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This panel seeks to connect theorizing about decolonizing conservation with on the ground struggles over resource governance in Indigenous communities globally. We will collectively interrogate what decolonized conservation can look like from settler colonial states to states in the global south.
There is a persistent and growing awareness from within the academy and conservation organizations of the need to overhaul conservation as usual. These calls are particularly salient in light of the root causes of the Covid-19 crisis and its uneven impacts on local communities, conservation management, and long promoted alternative livelihoods such as ecotourism. Pertinent here is recognition of the assertions made by Indigenous activists, scholars and community members for some time to redress conservation inequities, along with calls to decolonize mainstream conservation. In this panel we seek to connect theorizing about decolonizing conservation occurring within the academy with on the ground struggles over resource governance in Indigenous communities globally. The panel will consist of scholars, community activists, and Indigenous thought leaders from around the world sharing ideas on what it means to decolonize conservation. Collectively, we will shed light on the following questions: How is progress towards decolonized conservation being framed by Indigenous groups and scholars in different places, including settler states like Canada and the US, and places in the global south, like Tanzania, Kenya, Thailand, and India? How are processes unfolding around the world, in places with different and similar ecologies, and histories of colonialism and conservation? And how are decolonization efforts addressing internal differentiation within Indigenous communities (i.e. gender, class, age)? Panelists will discuss and debate the important, political, theoretical and practical meanings and implications of decolonization discourse and action needed to dismantle mainstream colonial conservation.