Oil Politics and Indigenous Resistance in the Peruvian Amazon: The Rhetoric of Modernity Against the Reality of Coloniality

Document Type


Publication Date





In June of 2009, indigenous protest over the Peruvian government's natural resource policies erupted, tragically, in a violent confrontation where 33 Peruvians lost their lives. Conflicts over natural resources are bound to increase, especially in developing countries, as governments development ambitions collide with indigenous peoples’ territorial claims. This article, within the context of Peru's natural resource development agenda, examines the government's hydrocarbon development policies against indigenous resistance and protest. Turning to an alternative theoretical framework, modernity/coloniality, I argue that the government’s development logic misrepresents indigenous perspectives on development, undermines indigenous territorial rights, and suppresses indigenous participation in Peru’s natural resource agenda. A more complex reading of indigenous perspectives reveals a more sustainable approach to development, one that does not reject modern development, but does challenge the Eurocentric predilections of development.