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Honors Paper

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Progress, as defined by this thesis, is the continuing placement of profits over human beings. The pursuit of progress in Latin America has its roots in the colonial age when elites created a hierarchical system that served only their own interest and marginalized other members of their populations. Progress is particularly negative for indigenous people in the Amazonian region who find themselves giving up their land, resources and in turn their traditional lifestyles for the benefits of outsiders.

This framework has manifested itself in several examples: oil exploration and exploitation in Ecuador and Peru, rubber in Brazil and later hydroelectric dams. However, indigenous people have risen up and created multi-faceted movements in response to these challenges. This thesis investigates the formation of indigenous social and political movements from the 1980s onwards in the Amazon regions of Ecuador, Peru and Brazil. In particular, the linkages between indigenous movements, international NGOs and international media have been investigated.

The information gathered in this thesis is comprised of interviews in indigenous communities in Ecuador and Peru, indigenous political organizations in Lima, Peru and other secondary research materials. The general conclusion is of the lasting importance of indigenous social movements based in the Amazon and the significance of their goal to create a larger, transnational based movement.



The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.