The Decline of Indigenous Rights in Latin America


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project explores the connections between the decline of indigenous rights, the undoing of the multicultural state, and oil and mineral extraction in Latin America, with a focus on Ecuador. The research considers these topics in the context of the financial dependency of Latin American states on natural resource extraction, state authoritarianism, lack of state and corporate accountability, and the difficulties for civil society to organize and express dissent. The rise of authoritarian, extraction-oriented governance in Latin America in the last few decades shows that the state, multilateral institutions, and oil and mining companies perceive even those limited understandings of collective rights typical of neoliberalism as an obstacle. The project draws from multi-sited fieldwork in indigenous communities in the Andes and Amazon regions of Ecuador since 2002. In addition, it considers interviews and participant observation with state elites, government officials, and non-governmental organizations.