Citation
Discourse as resistance

Material Information

Title:
Discourse as resistance Nicaraguan Afroindigenous peoples' fight for identity & traditional places
Uncontrolled:
Nicaraguan Afro/indigenous peoples' fight for identity & traditional places
Creator:
Brown, Katharine L. ( author )
Language:
English
Physical Description:
1 electronic file (98 pages) : ;

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Indigenous peoples ( lcsh )
Discourse analysis ( lcsh )
Discourse analysis ( fast )
Indigenous peoples ( fast )
Nicaragua Canal (Nicaragua) ( lcsh )
Nicaragua -- Nicaragua Canal ( fast )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Review:
In June 2013, the Nicaraguan state government signed Ley 840, which detailed the concessions to a Chinese corporation, Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development (HKND), to construct a 170 mile long megacanal. In addition to the canal, this law stipulates various subprojects that include an international airport, a free trade zone, holiday resorts, and a network of roads. Estimates of the population that will be displaced by the project may reach up to 100,000, none of whom were consulted prior to the passing of Ley 840. Those who face loss of access to their homes due to the canal construction have spent nearly the last three years with no understanding of where they may be relocated to, if or how they will be compensated for the impact of being removed from their homes, and without an understanding of how they will survive without access to resources on which their very lives depend. Further, fifty-two percent of the land included in the proposed route of the canal falls under Indigenous title, and violate international policy, the Nicaraguan constitution, and state laws that protect Rama and Kriol peoples and their territorial integrity. This study examines the Indigenous and Afro-descendant movement in resistance to the megacanal; specifically, I analyze discursive tools and tactics in light of the unique cultures, histories, and identities to recognize markers, discursive tools, contextually. Discourse analysis allows room for narrative of voices that may otherwise be left unheard or misunderstood, and enables the opportunity for the Rama and Kriol resistance movement to be viewed strategically as a movement, while simultaneously respecting their distinct communities on their terms.
Thesis:
Thesis (M.S.Sc.)-University of Colorado at Denver.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographic references
System Details:
System requirements: Adobe Reader.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Katharine L. Brown.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
954760314 ( OCLC )
ocn954760314
Classification:
LD1193.L65 2016m B76 ( lcc )

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text
DISCOURSE AS RESISTANCE:
NICARAGUAN AFRO/INDIGENOUS PEOPLES FIGHT FOR IDENTITY &
TRADITIONAL PLACES
By
KATHARINE L. BROWN
B.A., University of Colorado Boulder, 2011
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Social Science
Social Science Program
2016


This thesis for the Master of Social Science degree by
Katharine L. Brown
has been approved for the
Social Science Program
by
John Brett, Chair
Lucy McGuffey
Omar Swartz
April 29, 2016


Brown, Katharine L. (M.S.S., Masters of Social Science)
Discourse as Resistance: Nicaraguan Afro/Indigenous Peoples Fight for Identity &
Traditional Places
Thesis directed by Associate Professor John Brett
ABSTRACT
In June 2013, the Nicaraguan state government signed Ley 840, which detailed the
concessions to a Chinese corporation, Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development
(HKND), to construct a 170 mile long megacanal. In addition to the canal, this law
stipulates various subprojects that include an international airport, a free trade zone,
holiday resorts, and a network of roads. Estimates of the population that will be displaced
by the project may reach up to 100,000, none of whom were consulted prior to the
passing of Ley 840. Those who face loss of access to their homes due to the canal
construction have spent nearly the last three years with no understanding of where they
may be relocated to, if or how they will be compensated for the impact of being removed
from their homes, and without an understanding of how they will survive without access
to resources on which their very lives depend. Further, fifty-two percent of the land
included in the proposed route of the canal falls under Indigenous title, and violate
international policy, the Nicaraguan constitution, and state laws that protect Rama and
Kriol peoples and their territorial integrity. This study examines the Indigenous and Afro-
descendant movement in resistance to the megacanal; specifically, I analyze discursive
tools and tactics in light of the unique cultures, histories, and identities to recognize
markers, discursive tools, contextually. Discourse analysis allows room for narrative of
voices that may otherwise be left unheard or misunderstood, and enables the opportunity
iii


for the Rama and Kriol resistance movement to be viewed strategically as a movement,
while simultaneously respecting their distinct communities on their terms.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication.
Approved: John Brett
IV


DEDICATION
I dedicate this study to all the Indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples who have
touched my life over the course of my engagement in Indigenous and Afro-descendant
rights. I am forever grateful for your willingness to trust and educate an outsider who
could have easily be alienated as an trespasser, as someone with the face, privilege, and
social position of those that have and continue to first handedly execute the harm and
destruction enacted by their/my ancestors against yours.
v


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
There are many to whom I owe my success in the process of writing this thesis,
and I want to recognize those that provided the academic support, expertise, and
encouragement that enabled me to produce this paper. First, I want to thank Mr.
Armstrong Wiggins, Director of the Washington Office of the Indian Law Resource
Center. In spite of never having met me in person, Mr. Wiggins provided me with hours
of his limited time, resources and advice as I situated and began framing my study. As a
community member of the Miskito Nation of Nicaragua, his guidance was and is
invaluable. Other mentors that encouraged my passion for and knowledge of Indigenous
rights include Dr. Donna Martinez, Mrs. Karen Wurzburger, Mr. Guillermo Perez Leiva.
Dr. Brenda Allen, Dr. J. Andrew Cowell, and Ms. Colette Grinevald. I also want to thank
faculty who equipped me with the skills necessary in preparation for my thesis, including:
Dr. David Ruppert, Dr. Omar Swartz, Dr. Lucy McGuffey, Mr. Glenn Morris, and Dr.
Jean Scandlyn. Finally, I want to recognize the resilient direction and assistance provided
by my committee, including my chair, Dr. John Brett, and my readers, Dr. Lucy
McGuffey and Dr. Omar Swartz.
In addition to the intellectual mentorship provided by the aforementioned
individuals, I want to thank Mr. Eric Baker, who continually provided me with means by
which I could locate sources that often were hard to come by due to the nature of my
study. Lastly, and most certainly not least, I want to thank my parents, family, dear
friends, and peers for their endless confidence in my ability to complete this process; I
cannot sufficiently express my gratitude, nor can I repay the emotional care, meals, phone
calls, and motivation to not forget the world around me as I struggled through writing this
vi


document. This study is a product of the experience, love, and solidarity that I am so very
fortunate to have; I thank you deeply.
Vll


TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I. INTRODUCTION................................................1
Land Grabs & Violation of Afro/Indigenous Land Rights........9
Nicaragua Afro/Indigenous Community Land Rights.............11
Indigenous Resistance within Nicaragua...............13
II. METHODS....................................................15
Discourse Analysis & Framing................................16
Method Application..........................................18
III. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE...................................23
Indigenous Land Rights & Land Tenure........................24
Afro-descendant Rights & Land Tenure........................26
Resistance Tactics and Afro/Indigenous Uses.................30
Conclusion..................................................32
IV. FINDINGS & ANALYSIS........................................34
Afro/Indigenous Identity-Rooted Discourse...................39
Resistance Discourse outside Afro/Indigenous Identity.......48
Pro-Canal Discourse.........................................68
Summary of Findings.........................................71
V. CONCLUSION.................................................74
viii


REFERENCES
79
IX


LIST OF FIGURES
Figure
1: Nicaraguan Map...................................................3
2: HKND Canal and Rama-Kriol Territory..............................5
3: Rama Indian Food Harvest........................................38
4: Community Meeting...............................................39
5: NO AL CANAL.....................................................41
6: Rama Language and Coastline.....................................46
7: Grandfather and Grandson Agriculture............................64
8: Rama Elder Concerned about Canal Impacts........................68
x


APPENDIX OF ANALYZED SOURCES
Alvarez, R. M. (2016, January 10). Gobiernopresiona a ramaspara firmar acuerdo
sobre el Gran Canal La Prensa. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from
http://www.laprensa.com.ni/2016/01/10/nacionales/1966964-gobierno-presiona-ramas-
firmar-acuerdo-gran-canal
Centro de Asistencia Legal a Pueblos Indigenas (CALPI). (2013, December 20). Ley del
Canal Interoceanico [Press release]. Retrieved January 23, 2016, from http://www.calpi-
nicaragua.org
Confidencial. (2013, July 5). Comunidades del caribe interponen recurso de
inconstitucionalidadpor Ley del Canal Interoceanic. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbRM6SYaCxw*
Cruz, M. R. (2016, January 18). Capacitan sobre la Ley del Canal La Prensa. Retrieved
February 02, 2016, from http://www.laprensa.com.ni/2016/01/18/politica/1971322-
capacitan-sobre-la-ley-del-canal
Cultural Survival. (2016, January 5). Construction of Nicaragua Canal Threatens
Indigenous Lives and Livelihoods. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from
https://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural-survival-quarterly/construction-
nicaragua-canal-threatens-indigenous-lives-and
Fendt, L. (2016, January 14). Indigenous and Afro-Caribbeans claim they were forced to
negotiate over Nicaragua Canal -. Retrieved February 23, 2016, from
http://www.ticotimes.net/2016/01/14/indigenous-afro-caribbeans-claim-forced-negotiate-
nicaragua-canal
Gobierno Territorial Rama y Kriol (GTR-K). Indigenas Demandan Por Coaccion De
Firmas Para El Canal De Nicaragua. Gobierno Territorial Rama Y Kriol (GTR-K), 5
Feb. 2016. Web. 20 Feb. 2016. https://popolna.org/wp-
content/uploads/2016/02/Comunicado-RA-Firmas-Il egales-5-2-16.jpg
Gobierno Territorial Rama y Kriol (GTR-K). (n.d.). Quieren Dividir Junta Directiva
Indigenapor el Canal en LA RACCS (Nicaragua, Gobierno Territorial Ramay Kriol
(GTR-K)). Bluefields, Nicaragua: Gobierno Territorial Ramay Kriol (GTR-K). Retrieved
January 27, 2016 from
https://www.facebook.com/157327680951910/photos/pb.157327680951910.-
2207520000.1456023101./1123905897627412/?type=3&theater
Gobierno Territorial Rama Y Kriol (GTR-K). Indigenas Demandan Por Coaccion De
Firmas Para El Canal De Nicaragua. Gobierno Territorial Rama Y Kriol (GTR-K), 5
Feb. 2016. Web. 20 Feb. 2016.
2207520000.1456023101 ./1141692825 848719/?type=3&theater>.
xi


Grupo Cocibolca. (2014, November 23). Comunicado del Grupo Cocibolca [Press
release]. Retrieved January 23, 2016, from https://es-es.facebook.com/notes/la-voz-de-
nicaragua/comunicado-del-grupo-cocibolca/10154815470225487/
Hance, J. (2015, March 26). Nuevapellcula muestra la resistencia local al Canal de
Nicaragua. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from http://es.mongabay.com/2015/03/nueva-
pelicula-muestra-la-resistencia-local-al-canal-de-nicaragua/
Hatzel Montez, R. (2015, September 22). Acusany destituyen a diputado misquito.
Retrieved September 23, 2015, from
http://www.elnuevodiario.com.ni/nacionales/371232-diputado-rivera-pierde-inmunidad/
Johnson, T. (2015, June 18). Nicaragua's Rama Indians face peril from canal and
migrants. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from
http://media.mcclatchydc.com/static/features/NicaCanal/RAMA.html*
Kilpatrick, K. (2015, April 9). Canal 'will destroy we' Retrieved February 02, 2016, from
http://projects.aljazeera.com/2015/04/nicaragua-canal/displaced.html
Kilpatrick, K. (2016, January 12). Canal 'will destroy we' Retrieved February 02, 2016,
from http://projects.aljazeera.com/2015/04/nicaragua-canal/displaced.html
Leon, S., & Romero, E. (2016, January 12). Gobierno Territorial Rama y Kriol
desautoriza las voces criticas La Prensa. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from
http://www.laprensa.com.ni/2016/01/12/nacionales/1967756-gtrk-desautoriza-las-voces-
criticas
Liedel, E. (n.d.). A Canal Where a Language Used to Be. Retrieved February 02, 2016,
from https://schwafire.atavist.com/linguistic_peril_canal
Miller, T. (2015, January 08). Rama Community in Bangkukuk, Nicaragua, Speaks Out
About the Grand Canal Project. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from
https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/rama-community-bangkukuk-nicaragua-speaks-
out-about-grand-canal-proj ect
Moncada, Roy. "Indigenas De Nicaragua Resisten Presion Del Gobierno Por El Canal -
La Prensa." La Prensa. 2016. Web. 20 Feb. 2016.
resisten-presion-del-gobierno-canal>.
Nicaragua, Gobierno Territorial Ramay Kriol (GTR-K). (n.d.). El Gobierno Territorial
Ramay Kriol Aclaray Sienta su Posicion sobre el Canal en su Territorio. Retrieved
January 23, 2016, from
https://esla.facebook.com/NotiBluefields/posts/409861455835476
Xll


Peterson, B. (2015, June 17). Nicaragua's Rama Indians face peril from canal. Retrieved
February 02, 2016, from https ://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wz4n9FxoB4k*
PrettyGoodProductions (2014). This Land is for All of We: A small Rama community in
Bangkukuk, Nicaragua, speaks out about the Grand Canal Project. Retrieved February
02, 2016, from https://vimeo.com/109026969 *
Rama-Kriol Territorial Government. Indigenous and Afro-Descendant Peoples File
Lawsuit Against Coerced Signatures for Nicaraguan Canal. Rama-Kriol Territorial
Government, 7 Feb. 2016. Web. 20 Feb. 2016.
. 157327680951910/1141695172515151/?type=3&theater>.
Rama-Kriol Territorial Government. (2016, January 10). GTR-K Authorities Are Being
Pressured to Approve the Interoceanic Canal [Press release]. Retrieved January 23, 2016,
from
https://www.facebook.eom/157327680951910/photos/a.612501958767811.1073741827.
157327680951910/1123958780955457/
Secretaria de Desarrollo de la Costa Caribe. (2016, January 10). Secretaria de
Desarrollo de la Costa Caribe : Gobierno Territorial Rama y Kriol (GTRK), aprueba
convenio en favor del Gran Canal. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from
http://scaribenicaragua.blogspot.com/2016/01/gobierno-territorial-rama-y-kriol-gtrk.html
XINHUA Espanol. (2016, April 10). CUMBRE DE LAS AMERICAS: Indigenas se
oponen a construccidn de canal en Nicaragua. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from
http://spanish.xinhuanet.com/iberoamerica/2015-04/10/c_134138500.htm
* Videos analyzed
xm


CHAPTERI
INTRODUCTION
The Rama nation and the Kriol community of Nicaragua are facing the risk of
massive territory division and resource destruction at the hands of a corporation known as
Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development (HKND). HKND has been granted exclusive
concessions by the Nicaraguan state to build a megacanal and several subprojects
through the Rama-Kriol Territory, located in the Southern Autonomous Region of the
Miskito Coast. The project will physically divide the Rama and Kriol peoples,
devastating their respective cultures and resources critical to their collective survival. The
canals proposed route, and the signing of Ley 840 (2013), which serves as a legally
binding contract between HKND and the Nicaraguan state regarding the megacnal, is in
direct violation of the Demarcation Law {Ley 445) (2003). The law establishes communal
land tenure rights, as well as rights to oversee and protect natural and cultural resources
within titled territories, to the Kriol and Rama communities. Additionally, the Nicaraguan
state is defying the Autonomy Law, which can be found in Article 28 of the 1987
Nicaraguan Constitution (Arriaza, 2012), as no Indigenous or Afro-descendant citizens
were consulted prior the signing of Law 840. Although the impacts are not uniquely felt
by the Rama and Kriol people, the impact disproportionally befalls them, as most of the
canals proposed route will require a concession of traditionally and legally held lands by
these Indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples.
Land grabs across the globe continue to take many forms, have occurred for
centuries, and have been motivated by various political, social, and economic interests.
Ultimately, I argue that the forced appropriation of land is rooted in power dynamics
1


between nations, states, and amongst and within various identities. I focus my argument
on the aforementioned land grab occurring currently in Nicaragua, particularly in regards
to the resistance led by the Kriol and Rama people to protect their communities cultural
and physical integrities. I do want to be clear that my study intends in no way to
essentialize Rama and Kriol perspectives or responses to the canal. Instead, I aim to
analyze a variety of discourse to capture a representative understanding of general
sentiment and concerns raised by members within these communities. I focus on
discourse in opposition to the impacts the land grab would have on the aforementioned
Indigenous nation (Rama) and Afro-descendant (Kriol) of the Miskito Coast. The 187
kilometer megacanal that HKND intends to construct is an undertaking to which HKND
has been granted exclusive rights, and is estimated to be the largest engineering endeavor
in world history, with an anticipated price tag of more than $50 billion dollars (Woodard,
2015). I refer to the canal as a land grab as the term has a connotation of a large parcel
of land being forcibly taken without consent of communities residing presently and
historically in the territory (Ross, 2014).
The proposed route for the megacanal runs through more Rama and Kriol
territory than any other group within the Nicaraguan state, with 52% of the structure
falling within the Territorio Rama-Kriol (Rama-Creole Territory), a joint territory
recognized and titled by the Nicaraguan state per the aforementioned Demarcation Law.
As the Rama and Kriol voices this study highlights argue, and I agree, the costs of land,
natural resources, food security, language extinction, and threat to cultural identities are
exponentially higher for their respective communities. The danger of being displaced
from the land that serves as the origins of self and cultural identity, both for individuals
2


and their entire communities, has resulted in unique forms of resistance by both Rama
and Kriol actors. Though it could be argued that distinctions should be made between
these two identities, difference often becomes blurred due to intermittent cooperative
efforts in their approach to development of discourse that calls into question the
legitimacy and integrity of the HKND project; due to this blurring, I on occasion will
refer to the groups as Afro/Indigenous to signify their cooperative efforts. This is not to
say that their unique identities become indistinguishable or should be considered
equivalent or matching; rather, that their struggle unites them in a manner this study
seeks to understand.
Due to the critical role that traditional territories play in the formation of
Indigenous and Afro-descendant identities, languages, origin stories, and beyond, Rama
Figure 1: Above in the southeastern Miskito Coast is the Region Autonomo de la Atlantico Sur (RAAS) where the
Rama-Kriol Territory is located. http://sites.dartmouth.edu/burdondasbach_lacs20_fal5/files/2015/09/Mapa02.jpg
3


and Kriol people are concerned that their communities may literally cease to exist as the
culturally distinct groups that they are today. Accordingly, I have made a decision to
assume that impacts faced by the Afro/Indigenous people who will be displaced by the
canal are threatening in a way that other groups will not experience. Accordingly, Im
approaching the investigation of the Rama and Kriol struggle as a case study for the
hardships of neoliberalism in the experience of Afro/Indigenous identities. The disregard
for Afro/Indigenous rights at the hands of economic development and natural resource
exploitation highlights the blurred lines of responsibility between state and non-state
actors in light of neoliberal practices, entities, and approaches to development. In this
thesis, I focus on community stakeholders and potential casualties as a result of the canal
land grab, and more specifically how Rama and Kriol resistors enact the struggle to
protect their ability to continue to exist as culturally rooted groups. Though their tactics
of resistance are multidimensional, I examine discourse specifically that is inclusive of
Rama narratives coupled with Afro-descendant resistors perspectives.
Within the context of the canal land grab, I will be focusing specifically on how
Indigenous and Afro-discourse respond to their communities, state government and
HKND. I have elected to focus on these groups due to the fact that their traditional
territories are recognized and should be respected by the Nicaraguan state; however, I do
acknowledge that are other groups would feel the effects of the canal land grab as well.
Accordingly, there exists a uniqueness of the positions of the Rama and Kriol
communities that I analyze in this study. Having legally recognized land tenure, as well
as rights to self-determination, violated by both state and foreign actors, calls not only the
4


states commitment to adhering to its own policies, but further its allegiance to the
Republic of Nicaraguas constitutional integrity.
The land that is now referred to as Nicaragua has a history of complex
interactions among groups that spoke (and those that continue to speak) distinct
languages and practiced (and those that continue to practice) unique forms of agriculture.
In addition to cultural differences, the region was characterized by conflict between the
ethnic groups that occupied or migrated through present-day Nicaragua prior to
Figure 2: The proposed route for the canal, with the Rama-Kriol Territory in Yellow
http://www.hakaimagazine.com/article-long/rama-versus-canal
colonization (Walker, 2003). To add to the clashes already taking place in the region,
colonization began in the 16th century, first with the Spanish invasion of the Pacific side
of Nicaragua, later to be followed by the British colonization of the Miskito Coast
(Walker, 2003). The result of the multi-ethnic, multi-colonized region has left remains of
division between both the eastern and western populations locked within the boundaries
of the area claimed by the Nicaraguan state. Accordingly, particularly along the Miskito
5


Coast, hierarchies imposed by pre- and post-colonial contention between ethnic groups
remain (Walker, 2003); traces of these previous, and often times current, struggles can be
found in languages spoken today. Specifically for the groups being discussed in this
study, both Rama and Kriol people speak variations of Creole that are English-based and
integrate pieces of their respective languages pre-colonization and/or forced migration, as
well as their respective world views and cultural lifeways. However, a small number of
fluent speakers of the Rama language remain today.
In 1987, Indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples made progress toward
establishment of formally recognized communal rights with the new Constitution that
was written at the end of conflict between the Nicaraguan state and the Afro-descendant
and Indigenous communities following the Sandinista revolution (Larson et al., 2015).
Along with the inclusion of the Autonomy Law in the constitution, 45% of national
territory was placed under the control of the newly established regional governments,
which would oversee the Miskito Coast. The Council is an elected entity, and positions to
govern are allotted for both Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities. However, in
spite of these shifts in policy and law, the state continued (and continues) to treat
resources within the regional territory as state property, and the Regional Councils
power is often more figurative than substantive (Larson et al., 2015). This history of
conflict and the national governments repeated failures to adhere to protections put in
place for Afro/Indigenous communities has created a general mistrust of the Nicaraguan
government throughout the Miskito Coast.
I initially was unsure if analyzing voices from both the Afro-descendant Kriol
community and Indigenous Rama Nation would complicate my findings, in spite of the
6


fact that the Kriol reside within and alongside the Rama peoples. Ultimately, as I
established the sources that would be included in my analysis, I came to the conclusion
that the shared experience of violation of communal land tenure generally parallels those
of the Rama, and their words in opposition to HKND and the Nicaraguan state speak to
similar hardships; aside from this, I also began to identify the fact that these communities
often work in concert in their resistance. I identify several instances in which their
discourses intersect and work from similar platforms. Inclusion of these allies in
obstruction of the megacanal is critical to the creation of findings that aim to be more
comprehensive and complete. Lastly, I learned through my research that Nicaragua is the
only state in the Latin American and Caribbean regions that stipulates communal rights
and autonomy for both Indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples, presenting a unique
opportunity to observe collaboration between two historically and culturally different
communities in response to a similar enemies; in this case, HKND and the Nicaraguan
state government.
While there are several other Indigenous nations that are within the borders of the
Nicaraguan state, their territories are not legally recognized by the Demarcation Law, and
further, some of these groups will be left unscathed (directly) by HKNDs undertakings. I
also rely upon the states arguably arbitrary borders as they guide which laws and policies
are relevant to inform my discourse analysis. However, I do acknowledge the fact that
many Indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples in resistance to the states in which they
find their communities confined often reject consequent paternalism and colonialist roots
upon which national governments are founded. Accordingly, I utilize the term nation to
refer to the Rama nation as it describes a group of people with the same history,
7


language, values, genetic background, geographic region, and way of governance,
(White Face, 2013 p. 32). I use the term Afro-descendant to refer to the Kriol people as
they self-identify this way, though Nicaraguan policy refers to the community as Afro-
Caribbean.
The discourse I am including in this study is found within documents produced by
the Gobierno Territorial Rama y Kriol (Rama-Creole Territorial Government, hereafter
GTR-K), organizations and community leaders in opposition and resistance to the canal,
as well as Rama and Kriol documentaries and several short films. Documents include
press releases, appeals to international actors for assistance, and presentation of concerns
caused by the land grab to the international community. My analysis of these items aims
to identify how discourse is being utilized as a form of resistance in response to the
illegal taking of lands in the autonomous southern region of the Miskito Coast. Further,
utilization of the cultural and historical context from which both Rama and Kriol voices
spring will highlight the unique approach to protection of land, culturally rooted
resistance, and call into question the efficacy of policy establishing communal rights.
In the effort of transparency, I also want to specify the assumptions that inform
my approach and understanding of this topic. First, I argue that people are experts in their
own experiences, and deserve the space to describe their experiences on their own terms.
As will be seen, Standard English is absent from speakers included in this study, and are
instead replaced by non-native English based Creole. This is an important artifact of
colonialism to acknowledge, and I do not assume that Rama Creole and Kriol Creole has
an impact on the authority of any of the speakers included in my analysis. Lastly, I view
the fact that Nicaraguas government having incorporated Afro/Indigenous rights into its
8


constitution and various laws does not equate to tension between the Nicaraguan state
and the Rama and Kriol people being eliminated or addressed. Instead, I assume that
these rights are a product of the struggle of the Sandinista government to incorporate the
Miskito Coast into their revolutionary state. Due to the paternalistic approach taken by
the Sandinistas to integrate the communities on the Miskito Coast, however well
intentioned, efforts were ill-received by the Afro/Indigenous communities of eastern
Nicaragua. Accordingly, due to armed resistance during the Contra War, I argue that laws
such as the Autonomy Law and Demarcation Law serve to create the illusion of respect
for Afro/Indigenous peoples, with a clear failure of the state to adhere to their own laws
and policies. As a result, I believe it is critical to investigate the resistance captured in my
analysis to develop frameworks and tools that other Afro/Indigenous groups facing
threats of rights violations and neoliberalism can utilize to establish and strengthen their
won resistance efforts.
Land Grabs & Violation of Afro/Indigenous Land Rights
Many actors continue to establish mechanisms by which land can be colonized
and/or continue to be colonized; present colonization, though it may vary somewhat by
tactics employed and motive, continues to be employed throughout the globe (Anseeum
& Taylor, 2014; Delgado, 2014; RRI, 2015). These wide spread efforts have been called
the New Great Game, the Global Land Rush and the Global Land Grab, (Ross 2014, p.
9). Regardless of name, many modern-day land grabs are in direct violation of
Indigenous and/or Afro-descendant land rights, and threaten Afro/Indigenous
communities abilities to protect their respective livelihoods and identities (Ross, 2014;
Shiva, 2014; Stewart-Harwira, 2013). As Shiva (2014) argues that
9


colonization was based on the violent takeover of land. Now, globalization as
recolonization is leading to a mass land grab in India, Africa, and Latin America.
Land is being grabbed for speculative investment, urban sprawl, mines and
factories, highways and expressways, (p. 41).
These motives for states, corporations, and other actors to make land grabs include
market demands, climate change, financial speculation, food insecurity, recession,
scarcity of natural resources, and more (Anseeum & Taylor, 2014; Federici, 2014; Ross,
2014). Accordingly, Afro/Indigenous peoples are faced with enormous obstacles to
overcome, such as globalization, neoliberalism, and ever-increasing destruction of lands
across the globe.
Furthermore, the illegal or forceful taking of land and resources is a hardship felt
deeply and often by Indigenous nations, regardless of the location of their traditional
territory or lands. I say deeply due to the fact that Indigenous, (and according to some
scholars this includes Afro-descendant communities as well) conceptions of land are
distinct from those of non-Indigenous communities. Land for Indigenous nations is the
means by which their communities have survived since the beginning of their existence;
it contains the sacred sites that include their peoples conception and places central to
religious beliefs, and it produces the medicine and foods that provide the foundation on
which culture is created and re-created over time (Coulter et al., 2014; Stewart-Harawira,
2005; Ross, 2014; White Face, 2013). I have elected to rely on the term land grab, due
to my bias that taking of Indigenous lands is morally wrong, which I fully acknowledge
and intend the weight the term carries.
Land grabs are driven by a variety motives, and they take many forms. They vary
by factors such as size, cause or motivation (such as agricultural use, migration, domestic
and international demand for food and/or natural resources, market restructuring,
10


conservation efforts, etc.), and actors (state governments, foreign investors, domestic
corporations, etc.). Violations of traditional lands and natural resources at the hands of
any actor, be it a capitalist or conservationist, should be challenged: there is a need to
incorporate diverse knowledge and values of human rights (http://www.indianlaw.org/).
A more inclusive approach to protecting endangered ecological systems, biospheres, and
natural resources presents the opportunity to incorporate Afro/Indigenous knowledges to
improve conservation efforts, rather than harmful land grabs made with or without
positive intent.
Nicaraguan Afro/Indigenous Community Land Rights
When it comes to recognition of Indigenous communal land tenure, Nicaragua has
a legal and political history of enabling its Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities
to hold traditional lands in common, including constitutional reforms put in place in 1987
and the Demarcation Law established in 2003 (Arriaza, 2012; Ley No. 445). For example,
the Awas Tingni community received a ruling stating that [a]s a result of customary
practices, possession of the land should suffice for indigenous communities lacking real
title to property of the land to obtain official recognition of that property, and for
consequent registration (ILRC, 2015 p. 10). After the Awas Tingni decision was made, a
means to implement Indigenous land rights that were legally recognized became
necessary. As a result, the World Bank funded the Nicaragua Land Administration
Project in Nicaragua [to help] the country to implement Law 445, which regulates the
regime of collective ownership rights of indigenous peoples (ILRC, 2015 p. 10). This
project created a process by which Indigenous nations of Nicaragua could obtain legally
recognized land tenure. In the previously mentioned decision, the Inter-American Court
11


ordered Nicaragua to issue collective titles acknowledging indigenous peoples collective
ownership over lands under their possession, not custodial or use rights (ILRC 2015,
10). Accordingly, Nicaragua has a staunch, legal framework by which its Indigenous and
Afro-descendant nations have been capable of gaining land title to their traditional
territories, which can protect and bolster cultural identity, subsistence practices, and
maintain access to natural and land resources central to the Miskito, Mayagna, and Rama
nations, as well as their Afro-descendant counterparts.
The titling and demarcation process of Indigenous and Afro-descendant lands in
Nicaragua, according to the ILRC is largely due to a World Bank-funded Land
Administration Project, [which] has supported the enforcement of an international human
rights ruling on collective indigenous land ownership, and helped many indigenous
communities to secure collective land titles, (Crippa & Francis, 2014 p. 4). This project
is an example of Nicaragua successfully tying political frameworks with formally
recognized laws to promote the Land Administration Project to support Indigenous land
rights and titles. The ILRC (2014) goes on to say:
With secure legal title, these communities are now able to fully exercise their
ownership and self-determination rights, and the risk of future land conflicts is
effectively eliminated. Bank projects that respect indigenous peoples land
ownership and other human rights can end indigenous poverty and build
prosperity that indigenous people can share, (p. 4).
With that being said, rights to communal land tenure hold weight beyond the territories
and natural resources that titling and demarcation processes speak to. Nicaraguas
recognition of its Indigenous nations and Afro-descendant communities appears to
demonstrate respect for, and a commitment to, Afro/Indigenous rights, and in this case,
specifically to land tenure rights and self-government. The Demarcation Law and the
12


Land Administration Project did, in fact, provide a significant amount of the states
territory to Indigenous communities to allow stewardship over traditional territories; such
efforts appear to be compliant and supportive of aforementioned concerns faced by
Indigenous communities.
In spite of concrete initiatives by the Frente Sandinista de Liberacion Nacional
(FSLN) to recognize Indigenous and Afro-descendant groups by the Nicaraguan state,
shortcomings continue. The FSLN first created the semi-autonomous regions in 1987,
later to be followed by the Demarcation Law (Arriaza, 2015; Larson, 2015). However,
these strides toward protection of Indigenous land tenure, law and policy, hold little to no
weight due to the states failure to respect and protect the territories and communities
impacted by these policies. Additionally, power granted by law to regional councils
continues to be overrun and disregarded by the Nicaraguan state, ultimately calling into
question what authority they truly have.
Indigenous Resistance within Nicaragua
Indigenous nations of Nicaragua have a history of resistance, in particular those
along the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua; with that being said, resistance has changed
over time. Prior to the 18th century, the region remained relatively unscathed by
colonization, and treaties with the British were later signed in the 19th and 20th centuries
recognizing Indigenous autonomy in the region. Once these agreements were no longer
honored, Indigenous resistance became necessary (Arraiza, 2012). While discussing these
approaches of Indigenous nations in Nicaragua when enacting resistance, some degree of
essentializing discourse or rhetoric is necessary, as not all perspectives will be
represented by their resistance actors.
13


