In this article, Leah Temper discusses previous notions of environmental justice and possible ways to remedy the disjoints of Western ideologies and indigenous culture. She specifically studied and reports on the Unist’on’en community in Canada and their experience opposing the Pacific Trails Pipeline from degrading their land. Temper offers a different view from many Latin American environmental justice advocates, who primarily focus on the need for intercultural communication and decolonizing all social relations and knowledge in general. Temper, instead, argues that the Western idea of commodifying nature as resources to distribute equally among humans largely contradicts many ideas of indigenous cultures, which state that nature is a changing and living entity that should not be exploited solely for human success.
Leah Temper is, herself, a white settler on the lands of indigenous people and thus her perspective and interest may be guided by her own guilt of her presence in the situation. The intended audience spans far beyond the colonizers and indigenous communities in Canada, however, and has a larger worldly importance for environmental justice as a whole. In an effort to have the voices of the marginalized, indigenous communities heard, Temper conducted filmed interviews with many leader and compiled a short film. In a political realm, some of the largest injustices in regards to the indigenous communities come from a lack of representation, so hearing directly from the community itself is a justified attempt to remedy the issue.
Though this article is not directly discussing indigenous rights in Latin America, it largely relates to many environmental justice issues that interlock with indigenous rights in Latin America. For example, in Ecuador currently, many indigenous communities in the Amazon are fighting oil companies and the damage they have done to the environment. Also, in the Andean regions of Ecuador as well, many indigenous communities are fighting Chinese mining companies that are being granted access to the land from the Ecuadorian government. These issues in Latin America could be examined using Temper’s lens of environmental justice and the need to end the colonial/Western view of the commodification of the environment.
The image I found is from the “Ricardo Levins Morales Art Studio”, as a poster available for purchase. It had a lot of the same tags that I used for this assignment. The goal of the art is to educate and spread awareness for the indigenous communities that often times get overlooked in a greater political or social context.