A Future for Amazonia: Randy Borman and Cofan Environmental Politics
By: Michael Cepek (author)Paperback
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Blending ethnography with a fascinating personal story, A Future for Amazonia is an account of a political movement that arose in the early 1990s in response to decades of attacks on the lands and peoples of eastern Ecuador, one of the world's most culturally and biologically diverse places. After generations of ruin at the hands of colonizing farmers, transnational oil companies, and Colombian armed factions, the indigenous Cofan people and their rain forest territory faced imminent jeopardy. In a surprising turn of events, the Cofan chose Randy Borman, a man of Euro-American descent, to lead their efforts to overcome the crisis that confronted them. Drawing on three years of ethnographic research, A Future for Amazonia begins by tracing the contours of Cofan society and Borman's place within it. Borman, a blue-eyed, white-skinned child of North American missionary-linguists, was raised in a Cofan community and gradually came to share the identity of his adoptive nation. He became a global media phenomenon and forged creative partnerships between Cofan communities, conservationist organizations, Western scientists, and the Ecuadorian state.
The result was a collective mobilization that transformed the Cofan nation in unprecedented ways, providing them with political power, scientific expertise, and a new role as ambitious caretakers of more than one million acres of forest. Challenging simplistic notions of identity, indigeneity, and inevitable ecological destruction, A Future for Amazonia charts an inspiring course for environmental politics in the twenty-first century.
Michael Cepek is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas at San Antonio and a fellow in the Division of Environment, Culture, and Conservation at the Field Museum of Natural History. He began working with the Cofan people of Amazonian Ecuador in 1994 and continues to collaborate with them on academic and activist projects.
* Preface * Acknowledgments * Introduction: Cofan Possibilities * Part I: An Individual and a People * Agency: The Emergence of an Intercultural Leader * Identity: Collectivity and Difference * Value: The Dilemma of Being Cofan * Part II: An Experiment in Indigenous and Environmental Politics * The NGO: Institutionalizing Activism * The Forest: Collaborating with Science and Conservation * The School in the City: Producing the Cofan of the Future * Conclusion: A Possible Forest * Notes * Bibliography * Index
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- ID: 9780292739505
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