Barriers, resources, questions: Moving forward as an advocate-academic

Date and Time: 
Friday, 12 May, 2017 - 10:45
Abstract Key Words: 
Ethics and Research Methods, Applied Ethnobiology and Conservation, Environmental Justice
, Alex - University of Wisconsin-Madison

In the past several centuries the Wixáritari of western Mexico have defended their homeland, sacred desert, and pilgrimage route from mining, extraction of sacred plants by outsiders, and damming projects along major rivers. I present ongoing work done with the Wixáritari and the non-profit Herbal Anthropology Project to preemptively establish an Indigenous-run ethnobotanical herbarium to support land and intellectual property claims. I will also discuss general barriers I have faced to engaging in advocacy including: issues working abroad, reconciling roles and reputations of the "impartial" academic and the applied advocate, and navigating problematic colonial dynamics perpetuated as an applied researcher "helping" Indigenous peoples. Finally, I draw on insights from other applied social sciences, present a list of relevant resources for advocate-academics, and share questions provided by members of the Society of Ethnobiology about engaging in an ethical applied ethnobiology.