Terri Valle Aquino

Ashoka Fellow
Brazil
Fellow Since 1989

Citation

This profile was prepared when Terri Valle Aquino was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1989.
The New Idea
Terri is working to find practical ways, chiefly economic, through which the Indians and rubber tappers will learn to collaborate. Given the intense and accelerating pressures on the Amazon and its peoples, little time is left to develop a durable working alliance.
He believes he can help build a series of new collaborations now because both groups are having to step beyond the patterns of past generations. In the face of the new forces pressing in on them, they are being forced to respond - and they are doing so in strikingly similar ways. During the 1980s Terri played a key role in helping the indigenous peoples of Acre win the demarcation of roughly 10 percent of the state into reservations. The new Brazilian constitution allows them - not a government agency - control of the land. The rubber tappers have also begun to fight for the creation of large extractivist reserves, an idea initiated and fought for by two Ashoka colleagues, Mary Allegretti and Chico Mendes. The reserves would allow the tappers and others (eg, hunters and medicinal plant gatherers) to continue to make a living from the forest. The reserves also provide a framework that allows these now tenured people to govern themselves.
Focusing first on a huge portion of Acre crosshatched by often contiguous reservations and reserves, Terri will work to lay an economic foundation for long term mutual toleration and sustainable political cooperation.
Building on a model from the Jurua Valley, Terri, for example, has been helping a group of rubber tappers from the Tejo river watershed create a rubber cooperative in an area adjacent to the lands of five local Indian tribes. The cooperative involves Indians from the tribes in production, rewarding them with a portion of the profits. The project is already beginning to yield more efficient production with greater income to both groups than was possible before.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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