Tuntiak Katan, Holistic Environmental Management in Shuar Territory

Event Date: 

Thursday, November 5, 2015 - 4:00pm

Event Location: 

  • South Hall 2635

The Shuar people manage two million hectares of tropical rain forest in the southern Amazon region of Ecuador, South America. This territory is a pristine natural environment with many unique biological and cultural resources and services for the world, and acts as a guarantee of food security for the 80,000 Shuar living in the area. However, the Shuar territory, and thus the Shuar culture, is threatened by deforestation, degradation, oil, and mining activities. Currently, the Shuar's younger generations are dedicated to achieving the implementation of Holistic Environmental Management for Healthy Living, which includes planned community life practices and resource identification and demarcation according to the Shuar world view, while also developing technical skills in environmental sciences, cultural arts, communication, the development of sustainable economic ventures and practices, ecosystem restoration, agro-ecology, application of traditional knowledge, cultivation of medicinal and useful plants for the community, and ongoing environmental assessment to ensure biological and cultural integrity. The aim is to care for Nature, ensure the survival and wellness of present and future generations, and provide for the national and international communities environmental services such as water, carbon stocks in rainforests, and biological and cultural resources that help to mitigate climate change.

Tuntiak Katan was born in the Tuutinentsa Shuar community, Morona Santiago Province, in the Amazonian region of Ecuador. He studied Applied Ecology and Environmental Administration at San Francisco University, in Quito, Ecuador, and completed training in Biology of Conservation and Management of Natural Resources at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. Since 2000, he has worked on various social, cultural, and environmental projects among the 11 cultures in the Amazonian region of Ecuador and other indigenous peoples of Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia. Tuntiak is a member of and works for the Inter-Provincial Federation of Shuar Centers throughout indigenous Shuar territories. He has researched and studied the Shuar culture and language during the past 18 years. Since 2006, he has been investigator and co-investigator in environmental, anthropological, and linguistic projects. Utilizing his expertise in linguistic, anthropological, and environmental sciences, Tuntiak is dedicated to investigate, document, and advocate for Amazonian languages and cultures, while implementing development strategies congruent with the vision of indigenous peoples and rooted in their cultural and environmental rights.

Sponsored by Critical Issues in America, the Environmental Humanities Initiative, the Global Environmental Justice Project, College of Letters and Science, Latin American and Iberian Studies, and the Departments of Global Studies and Sociology.