Resistance has not always been a cohesive effort within or among
Afro/Indigenous communities of Nicaragua (Arriaza, 2012; Meringer, 2010). Eric
Rodrigo Meringer (2010) identifies the transitions seen in the dominant voices of the
Miskito nation over time and challenges the often rebellious and revolutionary narrative
predominantly associated with the Miskito peoples. Prior to Miskito, Sumu, Rama, and
Sandanistas United (MISURASATA), a group formed to represent Indigenous interests, a
group that argues against the Nicaraguan states authority over the Miskito Coast,
Asociacion para el Progreso de los Pueblos Miskitos y Sumos (ALPROMISU)
represented the dominant voice for Indigenous rights on the Miskito Coast. Rather than
seeking a program associated with international agendas for Indian rights, the groups
leaders instead were operating within a localized platform for integration of Indigenous
peoples within the Nicaraguan state (Meringer, 2010). In the same way voices of
Indigenous peoples are often marginalized, Indigenous resistance groups can marginalize
conflicting voices within and amongst their own nations. ALPROMISU operated more as
cultural brokers between isolated Miskito villages and Spanish-speaking Managua
(Meringer, 2010) in an effort to advocate for institutions, opportunities, and education
that better served Indian peoples within the Nicaraguan state.
14


CHAPTER II
METHODS
In order to bolster my goal of conducting an analysis that is as unbiased as
possible, I began by acknowledging partialities I have regarding the megacanal. I have
conducted research on Afro/Indigenous rights in Nicaragua in the past; specifically, I
investigated how Ley 162, which guarantees Afro-descendants as well as Indigenous
peoples access to medical care, judiciary processes, government interactions and
education in their respective heritage languages, to determine if or how the law was being
implemented. Due to the widespread gaps in administering these communication
services, such as court and medical interpreters, I developed a lens that is inclined to
assume that the Nicaraguan state does not have a vested interest in adhering to, and
supporting, Indigenous and Afro-descendant rights, regardless of law and/or policy
guaranteeing protection for these groups. My findings ultimately led me to question the
Nicaraguan states investment in adhering to policies that are relevant to Afro/Indigenous
rights on the Miskito Coast, as I found nearly no evidence of these rights being enacted
outside the limited realm of bi- or multi-lingual education. Additionally, I have
maintained relationships with community members of the Miskito, Rama, and Kriol
peoples since my study and time living in Nicaragua in 2010. Due to these personal
connections, I have a vested interest in the respect and agency of these individuals and
the communities within which they respectively identify. With that being said, I actively
seek to remain neutral with my interpretation of the discourse I examine, though I
acknowledge that this is not an exercise I can execute with complete infallibility.
15


In addition to my examination of the influence that my previous experience could
have on my analysis and subsequent findings, I investigated various discourse analysis
endeavors and social movements focused on Indigenous rights prior to beginning my
analysis. Though I do not identify as an Indigenous person, I incorporate my background
in Indigenous research, politics, cultures, languages, and so on to assist in my analysis of
resistance discourse of the Rama and Kriol peoples of Nicaragua. My previous
opportunities to conduct field work alongside Afro/Indigenous communities have helped
me to develop a lens that is closer in alignment to Indigenous and/or Afro-descendant
responses to neoliberalism, environmental threats, or any other anti-indigenous policy.
To support this process of maintaining a lens not strictly limited by my Anglo, western
background, I developed codes to highlight rhetoric that was included in the studies I
utilized for a foundational understanding of Indigenous resistance, as I may not otherwise
have identified them. These codes are discussed in the following sections of my Findings
and Analysis chapter.
Discourse Analysis & Framing
Discourse analysis does not have a formal process by which analysts and
researchers must adhere, though all work with signs (and systems of signs), narrative, and
rhetoric that communicate interpretations and creations of reality, be it within the
confines of a personal or communal experience (Beard, 2010; Polletta, 2006; Traynor,
2004; van Dijk, 1993). Accordingly, various forms of analysis can be employed to expose
how language is utilized to create a greater, more nuanced understanding of segments of
discourse, discursive frames, identity (re-)construction, and, ultimately, going beyond
simple sematic explanation of what is being said (Rothman & Oliver, 2002; West, 2013).
16


As such, findings from discourse analyses can span from implications of hierarchy within
direct human interaction to exposing structures and dynamics of power communicated
through language at an institutional or structural level. Discourse analyses can respond to,
and be shaped by, a range of disciplines, including approaches such as formal linguistic,
empirical, critical, and discursive psychology (Traynor, 2004; van Dijk, 1993). I employ
a critical discourse analysis (CDA) approach, which incorporates social, cultural, and
historical contexts relevant to the discourse at hand.
CDA highlights relations of power, inequality, and social position, which are
particularly relevant to Indigenous and Afro-descendant rights framing and discourse that
aims to challenge or mirror existing and historic institutional, social, and cultural power
relations systematically and socio-politically (Hodges et al, 2008; van Dijk, 1993). CDA
essentially aims to identify foundations, circumstances, and outcomes of disparate power
and hegemony through discourse (Vanden, 2007). As such, findings from CDA can
identify approaches that may victimize speakers (Johnston & Noakes, 2005; Warren &
Jackson, 2007), villainize their respective opposition (Polletta, 2006; Warren & Jackson,
2007) and assert social power (Warren & Jackson, 2007). The method can also help
indicate how discourse creates access to various platforms, or, on the other hand, could
demonstrate lack of power due to inaccessibility of platforms such as media, institutions
and/or significant actors at local, national and international levels (Hodges et al, 2008,
van Tijk, 1993). Though analysis may be qualitative, quantitative, or some combination
of the two (Androutsopoulos, 2012; van Tijk, 1993), I focus on qualitative investigation
of rhetoric utilized by the Rama and Kriol peoples of Nicaragua.
17


Framing is closely tied to discourse and works to define boundaries around
concerns, interests, and relevant assertions that would be used in resistance discourse
(Johnston & Noakes, 2005). Establishment of boundaries contextualizes discourse by
determining and defining the issue, why it is of importance, as well as creating space to
convince or resonate with interlocutors. Frames can be diagnostic, motivational, or both,
and typically specify which identities are being represented and/or resisted, establish
agency of speakers, and highlight injustice and/or directly attribute fault to oppressors
(Johnston, 2011; Johnston & Noakes, 2005; West, 2013). Further, framing is directly
connected to discourse and the means by which communication and accounts of reality
are justified and utilized to mobilize constituents (Johnston, 2011; Oliver & Johnston,
2002). Knowledge and comprehension of framing and discursive markers enable me to
effectively analyze discourse in the following chapter, as I can identity which of the
aforementioned approaches are being taken up by the Rama and/Kriol peoples.
Method Application
Once these precursory exercises were in place, I began to identify discursive
constructs and tools utilized by Rama and Kriol communities, organizations and
individuals standing against the megacanal. I did so by continually reviewing the sources
I analyzed to assist me in identifying connections I may otherwise have missed. Further, I
transcribed all of the short films, GTR-K press releases, and quotes from articles to
ingrain discourse more firmly in my memory prior to initiating my analysis. The data I
utilized for the analysis of resistance discourse in opposition to the project included
sources selected on the basis that they be in whole, or at least in part, told from the
perspective of Rama and Kriol actors regarding Ley 840 and its environmental, social and
18


cultural impacts. Accordingly, these sources include newspaper articles with community
members or leaders voices highlighted by direct quotes, short documentaries with
dialogue with community leaders and members in their homes and traditional territories,
and government documents written by the Gobierno Territorial Rama y Kriol (GTR-K)
(see Appendix on xi-xiii for complete details). I worked with discourse in its original
language, meaning that Spanish, Rama Creole, and Kriol Creole are represented; as such,
my translations have been provided to assist readers in understanding words as they were
strung together by the speakers themselves. Additionally, my goal is to honor their voices
as they chose to present them to guide an analysis that creates deeper understandings of
resistance discourse, rather than imposing meaning on speakers seeking to establish their
own agency.
Sources were limited to those available online, as I was unable to conduct field
work. Accordingly, discourse was nearly always directed at the national and/or
international community, which influences the tactics and rhetoric incorporated in each
aforementioned platform. Additionally, internet is not a resource widely available along
the Miskito Coast, so voices captured in my analysis were often empowered by
international partners and likely exclude voices that do not have relationships or access to
these actors. Further, discourse is likely more distant from what would be heard at the
grassroots level, as language must be accessible to engage allies abroad, shaping which
concerns are presented and how their presentation is generated. In order to examine
sources that are not written or spoken, I have expanded the definition of discourse
provided by Merriam-Webster (the use of words to exchange thoughts and ideas) to
incorporate both video and photos. This is due to the fact that video and photos express
19


thoughts and ideas in a manner that often escapes written or spoken word. As such, I
argue that my analysis would be incomplete without the integration of visual data to my
analysis.
It is critical that discourse analysis be conducted contextually, including
intersections of historical, cultural, religious/spiritual, and social frameworks to improve
comprehension of what is said, as well as what is not said, by these communities resisting
the canal and the subsequent consequences their communities and they themselves may
be facing; the distinction of what is said and not said often responds to intended audience
and/or context in which discourse is created. During my analysis, I search for markers
indicating goals and tactics of resistance, experience of the threat of the canal project to
themselves/their communities, and ultimately, how the resisting Afro-descendant and
Indigenous groups are constructing] their versions of social reality from their
personally taken positions informed by discursive practices embedded in their socio-
cultural environment (Adjei, 2013 p. 2). Examining these indicators will identify rights
and resources being utilized by resistors to empower their positions, and demonstrate
belief systems and the value of communally-held traditional lands.
As the categories of sources analyzed differ, I also seek any indication that
terminology, metaphors, and/or other discursive devices employed by resistors transform
or are adapted to various settings; this effort is critical to ensure that discursive strategies
are understood contextually. In other words, I examine sources for markers that are
inconsistent within and across selected sources of resistance discourse to determine how
audience and platform may play a role in discourse utilized in opposition to the canal. I
acknowledge that as a non-Indigenous person and non-Nicaraguan researcher, I will be
20


unable to fully separate my own lens with which I approach the world entirely from my
analysis. However, social discourse may lend itself to multiple interpretations and
conceptualizations on the basis of socio-cultural contexts and intentions (Adjei, 2013 p.
3). With that being said, along with limitations as an outsider to fully grasp the
implementation of resistance exercised via discourse, I too am able to identify common
assumptions or gaps that might otherwise be missed by community insiders. As such, my
purpose and objective are to interpret discursive practices within the resistance movement
in response to the Nicaraguan governments concession to HKND to construct a canal
that will displace thousands, threaten an entire states access to fresh water, and disrupt
delicate environments upon which many Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities
depend.
Finally, I recognize that the discourse included in my analysis is heavily weighted
toward Rama concerns and resistance to the canal, despite the fact that they are not the
only community threatened by the canal. With that being said, Kriol voices are less
present in my analysis due to what was available from sources available online.
Additionally, I was unable to locate any sources highlighting voices from the Indigenous
Miskitu de Tasbapounie community that calls Laguna de Perlas home. I argue that the
fact that Kriol voices are not harnessed in the same widespread manner as Rama voices is
due to the fact that in recent decades, policy and international awareness around
Indigenous rights has created a more significant space in which international actors and
allies are more likely to support and appreciate Indigenous communities that seek
assistance to protect their territories and rights established by international and national
policy.
21


Due to the increasing space available for Indigenous voices, I argue that this is a
tactic utilized by both communities to increase the strength and success of their resistance
efforts. However, I also recognize that there are instances in which Afro-descendant
groups can voice their concerns, though I argue that these spaces do not currently exist in
the same way for Afro-descendant voices. For example, environmental movements often
pair themselves with Indigenous peoples to strengthen empathy and concern by local,
regional, and (inter)national actors to strengthen their environmentally centered interests.
I am not aware of instances in which Afro-descendant voices are leveraged in this same
fashion relative to the situation I examine in Nicaragua. Similarly, the lack of Miskitu de
Tasbapounie voices is likely due to the fact that Pearl Lagoon has limited access to
resources such as the internet to expose their concerns regarding the canal in a manner to
which I would have access. Further, their territory falls under the control of the GTR-K,
which does not explicitly represent Miskito peoples.
22


CHAPTER III
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
Indigenous histories and culture often are founded upon and/or interlaced with
resistance. Indigenous mobilization in effort to achieve rights has been a critical struggle
in Latin America for centuries (Benavides, 2012; Vanden, 2007). Afro-descendant efforts
follow similar resistance efforts, but often are not given the same attention as Indigenous
movements and resistance; as a result, I rely heavily on the handful of sources I was able
to locate that discuss Afro-descendant groups specifically. However, I demonstrate both
tension and collaboration between both Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities as
they are the subject of my investigation. There are gaps that I want to address prior to
entering into the conversation connected to resistance and rights efforts for both Afro-
descendant and Indigenous peoples. First, finding central voices to speak on behalf of the
experiences of such widely diverse populations can be considered dangerous due to risks
of essentialization and reduction of the wide-ranging cultures and identities that are each
unique and rooted in their respective histories, territories, and experiences. With this
concern in mind, I selected sources that raise important concerns and perspectives of
many Rama and Kriol community members. Further, I was unable to locate studies that
directly address the approach my analysis will take within the context of Indigenous and
Afro-descendant resistance, requiring me to construct a review of relevant literature that
sets foundations by which I can interpret and understand my data set effectively.
Further, I will articulate and demonstrate that both Indigenous and Afro-
descendant groups resist violation of autonomy, land rights, and subsequent issues of
identity that are at stake. To do so, I pull from the disciplines of cultural anthropology,
23


political science, as well as sociology to create an understanding and discussion that is
wider reaching and more nuanced than any of these lenses could singularly provide.
Through these disciplines, I explore Indigenous and Afro-descendant land tenure rights,
their unique relationships to traditional lands, spatially rooted identities, the role of
discourse in supporting rights (land related and otherwise), as well as strategies of
resistance employed by both communities against development, or perhaps more
accurately, destruction of their territories and natural resources. The strategy of discourse
and narrative will be highlighted, as they are the data that I analyze in this study.
Indigenous Rights & Land Tenure
Latin America is a region rich with social movements and resistance against
colonialism, state oppression, and neoliberalism to shape and restructure public and
private life (Lewis, 2002). Land remains a significant point of contention, though the
meaning and significance of property and territory vary greatly among cultures, world
views, and positions of power. With centuries of colonization behind us, and present-day
neoliberalism resulting in dispossessions of lands, land ownership is a complex network
of economic, political, and social power (Anseeum & Taylor, 2014; Belmessous, 2012;
Larson et al., 2015; Newman, 2006/2007; Vanden, 2007). Speaking to land tenure by
Indigenous communities, specifically in the Americas, Indigenous nations abilities to
continue to live in and manage their respective traditional territories has been impacted
and limited by massive theft, marginalization, and genocide at the hands of Western
Europeans. Land loss has resulted in once-sovereign Indigenous nations largely
becoming disempowered, disconnected from their cultural identities, and often left in an
involuntary state of dependence (Delgado, 2014; Federici, 2014; Fenelon & Hall, 2008;
24


Stewart-Harwira, 2012; Shiva, 2014) due to the inability to access lands on which their
cultures, languages, and lifeways depend(ed). However, it is important to note that the
illegal taking of Indigenous lands, as well as forms of genocide, is not things of the past;
Indigenous nations continue to fight to retain or regain rights to their traditional territories
throughout the world (Fenelon & Hall, 2008; Gilio-Whitaker, 2015; Ross, 2014). My
goal is to stand in solidarity with those facing globalized threats to their identities, as well
as peoples who have fought for centuries to withstand forces seeking to eliminate their
existence. Through my analysis, my goal is to highlight what can be gained by protecting
culturally distinct Indigenous peoples and Afro-descendant communities from neoliberal
forces that, if left unchecked, could cease to exist.
Land for most Indigenous nations is the means by which their communities have
survived since the beginning of their existence, it contains the sacred sites that include
their peoples conception and places central to religious beliefs, and it produces the
medicine and foods that provide the foundation on which culture is created and re-created
overtime (Coulter et al., 2014; Stewart-Harawira, 2005; Ross, 2014; White Face, 2013).
As Indigenous identities are often tied to traditional territories as a point of origin,
Indigenous identities are inherently spatial and inseparable from their traditional lands
(Greene, 2007; Warren & Jackson, 2007). Accordingly, Warren and Jackson (2007)
assert that culture and identities can be a resource to challenge marginalization. This
initially can read as contradictory, as identities of marginalized groups are often
understood as the cause or root of the respective groups marginalization. However, I
understand these comments to refer to assertion of identity being utilized as a tool to
25


undermine and challenge frameworks that stand in opposition to marginalized identities;
in this case, Indigenous and Afro-descendant identities.
Afro-descendant Rights & Land Tenure
According to Greene (2007), Hooker (2008), and Dulitzky (2010), the visibility of
Afro-descendant groups has been increasing in recent years; however, they also argue
that marginalization is still prevalent and a real obstacle for Afro-descendant
communities. Though some estimates assert that Afro-descendant peoples make up 30%
of the Latin American and Caribbean region, they are often rendered invisible and their
struggle for rights is often valued less than those of Indigenous peoples in Latin America
(Greene, 2007; Hooker, 2008). This is an issue even in cases where states actively
recognize Afro-descendant communities as being distinct culturally and socially from the
rest of a states society (Greene, 2007; Hooker, 2008); Hooker (2008) includes a
discussion in their identification of Afro-descendant struggles for rights in Nicaragua.
The conversation occurs between the author, and an Indigenous person of Nicaragua,
during which the Indigenous person suggests that the Demarcation Law does not apply to
the Afro-descendant peoples, and that they do not have rights to collective property title.
However, the law does in fact recognize Afro-descendant peoples as having a right to
communal land tenure. Though explanations and theories differ, this knowledge gap may
connect with Arrizas (2012) assertion that recognition of land tenure autonomy can
cause contention between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in multiethnic
states. Often, groups that experience similar forms of oppression, but have distinct
histories and cultures, sense a need to compete for rights, complicating any ability to
collaborate.
26


Such notions of difference between Indigeneity and Afro-descendant identities
can result in difficulty to mobilize Afro-descendant rights due to their narratives and
experiences being perceived as less than, inauthentic, fragments, or overly comparable
to the rest of society (Greene, 2007; Hooker, 2008). Additionally, intersections of race
and culture are often ignored in conversations arguing against, or at least not in favor of,
Afro-descendant rights; Afro-descendant peoples are understood strictly by their race,
while Indigenous people are interpreted on the basis of their ethnicity and culture
(Greene, 2007; Hooker, 2008). Further difference on an institutional level comes from the
fact that there has been, in most of Latin America, formal recognition of Indigenous
identity, while Afro-descendant identities generally are not recognized by the state.
Additionally, Indigenous communities are often able to appeal to UNDRIP, ILO 169, and
in some cases, to state policy and Constitutions to support their interests and territories
(Benavides, 2012; Gilio-Whitaker, 2015; Puig, 2010; Reed, 2006; Larson et al,. 2015), a
tool not yet available for the majority of Afro-descendant peoples in the region. Hooker
(2008) and Greene (2007), however, acknowledge that recognition by Latin American
states does not necessitate either groups protection from racism, marginalization, or
oppression; Benavides (2012) refers to these gap between de facto and de jure rights as
the myth of rights (p. 62), challenging the assumption that a change in policy will result
in substantive change and respect for communities to whom rights have been allotted. I
argue that acknowledging this supposed myth of rights can create space for diverse
groups to work together for similar goals.
Similar experiences of oppression and status in Latin America can be found
between Indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples; with this in mind, contention is not a
27


universal, constant state between these groups. There are instances in which Afro-
descendant communities are understood to be comparable to Indigenous peoples,
conditionally similar, as well as irreconcilably distinct (Greene, 2007; Hooker, 2008).
Arguments for correspondence or connection between Indigenous peoples and Afro-
descendants are diverse. These include asserting a fixed identity on surviving and
resisting slavery (Greene, 2007; Hooker, 2008), indigeniz[ing] Africaness to the
Americas (Greene, 2007 p. 343) (communal rights being obligatory and/or reparations
in response to Latin American history of slavery, racism, exclusion, economic
oppression, and discrimination of Afro-descendant peoples (Greene, 2007; Hooker,
2008)). Due to my inexperience with the movement for Afro-descendant rights, I felt it
important to include these tactical approaches to establishing a foundation by which they
can be recognized and become agents within their traditional lands; however, I recognize
the complexity and potential interpretations of drawing parallels with dissimilar
experiences. As the territory, law, and policy relevant to my study specifically address
Afro-descendant communities, I determined highlighting these pieces as critical to my
study.
Identity construction as it relates to Afro-descendant rights is as disparate as the
varied experiences, cultures, and territories upon which their identities depend. Some will
argue that Afro-descendant sense of place precedes the creation of modern states, as do
Indigenous peoples (Greene, 2007; Hooker, 2008). Comparison of Afro-descendants to
Indigenous peoples often operates on assumption that Afro-descendants are distinct
groups of people that have, do and will continue to exist ethnically and culturally in
distinction from the rest of citizens in their respective states. However, Afro-descendant
28


communities often remain subjugated and are placed beneath Indigenous peoples
(Greene, 2007; Hooker, 2008). Similarly, others assert the importance of biodiversity
politics (Greene, 2007, p. 344) to Afro-descendant peoples, which create and often
mirror Indigenous claims of a cultural relation to traditional lands and nature. Further,
others point to the fact that Afro-descendant peoples have distinct languages, cultures,
and territories (Greene, 2007, p. 345). More formally, the Inter-American Court of
Human Rights (IACHR) has begun to recognize Afro-descendant groups as tribal
communities (Dulizky, 2010) due to relationships with territories tied to cultural
traditions; acknowledgement of these relationships are utilized to establish rights to
collective property (Fenelon & Hall, 2008). Dulizky (2010) states that this approach has
been initiated by the IACHR in the last 10-15 years by including Afro-descendants in the
doctrine of distinct connection to land. Ultimately, the Court argues that both
Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities are in possession of social, cultural, and
economic characteristics that are different from the rest of the society, particularly a
special relationship with their ancestral territories and full or partial self-regulation of the
group through its own norms, customs, and traditions (Dulizky, 2010, p. 5-6).
Accordingly, both Indigenous and Afro-descendant groups physical and cultural
survivals are intimately connected to land and resource access, which often results in
demarcation/titling (Hooker, 2008; Dulizky, 2010).
However, though progress has been made, Afro-descendant rights remain, almost
throughout all of Latin America, second to Indigenous rights. Efforts to draw parallels
between Afro-descendant and Indigenous experience continue, and, as a result, both
groups tend to make use of similar tactics and resources to bolster resistance and
29


protection of their traditional lands; an avenue of particular interest is that of discourse
analysis.
Resistance Tactics and Afro/Indigenous Uses
As is the case with movements and efforts focused on gaining and protecting
rights, tactical approaches vary, and may include any combination of marches, land
occupation, education, using law/policy to support goals, discourse, and armed resistance
(Benavides, 2012; Fenelon & Hall, 2008; Vanden, 2007; West, 2013). As this study
focuses on discourse, I will be concentrating on its use as a tool to promote and
strengthen resistance. Polletta (2006) argues that narrative forms of discourse are central
to mobilization and coalition building within resistance, and state governing bodies are
becoming increasingly aware of the role narratives play in resistance (Fairbairn, 2015).
Specifically, they can be used to create shared identities for recruitment and resonance, in
terms of a position of victimhood and/or empowerment, to establish rhetorical patterns,
humanize and associate emotion with the position of the creators of discourse, interrogate
causes and/or consequences of power differentials, and more; these components are also
tied to framing (Johnston & Noakes, 2005). Narratives can be inclusive of multiple
elements that might invite coalition building and diverse constituents and/or allies, and
ultimately demonstrate experiences of the complex interactions between culture and
states/institutions.
Androutsopoulos (2012) and Beard (2010) argue that discourse and narrative do
not need to be established uniquely by way of spoken or written communication, but also
create space for communication through film and visual media. Avoiding limiting studies
to language and rhetoric enables visual communication to play a role in reinforcing or
30


further complicating discourse to which film and media relate. As Polletta (2006) states,
narrative can also be utilized to produce moral shock (p. 19), which can be fortified by
use of visual integration of discourse. Further, Warren and Jackson (2007) argue that
Indigenous peoples have become increasingly skilled in leveraging mass media,
television, documentaries and the internet to create awareness, present their work for self-
determination, as well as highlight culture and activism within their respective
communities, establishing film and media as an integral resource to be included in
discourse analysis. These pieces establish agency that is often striped of Indigenous
peoples by even well-intentioned anthropologists and scholars (Warren & Jackson, 2007),
as well as acknowledging how media is either used to frame or reframe concerns of
collective resistance (Gilio-Whitaker, 2015; Johnston & Noakes, 2005). Due to this
concern, I elected to strictly highlight Rama and Kriol voices, rather than incorporating
discourse written and produced by the media.
Framing and discourse can also be utilized to combine frames employed by other
forms of resistance (Rothman & Oliver, 2002). For example, there exists the common
assumption that communal land tenure inherently relates to security and environmental
protection (Arraiza, 2012; Gilio-Whitaker, 2015). Similarly, Colombo (2014) adds that
there is a problematic conflation between environmental protections and economic
interest discourses; from an Indigenous, and arguably Afro-descendant perspective, these
two separate discourses are irreconcilable. Due to the fact that global lands and resources,
within Afro/Indigenous territories or otherwise, are facing threats around the globe,
discourse advocating for environmental protections are often utilized by both Indigenous
and Afro-descendant peoples (Colombo, 2014; Fenelon & Hall, 2008; Rothman & Oliver,
31


2002). Additional, both promote alternative life styles that are more sustainable, creating
space in which they can complement and mutually benefit one another (West, 2013).
Frame linking, often carried out with an end of coalition building, is a powerful tool in
resistance, as it expands resources, constituency, and creates networks to distribute
information for assistance and/or solidarity for greater success for those in resistance
(Fenelon & Hall, 2008; Johnston, 2011; Puig, 2010; Rothman & Oliver, 2002). Puig
(2010) also highlights how Indigenous movements often link territorial rights, self-rule,
and legal prerogative to self-determination. Such tactics can be utilized to create political
opportunity in structures that may otherwise not have been available, which is significant
as resistance efforts are constrained by formal political structures (Giugni, 2002; Lewis,
2002; Puig, 2010; Vanden, 2007). Giugni (2002), Vanden (2007), and West (2013) argue
that this becomes an increasingly accessible tactic, as globalization intensifies
interconnectivity amongst social movements at the local, national, and transnational
levels; with tools such as internet, social media, and mass media now at the disposal of
resistors and participants of social movements, alliance creates more platforms and
avenues by which potential allies and sympathizers may be identified.
Conclusion
With this greater understanding of Indigenous and Afro-descendant rights,
discourse analysis, and resistance, I analyze the situation of the Indigenous Rama and
Afro-descendant Kriol peoples of Nicaragua, and specifically their resistance to the
megacanal the Nicaraguan state contracted with HKND. Though resistance tactics vary, I
will be focusing on discourse captured by film, government press releases, and news
32


articles that are centered on and capture Rama and Kriol voices responding to the canal.
In the following chapter I will describe the methods that I made use of for my analysis.
33


CHAPTER IV
FINDINGS & ANALYSIS
Before entering into my analysis, I want to point out some general findings that came
out of my initial review of sources that help lay the groundwork for understanding
arguments that I address in my analysis narrative. First, I found that Spanish was the
language primarily used when audiences were Mestizo, HKND, or the Nicaragua state.
This was most commonly seen in press releases from the Rama-Kriol Territorial
Government (GTR-K) and/or news sources based in Nicaragua, which could be attributed
to the fact that Spanish is the most widely-spoke language in the state. However, I argue
that this may be instead an indication of their target audience, often monolingual Spanish
speakers, or bilingual Chinese and Spanish speakers. Though Spanish is spoken on the
Miskito Coast, both the Rama and Kriol people speak it as a second language. Further,
GTR-K officials address the Nicaraguan state with language centered on international
(e.g., ILO 169, UNDRIP, etc.), national, and local law and policy that defends their
sovereignty as Indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples; this primarily includes the
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the
Demarcation Law (which establishes Indigenous and Afro-Descendant title to traditional
territories), and the Autonomy Law (Article 28 of the Nicaraguan Constitution).
GTR-K officials typically point to the fact that the Demarcation Law establishes the
right to self-governance and the right of Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities to
determine how resources and land within their territories can be utilized. Further, they
point out the fact that the Demarcation Law clearly states that Indigenous and/or Afro-
descendant titled lands cannot be sold or rented. Accordingly, the Gran Canal is in direct
34


violation of the Demarcation Law. Finally, UNDRIP is utilized as a reminder that
declaration signatories, which Nicaragua signed in 2010, should conduct consultation
with Indigenous peoples to establish free, prior and informed consent (GTR-K, Feb. 7,
2013). A recurrent theme in discourse dispersed between June of 2013 (when Ley 840
established concessions to HKND for canal construction) and December 2015
consistently denotes that consultation has not taken place. This issue is raised not only by
GTR-K, but community members, news outlets, and in short films included in my
analysis. Government officials address the state with language centered on international,
national, and local legislation that defends their sovereignty as Indigenous and Afro-
descendant peoples. Rhetoric aimed at state audiences occasionally visible in news
articles includes in my analysis, as well as some of the short films. However, this
language is leveraged specifically by GTR-K, and often directed candidly to the President
of the Republic, Daniel Ortega. With this in mind, I argue that their goal is to reinforce
their self-determination and autonomy granted by the Nicaraguan Constitution, as it is a
government-to-government interaction.
All but one of the twenty-six sources I analyze are in agreement that the government
has not met, or in some cases has not even attempted to meet, the aforementioned
standards for state governments working with Indigenous communities with established
land titles and overtly stated rights. Interestingly, this conflict of opinion, or arguably,
disagreement of facts surrounding the megacanal and the Rama and Kriol communities
resistance efforts, comes from the GTR-K itself, which in theory should be representing
their constituents concerns connected to the project. GTR-Ks president, Hector Thomas
McRea, created a press release on January 10, 2016 claiming that the Nicaraguan state
35


government had successfully negotiated GTR-Ks consent to the project, arguing that
various allies that have been providing support to the resistance movement do not
represent GTR-K and further that they actively are representing interests that are counter
to the Rama and Kriol communities interests.
After January 10, 2016, discourse shifts around the issue of consent due to meetings
with GTR-K and the regional government regarding the megacanal. During these
meetings, the representatives present from GTR-K were asked to sign documents, the
majority of whom allege that they were told by the regional government representatives
that they were simply stating an agreement to continue negotiating the canal. However,
once GTR-K received official meeting minutes, the first item stated that GTR-K had
confirmed that a consultation had taken place during the meeting, and that they signed
documents stating they had given free, prior and informed consent. Though several press
releases and news articles echo this sentiment, there exists one unique contradiction to
these claims. Hector Thomas McRea, GTR-K president, wrote a press release (of his own
volition, according to GTR-K members who are suing the representatives that they claim
coerced their signatures (Alvarez 1/10/16, Alvarez 1/11/16) stating that GTR-K has been
sufficiently consulted, and that consent to the canal has been granted. Government
officials address the state with language centered on international, national, and local
legislation that defends their sovereignty as Indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples.
Several sources state that this press release does not represent the communitys or
GTR-K members interests. However, discourse utilized by Thomas mirrors other GTR-
K press releases that rely upon legal grounding for the claim that consent has been
granted as required by the Rama and Kriol people. Interestingly, Thomas cites the same
36


legislative and regulative policies utilized by the voices in resistance to the canal to
demonstrate the Nicaraguan states honoring of rights granted to the Rama and Kriol
peoples. Both sides (pro- and anti-canal) rely upon rhetoric associated with rights of self-
determination, though anti-canal voices from GTR-K also utilize claims of violation of
human rights. Additionally, terms such as Buena Fe (good faith) (Moncada, 2016), are
used as characteristics for the interaction with the government, but Thomas states that the
government has successfully acted in good faith, while other GTR-K representatives
adamantly refute this claim. Similarly, all other mentions of CALPI {El Centro de
Asistencia Legal a Pueblos Indigenas) are positive in nature, and seem to be
representative of collaborative assertions and concerns of the Rama and Kriol peoples.
However, Thomas argues that CALPI does not reflect the desires or interests of the Rama
and Kriol communities, in spite of the fact that statement issued by CALPI and its
representatives echo all other discourse from both Rama and Kriol voices elsewhere. This
is likely a tactic to call CALPIs efforts into question so they can be dismissed and
ignored by not only the Nicaraguan state, but potentially allies at the international level.
The short films included in the study depict community and government members
(both Kriol and Rama) in their communities doing traditional activities (e.g., fishing,
farming, etc.), speaking Afro-descendant Creole, Rama Creole and/or Rama, and often
include English subtitles. This leads me to believe that these documentaries are intended
to function as consciousness raising tools, primarily for audiences outside of Nicaragua.
It is highly probable that these films targeting of audiences of English speakers outside
the state boundaries, as well as utilizing discourse that is often victim-centered and
presents the community members as passive agents being harmed and exploited by the
37


