Speaker: Dr. Robin Roth, Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics University of University of Guelph, Canada
6 March 2019, 13:00 - 15:00 at the Subaltern Room, 1st Floor Operations Buliding, Faculty of Social Sciences, Chiang Mai University
Conservation policy—in particular the establishment of protected areas—has long played a central role in the displacement of Indigenous and local communities from their traditional territories around the world. Indeed, state managed protected areas have served as a means through which colonial and modern nation states establish and maintain control over Indigenous territory, earning the label ‘green colonialism’. These charges are linked to a particularly colonial form of protected area, one rooted in notions of wilderness as uninhabited, of management expertise as exclusively informed by Western science and of Indigenous and local peoples as unequipped to manage for conservation values. But the primacy of this form of conservation is being challenged and undermined, both by its failure to deliver on conservation goals and by Indigenous and local peoples who are articulating a new model of conservation that seeks to advance Indigenous self-determination and territorial re-possession. Using examples from Southeast Asia (Salween Peace Park in Karen State, Myanmar) and North America (Tribal Parks and the re-introduction of bison into Blackfoot Territory), this presentation seeks to interrogate the potential for a decolonial conservation practice, identify the conditions under which we could declare conservation decolonized and identify the persistent challenges for such a project.