Accepted Paper:

On the struggle for political recognition in a democratic State with rule of law: the case of tension between the Guasiruma indigenous reservation and the Colombian State  
Carlos Andrés Tobar Tovar (Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Cali)

Paper short abstract:

Upon studying the Guasiruma indigenous reservation, it is possible to describe how political violence and community organization processes have generated strategies for social and cultural survival and have counteracted social inequalities and the current dilemmas of political recognition.

Paper long abstract:

The history of indigenous movements in Colombia is not disengaged from structural violence and social and political invisibility processes that pertain to our society. This paper discusses the social and cultural survival strategies of an indigenous group that is displaced from their ancestral lands by social violence and development that is represented by the construction of a dam in the seventies.

After their exodus, the Guasiruma settled as squatters on a farm in rural Vijes, Valle del Cauca. With the rights granted to ethnic minorities in the Constitution of 1991, which states that one way of providing justice is by giving differential conditions for the development of historically discriminated peoples, the Guasiruma acquired funds to buy the farm they live on as squatters and to establish their reservation there.

The Guasiruma case leads to reflections on how social struggles achieve differential rights that connect with an understanding of justice as an exercise in distribution and a demand for recognition. In this regard, difficulties in the relationship between indigenous peoples and the Colombian state are clear; i.e., complexities in implementing differential rights and efforts to combat poverty and influence the development of communities.

Panel P109
Collaborating in the field: participatory forms of anthropological research (re)examined