Nicaraguan state, is intentional. This increases access to international allies and
organizations that could mobilize around the Rama and Kriol cause, and be motivated to
act due to the empathy and exposition of suffering and threat portrayed in the films.
Voices are varied in the short films included in this study, from community members,
grandparents, pastors, government representatives, radio hosts, etc. I would argue that the
selection of these voices is critical to substantiate the claim that the Rama and Kriol
oppose the government as collectives, not individuals. Further, this may contribute to
mobilization of non-community members that identify similarly, or as Fairbairn (2015)
says, coalition building (e.g., grandparents outside of Nicaragua may empathize with the
fears of how a project might impact their descendants).
Figure 3: Rama Indian harvesting food from traditional lands thttps://www.facebook.com/Calpi-Centro-de-Asistencia-
Legal-a-Pueblos-Ind%C3%ADgenas-157327680951910/?fref=tst
As I move into my analysis of the discourse and beyond these arguably less nuanced
findings, I break the discussion of my interpretation of discourse of these sources into the
following broader categories: discourse that reinforces Indigenous and/or Afro-
descendant identity, and discourse that invites coalition building, and therefore makes use
of less culturally rooted rhetoric. I consider both of these categories to be mobilizing in
38


nature, though they differ based on who they hope to engage and/or invite into their
struggle. After I have fleshed out these particular findings, I move on to investigate the
outlier produced by Hector Thomas McRea.
Afro/Indigenous Identity-Rooted Discourse
Figure 4: Cover Photo for Cultural Survival (2016) Article Rama community meeting discussing how to respond
to HKND and the threat they face communally.
Though there is a significant amount of overlap between both discourse that
asserts or reflects Afro/Indigenous identity and coalition discourse that I have identified
in my analysis, I draw this distinction to clarify and create space in which depth and
intersections of the various forms of discourse I identify within Rama and Kriol
resistance to the megacanal can be firmly established. With that being said, I argue
tactical discourse utilized by the Rama and Kriol voices captured in my data primarily are
enacted to undercut and call into question the validity of the Nicaraguan states
collaboration with HKND. This discourse specifically draws out and problematizes the
39


fact that the national government has begun to value neoliberalism over its own citizens,
constitution, and policies (Cultural Survival, 2016).
A powerful strategy I identified within the context of rhetoric framed within
Afro/Indigenous identity incorporates resistance as central to Afro/Indigenous identity.
Santiago Thomas, who sits on the GTR-K Council, says that Human rights have been
violated... .We are not going to allow our people to be taken down this way (Fendt,
2016). In contrast to victim discourse, assertive discourse creates and holds space for
Indigenous and Afro-descendant voices. Somehow, a balance is struck by the joining
polarized discourse to appeal to various audiences. For those moved by the thickness of
emotional pleas for assistance to survive oppression, rhetoric centered in victimhood;
those who find themselves unshaken by sentiment may instead be reached by appeals to
declarations, identification of criminal behavior, or even basic logic to be interested in
challenging state and corporate actors in solidarity with Indigenous and Afro-descendant
discourse.
As is the case with many social movements, the articles that are written from the
perspective of, or include voices from, the Rama and Kriol communities show images of
resistance, such as graffiti stating NO AL CANAL, and images of police confronting
protestors. Such images are likely meant to evoke emotions of their audience that show
the commitment of the Kriol and Rama people to challenging the canal in the face of
repression by the Nicaraguan state. These images reinforce the staunch discourse asserted
against the canal. Ronald McCrea, a Rama farmer, says, we dont know the idea what
them have. Them come saying the canal coming, if we accept or we not accept it. Like so
them come. We tell them, No, we not accept. Not accept it (Peterson, 2015).
40


Essentially, the take away is that the lack of information does not play a role in his
opinion of the megacanal, as the information is not necessary to establish firm opposition
to it.
Narratives of strength and resilience make use of metaphors that would likely achieve
a captivated audience. The use of metaphor by the Rama and Kriol people communicate
indigeneity, genuine or otherwise, while simultaneously utilizing rhetoric that is
accessible to non-Indigenous peoples. This is illustrated by Carlos Wilson, President of
Bangkukuk Taik, as he discusses the resilience the Rama history in their territory
communicates. He says, here we pass many things. We pass the war, we pass the
hurricane. Many things we pass here. And the government didnt help us. Now he want to
come and destroy us, (Kilpatrick, 4/9/15). Essentially, Wilson is demonstrating the
identity of resistance produced over time by what the Rama people have overcome while
their peoples call their territory home. He continues by saying, It have me worried what
41


the government trying to do to us, to Indian, Rama people. He adds, For me my idea
Im going to fight it till the last as president, (Kilpatrick, 2015). This exemplifies and
supports the determination of the Rama people to weather storms of both natural and
political proportions.
Rhetoric of contentious ends is seen throughout sources, and most often in the form
of film; this is significant, as this is also the case for victim-centered discourse. Narratives
that suggest community members will give everything, nothing short of their lives, to
protect their traditional place. Ronald McCrae declares his pledge to battle for protection
of his communitys land. In describing the struggle, he says, We tried, mister, we tried
lots of things. We Rama people, we protect the animals. We hardly cut down woodland.
We not do that... we not give up. Were not giving up till we die, (Johnson, 2015).
Assertive discourse is threaded with terms loaded with absolute commitment to
resistance. In a documentary produced this year by CALPI, one community leader says,
were not fighting against the state, were not fighting against the government. What
were doing is defending our right of a people. And if we need to fight to defend our right
to a people, then fine. Bienvenido. Welcome. Whether terms be more rooted in intent to
aggress or protect, discourse ties to history of resistance, and the objective to continue to
do so.
As was previously discussed, vilifying discourse included association of the
Nicaraguan state and neoliberal market as a literal monster. Wilson says that the Rama
people,
are fighting a big monster. I feel like that big monster cannot just come and take
us out of here. We have the last word about this issue of the canal, because if we
say we want it, they could come. But if we say we dont want it, it cannot come,
42


because the land belongs to the Indian people. And we have the last word,
(Cultural Survival, 2016).
Wilsons approach to assertive discourse allows room for the Rama and Kriol resistance
movement to establish its right to influence how the proceedings connected to the
megacanal will play out. Employing the phrase, we have the last word, I argue moves
out of victim discourse to creating a perception of the movement as agency-driven and
robust; this tactic is also incorporated into Gregory Ortiz Hodgsons discourse connected
to resistance. He states that, they have to comply with what we say. Maybe the
government going to make promise, and not comply, (Johnson 2015). This statement
exemplifies how both villainizing the state manages to provide a platform upon which
harsh rhetoric can be softened and more accessible to an audience. Santiago Thomas
aligns his use of assertive discourse to demonstrate the united force that will be exacted
to achieve justice for the Rama and Kriol peoples. He says that, human rights have been
violated. Moreover, We are not going to allow our people to be taken down this way,
(Fendt 2016). Just as communal rights are asserted, Thomas enriches the assertion of
rights by speaking to the communal resistance that challenges the canal. In a way,
assertion combines various tactical discourse methods to integrate resistance alongside
historical, cultural, and social understandings of indigeneity. The coupling of identity
with resistance is found throughout several of the sources I analyzed, but perhaps most
beautifully articulated in PrettyGoodProductions 2014 film, This Land is for All of We: A
Small Rama Community in Bangkukuk, Nicaragua, Speaks out about the Grand Canal
Project, in which a community member says:
Free determination mean to say I want to be an Indian. I no want to be in a town
with open end pipe. I like to go hunt. Thats my free determination as an Indian. I
want to be so let me. I dont want to change. You tell the world [speaking to
43


audience]. You explain to the world and express as a group, ethnical group of
Rama (PrettyGoodProductions, 2014).
As is articulated by the speaker, Rama identity and self-determination are intimately
connected to their territory and natural resources; due to the value and commitment of the
speaker to retain their cultural identity, that assert their identity as a source of strength
and motivation for resistance.
Another powerful technique of incorporating identity into resistance discourse
brings in the importance of place when it comes to Afro/Indigenous language, culture and
identity. Focusing on discourse laced with identity and the role land plays in the Afro-
descendant and Indigenous cultures, as well as Indigenous and Afro-descendant speakers,
regardless of the platform, stress that their connection to their territory is beyond access
to financial income or resource exploitation. The fact that place is integral to the
persistence of the cultural survival of these peoples stands in direct opposition to
environmental development discourse that marries the rhetoric of sustainability with
economic interest; the coupling of these is irreconcilable for the Afro-descendant and
Indigenous peoples, as financial compensation cannot mitigate the destruction of culture
and identity. Gregory Ortiz Hodgson, Bangkukuk Taiks Vice-President, declares that he:
wouldnt want them give me nothing 4 million, nothing 5 thousand million dollars
for my place and move me, no. If you want move me from my place and if you
really want to use my place, you have to come under my agreement, what I say. I
would want my agreement, what I going to be make with them have to be not
overseen by national people (Peterson, 2015).
Ortiz asserts an intrinsic value of the land that is unique to the communities, coupling
with the fact that the taking of Indigenous land is in direct violation of international,
national, and local policies. Coupling these approaches is critical to cultivating discourse
that likely is more accessible to more audiences and could generate more ally support.
44


This is reinforced by government representatives refusing the bribe of $1 million to
support the canal. Additionally, concern expressed for the lands that will be impacted by
the canal speak to the valuation of land, not the impacts that will solely be felt by the
community. This discourse may draw attention of environmentalists to ally with the
Rama and Kriol against the canal moving forward. Wealth is instead measured by the
earth from which the people rose; according to Jose Luis Castillo, we may look poor but
we are rich. If you want to have a coconut, there is the tree. If you want to have
breadfruit, the tree is right there. The orange tree is here (Johnson, 2015). Again, interest
in economic gains does not outweigh or replace traditional foods and Rama lifeways
intimately tied to their land.
Referring to the long history of living in the place and the role of time and
memory that constructs a sense and understanding of the deeper connection to the land
Rama and Kriol people associate with their territories. This rhetoric also serves to support
and strengthen the discourse that these communities as a collective are in resistance to the
canal project, coupled with the use of language expressing Indigenous values (e.g., living
by earth/water, rejection of the value of money, value of cultural identity and traditional
lifeways, etc.). This contrasts with appeals to legislation that oscillates between assertions
of communal and human rights; legal critiques of the canal tend to rely on individualized
discourse of rights, as this is often the conception most easily understood and protected
within non-Indigenous justice systems. However, legal approaches do refer to stipulations
within UNDRIP, the Nicaraguan constitution, etc. that provide communal
rights/protections.
45


Some Rama discourse argues that the Rama people are unable to live in a system
that requires money to sustain themselves. Introducing discourses that pose Rama and
neoliberal lifeways as irreconcilable is powerful. This tactic speaks to the incomparability
of Indigenous ways of life with Mestizo/Western modes of being. Further, this
strengthens and contributes to the narrative of risk to cultural integrity should the Rama
or Kriol communities be removed from traditional lands; separation from traditional
territory runs the risk of the Rama becoming dependent upon the state, as they would not
be able to support themselves, losing their ability to access traditional foods as has been
described above. There are instances in which Rama speakers acknowledge the
relationship that Kriol people have with the Miskito Coast, in spite of not being native to
the area. The historical reality of slavery and forced migration imposed on the Afro-
descendant community is acknowledged, but their ties to the land are typically based on
the amount of time they have spent in the area.
The role of land based identities also ties into rhetoric that points to the risk of what
would be lost should the Kriol and Rama communities be displaced by the canal. A Rama
lawyer, Becky McCray, reached out to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
46


to demonstrate and plea that the megacanal would profound impacts on both cultural and
physical survival for the Rama people. She says that if this project gets implemented,
there is a strong possibility that the Rama language spoken in Bankukuk Taik will
disappear as the last people who speak that language get forcibly displaced from their
land (Cultural Survival, 2016). Language is a critical tool to perpetuate the integrity of
culture and relationship to place-based community structures, threatening the Rama
people with the danger of Rama lifeways fracturing and disappearing due to displacement
eliminating the Rama language. A related, evocative, and certainly heavier emotive
discourse getting at this risk is articulated by Edwin McCrea of Bangkukuk Taik. He
says, referring to the canal, that:
it will destroy we. When I mean it destroy we, were not going to get turtle, were
not going to get fish, were not going to get lobster, were not going to get shrimp,
and from the bush were not gonna got deer, were not gonna get gibnut, we not
have no kind of animal if the canal come (Cultural Survival, 2016).
Although McCrea uses language that may not immediately be associated with identity,
and instead may be interpreted as concern to resources critical to Rama survival in their
traditional homes, I argue that McCrea is again combining arguments that are accessible
to a Western, non-Indigenous audience, while also incorporating Indigenous identity. In
other words, McCrea refers to food resources in concert with a claim of the Rama people
being utterly destroyed by the canal. I argue that this is a move incorporating both
Western and Indigenous rhetoric to assert identity. Similar to how identity is often rooted
in traditional lands and sacred sites, McCrea is drawing a comparison of the reliance of
food provided by the biosphere within the Rama-Kriol territory to demonstrate the
holistic ties the Rama people have to their lands.
47


Based on my analysis, I argue that identity and place integrate on the grounds that
the Rama people have called their territory their home, as have their ancestors, since time
immemorial. Castillo gets at this when he says, there are sacred grounds with ancestral
burial sites. There are tombs. Hundreds of years ago, the ancestors lived here (Johnson,
2015). In addition to time and centuries spent on the same acres of their ancestors (though
I do acknowledge that this does not operationalize in the same way for the Rama people
as it does for the Kriol people, due to the fact that Kriol ancestors were brought to the
territory by force in the 16th century), both Rama and Kriol actors express, amor por las
tierras, (love for the land my translation) (Confidential, 2013) which support the
claims of a unique relationship that must be protected to continue on existing as a people.
Newball repeats that the Kriol and Rama people, have a long history on the Coast, and
appeals directly to the President of the Nicaragua republic for protection of this multi-
century relationship (Confidential, 2013).
Resistance Discourse outside Afro/Indigenous Identity
In addition to the aforementioned markers and tools that rely upon identity
politics associated with Rama and Kriol lifeways, I also identified those that likely aim to
include non-Afro/Indigenous peoples in resistance to the megacanal. Not only does this
diversify those in solidarity or sympathetic to the threat these communities face, it also
creates more inclusive spaces in which the perspective of the Rama and Kriol peoples can
be understood. Below I discuss tactics utilized in Rama and Kriol discourse to expand the
conversation beyond identity politics. I interpret the use of non-identity based resistance
discourse as a tool incorporated to demonstrate relevance to those that do not identify as
48


Afro/Indigenous, and ultimately can be a tactic to build coalitions with allies and other
resistance efforts or concerns.
As I previously argued, the barrier between what qualifies as tactical versus
mobilizing discourse is permeable. However, as I show below, mobilizing discourse
adheres more overtly to identity politics, the inherent role that place plays in identity
construction and integrity, and the threat to the very existence of Rama and Kriol people
if the megacanal comes into being. These characteristics of mobilizing discourse are
removed from the legalistic, Western approaches to resistance movements; in other
words, mobilizing discourse in this case appears to be centered more fully on Indigenous
and Afro-descendant identity politics than Western legal and/or ethical frameworks.
Resistance is often most effective in instances in which discourse is used to invite
interest, concern, and solidarity from a variety of actors. With that being said, assertion of
identity within resistance discourse may exclude or leave non-Afro/Indigenous audiences
thinking that the Rama and Kriol battle does not necessarily concern them. Accordingly,
having discourse and frames that utilize varied collections of rhetoric, there tends to be an
increase of awareness, comradery, and collaboration from a wider population outside
those immediately impacted by or connected to an issue. Below I detail the various
instances in which I identify what I consider to be discourse with the aim not of identity
assertion to invite community members to participate in resistance, but instead to invite
international actors and concerned others that may relate to the below discursive
approaches.
Additionally, positioning the Rama and Kriol communities as victims serves the
purpose of mobilizing allies empathetic to the position of people with identities that allies
49


may not share. Use of language connected to survival asserts the seriousness of the
position in which the Rama and Kriol peoples find themselves situated. Not only that, the
establishment of the Indigenous and Afro-descendant group as being exploited by a
multibillion dollar corporation teamed with a state government motivates emotional
responses to the urgency of the resistance to the canal. Interactions with the government
at times have a tone of the Rama and Kriol peoples being prisoners without agency or
power; for example, statements made regarding the early January meetings in which
allegations were made that signatures were coerced by the government. For example,
accusatory rhetoric such as, nos tenian ahi encerrados (they had us locked up; my
translation) (Alvarez 1/11/2016), in addition to claims that meternos a una instalacidn
del gobierno para ellos poder mantenarnos en ahi, (they threw us in a government
facility so that they could keep us there; my translation) (Alvarez, 1/11/2016). This
creates space in which their audiences can identify with their plight, and also become
critical of the Nicaraguan states actions.
References directing attention to the fact that police have been present at
government meetings builds the foundation for perception of the Rama and Kriol people
as being wrongful prisoners and thus impressions of victims of forces against which there
can be no fair fight. Some victim discourse connects the fact that illegal actions have and
continue to be engaged to victimize the Rama and Kriol communities; Edwin McCrae
speaks of this victimization as a history of rights violations. He says, were tired of
telling them.. .We tell, no, cant come in. But they still cornin in. We tell them, no dont
come in because its the Rama territory, (Johnson, 2015). The Rama and Kriol have
been battling for their territorial rights since Mesoamerica began to be colonized. The
50


oppression continues to be a multi-front effort; currently, in additional to the canal, the
Indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples are experiencing invasions into their territory,
resources being stolen from their titled lands, and the destruction of the Indigenous voice
in the regional government. Diego Castillo captures the lack of agency commonly
associated with victim discourse when he says, there is no way to resist the mestizos,
(Liedel).
Legisladora Nancy Henriquez of the Indigenous rights group YATAMA stated
that elproyecto no ha sido consultado con nosotros y nos quieren quitar nuestras tierras
por un desarrollo que nunca nos llegara (we have not been consulted about the project,
and they want to take our lands for development that will never come to us; my
translation) (XINHUA Espahol, 2016). Addressing the preoccupation that the promises of
advantages to be gained to entice support of the canal may be unavailable to the Rama
and Kriol people. This stand point reinforces that the potential victimhood that has been
developed by Rama and Kriol resisters is obligatory, as they face loss and disadvantage
should the canal be constructed.
Victim discourse dominated the films I analyzed and contextualized leaders and
community members in the areas that would be viewed as pristine or untouched nature. I
interpret this portrayal to be a tactic leveraged to fortify Rama and Kriol victimhood, as
this conveys an inability to survive in modern settings as they themselves belong in
what would be considered undeveloped. A Rama woman, Alisia, shares her attachment
to these settings, and the endless worry of what her life would be like should the Rama be
displaced by the canal. She asks, where we going? We no wanna come out. We no
wanna come out. We no wanna come out. We wanna stay here. We no wanna come out. I
51


dont want to come out. If I come out Im going to fret. If I go somewhere else Im going
to fret. Because I only used to here. I dont know what were doing. I dont know what
were doing, (PrettyGoodProductions, 2014). Her repetition of phrases like we no
wanna come out mark a quality of panic and extreme uncertainty caused by the
unknowns driven by the megacanal. Another approach is discussing emotional and
survival connections to the territories threatened by the canal, then pairing these
attachments with the enormous scale of loss that the 172.7 mile long, 754.6 to 1,706 foot
wide, and 90.6 foot deep canal would equate the Kriol and Rama community. Another
community member, Lena, says
yes, I love to live here in this place... we get them things good. I grow here, I
born here. I come and I have my kids them here. But when that canal come, it
gonna affect the whole place. Where I gonna live with my kids them when that
coming? Because its going to destroy the place. And when it destroy the place it
gonna effect all of us, what here. And I dont like to hear that. And then I cant
live like how I live first. I need to got my garden, to plant, to have my kids them. I
no like hear that what coming because then afterward my kids them gonna suffer
when them turn a big young men. A big young woman. Where them gonna live if
that come in this place here? Nowhere where they can live
(PrettyGoodProductions, 2014).
Lena gets at what the canal would mean for herself, and the separation from the territory
from which all of her ancestors and all of her descendants lived, and, hopefully, will live.
It gets at the fear of displacement and the subsequent alienation from the land. Jimmy, a
Rama Indian, reiterates Lenas anxieties as he asks similar questions, and follows with
thinking of what will happen if the Rama go new place. We no used to that life. We used
to here. We just watching to see what take place now. Thats why we asking for help.
Somebody help we with this place.
A form of victim discourse that stands out is that of the dehumanizing effect that
the lack of respect granted to the Rama and Kriol peoples generates. Carlos Wilson states
52


at a community meeting that, the canal.. .1 dont agree with the canal. I think about my
home, my people them. We come up and they throw away like an animal. Wes people.
All of us is just people. Just different nation. That canal, I dont agree on it
(PrettyGoodProductions, 2014). Without protection of rights set forth by international
and national policy, and further actions devoid of recognition of the Rama and Kriol
peoples value, community members are led to feel less than human. Jimmy concurs with
Wilson, saying that, the government look like it no respect we. They give we our right,
and when they done now they say send in these Chinese people them without investigate
the community and say what them was to do. They come in and just, like the place is for
them (PrettyGoodProductions, 2014). The fact that the invasion erases or makes
community members invisible, and their rights are forgotten and disregarded by HKND
and the Nicaraguan state. Due to the severity of the marginalization, explicit requests are
made for assistance. Ronald McCrea states that the, government no want help we.
Wanna give away we land, the government is doing that, and we not agree to that. Feel
bad. Where... we need a help, (Peterson, 2015). Not only does McCrea request help
from allies, but further points to the distrust rooted in centuries of marginalization,
broken treaties, and a predominantly adversarial relationship with the state government.
In an effort to bolster rhetoric of victimhood, use of language that vilifies both the
Nicaraguan state and HKND also invites concern for non-Afro/Indigenous peoples or
resistance efforts. Discourse pointing out the transgressions of the Nicaraguan state and
HKND focus primarily on rhetoric that carries tones of moral implications for those
actions. Incorporating ethical judgments of transgressions generates sympathy for the
situation the Rama and Kriol peoples face regarding the canal, describing their actions
53


with terms like ilegales and opresivas (GTR-K 2/5/16). This operates as positioning of
HKND and Nicaraguan government as deceitful, corrupt, and deceptive. For example,
Ronald McCreas narrative about HKND representatives installing a marker in
Bangkukuk, claiming that it is present simply to measure distance from that point to
Managua, when it in fact was to mark the canal route (Peterson, 2015). Distrust is also
expressed by Rama and Kriol community members questioning claims of beneficence
made by HKND and the Nicaraguan state that supposedly should result in benefits for the
communities that are being displaced. However, Rama and Kriol peoples likely do not
have skills necessary to receive employment connected to the canal, meaning that they
instead risk food and water insecurity, displacement, and loss for their communities
lifeways (Grupo Cocibolca, 2014). Such discourse serves to create perceptions of the
Nicaraguan government and HKND as heartless perpetrators and ruthless actors, which in
turn situates the Rama and Kriol communities as victims, or at the very least, passive
actors. This reinforces the call for additional support and protection by the international
community.
Further, visuals and discourse connected to Chinese representatives of HKND that
have interacted with the communities stress them as threats, outsiders, and often position
them as colonizers (and/or literal monsters seeking to displace them for their own benefit,
Chinese being something from which God must protect their communities). For example,
references are made to the Chinese coming in with security details, entering without
permission, as well as discussion of how some community members believed they had
been overtly or intentionally misled by HKND officials. This evokes sympathy for the
Rama and Kriol struggle, while also villainizing and developing an animosity between
54


viewers/readers and HKND/the Nicaraguan state. Also, discourse is stressing that there is
a lack of transparency/information provided to the people; instances of this include the
fact that communities/government representatives are not told where they would be
moved to, what the risks are for the new territory, and that the Nicaraguan state has
actively blocked the dissemination/explanation of the EIS that was done.
Further, the fact that GTR-K was prevented from having a lawyer present during
negotiations related to the canal reinforces concerns raised by discourse that the
Nicaraguan government/HKND is working to exploit the Rama and Kriol people.
Additionally, the arguments being made against the canal at times seem to appeal to the
fact that it is unclear how the canal will impact them and their lands (due to the failure of
HKND and the Nicaraguan state to consult as is required by law), though that there could
be some flexibility if there were clear benefits to the canal. I would argue this is likely to
demonstrate that Indigenous people are not actors of the past, are not anti-development,
but rather are committed to the continuation of their communities in a way that aligns
with important identity and lifeways that continue their existence as a people. Also, this
same piece is shown through discourse connecting to a desire for negotiation for the
project.
Narratives provided by community members strongly convey emotions of fear
and helplessness that add to the discourse that establishes the morally questionable
impacts on the Rama and Kriol people that are faced by the canal. The president of
Monkey Point illustrates this well in reference to the coercion for signatures when he says
[tjhey did not allow us to use a legal counselor to review the document in
question, and during the three days, they just kept us enclosed, and today (January
10) they even brought policemen to watch the door and keep anyone from
entering or exiting the building. They also took us from the territorial government
55


building and placed us in a national government building to be able to control us
(Kilpatrick, 1/12/16).
This descriptive process is significant because it demonstrates the level of coercion the
Nicaraguan government is willing to exercise to achieve its interests. Additionally, the
power of narrative accentuates the personal and communal experiences of the threat of
the canal, which result in the audience or reader having compassion for the Rama and
Kriol interests, while feeling resentment for the Nicaraguan government. For example,
Mr. Smith, a Kriol community leader, states that:
[The Kriol] government has not had the will to respect the rights of its people and
in this case, were talking about the Afro-descendant people of Bluefields. And, I
can only talk right now about the Afro-descendant people here, and were going
through a very difficult situation. We are being denied our right our right to have
our land. Were being denied our right to justice, (CALPI, 2016).
The use of arguments rooted in injustice and alleging that the Nicaraguan governments
collaboration with HKND leaves readers with distaste for the coercion and exploitation of
the Kriol people. These narratives can move from claims of threat to the community, to
attempts to eliminate them all together. George Henriquez of the Afro-Descendants Civil
Rights Movement argues that them decide over the communal governments thats
what the state started to do. Them create parallel communal government as a strategy to
destroy the claim that we do (CALPI, 2016). These sorts of narratives operate on a
continuum of how threatening and/or repressive the states instatement of Ley 840 are
experienced by the Rama and Kriol people. Some carry tones of concern of what the
future holds, like Carlos Wilson Billis,and are worried what the government trying to do
to us, to Indian, Rama people, (Kilpatrick 4/9/15). Others are feeling as though they are
actively being attacked by the Nicaraguan state, like Dolene Miller, who serves on the
Creole Communal Government of Bluefields. She stated that she believes that the state is
56


embodying an attack contra los derechos humanos del pueblo ajrodescendiente. Y es un
ataque que esta viniendo de los sectores politicos. Es un ataque que en alguna manera ha
intentado de parar al proceso lo que empezd construir o reconstruir de la ley
demarcacion y titulacidn (against the human rights of the Afro-descendant people. And
its an attack thats coming from the political sectors. Its an attack that somehow tried to
stop the process that started to build or rebuild the Demarcation Law and titling process;
my translation) (CALPI, 2016).
Ultimately, both the state and the Chinese HKND actors are viewed within the
same lens. For example, McCrae says that, the Chinese, they come here. Three
times... .They said they were just measuring the tide. Its a lie. We never said nothing,
(Johnson, 2015). There appears to be a significant lack of communication and access to a
situation in which the Rama and Kriol people are in a position in which authentic
negotiation can occur. There are allegations of being ignored (GTR-K, 2/5/16), and
concerns that the state hopes to divide and create conflict among the Rama and Kriol
communities (GTR-K, 1/27/16). Discourse problematizing the state through narrative
allows the perspective of the Kriol and Rama people to impact audiences, and limits
space with which empathy or understanding can develop from the perspective of the
reader or viewer.
The vilification of the Nicaraguan government and HKND also serves as a means
by which their actions can be validated by pointing out the various policies and laws that
are being neglected to make the megacanal a reality. As was previously stated, legal
frameworks drive the majority of discourse leveraged by Rama and Kriol government
leaders. This is a logical discursive move when communicating with the Nicaraguan state
57


and HKND is intended to motivate change in course. Accordingly, both the Nicaraguan
state and HKND purport to be acting within the confines of the law. In reality, as
YATAMA (2013) highlights,
se encuentra con mayor riesgos de gobernanza, en nuestra region del caribe
Norte y del Caribe Sur, porque hay muchas violaciones, limitaciones y obstaculos
de los derechos de los pueblos indigenas, las violaciones de derechos humanosy
laspersecuciones a los lideresy tambien las estructuras comunales que forma no
hay respeto en las comunidades y territorios por parte del gobierno
inconstitucional,
( .. .there is more risk of governance in [the] region of the North Caribbean and
South Caribbean because there are many violations, limitations and obstacles to
the rights of Indigenous peoples, violations of human rights, and persecution of
leaders and also the communal structures that lacks respect in the communities
and territories by the unconstitutional government; my translation).
Essentially, legal discourse highlights criminal activity of the Nicaraguan state, as well as
HKND, and takes a Western tool of control and uses it against its creators that fail to
adhere to their own codes. Steve Martin, from the primarily Kriol Pearl Lagoon, overtly
stated that this form of discourse serves as a weapon against the state in a Confidencial
(2013) interview. He stated that, Law 445 is our machete no longer armed, but fight
with law, referring to both the Rama and Kriol resistance movement.
To exact legal discourse that undermines the Nicaraguan states legitimacy on the
issue of the canal, the Rama and Kriol voices employ democratic language (such as
negociar, autoridad territorial, inconstitucionalidad, consulta, propiedad, derechos
humans, etc. (Alvarez, 12/2015), which avoids being dismissed on grounds that
challenges are being made on the basis of emotion or another form of discourse that is
outside that states ability to engage with or respond. Speaking in terms that the
Nicaraguan state itself committed to, and further terms that international actors and allies
recognize and value being upheld, motivates solidarity with outside actors with the Rama
58


and Kriol struggle. Additionally, legal discourse takes shape in reference to previous
court cases that established Indigenous rights, such as A was Tingni vs. Nicaragua (2003)
that led to the creation of Indigenous land titles, which the Kriol and Rama peoples are
asserting being violated by the megacanal encroaching on their communal territories
(CALPI, 2013). Active resistance to this disregard for of legal obligations, GTR-K
highlights their response to the violation of their rights. In response to the January 8-10,
2016 meeting with the Nicaraguan government and feelings of coercion, GTR-K officials
say
The plaintiffs have protested to the public officials, by means both private and
public, verbal and written, without obtaining satisfactory responses. Because of
this, the plaintiffs do not consider the process conducted up to now to have met
the national and international standards for a free, prior, and informed
consultation, and much less to have reached Consent (GRT-K, 2/7/16).
This is an example of resistance in which the Rama-Kriol Regional Government is
pairing overt rhetoric of resistance (e.g. pointing to various forms of protest) with illegal
actions taken by the state to strengthen their argument for the need of allies in theire
resistance.
Additionally, allegations have been made that the state has been attempting to
coerce Rama and Kriol leaders to comply with the canal and provide consent to move
forward through Indigenous territory. For example, several representatives of GTR-K
allege that the regional government le prometido de forma verbal al GTR-K elpago de
un milldn de ddlarespor ano en concepto de arriendo (... has verbally promised to
pay GTR-K a $1 million annual lease; my translation) (Alvarez 1/11/2016, Kilpatrick
1/12/16). Further, the financial offer to persuade representatives was allegedly coupled
with statements that documents GTR-K representatives were asked to sign were
59


agreements to continue the negotiation process. Later, the documents were discovered to
indicate GTR-Ks collective consent to the megacanal. The representatives that came
forward with a suit against the representatives that they argue misrepresented the
paperwork they were signing state that the act was an act of violation of self-
determination and autonomy (GTR-K, 1/27/16). This was due to the fact that the
representatives did not have access to a lawyer to ensure they fully understood the
implications of the canal, international observers, or fully disclosure of the EIAS report
contents, meaning that the so-called consent was not informed, free, or prior as UNDRIP
states should be the case. Another form of self-government being disrespected was the
case of Carlos Wilson Billis, President of Rama community Bangkukuk Taik, and the
fact that he was forcibly removed from his post and replaced by another individual
purporting to be speaking on behalf of the Rama peoples (GTR-K, 1/27/16). Essentially,
the state government announced the newly named community leader without any due
process.
In light of these allegations, discourse begins to point to the fact that laws and
rights are meaningless without adherence to and protection of them by the Nicaraguan
government. Edwin McCrae, who identifies as a Rama Indian, states that rights on paper
are not enough (Johnson, 2015). Beyond the issue of the megacanal, he points to the fact
that Rama lands are being invaded by Mestizo invasion, primarily by ranchers. This
points to other instances in which Indigenous land title is not being respected. In addition
to the face that de jure rights do not equate to de facto reflection of policy establishing
these rights, Rupert Allan Clair, who sits on the GTR-K Council, states that we dont
want the canal. The procedure the government is using is not the right procedure
60


