Abstract Detail

Tackling coloniality in plant sciences: Legacies and paths forward

Demeulenaere, Else [1], Ickert-Bond, Steffi [2].

Empowering Indigenous ways of knowing Serianthes: An environmental justice case study from Guåhan.

Guåhan is the most southern island of the Mariana Islands archipelago, located in the Western Pacific Ocean. The island’s biodiversity is unique with many endemic species interconnected with the CHamoru language and culture. Habitat loss and ecosystem degradation increased pressure on the island’s ecosystems, also threatening its Indigenous cosmology and traditional practices. The last Håyun lågu tree (Serianthes nelsonii), a critically endangered species listed on the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA), became a rallying point for spiritual resistance led by the direct-action group Prutehi Litekyan when its habitat became threatened by military plans to construct a firing range. Legal environmental frameworks, such as the National Environmental Protect Act (NEPA) and ESA proved to be inadequate to protect the tree and its habitat and violate Indigenous rights in the case of Guåhan. We illustrate the Indigenous way of knowing the Håyun lågu tree and the sacred lands of Tailalo’ and Litekyan grounded in an Indigenous belief system based on the CHamoru spiritual protection of the land. We discuss the power imbalance of Guahan’s current political status as an unincorporated territory of the Unites States and the injustices surrounding the protection of biocultural diversity and sacred places in this part of the Pacific Region.

1 - University of Guam, Center for Island Sustainability, University Drive, Mangilao, Guam (GU), 96923, Guam
2 - University Of Alaska Fairbanks, Herbarium (ALA) And Dept. Of Biology And Wildlife, University Of Alaska Fairbanks, 1962 Yukon Dr., Fairbanks, AK, 99775, United States

Pacific islands
traditional knowledge

Presentation Type: Symposium Presentation
Number: S5008
Abstract ID:269
Candidate for Awards:None

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