As I have just finished my doctoral program of the Graduated School of Core Ethics and Frontier Sciences at Ritsumeikan University, which has a close relationship to the Research Center for Ars Viviendi, occasionally I feel something strange in my situation. I know people who work with me well, but formally our relationships become different. I (or we) need to rebuild our relationship from teacher-students relationship, or postdoc-doctoral student relationship to colleagues (or boss-staff) one. Since I am major in anthropology, I think I get used to building a relationship with people who I do not know well. But this type of experience is something new for me. I am enjoying this situation in some part, and I would like to contribute to the Research Center for Ars Viviendi through becoming good colleagues with ex-supervisor and ex-"senpai".
During my doctoral research, I conducted field-work research in villages of Embera people in eastern Panama. The Embera is one of the indigenous peoples in Latin America who live in the pacific coast of northern part of South-America, from Ecuador to Panama. The theme of my research was to describe configurations of human and non-human entities (land, plants, animals, spirit) in their contemporary village life.
Along with increase of non-indigenous population around Emberafs villages, Embera people are obliged to take care of problematic of land rights. This affects various aspects of their social life: indigenous-non indigenous relationship, shape of village headman, forest improvement and so on. My aim was to describe how problematic of the land relates to their particular way of objectifying "nature".
Now, let me introduce two aspects in their contemporary situation that I concern a lot. Because of the presence of non-indigenous people around their living areas, protecting their land form the peoples becomes a serious problem for Embera people. In 1983, collective land right was legitimated in Emberafs major living areas, and its political organization was recognized as a legitimated local government. The actual problem for them is not for their rights to be recognized, but to actualize its legitimated rights in their daily life. Then, they are forced to manage or administrate the organization more, which means they are asked to carry out various types of bureaucratic procedures and negotiate with many governmental institutions. Sometime this situation affects negatively for Embera people.
As the Emberafs organization is involved in national administrative network, Embera people also need to deal with various kinds of gcommunity developmenth programs that many outsiders bring to. One of the new ones is called gREDD+h, which relates to climate change. The outline of gREDD+h is to economically incentivize local communities in developing countries to reduce cutting forest around their living place for the future. Nobody knows if this gREDD+h is good or bad for Embera people. But what is certain is that local communities in developing countries under this program are not able to design their future by themselves. Their future is possessed with the other peoplefs preoccupations. They are forced to be adjacent to big danger developed outside of their life.
I would like to keep conducting research on a contemporary situation of indigenous peoples in Latin America. Doing so enables us to be adjacent to them--it is quite the opposite as REDD+ project does. Andh hope that will contribute to inquiring way of life
with many dangers around.