(Johnson, 2015). This acknowledges in a similar manner that having procedures to seek
consent, as well as to negotiate with Indigenous peoples, does not equate to those
procedures being observed.
Becky McCray, a Rama woman and lawyer, spoke out against the coercion of the
GTR-K representatives for signatures. She alleges that the states omission of material
in consultation with Indigenous Peoples and Afro-descendants denies our relationship to
our lands and our social structures, flagrantly violating our territorial rights, our right to
participation, and our right to self-determination (Cultural Survival, 2016). Santiago
Thomas echoes her sentiment, arguing that they were intimidated in there so they felt
that they had to sign... They felt like they didnt have a choice and were under pressure
with the police around, (Fendt, 2016). These allegations demonstrate that the police are
an over tool of the overreach of the Nicaraguan government, and this focus empowers the
sense that the actors representing the state and HKND may be dangerous in their attempts
to disempower and coerce the Rama and Kriol peoples in spite of their overt legal
protections. This opens space for tactical discourse rooted in victimhood at the hands of
the state partnering with a neoliberal corporation, which enables audiences to identify
with and be concerned with the Indigenous and Afro-descendent struggle.
Another issue that is closely tied to vilification, as well as illegal actions, of the
state and HKND is the failure of both parties to provide adequate information for the
Rama and Kriol communities to fully understand the impact that the canal would have on
their communities, resources, and relationships and identities intimately tied to the land.
The absence of information connected to the project, as well as the fact that disclosure of
the findings within the EIAS remain to be shared, relayed or clarified to the Rama and
61


Kriol peoples itself, is why informed consent cannot be successfully claimed at the time I
am writing this study. It is arguable that the intent that belies this lack of transparency is
to enable coercion efforts or maneuver GTR-K leadership into authorizing the project
without complete knowledge of what their communities would be agreeing. Negotiations
without both parties being well-informed do not meet the standards set forth when a state
is working alongside groups with rights allotted to the Kriol and Rama peoples, which
contributes the readers and audiences abilities to question the integrity guiding
Nicaraguan state and HKND actors. Grupo Cocibolca states that:
HKND GROUPy ERMno realizaron lapresentacion de los resultados de los
estudios de impacto ambiental, socialy cultural, ni tampoco los estudios de
factibilidadfinancier a, economica y comer cial, que nos permitan conocer de
manera clara y transparente los resultados de los estudios anunciados.
( The HKND Group and ERM did not present the results of the environmental,
social, and cultural impact studies, nor the financial, economic, and commercial
studies, that allow us to understand clearly and transparently the studies; my
translation) (Grupo Cocibolca, 2014).
That being said, information beyond the environmental impact (or at the very least, the
potential for impact) was not clearly announced or openly shared with Rama and Kriol
decision makers. This leaves audiences exposed to Kriol and Rama resistance discourse
wondering how consent could be obtained by HKND or the Nicaraguan government
when the aforementioned gaps and knowledge persist.
Bangkukuk Taik President, Carlos Wilson Billis, states that Rama people never
get no kind of information about what taking place, (Kilpatrick, 4/9/15). Further, he
questions of the validity of information that the government or HKND would offer, even
if it did make an effort to include Rama and Kriol peoples in conversations involving
detailed information about the project, and HKND claims that the Rama people will
benefit from the megacanal. Vice-President of Bangkukuk Taik, Gregory Ortiz Hodgson,
62


says it best: We want the government to tell we plain and straight whats going to be
[our] benefit or if we going to be losing. We no want they come with money and we must
go (Johnson, 2015). Ortizs use of the phrase, plain and straight, raises some doubt as
to whether that is something that either HKND or the Nicaraguan state has yet to or
intends to offer accurate, honest information to his people. Other Bangkukuk Taik
community members echo these concerns, and further, genuine apprehension connected
to the project. For example, Henry Albert Presida states that the Rama people dont
know what the canal is. They dont know if its something good or something bad for
them, (Johnson, 2015). From Alberts perspective, there appears to be question of what
a canal itself would look like for the Rama people, much less being aware of impacts,
positive or otherwise, might take shape into.
Pointing to the significant amount of understanding that is not present for GTR-K
leadership, as well as Rama and Kriol community members, ultimately serves to justify
their resistance, as it follows a train of logic that would be employed by most faced with a
decision with such weight. This gives the Rama and Kriol discourse a sense of being not
only reasonable, but the only justifiable option given the lack of information with which
they are confronted. There is even discourse suggesting that community leaders commit
to conducting consciousness raising to combat the fact that community members may be
mis- or uninformed as far as what the megacanal may mean for their communities. I
argue that this approach ties into assertion of autonomy by consciously creating identity
and history (West, 2013). President Clair of Monkey Point stated that as recently as
January of this year, GTR-K need[s] to move quickly and go to the community and
make sure them understand what going on, get them feedback (Kilpatrick, 1/12/16).
63


This is partially due to the fact that eighteen leaders on the GTR-K Council had just
signed the agreements that the state claims establishes consent for the canal. He goes on
to say that this fight is not like before. Before option was we take time, we go to court.
And now this government come with stronger way, we need to do something quickly,
quickly (Kilpatrick, 1/12/16). This communicates concern and a sense of urgency as a
result of the state having arguable evidence or confirmation of the fact that the
Indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples who had previously enacted resistance efforts
have since conceded in support of the canal. A shift in tactical discourse was required to
recover, and voices of assertion, strength, and resilience developed.
Figure 7: This Land is for All of We: A Small Rama Community in Bangkukuk, Nicaragua, speaks out about the
Grand Canal Project (https://vimeo.com/109026969) Video Cover Photo: Multigenerational agriculture efforts on
traditional Rama land.
Means to coalition build with non-Afro/Indigenous resistance efforts involves
coalition building and frame bridging with environmentalist organizations, sympathizers,
and resistance undertakings. Understandings of communities and their relationships to
land often is riddled with Western rhetoric of sustainability and environmental protection;
in recent years, these concerns have begun to pervade the Western consciousness,
64


opening up room in which the value of neoliberal undertakings can be called into
question, as the costs of resources, consequent hardships on cultural and social
frameworks, and growing perception that human activity may in fact be pushing the earth
beyond its own capacity to manage. Video plays a critical role in this form of mobilizing
discourse, as short films I analyzed typically made us of shots of agricultural and fishing
practices that reinforce that the land is what sustains these communities, while their
mutually beneficial use of the land and its resources sustain it. The imagery of pristine,
untouched wilderness contributes to notions of Indigenous people having some piece of
history, some piece of the earth that they have protected. This often reifies
misperceptions of Rama people as not being modern, as is often the case with the
portrayal/assumptions made about Indigenous peoples by non-Indigenous peoples.
Some sources included in my analysis utilized buzz words popular in the
environmental movement, allowing an Indigenous cause to partner with actors nationally
and internationally with an interest in environmental protections; this tactic to mobilize
around Indigenous concerns is becoming increasingly common, and Indigenous people
are beginning to be seen as having knowledge that cannot be regained by non-Indigenous
actors. Grupo Cocibolca is particularly versed in making use of terms often used as
markers for the environmental movement. For example, in a 2014 post on social media,
Grupo Cocibolca stated that they were,
preocupados por el desarrollo sostenible y las necesidades de transformacidn
social con responsabilidad, subrayamos que los riesgosy danos a las condiciones
ambientales, socialesy culturales del pais... significaran una perdida irreparable
en elpatrimonio natural y cultural de la humanidady una crisis con
consecuencias impredecibles para Mesoamerica,
(concerned about sustainable development and the necessities for responsible
social transformation, we stress the risks and damage to environmental, social and
cultural conditions of the country... will mean an irreparable loss of natural and
65


cultural heritage of humanity and a crisis with unpredictable consequences for
Mesoamerica; my translation).
This shows that markers of another movement are being employed to not only seek out
allies within the audience that may not be affiliated with a movement, but also begin to
build, in some sense, an environmental-indigenous coalition. This improves the
likelihood that more actors will become involved in the creating awareness or possibly
acting in solidarity with the Rama and Kriol resistance movement. Similarly, discourse
that was legal in nature also demonstrates failure to take environmental concerns into
account. In the same social media post, Grupo Cocibolca (2014) pointed out the previous
mention that data related to the environmental, social and cultural impacts of the canal
were never transparently disclosed in their entirety.
Building on these strategies includes highlighting the fact that benefits of the
construction of the canal being unclear for environmental, cultural, and lingual interests.
Many Rama and Kriol voices analyzed in my thesis deny claims made by the Nicaraguan
state and HKNDs that the Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities would benefit
from the megacanal being constructed through their territory. There remains to be seen
any confirmed evidence that this can be assumed. In the words of Jose Luis, a Rama
community member:
some of we people them feel like a canal would be a benefit for we. No make we
fool we self we will have. None of we is professional to work in a canal. That is
clear. Maybe we could be for wash shoes for them, maybe. Because them no
going to include we in no canal. These people making a plan for a canal here no
consult we. We dont know about this private meeting about this canal. We is
zero (PrettyGoodProductions, 2014).
Luis is concerned that his Rama community may be misled into buying into the claims of
beneficence. However, as Cristina McCrae recognizes:
66


We kids them dont go far enough in school to be a mechanic or a lawyer or a
secretary in an office and counting money and all dem. We dont do them things
so how we will work with these Chinese people when these Chinese people them
come? So we worry about it. We feel bad about it when the Chinese them come
around. We say how will we do? How will we make money? How will we live?
(Peterson, 2015).
There is clearly concern that due to historical events in which the Rama and Kriol people
have been exploited, killed, and oppressed by the Nicaraguan state, and most certainly by
neoliberal market actors similar to HKND; in the context of territory scarred by
colonization, racism, and poverty to which the state has either actively participated or
failed to mitigate these harms, it seems like the Rama and Kriol people in resistance have
no choice but to assume the worst of the state and HKND. As Nora Newball, Kriol
community member, says, were not against the project [mentions projects in process or
completed recently in the Autonomous Regions], Progress is welcome, but we have not
been respected or consulted (Confidential, 2013). This concern ties in with the lack of
transparency on behalf of the state to properly consult the Rama and Kriol communities,
which not only reinforces doubt of the unsubstantiated claims of benefit, but further
leaves both the Indigenous and Afro-descendant representatives to have no information
demonstrating any benefit would in fact reach their communities.
Ortizs discourse connects to beneficence questions if and how compensation
could be enacted to address the loss of access to traditional territories and resources. He
says, when we talk, listen to we. Listen to our needs and the meaning why we dont
want to leave here.... OK, if its big effect and we can never stop it, make what the
government going to give value like what we going to lose (Kilpatrick, 4/9/15). This
again gets at the fact that financial means are not necessary or sufficient to bridge the gap
that will be felt by the Kriol and Rama peoples should the megacanal displace them.
67


Though some see room for opportunity to be intertwined with the project, Ortiz also says
that the situation gives some of the older people sadness to tell them that they will
banish the land from we, (Kilpatrick, 4/9/15). The tactic of incorporating strong emotion
with elders, who hold leadership roles within most Indigenous communities, causes the
audience to question what could satisfy Ortizs request for an exchange of value
equivalent to the land destroyed by the canal. Others benefit discourse undermines the
possibility of value of the canal should the land be destroyed and the Rama and Kriol
peoples displaced. Angela Benjamin, 65, says I pray to God, make the canal they can
make it but they must not move us... We grow here, all of we, because we one family.
So I dont want make no one move from here, (Kilpatrick, 4/9/15). Rather than
establishing a staunch resistance or hoping for elusive benefits to emerge after the canal
has been constructed, this Rama elder pleads that her community would gain the most if
they were left intact, grounded in their ancestral lands and lifeways.
Figure 8: Angela Benjamin, Rama Elder and opponent other community being divided by the canal
(http://projects.aljazeera.com/2015/04/nicaragua-canal/displaced.html).
Pro-Canal Discourse
As was previously stated, all of the sources analyzed were not fully in agreement
regarding the Rama and Kriol response to the canal and the goals of HKND. Sentiment
similar to Angela Benjamins is not shared by all Rama and Kriol peoples; as with any
68


social movement, collective identity or other unifying factor, not all voices will fully
align or reflect those of their peers or leaders. Hector Thomas Mcrea, GTR-K President,
is one of those voices falling outside the analysis the overarching findings included in the
previous sections. The discourse enacted by Thomas does not serve as mobilizing, though
may operationalize more in terms of tactical ends. He claims that construction of the
canal would help remove non-Indigenous Nicaraguans from Rama land (Johnson, 2015).
Additionally, he voices support for the possibility of receiving payment for leasing of
lands included along the proposed canal route, in spite of stipulations within Ley 445 or
the Demarcation Law that negates the ability to rent, sell or individually title Rama-Kriol
territory as they are lands held in common. However, responding to this tension, Thomas
says, its not to say we broke the rule, we just bent it, (Johnson, 2015). Rather than
seeking to challenge or defend the violation of the Demarcation Law, the leader of the
council representing Rama and Kriol peoples side steps the issue by belittling the
implications to which such a decision might lead. Further, his support of leasing
protected lands has tones of interest in financial interest that was not present with the
discourse previously analyzed. This opens up questions of whether this non-Indigenous
governing body is being accurately represented by Thomas.
The technique of dismissing concerns is employed by Thomas as a means by
which reasonable arguments need not be granted a response. For example, in a January
GTR-K press release, Thomas unabashedly accuses organizations and voices that,
according to the other sources I analyzed, ally with the Rama and Kriol people of acting
out of self-interest, and refutes their ability to support and accurate represent the
Indigenous and Afro-descendant perspectives on the megacanal. He asserts that the
69


Centro de Asistencia Legal a Pueblos Indigenas (CALPI), no representa al Gobierno
Territorial Rama Kriol, sus opiniones desinformadas y mal intencionadas no reflejan las
aspiraciones y estan en contra de los intereses del Pueblo Indigena Rama y Afro
descendiente Kriol
(Legal Assistance Center for Indigenous Peoples, does not represent the Rama-
Kriol Territorial Government, is misinformed and ill-intentioned in their opinions
which do not reflect the desires or interests of the Indigenous Rama and Afro-
descendant Kriol peoples; my translation) (GTR-K 1/10/16).
This sharply contrasts with other sources analyzed, as CALPI uses rhetoric reflected in
discourse, regardless of its intent, is more in line with voices of the Kriol and Rama
presented in this study. He goes on to say that,
cualquier comunicacidn o documento emitido en nombre del Gobierno Territorial
Rama y Kriol debe contar con el consentimiento de los miembros que la integran
y debe contar con la firmay sello del Presidente de la Junta Directiva del GTRK,
quien la representa legalmente,
(any communication or document distributed on behalf of the Rama and Kriol
Territorial Government must be consented to by the Council members and should
include the signature and approval of the President of the Board of Directors of
GTR-K, who legally represents GTR-K; my translation) (GTR-K, 1/10/16).
Essentially, Thomas is requiring his personal approval of any GTR-K communication for
it to be considered valid, asserting control and authority over all other council members.
The takeaway is reminiscent of the gradual transition to dictatorship presented by the
President of the Nicaraguan Republic, Daniel Ortega. Thomas is not concerned with
asserting his Rama identity, protecting the places that others argue are critical to their
entire communitys survival, or even adhering to international and national policy that
establishes rights counteracting Ley 840. He even goes so far as to claim that:
elproceso de la Consulta Previa, Libre e Informada para el desarrollo del
Proyecto de Construccidn del Gran Canal Interoceanico de Nicaragua y Sub
Proyectos, se ha desarrollado en base a un documento armonizado, elaborado en
conjunto entre el GTRK y la Comisidn del Gobierno para realizar el proceso de
70


la consulta. Este documento fue aprobado en la Sesidn del Gobierno Territorial
Ramay Kriol celebrado el 8 de enero del 2016y firmadopor cada uno de sus
miembros
(the process of prior, free, and informed consultation for the development of the
Construction Project of the Interoceanic Canal of Nicaragua and Sub-projects, has
been developed, jointly prepared by GTR-K and the Government Commission to
complete the process of consultation. This document was approved at the meeting
of the Rama-Kriol Territorial Government held on January 8, 2016 and signed by
each of its members; my translation) (GTR-K, 1/10/16).
This statement seeks to override the argument made by GTR-K members who have filed
suit against the individuals they allege misled and coerced them into signing the
consultation and consent document. Despite the numerous accounts in which GTR-K
members who were present for this January meeting recount being pressured by police
presence, being denied access to information and experts to assist in comprehension of
data connected to the canal, and ultimately firmly stating they do not consent to the
project, Thomas asserts his position of authority as president to dismantle these
narratives. He even goes as far as to make accusations that unauthorized, false statements
have been made on behalf of GTR-K (Kilpatrick 1/12/16, Leon & Romero 2016).
Summary of Findings
My analysis of the sources included in this study ultimately identified two forms
of discourse seeking to challenge the canal; first, there are several forms of discourse of
resistance that are rooted in Afro/Indigenous identity. These included rhetoric focused on
the importance of place, the role land plays in identity for both the Rama and Kriol
people, and assertion of cultural identity as a being rooted in challenging colonization and
oppression. In addition to the use of cultural identity as a tool to bolster resistance
discourse, approaches connected to western legal structures, appeals for empathy and
compassion, as well as frame bridging to rhetoric to capture wider audiences. Discourse
71


of this form took shape in the forms of rhetoric rooted in pacification (i.e., agreement to
negotiate), highlighting the lack of benefit to their communities, the failure of HKND and
the Nicaraguan state government to operate transparently in regards to the canal, and
vilifying the state and HKNDs illegal actions and disrespect for legal rights and
obligations.
Based on my findings of the various forms of discourse utilized by the Rama and
Kriol people in resistance to the construction of the canal, I argue, provides areas in
which context and histories (e.g., colonization, marginalization, etc.) Afro/Indigenous
people tend to share can be utilized to reinforce resistance efforts. This specifically
relates to forms of discourse that serve to assert Afro/Indigenous identity as a means with
which neoliberalism can be challenged. Challenge to similar practices also includes tools
that fall outside the realm of identity, as was executed by Rama and Kriol voices captured
above. These tactics can be incorporated to similar resistance efforts to invite
collaboration by non-Afro/Indigenous actors, allies and organizations to make resistance
efforts more accessible and effective. In light of our ever-globalizing world, the story of
the Rama and Kriol peoples rights and territory being violated is not unique; due to
forces of present day neoliberalism in which reliance on market-based justifications for
development, regardless of human or communal rights, need to be questioned and
challenged. With the reach of transnational corporations beginning to exceed, in many
cases, that of the ability of states to challenge foreign or domestic entities that seek to
exploit land and resources within their boundaries. Accordingly, creating a narrative in
which Afro/Indigenous and other people impacted by neoliberal endeavors to generate
72


profit can have power to protect themselves, their traditional territories/resources, and
their respective communities.
73


CHAPTER V
CONCLUSION
As Greene (2007) argues, there is much to be gained by Afro/Indigenous
collaboration in response to struggles for land rights. Not only does alliance increase
power of resistance efforts to defend shared communal land rights, it also serves to
leverage resources of knowledge, diverse perspectives on activism and scholarship, but
further acts to reduce division of struggle, resulting in split opposition efforts that are
both less-effective. Further, Afro/Indigenous solidarity offers means by which the
contention raised by battles for communal land rights for Afro-descendant and
Indigenous peoples who share territory can apply more significant pressure on the state(s)
in which they find their communities located within. Such pressure can be applied
discursively both by asserting their Afro/Indigenous identities to empower their own
communities, as well as by utilizing discourse that invites allies and solidarity with actors
outside their own communities and identities. With a multi-dimensional approach to
using discourse as a tool of resistance, Afro/Indigenous communities can cooperate to
increase their inclusion of more diverse constituents within their resistance efforts, while
also managing to mutually benefit from drawing parallels in shared experiences and
territories.
This finding is significant due to the fact that distinct groups are often encouraged
to assert their difference, with the aim or goal being centered on establishing rights for
their respective cultural communities. Though I fully acknowledge that difference is to be
valued, understood, and appreciated, I argue that focusing solely on difference to
establish rights leads to duplication of efforts, ineffective use of limited resources for
74


resistance, and ultimately limiting the scope and success of communities efforts to battle
common threats. Accordingly, the approach taken by the Kriol and Rama create a model
in which communities sharing territories, dangers to their communal cultural and physical
integrity, or goals to establish rights or protections for their communities can engage with
to develop frameworks and discourse applicable to their own unique identities and
concerns.
Further, on a broader level, I believe that creating more space for rights anywhere
establishes precedent and foundations for belief that rights, whether they be proctored on
an individual or communal level, should be culturally responsive and respected both by
way of law and policy on paper as well as in terms of social and cultural realities. As has
been demonstrated in the discourse of the Rama and Kriol responding to the Nicaraguan
state, policy and law do not inevitably result in rights that are actively enacted, protected,
or in actuality result in abilities to self-govern or assert autonomy. As such, Rama and
Kriol resistance efforts and discourse can serve not only as a model from which other
resistance efforts can be extrapolated, but further to remind Afro/Indigenous peoples of
the variety of avenues that can be utilized when rights are disregarded.
An additional point that I hope can be taken from my analysis is couched in the
approach of frame bridging, as discussed by Rothman and Oliver (2002) and Colombo
(2014); there are most certainly compromises that can be made while constructing
collaboration between movements and/or resistance endeavors, though this must be done
with care. Integration of frameworks from the environmental movement is of particular
concern, as environmentally focused framing often relies upon assumptions of capitalism
and the necessity of the Westphalian state system. This is of concern as these structures
75


specifically erase and undermine Afro/Indigenous peoples struggles for self-
determination.
With the megacanal, Afro/Indigenous territory, communities, and resources are to
be physically divided to provide area for what is being called earths largest engineering
feat should it be constructed. The fact that Ley 840 was ever signed, I argue, indicates
that de jure rights hold no guarantee for the actualization or realities of land rights for
Afro/Indigenous peoples in Nicaragua; further, the Nicaraguan state government has
failed to adhere to constitutional and legal commitments to self-determination for the
Rama and Kriolpeoples by signing Ley 840. This failure to respect Afro/Indigenous
rights by way of condoning the land grab by HKND has left the Rama and Kriol people
with no choice but to utilize discourse, along with a multitude of other tools, to stand in
opposition to the canals construction. As such, I argue resisting theft and invasion of
traditional territories, as well as seeking to reestablish access to traditional lands, are
critical to retain cultural diversity, protection of communal rights, and evasion of
homogeneity that assumes land is valuable up until it, along with any resources land
contains, can no longer be exploited.
However, Johnston (2011) underscores the fact that globalization has created
networks of production that exist, and, often, supersede state authority. This is due to the
economic weight that transnational corporations (TNCs) hold they can utilize to pressure
states into bending to their own self-interests. Additionally, TNCs have available to them
means by which they can leverage resources available globally to side-step taxation, as
well as policies and regulations TNCs may otherwise be subject to within any given state.
TNCs, arguably, have helped to manifest neoliberalism in the terms that we now see it,
76


with a foreign corporation, HKND, offering resources that the Nicaraguan state would
not otherwise be able to access. Additionally, the intensification of global production
systems being interdependent has led to states having less of a voice or means to reign in
economic activity; the culpability of the Nicaraguan state, as well as means by which
they could have avoided agreeing to the canal may be space for further research to the
benefit of identifying which actors Rama and Kriol resistors should in fact be directing
their efforts toward.
This question of culpability points to the fact that local, national, and global
solidarity are often critical for social justice and social movements to be successful, and,
as Johnston (2011) notes, to provide a commanding critique of neoliberalism.
Additionally, acknowledging that concerns of social movements may be beyond the
(complete) control of the states in which mobilized groups find themselves is critical to
ensure that their efforts are not wasted. Due to the intensifying interconnectivity in our
globalized economy, social movements must aim to act globally where possible to reflect,
and, hopefully, circumvent TNCs and other neoliberal actors and institutions power in a
meaningful way. Accordingly, I believe that the Rama and Kriol discursive moves, aside
from those made by Hector Thomas McCrea, seek to tie into the transnational movement
for Indigenous rights and narratives and rhetoric typical to Indigenous resistance; this is
highlighted by the demonstration of a deep connection to their lands, their traditional
territorys role in identity formation, and further the need to protect their cultures
integrity. To create a means by which these concerns of cultural survival and access to
traditional territory and resources discourse outside of identity politics are leveraged by
77


Rama and Kriol people. This approach manages to explain and justify resistance to the
canal to people that may not otherwise what is at risk for the Rama and Kriol people.
The use of discourse that contributes to ally and coalition building, highlighting
failure to adhere to law and policy, and frame bridging with sustainability rhetoric allows
space for diverse understandings and consequent solidarity based on various identities
and commitments. By incorporating multiple forms of discourse that create foundations
for cohesive discourse in support of Afro/Indigenous peoples in resistance to
neoliberalism is critical. This enables resistance discourse to become more accessible,
recognizable, and potentially more inclusive of non-Afro/Indigenous allies. In addition to
further analysis of discourse enacted by Rama and Kriol peoples, other areas of interest
might include Mestizo resistance discourse, as well as discourse within the Rama and
Kriol communities not captured online. Additionally, I think it would be significant to
investigate tools utilized by either or both communities to bolster resistance beyond their
use of discourse.
78


REFERENCES
Alvarez, R. M. (2016, January 10). Gobiernopresiona a ramaspara firmar acuerdo
sobre el Gran Canal La Prensa. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from
http://www.laprensa.com.ni/2016/01/10/nacionales/1966964-gobierno-presiona-ramas-
firmar-acuerdo-gran-canal
Androutsopoulos, J. "Introduction: Language and Society in Cinematic Discourse."
Multilingua 31.2 (2012).
Arraiza, J-M. "Squaring Indigenous Circles: The Making of Nicaraguas Indigenous
Communal Property Regime." International Journal on Minority and Group Rights 19.1
(2012): 69-103.
Beard, L.J. "Teaching Native Autobiographies as Acts of Narrative Resistance."
Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and
Culture 11.1 (2010): 109-34.
Belmessous, S. (2012). Introduction: The Problem of Indigenous Claim Making in
Colonial History. In S. Belmessous (ed.), Native claims: Indigenous law against empire,
1500-1920 (pp. 3-18). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Benavides Vanegas, F.S.. "Indigenous Resistance and the Law." Latin American
Perspectives 39.1 (2012): 61-77. 11 Jan. 2016.
Centro de Asistencia Legal a Pueblos Indigenas (CALPI). (2013, December 20). Ley del
Canal Inter oceanico [Press release]. Retrieved January 23, 2016, from http://www.calpi-
nicaragua.org
Colombo, D. "Environment and Neoliberalism: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Three
Italian Cases." Journal for Communication Studies 1A (2014): 63-82.
Confidencial. (2013, July 5). Comunidades del caribe interponen recurso de
inconstitucionalidadpor Ley del Canal Interoceanic. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbRM6SYaCxw
Coulter, R., L. A. Crippa, & A. Wiggins. RE: Guidance in a Time of Change: Including
Indigenous Peoples in the Banks Goal of Ending Extreme Poverty and Building Shared
Prosperity without Discrimination. 4.8.14.
Crippa, L.A., & R. Francis. "Ensuring Consistency with the UN Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples." Lecture, Comments on the World Bank's Proposed
"Environmental and Social Framework, February 1, 2015.
Cruz, M. R. (2016, January 18). Capacitan sobre la Ley del Canal La Prensa. Retrieved
February 02, 2016, from http://www.laprensa.com.ni/2016/01/18/politica/1971322-
capacitan-sobre-la-ley-del-canal
79


Cultural Survival. (2016, January 5). Construction of Nicaragua Canal Threatens
Indigenous Lives and Livelihoods. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from
https://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural-survival-quarterly/construction-
nicaragua-canal-threatens-indigenous-lives-and
Dulizky, A.E. "When Afro-Descendants Became 'Tribal Peoples': The Inter-American
Human Rights System and Rural Black Communities." UCLA Journal of International
Law and Foreign Affairs 29. Spring 2010 (2010): 1-37.
Fairbaim, M. "Foreignization, Financialization and Land Grab Regulation." Journal of
Agrarian Change 15.4 (2015): 581-91.
Federici, S. (2014). Women, Land-Struggles, and Globalization: An International
Perspective. In A. Ross (ed.), Grabbing back: Essays against the global land grab (pp.
115-124). Oakland, CA: AK Press.
Fendt, L. (2016, January 14). Indigenous and Afro-Caribbeans claim they were forced to
negotiate over Nicaragua Canal -. Retrieved February 23, 2016, from
http://www.ticotimes.net/2016/01/14/indigenous-afro-caribbeans-claim-forced-negotiate-
nicaragua-canal
Fenelon, J. V., and T. D. Hall. "Revitalization and Indigenous Resistance to Globalization
and Neoliberalism." American Behavioral Scientist 51.12 (2008): 1867-901.
Gilio-Whitaker, D. "Idle No More and Fourth World Social Movements in the New
Millennium." South Atlantic Quarterly 114.4 (2015): 866-77.
Gobierno Territorial Rama y Kriol (GTR-K). Indigenas Demandan For Coaccion De
Firmas Para El Canal De Nicaragua. Gobierno Territorial Rama Y Kriol (GTR-K), 5
Feb. 2016. 20 Feb. 2016.
2207520000.1456023101 ./1141692825 848719/?type=3&theater>.
Gobierno Territorial Rama y Kriol (GTR-K). (n.d.). Quieren Dividir Junta Directiva
Indigenapor el Canal en LA RACCS (Nicaragua, Gobierno Territorial Ramay Kriol
(GTR-K)). Bluefields, Nicaragua: Gobierno Territorial Ramay Kriol (GTR-K). Retrieved
January 27, 2016 from
https://www.facebook.com/157327680951910/photos/pb.157327680951910.-
2207520000.1456023101./1123905897627412/?type=3&theater
Graham, L.R. "How Should an Indian Speak? Amazonian Indians and the Symbolic
Politics of Language in the Global Public Sphere (ed.) Jean E. Jackson. Indigenous
Movements, Self-representation, and the State in Latin America. Austin: U of Texas,
2002. 181-228.
80


Greene, S. "Introduction: On Race, Roots/Routes, and Sovereignty in Latin America's
Afro-Indigenous Multi culturalisms." Journal of Latin American and Caribbean
Anthropology 12.2 (2007): 329-55.
Grubacicc, A. (2014). Exit and Territory: A World-Systems Analysis of Non-State
Spaces. In A. Ross (ed.), Grabbing back: Essays against the global land grab (pp. 159-
178). Oakland, CA: AK Press.
Grupo Cocibolca. (2014, November 23). Comunicado del Grupo Cocibolca [Press
release]. Retrieved January 23, 2016, from https://es-es.facebook.com/notes/la-voz-de-
nicaragua/comunicado-del-grupo-cocibolca/10154815470225487/
Guigni, M.G. "Explaining Cross-national Similarities among Social Movements." H.
Johnston. Globalization and Resistance (ed.) Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002. 13-
30.
Hance, J. (2015, March 26). Nuevapelicula muestra la resistencia local al Canal de
Nicaragua. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from http://es.mongabav.com/2015/Q3/nueva-
pelicula-muestra-la-resistencia-local-al-canal-de-nicaragua/
Hatzel M. R. (2015, September 22). Acusany destituyen a diputado misquito. Retrieved
September 23, 2015, from http://www.elnuevodiario.com.ni/nacionales/371232-diputado-
rivera-pierde-inmunidad/
Hodges, B.D., A. Kuper, and S.Reeves. "Discourse Analysis." The BMJ(2008). 11 Jan.
2016. . (cited as
BMJ 2008;337:a879)
Hooker, J. "Afro-descendant Struggles for Collective Rights in Latin America: Between
Race and Culture." Souls 10.3 (2008): 279-91.
Johnston, H. (2011). States & Social Movements. Cambridge: Polity.
Johnson, T. (2015, June 18). Nicaragua's Rama Indians face peril from canal and
migrants. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from
http://media.mcclatchydc.com/static/features/NicaCanal/RAMA.html
Kilpatrick, K. (2015, April 9). Canal 'will destroy we' Retrieved February 02, 2016, from
http://projects.aljazeera.com/2015/04/nicaragua-canal/displaced.html
Kilpatrick, K. (2016, January 12). Canal 'will destroy we' Retrieved February 02, 2016,
from http: //proj ects. alj azeera. com/2015/04/ni caragua-canal/di spl aced. html
Larson, AM., P.J. Cronkleton, and J.M. Pulhin. "Formalizing Indigenous Commons: The
Role of Authority in the Formation of Territories in Nicaragua, Bolivia, and the
Philippines." World Development 70 (2015): 228-38.
81


