Working with the Indigenous people of Paraguay
The lands that the World Land Trust (WLT) is helping Guyra Paraguay conserve in the northern Chaco are also the ancestral homes of several groups of indigenous peoples. The World Land Trust takes the issue of traditional rights very seriously, and for this reason was able to get a grant to support the work of Iniciativa Amotocodie (IA), who work with the Ayoreo Indians in the Northern Chaco. The Ayoreo include groups that are still isolated and remain uncontacted by the outside world. IA's objective is to help them maintain their voluntary isolation, until such time as they choose to meet with the rest of the world, and then help that transition be as un-traumatic as possible. As part of the process Benno Glauser, who heads IA visited the WLT in November to conduct workshops with the WLT staff on the issues surrounding traditional rights and how to integrate local people into conservation.
The approach of involving the indigenous groups in the conservation process right from the outset is believed to be a first, and Guyra, SEAM (the government agency involved) together with the WLT hope to be able to create a model for future conservation work, and prevent the criticisms of green colonialism that have been made in the past.