Jun. 30: Mateus Tremembé on Neocolonialism in the Green Transition

Jun 30, 2023

Neocolonialism in the Green Transition: The Tremembé Indigenous Peoples’ Struggle Against Offshore Wind Farms

As the world seeks sustainable solutions to climate change, the green transition has gained significant momentum. However, it is crucial to critically examine the potential neocolonial implications of these efforts, particularly regarding Indigenous communities. In this presentation, Mateus Tremembé sheds light on the ongoing struggle of the Tremembé Indigenous People in northeastern Brazil against the establishment of offshore wind farms in their ancestral territories. It positions the wind farms as a continuation of colonial practices that threaten Tremembé autonomy, self-determination, and cultural integrity, and calls on policymakers, researchers, and activists to ensure that environmental justice and the rights and aspirations of Indigenous Peoples are at the forefront of green transitions.

Bill Calhoun, Yoruba Elder, will be the discussant for this event.

About the speaker: Mateus Tremembé is an Indigenous Youth Leader of the Tremembé da Barra do Mundaú Indigenous Lands, in the municipality of Itapipoca, Ceará, Brazil. Mateus is an Indigenous agroecological farmer, food security and Indigenous food culture researcher, Agronomy student at the University of International Integration of Afro-Brazilian Lusofonia (UNILAB), and Mitacs Accelerate intern in the Department of Educational Studies at the University of British Columbia. He is a community organizer for traditional Tremembé festivals, including the Ancestral Food Ritual, the Murici and Batiputá Festival, and the Yemanjá Festival.

About the discussant:  Bill Calhoun is an Elder and Knowledge keeper of the Yoruba Ifa tradition. He currently holds advisory positions in the Ifa community of Egbe Iwa Pele in the USA and the Egbe Iya Yemaja in Fortaleza in Brazil. From 1991 to 2018, Bill was the academic director of  the social innovation and community development study program of SIT (International Training School) in Brazil. Bill also served as director of SIT programs in Kenya and Cuba. Bill is currently, the co-director of the NGO UNISERES located in Fortaleza, Brazil.

This event is hosted by Dr. Cash Ahenakew, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples’ Well-Being.


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 27 for the first event in the series: Neocolonialism in the Green Transition: Carbon Trading in the Amazon and Lithium Wars in Peru featuring Chief Ninawa Huni Kui and Maria Jara Querar