Sense of place and indigenous people’s conservation: A brief political ecology of the seed and place. From modernization to globalization from above and from below. Towards the strengthening & re-indigenization of local epistemologies, ontologies, and cosmovisions


T. Gonzales

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Abstract: For the “Indigenous Peoples” (IPs) of the Americas (North, Meso, and South), the constant and mostly violent process of erasure of their communal places is associated, from its inception to date, with colonization. In particular, with coloniality of power, and its latest stage, globalization. Colonization has denied the existence of the other. This premise paved the way to the appropriation of indigenous lands and territories in the Americas.

IPs sense of place has left their profound historical imprint in the existing Archeological Monuments spread all over the Americas. And it is in IPs places where we currently witness an enriching and intimate interface b/w cultural and biological diversity.

To highlight and evoke the connection of Sense of Place and IPs Conservation I use the term Cultures of the Seed as a conceptual, methodological and heuristic tool (1) to see within specific historical settings, the underlying structures, meanings and implications for both western and indigenous approaches to conservation of plant genetic resources, and (2) to highlight the fact that genetic resources are neither a simple commodity (something we can buy at a store) nor something that evolves in a cultural and biological vacuum.

Additional Bibliographic Information

Presented at the Conference on Interfaces in the Repatriation and In Situ Conservation of Traditional Crops, University of Georgia, Athens, Ga., 30 April-1 May, 2004

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