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Territories of Life: Wellsprings of Biocultural Relationship and Resurgence 
Marie-Line Sarrazin (CICADA - McGill University)
June Rubis (ICCA)
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Wednesday 27 October, 13:00-14:30

Short Abstract:

Territories of life are governed, managed and conserved by Indigenous peoples and local communities. This panel features perspectives on relationality and on challenges and strategies for documenting, sustaining and defending territories of life.

Long Abstract:

Collective lands, waters and territories governed, managed and conserved by custodian Indigenous peoples and/or local communities can be considered "territories of life". They are characterized by: 1) deep relations between a specific territory and a specific custodian community or Indigenous nation, embedded in their identities, cultures and practices; 2) the custodian community taking and implementing decisions through self-determined institutions, which 3) contribute to the wellbeing and integrity of both community and territory, including conservation of nature. Territories of life can be informed by 'planes de vida' (life projects), which are collective visions and plans for 'buen vivir' (living well), embedded in relational ontologies and experiences of place and self. Research and grassroots experience suggest four interdependent 'pillars' for vibrant territories of life, and carrying out life project strategies: 1) robust local institutions of conservation governance, 2) resilient livelihoods, 3) vigorous legal defense and mobilizing for appropriate recognition and support, and 4) powerful inter-peoples' alliances.

This panel consists of two sessions featuring perspectives and experiences of members of Indigenous peoples and local communities, practitioners and engaged academics.

Session 1 will focus on relationality in the context of territories of life, including the ontological dimension of policy and legal frameworks that affect them.

Session 2 will engage with challenges and strategies for documenting, sustaining and defending territories of life in practice, including the role of the research and conservation industries in supporting or undermining these efforts.

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