Achieving Garifuna Sustainable Development

The methods and understandings introduced in previous chapters are used to discuss indigenous sustainable development as it is emerging amongst Afro-indigenous Garifuna in Honduras. Although Garifuna activists, thinkers, leaders, and practitioners share a close geographical relation to Maya groups, their challenges, cultures, and histories are substantially different. As a result, Garifuna sustainable development has its own distinct form, focused increasingly around territorial autonomy and food sovereignty.

The last two chapters described a Maya idea of sustainable development that has been emerging from Guatemala’s Western Highlands. This involved a detailed look at the cultural, discursive, historical, and material roots of the idea, as well as a description of the idea itself. This chapter uses the same method, but moves the focus southward into the contested Garifuna territories of coastal Honduras. Much of this chapter is based on ongoing fieldwork that I have undertaken since 2011. This work is beginning to show a complex and contested Garifuna sustainable development ideal that is emerging around the concept of food sovereignty. Just as with the study of Maya sustainable development, an indigenous political institution will be used as a locus around which to describe an indigenous idea of development. In this case, the story will revolve largely around ideas and activism associated with the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH). The story of Garifuna activism stands as another exemplar of the transmodern nature of indigenous development ideas that are merging in Latin America during a period typified by neoliberal multiculturalism.

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