Summary of the event
People of the Land: Dialogue series with the Mapuche Territorial Alliance was the definitive name we used to promote the event all across campus, online and on posters. This event brought together two Indigenous leaders from the Mapuche Nation –Alberto Curamil and Miguel Melin – with Indigenous activists and scholars from North America to exchange ideas and share experiences about land recuperation, opposition to extractive industries on their traditional territories, customary law, and Indigenous childhood, language, and education.
The event took place on September 22nd and 23rd at three different venues. It was part of a series of activities organized during a week long visit of the Indigenous community leaders, which also included a workshop about land recuperation processes, a film screening and discussion, a seminar about Indigenous customary law, and a seminar about Indigenous languages and education (All activities were free and open to the entire UBC community). The series of events sought to generate a space for information sharing and debate about the contemporary processes the Mapuche nation is undergoing; to establish linkages between the ATM’s work and the struggles for Indigenous self-determination in Canada and elsewhere; and open up opportunities for collaboration and exchange between the ATM and students, researchers, academics, Indigenous groups, and activists based at UBC.
“Panel/workshop on land recuperation: Yes, the discussion has always been about land”
For this activity, together with Alberto and Miguel the main speakers were Kanahus Manuel (Secwepemc Nation) and Chief Ian Campbell (Squamish Nation). The MC for this workshop was Dr. Alejandro Rojas (UBC Faculty of Land and Food Systems). The event took place on September 22nd from 2-4pm at the UBC Liu Institute for Global Issues.
Participants heard the presentations of four presenters and then had the opportunity to engage in the discussion through questions and comments. This activity was one of the most concurred activities with and audience of approximately 70 people (see following picture).
“Planting Poverty: Film screening and discussion about the impacts of the forestry industry on Indigenous lands”
Participants watched the documentary “Plantar Pobreza” and then engaged in a discussion with our Mapuche guests, Alberto and Miguel, who are leading the struggle against the installation of aggressive forestry and other extractive megaprojects on their traditional territory, in what is now called Chile. The event took place on September 22nd from 5-7pm at the Global Lounge MediaCentre.
“Panel on Indigenous customary law: Strengthening Indigenous legal orders from within”
For this activity, together with Alberto and Miguel the main speakers were Sheryl Lightfoot (Anishinaabe Nation, UBC Political Science and First Nation Studies) and Angeline Nyce (Nisg̱a’a nation). The MC for this workshop was Dr. Eduardo Jovel (UBC Faculty of Land and Food Systems). The event took place on September 23rd from 10am-12pm at the UBC First Nations Longhouse – Sty-wet-tan Hall 1985 West Mall.
Although this panel did not have the same attendance compare to the previous workshop, the discussion around customary law at the local and global perspectives was very engaging for those that attended. Dr. Lightfoot brought her perspectives international Indigenous politics and its impacts on customary Law. On the other hand Alberto and Miguel, presented about the local experiences of Mapuche people, and their struggle to rebuild all aspects of the Mapuche culture and its sociocultural practices. As well they described an ongoing project titled “Customary Law from the Perspective of the Mapuche Kimün (Knowledge)” This project seeks to recover the conceptual bases and legal principles of Mapuche customary law that the kimche, kuyfikeche, and füchakeche (elders and wisdom-holders) hold until this day. The ultimate goal of the project is to consider the development of proposals in order to apply principles of Mapuche customary law to the Chilean legal system. Finally, Ms. Nyce discussed about the experiences of the Nisga’a Nation before and after they signed the first modern treaty. And how this treaty has impacted the lives of the Nisga’a people. In the following YouTube list, you can listen to the panelist presentations:
“Panel on Indigenous childhood: Language and cultural revitalization through Indigenous knowledge”
For this last panel, our Mapuche guest shared the table with Dr. Jo-ann Archibald (Sto:lo and St’at’imc Nations, UBC Faculty of Education). The MC for this workshop was Dr. Eduardo Jovel (UBC Faculty of Land and Food Systems). The event took place on September 23rd from 1-3pm at the UBC First Nations Longhouse – Sty-wet-tan Hall 1985 West Mall.
During this last panel the Mapuche guest shared presented about the difficulties the Mapuche have to overcome in order to educate their children within their own culture and language. In this opportunity Alberto mentioned the how one of the main leaders of the ATM, had to go to the capital of Chile, to carry out his formal education. However, this young leader (named Mijael Carbone) figured out a way to get back to his homeland, and thus learn from his own culture, and later on lead the resistance at the forefront of the ATM. Finally, Dr. Archival discussed about the importance of transforming education during the Indigenous early childhood. According to Dr. Archival, important factor in this transformation are: local control and parent/family involvement, Indigenous knowledge, Elders and ECE Teachers, health promotion, etc.
Finally, a picture of the Mapuche leaders, the MC of the second day, and the organizers of the events.
This event was presented with support from the Liu Institute for Global Issues, the Faculty of Forestry, the First Nations House of Learning, the Global Lounge, the Walter H. Gage Memorial Fund, the Faculty of Education, the Interdisciplinary Graduate Students Network, the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, and the School of Community and Regional Planning, all from the University of British Columbia.