Encounters with Conservation and Development in Suriname: How Indigenous Peoples Are Trying to Make Things 'Right' through Scalar Politics, Identity Framing, and Hybrid Governance Arrangements
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This dissertation research explored how indigenous peoples have responded to increasing conservation and development pressures in Suriname using two case study communities. One, in West Suriname, faced a proposed protected area and large-scale mining operation on the communities' traditional lands. The other community, in East Suriname, has been involved in a long-term co-management arrangement over an existing protected area. Community responses to these protected areas and development projects were considered through the important influence of a national indigenous rights organization and its multi-scalar networks. A total of 68 in-depth interviews with indigenous community leaders, indigenous rights organization leaders, conservation NGO personnel, company, and government representatives were conducted over a period of 9 months. In addition, 13 documents including conference proceedings, editorials, letters, and presentations were collected and analyzed. Results showed that strategies in the form of scalar politics, information politics, accountability politics, and cultural politics that drew from international legal instruments, guidelines, and the larger indigenous rights movement were used. These strategies enhanced the power, knowledge, and negotiating ability of the communities and NGOs, leading to the eventual rejection of a protected area and a stronger role in the mining project. However, the larger goal of land rights for indigenous peoples in Suriname has not yet been realized, and remains the focal point of indigenous struggles there.
Native American Studies
Political Science, International Law and Relations
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