ces points de convergence et de divergence que les trois situations de conflit Ă©tudiĂ©es permettent d’illustrer. Dans son article, Lindsey Claire Smith dĂ©construit l’imagerie indienne utilisĂ©e Ă  des fins commerciales par des compagnies censĂ©es ĂȘtre Ă©cologiquement responsables. Ce qui Ă©tait un aspect parmi d’autres abordĂ©s par Strigler est, ici, au cƓur d’une Ă©tude centrĂ©e, notamment, sur la chaĂźne de supermarchĂ©s Whole Foods. Smith montre non seulement comment la corde sensible des consommateurs est stimulĂ©e en prĂ©sentant Ă  ces derniers des produits organiques, naturels, locaux et sans OGM, mais Ă©galement que tout cela ne bĂ©nĂ©ficie en aucune façon aux peuples indigĂšnes qui, la plupart du temps, n’ont mĂȘme pas accĂšs Ă  ces produits. Dans les territoires morcelĂ©s de l’outre-mer français, oĂč les peuples indigĂšnes sont confrontĂ©s Ă  un autre type de dĂ©possession, moins tangible mais tout aussi fondamentale que s’il s’agissait d’expropriation territoriale : leurs savoirs ancestraux sur les ressources mĂ©dicinales et gĂ©nĂ©tiques locales attirent de plus en plus une recherche en biotechnologie tout aussi mondialisĂ©e que les autres productions Ă©conomiques. Burelli explore les moyens judiciaires Ă  disposition des peuples indigĂšnes qui essaient de garder le contrĂŽle de ces savoirs, ainsi que les pouvoirs et responsabilitĂ©s qu’ils ont dans la gestion de ces ressources.

À grand renfort d’outils mondialistes et de rĂ©seaux sociaux, les peuples indigĂšnes rĂ©sistent : aprĂšs une sĂ©rie de pĂ©titions en ligne, l’éviction des Guarani a rĂ©cemment Ă©tĂ© suspendue par le gouvernement brĂ©silien ; et les Kichwa de Sarayaku ont plaidĂ© leur cause devant la Cour interamĂ©ricaine et ont remportĂ© la victoire face Ă  la compagnie qui prĂ©voyait de forer leurs terres Ă  la recherche de pĂ©trole. Ces victoires fragiles et peut-ĂȘtre transitoires, ne devraient pas faire oublier le fait que les savoirs, ressources et terres indigĂšnes sont menacĂ©s.




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