Field Fellowships

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Fellows receive $20,000 per year for two years, plus additional funds from the ISE for them to participate in an ISE Congress. The Field Fellowships aim to support remarkable individuals with an outstanding and long-term record of commitment to issues relating to ethnoecology and/or traditional resource rights.  Past Field Fellows have included Indigenous or non-Indigenous community leaders, academics, practitioners, and Indigenous, human or environmental rights activists. Rather than providing support for specific projects, the Field Fellowships aim to provide some breathing space to over-burdened and under-supported individuals doing extremely valuable work, giving them the ability to focus more intensely and freely on their work.  


Benki Piyãko Ashaninka

(Brazil, 2013-2015)

Benki Piyãko Ashaninka is a widely-known and respected Ashaninka leader who has, since a young age, been at the forefront of his people’s struggle for their territorial rights, the preservation of their forest, the maintenance and strengthening of their Indigenous identities, and the promotion of their cultural and spiritual values. Benki is also a respected shaman and artist. He has been instrumental in shaping a new generation of leaders, working with local communities, Indigenous groups and other organizations within and beyond his home state of Acre, Brazil, to establish training centers, programs and initiatives that support group learning of effective land-use practices and cultural revival. He has, as a result of his important and innovative work in the field of human rights and the environment, received several prestigious national and international awards.

Click here to watch a video of Benki at the ISE Congress in Bhutan in 2014. 


Dario Novellino

(Italy and The Philippines, 2013-2015)

Dario Novellino is a social anthropologist who has dedicated his life to supporting indigenous peoples’ struggle for self-determination, mostly on the Island of Palawan (The Philippines). Like Darrell Posey before him, Dario is both an accomplished academic and dedicated advocate. A fluent speaker of Batak, with whom he has lived for extended periods of time over the past twenty-seven years, he has written extensively about their world-views and life-ways and, on the basis of that knowledge and relationship, campaigned extensively for their social, territorial and environmental rights. Over the years Dario has also worked closely with a number of indigenous organizations. More recently, he helped establish ALDAW, a regional advocacy network that provides indigenous and local people with the information and communication tools necessary protect their lands against the onslaught of large-scale mining and palm oil agribusiness that is ravaging their lands. He recently received the prestigious Paul K. Feyerabend Award, in recognition for his contribution to human rights and environmental justice.


Amay in Mintapod village, Bukidnon province, Mindanao Island (Photo: Arian M. Santos, 2005).

Amay in Mintapod village, Bukidnon province, Mindanao Island (Photo: Arian M. Santos, 2005).

DAtu Mantangkilan Cumantang

(The Philippines, 2011-2013),

Datu Mantangkilan Cumantang, also known as Amay (Father), is a well-respected figure not only within the community of Mintapod, where he is the Datu (Leader), but also among all the Higaonon people of northern Mindanao Island. Amay was awarded the Field Fellowship on the basis of his long-standing and profound commitment to cultural and environmental renewal among his people and, especially, for his efforts at securing the protection of Mt. Kimangkil, a sacred mountain to the Higaonon and the source of most of Mindanao Island’s major rivers. Amay and his allies have maintained an active and peaceful opposition to commercial logging, mining, oil palm plantations and violent insurgents, but this has come at a cost: many Datus have been murdered or injured, and Amay has had to go into hiding several times. During his time as Field Fellow, Amay worked to strengthen customary law, promoting its transmission to the younger generation and its application to securing their territories, well-being and livelihoods.


Jenne de Beer during a party honoring his retirement from the NTFP-EP, which he founded. He is wearing a t-shirt honouring his work in founding a worldwide network to support wild honey harvesters (2010, Quezon City, The Phillipines. Photo: A.D. Camba)

Jenne de Beer during a party honoring his retirement from the NTFP-EP, which he founded. He is wearing a t-shirt honouring his work in founding a worldwide network to support wild honey harvesters (2010, Quezon City, The Phillipines. Photo: A.D. Camba)

Johannes Henricus “Jenne” de Beer

(The Phillipines, 2009-2011)

Jenne de Beer is widely considered to be the “father” of the Non-Timber Forest Products movement by his many Asian collaborators. Through his work as a researcher, advocate and writer, he drew global attention to the key contribution of forest products to local livelihoods and their huge potential for the sustainable use of forests. His extensive work at the grassroots level throughout South and Southeast Asia not only helped academics and decision-makers to develop a critical understanding of this sector, but also served to empower forest-based communities, helping them mobilize around the use of their forest products to protect their ancestral homelands and guarantee their livelihoods. During his Field Fellowship, Jenne continued to support the long-term traditional resource rights of Indigenous peoples in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Vietnam and Cambodia, focusing on the key role that traditional foodways play in cultural and environmental renewal.


Miguel Alexiades, Sonene river (Peru-Bolivia border), 2004 (Photo: D. Peluso)

Miguel Alexiades, Sonene river (Peru-Bolivia border), 2004 (Photo: D. Peluso)

Miguel Alexiades

(Peru and Bolivia, 2004-2006)

Miguel Alexiades was the first ISE Darrell Posey Field Fellow. An anthropologist and ethnobotanist by training, Miguel Alexiades has worked since 1985 with Ese Eja peoples in the border regions of Amazonian Peru and Bolivia, with the intent of developing the synergies that exist between research and advocacy, or between understanding and social change. Working closely with the regional Indigenous federation FENAMAD (Federación Nativa del Río Madre de Dios y Afluentes), Miguel helped establish a number of initiatives relating to the revival and application of Indigenous knowledge to the environment, human health and well-being. The Field Fellowship supported his work helping the Ese Eja to map and document their cultural knowledge linked to their traditional homelands. This was done in order to support claims relating to resource and land rights, including their hunting and fishing rights in the Bahuaja-Sonene (Peru) and Madidi (Peru) National Parks, and as a tool for redressing some of the effects of social and territorial fragmentation caused by the colonization of the area in the last century.