Jun. 27: Neocolonialism in the Green Transition: Carbon Trading in the Amazon and Lithium Wars in Peru

Jun 27, 2023

In this presentation, Chief Ninawa Huni Kui, the hereditary Chief and president of the Huni Kui Indigenous People Association of Acre in the Brazilian Amazon, Indigenous rights advocate, Shyrlene Monerat Huni Kui, and Maria Jara Querar, a Quechua matriarch from the Valle Sagrado of Peru, will delve into the manipulation of carbon markets in Brazil and the uprisings in Peru caused by the privatization of lithium mining, illustrating how governments in the global south employ these tactics to further dispossess and assimilate Indigenous Peoples. By examining the cases of Brazil and Peru, we can uncover the ways in which these governments weaponize policies against Indigenous rights to meet the demands for a green transition generated by the global north. The discussion will explore how the green transition becomes a smokescreen for neocolonialism, perpetuating the marginalization and dispossession of Indigenous communities.

Chief Ninawa Huni Kui is a hereditary Chief of the Huni Kui Indigenous people of the Amazon and the elected president of the Huni Kui Federation of the State of Acre. He represents 118 communities located along the rivers Envira, Tarauacá, and Jordão, comprising a population of approximately 16,500 individuals. Chief Ninawa Huni Kui is a strong international advocate against false solutions to climate destabilization, including the financialization of nature, and campaigns strongly for the prioritization of Indigenous rights, livelihoods, and reparations within the climate agenda.

Shyrlene Huni Kui is an Indigenous rights advocate who is is a former advisor in the carbon trading industry turned activist against carbon markets and other false solutions to the climate and nature emergency. Shyrlene has a PhD in agro-ecology and is starting a post-doctoral fellowship at UBC. Shyrlene will work on the project University of the Forest, which promotes critically-engaged climate education and carbon debt reparations that can underwrite projects of Indigenous Just Transitions as an effective way to protect the Amazon forest and river basin.

Maria Jara Querar, a Quechua hereditary community leader, has been collaborating as a research partner with UBC for the past decade. She has played an active role in the resistance movements against the capitalist-sponsored government take-over in Peru and its privatization of mining, dehumanization of Indigenous Peoples and attack on Indigenous rights. Unfortunately, Maria has personally experienced the tragic loss of a family member due to the conflicts. Her firsthand experiences bring a deeply personal perspective to her engagement at the frontlines of the struggle  for Indigenous rights and justice.

The event will be chaired by Prof. Lynn Mario de Souza, from the University of Sao Paulo and Dino Siwek, Wall Catalyst Fellow at PWIAS. Light refreshments will be provided after the event.

Register here

Part of the Neocolonialism in the Green Transition speaker series co-sponsored by the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, the Department of Educational Studies, and the Centre for Climate Justice. Join us on June 30 for a second event featuring Mateus Tremembé on the Tremembé Indigenous Peoples’ Struggle Against Offshore Wind Farms