Leon, S., & Romero, E. (2016, January 12). Gobierno Territorial Rama y Kriol
desautoriza las voces criticas La Prensa. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from
http://www.laprensa.com.ni/2016/01/12/nacionales/1967756-gtrk-desautoriza-las-voces-
criticas
Lewis, T.L. "Conservation TSMOs: Shaping the Protected Area Systems of Less
Developed Countries." (ed.). Hank Johnston. Globalization and Resistance (ed).. Jackie
Smith. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002. 75-94.
Ley No. 445: Ley de Regimen de Propiedad Comunal de los Pueblos Indigenas y
Comunidades Etnicas de las Regiones Autonomas de la Costa Atlantica de Nicaragua y
de los Rios Bocay, Coco, Indio, yMaiz. Aprobada el 13 de Diciembre del 2002.
Publicado en La Gaceta No. 16 del 23 de Enero del 2003.
Ley No. 840: Ley Especial para el Desarrollo de Infraestructura y Transporte
Nicaraguense Atingente a El Canal, Zonas de Libre Comercio e Infraestructuras
Asociadas. Aprobada el 14 de Junio de 2013.
Liedel, E. (n.d.). A Canal Where a Language Used to Be. Retrieved February 02, 2016,
from https://schwafire.atavist.com/linguistic_peril_canal
Meringer, E. (2010). The Local Politics of Indigenous Self-Representation: Intraethnic
Political Division among Nicaragua's Miskito People during the Sandinista Era. Oral
History Review, 37(1), 1-17. Retrieved December 1, 2015.
Miller, T. (2015, January 08). Rama Community in Bangkukuk, Nicaragua, Speaks Out
About the Grand Canal Project. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from
https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/rama-community-bangkukuk-nicaragua-speaks-
out-about-grand-canal-proj ect
Mollett, S. (2013). Mapping Deception: The Politics of Mapping Miskito and Garifuna
Space in Honduras. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 103(5), 1227-
1241. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
Moncada, R. "Indigenas De Nicaragua Resisten Presion Del Gobierno Por El Canal La
Prensa." La Prensa. 2016. 20 Feb. 2016.
resisten-presion-del-gobierno-canal>.
Newman, D. (n.d.). Theorizing Collective Indigenous Rights. American Indian Law
Review, 31(2), 273-289. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
Nicaragua, Gobierno Territorial Ramay Kriol (GTR-K). (n.d.). El Gobierno Territorial
Ramay Kriol Aclaray Sienta su Posicion sobre el Canal en su Territorio. Retrieved
January 23, 2016, from
https://esla.facebook.com/NotiBluefields/posts/409861455835476
82


Nietschmann, B. (1987). The Third World War. Cultural Survival Quarterly, 77(3), 1-16.
Noakes, J.A., and H. Johnston. "Frames of Protest: A Road Map to a Perspective" (ed.).
Hank Johnston and John A. Noakes. Frames of Protest: Social Movements and the
Framing Perspective. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005. 1-32.
Oliver, P.E. & H. Johnston. What a Good Idea! Ideologies and Frames in Social
Movement Research" (ed.). Hank Johnston and John A. Noakes. Frames of Protest:
Social Movements and the Framing Perspective. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005.
1-32.
Oya, C. (2013). Methodological reflections on land grab databases and the land grab
literature rush. Journal of Peasant Studies, 40(3), 503-520.
Peterson, B. (2015, June 17). Nicaragua's Rama Indians face peril from canal. Retrieved
February 02, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wz4n9FxoB4k
Polletta, F. It Was like a Fever: Storytelling in Protest and Politics. Chicago: U of
Chicago, 2006.
Puig, S.M.I. "The Emergence of Indigenous Movements in Latin America and Their
Impact on the Latin American Political Scene: Interpretive Tools at the Local and Global
Levels." Latin American Perspectives 37.6 (2010): 74-92.
PrettyGoodProductions (2014). This Land is for All of We: A small Rama community in
Bangkukuk, Nicaragua, speaks out about the Grand Canal Project. Retrieved February
02, 2016, from https://vimeo.com/109026969
Rama-Kriol Territorial Government. Indigenous and Afro-Descendant Peoples File
Lawsuit Against Coerced Signatures for Nicaraguan Canal. Rama-Kriol Territorial
Government, 7 Feb. 2016. Web. 20 Feb. 2016.
.157327680951910/114169517251515 l/?type=3 &theater>.
Rama-Kriol Territorial Government. (2016, January 10). GTR-K Authorities Are Being
Pressured to Approve the Interoceanic Canal [Press release]. Retrieved January 23, 2016,
from
https://www.facebook.eom/157327680951910/photos/a.612501958767811.1073741827.
157327680951910/1123958780955457/
Ramos, A.R. Cutting Through State and Class: Sources and Strategies of Self-
Representation in Latin America" (ed). Jean E. Jackson. Indigenous Movements, Self-
representation, and the State in Latin America. Austin: U of Texas, 2002. 251-76.
Reed, J-P. "Indigenous Land Policies, Culture and Resistance in Latin America." Journal
of Peasant Studies 31.1 (2003): 137-56.
83


Rothman, F.D., and P.E. Oliver (1999). "From Local to Global: The Anti-Damn
Movement in Southern Brazil, 1979-1992." Mobilization: An International Quarterly
4(1), 41-57.
Johnston, H. Globalization and Resistance (ed.). Jackie Smith. Lanham: Rowman &
Littlefield, 2002. 115-132.
Secretaria de Desarrollo de la Costa Caribe. (2016, January 10). Secretaria de
Desarrollo de la Costa Caribe : Gobierno Territorial Rama y Kriol (GTRK), aprueba
convenio en favor del Gran Canal. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from
http://scaribenicaragua.blogspot.com/2016/01/gobierno-territorial-rama-y-kriol-gtrk.html
Seton, K. (1999). Fourth World Nations in the Era of Globalisation: An Introduction to
Contemporary Theorizing Posed by Indigenous Nations. The Fourth World Journal, 4(1),
1-23. Retrieved February 12, 2015, from http://cwis.org/fwj/41/fworld.html
Securing Indigenous and Community Land Rights in the Future We Want. (2015, March
20). Retrieved October 25, 2015, from http://irf2015.org/securing-indigenous-and-
community-land-rights-future-we-want
Stewart-Harawira, M. The New Imperial Order Indigenous Responses to Globalization.
London: Zed Books, 2005.
Ross, A. (2014). Editors Introduction: The Global Land Grab. In A. Ross (ed.), Grabbing
back: Essays against the global land grab (pp. 9-38). Oakland, CA: AK Press.
Shiva, V. (2014). Land Wars and the Great Land Grab. In A. Ross (ed.), Grabbing back:
Essays against the global land grab (pp. 39-4). Oakland, CA: AK Press.
Traynor, M. "Discourse Analysis." Nurse Researcher 12.2 (2004): 4-6.
United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples, (n.d.). Retrieved October 24, 2015, from
http://undesadspd.org/indigenouspeoples/declarationontherightsofmdigenouspeoples.aspx
UN General Assembly, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:
resolution/ adopted by the General Assembly, 2 October 2007, A/RES/61/295, available
at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/471355a82.html [accessed 9 December 2015]
Unique Resource Bridges Gap Between Conservationists and Indigenous Peoples, (n.d.).
Retrieved October 17, 2015, from http://www.indianlaw.org/content/unique-resource-
bridges-gap-between-conservationists-and-indigenous-peoples
van Dijk, T. A. "Principles of Critical Discourse Analysis." Discourse & Society 4.2
(1993): 249-83.
84


Vanden, H. E. "Social Movements, Hegemony, and New Forms of Resistance." Latin
American Perspectives 34.2 (2007): 17-30.
Warren, K.B., and Jean E. Jackson, eds. Indigenous Movements, Self-representation, and
the State in Latin America. Austin: El of Texas, 2002.
West, D. Social Movements in Global Politics. Cambridge: Polity, 2013. Print.
White Face, C. (2013). Indigenous nations' rights in the balance: An analysis of the
declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples. St. Paul, MN: Living Justice Press.
Who Owns the Land? A global baseline of formally recognized indigenous and
community land rights. (2015, September 1). Retrieved October 2, 2015, from
http://www.rightsandresources.org/publication/view/whoownstheland/
Woodard, J. F. (2015, October 23). Wary Nicaraguans Await the $50 billion Canal That
Could Upend Their Lives. Retrieved March 25, 2016, from
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/roads/2015/10/a_50_billion_chinese_bu
ilt_canal_will_transform_life_in_nicaragua.html
XINHUA Espanol. (2016, April 10). CUMBRE DE LAS AMERICAS: Indigenas se
oponen a construccidn de canal en Nicaragua. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from
http://spanish.xinhuanet.com/iberoamerica/2015-04/10/c_134138500.htm
85


Full Text

PAGE 1

DISCOURSE AS RESISTANCE : N ICARAGUAN AFRO/INDIGENOUS FIGHT FOR IDENTITY & TRADITIONAL PLACES By KATHARINE L. BROWN B. A ., University of Colorado Boulder, 2011 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Social Science Social Science Program 2016 2016

PAGE 2

ii This thesis for the Master of Social Science degree by Katharine L. Brown has been approved for the Social Science Program by John Brett, Chair Lucy McGuffey Omar Swartz April 29, 2016

PAGE 3

iii Brown, Katharine L. (M.S.S., Masters of Social Science) Traditional Places Thesis directed by Associate Professor John Brett ABSTRACT In June 2013, the Nicaraguan state government signed Ley 840 which detailed the concessions to a Chinese corporation, Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development (HKND), to construct a 170 mile long megacanal In addition to the canal, this law stipulates various subprojects that include a n international airport, a free trade zone, holiday resorts, and a network of roads. Estimates of the population that will be displaced by the project may reach up to 100,000, none of whom were consulted prior to the passing of Ley 840 Those who face loss of access to their homes due to the canal construction have spent nearly the last three years with no understanding of where they may be relocated to, if or how they will be compensated for the impact of being removed from their homes and without an understanding of how they will survive without access to resources on which their very lives depend. Further fifty two percent of the land included in the proposed route of the canal fall s under Indigenous title, and violate international policy, the Nicaraguan constitution, and state laws that protect Rama and Kriol peoples and their territorial integrity. This study examines the Indigenous and Afro descendant movement in resistance to the megacanal ; specifically, I analyze discursive too ls and tactics in light of the unique cultures, histories, and identities to recognize markers discursive tools, contextually. Discourse analysis allows room for narrative of voices that may otherwise be left unheard or misunderstood, and enables the oppo rtunity

PAGE 4

iv for the Rama and Kriol resistance movement to be viewed strategically as a movement, while simultaneously respecting their distinct communities on their terms. The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approve d: John Brett

PAGE 5

v DEDICATION I dedicate this study to all the Indigenous and Afro descendant peoples who have touched my life over the course of my engagement in Indigenous and Afro descendant rights. I am forever grateful for your willingness to trust and e ducate an outsider who could have easily be alienated as an trespasser as someone with the face, privilege, and social position of those that have and continue to first handedly execute the harm and destruction enacted by their/my ancestors against yours.

PAGE 6

vi ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS There are many to whom I owe my success in the process of writing this thesis, and I want to recognize those that provided the academic support, expertise, and encouragement that enabled me to produce this paper. First, I want to thank Mr. Armstrong Wiggins, Director of the Washington Office of the Indian Law Resource Center. In spite of never having met me in person, Mr. Wiggins provided me with hours of his limited time, resources and advice as I situated and began framing my study. As a community member of the Miskito Nation of Nicaragua, his guidance was and is invaluable. Other mentors that encouraged my passion for and knowledge of Indigenous rights include Dr. Donna Martinez, Mrs. Karen Wurzburger, Mr. Guillermo Perez Leiva. Dr. Br enda Allen, Dr. J. Andrew Cowell, and Ms. Colette Grinevald. I also want to thank faculty who equipped me with the skills necessary in preparation for my thesis, including: Dr. David Ruppert, Dr. Omar Swartz, Dr. Lucy McGuffey, Mr. Glenn Morris, and Dr. Je an Scandlyn. Finally, I want to recognize the resilient direction and assistance provided by my committee, including my chair, Dr. John Brett, and my readers, Dr. Lucy McGuffey and Dr. Omar Swartz. In addition to the intellectual mentorship provided by th e aforementioned individuals, I want to thank Mr. Eric Baker, who continually provided me with means by which I could locate sources that often were hard to come by due to the nature of my study. Lastly, and most certainly not least, I want to thank my par ents, family, dear friends, and peers for their endless confidence in my ability to complete this process; I cannot sufficiently express my gratitude, nor can I repay the emotional care, meals, phone calls, and motivation to not forget the world around me as I struggled through writing this

PAGE 7

vii document. This study is a product of the experience, love, and solidarity that I am so very fortunate to have; I thank you deeply.

PAGE 8

viii TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ....................... 1 Land Grabs & Violation of Afro/Indigenous Land Rights .......................... 9 Nicaragua Afro/Indigenous Community Land Rights ............................... 11 Indigenous Resistance within Nicaragua ................................ ....... 1 3 II. METHODS ................................ ................................ ................................ 1 5 Discourse Analysis & Framing ................................ ................................ .. 1 6 Method Application ................................ ................................ ................... 18 III. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ................................ ........................... 23 Indigenous Land Rights & Land Tenure ................................ ................... 24 Afro descendant Rights & Land Tenure ................................ .................... 26 Resistance Tactics and Afro/Indigenous Uses ................................ ........... 30 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ 3 2 IV. FINDINGS & ANALYSIS ................................ ................................ ............. 34 Afro/Indigenous Identity Rooted Discourse ................................ .............. 39 Resistance Discourse outside Afro/Indigenous Identity ............................ 48 Pro Canal Discourse ................................ ................................ .................. 68 Summary of Findings ................................ ................................ ................. 71 V. CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ .......................... 74

PAGE 9

ix REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 79

PAGE 10

x LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1: Nicaraguan Map ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 3 2: HKND Canal and Rama Kriol Territory ................................ ............................. 5 3: Rama Indian Food Harvest ................................ ................................ ................ 3 8 4 : Community Meeting ................................ ................................ .......................... 39 5 : NO AL CANAL ................................ ................................ ................................ 41 6 : Rama Language and Coastline ................................ ................................ .......... 46 7 : Grandfather and Grandson Agriculture ................................ ............................. 64 8 : Rama Elder Concerned about Canal Impacts ................................ .................... 68

PAGE 11

xi APPENDIX OF ANALYZED SOURCES lvarez, R. M. (2016, January 10). Gobierno presiona a ramas para firmar acuerdo sobre el Gran Canal La Prensa Retrieved February 02, 2016, from http://www.laprensa.com.ni/2016/01/10/nacionales/19 66964 gobierno presiona ramas firmar acuerdo gran canal Centro de Asistencia Legal a Pueblos Indgenas (CALPI). (2013, December 20). Ley del Canal Interocenico [Press release]. Retrieved January 23, 2016, from http://www.calpi nicaragua.org Confidencial (2013, July 5). Comunidades del caribe interponen recurso de inconstitucionalidad por Ley del Canal Interocenic Retrieved February 02, 2016, from https://www. youtube.com/watch?v=gbRM6SYaCxw* Cruz, M. R. (2016, January 18). Capacitan sobre la Ley del Canal La Prensa. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from http://www.laprensa.com.ni/2016/01/18/politica/1971322 capacitan sobre la ley del canal Cultural Survival. (2016, January 5). Construction of Nicaragua Canal Threatens Indigenous Lives and Livelihoods. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from https://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural survival quarterly/construction nicaragua canal threatens indigenous lives and Fendt, L. (2016, January 1 4). Indigenous and Afro Caribbeans claim they were forced to negotiate over Nicaragua Canal Retrieved February 23, 2016, from http://www.ticotimes.net/2016/01/14/indigenous afro caribbeans claim forced negotiate nicaragua canal Gobierno Territorial Ra ma y Kriol (GTR K). Indigenas Demandan Por Coaccion De Firmas Para El Canal De Nicaragua Gobierno Territorial Rama Y Kriol (GTR K), 5 Feb. 2016. Web. 20 Feb. 2016. https://popolna.org/wp content/uploads/2016/02/Comunicado RA Firmas Ilegales 5 2 16.jpg Gobierno Territorial Rama y Kriol (GTR K). (n.d.). Quieren Dividir Junta Directiva Indigena por el Canal en LA RACCS ( Nicaragua, Gobierno Territorial Rama y Kriol (GTR K)). Bluefields, Nicaragua: Gobierno Territorial Rama y Kriol (GTR K). Retrieved January 27, 2016 from https://www.facebook.com/157327680951910/photos/pb.157327680951910. 2207520000.1456023101./1123905897627412/?type=3&theater Gobierno Territorial Rama Y Kriol (GTR K). Indigenas Demandan Por Coaccion De Firmas Para El Canal De Nicaragua Gob ierno Territorial Rama Y Kriol (GTR K), 5 Feb. 2016. Web. 20 Feb. 2016. .

PAGE 12

xii Grupo Cocibolca. (2014, November 23). Comunicado del Gr upo Cocibolca [Press release]. Retrieved January 23, 2016, from https://es es.facebook.com/notes/la voz de nicaragua/comunicado del grupo cocibolca/10154815470225487/ Hance, J. (2015, March 26). Nueva pelcula muestra la resistencia local al Canal de Nicaragua Retrieved February 02, 2016, from http://es.mongabay.com/2015/03/nueva pelicula muestra la resistencia local al canal de nicaragua/ Hatzel Montez, R. (2015, September 22). Acusan y destituyen a diputado misquito Retrieved September 23, 2015, from http://www.elnuevodiario.com.ni/nacionales/371232 diputado rivera pierde inmunidad/ Johnson, T. (2015, June 18). Nicaragua's Rama Indians face peril from canal and migrants. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from http://media.mcclatchydc.com/stat ic/featu res/NicaCanal/RAMA.html* Kilpatrick, K. (2015, April 9). Canal 'will destroy we' Retrieved February 02, 2016, from http://projects.aljazeera.com/2015/04/nicaragua canal/displaced.html Kilpatrick, K. (2016, January 12). Canal 'will destroy we' Retrieved February 02, 2016, from http://projects.aljazeera.com/2015/04/nicaragua canal/displaced.html Len, S., & Romero, E. (2016, January 12). Gobierno Territorial Rama y Kriol desautoriza las voces crticas La Prensa Retrieved February 02, 2016, from http://www.laprensa.com.ni/2016/01/12/nacionales/1967756 gtrk desautoriza las voces criticas Liedel, E. (n.d.). A Canal Where a Language Used to Be. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from https:// schwafire.atavist.com/linguistic_peril_canal Miller, T. (2015, January 08). Rama Community in Bangkukuk, Nicaragua, Speaks Out About the Grand Canal Project. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/rama community bangkukuk nicaragua speaks out about grand canal project Moncada, Roy. "Indgenas De Nicaragua Resisten Presin Del Gobierno Por El Canal La Prensa." La Prensa 2016. Web. 20 Feb. 2016. . Nicaragua, Gobierno Territorial Rama y Kriol (GTR K). (n.d.). El Gobierno Territorial Rama y Kriol Aclara y Sienta su Posicin sobre el Canal en su Territorio Retrieved January 23, 2016, from https://esla.facebook .com/NotiBluefields/posts/409861455835476

PAGE 13

xiii Peterson, B. (2015, June 17). Nicaragua's Rama Indians face peril from canal. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from https://www. youtube.com/watch?v=Wz4n9FxoB4k* PrettyGoodProductions (2014). This Land is for All of We: A small Rama community in Bangkukuk, Nicaragua, speaks out about the Grand Canal Project. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from https://vimeo.com/109026969 Rama Kriol Territorial Government. Indigeno us and Afro Descendant Peoples File Lawsuit Against Coerced Signatures for Nicaraguan Canal Rama Kriol Territorial Government, 7 Feb. 2016. Web. 20 Feb. 2016. . Rama Kriol Territorial Government. (2016, January 10). GTR K Authorities Are Being Pressured to Approve the Interoceanic Canal [Press release]. Retrieved January 23, 2016, from https://www.facebook.com/157327680951910/pho tos/a.612501958767811.1073741827. 157327680951910/1123958780955457/ Secretaria de Desarrollo de la Costa Caribe (2016, January 10). Secretaria de Desarrollo de la Costa Caribe : Gobierno Territorial Rama y Kriol (GTRK), aprueba convenio en favor del Gran Canal Retrieved February 02, 2016, from http://scaribenicaragua.blogspot.com/2016/01/gobierno territorial rama y kriol gtrk.html XINHUA Espaol (2016, April 10). CUMBRE DE LAS AMERICAS: Indgenas se oponen a construccin de canal en Nicaragua Retrieved February 02, 2016, from http://spanish.xinhuanet.com/iberoamerica/2015 04/10/c_134138500.htm *Videos anal yzed

PAGE 14

1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION The Rama nation and the Kriol community of Nicaragua are facing the risk of massive territory division and resource destruction at the hands of a corporation known as Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development (HKND). HKND has been granted exclusive concessions by the Nicaraguan state to build a megacanal and several subprojects through the Rama Kriol Territory, located in the Southern Autonomous Region of the Miskito Coast. The project will physically divide the Rama and Kriol peoples, devastating their respect ive cultures and resources critical to their collective survival. The Ley 840 (2013), which serves as a legally binding contract between HKND and the Nicaraguan state regarding the megacnal is in direct violation of the Demarcation Law ( Ley 445) (2003). The law establishes communal land tenure rights, as well as rights to oversee and protect natural and cultural resources within titled territories, to the Kriol and Rama communities. Additionally, the Nicaraguan st ate is defying the Autonomy Law, which can be found in Article 28 of the 1987 Nicaraguan Constitution (Arriaza, 2012), as no Indigenous or Afro descendant citizens were consulted prior the signing of Law 840. Although the impacts are not uniquely felt by t he Rama and Kriol people, the impact disproportionally befalls them, as most of the these Indigenous and Afro descendant peoples. Land grabs across the globe cont inue to take many forms, have occurred for centuries, and have been motivated by various political, social, and economic interests. Ultimately, I argue that the forced appropriation of land is rooted in power dynamics

PAGE 15

2 between nations, states, and amongst a nd within various identities. I focus my argument on the aforementioned land grab occurring currently in Nicaragua, particularly in regards and physical integrities. I do want to be clear that my study intends in no way to essentialize Rama and Kriol perspectives or responses to the canal. Instead, I aim to analyze a variety of discourse to capture a representative understanding of general sentiment and concerns raised by members within these communities. I focus on discourse in opposition to the impacts the land grab would have on the aforementioned Indigenous nation (Rama) and Afro descendant (Kriol) of the Miskito Coast. The 187 kilometer megacanal that HKND intends to construct is an undertaking to which HKND has been granted exclusive rights, and is estimated to be the largest engineering endeavor in world history, with an anticipated price tag of more than $50 billion dollars (Woodard, 2015). I refer to the canal a of land being forcibly taken without consent of communities residing presently and historically in the territory (Ross, 2014). The proposed route for the megacanal runs through more Rama and Kriol territory than any other group within the Nicaraguan state, with 52% of the structure falling within the Territorio Rama Kriol (Rama Creole Territory), a joint territory recognized and titled by the Nicaraguan state per the aforementioned Demarcation Law. As the Rama and Kriol voices this study highlights argue, and I agree, the costs of land, natural resources, food security, language extinction, and threat to cultural identities are exponentially higher for their respective communities. The danger o f being displaced from the land that serves as the origins of self and cultural identity, both for individuals

PAGE 16

3 and their entire communities, has resulted in unique forms of resistance by both Rama and Kriol actors. Though it could be argued that distinctio ns should be made between these two identities, difference often becomes blurred due to intermittent cooperative efforts in their approach to development of discourse that calls into question the legitimacy and integrity of the HKND project; due to this bl urring, I on occasion will say that their unique identities become indistinguishable or should be considered equivalent or matching; rather, that their struggle u nites them in a manner this study seeks to understand. Due to the critical role that traditional territories play in the formation of Indigenous and Afro descendant identities, languages, origin stories, and beyond, Rama Figure 1: Above in the southeastern Miskito Coast is the Regin Autnomo de la Atlntico Sur (RAAS) where the Rama Kriol Territory is located. http://sites.dartmouth.edu/burdondasbach_lacs20_fa15/files/2015/09/Mapa02.jpg

PAGE 17

4 and Kriol people are concerned that their communities may literally cease to exist as the culturally distinct groups that they are today. Accordingly, I have made a decision to assume that impacts faced by the Afro/Indigenous people who will be displaced b y the approaching the investigation of the Rama and Kriol struggle as a case study for the hardships of neoliberalism in the experience of Afro/Indigenous identities. Th e disregard for Afro/Indigenous rights at the hands of economic development and natural resource exploitation highlights the blurred lines of responsibility between state and non state actors in light of neoliberal practices, entities, and approaches to de velopment. In this thesis, I focus on community stakeholders and potential casualties as a result of the canal land grab, and more specifically how Rama and Kriol resistors enact the struggle to protect their ability to continue to exist as culturally root ed groups. Though their tactics of resistance are multidimensional, I examine discourse specifically that is inclusive of Rama narratives coupled with Afro Within the context of the canal land grab, I will be focusing specifically on how Indigenous and Afro discourse respond to their communities, state government and HKND. I have elected to focus on these groups due to the fact that their traditional territor ies are recognized and should be respected by the Nicaraguan state; however, I do acknowledge that are other groups would feel the effects of the canal land grab as well. Accordingly, there exists a uniqueness of the positions of the Rama and Kriol communi ties that I analyze in this study. Having legally recognized land tenure, as well as rights to self determination, violated by both state and foreign actors, calls not only the

PAGE 18

5 to the The land that is now referred to as Nicaragua has a history of complex interactions among groups that spoke (and those that continue to speak) distinct languages and practiced (and those that conti nue to practice) unique forms of agriculture. In addition to cultural differences, the region was characterized by conflict between the ethnic groups that occupied or migrated through present day Nicaragua prior to Figure 2: The proposed route for the can al, with the Rama Kriol Territory in Yellow http://www.hakaimagazine.com/article long/rama versus canal colonization (Walker, 2003). To add to the clashes already taking place in the region, colonization began in the 16 th century, first with the Spanish invasion of the Pacific side of Nicaragua, later to be followed by the British colonization of the Miskito Coast (Walker, 2003). The result of the multi ethnic, multi colonized regi on has left remains of division between both the eastern and western populations locked within the boundaries of the area claimed by the Nicaraguan state. Accordingly, particularly along the Miskito

PAGE 19

6 Coast, hierarchies imposed by pre and post colonial cont ention between ethnic groups remain (Walker, 2003); traces of these previous, and often times current, struggles can be found in languages spoken today. Specifically for the groups being discussed in this study, both Rama and Kriol people speak variations of Creole that are English based and integrate pieces of their respective languages pre colonization and/or forced migration, as w ell as their respective world views and cultural lifeways. However, a small number of fluent speakers of the Rama language rem ain today. In 1987, Indigenous and Afro descendant peoples made progress toward establishment of formally recognized communal rights with the new Constitution that was written at the end of conflict between the Nicaraguan state and the Afro descendant and Indigenous communities following the Sandinista revolution (Larson et al., 2015). Along with the inclusion of the Autonomy Law in the constitution, 45% of national territory was placed under the control of the newly established regional governments, which would oversee the Miskito Coast. The Council is an elected entity, and positions to govern are allotted for both Indigenous and Afro descendant communities. However, in spite of these shifts in policy and law, the state continued (and continues) to treat r power is often more figurative than substantive (Larson et al., 2015). This history of t in place for Afro/Indigenous communities has created a general mistrust of the Nicaraguan government throughout the Miskito Coast. I initially was unsure if analyzing voices from both the Afro descendant Kriol community and Indigenous Rama Nation would complicate my findings, in spite of the

PAGE 20

7 fact that the Kriol reside within and alongside the Rama peoples. Ultimately, as I established the sources that would be included in my analysis, I came to the conclusion that the shared experience of violation of co mmunal land tenure generally parallels those of the Rama, and their words in opposition to HKND and the Nicaraguan state speak to similar hardships; aside from this, I also began to identify the fact that these communities often work in concert in their re sistance. I identify several instances in which their discourses intersect and work from similar platforms. Inclusion of these allies in obstruction of the megacanal is critical to the creation of findings that aim to be more comprehensive and complete. Lastly, I learned through my research that Nicaragua is the only state in the Latin American and Caribbean regions that stipulates communal rights and autonomy for bot h Indigenous and Afro descendant peoples, presenting a unique opportunity to observe collaboration between two historically and culturally different communities in response to a similar enemies; in this case, HKND and the Nicaraguan state government. Whil e there are several other Indigenous nations that are within the borders of the Nicaraguan state, their territories are not legally recognized by the Demarcation Law, and s. I are relevant to inform my discourse analysis. However, I do acknowledge the fact that many Indigenous and Afro descendant peoples in resistance to the states i n which they find their communities confined often reject consequent paternalism and colonialist roots the same history,

PAGE 21

8 (White Face, 2013 p. 32). I use the term Afro descendant to refer to the Kriol people as they self identify this way, though Nicaraguan policy refers to the community as Afro Caribbean. The discourse I am including in this study is found within documents produced by the Gobierno Territorial Rama y Kriol (Rama Creole Territorial Government, hereafter GTR K), organizations and community leaders in opposition a nd resistance to the canal, as well as Rama and Kriol documentaries and several short films. Documents include press releases, appeals to international actors for assistance, and presentation of concerns caused by the land grab to the international communi ty. My analysis of these items aims to identify how discourse is being utilized as a form of resistance in response to the illegal taking of lands in the autonomous southern region of the Miskito Coast. Further, utilization of the cultural and historical c ontext from which both Rama and Kriol voices spring will highlight the unique approach to protection of land, culturally rooted resistance, and call into question the efficacy of policy establishing communal rights. In the effort of transparency, I also w ant to specify the assumptions that inform my approach and understanding of this topic. First, I argue that people are experts in their own experiences, and deserve the space to describe their experiences on their own terms. As will be seen, Standard Engli sh is absent from speakers included in this study, and are instead replaced by non native English based Creole. This is an important artifact of colonialism to acknowledge, and I do not assume that Rama Creole and Kriol Creole has an impact on the authorit y of any of the speakers included in my analysis. Lastly, I view

PAGE 22

9 constitution and various laws does not equate to tension between the Nicaraguan state and the Rama and Kriol people being eliminated or addressed. Instead, I assume that these rights are a product of the struggle of the Sandinista government to incorporate the Miskito Coast into their revolutionary state. D ue to the paternalistic approach taken by the Sand inistas to integrate the communities on the Miskito Coast however well intentioned, efforts were ill received by the Afro/Indigenous communities of eastern Nicaragua. Accordingly, due to armed resistance during the Contra War, I argue that laws such as th e Autonomy Law and Demarcation Law serve to create the illusion of respect for Afro/Indigenous peoples, with a clear failure of the state to adhere to their own laws and policies. As a result, I believe it is critical to investigate the resistance captured in my analysis to develop frameworks and tools that other Afro/Indigenous groups facing threats of rights violations and neoliberalism can utilize to establish and strengthen their won resistance efforts. Land Grabs & Violation of Afro/Indigenous Land Rig hts Many actors continue to establish mechanisms by which land can be colonized and/or continue to be colonized; present colonization, though it may vary somewhat by tactics employed and motive, continues to be employed throughout the globe (Anseeum & Tayl or, 2014; Delgado, 2014; RRI, 2015). These wide spread efforts have been called 9). Regardless of name, many modern day land grabs are in direct violation of Indigenous and /or Afro descendant land rights, and threaten Afro/Indigenous Shiva, 2014; Stewart Harwira, 2013). As Shiva (2014) argues that

PAGE 23

10 colonization was based on the violent takeover of land. Now, globalization as recolonization is leading to a mass land grab in India, Africa, and Latin America. Land is being grabbed for speculative investment, urban sprawl, mines and factories, highways and expressways, (p. 41). These motive s for states, corporations, and other actors to make land grabs include market demands, climate change, financial speculation, food insecurity, recession, scarcity of natural resources, and more (Anseeum & Taylor, 2014; Federici, 2014; Ross, 2014). Accordi ngly, Afro/Indigenous peoples are faced with enormous obstacles to overcome, such as globalization, neoliberalism, and ever increasing destruction of lands across the globe. Furthermore, the illegal or forceful taking of land and resources is a hardship fe lt deeply and often by Indigenous nations, regardless of the location of their traditional territory or lands. I say deeply due to the fact that Indigenous, (and according to some scholars this includes Afro descendant communities as well) conceptions of l and are distinct from those of non Indigenous communities. Land for Indigenous nations is the means by which their communities have survived since the beginning of their existence; it contains the sacred sites that include their peoples conception and plac es central to religious beliefs, and it produces the medicine and foods that provide the foundation on which culture is created and re created over time ( Coulter et al., 2014; Stewart Harawira, 2005; Ross, 2014; White Face, 2013). I have elected to rely on to my bias that taking of Indigenous lands is morally wrong, which I fully acknowledge and intend the weight the term carries. Land grabs are driven by a variety motives, and they take many forms. They vary by factors such as siz e, cause or motivation (such as agricultural use, migration, domestic and international demand for food and/or natural resources, market restructuring,

PAGE 24

11 conservation efforts, etc.), and actors (state governments, foreign investors, domestic corporations, et c.). Violations of traditional lands and natural resources at the hands of http://www.indianlaw.org/ ). A more inclusive approach to protecting endangered ecological systems, biospheres, and natural resources presents the opportunity to incorporate Afro/Indigenous knowledges to improve conservation efforts, rather than harmful land grabs made with or without positive intent. Nicaraguan Afro/Indigenous Community Land Rights When it comes to recognition of Indigenous communal land tenure, Nicaragua has a legal and political history of enabling its Indigenous and Afro descendant communities to hold traditional lands in common, including constitutional reforms put in place in 19 87 and the Demarcation Law established in 2003 (Arriaza, 2012; Ley No. 445 ). For example, practices, possession of the land should suffice for indigenous communities lacki ng real title to property of the land to obtain official recognition of that property, and for means to implement Indigenous land rights that were legally recognized be came Project in Nicaragua [to help] the country to implement Law 445, which regulates the project created a process by which Indigenous nations of Nicaragua could obtain legally American Court

PAGE 25

12 collective Afro descendant nations have been capable of gaining land title to the ir traditional territories, which can protect and bolster cultural identity, subsistence practices, and maintain access to natural and land resources central to the Miskito, Mayagna, and Rama nations, as well as their Afro descendant counterparts. The tit ling and demarcation process of Indigenous and Afro descendant lands in funded Land Administration Project, [which] has supported the enforcement of an international human rights ruling on co llective indigenous land ownership, and helped many indigenous is an example of Nicaragua successfully tying political frameworks with formally recognized laws to pr omote the Land Administration Project to support Indigenous land rights and titles. The ILRC (2014) goes on to say: With secure legal title, these communities are now able to fully exercise their ownership and self determination rights, and the risk of fut ure land conflicts is effectively eliminated. Bank projects that respect indigenous peoples land ownership and other human rights can end indigenous poverty and build prosperity that indigenous people can share, (p. 4). With that being said, rights to com munal land tenure hold weight beyond the territories recognition of its Indigenous nations and Afro descendant communities appears to demonstrate respect for, and a commitme nt to, Afro/Indigenous rights, and in this case, specifically to land tenure rights and self government. The Demarcation Law and the

PAGE 26

13 territory to Indigenous communities t o allow stewardship over traditional territories; such efforts appear to be compliant and supportive of aforementioned concerns faced by Indigenous communities. In spite of concrete initiatives by the Frente Sandinista de Liberaci n Nacional (FSLN) to reco gnize Indigenous and Afro descendant groups by the Nicaraguan state, shortcomings continue. The FSLN first created the semi autonomous regions in 1987, later to be followed by the Demarcation Law (Arriaza, 2015; Larson, 2015). However, these strides toward protection of Indigenous land tenure, law and policy, hold little to no impacted by these policies. Additionally, power granted by law to regional councils continues to be overrun and disregarded by the Nicaraguan state, ultimately calling into question what authority they truly have. Indigenous Resistance within Nicaragua Indigenous nations of Nicaragua have a history of resistance, in particular those along the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua; with that being said, resistance has changed over time. Prior to the 18 th century, the region remained relatively unscathed by colonization, and treaties with the British were later signed in the 19 th and 20 th centuries recogn izing Indigenous autonomy in the region. Once these agreements were no longer honored, Indigenous resistance became necessary (Arraiza, 2012). While discussing these approaches of Indigenous nations in Nicaragua when enacting resistance, some degree of ess entializing discourse or rhetoric is necessary, as not all perspectives will be represented by their resistance actors.

