"We value it because it is only on the earth that you can put your feet" A case study of landscape values and perspectives in the Indigenous Territory and National Park Isiboro Sécure highway conflict

University essay from Göteborgs universitet / Institutionen för ekonomi och samhälle

Abstract: This is a bachelor’s thesis in human geography conducted as a minor field study in the Bolivian Amazon. The aim of the thesis is to examine user values and perspectives of representatives of the Mojeño indigenous people regarding their territory and how these are considered in negotiations with the Bolivian government resulting from protests of a highway project planned to cross the habitat. The territory is the Indigenous Territory and National Park Isiboro Sécure, home of the Mojeño, Yuracaré and Tsimane indigenous peoples. The thesis is based on landscape and place theory and theory on political ecology. Central aspects have been identified and put into a theoretical framework. The methods used are qualitative semi-structured interviews with Mojeño indigenous’ representatives, field observations and document studies of the Law that were the result of the negotiations. The results are presented and analyzed in relation to the theoretical framework. The conclusions drawn are that the user values and perspectives are mainly focused on the rights to self-determination and livelihood. There is an underlying perception of the area as inherently theirs because of cultural and religious history, incorporating the area into their identification of themselves. A dissonance is shown between the user values and perspectives presented in the interviews and the document studies of the negotiated Law. The natural environment and its ecological function are given more focus in the Law as well as in the conflict itself than it is given in the interviews. The central term of analysis is the term “inviolable”. The interpretation of the term will determine how the Law is interpreted and in prolongation, how the user values and perspectives have been taken in consideration.

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