Joaquin Enrique Carrizosa


My work has focused on the interactions between indigenous societies inhabiting high biodiversity areas, the state’s socio-environmental policies and the circumstances through which local populations may achieve sustainable natural resource management and improved livelihoods in diverse regions of the Colombian Amazon and the south of Mexico (Oaxaca and Chiapas). Analyzing such interactions led me to work and contribute to local initiatives defending indigenous territorial demands within war regions, to support community-based programs for local knowledge rescue, to participate in processes of interethnic conflict resolution and to assist with analyses of the relationships between forest change and people’s experiences. I have been consultant for the Colombian Ministry of Environment and the World Wildlife Fund- Colombia, Tropenbos international, and Methodus Consultants S.C in Mexico. My academic background is social anthropology with a minor in biology; M.A in Regional studies in Environment and development and currently, PhD candidate at the University of Kent funded by the Foundation of Urban and Regional Studies (Oxford University Centre for the Environment).

Current Work and Research

Most of my work and research has focused on diverse indigenous groups  (Kofan, Kementsa, Inga and Awa) located in a large area rich in natural and mineral resources in the foothills of the Andean-Amazonian region of Colombia. Indigenous populations inhabiting this region have been caught in the midst of complex webs of drug-related, political and structural violence, linked to the economies of cocaine, oil and neoliberal policies that restrict indigenous use and access to land. Such conditions have impelled diverse cultural transitions and unforeseen local understandings of the Territory concept within indigenous people. My doctoral thesis analyses the polysemic and complex construction of the concept of ‘territorio’ amongst Kofán (A’i), Inga and Kamentsa people of three very different geographical and cultural spots of the Putumayo. Although these indigenous groups in political arenas have employed discursive unity around the notion of territory as a necessary requirement in the struggle for recognition, equality and autonomy within the framework of an existing nation-state, in the everyday local realities, diverse complex, contradictory and multifaceted territorial perceptions emerge.

The work that the PhD Fellowship will support

The Darrell Posey PhD Fellowship will contribute to strengthen two local processes. Firstly, it will help to fund the urgent encounters of Kofán elders’ known as Taitas (shammans, traditional healers) and its association (ASMIK) members to discuss and solve external and intra community conflicts regarding the defense of their fundamental rights and territorial autonomy. Secondly, it will contribute to support financially and technically the organization of one Kamentsa group of families decided to rescue traditional plant species and ancestral knowledge related to their Chagras.

Read Joaquin’s first Activity Report!