PAGE 27

14 Resistance has not always been a cohesive effort within or among Afro/Indigenous communities of Nicaragua (Arriaza, 2012; Meringer, 20 10). Eric Rodrigo Meringer (2010) identifies the transitions seen in the dominant voices of the Miskito nation over time and challenges the often rebellious and revolutionary narrative predominantly associated with the Miskito peoples. Prior to Miskito, Su mu, Rama, and Sandanistas United (MISURASATA), a group formed to represent Indigenous interests, a Asociaci n para el Progreso de los Pueblos Miskitos y Sumos (ALPROMISU) re presented the dominant voice for Indigenous rights on the Miskito Coast. Rather than leaders instead were operating within a localized platform for integration of Indige nous peoples within the Nicaraguan state (Meringer, 2010). In the same way voices of Indigenous peoples are often marginalized, Indigenous resistance groups can marginalize conflicting voices within and amongst their own nations. ALPROMISU operated more as cultural brokers between isolated Miskito villages and Spanish speaking Managua (Meringer, 2010) in an effort to advocate for institutions, opportunities, and education that better served Indian peoples within the Nicaraguan state.

PAGE 28

15 CHAPTER II METHODS I n order to bolster my goal of conducting an analysis that is as unbiased as possible, I began by acknowledging partialities I have regarding the megacanal I have conducted research on Afro/Indigenous rights in Nicaragua in the past; specifically, I invest igated how Ley 162 which guarantees Afro descendants as well as Indigenous peoples access to medical care, judiciary processes, government interactions and education in their respective heritage languages, to determine if or how the law was being implemen ted. Due to the widespread gaps in administering these communication services, such as court and medical interpreters, I developed a lens that is inclined to assume that the Nicaraguan state does not have a vested interest in adhering to, and supporting, I ndigenous and Afro descendant rights, regardless of law and/or policy guaranteeing protection for these groups. My findings ultimately led me to question the rights on the Miskito Coast, as I found nearly no evidence of these rights being enacted outside the limited realm of bi or multi lingual education. Additionally, I have maintained relationships with community members of the Miskito, Rama, and Kriol peoples sinc e my study and time living in Nicaragua in 2010. Due to these personal connections, I have a vested interest in the respect and agency of these individuals and the communities within which they respectively identify. With that being said, I actively seek t o remain neutral with my interpretation of the discourse I examine, though I acknowledge that this is not an exercise I can execute with complete infallibility.

PAGE 29

16 In addition to my examination of the influence that my previous experience could have on my an alysis and subsequent findings, I investigated various discourse analysis endeavors and social movements focused on Indigenous rights prior to beginning my analysis. Though I do not identify as an Indigenous person, I incorporate my background in Indigenou s research, politics, cultures, languages, and so on to assist in my analysis of resistance discourse of the Rama and Kriol peoples of Nicaragua. My previous opportunities to conduct field work alongside Afro/Indigenous communities have helped me to develo p a lens that is closer in alignment to Indigenous and/or Afro descendant responses to neoliberalism, environmental threats, or any other anti Indigenous policy. To support this process of maintaining a lens not strictly limited by my Anglo, western backgr ound, I developed codes to highlight rhetoric that was included in the studies I utilized for a foundational understanding of Indigenous resistance, as I may not otherwise have identified them. These codes are discussed in the following sections of my Find ings and Analysis chapter. Discourse Analysis & Framing Discourse analysis does not have a formal process by which analysts and researchers must adhere, though all work with signs (and systems of signs), narrative, and rhetoric that communicate interpretat ions and creations of reality, be it within the confines of a personal or communal experience (Beard, 2010; Polletta, 2006; Traynor, 2004; van Dijk, 1993). Accordingly, various forms of analysis can be employed to expose how language is utilized to create a greater, more nuanced understanding of segments of discourse, discursive frames, identity (re )construction, and, ultimately, going beyond simple sematic explanation of what is being said (Rothman & Oliver, 2002; West, 2013).

PAGE 30

17 As such, findings from disco urse analyses can span from implications of hierarchy within direct human interaction to exposing structures and dynamics of power communicated through language at an institutional or structural level. Discourse analyses can respond to, and be shaped by, a range of disciplines, including approaches such as formal linguistic, empirical, critical, and discursive psychology (Traynor, 2004; van Dijk, 1993). I employ a critical discourse analysis (CDA) approach, which incorporates social, cultural, and historica l contexts relevant to the discourse at hand. CDA highlights relations of power, inequality, and social position, which are particularly relevant to Indigenous and Afro descendant rights framing and discourse that aims to challenge or mirror existing and historic institutional, social, and cultural power relations systematically and socio politically ( Hodges et al 2008; van Dijk, 1993). CDA essentially aims to identify foundations, circumstances, and outcomes of disparate power and hegemony through discourse (Vanden, 2007). As such, findings from CDA can identify approaches that may victimize speakers (Johnston & Noakes, 2005; Warren & Jackson, 2007), villainize their respective opposition (Polletta, 2006; Warren & Jackson, 2007) and assert social po wer (Warren & Jackson, 2007). The method can also help indicate how discourse creates access to various platforms, or, on the other hand, could demonstrate lack of power due to inaccessibility of platforms such as media, institutions and/or significant act ors at local, national and international levels ( Hodges et al, 2008, van Tijk 1993). Though analysis may be qualitative, quantitative, or some combination of the two (Androutsopoulos, 2012; van Tijk, 1993), I focus on qualitative investigation of rhetoric utilized by the Rama and Kriol peoples of Nicaragua.

PAGE 31

18 Framing is closely tied to discourse and works to define boundaries around concerns, interests, and relevant assertions that would be used in resistance discourse (Johnston & Noakes, 2005). Establishmen t of boundaries contextualizes discourse by determining and defining the issue, why it is of importance, as well as creating space to convince or resonate with interlocutors. Frames can be diagnostic, motivational, or both, and typically specify which iden tities are being represented and/or resisted, establish agency of speakers, and highlight injustice and/or directly attribute fault to oppressors (Johnston, 2011; Johnston & Noakes, 2005; West, 2013). Further, framing is directly connected to discourse and the means by which communication and accounts of reality are justified and utilized to mobilize constituents (Johnston, 2011; Oliver & Johnston, 2002). Knowledge and comprehension of framing and discursive markers enable me to effectively analyze discours e in the following chapter, as I can identity which of the aforementioned approaches are being taken up by the Rama and/Kriol peoples. Method Application Once these precursory exercises were in place, I began to identify discursive constructs and tools uti lized by Rama and Kriol communities, organizations and individuals standing against the megacanal I did so by continually reviewing the sources I analyzed to assist me in identifying connections I may otherwise have missed. Further, I transcribed all of t he short films, GTR K press releases, and quotes from articles to ingrain discourse more firmly in my memory prior to initiating my analysis. The data I utilized for the analysis of resistance discourse in opposition to the project included sources selecte d on the basis that they be in whole, or at least in part, told from the perspective of Rama and Kriol actors regarding Ley 840 and its environmental, social and

PAGE 32

19 cultural impacts. Accordingly, these sources include newspaper articles with community members dialogue with community leaders and members in their homes and traditional territories, and government documents written by the Gobierno Territorial Rama y Kriol (GTR K) (see Append ix on xi xiii for complete details) I worked with discourse in its original language, meaning that Spanish, Rama Creole, and Kriol Creole are represented; as such, my translations have been provided to assist readers in understanding words as they were st rung together by the speakers themselves. Additionally, my goal is to honor their voices as they chose to present them to guide an analysis that creates deeper understandings of resistance discourse, rather than imposing meaning on speakers seeking to esta blish their own agency. Sources were limited to those available online, as I was unable to conduct field work. Accordingly, discourse was nearly always directed at the national and/or international community, which influences the tactics and rhetoric incor porated in each aforementioned platform. Additionally, internet is not a resource widely available along the Miskito Coast, so voices captured in my analysis were often empowered by international partners and likely exclude voices that do not have relation ships or access to these actors. Further, discourse is likely more distant from what would be heard at the grassroots level, as language must be accessible to engage allies abroad, shaping which concerns are presented and how their presentation is generate d. In order to examine sources that are not written or spoken, I have expanded the definition of discourse provided by Merriam incorporate both video and photos. This is due to the fact that vi deo and photos express

PAGE 33

20 thoughts and ideas in a manner that often escapes written or spoken word. As such, I argue that my analysis would be incomplete without the integration of visual data to my analysis. It is critical that discourse analysis be conducte d contextually, including intersections of historical, cultural, religious/spiritual, and social frameworks to improve comprehension of what is said, as well as what is not said, by these communities resisting the canal and the subsequent consequences thei r communities and they themselves may be facing; the distinction of what is said and not said often responds to intended audience and/or context in which discourse is created. During my analysis, I search for markers indicating goals and tactics of resista nce, experience of the threat of the canal project to themselves/their communities, and ultimately, how the resisting Afro descendant and personally taken positions informed by discursive practices embedded in their socio and resources being utilized by resistors to empower their positions, and demonstrate belief systems and the value of communally held traditional lands. As the categories of sources analyzed differ, I also seek any indication that terminology, metaphors, and/or other discursive devices employed by resistors transform or are ad a pted to various settings; this effort is cri tical to ensure that discursive strategies are understood contextually. In other words, I examine sources for markers that are inconsistent within and across selected sources of resistance discourse to determine how audience and platform may play a role in discourse utilized in opposition to the canal. I acknowledge that as a non Indigenous person and non Nicaraguan researcher, I will be

PAGE 34

21 unable to fully separate my own lens with which I approach the world entirely from my e may lend itself to multiple interpretations and conceptualizations on the basis of socio 3). With that being said, along with limitations as an outsider to fully grasp the implementation of resistance exe rcised via discourse, I too am able to identify common assumptions or gaps that might otherwise be missed by community insiders. As such, my purpose and objective are to interpret discursive practices within the resistance movement in response to the Nicar delicate environments upon which many Indigenous and Afro descendant communities depend. Finally, I reco gnize that the discourse included in my analysis is heavily weighted toward Rama concerns and resistance to the canal, despite the fact that they are not the only community threatened by the canal. With that being said, Kriol voices are less present in my analysis due to what was available from sources available online. Additionally, I was unable to locate any sources highlighting voices from the Indigenous Miskitu de Tasbapounie community that calls Laguna de Perlas home. I argue that the fact that Kriol v oices are not harnessed in the same widespread manner as Rama voices is due to the fact that in recent decades, policy and international awareness around Indigenous rights has created a more significant space in which international actors and allies are mo re likely to support and appreciate Indigenous communities that seek assistance to protect their territories and rights established by international and national policy.

PAGE 35

22 Due to the increasing space available for Indigenous voices, I argue that this is a t actic utilized by both communities to increase the strength and success of their resistance efforts. However, I also recognize that there are instances in which Afro descendant groups can voice their concerns, though I argue that these spaces do not curren tly exist in the same way for Afro descendant voices. For example, environmental movements often pair themselves with Indigenous peoples to strengthen empathy and concern by local, regional, and (inter)national actors to strengthen their environmentally ce ntered interests. I am not aware of instances in which Afro descendant voices are leveraged in this same fashion relative to the situation I examine in Nicaragua. Similarly, the lack of Miskitu de Tasbapounie voices is likely due to the fact that Pearl Lag oon has limited access to resources such as the internet to expose their concerns regarding the canal in a manner to which I would have access. Further, their territory falls under the control of the GTR K, which does not explicitly represent Miskito peopl es.

PAGE 36

23 CHAPTER III REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Indigenous histories and culture often are founded upon and/or interlaced with resistance. Indigenous mobilization in effort to achieve rights has been a critical struggle in Latin America for centuries (Benavide s, 2012; Vanden, 2007). Afro descendant efforts follow similar resistance efforts, but often are not given the same attention as Indigenous movements and resistance; as a result, I rely heavily on the handful of sources I was able to locate that discuss Af ro descendant groups specifically. However, I demonstrate both tension and collaboration between both Indigenous and Afro descendant communities as they are the subject of my investigation. There are gaps that I want to address prior to entering into the c onversation connected to resistance and rights efforts for both Afro descendant and Indigenous peoples. First, finding central voices to speak on behalf of the experiences of such widely diverse populations can be considered dangerous due to risks of essen tialization and reduction of the wide ranging cultures and identities that are each unique and rooted in their respective histories, territories, and experiences. With this concern in mind, I selected sources that raise important concerns and perspectives of many Rama and Kriol community members. Further, I was unable to locate studies that directly address the approach my analysis will take within the context of Indigenous and Afro descendant resistance, requiring me to construct a review of relevant liter ature that sets foundations by which I can interpret and understand my data set effectively. Further, I will articulate and demonstrate that both Indigenous and Afro descendant groups resist violation of autonomy, land rights, and subsequent issues of iden tity that are at stake. To do so, I pull from the disciplines of cultural anthropology,

PAGE 37

24 political science, as well as sociology to create an understanding and discussion that is wider reaching and more nuanced than any of these lenses could singularly prov ide. Through these disciplines, I explore Indigenous and Afro descendant land tenure rights, their unique relationships to traditional lands, spatially rooted identities, the role of discourse in supporting rights (land related and otherwise), as well as s trategies of resistance employed by both communities against development, or perhaps more accurately, destruction of their territories and natural resources. The strategy of discourse and narrative will be highlighted, as they are the data that I analyze i n this study. Indigenous Rights & Land Tenure Latin America is a region rich with social movements and resistance against colonialism, state oppression, and neoliberalism to shape and restructure public and private life (Lewis, 2002). Land remains a significant point of contention, though the meaning and significance of property and territory vary greatly among cultures, world views, and positions of power. With centuries o f colonization behind us, and present day neoliberalism resulting in dispossessions of lands land ownership is a complex network of economic, political, and social power (Anseeum & Taylor, 2014; Belmessous, 2012; Larson et al., 2015; Newman, 2006/2007; Va nden, 2007) Speaking to land tenure by continue to live in and manage their respective traditional territories has been impacted and limited by massive theft, marginali zation, and genocide at the hands of Western Europeans. Land loss has resulted in once sovereign Indigenous nations largely becoming disempowered, disconnected from their cultural identities, and often left in an involuntary state of dependence (Delgado, 2 014; Federici, 2014; Fenelon & Hall, 2008;

PAGE 38

25 Stewart Harwira, 2012; Shiva, 2014) due to the inability to access lands on which their cultures, languages, and lifeways depend(ed). However, it is important to note that the illegal taking of Indigenous lands a s well as forms of genocide, is not thing s of the past; Indigenous nations continue to fight to retain or regain rights to their traditional territories throughout the world (Fenelon & Hall, 2008; Gilio Whitaker, 2015; Ross, 2014). My goal is to stand in s olidarity wi th those facing globalized threat s to their identities as well as peoples who have fought for centuries to withstand forces seeking to eli minate their existence. Through my analysis, m y goal is to highlight what can be gained by protecting cul turally distinct Indigenous peoples and Afro descendant communities from neoliberal forces that, if left unchecked, could cease to exist. Land for most Indigenous nations is the means by which their communities have survived since the beginning of their existence, it contains the sacred sites that include their peoples conception and places central to religious beliefs, and it produces the medicine and foods that provide the foundation on which culture is created and re created over time ( Coulter et al., 2014; Stewart Harawira, 2005; Ross, 2014; White Face, 2013). As Indigenous identities are often tied to traditional territories as a point of origin, Indigenous identities are inherently spatial and inseparable from their traditional lands (Greene, 2007; W arren & Jackson, 2007). Accordingly, Warren and Jackson (2007) assert that culture and identities can be a resource to challenge marginalization. This initially can read as contradictory, as identities of marginalized groups are often understood as the cau understand these comments to refer to assertion of identity being utilized as a tool to

PAGE 39

26 undermine and challenge frameworks that stand in opposition to marginalized identities; in this case, I ndigenous and Afro descendant identities. Afro descendant Rights & Land Tenure According to Greene (2007), Hooker (2008), and Dulitzky (2010), the visibility of Afro descendant groups has been increasing in recent years; however, they also argue that margi nalization is still prevalent and a real obstacle for Afro descendant communities. Though some estimates assert that Afro descendant peoples make up 30% of the Latin American and Caribbean region, they are often rendered invisible and their struggle for ri ghts is often valued less than those of Indigenous peoples in Latin America (Greene, 2007; Hooker, 2008). This is an issue even in cases where states actively recognize Afro descendant communities as being distinct culturally and socially from the rest of 2007; Hooker 2008); Hooker (2008) includes a discussion in their identification of Afro descendant struggles for rights in Nicaragua. The conversation occurs between the author and an Indigenous person of Nicaragua, during which the Indigenous person suggests that the Demarcation Law does not apply to the Afro descendant peoples, and that they do not have rights to collective property title. However, the law does in fact recogni ze Afro descendant peoples as having a right to communal land tenure. Though explanations and theories differ, this knowledge gap may cause contention between Indigenous an d non Indigenous communities in multiethnic states. Often, groups that experience similar forms of oppression, but have distinct histories and cultures, sense a need to compete for rights, complicating any ability to collaborate.

PAGE 40

27 Such notions of difference between Indigeneity and Afro descendant identities can result in difficulty to mobilize Afro descendant rights due to their narratives and to the rest of society (Gre ene, 2007; Hooker, 2008). Additionally, intersections of race and culture are often ignored in conversations arguing against, or at least not in favor of, Afro descendant rights; Afro descendant peoples are understood strictly by their race, while Indigeno us people are interpreted on the basis of their ethnicity and culture (Greene 2007 ; Hooker 2008). Further difference on an institutional level comes from the fact that there has been, in most of Latin America, formal recognition of Indigenous identity, w hile Afro descendant identities generally are not recognized by the state. Additionally, Indigenous communities are often able to appeal to UNDRIP, ILO 169, and in some cases, to state policy and Constitutions to support their interests and territories (Be navides, 2012; Gilio Whitaker, 2015; Puig, 2010; Reed 2006; Larson et a l, 2015), a tool not yet available for the majority of Afro descendant peoples in the region. Hooker (2008) and Greene (2007), however, acknowledge that recognition by Latin American oppression; Benavides (2012) refers to these gap between de facto and de jure rights as will result in substantive change and respect for communities to whom rights have been allotted. I argue that acknowledging this supposed myth of rights can create space for diverse groups to work together for similar goals. Similar experiences of oppressi on and status in Latin America can be found between Indigenous and Afro descendant peoples; with this in mind, contention is not a

PAGE 41

28 universal, constant state between these groups. There are instances in which Afro descendant communities are understood to be comparable to Indigenous peoples, conditionally similar, as well as irreconcilably distinct (Greene 2007 ; Hooker 2008). Arguments for correspondence or connection between Indigenous peoples and Afro descendants are diverse. These include asserting a fix ed identity on surviving and ( communal rights being obligatory and/or reparations in response to Latin American history of slavery, racism, ex clusion, economic oppression, and discrimination of Afro descendant peopl es (Greene, 2007; Hooker, 2008)). Due to my inexperience with the movement for Afro descendant rights, I felt it important to include these tactical approaches to establishing a foun dation by which they can be recognized and become agents within their traditional lands; however, I recognize the complexity and potential interpretations of drawing parallels with dissimilar experiences. As the territory, law, and policy relevant to my st udy specifically address Afro descendant communities, I determined highlighting these pieces as critical to my study. Identity construction as it relates to Afro descendant rights is as disparate as the varied experiences, cultures, and territories upon wh ich their identities depend. Some will argue that Afro descendant sense of place precedes the creation of modern states, as do Indigenous peoples (Greene, 2007; Hooker, 2008). Comparison of Afro descendants to Indigenous peoples often operates on assumptio n that Afro descendants are distinct groups of people that have, do and will continue to exist ethnically and culturally in distinction from the rest of citizens in their respective states. However, Afro descendant

PAGE 42

29 communities often remain subjugated and a re placed beneath Indigenous peoples (Greene, 2007; Hooker, 2008). Similarly, othe biodiversity politics (Greene, 2007 p. 344) to Afro descendant peoples, which create and often mirror Indigenous claims of a cultural relation to traditional lands and nature. Further, others point to the fact that Afro descendant peoples have distinct languages, cultures, and territories (Greene, 2007 p. 345). More formally, the Inter American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) has begun to recogniz e Afro descendant groups as tribal communities (Dulizky, 2010) due to relationships with territories tied to cultural traditions; acknowledgement of these relationships are utilized to establish rights to collective property (Fenelon & Hall, 2008). Dulizky (2010) states that this approach has been initiated by the IACHR in the last 10 15 years by including Afro descendants in the do to land. Ultimately, the Court argues that both Indigenous and Afro descendant communities are economic characteristics that are different from the rest of the society, particularly a special relationship with their ancestral territories and full or partial self regulation of the group through its own norms, c p. 5 6). Accordingly, both Indigenous and Afro survivals are intimately connected to land and resource access, which often results in demarcation/titling (Hooker, 2008; Dulizk y, 2010). However, though progress has been made, Afro descendant rights remain, almost throughout all of Latin America, second to Indigenous rights. Efforts to draw parallels between Afro descendant and Indigenous experience continue, and, as a result, bo th groups tend to make use of similar tactics and resources to bolster resistance and

PAGE 43

30 protecti on of their traditional lands; a n avenue of particular interest is that of discourse analysis. Resistance Tactics and Afro/Indigenous Uses As is the case with mov ements and efforts focused on gaining and protecting rights, tactical approaches vary, and may include any combination of marches, land occupation, education, using law/policy to support goals discourse, and armed resistance (Benavides, 2012; Fenelon & Ha ll, 2008; Vanden, 2007; West, 2013). As this study focuses on discourse, I will be concentrating on its use as a tool to promote and strengthen resistance. Polletta (2006) argues that narrative forms of discourse are central to mobilization and coalition b uilding within resistance, and state governing bodies are becoming increasingly aware of the role narratives play in resistance (Fairbairn, 2015). Specifically, they can be used to create shared identities for recruitment and resonance, in terms of a posit ion of victimhood and/or empowerment, to establish rhetorical patterns, humanize and associate emotion with the position of the creators of discourse, interrogate causes and/or consequences of power differentials, and more; these components are also tied t o framing (Johnston & Noakes, 2005). Narratives can be inclusive of multiple elements that might invite coalition building and diverse constituents and/or allies, and ultimately demonstrate experiences of the complex interactions between culture and states /institutions. Androutsopoulos (2012) and Beard (2010) argue that discourse and narrative do not need to be established uniquely by way of spoken or written communication, but also create space for communication through film and visual media. Avoiding lim iting studies to language and rhetoric enables visual communication to play a role in reinforcing or

PAGE 44

31 further complicating discourse to which film and media relate. As Polletta (2006) states, which can be fortified by use of visual integration of discourse. Further, Warren and Jackson (2007) argue that Indigenous peoples have become increasingly skilled in leveraging mass media, television, documentaries and the internet to create awareness, pr esent their work for self determination, as well as highlight culture and activism within their respective communities, establishing film and media as an integral resource to be included in discourse analysis. These pieces establish agency that is often st riped of Indigenous peoples by even well intentioned anthropologists and scholars (Warren & Jackson, 2007), as well as acknowledging how media is either used to frame or reframe concerns of collective resistance (Gilio Whitaker, 2015; Johnston & Noakes, 20 05). Due to this concern, I elected to strictly highlight Rama and Kriol voices, rather than incorporating discourse written and produced by the media. Framing and discourse can also be utilized to combine frames employed by other forms of resistance (Roth man & Oliver, 2002). For example, there exists the common assumption that communal land tenure inherently relates to security and environmental protection (Arraiza, 2012; Gilio Whitaker, 2015). Similarly, Colombo (2014) adds that there is a problematic con flation between environmental protections and economic interest discourses; from an Indigenous, and arguably Afro descendant perspective, these two separate discourses are irreconcilable. Due to the fact that global lands and resources, within Afro/Indigen ous territories or otherwise, are facing threats around the globe, discourse advocating for environmental protections are often utilized by both Indigenous and Afro descendant peoples (Colombo, 2014; Fenelon & Hall, 2008; Rothman & Oliver,

PAGE 45

32 2002). Additiona l, both promote alternative life styles that are more sustainable, creating space in which they can complement and mutually benefit one another (West, 2013). Frame linking, often carried out with an end of coalition building, is a powerful tool in resistan ce, as it expands resources, constituency, and creates networks to distribute information for assistance and/or solidarity for greater success for those in resistance (Fenelon & Hall, 2008; Johnston, 2011; Puig, 2010; Rothman & Oliver, 2002). Puig (2010) a lso highlights how Indigenous movements often link territorial rights, self rule, and legal prerogative to self determination. Such tactics can be utilized to create political opportunity in structures that may otherwise not have been available, which is s ignificant as resistance efforts are constrained by formal political structures (Giugni, 2002; Lewis, 2002; Puig, 2010; Vanden, 2007). Giugni (2002), Vanden (2007), and West (2013) argue that this becomes an increasingly accessible tactic, as globalization intensifies interconnectivity amongst social movements at the local, national, and transnational levels; with tools such as internet, social media, and mass media now at the disposal of resistors and participants of social movements, alliance creates more platforms and avenues by which potential allies and sympathizers may be identified. Conclusion With this greater understanding of Indigenous and Afro descendant rights, discourse analysis, and resistance, I analyze the situation of the Indigenous Rama an d Afro descendant Kriol peoples of Nicaragua, and specifically their resistance to the megacanal the Nicaraguan state contracted with HKND. Though resistance tactics vary, I will be focusing on discourse captured by film, government press releases, and new s

PAGE 46

33 articles that are centered on and capture Rama and Kriol voices responding to the canal. In the following chapter I will describe the methods that I made use of for my analysis.

