Central & South Americas and the Caribbean
Contributed to the ISE Newsletter by Ali Garcia; abstract in English by ISE Student Representative, Olivia Sylvester
Written by Bribri scholar Alí García, this note in Spanish provides a background on the history and the current situation of the Bribri and Cabécar peoples in Talamanca, Costa Rica. He explains how the cultural identity of Indigenous peoples is linked to their autonomy and how the Bribri and Cabécar peoples face multiple challenges when attempting to achieve this autonomy; one example is the failure of state institutions to recognize Indigeous peoples’ rights and perspectives. In addition, Alí García summarizes
- Bribri and Cabécar traditional medicine,
- Indigenous land-use,
- obstacles to achieving recognition for traditional doctors, and
- problems accessing state-provided medical services.
Sarah-Lan Mathez-Stiefel was the first ISE representative for Central and South Americas and the Caribbean (2010-2012), a position created at the 2010 ISE General Assembly in Tofino that divided the Americas Regional Representative position primarily along linguistic lines. Currently, Sarah-Lan serves as the ISE Secretary (2012-2014).
ISE Code of Ethics and Ethics Toolkit Workshop coordinated by Sarah-Lan Mathez-Stiefel
II Latin-American Congress of Ethnobiology, Recife, 11th November 2010
The organizers of the II Latin-American Congress of Ethnobiology, VIII Brazilian Symposium of Ethnobiology and Ethnoecology, and III Pernambucan Meeting of Ethnobiology and Ethnoecology kindly provided an auditorium and time in the congress program to run a workshop on the ISE Code of Ethics and Ethics Toolkit.
The workshop was coordinated by Sarah-Lan with the help of Armando Medinaceli, Matias Pérez, Alonso Pérez, and Sebastian Tapia. The objective of the session was to provide background on the history, development and key content of the ISE Code of Ethics, to describe plans underway for a practical toolkit that will assist implementing the Code of Ethics, and to get the feedback from the participants on both initiatives. Seventeen researchers from nine countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Mexico, Switzerland, the US, and Venezuela) actively participated to the workshop, discussing the Code of Ethics and contributing to the creation of the Ethics Toolkit.
It was a great opportunity to get the input from ethnobiologists from a region with an important tradition of action-research, and where a lot of our colleagues are confronted every day by ethical issues involving Indigenous people or other local actors. The participants’ reaction to the Code of Ethics was overall very positive. The importance of giving an ethical framework with concrete tools for ethnobiological research was highlighted, and the possibility of involving governmental agencies in its application was mentioned. A suggestion was to simplify the redaction of the Code of Ethics in order to make it more widely accessible. The participants all agreed on the need for the elaboration of the Ethics Toolkit, but noted that it should be adaptable to the various local contexts. Some interesting questions were raised, such as: “How does the Code of Ethics protects the researchers?”, and “Which organizations can control the application of the Code of Ethics by researchers and how?”.
The workshop results will be taken into account by the ISE Ethics Committee in the revision of the Code of Ethics and elaboration of Ethics Toolkit.