Las ecologías indígenas en la construcción de la ética ambiental en la literatura latinoamericana

Ida Day, Marshall University

Copyright © 2013 Day. All rights reserved.


In recent decades, many Latin American writers and environmental activists have returned to indigenous traditions in search of models for sustainability. They have integrated traditional knowledge and spirituality into their ecological frameworks, contrasting them with modern science and engineering, which are rooted conceptually in the dualistic abstraction of humans from nature. This dissertation investigates the reevaluation of native cosmologies and traditional ecological knowledge in the writings of contemporary Latin American indigenous and non-indigenous authors (Javier Castellanos, Hugo Jamioy, Jaime Huenún, Leonardo Boff, Eduardo Galeano, Mario Vargas Llosa, Mayra Montero). Their works offer an alternative system of ethics for our civilization: a decisive challenge to the modern paradigm of economic expansion. This dissertation illuminates how these authors dialogue with the myth of progress upholding the neoliberal capitalist order, and the indigenist myths that idealize the relationship between indigenous peoples and the natural world. I demonstrate that their perspectives have contributed to the current ecological debate by engaging central aspects of indigenous ecologies: a relationship of mutual respect with local ecosystems and a holistic knowledge that includes both material and spiritual experience.