PAGE 47

34 CHAPTER IV FINDINGS & ANALYSIS Before entering into my analysis, I want to point out some general findings that came out of my initial review of sources that help lay the groundwork for understanding arguments that I address in my analysis narrative. First, I found that Spanish was the language primarily used when audiences were Mestizo, HKND, or the Nicaragua state. This was most commonly seen in press releases from the Rama Kriol Territorial Government (GTR K) and/or news sources based in Nicaragua, which could be attributed to the fact that Spanish is the most widely spoke lan guage in the state. However, I argue that this may be instead an indication of their target audience, often monolingual Spanish speakers, or bilingual Chinese and Spanish speakers. Though Spanish is spoken on the Miskito Coast, both the Rama and Kriol peop le speak it as a second language. Further, GTR K officials address the Nicaraguan state with language centered on international (e.g., ILO 169, UNDRIP, etc.), national, and local law and policy that defends their sovereignty as Indigeno us and Afro descenda nt peoples; this p r imarily includes the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the Demarcation Law (which establishes Indigenous and Afro Descendant title to traditional territories), and the Autonomy Law (Article 28 of th e Nicaraguan Constitution). GTR K officials typically point to the fact that the Demarcation Law establishes the right to self governance and the right of Indigenous and Afro descendant communities to determine how resources and land within their territo ries can be utilized. Further, they point out the fact that the Demarcation Law clearly states that Indigenous and/or Afro descendant titled lands cannot be sold or rented. Accordingly, the Gran Canal is in direct

PAGE 48

35 violation of the Demarcation Law. Finally, UNDRIP is utilized as a reminder that declaration signatories, which Nicaragua signed in 2010, should conduct consultation with Indigenous peoples to establish free, prior and informed consent (GTR K, Feb. 7, 2013). A recurrent theme in discourse disperse d between June of 2013 (when Ley 840 established concessions to HKND for canal construction) and December 2015 consistently denotes that consultation has not taken place. This issue is raised not only by GTR K, but community members, news outlets, and in s hort films included in my analysis. Go vernment officials address the state with language centered on international, national, and local legislation that defends their sovereignty as Indigen ous and Afro descendant peoples. Rhetoric aimed at state audiences occasionally visible in news articles includes in my analysis, as well as some of the short films. However, this language is leveraged specifically by GTR K, and often directed candidly to the President of the Republic, Daniel Ortega. With this in mind, I argue that their goal is to reinforce their self determination and autonomy granted by the Nicaraguan Constitution, as it is a government to government interaction. All but one of the twenty six sources I analyze are in agreement that the government has no t met, or in some cases has not even attempted to meet, the aforementioned standards for state governments working with Indigenous communities with established land titles and overtly stated rights. Interestingly, this conflict of opinion, or arguably, dis agreement of facts surrounding the megacanal resistance efforts, comes from the GTR K itself, which in theory should be representing their constituents concerns connected to the project. GTR McRea, created a press release on January 10, 2016 claiming that the Nicaraguan state

PAGE 49

36 government had successfully negotiated GTR various allies that have been providing support to the resistance movement do not repr esent GTR K and further that they actively are representing interests that are counter After January 10, 2016, discourse shifts around the issue of consent due to meetings with GTR K and the regional government regarding the megacanal. During these meetings, the representatives present from GTR K were asked to sign documents, the majority of whom allege that they were told by the regional government representatives that they were simply stating an agreement to c ontinue negotiating the canal. However, once GTR K received official meeting minutes, the first item stated that GTR K had confirmed that a consultation had taken place during the meeting, and that they signed documents stating they had given free, prior a nd informed consent. Though several press releases and news articles echo this sentiment, there exists one unique contradiction to these claims. Hector Thomas McRea, GTR K president, wrote a press release (of his own volition, according to GTR K members wh o are suing the representatives that they claim coerced their signatures (lvarez 1/10/16, lvarez 1/11/16 ) stating that GTR K has been sufficiently consulted, and that consent to the canal has been granted. Government officials address the state with lang uage centered on international, national, and local legislation that defends their sovereignty as I ndigenous and A fro descendant peoples. GTR K members interests. However, discourse utilized by Thomas mirrors other GTR K press releases that rely upon legal grounding for the claim that consent has been granted as required by the Rama and Kriol people. Interestingly, Thomas cites the same

PAGE 50

37 legislative and regulative policies u tilized by the voices in resistance to the canal to peoples. Both sides (pro and anti canal) rely upon rhetoric associated with rights of self determination, though anti c anal voices from GTR K also utilize claims of violation of human rights. Additionally, terms such as Buena Fe (good faith ) (Moncada, 2016), are used as characteristics for the interaction with the government, but Thomas states that the government has succe ssfully acted in good faith, while other GTR K representatives adamantly refute this claim. Similarly, all other mentions of CALPI ( El Centro de Asistencia Legal a Pueblos Indgenas) are positive in nature, and seem to be representative of collaborative as sertions and concerns of the Rama and Kriol peoples. However, Thomas argues that CALPI does not reflect the desires or interests of the Rama representatives echo all other discourse from both Rama and Kriol voices elsewhere. This ignored by not only the Nicaraguan state, but potentially allies at the international level. The short films inc luded in the study depict community and government members (both Kriol and Rama) in their communities doing traditional activities (e.g. fishing, farming, etc.), speaking Afro descendant Creole, Rama Creole and/or Rama, and often include English subtitles This leads me to believe that these documentaries are intended to function as consciousness raising tools, primarily for audiences outside of Nicaragua. the state boundaries, as well as utilizing discourse that is often victim centered and presents the community members as passive agents being harmed and exploited by the

PAGE 51

38 Nicaraguan state is intentional. This increases access to international allies and organizations that could mobilize around the Rama and Kriol cause, and be motivated to act due to the empathy and exposition of suffering and threat portrayed in the films. Voices are varie d in the short films included in this study, from community members, grandparents, pastors, government representatives, radio hosts, etc. I would argue that the selection of these voices is critical to substantiate the claim that the Rama and Kriol oppose the government as collectives, not individuals. Further, this may contribute to mobilization of non community members that identify similarly, or as Fairbairn (2015) says, coalition building (e.g. grandparents outside of Nicaragua may empathize with the f ears of how a project might impact their descendants). Figure 3: Rama Indian harvesting food from traditional lands ( https://www.facebook.com/Calpi Centro de Asistencia Legal a Pueblos Ind%C3%ADgenas 157327680951910/?fref=ts ) As I move into my analysis of the discourse and beyond these arguably less nuanced findings, I break the discussion of my interpretation of discou rse of these sources into the following broader categories: discourse that reinforces Indigenous and/or Afro descendant identity, and discourse that invites coalition building, and therefore makes use of less culturally rooted rhetoric. I consider both of these categories to be mobilizing in

PAGE 52

39 nature, though they differ based on who they hope to engage and/or invite into their struggle. After I have fleshed out these particular findings, I move on to investigate the outlier produced by Hector Thomas McRea. A fro/Indigenous Identity Rooted Discourse Figure 4: Cover Photo for Cultural Survival (2016) Article Rama community meeting discussing how to respond to HKND and the threat they face communally. Though there is a significant amount of overlap between both discourse that asserts or reflects Afro/Indigenous identity and coalition discourse that I have identified in my analysis, I draw this distinction to clarify and create space in which depth and i ntersections of the various forms of discourse I identify within Rama and Kriol resistance to the megacanal can be firmly established With that being said, I argue tactical discourse utilized by the Rama and Kriol voices captured in my data primarily are collaboration with HKND. This discourse specifically draws out and problematizes the

PAGE 53

40 fact that the national government has begun to value neoliberalism over its own citizens, constitution, and policies ( Cultural Survival 2016). A powerful strategy I identified within the context of rhetoric framed within Afro/Indigenous identity incorporates resistance as central to Afro/Indigenous identity. Santiago Thomas, who sits on the GTR K Council, says that 2016). In contrast to victim discourse, assertive discourse creates and holds space for Indi genous and Afro descendant voices. Somehow, a balance is struck by the joining polarized discourse to appeal to various audiences. For those moved by the thickness of emotional pleas for assistance to survive oppression, rhetoric centered in victimhood; th ose who find themselves unshaken by sentiment may instead be reached by appeals to declarations, identification of criminal behavior, or even basic logic to be interested in challenging state and corporate actors in solidarity with Indigenous and Afro desc endant discourse. As is the case with many social movements, the articles that are written from the perspective of, or include voices from, the Rama and Kriol communities show images of ce confronting protestors. Such images are likely meant to evoke emotions of their audience that show the commitment of the Kriol and Rama people to challenging the canal in the face of repression by the Nicaraguan state. These images reinforce the staunch discourse asserted them have. Them come saying the canal coming, if we accept or we not accept it. Like so (Pe terson, 2015).

PAGE 54

41 Essentially, the take away is that the lack of information does not play a role in his opinion of the megacanal as the information is not necessary to establish firm opposition to it. Figure 5 : http://www.ticotimes.net/2016/01/14/indigenous afro caribbeans claim forced negotiate nicaragua canal Narratives of strength and resilience make use of metaphors that would likely achieve a captiv at e d audience. The use of metaphor by the Rama and Kriol peo ple communicate indigeneity, genuine or otherwise, while simultaneously utilizing rhetoric that is accessible to non Indigenous peoples. This is illustrated by Carlos Wilson, President of Bangkukuk Taik, as he discusses the resilience the Rama history in t heir territory ere we pass many things We pass the war, we pass the Kilpatrick, 4/9/15). Essentially, Wilson is demonstr ating the identity of resistance produced over time by what the Rama people have overcome while their peoples call their territory home. He continues by saying,

PAGE 55

4 2 For me my idea (Kilpatrick, 2015). This exemplifies and supports the determination of the Rama people to weather storms of both natural and political proportions. Rhetoric of contentious ends is seen thro ughout sources, and most often in the form of film; this is significant, as this is also the case for victim centered discourse. Narratives that suggest community members will give everything, nothing short of their lives, to protect their traditional plac e. Ronald McCrae declares his pledge to battle for protection lots of things. We Rama people, we protect the animals. We hardly cut down woodland. Assertive discourse is threaded with terms loaded with absolute commitment to resistance. In a documentary produced this year by CALPI, one community leader says, aggress or protect, discourse ties to history of resistance, and the objective to continue to do so. As was previously discussed, vilifying discourse included association of the Nicaraguan state and neoliberal market as a literal monster. Wilson says that the Rama people, are fighting a big monster. I feel like that big monster cannot just come and take us out of here. We have the last word about this issue of the canal, because if we

PAGE 56

43 because t he land belongs to the Indian people. And we have the last word, (Cultural Survival, 2016). movement to establish its right to influence how the proceedings connected t o the megacanal out of victim discourse to creating a perception of the movement as agency driven and e connected to resistance. He states that, exemplifies how both villainizing the state manages to provide a platform upon whi ch harsh rhetoric can be softened and more accessible to an audience Santiago Thomas aligns his use of assertive discourse to demonstrate the united force that will be exacted have been ( Fendt 2016). Just as communal rights are asserted, Thomas enriches the assertion of rights by speaking to the communal resistance that challenges the canal. I n a way, assertion combines various tactical discourse methods to integrate resistance alongside historical, cultural, and social understandings of indigeneity. The coupling of identity with resistance is found throughout several of the sources I analyzed, but perhaps most This Land is for All of We: A Small Rama Community in Bangkukuk, Nicaragua, Speaks out about the Grand Canal Project, in which a community member says: Free determination mean t o say I want to be an Indian. I no want to be in a town

PAGE 57

44 audience]. You explain to the world an d express as a group, ethnical group of Rama (PrettyGoodProductions, 2014). As is articulated by the speaker, Rama identity and self determination are intimately connected to their territory and natural resources; due to the value and commitment of the speaker to retain their cultural identity, that assert their identity as a source of strength and motivation for resistance. Another powerful technique of incorporating identity into resistance discourse brings in the importance of place when it comes to A fro/Indigenous language, culture and identity. Focusing on discourse laced with identity and the role land plays in the Afro descendant and Indigenous cultures, as well as Indigenous and Afro descendant speakers, regardless of the platform, stress that the ir connection to their territory is beyond access to financial income or resource exploitation. The fact that place is integral to the persistence of the cultural survival of these peoples stands in direct opposition to environmental development discourse that marries the rhetoric of sustainability with economic interest; the coupling of these is irreconcilable for the Afro descendant and Indigenous peoples, as financial compensation cannot mitigate the destruction of culture and identity. Gregory Ortiz Hod President, declares that he: for my place and move me, no. If you want move me from my place and if you really want to use my place, you have to co me under my agreement, what I say. I would want my agreement, what I going to be make with them have to be not overseen by nat ional people (Peterson, 2015). Ortiz asserts an intrinsic value of the land that is unique to the communities, coupling with the fact that the taking of Indigenous land is in direct violation of international, national, and local policies. Coupling these approaches is critical to cultivating discourse that likely is more accessible to more audiences and could generate more ally supp ort.

PAGE 58

45 This is reinforced by government representatives refusing the bribe of $1 million to support the canal. Additionally, concern expressed for the lands that will be impacted by the canal speak to the valuation of land, not the impacts that will solely b e felt by the community. This discourse may draw attention of environmentalists to ally with the Rama and Kriol against the canal moving forward. Wealth is instead measured by the earth from which the people rose; according to ook poor but we are rich. If you want to have a coconut, there is the tree. If you want to have in economic gains does not outweigh or replace traditional foods and Rama lifeways intimately tied to their land. Referring to the long history of living in the place and the role of time and memory that constructs a sense and understanding of the deeper connection to the land Rama and Kriol people associate with their territories. This rhetoric also serves to support and strengthen the discourse that these communities as a collective are in resistance to the canal project, coupled with the use of language expressing Indigenous values (e.g., living by earth/water, reject ion of the value of money, value of cultural identity and traditional lifeways, etc.). This contrasts with appeals to legislation that oscillates between assertions of communal and human rights; legal critiques of the canal tend to rely on individualized d iscourse of rights, as this is often the conception most easily understood and protected within non Indigenous justice systems. However, legal approaches do refer to stipulations within UNDRIP, the Nicaraguan constitution, etc. that provide communal rights /protections.

PAGE 59

46 Some Rama discourse argues that the Rama people are unable to live in a system that requires money to sustain themselves. Introducing discourse s that pose Rama and neoliberal lifeways as irreconcilable is powerful. This tactic speaks to the i ncomparability of Indigenous ways of life with Mestizo/Western modes of being. Further, this strengthens and contributes to the narrative of risk to cultural integrity should the Rama or Kriol communities be removed from traditional lands; separation from traditional territory runs the risk of the Rama becoming dependent upon the state, as they would not be able to support themselves, losing their ability to access traditional foods as has been described above. There are instances in which Rama speakers ack nowledge the relationship that Kriol people have with the Miskito Coast, in spite of not being native to the area. The historical reality of slavery and forced migration imposed on the Afro descendant community is acknowledged, but their ties to the land a re typically based on the amount of tim e they have spent in the area. Figure 6: Rama language paired with visuals of Rama coast lines ( https://www.facebook.com/Calpi Centro de Asistencia Legal a Pueblos Ind%C3%ADgenas 157327680951910/?fref=ts ) The role of land based identities also ties into rhetoric that points to the risk of what would be lost should the Kriol and Rama communities be displaced by the canal. A Rama lawyer, Becky McCray, reached out to the Inter Ameri can Commission on Human Righ ts

PAGE 60

47 to demonstrate and plea that the megacanal would profound impacts on both cultural and there is a strong possibility that the Rama language spoken in Bankukuk Taik w ill disappear as the last people who speak that language get forcibly displaced from their ( Cultural Survival, 2016). Language is a critical tool to perpetuate the integrity of culture and relationship to place based community structures, threatening the Rama people with the danger of Rama lifeways fracturing and disappearing due to displacement eliminating the Rama language. A related, evocative, and certainly heavier emotive discourse getting at this risk is articulated by Edwin McCrea of Bangkukuk Taik. He says, referring to the canal, that: i have no kind of animal if the canal come ( Cultural Survival, 2016). Although McCrea uses language that may not immediately be associated with identity, and instead may be interpreted as concern to resources critical t o Rama survival in their traditional homes, I argue that McCrea is again combining arguments that are accessible to a Western, non Indigenous audience, while also incorporating Indigenous identity. In other words, McCrea refers to food resources in concert with a claim of the Rama people being utterly destroyed by the canal. I argue that this is a move incorporating both Western and Indigenous rhetoric to assert identity. Similar to how identity is often rooted in traditional lands and sacred sites, McCrea is drawing a comparison of the reliance of food provided by the biosphere within the Rama Kriol territory to demonstrate the holistic ties the Rama people have to their lands.

PAGE 61

48 Based on my analysis, I argue that identity and place integrate on the grounds t hat the Rama people have called their territory their home, as have their ancestors, since time burial sites. There are tombs. Hundreds of years ago, the ancestors liv 2015 ). In addition to time and centuries spent on the same acres of their ancestors (though I do acknowledge that this does not operationalize in the same way for the Rama people as it does for the Kriol people, due to the fact that Krio l ancestors were brought to the territory by force in the 16 th a mor por las tierras Confidencial, 2013) which support the claims of a unique relationship that must be protected to continue on existing as a people. appeals directly to the President of the Nicaragua republic for protection of this multi century relationship ( Confidencial, 2013). Resistance Discourse outside Afro/Indigenous Identity In addition to the aforementioned markers and tools that rely upon identity politics associated with Rama and Kriol life ways, I also identified those that likely aim to include non Afro/Indigenous peoples in resistance to the megacanal. Not only does this diversify those in solidarity or sympathetic to the threat these communities face, it also creates more inclusive spaces in which the perspective of the Rama and Kriol peoples can be understood. Below I discuss tactics utilized in Rama and Kriol discourse to expand the conversation beyond identity politics. I interpret the use of non identity based resistance discourse as a tool incorporated to demonstrate relevance to those that do not identify as

PAGE 62

49 Afro/Indigenous, and ultimately can be a tactic to build coalitions with allies and other resistance efforts or concerns. As I previously argued, the barrier between what qualifie s as tactical versus mobilizing discourse is permeable. However, as I show below, mobilizing discourse adheres more overtly to identity politics, the inherent role that place plays in identity construction and integrity, and the threat to the very existenc e of Rama and Kriol people if the megacanal comes into being. These characteristics of mobilizing discourse are removed from the legalistic, Western approaches to resistance movements; in other words, mobilizing discourse in this case appears to be centere d more fully on Indigenous and Afro descendant identity politics than Western legal and/or ethical frameworks. Resistance is often most effective in instances in which discourse is used to invite interest, concern, and solidarity from a variety of actors. With that being said, assertion of identity within resistance discourse may exclude or leave non Afro/Indigenous audiences thinking that the Rama and Kriol battle does not necessarily concern them. Accordingly, having discourse and frames that utilize vari ed collections of rhetoric, there tends to be an increase of awareness, comradery, and collaboration from a wider population outside those immediately impacted by or connected to an issue. Below I detail the various instances in which I identify what I con sider to be discourse with the aim not of identity assertion to invite community members to participate in resistance, but instead to invite international actors and concerned others that may relate to the below discursive approaches. Additionally, positio ning the Rama and Kriol communities as victims serves the purpose of mobilizing allies empathetic to the position of people with identities that allies

PAGE 63

50 may not share. Use of language connected to survival asserts the seriousness of the position in which the Rama and Kriol peoples find themselves situated. Not only that, the establishment of the Indigenous and Afro descendant group as being exploited by a multibillion dollar corporation teamed with a state government motivates emotional responses to the ur gency of the resistance to the canal. Interactions with the government at times have a tone of the Rama and Kriol peoples being prisoners without agency or power; for example, statements made regarding the early January meetings in which allegations were m ade that signatures were coerced by the government. For example, accusatory rhetoric such as, meternos a una instalacin del gobierno par creates space in which their audiences can identify with their plight, and also become critical of the References directing attention to the fact that police have been present at government meetings builds the foundation for perception of the Rama and Kriol people as being wrongful prisoners and thus impressions of victims of fo rces against which there can be no fair fight. Some victim discourse connects the fact that illegal actions have and continue to be engaged to victimize the Rama and Kriol communities; Edwin McCrae speaks of this victimization as a history of rights violat been battling for their territorial rights since Mes oamerica began to be colonized. The

PAGE 64

51 oppression continues to be a multi front effort; currently, in additional to the canal, the Indigenous and Afro descendant peoples are experiencing invasions into their territory, resources being stolen from their titled lands, and the destruction of the Indigenous voice in the regional government. Diego Castillo captures the lack of agency commonly associated with victim discourse when he says, mestizos ( Liedel). Legisladora Nancy Henrquez of the Indigenous rights group YATAMA stated el proyecto no ha sido consultado con nosotros y nos quieren quitar nuestras tierras por un desarrollo que nunca nos llegar and they want translation) ( XINHUA Espaol 2016) Addressing the preoccupation that the promises of advantages to be gained to entice support of the canal may be unavailable to the Rama and Kriol people. This stand point reinforces that the potential victimhood that has been developed by Rama and Kriol resisters is obligatory, as they face loss and disadvantage should the canal be constructed. Victim discourse dominated the films I analyzed and contextual ized leaders and community members in the areas that would be viewed as pristine or untouched nature. I interpret this portrayal to be a tactic leveraged to fortify Rama and Kriol victimhood, as they themselves belong in to these settings, and the endless worry of what her life would be like should the Rama be o wanna come out. We no wanna come out. We no wanna come out. We wanna stay here. We no wanna come out. I

PAGE 65

52 unknowns driven by the megacanal. Another approach is discussing emo tional and survival connections to the territories threatened by the canal, then pairing these attachments with the enormous scale of loss that the 172.7 mile long, 754.6 to 1,706 foot wide, and 90.6 foot deep canal would equate the Kriol and Rama communit y. Anoth er community member, Lena, says y born here. I come and I have my kids them here. But when that canal come, it gonna affect the whole place. Where I gonna live with my kids them when that live like how I live first. I need to got my garden, to plant, to have my kids them. I no like hear that what coming because then afterward my kids them gonna suffer when them turn a big young men. A big young woman. Where them gonna live if that come in this place her e? Nowhere where they can live ( PrettyGoodProductions, 201 4). Lena gets at what the canal would mean for herself, and the separation from the territory from which all of her ancestors and all of her descendants lived, and, hopefully, will live. It gets at the fear of displacement and the subsequent alienation fr om the land. Jimmy, a go new place. We no used to that life. We used to here. We just watching to see what take place now. Tha A form of victim discourse that stands out is that of the dehumanizing effect that the lack of respect granted to the Rama and Kriol peoples generates. Carlos Wilson states

PAGE 66

53 at a community meet All of us is just people. Just different nation. ( PrettyGoodProductions, 2014). Without protection of rights set forth by international and national policy, and further actions devoid of recognition of the Rama and Kriol t he government look like it no respect we. They give we our right, and when they done now they say send in these Chinese people them without investigate the community and say what them was to do. They come in and just, like the place is for them odProductions, 2014). The fact that the invasion erases or makes community members invisible, and their rights are forgotten and disregarded by HKND and the Nicaraguan state. Due to the severity of the marginalization, explicit requests are made for assist Wanna give away we land, the government is doing that, and we not agree to that. Feel from allies, but further points to the distrust rooted in centuries of marginalization, broken treaties, and a predominantly adversarial relationship with the state government. In an effort to bolster rhetoric of victimhood, use of language that vilifies both the Nicaraguan sta te and HKND also invites concern for non Afro/Indigenous peoples or resistance efforts. Discourse pointing out the transgressions of the Nicaraguan state and HKND focus primarily on rhetoric that carries tones of moral implications for those actions. Incor porating ethical judgments of transgressions generates sympathy for the situation the Rama and Kriol peoples face regarding the canal, describing their actions

PAGE 67

54 with terms like ilegales and opresivas (GTR K 2/5/16). T his operates as positioning of HKND and Nicaraguan government as deceitful, corrupt, and deceptive. For example, Bangkukuk, claiming that it is present simply to measure distance from that point to Managua, when it in fa ct was to mark the canal route (Peterson, 2015). Distrust is also expressed by Rama and Kriol community members questioning claims of beneficence made by HKND and the Nicaraguan state that supposedly should result in benefits for the communities that are b eing displaced. However, Rama and Kriol peoples likely do not have skills necessary to receive employment connected to the canal, meaning that they lifeways ( Grupo Cocibolca, 2014). Such discourse serves to create perceptions of the Nicaraguan government and HKND as heartless perpetrators and ruthless actors, which in turn situates the Rama and Kriol communities as victims, or at the very least, passive actors. This reinforces the call for additional support and protection by the international community. Further, visuals and discourse connected to Chinese representatives of HKND that have interacted with the communities stress them as threats, outsiders, and oft en position them as colonizers (and/or literal monsters seeking to displace them for their own benefit, Chinese being something from which God must protect their communities). For example, references are made to the Chinese coming in with security details, entering without permission, as well as discussion of how some community m embers believed they ha d been overtly or intentionally misled by HKND officials. This evokes sympathy for the Rama and Kriol struggle, while also villainizing and developing an anim osity between

PAGE 68

55 viewers/readers and HKND/the Nicaraguan state. Also, discourse is stressing that there is a lack of transparency/information provided to the people; instances of this include the fact that communities/government representatives are not told w here they would be moved to, what the risks are for the new territory, and that the Nicaraguan state has actively blocked the dissemination/explanation of the EIS that was done. Further, the fact that GTR K was prevented from having a lawyer present durin g negotiations related to the canal reinforces concerns raised by discourse that the Nicaraguan government/HKND is working to exploit the Rama and Kriol people. Additionally, the arguments being made against the canal at times seem to appeal to the fact th at it is unclear how the canal will impact them and their lands (due to the failure of HKND and the Nicaraguan state to consult as is required by law), though that there could be some flexibility if there were clear benefits to the canal. I would argue thi s is likely to demonstrate that Indigenous people are not actors of the past, are not anti development, but rather are committed to the continuation of their communities in a way that aligns with important identity and lifeways that continue their existenc e as a people. Also, this same piece is shown through discourse connecting to a desire for negotiation for the project. Narratives provided by community members strongly convey emotions of fear and helplessness that add to the discourse that establishes th e morally questionable impacts on the Rama and Kriol people that are faced by the canal. The president of Monkey Point illustrates this well in reference to the coerc ion for signatures when he says [t]hey did not allow us to use a legal counselor to review the document in question, and during the three days, they just kept us enclosed, and today (January 10) they even brought policemen to watch the door and keep anyone from entering or exiting the building. They also took us from the territorial government

PAGE 69

56 building and placed us in a national government building to be able to contr ol us (Kilpatrick, 1/12/16). This descriptive process is significant because it demonstrates the level of coercion the Nicaraguan government is willing to exercise to achieve its interests. Additionally, the power of narrative accentuates the personal and communal experiences of the threat of the canal, which result in the audience or reader having compassion for the Rama and Kriol interests, while feeling resentment for the Nicara guan government. For example, Mr. Smith, a Kriol community leader, states that: [The Kriol] government has not had the will to respect the rights of its people and descendant people of Bluefields. And, I can only talk right now about the Afro through a very difficult situation. We are being denied our right our right to have The use of arguments rooted in inju collaboration with HKND leaves readers with distaste for the coercion and exploitation of the Kriol people. These narratives can move from claims of threat to the community, to attempts to eliminate them all together. George Henriquez of the Afro Descendants Civil Rights Movement what the state started to do. Them create parallel communal government as a strategy to destroy the claim that we d 2016). These sorts of narratives operate on a Ley 840 are experienced by the Rama and Kriol people. Some carry tones of concern of what the future holds, like Carlos Wilso n Billis, and worried what the government trying to do hers are feeling as though they a re actively being attacked by the Nicaraguan state, like Dolene Miller, who serves on the Creole Communal Gov ernment of Bluefields. She stated that she believes that the state is

PAGE 70

57 embodying an attack contra los derechos humanos del pueblo afrodescendiente. Y es un ataque que est viniendo de los sectores polticos. Es un ataque que en alguna manera ha intentado de parar al proceso lo que empez construir o reconstruir de la ley demarcacin y titulacin descendant people. And stop t my translation) (CALPI, 2016). Ultimately, both the state and the Chinese HKND actors are viewed within the he Chinese, they come here. Three (Johnson, 2015). There appears to be a significant lack of communication and access to a situation in which the Rama and Kriol people are in a position in which authentic negotiation can occur. There are allegations of being ignored (GTR K, 2/5/16), and concerns that the state hopes to divide and create conflict among the Rama and Kriol communities (GTR K, 1/27/16). Discourse problematizing the state thr ough narrative allows the perspective of the Kriol and Rama people to impact audiences, and limits space with which empathy or understanding can develop from the perspective of the reader or viewer. The vilification of the Nicaraguan government and HKND a lso serves as a means by which their actions can be validated by pointing out the various policies and laws that are being neglected to make the megacanal a reality. As was previously stated, legal frameworks drive the majority of discourse leveraged by Ra ma and Kriol government leaders. This is a logical discursive move when communicating with the Nicaraguan state

PAGE 71

58 and HKND is intended to motivate change in course. Accordingly, both the Nicaraguan state and HKND purport to be acting within the confines of t he law. In reality, as YATAMA (2013) highlights, se encuentra con mayor riesgos de gobernanza, en nuestra regin del caribe Norte y del Caribe Sur, porque hay muchas violaciones, limitaciones y obstculos de los derechos de los pueblos indgenas, las violaciones de derechos humanos y las persecuciones a los lderes y tambin las estructuras comunales que forma no hay respeto en las comunidades y territorios por parte del gobierno inconstitucional, the North Caribbean and South Caribbean because there are many violations, limitations and obstacles to the rights of Indigenous peoples, violations of human rights, and persecution of leaders and also the communal structures that lacks respect in the com munities and territories by the unconstitutional government; my translation). Essentially, legal discourse highlights criminal activity of the Nicaraguan state, as well as HKND, and takes a Western tool of control and uses it against its creators that fa il to adhere to their own codes. Steve Martin, from the primarily Kriol Pearl Lagoon, overtly stated that this form of discourse serves as a weapon against the state in a Confidencial Law 445 is our machete no longer ar med, but fight issue of the canal, the Rama and Kriol voices employ democratic language (such as negocia r, autoridad territorial, inconstitucionalidad, consulta, propiedad, derechos humans, etc ( lvarez 12/2015 ), which avoids being dismissed on grounds that challenges are being made on the basis of emotion or another form of discourse that is outside that Nicaraguan state itself committed to, and further terms that international actors and allies recognize and value being upheld motivates solidarity with outside actors with the Rama

PAGE 72

59 and Kriol struggle. Additionally, legal discourse takes shape in reference to previous court cases that established Indigenous rights, such as Awas Tingni vs. Nicaragua (2003) that led to the creation of Indigenous land titles, which the Kriol and Rama peoples are asserting being violated by the megacanal encroaching on their communal territories (CALPI, 2013). Active resistance to this disregard for of legal obligations, GTR K highlight s their response to the violation of their rights. In response to the Janua ry 8 10, 2016 meeting with the Nicaraguan government and feelings of coe rcion, GTR K officials say The plaintiffs have protested to the public officials, by means both private and public, verbal and written, without obtaining satisfactory responses. Becaus e of this, the plaintiffs do not consider the process conducted up to now to have met the national and international standards for a free, prior, and informed consultation, and much less to have reached Consent (GRT K, 2/7/16). This is an example of resistance in which the Rama Kriol Regional Government is pairing overt rhetoric of resistance (e.g. pointing to various forms of protest) with illegal actions taken by the state to strengthen their argument for the need of allies in theire resistance. Add itionally, allegations have been made that the state has been attempting to coerce Rama and Kriol leaders to comply with the canal and provide consent to move forward through Indigenous territory. For example, several representatives of GTR K allege that t he regional government K el pago de un milln de dlares por ao en concepto de arriendo pay GTR 1/12/16). Furth er, the financial offer to persuade representatives was allegedly coupled with statements that documents GTR K representatives were asked to sign were

PAGE 73

60 agreements to continue the negotiation process. Later, the documents were discovered to indicate GTR collective consent to the megacanal The representatives that came forward with a suit against the representatives that they argue misrepresented the paperwork they were signing state that the act was an act of violation of self determination and autonomy (GTR K, 1/27/16). This was due to the fact that the representatives did not have access to a lawyer to ensure they fully understood the implications of the canal, international observers, or fully disclosure of the EIAS report contents, meaning that the so called consent was not informed, free, or prior as UNDRIP states should be the case. Another form of self government being disrespected was the case of Carlos Wilson Billis, President of Rama community Bangkukuk Taik, and the fact that he was forcibly rem oved from his post and replaced by another individual purporting to be speaking on behalf of the Rama peoples (GTR K, 1/27/16). Essentially, the state government announced the newly named community leader without any due process. In light of these allegati ons, discourse begins to point to the fact that laws and rights are meaningless without adherence to and protection of them by the Nicaraguan government. Edwin McCrae, who identifies as a Rama Indian, states that rights on paper are not enough (Johnson, 20 15). Beyond the issue of the megacanal, he points to the fact that Rama lands are being invaded by Mestizo invasion, primarily by ranchers. This points to other instances in which Indigenous land title is not being respected. In addition to the face that d e jure rights do no t equate to de facto reflection of policy establishing these rights, Rupert Allan Clair, who sits on the GTR K Council, states that want the canal. The procedure the government is us

PAGE 74

61 (Johnson, 201 5). This acknowledges in a similar manner that having procedures to seek consent, as well as to negotiate with Indigenous peoples, does not equate to those procedures being observed. Becky McCray, a Rama woman and lawyer, spoke out against the coercion of the GTR K representatives fo r signatures. She alleges that in consultation with Indigenous Peoples and Afro descendants denies our relationship to our lands and our social structures, flagrantly violating our territorial rights, our right to participation, and our right to self Thomas echoe hey were intimidated in there so th ey felt ce and were under pressure Fendt, 2016). These allegations demonstrate that the police are an over tool of the overreach of the Nicaraguan government, and this focus empowers the sense that the actors representing the state and HK ND may be dangerous in their attempts to disempower and coerce the Rama and Kriol peoples in spite of their overt legal protections. This opens space for tactical discourse rooted in victimhood at the hands of the state partnering with a neoliberal corpora tion, which enables audiences to identify with and be concerned with the Indigenous and Afro descendent struggle. Another issue that is closely tied to vilification, as well as illegal actions, of the state and HKND is the failure of both parties to provi de adequate information for the Rama and Kriol communities to fully understand the impact that the canal would have on their communities, resources, and relationships and identities intimately tied to the land. The absence of information connected to the p roject, as well as the fact that disclosure of the findings within the EIAS remain to be shared, relayed or clarified to the Rama and

PAGE 75

62 Kriol peoples itself, is why informed consent cannot be successfully claimed at the time I am writing this study. It is ar guable that the intent that belies this lack of transparency is to enable coercion efforts or maneuver GTR K leadership into authorizing the project without complete knowledge of what their communities would be agreeing. Negotiations without both parties b eing well informed do not meet the standards set forth when a state is working alongside groups with rights allotted to the Kriol and Rama peoples, which Nicaraguan state an d HKND actors. Grupo Cocibolca states that: HKND GROUP y ERM no realizaron la presentacin de los resultados de los estudios de impacto ambiental, social y cultural, ni tampoco los estudios de factibilidad financiera, econmica y comercial, que nos permitan conocer de manera clara y transparente los resulta dos de los estudios anunciados. ( The HKND Group and ERM did not present the results of the environmental, social, and cultural impact studies, nor the financial, economic, and commercial studies, that allow us to understand clearly and transparently the studies; my translation) ( Grupo Cocibolca, 2014). That being said, information beyond the environmental impact (or at the very least, the potential for impact) was not clearly announced or openly shared with Rama and Kriol decision makers. This leaves audiences exposed to Kriol and Rama resistance discourse wondering how consent could be obtained by HKND or the Nicaraguan government when the aforementioned gaps and knowledge persist. Bangkukuk Tai he questions of the validity of information that the government or HKND would offer, even if it did make a n effort to include Rama and Kriol peoples in conversations involving detailed informatio n about the project, and HKND claims that the Rama people will benefit from the megacanal Vice President of Bangkukuk Taik, Greg ory Ortiz Hodgson,

PAGE 76

63 says it best: [our] benefit or if we going to be losing. We no want they come with money and we must go to whether that is something that either HKND or the Nicaraguan state has yet to or intends to offer accurate, honest information to his people. Other Bangkukuk Taik c ommunity members echo these concerns, and further, genuine apprehension connected them, a canal itself would look like for the Rama people, much less being aware of impacts, positive or otherwise, might take shape into. Pointing to the significant amount of un derstanding that is not present for GTR K leadership, as well as Rama and Kriol community members, ultimately serves to justify their resistance, as it follows a train of logic that would be employed by most faced with a decision with such weight. This giv es the Rama and Kriol discourse a sense of being not only reasonable, but the only justifiable option given the lack of information with which they are confronted. There is even discourse suggesting that community leaders commit to conducting consciousness raising to combat the fact that community members may be mis or uninformed as far as what the megacanal may mean for their communities. I argue that this approach ties into assertion of autonomy by consciously creating identity and history (West 2013). President Clair of Monkey Point stated that as r ecently as January of this year, GTR K make sure them understand w hat going on, get them feedback

PAGE 77

64 This is partially due to the fact that eighteen leaders on the GTR K Council had just signed the agreements that the state claims establishes consent for the canal. He goes on And now this governme nt come with stronger way, we need to do something quickly, result of the state having arguable evidence or confirmation of the fact that the Indigenous and Afro descenda nt peoples who had previously enacted resistance efforts have since conceded in support of the canal. A shift in tactical discourse was required to recover, and voices of assertion, strength, and resilience developed. Figure 7: or All of We: A Small Rama Community in Bangkukuk, Nicaragua, speaks out about the traditional Rama land. Means to coalition build with non Afro /Indigenous resistance efforts involves coalition building and frame bridging with environmentalist organizations, sympathizers, and resistance undertakings. Understandings of communities and their relationships to lan d often is riddled with Western rhetoric of sustainability and environmental protection; in recent years, these concerns have begun to pervade the Western consciousness,

PAGE 78

65 opening up room in which the value of neoliberal undertakings can be called into question, as the costs of resources, consequent hardships on cultural and social frameworks, and growing perception that human activity may in fact be pushing the earth discourse, as short films I anal yzed typically made us of shots of agricultural and fishing practices that reinforce that the land is what sustains these communities, while their ness contributes to notions of Indigenous people having some piece of history, some piece of the earth that they have protected. This often reifies misperceptions of Rama people as not being modern, as is often the case with the portrayal/assumptions made about Indigenous peoples by non Indigenous peoples. Some sources included in my analysis utilized buzz words popular in the environmental movement, allowing an Indigenous cause to partner with actors nationally and internationally with an interest in envir onmental protections; this tactic to mobilize around Indigenous concerns is becoming increasingly common, and Indigenous people are beginning to be seen as having knowledge that cannot be regained by non Indigenous actors. Grupo Cocibolca is particularly v ersed in making use of terms often used as markers for the environmental movement. For example, in a 2014 post on social media, Grupo Cocibolca stated that they were, preocupados por el desarrollo sostenible y las necesidades de transformacin social con responsabilidad, subrayamos que los riesgos y daos a las condiciones en el patrimonio natural y cultural de la humanidad y una crisis con consecuencias impredecibles para Me soamrica (concerned about sustainable development and the necessities for responsible social transformation, we stress the risks and damage to environmental, social and

PAGE 79

66 cultu ral heritage of humanity and a crisis with unpredictable consequences for Mesoamerica; my translation). This shows that markers of another movement are being employed to not only seek out allies within the audience that may not be affiliated with a movement, but also begin to build, in some sense, an environmental Indigenous coalition. This improves the like lihood that more actors will become involved in the creating awareness or possibly acting in solidarity with the Rama and Kriol resistance movement. Similarly, discourse that was legal in nature also demonstrates failure to take environmental concerns into account. In the same social media post, Grupo Cocibolca (2014) pointed out the previous mention that data related to the environmental, social and cultural impacts of the canal were never transparently disclosed in their entirety. Building on these strat egies includes highlighting the fact that benefits of the construction of the canal being unclear for environmental, cultural, and lingual interests. Many Rama and Kriol voices analyzed in my thesis deny claims made by the Nicaraguan the Indigenous and Afro descendant communities would benefit from the megacanal being constructed through their territory. There remains to be seen any confirmed evidence that this can be assumed. In the words of Jose Luis, a Rama community member: some of we people them feel like a canal would be a benefit for we. No make we fool we self we will have. None of we is professional to work in a canal. That is clear. Maybe we could be for wash shoes for them, maybe. Because them no going to include we in no can al. These people making a plan for a canal here no ng about this canal. We is zero PrettyGoodProductions, 2014). Luis is concerned that his Rama community may be misled into buying into the claims of beneficence. However, as Cristina McCrae recognizes:

PAGE 80

67 so how we will work with these Chinese people w hen these Chinese people them come? So we worry about it. We feel bad about it when the Chinese them come around. We say how will we do? How will we make money? How will we live? ( Peterson, 2015). There is clearly concern that due to historical events in which the Rama and Kriol people have been exploited, killed, and oppressed by the Nicaraguan state, and most certainly by neoliberal market actors similar to HKND; in the context of territory scarred by colonization, racism, and poverty to which the state has either actively participated or failed to mitigate these harms, it seems like the Rama and Kriol people in resistance have no choice but to assume the worst of the state and HKND. As Nora Newball, Kriol oject [mentions projects in process or completed recently in the Autonomous Regions]. Progress is welcome, but we have not Confidencial, 2013). This concern ties in with the lack of transparency on behalf of the state to prope rly consult the Rama and Kriol communities, which not only reinforces doubt of the unsubstantiated claims of benefit, but further leaves both the Indigenous and Afro descendant representatives to have no information demonstrating any benefit would in fact reach their communities. to beneficence questions if and how compensation could be enacted to address the loss of access to traditional territories and resources. He government going to give v alue like what we going to lose again gets at the fact that financial means are not necessary or sufficient to bridge the gap that will be felt by the Kriol and Rama peoples should the megacanal displace them.

