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The Hidden Treasures of the Amazonian Kaxinawá Nation

Short animated film screening and panel discussion on the challenges facing indigenous leaders across the Americas

The Film

Directed by Dr Gerson Damiani, HAUX (2018, 11 min) is a documentary with direct sound transformed into animation. Filmed in the first decade of the 21st century, it features Yawa Banê Kaxinawá, a young leader from the Kaxinawá (Huni Kuin) people in the River Jordan, in the Brazilian state of Acre, who tells the story of a white snake and Duá Busen. It contemplates the creation of a contemporary hero who travels to the world to fight the evils that afflict his people.

Panel Discussion

Siã Huni Kuin Kawinawá was born in the rubber plantation of Fortaleza, in the white sands bank of the Rio Jordan in 1964 as son of Rita Monteiro and the greatest shaman and main leadership of the Huni Kuin, Sueiro Cerqueira Sales. The greatest leader Siã Huni Kuin fought for the demarcation of the Indigenous Land Kaxinawá of River Jordan and later for the creation of the cooperative responsible for the organisation, production and trade of rubber from his territory. Since 2014 he has been traveling around Europe to disseminate knowledge about his people’s culture.

Leopardo Yawa Bane Huni Kaxinawá was born in the Belo Monte Village, Reserve Kaxinawá of River Jordan, in Acre. He is the son of the general shaman Siã Huni Kuin Kawinauá and Maria Nazeli Maspã. He started drinking Nixi Pãe (ayahuasca) when he was eight years of age, and since then he has been learning from the shaman and other regional leadership. He moved to São Paulo, Brazil to learn the Portuguese language, informatics and secondary school in 2003. He is the official ambassador of the Huni-Kuin people from the River Jordan in São Paulo.

Dr. Gerson Damiani (University of São Paulo – USP): has been working with the Kaxinawá people for over a decade. He is the film director and producer, creator of the D&D films and also the Executive Director  & Scientific Coordinator for the Global Center for Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution Centre at USP.

Dr. Grace Iara Souza (SOAS – Development Studies) teaches and convenes the MSc Environment, Politics and Development at SOAS while also researching on Participatory approaches to natural resource conservation in the Brazilian Amazon, as part of joint research project between the LSE and the State University of Amazonas (UEA). She is a specialist in political ecologies of conservation and development of the Brazilian Amazon.


Dr. Vinícius Mariano de Carvalho (King’s Brazil Institute) is a lecturer in the King’s Brazil Institute and King’s War Studies. He has a plural academic background and personal trajectory, with a wide understanding of Brazil from diverse fields including Literature, Culture, History, Religion, Society, Defence studies and Politics.

The event will be kindly translated by Miss Beatriz Lacerda Ratton, who has an MSc in Migration and a BA in Politics, both from the University of Sussex. Beatriz is from Recife, Pernambuco in Brazil and has been living in the UK for the past 14 years.

Coordinators: SOAS & KCL

Place: SOAS, University of London - The Khalili Lecture Theatre (KLT), Lower Ground Floor

Date: February 7, 2019

Time: 15h00 - 16h30

Register Here!

Session 1: Going Multidisciplinary

One of the most used key words in academia all over the world nowadays is ‘interdisciplinarity’ or 'multidisciplinarity'. From call for papers and conferences, to Deans and rectors’ speeches and description of courses and modules, these words are almost omnipresent. However, problems generally appear when we need to translate these concepts into practice. Dr Vinínius Mariano de Carvalho will open the training by presenting guidelines to successfully explore different areas of expertise within research.

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Session 2: Colonising Nature: People and Protected Areas

Taking the Amazon rainforest as a point of reference, Dr Vinicius Mariano de Carvalho will expose some of the historical views on colonisation and representation of nature. Subsequently, Grace Iara Souza will present a case study on the Amazonian colonisation through the setting of areas aside for environmental protection.

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Session 3: Regulation and the Environment

Questions concerning public policy and regulation in the environment-development debate will be addressed. The focus will be on the role of voluntary multi-stakeholder sustainability initiatives in the context of states with limited administrative capacity. Flavia Donadelli and Larissa Boratti will present a case study on private forest regulation in Latin America in order to stimulate an open debate about the role of alternative environmental governance mechanisms in developing countries.

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Session 4: Governance, institutions and actors: the challenges of researching socio-environmental complexity

Dr Daanish Mustafa will give an overview on the theoretical and epistemological questions that arise in socio-environmental research, namely in what regards interplay of governance, institutions and actors. Tiago Freitas will present a case study from the Brazilian Amazon and Kay Phanthuwongpakdee a case study from Thailand.

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Session 5: Natural resource management and gender: can pro-poor strategies work in a neo-liberal world?

Natural resources such as land, water and forests are of key importance to the livelihoods of very many people in the countries of the Global South. In many countries most people still live in rural areas and derive significant parts of their livelihoods from agriculture, livestock and fisheries as well as from timber and non-timber forest products. The management of these resources is thus of great significance both for reducing poverty and trying to attain improved sustainability in the use of the natural environment. During this session, Dr Deborah Potts will discuss some of these themes with particular reference to southern African societies, while Giovanna Grandoni will introduce the gendered implications of natural resource management in small rural communities in the Northeast of Brazil.

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Session 6: The Space and Place of Indigenous and Riverine Peoples in The National State

This session will provide an analysis of cultural, institutional and livelihood dimensions of Indigenous groups and traditional communities and how it can interact with the conservation agenda. Moreover it will present the recent evolution of international and national policies and rights of indigenous and riverine peoples, and explore its consequences on the analytical framework on human-environment interactions.

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Session 1: Between Conservation, Development & Territorial Rights

The local people right to the territory has been one of the major struggles when creating and implementing conservation and development policies throughout natural resource rich countries. Embedded in a conflict between different stakeholders and agendas, conducting research in and about such places require constant adaptation and persistence

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Session 2: Environment, Public Policy and Regulation

Several changes in environmental policies and regulations have happened in Brazil in the past decade. Although commentators and protesters often use the term ‘environmental roll-back’ to describe these changes little research has been published on the actual nature and processes leading to these reforms. This session aims to fill in this gap and shed light on the actual characteristics and drivers of this recent trend.

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Session 3: Conducting Research with Indigenous Peoples in the Amazon

This session will focus on research with indigenous peoples from an anthropological, environmental and economic perspective, and present the challenges of conducting fieldwork in indigenous territories in the Amazon.

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Socio-Ecological Systems: environment, development and sustainability

The Socio-Ecological Systems (SES) Reading Group in the Department of Anthropology, UCL invite PhD students to come to our one-day student conference. This one-day postgraduate research conference seeks to bring research across both social/political and ecological/biophysical disciplines to share experiences together. The conference will explore themes in SES and sustainability, including multiple interactions and relations between people and ecosystems; political ecology of human-animal relations, customary modes of natural resource management and their conflict or complementarity with western ideas of management; community-based conservation and development approaches and factors influencing their outcomes; impacts of changes in land use, tenure, access and management on livelihoods; impacts of climate change on human well-being, ecosystems and wildlife; and integrative methodologies in understanding SES.

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Reimagining Prosperity: Futures from the Global South

Given the planetary challenges we face, we urgently need to formulate more explicit projects of transformation and transition. The announcement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015 emphasises that making substantial changes using tried and tested models is unlikely to work. This paper discusses how we might move beyond the SDGs to formulate diverse pathways to future prosperity, and explains why many of the philosophical and practical ideas arising in the Global South offer innovative ways forward.

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