“You are here because the land called you”: Searching for vivir bien/living well

Roxanne Gould, Priscilla Day


This paper provides an account of an education seminar titled “When Indigenous People Lead,” inspired by the decolonisation work being conducted by the first Indigenous president of a colonial nation-state in the Western Hemisphere, President Evo Morales of Bolivia. The purpose of the seminar was to bring Indigenous peoples and allies to Bolivia to examine the strategies used by the Morales government to dismantle the stranglehold that settler colonialism and capitalism have had on their country. Our goal was a single seminar to examine the implications of the Morales government for Indigenous peoples, who envision similar change in their homelands. This study examines our journey of searching for vivir bien – living well – through a theoretical lens of decolonisation and ecosocialism directed toward alternatives to socially and ecologically destructive systems. We chose ecosocialism as the framework to examine and deconstruct Morales’s work because ecosocialism strongly supports Indigenous ways of knowing, but it also argues that the alienation from nature is directly related to alienation from each other, and this in turn causes environmental degradation with capitalism at the core of this planetary issue.

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