PAGE 81

68 Though some see room for opportunity to be intertwined with the project, Ortiz also says that the situation dness to tell them that they will banish the land from we, (Kilpatrick, 4/9/15). The tactic of incorporating strong emotion with elders, who hold leadership roles within most Indigenous communities, causes the s request for an exchange of value possibility of value of the canal should the land be destroyed and the Rama and Kriol pray to God, make the canal they can make it establishing a staunch resistance or hoping for elusi ve benefits to emerge after the canal has been constructed, this Rama elder pleads that her community would gain the most if they were left intact, grounded in their ancestral lands and lifeways. Figure 8 : Angela Benjamin, Rama Elder and opponent of her community being divided by the canal (http://projects.aljazeera.com/2015/04/nicaragua canal/displaced.html). Pro Canal Discourse As was previously stated, all of the sources analyzed were not fully in agreement regarding the Rama and Kriol response to the canal and the goals of HKND. Sentiment similar to

PAGE 82

69 soci al movement, collective identity or other unifying factor, not all voices will fully align or reflect those of their peers or leaders. Hector Thomas Mcrea, GTR K President, is one of those voices falling outside the analysis the overarching findings includ ed in the previous sections. The discourse enacted by Thomas does not serve as mobilizing, though may operationalize more in terms of tactical ends. He claims that construction of the canal would help remove non Indigenous Nicaraguans from Rama land (Johns on, 2015). Additionally, he voices support for the possibility of receiving payment for leasing of lands included along the proposed canal route, in spite of stipulations within Ley 445 or the Demarcation Law that negates the ability to rent, sell or indiv idually title Rama Kriol territory as they are lands held in common. However, responding to this tension, Thomas seeking to challenge or defend the violation of the De marcation Law, the leader of the council representing Rama and Kriol peoples side steps the issue by belittling the implications to which such a decision might lead Further, his support of leasing protected lands has tones of interest in financial interes t that was not present with the discourse previously analyzed. This opens up questions of whether this non Indigenous governing body is being accurately represented by Thomas. The technique of dismissing concerns is employed by Thomas as a means by which r easonable arguments need not be granted a response. For example, in a January GTR K press release, Thomas unabashedly accuses organizations and voices that, according to the other sources I analyzed, ally with the Rama and Kriol people of acting out of sel f interest, and refutes their ability to support and accurate represent the Indigenous and Afro descendant perspectives on the megacanal. He asserts that the

PAGE 83

70 Territorial Ram a Kriol, sus opiniones desinformadas y mal intencionadas no reflejan las aspiraciones y estn en contra de los intereses del Pueblo Indgena Rama y Afro descendient e Kriol Kriol Territorial Government, is misinformed and ill intentioned in their opinions which do not reflect the desires or interests of the Indigenous Rama and Afro descendant Kriol K 1/10/16). This sharply contrasts with other sources analyzed, as CALPI uses rhetoric reflected in presented in this study. He goes on to say that, cualquier comunicacin o documento emitido en nombre del Gobierno Territorial Rama y Kriol debe contar con el consentimiento de los miembros que la integran y debe contar con la firma y sello del Presidente de la Junta Directiva del GTRK, qu ien la representa legalmente, (any communication or document distributed on behalf of the Rama and Kriol Territorial Government must be consented to by the Council members and should include the signature and approval of the President of the Board of Direc tors of GTR K, who legally represents GTR K; my translation) (GTR K, 1/10/16). Essentially, Thomas is requiring his personal approval of any GTR K communication for it to be considered valid, asserting control and authority over all other council members The takeaway is reminiscent of the gradual transition to dictatorship presented by the President of the Nicaraguan Republic, Daniel Ortega. Thomas is not concerned with asserting his Rama identity, protecting the places that others argue are critical to their establishes rights counteracting Ley 840. He even goes so far as to claim that: el proceso de la Consulta Previa, Libre e Informada para el desarrollo del Proyecto de Construccin del Gran Canal Interocenico de Nicaragua y Sub Proyectos, se ha desarrollado en base a un documento armonizado, elaborado en conjunto entre el GTRK y la Co misin del Gobierno para realizar el proceso de

PAGE 84

71 la consulta. Este documento fue aprobado en la Sesin del Gobierno Territorial Rama y Kriol celebrado el 8 de enero del 2016 y firmado por cada uno de sus miembros ( the process of prior, free, and informed co nsultation for the development of the Construction Project of the Interoceanic Canal of Nicaragua and Sub projects, has been developed, jointly prepared by GTR K and the Government Commission to complete the process of consultation. This document was appro ved at the meeting of the Rama Kriol Territorial Government held on January 8, 2016 and signed by K, 1/10/16). This statement seeks to override the argument made by GTR K members who have filed suit against the i ndividuals they allege misled and coerced them into signing the consultation and consent document. Despite the numerous accounts in which GTR K members who were present for this January meeting recount being pressured by police presence, being denied acces s to information and experts to assist in comprehension of data connected to the canal, and ultimately firmly stating they do not consent to the project, Thomas asserts his position of authority as president to dismantle these narratives. He even goes as f ar as to make accusations that unauthorized, false statements have been made on behalf of GTR K (Kilpatrick 1/12/16, Len & Romero 2016). Summary of Findings My analysis of the sources included in this study ultimately identified two forms of discourse seeking to challenge the canal; first, there are several forms of discourse of resistance that are rooted in Afro/Indigenous identity. These included rhetoric fo cused on the importance of place, the role land plays in identity for both the Rama and Kriol people, and assertion of cultural identity as a being rooted in challenging colonization and oppression. In addition to the use of cultural identity as a tool to bolster resistance discourse, approaches connected to western legal structures, appeals for empathy and compassion, as well as frame bridging to rhetoric to capture wider audiences. Discourse

PAGE 85

72 of this form took shape in the forms of rhetoric rooted in pacif ication (i.e. agreement to negotiate), highlighting the lack of benefit to their communities, the failure of HKND and the Nicaraguan state government to operate transparently in regards to the canal, and legal rights and obligations. Based on my findings of the various forms of discourse utilized by the Rama and Kriol people in resistance to the construction of the canal, I argue, provides areas in which context and histories (e.g., colonization, margina lization, etc.) Afro/Indigenous people tend to share can be utilized to reinforce resistance efforts. This specifically relates to forms of discourse that serve to assert Afro/Indigenous identity as a means with which neoliberalism can be challenged. Chall enge to similar practices also includes tools that fall outside the realm of identity, as was executed by Rama and Kriol voices captured above. These tactics can be incorporated to similar resistance efforts to invite collaboration by non Afro/Indigenous a ctors, allies and organizations to make resistance efforts more accessible and effective. In light of our ever globalizing world, the story of forces of present day neoli beralism in which reliance on market based justifications for development, regardless of human or communal rights, need to be questioned and challenged. With the reach of transnational corporations beginning to exceed, in many cases, that of the ability of states to challenge foreign or domestic entities that seek to exploit land and resources within their boundaries. Accordingly, creating a narrative in which Afro/Indigenous and other people impacted by neoliberal endeavors to generate

PAGE 86

73 profit can have powe r to protect themselves, their traditional territories/resources, and their respective communities.

PAGE 87

74 CHAPTER V CONCLUSION As Greene (2007) argues there is much to be gained by Afro/Indigenous collaboration in response to struggles for land rights. Not on ly does alliance increase power of resistance efforts to defend shared communal land rights, it also serves to leverage resources of knowledge, diverse perspectives on activism and scholarship, but further acts to reduce division of struggle, resulting in split opposition efforts that are both less effective. Further, Afro/Indigenous solidarity offers means by which the contention raised by battles for communal land rights for Afro descendant and Indigenous peoples who share territory can apply more signifi cant pressure on the state(s) in which they find their communities located within. Such pressure can be applied discursively both by asserting their Afro/Indigenous identities to empower their own communities, as well as by utilizing discourse that invites allies and solidarity with actors outside their own communities and identities. With a multi dimensional approach to using discourse as a tool of resistance, Afro/Indigenous communities can cooperate to increase their inclusion of more diverse constituent s within their resistance efforts, while also managing to mutually benefit from drawing parallels in shared experiences and territories. This finding is significant due to the fact that distinct groups are often encouraged to assert their difference, with the aim or goal being centered on establishing rights for their respective cultural communities. Though I fully acknowledge that difference is to be valued, understood, and appreciated, I argue that focusing solely on difference to establish rights leads t o duplication of efforts, ineffective use of limited resources for

PAGE 88

75 common threats. Accordingly, the approach taken by the Kriol and Rama create a model in which com munities sharing territories, dangers to their communal cultural and physical integrity, or goals to establish rights or protections for their communities can engage with to develop frameworks and discourse applicable to their own unique identities and con cerns. Further, on a broader level, I believe that creating more space for rights anywhere establishes precedent and foundations for belief that rights, whether they be proctored on an individual or communal level, should be culturally responsive and respe cted both by way of law and policy on paper as well as in terms of social and cultural realities. As has been demonstrated in the discourse of the Rama and Kriol responding to the Nicaraguan state, policy and law do not inevitably result in rights that are actively enacted, protected, or in actuality result in abilities to self govern or assert autonomy. As such, Rama and Kriol resistance efforts and discourse can serve not only as a model from which other resistance efforts can be extrapolated, but further to remind Afro/Indigenous peoples of the variety of avenues that can be utilized when rights are disregarded. An additional point that I hope can be taken from my analysis is couched in the approach of frame bridging, as discussed by Rothman and Oliver (2 002) and Colombo (2014); there are most certainly compromises that can be made while constructing collaboration between movements and/or resistance endeavors, though this must be done with care. Integration of frameworks from the environmental movement is of particular concern, as environmentally focused framing often relies upon assumptions of capitalism and the necessity of the Westphalian state system. This is of concern as these structures

PAGE 89

76 les for self determination. With the megacanal, Afro/Indigenous territory, communities, and resources are to feat should it be constructed. The fact that Ley 840 was ever signed, I argue, indicates that de jure rights hold no guarantee for the actualization or realities of land rights for Afro/Indigenous peoples in Nicaragua; further, the Nicaraguan state government has failed to adhere to constitutional and legal com mitments to self determination for the Rama and Kriol peoples by signing Ley 840. This failure to respect Afro/Indigenous rights by way of condoning the land grab by HKND has left the Rama and Kriol people with no choice but to utilize discourse, along wit h a multitude of other tools, to stand in such, I argue resisting theft and invasion of traditional territories, as well as seeking to reestablish access to traditional lands, are critical to retain cultural diver sity, protection of communal rights, and evasion of homogeneity that assumes land is valuable up until it, along with any resources land contains, can no longer be exploited. However, Johnston (2011) underscores the fact that globalization has created netw orks of production that exist, and, often, supersede state authority. This is due to the economic weight that transnational corporations (TNCs) hold they can utilize to pressure states into bending to their own self interests. Additionally, TNCs have avail able to them means by which they can leverage resources available globally to side step taxation, as well as policies and regulations TNCs may otherwise be subject to within any given state. TNCs, arguably, have helped to manifest neoliberalism in the term s that we now see it,

PAGE 90

77 with a foreign corporation, HKND, offering resources that the Nicaraguan state would not otherwise be able to access. Additionally, the intensification of global production systems being interdependent has led to states having less of a voice or means to reign in economic activity; the culpability of the Nicaraguan state, as well as means by which they could have avoided agreeing to the canal may be space for further research to the benefit of identifying which actors Rama and Kriol re sistors should in fact be directing their efforts toward. This question of culpability points to the fact that local, national, and global solidarity are often critical for social justice and social movements to be successful, and, as Johnston (2011) note s to provide a commanding critique of neoliberalism. Additionally, acknowledging that concerns of social movements may be beyond the (complete) control of the states in which mobilized groups find themselves is critical to ensure that their efforts are no t wasted. Due to the intensifying interconnectivity in our globalized economy, social movements must aim to act globally where possible to reflect, and, hopefully, circumvent TNCs and other neoliberal actors and meaningful way. Accordingly, I believe that the Rama and Kriol discursive moves, aside from those made by Hector Thomas McCrea, seek to tie into the transnational movement for Indigenous rights and narratives and rhetoric typical t o Indigenous resistance; this is highlighted by the demonstration of a deep connection to their lands, their traditional integrity. To create a means by which these con cerns of cultural survival and access to traditional territory and resources discourse outside of identity politics are leveraged by

PAGE 91

78 Rama and Kriol people. This approach manages to explain and justify resistance to the canal to people that may not otherwis e what is at risk for the Rama and Kriol people. The use of discourse that contributes to ally and coalition building, highlighting failure to adhere to law and policy, and frame bridging with sustainability rhetoric allows space for diverse understandin gs and consequent solidarity based on various identities and commitments. By incorporating multiple forms of discourse that create foundations for cohesive discourse in support of Afro/Indigenous peoples in resistance to neoliberalism is critical. This ena bles resistance discourse to become more accessible, recognizable, and potentially more inclusive of non Afro/Indigenous allies. In addition to further analysis of discourse enacted by Rama and Kriol peoples, other areas of interest might include Mestizo r esistance discourse, as well as discourse within the Rama and Kriol communities not captured online. Additionally, I think it would be significant to investigate tools utilized by either or both communities to bolster resistance beyond their use of discour se.

PAGE 92

79 REFERENCES lvarez, R. M. (2016, January 10). Gobierno presiona a ramas para firmar acuerdo sobre el Gran Canal La Prensa Retrieved February 02, 2016, from http://www.laprensa.com.ni/2016/01/10/nacionales/1966964 gobierno presiona ramas firmar acuerdo gran canal Androutsopoulos, J. "Introduction: Language and Society in Cinematic Discourse." Multilingua 31.2 (2012). Arrai za, J Communal Property Regime." International Journal on Minority and Group Rights 19.1 (2012): 69 103. Beard, L.J. "Teaching Native Autobiographies as Acts of Narrative Resistance." Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture 11.1 (2010): 109 34. Belmessous, S. (2012). Introduction: The Problem of Indigenous Claim Making in Colonial History. In S. Belmessous ( ed .), Native claims: Indigenou s law against empire, 1500 1920 (pp. 3 18) Oxford: Oxford University Press. Benavides Vanegas, F.S.. "Indigenous Resistance and the Law." Latin American Perspectives 39.1 (2012): 61 77. 11 Jan. 2016. Centro de Asistencia Legal a Pueblos Indgenas (CA LPI). (2013, December 20). Ley del Canal Interocenico [Press release]. Retrieved January 23, 2016, from http://www.calpi nicaragua.org Colombo, D. "Environment and Neoliberalism: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Three Italian Cases." Journal for Communication Studies 7.1 (2014): 63 82. Confidencial (2013, July 5). Comunidades del caribe interponen recurso de inconstitucionalidad por Ley del Canal Interocenic Retrieved February 02, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbRM6SYaCxw Coulte r, R., L.A. Crippa, & A. Wiggins. RE: Guidance in a Time of Change: Including Prosperity without Discrimination. 4.8.14. Crippa, L.A., & R. Francis. "Ensuring Consistency with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples." Lecture, Comments on the World Bank's Proposed "Environmental and Social Framework, February 1, 2015. Cruz, M. R. (2016, January 18). Capacitan sobre la Ley del Canal La Prensa. Retrieved Fe bruary 02, 2016, from http://www.laprensa.com.ni/2016/01/18/politica/1971322 capacitan sobre la ley del canal

PAGE 93

80 Cultural Survival. (2016, January 5). Construction of Nicaragua Canal Threatens Indigenous Lives and Livelihoods. Retrieved February 02, 2016, fr om https://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural survival quarterly/construction nicaragua canal threatens indigenous lives and Dulizky, A.E. "When Afro Descendants Became 'Tribal Peoples': The Inter American Human Rights System and Rural Black Communities." UCLA Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs 29. Spring 2010 (2010): 1 37. Fairbairn, M. "Foreignization, Financialization and Land Grab Regulation." Journal of Agrarian Change 15.4 (2015): 581 91. Federici, S. (2014). Women, Land Struggles, and Globalization: An International Perspective. In A. Ross ( ed .), Grabbing back: Essay s against the global land grab (pp. 115 124). Oakland, CA: AK Press. Fendt, L. (2016, January 14). Indigenous and Afro Caribbeans claim they were forced to negotiate over Nicaragua Canal Retrieved February 23, 2016, from http://www.ticotimes.net/2016/ 01/14/indigenous afro caribbeans claim forced negotiate nicaragua canal Fenelon, J. V., and T. D. Hall. "Revitalization and Indigenous Resistance to Globalization and Neoliberalism." American Behavioral Scientist 51.12 (2008): 1867 901. Gilio Whitaker, D. "Idle No More and Fourth World Social Movements in the New Millennium." South Atlantic Quarterly 114.4 (2015): 866 77. Gobierno Territorial Rama y Kriol (GTR K). Indgenas Demandan Por Coaccin De Firmas Para El Canal De Nicaragua Gobierno Territorial Rama Y Kriol (GTR K), 5 Feb. 2016. 20 Feb. 2016. . Gobierno Territorial Rama y Kriol (GTR K). (n.d.). Quie ren Dividir Junta Directiva Indgena por el Canal en LA RACCS ( Nicaragua, Gobierno Territorial Rama y Kriol (GTR K)). Bluefields, Nicaragua: Gobierno Territorial Rama y Kriol (GTR K). Retrieved January 27, 2016 from https://www.facebook.com/157327680951910 /photos/pb.157327680951910. 2207520000.1456023101./1123905897627412/?type=3&theater Graham, L.R. "How Should an Indian Speak? Amazonian Indians and the Symbolic (e d. ) Jean E. Jackson. Indigenous Movements, Self representation, and the State in Latin America. Austin: U of Texas, 2002. 181 228.

PAGE 94

81 Greene, S. "Introduction: On Race, Roots/Routes, and Sovereignty in Latin America's Afro Indigenous Multiculturalisms." Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthr opology 12.2 (2007): 329 55. Grubacicc, A. (2014). Exit and Territory: A World Systems Analysis of Non State Spaces. In A. Ross (ed.), Grabbing back: Essays against the global land grab (pp. 159 178). Oakland, CA: AK Press. Grupo Cocibolca (2014, November 23). Comunicado del Grupo Cocibolca [Press release]. Retrieved January 23, 2016, from https://es es.facebook.com/notes/la voz de nicaragua/comunicado del grupo cocibolca/10154815470225487/ Guigni, M.G. "Explaining Cross national Similar ities among Social Movements." H Johnston. Globalization and Resistance (ed ) Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002. 13 30. Hance, J. (2015, March 26). Nueva pelcula muestra la resistencia local al Canal de Nicaragua Retrieved February 02, 2016, from http://es.mongabay.com/2015/03/nueva pelicula muestra la resistencia local al canal de nicaragua/ Hatzel M. R. (2015, September 22). Acusan y destituyen a diputado misquito Retrieved September 23, 2015, from http://www.elnuevodiario.com.ni/nacionales/371232 diputado rivera pierde inmunidad/ Hodges, B.D., A. Kuper, and S.Reeves. "Discourse Analysis." The BMJ (2008). 11 Jan. 2016. . (cited as BMJ 2008;337:a879) Hooker, J. "Afro descendant Struggles for Collective Rights in Latin America: Between Race and Culture." Souls 10.3 (2008): 279 91. Johnston, H. (2011). States & Social Mov ements Cambridge: Polity. Johnson, T. (2015, June 18). Nicaragua's Rama Indians face peril from canal and migrants. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from http://media.mcclatchydc.com/static/features/NicaCanal/RAMA.html Kilpatrick, K. (2015, April 9). Canal 'will destroy we' Retrieved February 02, 2016, from http://projects.aljazeera.com/2015/04/nicaragua canal/displaced.html Kilpatrick, K. (2016, January 12). Canal 'will destroy we' Retrieved February 02, 2016, from ht tp://projects.aljazeera.com/2015/04/nicaragua canal/displaced.html Larson, A.M., P.J. Cronkleton, and J.M. Pulhin. "Formalizing Indigenous Commons: The Philippines." World Development 70 (2015): 228 38.

PAGE 95

82 Len, S., & Romero, E. (2016, January 12). Gobierno Territorial Rama y Kriol desautoriza las voces crticas La Prensa Retrieved February 02, 2016, from http://www.laprensa.com.ni/2016/01/12/nacionales/1967756 gtrk desautoriza las voces criticas Lewis, T.L. "Conservation TSMOs: Shaping the Protected Area Systems of Less Developed Countries." (ed.) Hank Johnston. Globali zation and Resistance (ed). Jackie Smith. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002. 75 94. Ley No. 445 : Ley de Rgimen de Propiedad Comunal de los Pueblos Indgenas y Comunidades tnicas de las Regiones Autnomas de la Costa Atlntica de Nicaragua y de los Ro s Bocay, Coco, Indio, y Maz. A probada el 13 de Diciembre del 2002. Publicado en La Gaceta No. 16 del 23 de Enero del 2003. Ley No. 840: Ley Especial para el Desarrollo de Infraestructura y Transporte Nicaragense Atingente a El Canal, Zonas de Libre Comercio e Infraestructuras Asociadas. Aprobada el 14 de Junio de 2013. Liedel, E. (n.d.). A Canal Where a Language Used to Be. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from https://schwafire.atavist.com/linguistic_peril_canal Meringer, E. (2010). The Local Politics of Indigenous Self Representation: Intraethnic Political Division among Nicaragua's Miskito People during the Sandinista Era. O ral History Review, 37 (1), 1 17. Retrieved December 1, 2015. Miller, T. (2015, January 08). Rama Community in Bangkukuk, Nicaragua, Speaks Out About the Grand Canal Project. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/rama com munity bangkukuk nicaragua speaks out about grand canal project Mollett, S. (2013). Mapping Deception: The Politics of Mapping Miskito and Garifuna Space in Honduras. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 103 (5), 1227 1241. Retrieved October 29, 2015. Moncada, R. "Indgenas De Nicaragua Resisten Presin Del Gobierno Por El Canal La Prensa." La Prensa 2016. 20 Feb. 2016. . Newman, D. (n.d.). Theorizing Collective Indigenous Rights. American Indian Law Review, 31 (2), 273 289. Retrieved December 2, 2015. Nicaragua, Gobierno Territorial Rama y Kriol (GTR K). (n.d.). El Gobierno Territorial Rama y Kriol Aclara y Sienta su Posicin sobre el Canal en su Territorio Retrieved January 23, 2016, from https://esla.facebook.com/NotiBluefields/posts/409861455835476

PAGE 96

83 Nietschmann, B. (1987). The Third World War. Cultural Survival Quarterly, 11 (3), 1 16. Noakes, J.A., and H. Johnston. "Frames of Protest: A Road Map to a Perspective" (ed ). Hank Johnston and John A. Noakes. Frames of Protest: Social Movements and the Framing Perspective Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005. 1 32. Oliver, P.E. & H. Johnston mes in Social Movement Research (ed.) Hank Johnston and John A. Noakes. Frames of Protest: Social Movements and the Framing Perspective Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005. 1 32. Oya, C. (2013). Methodological ref Journal of Peasant Studies, 40 (3), 503 520. Peterson, B. (2015, June 17). Nicaragua's Rama Indians face peril from canal. Retrieved February 02, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/w atch?v=Wz4n9FxoB4k Polletta, F. It Was like a Fever: Storytelling in Protest and Politics Chicago: U of Chicago, 2006. Puig, S.M.I. "The Emergence of Indigenous Movements in Latin America and Their Impact on the Latin American Political Scene: Interpr etive Tools at the Local and Global Levels." Latin American Perspectives 37.6 (2010): 74 92. PrettyGoodProductions (2014). This Land is for All of We: A small Rama community in Bangkukuk, Nicaragua, speaks out about the Grand Canal Project. Retrieved Feb ruary 02, 2016, from https://vimeo.com/109026969 Rama Kriol Territorial Government. Indigenous and Afro Descendant Peoples File Lawsuit Against Coerced Signatures for Nicaraguan Canal Rama Kriol Territorial Government, 7 Feb. 2016. Web. 20 Feb. 2016. . Rama Kriol Territorial Government. (2016, January 10). GTR K Authorities Are Being Pressured to Approve the Interoceanic Canal [Press release]. Retrieved January 23, 2016, from https://www.facebook.com/157327680951910/photos/a.612501958767811.1073741827. 157327680951910/1123958780955457/ Representation i n Latin America" (ed) Jean E. Jackson. Indigenous Movements, Self representation, and the State in Latin America. Austin: U of Texas, 2002. 251 76. Reed, J P. "Indigenous Land Policies, Culture and Resistance in Latin America." Journal of Peasant Studie s 31.1 (2003): 137 56.

PAGE 97

84 Rothman, F.D., and P.E. Oliver (1999). "From Local to Global: The Anti Damn Movement in Southern Brazil, 1979 1992." Mobilization: An International Quarterly 4(1), 41 57. Johnston H Globalization and Resistance (ed.) Jackie Smith. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002. 115 132. Secretaria de Desarrollo de la Costa Caribe (2016, January 10). Secretaria de Desarrollo de la Costa Caribe : Gobierno Territorial Rama y Kriol (GTRK), aprueba convenio en favor del Gran Canal Retrieved February 02, 2016, from http://scaribenicaragua.blogspot.com/2016/01/gobierno territorial rama y kriol gtrk.html Seton, K. (1999). Fourth World Nations in the Era of Globalisation: An Introduction to Contemporary Theorizing Posed by Indigenous Nations. The Fourth World Journal, 4 (1), 1 23. Retrieved February 12, 2015, from http://cwis.org/fwj/41/fworld.html Securing Indigenous and Community Land Rights in the Future We Want. (2015, March 20). Retrieved October 25, 2015, from http://irf2015.or g/securing indigenous and community land rights future we want Stewart Harawira, M The New Imperial Order Indigenous Responses to Globalization London: Zed Books, 2005. Ross, A. (2014). Editors Introduction: The Global Land Grab. In A. Ross (ed .), Grabbing back: Essays against the global land grab (pp. 9 38). Oakland, CA: AK Press. Shiva, V. (2014). Land Wars and the Great Land Grab. In A. Ross ( ed .), Grabbing back: Essays against the global land grab (pp. 39 4). Oakland, CA: AK Press. Traynor, M "Discourse Analysis." Nurse Researcher 12.2 (2004): 4 6. United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. (n.d.). Retrieved October 24, 2015, from http://undesadspd.org/indigenouspeoples/declaration ontherightsofindigenouspeoples.aspx UN General Assembly, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: resolution / adopted by the General Assembly 2 October 2007, A/RES/61/295, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/471355a82.html [accessed 9 December 2015] Unique Resource Bridges Gap Between Conservationists and Indigenous Peoples. (n.d.). Retrieved October 17, 2015, from http://www.indianlaw.org/content/unique resource bridges gap between conservationists and indigenous peoples van Dijk, T. A. "Principles of Critical Discourse Analysis." Discourse & Society 4.2 (1993): 249 83.

PAGE 98

85 Vanden, H. E. "Social Movements, Hegemony, and New Forms of Resistance." Latin American Perspectives 34.2 (2007): 17 30. Warren, K.B., and Jean E. Ja ckson, eds. Indigenous Movements, Self representation, and the State in Latin America Austin: U of Texas, 2002. West, D. Social Movements in Global Politics Cambridge: Polity, 2013. Print. White Face, C. (2013). Indigenous nations' rights in the balance: An analysis of the declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples St. Paul, MN: Living Justice Press. Who Owns the Land? A global baseline of formally recognized indigenous and community land rights. (2015, September 1). Retrieved October 2, 2 015, from http://www.rightsandresources.org/publication/view/whoownstheland/ Woodard, J. F. (2015, October 23). Wary Nicaraguans Await the $50 billion Canal That Could Upend Their Lives. Retrieved March 25, 2016, from http://www.slate.com/articles/news_an d_politics/roads/2015/10/a_50_billion_chinese_bu ilt_canal_will_transform_life_in_nicaragua.html XINHUA Espaol (2016, April 10). CUMBRE DE LAS AMERICAS: Indgenas se oponen a construccin de canal en Nicaragua Retrieved February 02, 2016, from http://spanish.xinhuanet.com/iberoamerica/2015 04/10/c_134138500.htm