In the name of the Mother (Le Monde diplomatique – English edition, April 2018)

by Maëlle Mariette

‘Pachamama is a reality in the indigenous world,’ said Alberto Acosta, energy and mining minister in 2007 and president of the 2008 Constituent Assembly which, encouraged by President Rafael Correa, granted rights to nature and ecosystems. This was a world first and effectively recognised Pachamama. Acosta is now an opponent of Correa, accusing him of betraying his promise by allowing the continued exploitation of natural resources; Acosta represents an environmentalism that is highly regarded abroad.

‘To indigenous people, Pachamama isn’t just a metaphor, as it is in the western world. Native peoples see the Earth as a mother. They have a very close relationship with her. Of course, not all indigenous people view things like this; after all they’ve had 500 years of ongoing colonisation. The indigenous world hasn’t been spared by the logic of capitalism, individualism, consumerism or productivism. But there are still communities which organise their social, political, economic and cultural life around ideas such as Pachamama and sumak kawsay [good living].’

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