Promoting Indigenous Voices in Baja
COMMUNITY OF IMPACT:
Baja California, Mexico
Erika Rosquillas, Judy Baird, Carlo Rosas, Eugenio Leyva, Ismael Plascencia
During the Southwestern Tribal Climate Change Summit we realized that in our community indigenous tribes or rural communities are not taken into consideration when making decisions about the environment and its resources. Most western scientists in Ensenada have a very objective way of viewing nature and overlook the cultural meaning behind some natural resources. We have participated in several projects to change the environmental culture, to try to solve specific problems in our community, but until now we had never considered tribal opinion and knowledge. By attending an event that takes in consideration knowledge of tribal leaders, it became evident that the ancestral knowledge of the land and resources are essential for taking action against climate change. With great sorrow we realized how far behind our relationship with the indigenous groups of our locality is. There is not even a small opportunity for a real dialogue on climate change; we cannot build anything because we do not have the cultural resources to begin with. That is why we have taken it upon ourselves to make the first step in uniting the young scientific community with indigenous groups.
Our long term goal is to create a community that’s willing to discuss how climate change affects our region and our resources ecologically and culturally. Furthermore, we seek to change the attitude with which western young scientists, researchers and teachers perceive climate change, in order to build a community that understands that natural resources are not only composed of objective ideas but also innate cultural meanings. Our first step to achieve our long term goal is to create a workshop in our university along tribe members, for students, teachers and researchers, in which we can collect plausible knowledge about our land and the way our ancestors have lived on it. Our main goal is to compromise our university's community to act accordingly to the knowledge they have acquired in the workshop, considering the scientific and tribal perspectives integratively. We believe that our project can be a starter point here in Baja California for a new way to unite scientists and people who have cultural knowledge of our resources and a deeper consciousness of nature itself to work together so we can learn from each other and as community work on achieving climate hope.