The author focuses on a case study involving the Yaqui Tribe in Sonora, Mexico to demonstrate that modern-day water rights struggles are not physically violent but are still a form of environmental violence and an erasure of indigenous human rights and right to access water. The issue at hand surrounds the construction of the Independencia Aqueduct on the Yaqui River which will strip the indigenous community of its historical water claims and redirect necessary water away from their lands towards an urban city. The author argues that this situation is a form of structural environmental violence because the Sonora and federal government used legal and bureaucratic means to exclude tribal members from consultation, erase their historical water claims, call into question their ethnic group, and narrowly define what right to water means..
Lucero Radonic, assistant professor in the Anthropology Department and the Environmental Science and Policy Program at Michigan State University, researches human-environmental relationships focusing on political ecology of water resources. The paper effectively argues to the human rights research community for a necessity broadened definition of structural violence to include non-violent actions aimed at benefiting a certain group at the expense of another executed through the legal system and through the media. The author divides the paper into four main sections with an additional introduction and closing remarks. These four main sections give historical and contemporary context about the region and the players involved as well as the main issue surrounding the struggle over water rights.
This source provides a good example of environmental rights and indigenous peoples’ rights that I am interested in researching for the final research project. The paper pulls together many modern concepts of violence through the legal system, the political sphere, and the media that are not traditionally thought of as violence which is useful to think about when analyzing other human rights abuses throughout the course of my research.
This image of a 120 foot tall Yaqui Deer Dancer is from the official Visit Obregon website which is a city in Sonora, Mexico where this statue is located. The author mentions this statue and its construction as a way to honor the state’s history and the indigenous people that are a part of it. Some Yaqui point out the irony of a commemorative statue built at the same time that they are denied water rights and land.